Infrastructure and sustainability are unfortunately not sexy concepts in the modern game. No one wins the admiration of supporters for a robust financial model or positive long-term projections; trophies are not handed out for particularly holistic training grounds. Just ask Arsene Wenger.
Instead, the world of football is one in which short-term gambles, with ruinous long-term impacts, are often pursued to the detriment of clubs. Early Doors was reminded as much when we saw goldfish aficionado Peter Ridsdale all over its TV screens again on Monday.
His continual employment is probably proof enough that football's approach to finance is somewhat quirky, but this is not an affliction limited to his Leeds United, who infamously tried to 'live the dream' before falling flat on their faces. Portsmouth's recent plight, all for the benefit of winning the FA Cup with a crop of players on highly inflated and completely unsustainable wages, is another salutary warning.
Takeovers by mystery foreign investors naturally invite scepticism in this regard, especially given the laxity of regulation from the game's governing body. After all, ED suspects Colonel Gaddafi would probably struggle to fail the fit and proper person test.
The recent televised entrapment of Bryan Robson in 'Dispatches: How to Buy a Football Club' demonstrated that for a significant proportion of overseas investors, the aim to is turn a profit and quickly sell on, with little or no regard to the long-term health of the club involved.
In this somewhat depressing context, ED was cheered on Monday by the unveiling of Manchester City's grandiose plans for their new 80-acre Etihad Campus. After years of research and weeks of consultation, City's planning application for their expansive new site, designed to help develop the next generation of Premier League and Champions League stars, was submitted on Monday.
Though City, with the FA Cup stashed in their trophy cabinet and Champions League football to enjoy, are pretty much the epitome of accelerated spending providing short-term gain, it is this commitment to the long-term viability of the club that sets Sheikh Mansour aside from many of his contemporaries.
The development of the Etihad Campus is advisable given the introduction of the financial fair play regulations, which do not prohibit spending on infrastructure but will seek to curtail transfer spending, but this is still an ambitious, impressive project.
Of course, it would not be possible without the vast wealth of the owner, but he is under no compulsion to take this approach to long-term youth development.
Football administrator Brian Marwood, recently deprived of his best pal 'G', explains of the site that is expected to include 15 full-size pitches and on-site accommodation for 40 young players, as well as providing space for around 400 to train:
"It is part of our 10-year strategy for long-term, sustainable success. Everyone has seen we have accelerated the recruitment process in terms of where the first team is now, which is three years into the owner's tenure of this football club. We are fully aware of the commitment that we face but, equally, we talk about sustainability and that [paying large transfer fees] can't be sustained, so we have to develop within.
"That is something that is paramount to the future of the club. Financial fair play gets talked about every week now, and everyone is looking to Manchester City to see whether we are going to conform to that. This is an element that will help us achieve the criteria people are looking at."
Garry Cook and his overactive iPad may be but a memory (at least until he secures his induction into the Manchester Unit... Manchester City hall of fame) but the club still possesses his bullish ambition.
In unveiling their fantastic new plans, City had no hesitation that the model to follow was La Masia and Barcelona themselves. It is quite a target to aspire to.
"They are the benchmark for developing young talent," Marwood told The Guardian. "You talk about the DNA, the philosophy and the culture, and it is there at every level in terms of how they play.
"Our Under-19s played against them last week. You could close your eyes and see a young Iniesta or a young Xavi and that is something on which we need to work very hard here. What the coaching team has tried to do is develop a philosophy but also a consistency in terms of the way we play at every level right up to the first team.
"In the last Champions League final Barcelona had eight players that were home-grown, which is an incredible statistic. They have their youth stadium adjacent to the Camp Nou, and they also have their training complex close by as well. It gives players that aspiration and inspiration to go from the academy all the way through.
"We have a proud history of bringing through players from our academy and that is something we want to enhance. What we have tried to do at every level is make it better, and develop it in a different way. We are trying to bring through young players that can play in the Champions League. That is what we are aiming for."
It is easy to be cynical about a club like City, especially when Cook was in residence. The embarrassing pursuit of Kaka and publicly putting United in their sights lead to easy ridicule, but it should not be forgotten that he played an important role in pushing through the plans that were unveiled on Monday.
Though ambition can be a dirty word at times, it is clear that City possess it in bucketloads. The fact that it also extends to the unsexy elements of football, as well as signing the likes of Sergio Aguero, should be applauded.
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QUOTE OF THE DAY: "A lack of concentration, a lack of communication, a lack of co-ordination and individual urgency." - Arsene Wenger finally admits that his defence has serious flaws. The Arsenal manager went on to add following a 4-3 defeat to Blackburn on Saturday: "When you score an own goal, you have to look at yourself. It is never completely out of your reach where you have no chance at all. Our season depends now on how well we respond to this disappointment and how quickly we can cut out the mistakes we made on Saturday by giving away goals that we should never give away. The Blackburn game was very disappointing and frustrating."
FOREIGN VIEW: Worrying news reaches us from Germany where Bayern Munich defender Breno has been treated for smoke inhalation after his house was almost completely destroyed in a fire. The villa in Munich's Gruenwald district was razed to the ground but Breno, 21, was alone at the time and was otherwise unhurt. Our German friends have some scary shots of the house in the aftermath of the blaze.
COMING UP: The Carling Cup third round gets underway tonight and we have live coverage of the games between Leeds United and Manchester United, Stoke City and Tottenham Hotspur, and Arsenal and Shrewsbury Town. On the continent, we feature Osasuna v Sevilla, Villarreal v Mallorca and Novara v Inter.
We also have our Hot or Not selection of the best moments of the Premier League this week, while our Whistle Blower feature addresses a contentious moment from the weekend and makes it nice and crystal clear for those of us who don't possess a referee qualification.