Newsletter #1166

A bumper edition this evening.

Don’s had the night off, so Sarah Longshaw has stepped in to do the News Summary. Many thanks, Sarah.

In tonight’s issue we have match views and reports on the West Ham game, an excellent reserves report from Gavin on the 9 (yes, nine) nil thrashing of Bury Reserves, some more attendance statistics, some snippets from the last ‘Points of Blue’ meeting, a Christmas Wish List and yet more opinion on smoking at COMS. We also include an SOS from Pam who is searching for her long-lost friend, Hambis Theophanous. And, finally, the usual requests for Blues viewing in Beijing and Arsenal ticket requests.

Heidi’s back from her hols for the next issue, so keep your articles coming to the usual address of <editor(at)>.

Next game: Arsenal, away, 3pm Saturday 22 October 2005


Pyscho Thanks the Fans

‘A big thank you to all our supporters who were able to attend Sunday’s win. A number of the players did say to me after the game what a terrific atmosphere it was – and I want to pass on their appreciation. I thought Sunday summed up what Manchester City is all about both on and off the pitch. Passion, excitement and commitment – from the players and the fans. With a combination like that, it makes us harder to beat.’ (Much more effective than canned crowd noise)

A New Contract – Here or There?

Stuart Pearce and his star striker are in no hurry to discuss whether Andy Cole’s contract should be extended at the end of the season, in spite of speculation. Cole, who has been in fantastic form for City is just a few months into his 2-year contract after signing on a free from Fulham last summer. However, both are happy to wait at least until Christmas to take things any further. Should Cole decide to go though, for whatever reason, Queensland Roar are apparently keen to sign him to play in the same league as his former team mate Yorke who is now with Sydney FC (thanks to Tim Berry for this).

Antoine Sibierski has extended his contract to summer 2007. The French ace joined the Blues from Lens in the summer of 2003, and following a slow start, has now firmly established himself in the first team squad.

Stephen Ireland has penned a new deal too. The midfield maestro has had his current contract extended until 2009, not just for his recent fantastic performances, but also for his hard work over the summer.

City Take to the Road

Manchester City are taking to the road again to give City supporters the chance to meet two players from the current squad. The first evening is to be held at the City of Manchester Stadium, on Thursday 27th October and will give supporters the chance to meet and put their questions to the players and a selection of Manchester City staff.

(The last one of these I attended featured Michael Tarnat, David James, and Juan Carlos Osario – it was most entertaining, specially when Tarnat admitted that the way to deal with Christiano Ronaldo was to kick him!)

Pearce Plays Down Malbranque Rumours

City are being linked with a fresh approach for Fulham midfielder Steed Malbranque, when the January transfer window opens. SP was at Charlton a week ago watching the Fulham player (and the rest of the team, who City are due to play soon). Malbranque, however, is reported to be happy where he is, in London.

Dunney’s Done His Knee In!

Anyone else wondering what had happened to Richard Dunne on Sunday? Well apparently he picked up a knee injury whilst on international duty for the Republic of Ireland, and with Nedum and Sommeil available to provide defensive cover, Stuart Pearce is happy to give his defensive stalwart enough time to make a full recovery.

Young Guns to Gain Experience

Young midfielder Jonathan D’Laryea is heading to Mansfield Town on a month’s loan, and Stuart Pearce says this is a great opportunity for the player to advance himself. The 20-year-old’s only taste of first team action so far was in last season’s Carling Cup tie at Highbury, but the Manager says that Jonathan and the others out on loan need experience like this to benefit themselves and Manchester City.

Meanwhile, reserve team defender Danny Warrender is going on loan to Blackpool for a month to get a taste of first-team football under the guidance of former City favourite Colin Hendry.

Bermingham Back

Striker Karl Bermingham has returned to City following his two-month loan spell at Burnley. The 20-year-old Irishman made just one start for the Clarets – in the 3-1 defeat at Watford – but was a regular on the bench and came on as a substitute on three occasions.

Back in Action

Robbie Fowler returned to action in last night’s Senior Cup reserve tie against Bury – which City won by a very convincing 9 goals to 0. Robbie played the first half and managed to score twice. The striker has been sidelined by a back injury for most of the season, making a first team substitute appearance at Old Trafford in the derby before the problem flared up again. Also on the comeback trail are Bradley Wright-Phillips, who collected a blow to the knee in a reserve game a few weeks ago, and Mikkel Bischoff.

Work Hard – Play Well

David James believes that the hard work put in on the training field during the break between Premiership fixtures paid off in Sunday’s 2-1 win over West Ham. The boss man gave his players four days off in the middle of the international break, but either side of this they were worked as hard as if they had a league game on, and the goalkeeper thinks the results were there for all to see. Although disappointed with the goal that they scored right at the death, James believes that “Overall we were very good. We were very solid and enjoyable to play behind.” City looked as solid as ever defensively against the Hammers, and James pointed out one aspect that particularly pleased him. “The most important thing today for me was the back-passing, not just me kicking it straight down the field but defenders offering positions to receive the ball then pass it out. The three or four times we did that we created chances from it, rather than the hopeful ball straight down the middle. We looked to play, that’s what the gaffer wants and to be fair we have followed through with everything he wanted.”

From Lessons in Finance to a Lesson From the Finest!

While he is already studying for a degree in management finance, and playing first team football, Nedum Onouha still has plenty to learn. And keen to help him, Stuart Pearce, took his star student to watch United play Lille, in the hope that he would be inspired by what he saw ahead of Saturday’s match. Nedum will come up against Henry – one of the best players in the Premiership (unfortunately for us) who is back from injury now (let’s hope he was watching the team in blue on Tuesday).

Pearce himself is full of praise for his protégé “I have never met a more mature and level-headed 18-year-old than Nedum, You only have to engage him in conversation for a short period of time to realise he is an exceptionally bright young man. I think highly of him. At 18, he has already achieved a great deal and he has the mentality to go much further.”

Onuoha faces the biggest test of his fledgling career this weekend, at Highbury where Arsenal, buoyed by the two-goal salvo in Prague that saw Henry eclipse Ian Wright as the most prolific scorer in the club’s history, are desperate for victory after a disappointing start to their Premiership campaign.

Sarah Longshaw <news(at)>


A Grand Day Out

Left Wimborne at 9:15 and, it may be sad to say, was quite exited. After years of sitting on my hands in various away grounds (Southampton, Pompey, Reading, Bournemouth! Shudder!) I was finally going to see City at home from the right end.

I was travelling with two West Ham mates and naturally the discussion over the next 4 hours was quite jokey, with plenty of amateur punditry suggesting various scenarios for the forthcoming game. The crucial factor was Talk Sport continually going on about West Ham being unbeaten away from home. This we agreed was the kiss of death for the Hammers.

After a pretty uneventful trip, the ‘B of the Bang’ loomed and we turned into the East car park at 1:30.

Kind subscribers had suggested various watering holes and we had narrowed these down to Mary Ds or The Victoria. Mary Ds was nearest and so it got the nod.

We were suitably impressed with the set-up. As I had my shirt on and the other two were neutrally dressed we were welcomed in no problem. ‘Oh Brill!, they’ve got Carling Cold’ we say, apart from the bitter drinker. I go to the bar and say ‘Two Colds and a Worthy’. Fairly clear I thought. After paying my £8.80, up come 4 pints of Worthy. Now I wasn’t going to rattle cages within 10 minutes of getting there so we drank up, shared the fourth and sent driver Gus up to have another go. ‘Two Carling’ later he returned with two Worthys. It seems the machine that pours out 6 pints at a time was geared up for Worthy. The pints are stacked behind the bar in paper pint pots ready for quick distribution and it seems no matter what you ordered you got what was next on the shelf! Either that or, as obvious out of towners, our accent changed the words. Still, you get a taste for Worthy after a few pints.

The atmosphere was building in the pub as it filled up and we watched some old re-runs of Bloopers on the TV, whilst rival badge sellers had a mini ‘handbags’ moment next to the snooker table beside us. On the other corner, 3 old guys were emptying out their pockets of coppers. I thought ‘they’ll never buy a pint between them!’, but then a pack of cards appeared, and the card school was in session. I bet they’re there every home game.

Eventually, at about 3.00, the desire for lager kicked in and we decided to leave and go to our respective bits of the stadium for a pint and a pie. As we left, the doormen let 3 more people in. Now what a good idea this is. The pub was full but had plenty of shoulder room, so you weren’t pushing and bumping all the time. They seem to get the number of punters just right. Well practiced I guess.

After taking a picture of Bang and sending it home to prove where I was, we split up and I headed for the turnstile. The moment of truth loomed. What if I held my card up and nothing happened? I’d never get back in the pub. ‘Please work, please work’ I thought as I approached. Beep – what was the fuss about, no problem at all, you wuss.

Up to the top, Level 3, Aisle 324, Row P, found the seat. Might as well been Chicago. Bl***y windy up there, isn’t it?

Back to the bar for lager. Lo and behold I got lager (Fosters maybe but definitely not Worthy!). Had another to see if it was a fluke but it worked out again.

Now food. I realised I hadn’t eaten since the bit of toast at 7.00 that morning, so I thought it would be responsible to have something. A Snake and Pigmy pie was selected, and off I went to the seat. I was just discovering how much heat stays in the gravy as I juggled the pie, when the teams came out. How the hell can you clap and hold pies? Answer: you can’t. Pie under seat.

The game itself will be better described elsewhere, so just a few observations from me. My perspective was that the view and game were excellent. The players don’t seem hundreds of miles away and the whole game is on show. My mates, in the away fans’ bit, said later that their view from low down was restricted and they couldn’t appreciate Cole’s opener. They did stand up for 90 minutes so what do they expect!

Other comments about the game environment. I thought we were getting a big screen for replays etc. It would’ve been nice to see the goals again straight away.

The workrate of City was incredible. Everyone was tracking back and working hard when we didn’t have the ball. Except Musampa. He did some good stuff on the ball and tormented Repka, but when he lost the ball he was the only one who just stood and watched it go. Once, he and Vassell collided, going for a far post ball. The ball was collected by Carroll and thrown to the half way line on the right wing. The West Ham player advanced no more than 5 yards before he was tackled by Vassell who had sprinted half the length of the pitch! Musampa was still next to the ‘keeper. Come on Kiki, let’s have 100%. Am I alone in this as Musampa is currently leading the Man of the Match poll on MEN online?

The result was never in doubt as City totally outclassed and outworked the opposition. But there was still time for two minutes of jitters at the end when West Ham pulled one back. City totally dominant and we still sigh with relief at the final whistle. Old habits eh?

6.10 – Getting out is so easy. Very slick. The spirals do get you giddy in the end; or maybe it was altitude and lager.

A quick visit to the shop to buy another shirt I don’t need. The money helps the Academy I think, and that’s justification enough.

I walk fast now as it suddenly occurs to me that I am sharing a car with two Hammers who may be less than happy with the result. Not to worry, they are stood by the car munching their chips and curry sauce. That reminds me. It’s been ages since toast, and the half eaten pie is still in Row P. Apologies to the stadium staff.

7.00 – Still haven’t got to the motorway. Where’s all this traffic from? They can’t all be from the game. Talk Sport on the radio is full of brummies muttering on about O’Leary waving at Ellis, but no City fans. Eventually, some Hammers come on and are very complimentary about City and saying it was the right result. The few City fans that phone in later are, to a man, saying what we were saying in the car. Isn’t it refreshing to see a team, away from home, play like West Ham? Although City were in control (apart from last two minutes) West Ham refused to just load up the defence and at least ‘Had a go’. Well done Hammers.

At 9.00 I phoned the missus to say we were eventually making good time and were nearly at Oxford. Big mouth I got! We hit a 5 mile tailback queue and it took another hour to clear the roadworks! Anyone else in that queue? The traffic was like a sunny bank holiday. It was dire.

We got back eventually and I was dropped off just before midnight. It was a shame that the trip takes it out of you, as the excitement of the day and result had been replaced with just feeling knackered. Sky were showing the game again on TV so I got to see the last 20 minutes again without worrying that we might blow it. Yawn! Time for the pit I guess – but first: Where’s that fridge!

Stu Wells <stu(at)>


Wow what a contrast to Everton. I watched the first half on Sunday almost open-mouthed thinking ‘do you know what, we are pretty good!’ Ok, it was only the ‘Ammers but they have been on a run of late, unbeaten on the road for 10 games. City of not so long ago would have made that 11.

My problem is the teamsheet doesn’t get me going but I’m getting used to the idea that the team does. If Musampa could hit a cow’s arse with a banjo we’d have had a hatful on Sunday (why does he have to try to knock the brand name off the ball every time?). But let’s accentuate the positive, Cole is a revelation. I wasn’t too chuffed when we bought him but I have seen few of our strikers over the last 10 years hold the ball up as well as he does. And such a instinctive finisher. If Darius can start to hit the back of the net, what a fine combination he will make. Wonder how Robbie and Cole would link up given Fowler’s fine footballing brain?

I still worry about strength in depth up front but hey, 17 points already is marvellous, especially given that the loss to Bolton was an absolute travesty.

Well done Pearcey. Great first quarter. Please, please, please can we win something this season. F.A. Cup anyone?

Mark Thomson <mark.thomson(at)>


My dear Mancunian friends,

My first game at COMS was absolutely magnificent!

You must understand that I’m Italian! That means Italian football supporters have – except San Siro in Milan – very bad stadiums to see the games. We have no commercial official squad stores, no points to drink beer talking quietly with our friends, no possibility to wait to a sport event calm and relaxed like you English fans have now.

The Heysel tragedy in 1985 really did teach you how to cancel hooligans’ bad attitudes and I appreciate very much this!

I’m so pleased with all our squad – oh, how Ireland seems a little boy in front of the others, yet played very well versus the Hammers. Finally, Distin becomes a great defensive player, it’s a pleasure now looking at him, and what a great performance from Nedum I could see too!

Grandpa Teddy Bear Sheringham could only run and run without catching a ball and so he did!

Psycho is a fantastic manager, especially for defensive strategies. I believe his strong character will take us very far this year, don’t worry about it!

However, I think I’ve touched Paradise when Andy “Cool” Cole scored past the rag Carroll on the 18th minute. All those singing Blue people around me in the North Stand were absolutely enchanting. I sang loud with them and enjoyed it so much!

Before coming back to Italy I’ve promised to my Middletonian friends I’ll be back again to watch another City game. May be for an F.A. Cup important game in next spring? Maybe!

City Till I Die! Renato Tubére – Torino, Italia <r.tubere(at)>


The four hundred and odd City fans that had paid to see their beloved Blues take a step further towards retaining the Manchester Senior Cup must have been very glad to see the gremlins not emerge from the plant room and force another abandoned game, in what turned out to be a very highly entertaining encounter. Do not be fooled by the scoreline as it only flattered Bury as fifteen nil would have been a more appropriate score had it not been for Craig Dootson, starting in goal after he had been sent off, not twenty four hours earlier, in the LDV Vans Trophy against Halifax Town.

Included in the line up was Mikkel Bischoff, making a start for City at the heart of defence. After all his ankle, foot and shoulder injuries and loan spells at Championship sides, it was a welcome sight to see the tall Dane playing competitively in a City shirt; whether it will be wise for City to offer him a new contract at the end of the season is another matter.

During the first twenty minutes, City looked quite disjointed as many of the players had not played competitively with each other in their starting rôles. As soon as those twenty-minute opening exchanges were over, City dramatically turned into a ruthless, slick passing and goal-scoring machine. The testament being eight out of the nine goals coming from open play and City ninth being a penalty after good approach play was illegally halted.

City’s first came from good work from Bradley Wright-Phillips, returning after he sustained his knee injury in the reserves at the beginning of September. He ran at the defence from just over the halfway line and shot on target; Dootson saved, but could not hold on to the rebound and there was Robbie Fowler, also returning from injury, with his trademark chip finish into the far corner of the net.

We had to wait nine minutes for the second goal. The move was started by Paul Collins, who encouragingly had one of his few real quality performances, down the left flank, and he slipped the ball down the line to evade the Bury players and allow Ishmael Miller to turn and bear down on goal. He cleverly drew in the defenders and Bradley stepped off his marker to allow Miller to pull the ball back to him and smash the ball high into the goal.

Two minutes later Miller got his goal that his approach play had deserved when Yasser Hussein, starting in a central rôle in place of Stephen Ireland, slipped a good forward pass to Fowler, who with his back to goal, was able to lay the ball off to Miller who took his large menacing frame and bore down on Dootson’s goal before unleashing a venomous left foot piledriver that he had no chance of saving.

Bradley nearly doubled his tally before the break but his easy chance went high over the bar. A minute later City had the ball in the net again though, this time from a twenty yard left foot curling shot from Lee Croft. This was after great interplay between Marc Laird and Fowler, which saw Robbie send an excellently weighted pass over the top of the Bury defence for Lee to chase on to.

Within a space of a minute City had scored again. This time it was Fowler’s turn, although he had his initial effort blocked, but turned the rebound into the path of Croft, before running off his marker and into space to head Croft’s lightly-weighted chipped cross into the far corner, making it the magical five for the evening.

This minute gap between goals cropped up again as this time Fowler’s tormenting display saw him backheel a lovely ball into the path of Laird before he was clumsily brought down in the penalty box. Miller was the protagonist who stepped up to take the responsibility to score, and score he did with his stinging left foot strike into the left corner of the net.

During the break, the informed observers rightly thought we would see a double substitution after about sixty minutes of Fowler and Wright-Phillips, since it was their first match on their respective roads of recovery. The double change happened, but it was for Fowler and Croft and it occurred straight after the restart. The two young guns that came on were Kelvin Etuhu for Croft and Daniel Sturridge for Fowler.

Within five minutes, City were scoring again. It was Sturridge’s chance to get his name on the scoresheet for the first time at reserve level. His first reserve goal came when Miller used his strength to turn and play a lovely through ball for Danny to run on to and score a fine one on one with Dootson.

Three minutes later he nearly doubled his tally, but after rounding Dootson and firing from a tight angle, Russell Hitchen was just able to get back and clear off the line before colliding heavily with the post. Right on the stroke of the hour mark he did double his goals when a long throw-in from the right was flicked on by Bradley and Danny finished sweetly into the far corner to make it eight.

A minute later the final goal of the game was scored when Miller picked up a loose ball and teased and tormented the Bury defence before slipping a good pass for the overlapping Collins to unleash an unstoppable near post drive.

City continued to attack but failed to find the double figure goal that the team and the fans were craving. So, onwards and upwards for the Blues, in defence of their title, after their disappointing penalty defeat to Trafford Rangers. If there were any Stockport scouts watching then they will be sending a worrying report back to Edgeley Park for the Senior Cup game next week of how not to defend against such a rampant and free-flowing City side.

City: Weaver, Warrender (Capt.), Collins, Bischoff, Richards, Laird, Croft (Etuhu 46), Fowler (Sturridge 46), Wright-Phillips, Miller, Hussein (Bennett 55).
Subs: Schmeichel, Logan.

Bury: Dootson (Capt.), Barrow, Wedge, Theophanous (Stephens 61), Hitchen, Clarkson, Worrall (Bentley 68), Quigley, Stepian, Burke, Mainwaring (Williams 64).
Subs: Smith, Pauls.

Att: 418.

MoM: Miller – There were many great displays, but Miller just edged my vote with an unstoppable display.

Gavin Cooper <blueboy(at)>


22 people met at the stadium for Points of Blue (Fans’ Committee) on 11 October. Matters raised included:

City branding at the stadium – Dave Miller had written for PoB to Manchester City councillors: some supportive replies already (and one since the meeting from Sir Howard Bernstein, the Council Chief Executive, to the effect that the club is being encouraged to bring forward detailed proposals, which can then be discussed with Sport England).

Piped chanting – generally viewed as an embarrassing disaster, and some anger at implications that the idea had been run past this group (where it would have been given very short shrift).

Away kit used at last home match of last season – not unanimous but most thought it was a mistake, and put marketing before the football (not least because City players passed to the referee more than once).

Ticketing – some concern that customers were not always told the range of options for purchasing tickets (i.e. that you may not have to pay £20 for a Citycard to buy a ticket). A comment was made that the ticket office had recently seemed to be much more helpful.

Loyalty points – giving extra points for home matches had caused complaints from season ticket holders, but the club had defused this by adding points for Season ticket holders; however, there were worries that a scheme designed to reward “loyalty” in attendance might be perverted by being used as a commercial lever.

Odd kick-off times – a variety of points were made; generally a glum acceptance of the money from TV but real concern that the long-term effect of too much tinkering with times was already evident in attendances and in season ticket renewals.

Catering – running out of coffee at the Everton game (a failure to anticipate extra demand with no alcohol on sale?) and various incidents of inefficient and impolite service.

Ticket readers – “blind” spots in some parts of the ground (and some operators who don’t seem to know that).

Supporters’ clubs – no players guesting at supporters’ club branches (against what seemed to have been promised earlier); ticketing administration for supporters’ clubs.

Free weekends – how about friendly matches to fill in international gaps?

Stewarding – complaints about the approach of Showsec stewards (in contrast to City stewards, who drew compliments, not least for defusing incidents with Showsec stewards).

N.B. These are not comprehensive minutes but a resumé of points to be taken to club officials at a delegate meeting later this month (this will be at lunchtime, which will reduce attendance – a bit self-selecting, but perhaps easier than sorting out who should go to an evening meeting, especially if attendance at PoB meetings carried on increasing).

Steve Parish <bloovee(at)>


Wouldn’t it be nice if every team in the EPL had a cap on the value of their players, or how many players a club could have on their books?

Then it would be up to the managers and coaching staff and it would mean City would run away with the Championship.

I am not jealous of Chelsea, it’s just that they have spoiled the competition in the EPL: before, there were four regular clubs fighting it out for the top spot, now it’s just Chelsea.

Even if City took another four points from Chelsea this season, the other clubs can’t do it.

Now most are considering that who comes in 2nd are the team who have really earned it, but being a City fan I just say if we can get into Europe I will be happy, oh, and beat Chelski again.

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)>


My name is Pam Mawston, currently residing in a little backwater in England in the middle of Sherwood Forest.

From 1991 to 1993, I lived in Munich, Germany. Whilst there, I made possibly one of the best friends that I have ever had. The person in question was a chap called Hambis Theophanous. He was, and probably still is, one of the biggest Man City and 1860 Munich fans I know.

I’m hoping to track him down as I’d love to catch up with him and have a chat about the ‘old days’ in Munich (watching 1860 in sub zero temperatures etc!).

I wonder if Hambis is reading this? Or if any subscribers know of him and his current whereabouts? It would be great to relive some of the stupid stuff as I’m now a rather sensible, almost married, home owning, mother of a nearly three year old son! He’ll never believe it could have happened to me!

I can be contacted via the email address below.

Many thanks for your time, here’s hoping!

Pam Mawston <pamela.mawston(at)>


I received an email from Stuart Pearce earlier this week. Although many of you probably received it too, for those that didn’t here it is:

A big thank you to all our supporters who were able to attend Sunday’s win. A number of the players did say to me after the game what a terrific atmosphere it was – and I want to pass on their appreciation. I thought Sunday summed up what Manchester City is all about both on and off the pitch. Passion, excitement and commitment – from the players and the fans. With a combination like that, it makes us harder to beat.

This week our training continues apace as we build up for the away game at Arsenal. After our visit to the capital, we will be looking to continue our home form against Aston Villa on 31 October. I know for Halloween a number of activities are planned to entertain our junior supporters. If we continue to work as a team as we did Sunday, we can hopefully give them something to remember.

We look forward to seeing you at the next home game – and hopefully we can keep the passion burning.


Stuart Pearce

[Thanks for that, Paul. I was one of those who didn’t receive it – Mads]

Paul Whitfield <paul.whitfield(at)>


I noticed the recent series of stats and League tables produced showing City’s overall historical League position etc., and thought the following snippets might be interesting. I’m a life member of the Association of Football Statisticians (it sounds sad I know), and as attendances are one of the areas I’m most interested in, I managed to get hold of the following.

This info comes from research another member of the AFS has performed into the size of football clubs. His aim was to identify ‘big clubs’, a term used frequently in football without anyone really considering what makes a ‘big club’. His research has been performed by taking the size of average attendance for each club in the League over 30 odd seasons (1970 to 2003), working out the average for the league and then calculating what proportion of the league average the club average is (e.g. you-know-who are typically 1.9 times the average for the top division; Blackburn are roughly 0.9 times the average).

His conclusions are that the biggest clubs in size order are:

  1. you-know-who (59,183)
  2. Liverpool (48,199)
  3. MCFC (43,169)
  4. Newcastle (41,849)
  5. Arsenal (41,364)
  6. Everton (40,917)
  7. Spurs (40,412)
  8. Aston Villa (39,436)
  9. Leeds (39,014)
  10. Sunderland
  11. Sheff Wed
  12. Chelsea
  13. West Ham
  14. Wolves
  15. Birmingham
  16. Derby
  17. Sheff Utd
  18. Nottm Forest
  19. WBA
  20. Middlesbrough

Note: The attendance figures in brackets are hypothetical averages based on a calculation of what attendance each club would get if it finished in mid-table during 2002-03 in the Premier League and stadium size wasn’t an issue. His research was initially carried out in 2002-03, hence the date.

These figures exclude all of our attendances at the City Of Manchester. However, that wouldn’t change our overall position, but it would increase the gap between us and some of the other clubs, and boost the hypothetical average a little (Newcastle would also see a slight change).

Clearly, this analysis isn’t too robust. It doesn’t consider capacity of ground etc., but it is interesting because it is based on loyalty/pulling power over a 35 year period – a 35 year period that includes some very low points for us. Had stadium capacity been considered then our average may well have been higher. It also suggests that you-know-who and Newcastle are currently punching above their weight, while our average is just about spot on.

I believe that if the same research was carried out covering the period from 1910 to present, we would still be in the top 3, but I seriously doubt whether both MUFC and LFC would be above us. We were the best supported League side for spells during the period 1910 to 1935, with our main attendance rivals being Arsenal and Everton.

Anyway, I thought I’d share this. Ultimately it doesn’t really prove anything other than in spite of the troubles we’ve had during the 80s and 90s, we’ve remained one of the ‘big clubs’ with a pulling power and size others can only dream of. That’s all down to the fans.

Gary James <garyjames(at)>


I’ve been thinking about what City need for Christmas during the transfer window as we now have some money to spend.

Left Side

More strength is needed on the left – Jordan and Thatcher are OK but don’t win games for us. Therefore offer £5 million for John Arne Riise. He only played a couple of games this year for Liverpool and if Norway qualify for the WC06 then I am sure he wants regular 1st team football.

Right Side

I totally support Psycho’s target for the right wing – Steed Malbranque could be a great buy even at £5+ million and will create and score goals. He knows that City are still interested and watching him. Hopefully he just realises that Fulham are going nowhere and will opt for a move to sunny Manchester.

Up Front

Since I live in Sweden, me and a mate have been monitoring potential targetsfor City. Gunnar Heidar Thorvaldsson plays up front for Halmstad. He comesfrom Iceland and is only 23 years old. He’s scored 26 goals in 44 matchesfor Halmstad and is good in the air. As there is now the winter break inSweden, apart from the UEFA Cup, he will be sat doing nothing until April. Hewould be a bargain and we would probably only have to pay about £500,000 forhim. Tobias Hysén plays for Djurgarden who just won the Swedish league onMonday night. Tobias is the son of ex-Liverpool player Glenn Hysén. He hada great season and is an attacking midfielder/striker. He would also be abargain and we would probably only have to pay about £500-700,000 for him.

So I guess that for approx £11 million we could have 4 great new players, who would help City push on after Christmas and hopefully finish in the top five. I would be interested to read of other potential targets from abroad where City ex-pats are monitoring players that would be good buys for City.

City Till I Die, Jason Simms <jason.simms(at)>


This week has been nothing but great news from MCFC.

First we beat West Ham with a great all round team performance. Then the MCFC Reserves beat Bury 9-0 in the Senior Cup.

Great news – Robbie Fowler is back in action (too early to say ‘with a growl’ until he plays in the first team).

Great news – BWP is back in action, another great prospect as a future first team striker.

Great news – Sturridge scores 2 goals in the Reserves game, another Academy player for the future.

Great news – Stephen Ireland is about to sign a new 2 year contract.

Sibierski has a mixed reception for singing a new contract for one year, but the truth is he does give 100% for City, and MCFC does need a good utility player in the squad, it’s not that Sibs will be a first team player as an automatic choice. So let’s give Sibs our support and Stuart Pearce will do the rest, I trust his judgement.

Now come on City, beat the Gooners and make it an even greater week.

Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)>


On Sunday I had a lovely, pleasant walk to the ground along the canal from the city centre, got in through the turnstiles and… was hit by a suffocating wall of smoke.

I was contemplating a coffee but forget that, I just needed to get out of that dreadful atmosphere.

So, what’s to do? I think we all know that the general pressure from the ‘powers-that-be’, i.e. the medical profession and HM Government may well mean that there is soon no choice – smoking will be banned from all public enclosed places at which point, smoking will automatically be banned as soon as you enter the turnstiles.

However, the suggestion that smoking should be allowed in the seats is laughable. I remember the good old days when you spent the game breathing in clouds of smoke from downwind, whichever way that was. It’s a real joy not to have to put up with that any more.

Anyone still in doubt – I might take this moment to remind you about my dad, who had a heart attack and collapsed at Maine Road. Fortunately he’s alive, well and enjoying the Blues like the rest of us. But that’s what 40 years of smoking did for him. So, all you smokers out there – give up now. You know it makes sense!

On the subject of the game, I have to say that it’s a pleasure going to watch City at the moment, lovely flowing football, some exciting young talent coming through. The only thing missing now is the goals that our play deserves. Musampa seems to lose it in front of goal, but the rest of his play is exemplary.

Andy Cole too, is looking very good indeed. I’m somewhat amused that Sheringham and Carroll were booed loudly for their association with a certain other team, but not Cole. I wish City fans didn’t do that, after all we’re level with the Buccs on points and, I dare say, playing the nicer football right now. We don’t need to boo them any more.

Euan Bayliss <euan(at)>


As a smoker, I accept that I really do not have the right to subject anyone to the by-products of my habit (but if others have no objection, that’s fine too).

I was recently at a match and had the misfortune to be seated behind a chain-smoking trio, with the wind blowing their smoke back into my face for most of the game. No fun at all, even for a smoker.

I think the arrangements at COMS are OK – smokers can enjoy their weed on the concourse, and non-smokers are not compelled to sit beside them. Of course, I miss my smoke towards the end of the game, especially if we are barely hanging on to a one-goal lead, but there is always chewing gum (with or without nicotine) and what’s left of my nails.

Times change, and smokers must change with them.

Tony O’Leary <aoleary(at)>


I’ve also been waiting for this topic to arise for some time and what a huge surprise it was to me that it came from an ex-smoker!

Talking of well argued points, I had to laugh at the argument about smokers going on flights twice a year for their holidays. Marc obviously doesn’t seem to notice the hoards of non-smokers going in smoky pubs for hours every week. I know there is currently a campaign to ban smoking in pubs, but it still seems ok for the moment to passive smoke when it suits (doesn’t sound very health conscious to me).

I think the point Joel was trying to make, was the stupid decision to allow you to smoke in an enclosed area of the stadium, yet ban smoking in the open air. I agree with Joel and so do a lot of non-smokers I have spoken to. Watching City can be a pretty nervous experience at times and sometimes I do need a cigarette (if only to save my finger nails). While I do generally sympathise with (never smoked) non-smokers and do agree with serious ideas to deter children from smoking, I think you should be able to smoke in the open air or at least have a smoking section in the seating area. I know the smoking section would be a lot smaller nowadays, but this would allow everyone to have a choice. As smokers are now the minority, it’s too easy for the majority to target smokers and forget all the other major health issues, even if these include them. Like the fatties who complain about passive smoking and can’t spell cholesterol, or the healthy fitness fanatic who complains about passive smoking, but doesn’t mind sleeping with a different girl every night of the week, snorting coke and popping pills (yes, I am jealous!).

Marc – I must ask you why you started smoking in the first place, or why you didn’t give up sooner, seeing as though your feelings are so strong? The government health warnings have been well advertised and have been on fag packets for a lot longer than five years you know.

Anyway, what a great performance on Sunday. Thanks a lot boys, it was a pleasure to watch and I didn’t need a fag until injury time (typical City). I am still waiting for the day when I won’t need a smoke for 90 minutes plus injury time, but that would be boring… wouldn’t it?

City Till I Die of Ear Ache from Non Smokers, Mark Strong <mark.2.strong(at)>


Smoking Me? (only out of my a*se and ears, when I’m angry)?

With reference to Marc and Keith – OK, well 50% saw the comedic element, which I suppose was half the battle won. And yes I am being sarcastic. The critical point of my retort was simple; a mere suggestion that to allow smoking in the ‘bowl of the stadium’ rather than the veins of the concourse would suit more supporters than not. After all it’s outdoors. I was suggesting that, those who do not like smoking would ‘benefit’ from the smoking that does invariably take place – if it took place outdoors.

If you go anywhere in the states of Europe, even bl**dy Paris(!) you cannot smoke indoors. I personally don’t mind this and have found it perfectly easy to adapt. However, stadia uncovered by roofing are deemed outdoor. Like CoMS. So does that not make any sense? I personally am fully aware of the dangers, and like so many others; have been affected by cancer (albeit not smoking related), but I still like it.

Educated estimated sweeping guesswork concludes, there must be 1 in every 4 attendees who smoke at City, possibly more.

There is talk of banning smoking in stadium full stop. That would cause more trouble than three City fans jousting about the whys and the wherefores right? What would the club do then? Allow pass-outs at the exit adjacent to the bike sheds?

Again, to re-iterate, if you were to go and stand at half time right at the top, level three – and experience the absolutely, disgusting, stifling and oppressive smoky concourse, you would see sense in smoking in the seats (or giving up). Believe me I’ve been up there – it’s horrible.

I’d be more inclined to put a blanket ban on those ghastly burgers they sell. If the content doesn’t kill you the wait for them certainly will.

And for the record, it is cool (man), as I will no doubt compound when I drive my ‘date’ to the drive-in outdoor moviescreen to catch the latest Jimmy Dean colourmax flick. I believe it’s in stereo this one…

Re – cough – gards, Joel Perry <j.perry(at)>


The West Ham game was on Pay Per View and the Arsenal game is on tape delayed on Saturday as far as I can tell.

The West Ham game was a lot like Bolton – so many chances, but this time a last minute goal by the opponents did not result in a defeat.

For long periods of the West Ham game I found City’s play to be very solid and, at times, inventive. I still think we need strengthening in January, especially in midfield. That might sound a little contradictory given how they have been playing, but it is asking an awful lot of Ireland, Musampa, Barton and Reyna to play 90 minutes each and every game, and I do think there is now a little drop off in quality when Sun, Sibierski and Croft come on. That might be a little unfair on Croft. There is Sinclair but that could be some time yet.

I’d say the same about the forwards: can we really expect Fowler to get back to where he was even at the end of last season? If not, then we are left with Cole and Vassell, with Wright-Phillips as a sub. So, as much as I like what I saw on Sunday, I still think we need strengthening.

I was so impressed on Sunday that I am now daft enough to suggest that City could get something from Arsenal at the weekend. I know, I know, I’ve been falling for this kind of optimism for 50 years now, but why change? One day it is all bound to come true.

Best wishes to all and especially those involved with the Academy who keep finding good young players.

John Pearson <john.pearson(at)>


Has anyone, by any chance, got a copy of the West Ham game, please, and would be very kind to post it to Japan? I will obviously reimburse post and packing.

Marc Bailey <bailsy(at)>


I know a couple of editions back, there was a note from a Blue exile in Beijing offering a suitable location to watch games.

I have deleted the email – so whoever you were can you email me directly to tell me:

  1. Is the Arsenal game on?
  2. What time is it on?
  3. Where is the pub to watch it at?

I am over for a conference this weekend and into next week, and may be looking for a suitable drinking establishment for a group of professionals (okay, accountants…) on tour in Beijing, both for the game and generally.

Many thanks, Ian Barton <ibarton(at)>


Colin Bell and Ian Cheeseman will be guests at the Denton branch meeting on Monday 14 November, 8pm start at Denton Con Club. The long awaited book on Bell is out and Colin will be doing a Q&A and signing session. Please contact me for further details, directions etc.

Heidi <editor(at)>


Desperately seeking 2 tickets for Arsenal. Please call 0790 873 8897 (mobile) or 020 7483 4413 (home) or email me at the address below.

Many thanks, Simon Hope <simonjhope(at)>


Ticket Available…

I have one spare ticket in the City end for the Arsenal game. Face value! Call 07803 168690.

Ross Young <ross.young(at)>


17 October 2005

Charlton Athletic     1 - 1  Fulham                26,310

League table to 19 October 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          9  5  0  0 14  2  4  0  0  9  1  9  0  0  23   3  20  27
 2 Tottenham H.     9  3  1  1  5  2  2  2  0  6  3  5  3  1  11   5   6  18
 3 Manchester Utd   8  1  1  1  3  3  4  1  0 10  3  5  2  1  13   6   7  17
 4 Manchester City  9  3  1  1  6  3  2  1  1  5  4  5  2  2  11   7   4  17
 5 Charlton Ath.    8  1  1  2  4  6  4  0  0  9  2  5  1  2  13   8   5  16
 6 Wigan Athletic   8  3  1  1  5  3  2  0  1  3  2  5  1  2   8   5   3  16
 7 Bolton Wndrs     9  2  1  1  3  1  2  1  2  7 10  4  2  3  10  11  -1  14
 8 Arsenal          8  4  0  0  9  1  0  1  3  2  5  4  1  3  11   6   5  13
 9 West Ham United  8  2  1  1  8  3  1  2  1  4  4  3  3  2  12   7   5  12
10 Middlesbrough    9  1  2  2  3  7  2  1  1  7  5  3  3  3  10  12  -2  12
11 Blackburn R.     9  2  1  1  4  4  1  1  3  3  6  3  2  4   7  10  -3  11
12 Liverpool        7  2  1  1  3  4  0  3  0  2  2  2  4  1   5   6  -1  10
13 Newcastle Utd    9  1  2  1  2  3  1  1  3  3  5  2  3  4   5   8  -3   9
14 Aston Villa      9  1  2  1  6  6  1  1  3  3  8  2  3  4   9  14  -5   9
15 West Brom A.     9  2  0  3  8  9  0  2  2  1  7  2  2  5   9  16  -7   8
16 Portsmouth       9  0  3  1  2  4  1  1  3  4  6  1  4  4   6  10  -4   7
17 Fulham           9  1  1  2  4  5  0  2  3  4  9  1  3  5   8  14  -6   6
18 Birmingham City  9  0  1  4  3  9  1  2  1  4  4  1  3  5   7  13  -6   6
19 Sunderland       9  0  2  3  5 10  1  0  3  2  4  1  2  6   7  14  -7   5
20 Everton          8  0  0  3  0  4  1  0  4  1  7  1  0  7   1  11 -10   3

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1166