Newsletter #1183

A convincing win 4-1 against a dire Birmingham on Saturday saw us bounce back from the disappointment of WBA. We go into the festive season in 7th place, just below our next opponents. We have a match report tonight thanks to Svenn, match views and opinion on this and recent games.

We’ve also got part two of the CD competition, more views on the chants, your shop display techniques and the usual requests.

Finally, congratulations tonight to the City U18s, who beat a strong West Ham Academy side 4-2 at Upton Park in the FA Youth Cup.

Next game: Wigan Athletic, away, 3pm Monday 26 December 2005


Thirteen people managed to get all three questions in last week’s round correct. This week we present the final three questions and hopefully we’ll have the winner of the Christmas Quiz ready by the weekend. Deadline for submitting answers is Thursday 22nd at 12:00. Best of luck!

Q 4: Which player in the 2005-2006 City squad had made most first team appearances for City before this season?

Q 5: What makes Boxing Day 1977 so special to many City fans?

Q 6: When Arsenal’s Thierry Henry and Robert Pires squandered their now infamous penalty trick against City earlier this season, it was soon discovered that this was not the first time this exact stunt had been executed against our club. In fact it had been done with success during a Division 2 match in 1964 when City lost 3-2. Can you name the Manager at the club that beat City? [Bonus point: Give a description of what his actions were right after the penalty had been awarded]

For more information and submitting the answers go to the Supporters’ Homepage:

Svenn A. Hanssen <svenn(at)>


I worried that City against Birmingham was going to be very a dull experience. City had played their usual Jekyll and Hyde rôle in the past few games, and Birmingham had shown a commitment of not letting in goals – either way. City were without the suspended Andy Cole and Richard Dunne, and Birmingham had to do without their only real threat, Emile Heskey, who was on his way to the hospital where his girlfriend was delivering their child.

So when City took the kick off, I would be happy just to see some good attacking play and a defence that could keep the Birmingham strikers away. It took only 12 seconds to get me on the edge of the seat.

Antoine Sibierski got his first chance up front since God knows when and started the game by setting up Vassell with a downward header. The speedy striker took the ball into the box and smashed it towards the far corner. Vaesen in the Birmingham goal managed to get a finger on the ball, which spun wide of the post for a corner. Sun crossed the ball in for another header by Sib. Darius Vassell, with his back against the goal, laid the ball unintentionally down to David Sommeil who hammered it into the goal with his right foot. 1-0 up, and only 43 seconds on the clock.

City continued to create havoc in the Birmingham defence, and the visitors seemed to help us as often as they could. Nicky Butt managed to back head the ball straight to Vassell in acres of space. The City striker tried an advanced first time flick that went well wide, when he really should have taken the ball down and rolled it past the goalkeeper.

Then after 14 minutes Vassell was put through by Sib and went into the area. The goalkeeper came sliding but had no chance of beating Vassell to the ball. The striker made an experienced touch away from the goalie and went down in heaps as the goalie grabbed his legs in the process. Although Vassell’s touch was as poor as you’ve ever seen, it was a clear-cut penalty, which also earned Vaesen a crucial yellow card.

Joey Barton went up for the spot kick, and remembering his poor effort against Charlton (which ultimately resulted in him scoring from the rebound), I almost closed my eyes at this horror scene. Luckily I managed to keep one open to watch our boy send Vaesen diving to the left (had he seen the video?) and comfortably slotted the ball into the right corner for 2-0.

This was more and more turning out to be a nightmare for the visitors and a deserved pre-Christmas present to their ex-Rag manager Steve Bruce. City were totally dominating the field play and the possession stats after 20 minutes read 71-29% in favour of the Manchester team.

Joey Barton and the in-form Claudio Reyna ran the midfield as their back-yard and up front Sib ruled the airways, while Vassell was like a train on fire with his speedy runs. I guess Sib was trying to prove a point today. During his time with City he had often been played out on the left flank, or as a “hanging” forward (behind Anelka). But today he was up front with the action, and he loved it. Not only was he in charge of every high ball, he also worked his socks off when the opposition had the ball, making deep defensive runs and tackling midfielders whenever he could. But there was still more to come from the French partisan, who made a fine attempt on goal with a timely header that Vaesen just managed to flick over with his fingernails.

After 39 minutes City won a free kick on the left. Barton swung the ball into the area where Vaesen came jumping out of the goal to catch the ball. He was beaten to it by Sib with only centimetres between them, and the ball fell into the empty net. The goalkeeper was left crawling, while our French hero could raise his arms in celebration after his first goal of the season.

Half time score: City 3, Birmingham 0.

Although Steve Bruce had made two substitutions during the first half, it did not look like the offensive powers of Forssell and Pennant would be enough to keep the home team from creating more chances against a lacklustre visiting defence. Trevor Sinclair was a handful on the right, on the left Sun Jihai was tip-toeing past opponents at will, and up front the combination of Sib’ aerial power and Vassell’s speed proved lethal.

City almost managed to strike their fourth goal within the first minute of the second half. Vassell did well to offload the ball from a Birmingham defender and proceeded straight at the goal. It wasn’t the best of angles and the City striker tried to find the space between the goalkeeper’s legs, but Vaesen was not outwitted so easily. City managed to keep the pressure up and the ball fell to Barton just outside the box. The City midfielder struck the ball well and only a quick dive from the Birmingham goalkeeper prevented it from finding the net.

After the opening havoc of the second half, the game went more or less into a stalemate. The City-players were satisfied with keeping Birmingham out of the danger zone, and the visitors looked like a team that had just been relegated. No spark and no flair, and nothing to test James in the City goal.

After 68 minutes Vassell was brought off for Bradley Wright-Phillips, and within 2 minutes the younger brother of Shaun had extended the lead. Barton crossed the ball into the box from the right. Again Sib was the air-commander and he nodded the ball down for the onrushing youngster. Wright-Phillips took the ball on half-volley and gave Vaesen no chance. 4-0 and the crowd screamed for more.

Birmingham made a last desperate attempt to get something out of the game when Jarosik was brought on for Pandiani, and just like with Wright-Phillips it took only minutes before the substitute created a goal. City were caught on the break and Jarosik managed to latch away a shot from 19 yards that just crept in by the post. Still, 4-1 was not much to salute for the visitors, who went home knowing they had been out-played and thoroughly beaten by an unexpectedly motivated home team.

To make things even worse for the away team, goalkeeper Vaesen was sent off for his second bookable offence in the dying minutes. He collected a long ball on the edge of the box, only to slip with his feet outside the area. The ball was still on the inside, but the referee judged this to be an offence. It seemed a bit harsh, given that this was virtually at the end of a lost cause for the visitors. Still it gave the crowd the opportunity to see the outfield player Stephen Clemence (son of Ray) between the posts for the first time.


James (5/10) Started the game with a mix up with Sommeil that shows how he got the nickname Calamity James. The ball was bouncing across the line and neither Sommeil nor James seemed to know what to do. In the end James kicked the ball on to Sommeil’s head for a corner.

Sommeil (7/10) Scored a goal in the opening minute. Made a few decent runs in the first half. More or less out of the picture in the second.

Onuoha (6/10) Looked slow on the distribution and was almost closed down on a couple of occasions. Still, a good run-out for him in Dunne’s absence.

Distin (7/10) Not his best game. Lost a few headers in the opening minutes, but commanded his defence well, and his pace is tremendous.

Thatcher (6/10) Not very much to do for the left back today. Acted as cover for Sun, but seldom had to collect anything as the midfield worked really well.

Sinclair (7/10) Did his job well both in defence and in attack. Much better in the first half than in the second and he looked knackered towards the end. Not involved in any of the goals, and that should be troubling him.

Barton (9/10) Improves with each game I have seen him. Has come a long way to be where he is now. I only hope he can keep it coming, and continue his development. Still makes a reckless tackle here and there, but 1 goal and 1 assist speak for itself.

Reyna (8/10) Highly improved since I last saw him against Charlton. Great combative first half and a good run-out in the second. Got a bit tired at the end and made way for Fowler. Almost at his peak performance.

Sun (9/10) Another good game by our Chinese friend. He looks really comfortable on his distribution and against this kind of opposition he is almost untouchable with the ball at his feet. Created the free kick that resulted in Sib’s goal.

Vassell (8/10) Two assists today. One unintentional (Sommeil) and one very intentional (penalty). Looks like a handful for the defence when he’s in the mood. Worked well with Sib and could have grabbed a goal in the second half. There is more to come from Vassell.

Sibierski (10/10) It gives me great pleasure to announce that every doubt I have had about Sib was thoroughly trashed today. He scored a fabulous goal and was involved in all the rest as well. Simply his best performance in the sky-blue shirt ever! Too bad that he has to make way for Cole next week.


BeeP (8/10) Got 22 minutes for Vassell. Looked very lively and scored a great goal. Perhaps there is more to the City attack than Cole and Vassell after all…

Fowler (5/10) 20 minutes for Reyna. Didn’t look like he was going to score today, but hey it’s Fowler, you never know when he’s going to score.

Ireland played only 6 minutes for Sib, who was taken off to a standing ovation.

Svenn A. Hanssen <svenn(at)>


Is there anyone out there that feels the way that I do about when City are on TV? If City win, the pundits fall over themselves to explain basically that City only won because the opposition had an off day. Even at Charlton the other week when City were totally dominant, and Charlton kept on battling away, City were only dominant because Charlton were poor. It makes my blood boil. It couldn’t be that Charlton were poor because City were so good that they made Charlton look poor, could it?

Anyway, rant over, I have to contradict myself slightly now as Birmingham were the poorest opposition I have seen for many a year. In fact, 4-1 is a poor return against a team that looked disinterested and beaten from the first whistle. Rarely have I seen City have the freedom of the park without having to work damned hard for it. This could, and should, have been about 8-1. We will rarely again play against such an inept team as Birmingham, they really do have problems. Feel sorry for them, yeah, course I do. Managed by a former ‘Scab’. No way. That was the most enjoyable event of the match. Watching Bruce squirming on the touchline, helpless and unable to stop their rot.

[As the “sacked in the morning/sacked by a woman” refrain started, I was pleasantly reminded of the same chant against Trevor Francis a few seasons back – Ed]

John Nisbet <nisbet1957(at)>


A suggested chant for our heroic captain to the tune of Adam & the Ants’ ‘Stand and Deliver’

Dis-tin delivers
He’s sharper than a knife
Dis-tin delivers
You can trust him with your life

Let him know we care ’cause we’ve got to make sure he stays at City.

Rick Eagles <rick(at)>


When I first started watching City, around the mid-sixties, anything and everything was used to insult or provoke United fans including the Munich chants. Back then they has the desired effect as the event was quite recent history and United fans were hopping mad about it. That doesn’t justify it but it explains what the aims were. No matter what football means to you, something like this is totally unacceptable no matter what the objectives are. Life is much more important. And besides, so many of United’s fans are ‘Add Ons’ nowadays and they don’t even realise the significance of these chants so no point in doing them anyway. And if we really want to upset or offend United fans, can’t we find something a little more original than this, like Ferguson’s likeness to Taggart or his ruby red nose, or their refusal to concede that they can lose to a better team? Lots of material there. It really does reflect badly on City supporters.

But on a moral point, it really is offensive to the memories of other human beings who lost their lives in a freak accident. How would we feel if people started chanting mockery about Mark-Vivien Foe’s tragic death? Frank Swift, one of our own, died in that crash. It is not irrelevant, but should we not consider that the Munich chants are mocking someone’s death, irrelevant of who they were? I love seeing United in turmoil and getting really bad press but not this.

United’s supporters are not immune to this sort of chanting. We have all heard their chants about Hillsborough when they have played Liverpool. And do you remember their more recent chants about City going down like a Russian Submarine? Not offensive to us, maybe, but it’s certainly offensive to the families of the crew of that submarine that went down.

And I remember in the sixties, a very tragic accident in the mining village of Aberfan in South Wales. A slag heap was totally drenched with torrential rain and started to slide towards the village. It gathered speed as it slid down the hillside and totally demolished a school, killing dozens of primary school children early one winter’s morning. I seem to remember United playing a game in South Wales not long after that and their morons started singing about Aberfan. I understand there was a full scale riot. The Welsh supporters went berserk. My memories of this are a little vague so if anyone can correct me, I would be grateful.

Sermon over.

John Nisbet <nisbet1957(at)>


The worst away game (WBA) I have ever experienced. Not because the team were s***e – I am used to that after 35 years. It was a small group of our own fans. They rushed to our high point at the Hawthorns’ away end and apart from intimidating genuine supporters, young and old, their pathetic songs were about watching GB die and how Cole is no longer a “munich”. For f**k’s sake where is the humour, humanity and pride that City marked City supporters as sophisticates among football supporters? If these people disturb my watching of a football match again I will spray petrol on them and set light to it.

Peter Birbeck <peter.birbeck(at)>


Found this link on the web the other night; it might be of interest to all Blues outside of Manchester. It’s an interview with the great Colin Bell on GMR:

Mark <mcfcnz(at)>


I thought I would follow up on my festive story of City calendar manoeuvres in shopping malls over the country, which featured in last week’s MCIVTA. For those who did not see the story, it related to moving City calendars to the front of racks at the expense of other teams. At the weekend, my wife decided we had not finished our Christmas shopping and another visit to the shops was called for. As we entered the mall, my addiction returned and I had to discreetly put the City calendars to the front and cover the Man Ure, Chelski ones etc. To my astonishment there was only one City calendar left! This was quickly slipped in front of a Man Ure one. I left the mall wondering if I should have been paid commission for advertising the City ones and glad in the knowledge that there must be a lot more City fans in Aberdeen than I first thought. Five more shopping days till Christmas and I might, just might, nip back into the mall and see if the last one has been sold.

Merry Christmas to City fans everywhere and let’s hope for a prosperous 2006.

Ian Bell <Kylsandra(at)>


In response to Alex Channon’s comments regarding rearranging Rag merchandise items in shops, you are not alone, my friend.

Me and my mate have been doing it for years; my favourite manoeuvre was at the big Waterstones store on Deansgate just after Keane lost it and spat his dummy out at the World Cup. His book was on display, smug front cover pose and all. We collected several copies of “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and placed them next to his book along with one or two City books, we then watched people’s reactions. At first, nobody noticed, then a group of students starting pointing and laughing. A crowd started to form and the staff moved to see what all the commotion was about. They smiled, or one of them did, then continued to rearrange the books. The crowd dispersed. We went for a coffee and returned to Waterstones after an hour or so and did the same again. This time we were rumbled though and asked to leave.

We tend to move DVDs, books and sometimes place City tops over Rag ones. We are both in our late 30’s, I think we still have a few years of tactics in us, no harm done it’s just for fun. Alex keep up the good work.



Desperately seeking one ticket for the Wigan game.

Stuart Brodkin <stuartgbrodkin(at)>


As an American I am often asked by Brits, with some surprise, how I came to support Manchester City. And while that is a ‘Why Blue’ story that I must share at a later date, my issue here is slightly related to the question.

I have also been asked on occasion by Americans why they should choose to become Manchester City supporters. Although this may seem strange to most of us who came to support City by more natural means, there are a number of Americans who are interested in professional football and in the EPL, and they would like throw their hat into the ring with one team or another. But they don’t know whom to support. They watch matches but haven’t fallen for any particular team and, credit to them, they are averse to jumping on bandwagons. And without a more natural adoption by any particular team available to them, they are searching for something that would endear them to one team.

So I do my best to speak of the club’s history and loyalty of support etc. But I would be really interested to hear others’ objective reasoning, as much as that is possible: Why should one “choose” to support Manchester City as opposed to any other club? What makes City the best team to support? What makes City cool?

Donny Schreier <donaldgregory(at)>


Still looking for members for the NZ Blues. Meeting to follow in the New Year, please contact me for details.

Mark <mcfcnz(at)>


I am heavily involved in the Manchester Versus Cancer concert, which will take place on 28th January 2006 at the M.E.N. arena.

Yeah, I know, pro-smoking in the bowl of the stadium, different day. It’s the brainchild of my old mate ex-Smith Andy Rourke. And we aim to raise £1 million for the research and development of Gene Therapy at Christie’s Hospital in Withington.

We have great acts already confirmed in New Order, Doves, Badly Drawn Boy, Johnny Marr & the Healers, I am Kloot, 808 State, Stephen Fretwell, plus a couple of great TBC’s. Tickets go on sale this weekend. And you need to be there.

Please visit for more info and for tix info.

Please email me if you’ve got any questions; we need sponsorship but do check the sites first.

Have a great Christmas everyone and up the Blues.

Joel Perry <j.perry(at)>


18 December 2005

Middlesbrough         3 - 3  Tottenham Hotspur     27,614
Arsenal               0 - 2  Chelsea               38,347

17 December 2005

Aston Villa           0 - 2  Manchester United     37,128
Everton               0 - 4  Bolton Wanderers      34,500
Fulham                2 - 1  Blackburn Rovers      20,138
Portsmouth            1 - 0  West Bromwich Albion  20,052
West Ham United       2 - 3  Newcastle United
Wigan Athletic        3 - 0  Charlton Athletic     17,074
Manchester City       4 - 1  Birmingham City       41,343

League table to 18 December 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         17  9  0  0 23  4  6  1  1 14  3 15  1  1  37   7  30  46
 2 Manchester Utd  17  4  3  1 13  5  7  1  1 18  9 11  4  2  31  14  17  37
 3 Liverpool       15  6  1  1 13  4  3  3  1  7  4  9  4  2  20   8  12  31
 4 Tottenham H.    17  5  3  1 13  7  3  4  1 12  9  8  7  2  25  16   9  31
 5 Bolton Wndrs    16  5  2  1  9  2  4  1  3 13 12  9  3  4  22  14   8  30
 6 Wigan Athletic  17  5  1  3 12  8  4  0  4  7 10  9  1  7  19  18   1  28
 7 Manchester City 17  5  2  2 13  6  3  1  4 11 11  8  3  6  24  17   7  27
 8 Arsenal         16  7  0  1 16  4  1  2  5  6 11  8  2  6  22  15   7  26
 9 West Ham United 17  4  1  3 14  9  3  3  3 11 12  7  4  6  25  21   4  25
10 Newcastle Utd   17  4  3  1  8  6  3  1  5  9 11  7  4  6  17  17   0  25
11 Charlton Ath.   16  2  1  5  9 15  5  0  3 12 11  7  1  8  21  26  -5  22
12 Blackburn R.    17  5  1  2 13  9  1  2  6  6 15  6  3  8  19  24  -5  21
13 Middlesbrough   17  3  4  2 15 15  2  1  5  8 11  5  5  7  23  26  -3  20
14 Fulham          17  5  1  2 12  8  0  3  6  6 14  5  4  8  18  22  -4  19
15 Aston Villa     17  2  2  4  7 12  2  3  4  9 14  4  5  8  16  26 -10  17
16 Everton         17  2  1  5  4 11  3  1  5  5 12  5  2 10   9  23 -14  17
17 West Brom A.    17  4  1  4 14 12  0  3  5  3 13  4  4  9  17  25  -8  16
18 Portsmouth      17  1  3  4  4 10  2  1  6  9 16  3  4 10  13  26 -13  13
19 Birmingham City 16  1  1  6  5 12  2  2  4  6 11  3  3 10  11  23 -12  12
20 Sunderland      17  0  2  7  7 20  1  0  7  7 15  1  2 14  14  35 -21   5

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1183