as we come to the end of the season most blues fans, even me, have come to accept that joe hart will not be playing for us next season. he's been brilliant this season, you can't argue with that, but every blues fan needs to realise that he won't be playing for us next season and that we're already looking elsewhere. i'd bite your hand off for hart to stay here for another season, and i'd probably cry if you told me we could buy him. but lets face it - neither of these will happen. we all want it too, mcleish definitly wants it to and as do the board; but it won't.
shay given's injury didn't help matters because now man city have no 'number one' goalkeeper, and as his unfortunate shoulder injury looks like it's going to keep him out for the foreseeable future he won't be ready for the start of the season, meaning that it is inevitable that joe hart will start the 2010/2011 season in the sky blue of manchester city, rather than the royal blue of birmingham.
we haven't lost all hope; man city could sign a world class goalkeeper in the summer with the millions they have at hand, and joe could find himself walking out at st. andrews for another season. if that happens, i will gladly take this all back - you don't know how much i'd gladly do that! i'd love to have him in our team for longer, because he has been nothing short of amazing this season: his all-round performance has improved, and he has a new air of confidence about him, rightly making him the best goalkeeper in the premier league this season - which was acknowledged in his place in the PFA team of the season. this award shows blues are not the only team to witness what he has done this season: his inclusion in the england squad for the friendly against egypt back in march and his performances in front of one mr. fabio capello throughout the season have also, touch wood, booked his place on the plane to south africa. also, manchester city will have seen how good he has been; if he can do so well in a team in 9th place in the premier league, then theres nothing to say he can't do it in a champions league chasing team - after all, he will be playing all the same teams.
linked with blues in the past weeks have been david james of portsmouth, kieren westwood of coventry, lee grant of sheffield wednesday, and most strongly ben foster of manchester united. this would be like another joe hart, just not as good: a young, english keeper, with experience in the premier league - and for one of the top teams too! he started the season and didn't do too badly, but you could see he had a few areas in his game that he needed to iron out. wait, that sounds familiar.. joe hart had a few areas to improve in his game when he came to us. and i think it's safe to say he did it. and abit more too.
joe hart is obviously who i, and every other blues fan, would love to see back in a blues shirt next season. but it's not going to happen, it just isn't. not unless manchester city decide to let go of the best upcoming england talent the premier league has to offer right now. i know blues wouldn't, so we shouldn't expect city to either. i don't blame them for wanting to keep him: change the situation around - you have your number one keeper injured, your number two keeper still a couple of weeks away from full fitness and your number three keeper has played about 20 minutes of premier league football in his life, meaning you have a goalkeeper on an emergency loan for the last few games. it's not ideal is it?
however, you then have a brilliant, young keeper who has gone out on loan and gained the experience you wanted him to, and is now back at your team being, at the moment, the only good, fit keeper you have. tell me, just tell me you wouldn't say "no thank you, he is ours" to any team that even thought about having him on loan for a season. you just wouldn't, it wouldn't be sane to let him go (however we should note, i don't think the term 'sane' applies to manchester city: they played 24 million for joleon lescott..)
like i said before, city could sign some world class keeper in the summer and offload hart for another season to gain more experience before making him their number one. it could happen, but the way mancini is talking, that's not what he's looking for. given will be back soon after the start of the season, stuart taylor will be fit in the summer, meaning they will have given, hart and taylor all fighting for the number one spot. and on joe's showing this season, it won't be something he'll give up easily.
don't get me wrong, it's not that i don't want hart to come back - anyone that knows me knows how much i idolize the man, however i've come to terms with the fact that he won't be back at blues next season, and i'm now just appreciating what he's done for us. because he's done so much.
so, lets give him a brilliant send off on sunday, akin to the one we gave him at st. andrews a few days ago, and lets thank him for the time he's spent with us - and then lets move on to a new goalkeeper. but we can still keep in the back of our minds when we see joe hart play in the champions league, and when he's england's number one, that we helped to, effectively, make him. his time here will always be remembered by me, because i never thought i'd ever see him get to play for my team - and i'll never take the season he has spent with us for granted. thank you joe, and thank you manchester city.