Newsletter #939

The long awaited games start this weekend as we entertain Barcelona at COMS/Eastlands/The Citadel/Stadium with no name (delete as appropriate).

Tonight we have Don’s news summary with details of our new sponsorship deal, the Goat turning to pastures new in Berkshire, performances of our new guys and a possible new arrival in Macca. Jury still out on that one.

We’ve match reports on our successful friendlies in Lancashire at Oldham (0-6) and Rochdale (0-4) thanks to Joe, Gary and Scott.

Plenty of opinion on the continuing saga of the ticketing situation, website, and price fixing.

Next game: MCFC vs. Barcelona, 3pm Sunday 10 August (friendly)


General News

New Sponsor in Place: City have announced a new sponsorship deal with travel firm Thomas Cook. For 2003-2004, the Thomas Cook brand will be seen all over the COMS, as well as the training ground at Carrington and on numerous club products. In 2004-2005 season, Thomas Cook will be the sponsor for the home and away shirts. Other tie-ins include special travel deals for City fans and summer camps for Junior Blues. “I am delighted at the prospect of Manchester City Football Club working in such close partnership with Thomas Cook,” said Managing Director, Alistair Mackintosh. “The opportunity to become the Club’s main sponsor generated a terrific response, however we only spoke to brands which were synonymous with quality and progression. It quickly became clear that Thomas Cook were the ideal choice, particularly because of their specific desire to work in partnership with the Club in offering relevant and exciting product opportunities exclusively to our supporters.”

True Romance? This may be a piece of Pulp Fiction, but my London media sources (a.k.a. my brother Neil) tell me an interesting tale concerning Quentin Tarantino’s latest project. The word from Dusk till Dawn in London Village is that Quentin’s new film is about an MLS star coming to the UK to play ‘soccer’ in the Premiership. Quent is supposedly after a club with a tradition and a big fan base. The leading candidates are Newcastle United and our own dear MCFC, apparently. Neil cannot confirm another rumour that Tarantino is also planning a remake of Reservoir Dogs, with KK as Mr Grey (have you seen his snow white quiff recently?), Peter Schmeichel as Mr Blond and Robbie Fowler as Mr Blobby.

International Blues: The first international call up of the season goes to Danny Tiatto, who has been named in Australia’s squad for the forthcoming friendly with the Republic of Ireland. The thirty-year-old has been named in an extended Australia squad for the match on Tuesday August 19th. The match brings up the possibility if Tiatto coming up against City team mate Richard Dunne. Now boys, no injuring each other, OK?

Transfer News and Gossip

He’s Gone: Shaun Goater is no longer a City player. On Friday Reading finally clinched the £500,000 signing of the Goat. He signed a three-year contract after passing a medical and a Reading spokesman said: “A signing of a player of this calibre signals our intentions.” Reading boss Pardew said: “We need players of quality to take us to the next level.” There were clearly mixed feelings in the Goater camp about the move to Berkshire. “It is a sad day in one way, but a happy one in another,” said the striker’s agent, Mark Georgevic. “Reading are an ambitious club and they sold themselves well. Shaun was hugely impressed.” It’s reported that Reading pushed the deal through once Wigan’s late interest in the 33-year-old became clear. “Reading made their ambitions clear to me and that is important. I have not left City for an easy life. I am someone who thrives on challenges and the one in front of me is to score the goals that help Reading into the Premiership,” said Goater. “Of course City and their fans will always be in my heart, they know that I don’t need to tell them. A whole new chapter is opening for me. If I had to single out one reason why I joined Reading it would be because the manager told me he could improve my game,” said Goater. “I know what it takes to get out of the First Division and I have played 36 times for my country but I always look to the future and Alan Pardew convinced me that I can still learn. Although my family was happily settled in Manchester we now plan to move down to Reading, even though I don’t know that much about the area.” KK meanwhile has invited the Goat to the Barcelona game, so that he can say farewell to the fans. “I have invited Shaun Goater back for the match on Sunday,” he explained. “He can’t play for us obviously as he is a Reading player. But he can say goodbye again and I think the fans would like that. He came down to training on Tuesday and I talked to him then. I told him that we would love to see him, to walk on the pitch and say a real final goodbye. I am hoping that is going to happen, but that obviously depends if he is training with Reading or not and what Alan Pardew decides, as he is their player now.” The Barça game also sees Ali Benarbia making his final appearance in a City shirt before heading for his new club in Qatar.

Sibierski Signs (Possibly): KK moved swiftly to fill the gap left by Ali, when he signed Lens midfielder Antoine Sibierski. The transfer was not straightforward however, and made Robbie Fowler’s move from Leeds in January seem almost clear cut in comparison. After last week’s speculation of a move for the Frenchman, KK surprised everyone by announcing on Friday that a deal was done, for a fee of £700,000. “Antoine has passed his medical and the terms are done,” KK announced. “We haven’t been able to register him before Monday with the French FA offices being closed at the weekend. I am hoping to get him registered so that he can come with us to Rochdale on Monday night. He was captain of Lens, you don’t get captain of the club without having some leadership qualities and having the respect of everyone. He is a little bit like Paul Bosvelt in that respect,” he added. The surprise move apparently was news to Lens as well, who claimed that the deal had not gone through. “Contrary to what you might think by reading the Manchester City website, no agreement has yet been reached between Racing and the English club concerning a transfer of Antoine Sibierski,” said a Lens statement. “Sibierski was present, from the very start of the morning (Sunday), in the Gaillette offices.” Confusion reigned therefore on Monday, until City confirmed Sibierski’s capture (again!) on Monday afternoon. KK had decided against the new boy playing against Rochdale: “It would have been unprofessional to let him play, having just jogged around with us in the warm-up,” Keegan told BBC GMR. “We will have a look at Barcelona and see how his training and fitness are this week. He was desperately keen to come to England and play in the Premiership and he has now got his wish. The rest is up to him.” Later in the week KK revealed how Ali B’s departure had hastened the purchase of Sibierski, who had been pencilled in to join the Blues in summer 2004. “The minute Ali said that he was going we picked this up much quicker than we had intended to,” said the City boss. “We had been looking to do the deal for next season when Ali finished so we just fetched it forward. Antoine was in his final year of his contract and would have been a Bosman so within the rules we could have tied him up in January. This way we have paid around £750,000 for him but it is worth it. He is another quality player coming to the club.”

One More Signing? KK has said that he’d like to make one more signing before the sales end, leading the press to speculate that Steve McManaman might be the man. Pondering on his summer captures, KK mused: “David Seaman’s signing is the biggest one we have made. Replacing Peter Schmeichel was always going to be difficult. There was only one man and we got him. A lot has gone on in the close season but I think we have taken the club forward. I would like to think there is one more but my chairman might have different views on that. He has been very supportive as have the board. If we can get one or two players out, I would like to bring one more in.” When asked specifically about Robbie Fowler’s best mate, KK replied that “His quality is proven and he knows the Premiership. He has been with two great clubs, so his pedigree is all there. We have talked about him, we have talked about a lot of players but I am sure if you talk to David Moyes at Everton he will tell you Steve is the sort of player you must be interested in if he becomes available.” Anyone who’s seen TV coverage of Real Madrid’s Asian tour will notice that McManaman seems to be employed as a minder for Becks – he’s never more than a step or two behind Goldenballs. Whether Real can spare McManaman from his translation/bodyguard/wet nurse duties remains to be seen.

File Under “Miscellaneous”… The Wolverhampton Express & Star reports that Wolves manager David Jones has resumed his chase of Lucien Mettomo. Jones has already made one enquiry about the 26-year-old centre half, and is willing to pay up to £1 million for Metto. Ajax full back Hatem Trabelsi will not be joining City, according to reports from Holland. As Henk Timmer puts it in his email, “He wants to be remembered as a big player from a big club who’s won big prizes.” For some reason, Trabelsi thinks that he’ll achieve this with a move to the Swamp! More fool him, say I… The Oldham Chronicle writes that the Latics want to bolster their squads by taking defender Stephen Jordan and forward Chris Shuker on loan from the Blues. Sadly for Oldham, Shuker joined Rochdale on a month’s loan today (Thursday).

Ex-Blues’ News

Pompey Still Dinky for Kinky: Perhaps the M.E.N. was a tad premature when announcing last week that Gio Kinkladze would walk over broken glass to return to City. According to this week’s news, Kinky is still training hard with Portsmouth, and got a run out in a friendly versus Brentford. Pompey boss Harry Redknapp said: “Giorgi has been training with us and he’s still a good footballer. He knows Jim Smith of course and we could do something, it wouldn’t be a problem. But I don’t know yet. He’s looking for a job and he has nothing else – so let’s see. He is a talent there is no doubt about that. I’ll have a chat with him and see what he’s looking for.”

Jeff Signs: Sunderland have finally signed ex-City midfielder Jeff Whitley. Released by the Blues in March, Whitley trained with the Black Cats soon after, impressing boss Mick McCarthy in a number of reserve outings. The club’s parlous financial state has eased in recent weeks, so permitting McCarthy to offer the Northern Ireland international a year’s contract. “Jeff is a good player who I’m sure will do well for us,” said McCarthy. “I’ve made no secret of my desire to sign him and I’m glad it’s all gone through.”

Cooke Captured by Owls: Terry Cooke is back in the league where he played best for City – namely Division Two. As reported last week, Sheffield Wednesday boss Chris Turner expects to tie up the signing of the winger Cooke this week. Cooke, 27, has been on trial with Wednesday and will complete his move subject to a medical. Turner told BBC Radio Sheffield: “Terry will have a medical on Thursday and should be a Sheffield Wednesday player soon.” He had been on trial at Bury after being let go by Grimsby at the end of last season.

Reactions and Comments

Win Double in Lancs: City enjoyed two warm up games in Lancashire this week. The Blues played Oldham on Saturday, then two days later visited Spotland to take on Rochdale. The aggregate score of the two games was 10-0. Six goals were put past Oldham. Nicolas Anelka opened the scoring on 23 minutes and then in the 10 minutes before half time goals from Trevor Sinclair, Robbie Fowler, Anelka again and Shaun Wright-Phillips put City 5-0 up at the break. Paulo Wanchope completed the scoring just after the hour. Most of the match reports commented on the rough ride given by City fans to Eyal Berkovic, whose every touch was greeted with derision. Not surprisingly his manger did not exactly spring to the Israeli’s defence. KK said: “I hope that Eyal can win back the supporters and I think he quietened them a bit towards the end of the game on Saturday. I have told him that I won’t let him leave Manchester City unless we get the right offer for him. And the only way that he can get the fans back on his side is by showing his ability out on the pitch.”
FIRST HALF v. OLDHAM; Seaman, Sun, Sommeil, Distin, Tarnat, Wright-Phillips, Bosvelt, Barton, Sinclair, Fowler, Anelka.
SECOND HALF; Nash, Dunne, Wiekens, Mettomo, Ritchie, Negouai, Berkovic Horlock, Tiatto, Wanchope, Macken.
City then eased to a 4-0 win over Rochdale. Shaun Wright-Phillips, Nicolas Anelka, Kevin Horlock and Chris Shuker were on target for the Keegan boys. “The Rochdale game was a good work-out for the lads, but with all due respect, I think we now need to step it up and the Barcelona game will give us the chance to do that,” said the City boss after the game. “By that stage, we should have Paulo Wanchope and Darren Huckerby fit after injuries, so the signs are looking good. The two of them may even be fit to take part in a probables vs. possibles game we are having on Wednesday. The trial game is very important; we play it every year,” stressed the manager. “After the game last night I asked Paul Bosvelt how he enjoyed it. He said he did but that he expected things to get tougher and I told him that it probably would do so tomorrow. Without being disrespectful to Oldham or Rochdale, the game between ourselves, with the quality of players we have in the squad now, will be as good a game as we have had apart from Feyenoord. Hopefully we will then be ready for Barcelona and that will be a big test.”
TEAM vs. ROCHDALE: Seaman (Nash 72), Sun, Sommeil (Wiekens 46), Distin (Mettomo 62), Tarnat (Ritchie 62), Wright-Phillips, Barton (Negouai 62), Bosvelt (Berkovic 62), Tiatto (Horlock 46), Anelka (Macken 46), Fowler (Shuker 62).

Squad News

Excited by the Challenge: Paul Bosvelt is settling down nicely at his new club. “The Premiership is so much stronger and competitive than the Dutch League and that is one of the aspects which attracted me to coming here,” explained the Dutch midfielder. “I want to see if I can achieve the same results in the Premiership that I did in Holland and I am very much excited by the challenge. I was in a good position at Feyenoord but when the possibility of a move came up I was very happy that City were interested and delighted that it has happened. I knew I had to leave Feyenoord so City came in at just the right moment. I have put a line underneath my career at Feyenoord and am looking forward to the challenge.” However well Bosvelt adjusts to life in the Premiership, he’ll have to sit out the first two games through suspension. “Paul is carrying the suspension from last season when he was at Feyenoord,” KK said. “There is nothing we can do about it, as the suspensions stand between countries.” Bosvelt will, however, be eligible to play against TNS in the UEFA Cup on August 14.

Sun Shines at Right Back: Who needs Michael Reiziger when we’ve got Sun Jihai? While many fans may be concerned over the lack of a new right back, KK, in public at least, is pleased with what he’s got at the club. He’s also said who will play in that position in the first match at Charlton. “There is nothing written in stone but Jihai is definitely in pole position at the moment in the right-back slot,” said the manager. “He has improved each game and done nothing wrong. Having said that, the players on the fringe of things are all very close and there is still a chance for one or two of them to change my mind before the season starts. I have been very happy with most of the players.” KK’s decision has probably been made easier by the injury sustained by Richard Dunne on Monday evening at Rochdale. The Irishman twisted his ankle in the warm-up and was unable to play any part in the game.

Left Side Sorted: Kevin Keegan likes the look of the partnership developing on the left wing between Michael Tarnat and Trevor Sinclair. He said: “They are starting to build up a relationship and they will get better as they play more together. Michael is a quality player and if he gives the ball away then you are quite surprised. Trevor prefers the left side, which is good as he can come in on his right foot and yet he can obviously get to the dead ball line. He has got two very good feet, but he prefers the left to the right and he enjoys playing with Michael Tarnat.” Sinclair has been talking about his decision to leave West Ham and join the Blues. He had been prepared to help the Hammers bounce back to the Premiership, but the financial concerns of his old club meant that TS had to move on. “I had a duty, an obligation to give West Ham at least a year to get back into the top flight,” said Sinclair. “The managing director called me and my agent in once we were down and I told them ‘if you want me to stay, I’ll fight to get us back into the top flight at the first attempt’. I was aware that to have any chance of getting into the England squad this year I had to be playing Premiership football but I was still up for getting West Ham back but they told me that financial concerns had forced their hand.” He accepts that his prospects of playing for his country again will be enhanced by good performances in the top flight. “I see my move as definitely improving my England chances,” said the midfielder who has eleven international caps to his name. “I am sure that Sven wants all his players who he might be selecting to be playing in the top flight. Now I will be doing that with Manchester City, but it is up to me. I am sure that if I put in performances which are good enough then I will be in the reckoning.” He hopes that he can help City climb up the table next season. “I would like to think that we could finish higher than ninth spot. It is going to be tough as a lot of the teams have made improvements. It would be a shame if we didn’t as we have the new stadium and the support has always been here. The gaffer has brought in good quality players to strengthen the squad so there is no reason why we shouldn’t.” Sinclair is excited at the prospect of facing Barcelona in the new stadium this weekend. “It is the first time all of us will have played in the new stadium in front of the fans so it will be a big occasion for us,” he said. “It will be very special against a glamorous club like Barcelona and it will be a tough test. We want to get out onto the pitch and get our fitness working. It will be provide an important build up to the Charlton game. We won’t go into the game thinking it is an exhibition match. We have to put in a good performance and get off to a winning start.”

Willing Wanchope: The Boss Man is pleased at the early form shown by Paulo Wanchope. The Costa Rican is still easing his way back after a series of debilitating injuries, but his goals against Feyenoord and Lincoln have must have put him in contention for a first team place. “The goals have been important for Paulo’s confidence. He has worked very, very hard to get himself back fit,” said the manager. “I really only wanted to give him half an hour again at Lincoln because he has missed an awful lot of games, but when he comes on he causes defences problems and you can see he is keen and wants to stake a claim. That’s what I want. Jon Macken has done well, too. In a sense it is like having two new players. I am delighted with their attitude. They really want to be part of it. They show that in training and now they have got the chance, they are showing it in games too now they are fit enough to do so.”

Go For It Shaunie! Shaun Wright Phillips has earned some honourable mentions in the pre-season games, and KK feels that he must now claim a place on the right side of midfield. “Wrighty has been in great form and doing plenty of work and that is because he wants to stay in the side. We have plenty of competition for places this season and no-one can afford to let their standards slip,” the manager said. “I am being a bit cruel talking about it but at times Shaun needs to pick out the final pass a bit better but he is a quality player. He is terrific. There has always got to be a place somewhere in there for him but it could be in two or three different positions. He can play virtually everywhere and you know he is going to give you everything and a little bit more.”

Don Barrie (


On a day when we sweltered in temperatures higher than Barbados, our beloved Blues (tonight in red and black) played a ‘friendly’ friendly 14 miles up the road in Rochdale. All proceeds from the game were given to Rochdale. A similar deal was done at the same time last year and it must have worked because ‘Dale are one of the very few lower division clubs not in financial difficulty. My friend at the match, a diehard ‘Dale fan, was delighted to hear of Oldham’s plight and was commenting to all and sundry that ‘Dale might put an offer in for Oldham and have them as ‘Dale’s feeder team!

I was a guest at this game of the ‘Dale sponsors, Keytech, and as such had a seat in their box. I must admit, on this particular night I would have loved to have been sat outside to get even the slightest breeze to cool the sultry air. The corporate box was one of the totally closed in type, without aircon, and as such was like sitting in a sauna! I think I lost more weight than any of the players on the night. The attendance was given as 5,500 although looked nearer to 7,500!

The game itself was played at a fair pace throughout and City dominated, of course, for long periods. The only action for Seaman in the first half was to stop a blistering drive straight at him from 20 yards, which he parried for a corner. This apart, the half was all City and SWP scored with a delightful chip over the ‘keeper from 8 yards from a superbly weighted through ball from Bosvelt, followed by an Elk special from the left hand angle of the box, again from a Bosvelt ball, which clipped the far post before rebounding into the net. Solid performances by all, although the defence was hardly troubled. Fowler looked fitter and sharper without really impressing too much. Bosvelt looked comfortable on the ball and the left side certainly looks the goods.

Second half started with only 3 changes but the pattern remained familiar. Horlock scored with a nice drive into the bottom corner. Seaman went off to a stadium-wide ovation and Shuker scored the final goal, which he deserved for his busy little cameo display. Sibierski was on the bench, didn’t dress to play and I didn’t see the ‘Chop at all. All in all a fine work out on a fine evening.

Opening line-up: Seaman, Sun, Sommeil, Distin, Tarnat, SWP, Bosvelt, Barton, Tiatto, Fowler, Anelka.

Second half opening line-up: Horlock (Riatto) started along with Macken (for the Elk) and Wiekens (Sommeil) and during the half Negouai, Nash, Mettomo, Richie, Shuker and Berkovic all made appearances. ‘Dale played their part without threatening much, their main tactic being the over the top ball, which the defence dealt with comfortably enough.

Joe Ramsbottom (


For those of you unable to attend the game on Monday, here is a quick overview of the game and my opinion on the players’ contributions.

Having missed the rout of Oldham on Saturday due to work, we decided to make the trip to Rochdale on Monday to see how the players were progressing. We were blessed with a beautiful summer evening and none of the chaos that we encountered last year when attending the friendly here. This, I think, was mainly due to the signings this year compared to last. Last year people were desperate to see Anelka, Distin and Schmeichel and caused large queues and a delayed K.O. at “Dale”. This year we managed to visit the chippy opposite the away stand (fish and chips recommended) and take our seats with no problems. Maybe everyone is saving for our European adventure?

Anyway, the game was a typical friendly, no-one getting too aggressive, but the game was played at a reasonable pace so not as dull as some of these games can be.

The Players

Seaman – Nothing much to do. Made one save in the first half from a long range effort and punched it away for a corner. Got an impressive reception from the ‘Dale fans when he came out for the second half and lots of “Ooooooooo’s” every time the ball went near him (expecting him to mess up?). He doesn’t fill me with confidence, but I’ll wait and see how he does when we get to the real thing.

Sun – Solid, but it was ‘Dale after all. Passing was good and linked well with SWeeP. Not sure if he’s a good enough right back for the Premiership but again we’ll see when the real action starts. He was always looking for the ball and played the entire game (due to Dunnie Monster’s ankle injury picked up in the warm up and Bischoff also being out). I like him as a player but still question marks about him as a orthodox right back.

Tarnat – Very good marking, positioning and passing, looked like a class player and I’m sure he will prove to be a valuable addition to the team. Appearance wise he looks like Tore Andre Flo (though the wife reckons it’s more Gareth Taylor), fortunately he plays like neither of these.

Sommeil – The man’s a monster! Strong, quick and a massive presence at the back. Will form a top notch partnership with Distin in a flat back 4 this season. Didn’t have a lot to do but did everything with the ease you’d hope for at this level. Could be a dark horse for player of the year this season IMHO.

Distin – Not a lot to do but coped well, assured on the ball, got forward a few times (Joey Barton covered in at centre back!). Will be a star again this year. Go Sylv.

Boz – Very quiet start but got more into it as the game progressed. Some good passing and one or two crunching tackles, will get better as he gets fitter and gets used to the squad. Set up the first 2 goals I think. Linked well with Barton.

Barton – MOM, covered every blade etc., good passing always available, absolute star. Told the players around him what they should be doing (including Robbie, Boz and the Elk). Future captain, hope he carries on like he’s started. Absolute breath of fresh air to the club!

SWeeP – Started quietly for first 10 but got better and better, was everywhere, glorious goal, up there with Joey, class again. Should be a big season for young Shaun. Expect Chelski to be in for him at Xmas and Shaun to tell them where they can stick it!

Tiatto – not Danny’s best game, tried hard and put in a couple of good crosses (and a few shockers), needs games under his belt. Reckon he’ll be a bench warmer behind Sinclair and Barton but useful as he can cover left back, left midfield and centre midfield.

Anelka – looks on fire, pure class, nothing else to say, Our “maine” man this season. Even shared a few on field jokes with Barton and Distin (I think it was Distin). Spent a lot of time smiling (for him), we’ll have to change his nickname to Le Grin if he’s not careful. Seems settled.

Fowler – I’ve read numerous comments reporting how Robbie looked much more impressive against Oldham and Rochdale. Unfortunately I can’t agree. As far as I could see he was dreadfully slow and uninspiring. He had a few good touches in the 2nd half but very disappointing overall. Macken made much more impact but I’d rather see 1Chop up front. Robbie still looks overweight but more worryingly he doesn’t look happy or interested. Before I get a load of abuse about giving him a chance, I am more than willing to give him a chance and hope he proves me wrong, but if he carries on like this KK must have the bottle to drop him.


Nash – nothing to do (as far as I can remember).

Wiekens – OK, too slow now, holds the opposition players a lot and was getting pulled up by the ref for it all the time. It’s a pity but he won’t get many more games for City.

Ritchie – was impressed, looked accomplished and comfortable on the ball, then again it was only Rochdale so hard to judge. May have worked his way back in as cover at left back but may struggle at Premiership level. Maybe KK is just trying to put him in the shop window.

Mettomo – man mountain, I like Lucy and think he should be pushing for the first team. Don’t know if he’s in KK’s plans. Big, strong, powerful, looked comfortable. Didn’t do anything wrong.

Horlicks – Kev was Kev and scored a lovely goal with his right foot (I think from where I was sat). Good squad player for the defensive, holding, midfielder.

Negouai (how do you pronounce this?) – did OK, not as sharp as he looked against Feyonoord, could grow into the holding rôle if he carries on working.

Shuker – loads of energy, just seems too small, good goal and some nice touches, tried hard, will be gone by the end of the season.

Berko – booed then cheered by the crowd, got a song, showed some nice touches, we need him, get it sorted Eyal, we know you want to stay, time to eat that humble pie!

Macken – Ran a lot, held the ball, worked hard, missed a one-on-one. Looked a better bet than Robbie but again hard to tell at this level.

So that’s it. It’s always hard to judge in friendlies, let’s wait till we’ve played Arsenal and see how we feel after that.

C’mon City!

Gary King (


Some more thoughts from the North Manchester perspective.

Paulo – terrific to see him back in action, personally I would start him with the Elk once fully recovered.

SWeeP – I agree with Joe O’Brien he is great. He is always available for a pass, plays simple and fancy football, has great balance and technique. His finish at Rochdale was spot on and he was very impressive against Oldham. Give him a free-ish rôle and he could well be the answer.

Bosvelt – can’t wait to see him in a derby match, you would not want to go into a challenge with this bloke. Not because he is a dirty player, he is just absolutely solid. I think he will win the ball for us in midfield (especially as the pitch is smaller and according to KK easier to get the ball back!).

Eyal – shame on the boo boys. He was at times our best player last year. If someone wants to leave a place of work they are entitled to hand in their notice and go elsewhere. I hope he does have a change of heart and stay; if not good luck Eyal you were great!

Fowler – went to both the Oldham and Rochdale games. He was the only dark cloud on a sunny afternoon and evening. I can not think of one positive think to say about him so I’ll leave it there. Time will tell.

Macken – clearly looks frustrated at not finding his touch but I think he is starting to look better and could well get in the side, definitely on the bench.

Oldham – considering we made over £100,000 for them you would think their supporters would have been more grateful. Oh no! The ones near us were total whingers and that was before we started the scoring. Perhaps during the season Ian Dowie could reduce his warm up to a mere 3 hours and his lads might be able to run around a bit more. What was with those mats as well? Thought they were going to break into Yoga. Maybe they should have. Oldham had one decent player, a nippy winger (no.14?) the rest would struggle in the Conference. My prediction, Oldham relegated this season.

Rochdale – after a good crowd on Saturday I was surprised there was less than half that on the Monday despite KK saying it would be same again. Even so at least the Dale managed a shot with Spunky saving for a corner. The Dale fans were better voiced and humoured than the Oldham lot too, good for them. They even managed to keep all their clothes on. It would be nice to see Alan Buckley’s Barmy Army get promotion finally.

The Open Day – my partner was telling me the other day about one of the blokes from her work. Apparently he bought a ridiculously overpriced bottle of Coke at the CoMS for his son and the woman in the kiosk wouldn’t give him the lid. When asked why she said that he might throw it. Who was he going to throw it at, the stewards? Bizarre!

The ground really is great and I do wish people would stop moaning about it. We’re all delighted with our seats and can’t wait for the season to start. One odd thing we did notice was in one of the entrances to the lower tier there was a metal contraption with blue plastic tassles coming down like you might find in some brothel from a Felini movie. Anyone know what that was all about? The tassled contraption not the Felini movies.

Music – to further my newly found positivism I think maybe play Positivity by Suede; if people can’t get in the right frame of mind to that tune there’s no hope. Perhaps this could have some not so subtle psychological effect on the boo boys and moaners who don’t belong in the 21st century and in the CoMS. Maybe it could even give Robbie and Macken some confidence, which they appear to lack.

Looking forward to Wednesday and even more so Barça and TNS.

Cheers for now, Scott Moore (


I went to see TNS play Shrewsbury town a week last Saturday. It was their fifth pre-season match a crowd of 750 in attendance with a few blue City shirts on view. Most of the crowd were visiting Shrews fans. A very ordinary Shrewsbury town won 3-0. I don’t know how many TNS fans are going to Cardiff but on this showing not many.

Tony Morehead (


(note: this press release replaces the original MCIVTA 939 article, which contained inaccurate information)

We’ve just received an official ticket update from the club. Please see the press release below if you are going to the Barcelona game on Sunday.

Below is a press release that we sent out yesterday evening, which explains that access to the stadium will be through Smart Card only (i.e. Season Ticket, match day ticket or Citycard) – absolutely no way to get inside without so anybody without that card must come to the Ticket Store in person either over the next couple of days or on the day of the game itself.


Barcelona Game A City Sell Out

Sunday’s fixture against Barcelona, the first game at the City of Manchester Stadium, is now sold out.

Around 36,000 Season Ticket and Citycard holders will watch the team in action for the first time at the new stadium. The stadium will operate at a reduced capacity for this test event due to Manchester City Council restrictions.

Entrance to the stadium for the 3pm kick off is strictly by access card (Smart Card) only. Entry will not be permitted without a valid Season Ticket, match day ticket or Citycard.

If you are a Season Ticket or Citycard holder who has booked to attend this game and have yet to receive your Smart Card you must visit the Ticket Store in person to collect it. The Ticket Store opening times over the next three days are as follows:

                        Friday          9am - 5pm
                        Saturday        9am - Midday
                        Sunday          9am - 3pm

The Ticket Store will be open for Barcelona ticketing enquiries only on Sunday.

Due to huge demand some Citycard holders have yet to receive details of their seat number for the day. This problem has now been addressed and all receipts for Citycard bookings have been sent by First Class post.

Please ensure you bring your Smart Card, along with a note of both your seat number and the turnstile through which you will gain entrance, with you to the stadium. If you are unsure which turnstile you need, please consult the seating plans around the outside of the stadium.

Rosie Bass – PR Executive, Manchester City Football Club


Last week we all had a good chortle at our neighbours from Stretford being fined £millions by the Office of Fair Trading for artificially fixing replica shirt prices, together with various sportswear firms – principally JJB, but also our very own chairman’s JD Sports.

We now have the good news that City have a reputable new sponsor in Thomas Cook and that they will appear on the shirts next season.

Meanwhile we are left with the ‘First Advice’ shirts for this season.

Despite them being available for £30 from Lillywhites in Piccadilly Circus, London (thanks to MCIVTA last week), and £34.99 on one web-site I found, the majority of places are still charging £40 (or £45 for the long-sleeved version) including our very own club shop.

In view of the OFT ruling and the limited shelf-life of this season’s shirts, wouldn’t it be a nice gesture if the club set aside some of the nice sponsorship money they are receiving from Thomas Cook to look after their own supporters and reduce these rip-off prices now?

[Definitely, John, it is high time we had sensible pricing on official merchandise, and would undoubtedly discourage those dodgy £10 efforts we see around – Ed]

John Caley (


On Sunday at the opening game versus Barcelona at the City Of Manchester Stadium, KK has kept his promise to let Ali Benarbia lead out City as captain and let him play for the first 30 minutes.

A nice gesture has also been made by KK to invite The Blue Goat to say his final farewell to the City Supporters. Shame that this game is not on TV (at least not heard here that it is televised). I guess the best we can hope for is a little on Sky Sports News.

Whatever, all City Fans across the world will be focused on the opening of City’s new home.

It would be nice if City produced a new DVD a combination of Goodbye to Maine Road, and a Welcome to the new stadium. With all the special events of both occasions (except the score versus Southampton). Hope the score will be better versus Barça, but it’s the new season that’s the main thing, Barca is only a friendly, but we like wins!

Come on you Blues! Ernie Barrow (


I would just like to say that Joe O’ Brien is not alone in thinking that the answer to our midfield problems could just be SWP. He started, I believe, as a striker before KK used him in a number of positions in all of which he impressed. I myself thought that with his passing, dribbling, tackling but most of all his huge heart and commitment that he should be given a chance… who knows?

Dave Williamson (


I’m pretty sure that Kevin Keegan had his reason for sending Vincente Vuoso to a Mexican team, Santos Laguna (on loan); maybe he was homesick for Latin America?

Vuoso came from the same Argentine club, Independiente, as Diego Forlan. When Forlan first came to the English game it took him a while to get adjusted and is doing well now.

So my question is how will Vuoso adjust to our English game going on loan to Mexico? Wouldn’t he have had a better chance from our reserves? After paying £3 million for him, at least he should have had one game in the first team who knows what he may have done? Did a scout misinform Manchester City on his potential?

Let’s hope that his going back to a Latin American team will bring back something that’s missing to play in England. Kevin Keegan was not happy with him for some reason, and I guess he is right, I won’t question his wisdom.

Come on you Blues! Ernie Barrow (


I too had problems getting the official site to open (using IE5) until a few days ago. The problem was solved (in my case at any rate) by very simply adding a “1” directly after “www” thereby changing the URL from to The site now opens just like it used to. I didn’t need to muck around with different browsers or change any settings on my current one, which I’m not allowed to do anyway, as it’s a company laptop. I’m sure there are plenty of others in the same boat on that score. Many thanks to BV/TC’s “Tragic Blue” for showing me the way, hope this helps a few more.

CTID, Cathal Whelehan (


Windows 95 IE users (i.e. folks like us Poyntons) can access the club site using this url:

Thanks to someone on Blue View for this, and don’t ask me why it works. I assume it’s some sort of mirror site.

Don’t ask me why the club have done this, either – there are a lot of W95 users out there still, who have in effect been excommunicated from the club site, and can, indeed, not spend any more money online.

Jeremy Poynton (


You will recall that in MCIVTA 928 a German restaurateur named Chris submitted a link to a ‘photo of the 1921-22 City squad, thus

A significant number of responses were received identifying the players for Chris. The captain in the middle of the front row with the sporting moustache was Max Woosnam, one of the most remarkable men to play for City.

It appears the Telegraph newspaper recently conducted a survey to find Britain’s greatest sports personality and Woosnam received a number of nominations for his all round prowess. Have a read of the following paraphrased item which was filed on 20/11/02.

Born on Sept 6, 1892, Woosnam won the 1920 Olympic men’s tennis doubles gold medal in Antwerp in tandem with Oswald Turnbull … the Wimbledon men’s doubles partnered by Randolph Lycett in 1921 … led the British Davis Cup team against France’s ‘Four Musketeers’ of Lacoste, Borotra, Brugnon and Cochet.

He also captained the England amateur and professional soccer sides … served as captain of the Manchester City team who were runners-up to Burnley in the old First Division in 1920-21 … was a scratch golfer … and, as a cricketer, scored 144 for the Public Schools’ XI against MCC at Lord’s.

As his niece, Jean Webb, of London SW19, pointed out: “All this despite having spent four years of the First World War fighting in France as a captain in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers and, as a confirmed amateur with Man City, by earning a living in an engineering company.”

Woosnam’s daughter, Denise Patterson of Alton, Hants, was also moved to put pen to paper: “Perhaps my most lasting memory of my father was his sense of fairness; his love of playing any game for the game’s sake. In addition to his other achievements, he could also beat us all at table-tennis using a kitchen-knife as a ‘bat’.”

Rod Evans, of Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, sent me a copy of an article he had written for the official match programme of the England-Poland World Cup qualifying tie in 1993:

“His only full international appearance came in March 1922 as captain against Wales at Liverpool; in a rather scrappy game which England won 1-0, Woosnam was ‘the one man in the team to show consistently sound form throughout the whole match’. Having made a successful début, a serious leg injury terminated his international career.”

Whatever Woosnam did, he did well, according to Colin Luckhurst: “In addition to the distinctions you have discovered, he was a fine small-bore rifle shot, appearing at Bisley in 1925 and, in retirement, won second prize in the budgerigar section of the Wirral & District Cage Bird Annual Show at the Providence Hall, Birkenhead in Oct 1929 [now, that’s what I call research, Colin]. He also recorded a maximum snooker break of 147 on one occasion.”

The uncle of one-time Aston Villa favourite Phil Woosnam, who gained 17 caps for Wales in the early 1960s, Max died of a chronic chest infection in 1965, aged 72.

Best wishes, John Clancy (


It seems like an appropriate time to dig out this old one from Eyal’s days north of the border.

The Celtic team are staying at a hotel one night when Kenny Dalglish catches Eyal Berkovic sneaking out after curfew.

Dalglish: where d’ye think yur gaun?

Berko: I’m very hungry. I go out to get fish supper.

Dalglish: Ah though ah told youse all to stay in yer beds? Away back up the stair and ah’ll get the fish supper.

In the chippy, Dalglish is standing in the queue when who should walk in but Dick Advocaat.

Dick: oh hello, Kenny, what are you doing here?

Dalglish: ah’m jist seein’ if ah can get a fish supper fur Eyal Berkovic.

Dick: oh yes? If I were you I’d take it.

Neil Roberts (


David Beckham runs in early from training one afternoon and dashes to the bedroom to find Posh spread out on the bed naked, puffing and panting.

Becks asks her suspiciously “What are you doing?” Posh stutters a reply “I’m – er, er…. I’m having a heart attack” “Oh no” he cries in despair. “I’ll call an ambulance”.

He runs downstairs, picks up the phone and begins dialling 999. However, he is stopped in his tracks by a tearful Brooklyn.

“What’s the matter, son?” asks Becks. “Uncle Giggsy is in the wardrobe with no clothes on, daddy” sniffles Brooklyn.

Infuriated by this, Beckham runs upstairs and kicks down the wardrobe door. Sure enough, the carpet-chested Welshman is stood there, starkers.

“You w@nker Giggsy” screams Becks. “My wife is right over there having a bl**dy heart attack, and you’re running around naked scaring the sh!t out of Brooklyn.”

Sarah Humphrey (


I would like to get in touch with any City fans living in Paris to watch the televised games etc. I’ve just moved here, so please contact me on the email below if you know anyone!

Thanks and best regards, Steve Craven (


Hi I am going to Newcastle, NSW, Australia between August 16th and September 7th and I was wondering if any of the City games during that time are being shown on TV there? Or any pubs in Newcastle are showing them. I would be most grateful to know.

Thanks, John Valentine (


The next meeting of the Essex & Suffolk Branch of the Centenary Supporters’ Association takes place on Friday 15th August at our usual haunt of The Seabright’s Barn, Galleywood Road, Chelmsford, Essex. Kicking off at 8:30pm all blues in the area are welcome. For more information on the branch and its activities contact:

Paul Gallagher – Secretary, Essex Blues (


We are a small charity close to the new stadium with 30 car parking spaces for supporters. We wondered if you would publicise our number as this will also help us to raise funds for our projects.

The cost will be £200 for the year for all matches, Premiership, Cup or friendlies, and we would need the money up front.

People are welcome to visit the site beforehand if they would prefer. My name is Maureen Walsh and I can be contacted on 0161 231 1114. We are

Maureen Walsh (


As a result of calls on various websites, emails and talking to MCFC and other authorities involved, together with the amazing response from fans worldwide (as diverse as China, Japan, Australasia, USA, throughout Europe) and from rival clubs, it was decided to launch an appeal fund which would help to fulfil Fo