Newsletter #1195

A 3-0 win against a very poor Newcastle on Wednesday night, a better team performance and two wins on the trot. Of course this isn’t the main news of the week, nor is the hapless Souness parting company with the Toon.

That honour goes to what must be one of the most deluded, ill-advised and conceited players to grace our club. He thinks he’s Gerrard/Keane/Zidane rolled into one, he has an agent who is filling his head with all sorts of nonsense, and he thinks he’s worth double what the club (and fans) who have given him more chances than a game of Monopoly are prepared to offer him. Well Barton, you have to win things, be an achiever and earn respect for the sort of package you think you’re due – and you haven’t. The shirt number you are now wearing is a very special one for City fans. Get out the history book and ask somebody to read it to you. Because quite honestly with your attitude and behaviour, you’re not fit to be our Number 8.

Plenty of opinion on him tonight, match reports from the Newcastle game and Don’s comprehensive news round-up as usual.

Next game: Everton, away, 3pm Saturday 4 February 2006


General News

A TV Thrilla at Villa? City will play Aston Villa in the Fifth Round of the FA Cup, in a game to be played at Villa Park. The fixture will take place on a Sunday evening to ensure TV coverage. The kick-off time on Sunday 19th February will be 6-30pm as the game is to be screened live on BBC, not the most convenient time for City fans wishing to travel to the game.

Pearce for England? SP has refused to rule himself out of becoming part of England’s next coaching team. The boss has vehemently rejected any talk of succeeding Sven-Goran Eriksson as head coach, insisting he lacks the managerial experience to take on such a high-profile rôle. He’s noted though how Steve McClaren’s career has developed through his work with Eriksson. “I would say that being an assistant is a very good job and experience aids development,” Pearce said. “When I was doing my coaching badges I worked with the England Under-18 side and for me that was great experience. If Steve McClaren was asked about his time away with England, I am sure he would say it has been beneficial to him.”

Going Down: You may remember that last month we brought news of a court case where two bank clerks were accused of siphoning more than £350,000 from the bank accounts of former City players Djamel Belmadi, Daniel van Buyten and Matias Vuoso. The pair were found guilty this week, and sentenced to prison. One teller faces 12 months in jail, the other 32 months (thanks Peter Birbeck for spotting that item).

Oldham Catch ‘Em Cold: Having tried to play this game at Boundary Park on Tuesday (postponed due to a frosty pitch, this Manchester Senior Cup Tie was switched 24 hours later to the Carrington training ground. You can bet that City must be regretting the offer of hospitality, as Oldham scored a late winner to snatch the tie 3-2. City found themselves two down inside 16 minutes, but Marc Laird pulled one back almost immediately. On 70 minutes, débutant Matthew Mills headed home an equaliser – but Oldham prevailed by striking a late winner. Team: Schmeichel, Logan, N D’Laryea, Haapala, Mills, Sommeil, Croft, Laird, Sturridge, Miller, Etuhu.

Transfer News and Gossip

Rafa Loves Robbie: It’s fair to say that City were involved in the highest profile and most reported transfer of the January sales. On Friday Robbie Fowler left the COMS on a free transfer, to return home to Liverpool. The first rumours of this unexpected deal emerged on Thursday morning, when it was thought that Fowler would join the ‘Pool on loan. This was angrily denied by Liverpool’s Chief Executive Rick Parry: “There has been no dialogue whatsoever between Manchester City and ourselves about Robbie Fowler – the story is not true.” On Friday morning however, manager Rafa Benitez was a bit more of a tease, saying, “I cannot say it will never happen. I cannot say no, I cannot say yes.”

Easier to Collect the Rents: What a strange story, obviously completely untrue – but wait, what’s this on the Barrie family bush telegraph texting service, at tea-time on Friday? Robbie Fowler signs for Liverpool! Rafa Benitez stated that: “I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a player quite so happy to be joining a club before. He hasn’t been signed because he loves the club; he’s been signed because he’s one of the best goalscorers ever to play in the Premiership and he can score goals for us right now. We have signed a player with a passion and a heart for this club that no amount of money can buy. We are close to a very high level right now but with Robbie we can go even higher.” SP made it clear that he did not want to stand in the way of Fowler returning to Anfield. “Liverpool are his dream club and he wanted to leave and rejoin them,” Pearce told the City website. “If I refused him this opportunity of fulfilling his ambition it would not be good for him or Manchester City Football Club. We wish him well for the future and thank him for his efforts.” Personally, I’d like to thank Robbie… for saving City six months worth of wages at £35,000 per week, and a further downpayment of £500,000 to Lits United.

No Saving for Leeds: Speaking of the White Rose’s finest; Leeds revealed this week that they’ll still be topping up the Scouse Landlord’s pay packet, despite our Rob returning to his first love. “Our agreement is with Robbie Fowler and as such there will be no change,” said Leeds United’s chief operating officer Shaun Harvey. “Leeds are not going to be relieved of any financial burden; the deal was agreed that Leeds would continue to pay Robbie Fowler until the middle of 2006 and that deal stands no matter where he plays.” And in another Fowler-related titbit, Wigan boss Paul Jewell revealed that he tried to negotiate a deal for Fowler. Jewell said he made an offer that was rejected as the player had his sights set on a return to Anfield.

It’s Frightening: What of the Toxteth Terror’s own views on the sudden move? “It hasn’t sunk in yet,” he told Liverpool’s website after signing his contract. “Just to travel back to Anfield was great and to actually get into the office and obviously put pen-to-paper was something that I have wanted to happen for a long time. Honest to God, I’m so happy it’s frightening! I’m just so chuffed – that’s all I can say. Obviously since I have left, deep down I have always wanted to come back and it has been a long time but I’m glad to say I’m back now. It has always been a club close to my heart. When I was aware of a little bit of interest from Liverpool, I wanted it to happen more than anyone and Stuart Pearce was very good,” added Fowler. “He could understand where I was coming from and he did help me getting back to Liverpool.” Oh, and Rick Parry wants it to be known that he wasn’t telling porky pies on Thursday – it was the quickest he has ever come across, that’s all. “I’ve never known a transfer happen quite so quickly,” said Parry. “It was all done within 24 hours, and that was largely because of Robbie’s passion to rejoin the club. He really was that desperate to come back. I had to persuade Robbie to look at the contract,” he added. “I think I could have put a contract in front of him with no money on it and he would have signed it! I’ve never seen quite such enthusiasm as Robbie showed.”

New for Old as Samaras Signs: Last Friday, City seemed somewhat short in the strikers department. After Robbie’s return home, there didn’t seem to be much hope of purchasing a replacement. “Samaras hopes fading fast”, screamed the headlines after City’s bid of £3 million for Heerenveen’s Georgios Samaras was made to look somewhat pitiful, as the Dutch FA rejected the player’s appeal that Heerenveen’s £9 million valuation was unrealistic. Next we had “Samaras goes on Strike” – reports suggested that Samaras had failed to turn up for training with the Dutch Eredivisie club. Apparently he was somewhat miffed about losing out on a quadrupling of his wages at City. It became clear that once the Flight of the Fowler had been completed, SP’s available funds had increased. So we had news on Sunday that the bid for the 20-year-old had been increased. The two clubs must have split the difference in the fee, because a deal worth £6 million was soon agreed. And the club website announced late on Monday night that “Georgios Samaras’ transfer to Manchester City has been completed, and the striker is set join the squad ahead of Wednesday’s Premier League clash with Newcastle. Samaras passed a medical on Monday and now only requires international clearance to face the Magpies at the City of Manchester Stadium.”

Psycho Knew His Father! SP gave his assessment of the new big money signing. “It’s the overall package that you get with him. He’s 20 years old, we feel that we have someone at the right end of their career, someone who will mature and get better and better,” mused the gaffer. “He’s a good footballer, he has a solid background and I think I played against his father in the Greek national side! Talking with him, he’s a very level-headed lad, he knows what he wants out of football and he’s very career-minded, which is a good thing. I think this football club for him at this stage of his career is a great move, for him as well as it is for us. He’ll be in and fighting for a place. He’s got to join the squad running and force me to pick him.” Samaras has been given the squad number to match his age – 20. Samaras sounds like he’s ready to take the City challenge. “It has been a tough month for me, but I was pleased that City were interested in me and now I’m really happy to be here. I know everything about them, I watch a lot of football and of course I watch the Premier League all the time. I know all about the manager, and I also know about people like Cole, James and Sinclair. I’m really happy that I am going to be part of the team with them. When I was in Holland I was thinking about my next step, because I want to make a career. I saw Manchester City in the table, and I thought ‘that’s my next step’. I’m happy that I’m here and that I’m going to play in English football.”

New Mills Moves to M11: More young talent arrived at the COMS this week – Southampton defender Matthew Mills. The fee was said to be in the region of £300,000, and he comes recommended to the Blues by reserve team boss Steve Wigley who coached him at St Marys. “Steve’s worked with him for a number of years, since he was 15,” SP confirmed. “He plays in the England Under 21 team, he’s only 19 and we feel that he has time on his side. He’s keen, fresh, wants to make an impression and we feel as though we might have an investment on our hands. If I was a young player this is the sort of club I would want to come and play for, it is a club where the manager does not care what age you are. If you are good enough, you are in the team. If I was a player coming up in the world, I would want to play at Manchester City at the moment. We’ve got three up-and-coming players in Nedum, Micah and now Matthew that we are hoping will be the future in the centre of defence at this club for a long time to come.”

Barton Bombshell: On the eve of the transfer window being bolted till summer, Joey Barton took an interesting step in his contact negotiations – he handed in a written transfer request. There had been no hint of such a dramatic measure late last week. “Talks have got underway today (Thursday) about a new deal,” agent Willie McKay told Sky Sports. “Joey just wants Man City’s ambitions to match his own and it is nothing to do with money. He wants City to be successful. Joey is happy at the club and we are hopeful of reaching a successful conclusion regarding the new deal.” It had nothing to do with money of course, but the press said that City were prepared to double Joey’s wages. Next we had word of the request for a transfer. Quite a bombshell, and the club reacted thus: “Manchester City can confirm that the Club has today rejected a written transfer request from midfielder Joey Barton. The Club began contract negotiations with the player last week. A Club spokesman said: ‘The Manager has publicly stated his desire to keep the player at Manchester City Football Club.’ A second round of negotiations between the Club and the player’s representatives took place today (Monday) and Manchester City wishes to continue those talks.” Clubs supposedly interested in the Liverpudlian dynamo were said to be Middlesbrough and (gulp) MUFC.

Taken for Granted: On transfer deadline day came word that Boro had made a verbal enquiry after Barton, but this interest was rebuffed by City. Willie McKay said that Barton had become frustrated at being ‘taken for granted’ by the Blues, adding that the desire to leave wasn’t fuelled by money. So 28 grand a week shows a club taking a player “for granted”, does it Mr.Mackay? “It’s not just about money but where the club wants to go and where Joey wants to go. Joey had a conversation with Stuart Pearce and he said he was disappointed with the offer of his contract. Speaking to Joey on Monday, if Manchester City came up with much more than we asked at first I don’t think he will sign it. That’s just the way he is now.” Psycho’s glassy stare at his daily press conference implied the gaffer was seething, but choosing his words carefully, he said: “I have various emotions but I find it difficult to understand how he can say he is being taken for granted and I also do not see how he can say we lack ambition when we have just spent £6 million on a 20-year-old striker. I have no idea whether Joey has been tapped up or not but in a sense it is irrelevant. The bottom line is the decision stops with me. If I say Joey is not going anywhere, he doesn’t go anywhere, whether there is a third party involved or not. It is not as if a deal can be done and without us knowing about it. What has happened is disappointing but I still feel as though something will be sorted out in terms of agreeing a contract with Joey,” added Pearce. “But there will be no more money on the table because the club have made him a fantastic offer.”

I’m Not Greedy: On Wednesday there were still plenty of Barton-related stories and speculation. Arsenal were strongly linked with a summer move for Barton in the summer, while the player insisted he was not being greedy. “I’m disappointed at what has gone on. It could have been handled a lot better but we’ve got to get on with it. Obviously it was made out I was very, very greedy and asking for an extortionate amount of money. I asked to be put in line with the top earners and I wasn’t offered that. I value myself higher than the club does. It may have been a bit impetuous of me to hand in a transfer request but I felt the offer was not good enough,” added Barton.

Slivers from the Transfer Window: Liverpool striker Florent Sinama-Pongolle was said to have been a target for SP. This rumour emerged between Robbie Fowler leaving the club, and Georgios Samaras signing on. In the end, Blackburn Rovers completed a deadline-day swoop for Sinama-Pongolle. The French striker went on loan to Rovers for the rest of the season. SP admitted that he made a bid to bring Shaun Wright-Phillips back to City on loan from Chelsea for the remainder of the campaign. Jose Mourinho soon rebuffed the enquiry, however. Pearce said: “I enquired about getting Shaun back on loan but they said no, I don’t think they want him to go anywhere.” Mansfield Town have signed City midfielder Jonathan D’Laryea for a nominal fee. The 20-year-old completed a three-month loan spell at Field Mill and has now agreed to a two-and-a-half year contract with the League Two side.

Ex-Blues’ News

The Killen Field’s Now Easter Road: Oldham’s Chris Killen has joined Scottish Premier League club Hibernian for a free transfer on an 18-month contract. Since joining Oldham from City for £250,000 three years ago, Killen made 79 starts and 33 substitute appearances and netted a total of 31 goals. “It is a great opportunity and I am really looking forward to playing in the Scottish Premier League,” said Killen this week. “Hibs have a local derby at Hearts on Saturday and the week after that play Rangers at Ibrox and you don’t get bigger matches than them. It is only in the last couple of weeks that I have been back in the first team. In the six to eight weeks before that I was not involved, which was not due to a lack of fitness. That is in the past. I have moved on and I am looking forward to the future. I can’t wait to get started at Hibs.”

Brown Down the Cottage: He was recently linked with his former club back in Manchester, but Michael Brown signed for Fulham from Tottenham for an undisclosed fee. The former City and Sheffield United player has signed a three-and-a-half-year contract after finding first-team opportunities limited at White Hart Lane. Brown said: “I’m very excited to be joining Fulham at this point in my career and I’m looking forward to the challenges that this new opportunity brings. I enjoyed my time at Spurs and wish the club and its supporters well, as everyone there was really good to me. But if I’m honest my prospects there became very limited, so when a club like Fulham who play attractive, passing football showed an interest in me, there really was only one decision that I could make, and I’m really looking forward to working with Chris Coleman and the rest of the squad.”

Good Buy for Southend? Two of City’s Division 2 strikers have been reunited at Southend United, currently top of league One. In a late deal on Tuesday evening, Southend signed Lee Bradbury from Oxford United. Bradbury teams up with Shaun Goater, although season 98-99 won’t be recreated just yet – the Goat is currently out of action with an injury.

Reactions and Comments

Wigan Peer at Defeat: On Saturday, Andy Cole’s late goal gave City a narrow 1-0 FA Cup win over Wigan Athletic. Cole stabbed a low shot beyond John Filan after being played in by a neat touch by Bradley Wright-Phillips to net the winner six minutes from time. It was the veteran striker’s ninth goal of the season, but his first since the Boxing Day defeat to the same opposition. “It was a big relief, after losing last week and with the crowd not really into it at times,” said Cole. “It was a bitty affair at times, but then Jamo makes a top save, they hit the bar then you think to yourself that it’s going to be your day. It’s always nice to nick it at the end as well.” Veteran he may be, but Andy clearly still enjoys the thrill of the Cup. “It’s a big buzz for me, because I don’t think any cup competition comes close to it. If you do get to the final it’s a great day, a great day if you win it, not so much if you lose! To be involved in a cup final is something special. I keep saying to the lads that before I retire I want to get to another. If we can keep going, you never know what might happen. Fingers crossed, we can have a decent run and get as close to the final as possible.”

Jewell in Denial: Wigan boss Paul Jewell didn’t exactly sound devastated at the prospect of no more FA Cup matches for his side: “I feel sick because I don’t like losing but we have had a lot of games and a replay was the last thing we needed. The most important thing is to try and stay in the Premier League. We have a big game against Everton on Tuesday and, without being disrespectful, we have bigger fish to fry. A replay was the last thing that we needed,” he admitted. Glad we could be of assistance, Paul…

Getting Dirty with It: SP meanwhile was pleased that his side had grabbed a win out of a none too thrilling performance. “We set a reasonable tempo but we looked a bit nervous in front of goal in the early stages. I think if we had taken an early lead then that would have settled us down a bit. Manchester City managers take whatever results they can, whether it be an early goal or a late goal! It looked like it had 0-0 written all over it but the chance that came fell to a top predator. We had enough pressure on them, but in the last third I felt that we did not have that composure. Getting an early goal would have relaxed the players a bit more. We had to be patient and wait for an opportunity to fall to one of the top predators in the country, and we’re pleased to be through in the FA Cup. We know we have to try and win games ‘dirty’, and that was the case today. We have to hold in there and win games 1-0 or 2-0. And give our fans credit, because when supporters up and down the country are not turning up for FA Cup ties, our lot still do so in numbers,” concluded Pearce.

Why Don’t You Shut Up? “I am not a quitter and will not quit.” These were the prophetic words of Newcastle manager Graeme Souness, after watching his side’s rather limp performance against City at the COMS last night. Well he was right, he didn’t quit his job – Roger Mellie lookalike Freddie Shepherd sacked him instead. Prior to the match, there was much speculation over how the crowd would react to Joey Barton, the day after he handed in his transfer request. He was initially booed but later applauded as he left the park. Barton set up City’s first goal for Albert Riera and Andy Cole scored his 10th goal of the campaign before setting Darius Vassell racing clear to convert City’s third. Answering the inevitable questions regarding his want-away midfield dynamo, SP rather neatly summed up his own feeling thus: “He should keep his mouth shut and play football. You have to deliver and he has to do it next Saturday and for years after that and then he can get somewhere where he thinks he can be,” Pearce added. “I believe he has done totally the wrong thing and I have told him so. Joey has quite strong opinions, as we have seen over the last 48 hours, but he needs to put this to one side, keep his mouth shut and play football. In this game, I find if you put your head above the parapet, you tend to get it knocked off. Joey has delivered tonight but he has to keep doing it for weeks, months and years.”

Newcie Down: “It was a big game for us, I said to the players this morning that if we can win our home matches from now until the end of the season, it will push us in the direction of where we want to be,” SP continued. “We have done reasonably well this season, and we have to keep beating sides that are below us in the league. There have been one or two distractions this week, but there weren’t any for 90 minutes tonight.” It was noticeable how the players showed their support for Barton after he’d set up the Riera strike, and SP mused that “I’m pleased for Albert to score, but the players know that Joey’s got too much to say for himself at times. They showed that they appreciated the lead-up play before the goal, and Joey’s involvement in that.” Perhaps Souness’s views are a tad redundant after today’s events at St.James’ Park, but last night he said: “It is a fact we are in a relegation scrap. I cannot deny that. But this is not a time to feel sorry for ourselves, it is a time to show what we are made of. We have picked up one point from our last six games and I cannot defend that. It is not good enough. But my situation has not changed. I am not happy and we are all aware our futures are hanging on the need to get things right.”

Squad News

Y Viva El Premiership: Albert Riera says that the success of Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez and a number of Spanish players encouraged the winger to try his luck playing in England. Riera says: “I am proud to be the first Spaniard to play for City, the Premiership is very attractive now to Spanish players because of the success Benitez has had. I am good friends with Bolton’s Ivan Campo and Liverpool’s Xabi Alonso and I played alongside Luis Garcia for the Under-21s and they have all impressed on me that England is a good place to play.”

Kasper’s Clean Sheet: Kasper Schmeichel is back at City following the return to fitness of Darlington ‘keeper Sam Russell. Kasper joined the Quakers earlier this month on a week-to-week loan basis following injuries to Russell, second-choice stopper Bertrand Bossu and on-loan Middlesbrough ‘keeper David Knight. Schmeichel made his last appearance for the club during Saturday’s 4-0 win over Mansfield. “Kasper has done extremely well for us, I think he only conceded one goal in the four games he played,” assistant manager Mark Proctor said. “But Sam is fit again now and ready to return to action so we have let Kasper go. We couldn’t hold on to him – under the emergency goalkeeper rules we could only keep him for as long as we had injuries but he’s done really well. He’s certainly a player we would look at again, he’s impressed everyone at the club.”

Don Barrie <news(at)>


Even though it’s a freezing cold Wednesday night, we’re actually quite excited about the game. We’re going to cheer a player who fought to get away from his previous club for more money and we’re going to hurl abuse at a player who wants away from his current club for more money. Funny old game football, isn’t it? The omens are quite good as well as we are playing a team in even more turmoil than us so we can empathise with their fans. Also breathe a sigh of relief as Souness is still in place so we don’t have to deal with the “play your hearts out for the new manager” syndrome. Two banners sum it up – “Souness Out” in the Newcastle end and “Judas Barton” a few yards away.

Barton plays and predictably is roundly booed when his name is read out just before kick-off. The only change is that Musampa replaces Ireland in central midfield.

Newcastle start off the better and an early barge on Shearer by Jordan gives them a free kick on the right hand edge of the area. Emre gets it on target but James deals with it quite comfortably. Little did we know that this was to be their first and last shot on target. Barton is still being booed whenever he touches the ball. He looks a little subdued to me and is not winning balls we would normally expect him to win. Just before the quarter hour mark, the ball is worked down the left and Vassell plays a fairly aimless ball over to the right. It looks to be going out but Sinclair rescues the ball in a tangle on the right hand touchline and interchanges passes with Barton, who is played free in the corner. He puts over a raking cross to the feet of Cole, who makes a complete hash of it, but it falls nicely to Riera and he lets fly with a left-footed drive that sails beyond Given and into the net. I said he looks a bit like Neil Young and that goal was not unlike the FA Cup final goal against Leicester. Interestingly, Distin (and a few others) rushes straight over to Barton and he signals to the crowd to get behind him instead of booing him.

City sit back and soak up the pressure, hitting Newcastle on the break. Riera, Jordan, Musampa, and Vassell are causing havoc on the left, with Riera particularly impressive. Barton plays a couple of superb long passes to Vassell, who ties the hapless Boumsong in knots before a couple of weak finishes. Newcastle are passing nicely and keeping possession but are simply unable to penetrate the City defensive line, in which Dunne and Distin are outstanding. One incident sums it up, with the ball being played up to Shearer, with his back to goal. Normally you would expect him to hold it up but Dunne just goes right through him (fairly) to head it away, leaving Shearer in a heap. One spell of sustained Newcastle passing in front of the City area ends up with the ball in James’s hands. He releases Barton who rides a challenge to play a beautiful ball to Sinclair, whose cross is cut out for a corner. From the corner Newcastle get a throw in but Musampa steams in and wins the ball, playing it to Vassell just in the area. He floats a short cross onto Cole’s head and, while Babayaro watches admiringly, the old maestro nods the ball past Given and it’s 2-0 after 37 minutes. Riera, who is having a blinder, miscues in front of a seemingly open goal and his second touch is cut out.

Newcastle make two changes at the interval, Luque and Solano coming on. The latter is one of those players who can change games if he’s in the mood but we did wonder what the away dressing room must have been like at half-time. 2-0 down and, barring a miracle, you know your manager is going to be sacked soon. How does Souness motivate them for the second half? The answer is obviously that he can’t and City are strolling now with Newcastle just as ineffective as they were in the first half. Then, a moment of pure magic lights up a sub-zero Manchester night. On the edge of the City area, Solano plays a hopeful ball into the middle over his shoulder. It is read by Riera who plays it to Cole, who is facing the City goal well in his own half. Riera wants it back but Old King Cole plays an absolute peach of a pass about 40 yards to the feet of Vassell, who doesn’t even have to break stride as he holds off Boumsong and slides the ball past a wrong-footed Given. City fans gleefully join in the “Souness Out” chants. They can do what they want to him now.

Newcastle are finished and it’s show-time for City. Even Shearer seems to have lost interest. On comes Samaras for Cole, to a rousing cheer, and immediately lays into the Newcastle defence. He’s a big, strong lad and he’s obviously been told by Paul “The Enforcer” Bosvelt to get your retaliation in first in the Premiership. He leaves a trail of Newcastle bodies all over the pitch and fortunately sensible refereeing by Chris Foy means he doesn’t get a yellow card after crunching Emre. We are lapping it up, imagining with delight what he might do to Ferdinand next season. Sibierski comes on for Vassell, but it’s usually his body that’s on the floor. Sun Jihai gets the crowd chanting his name with a cheeky chip from the right touchline to set up Sinclair. His shot is saved and falls to Barton, who blazes just over. With less than 15 minutes to go, Barton is taken off and many fans (but not me) give him a standing ovation. He has done well but appeared to be a bit shaken by the fans’ reaction at first, whatever he or SP might say. Micah Richards comes on and acquits himself well. It’s a good win, at a time when we really needed it and the icing on the cake is that the Rags and Arsenal have been beaten (although these are, technically speaking, bad results for us). After our tonking at Bolton and scraping past Wigan, we are still in sight of the top six. However, we won’t get many easier opponents.

James 6. Nothing to do really but he cut out a couple of crosses and used the ball well.
Sun 8. A superb game. Defended solidly and got forward well. Found a blue shirt virtually every time.
Dunne 9. My MoTM. He was here, he was there, he was every ****** where. Shearer can’t have had many less productive nights.
Distin 8. Another rock in defence.
Jordan 7. Positioning still open to question but much better tonight and got forward well.
Sinclair 8. Great game as ever. Deserved a goal himself but Given made a good save to deny him.
Musampa 7. A good, solid game in central midfield. Kept an eye on Parker and Emre and they barely figured.
Barton 7. Not quite himself at first but played pretty well with some superb passes to set up attacks.
Riera 8. Superb. Ran Dunney a close second for my MoTM. Involved in everything.
Cole 7. Didn’t seem to do a lot but what he did was pure class. The pass to Vassell for the third was worth the price of admission alone.
Vassell 8. Much more like it. Tortured what is laughingly called the Newcastle defence. Could easily have had a hat-trick.
Samaras 6. Big, strong and fearless but needs to find his feet. I have a good feeling about him.
Sibierski 5. No real contribution to speak of. It does help if you stand up, Tony.
Richards 6. Looked composed. The latest of a great crop of youngsters.

Colin Savage <colin(at)>


A crescendo of boos at the beginning of the game that eventually subsided as the match wore on, with fewer and fewer fans joining in with the chorus. As the boos piped up when JB got the ball on the right flank, he crossed perfectly for Riera to piledrive the opening goal. Some team members celebrated with Albert and some (notably skipper Distin) with JB.

JB was voted MOM – Emotional vote methinks or a fix by the club as Trevor Sinclair was easily the man of the match. It might have been voted by the cheeky (and mostly topless) Geordie fans bouncing away in the South Stand.

The clever Mr Pearce, not one to duck any issue, took Joey off with 15 minutes to go to test the reaction of COMS and we (mostly) applauded him and he did the same, not quite a love-in but maybe a small redemption.

I thought before the game that Joey would need the silky PR skills of Max (Freddie ate my Hamster) Clifford to pull him out of this mess.

Joey would need to write a letter to the fans, apologising for his missives in the papers/TV, hopefully he would say that “I was poorly advised, I want the best deal, but I want to stay at City and I’ve told Willie McKay to sling his hook”.

But we’ll see, with performances like this the fans will be OK; after all had we lost and it was felt that Mr B had affected the team then there would not be the same reaction.

The best bit was yet to come as SP was to bring on young Academy player Micah Richards as his replacement. “A word in your shell-like Joey, you’re not the only young player here with a bit of hunger, this lad Micah can fill your boots one day, now there’s a good lad get the showers on my sahn.”

Other performances, how can the French coach keep picking Jean Alain (eeh aww) Boumsong over Silvain Distin is an amazement. One can only assume the donkey of the Dordoigne must perform other favours for the coach.

Dunne: Was back to his solid self, determined to keep a clean sheet, restricting Shearer (who was AWOL) and Co to long range efforts.

James: Read the Tolstoy trilogy, occasionally glancing down the field to see if any bumps needed to be patted down.

Distin: See above, so glad he played his worse games for City during the transfer window so that any visiting coach would see that he had been to the Boumsong school of defending throughout January and thus decided not to put in any bids.

Sinclair: Our Trev could not beat an egg last year, this season he was taking defenders on for fun.

Vassell: Sharp and fast, tying Bramble and Boumsong in knots, well taken goal.

Cole: Delightful header, so well placed for the 2nd goal.

Jordan: Played well.

Sun: Ditto.

Riera: After his baptism of fire in the derby produced a good performance.

Samaras: Made a final appearance and clattered 3 defenders in as many minutes; this guy is a colossus. “Feed the Greek and he will score”.

Sounds like a solid victory, but of course the media will concentrate on how poor Newcastle were, how bad their team spirit is and generally boo hoo hoo for the Toon faithful. Well, dry those sad geordie tears. I’m afraid Souness, Freddie Shepherd and Bowyer all deserve each other. I’d have Shearer as player manager if I was a toon fan. “You’ll be sacked in the morning” was the best chant from the South Stand.

While I’m on the subject of the media, I am very PO’d with the media reaction to the Fowler move.

While at City:

  • past his best
  • bad back
  • bad hips
  • slow
  • showing his age
  • still clinical but slower

Now that he is at Anfield:

  • fantastic
  • prodigal son
  • God’s Number 11, welcome back to heaven
  • just what we need to score goals
  • Fowler should be in Sven’s plans for Germany

I must take a trip down the East Lancs road more often if it has that affect on people. Since when did the A558 become the new Lourdes?

Phil Lines <philipjlines(at)>


(24 hours later)

Couldn’t have asked for a better tonic to yesterday’s bad head.

Can’t think of anyone who gave a poor performance last night. Special mention to D&D who never gave Shearer a sniff. To Riera who was my M.O.M. and gave his best display by far. To Jordan who didn’t put a foot wrong after a little wobble last couple of games. To Trev who is a man revived.

And Joey. I’m still mad at you for the timing of your statement, and that you want to leave. Though you should take heart that the boos were to make a point, and by the end had all but dissipated. And you should sack that agent and commit to City, as I’m sure the club will want too. And keep playing as you did last night, nothing stupid, nothing fancy, you’re not Gerrard or Lampard (yet). Just solid and secure.

Thank you, I so needed that.

Lovin’ it (again), Mike Sokol <msokol(at)>


A few of points in response to the comments in MCIVTA 1194.

Firstly, Vanes Marzaroli makes some good points, but I don’t entirely understand his take on Ranieri’s time at Chelsea. Yes he spent a lot of money early on in his time there, but in his last year or so he had very little to spend because of the board’s mis-management of the club prior to Abramovich’s arrival, and subsequently because Abramovich was waiting for the new manager to come in. But I think I’m right in saying that Ranieri took them to second in the league and a Champions’ League semi-final, which was their best season in living memory at that point. The following year, after spending a fortune, Mourinho took them one place further in the league (admittedly the hardest step to take) and no further in Europe. A number of Ranieri’s signings have remained mainstays of the Chelsea team. There’s no denying Mourinho is a top manager, but this idea that Ranieri was some sort of old duffer is a bit perplexing.

Secondly, I thoroughly agree with Dorien James, Mark Healey etc. but my issue is with the board, rather than with Fowler. Of course he wants to go back to Liverpool! When has another player been so thoroughly linked to a club? But when his heart clearly wasn’t in to playing for City over the past two seasons, why persist with him? And then having persisted, why get shot of him when he’s finally getting the odd game here and there? I think the reason is clear – we’re pretty short of bodies up front, and they needed cover until the transfer window came around. Now that Samaras is arriving, rather than needing a semi-fit spare striker, we need Fowler’s wages to pay the new boy (and probably Barton). It’s galling that we’ve wasted so much money on the guy, but those decisions were made poorly in the past. Offloading him at least allows us to get a decent young player in, and spare ourselves the wages. I say cut your losses. On second thoguhts, maybe it’s quite opportunistic of the club – given the apathy that Fowler has shown towards City and his farcical wage, I can’t think of any other club that he would have left us for, so we would have paid him to the end of the season, at which point he would probably have jacked it in. The issue for the fans at this point is why the club feels the need to talk about it in public. A simple “no comment” would be fine. Ignore the media, Mr Chairman, you should be thinking about the fans.

Thirdly, who the hell does Barton think he is? We’ve seen this type of thing before with players of his mentality. I say that if SP can find a replacement before the window closes, he should offload Barton for all that he can get and cash in now. Barton has looked a decent player, but then so did Lomas, Flitcroft, and Brown. None have gone on to be Patrick Viera. What happened to the loyalty to the club and the fans that he was banging on about after Pearce stuck his neck on the line for him after his largely self-inflicted problems earlier in the season? Personally, I think that you should get 1, possibly 2 chances. If you then ask to leave, I say “bye bye”. I’d love it if they sold him to somewhere really dull for a shed load of cash. I love the way he plays for us, but sadly, I think the guy is proving himself to be mercenary scum. Newsflash Joey, you’re no SWP, and you sure as hell aren’t Patrick Viera. God, Wenger must be getting desperate.

And relax.

CTID, Jon Marshall <Jon_G_Marshall(at)>


If anybody’s yet to see this, it’s footage of Samaras playing for his old club:

Looks like the big fella is pretty useful.

Sam Bullock <fsbullock(at)>


What an ungrateful, greedy piece of work he has turned out to be. This has been a real slap in the face for Stuart Pearce, the players, the club and the fans who have backed him over the years through his troubles both off and on the pitch, as we all know.

So, the grand sum of £28,000+ a week is not “acceptable”? Fine. Manchester City has told Barton it will not increase its more-than generous offer – rightly so, in my opinion.

Barton has stated he wants more money. I’m not sure what planet Barton is living on but it sure isn’t on earth – his football talents certainly do not merit an increase of that magnitude, although, perhaps his ample temper and arrogance do.

I would now immediately withdraw the club’s increased pay offer. And, quite simply, let him stew for a while.

I would definitely play him tonight against Newcastle – just for the satisfaction of allowing the fans to show exactly what they think of him whenever he gets the ball. He should be hounded and booed off the pitch at every opportunity. Then, whilst still on the pitch, I would plainly substitute him and further embarrass him by having him walk off, on his own.

He is a little man within a big club – and, as such, needs to have a few home-truths sink into his impetuous, arrogant little head.

For the rest of this season I would simply confine him to the reserves. No question about that. Just let him ply his trade with players who are actually proud to pull on the famous blue shirt. He’ll likely not show up for games – tough for him, and, I’d be fine him for doing just that – he’d take notice, since money is so important to him.

If any other club one comes knocking and wants him to sign for their club, then, I would slap a really hefty fee on his head – on top of which, I would add a further substantial amount to help make amends for allowing Robbie Fowler to go to Liverpool for free (we had already lost money on Vuoso and again on Fowler – does the club actually employ a competent accountant?).

We certainly have to be a lot more hard-nosed when dealing with other clubs, as well as with our own players.

I feel Manchester City is seen far too much as a soft-touch. We should be as hard off the pitch as Stuart Pearce was, on it!

Having said all of the above – I must now say that I am heartily impressed in the statements I’ve read about this Barton nonsense that come directly from Stuart Pearce – reminiscent of our greatest manager, Joe Mercer: the gentleman of football.

Carry on Stuart!

Graham <ride4311(at)>


I am an optimist. Always have been. One of those people who doesn’t let things get me down, who puts things into perspective and realises that generally life is pretty good.

This morning I feel down.

I’ve just heard on the radio that Danny Murphy signed for Spurs in a last minute deal at the 11th hour of the transfer window. Straw… camel… back…

And you know, there’s a tiny, tiny, tiny part of me that sympathises with a lad called Barton (more of him in a minute) when he talks about the lack of ambition at the club.

I, like many others, couldn’t wait for the January transfer window. Although there was no way the SWP £21 million would be available, the general consensus was maybe up to £10 million to strengthen all areas of the squad. Starting with left back, couple of playmaker midfielders and a proven quality striker.

Names tempting the fans included Dean Ashton leaving Norwich (he did; not even close to coming to us it seems), Danny Murphy leaving Charlton (he did, to a club overloaded with centre midfielders; not even close to coming to us, a team about to lose its key ever-present midfielder over contract disputes and with its other key midfielder injury prone). And Wayne Bridge was available (did we even know!?). To name but a few that could’ve graced the sky blue shirt.

The transfer window facts. Riera looks ok, no better no worse, but he’s only on loan. Samaras – £6 million of the kitty on one player we confess we hadn’t heard much of prior to the window. We wait, but I just have that feeling of trepidation that goes with my current mood. His going on strike doesn’t fill me with great hope about the player’s general attitude and approach. But I hope he plays tonight against Newcastle and then opinion can be formed. And a young kid from Southampton, Mills.

It hasn’t really been mentioned in stark terms in MCIVTA recently but has anyone else noticed our form ranks alongside Sunderland at the moment? We are in relegation form, taking 4 points from 18 since the Birmingham home win before Christmas (the Wearsiders also have 4 points from the same period). At this rate, we’ll scrape over 40 points… just!

The club, the board, the Chairman share the responsibility to help turn this situation around and whilst they cannot be criticised for shelling out the cash for Samaras (God help us, please make him worth it!), it’s “the ones that got away” that make you point fingers. Are they creating an environment that will attract players? Are we seen as a club going places? Is Europe a regular fixture on the agenda? Sadly, to all 3, apparently not. And to top it all, one of our better players has possibly written himself out of the squad for the rest of the season.

Ah yes, Joey. And Mr Willie McKay. The evil of agents rears its ugly head again. On GMR last night, McKay was trying to justify the move, saying it was nothing to do with the money, but that the offer the club made was unacceptable to him and Joey, and showed a lack of recognition of Joey’s worth. Er, isn’t that about money?

I could go on for ages about Joey, and how I feel. I’m not even sure if I want him to play tonight, but no doubt others will add to the debate. Apart from letting of a little bit of steam: ‘what is the world coming to when we stand by you and your family with their troubles and then support your anger therapy and reward you with not giving you the sack but making sure you get regular football and a throng of adoring fans and this is how you repay the loyalty of the fans and the club, my how memories are short when agents flash promises of cash at the greedy you horrible little…’ My brother summed it up succinctly when he asked “What is the point of going to the games, week in and week out, looking for heroes to cheer and support, when they’ll walk away at any moment?”

Following drab displays against Bolton and Wigan, let’s hope for a magnificent recovery against crisis club Newcastle tonight, a sparkling display from Samaras and the beginnings of a road to recovery, despite the limited resources at our disposal. I need to get my happy head back.

Still lovin’ it (but only just), Mike Sokol <msokol(at)>


City sign a reserve player from Holland, pay him £35,000 a week plus and are upset that Barton turns down £20,000. I can understand our best player being peed off and have some sympathy for him demanding the same in his contract negotiations. I think we would all do the same under these circumstances. Good piece of management this and one way of splitting the changing room.

[Samaras is supposedly on £16,000 per week, No 8 was offered £29,000 per week – Ed]

Bob Price <bob.price(at)>


Just goes to show you as my dad used to say: “you can always tell a Scouser, but you can’t tell him anything!”

Andy <fastandyj(at)>


On Joey Barton’s Profile page on our website, I have blacked his photograph and added this message:

“Message to Joey Barton: Your photograph has been permanently removed from this site on Jan 31st 2006, when greed took you instantly from Hero to Judas. Those like me who supported you through your personal traumas feel insulted at the contempt you have shown us. Nothing you can do or say now will repair the damage you have caused to Manchester City FC and your own reputation. Money-grabbing players and agents like you and yours are driving fans away from football because we cannot relate to you. You have talent, sure, but no player has ever been bigger than any club, and like the other 1000 players listed on this site, at the end of the day, you are just a statistic. You have guaranteed that you will be remembered by City fans for your actions off the field, rather than those on it. Whatever your cunning plan was, it has backfired. Good riddance.”

Steve Kay <steve(at)>


I once said that Joey Barton was a ‘tosser’, now he’s an ###***@#*&!!!!! Who the b****y hell does he think he is? After everything that City have reportedly done for him, when most clubs would have shown him the door, well it makes my blood boil. I could take him out the back of the stadium and beat the living c**p out of him! I have long said that the English game is full of prima donnas who earn more in a week than the average man earns in a year.

I can just imagine Mikey Doyle trying something like that on. Doyle, Oakes, Young, Summerbee etc. would play on one leg if they had to, probably play for next to nothing and give 200%.

Mind you, the agent seems a right plonker as well, not about money huh! It’s indicative of today’s society that we have idiots like Joey Barton running around too big for their own egos.

My mother-in-law died last Thursday and as I said to my two girls when they were snapping at each other, there are far more important things to think about. To have my mother-in-law back or to give Joey Barton what he wants? There’s certainly no contest, Manchester City will be going a long time after he has moved on or finished playing, some people think they are a lot bigger than they really are. After all he’s only a footballer!

You gotta luv City, ’cause beggars like Barton don’t.

Kevin Williamson <scribbs(at)>


Joey Barton has let himself and the club down after it stood by him on more than one occasion due to his off the field antics.

I am disgusted with his attitude and also with his agent Willie Mackay (who also represents Silvain Distin!). Mackay was interviewed on Talksport on Tuesday and said that City had not offered Barton enough money for a player of his calibre – a player whose ambitions are to play for England and in the Champions’ League. Frankly he needs to become a more consistent and accomplished player to achieve either of those goals. He is way down the pecking order as far as England are concerned and his situation is not comparable to that of say, SWP and look at how his career has moved on since the green grass of Chelsea was put on the table. Mackay went on to say that he would be surprised if Barton would accept City’s offer even if they agreed to their terms.

His agent has deluded him into believing that he is ready to be an England international and that he is ready for Champions’ League football when here in the real world he is a long way from being good enough for either. Barton has pulled his tripe out for City on most occasions this season but do any of us truly feel he is international or European class? He might be one day (might) but not yet. As both a player and a person Barton still has a lot of learning to do and again I find it sad that a player trusts an agent who knows nothing about football over a man like Stuart Pearce whose integrity speaks for itself.

Even during the long winded Ferdinand saga over the road, while we laughed as he stalled over a new contract, he never once asked to be placed onto the transfer list despite United fans questioning his loyalty. Barton, not his agent, needs to explain himself fast – it appears to me he has no future at City, believing that he is capable of playing at a much higher level – he needs to master the level he’s at the moment if you ask me – many people on these pages have and still do criticise his performances. Either something more sinister is on the horizon or they are backing City into a corner. After all as a club there is no immediate prospect of major investment (Barton already knew this) and we are thin on the ground when it comes to midfield talent – only time will tell if the club shares the deluded duo’s view that Barton is indispensable.

The worst bit is the disgraceful behaviour of Mackay. How dare he question City’s motives for sticking by Barton after the Thailand fiasco? How dare he disparage Barton’s fellow professionals at City by saying they aren’t good enough for Champions’ League when his own player, yes Barton himself, isn’t good enough. Who the hell is Barton at the end of the day other than another player at City – he’s popular because he’s home grown and because he wears his heart on his sleeve, all traits that are loved by City fans alike.

His position at City is looking untenable unless there is a massive turnaround of Gerrard proportions on his part – I don’t want to see him leave but the club will recover from the loss of Barton while he seeks his so called chalice elsewhere. As I said he is no SWP.

Stick your lack of loyalty and attitude up your Arsenal!

Graham Keller <gkmcfc(at)>


When a good, young prospect from the youth team comes good at City, there are pound signs in the board members’ eyes. City know if they don’t offer the quality kids top money then the agent will find it elsewhere.

City have made a lot of money over the years by selling the likes of Flitcroft, Lomas, and Wright-Phillips. In fact we used to give them away so at least we’re doing something right.

At the end of the day we’re as big a club as the owners want us to be, and the simple truth is that we’re a selling club at the moment; you could put us in the same bracket as Crewe, a club that brings fine youngsters through and then sells them to make a profit or balance the books.

It’s hard to take but it’s true; the message seems to be very clear at City get the kids in and let’s cash in.

Simple as that really, that’s why we’ll never win anything.

Andy Webb <Charlesalexhols(at)>


I’d like to say I can’t agree more with Mark Healey – a point very well made, 3 or so games ago marked an appearance that required us to pay Leeds £500,000. I’ll grant you SP and the board don’t have a crystal ball but it beggars belief that we just gave him away. Rob is a very rich man – Liverpool are a very rich club, if they both wanted this deal to go ahead I can’t understand how we couldn’t have negotiated at least a £500k transfer fee, which would have paid one tenth or so of the Samaras fee. However, I accept that Fowler has proved costly to MCFC but that hasn’t always been his fault; he has been injured through no fault of his own and when he has appeared he did (at least to me) seem to give 100% to the cause, for that I echo Mark Healey’s sentiments. Thanks for the memories (and the derby goals).

On another note, what is Barton doing? I said in the summer after the Dunne/Everton fan incident in Thailand that he should be sacked. I have naturally been pleased with his form this season but why oh why, the minute a City players gets talked about in England terms and pundits start talking them up, do they ask to leave us? This lad is a cretin – I say sell him now (even to the Swamp dwellers if necessary) and use the money to sign Murphy and Brown.

Thats my spleen vented for now.

CTID, Matt Halliday <bluemoon.matt(at)>


Two words: annoyed and disappointed.

Ed Bodey <edbodey(at)>


Joey Barton’s sense of loyalty to the club should come as no surprise to anyone. He has displayed such sentiments in the past and, no matter how successful SP is in persuading him to stay this time around, the issue will certainly come to the fore again in the near future.

It has been said in the past that if Joey Barton was as good a player as he thinks he is then he would be a world beater; let’s face it he is a long way from England selection and were he ever to be selected he would be an embarrassment.

His agent has turned his head (not a difficult task with Joey) and claimed that he is a world-beater. Fine – respond to his lack of loyalty in the only way he will understand – place a high price on his head as befits such an esteemed player and allow him to leave only if that price is met. At the same time the fans should make sure that he fully understands their opinion of this act of pure selfishness.

Alf King <alf.king(at)>


Dear Mr Barton,

Hope your new agent is all that you hoped. Be careful of the things you wish for. SWP will perhaps help you on this.

It’s a weeper that £30,000 a week won’t do. I know that the life of a footballer is short and the best of it must be made. Perhaps a point was being made when the transfer request was made public, given the timeframe for disclosure. Don’t f*** with SP seemed to come back to us mortals.

Newspaper reports seem to acknowledge the support that the club has given you in the recent past. Our thoughts have been with you. I hope that this will not be a hindrance to your career. Your CV would not enhance a McDonald’s career at his time, IMHO.

Perhaps an England appearance or two would help your case. I look forward to you being on the pace to stake such a claim.

Who are you? Who are you? Who are you? Who are you? Who are you? Who are you? Who are you?

Show us, man.

Garry Higgins <balrog(at)>


Have just heard that JB has slapped in a transfer request and that it has been rejected. Who is advising JB? There is only 1 day left until the transfer window closes, he has no chance of finding a new club in such a short space of time. Therefore it stands to reason that he has made the request purely to aid his negotiating position for his new contract. This really sucks and proves what a selfish t***er he really is. I hope SP decides not to pick him now, I would much rather my City were full of players with a passion for the club then full of money grabbers. Oops, doesn’t leave many to pick from then does it?

Gordon Anderson <gordonanderson33(at)>


I just heard the news of Joey Barton’s transfer request. What is going on at City? What should have been routine contract negotiations, with possibly our most influential player, now seem to have hit a snag. Maybe it’s a touch of ‘Thierry Henry-itis’, with the club not matching his ambitions. At the start of the transfer SP stated that he needed 4 more players to bring his squad up to the required level. So far two (possibly 3 if Matthew Mills is confirmed) have been signed and Robbie has been “released” – that’s a net gain of two. Still two short, and with all due respect, Mills is one for the future. Don’t give me any of this rubbish about “we don’t have the money”. Others in MCVITA have already spelled out the improvement in cashflow from the moves of Anelka, SWP and now Robbie. Look at the ability of other clubs to get players in (on loan if necessary)… are we trying hard enough? Like any player, Joey wants to be successful, or at least be part of a club where there is a commitment to improve and an evident desire to succeed (and dare I say it, win trophies). Let’s hope the transfer request is a negotiating ploy on Joey’s part… but I doubt it!

City till I die (probably from frustration), Mick Murphy <mick.Murphy(at)>


Put him on the transfer list. Tomorrow 1st Feb. Ask for £8 million.

Put him on the bench, in the reserves and don’t give him an extra penny for the remainder of his contract. Spoilt B*****d.

Phill Bird <camsacape(at)>


I read the latest issue of MCIVTA before learning of Joey Barton’s transfer request.

Well if that’s how the scouse b*****d wants to repay a club that have developed him from being a kid, and put up with what, in any normal company, would be sacking offences, juvenile behaviour at best, then he can F-off back to Merseyside.

If we can get some mug to stump up £10 million, then I say sell the b*****d!

There are enough good midfielders out there in fact. It bothered me where a good midfielder would fit in with Barton there because I believe that Stephen Ireland will be the midfield star of the future and master playmaker. Barton is too easily bettered in a midfield dogfight by a more intelligent opponent. Sure, he’s brilliant in a tackle and puts fear into an opponent but what if they’re not scared of him like Tottenham? They just let Barton do all the running like a headless chicken and pass the ball around him. Stephen Ireland needed someone strong besides him to break things down for him to create things. Where was Barton then?

I know that there is little loyalty these days but this takes the biscuit. What’s up Joey? Think you are worth more than you really are? Reality check coming up.

John Nisbet <nisbet1957(at)>


For those who haven’t seen it, an excellent piece from the Mirror (you don’t hear that very often) and Oliver Holt:

1 February 2006
Thug Joey Kicks Loyal City Fans in Teeth
Oliver Holt, Chief Sports Writer

A week before Christmas, a helicopter landed at Manchester City’s Carrington training ground. It was carrying the football agent, Willie McKay. When it took off again, McKay, a personable Scot, had a passenger with him. It was his new client, Joey Barton. They flew together to Doncaster races. Barton was impressed by the show of wealth and glamour. He liked the horses so much, he bought a couple. Racehorses, after all, are a white footballer’s latest must-have accessory. They’re better than bling. They’ve got more kudos than a fast car. Ownership put Barton in an exclusive club. Fellow members are Alan Shearer, Michael Owen and Robbie Fowler. The sad thing is that Barton believes he belongs in that kind of company. I don’t mean socially. I mean as a player.

That’s why on Monday night he made the dumbest career move of the season so far by telling City boss Stuart Pearce he wanted a transfer. Barton, apparently, has been insisting recently that a humble club like City just aren’t good enough for a player of his calibre.

He’s become a legend in his own mind. He’s even taken to comparing himself with a player of real quality, Steven Gerrard. Let’s clear up the confusion for Joey straight away. You’re an average to good midfield player but you can’t pass like Gerrard, you can’t tackle like Gerrard and you can’t shoot like Gerrard. You haven’t got his vision. You haven’t got his poise. You haven’t got his control. You haven’t got his class. You think you should be in the England squad but a couple of weeks ago, you were played off the park by Bolton’s Kevin Nolan. He’s way ahead of you in the scramble for a midfield squad spot for the World Cup finals. So’s Jermaine Jenas, so’s Michael Carrick, so’s Phil Neville. That’s just dipping a fingertip in the deep, dark pool of your foolishness and your breathtaking ingratitude.

Because the saddest, most stupid part of what you’ve done involves your betrayal of a club and a set of supporters who stood by you when you had no right to expect them to.

Tell me, why is any international football manager in their right mind going to take you to Germany when you stubbed a cigar out in a young lad’s eye a year ago?

Why is anybody going to trust you on a trip abroad when you got sent home from City’s summer tour to Thailand for trying to batter a 15-year-old kid?

Don’t you understand that if you had been at Chelsea, Arsenal or Liverpool, they would have sacked you straight away for that kind of thuggery? Don’t you think that because City and Pearce, in particular, stood by you then, you might owe them a debt of gratitude?

Don’t you think that maybe some of the people at City, who helped you when your half-brother, Michael Barton, was on the run last July for his part in the racist murder of Anthony Walker, deserved some loyalty in return? It was City who helped you emerge from that tragic, disgusting crime unscathed even though there were plenty who would have tried to find you guilty by association if the club had given them half a chance. It was City who helped draft your appeal to your half-brother, not your former agent, who was on holiday at the time and has lost patience with you since. It was City who got you through it.

Don’t you think Pearce and a group of supporters who are some of the most loyal fans in the country deserve better than hearing that they only acted out of self-interest when they stood by you then?

Isn’t an improved offer of £28,000 a week enough for you? Doesn’t doubling your money seem like a fair deal in the circumstances? You’re only 23. You’re with a good club that’s heading in the right direction. You’ve got a boss who might be the England manager at the 2010 World Cup.

Things were looking good until you got in that helicopter. Now, you’re the man who fell to earth.

Ian Coburn <Ian(at)>


For those who haven’t seen it, another piece from The Guardian:

Guardian’s Fiver:

Two Years in the Life of Joey Barton

January 2004
The Man City midfielder and spiky Scouser tells Guardian readers: “There are all the trappings of being a young footballer, being out late and so on, but I’m not in the game to be a superstar.”

April 2004
Attempting to sum up the problems at Manchester City, Joey reveals that: “We’ve lacked a leader all year.”

December 2004
Joey shows his leadership qualities by stubbing out a cigar in a youth team player’s eye. A club-record £90,000 fine follows. “I would like to apologise for my part in the incident,” he sniffs. “I feel embarrassed about what I did and deeply regret it.”

February 2005
Joey tells Guardian readers: “I should be a rôle model to kids and be setting them a good example.”

July 2005
Joey sets a good example for kids by getting sent home from a pre-season tour of Thailand. His crime? Reacting to provocation from a kid, then allegedly snacking on club captain Richard Dunne’s finger in the subsequent bar brawl. Dunne then injures his foot by kicking a wall in frustration. A new club record fine of eight weeks wages follows. “I understand the distress I have caused to everybody concerned and want to apologise for my actions. I am grateful for the support I have received from the club and my friends and family,” wails a contrite Joey.

January 11, 2006
Sporting a barnet and polo shirt that makes him look like a bass technician for The Coral, Joey tells Sky Sports News he is very happy. “I have no plans to go anywhere else,” he chirrups.

January 30, 2006
Joey reveals he has plans to go somewhere else by handing in a transfer request. Although Man City baulked at his £40,000-per-week wage demands, his agent insists unconvincingly that his client’s gripe is nothing to do with money. “It is not just all about money,” says Willie McKay. “It is about where Joey Barton wants to go and where Manchester City want to go. If City had come back with the offer we had asked for, then Joey would have signed the contract.”

January 31, 2006
Having signed pretty-boy striker Georgios Samaras for £6 million from Heerenveen, Stuart Pearce puts on his “wounded” face in a bid to guilt-trip Joey into staying at City. “I wouldn’t have done what Joey did after the club stood by him in the summer,” he harrumphs. “I am disappointed but we hope to secure him on a long-term contract. I will talk to him today and I think something will be sorted out.” Manchester City reject a bid for Barton from a north-eastern club, passing up a golden opportunity to inflict the harshest punishment imaginable on the young player by selling him to Middlesbore.

Peter Carlisle <Carlisle(at)>


Tony Ward’s comments in MCIVTA 1189 were spot on, and prove that City’s coaching methods are poor, and if the staff who are employed to coach, can’t see it, then any near future success is a long way off.

If a player has no-one to pass to without putting a player under serious pressure, it is down to lack of movement or lack of ball control on the part of the receiver.

If a player cannot find players who have good movement, it is down to a lack of vision, or a lack of ability to pass the ball with the correct weight and speed.

Easy when you know what you are doing.

Garry Sullivan <member(at)>


From reading MCVITA over the last couple of weeks, it seems that, just too late to capitalise on the post-Xmas fitness boom, we’ve embarked on our own campaign to lose weight by repeatedly trying to kick own @rse!

Why is it we start to question SP’s performance less than a season into his managerial career when a large proportion of the rest of the country want to install him as the national coach? Have I missed something or is being safe by Boxing Day wrong?

Why is it we bemoan our transfer dealings when we get Cole on a free, swap SWP for Vassell and get £19 million in the bank and squeeze 2 seasons out of Anelka and trade him in before the sulks set in? How long did Fenerbache get out of the sour-faced would-be genius? I see no Daleys, Bradburys or Brannans in Blue these days – perhaps I should have gone to Specsavers.

How many Academy players now grace the hallowed turf in front of the Bell End?

I’m not saying MCFC are perfect, far from it, but credit where credit’s due. Could things be better? Yes – Could they be worse? Too damn right! At least we haven’t shelled out on Djemba-Djemba, Boumsong or Woodgate.

Keep the Faith!

CTJMSD (City ’til Jodie Marsh Seems Demure), Ian Lloyd <iandotlloyd(at)>


Where are we from? We used to be from Maine Road, and now? I’m not sure where we’re from anymore; in fact I feel lost, frightened and very lonely.

We left our home a few years ago and moved to a posh new house, which had one previous owner; it should have been the best thing that ever happened to us.

We came from a home surrounded by dog s**t, old cobbled alleyways and rows upon rows of terraced houses.

Before we migrated to our wonderful new home, the fans had a vote and called it the City Of Manchester Stadium, a name that seemed to fill the locals with Blue Mancunian pride.

Once we arrived at our new home, someone decided it was a bit of a long winder and re-named it COMS, a shorter version of the original.

From the glorious sounding City Of Manchester Stadium to COMS is a bit like erm not as glorious.

Then, just when I was getting used to going to COMS (which reminds me of something between condoms and comic), I’m informed that we have had a name change to Eastlands.

Neither of the two new names felt right to me, We are City from COMZ sounded a bit village, and walking down the City Of Manchester Stadium to see Joe Mercer’s aces just lost the effect half way through.

As I don’t get to as many home games as I used to, I now listen on digital 5 Live etc. and guess what, even the commentators don’t know where they are, they just say welcome to a cold Manchester.

I know we are in a bit of bother with the debt collectors but surely changing the name of the stadium every 2 minutes won’t keep the wolves from the door?

I demand a new referendum. I want a new name for our stadium, and I want it to be called Maine Road.

Why? Well we all know Maine Road, it’s something I keep saying accidentally like we’re playing at Maine Road then I have to go oh whoops I mean the City Of Manchester Stadium or COMS or Eastlands.

We are from Maine Road that’s the point I’m getting at, we’re not from the City Of Manchester Stadium or COMS or Eastlands. We are City from Maine Road.

We need a petition thing started so we can get this motion passed throughparliament. Who wants to join in the glorious re-naming of COMS?

Come on you Blues, forget about Barton and Wright-Phillips etc., remember the good old pros like Kenny Clements, Willie Donachie and good old Keith McRae.

Andy Webb, Missing the smell of Maine Road <Charlesalexhols(at)>


After holding a season ticket/card for more years than we can remember we have had to say this season is our last. We will not be renewing them for the forthcoming season for a number of reason, but it has been made easier thanks to Joey Barton. Our reasons are below; Joey is a symptom of what’s wrong with football these days.

We have struggled for years to find the money for these, but even though over a season, the tickets and the normal game day expenditure are using over 80% of our expendable income after gas, electric etc. We have followed the Blues though thin and thinner as we dropped from one division to another. We both turned up to games (as many others have done) within hours of losing family members, as the Blues meant that much to us. Moreover, we could always count on a remark or instance that would make us laugh and give us a precious time when we both could forget about life as we entered into a family. No matter how dysfunctional this family was, it was still better than the one outside Maine Road.

Since the first time we attended a game, you felt part of something bigger than you. Both I and Helen were big supporters of the move from Maine Road to our new stadium. We knew that there would be changes and that it would take some time to “settle in”. As time has gone on, the feeling of not belonging has not gone. We no longer enjoy going to the game. There has been a change in the atmosphere at the games, and we are not just talking about the volume of the crowd.

In these very pages there is this same change. In the “good old days” there was give and take, Blues would make their point to other Blues with a remark that would have everyone else laughing, but now there seems to be a one size must fit all fan. We never thought we’d read that a fellow Blue would write that he would “pour petrol on them and set them alight” for the crime of singing a song that the writer did not like!

The mind police tell us what songs can or cannot be sung, when we can or cannot stand, what flags/banners we can or cannot show. The corporate feel of the new stadium makes us feel that we are dinosaurs. When we try and get behind the team we have to do this with one eye cocked over our shoulder. If the stewards aren’t telling us to sit down, it’s other fans tutting if we sing too loud.

Football used to be a game of passion and a game for the common person (one for the Politically Correct). Now with the cost, the constant changing of kick off times, players’ wages getting out of control, I no longer recognize the game I loved. The games have gone from our Saturday to any day of the week, at any time of kick-off and sod the travelling fans.

We have the best manager and team we have had for years, so why are we enjoying less and less?

Canned fans, staff who treat you with contempt when you try to break in to their conversation to get served, heavy handed stewards, has not helped, but it’s the fans themselves that seem to have changed. At Maine Road we had a spirit that has gone. Maybe it’s the fact that, in the old days, tickets were sold in pubs around the ground. So if a lad had got some money and fancied a game he could go. This allowed people who really wanted to be at a game to get in. Now with the cards there is very little turnover. In the old days you got a chance to test out different parts of the ground and could get to know where you fitted in. These days there are very few chances to do this.

The ground and some of the fans (more each season) has more and more of a plastic, corporate feel. There are more and more people who are more interested in reading the programme than getting behind the team. God forbid you should get so wrapped up in the game that you let an F word slip!

The end for us was Joey Barton. He is what we have become to detest about the game. The club and fans stood behind him, through his disdainful acts at the Christmas party and his problems with his brother. With our help he is now being talked up as a future England player. What happens when we double his wages? He throws all the support back in our faces and says he wants more! He is not the first to forget all the help we the fans have given to a player, and sadly he will not be the last. The clubs now mean nothing to these players and therefore we the fans mean even less. Football has gone mad and we no longer feel part of, or recognize it. There will be a price rise on our season tickets to play for these players, and we no longer feel we are getting our money’s worth. He has been the last straw.

We watched the City vs. Charlton away game at home. There we were, beer in hand shouting at the TV, leaping up and down, singing and not a tut to be heard. At the end of the game we both could hardly talk, and that had not happened at a game for a very long time.

Some of you reading this will be saying good, two less foul-mouthed dinosaurs who can only live in the past. I say this to you. Be very careful, because you’ll end up with a ground full of the politically correct people, who calmly sit there politely clapping a goal. Who never let their emotions loose, who never take the p*ss out of the away fans or team, who don’t know the word irony (as some who could not see that we were laughing with and not at Sun with the chippy song), you will have your nice, safe plastic world, but will it be football? We will if we are lucky get to a few away games, if our friends can get hold of a couple of tickets, and may even go to the odd cup game, but we can no longer convince ourselves that doing without a holiday for years so we have the money for the game is the right choice. Paying the wages of the likes of Joey Barton, players who no longer care about the club or fans, whose only thought seems to be how much they can screw out of the game will no longer be able to take the p**s out of us.

A huge chunk of our life has been tied up with going to the game, and we will shed more than a few tears come the beginning of next season. But thanks to Joey Barton the pain will not be as bad as it was going to be. There is just no fun these days and no matter how bad things got on the pitch, we could always count on the having a laugh and could feel that the players were part of the club and therefore there was always the hope things will get better. Sad then that City are at last seeming to get things right on the pitch that things seem to be getting so bad off it.

So to end, may we thank all the people we have met at the game and we hope we’ll see some of you at an away game. My we also invite any like-minded people to join our new club. The fees are cheap (e.g. nowt!), the only rules are that you get behind the team, have a laugh, if you spill someone’s beer you buy two back. The new club is CHIP (City Heaven in Pubs) and the first meeting will be held in the Lass O’Gowrie in Manchester ( for the first City game on Sky.

Good luck to you all, we’ll miss you, but will not miss players like Barton, or the plastic version of football that passes for “entertainment” these days. We have both just fallen out of love with the game. We wonder if we are the only ones?

Goodbye from Tony Hulme <mcfc4tony(at)> a.k.a. Tony the Tattooed Donkey,Helen Murtagh a.k.a. number one girlfriend


1 February 2006

Aston Villa           1 - 1  Chelsea               38,562
Manchester City       3 - 0  Newcastle United      42,413
Portsmouth            1 - 1  Bolton Wanderers      19,128
Arsenal               2 - 3  West Ham United       38,216
Blackburn Rovers      4 - 3  Manchester United
Liverpool             1 - 1  Birmingham City       43,851

31 January 2006

Charlton Athletic     0 - 0  West Bromwich Albion  25,921
Fulham                1 - 0  Tottenham Hotspur     21,081
Sunderland            0 - 3  Middlesbrough         31,675
Wigan Athletic        1 - 1  Everton               21,731

League table to 01 February 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         24 11  1  0 29  7  9  2  1 21  6 20  3  1  50  13  37  63
 2 Manchester Utd  24  7  3  1 21  6  7  3  3 24 18 14  6  4  45  24  21  48
 3 Liverpool       22  9  2  1 18  5  4  4  2 12  8 13  6  3  30  13  17  45
 4 Tottenham H.    24  7  4  1 17  7  4  4  4 14 13 11  8  5  31  20  11  41
 5 Wigan Athletic  24  6  2  5 17 16  6  0  5 12 14 12  2 10  29  30  -1  38
 6 Arsenal         23  9  1  2 29  7  2  3  6  7 12 11  4  8  36  19  17  37
 7 Bolton Wndrs    22  6  3  1 13  4  4  4  4 15 17 10  7  5  28  21   7  37
 8 Blackburn R.    23  7  2  2 19 13  4  2  6 12 15 11  4  8  31  28   3  37
 9 West Ham United 24  5  1  5 17 16  5  4  4 17 18 10  5  9  34  34   0  35
10 Manchester City 24  7  2  4 19 10  3  2  6 14 17 10  4 10  33  27   6  34
11 Charlton Ath.   22  4  2  6 13 16  5  1  4 14 15  9  3 10  27  31  -4  30
12 Everton         24  4  1  6  9 15  5  2  6  8 17  9  3 12  17  32 -15  30
13 Fulham          24  8  2  2 19 12  0  3  9  9 20  8  5 11  28  32  -4  29
14 Aston Villa     24  3  4  5 13 15  3  5  4 14 18  6  9  9  27  33  -6  27
15 Newcastle Utd   23  4  4  2 10  9  3  1  9 10 19  7  5 11  20  28  -8  26
16 Middlesbrough   23  3  5  4 17 20  3  2  6 13 20  6  7 10  30  40 -10  25
17 West Brom A.    24  5  1  6 17 15  1  4  7  4 17  6  5 13  21  32 -11  23
18 Birmingham City 23  3  2  6 14 14  2  3  7  7 18  5  5 13  21  32 -11  20
19 Portsmouth      24  2  5  5  7 13  2  1  9 10 27  4  6 14  17  40 -23  18
20 Sunderland      23  0  3 10  8 26  2  0  8  9 17  2  3 18  17  43 -26   9

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v0506.02]

[1] MCIVTA Addresses

Articles (Heidi Pickup)          :
News/rumour (Don Barrie)         :
Subscriptions (Madeleine Hawkins):
Technical problems (Paul)        :
FAQ (David Warburton)            :

[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 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

[5] What supporters’ clubs are there?

Manchester City FC recognises three supporters’ clubs: The “Official Supporters Club” (; the “Centenary Supporters’ Association” ( 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

Live match commentaries and archives of games, reports and interviews can be found at

[8] Where can I find out if City are live on satellite TV? provides a listing of Premiership games being shown on UK domestic and foreign satellite channels. Useful sites for North American viewers are,, and

[9] Do we have a Usenet newsgroup?

Yes we do: is our home on usenet. If you are not familiar with usenet, a basic explanation is available here:,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

[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 (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

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

Try Wookie’s Lair:

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,

Newsletter #1195