Pep Guardiola angered from Man City fans over remarks he made about the attendance of their recent FA Cup clash with Fulham, sparking a response from the Citizens’ official supporters’ club.
The reigning Premier League champions took on Fulham in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Sunday, marching to a comfortable 4-0 victory over the Championship side. The game brought in the third-highest attendance of the weekend, with 39,223 making the trip to the Etihad Stadium to support their players, meaning there were several empty seats.
This did not sit well with the Spanish tactician, who questioned Sunday’s attendance. Pep revealed after the game that he was surprised with the poor turn out and hoped this would not be the case for their upcoming League Cup showdown with Man United.
However, these comments did not sit well with Kevin Parker, the general secretary of Man City’s official supporters’ group. He slammed the iconic coach for being out of touch with the financial reality facing the everyday fan of the Citizens.
“I was disappointed and don’t see what Pep is trying to achieve,” Parker said, as per the Daily Mail.
“He’s playing into the hands of the ‘Emptyhad’ critics. It really peeves me.
“We feel unjustifiably criticized by other clubs, so for our manager to have a go at us as well makes it worse. I’d suggest he’s not in touch with the financial reality facing football fans.
“Pep has to accept that this is a working-class group of supporters who spend a lot of their money on football, so stop beating us up about it.”
This topic is not something new. Guardiola has long had a love-hate relationship with the fans over their attendances, especially in the Champions League, with rivals pointing to this when labeling the club and its supporters as plastic.
However, Parker insists that’s not the case. He argued that it is unreasonable to expect a full attendance for a non-season ticket game being aired on BBC Sport and pointed out that many have been behind the club prior to Sheikh Mansour’s takeover.
‘Questioning the loyalty of City fans who went 35 years without a trophy - supporting them through lots of thin times - is not for me,’ Parker added.
“It was 1pm on a Sunday, not the easiest to get to and live on terrestrial television.
“Fans have purchased tickets for both the League Cup semi-final and the Real Madrid tie. While the match was well-priced, it wasn’t a season-ticket game so fans had to dip into their pockets.
“I absolutely love Pep, he’s the best thing to ever happen to the club from a football point of view. But this sort of thing will alienate fans who work very hard to buy tickets.
“The fans who attend are always singing for Pep, always behind the team. There’s no negativity, no booing or singling out of players.”