Manchester City

Manchester City

Premier League • England

Man City FFP: Liverpool icon trolls Guardiola as Gary Neville points to ‘huge shadow’ over club

Pep Guardiola and Manchester City are facing 115 counts of breaching FFP

Pep Guardiola and Manchester City are facing 115 counts of breaching FFP

Graeme Souness has turned the heat up on Manchester City over their 115 charges for Financial Fair Play claiming they will not be remembered as an iconic side while Gary Neville has also had his say on the club’s situation that threatens to undermine Pep Guardiola’s reign at the Etihad.

Guardiola and Co will walk out at Wembley on Saturday looking to beat Manchester United in the FA Cup and wrap up a historic double Double – a feat never before achieved in the English game. Indeed, should they win the cup final, it will be the 16th major honour Guardiola has won at Manchester City since his appointment in 2016.

However, it seems their success is not all it seems to be, with the club charged in February 2023 with over 100 breaches of the Premier League’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations dating back to 2009.

And while the likes of Everton and Nottingham Forest have since been charged and had points docked from themselves this season, City’s case is that bit more complicated, given both the historial factors and the amount of charges involved.

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To that end, a decision on what penalty – if any – they face is not expected to be published until spring 2025. And if the Premier League throws the book at them, there is a suggestion the worst-case scenario will see the club stripped of their titles and face expulsion from the top flight.

City, though, continue to protest their innocence and believe that they will successfully beat the charges.

Either way, with Guardiola‘s deal at the Etihad due to expire in June 2025, there are growing suggestions  – fulled by the man himself – that the 53-year-old will leave the club next summer.

Souness tells Guardiola that Man City will ‘never be an iconic side’

And despite their domination of the Premier League that has seen them win six of the last seven titles, former Liverpool midfield Souness believes their cycle will soon come to an end and that Guardiola’s City will never be remembered as a truly iconic side.

Speaking on the Three Up Front podcast, he said: “I think as long as the owners are in control, City will be challenging and the team to beat, but the monopoly won’t last forever.

“That’s English football, though, it’s never been the case and I don’t believe it ever will. I would say it’s going to be another 10 years before City become a legacy club.

“You see people across the world wearing a Liverpool shirt or a Manchester United shirt, and I’m sure that’ll happen with City, but I think we’re a decade away from that.

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“Just winning the Premier League doesn’t make them an iconic team, they’ve got to be serial winners of the Champions League.”

On their alleged 115 breaches of FFP, Souness added: “If I was to accuse someone of something and they were innocent and the whole world knew about it, they’d want to get me into court the following day. Why have City not been in a rush to squash the charges?

“I think that says everything about the situation they find themselves in. It’s alright to say that they’re ‘historical charges’ but that enabled them to make a big leap forward which wouldn’t have happened ordinarily.”

Gary Neville: Charges leave a cloud over Man City

In the build-up to Saturday’s FA Cup final, former Man Utd star Neville believes the charges hanging over Man City leave a stormcloud lingering over the club and mean Guardiola can never be truly considered as the best around.

“What Pep [Guardiola] has done, in not even a short period of time, you can’t deny that if someone put Pep top [manager in Premier League history], I wouldn’t say you’re out of order, I’d just say Sir Alex [Ferguson],” he said.

“If someone said Pep Guardiola was top, I wouldn’t say your wrong. I’m likely to go with Sir Alex [Ferguson] anyways aren’t I, and I certainly don’t want to mention the 115 charges [against Manchester City] but until that’s cleared, I think we do have to have a little bit of a ‘but’ until that’s cleared.”

Neville added: “You’re measuring him being the best based on his success, but his success would have been built on foundations that were rule-breaking if they are found guilty. That’s the foundation.”