Newsletter #980

A 2-2 draw when that pesky Dickov came back to taunt and haunt once again means we face a replay at Leicester next Wednesday 14th January. Anelka scored a brace (penalty awarded to Bosvelt who got 8/10 for his dive) and a header from a Fowler cross.

Tonight we have match views and player comments, Rob’s update on the Premiership stats for December, transfer opinion and the KK debate continues.

We’ve also a couple of requests and a Dutch Why Blue. Any more tales out there?

Charlton are the visitors to CoMS on Wednesday night, and tomorrow (Tuesday) sees the reserve derby for the Manchester Senior Cup down at Ewen Fields, Hyde – tickets still available for this fixture.

Next game: Charlton Athletic, home, 7.45pm Wednesday 7th January 2004


FA Cup – Round three

I won’t give a full match view as I’ll leave that to others who will provide much more entertaining reports. Instead I’ll offer a few things that I’d like to comment on regarding our recent depression and a quick summary of each player’s performance.

The opposition
Leicester are well organised, they lack flair big name players but what they don’t lack is commitment and the ability to work for one another. For 90 minutes they contested every ball and hassled and harried whenever they lost possession. Only a number of City players do this for City. If City matched Leicester’s work rate with the supposed class our squad possess then potentially we have a top ten team. Simple fact is we don’t or at least not for 90 minutes we don’t.

Dickov – Don’t you just hate him… 🙂
The guy just ran and ran and ran and got up everyone’s noses. It’s what Dickov does… yes he was booed when he was substituted but personally if I was him I would have taken that as a compliment. He’s still a hero in my eyes – two goals and a provoked sending off is nothing in the grand scheme of things. Personally… I booed him as he started to walk off, but clapped him once he finished his salutes to the away supporters.

Why when we are breaking from midfield does Anelka not take defenders away? He stays in the middle and congests play. I’m not knocking Anelka, I think he’s great (ok he’s lazy and sulky, but think where we would be if not for his goals this season), but the frustrating thing is he could be so much better. More workrate and more movement off the ball and then we might have a real world class striker as opposed to just a good one… when he wants to be.

Movement is another one – there is so little movement when we build up slowly, sometimes it’s painful to watch. Again we are missing Benarbia or Berkovic to conduct things and add that bit of unexpectancy. I can’t believe KK has only given Eyal one chance to redeem himself (Leicester), a game in which KK admitted he got it tactically wrong! Come on KK, Berko isn’t bigger than the club and neither are you!

One of my biggest concerns is the teams coming to CoMS and scoring with every attempt they have on target. Leicester (today), Boro, Leeds, Groclin, Lokeren. You can’t just blame a single player but something is fundamentally wrong when we are leaking goals with virtually every attack that hits the target, it needs sorting out. First thing is to find a leader on the pitch, preferably in defence/’keeper. On a similar vein, why do I always feel nervous when opposition takes a corner yet when we have a corner we rarely find a City shirt?

Seaman – 6/10
Didn’t really have too much to do, so would be harsh to score him lower or higher. Had little chance with either goal but I wish that whichever ‘keeper we bring in for cover/replace him commands his area and can kick; that would be nice.

Sun Jihai – 6/10
Was surprised to see him playing given KK’s radio interview last week (said he was going to be rested due to a niggly knee injury). Sun as usual looked great and positive going forward and plays for the cause. Problem is his defending is so naïve sometimes he’s a liability. At fault for the first goal. Not sure why Tiatto wasn’t given a run out today in the left back position.

Distin – 5/10
Just doesn’t look half the player he was last year, doesn’t seem to communicate, which for me is a crime for a captain and centre half. Had the speed of Dickov, Bent and Ferdinand today but that’s hardly unexpected. Drop the captaincy and let him concentrate at what he’s good at.

Sommeil – 5/10
Did okay considering the opposition but was caught a couple of times napping.

Dunne – 7/10
Dunne’s score would have been much higher – as of late he was rock solid for the first half and the start of the second, but as the game wore on his confidence seemed to diminish and some of those unexpected errors crept back in. Repsonsible for Leicester’s second goal, probably due to over confidence through his recent performances.

Reyna – 8/10
Reyna is a superb signing, he just does the simple things really well, he gets his head down and gets on with it. Also links back line and forwards really well, the more I see of him the more I like.

McManaman – 2/10
I really don’t see what KK sees in Macca. If waving your arms about and dictating players around while you do nothing is world class then he is a real world beater; unfortunately there is no other substance to his waving and shouting. Pity, as his first few games he looked the ticket. Drop him now and make way for Tiatto or Sibierski or Berkovic (yeah right!).

Bosvelt – 6/10
Looked okay in mopping up pieces in front of the defence. Like Dunney, he had a good first half but seemed to diminish as the game wore on. He’s more composed than Barton but not as passionate.

Wright Phillips – 5/10
Like last week’s Liverpool display, he was a bit lacklustre (only compared to his higher standards this season). He didn’t seem to get into the game, preferring to hug the touchline and when he did get the ball he wasn’t direct as he usually is. I can’t believe the stick he’s being getting on the Radio phone in shows (GMR and Century), the lad is class, like the team he’s just going through a indifferent spell.

Fowler – 7/10
I think Robbie is just getting better and better. His workrate is top notch and his movement and linkup play is starting to be noticed. The only thing missing is the sharpness to start hitting the target and the goals to start coming. He’s not the same player that he was at Liverpool but he’s not playing in the same position (goal poaching in the area) and is not getting the same level of service.

Anelka – 7/10
OK, he scored two goals, second of which was a fine header. He even tackled on three occasions (yes Anelka tackled!). Today his attitude did seem a lot better than of late but still needs to work harder if he is to show that he is truly world class like Henry and the long faced cheat from the Swamp. What the hell he was doing taking a corner is beyond me? What is the French for get in the box, Thierry?


Sibierski – 6/10 (on for Macca)
I’d give this guy a chance. Didn’t set the world alight when he came on but he does look strong and has a tendency to drive forward when he gets the ball. Interestingly, look at his scoring record for the little time he’s played.

Barton – 5/10 (on for Bosvelt)
Lots of huff and puff and typical Barton commitment but too many stupid mistakes – one nearly gifted Leicester a goal. Like SWP though he’s young and learning.

Sinclair – 5/10 (on for SWP)
Disappointed – given he was brought on to his favoured right side I was hoping he would show much more promise. He didn’t and was less effective than SWP was who he replaced.

So yet another draw and the team is playing much better; there are signs that we are starting to turn the corner. Hopefully, this is a sign that we just need that little bit of luck to turn a draw to a win and the confidence will start to come back and hopefully we’ll start to climb the league and stay in the cup! Here’s to hope and 3 points against Charlton!

CTID, Rich Fenton <rich(at)>


Strikers… where do you want them when the ball is being whipped in to the box? In the penalty area, ready to strike, I would suggest. So why does our predatory poacher, our Box Fox Mr Fowler take the corners? It’s preposterous. Yesterday Robbie took 80% of the corners, only to be replaced by Anelka half-way through the second half (obviously felt left out). Wrong wrong wrong! Aside from his love of taking corners, I thought Robbie made three or four superb runs, losing his marker every time, but just didn’t get the ball played in to his feet. Can’t help thinking that Berkovic would have nailed at least one pass. We miss him badly, and for me Kevin hasn’t adequately explained his removal from the team-sheet.

Off the field I had something of a revelatory experience at half-time. I went to the bar, stood in a relaxed and orderly queue, was served quickly by a friendly member of the catering staff, who took my money and returned my change without hesitation (where was the usual look of cold fear when asked to add up the cost of a Chicken Balti, Jumbo sausage roll and two coffees?). What’s more, the Balti was perfectly heated, made for reasonably pleasant eating, and did not remove the first layer of skin from my upper palate.

Wrong wrong wrong! Part of the ritual at City is to involve oneself in an unseemly melée of flailing limbs in the desperate (and often fruitless) quest for food and drink. I returned to my seat (early) quite unnerved, and the first five minutes of the second half were lost to me as I struggled to regain my composure.

One last random thought: I can’t stop wondering how good Brainbug would sound over those belting speakers. Bring it back!

Brad Hallam <brad_hallam(at)>


City’s slump has finally registered in the latest rankings. Against the same opposition last season we gained one more point. We still have everything to play for this season, as do most teams: with half the season to run, we are 9 points off fourth place, and 3 off the relegation zone. Who knows what happens if Fowler continues his recent run of actually scoring, and the rest of the team (especially the Elk) returns to form. I see signs of returning form, but I’m having to look really hard.

In the coming month City play the following teams (last season’s points in brackets): Charlton home (3), Portsmouth away (1) and Blackburn home (3). If we take 7 points this time round, things will be looking up.

Pos     Team                    Pts    ChPts   Last
1       Manchester United       87       4       1
2       Arsenal                 79       1       2
3       Chelsea                 77      10       4
4       Birmingham              61      13      13
5       Newcastle United        60      -9       3
6       Liverpool               57      -7       5
7       Charlton Athletic       56       7      12
8       Southampton             55       3       8
9       Everton                 52      -7       7
10      Fulham                  51       3      14
11      Manchester City         50      -1       9
12      Blackburn Rovers        49     -11       6
13      Bolton Wanderers        49       5      17
14      Middlesbrough           48      -1      11
15      Aston Villa             44      -1      16
16      Portsmouth              38      -4      18
17      Tottenham Hotspur       37     -13      10
18      Leeds United            35     -12      15
19      Wolves                  31      12      20
20      Leicester City          26       0      19

How it works: Points (Pts) are calculated from last season’s totals by replacing 2002/3 results with the same results for 2003/4. Promoted sides take the results of the respective relegated sides: Portsmouth (champions) take West Ham’s (18th), Leicester (2nd) take West Brom’s (19th), and Wolves, Sunderland’s (20th). The ChPts (change points) column shows how the points total compares with last season. The Last column indicates last season’s finishing spot.

Rob <rob.martil(at)>


So, we reach the January transfer window, who are we going to buy? Obviously a goalkeeper has to be brought in, but the one position we desperately need to fill, is the one of captain of our beloved team.

Sylvain Distin is not a captain, and would probably be one of those players that benefited from having the burden of captaincy removed from him (remember, he was our player of the year last year?).

The one thing about the Liverpool game that sticks out in my mind, is the corner that led to Liverpool’s first goal. Just before it was taken, the Dunnymonster was on the far post, he saw that El Djouf was stood on the penalty spot without a City defender within 3yards, ran across to mark him, and the rest is history. A corner against us is almost as bad as a penalty kick, and God help us if we have to defend a free kick from either side of the 18 yard box!

At the moment, Stuart Pearce in a wheelchair would be one of the first names on my team list; he wouldn’t have to kick a ball, but his gob and leadership would be invaluable to this team.

Someone in this edition of McV mentions Dunny as a future captain. No chance; I have always like Richard as a player, and even more so at the moment, but good players don’t always make good captains, and sometimes, making the wrong player captain of a team can turn a good player into a bad one, and Richard is too quiet. Joey Barton has got “future captain” written all over him, but the emphasis is on “future”, let’s not kill the golden goose.

In the bad old days, when we bought Andy Morrison, we didn’t just buy a centre back, we bought an inspiration for the team, someone that drove the team, and organized the defence, and if we are not to slip into obscurity again, then we need to find that sort of person again.

It’s not a coincidence that all great teams have a really strong character at the heart of their defence or midfield.

Is it a coincidence that the only player at the Swamp that can get away with writing a controversial book, is the only one that doesn’t get the Taggart boot up the a**e, and gets sent to sunnier climes?

No, because whatever overpaid twinkletoes that gets brought into that team, knows that there is only one boss on the pitch.

I really don’t know where to look for this player that we need, maybe other readers have suggestions, but we need him quick.

So, if there are any Mike Doyles, Roy Pauls, Andy Morrisons, Stuart Pearces out there, then please form an orderly queue at KK’s door, on second thoughts, don’t form an orderly queue, kick the bloody door down!

Phil <XPHILLEE(at)>


What if we had kept Goater and Huckerby instead of buying Fowler? What if we had kept playing Berkovic?

We would have saved a load of cash and wages and I think we would have and attack to scare the lot of them – let’s face it – we need someone to rule midfield and look up and create, we also need some one to run at their defence, which often takes away two defenders to try to deal with it and finally we need a finisher. Fowler has had his day. I believe that The Goat could have put in many a half chance that Fowler has either squandered or not even attempted.

Also we need players who want to play for the club and for the fans (and all the above did want to).

Bring back the Goat!

Richard Stoodley <richard(at)>


What joy to read the Christmas issue. Some want KK out, some want him in. Some aren’t sure. And we’ve all got opinions on who should and shouldn’t be in the team. That’s the way it should be and that’s the way it always will be.

So to Dave Sterret, MCIVTA 979 – I’ll say my opinion whether it agrees with you or not. Life would be extremely dull if we all agreed on everything. I’ll support this club no matter what and cheer those players on every week like I always do. Do not tell me to stay away.

And I suggest you go back and read the article and maybe then you’ll realise it is constructive and not hysterical. And if journalists from other papers and readers on here agree with me then maybe it’s worth thinking about. I admit it doesn’t necessarily make me right. But don’t knock it.

And to everybody who believes KK has turned this club around, I would like to say you are right. He has turned us round from a financially well-managed club under David Bernstein, into a club with a chairman that makes Peter Ridsdale look like Arkwright. And so from a peak of ninth last year we are headed back to Division One and financial oblivion. Don’t get me wrong. I love our new stadium and think we have some great players. I just wish we owned the stadium and could afford the players. But what the hell. That’s what being a City fan is all about. It’s what you sign up to from birth and I’ll be there through thick and thin as always.

I’ll stick to my guns. KK must go. And do not say “who are we going to get!” There are managers out there. Whether here or abroad. People had never heard of Wenger or Ranieri before. Curbishley was a nobody before Charlton. And Spurs are after Mancini so there is hope for us! And yes I agree we need stability. But there’s no point having stability with an incompetent manager.

Anyway. Here’s to two wins on the trot for the first time this season…

Marc <mstarbuck(at)>


Maybe there is good reason to knock KK; whilst we know that you don’t get anywhere changing your manager every time results go against you, the same could be said for changing your team selection.

Sibierski comes on against Leeds, does the business and next game? When will KK pick the same team more than once? Also when will he start to give us some solutions to our complaints about the football? This man wears his heart on his sleeve, well let’s hear it from him just like he did for the Geordies when he sold Cole.

Come on Kev what do you think is wrong?