Newsletter #967

Tonight’s news contains round-ups of the Foe tribute game in Lyon, the fall-out from Leicester and reaction to Groclin. Don is now back in the news chair and thanks to Sarah for standing in again last week.

We also have match views on Leicester, and news of the reserves’ 1-0 win against an experienced Birmingham side thanks to Gavin, together with the expected reactions to the last few performances and the usual requests.

Next game: Newcastle United, away, 3pm Saturday 22 November 2003


General News

MVF Tribute Match: Cameroon beat a “Friendship Selection” 3-1 in Lyon on Tuesday in a match to raise money for the family of the late Marc Vivien Foe. A crowd of 24,000 were at the Stade Gerland. The player’s son Marc Scott Foe, wearing a shirt with the word “Dad”, led the players on to the pitch for the match that pitted Cameroon against a team made up of players from three of Foe’s European clubs – City, Lens and Lyon. Patrick M’Boma, Modeste M’Bami and Samuel Eto’o all scored first-half goals for Cameroon before Brazilian Sonny Anderson replied for the “Friendship Selection”. With gate receipts and programme sales to take into account, it is thought that this enterprise will have earned Marie-Louise Foe and her three children in excess of £200,000. KK coached the “Selection” side, which included Nicolas Anelka, David Sommeil, Sylvain Distin, Antoine Sibierski, and Christian Negouai; French stars Thierry Henry and Robert Pires also featured. Keegan revealed that City are still planning their own tribute to MVF. “We still intend to stage a game ourselves in his memory probably in the next pre-season,” he confirmed. “We all miss Marc.” Sylvain Distin told the club website: “It was a pleasure to play alongside so many of Marco’s friends. We always think about Marco in the dressing room. He was a good guy and everyone knows that.” Antoine Sibierski, who played alongside Foe for Lens, added: “He was a fabulous guy. He had so many qualities, on and off the pitch. To be a big player, you have to be a big man and that is how I will remember him.” Foe’s brother Emmanuel reflected on Marc’s distinctive link with Keegan. “Marc always spoke of the way Kevin liked to do things on the football pitch, making sure everything was very simple. That is why Marc respected him so much. They had a special bond, like father and son.” The Cameroon side included former Blue Lucien Mettomo, who played in the first half. Now with Kaiserslautern in Germany, Mettomo had known Foe from childhood, and found the evening to be a gruelling one. “It was a very difficult day for me because I still desperately miss Marco,” he said. “I didn’t know if I was going to play at all and when I did, it was hard because I kept looking around for Marco. He was so special and I had been a friend with him since I was a little boy. I had known him since I was six. When he came to Manchester, the bond we had became even stronger. We were together on a day to day basis, I learnt more about him and understood what type of man he was. This game was for him and all my team mates know that. But it was very difficult at times. But I am happy, too, because it was a very good match and something he would have been proud of.”

Testing Times at UK Sport: You may remember that last week our Beloved Leader was reported to have criticised the drug testing authorities in the UK for insisting that Christian Negouai had to break his Ramadan fast to provide a sample. The Chief Executive of UK Sport, Richard Callicott was less than impressed with these utterings, and struck back rather forcefully last Thursday. Mr. Callicott said: “I am outraged at what has been claimed and, having spoken to the lead doping control officer, strongly refute the claims that Negouai was forced to drink water. In addition, no time limit was put on the provision of the sample. The officer involved would have been prepared to stay with Negouai until he had produced a sufficient amount of urine – until nightfall had it been necessary. In no circumstances would any sportsman or woman be forced to drink water against their will. They are always provided with sealed, non-alcoholic, caffeine-free drinks to aid them, but the use of these is no more than a recommendation if there is a difficulty in providing a sample. This does not appear to apply in this case.” KK said he felt UK Sport had reacted to what they had read in the some newspapers. “To be honest they have got to look at what was said by me and what was printed by certain papers,” he said.

Writs Out For the Lads: Even before the débâcle against Leicester City, Sunday had not begun well for two of KK’s squad. The News of the World reported a series of lurid allegations concerning Robbie Fowler and Steve McManaman which supposedly occurred after the “team bonding” session in Essex. Solicitors for the pair put out the following statement later on Sunday: “In response to allegations relating to Robbie Fowler and Steve McManaman in this morning’s News of the World, it is announced, as advised to the News of the World and its solicitors, that proceedings for aggravated damages for libel will be issued tomorrow.” The club made no comment and described the situation as a “personal matter” for the players involved.

Better Late Than Never: Nedum Onouha celebrated his seventeenth birthday this week by scoring the only goal for City’s Reserves against Birmingham this Tuesday. It was a late winner too, coming on 88 minutes. The Blues’ side welcomed back Chris Shuker, playing his first game after returning from his three-month loan spell at Rochdale. Team: Ellegaard, Flood, Jordan, Wiekens, McCarthy (N D’Laryea 75), Onouha, Shuker, J D’Laryea, Macken, B Wright-Phillips (Bermingham 69), Tandy (Ireland 66). Subs (not used): Mathewson, Collins. Booked: J D’Laryea (35), Flood (41). City start their campaign in the FA Youth Cup next Tuesday with a short trip to face Wigan in the third round of the FA Youth Cup. The match will be played on Tuesday 18th November at the JJB Stadium with the game getting under way at 7pm. Academy Director Jim Cassell commented, “There is no doubt that it will be a difficult game. We do not know a lot about them as they do not play in our League. The club is going well at the moment, fourth in the First Division and they have a history of producing good players so we will have our work cut out.”

Captain Birdseye Recommends: Oh Lawks, City have been tipped for great things by none other than Chelsea chairman Ken Bates. Quoted on, Bates explained: “We now have the makings of at least a five-club Premiership, which is a lot healthier than the old two-team league. There is always an outsider, a dark horse that comes through. City could be an interesting future club because they have a first-class ground. They’re not in debt, so you’ve got a big club with a lot of very passionate supporters. They will soon be right back at the top, which can only be good for the whole of football.” It’s pleasing to note that Bates does not consider a club with a £50 million deficit to be “in debt”. Chelsea are in safe hands.

Transfer News and Gossip

Anelka le Rouge? Non merci: Brace yourself, brave followers of the Sky Blue faith. As if the form of the team over the last week hasn’t been worrying enough, there’s news of an alleged transfer interest that will chill the blood. According to the Sunday Mirror, Sir Alex wishes to purchase Andrei Shevchenko from AC Milan in January, but if that bid fails, then Govan’s most charming man will be in for (deep breath) Nicolas Anelka! This report could have been fuelled by Saint Nic’s recently stated wish to play in the Champions’ League again. It is to be hoped that this rumour is soon dispatched to the Recycle Bin.

Keeping Up With the ‘Keepers: As Sarah reported last week, City have been linked with a move for Norwich City goalkeeper Robert Green, but the player has dismissed this tale as “just a space filler”. The People newspaper meanwhile reports that KK is turning his attention to Liverpool’s England under-21 international custodian, Chris Kirkland. The Boss Man will launch a £4 million bid in the January sales, apparently. One goalkeeper definitely on the move is young Kieran Westwood, who has joined Oldham Athletic on a month’s loan. Latics are short of ‘keeper cover, and had five outfield players on the bench against Carlisle on Saturday.

Huck Raps his Agent: One idea to tempt Norwich, reported previously, was to swap Robert Green for striker Darren Huckerby. This suggestion was dismissed by Huckerby’s agent who claimed the Canaries “won’t be able to afford” Huckerby. The player isn’t too impressed with these comments. “I will decide where I want to go, not my agent. It is an insult to say Norwich are not a big enough club to sign me,” huffed Hucks. “If everything did work out, I would be happy to sign for Norwich. Why wouldn’t I consider signing for a team that is near the top of the table?”

Ex-Blues’ News

How the Mighty Have Fallen: Former City legend Giorgi Kinkladze has been linked with a move to those Cheshire giants Stockport County. The Daily Express says that the Hatters were hoping to convince the out-of-work midfielder join them on a pay-as-you-play basis. This was all denied by those at Edgeley Park, especially manager Sammy McIlroy. “There’s absolutely no truth in the story,” he said of the speculation.

Reid Out, Stuart Going? Former City captain, manager, player and Sid James lookalike Peter Reid was dismissed as manager of Leeds United this week. Reid’s turbulent 22-match reign at Elland Road came to an end after the embarrassing 6-1 defeat at Portsmouth on Saturday, the club’s worst loss since 1959. Eddie Gray will take over temporary charge with chief coach Kevin Blackwell becoming his assistant. A statement released by the club said: “While the board acknowledges that Peter did a sterling job for the club towards the end of last season in keeping United in the FA Premier League, it believes it must not allow this season to reach a point beyond which the club’s Premiership status comes under serious threat. The recent run of results has clearly been unacceptable. The board therefore concluded that it has a duty to act now.” This decision lead to fresh speculation on the future of coach Stuart Pearce. An early favourite for the Lits post was Nottingham Forest boss Paul “Son of Johnny” Hart, a man credited with producing a fine crop of youngsters during his time as chief of the Leeds Academy. This lead to speculation that Our Psycho might be in line for the manager’s job back at his former club, Forest. KK has already indicated that Pearce would be allowed to leave City’s employ if the right job came along. This cosy chain of events has however been put in doubt as Hart has indicated that he wishes to stay at the City ground.

It’s All Balls: Are Dundee FC looking to get relegated? It’s reported that Dundee owner Giovanni di Stefano has held talks with football genius Alan Ball. The possibility of the ex-City boss being offered a rôle with the Dark Blues was discussed but no formal agreement was struck up. The Daily Record says Ball could join Dundee’s team, however, as a consultant given his extensive knowledge of the English game. Allegedly.

Reactions and Comments

Groclin Groans: City endured a frustrating evening at the COMS last Thursday in the UEFA cup second round tie with Groclin. The Blues could easily have been 3 or 4 goals to the good in the opening half hour, before the visitors ensured a draw with a precious away goal. “We had a good start, created some good chances and missed some good chances,” complained KK. “Then we relied on David Seaman to keep us in it a little bit because he made two great saves. If you are a Manchester City fan, you will be disappointed, but so am I and so are the players. At home, 1-1 is not a great result. Tonight wasn’t a great performance,” he added. “One or two players didn’t get going. We’ve created enough chances to have won the game but I don’t think we should fool ourselves and think that we’ve played well,” he said. “We haven’t and that’s partly because we’ve had one or two players who couldn’t get going and partly due to the fact that they’ve played well. All I can say for us is this tie’s not over yet. It’s balanced. Whether they’re a team who can play for a 0-0 at home, I’m not sure; I’m not sure we’re a team who will go away and not create chances. I think we will.” When Keegan was told to expect bad weather in Poland, he said: “We love snow, especially in Manchester.” Yes, Kevin. For once KK’s “didn’t Robbie do well” speech had a grain of truth in it. “I thought Robbie Fowler was excellent against Groclin. It was a shame he didn’t score when Steve McManaman pulled it back for him,” he said… “He had another shot which he deflected from a free kick from Michael Tarnat. Robbie just needs that little bit of luck. There is nothing wrong with his fitness. He is tremendously fit now and he worked very hard for the cause on Thursday night. He hasn’t had that little bit of luck that strikers need. But you know if you keep turning performances like that you will score goals.” The Boss remained upbeat about the team’s chances in the second leg. “The Lokeren trip was a difficult one but we went there and showed that we have the character and the ability and we have got the know-how to go and handle that. It will be a good experience for some of the younger players who we have got as the first tie will have been. As long as we learn from that draw it will have been a worthwhile game and a worthwhile competition for us. I think if we are going to progress then we have to roll our sleeves up over there and show even more character than we did in the first tie. A performance similar to Southampton will see us through but it has to be of that standard.”

Extra Large Tights Anyone? One of the better performers on the night was Richard Dunne. “It was a tough old game and Groclin made things difficult for us. We missed a few chances and they kept digging away. They had a spell in the second half where they had possession and it gave them confidence. A draw was probably a fair result. The manager told us at half-time the danger of missing chances but after the first half I thought we would end up having it easy. We just didn’t take one of those chances. They scored a goal that we could do absolutely nothing about and it is going to make the second leg difficult for us.” Dunne added: “We won’t be going over there frightened. Our away record has been pretty decent this year and we are confident that we can get the result we need to finish the job off. It will be freezing there and I think the orders have already gone in for our tights!” Groclin’s goalscorer was Sebastian Mila, who said later, “Growing up I could only dream of such a great experience,” he said. “It is wonderful to have scored against David Seaman. He is 40-years-old but he is not a weak link.”

The Pest Gets the Best of City: “Beware A Banana Skin”, announced one newspaper piece, prior to Sunday’s clash against Leicester City. That’s Leicester City, as in, second from bottom without an away win in the Premiership. City duly foundered on a giant, genetically modified banana skin, allowing the Foxes to win 3-0 which included a goal from City legend Paul Dickov. Dicky apparently received some 600 good luck messages from Manchester before the game, but this didn’t stop him doing to us what he’s done to theirs for years on City’s behalf. Leicester manager Mickey Adams paid tribute to the Scot: “He is a pest – people don’t enjoy playing against him.” The Foxes have now won two games in a row after a humiliating defeat by Wolves and Adams added: “I don’t think too many people would have fancied us today. We gained a little bit of confidence after the Blackburn result. I am delighted because we have learned the lessons from the Wolves game. Sometimes you need a kick in the teeth. Some harsh words were spoken after that. But there has been a terrific response, not just in the last two games but on the training ground. We mustn’t become complacent, though. We are not that good. All we have done is put ourselves back in the pack.” KK was not chuffed with this limp display by his troops. “We were playing for a place in top four. You would never have thought that. You wouldn’t think this was a team that had a chance to go into a Champions’ League spot. I know it is early season, but that’s what we were fighting for today. If you don’t work the goalkeeper in 90 minutes with the players we’ve got on the park then you’ve got to say it hasn’t been your day. It hasn’t worked, whatever you’ve tried to do. You have got to put in some thought; you’ve got to put in some work rate and some passion. But we never got going and got what we deserved,” he said. “I asked the players why our performance was poor. But they didn’t know – and if they don’t know I would just be guessing. The second goal was a turning point, a penalty. But it doesn’t matter now; it’s not the reason we lost this game. It was a very disappointing performance coming on the back of a good win at Southampton. Leicester worked very hard, but we knew they would.” Keegan expressed his sympathy for goalkeeper Kevin Ellegaard, making his début because of David Seaman’s hamstring injury. “I am disappointed for Kevin that he comes in and plays behind a side that didn’t perform very well,” said the manager. “You would have liked him to get a bit more help and a bit more confidence.” Eyal Berkovic, Steve McManaman and Antoine Sibierski lined up together for the first time in the side and the boss says his team selection was a mistake. “The blame always lies with the manager and that’s it. I picked the wrong team,” said Kevin Keegan. “I had a few injuries especially in midfield and gave players the opportunity that they had been crying out for and for one reason or another they never took that. I am very, very, disappointed as I am sure the fans are, as all my staff are and as I hope the players are. It was a poor performance.”

Squad News

Last Chance Saloon for Shuks: Chris Shuker is preparing for one last shot at the big time with City, having just returned from a three month loan spell at Rochdale. The 21-year-old Liverpudlian is in the final year of his contract with the Blues and knows it’s make or break. “Realistically, I don’t think I’ll be offered another one-year deal like last time,” said Shuker following his three months loan spell at Rochdale. “Nothing has been said about a new deal. But I can’t see Kevin Keegan giving me another 12 months – there’s no point in that from his point of view. But if I get in the first team and I was playing regularly then there’s every chance of getting a longer contract. To be honest I would have stayed at Rochdale if I’d been able just to have another month. However, the rules are after three months you’ve got to sign until the end of the season or go back to your club. Alan Buckley asked me to stay at Rochdale but because this is possibly my last chance with City, I wanted to give it a real go. I’ll keep working hard in training and hopefully do well in the Reserves and see what happens. You never know.”

Sun Rising: Having been an ever present in the League side this season, Sun Jihai has been impressing observers with his all round play this season. This has not gone unnoticed by KK either. “Sun has done very, very well this season,” said Keegan. “He is a good player, absolutely brilliant. He has been playing very well and he is in tiptop form at the moment. It will be hard for me not to play him given his condition. He is a very dedicated player, always putting in that 100% effort during training and matches.”

Trevor for Portugal: Owing to a series of niggling injuries, Trevor Sinclair has not been a regular in the City starting line up this season, and has resulting in him losing a spot in the England squad. “I have to take time to get over my injury properly, but hopefully I will be involved next Saturday after a good week’s training,” Sinclair said. “I’d love to gatecrash the Euro tournament, so I am working hard to get back to full fitness, put in some good performances and hopefully get back into the squad.” Of City’s season so far, Sinclair added: “We have not been as consistent as we had hoped for. And we’ve got to improve, but it takes a bit of time to get used to a new ground. I’m sure we’ll turn the corner and get some more consistent results.”

Don Barrie <news(at)>


Birthday Boy gives Birmingham the Blues

A late winner from Nedum Onuoha, who turns seventeen today, from a Chris Shuker corner gave City’s second string a hat trick of wins. The game looked to be heading for a stale nil-nil draw as Birmingham brought a very experienced team to Ewen Fields. But City’s young team snatched all three points when Nathan D’Laryea flicked on Chris Shuker’s corner at the near post and the ball appeared to hit the chest or midriff of Nedum, who was able to force home the ball from three yards out.

City lined up with only Gerard Wiekens and Jon Macken as players with any real first team experience and coincidently were the only two players over twenty one. Birmingham on the other hand had Nico Vassen in goal, Jeff Kenna and Darren Purse in defence, former Crystal Palace and American international, Jovan Kirovski, who strangely looked liked Robert Pires, but not of the same skill obviously. They also fielded the twin strike force of the former Nottingham Forest forward, Stern John, and also £5 million purchase Clinton Morrison.

So, as with most cases in reserve football, the experienced team never really find the form that, on paper, you think that they are capable of, and City’s young defence were easily able to cope with what little Birmingham had to try to forge a lead. The only player that was causing City’s defence some concern was Birmingham’s under 19 player, number eleven, Carl Motteram, who was faster than a jack rabbit but luckily for City he didn’t manage to combine his pace with a quality final ball.

Jon Macken was obviously trying to impress to give credence to his claims for a starting place in the first team. However, on last night’s performance he’ll have to work wonders to get into the first team. It was just one of those nights for Jon when he struggled to control the ball for most of the ninety minutes and he left his shooting boots at home when he missed two really good chances to put City ahead.

City looked the brighter in the opening quarter of an hour and carved out four shots on goal. However, after this they seemed less incisive and allowed Birmingham back into the game. Indeed, they nearly fell behind to a Morrison goal when his shot skimmed past the post after he had linked well with his strike partner, John. On thirty-seven minutes City again nearly fell behind when Morrison put a deep cross in from the right only to see Motteram put a tame header into the arms of Ellegaard at the far post from three yards out. As the half drew to a close Paddy McCarthy had to make a last ditch clearance as a low cross across the face of goal was heading towards an on-rushing Morrison.

The second half started as the first half had finished where Birmingham seemed the more threatening and created more openings, but as the scoreline shows, City’s defence held firm. It wasn’t until the sixty seventh minute when Stephen Ireland replaced the ineffectual Jamie Tandy who had earlier switched flanks with Shuker, that City seemed to show more purpose about their play. Even more so when Karl Bermingham came on to replace the tiring Bradley Wright-Phillips.

Interestingly, both City’s reserve reporter, Andrew Waldon and myself thought that we might see Paddy McCarthy finally complete ninety minutes but he was replaced on seventy six minutes to complete the whole of the D’Laryea twins by bringing Nathan on. In the last five minutes Bermingham made a strong run down the right and crossed into the box, which seemed to evade everyone but it fell to the feet of Ireland; unfortunately he couldn’t keep his volley down and it just sailed inches over the bar.

Three minutes later when City won a corner, a pacey cross to the near post saw Nathan D’Laryea make a deft flick of the ball to send it to the centre of the six yard box and for Nedum to run in and force the ball home. City nearly doubled their lead in injury time when Stephen Ireland squared a lovely ball into space for Jon Macken to run onto and shoot from twenty five yards out, but Vassen was just able to turn the shot away from the goal.

As Nedum turns seventeen today, his on-looking mother, Antonia, who follows all his games home and away, was obviously brimming with pride as her son becomes a rising star at City and scored his first reserve league goal. I inquired as to what the young lad was getting for his birthday. The answer came back as I think most male seventeen year olds would receive, driving lessons!

City’s next game is away to Bolton on Monday 17th, but just twenty four hours later City face their first round in the Youth Cup; this obviously means a more experienced squad will have to travel to Bolton as seven of last night’s squad of sixteen will be in the Youth Cup squad the following day.

Ellegaard: Didn’t have a decent shot on target to save all evening. 7
Flood: Got a bit careless with his tackles, but otherwise ok. 6
Jordan (capt): Steady night for the captain; linked better with Shuker than Tandy. 7
Wiekens: Recent reserve performances surely make him a better bet than Bosvelt? 8
McCarthy (76): Getting back to his good form a few seasons back. 7
Onuoha: Defended really well and was there to score the goal when it mattered. MoM. 8
Shuker: Looked better when he switched flanks, still not his best game. 6
J D’Laryea: Worked hard in midfield and was perhaps a bit unlucky to be booked. 7
Macken: Just one of those games I think Jon would rather forget, never hid though. 6
Wright-Phillips (70): Never really caused a threat to Birmingham’s defence. 6
Tandy(67): Extremely ineffectual on both flanks. 5

N D’Laryea (76): Slotted in well with his U19 CB partner Nedum at both ends. 7
Ireland (67): Gave City much more impetus and helped bring others into the game. 7
Bermingham (70): Was much more of a threat than Bradley had been. 7
Not Used:
Lawrence Mathewson, Paul Collins.

Birmingham: Vassen, Kenna, Sadler, Hall, Purse (capt), Painter, Sheppard (Howland 78), Kirovski, John, Morrison, Motteram.

Att: 719.

Gavin Cooper <blueboy(at)>


I was at the Leicester game on Sunday; it was my first time at COMS. It’s very impressive, I had a great view – even though I was on the second tier near the corner flag. Amazing what the lack of pillars in a stand does!

The stadium was by far the best thing about Sunday’s game. City performed very poorly, which I’d attribute mainly to a very unbalanced midfield with three attack minded players (Berkovic, McManaman and Sibierski) and Joey Barton running his socks off trying to cover. I think this performance shows how much better a side City are with SWP and Sinclair giving balance to the midfield. Berkovic didn’t appear match fit, and he and McManaman got in each other’s way a lot. Sibierski is full of flicks but doesn’t (or didn’t) deliver much in the way of a killer ball. On this performance he looked too lightweight for a Premiership midfielder, although could probably do a job up front – where Anelka, Wanchope and Fowler were off their game.

A major gripe I have is the lack of ball boys. Leicester time wasted in the second half (as you’d expect), yet the ball was still taking valuable seconds to get back into play, with City players having to run 30 yards to collect the ball. I think an advantage is lost by not getting the ball back into play quickly – which is difficult with only 6 (it appeared) ball boys (the majority of games I get to see are Ireland internationals, and there’s always about 30 schoolkids around the pitch rushing to get the ball back to the Irish team!).

Positives I’d take from the game are Sun seems to be improving defensively, Joey Barton patrols midfield very well for such a young lad… eh… and that would be about it. What a stadium too!

P.S. I think MacManaman should be made captain, give Distin back last season’s freedom!

P Carey <pj.carey(at)>


Living on the south coast in Chichester, it’s a bit of a hike to get to home games so I don’t get to as many as I’d like, but this one was special. My 8 year old son Joel has had to suffer his dad’s maniacal attempts at indoctrinating him in all things City (including “accidentally” bursting the ManUre football his grandparents bought him last Christmas when they couldn’t find a City one) and now he has the City virus it was time for his first home game. I had picked the Leicester game as a home banker and we left at 8.30 full of hope and expectation. Six hours later we found our seats and wow, what a stadium it is.

After spending almost enough to pay Robbie’s beer bill for a week in the Reebok store, we proudly took our seats in the family stand, resplendent in new McManaman shirts. Then I saw the teams being flashed up on the scoreboard and the doubts began to hit me. No Fowler, no Seaman, Berko and Macca and Sibierski in midfield and worst of all Dickov. The last name leapt at me like Lee Bradbury’s had at Portsmouth in Joe Royle’s promotion year and I knew in that second that the saviour of the Division 2 play off was going to score against us today. Tried to be positive and resisted a visit to the bookies to “lump on” Dickov to score but the doubts wouldn’t go away.

To be honest we weren’t too bad early on although we did look a bit dodgy at the back. Then Leicester scored… and it wasn’t Dickov so we needed 3 to win now. Glanced nervously at Joel and trying to keep him positive by reminding him of the Villa and Bolton games and as the half wore on we looked like we might equalise. Half time came and the PA came on. Why is it so loud Second half started just as my eardrums were about to burst, with City kicking towards our end and a couple of early positions looked promising but the final ball was poor. Then Ellegaard caught a cross and there was all sorts of commotion and a Leicester player lying in the box like he’d been hit by a sniper. Oh no. Penalty. Dickov scored. Felt sick.

The third goal was inevitable – shocking defending from a cross again but despite the catastrophic situation we were in I suddenly felt hopeful. Robbie came on and I helpfully informed my distraught 8 year old that Leicester always lose 4-3 when they are 3-0 up, remember Wolves… The next 15 minutes were better and if Anelka had managed a better finish we just might… Nope, this was City and we trudged off on our 7 hour journey home.

Here’s our verdict:

Ellegaard – 5. Looked a bit like a rabbit stuck in the headlights although none of the goals were down to him. Flapped at a couple of crosses and sliced one clearance to their left winger. We need to buy a ‘keeper in January as cover if Nicky Weaver is not going to come through.

Sun Jihai – 6. Full of energy going forward but looked a liability at the back. Awful marking for the third goal although he shouldn’t be marking Bent without a step ladder with a cross coming in anyway.

Distin – 5. Looked good in the air in the first half but the penalty incident was just lunacy and cost us any chance of a comeback. He seems a bit laid back for a captain, Macca seems to do most of the encouraging and shouting.

Dunne – 6. Strong in the tackle and did well in the air but he’s so slow.

Tarnat – 6. Lacked support going forward but seemed to do OK defensively.

Sibierski – 4. Didn’t even notice he was playing. Complete mystery to me why KK didn’t take him off instead of Joey.

Berkovic – 4 Made a couple of runs which ended with him giving the ball away and generally looked a shadow of the player that ran the game against United last year. Suspect this may have been his last game for City, which is a shame based on last year’s form but I think he’s made his bed and will have to lie in it.

Barton – 6. Bit biased here as I am very much in the Barton for England camp. Looked our best midfield player, which makes his substitution all the stranger. KK clearly needs to get his distribution to improve probably just by getting him to play it simple like an Ince or a Keane would do. Mark my words, in 2 years this lad will be amongst the best holding midfield players in the league.

Macca – 5. Not his best game but he worked hard as usual without creating much. Seemed to spend a lot of his time covering for Berko defensively as well, which stopped him getting into the areas we want him in. I like the way he encourages those around him and I think he’s a great signing for us.

Anelka – 6. Despite this not being his best game by a long way, I was very impressed by his movement and touch. Missed our best chances though, especially the one before half time, which would have changed the game.

Wanchope – 4. Why oh why wasn’t Robbie playing? One Chop is capable of brilliance but I don’t think he will ever form a partnership with Anelkastar. Did nothing of note.


Bosvelt – 5. Thought he would start instead of Berkovic given the way Leicester would play. Did OK but the game was already gone when he came on.

Fowler – 6. Confession to make. I thought Fowler was past it, but KK is right as usual and he’s coming good! Looked very sharp and fit when he came on and is definitely gelling with Anelka – played him in twice in the last 30 minutes. If he can stay injury free I really do believe that the £6 million we’re paying for him will look cheap by the end of the season, but he must play!

So an awful first game for Joel but when we got home he went to bed cuddling his Moonchester toy so no damage done! Let’s hope his next visit for the Leeds game is better. At least they haven’t got any ex-City strikers.

A last thought. I thought the Leicester fans outsang us by a mile especially in the first half. Let’s make the COMS an intimidating place for opposing teams to play by getting behind the boys a bit more even if it is an off day.

Andy Clarke <andy(at)>


I think that this kind of defeat shows us that although we keep improving, our mentality sometimes goes back to the old days.

If City lose 3-0 to a side like Leicester it clearly indicates the approach to the game was wrong. I’d be worried about our strength if we lost by a narrow defeat and by fighting hard. It would have meant Leicester are a better team. But 3-0… something must have gone wrong somewhere else, don’t you think? My idea is that the lads failed to recover mentally from the poor result on Thursday. I think they might have had doubts on their real potential because Groclin on that night really showed they’re as good as City. I didn’t watch the Leicester game but this is the feeling I’ve got.

Anyway let’s not get upset. I know 4th spot in the table is a dream that could come true, but I’m perfectly aware that this is not our priority this season. If we lower our sights and we start again to consider a top 6 finish, we can see how easy our target is, especially if we consider the quality of our opposition.

Let’s improve our concentration, let’s play every single game with a winning hunger, and we’ll hammer the likes of Leicester all the time. If we learn that, 4th spot becomes as easy as top 6 in my opinion.

Changing subject, a comment about the fans. I watched the UEFA game on TV and I was disappointed to see City fans outsung by the Polish. Too many empty seats, true, but still 32,000 hearts against just a few hundred. I saw City fans scattered all over the place. I couldn’t notice a stand where all the singing fans gather and make themselves heard. It happened in the Kippax, why not now? I think it’s very useful to have a chanting area in the stadium, especially in games like that when it’s difficult to get going because of the lack of the atmosphere due to an empty house.

Here in Italy every club has got that kind of support. I have to say that sometimes it can get a bit extreme, but it also means that there’s always a singing group of fans whatever the attendance.

Vanes Marzaroli <vanesmarzaroli(at)>


Many businesses now have to operate a complaints procedure for their customers.

How about the idea of all season ticket holders at COMS being given computerised voting equipment, enabling them to decide immediately after a match whether players have performed with full commitment and whether players were deserving of the privilege of wearing a City shirt?

If 75% of those supporters vote that a player has not tried, the player would not get paid for the week. If implemented, some players may have to claim state benefits!

The Club would have saved a fortune last Sunday against Leicester… or the Club could donate the money to charity.

By employing this method, certain players might give more consideration to the way they perform/treat their fans.

Howard Gruber <howard.gruber(at)>


Surely after Sunday’s appalling defeat to a very, very average and uninspired Leicester team, it is time to ask some questions of the manager.

We have one of the worst defences in the league but are unable to drop our right back, left back or ‘keeper because we have absolutely no cover. As for the centre halves, well it would be nice if we actually had one to choose from. Distin, Dunne and Sommeil are not centre halves – at least not Premiership. Distin continues to throw himself at everything like a five year old, when any centre half with a brain knows you can’t win every ball. And as for David Seaman… the only thing he doesn’t drop is his ludicrously large pay cheque. I’m almost left pining for Barry Siddal… he’s probably younger than Seaman.

The team against Leicester was a recipe for disaster. We had three creative midfielders who all followed each other round the pitch and congested play right where Leicester wanted it – in the middle of the park. There was no width as Macca and Berko left the wings and came inside time and again and just got in the way. Poor old Joey Barton was left to stem the tide but couldn’t do it all alone, which meant Leicester were often straight through onto our inept back four.

To most of the 46,000 people in the crowd it was obvious what needed doing to rectify this problem. To Keegan and his inspired team of tacticians, the answer was far from clear. He simply replaced one striker for another and one ball winning midfielder for another. Genius! That was going to change the game Kevin! We were crying out for some width to get round their packed midfield. An 8 year old could have worked it out. Afterwards Keegan even had the balls to say about the performance… “I asked the players to explain it and they can’t, so if they can’t it’s a tough job for me.”

He’s starting to make Phil Neal look like Bob Paisley.

I don’t doubt that the players always give 100 percent every game – apart from Anelka. But if the tactics and shape are wrong and the manager has no idea how to change it we are doomed to mediocrity.

Yes he has turned this club around and we owe him a lot, but not blind faith. That fourth Champions’ League spot is there for the taking. We have the squad and the stadium. But the manager – as with England before – has taken us as far as he can go.

I’m a City fan and we know c**p managers when we see one. But if you are in any doubt I’ll leave the final word with Kevin the day he resigned from City…. I mean England.

“I just haven’t been quite good enough.” As for his side, he added: “The effort has been there – I could not have asked more from the lads – but I have not been able to find that little bit extra that you need to find to win important matches at this level.”

Marc S <mstarbuck(at)>


In response to David (“May we now boo?”), you need people there to boo. Surely it was a much greater indictment of the team that there was hardly anyone left to boo at full time.

Euan Bayliss <euan(at)>


Ban international breaks. Every time there is one the whole City team just seem to be thinking about their holidays the week before. It’s not as though any of them are internationals any more so they are not worried about injuries. Failing that could we not just make sure that we play Arsenal and Chelsea before the breaks as we’d probably lose these matches anyway.