Newsletter #1159

Owen’s inevitable goal against us gave Newcastle a 1-0 win and we now look ahead to bottom of the table Everton on Sunday.

Tonight we have the match stats for the Doncaster cup defeat, opinion on who we should be playing in the team and news that Helen (the bell) Turner passed away on Friday.

Next game: Everton, home, 11.15am Sunday 2 October 2005


League Cup Round 2
Doncaster Rovers 1 Manchester City 1 (after extra time – Doncaster win 3-0 on penalties)
Earth Stadium, Belle Vue
Wed Sep 21st 2005, Kick-off 19:45
Attendance: 8,228
Weather: Dry, calm.

Team Changes: Ireland makes full début. Yasser Hussein (Hussaine?) also starts, with Micah Richards on the bench for the first time. Mills, Barton, Musampa and Sinclair out.

Line-up: James, Onuoha, Dunne, Distin, Thatcher, Sun, Ireland, Reyna (Jordan, 90), Hussein (Croft, 65), Sibierski, Vassell.
Unused subs: De Vlieger, Sommeil, Richards.

Goal times: (95) 1-0 Vassell (pen); (118) 1-1 McIndoe (pen). Full-time 0-0. Extra time 1-1. Doncaster win penalty shoot-out 3-0.

Bookings: Thatcher (36), Ireland (65), Croft (105). Sent off: Onuoha (106), but rescinded after match. Referee: G. Salisbury (1) Disgraceful performance. Obviously enjoyed his moment of glory on live TV.

Stat points: Yasser Abdulrahman Mohammady Hussein (or Hussaine) is the 1049th débutant for City and Ardwick. He is also the first City player whose First name begins with Y, and obviously the first Qatari player to play for the Blues.

Steve Kay <steve(at)>


Well it hasn’t been a great week for City and yet again, we exit from the Cup very cheaply. The performances of the last week have been very similar to those under Keegan, which is hardly surprising since it is still mostly Keegan’s side, despite SP’s best endeavours. The only positive thing that can be taken from these results is that hopefully lessons have been learned, albeit expensively in terms of the Cup departure. As far as I can tell, Sibierski and Sun have, for the first time in ages, both started the last three games, and guess what, we have now lost all three of them. I think this is no coincidence. Football is all about being able to score and possessing that finishing touch: Sibierski and Sun just don’t have one. Can SP see this? I just think that we cannot continue to carry players like that at this level. If you create chances, then you must take them, otherwise the opposition only need to score one more goal than you, or wait for a gift from our defence – and this is what has been happening both this last week and of course seemingly for ever under clueless Kev.

Some might say that we were unlucky to hit the woodwork so many times, but in truth we weren’t; when you are afraid to beat the ‘keeper with a clean strike as both Sibi and Sun are, the chances are that you simply will not score (like missing the final black when playing at pool). And, when you have already wasted one great goalscoring chance hit directly towards the ‘keeper, the only option left is to aim the ball as far away from him as is reasonably possible. In other words, you actually aim for the woodwork itself! Five-a-side players here will recognise this syndrome when you are up against a great ‘keeper! If you get lucky then your attempt sneaks in, and if you just miss or hit the bar, then no-one gets on your back for missing the target completely. The thing is, though you are ‘bottling’ the chance of actually scoring: when Sun hit the bar against Doncaster for example, that is exactly what happened. And as for Sibierski taking a penalty, then don’t get me started – he should in this instance have walloped it towards the blooming post!

This may seem harsh, but it is not as if I (we?) haven’t seen this all before (witness Sun’s performance at Southampton last season), and to be honest I don’t think I can actually remember Sib scoring from a clean strike at the target: it’s always a miscue. And before anyone can say that Sib is not a natural striker, then I’d appreciate knowing what he is a ‘natural’ at? It’s unfortunate that we’ve missed Cole and BWP with injuries but from now on, I’d rather find out what Croft and Ireland can do, than for SP to pick ‘that’ side again next week. In fact, for me, the sooner City can offload Sib, Sun, Thatcher and Mills then the better – I do not class any one of them as naturally gifted footballers, and I don’t know why Keegan bought them, especially when our Academy boys like Onuoha, Ireland and Croft seem so clearly to have what it takes.

Sorry for being so critical, but sometimes I get the feeling that we are going round in circles. I’d welcome comments from City fans that would rather see Sun and Sib ahead of the Academy players – what do you reckon?

Neil Haigh <city(at)>


A few items in MCIVTA 1158 got me thinking, and I thought I’d add my tuppeneth.

Stephen Hunt questioned whether Pearce’s approach to referees does us any favours, and may actually make referees biased against us. Now, it’s a different sport and at a very different level, but I was a basketball ref for a number of years. The one thing guaranteed to get my back up and turn 50-50 calls into 70-30 ones was a mouthy coach. Refs are only human (well most are) and if treated with respect they’re more likely to respond well. So I think that in the long run, Pearce’s approach will pay dividends (if nothing else it will let us take the moral high ground). Also, there’s the ‘cry wolf’ phenomenon à la Taggart. People are now sick of hearing his excuses and justifications for his players’ behaviour, so the next time Roy Keane is sent off unfairly, who’ll believe Taggart’s protests?

Marc Starr’s idea to abolish goalposts is fantastic. The players could all put their coats down for goalposts and then spend 15 minutes arguing and scrapping over whether a shot went in or not. The goal would finally stand or not depending on whoever backed down first – thank God we’ve got Pearce as our manager. Then the crossbar would depend upon the size of the goalie, over the goalie’s head – no goal!

Finally, piped music – never, canned laughter – fantastic! We step out onto the pitch: the crowd cheers, the opposition come out: the tannoy blasts out laughter! Red card for us: boo, for them: tee hee! Shrek fluffs a clear chance: rolling in the aisles belly laugh (no need for the tannoy in this case).

Only problem is that I’m not sure the FA would allow it.

CTID, Leon Black – Sheffield <>


Does anybody know how many players we will have out of contract at the end of the season?

The ones I know of are as follows, does anyone know of any more? James, De Vlieger, Weaver, Sommeil, not sure about Thatcher, Reyna, Fowler, Sibierski, Musampa, Sun, Bischoff, Schmeichel, Croft and Flood. Like I say I’m not sure if there are any others.

But with Dunne, Distin, Barton and Jordan also only having 18 months left on their contracts, things are looking a bit worrying. Those players out of contract in the summer will be free to negotiate with other clubs come January. And those that get sorted are surely not going to be giving their all for fear of injury after that point.

I know there is some dead wood there that needs clearing out but that is a massive chunk of an already small squad and replacements will not come cheap, and replacing so many squad members will take some time for the new boys to bed in.

Steps may already be in place to replace a number of these players but again I was reading today that directors of the club have said that a large chunk of the SWP money has gone to help pay off debt and there is little left. I know I have brought this up before but why are we in so much debt and with all these players gone I’m sure the balance sheet will read well but we still need a team on the pitch.

Billy Watkinson <billywatkinson(at)>


Just a short note about the Vennegoor rumour. I think he signed a new deal at the end of last season. I doubt whether they will be looking to sell, unless it’s for big money as they do need some cashflow after a couple of summer signings.

The recent purchase of striker Arouna Kone was to replace long-time injured Gerald Sibon.

Henk <hwrtimmer(at)>


I keep looking at the kick-off time for next Sunday’s game against Everton and shaking my head.

For fans travelling any distance that means a very early start, and if you are an Everton fan relying on public transport, you’ve got no chance.

On the other hand, it may explain the much-discussed piped chanting from the Bolton game. It’ll be needed next week to drown out the snores – particularly the way Everton are playing at the moment!

Oh, hang on, 11.15am in Manchester, is (I think) 6.15pm in Beijing. I know where the ordinary fans figure in Sky’s priorities…

Euan Bayliss <euan(at)>


Just read on the official website that Helen Turner passed away Fri Sept 23rd 2005.

During the fabulous Mercer/Allison era, Helen was behind the goal in the North Stand with her famous bell, it was always a joy to hear that bell ring.

I would like to nominate Helen to go into the MCFC Hall of Fame as a very special supporter.

In her later years she did a lot of charity work for the Manchester hospitals, a gem of a lady. She is now in her Blue Heaven. God bless Helen.

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


Does anybody know where I can watch the City vs. Everton game in Madrid?

Steve Gerrard <steve.gerrard(at)>


25 September 2005

Middlesbrough 0 – 2 Sunderland 29,583

24 September 2005

Birmingham City       2 - 2  Liverpool             27,733
Chelsea               2 - 1  Aston Villa           42,146
Everton               0 - 1  Wigan Athletic        37,189
Manchester United     1 - 2  Blackburn Rovers      67,765
Newcastle United      1 - 0  Manchester City       52,280
West Bromwich Albion  1 - 2  Charlton Athletic     23,909
West Ham United       0 - 0  Arsenal               34,742
Bolton Wanderers      1 - 0  Portsmouth            23,134

League table to 25 September 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          7  4  0  0  9  1  3  0  0  5  0  7  0  0  14   1  13  21
 2 Charlton Ath.    6  1  0  1  1  2  4  0  0  9  2  5  0  1  10   4   6  15
 3 Bolton Wndrs     7  2  1  1  3  1  2  1  0  5  3  4  2  1   8   4   4  14
 4 West Ham United  6  2  1  1  8  3  1  1  0  2  1  3  2  1  10   4   6  11
 5 Manchester Utd   6  1  1  1  3  3  2  1  0  4  0  3  2  1   7   3   4  11
 6 Manchester City  7  1  1  1  2  2  2  1  1  5  4  3  2  2   7   6   1  11
 7 Arsenal          6  3  0  0  8  1  0  1  2  1  3  3  1  2   9   4   5  10
 8 Wigan Athletic   6  1  1  1  2  2  2  0  1  3  2  3  1  2   5   4   1  10
 9 Tottenham H.     6  1  1  1  2  2  1  2  0  3  1  2  3  1   5   3   2   9
10 Newcastle Utd    7  1  2  1  2  3  1  0  2  3  4  2  2  3   5   7  -2   8
11 Middlesbrough    7  1  1  2  2  6  1  1  1  4  3  2  2  3   6   9  -3   8
12 Blackburn R.     7  1  1  1  2  4  1  1  2  3  5  2  2  3   5   9  -4   8
13 Liverpool        5  1  1  0  1  0  0  3  0  2  2  1  4  0   3   2   1   7
14 Birmingham City  7  0  1  3  3  8  1  2  0  4  3  1  3  3   7  11  -4   6
15 Aston Villa      7  1  2  0  4  3  0  1  3  2  8  1  3  3   6  11  -5   6
16 Fulham           6  1  1  1  2  2  0  1  2  3  7  1  2  3   5   9  -4   5
17 Portsmouth       7  0  2  1  2  4  1  0  3  3  5  1  2  4   5   9  -4   5
18 West Brom A.     7  1  0  3  6  8  0  2  1  1  5  1  2  4   7  13  -6   5
19 Sunderland       7  0  1  2  3  6  1  0  3  2  4  1  1  5   5  10  -5   4
20 Everton          6  0  0  3  0  4  1  0  2  1  3  1  0  5   1   7  -6   3

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1159