Newsletter #1115

A disappointing game and a draw at Blackburn sees us continue our unbeaten run, although an immediately forgettable performance. Apologies to all the Scandinavians who made the long journey over and were treated to that performance, but it was very pleasant to catch up with you again – Skal!

We have match reports tonight courtesy of Rich who has been busy with both the Birmingham and Blackburn games. If anyone else fancies doing a report and sending one in for the next three games, please do so as they are appreciated!

We also have plenty of opinion on potential transfer targets, conjecture on the final league position, the manager, strikers and the badge.

Next game: Portsmouth, home, 3pm Saturday 30 April 2005


I found myself with an unexpected free afternoon so decided to get some tickets and make the short journey up the motorway to Blackburn. In some ways I saw it as penance for missing the last two home games but also it gave me the perfect opportunity to introduce my 4 year old son to life as a City supporter, taking him to his first live game.

We got into Ewood park early, my son’s face beaming as he actually was seeing all his favourite players (James, Fowler, Dunne, SWP and Reyna – I never worked out why he’s taken such a shine to Reyna in particular!). City took a great travelling support and created a good atmosphere, I don’t think I’ll ever complain about CoMS atmosphere after witnessing the Blackburn crowd’s lack of passion (worse support I’ve ever seen!?). Unfortunately that was where the fun ended; the next 90 minutes was some of the most dull football I’ve seen all season. The game was bitty and was utterly ruined by [a] Blackburn’s spoiling tactics of fouling any City player that went past them and [b] the referee (Chris Foy’s) inability to caution the persistent cynical fouls (few were bookable offences but the cynasism surely was).

City had a couple of shouts for a penalty in each half – the first when SWP was cut down when he skinned the Blackburn defender looked the most likely (we were at the other end of the ground though), whereas Sibby’s claim for shirt pulling in the second half probably wasn’t helped by the way he threw himself to the floor like he’d been shot by a sniper. Blackburn had a couple of chances that James saved well (one double save was excellent), the only other opportunity was a real sitter for SWP to bury from 8 yards out but his miscued shot went well wide. In all 0-0 was a fair result. In a strange twist of fate my first ‘live’ game back in ’81 was a drab 0-0 against Spurs – I still went home smiling that day as did my son who loved the day and the excitement that only a live match brings – oh the joy that the next 30 years are going to bring him 🙂

Player ratings:
James (7/10) After a few jittery performances I thought James had a really good game today, two really good stops and dealt with crosses effectively.
Jordan (4/10) Poor form continues, poor distribution and looked completely lost at times. Like Sun Jihai last season, I think Blackburn were targeting him as a weak link.
Dunne (8/10) Utter class – commanding and just so assured, made a couple of superb challenges – Dominic Matteo man of the match? You’re having a laugh.
Distin (8/10) Along with Dunne, superb display. Assured, confident and used his pace to humble Blackburn’s strikers.
Onuoha (5/10) Better than Wednesday night, looked to go forward quite a lot.
Barton (7/10) Drove the midfield and was very dominant for long stages of the game. Passing let him down at times.
Reyna (6/10) Not as effective as recent displays, seemed to tire in the latter stages.
SWP (5/10) Very poor game by SWP’s standards – largely due to Blackburn’s spoiling tactics.
Musampa (4/10) Ineffectual – didn’t contribute at all, worse display I’ve seen him play. Seemed to get shrugged off the ball very easily, which was surprising given his strength and skill in previous performances.
Sibierski (5/10) Very poor, gave ball away and went down like he was shot for the penalty incident, not surprised the referee didn’t give it because he made a real meal of it.
Fowler (5/10)- Isolated and had little opportunity to shine, ran himself into the ground though.
Croft (7/10) Crofty was only on for 10 minutes but as soon as he came on he added something else – exciting going forward and caused problems – SP please give him longer than the last ten minutes – the kid looks great!
BWP – Too late to rate, as with Crofty let’s give him a good run with Fowler, has to provide more options up front than Sibby.

Rich Fenton <rich(at)>


Sorry for the lack of match reports in the last couple of games, fate conspired for me to miss the Bolton game (still managed to watch it on TV) and although I made the Liverpool game I didn’t have time to produce a report. I was looking forward to the Birmingham game for a number of reasons. Certainly to see the new found optimism and urgency in the side, to witness a manager willing to manage and visually motivate his team and capped with SWP’s impending return (I secretly was worried we weren’t to see him again this season if at all in a sky blue shirt).

I see a lot of parallels with Birmingham and City last season; after having a better than expected first season, they spent big in the summer and I think everyone expected them to push for Europe this year. For the large part of the season they have hovered above the relegation zone.

The game started at a furious pace, with Musampa threatening on the left. After less than a minute Fowler hit a shot against the post, the ball fell for SWP who blazed over the bar when we’ve seen him score countless times from a similar positions all season. SWP continued to terrorise, again cut through the Birmingham defence and just as you thought he’d shoot trademark style into the bottom corner he elected to square to a marked Fowler.

After the frantic start Birmingham started to claw back some control and began to hold and pass the ball around effectively without being threatening. Melchiot I thought was particularly impressive (marking Musampa – which was a whole lot of hair for one wing). The only real chance Birmingham had was a lovely flick from Melchiot on the edge of the area for a largely ineffectual Heskey to blaze high and wide.

In the second half City started to push Sibierski much closer to the isolated Fowler and as result started to dictate the game much more. We had a scare though when Morrison scored but was adjudged to be offside. City’s goal finally game when good work from Musampa crossed to Fowler who got immense power on his header, the ball beat a despairing Taylor dive but cannoned off the post onto Taylor’s back and into the goal. I hope Fowler gets credited with the goal rather than a Taylor OG as it was a great header. The second goal came when Sibby won a free kick – the players looked as if the ball was going to be played to Jordan but instead it was floated to the far post for Dunne to get his first goal of the season.

The 3 points were fully secured when a cross was handballed by two Birmingham defenders – up stepped Sibby to calmly slot the ball home for the third goal allowing us to all go home happy and singing the blues and hearing the rags were being beat and were down to 9 men – what a sweet night!

James (5/10) Although James kept a clean sheet I feel we were let off the hook a little with his performance tonight. James spilled a couple of shots that should have been dealt with and his kicking was often rushed and misplaced. One went straight to a Birmingham player whilst James was literally at the corner flag.
Jordan (5/10) To me he seems to be struggling a little bit of recent games. Caught out of position and distribution is lacking. Glad to see Pearce is keeping him in the side though.
Dunne (8/10) Colossus at the back, calm on the deck and chipped in with a goal. Class. He’s close to my vote for Player of the Season.
Distin (8/10) Same as Dunne (well, except for the goal). A class partnership.
Onohura (5/10) As with Jordan, Neds would push up and then would lose or pass the ball away whilst completely put of position. Seems to have lost a bit of form last couple of games but again still glad Pearce is persevering with him.
Barton (6/10) Provided a lot of drive in midfield, disrupted play but also played some delightful balls through (along with a fair share of bad ones), much more effective partnership with Reyna.
Reyna (7/10) Really impressed with Claudio since his return from injury. Provides equal defensive cover to Bosvelt but links up better with Barton and gives us more going forward than Bosvelt. Don’t read this as Bosvelt bashing, I think he’s had a good season, just think Reyna offers us a little bit more (on this form anyway).
SWP (8/10) Truly world-class. I think he’s not fully recovered/fit yet but still his class shone.
Musampa (7/10) Started the first 10 minutes on fire, went quiet but came strong in the second half. I hope we sign Musampa, he gives us something else on the left. He may not be lightening quick but he’s damn hard to dispossess when on the ball.
Sibierski (4/10) I’ll be curious to hear other people’s views. Pearce said he was outstanding, I thought he was awful tonight.
Fowler (6/10) Isolated in the 4-5-1 formation and seemed a little lacklustre. However, he didn’t stop running and showed true class with his header and goal. Another player who I think deserves a lot of credit this season and would run close for the Player of the season for me.
Croft (No score) no real time to impress
BWP (No score) no real time to impress

I can’t make the final two games because I’m out of the country so I’m relying on you guys to send in reports! My end of term report would be:

Give Pearce the job, along with backing him financially so he can bring in some of his own men (no point in holding on to the coffers in case the board change their mind).

Offload some of the dead wood – we know who they are (probably include Sibby with the usual suspects – Sinclair, Macken, McManaman etc.).

Get in a decent striker (Dean Ashton – yes please, if not Kamara or Yakubu – basically fast and big).

Sign Musampa.

Rich Fenton <rich(at)>


7th place!

But ‘if’ City had earned a point at Spurs, and held on to leads at Charlton and Fulham, the Blues would be in 7th place now. UEFA Cup place for City (thanks to Arsenal and !#!#! being in the FA Cup final). But they could still do it!

Tottenham will get beat by Arsenal this weekend (come on the reds!). They then have to play Villa and Middlesbrough (hoping both draws) and Blackburn!

Charlton have to play Norwich, Man Utd (come on the reds!), Chelsea and Palace.

Villa have to play Bolton, Tottenham, City and Liverpool.

Middlesbrough have to play West Brom, Newcastle, Liverpool, Tottenham and City.

If City can get 10 points from last 4 games (City having to beat Villa and Middlesbrough); I can see it now, City with 54 points in 7th place.

But by Monday, the above forecasts could all blown away. As writing this on Friday evening, New Zealand time!

Keep the faith (and SP keep on playing the ‘kids’)

CTID, John Lim – Hamilton. NZ <limj(at)>


Three games to go to until the end of this season. H) Portsmouth, A) Aston Villa, H) Middlesbrough. After not getting the three points at Blackburn most seem to think that the revival of a European dream is dead again.

Of course it appears very much that way, but in the remaining three fixtures that we play, two of the teams are above us in the league, Villa and Boro, so it’s not quite dead yet. A point at Blackburn might seem OK to some, but not to me; before the game I knew Blackburn would use tactics to stop a team from playing football, that’s their style, let’s just say they use forceful tactics.

I was surprised that we did not play Bosvelt in such a game; it would have suited his style of play in midfield, after all he is a solid type of player. I am someone who likes to see the young players given a chance, but if you have a squad of players that includes Bosvelt, you pick who is best suited for the opposition.

Got me wondering now if Bosvelt will be with City next season? I know that he is in his mid-thirties, but a player youngsters can still pick up some useful tips from; can he continue with the pace of the EPL?

I only listened to the broadcast of the game versus Blackburn, so there is only so much I can say; in contrast to playing against Liverpool this was a drab game by any standards, the 2nd half showed more promise and both sides went for a win, that was evident by the subs used by both teams.

City had a couple of claims for penalties dismissed by the referee; I never like to hear outraged claims by managers after the games that penalties were overlooked or other unnecessary complaints, they are only too common by the other club across town, but when they are genuine an appeal is in order, or the refs who have meetings every two weeks in Birmingham will think City are easy if mistakes are made and no complaints will ever be made.

I know that Stuart Pearce likes to do what a mentor of his did (Brian Clough) never complain about referees, which is fine up to a point, just don’t make a habit of it, and never when not called for.

A win against Blackburn would have helped the cause for a place in Europe, but did we really feel we had any chance? We probably felt there might still be an outside chance, but now it looks like it has gone, but not dead.

Play for the bonus cash, get up the table for the extra cash to sign a striker with a passion for scoring goals; that has got to be the priority. One game at a time; who knows and only three games left!

At least with Stuart Pearce taking over some motivation has been instilled into the team to see the players play with more passion in the last part of the season, although it appeared to have been lacking during the first half versus Blackburn.

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


Reading the rumours on Kasper Bogelund, I have to react and say I’m slightly worried. The man has never really made an impact at PSV, except for being injured on variable crucial moments.

Bogelund is 24 by now and has definitely failed to impress all PSV’s coaches during his 6 year spell in Eindhoven. Playing not more than 24 matches in one season (2001/2002), his average is closer to 10 then 20. The only coach who always picked him was Eric Gerets. And Gerets wants Bogelund at Wolfsburg at the end of the season. Let him. Even under Gerets he only played 29 games in three seasons, including his record number of 24!

So, no Bogelund please! Other possibly interesting players for his position in Holland are Tim Cornelisse (Utrecht-cheap), Krompkamp (AZ-expensive) and Bakkati (Heerenveen-cheap).

And I read in your Daily Express Mateja Kezman could be on his way to PSV. Now there’s a buy that would impress me. Try and snap him up for the mentioned £5 million, because in spite of what he has performed in England so far, he is capable of scoring thirty plus goals a season. Another nice prospect from Holland is Klaas Jan Huntelaar, currently playing for Heerenveen. He’s a very young natural goalscorer, netting 12 times so far this season (26 games). Last season he was only playing in our first division, which might be best compared to the English (former) second division and scored 26 goals. He’s only 21 and Heerenveen will want top money for him, think around 2 maybe 3 million pounds. A bargain for Premiership clubs.

Frank Heukels <frank.heukels(at)>


Just found this in The Evening Chronicle, Newcastle:

Stuart Pearce will make a move for Laurent Robert should the former Newcastle United full-back be installed as full-time boss of Manchester City at the end of the season.

Pearce believes he can get the best out of the Frenchman and he will be one of the names on his shopping list if he gets the nod from the City board to upgrade his current tag of temporary boss in the summer.

And if Pearce does come in for Robert, United will take the opportunity to use him as bait to lure fellow Frenchman Sylvain Distin back to St James’ Park.

United will also dip their toes into the water regarding City’s prize asset Shaun Wright-Phillips, whose days at the City of Manchester Stadium seem numbered.

With Jean Alain Boumsong and Titus Bramble likely to be their first-choice central defenders and both Andy O’Brien and young Steven Taylor waiting in the wings, United remain happy enough with what they have got at the heart of their defence.

But Distin can also play at left-back and United suddenly do have a problem there with Celestine Babayaro showing little apparent desire to pull on the black-and-white shirt.

Hopefully all it means is that their journalists are desperate to fill the newspaper’s pages!

Stay Blue, Phil Peacock <philip.peacock(at)>


Fresh from my Jon Macken debate, I feel I’m ready to jump into another! I’d just like to give my reasons why I think that that we should not yet return to the old badge (if at all). I’ve just turned 19, and when I first started seriously supporting City the club was something of a laughing stock. There were many factors that contributed to this image, such from the playing staff and on-field results, the management and also the way the club was run off the field. At the time we were playing second fiddle to United in our Umbro sponsorship, we didn’t have a superstore or even own the rights to the badge! Most damning of all was Francis Lee’s attitude towards our opponents before the start of the 96-97 campaign in City magazine, claiming that he “wasn’t bothered” about the other teams in response to a question asking which opponents he would be fearing. I know that in this context it doesn’t sound that bad, but read it and you will see that it is symbolic of the lack professionalism in the club at the time. Can you imagine David ‘Bernie’ Bernstein coming up with an answer as blasé and arrogant as that (that’s a rhetorical question by the way, please don’t say yes!)?

When we got rid of the badge I felt that we were shedding the appalling underachievement of the 80’s and 90’s, and together with the new laser blue shirts a bolder, more intimidating City was created in place of the washed-out losers of before. Yes, I know we’ve been relegated twice with the new badge and brighter kit, and don’t get me wrong, I love the old badge and its tradition, it looks brilliant on the round-necked shirts of the 70’s, but the time is now. We’ve got a new badge, yes Noel is right, eagles are conspicuous by their absence in Manchester, and we haven’t won 3 league titles (yet). Quite frankly I don’t want to hear about Lee, Bell, Summerbee, Young and especially the 5-1 until we win something again, because I’ve had a lifetime of reading about it, and it represents nothing about the City I know.

The City I know now scored 108 league goals in the last season at Maine Road. The City I know now has potentially the greatest player ever to play for the club, (SWP) and you all know that’s not hyperbole. The City I know now was able to sack our manager whilst in mid-table, for the first time in how many years (30?). We’re now forging a new future, a new identity, a new club that we don’t have to associate with the failures of the past. By all means let’s bring back the old badge when we win something again, but just not right now, ok? I’ve got a good feeling that’s all! The time is now, do it now.

P.S. I wasn’t part of the P.R. department for the new badge, honest!

Nick Durham <nickdurham(at)>


As a long-suffering City fan who is encouraged by our recent consistency in form, I would first like to thank Kevin Keegan for understanding that it was time to go.

Yes, he could have served out his contract and dragged the team through the uncertainty of another season, but to his credit, Keegan sensed that he had taken the team as far as he could and make the class gesture of turning the team over to Psycho.

And what a revelation Stuart Pearce has been over the last half-dozen games. It would have been so easy for City to play out the string but Pearce has installed a spirit and a will to win – principally by giving the youngsters a chance to prove their value.

What I also like about Pearce is that, unlike Keegan, he doesn’t whingeabout the refereeing. After the Fulham incident with David James, herefused to blame the refereeing, observing that City will get their breaksin the future. And what happens in the Birmingham game. Morrison gets agoal ruled out that could have been allowed and then City get the break ofFowler’s header bouncing into the net off the Birmingham goalie.

John Wardle may be playing his cards close to his chest but he has to give Psycho the job for next year. When was the last time City fans enjoyed such a constantly productive string of games?

Roll on season 05-06!

[Certainly a breath of fresh air compared to numerous other managers – Ed]

Keith Sharp – Toronto, Canada <keith(at)>


In response to Phil, we don’t have to agree to disagree, I definitely agree with most of your points! You’re right about Jonny needing a good run, because last season in particular we wasn’t getting full games. This was during KK’s clueless Fergusonesque striker rotation policy, i.e. play 1 striker all the time and aimlessly rotate the others, and only giving them about 65-70 minutes to shine. Another good point to make is that Jonny’s link-up play against Charlton was as good as, if not better than Fowler’s, so if the former had scored he would have received equal plaudits. We do seem to have a worrying knack of having strikers (and Kiki) that are fundamentally incapable of putting the ball away from one-on-ones. I seem to recall Anelka being breathlessly inept at this particular skill, one which you’d think a £13 million forward could master. Sadly, Kiki Musampa has taken to emulating him with a series of misses that suggest an immediate introduction to this fine art as well as a player fully suited to the ‘typical City’ player mould. I swear he was born to play for this club! Anyway, I digress.

Playing Fowler and Macken together would be ideal, but unfortunately the latter seems to have the most woeful luck with injuries. Really, until these disappear we won’t be able to see the best of him, as he has received injuries at times when he has looked like establishing himself. To be quite honest, I’m not Sibierski’s biggest fan. Oh how I long for the days when the Goat would shin a volley over the ‘keeper, whilst our expensive French import couldn’t score a one-on-one. So you want to go to a big club, eh? Ok, Fenerbache it is! Oh wait, they got knocked out of Europe didn’t they? I think that is what is known as karma.

Nick Durham <nickdurham(at)>


That well known City fan Nick Leeson gave a short Q&A interview to the Guardian newspaper, following news he is to work for Galway United as their commercial manager. Some of the City related points were:

You’re from Watford originally, are you a Hornet?
No, I’m a Man City man. When I was about five, everyone in my area supported Watford or another London club and I wanted a team of my own so I chose City. Dennis Tuart’s overhead kick in the Cup final probably had something to do with it.

So is the Galway position a stepping stone to the commercial manager job at City?
[laughs] Not sure a badly-run club is the best environment for me! Actually, I’m only joking, there’s no doubt bad decisions were made in the past but I know the current financial director very well and he’s in the process of turning it around; but it’s hard for them, because they only lease the ground.

Should Stuart Pearce be made full-time gaffer at City?
Yeah, he has something to prove, is committed and has the support of the players. Also, you look at someone like Sven-Goran Eriksson and you have to question his ability to motivate players but with Pearce there’s no doubt. And if he doesn’t motivate them into doing something, he’ll scare them into it!

The full interview can be read here:,13852,1468283,00.html

Jon Reese <jonandreareese(at)>


The next meeting of the Swinton branch is on Tuesday 26th April, KO 8-00pm. Venue: Swinton Conservative Club, Swinton Shopping Precinct, Swinton. Our confirmed guests are He’s here, he’s there he’s every ….ing where Tommy Booth, City great David White and Alex Williams MBE.

The Swinton branch will be presenting Alex Williams with a cheque for £1,000 towards City in the Community. This is part of the money raised at the hugely successful CSA Gala Dinner held earlier this month. All Blues welcome and if you need further information please contact me on 0161-281-7517.

Alex Channon <channons(at)>


24 April 2005

Portsmouth            4 - 1  Southampton           20,210
Manchester United     2 - 1  Newcastle United      67,845

23 April 2005

Everton               1 - 1  Birmingham City       36,828
Chelsea               3 - 1  Fulham                42,081
Aston Villa           1 - 1  Bolton Wanderers      36,053
Blackburn Rovers      0 - 0  Manchester City       24,646
Crystal Palace        1 - 0  Liverpool             26,043
Middlesbrough         4 - 0  West Bromwich Albion  32,951
Norwich City          1 - 0  Charlton Athletic     25,459

19 April 2005

Bolton Wanderers      1 - 1  Southampton           25,125
Middlesbrough         1 - 1  Fulham                30,650

League table to 24 April 2005 inclusive

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F   A   GD Pts
 1 Chelsea         33 13  4  0 34  6 13  2  1 31  7 26  6  1  65  13  52  84
 2 Arsenal         32 10  5  1 43 18 11  2  3 30 15 21  7  4  73  33  40  70
 3 Manchester Utd  33 12  5  0 29  8  8  5  3 21 12 20 10  3  50  20  30  70
 4 Everton         33 10  2  5 21 15  6  5  5 19 19 16  7 10  40  34   6  55
 5 Bolton Wndrs    35  8  5  4 22 14  7  4  7 23 25 15  9 11  45  39   6  54
 6 Liverpool       34 11  3  3 28 13  4  3 10 18 22 15  6 13  46  35  11  51
 7 Middlesbrough   34  8  6  4 28 19  5  4  7 22 25 13 10 11  50  44   6  49
 8 Tottenham H.    33  8  3  5 30 20  5  5  7 11 17 13  8 12  41  37   4  47
 9 Aston Villa     34  8  5  4 25 15  4  5  8 17 28 12 10 12  42  43  -1  46
10 Charlton Ath.   34  8  3  6 27 23  4  5  8 13 28 12  8 14  40  51 -11  44
11 Manchester City 34  6  5  5 18 13  4  7  7 21 24 10 12 12  39  37   2  42
12 Birmingham City 34  6  6  5 20 13  3  6  8 16 27  9 12 13  36  40  -4  39
13 Newcastle Utd   32  7  4  5 24 24  2  7  7 18 27  9 11 12  42  51  -9  38
14 Portsmouth      34  8  3  6 28 23  2  5 10 13 29 10  8 16  41  52 -11  38
15 Blackburn R.    33  4  8  5 19 19  4  5  7  9 18  8 13 12  28  37  -9  37
16 Fulham          34  6  4  6 20 23  3  4 11 20 33  9  8 17  40  56 -16  35
17 Crystal Palace  34  6  4  8 19 17  1  5 10 18 40  7  9 18  37  57 -20  30
18 Southampton     35  4  9  4 25 25  1  4 13 13 34  5 13 17  38  59 -21  28
19 West Brom A.    33  4  7  5 14 21  1  6 10 17 35  5 13 15  31  56 -25  28
20 Norwich City    34  5  5  7 26 31  0  7 10 10 35  5 12 17  36  66 -30  27

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1115