Last Monday, Manchester City, six-time Premier League champions, were hit with numerous charges with respect to financial breaches between 2009 and 2018.
As many as 115 charges were brought on by the Premier League, with allegations accusing the Citizens of false accounting.
The club has, as expected, vehemently denied any wrongdoing and manager Pep Guardiola has come out defending the club.
The fans have also done their bit in a bid to show their support.
On Sunday, when City entertained Aston Villa in Etihad in a game that ended 3-1 in favour of the reigning champions, the fans first jeered the PL anthem to showcase their backing to their club.
Next, the support group also unveiled a new and catchy banner on the South Stand of the stadium.
The banner screamed “PANNICK ON THE STREETS OF LONDON” in reference to Lord Pannick KC, the barrister hired by the club to represent them in court against the Premier League.
The banner draws inspiration from the 1950 American movie Panic in the Streets and appears to be a move from the fans and not the club itself, with one fan @Felix6ood claiming credit for it.
Lord Pannick has a solid reputation for doing good for his clients and it is this reputation that is making City fill his pockets, with reports claiming that he will earn as much as their highest-paid player, Kevin De Bruyne.
With possible repercussions ranging from points deduction to expulsion from the league, it is understandable why the club would choose a high-profile lawyer and pay him handsomely to defend them.
But while it is a-okay from City’s point of view, should the fans really be celebrating this?
And should they be doing it in a PL game in front of players of have no idea or no involvement in this?
We don’t think so, but let’s take an objective look at both sides of the argument.
It’s job done
The supporters are supposed to stick by their club to thick and thin and that is what these fans are doing.
The fans want their voice heard and this was as sure-shot a way as it could be, as it has caused a stir on social media and made everyone aware of the situation.
Modern football has come to this
This part is relatively simple.
The club has been accused of wrongdoing. They have hired a celebrity lawyer and paid him through the nose, which indicates that the club needs firepower on their side to win the case, as mere facts may be against them.
The fans themselves are not privy to the internal workings of the club and have no way of knowing if the club is guilty or not.
So should the fans even defend this? Should they advocate the hiring of a lawyer that will be paid more than 95% of the players in the league?
It does not come as a surprise that City have accused of this after all. Their spending through the years have raised many eyebrows and fans can hardly claim ignorance in this matter.
Other clubs have banners of their club heroes, political personalities, and legends. Worst case, there are fan-led banners against the board, against the manager, and against a player. But the common theme is always football.
In this case, the banner has nothing to do with football. It is to do with an illegal activity that the club has allegedly partaken in. And fans defending this is, well, not good.
If anything, they should remain silent and hope that this is all washed over soon.
The players don’t need this distraction. And banners like these just give other supporters more ammo to shoot with.
Not A Real Club
At this point, the collective stance is quite clear. City supporters need to do better.
Celebrating the club’s actions rather than condemning them is downright stupid. They have, by unveiling the banner, done more for the lawyer than they have for many of their players.
What signal does this send in the dressing room? That the supporters value a today-here-tomorrow-there barrister more than the individuals putting the hard yards in?
It is not like City are lacking for legends. Their recent history have served up the likes of Kompany, Silva, Toure, Aguero and more. But there are hardly any showpieces for them. Hardly any for De Bruyne. But one for a KDB-like-paid lawyer.
City have never been counted as a real club anyway. Their success has always been down to oil money rather than heritage. This serves as yet another example of why that will remain the case.