Newsletter #1075

Tonight sees a match report thanks to our roving reserve watcher Gavin, news from Don on injury progress for Weaver and Jihai, and KK’s latest thoughts on our squad and future.

We have plenty of opinion on the Anelka debate, the Academy reaping rewards and the usual requests.

Next game: Middlesbrough, away, 8pm Monday 6 December 2004 (TV)


General News

Euro 2005 Dates Announce: What do you mean, you didn’t know that there was a Euro 2005? The North West is staging the women’s Euro 2005 competition next summer, and England will kick off the tourney with a game at our own CoMS on June 5. Other games will be played at Blackburn, Preston, Blackpool and Warrington. UEFA president Lennart Johansson said: “I am sure that the FA and the North West region will deliver a highly professional event.” [Thanks to P.Leia for that item]

Changed for TV: City fans not wishing to pay exorbitant prices at Stamford Bridge in the New Year may like to know that the Blues’ visit to Chelsea has been put back 24 hours to allow Sky TV to show the game live. The new date is Sunday February 6, kick-off 4.05pm. And City fans travelling to the Riverside next Monday for City’s game with the ‘Boro – now hear this. Don’t enjoy yourself too much next Monday, ‘cos you could be ejected for standing up too much. Middlesbrough Council have sent a warning to the club about upstanding fans, leading CoMS stadium manager to comment this week: “Persistent standing during matches is a hot topic in football at the moment and the Football Licensing Authorities are cracking down on clubs whose supporters continue to ignore ground and safety regulations. It is imperative that our fans travelling to this, or indeed any fixture, give a good account of the club and comply with all safety requirements.” Remember this is the ground where a home spectator had his season ticket confiscated for daring to snooze during a match. So stay awake and alert, and hope for a 0-0!

Reserves go Top: The Reserves bounced back to the summit of their division following a fine 3-0 away victory at Newcastle this week. All the goals came in the second half, thanks to efforts from Christian Negouai, Bradley Wright-Phillips and a Newcastle own goal.
Team: Ellegaard, Warrender (N D’Laryea 79), Collins, J D’Laryea, McCarthy, Onuoha, Bennett, Ireland, Negouai, B Wright-Phillips (Bermingham 81), Laird. Subs: Schmeichel, Lee-Matthews, C Logan.

That’s Rich! FourFourTwo magazine has put together a “Football Rich List”, with help from the folk who compile the Sunday Times’ annual Rich List. They have produced two league tables – one for football’s richest player, and the other for the richest manager. Goldenballs, Dennis Bergkamp and Michael Owen are the top 3 players, but who’s this in at number 4, allegedly worth a cool £28 million? It’s our own reborn super striker Robbie Fowler no less. He is therefore ahead of a clutch of Reds, namely Rio Ferdinand, Ryan Giggs and Roy Keane, worth a measly £20 million each. Meanwhile KK features in the top 5 richest managers – he is joint third, with a fortune of £7 million, alongside Arsene Wenger, but behind Sir Redface and Sven Goran Eriksson. A FourFourTwo spokesman said: “The list was compiled using established methods of calculating business values and individual wealth but, naturally, there is an element of estimation because people are reluctant to open their bank accounts for examination.”

Transfer News and Gossip

Resist, Kev, Resist! As SWP’s form gets better and better, so the speculation about his future heats up. KK says that he’s determined to keep Sweep at the club after he scored in the home win over Aston Villa. “Shaun’s just signed for four years – he loves it here and the fans love him, why should anything happen? People think two or three clubs can get anything, whoever they want – but I’d resist it. Shaun sets a good example. He’s very fit, very dedicated and has a hunger,” added Keegan. The News of the World reckons that Newcastle are set to launch an £8 million bid for him. File that under “Dream On, Geordies!” One of KK’s “two or three clubs” might also be hovering in the background. According to a Chelsea fans’ website, Jose Mourinho has ordered a complete dossier including full lifestyle on SWP. Apparently Chelsea are ready to launch a £15 million bid when the January transfer window opens.

Don’t Nick Nic! Ho hum. Another transfer window approaches, so the stories of Nicolas Anelka’s departure begin again. Barcelona are said to be keen to sign a replacement for the injured Henrik Larsson and may try to persuade City to part with Anelka with a £8 million bid in the transfer window. The return to Liverpool has been touted again this week, with the press pointing out that with Djibril Cisse and Milan Baros both sidelined, the Red Scousers are becoming increasingly goal-shy. KK ain’t having it, though: “There has been talk of us having to sell our best players before we can bring others in but selling anybody would be suicidal,” he said. “Nicolas is not a player I want to lose. He is not a player I would allow to leave. He still has a contract here for another two seasons after this. If we were coming in to the last year of his contract and we had a really good offer then we would be crazy to turn it down. It is essential that we bring in another couple of players during the January transfer window although it is going to be difficult because of the financial situation.”

No Threats: The Manager has warmed to the theme of bringing in reinforcements in to the club come January. KK is convinced he needs some cash to bring in new faces to cover for the long-term absences of Jihai Sun, Trevor Sinclair and Mikkel Bischoff, plus the more short-term injuries to Ben Thatcher, Claudio Reyna and Steve McManaman. “All I have done is outline what the situation is, it is up to the board to react to it,” said Keegan. “If they choose not to and it goes pear-shaped because we run out of players, at least I will have warned them. The chairman and myself have a terrific relationship and this is not a threat, I have just told them honestly what my concerns are. The board run this football club and they have to manage it the way they think. All I know is if there is no money, there are no real Bosmans in January either.”

Ex-Blues’ News

Baggie Joe: Joe Corrigan’s a busy boy at the moment – having worked as a goalkeeping coach at Stockport and Chester already this season, Big Joe has now been appointed in a similar rôle at West Bromwich Albion. Bryan Robson, the new Baggies’ boss, has brought in the one time England international as goalkeeping coach as replacement for the now departed Fred Barber. “I feel it is important the club’s goalkeeping coach travels with us on a match day,” said Robson. “That is something Fred could not do due to his commitments at Bolton, and that’s why we’ve brought Joe in. He has an excellent reputation within the game. You’ve got to be good at your job if you’ve been the Liverpool goalkeeping coach for as long as he was.”

The Great Bert: And speaking of goalkeepers – legendary City shot stopper Bert Trautmann was guest of honour at City’s game with Aston Villa at the weekend. He was there to be inducted into City’s Hall of Fame, having been voted the Blues’ best player of all time (I think that’s what the announcer said, anyway!) The 81-year-old missed the inaugural gala dinner in January because he was recovering from an operation. Bert played over 500 games for City, including the 1956 Cup Final which he finished having fractured a bone in his neck. He was recently been made an OBE.

Blackburn Beware: Is Steve Howie after an unwanted treble? Having played in City’s side relegated in 2001, and Leicester’s doomed team last term, the former City defender is training with struggling Blackburn Rovers at the moment. The 33-year-old defender joined Bolton from Leicester last season but left at the end of the campaign. Howie has returned from a spell playing in the American MLS and is now working with Mark Hughes’ squad.

Taxi for… There’s been a couple of managerial casualties involving former Blues players recently. Alan Kernaghan was Assistant Manager to Allan Preston at SPL side Livingston, until both were relieved of their duties. The pair were dismissed after a run of seven straight defeats left them bottom of the Bank of Scotland Premier League and out of the CIS Insurance Cup. Kernaghan, who played 78 games for the Blues in the inglorious 1993-1997 period, had rejected the opportunity to speak to Inverness Caledonian Thistle earlier this month to stay with Livi. Good call, Al. And lower down football’s food chain, Kevin Langley has quit as manager of non-league Congleton Town. Langley played a handful of games on loan for City in the Imre-Banana relegation season of 86-87, and has quit the Cheshire club in order to concentrate on his increasing commitments to another of his former league clubs, Wigan Athletic (Thanks Ralph).

Reactions and Comments

Maestro Shaun: On Saturday evening the Blues, inspired by a stunning performance by Shaun Wright Phillips, beat fifth placed Aston Villa at the CoMS. City found themselves in the unusual position of being two up at half-time, thanks to goals from Jonathan Macken and a 25 yard left foot howitzer of a shot from SWP. “You almost run out of things to say about him,” said KK of the mini maestro, adding that if the net hadn’t been there for Shaunie’s goal, someone might have been killed! “He must have learned how to hit shots like that since training yesterday because I have never seen him hit a left-foot shot like that before. Last season, the one complaint we had about him was that he didn’t score enough goals but he is starting to address that now. I truly don’t think there is a better player in the world right now at doing what Shaun does. His balance makes him so special, you think he is going to fall over sometimes but he just keeps going. It is only a matter of time until he gets into the England starting side and when he does, no-one will get him out because he will give them an extra dimension.” Shaun was his usual modest self. “My form is only like this because of the players I play with – without them it wouldn’t be capable. It was a terrific team performance – we all worked well and kept the ball when we needed to and played with a high tempo when we needed to. It goes to show how much team spirit we’ve got – we’ve been working hard on and off the pitch, mingling together. We’re unbeaten in five Premiership games now, so we’re moving in the right direction.” David James, who saved a late penalty from Juan Pablo Angel, hailed Wright-Phillips. He said: “He was like lighting the Christmas lights today – he was electric, absolutely tremendous.” James continued: “It was an eventful game – we looked lively and continued our form from the last four or five games. At home we’ve not given the fans what they want with victories – we’ve had a few disappointing draws at home. But today was all round good. From our team it was plusses all the way round – we’re happy.” On the penalty he added: “I would question whether it was a penalty – but I was due a penalty save, it’s been a long time since my last one. I had half a feeling where he was going to put it and left my dive as late as I could – and for him (Angel) to put the rebound over was nice. Aston Villa’s frustration was boiling over because they weren’t getting through – we got off to a good start and stuck at it really. We’re hoping to be in the top half at the end of the season – we’ve got a good spirit and we’re working hard.”

Proud of the Team: KK thought that the team had played well as a unit. “As a manager you want competition for places,” Keegan said. “My team over the past few weeks has been far too easy to pick. It has almost picked itself, yet we have got some good results. The front two did tremendously well against Villa and deserve to stay in. I was really proud of all the team and I haven’t said that too many times this year. I was proud of them at Portsmouth and again against Villa. I thought they put together all the things you need to win a football match. There was hard work, the front two especially. No one worked harder than Jon Macken and Robbie Fowler and that gave us a base to get everyone else working for the cause. On top of that we defended well when we had to and we also played some good football. I suppose the only thing we could have done better was that in the second half we got in some great situations but didn’t make the most of them.” And winning back-to-back games for the first time in 18 months was a welcome bonus. “Confidence is a great thing in any sport, as it is in life,” he added. “If you are confident then you make the right decisions. It is a major part in football, especially in young players. Just look at the way Stephen Jordan has taken his chance in the first team, he looks at home and is playing with great assurance, as is Nedum Onuoha. Nobody is more pleased than me to finally get those back-to-back wins. If a manager goes 18 months without achieving that and he is still in a job then he is very lucky.” Villa boss David O’Leary acknowledged his team’s shortcomings on the day. “We just weren’t on our game today”, he said. “The better team won. We’ve done very well recently, but just weren’t at the races and that’s disappointing. We were better in the second half, but didn’t really test David James enough. We just have to bounce back quickly.”

But Me no Butts: Much of the after-match press coverage concerned Lee Hendrie’s red card on 87 minutes, after a confrontation with Danny Mills. David O’Leary urged referee Mike Riley to reconsider his decision as TV replays showed that there was no contact between the players. “Mike Riley is a good referee and I have asked him to look at it again,” confirmed O’Leary. “Hopefully, he will be brave enough to admit he got it wrong. Players like Danny Mills and Lee Hendrie are always going to be in the mix of things but there was no contact and if we are starting to send people off for making gestures, there are not going to be too many players left at the end of the game. I am disappointed with Lee for making the gesture but I have to stand up for him as well, and I don’t think he deserved to get sent off.” KK said: “Danny said he just stood his ground. and Lee Hendrie said ‘I haven’t done anything’ so that’s all I know. We don’t see a lot where we are – and my eyes are going.” Villa pleadings were in vain – Hendrie lost his appeal against his sending off and will now serve an automatic three-match ban. Hendrie could also face further punishment this week after being charged by the Football Association with improper conduct for failing to leave the pitch promptly.

Squad News

We’ve Got the Power: In the M.E.N. this week, David James says that the Blues should aim for a UEFA slot in the league this season. “Realistically we have got to be looking for the bottom end of the UEFA Cup places,” he says. “There are a lot of very good teams out there and it would be foolish to say that we could go for the Champions’ League. The UEFA Cup has to be our goal. If you don’t set goals, you just end up drifting on through the season and that is no good for the players and it is no good for the fans either.” James also gives an insight into the new training techniques in use this season. On a personal level, KK has allowed the shot-stopper to use a psychologist as part of his training routine. DJ has used the powers of Keith Power in his pre-match build up for many years. Apparently Jammo has to “visualise certain situations that may happen in matches”. James also thinks that the away day bonding sessions have proved useful for the squad. “As a manager, Kevin is becoming more experienced and more trusting in new techniques that other teams use regularly and benefit from,” said James. “He’s said ‘we are going down this road’ and the improvements are there for all to see. I took part in the white water rafting but there have been other events while I have been away on England duty and I think you can see as a team that we have grown. Defensively we understand each other. We know each other as people and not just footballers now. Pre-season was important because we got to know each other and there is a lot better feeling and atmosphere around the place. I can consider psychology as just an important part of my training as technical, physical and dietary. I believe experience has helped me out and I feel a lot more rounded. I’m enjoying my football.”

Mending Well: Sun Jihai has begun the long march to recovery after successfully undergoing surgery on his knee-ligament injury. The China international defender has been on the sidelines since suffering medial and cruciate ligament damage in City’s home victory against Chelsea in October. Despite suggestions Jihai may have had to undergo a double operation, surgery on the injured medial ligament was not necessary. Initial repair work on the medial ligament proved sufficient and the injury is on the mend. Dr Simon Roberts, who performed the cruciate surgery, has given the 27-year-old the green light to begin his rehabilitation. Jihai has been ruled out for the remainder of the season but the club hope he will be available in time for pre-season training.

Weaver Back? KK has confirmed that Nicky Weaver will be playing for the reserves next week – although the status of the match against Liverpool has to be decided. Let Boss Man Kev explain: “Liverpool have asked for the game to be moved as they are playing on the Tuesday. They want to play it on the Thursday but I don’t as we have a game on the Saturday. That is the game we have earmarked as the one we want Nicky to come back in as he is ready now. His spirits are good. He has been a real breath of fresh air around the place and he has worked very hard. He is ready and now he needs some games. We will wait and see what happens with the Liverpool fixture. I wouldn’t be bothered if the match becomes an Academy game I will still put him in goals. It may be that we will then loan Nicky out. He will need games and he will need them at a level where he has been before. I think until Nicky Weaver gets a few games under his belt and Ronald Waterreus comes back to let us know if he is staying beyond the New Year then we have got to leave the situation as it is. We need to know too when Geert De Vlieger will be back as well as he has had a slight setback. For the moment we have to keep the five ‘keepers here and then later we can decide what we will do. Kevin Ellegaard’s agent has been talking to me about my thinking but I have told him it will be Christmas before I know what we will be doing. It may be that we put him out on loan.”

Don Barrie <News(at)>


City’s reserves got back to winning ways on their longest away fixture on a cold, late November evening at Kingston Park, the home of the Newcastle Falcons. Three second half goals from City ensured that their long drive back down the A1 was far happier, as City returned to the north west as the reserve table league leaders thanks to an own goal from Newcastle’s captain, Peter Ramage, a second from Christian Negouai, and the third from the country’s reserve top scorer, Bradley Wright-Phillips.

With the cold conditions and a rutted rugby pitch, City failed to stamp their authority on their less experienced opponents. Indeed, Newcastle took the game to City and twice hit the woodwork in the first twenty minutes with chances from Lewis Guy and Guy Bates respectively. Ellegaard did well to tip Lewis Guy’s header onto the bar.

City then had a ten minute spell where they finally started to control the game, creating a few openings for themselves. The best of these was all down to Marc Laird, who had worked hard to get himself back into the game after a nightmare first fifteen minutes where every ball that he touched seemed to cause him problems and relinquish possession. His hard work and persistence enabled him to dispossess Newcastle’s right back, Stephen Brennan. He then jinked his way clear of Ramage, but his lack of strength meant he wasn’t able to get over the ball sufficiently and consequently his shot went high over the bar from the edge of the area.

City then had two good chances within the space of a minute from Paul Collins and Wright-Phillips, where Negouai had a hand in the build up to both chances. Both efforts though were well saved by Adam Bartlett in goal.

The second half took on a much different perspective, where Newcastle’s constant chasing in the first half gave them much heavier legs in the second and allowed City more space and control of the game. Newcastle’s naïvete was City’s gain as they piled the pressure on.

It took only until the fifty-seventh minute for City’s dominance to pay off. Stephen Ireland was fouled about thirty yards from goal. He noticed some indecision in Newcastle’s organisation and promptly chipped the ball over all the players for Negouai to chase onto, but his marker, Ramage, was only able to divert the ball past Bartlett in goal with a lovely taken lob. Of course Negouai celebrated as if he had scored but it was obvious to Bernard Halford, Andrew Waldon and myself that it was an own goal.

City’s second goal came when Ireland saw Jonathan D’Laryea drift into space on the left of midfield and gave him a inch-perfect pass to push the ball past Brennan and leave him standing in his wake as he sped towards the area; he pulled his cross back well for Bradley to stab to goal but Bartlett was able to stop the effort though he was unable to prevent the rebound and Negouai ran onto the loose ball and lashed it into the bottom corner of the net.

City’s play then also visibly slowed, as they obviously knew the game was won. However, that did not stop City pressing forward when the right opportunities that were presented to them. It was such an opportunity for Wright-Phillips on seventy eight minutes, created by our starring midfield playmaker, Stephen Ireland, that put a gloss on the final result for City as Stephen’s pin-point pass into the area for Bradley, who dinked the ball over the onrushing Bartlett to score his twelfth league goal of the season.

An interesting statistic of the game was that despite the amount we pressured Newcastle throughout the game, we only won our first corner in the ninetieth minute.

City now await a decision between themselves and Liverpool as to what framework their next game takes and on what day due to Liverpool’s involvement in the Champions’ League next Tuesday. Come what may, we should see Nicky Weaver play his first competitive game for nearly a year. Interestingly, Leeds did us a favour on Tuesday evening by coming from two nil down to win three two against our title challengers Aston Villa and leave us two points clear at the top of the table.

Ellegaard: Had much more protection from the back four, but played well. 7
Warrender (79): Didn’t let anyone down and linked well with Bennett. 7
Collins: Paul played much better in his left back rôle and got forward on occasions. 7
J D’Laryea: Had a quiet opening but improved as the game wore on. 7
McCarthy (capt): Led the back line with distinction as always. 8
Onuoha: Played as well as we know he can, but marked down for needless dissent. 7
Bennett: Got some good crosses in and always gave an option. 7
Ireland: Harshly booked but walks away with my MoM yet again. Inspirational. 9
Negouai: On such a cold night he never hid and held the ball up well; a good goal too. 8
Wright-Phillips (81): Was allowed to play until he scored his contractual goal! 6
Laird: Ran his heart out caused them many problems after his early lapses. 8
N D’Laryea (79): Too late to mark.
Bermingham (81): Again too late to mark.
Not Used: Schmeichel, Lee-Matthews, C Logan.

Newcastle: Bartlett, Brennan, Cave, Ramage (capt), Edgar, Howe, Brittain (Walton 74), Webster, Bates, Guy, A O’Brien.
Not Used: Smith, Huntington, Deverdics, P O’Brien.

Att: 534

Gavin Cooper <blueboy(at)>


I’ve been doing some “weeding” and stumbled on this from January last year:

I believe strongly in the youth policy of a club. It has been a long time since anybody burst on to the scene, and I am watching players like Rooney at Everton and Mellor at Liverpool come through (etc.). So I have been following City’s reserve side home and away to see if we have any youngsters coming through.

I am glad to say that I have been very impressed by this side, in particular a couple of players. Firstly, the young Willo Flood, good solid young kid, little bit scrawny but tireless grafter and gets stuck in. Another who has impressed is Mikkel Bischoff; although this kid has had his début and was a little bit shaky, he seems to have a lot potential, he’s a big strong kid and has a good reading of the game. But the player I was most impressed with was the young skipper Joey Barton. What has this kid not got!

He can run forever and a day, he will tackle a brick wall if it’s got the ball, he can pass the ball on to a sixpence and is a leader and good organiser at such a young age. This kid just oozes class and must be better than what we have in midfield at the moment. Trust me this kid will be a big star if he’s given a chance by KK.

From Paul English

I wonder if Paul’s pleased with the progress or frustrated by the delay? The “reserves” made a massive contribution at the weekend. Four home-grown if you count Onuoha.

I watched the Villa game on TV (managed to get the whole bar clapping for Bert, which was pretty good as no-one knew who he was and the sound was turned right down). I have to say I was very impressed with Barton. Good first-time passes to someone wearing the same colour can’t be beaten. The creativity will come in time from someone who has those ball control skills, and there were signs of it on Saturday. He didn’t kick anybody either, as far as I could tell, and it was good to see that City didn’t commit many fouls, though Mills was probably lucky to get away with squaring up to Hendrie. All’s well that ends well as they say, and it was gratifying that Queudrue and Defoe also obligingly ruled themselves out of the reckoning for City’s forthcoming games against their clubs (can hardly bear to name them in the same sentence as my beloved Blues).

But back to the performance. I haven’t seen such a pleasing display for years. Distin seems to be concentrating more on defensive positioning and Jordan looks as if he has been playing in the league side for ages. In midfield, Sibierski and Bosvelt’s contributions seem to have been overlooked by most commentators, but I thought all four of the midfielders were playing out of their skins and achieved some amazing forward penetration, especially tight up against the touchlines where frequently, when it looked as if they couldn’t advance any further, suddenly they did. Not so much of the play-it-square or back-to-the-goalie stuff, thank goodness. They all got back too when we lost the ball, as did Macken and Fowler. It was great to see Robbie running instead of waddling, although I am on record as saying that his belly looks bigger than mine (to be fair, it probably isn’t, but I can still manage a turn of speed when running for the last bus).

One thing I’ve noticed several times since he joined us is that when there’s a long ball towards a spot that Fowler and an opposing but taller defender have an equal chance of reaching, the defender heads for the place where he expects the ball to land whereas Fowler runs to the place where he thinks the ball will go if the defender makes a mess of his clearance. I am well aware that he has probably been coached into applying some kind of percentage theory, but can someone explain what kind of percentage we might be looking at? It seems to me that a defender is more likely to make a mistake when under pressure, so playing for the mistake probably means that there is nobody nearby to give support and pick up the spilled balls.

Still, accentuate the positive is what I set out to do (and I think I deserve a prize for not mentioning Lord Keegan, Prince Nicolas or Tricky Dicky).

Who said City couldn’t play, City couldn’t play, City couldn’t play?
Who said City couldn’t play, City couldn’t play footba-a-all?

Chris Sawyer – Strasbourg <Christopher.Sawyer(at)>


I just want to take a few moments to talk about the kids that we have coming through the Academy at the moment. I know that we are the “kings” of false dawns, but the last team who were lucky enough to have this number of players with this sort of talent all come through at the same time managed to disprove the adage that “You’ll win nothing with kids!”

Let’s start at the top.

Shaun: He really is one of our own isn’t he, we all gaped open mouthed when he first came into the team. But I really think he is a late developer, he just seems to get better and better by the week. I said on this platform just a few weeks ago that as good as he was then, he needed to take that final step to be considered a really great player; I’m not saying that now.

Joey: 6 months ago, I would never have considered using the words controlled, composed, skilful, and Barton in the same sentence. This lad has shown me things in the last 3 months that I wasn’t sure he could achieve, and again he still has more to come.

Stephen: Let’s just hope that we are not dreaming and it’s all been a mirage, this lad has helped to make our back 4 look as impregnable as Fort Knox. To think that when he came into the team, we were apparently on our arses as far as defenders went through injury and the such. All I can say is that when Ben Thatcher gets fit again he will make a good replacement for Stephen if he gets injured, and that’s not an insult to Ben.

Nedum: He has looked very good in the reserves for a good while now. We haven’t seen much of him in the first team yet, but what we have seen is a lad who is fast, strong and always looking to Dunny and Distin to learn from them.

Willo: I remember when Shauny first came into the team, and although skilful as hell, he looked like a scrawny kid that had lost his mum. Then one summer, he went from scrawny to being like a miniature Frank Bruno. Willo has the skill, no doubt about that, and also the willingness to look to the senior players to learn. I’m sure in 12 months’ time we will be seeing a Willo Flood that is just as skilful and quick, but who isn’t so easily hustled off the ball.

If all this wasn’t enough, we have Bradley on the fringes of the 1st team, Kasper, Paddy McCarthy, the D’Laryea twins, all who have shown that they are from the same stable as the lads above.

As I said at the beginning of this, we are the Kings of the false dawn, but I feel excited to be a Blue just at the moment.

Keep the faith, Phil <XPHILLEE(at)>


Tricky one, the old “with or without Anelka” shebang.

I know I’ve argued that he’s our best player in the past and so I’m a bit biased, but my feeling is rather that we are a better side because of the other players we’ve brought back.

I also think that a player like Fowler fits in better with someone like Macken than Anelka does. But I also think that Anelka and Macken are a better match up than Anelka and Fowler, so does that make Anelka or Fowler the odd one out?

The one thing I do know is that an on-form Anelka, with an on-form Fowler and an on-form Macken can only be a good thing for all of us. Having said all of that, the most impressive thing I’ve seen this season has been the “2nd wave” of payback from the investment in the Academy. If we can bring these young lads on in the way that Keegan has with SWP and Barton then we will have some team in 3-4 years’ time. It’s good to see results of the system starting to be recognised and utilised, rather than doing what he did with Elliot or the lad who went to Preston (can’t remember his name) [Etuhu – Ed], or wasting young talent like previous managers did with players like Brown, Whitley and even purchased youngsters such as… Buster Phillips, anyone? Onuoha, Flood and Jordan look like having genuine potential, and there are others such as BWP in the wings.

Happy days around the corner methinks.

What about some sort of low-pressure Academy rôle for KK when he packs it in?

Jon Marshall <jon_g_marshall(at)>


Having watched City’s last two games without the presence of Nicolas Anelka, it has only confirmed my thoughts that City play like world beaters without him. Take for example the games from last season against Stretford United and the second half against Tottenham. Eight goals without our top scorer. Add to that 5 goals from our last two Premiership games, so it beggars the question do we really need him? Well, I feel that with his prowess and his natural quality, all of City’s attacks go through him, so he may get 15-20 goals a season but if the team can score 40 goals a season without him I think there is only one good answer: Au Revoir!

I recently read an article saying that the games that Everton played last season without Wayne Rooney they amassed about the same amount of points as they have this season; it was the games in which Shrek played that they actually lost the points.

Therefore I have come up with a cunning plan. I feel the two areas where we are in need of some quality are a quick left sided midfielder and a creative central midfielder.

If you look at the best football that we have played over the last few seasons we have always had a player in the centre of midfield whom with one pass can open up a defence and change the course of a game: Ali Benarbia, Eyal Berkovic and before them Gio Kinkladze. There are a few players out there who could be considered but I feel the best bet is Scott Parker.

Now you probably think I’m crazy, we’ll never get him, but as my father once said, if you don’t but a ticket, you won’t win the lottery. We may as well make an enquiry, you never know. This lad has a wealth of talent beyond his years, he’s strong, good in the tackle, a leader, can spread the play and make the killer pass. He was the life and soul of Charlton for two years and in moving I think he made a big mistake; he must have some ambition and he can’t be satisfied warming the bench at Chelsea week in, week out. I say we try and get him on loan until the end of the season, because I don’t think they’ll sell him.

It’s good for us because we’ve got a talented player for no fee and good for Chelsea because he’s getting first team Premiership football. Also if we did get someone like Scott Parker, it could be a good learning curve for Joey Barton as well.

As for the left side of midfield, when the Arsenal under 11’s beat us on our own turf there was a young Dutch lad called Quincy Owusu Abeyie. He was quick, skilful, a good crosser and wasn’t afraid of getting stuck in. Once again I feel we could try for him on loan, although I feel Arsene is quite reluctant to let any of his youngsters go.

I feel that Quincy would make the team more balanced, SweeP and one side and him on the other, Sibierski isn’t a left winger in anybody’s eyes.

If we are unable to get these two there are other options: Julio Arca, Wayne Routledge, Matthew Etherington and Laurent Robert wants out of the Toon to name just a few.

Finally, if we do manage to sell Anelka, with the money we have left over and providing we get a left winger and a creative midfielder we will need a replacement striker, Robbie Keane maybe or Andy Johnson for the right fee you never know.

Well anyway, that’s what I’d do. The chances of any of that coming off is slim to none as I’m like all Blues, being too optimistic.

Bring on the Boro!

CTID, Michael Ferguson <michaelferguson_4(at)>


I don’t think we’re better off without Anelka in the team. The guy who scored us over 20 goals last season and who’s our top scorer this season. Yes, results in the past two games have been good without him but I also put this down to the fact that Joey Barton has returned and given us something in the middle, which we were seriously lacking while he was injured. Anelka is a player of undoubted class who we need to keep at City. What would selling him get us? I doubt very much considering we’re up to our ears in debt and still paying off his transfer fee. Also people say he is disinterested and is out of position and plays too deep. Well whenever I see him play he puts in more effort than Fowler does, and he only goes deep to get the ball and run with it as some of the service he gets is laughable.

Anyway, keep Anelka and get him in the team for ‘Boro away!

Joe Ryding <joeryding(at)>


Anelka must stay. He and SWP are our 2 match winners. It is true that we have looked more of a team in our last 2 matches, but this is because we adopt a different style when Anelka is not there, due to the absence of pace up front.

With Fowler and Macken as a partnership, the midfield play close to the strikers and get into the box to support more. More chances are created. Also, these “team” performances have coincided with the return of Barton. He gives the whole team more balance due to his energy and drive and support of Bosvelt and the strikers.

When Anelka plays, we play a system where he is more isolated because we are hoping to exploit his pace on the break.

My argument would be to play Anelka with the current system. It is unfair on him to have to feed off scraps and he would be better than Fowler or Macken if he had the same support further up the pitch. He is sheer class and deserves to play in a system where more chances are created. His skill and pace would still pay dividends in the final third of the pitch. Having said all that it is good to see the improvements in M&F.

John Ogden <john(at)>


For the game versus Middlesbrough I feel that we should play the same team again. As the old saying goes: “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it”. The team has shown us the bonding that has been missing, they are playing with a passion not seen in some of the earlier games. It’s a team sport, everyone playing for each other with a commitment for City.

I think that Kevin Keegan has been wanting the best out of Anelka for so long knowing that he has some great individual skills, but he is not part of the bonding process. How many remember when KK took the team on a trip for bonding but Anelka took off, did not stay with the other players.

I have a good friend north of me, a true City fan, but we agree to disagree about Anelka. I have to agree that Anelka has some good footballing skills, but why did he leave Real Madrid, Arsenal and then Liverpool, all great clubs? Why would they let him go? Maybe seeing how the club are playing so well without him, Anelka might come back with a vengeance, or might go off sulking somewhere, he is so unpredictable.

We must not forget that he would have gone off to Monaco if they could have come up with the cash; he shows no loyalty. So if the right offer should come along, what would you honestly do?

I think Heidi our editor has known my feelings about Anelka for quite a while, but I would not mind being wrong if it would help City. I always have supported any player that is in the team that wears the City shirt, and always will, whoever the player is. I have never ever booed a City player and I never will, cheered yes plenty, and more to come.

The game at Middlesbrough will be a pleasing victory to Danny Mills should we win, for they had the first option to sign him before City stepped in for Danny.

Come on you Blues, make it three back to back.

Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)>


Having read the comments regarding the penalty decision given against Dunney last Saturday I am convinced there are only two alternatives to stop the controversy surrounding these types of decisions.

I for one initially thought it was a penalty, at full speed with no close up. I would have accepted that. It doesn’t make it right but I would have accepted it. The action replay subsequently clearly showed the tackle to be made outside the box. So now I’m angry. Thankfully in this case it made no difference, but when it does!

The two alternatives?

Either give the referees the right to instant video replays.

Or ban action replays on the TV.

The second of those options is not really feasible, the first is.

The point is it is the action replays that cause the controversy because they highlight the error. Without them there is merely argument that can be neither proved nor disproved. Let’s give the officials the same advantage we get. I can’t think of many fans who wouldn’t be prepared to wait a few seconds if it helped the right decision to be made.

Dave Kilroy <dave.kilroy(at)>


Dave Smith, as soon as is humanly possible you need to take steps to stop this young lad’s mind from being warped beyond correction. He may find out from other sources other than yourself that there is another team with the name Manchester in its title (albeit under false pretences) and assume it’s OK to affiliate himself with that club.

To let him down gently, maybe you need to buy him a proper football top (of the blue variety) and suggest to him that his (rag) top is only rarely worn around Manchester. Believe me these thing are better sorted out sooner than later. Introduce him to the MCFC web site, encourage him or get his parents to buy MCFC merchandise, show him that red is only viable when accompanied with a black stripe. If he starts to get attached to this top there’s no knowing what path he may take in the future.

I need to sign off now as my pulse rate is sky high and I need to get the nurse to administer my drugs.

Bye for now.

Tony Ward <anthony.ward(at)>


Only a few months after the whole (Sooty and) SweeP discussion (or that’s what it feels like) Jonathan Tod shoots one across the bows of John Nisbet for condemning the racism in Spain solely in terms of Shaun and not mentioning Ashley Cole. While condemning racism in whatever form it crawls out, I too would feel more protective of Shaun than of any other England player (David James is big enough and experienced enough to look after himself for the most part 😉

I feel immense pride in Shaun, which makes the taunting of him doubly bad in my book. I’d feel the same if someone fouled one of my boys badly in a football match. I don’t want any of the players in their matches fouled badly but I feel more strongly about my own sons being on the receiving end and it’s that same protective feeling with respect to Shaun. Yes, he is “one of us” and I’m glad of that 🙂

Andy Longshaw <andy(at)>


To me – Shaun Wright Phillips is only one colour – Blue!

and long may he stay one!

Debs Darbyshire <dd(at)>


I heard an interesting rumour from a Mickey Mouser today.

Fowler on his way back to Anfield in January, and in the process writing off both Leeds’ debt to Liverpool and our debt to Leeds for the said player.

Wouldn’t it be just like us to let him go just as we get him fit and on-form, after putting up with so much dross for so long?

Dave Kilroy <dave.kilroy(at)>


Following a clearout I have about 200 City programmes from approximately 10 to 15 years ago. They are free to a good home, new owner to collect. I live in Swinton. My home tel no is 0161-281-7517.

Alex Channon <channons(at)>


I will be in Florence, Italy for the Boro game. Anybody know of a bar near the centre where the game may be shown?

Graham Hume <grahamhume(at)>


I’m working in San Francisco for 9 weeks, and wondered if there are any Blues living in the area that wouldn’t mind letting me know where (if anywhere) I can watch the games?

I’m staying in the Marina area. Maybe meeting up for a few beers might not be a bad idea either!

Many Regards, Gareth Foster <garethfosteruk(at)>


League table to 01 December 2004 inclusive

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F   A   GD Pts
 1 Chelsea         15  5  2  0 11  3  6  1  1 16  3 11  3  1  27   6  21  36
 2 Arsenal         15  4  3  0 20  9  5  1  2 19 11  9  4  2  39  20  19  31
 3 Everton         15  4  1  2  7  7  5  2  1 10  5  9  3  3  17  12   5  30
 4 Manchester Utd  15  4  3  0  9  3  3  3  2 10  7  7  6  2  19  10   9  27
 5 Middlesbrough   15  3  3  1 10  7  4  1  3 14 11  7  4  4  24  18   6  25
 6 Aston Villa     15  5  2  0 13  3  1  4  3  7 13  6  6  3  20  16   4  24
 7 Liverpool       14  6  0  1 15  5  1  2  4  8 11  7  2  5  23  16   7  23
 8 Bolton Wndrs    15  4  2  2 12  8  2  3  2 10 11  6  5  4  22  19   3  23
 9 Manchester City 15  3  3  2 10  5  2  2  3  9  9  5  5  5  19  14   5  20
10 Newcastle Utd   15  3  2  3 15 15  2  3  2 12 12  5  5  5  27  27   0  20
11 Portsmouth      14  4  1  2 12  9  1  2  4  6 11  5  3  6  18  20  -2  18
12 Charlton Ath.   15  4  2  2 12  8  1  1  5  5 19  5  3  7  17  27 -10  18
13 Tottenham H.    15  2  2  4 11 12  2  2  3  3  5  4  4  7  14  17  -3  16
14 Birmingham City 15  1  4  3  5  7  1  4  2  7  8  2  8  5  12  15  -3  14
15 Fulham          15  3  0  5  8 15  1  2  4  9 12  4  2  9  17  27 -10  14
16 Crystal Palace  15  2  1  4  8 10  1  3  4  9 13  3  4  8  17  23  -6  13
17 Blackburn R.    15  1  5  1 10 13  1  2  5  6 16  2  7  6  16  29 -13  13
18 Southampton     15  2  4  2 11 11  0  2  5  4 10  2  6  7  15  21  -6  12
19 Norwich City    15  1  4  2  9 12  0  5  3  5 13  1  9  5  14  25 -11  12
20 West Brom A.    15  1  4  3  7 13  0  3  4  6 15  1  7  7  13  28 -15  10

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v0405.01]

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Manchester City FC recognises three supporters’ clubs: The “Official Supporters Club” (; the “Centenary Supporters’ Association” ( and “The International Supporters’ Club” (

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Newsletter #1075