Earlier this week I came across an excerpt from the BBC’s Standing Room Only, a programme looking at where football might be in 10 years’ time which was made in 1994, just two years after Sky invented the game.

It’s incredible to watch how many predictions in such a short clip have come to pass. Ranging from the prediction that in 10 years’ time “TV will run football completely”, through the suggestion that “fans will become incidental and will only become part of the equation if TV companies want them to provide a spectacular backdrop” the accuracy is remarkable.

The death of fanzines and growth of pay per view via clubs’ own channels are also foreseen, but for me the most telling comment of all in the clip is that “the new style of fan will see losing as a sign of failure and won’t want to turn up, hence the hard-core support that always carried a club through its leaner times will have gone, priced out to be replaced by glory hunters”.

When I was growing up you picked your team and that was it for life, but now so many followers of the Premier League seem to feel that it’s perfectly normal to switch teams if trophies aren’t forthcoming, particularly those who follow the game on TV from the comfort of their armchairs.

The Pink Un: TV companies have changed the face of footballTV companies have changed the face of football (Image: PA Wire/PA Images)

What’s more, the ability of the TV companies to control the game has extended beyond the upper tier as City fans have discovered with the game at Burnley moved to an 8pm Friday evening kick-off before being postponed because of the death of the Queen, and the Watford fixture being moved to the frankly ludicrous time of 7.45pm on a Saturday evening. Match-going fans have indeed become “incidental”.

Consequently, it was good to hear that the Football Supporters Association met with the new Sports Minister this week and were assured that a white paper based on the Fan Led Review is a government priority, although the apparent reluctance of the Premier League to address the key issues, with many of their contributions seemingly designed to hold off more substantial change, doesn’t augur well for fast progress.

Make no mistake, the Premier League will fight tooth and nail against reform because with domestic TV income of £2billion a year and overseas rights worth a similar figure over the next three years, they don’t want to share their honeypot with anyone, least of all clubs outside the Promised Land, nor do they want anyone but themselves marking their homework.

Time will tell where we end up, but make no mistake we are very much at a critical juncture in the history of our national game and sadly the future seems to be just as dystopian as it seemed to those programme makers 28 years ago.

At least we have a return to Championship action this weekend and the start of a period which is likely to define City’s season. With eight games crammed into just 29 days - five of which are away from home - Dean Smith’s men will be tested in a way that they haven’t been thus far this season, particularly with Isaac Hayden frustratingly still some way from fitness.

Trips to league leaders Sheffield United and Burnley as well as Watford, who will surely perform better under the experienced Slaven Bilic, are going to be real challenges, while Rotherham and Reading are both going well at present.

Throw in home games against the most miserly defence in the Championship in the form of Preston and the perennially abrasive Luton Town and City are clearly going to be pushed extremely hard.

However, all that is in the future and Smith will want to see his side hit the ground running at Bloomfield Road this afternoon in a game that is likely to set the tone for the rest of the month.