There are not many Manchester City fans in the Cayman Islands yet they all seemed to converge on Fidel Murphy’s sports bar on Sunday morning to celebrate the inevitable Premier League triumph.
Goals by Samir Nasri and captain Vincent Kompany sealed a comfortable 2-0 victory against lowly West Ham and secured the title for City for the second time in three seasons.
Bitter rivals Manchester United won it last year but were never competitive this time, finishing seventh under the hapless David Moyes.
Liverpool’s slim hopes rested on defeating Newcastle United at Anfield and hoping that West Ham would cause the season’s biggest surprise and beat City at the Etihad.
Liverpool came from behind to win 2-1 but that was not enough to secure the title that looked certain to return to Anfield for the first time in 24 years until a Chelsea victory there two weeks earlier and a draw with Crystal Palace derailed plans.
City’s Blue Moon anthem was heard in one half of Fidel’s and a despondent, but still immensely proud Liverpool group sang their signature tune, You’ll Never Walk Alone, in the other.
City finished two points above Liverpool with 86 and Chelsea were third on 82 after beating Cardiff 2-1 away.
In 2012, City won the title on goal difference ahead of Manchester United after coming from behind to beat Queens Park Rangers on the final day. It was never going to be that dramatic this time round.
City spent just 15 days in first place during a season when the lead changed hands 25 times, but new manager Manuel Pellegrini’s club surged to the top when it mattered most.
The 60-year-old Chilean ended his first season in English soccer as a double winner, with the League Cup won in March against Sunderland.
Manchester-born Joe Hester lives in Cayman and for most of his 21 years has had to endure massive Manchester United success under Alex Ferguson while City were the unheralded neighbors. Not anymore. Hester was in Fidel’s singing his heart out with the other City faithful.
“It’s unbelievable, the shift is changing to City,” Hester said. “It’s been United winning for so many seasons and Liverpool too, but now it’s our time.
“I feel that worldwide we’re growing and getting stronger. We’re getting more fans and just the way the club is growing is absolutely fantastic.”
Hester admits that he expects United to bounce back when caretaker manager Ryan Giggs gives way to a top tier boss who will have hundreds of millions to spend on boosting the squad.
“But United have had their time, now it’s City’s. We’ve got a new academy, bigger stadium, more support and we’re going global.”
He added that he has absolute faith in Pellegrini having won two trophies so quickly. “Why can’t we do it again? Next season, we’re going to be stronger baby!”
Fidel Murphy’s manager Jasmin “Yaz” Muratagic is a Canadian-Serb who has supported Liverpool for around 20 years.
Despite the disappointment, his sentiments resonate with the average Reds supporter because manager Brendan Rodgers has elevated the legendary club back to elite level after years in the doldrums.
Muratagic is happy that they have qualified for next season’s Champions League and can build on that, even if top striker Luis Suarez leaves.
“Rodgers has done a fantastic job,” Muratagic said. “He plays good, attacking football and entertains the fans. They might concede a couple of goals but then they go back and score more.”
He is not sure if Steven Gerrard, who turns 34 at the end of May, will finally get his hands on a Premier League medal. “If it’s not next year, it’s going to be tough after that for him,” Muratagic said. He views the Chelsea defeat as the crumbling point. “Chelsea didn’t park the bus [defend heavily], they parked a train!
“It was not unlucky, it was just one of those games when things were not going well for us. So many players, including Suarez, didn’t play well. It was just one of those ugly games.
“We have a great academy with talent like Jon Flanagan coming up, the future is great.”