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Girona’s relegation poses a problem. Will Man City still care about Pep Guardiola’s brother and his club?

An hour after Girona’s final game at Estadi Montilivi, the kit man was still going back and forth from the dressing room to a van parked outside the ground, making his many trips in silence, lugging bag after bag and stopping just once to embrace the security guard, a look of sadness on their faces. Neither of them said anything; they didn’t need to. Watching him go and looking at the overall scene, it was hard not to see it as a case of packing away the first division. Defeated by Levante, it was just about over: They were on their way back to the second division.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

By that point, the last player had gone, sobbing as he went. Captain Alex Grannel had been in tears too, apologising for what had happened. And what had happened, the club’s sporting director Quique Carcel later said, was a “total failure.” In the news conference, coach Eusebio Sacristan struggled to talk. “I failed everyone,” he said, his voice cracking. After a few questions, the press officer asked: “OK?” In the small room, the journalists mumbled OK — no one had the heart to keep him there any longer. It was dark outside, and there was nothing much he could say.

At the full-time whistle, Girona’s owner Pere Guardiola, brother of Pep — yes, that Pep — had gotten up from his seat in the main stand and made his way downstairs, defeated. His second season — and the mighty City Football Group’s second as part-owners and investors, the club just one of many connected to Manchester City through that holding company — had ended in relegation. Girona had one more game to play, but it was over. No one was clinging to a potential miracle, and ultimately, it never came. A few days after the season ended, Eusebio resigned, his reputation damaged. He walked away, demanding nothing. He was a good person, everyone agreed, but maybe not a good manager — at least not for this team. He could have been sacked sooner: Girona should never have been in trouble but won just one of their last 10 games.5

This was only Girona’s second-ever season in the Primera Division: Three times previously, they had been on the cusp of coming up, but it didn’t actually happen until 2018. Now, in 2019, they were on their way back down. On one level at least, that was entirely normal. Leaving the stadium that night, you looked at the temporary standing at one end and wondered if it might be taken down soon. Girona had doubled the number of season-ticket holders, but could that be sustained in The Segunda? This is not a big football city. Or, at least it wasn’t. They had hoped to change that; now, maybe, they will see if they actually did.nfl nike jersey cheap

In a news conference a few days later, Carcel said that relegation had always been a possibility, and everyone knew it. He compared the situation that Girona found themselves in to where they’d been five years earlier, which on the surface, at least, was true but didn’t make it easier to take in that moment. Some didn’t entirely agree with that mindset; they also had doubts about where this would go now. “What did you want, everything to be flowers and violets?” Carcel said. “We have to be humble enough that this could happen to a club with the budget and history of Girona.”

Sure, but not to a club with a budget and a history of Manchester City.

That was the doubt lingering in some of the criticism and the fears: doubts that focused on their past, their present and particularly their future. Would Man City still care now? Had they cared enough before? What had Girona gained? Would they now lose all that? What had City gained? What, in fact, did City really want from their ownership of Girona anyway?