Manchester City sorry for Tevez's 'Fergie R.I.P.' banner

Story highlights

  • Manchester City apologize for "tasteless" banner held up by Carlos Tevez during parade
  • Banner read "RIP Fergie'"referred to Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson
  • City chairman says the club's policy of big signings will change after title win
  • However, Ferguson says City will continue to spend "stupid money"

It was Manchester City's big moment, a chance to show how far the "noisy neighbors" from the blue half of town have come from under the shadows of their big rivals -- but the day of wild celebrations ended with a humble apology to one of football's most iconic names.

When Carlos Tevez lifted a banner proclaiming "R.I.P. Fergie" during a victory parade marking a 44-year wait for an English league title, it brought into sharp focus comments by Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson back in 2009.

"Not in my lifetime," the Scot said when asked if his team would ever be underdogs against City.

United may not have been underdogs this season, but certainly had to play second fiddle as City won both league derby clashes and snatched the Premier League crown from Ferguson's team in the final minutes of the campaign, if only by the narrowest of margins.

Arabian dreams: Abu Dhabi celebrates title success

City officials, to their credit, moved quickly to say sorry.

"The creation of the tasteless material is in itself reprehensible and in accepting and brandishing it, Carlos has made a significant error of judgment," said a club spokeswoman.

"The club wishes to express its sincerest apologies to Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United Football Club for any offense or distress caused."

Fans celebrate Man City's sweet revenge
Fans celebrate Man City's sweet revenge


    Fans celebrate Man City's sweet revenge


Fans celebrate Man City's sweet revenge 00:47

Tevez, who has history with Ferguson after his acrimonious departure from Old Trafford to join City in 2009, was also contrite.

"I got carried away in the excitement of the moment and I certainly didn't mean any disrespect to Sir Alex Ferguson, who I admire as a man and a manager," said the Argentina international, who was given the banner by a supporter.

Did City win the title - or did United throw it away?

The incident took some of the gloss off an event that saw more than 100,000 people line the streets of Manchester to celebrate City's triumph.

However, chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak was at pains to emphasize that the club's first title since the Premier League began 20 years ago is only a small step in the plans of City's Abu Dhabi owners, especially in context of United's 12 championships in that period.

"Manchester United set the benchmark for success for every club," Khaldoon said in an interview with City's website.

"I have the highest respect for Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson. To get 89 points and not win the league is unbelievable.

"We are trying to accomplish just some of what Manchester United have been able to do in the past. We look at teams like United, Barcelona, Real Madrid, AC Milan and Bayern Munich and what they mean to their cities.

Abu Dhabi celebrates Man City win
Abu Dhabi celebrates Man City win


    Abu Dhabi celebrates Man City win


Abu Dhabi celebrates Man City win 02:38
Fans celebrate Manchester City's big win
Fans celebrate Manchester City's big win


    Fans celebrate Manchester City's big win


Fans celebrate Manchester City's big win 03:23

"This is one step in that direction but there is a long way to go yet."

City's success has come, in large part, due to a spending spree of hundreds of millions of dollars on star players such as Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure, Tevez, Samir Nasri, Mario Balotelli and David Silva, and there has been widespread speculation that Arsenal's Premier League-leading scorer Robin van Persie will be the next big-money buy.

But Khaldoon said the future emphasis would be on developing a new training and academy facility to nurture talent to comply with UEFA's new financial fair play rules.

"We have a championship-winning team. We are not starting from the same point as in other preseasons," Khaldoon said.

"We have had to improve in a very dramatic manner. Now we have a nucleus of players who have won the FA Cup and the Premier League. To improve further we have to harness that nucleus and to improve in a tactical way.

"You're not going to see any major changes. There will be improvements but it will be in a very manageable way.

"When you look at financial fair play, when you look at what the academy does for the community, how do we manage the evolution of this club over the next 10 years, it is fundamental to our growth strategy to have a continually successful program that produces young talent into the first team.

"Already today there are some wonderful young players in the academy and the reserve team, players who I think will be future superstars."

Khaldoon said this season's success will help further City's goal of becoming one of the world's biggest clubs.

"Today we are a global brand, that wasn't the case three years ago. We go to the United States, Malaysia, China, Argentina ... Manchester City has become an important club with a growing fan base," he said.

"If we are not there already, we are very close to being the most popular club in the Middle East. Asia is a huge market with a lot of potential and as Premier League champions that gives us a lot of benefits, the same with North and South America."

Manager Mancini and his squad paraded the trophy on an open-top bus tour of the northern city on Monday.

To continuous chants of "champione" there was a massive roar when the team first emerged on a raised stage in front of the historic town hall.

Mancini and captain Vincent Kompany received the biggest applause when they came out last, carrying the EPL trophy they had snatched from city rivals and defending champions Manchester United in the dramatic finale.

City beat QPR 3-2 Sunday with two goals in stoppage time from Edin Dzeko and Aguero to edge out United, 1-0 winners at Sunderland, on goal difference.

Belgian star Kompany told the gathered fans: "I want to say thank you, you guys have been amazing."

Mancini added: "I think that you should be proud of these players. They did everything for you. They wanted to win this championship for you."

For United fans, there was also some consolation late Monday when the club announced that veteran midfielder Paul Scholes would play on for another season.

The 37-year-old former England international midfielder came out of retirement midway through the campaign and starred for the former champions in several matches.

However, Ferguson was not complimentary to City's spending policy when he talked about his postseason plans, with both clubs having been linked to young Belgian star Eden Hazard -- who is expected to leave French club Lille.

"We know City are going to spend fortunes, pay stupid money and silly salaries. We know that happens. We can't do anything about that," Ferguson told United's television channel.

"We are not like other clubs who can spend fortunes on proven goods. We invest in players who will be with the club for a long time, who will create the character of the club and the excitement for our fans. We are good at that and we are going to continue that way."

Meanwhile, controversial QPR midfielder Joey Barton, who was sent off at the Etihad for elbowing Tevez in an off-the-ball incident, has been hit with two charges of violent conduct by the English Football Association.

Barton, who departed early in the second half to leave his team with 10 men, clashed with both Aguero and Kompany on his way off the pitch.

And while City celebrated their title success, Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish paid the price for a poor season which saw them narrowly avoid relegation.

Villa, among the founding members of the English football league, announced in a statement Monday that McLeish had been sacked after just under a year in charge.

The club's American owner Randy Lerner gave his reasons in a statement on their official website.

"We need to be clear and candid with ourselves and with supporters about what we have lacked in recent years.

"Compelling play and results that instil a sense of confidence that Villa is on the right track have been plainly absent."

Paul Lambert, manager of Norwich City who beat Villa 2-0 on the last day of the season, is the early favorite to succeed fellow Scot McLeish.