Newsletter #1191

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Reaction to the derby continues, with views and news on the game tonight, the bad news for City being Dunne’s injury, which could see him out for 3 weeks.

Don brings all the latest transfer and contract dealings with Reyna, Barton and Fowler all looking at new deals and links with Samaras and a player called Dickov.

The reserves had an outing this week, and the youth squad will face Forest in the next round of the FA Youth Cup.

Finally, the usual requests and we have a vote for FA Cup Heroes.

Next game: Bolton Wanderers, away, 3pm Saturday 21 January 2006

NEWS SUMMARY

General News

Apprentice Not Qualified: After the weekend’s revelations over Sven Goran Eriksson’s indiscretions at the hands of the News of the World’s “Fake Sheikh”, the press ran stories on how our own Psycho should succeed the Swede. The gaffer wasn’t having it. “I find it quite embarrassing,” said Pearce. “Ours is probably the only industry in the world where you could have a total novice that’s not even been in club management for a year being touted for the top job in English football. I find it ludicrous, to be quite honest with you and I find it a massive slur on people who have been in club management for years and years on end. Would we say that the next Prime Minister is going to be somebody who has not been elected in their own ward? No, we wouldn’t – it would be ludicrous! The same should be said of the England manager’s job. When I was a youngster I wanted to re-wire houses but I didn’t just walk into someone’s house and say: ‘By the way, I’ve got no qualifications but can I wire your house today?’ Somebody should have international experience and club experience over many years before they get the opportunity to go into the top job in our industry.”

Drawing Level: There was another draw for the Reserves at the Mini-COMS this week. Wolverhampton Wanderers were the visitors, and it was they who took the lead after only four minutes. Kiki Musampa played for three quarters of the game, and it was his header that drew City level immediately after half time. Team: de Vlieger, Logan, Ward, Richards, N. D’Laryea; Croft, Musampa (Laird 67), Miller, Haapala; Sturridge, Wright-Phillips. Unused subs: Johnson, Matthewson, Bermingham, Breen. And the youth team now know their opponents in the next round of the FA Youth Cup. It’s Nottingham Forest, who overcame Reading. No date has yet been arranged.

Transfer News and Gossip

Jansen Buttoned by Bolton: City have missed out on signing striker Matt Jansen as the player opted for a move to Bolton rather than the COMS. SP confirmed on Thursday that Jansen was due to train at Carrington but the striker, who was released by Blackburn earlier in the week, did not link-up with the club. Sam Allardyce has been on the lookout for a new striker and it appears the immediate security of a deal until the end of the season, allied to the prospect of UEFA Cup football has persuaded Jansen to sign up at the Reebok Stadium until the end of the season.

Simply Samaras – I: Thanks to Henk Timmer for bringing first news of a potential striker purchase. “German mag Der Kicker reports that Man City have bid on SC Heerenveen’s in-form striker Georgios Samaras (87 games, 25 goals)” writes Henk. The UK press soon caught up with the deal – on Monday, Sky Sports quoted the player’s father, saying that an agreement was close – “There is an agreement between Manchester City and Georgios, but we have to wait for the agreement between the two clubs,” Giannis Samaras said. “Today there were talks between the officials of the two clubs. Manchester City made an offer to Heerenveen of €7.5 million (£5.1 million), but Heerenveen ask for €10 million (£6.85 million).” This would represent quite a coup for SP, as both Arsenal and the Swamp Dwellers were said to be keeping tabs on Samaras. Alas, a deal has not yet been struck, with the Heerenveen Chairman hinting that they might wish to hold on to the player at least till the end of the season, if not for longer: “We hope that all involved parties come to the conclusion that it will be good for everyone if Samaras stays with us for the next six months or even the next year and a half,” said Chairman Reimer van der Velde, whose club are still involved in the UEFA Cup.

Simply Samaras – II: Our Dutch correspondents have done us proud this week – many thanks to John Walker, who translated the following article from the Dutch paper SP!TS. Under the headline “Samaras forces break with SC Heerenveen”, the piece shows the lengths Samaras’ people are taking to help their boy escape from his current club. “HEERENVEEN – The Greek striker Georgios Samaras, from SC Heerenveen, has started a legal arbitration case against his employer. Manchester City want to take Samaras away from Friesland, but yesterday (Monday), during the final negotiations about the transfer, Heerenveen chairman Riemer van der Velde did not agree with the amount the English club want to pay. Van der Velde did not want to say the amount. ‘But there is a reasonable difference between what we want to get and what they bid’, according to the chairman. To move to the ‘blueshirts’ of City, Samaras wants to force a break with Herenveen through an arbitration case. Yesterday Manchester City visited Heerenveen with a three-person delegation. Who exactly that was, Van der Velde does not want to say. The chairman is still keeping the door open for a transfer. ‘Before the arbitration case, an opening can be found from Manchester City’, said Van der Velde about the possibility of a higher bid from England. However, he is not going to rush on a transfer. Because we have also let Huntelaar leave, this comes to us a bit too soon. This is not nice for the club and the supporters also do not like it. In the winter break we do not want to lose both our strikers.’ Samaras still has a contract until midway through 2008. According to his lawyer, Eric Vilé, the striker can earn substantially more in England. Therefore, during the case, he is going to use ‘position improvement’ as an argument in the struggle to force a transfer. Vilé makes the solid basis of a transfer deal the only goal of the arbitration case. The advisor, just like Van der Velde, does not want to talk about amounts. The football league KNVB has still not fixed a date for the handling of the case. ‘We are still waiting for the written defence from Heerenveen’, according to a spokesman. The arbitration case gets an urgent character, because after the 31st January the transfer market closes.”

Back to the Future? Do we believe this snippet, I wonder? Paul Dickov is reportedly a target for City and Everton. The Scotland international is reportedly unhappy at not getting the nod for Blackburn’s Carling Cup semi-final last week and fears that Rovers’ boss Mark Hughes sees Shefki Kuqi and Craig Bellamy as his top strike partnership. The Wembley hero of 1999 scored 41 times for City in a five-and-a-half year stay at the club before joining Leicester in February 2002. He has scored 7 goals this season.

Ex-Blues’ News

What’s Turkish for “Déjà Vu”? In a series of events with eerie echoes of his time at City, Nicolas Anelka has indicated he’s unhappy at his present club – then swiftly denied it. So, we started the week with Anelka linked to a move to that bastion of calm and stability, Newcastle United. “I don’t want to waste any more time in the Turkish Championship,” he was quoting as saying. “I want to get back into the Premiership and I want that club to be Newcastle.” Next day – all lies, all denied. “I’m very happy at Fenerbahce and in Turkey and I plan to stay until the end of my contract,” Anelka told the club’s official website. “For a start, the newspapers that are publishing articles on me don’t know any information about my contract. A club that wants me would have to speak to Fenerbahce Spor Kulubu. Because my contract is there. The club hasn’t told me of any offer.”

Taylor Made for Alex: And at the lower end of the football universe – fans of Crewe Alexandra could be forgiven for thinking that their management are getting ready for relegation on hearing of their latest acquisition. Bottom of the Championship, the Alex have swooped for that expert on playing football in the third tier, City old boy Gareth Taylor. Thirty-two year old Taylor had been deemed surplus to requirements at Nottingham Forest and has been transfer-listed following the signing of Grant Holt. Taylor joins the Alex on loan until the end of the season. Meanwhile, it’s good to report a bit of stability in the career of Taylor’s Wembley play-off teammate, Richard Edghill. This week he’s agreed a new deal with Bradford City that will keep him at the club until July 2007. The former City defender joined the West Yorkshire club last summer on a free transfer from QPR and has featured regularly this season. However, the 31-year-old’s contract expired at the start of January and he had started to become frustrated with the club stalling on offering a new deal. But boss Colin Todd has now opted to tie him to an 18-month contract as he aims to improve Bradford’s form in the final half of the season.

Reactions and Comments

Fergie Outpsyched by Psycho: Should we gloat a little longer? Yes, why not! For all those City fans who don’t know, the Blues had a rather fine 3-1 victory last Saturday against that little-known team from the other side of the tracks, FC Stretford. More of the game itself in a moment, but it was interesting to note how well our gaffer withstood the mind games from the old master Fergie, both before and after the match. On Friday, the United boss claimed the atmosphere at City’s plush new home was nowhere near as intimidating as Maine Road – Psycho went on Sky Sports News and publicly thanked Sir Redface for motivating the spectators! And after the game, Pearce admitted he borrowed an old trick from Ferguson in an effort to galvanise City, who he felt were not given due credit in the build-up. “When people were talking about the game this week, it was as though we were Burton Albion,” he said. “We are not Burton Albion. We have some great international players in our side. If we are on all firing on all cylinders we can beat anyone on any given day. Manchester United are a great club, one of the best in the world. They have the ability to spend £5 million to bring in cover at left-back. That might be my entire transfer budget, which puts this result into perspective.”

Up for the Derby: Of the game, Pearce commented that “We had taken one point out of the previous 12 and to face Manchester United when we were a bit low on confidence and put in a performance like that, I am really pleased for the players. They got everything they deserved today,” he said. “Our players were the ones who were up for a derby match, up for a real scrap, and we took our chances well. I have always had confidence in our players but, when the chips are down and you’re playing a United team on song, it’s a case of can your players stand up and say ‘you’re not rolling me over today’… they did that and they deserve the victory.” He admitted that once Christiano Ronaldo got red-carded for his petulant lunge at Andy Cole, then the going got harder for City: “When they went down to 10 men, it seemed like they had 12, so there was a sense of relief at the end,” he said. “After the disappointing time at Christmas, this was a very important result for us and hopefully it will kick-start our season.” However, there could yet be an unhappy post-script to the victory for City as Richard Dunne hobbled off in the second half with a knee injury. The big Irishman will be sent for a scan, although rumours are already circulating that he is out for 3 weeks or for the rest of the season with cruciate damage. “We won’t be sure until we see the results of the scan,” said Pearce. “He is suffering from some sort of knee damage but hopefully it is not as bad as it might be.”

Aaw, Diddums… One almost doesn’t want to give the antics of the Reds any more publicity, as ever-dependable bad losers MUFC spat numerous dummies from various prams on Saturday. Fergie’s view of the sending off illustrates the point: “In games like this, you need the referee and linesmen to be strong but we didn’t get that. It was very disappointing,” fumed the franchise chief. “He did not get a foul for the bad tackle just before and was probably frustrated. But it was more rash than vicious. He didn’t touch the player, in fact he didn’t get anywhere near him, yet the referee decided it was a red card. Maybe he should look at it again. Different referees have different interpretations and we had Steve Bennett…” And did the FA not hear Fergie suggest that Bennett was upstairs enjoying the “marvellous hospitality here”? And let’s not forget the half time antics of Fergie and his fledglings. Various reports allege a ‘furious‘ Fergie and a ranting Rooney let rip at the ref as the players reached their dressing room at half-time. The News of the World alleged that a dressing room door got battered, as Fergie supposedly branded the ref ‘a cheat’ before stating: “You’ll need a police escort out of here.” (Except the N.O.W. account had a lot more words spelt out with asterisks, usually starting with the letter “F”). There was good news and bad news later in the week – the good news: an FA disciplinary commission hearing rejected United’s claim that Cristiano Ronaldo was wrongfully dismissed, so the brat has to serve a three match suspension – but guess what – no action against Fergie for the half-time “mishaps”. Still, all this attention saves having to explain the shoddy defensive performance from your back four, eh Sir Alex?

Amazing and Fantastic: I’m bored of that whinging lot – let’s return to the winners, shall we? Man-of-the-match Trevor Sinclair, who set City on their way with an opening goal on the half hour, said: “It’s an amazing and fantastic feeling. Results have not been going our way. We’ve had a bad run over Christmas and today all our frustration has been released and, thankfully, it has come against our arch rivals. Our performances have not been too bad lately but we have not been getting the rub of the green. Today we did get it with the sending off and our finishes. But it evens out over a season and we’re just happy for the fans that it happened for us today. Hopefully, this win will sort us out a bit and we can crack on now for the rest of the season.” SP had praise for Sinclair, saying “I spent two years with Trevor at West Ham and an eternity trying to mark him so when Kevin Keegan asked me about signing him, I was fully aware of how good he was,” revealed the boss. “In fairness to Trevor, he has not had a lot of joy with injuries and you also have to bear in mind that Shaun Wright-Phillips was playing in his favoured position. Now Shaun has left, Trevor can play on the right and he does feel far more at home there.” Pearce did admit that it was hard to single any individual out. “I feel like a parent who has a lot of children who have all behaved well,” he smiled. “It is difficult to say ‘little Johnny was my favourite child’. They have done so well collectively, I feel as though I have to praise them all.”

Dining Out: Pearce admitted that, while some were questioning City after recent poor results, he never had a moment’s doubt about his players’ ability. He confirmed that: “I don’t doubt them and the only opinion that matters at the football club, apart from the chairman, is mine. I always had confidence in the players. It is a mark of character when the chips are down. Can you come and stand up and say ‘you’re not rolling me over’. I’m very pleased for them. They deserved that victory.” He dedicated the win to the fans (with whom he celebrated Robbie Fowler’s injury time strike) and to absent club Chairman John Wardle. “They can dine out on that for a while, I’m very pleased for the fans and for the chairman, who was ill today and couldn’t make it. It was a great result for him and for the players as well.”

Squad News

Clean Sheet Kasper: Kasper Schmeichel has joined League Two side Darlington on a week-by-week loan. Darlington are not having a good run with ‘keepers this term, as Kasper is their fourth proper goalie of the season. The 19-year-old has been eager to go out to a lower-division club to acquire first-team experience. He signed a two-year contract extension in December but has yet to play for City’s first team although he has appeared on the subs’ bench. He made his début in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Peterborough, but then Darlo’s goalkeeping jinx appeared to have struck again after Kasper Schmeichel picked up an ankle injury whilst playing, err, badminton before training. But the badminton injury soon abated, and Kasper kept a clean sheet for Darlington on Tuesday night as the Quakers held Grimsby to a goalless draw. The Boy Schmeichel was watched by his father Peter.

Half Time for Robbie? According to Wednesday’s Sun newspaper, Robbie Fowler will have to take a significant pay-cut if he is to pen a new contract when his current agreement expires in the summer. Fowler would like stay and with interest in the player minimal when City were prepared to loan the striker out, he knows he may be better served by staying put. The report alleges that Robbie will only be offered half of his current salary of £35,000 per week – poor thing, how will he survive on that? Time for a few new property investments, perhaps… Yet other articles in the media claim that SP would wait another couple of months before deciding whether to offer Fowler a contract extension. So you pays your money, or not as the case may be.

Ireland for the Irish: The form of Stephen Ireland this season is bringing him close to international recognition – and Stephen’s case was helped by the words of the newly appointed Republic coach, Steve Staunton. The former Liverpool and Villa player has made it clear he wants to introduce younger elements into his team, “We want to blood new talent, get them through, and we have got some young talent coming through as we have seen with young Ireland and Joey O’Brien: [of Bolton], and people like that,” confirmed Staunton. “Friendlies are there for a purpose. Yes, we want to win and we’d love to win, but we will be trying to bring in one or two newcomers. It might be a bit early for that and maybe we will just bring the squad in, who knows. But we’re looking at getting a squad together that can move us forward. What happened in the last campaign is gone. We are now looking to the future. That’s what I will say.” The next game for the Irish is a friendly against Sweden at Lansdowne Road on March 1.

Reyna Reigns: Claudio Reyna has signed a new one-year contract with MCFC. The 32-year-old, who is currently sidelined by an ankle injury, was due to be out of contract in the summer. Reyna said: “I am excited about the deal. I was looking forward to signing it. The club is going in the right direction and it is nice because we have everything in place to continue the success over the next few years.” Reyna, who joined City for £2.5 million from Sunderland in August 2003, will play for America at this summer’s World Cup finals in Germany. He added: “It will be nice to represent the club at the World Cup and it is just nice to know your future too – and that the manager knows that I’d like to stay here. I like where the club’s going and it’s a great place to play your football. There is really nowhere else I would like to go.” And Reyna’s midfield partner Joey “for England” Barton will be offered a four-year double-your-money deal to keep him at City, so says the Soaraway Sun. This would take Joey nearer the levels of Robbie Fowler’s alleged current salary.

Why, Why, Why, D’Laryea? It looks like Jonathan D’Laryea will be returning to the club after the midfielder’s loan spell at Mansfield expired. D’Laryea completed a three- month loan stint in the 0-0 draw at Shrewsbury and Stags’ boss Peter Shirtliff has heard nothing from City in his attempts to keep him for the rest of the season. “At this moment it doesn’t look as if he will be allowed to come back for a further loan unless City have a drastic change of heart,” Shirtliff told The Chad. “I spoke to them on Monday and they were undecided about it. But we have heard nothing since.”

Don Barrie <news(at)mcivta.city-fan.org>

MATCH REPORT: MCFC RESERVES 1 WWFC RESERVES 1

A few hardy souls turned out at MiniCoMS for the visit of Wolves; maybe the larger crowd we usually witness were at home watching Burton Albion? The Manchester mizzle ensured the seats were wet through, but the poor players were like drowned rats by the final whistle.

City lined up (teams below) with Logan returning to left back, Musampa playing central midfield and my first chance to see the new boy Tuomas Hapaala. Now I’m going to get the number and order of vowels wrong, so he’s now known as Tommy Hoopla. Up front was our young strikeforce of BWP and Sturridge. Wolves fielded the useful Chris Cornes who had terrorised our youth team in the FA Cup last year.

Barely settled into our hastily towel-dried seats, Wolves were on the attack as Jones (I think) took a free kick from the right, which City were totally unprepared for. It lofted straight over de Vlieger and into the net. 0-1.

Croft was giving his usual right wing performance and creating much of our early play, with one notable run and cross on about 15 minutes making the Wolves defence stand up and take notice. Sturridge couldn’t quite get to the ball and it was kicked out. Then over to the left side of the field where Logan and Miller were combining well and using both speed (Logan) and power (Miller); they really did put some great runs and play in tonight. Miller threaded through a ball to BWP but he miscued, and Logan ran two thirds of the pitch with the ball to release Sturridge who was being heavily man-marked, tricked two of their players, passed to Sturridge from the left of the area but the shot was blocked by Oakes. Sturridge is looking much better, he’s obviously been working on his all-round game and was moving around a lot more tonight, making space and looking for the ball. But before people start crying “get him in the first team” – he still has a long way to go. We suffered from a lot of misplaced shots and some poor ball control in general tonight.

Miller then had another brilliant run down the left but found himself with nobody to release the ball to. In another similar move minutes later, he went for goal himself and forced another save from Oakes. Sturridge then followed up with another shot from a Miller cross, which agonisingly hit the bar. Best attempt by City thus far but we went into the break 0-1.

No changes were made at half time, and as we were making our way back into the stadium we heard a cheer, which could only have meant a City goal. Thanks to delays getting coffee at half time, we’d missed Musampa’s goal! Fortunately my eye-witness, thank you Mr D’L, recounted an inch perfect Croft cross from the right with a superb header from Musampa with just a minute gone. 1-1.

With the turnaround it was now time to get a better look at Hoopla and the City defence. Not for long though, as City again went on the attack and BWP came closest with a low-hit shot that shaded wide of the goal.

Back in midfield, Hoopla was doing quite well considering this is only his second game. I’m struggling to think who he reminds me of now, maybe a shadow of Bosvelt, but he was certainly putting himself about and winning the ball. Musampa made way for Laird, followed by Stewart for Little (get it?) for the visitors.

Into the last quarter of the game, and Logan had made another run into the visitors’ half and took a chance on a shot, which again went wide. Fair play to him for trying though.

Wolves then woke up again, and hit back with a determined attack, which put the City defence under pressure. Cornes was back and D’Laryea made a block – boy, that must have hurt – followed by de Vlieger making a fingertip save to nudge the ball over the bar.

Ultimately disappointing given the chances we had, as we’re in 4th position in the league and a full ten points behind the mighty Boro.

The highlight of the evening was meeting the wonderful Alan Oakes, watching his son in the Wolves goal. At least someone went home happy with the 1-1 draw!

MotM: Ishamel Miller

City: De Vlieger, Ward, Richards, N D’Laryea, Logan, Croft, Haapala, Musampa (Laird 67), Miller, Sturridge, Wright-Phillips
Unused subs: Johnson, Matthewson, Bermingham, Breen

Wolves: Oakes, Ricketts, Naylor, Lowe, Riley, Rafferty, Cornes, Clingan, Stewart (Little 71), O’Connor, Jones
Unused subs: Harrison, Fitzpatrick, Ferran, Spalding

Heidi <editor(at)mcivta.city-fan.org>

OPINION: TICKETING I

Don Price makes a major point about the board not listening to the fans. We chose to sit/stand in the South Stand this season and we spend most of the game at odds with the stewards and various security personnel about whether we should stand or sit. I don’t care about the bye-laws or whatever else; the South stand is the focal part of any attempt to generate an atmosphere at COMS. It really p**ses me off that as football supporters we cannot back our team by standing and making a noise and I almost certainly won’t be sitting in the South Stand next season because of this. Someone answer me this and no one dare quote the safety card ’cause that’s rubbish. Why can a rugby fan stand at a rugby match unchallenged? Why when I went to Oasis at COMS last year could I stand whether I was in the stand or on the pitch – and get this, I could have a drink as well (i.e. a proper drink)!. It seems to me that as football fans we have been and still are treated like imbeciles because of a pathetic minority. When we stood we were penned in like animals in all directions and now in the advent of all seater stadia we are told how to sit! Oh yes, this involves both buttocks being firmly placed on the seat if you please. The club and football in general has to take note; after all we are the diehard supporters who stood/sat on the terraces when football wasn’t fashionable. It is fastly becoming unfashionable by alienating its hardcore support and through over exposure on TV. Look at pictures from Sunday’s match at Sunderland – the number of empty seats was embarrassing both for the club concerned and in my opinion the Premier League.

If season card holders begin to choose not to renew in coming seasons, the same level of empty seats will begin to appear at COMS. My parents are a prime example (I’m not having a pop mum!). They didn’t renew after many years as season ticket holders and have been to only a handful of games this season. They even opted not to go to the derby this season when at the start they were adamant about going! Why? Because of cost for one thing £30-£40 to find for each home game per person when you’re not committed as a season card holder is not that appealing. What’s more, a lot of the “big” games have been on Sky. By the end of the season they will have probably attended about a third of the home league games for the season. Couple that with the difficulty that “non-Citycard” holders have then we have a potential half-empty ground on our hands within the next few years with no obvious sign of prices coming down.

The trouble is that City are a caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to trying to make money. They can of course surely take some action on changing the fans’ matchday experience and stop stewards pecking at our heads! Interestingly, we weren’t asked to sit down during the derby. I wonder why?

Great performance from the boys on and off the pitch though – apologies to my brother for nearly throwing him into the United end when Fowler scored though!

Graham Keller <gkmcfc(at)ntlworld.com>

OPINION: TICKETING II

I just wondered whether others were as bemused as myself in the decision not to open the third tier for the cup game, and what I was told by the ticket office.

This amounted to (and I quote) “At present it is felt that the anticipated attendance will not require these levels to be open” and “closed for the next round of the FA cup to try to eliminate lack of atmosphere, which was evident at the last home cup game, due to low sales figures. Hopefully this will not happen for every cup game, it all depends on how tickets sales go for this next round.”

Robert Barker <robert.barker(at)amdocs.com>

OPINION: DERBY DAY I

Well, using the Mike Maddox theory, I guess the coin came down heads on Saturday. Over recent years we’ve changed players, managers, directors and chairmen and now even grounds, and still we remain the great unpredictables, but that’s what makes us City. So a massive change in attitude and tactics from the Spurs game, a referee who obviously wasn’t afraid of Taggart and we deservably beat a declining Rags team.

Until Dunne was injured, Distin and Dunne looked to have von Nettletop and Rooney more or less under control, Ronaldo flattered to deceive, Giggs showed his age and James covered crosses and the odd shot that got through. City deserved the first half lead although a different set of officials and possibly playing at the Swamp might have seen one of the goals disallowed. Ronaldo would perhaps feel unlucky to be sent off but he could have done an awful lot of damage had Cole not evaded the worst of the tackle. Fowler’s goal at the end was a cracker set up by a delicate touch from Vassell. Riera looked assured but wanted more time than even the lacklustre Rags defence would give him. Still, he looked to have good vision. Sinclair caused lots of problems for the Rags’ defence, leading to the withdrawal of their new signing Ezra at half time.

So a good day but I wonder what will turn up next?

David Lewis <dfl(at)microscopist.freeserve.co.uk>

OPINION: DERBY DAY II

Living out in the sticks of BC, thank goodness for satellite TV! Crawl out of bed, look at the clock, it’s 04.11, what the hell am I doing?

Tip-toe downstairs like a firewalker. Switch on the TV, trying to keep the volume down so as not to wake the wife up. The usual EPL build-up, then it’s on to City vs. United. Fully expecting a pretty severe mauling, but on the other hand knowing that form means little in a derby, I just sat and watched, resigned to whatever fate would bring out.

What it brought was a City team that looked class, and played a solid tactical game plan that worked wonders. Sinclair and Vassell looked a constant threat. Cool, the way they play off the defenders – works well! MoM for me is Stephen Ireland. Robbie comes on and seals it with aplomb. SP running to the crowd and getting mobbed said a lot about the Blue spirit! United on the other hand – what a mess.

Rooney’s abuse of the ref was unbelievable – how did he not get a red card? Little playground tantrums were breaking out all over the pitch. They lost all discipline.

There I am, dancing around the lounge, punching the air, like some kind of manic silent ballet, all the while trying not to make a sound. When Robbie scored I just had to shout! Life just feels so much better.

BTW, the guy that was giving Sun Jihai a bad time in a recent MCIVTA. I could not disagree more, to me, Sun has been one of our most consistent and reliable players, and he would be one of the first names on any City team sheet for me. A very hardworking, clever and tricky player, somewhat underrated it seems to me.

In Blue Heaven!

Adrian Leather – Quesnel BC, Canada <ade016(at)quesnelbc.com>

OPINION: DERBY DAY III

There is no bigger buzz than donning your City shirt and scarf and striding into your local pub to celebrate City’s 3-1 win over the Rags.

Laughing as a pub full of Reds are crying in their beer, moaning about City’s two offside goals and the shocking injustice of Ronaldo’s sending off.

Great fun, especially when there’s a bunch of neutrals (QPR and Southampton fans) winding them up. So glad Fowler got the third goal to really shut them up.

Just think, if Andy Cole had got that goal in injury time in the first game, we would have done the double!

To paraphrase the Mastercard commercials – A three-one win over United – priceless!

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

OPINION: SVENLESS

In response to John Nisbet’s comments about Sven Goran being clueless. One of my favourite moments was when he was being interviewed after another dismal England friendly performance. He said that what was important is that we have learned from it. Lots of managers say this and the conversation moves on, but the intrepid reporter asked exactly what would be my next question “And what have you learned from it?”

What followed was hilarious as Sven squirmed and stumbled over his words. He didn’t know what to say, ’cause for once somebody had caught him out giving a smartarse answer.

Dave Kilroy <dave.kilroy(at)ntlworld.com>

OPINION: THE NATIONAL JOB

Below is a snippet that was in the London Evening Standard on the 17th Jan.

Following the Sven allegations they were looking at the future England manager. Steve McLaren they feel is the obvious choice with Sam Allardyce, Alan Curbishley or Bryan Robson as alternatives. They then examined Stuart Pearce:

“But what about the emerging Manchester marvel, City manager Stuart Pearce? Had enough of your England coach sitting impassively in the dugout and showing all the animation of a piece of steamed cod? Pearce could be your man. Prefer your England coach to wear his heart firmly on both sleeves? Then ‘Psycho’ could be the ideal choice. Here is a man who gave blood for his country as a player, a man who won every 50/50 tackle in his 78 internationals. Pearce would bring commitment and gritty determination to the England coach’s job. The problem for Pearce, though, is that he remains a rookie manager. He needs to do his time at club level, learning the ropes, coping with the frustrations and failures as well as enjoying the successes. One day Stuart Pearce could well be England coach but next summer? Too soon, even for Psycho”

Michael Riley <michael.riley(at)vitalactivity.com>

OPINION: THE CHANTS I

While I agree wholeheartedly that those sorts of chants are not really what being a City fan is or should be about, there are a couple of points I would like to bring to your attention.

Firstly, it seems as the if the ability to use sickening chants about unfortunate events are not limited to our wonderful fans. An example of this is derby day Maine Road 2000 and I believe the chant from Manchester (we are always victimised and do no wrong) United fans was “City going down like a Russian submarine.” I am slightly confused knowing how horrific the Munich air disaster truly was; is there really any difference in United using those chants and the memory of 118 crew members to get at City fans? Sounds a little like a double standard to me.

Secondly, and probably the one closest to my heart. I went to the derby at Old Trafford last season with a few friends and my father in law who happens to be a United fan and we heard for the first time a new chant the brain surgeons have come up with, “Where’s your famous 23, another dead n**ger hanging from a tree.” I immediately made a complaint to a steward who actually thought it was quite funny; yet again a double standard and not at all nice is it? After I made the complaint I was subjected to 65 minutes of racial abuse from about 40 “men”. I was sitting next to a young lady who I had never met before and the poor woman was the victim of some terrible abuse, she was called a n**ger-loving whore, a disgrace to her race, a dirty piece of sh** just to recall a few of the phrases slung at her for having the misfortune of having to sit next to me, being of a mixed race background. That day I could easily have joined in the Munich chants and wouldn’t have felt any way about it.

I thought with all the coverage about this topic throughout Manchester this past week that I would not hear these chants again but unfortunately I was wrong, with both sets of fans using the chants. I must praise our stewards who threatened expulsion to any of our fans who were using such language and I do believe it wasn’t as bad as it has been in the past; we can only hope it is wiped out all together.

I do realise that what we do as City fans should not be directly related to what United sing about; we must be better than them. I am hopeful that we can, as true football supporters eradicate these senseless comments and as City fans support our own team and not even mention them at all because they do not need any of our attention.

Keep up the good work!

Denzil <Djandsmbrown(at)aol.com>

OPINION: THE CHANTS II

So, that’s it for the ‘M’ word, well, I’m fine with that but it’s a shame we have to lose some of the regular chants that go with it. I’m talking about ‘Andy Cole, he’s not a ‘M’*n**h any more’ and ‘Gary Neville is a Blue, he hates ”M’*n**hs’.

To keep them going, how about we substitute a word that Rag fans hate more than the sound of the ‘M’ word on City fans lips. How about we put the word ‘Glazer’ in there instead. ‘Town full of Glazers’, ‘Who’s the Glazer in the black?’ They hate him so much, they’d be asking us to go back to the original.

Rick Eagles <rick(at)eagles.org.uk>

OPINION: STAT ATTACK; HOW FAR WE’VE COME

Kevin Williamson stated in “Jamo’s World” that “So David James thinks we’re abetter side than with Kevin Keegan. Wake up and smell the roses son, we’re nobetter off this time of the year as we were with Keegan last year. We stillhave under-achieving superstars earning more in a couple of months than mywife and I earn in a year.”

2006 played 21 won 8 drawn 4 lost 9 27 for 24 against points 28 pos 9th
2005 played 22 won 7 drawn 7 lost 8 27 for 23 against points 28 pos 9th
(Figures from 365)

While the stats are similar for last and this season, last season we picked up from the 29th game onwards (SP’s starting point) for a fine finish. This season however, the table below shows we have been better placed all season and had the points earlier, but we do seem to be slipping away a bit recently. If we maintain the same progress and pick up another 27 points from the 2nd half of the season to finish on 54 points we’ll be only 2 points better off than last season but a point behind Middlesboro’s 7th placed finish.

Stats are one thing, but what is the overall feeling about progress this season compared to the first half of last season, a B+ compared to a B?

City's Position                 City's Points
Round 05-06 04-05 03-04 02-03   Round 05-06 04-05 03-04
 1                               1
 2                               2
 3     5    18     5    14       3     7     1     7
 4     4    10     7    14       4    10     4     7
 5     4    13     5    10       5    11     4    10
 6     6    11     8    11       6    11     7    11
 7     9    13     6    12       7    11     7    12 
 8     7    12     6    15       8    14     8    12
 9     6    11     6    16       9    17    11    15
10     7    13     7    17      10    17    11    15
11     6    12     5    16      11    20    12    18
12     8    13     6    14      12    20    13    18
13     8    12     8    12      13    21    14    18
14     9    11     9    12      14    21    17    18
15     8     9    10    15      15    24    20    19
16     9    11    12    12      16    24    20    19
17     8    13    11    12      17    27    20    20
18     8    10    13    12      18    27    23    20
19     8    11    13    12      19    27    23    21
20     9    12    14    11      20    28    24    22
21          10    15     9      21          27    22
22           9    15    10      22          28    23
23           9    15     8      23          31    23
24          10    16    10      24          31    24
25          10    16     9      25          32    24
26          10    14    10      26          33    27
27          12    16    10      27          33    27
28          11    15    11      28          36    30
29          12    16    11      29          36    30
30          12    15    12      30          36    31
31          12    15    12      31          37    32
32          11    15    12      32          40    33
33          11    15    12      33          41    34
34          11    17    12      34          44    34
35          10    17    10      35          45    35
36           9    17    10      36          48    38
37           8    17     8      37          51    38
38           8    16     9      38          52    41

Peter Carlisle <Carlisle(at)loxinfo.co.th>

OPINION: BABY BLUES

Guess it’s just as well for Mark Ballentine that Chinedum Onouha didn’t score the derby winner! Chinedum Ballentine for his newborn – hard to sell that one to the wife!

[Update from Mark, consensus reached and the baby is to be Jack Raymond ROBBIE Ballentine – Ed]

Chris <hawkeye(at)clear.net.nz>

REQUEST: FA HEROES VOTE

The All-Time FA Cup Heroes Team

In this, the 125th season of The FA Cup, the Football Association are launching a search for the Official All-Time FA Cup Heroes Team.

Over the years we have enjoyed some memorable performances from players throughout all levels of the game in what is truly the greatest domestic cup competition in the world.

In the lead up to this season’s landmark final, the FA’s website, TheFA.com, will be unveiling the chosen eleven players along with a manager and an overall FA Cup legend, who will be crowned the number one FA Cup hero of all time.

The FA is asking Manchester City to provide the names of four players and one manager who have been the most memorable, most idolised and successful FA Cup heroes in the Club’s history.

All positions on the field need to be covered so we would like you to nominate one goalkeeper, one defender, one midfielder, one forward and one manager.

Email your nominations to <cupheroes(at)mcfc.co.uk> and the Club will add up all the entries and submit the four players and manager to the FA as Manchester City’s nominations for inclusion in the team. Votes to be received by 27/1/06.

<cupheroes(at)mcfc.co.uk>

REQUEST: BOLTON TICKETS AVAILABLE

I have two tickets available for the Bolton match. They are in the upper tier and are £39 each. If you are interested contact me on 07944775022 or email.

Paul Jackson <ajackson32(at)cwctv.net>

REQUEST: WALLPAPER AVAILABLE

Don’t know if anyone would be interested but I’ve created a wallpaper for the Playstation Portable. I’m quite happy to send it to anyone who wants it on MCIVTA.

It features the original round club crest.

Andrew Frodsham <afrodsham(at)deloitte.com.au>

REQUEST: SCUNTHORPE PROGRAMME

Please could anyone help me obtain a programme/magazine from the Scunthorpe cup-tie?

My 7 year old son is collecting programmes from every match he has attended and this game was the first time we were unable to obtain one.

If anyone has a spare programme available that they don’t want, we would be eternally grateful to find it a good home!

We would of course be happy to pay for the cost of programme and postage.

Fingers crossed, Stuart Latham <lathamws(at)aol.com>

RESULTS

League table to 18 January 2006 inclusive

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F   A   GD Pts
 1 Chelsea         22 11  0  0 28  6  9  1  1 20  5 20  1  1  48  11  37  61
 2 Manchester Utd  22  6  3  1 20  6  7  3  2 21 14 13  6  3  41  20  21  45
 3 Liverpool       20  9  1  1 17  4  4  4  1 12  7 13  5  2  29  11  18  44
 4 Tottenham H.    22  7  3  1 17  7  4  4  3 14 12 11  7  4  31  19  12  40
 5 Arsenal         21  9  1  1 27  4  2  3  5  7 11 11  4  6  34  15  19  37
 6 Wigan Athletic  22  6  1  5 16 15  5  0  5  9 12 11  1 10  25  27  -2  34
 7 Bolton Wndrs    20  5  3  1 11  4  4  3  4 14 16  9  6  5  25  20   5  33
 8 Manchester City 22  6  2  4 16 10  3  2  5 14 15  9  4  9  30  25   5  31
 9 Blackburn R.    21  6  2  2 15 10  3  2  6 11 15  9  4  8  26  25   1  31
10 West Ham United 22  4  1  5 15 15  4  4  4 14 16  8  5  9  29  31  -2  29
11 Charlton Ath.   20  4  1  6 13 16  5  0  4 13 14  9  1 10  26  30  -4  28
12 Fulham          22  7  2  2 18 12  0  3  8  8 18  7  5 10  26  30  -4  26
13 Newcastle Utd   21  4  4  1 10  8  3  1  8 10 16  7  5  9  20  24  -4  26
14 Everton         22  3  1  6  8 15  5  1  6  7 16  8  2 12  15  31 -16  26
15 Aston Villa     22  3  3  5 12 14  3  4  4 14 18  6  7  9  26  32  -6  25
16 West Brom A.    22  5  1  5 17 14  1  3  7  4 17  6  4 12  21  31 -10  22
17 Middlesbrough   21  3  5  3 15 17  2  2  6 10 20  5  7  9  25  37 -12  22
18 Portsmouth      22  2  4  5  6 12  2  1  8 10 22  4  5 13  16  34 -18  17
19 Birmingham City 21  2  2  6  9 14  2  2  7  6 17  4  4 13  15  31 -16  16
20 Sunderland      21  0  3  9  8 23  1  0  8  8 17  1  3 17  16  40 -24   6

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v0506.02]

[1] MCIVTA Addresses

Articles (Heidi Pickup)          : editor@mcivta.city-fan.org
News/rumour (Don Barrie)         : news@mcivta.city-fan.org
Subscriptions (Madeleine Hawkins): subscriptions@mcivta.city-fan.org
Technical problems (Paul)        : paul@city-fan.org
FAQ (David Warburton)            : faq@mcivta.city-fan.org

[2] What are MCIVTA’s publishing deadlines?

Deadlines for issues are nominally 6pm, Monday and Thursday evenings bu email. Unfortunately we cannot accept email attachments.

[3] MCIVTA Back Issues and Manchester City Supporters’ home page

http://www.uit.no/mancity/ is the unofficial Manchester City Supporters’ home page. Created in 1994, it is the longest running of the Manchester City related web sites. Back issues of MCIVTA are also hosted on the site.

[4] What is the club’s official web site?

The official club web site can be found at http://www.mcfc.co.uk/

[5] What supporters’ clubs are there?

Manchester City FC recognises three supporters’ clubs: The “Official Supporters Club” (http://www.mcfcosc.com/); the “Centenary Supporters’ Association” (http://www.reddishblues.com/CSAWebsite/CSA.htm) and “The International Supporters’ Club”.

[6] Where can I find out about the fans’ committee?

The Fans’ Committee operates as an interface between supporters and the club. The Fans’ Committee has been relaunched as “Points of Blue”. It has appeared on the club website as a minor entry under “Fans Zone”.

[7] What match day broadcasts are available on the web?

The GMR pre and post match phone-in is available on the web at http://www.bbc.co.uk/england/gmr/sport_intro.shtml.

Live match commentaries and archives of games, reports and interviews can be found at http://mcfc.videoloungetv.com/do/preLogin?clubSiteCode=MCFC&CMP=AFC-003.

[8] Where can I find out if City are live on satellite TV?

http://www.satfootball.com/pl.html provides a listing of Premiership games being shown on UK domestic and foreign satellite channels. Useful sites for North American viewers are http://www.foxsportsworld.com/named/FSW/Index/Soccer, http://www.soccertv.com/, and http://www.livesoccertv.com/.

[9] Do we have a Usenet newsgroup?

Yes we do: uk.sport.football.clubs.man-city is our home on usenet. If you are not familiar with usenet, a basic explanation is available here: http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/0,289893,sid9_gci213262,00.html

[10] Do any squad members have their own web pages?

There are a number available and direct links can be found at http://www.uit.no/mancity/players/

[11] Can I buy shares in the club?

Yes you can: Shares in Manchester City PLC are traded on OFEX. The latest prices can be on found the OFEX web site http://www.ofex.com/ (registration required) or in the business section of the Manchester Evening News.

[12] Where can I find match statistics?

Statistics for the current season are available from the club site, but for a more in-depth analysis try http://www.mcfcstats.com/.

[13] Where can I find a list of City-related websites?

Try Wookie’s Lair: http://www.wookieslair.com/modules.php?name=Web_Links


DISCLAIMER
The views expressed in MCIVTA are entirely those of the subscribersand there is no intention to represent these opinions as being thoseof Manchester City Football Club, nor of any of the companies anduniversities by whom the subscribers are employed. It is not inany way whatsoever connected to the club or any other relatedorganisation and is simply a group of supporters using this mediumas a means of disseminating news and exchanging opinions.


[Valid3.2]Heidi Pickup, editor@mcivta.city-fan.org

Newsletter #1191

2006/01/19

Editor:


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