Newsletter #1130

An early edition today, with plenty of news on transfer targets both playing and managerial. We also have some good views on the debt and direction of the Club.

Next game: TBA


General News

UEFA Blow for Blues: Liverpool have been awarded a place in next season’s UEFA Champions’ League first qualifying round. The European champions will start their qualifying campaign on 12/13 July. So does this mean that City will be filling the UEFA Cup place vacated by Liverpool? UEFA spokesman William Gaillard poured cold water on this suggestion. “Man City don’t get a place. As you can see from the list, we transferred Liverpool from the UEFA Cup but kept the number of clubs in European competitions stable. So that means Bolton and Middlesbrough will represent England in the UEFA Cup,” he concluded. “The executive committee decided this was the best solution possible.” The Premier League were none too happy at this decision “We are very pleased for Liverpool and in many ways UEFA has taken a brave and correct decision. However we do not feel this should have been at the expense of the English game’s third UEFA Cup place, nor the Champions’ League pool as distributed between the four qualified clubs,” said a League spokesman. Football Association chief executive Brian Barwick admitted he felt there was little hope of UEFA backing down over City’s UEFA Cup place. “We have lobbied for Manchester City during the process while we’ve been lobbying for Liverpool,” he told BBC Radio Five Live. “But UEFA have capped the number of teams at seven, going to the two European competitions – other than through the Intertoto or the fair-play and, therefore, it’s unlikely that the door will be opened.”

Carrington Changes: The SP shake up continues at City; as Chief Executive Alistair Mackintosh revealed this week. Not content with changing the playing squad, Psycho is overseeing alterations to the training complex at Carrington. “Stuart uses technology a lot, in terms of both coaching players and analysing the opposition, and he wanted a dedicated video room where the squad could assemble and prepare as professionally as possible,” said Mackintosh. “Stuart is an inspirational figure, and that kind of enthusiasm is running through the club. Although we missed out on qualification for Europe when we didn’t beat Middlesbrough on the last day, there was no lasting sense of disappointment. We have all been filled with optimism for the future, and that is showing in the day-to-day workings of the club.”

Bright Future: Mr. Mackintosh must have been on media duty this week – he also gave his opinion on the staging of the England vs. Finland game in the Women’s Euro 2005 Championship. “It went tremendously well,” said Mackintosh. “When we missed out on the 2007 UEFA Cup final we were given encouragement for the future, and that was re-iterated at the recent international.” Mackintosh hopes that the raised profile of the women’s game will lead to greater interest at local level. “We hope that seeing the skill levels and commitment of the England side, and the fact there are lots of people out there who will support the game, will stimulate lots of young girls to want to take it up. That’s why we have taken steps to integrate City Ladies further into the club, in terms of using our facilities at Platt Lane and also our coaches. We want close links between them and our community scheme, because the future lies in taking the message out to schools and clubs and getting youngsters interested. I would support fully the full-time women’s game, but we must make sure that it is not just for women’s teams affiliated and allied to Premiership clubs.”

Transfer News and Gossip

Looney Toon: Had Freddie Shepherd, esteemed Chairman of Newcastle United, been imbibing a little too freely last weekend? I ask this because of the deal that was suggested. The Toon wanted to make a £16 million bid for SWP, comprising of a cash payment of £6 million plus two players in striker Craig Bellamy and winger Laurent Robert. What a pair of miscreants this duo is – Bellamy is persona non grata at Newcastle, having fallen out with manager Graeme Souness and having alienated most of the first team squad. He spent the last five months of the season on loan at Celtic. Robert constantly quarrelled with Souness and his predecessor Bobby Robson (if reports are to be believed). Presumably all Shepherd had to do was throw in Lee Bowyer, and he could have got rid of all his troublesome players in one go. One would hope that, if the cash plus two players offer had been made to City, that John Wardle would give it short shrift. Perhaps he did, because Robert has now left Newcastle to sign for Portsmouth.

One That Got Away: City target John Utaka has slipped from SP’s grasp, as the Nigerian born striker signed a four-year deal with Rennes after a fee of £4 or 5 million was agreed with Utaka’s current team RC Lens. Looking at the size of the fee, methinks Mr. P. might have to shop a little downmarket than that.

Get Bent: I didn’t think I’d get to use that headline for the second time in two months, and I didn’t think it’d relate to another Bent. Last time it appeared, City were said to be chasing Ipswich’s Darren Bent, but now it appears that the Blues are going for a namesake. City are lining up a £1 million bid for Everton striker Marcus Bent, according to reports. Bent is likely to fall even further down the Goodison Park pecking order if Toffees’ boss David Moyes lands his summer targets, said to be Newcastle striker Craig Bellamy (him again!) and Swedish striker Johan Elmander who plays for Danish club Brondby. The much-travelled Bent began at Brentford as a trainee and his journey has taken him to Crystal Palace, Port Vale and Sheffield United before a £2.1 million move to Blackburn. From there, Bent moved to Ipswich in a £3 million deal and had a loan spell at Leicester before joining Everton last June for £450,000.

Blues to Visit Mars? (That headline was brought to your c/o the sub editors of the Daily Mirror). And so the search for a playing partner for Robbie F. goes on. Next candidate: Marseille forward Peguy Luyindula, despite his pledge to stay with the French side next season. SP has asked Marseille to let the 25-year-old come to City on loan, if you believe the Mirror newspaper. The French international, formerly with Lyon and Strasbourg, scored 10 goals for Marseille last season.

Mama, He’s Making Eyes at Us: … well his agent is. Possibly. According to Sky Sports, Mamadou Bagayoko’s agent has confirmed that his client is keen on a move to England. The powerful Nantes striker is reportedly being tracked by City, Blackburn and Southampton – although contact has yet to be made. Craig Hutchinson said: “To be honest I’ve not heard anything yet. But he probably would do very well in England and we’d be interested. He’s fast, strong and powerful and would be suited to the English game. It’s something we’d look at. Nantes are in the red and I wouldn’t like to put a figure on it, but I’m sure they’d let him go for the right fee. We looked at England before he moved to Nantes.”

You’re Kidding: Rumours abound that ex-Blue Brian Kidd is due to join City as Pearce’s assistant manager. Kidd was approached once before for City management, back in 1995. The recent changes with reserve coaching point to Pearce wanting to stamp his own authority and create his own backroom team, so it’s wait and see what happens.

Ex-Blues’ News

Kev to Cause a Stuhr in Berlin: Hertha Berlin have snapped up former City goalkeeper Kevin Stuhr-Ellegaard on a free transfer. The Dane was released by City last month after making just seven appearances during his time with the Premiership club. Stuhr-Ellegaard, who undertook a loan spell at Blackpool last season, has quickly secured a contract after impressing Hertha during a trial. The shot-stopper has penned a three-year deal with the Bundesliga side and Hertha general manager Dieter Hoeness expressed his pleasure at signing Stuhr-Ellegaard: “We watched Kevin in England and also tested him extensively in Berlin. We are happy with the deal and he is a very promising ‘keeper to have,” said Hoeness.

Whither the Goergian Genius? Many thanks to Peter Arndal for spotting this item on – I must admit I hadn’t seen it elsewhere. Folks, it’s time for another Kinkladze rumour. “KINKLADZE BACK TO THE PREMIER LEAGUE? – Georgi Kinkladze is linked with the British side Wigan Athletic FC. Wigan got promoted to the Premier League for the first time in their history. A comeback in England would for sure bring better perspective for Kinkladze, who won the Cypriot championship with Anorthosis (which is coached by Teimuraz Ketsbaia) this year. ‘Kinky’ would probably also make a step forward toward the national team by moving to a Premier League club. No official statements were made so far, but it is expected that the final decision will be reported next week.”

Paulo’s Plea: Paulo Wanchope has been telling the Sunday People how desperate he is to leave Spain, after enduring a season of racist abuse. He said: “I’ve seen racism in almost every stadium in Spain. It’s a shame that referees haven’t abandoned a few games because of it. That would have set an example and cut the problem off at the root. What has upset me most has been the insults in my own stadium. I’m ready to listen to offers and end my time in Spain.” Last week West Ham United were thought to be interested in snapping up the Costa Rican star.

Squad News

Young Guns to Go For It: Academy Director Jim Cassell predicts that next season will be a crucial one in the development of three of his graduates. “Stuart Pearce will of course be formulating his ideas and I obviously can’t speak for him,” said Cassell. “I think there are a number of boys now who have been on the periphery of the first team and getting the odd game. Players like Lee Croft, Willo Flood and Bradley Wright-Phillips will have a big year in front of them. They have proved that they can play for a limited period of time in the Premiership; now they have to become established within the first team squad. They have to prove that they can actually perform for the duration of a full game.” Cassell also paid tribute to the form shown last term by another former Academy boy, Stephen Jordan. “Stephen really took to first team football after playing in the reserves,” he said of the 23-year-old. “He took with him a certain steadiness that was quite surprising. I thought he did exceptionally well. I have known Stephen since I arrived at the club; he was already here and has notched up fifteen years with the club. What he did do at youth team level was to always play well in the big games. That is probably one of the reasons the club kept believing in him. He needed time to establish himself and I am delighted that he has just signed a new contract. There are so few good left sided players in the top flight it gives Stephen an advantage and it will be a big year for him to see if he can wrestle for the shirt with Ben Thatcher.”

Don Barrie <news(at)>


Another comment about debt etc.

I realize that 95% of our readers understand this and they must think I am writing for the sake of it, but…

I was quite alarmed by the reports that other clubs may be after Distin and W-P and that City may consider selling. Now this may just be newspaper talk to boost sales but if it isn’t I can’t seem to figure out what the footballing or business sense would be in selling these two players.

First, it would turn City into a very mediocre side unless all the transfer funds were made available. I think we would have a big struggle on our hands without these two and without new players.

From both a football sense and a business sense I can’t quite figure out City’s response, or rather the Chairman’s. Is he saying that these players can be bought once a certain fee is reached? Is he saying we should think about selling both these players in order to (1) use the money for new players or (2) use the money to reduce the debt or (3) a bit of both?

If the answer is either (2) or (3) then is the incentive to accept a moderate fee (and I think £15 million for W-P is moderate; I wouldn’t respond to any inquiry that mentioned less than £25 million) and help with the debt. That’s not a message I would hope would come from a team that was, literally, one kick of a ball away from playing in Europe. It implies a lack of confidence which, back to my “A” level economics, was always something we were told leads to economic/business problems in the long run.

So to the debt. After my last comment about being confused about the consistency of the £62 million figure I was put right in that this was the debt during the last fiscal year: when this one ends it should be less. How much less remains to be seen. But I always hear that the debt is structured, or managed, so why would we need to sell two key players then, unless you use the Rooney precedent of last year and use the funds to bring in, over a period of time, a number of players. But that is a footballing decision as much as a business one.

I know all this may be just nonsense (what, a City fan talking nonsense… surely not?) and I would be the last to encourage City to begin a spending spree. I still don’t think we’ve quite recovered from Malcolm’s 1979-80 transfers, let alone Kevin’s. So my question then is: what would be the state of City’s finances if we didn’t sell these two players and used the salary savings of McManaman and Macken to bring in some loan players? Would we really be in such a bad situation financially?

Feel free to tell me to spend my time worrying about other things this summer!

John Pearson <john.pearson(at)>


I don’t know how others feel, but I am very disturbed about the constant stream of rumours that appear to be coming from the Wardle direction. It would appear that he is hell-bent on selling SWP for whatever he can get for him, at the same time saying that he does not want to spend any money in the transfer market. What an ambitious chairman we have!

Why are we so much in debt? Because Wardle allowed clueless Keegan to spend millions on injury prone has-beens and unknowns who looked good in video clips. For the first time we have a manager who has some ambition, has the confidence of the players, and judging by the way he turned the team around in such a short time, could take City to higher levels, yet it would appear that his hands are tied when it comes to bringing in players to strengthen the team. At the same time Wardle is giving out messages that if any club came up with a half reasonable offer, he would have no hesitation in selling off the likes of SWP and Distin.

If the team are to go forward we must build a team around these players. Selling the likes of SWP may provide short term financial gain, but it is players like SWP that fans flock to see. Selling SWP and the likes would affect the gates, we would lose revenue for finishing further down the table, and any gains from selling these players would quickly evaporate.

Some people may look at the Everton experience after selling Rooney. However, if you look at Rooney’s performances for Everton, there is no comparison on his impact on the Everton team, compared with what SWP brings to the City team, no comparison at all!

I was one of those who had doubts about the appointment of SP; I would have preferred O’Neill. However, Stuart Pearce in his short time has shown that he’s got what is takes to take City to a higher level and, like many other supporters, I eagerly await the start of the new season, but it does not fill me with confidence when there are these constant reports of Wardle inviting bids from clubs to come and buy our star player at a knock down price.

Andrew Ranson – Perth, Australia <tingarrah(at)>


Manchester City are looking around at a few strikers in an effort to get a striker that fits into in the MCFC budget. Stuart Pearce has yet to make his first signing, but things are warming up a bit; here are the latest names to be mentioned.

Peguy Luyindula, who is 25 years old and played last season with Marseille. He scored 10 goals in Ligue 1. Stuart Pearce is trying to get him on a one year loan (sounds good as a loan).

Marcus Bent, who made 37 appearances for Everton, who if we remember correctly were very much a defence-minded team last season. Everton will be asking around one million pounds for him. He is a much-travelled player who joined Everton from Ipswich for £450,000, it looks like Everton have joined Celtic in a bid to get Craig Bellamy.

Mamadou Bagayoko, who is with Nantes, made 23 appearances with 7 goals. His agent says he wants to play in England’s Premier League (that’s nothing new).

We all know that Stuart Pearce is handicapped with the club’s finances, so his job is a tough one searching for a decent hit man for next season. I do think that Bradley Wright-Phillips will come through towards the last stages of next season, so we do have our own star in the making, plus Ireland who is showing great improvement in the MCFC Academy.

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


I’m probably falling into a trap here, set by John Nisbet; it’s too obvious and has to be a wind-up. When a club offers cash plus players in a deal, surely you add the value of the player to the cash offer, not subtract.

John’s calculation:

Cash offered                     £6,000,000
Saleable Value of Robert        -£1,000,000
Saleable Value of Bellamy       -£2,000,000
Total Offer for SWP              £3,000,000

should surely have read:

Cash offered                     £6,000,000
Saleable Value of Robert        +£1,000,000
Saleable Value of Bellamy       +£2,000,000
Total Offer for SWP              £9,000,000

Not sure where the valuations came from either, Newcastle are touting Bellamy at £6,000,000.

There you go John, you got your bite!

Chris Bacon <ginge.mcfc(at)>


Like Paul, I am also very keen on going to Bangkok to see my beloved City live in true blue action. Unlike many of your privileged Blues, I live in Malaysia – and I have never seen City in live performance – and a number of our supporters are planning to be there.

Can someone confirmed the date, time, venue of the games where City are playing? Also, I am sure there are CTID fans in Bangkok who can help us with more info of the tournament.

Thanks! Chris Long <chris_long(at)>

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Newsletter #1130