Newsletter #1193

FA Cup weekend looms as we host Wigan, who will hopefully be exhausted from their Wednesday night efforts against Arsenal.

Sarah is standing in for Don tonight and brings us reaction to last Saturday’s effort at Bolton, and umpteen rumours as the transfer window draws to a close. We have news from Holland on Bosvelt and the on/off Samaras signing, the reserves’ outing this week and some disturbing Cup stats.

Next game: Wigan Athletic, home, 3pm Saturday 28 January 2006 (FA Cup 4)


Reaction – There’s just no defence! And at times during the match that was true too! Stuart Pearce pinpointed lapses in concentration as City’s main undoing in the 2-0 defeat away to Bolton. The Blues were punished twice before half time, with Borgetti and Nolan seizing on defensive frailties to put the home side into the driving seat. Reflecting further on City’s defeat, Pearce commented: “They are all tough matches, to be fair. Look at Bolton, I think they have only conceded four goals at home all season. They are quite hard to break down, defend as a group quite well and don’t give too many chances away. They don’t give you silly opportunities for you win the game by, but if the ball drops to one of them in the box the chances are they might get on the end of it. That was the difference between the two sides. We switched off on a couple of occasions and gifted them easy-ish goals, shall we just say. That undoes all the hard work that you put into it.”

Further disappointment for Sibierski: Not only with the fact that he didn’t start (again), but with the result and its impact on City’s chances in Europe next season (or should that be lack of them). The versatile forward appeared as a replacement for Albert Riera, (who unfortunately looked too like Musampa) midway through the second half, but like the rest of the side he struggled to make an impact as Bolton closed the game out. Reflecting on the frustration that both Bolton and Blackburn have now been able to edge ahead of the Blues, he said “We did very well against United but we need to be more consistent in order to get into the top six so we can challenge for the UEFA Cup or even the Champions’ League. Now that’s going to be difficult.”

It’s Payback time (we hope): Wigan visit the City of Manchester Stadium on Saturday in an FA Cup 4th round tie. Now City will be hoping to turn the tables on Wigan after Boxing Day’s defeat. Wigan, who will visit the City of Manchester stadium for the first time, will hopefully be tired after extra time against Arsenal (who they have just beaten in the Carling Cup semi) and despite only a handful of meetings between the two clubs down the years, City can look back to a couple of good results in knock-out situations. The first time the clubs ever met was in 1970 when a Colin Bell goal gave the Blues a narrow win at Maine Road in the 3rd round of the FA Cup. Wigan were a non-league outfit at the time, but in 1999 the two sides met in a memorable two-legged Division 2 play-off semi-final. The first leg ended with honours even, and City eventually won at Maine Road through a Shaun Goater goal.

Defensive lapses cost reserves (against Villa): There’s something familiar in the report. City’s reserves (like the main team) have just suffered defeat (this time at the hands of Villa) due to lapses in defence. Steve Wigley is disappointed in the result and though he felt that the 5-2 scoreline was somewhat harsh; City gave the opposition too much space and they took advantage.

Cole to coach: Andy Cole is on the verge of signing a one-year extension to his contract and could be offered a coaching rôle as part of the deal. Apparently the detail has been agreed with Cole’s agent and all it requires is the player to sign on the dotted line. Pearce is keen to keep Cole, believing he is a good influence on the younger players and he also is keen to repay the favour that City showed him when he started coaching.

The future’s bright, the future’s orange: Well more tangerine really, for City defender Danny Warrender who has joined Blackpool in a permanent deal following on from his loan period. The 19-year-old goes on a free transfer as City decided not to extend his contract beyond the summer. Stuart Pearce praised his loyalty to the club and also the work the Academy is doing in producing a plethora of promising young players. And just before the transfer window slams shut.

This week’s ins and outs/rumours: Your guess is as good as mine – SP claims he has ‘space’ for 3 more players, and these are just a few of this week’s targets.
Back – Nicky Weaver from a loan spell at Sheffield Wednesday
Stalling – Joey Barton on signing a £30,000 a week contract (though other reports claim that the talks have yet to start)
Off – the Samaras deal as Everton join the battle to sign him though a new offer has now been made
In (or not) Shrewsbury ‘keeper Joe Hart
Out – Sylvain Distin, this time to Lyon
In – Southampton young defender Matthew Mills
On loan – D’Laryea back to Mansfield again as soon as he’s fit
In – Malbranque, though Fulham deny it
Outrageous – SP for England; Barton for Middlesbrough (probably a rumour being circulated by his agent to support an increased wage demand!); SWP to Liverpool, Fowler to Anfield on loan!

Ability Counts – especially against United: Hot on the heels of the 3-1 derby win (had to get that in somewhere), Manchester City’s Under 16 pan-disability team continued the celebrations by winning the Greater Manchester Ability Counts Cup on Friday night. They won their group comfortably before beating Everton in the semi-final and Manchester United 4-0 in the final. The competition, part of the Greater Manchester Ability Counts League, offers young people with disabilities, (ranging from Cerebral Palsy to Severe Learning Difficulties), the opportunity to represent their local club in competitive football.

Youngsters to face Forest: Manchester City will face Nottingham Forest away in the Fifth Round of the FA Youth Cup to be played on Wednesday 8th Feb – 7pm kick-off. With holders Ipswich knocked out by Liverpool, strong contenders Chelsea and Everton also out, many believe this season represents a good chance for City to go on and win the cup.

Keeping for a week at a time: City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel is gaining some invaluable experience out on loan at Darlington, and Stuart Pearce says that he can already see a big difference in the player. The 19-year-old has played three games for The Quakers in an arrangement that is being reviewed on a weekly basis, and has been back at City’s Carrington training ground although the Club have been keeping a keen eye on his progress.

Sarah Longshaw <news(at)>


We arrived at the Bescot stadium wondering if any dodgy sheiks and soon-to- be-ex England managers would be in attendance. Once the lack of yachts and Volvos was established, it was unfortunately time to turn our attention to the game.

Villa put out one or two “big names” – De la Cruz, Moore and Phillips and we had our usual assortment of reserve players, positions changing and jumbled about.

We played for about 20 minutes of the 90. Midfield couldn’t keep hold of the ball, De Vlieger couldn’t save 5 pence pieces, never mind goals, and the forwards had forgotten their shooting boots. Defence decided to go AWOL too, allowing their midfield and forwards plenty of space, free headers and an open goal. Gave up trying to do a report because this was easily the worst City reserve performance in a number of seasons. The coaching staff stopped instructions after the first half, and the match was summed up as we conceded our fifth when one City player said “dearie me, was that a goal” or words to that effect that I can’t publish in case my dad reads this.

City’s two goals came from a well delivered Croft corner, which found a Micah Richards trademark header, and a Miller drive at an acute angle across the goal to hit the top right of the net. Those were the two highlights of the evening for City.

Phillips was excellent, the Villa ‘keeper Stuart Taylor had a good game and that was it. Utter rubbish.

Villa: Taylor, De La Cruz, O’Halloran, Green, Ridgewell, Whittingham, Ward Gardner, Moore, Phillips, Abgonlahor.
City: De Vlieger, N D’Laryea, Richards, Onuoha, Logan, Croft, Haapala, Johnson, Miller, Laird, Wright-Phillips.

Heidi <editor(at)>


I was away over the weekend but taped the Bolton game. Last night, Monday, arrived home, unpacked and settled in to watch it. Others have given their thoughts.

Mine can be summed up by: Dismal showing, and a continuation of the Xmas-New Year form. I think the depth of our squad can he illustrated by the subs: do we really think Fowler and Sibierski can rescue a game as opposed to holding on to a lead?

Very disappointing. On to Saturday and Wigan: this game is not on in the US so that probably means some ridiculous high score for City. The Newcastle game is on here next week and, here we go again, it is turning into a must win game.

Best wishes to all, John Pearson <john.pearson(at)>


Paul Bosvelt, now playing for Heerenveen, reminisces of the time he spent in Manchester in today’s issue of Dutch daily Metro.

Prior to moving back to the Netherlands, and the province of Friesland, he recalls fondly the two seasons he spent at City as an experience he wouldn’t have missed for the world. “English football has always excited me. I had the good fortune to start at City, coinciding with their move to the new stadium. I was in the starting line-up for the opening game against no less than Barcelona” he recalls with a glint in his eyes.

When asked about which games and rivalries made the greatest impression on him, he doesn’t hesitate. “The derby games were special. I have compared the meetings between Ajax (Amsterdam) and Feyenoord (Rotterdam) to the derbies, but then within the same town. During the derbies it was impossible to hear each other and the atmosphere was really fanatic. Last week City won the home fixture 3-1 after getting a draw earlier in the season. With these sort of results you can keep the fans going for a while”!

He goes on “It wasn’t all roses in Manchester! I once ended up in a taxi, and the driver made it soon plain that he was a Rag (author’s translation). The driver threw the taxi through the town centre like a raving maniac. When I gave him a tip at the end of the journey he threw it back at me! Seems he’d recognized me”!

His contact with fellow Dutchman van Kneestillsore while in Manchester wasn’t always appreciated among the populace. “I had regular contact with Whinger (author) but it was clearly ‘not done’ in Manchester for players from rival camps to be seen together.”

He’s doing well at Heerenveen and he’s well appreciated. I regret his loss to City as a cultured footballer who wasn’t prepared to take any nonsense and was a steadying influence in our midfield. Sadly, in my opinion, Stuart couldn’t offer him any long time promises and Paul accepted Heerenveen’s offer of longer term employ at the twilight of his career. I’m glad we made an impression on him and he wasn’t disappointed with his spell at City.

Moving on to the Samaras interest, word here is that the chairman of Heerenveen knows of interest from the Arsenal (among others). This chairman smells money and sees his chance to screw up the price. I don’t know if Samaras is all that keen to join City in particular, or wants to go to England in general, but the deal went to arbitration. I’ve also heard of all sorts of sums silly money quoted and then for a player who is hardly a household name in the Netherlands!

This morning’s issue of the Metro has announced the findings of the Dutch F.A. It’s been announced that Samaras can go to City but he must first sit this season out at Heerenveen. The Commission have based their decision on FIFA ruling that an interim transfer is only possible when all parties are in agreement! No doubt the chairman of Heerenveen will soon be very agreeable when the price reaches the level of his demands?

Greetings to all of the Blue persuasion.

Dave Lyons <DJ.Lyons(at)>


Your stats at the beginning of the last McV make for depressing reading! As a club we have never gone this long without winning a trophy or indeed appearing in a cup final. The game has changed so much for the worse that to actually manage that this year or in the near future would be some major achievement.

Our season is turning into a big disappointment after promising so much; are we set to deliver little again? Are we under achieving or are our expectation levels just too high? I like to think the former and not the latter but I am biased! The stat recently produced comparing our achievements to the same point last season clearly shows we are faring no better than last season’s squad.

I am disappointed that at the time of writing we have only managed to bring in one player during January, albeit on loan. We allegedly have money to spend and already clubs like Portsmouth, West Ham, Wigan, Fulham, United and Birmingham (every bl**dy club but us!) have taken a positive and some aggressive approach in this transfer window. The cracks began to appear in December and we were all willing January to come quickly – well we have a week to bring in new faces to bolster and lift the squad. Why do these clubs have more money and resources to get the sort of players we should be in the market for? We are directly competing with the likes of West Ham and Wigan aren’t we?

We often bemoan the likes of Bolton and it kills me to see the success of Wigan this season because I firmly believe as a club we should be achieving more than both of these clubs on every level – sadly we are not. I fear for the rest of the season and for next season if there isn’t some form of major investment into the squad soon. Will somebody please have a word with Bill Gates – I believe he could grow to love City!

Graham Keller <gkmcfc(at)>


Since City appeared in the League Cup final in 1976 there have been 26 different clubs in the final.

Middlesbrough           Bolton          Manchester Utd
Blackburn R             Tottenham       Birmingham
Leicester C             Tranmere        Aston Villa
Leeds                   Arsenal         Sheffield Wed
Nottm Forest            Oldham          Luton
Oxford United           QPR             Norwich City
Sunderland              Everton         West Ham
Wolves                  Southampton     Wigan
Chelsea                 Liverpool

And since the FA cup in 1981 there have been 20 different clubs. Got to be our turn soon.

Brighton                Arsenal         Aston Villa
Chelsea                 Coventry City   Crystal Pal
Everton                 Liverpool       Man Utd
Middlesbrough           Millwall        Newcastle United
Nottingham Forest       QPR             Sheffield Wednesday
Southampton             Sunderland      Tottenham
Watford                 Wimbledon

Andy Webb <Charlesalexhols(at)>


How frustrating is this team!

The main reason City picked up when Pearce took over was that he tightened up the defence. Until we start to keep clean sheets, City are doomed to be a mid=table also ran.

Don’t tell me the ghost of Keegan has returned or has Stuart gone soft?

Having watched at least half a dozen games this year via Foxtel, how people rave about Dunne and Distin in this forum is beyond me. One good game in 4 isn’t enough. How many points have we dropped this year conceding goals with defending that juniors would be ashamed of?

For me, the sooner that Dunne in particular is put on the next bus out of town the better. Distin looks half the player he was earlier in the season before the Dunney monster decided to go AWOL.

Forget about being happy with mid-table, anything other than a top 6 spot and a decent run in one of the Cup competitions in my mind will mean that this team has underachieved big time – no excuses!

I’m sick to death of hearing the same old tripe, “that’s what City is all about”, “look where we were 5 years ago”, “we don’t have enough money”, “we’re playing the youngsters so it doesn’t matter as much” etc.

Total round sphericals – put your boots on Mr Pearce and give the overpaid b*****ds a kick up the Arsenal!

Other than that, fingers crossed for the Wigan game.

Graham Hine – Perth, Western Australia <graham(at)>


I find it hard to believe that Kiki Musampa is not a regular in the starting eleven. He would have done a much better job than Ireland on Saturday vs. Bolton. He was running round like a chicken with no head and his distribution was abysmal. He also gave the ball away to the opposition far too much. We were playing in dark blue weren’t we? Why pass to a white shirt then!

Anybody in agreement or disagreement?

Andy Armstrong – Lifelong Florida Blue <AND_ARM(at)>


Whilst I thoroughly agree that Rag-baiting is a worthwhile and enjoyable practice, can I suggest that next time our Robbie plays against the dark side, he celebrates our goals with a 3-1 finger salute.

After all we do pay him copious amounts of money and Liverpool don’t, and the fact that some Scousers have won in Europe a few times is of little relevance to City.

David Griffiths <daveandnicky(at)>


I don’t know if this has been covered before but as an ex-pat I have been experimenting with watching Premiership and other English games over the Net for the last few months.

If you have a decent broadband connection and are fairly computer literate it is fairly easy to watch most games online.

In order to watch games you have to download some software and then tune to the appropriate channel; most have Chinese commentary but the picture quality is quite good and free. The best resource I have found for info and links is, which gives loads of info about software, channels etc.

I watched Bolton vs. City and Scum vs. Pool last weekend so although the software etc. worked well the outcome for both games was disappointing. Having watched Arsenal vs. Pie Eeaters tonight I view this Saturday with a degree of trepidation.

I suggest you check it out as, even in the UK, it could save you a few bob!

Ian Ferguson <ian(at)>


What an excellent article you published in MCIVTA 1191 from Denzil re Chants. I felt his views expressed to a large extent the difference between them and us. My heart bled for Denzil as I read his contribution.

I’m proud that on behalf of the Centenary Supporters’ Association I was able to put our support behind the request in recent matchday programmes to cut out the Munich chants. However, my support was purely on behalf of City supporters and nothing to do with the other side’s fans. [As were we all, Alex – Ed]

I have been contacted by people who allege to speak on behalf of MUFC supporters for my views on the subject of Munich chants. My reply is always ‘get your own house in order before you look at mine’. Like Denzil I’m sick of the double standards of many of United’s supporters. I’ve heard the chants about the Russian submarine, our No 23, Alfie Haaland’s leg, Hillsborough etc. They have no room to criticise us. Let them sort themselves out whilst we get our own house in order and please may all MCIVTA readers do whatever they can to cut out the Munich chants.

Alex Channon – Chair, Manchester City Centenary Supporters’ Association <channons(at)>


Looking at the Nationwide Conference I have seen City play at:

  • Halifax
  • York
  • Cambridge Utd
  • Altrincham (friendly)

I can’t remember us playing anyone else (perhaps Exeter), have we?

Andy Webb <Charlesalexhols(at)>


23 January 2006

West Ham United       2 - 1  Fulham                29,812

League table to 25 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         23 11  1  0 29  7  9  1  1 20  5 20  2  1  49  12  37  62
 2 Manchester Utd  23  7  3  1 21  6  7  3  2 21 14 14  6  3  42  20  22  48
 3 Liverpool       21  9  1  1 17  4  4  4  2 12  8 13  5  3  29  12  17  44
 4 Tottenham H.    23  7  4  1 17  7  4  4  3 14 12 11  8  4  31  19  12  41
 5 Arsenal         22  9  1  1 27  4  2  3  6  7 12 11  4  7  34  16  18  37
 6 Wigan Athletic  23  6  1  5 16 15  6  0  5 12 14 12  1 10  28  29  -1  37
 7 Bolton Wndrs    21  6  3  1 13  4  4  3  4 14 16 10  6  5  27  20   7  36
 8 Blackburn R.    22  6  2  2 15 10  4  2  6 12 15 10  4  8  27  25   2  34
 9 West Ham United 23  5  1  5 17 16  4  4  4 14 16  9  5  9  31  32  -1  32
10 Manchester City 23  6  2  4 16 10  3  2  6 14 17  9  4 10  30  27   3  31
11 Charlton Ath.   21  4  1  6 13 16  5  1  4 14 15  9  2 10  27  31  -4  29
12 Everton         23  4  1  6  9 15  5  1  6  7 16  9  2 12  16  31 -15  29
13 Fulham          23  7  2  2 18 12  0  3  9  9 20  7  5 11  27  32  -5  26
14 Newcastle Utd   22  4  4  2 10  9  3  1  8 10 16  7  5 10  20  25  -5  26
15 Aston Villa     23  3  3  5 12 14  3  5  4 14 18  6  8  9  26  32  -6  26
16 West Brom A.    23  5  1  6 17 15  1  3  7  4 17  6  4 13  21  32 -11  22
17 Middlesbrough   22  3  5  4 17 20  2  2  6 10 20  5  7 10  27  40 -13  22
18 Birmingham City 22  3  2  6 14 14  2  2  7  6 17  5  4 13  20  31 -11  19
19 Portsmouth      23  2  4  5  6 12  2  1  9 10 27  4  5 14  16  39 -23  17
20 Sunderland      22  0  3  9  8 23  2  0  8  9 17  2  3 17  17  40 -23   9

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1193