Newsletter #1063

Sarah’s news tonight on potential January transfer targets, reviews on Chelsea, injuries and players to watch. We have a report on the reserves’ latest win thanks to Gav, more views of the Chelsea game and opinion on pricing, positive attitudes and the young guns.

Sunday sees us away to Newcastle, and for those with access to foreign satellite TV, the game is due to be shown live on “Sportmania” channel.

Next game: Newcastle United, away, 3pm Sunday 24 October 2004


City aim for Finnish (striker) ahead of Birmingham: Both City and Birmingham are watching 21 year old Njazi Kuqi (younger brother of Ipswich striker, Shefki Kuqi) after the striker impressed for his country’s under-21 side. It is reported that his current club, Lahti would accept £550,000, although City do have Bradley Wright Phillips waiting for his chance. Another of City’s former targets, Swiss defender Stephane Henchoz, could be back on the shopping list in January, as Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez has confirmed he may be available.

The Goat suffers injury setback: City favourite Shaun Goater, who has been fighting for his place in the Reading line-up, suffered further disappointment when he had to be withdrawn with a calf problem against Leeds. Goater has only started twice this season, though he has six substitute appearances and a goal to his name too.

Big Joe back… As Stockport County’s new goalkeeping coach. Joe Corrigan, a firm favourite with the City fans, was at the club from 1966 until 1983, during which time he was player of the year three time, ’76, ’78 & ’80. Joe left City for the States to play for the Seattle Sounders, but after only a season the whole league folded and Joe returned to England. While playing for Brighton, Joe suffered an injury that was to end his career and went into coaching – most recently having worked with Liverpool. The former City custodian phoned the club when he heard that Houllier had been dismissed by Liverpool and that Peter Bonetti had just left City – but Flowers had already been appointed. Joe, who previously worked with the current City No.1 at Liverpool, now spends two days a week coaching Stockport, two with Chester and two with Liverpool’s academy players.

Bischoff’s season takes off: City’s on-loan defender made his début in Wolves’ 1-0 defeat to Forest on Friday, and then bounced back to help keep a clean sheet against Derby on Tuesday.

He’ll be back: KK is confident that David James will soon be back as custodian for England. James, who was dropped after England’s disappointing performance against Austria, was once again in superb form against Chelsea on Saturday. Moreover, the Boss believes that a player with James’ athleticism and temperament will soon be back.

No Way, Jose: … will you be as popular as Ranieri, claims Kevin Keegan, but as he admits, popularity doesn’t win you titles. Speaking before Saturday’s victory, KK contrasted Mourinho’s brash approach with Ranieri’s ‘tinkering’. Chelsea’s new manager has drawn criticism for his perceived negative approach, and his criticism of other Premiership clubs’ approach, but if Chelsea end the season with silverware, he will have answered those critics in the best way possible. After the match though, KK claimed that Mourinho would be good for the Premiership, displaying a confidence and a belief in his way, and demonstrating good sportsmanship when his team lost (though in true Wenger/Ferguson tradition he still didn’t see the foul/penalty/sending off offence!).

The untouchables… Or as we know them, our next opponents in the Carling Cup. Kevin Keegan is quoted as saying that he ‘doesn’t think anyone in this country is close to Arsenal at the moment’ – are you listening Sir Alex?

Sun sets for City: The cloud on the horizon after Saturday was the injury to Sun Jihai. Sun will be out for up to a year after damaging the ligaments in his left knee. The City defender has damaged both medial and cruciate ligaments and has undergone a series of investigations this week to assess the extent of the damage. Sun went down in a challenge with Gujohnsen, two minutes before half time. The Chinese international’s contract is up at the end of the season and KK hopes that the board will recognise the huge contribution that Sun has made to Man City and will ‘do the right thing’. However, money is still something of a sore point for the Blues, who are due to confirm their overall debt (including ‘soft loans’ from Wardle & Makin) has exceeded £50 million.

£250,000 a minute… Robbie Fowler’s 2 minute substitute appearance for City on Saturday took the player’s total appearances to 60 and cost the club a further £500,000 payment to Leeds.

The boy Dunne good: And hopes to stay at Manchester City when the time comes to discuss a new contract. Richard Dunne fell foul of KK two years ago when he arrived in a dishevelled state for training. KK was only persuaded not to sack the Irish defender by the intervention of the PFA, but Dunne has since turned him into one of the most determined and valuable members of the squad. Part of the agreement that KK made was that if Dunne could show he deserved it, KK would offer the player a new contract this Christmas. And when that contract is offered Dunne has revealed that he will not hesitate to sign as he would dearly love to stay at City.

‘I’m gunning for Arsenal’: Antoine Sibierski’s ambition is to win silverware with City and he sees Arsenal as being the next club in the firing line. Having won the French Cup twice, the former Lens and Auxerre player now wants a trophy from this country to add to his collection. Moreover, City’s recent form and the 7-1 thrashing of Barnsley in the Carling Cup’s last round can only serve to give the versatile player hope that he may well achieve his wish, this season.

Onuoha – you heard it here first: KK is backing 18 year old defender, Nedum Onuoha to be the next big thing to come from City’s Academy. Onuoha, who was on the bench against Chelsea on Saturday, has impressed the Boss since he first invited him to train with the squad at Carrington. He is strong, quick and athletic (in fact he used to run the 100m for Manchester) and all he needs now is the right experience (he was also a big hit with the younger contingent of the City faithful when he accompanied Sylvain Distin to the Junior Blues’ meeting on Sunday). Another youngster waiting for his chance to shine is Jonathan D’Laryea who has been in impressive form for the reserves and who has also been invited to train with the first team squad.

Sinclair returns to training: Good news for City’s beleaguered midfield – Trevor Sinclair resumed training this week and may be fit enough to travel to St James’ Park on Sunday. The former England international has spent four weeks out with a knee problem, but he will hopefully be back in the team again soon.

Thatcher Out: Ben Thatcher, the Wales and Manchester City defender, could face a two-match ban after Poland forwarded a video to FIFA that they allege shows him stamping on an opponent. The 29 year old left back is accused of stamping on Polish defender Kosowki during the World Cup qualifier at the Millenium stadium.

UEFA Final for CoMS? Following the successful hosting of England’s pre-Euro 2004 games, CoMS has been put forward by the FA as potential host stadium for the 2006 or 2007 UEFA Cup Final.

Sarah Longshaw <editor(at)>


City returned from the midlands more successfully than they did last month at Birmingham, when they ran out worthy winners to record a sixth straight victory and send them five points clear at the top of the reserve league. Jonathan D’Laryea’s first half close range goal was cancelled out by Macedonian international Artim Sakiri’s twenty five yard free kick. But two second half goals from Christian Negouai and Stephen Ireland left the Blues with a happy trip back up the M6.

City started the game stronger with more movement and purpose about their play as their far younger legs moved around West Brom’s older and more experienced team, who were a yard off City’s pace. So it was no surprise to see City take the lead on six minutes when a deep cross was headed back into the six yard area by Negouai and Wright-Phillips tried an acrobatic backward shot that cannoned off a West Brom defender to the feet of D’Laryea, who duly smashed the ball into the roof of the net.

A minute later, a long ball over the top by Stephen Jordan found Negouai free to run at goal, but he couldn’t find the target with his shot. It wasn’t until the tenth minute that West Brom had a shot at goal, this time from Rob Hulse, but Kevin Ellegaard in goal was equal to the task. Two minutes later Rob Hulse was denied for the second time, this time by Jordan, when he cleared Hulse’s header off the line.

It was real end to end stuff, but City were creating the better chances. The next City chance fell to Wright-Phillips, when recent first team promoted player, Nedum Onuoha, sent a long through ball for Bradley to run on to, but Polish international goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak saved well. Two minutes later it was Willo Flood’s turn to try to double City’s advantage when a neat one two run into the box with Bradley found Willo free, six yards out, but again a good save from Tomasz denied City.

On twenty three minutes West Brom equalized when Nedum, whilst trying to clear the ball, caught Sakiri, who went down easily and convinced the referee it was foul. Sakiri hit a great free kick into the bottom right corner of the goal that gave Ellegaard no chance to save.

The remainder of the half then seemed to lose its impetus for both sides as neither team provided any real quality in the final third. Indeed, such was the poor play from Lee Croft on the left, he was substituted on thirty seven minutes by Jamie Tandy to give City some natural width and pace on the left of City’s attacks.

West Brom substituted Scottish international Scott Dobie at half time and replaced him with their reserve top scorer, Rob Elvins, as Dobie had been nearly anonymous for the Baggies during the first half. But this change did little to change West Brom’s fortunes as City controlled the game with ease. Indeed, it only took City three minutes after the break to make an impact, when a half cleared long free kick fell to Jordan, who thumped it back with interest from twenty five yards and Tomasz did well to prevent our reserve captain from scoring.

Two minutes later though City took the lead for the second time in the match. The goal came from a decent cross from Tandy’s corner and Tomasz left himself in no-man’s land as Negouai rose to head to goal; the ball took a deflection on the way to goal and gave Tomasz or the other defenders no chance from stopping it cross the line.

Half way through the second period Danny Warrender and their left midfielder, Lloyd Dyer, went for a fifty fifty ball; there were some afters between the two players and both players were booked. Some minutes later, Sakiri went down from a fair challenge from Warrender, but was caught by Flood in the process of the tackle. The referee beckoned Warrender over, but fortunately for the young City right back, he received a final warning, with the vociferous home crowd baying for him to be sent off. That would have been very harsh as Sakiri was hardly touched, plus it was Flood that made the telling final contact.

A minute later a West Brom throw in fell kindly to substitute Karl Bermingham who turned sharply and released the free running Stephen Ireland into space as he beat the very slow ex-Manchester United, Ronnie Wallwork, and older brother to City’s Academy player, Kyle, to the ball. He ran to the edge of the box and struck his shot hard to the right. Tomasz saved the initial shot well but it bounced up kindly for Ireland to run onto to head home.

This result has left City with clear ground at the top of the league. With so far unbeaten reigning champions Aston Villa beaten on Tuesday night, it has left us with an outright first place and other team’s cannot now overtake us by winning their games in hand. Leagues are not won in October however, but I have yet to see a team that is capable of producing a match winning performance to beat us. So from our Super Six win, we march on, to hopefully our Magnificent Seven against Everton next Tuesday.

Ellegaard: Produced some good saves and not at fault for the goal. 8
Warrender: Needs to control his temper at times, but a good, solid defender. 7
Jordan (capt): Had a great 75 minutes but then seemed to tire, still inspirational though. 8
J D’Laryea: Worked really hard and he scored for the 2nd game running. 8
McCarthy: As solid as always, put his head there where it counts. 8
Onuoha: Got better as the game wore on. 8
Flood: Industrious as ever, unlucky not to have scored. 8
Ireland: Made things happen in midfield and scored as well. MoM. 8
Negouai: Is a constant threat to defences, who just can’t deal with his height. 8
Wright-Phillips (80): Not his best game, but still worked hard. 7
Croft (36): Disappointing display. 5
Tandy (36): Worked well down the left and help defend and create chances. 7
Bermingham (80): Help set up the goal, and carried on BWP’s good work. 6
Not Used: Schmeichel, Collins, Laird.

West Brom: Kuszczak, Contra, Robinson (Chamber 74), Hulse, Berthe, Wallwork (capt), O’Connor, Inamoto, Dobie (Elvins 46), Sakiri, Dyer.
Not Used: Miotto, Midworth, Smikle.

Att: 678.

Gavin Cooper <blueboy(at)>


Having just read some of the views in the Tuesday edition of MCIVTA, I felt the need to contribute my views, despite this only being my second game of the year:

Starting with player ratings:

James: 7 Had a very good game, did not make many mistakes, looked assured and confident. Made a couple of excellent saves.
Mills: 8 An outstanding game, looked in control at all times, and his passing was very good. Defensively solid, which is what you want!
Dunne: 8 Having been an irregular attendee for the last 3 years, I can’t quite believe that this is the same Richard Dunne as 4 years ago. Looked distinctly average in the 1st Division, and was worthy of a place in the squad then. Now, he is absolutely fantastic. Made some excellent tackles, and looked brilliantly solid.
Distin: 7 Did nothing wrong, a couple of dodgy passes in the first half, but nothing dangerous. Excellent in the air, and looked solid defensively and positionally.
Thatcher: 7 Again, poor distribution occasionally, but on the whole excellent. Looked decent up the wing as well. For the first time in a long while, we have a back four I can feel confident in, and am not nervous every time the opposing team attack.
SWP: 7 Not an outstanding game, but I think we’ve been spoilt, due to the incredible performances he’s been putting in lately. Good enough game, exciting when he got the ball, but marked very well, and did the best he could. Whenever he linked up with Anelka, you could see that they both have world class ability.
Sun Jihai: 6 Looked ok in midfield, going forward etc. but he just does not inspire confidence. Didn’t look bad, but not a great game.
Bosvelt: 4 Was unsure whether to give him 4 or 3. Absolutely atrocious. Looked off the pace, gave the ball away lots of times. Slowed the game down when we were attacking. Cannot see the value in him. I’ll be generous and put it down to an off game. But on this performance, he should be dropped from the squad, never mind the team.
Sibierski: 7 I’ve become a fan of his, looks much better this season than last. Decent game, good distribution, good in the air. Valuable asset to the team I feel.
Macken: 7 You can see how much Macken wanted a goal this game. Never gave up on anything, won plenty in the air, chased every ball, absolutely desperate for a goal, which he nearly scored. Great spirit, decent performance.
Anelka: 7 Typical Anelka game really. Looked disinterested at times, occasional flashes of brilliance. Extremely rare to make an error when he does get the ball. Such a cool head for the penalty.
Macca: 6 Head down and ran when he got the ball, at times, some good distribution, but far too much wasted opportunity. Needs match practice.
Fowler: N/A – Only on for a few minutes, unfair to give a rating.

As to the match, yes, Chelsea did dominate possession but we looked assured at the back and they rarely looked like scoring. Our back 4 was simply awesome. We looked good enough in midfield, stifled them, and we played well today and gelled. A great performance, and a great match.

Great humour as well, with the crowd thinking as one, chanting ‘sit down, Mourinho’ and every time he lifted his arms, the City fans taking the p**s. Had me laughing, pure genius!

Great atmosphere, great match.

Jon Abel <Jonabel(at)>


First time I’d managed to go to see City in over a year. What a game to come back to! Truth is, going into the game I feared the worst. Though City always seem to play better against the so called “better teams”, there’s always the day when we just get thumped. Thankfully Saturday wasn’t one of them.

Teams lined up pretty predictably given injuries and suspensions. Glad to see that Chelsea were without Drogba. Also glad to see so many youngsters in City’s squad. Though it’s worrying in terms of experience, it’s refreshing that we may be about to get a City team of “City people” even though they are far more diverse in background than Lake, Redmond, White, Brightwell, Hinchcliffe and co.!

City got the early break that we all hoped for, a laughable slip by Gallas let Bosvelt clip the ball over the top and Anelka was brought down. Though contact was outside the box initially, the Chelsea player did seem to push Anelka as they entered the box. Cool finish. City one up. Following this, Chelsea dominated possession for the whole game basically, not always due to their skill. City had a horrible tendency at times to just give it straight back, but then minutes later show coolness and calm and play the ball around. Oh for consistency! James made some good saves and there were some comical moments to break the inevitable tension that clung to the game.

James saved the ball via Kezman’s groin (players always react very slowly to such an impact!), Gudjohnson then immediately fell over trying to keep the ball in. The best moment had to be when Cech kicked the ball straight into touch, Morinho was less than impressed and flung his arms in the air. Every time he then emerged, City fans did likewise, as they did whenever Cech went to get the ball from the crowd. Excellent.

Atmosphere was much better than I’d anticipated after all the talk. Blue Moon made regular appearances as did all the other classics. Good to see. All in all a good evening out. Stadium is fantastic.

Ed Bodey <edbodey(at)>


Thank you Rich Fentor for sounding a voice of right reason.

I too used to be a “Kippax” located fan and, ensuring that I was properly sited vis a vis a barrier to counteract the sway, never enjoyed my football so much. I did finally defect to a season ticket in H Stand but, despite the assurance of Cup Final etc. tickets, the atmosphere was never the same. I’m sure that these sentiments are true for many thousands of fans. I emigrated to Canada in 1973 and if memory serves, my last season ticket cost me £15 – yes, for a season ticket!

I was “privileged” during a visit to the UK last season to watch, for the princely sum of £28, the Trotters unlucky to draw Arsenal 2-2. Nice stadium, all power to Big Sam for his economical buys and “lend-leases”, which must have contributed to the ticket price, but who can afford to take his children on a regular basis?

A large portion of the ticket costs has certainly been sucked-up by stadium enhancements. However, this is nowhere near the obscene salaries and signing/transfer fee payments now paid. I know all the self-serving arguments made vis a vis the short life of a current professional, but I worked 45 years for what the current set of prima donnas can accumulate in two or three years. Needless to say, True Blue fan and overall avid football nut that I am I even applaud the efforts of Alan Smith for the Rags and that’s got to tell you something! I wouldn’t be caught dead regularly paying to attend matches, even if I had that privilege.

Peter Murphy – Kanata, Ontario, Canada <pdmurphy(at)>


I have had loads of stuff from City supporters about the ticket pricing problem, so thanks to all who replied. At the moment it looks like something should be going in the Observer on Sunday about this.

Thanks again, Will Hawkes <willhawkes(at)>


It’s a joke, the game’s money is out of control and something has to be done. For the price of a Chelsea and Birmingham ticket I can get a holiday off teletext, what’s going on?

After a lot of feedback, a few of us from “City Till I Cry”, the AAG, are having a meeting to see if we can do anything positive about this bad trend (on a home match day 3 hours before the match). Before that, we need all fans from all walks of life to give us their views and support. We are going to discuss the possibility of forming a City Fans’ Union, inviting all Blues’ organisations, CSA etc., supporters’ clubs from all over the country (as well as the fan in the street) to have like 12 City MPs. The 12 would then vote for a chairman who represents the feelings of all Blues’ feelings of current issues.

Nothing against Dave Wallace KotK (I think he’s a top bloke and has my upmost respect) but he is always on Sky when anything major happens representing the fans? We need a union with a party of fans and a chairman. Dave Wallace would probably get a lot of votes and be a contender for Chairperson, but we need at least 12 people representing everywhere and everyone so the feedback can be correct and unanimous. Think how much money you put into the game in your lifetime. It’s close to £500,000 if you’re a regular and go for 25 years yet what say do you have on prices, safe standing, appointments? Class yourself as a major shareholder because you are. and together we can all do something that gets noticed. But we need to be together.

Anyone interested in getting their voice or opinion across or involved mail me or go on the message board at, or keep your eyes out for the next issue of City Till I Cry.

I haven’t got a problem with City, it’s football in general, it’s losing its roots and City are like a child following the pied piper into the river to drown.

Atmosphere Action Group <actionmcfc(at)>


Since that awful display against Everton in the League, City have really changed their ways after a lot of the fans complained that the team lacked any real commitment or fighting spirit, which was never shown on that day.

We have seen a big change; it started at Crystal Palace with the away 2-1 win. Now City must continue with the fighting spirit that Kevin Keegan has instilled into his players. Danny Mills and Ben Thatcher have really been the key to the defence playing better, along with the improved form and understanding of each other by Dunne and Distin in central defence. Tactics also appear to have been changed by Kevin Keegan; the all out attack now has a more cautious approach, but I don’t think City will ever lose KK’s attacking appetite.

The win over Chelsea will have given all the players the confidence they needed, the morale in the camp is now high.

Our first team squad might be low in numbers, but we have the best reserves in the country who are now five points clear at the top of the reserves division; a few of these players will soon be making it into the first team.

Kevin Keegan has the right ideas by not rushing them, the timing of their first games must give the younger players more confidence to continue on the right path to top flight football. Only the very best will make it out of the reserves; we must not let the best escape to other clubs. The future suddenly appears even more heart warming.

Some of the readers might recall a few weeks ago I made comments that the City team should watch the movie “Miracle” so as to get positive attitudes. Last night in Baseball the Boston Red Sox (who had not beaten the New York Yankees to get to the World Series since 1918 – they all said there was a curse on them – sounds familiar the Gypsies of Maine Road curse), who had lost the first three games, and only had to lose one more and be out of it, came back, won four games in a row, winning the final game 10-3. The secret to their comeback was revealed this morning: the team all sat down together and watched the movie “Miracle”, which is about the comeback of the USA hockey team in the Olympics against all the odds versus Russia (a different sport to Football and to Baseball).

If the City team have not had the opportunity to see “Miracle”, it still will not hurt, it will make a team play so much more for each other with enthusiasm. Of course we saw City do just that against Chelsea; let’s just keep it going.

Come on you Blues! Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)>


I hope young Daniel Sturridge turns out well but I’ll just offer a word of caution. I well remember when England schoolboy Paul Rideout scored a hat trick against Scotland (1980?) and was so much better than anyone on the pitch it wasn’t even close. Had a decent career, scored the winner in an FA Cup final I believe but at the time the 16 year old was thought to be the next great youngster. Sometimes I think the kids that are brilliant at 16 have a harder time succeeding than those that make the grade at 21 or so. It all comes so easy to the youngsters and then are not prepared for the hard graft to make it at the highest level. There are exceptions of course, Owen, Rooney but far more England schoolboys fail to make the grade than those that do.

Wallace Poulter <Wpoulter(at)>


Take a look at the Bundesliga at the moment and you’ll notice Hamburg are languishing at the bottom of the league. Let’s hope this great run continues and they go down so we can try and prise van Buyten off them on the cheap next summer.

Barry Barton <B.barton(at)>


Firstly, we have moved from the Northenden Social Club and now have our meetings upstairs at Rafters Wine Bar, Palatine Road, Northenden. We hold our meeting on the 1st Monday of the month unless a game is on.

The November meeting will see Brian Horton and Ian Brightwell at Rafters; this meeting will be on the 8/11/2004 because of the Norwich match. The December meeting should see Tony Book visiting us.

Peter Gregory <peteblue1(at)>


18 October 2004

Portsmouth            1 - 0  Tottenham Hotspur     20,121

League table to 20 October 2004 inclusive

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F   A   GD Pts
 1 Arsenal          9  4  1  0 17  6  4  0  0 12  2  8  1  0  29   8  21  25
 2 Chelsea          9  3  1  0  4  1  3  1  1  4  1  6  2  1   8   2   6  20
 3 Everton          9  3  0  2  5  6  3  1  0  5  1  6  1  2  10   7   3  19
 4 Bolton Wndrs     9  3  2  0  9  4  1  1  2  5  7  4  3  2  14  11   3  15
 5 Middlesbrough    9  2  1  1  6  5  2  1  2 10  7  4  2  3  16  12   4  14
 6 Manchester Utd   9  2  2  0  5  3  1  3  1  4  4  3  5  1   9   7   2  14
 7 Liverpool        8  3  0  0  8  1  1  1  3  6  7  4  1  3  14   8   6  13
 8 Newcastle Utd    9  2  1  1  8  4  1  3  1  9 10  3  4  2  17  14   3  13
 9 Tottenham H.     9  1  2  1  2  2  2  2  1  3  2  3  4  2   5   4   1  13
10 Charlton Ath.    9  3  2  0  7  2  0  1  3  2 13  3  3  3   9  15  -6  12
11 Manchester City  9  2  1  2  6  3  1  1  2  3  4  3  2  4   9   7   2  11
12 Portsmouth       8  3  1  1  9  6  0  1  2  3  5  3  2  3  12  11   1  11
13 Aston Villa      9  2  2  0  7  3  0  3  2  4  9  2  5  2  11  12  -1  11
14 Birmingham City  9  1  3  1  4  4  0  2  2  3  5  1  5  3   7   9  -2   8
15 West Brom A.     9  1  4  0  5  4  0  1  3  3  9  1  5  3   8  13  -5   8
16 Fulham           9  2  0  3  5  9  0  2  2  5  8  2  2  5  10  17  -7   8
17 Norwich City     9  0  3  1  4  7  0  3  2  3  7  0  6  3   7  14  -7   6
18 Blackburn R.     9  1  3  1  5  8  0  0  4  2 10  1  3  5   7  18 -11   6
19 Southampton      9  1  1  2  5  6  0  1  4  1  6  1  2  6   6  12  -6   5
20 Crystal Palace   9  1  0  3  4  7  0  2  3  4  8  1  2  6   8  15  -7   5

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1063