Tevez has to go

Carlos Tevez has been suspended for two weeks by Manchester City after he refused to come on as a substitute against Bayern Munich.-AP

If City asked for volunteers to drive Tevez to the airport for a one-way ticket out of Manchester then there would be gridlock around the Etihad Stadium. By Frank Malley.

There are few people who have the power to unite the world of football but Carlos Tevez is one of them.

The phone-ins and the internet forums have been buzzing with outrage since Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini claimed his striker refused to play against Bayern Munich.

Tevez has been suspended pending a club inquiry but most of the pundits, players and managers who have weighed in seem to agree with Graeme Souness' summation. Namely: “He (Tevez) is one bad apple.”

The fans? Put it this way, if City asked for volunteers to drive Tevez to the airport for a one-way ticket out of Manchester then there would be gridlock around the Etihad Stadium.

The mere hint of a player not wanting to give everything for the cause is anathema to supporters who back the club through thick and thin and are lucky to earn in a decade what Tevez pockets every week.

There is no defending Tevez, who has made serial whingeing an art form during his time in Manchester. If there is no ‘misunderstanding' and Tevez's strop is as portrayed, and the evidence appears damning, then the incident only confirms how morally and responsibly bereft the modern footballer has become.

Yet there are also questions to be asked of City manager Mancini.

The toughest part of any manager's job is keeping happy the players who sit on the bench. The players who do not play every game, but often who are asked to come on and rescue dire situations caused by the players who were chosen before them.

That takes players of character and managers who command respect.

If Mancini looks across the city at neighbours Manchester United he will see why, despite City's billionaire owners, the clubs are still light years apart.

United's bench is filled with experienced characters such as Michael Owen, Ryan Giggs, Park Ji-sung, men who would never dream of putting self-interest before club responsibility. Men, too, who would not countenance challenging the authority of their manager.

For all City's speedy rebuilding, facilitated by the financial muscle of Sheikh Mansour, the foundations of discipline and character remain decidedly suspect.

It is not just Tevez, although his rows with Mancini, his transfer request last season and his enduring personal problems, have turned into a festering sore at Eastlands.

It seems there are problems, too, with Edin Dzeko, who was substituted for Nigel de Jong against Bayern and shook his head at Mancini in a public show of disapproval. It was not the first openly defiant gesture against a manager who has also had a series of high-profile fall-outs with Mario Balotelli.

There is a trend developing here. Management is about managing. It is about anticipating problems. It is about fitting together disparate characters. It is about creating harmony.

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Sir Alex Ferguson says television has too much power in football.

No arguments there. There is not one fan in the land who would disagree that kick-off times have become ridiculous and militate against those prepared to travel to provide the atmosphere which makes Barclays English Premier League matches so appealing.

The same fans would also agree that the wages of players and managers have gone way beyond reason.

Didn't hear Ferguson complain about that, even though it is television which supplies the cash

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Frank Lampard has taken undeserved stick from critics this past month who have been attempting to rush the 33-year-old over the hill.

His goal for Chelsea in the Champions League against Valencia proved otherwise. Class is permanent. Well done Frank.

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