Manchester City have won seven of the last eight domestic honours available (including the Community Shield) and might make that eight out of nine next Sunday when they face Aston Villa at Wembley.
For all their silverware, however, they have lost their grip on the Premier League title, and are staring down the barrel of a two-year European ban.
It puts us in the peculiar situation where we have one of the most successful clubs in the history of English football plunged into a state of apathetic crisis, and according to The Telegraph
#CarabaoCup organisers face the potential ignominy of empty seats at the Wembley final next week because Manchester City have yet to sell out their most expensive tickets.— Bolarinwa Olajide (@iambolar) February 21, 2020
They note that City are struggling to sell out their allocation for the big day, with the club responding by loosening the requirement for tickets - you now simply have to have attended one game at the Etihad this season to be eligible to purchase three.
For Villa, it's a different picture. Villa fans, you see, have sold out their allocation, and are frustrated that there may well be empty seats in the City end while they can't themselves get along to support their team in one of the biggest games in their modern history.
So what can be done? Well, a smattering of hardened supporters, championed by the immortalised 'VillaWill84' have zeroed in on a loophole.
The fact that I was genuinely gonna do this saddens me— Andrew (@BastonSZN) February 19, 2020
By attending City's clash with West Ham on Wednesday, a routine 2-0 victory, they're hoping to take full advantage of the slackened restrictions to earn eligibility for the home end at Wembley - meaning they might not have to watch the game on TV after all.
It's an unconventional and probably very expensive way to go about it, but you've got to respect the grind.
But wait... there's more.
@ManCity fans! As my ticket is likely to be cancelled, I am asking the club if I can donate them to City Fans free of charge. PM me if interested I have 2 left 1x Adult and 1xU17 @talkSPORT maybe you can help?— VillaWill84 (@VillaWill84) February 21, 2020
What a guy.
City put six goals past Villa last time they played them - maybe he's doing himself a favour.