GIVEN the ‘everyman’ appeal of this magnificent Manchester City side, it was somewhat apt that their silverware celebrations were led by an impromptu party in a modest house on the outskirts of town followed by a knees-up at a local pub.
Fittingly, the Premier League championship party was kick-started by classy captain Vincent Kompany, who watched footage of West Brom’s shock victory at Manchester United - which handed City the title on a silver platter - before celebrating with his wife Carla and watching family members at her nan’s house in the suburb of Irlam near Salford.
Quick to extend the hand of acknowledgement at a job well done at the final whistle was his father-in-law, a red, with the party later reconvening at a pub called The Railway in nearby Hale - with Kompany and several of his team-mates swigging pints and singing songs with ecstatic supporters.
Hail too to the Blue locomotive which has secured the title in express time and bought much pleasure to football fans at a variety of destinations, nationwide - and not just those with Manchester City affiliations. It’s been some journey.
Let the numbers sink in. 33 games, 28 wins, 93 goals scored, just 25 against, 87 points and a goals difference of plus 68. What is not to love about that ...
A perfectionist who craves more, the tantalising prospect of breaking the 100-point barrier by season’s end with five games still to go in City’s staggering league campaign will not be lost upon Pep Guardiola. Achieving it alone will not sate his appetite either. Only doing it with style and elan will.
Events across town at Old Trafford may have rubber-stamped the title, but memories of City’s silky and suitably-in-character victory at Wembley the previous day were still vivid after a 3-1 win at Spurs put them on the brink. That is the City which people will remember from 2017-18.
What masterful strokes and pictures they have painted on the canvas. Whether it be Kevin De Bruyne’s majesty, David Silva’s effortless grace or Leroy Sane’s beguiling ability to drift past players as if they are not even there – footballers who you would pay to see in the flesh or stay in and watch and who you would be quick to talk about in your local watering hole.
The glue holding them together in the middle has been Fernandinho, with Sergio Aguero firing the bullets up front. Goods at the back too in the shape of Kompany and the much-improved Nicolas Otamendi and a speed machine on the flanks in Kyle Walker. And that is before you even get to Raheem Sterling.
A 20-goal-a-season player, according to Guardiola, he has currently sitting on 22. A player who has finally combined energy and trickery with method and poise and is answering the charge that while his pace was searing, his football brain was slow, ponderous and facile. Not any more. Proof that Guardiola does not just cajole and inspire – he teaches.
An egalitarian squad too whose togetherness is strong with no clicks - look at the way that Benjamin Mendy has stayed close to team-mates and has led the cheer-leading despite suffering a serious knee injury.
Guardiola may have been quick to gently chide him after he hobbled onto the pitch to celebrate after Sterling’s late, late winner against Southampton. But those celebrations just further emphasised City’s camaraderie.
What next? Well Europe, of course. City have a troublesome itch to scratch there and so does Guardiola.
Back-to-back domestic titles are firmly on the menu too for a club who have won just five top-flight titles in 124 years and are acutely aware of the dynasty built across town by Sir Alex Ferguson not so long back.
Let the numbers sink in. 33 games, 28 wins, 93 goals scored, just 25 against, 87 points and a goals difference of plus 68. What is not to love about that ...Leon Wobschall
Long-term reinforcements will come – Fernandinho is nearly 33, Kompany has just turned 32 and Aguero is 30 in June and Silva is 32 – and the smart petrodollars is on this team getting better, fresher and even more dynamic.
After all, who wouldn’t want to join City. A team with finesse, flair and friendship, who are plainly having fun on a millionaire’s playground – but without forgetting their roots, judging by recent celebrations too.