For our first Who are You? interview of the season, we turned to a Manchester City fanatic, Makahil ‘Mak’ Nuur, creator of the MCFC 1894 Twitter pages and, coming soon, podcast. His responses to our questions include a welcome prediction that David Moyes will do well for us – and a plea to Niall Quinn to be less mean to City on the telly …
Salut! Sunderland: Suddenly Manchester is interesting again, with the coming fight for supremacy between Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho. How do you see the battle developing?
Makahil Nuur: I know, isn’t it great. Makes for a fresh change after a few dull years with Pellegrini and Van Gaal/Moyes the rivalry will now be as intense as it was when Mancini and Fergie were in Manchester.
It’s going to be a intriguing tough battle ahead. A lot of people imo have underestimated Mourinho after that spell at Chelsea but he’s made some good signings at United and they will be up there as a serious threat to us. Eventually I think we’ll have just that little bit too much for them.
United have Ibrahimovic, among others, and should have Pogba by the time the season starts while City have recruited Ilkay Gundogan, Leroy Sante and Nolito and may sign John Stones. Who is doing the better business?
It depends on how you want to look at it really. United have addressed really obvious flaws in their squad whilst City for the most part have been focusing on reducing the age of their squad, something that was heavily pointed out last season. I’d say it’s pretty even but there is still some work to do for both before the window shuts.
I am sure I saw a quote from Leroy Sané to the effect that Pep would make him a more complete player. At £37m, shouldn’t he be super-complete already?
I see the point you’re making but for the most part the club have taken the risk to pay such a fee because they believe he’ll prove to be worth it and also I feel Sané can contribute to the squad in the short term and develop in the first team and prove to be worth more than what we paid for him. Clubs nowadays mostly pay premium prices for the potential of the player. Sané is not only someone with huge potential but can make a great impact in the short and medium term as well as the long term.
Leicester provided fun distraction for neutrals last season and there was our usual excitement at the bottom, but is the Premier League in danger of becoming just another Scotland, with maybe four instead of two sides generally capable of winning the the title?
What a crazy season that was last year. I don’t think the Premier League is becoming monopolised by the top teams each year – the so called smaller teams have been making great strides in bridging the gap as the tv deals have got bigger they’ve been able to buy a higher calibre of player and also unearth gems like Leicester have with Kante and Mahrez.
I take it your support goes back pre-Etihad to Maine Road. Do you ever miss those days and the lack of expectation that you should be winning everything in sight? In other words, was City more of a proper club then?
It does of course and I do miss it quite a lot. At my age I only got to go to Maine Road for a few seasons but the atmosphere was a whole lot better. It also helped one wasn’t being charged a tenner for a watered down pint and stale chips. The expectations have got ridiculous and at times makes one pull the hair out cry out for the days where Paulo Wanchope saved us in our relegation dog fight against Newcastle. It probably was, but there are still some great aspects about at the club and I think we get far too much of a negative image painted of us in the media and a lot of fans have bought into it.
Whatever your answer to that, I bet you feel “more of a proper club” than United. Have you enjoyed being able to lord it over them?
Oh definitely we don’t need to claim the retweet cup and celebrate having more retweets on announcements or worry ourselves about recouping transfer fees through shirt sales, even when that’s not the case.
What is your minimum expectation for the season?
Top 3 in the league, semi final of the CL again and playing great football and actually looking like we’re bothered to try, show some heart and desire in the cups. I’d like to see us win the FA Cup and possibly the League Cup again if we can do it through our youth players getting a chance in that competition.
Now the reality: getting predictions out of the way, what will be the top four in order and who will win the other major competitions?
FA Cup: Manchester City
League Cup: Everton
Champions League: Bayern Munich
Europa League: Sevilla
In so far as you need to glance down the table, who will go down and where – if Sunderland’s time is not finally up – will we finish?
Speaking to a lot of people lately I get the impression many believe Sunderland’s time is up especially after making no signings [this was before Papy Djilobodji’s arrival – Ed] but I think Moyes will rebuild his reputation at Sunderland and make them a stable Premier League club.
As for who will go down I see Burnley , Hull and Swansea going down. That’s of course if Swansea sell Ayew and Williams. If they don’t I’d change that for Watford.
Are you surprised Jack Rodwell has made such little impact even in a struggling team and do you think he still has it in, especially under Moyes, to regain his pre-City form?
Yes I’m pretty surprised I thought the move to Sunderland would kickstart his career. He was never good enough for us. Yeah Moyes may just be the ideal manager to get his best form out of him.
Guess the Score in Saturday’s match and you could win a life-changing prize (or a mug): https://safc.blog/2016/08/manchester-city-v-sunderland-guess-the-score-can-we-ruin-peps-debut/ The Niall Quinn image, incidentally, is from Owen Lennox’s portrait
Any memories of our other links? Peter Reid, Niall Quinn, Claudio Reyna, Dennis Tueart, Dave Watson, (not that you are likely top be old enough!) and – er – Adam Johnson spring to mind but there have been others.
Yeah, the ones that stand out the most for me are the first three you named especially Niall Quinn who was a childhood hero of mine. Not sure why he’s overly critical of us on Sky nowadays though.
What about Sunderland generally – the club, the fans, the city and region. Any thoughts?
I like Sunderland. The fans have been pretty good to me; always recall them clapping us and congratulating us after our League Cup win at Wembley. The club? Not a fan of those annual 1-0 wins at the SoL against us! And the region is great – the North East of England is a proper hot bed of football.
We all enjoyed our day out at Wembley in 2014 and of course the deserved half-time lead. How much did winning a Cinderella trophy like the League Cup actually mean to you in the new City era?
It actually meant more than people realise. I was there that day. Granted you did deserve the lead but our responses weren’t half bad, were they? Sometimes you can be guilty of taking things for granted. I try to avoid that and at City we’ve done well to not take our success for granted like our neighbours have. We’re not in a position to start turning our noses up at trophies.
Your own highs and lows as a City fan?
We’ll start with the highs: the infamous play off final vs Gillingham. Getting promoted at Blackburn.
The last Maine Road derby where Neville fed the goat. The 4-1 derby where SWP celebrated his goal with the robot dance. Hamburg at home in the Uefa Cup – great atmosphere that night. FA Cup semi final vs United at Wembley. FA Cup final vs Stoke. Winning the league the first time.
Obviously going down to the third tier but I was a tad young at the time. Getting relegated at Stoke. The 06/07 season the home games less said the better. Getting hit in the nose by a stray Siberski shot. The FA Cup final vs Wigan 12/13, 14/15 and last season.
Who have been the greatest players you’ve seen in City colours?
David Silva hands down
And who should have never been allowed nowhere near them?
Tal Ben Haim
Roque Santa Cruz
I think you get the point we could be here all day
Is it time to stop moaning about diving and just get players in England to become better at cheating? Or should we make this season the time to stamp it out – if so how?
I don’t think cheating is something we should just accept to be honest. Maybe in Europe we need to be more wise to it but as a whole it’s something we should try and get rid of in our league .
Will you be at our game and what will be the score?
Yes I will be indeed, sat in my new seat in the south stand and the score – I’m going to say 3-1.
Makahil Nuur on himself: in my day job I work as a security guard. For my hobby I write articles and contribute to other projects mainly revolving around football. I’m 23 now, been a City fan since I was seven. I’ve been going as regularly as I can if work allows. I’ve been most places in England with City and even been to Europe too. MCFC 1894 is a Twitter page that I started to interact with fellow City fans and also get my views across and also make sure there’s more of a accurate image of city and their fans in the public domain. MCFC 1894 is expanding and the next step in that expansion is a regular podcast due soon
Interview: Colin Randall