If the manner of Stephen Ireland's departure - aligned to his popularity from his time at the club - helped illicit a great deal of sympathy, then his comments in this interview over the weekend did plenty to smash that goodwill. And then some.
"I don't think loyalty is much in anyone's mind at Manchester City, I felt like I would be next (to leave). A lot of players felt like that as well - the homegrown guys."
There is no doubt that as a statement this is true. Loyalty in modern day football is almost a laughable notion, but it does work both ways and both clubs and players are equally culpable of this. One thing that the increased amount of money in the game (and in particular the Premier League) has done is create a more transient feel to the make up squads.
It is extremely rare that squads are built and developed as both players and managers operate within far shorter parameters. A look at the top five in career appearances for the club suggest that this list is unlikely to be threatened. This does not diminish the attachment that players and fans feel, or lessen the effect that a trophy win or Champions League qualification will have.
Ireland was also critical of Mancini's managerial style:
"He doesn't really build relationships with players. He brought Patrick Viera in and when I spoke to him about his relationship (with Mancini), he said he doesn't really have one, and he's worked for him for years. I think that's the way he is."
This, although aimed as a criticism, isn't (for me) necessarily one. Ireland may have thrived under a more 'hands on' approach under Sven-Goran Eriksson or Mark Hughes (although it is worth noting he was previously critical of the latter stages of Hughes's reign), but is Mancini's approach wrong? It may be fundamentally less 'British', but perhaps a more continental approach is needed. As Jack suggests, some of the players that were thought to be 'Hughes players' have flourished under Mancini and this may well indicate a lack of flexibility on Ireland's part rather than a flaw in Mancini's managerial style.
It is the comments Ireland aimed at the youngsters at the club (think a second rate Roy Keane diatribe) that have raised eyebrows more than anything else in the interview:
"Even the young lads (at Villa) are so polite. I'm actually quite shocked with that. At City they're not like that. They're coming in with £10,000 watches on their wrists and walking around as if they have played 200 Premier League games."
Many have pointed to Ireland's history of indiscretions and 'questionable taste' and it is a shame that comments that may have had a valid point to in terms of a critique of desire or hunger of some of the Academy players have been trivialised to the realms of 'bling'.
Much have been made of the comments, and reaction to his debut for Aston Villa has only served to heighten the criticism of him yet it should be remembered that the interview was conducted when transfer had been barely completed; emotions would have been raw and no doubt he would have been hurting from what was in truth a very public rejection of him by the club I have no doubt he saw himself spending his career at.