Newsletter #1197

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News tonight on wins for the reserves and youth teams, more on the Barton/McKay saga and potential moves into and out of the club.

There is also opinion on the closure of two rows in South Stand due to safety/standing concerns, more people giving up season tickets, and the usual requests.

Next up a newly resurgent Charlton, but Pearce has done his homework and we will be ready for them.

Finally, City favourite Shaun Goater has announced he will be retiring at the end of this season. If only we had more characters like him around.

Next game: Charlton Athletic, home, 4pm Sunday 12 February (TV)

NEWS SUMMARY

General News

3-0, Twice: The first team may not have had a good result, but three-goal victories were all the rage amongst City’s other teams. The Reserves triumphed by said score at Stockport’s Edgeley Park, as the Manchester Senior Cup campaign got back on course after last week’s defeat by Oldham. This week, goals by Beep and Ishmael Miller saw the Blues two up inside half an hour, and young Ishmael helped himself to another just a few minutes before full time. City: Weaver, D’Laryea, Sommeil, Haapala, Mills, Bischoff, Croft, Ireland, Wright-Phillips, Miller, Laird.

So inspired were the Ubder-18’s by this performance, that they decided to repeat the dose the next night in the FA Youth Cup. And so at Nottingham’s City Ground, the Boy Blues won 3-0, to set up a mini-derby in the next round with the Reds. Kelvin Etuhu struck early in this game to soothe any early nerves, and late goals from Karl Moore and substitute Ched Evans secured the win. Academy director Jim Cassell’s verdict: “I think we just about edged it. We had a good first 20 minutes where we could have had the game won well and truly, but young lads can’t play at that tempo for the full 90 minutes. They came back into it, which you would expect and for a period although they never looked like scoring it was a bit scary. Once the second goal from Karl went in, it eased all the tension and we played with a lot of freedom after that.” Of City’s sixth round opponents, Cassell mused: “We have yet to fix a date as yet, but it’s a shame that it’s at the quarter final stage, it would have been for fabulous for the city of Manchester to have the two teams play in the final. But it does not matter, because this is all about the development of young players and I know they have good players and so do we. It will be all about who gets the breaks on the day.” City: Matthewson; Obeng, Logan, Williamson, Richards, Marshall, Williams, Johnson, Etuhu, Sturridge, Moore. Unused subs: C. Evans, Vadon, McDonald, S. Evans, Breen.

Three Lions Hunt Psycho? The FA has denied claims a three-man shortlist, including the Mighty Mr. Pearce, for the next England coach has already been drawn up. One story on Thursday suggested Martin O’Neill, SP and Alan Curbishley were now the only men under consideration to succeed Sven Goran-Eriksson, after the FA decided neither Sam Allardyce nor Guus Hiddink were suitable. However, FA communications director Adrian Bevington insisted: “No shortlist has been drawn up yet. Any speculation suggesting there is, is inaccurate.” The FA set up a sub-committee, consisting of Brian Barwick, Noel White and Dave Richards, last week to decide on the process to identify and recruit the best man to succeed Eriksson after the World Cup. They are due to report back to FA chairman Geoff Thompson on February 27 and no major developments are expected before then.

Transfer News and Gossip

Viva Varela: Blimey, that transfer window has only just banged shut and already the press are finding new news rumours for us. Lucky us, I say… City are thought to be lining up a move for Real Betis defender Fernando Varela. Varela’s future at Betis looks uncertain with his current contract due to expire in the summer and as yet no talks over a new deal have taken place. The news has alerted City, who could snap up Varela on a free transfer at the end of the season. City officials are believed to have watched the 26-year-old in action on several occasions this term. “I have not spoken with any English director, but the Premier League is a great competition,” said Varela this week. “If I am not of any interest to Betis all the options are open for me.”

Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word: Wait, what’s that sound? Did anyone else hear it? If I’m, not mistaken, it’s the sound of Joey Barton changing his tune, After last week’s less-than-intelligent transfer request 24 hours before the transfer deadline, Mr. Barton and his people had clearly decided that a change of tack was required in his contract negotiations. After the Everton game, we had Barton clutching his club badge, Gary Neville-style, in an apparent attempt at a gesture of loyalty. After the weekend, very conciliatory noises were heard from Joey’s camp. The player’s agent Willie McKay has indicated a compromise could be reached. “If City came back with the same figure as a basic salary I would advise him to sign it,” McKay told the M.E.N. Mackay also told the BBC that “The ball is in Manchester City’s court. It has been left open-ended. They want to get it sorted out but they need time to speak about things and let the dust settle – that’s what we have been told.” McKay’s media appearances were just about outstripped by those of his client. On Monday and Tuesday, you couldn’t open a paper, or turn on the radio or the telly without catching a glimpse of the contrite Scouser. He told Sky Sports News for instance that: “I handed in a transfer request which, in hindsight, was impetuous and the club rejected it. As far as I am concerned it is not my aim to leave the club in the near future and all I can say is people are talking, my advisors are meeting with the club again, and this situation can hopefully be resolved before the next game. Me handing in a transfer request may have raised a lot of doubt in people’s minds about my commitment,” he admitted. “But people have got to understand I was emotional and angry at the time and I acted a little bit rashly and in hindsight I should not have done what I did.”

The Changingman: Next the media were invited to watch Joey address children at a Cumbria school, as he undergoes a programme of rehabilitation via Tony Adams’ Sporting Chance clinic. Speaking to BBC radio, Barton revealed that he had not had a drink of alcohol since being sent home in disgrace from City’s pre-season tour of Thailand, and that he was coming to terms with his issues over alcohol: “The thing with me was not how much I was drinking but I would get into trouble when I had a drink. What I realised was that as a professional player you have to make the most of what you have got and give it 100%. For that reason I have not had a drink since being sent home from Thailand. It is not where I want to go with my life. I find it beneficial for my career not to do it. Of course I have been tempted. It makes you forget your problems. But that would be the easy way. You wake up the next day with a massive headache and the same problems.”

A Little Nit: Whatever his private feelings about Barton’s behaviour, Mr. Pearce announced that he was glad that the player wanted to sign a new contract. “It’s good common sense by him,” asserted Pearce. “The hard facts are that we called him in a year-and-a-half before his contract finished to reward him for living his life in the right manner, and his form. Contract negotiations broke down because in our opinion Joey was outlandish in what he was asking for, we were miles apart and it broke down. I think Joey realises now that it was not a wise career move to run straight to the media and announce that you want to leave the Club straight away. That was the only thing really that disappointed us, a lot of negotiations with players these days do break down, but you don’t hear about them. The one little nit of naïvete on Joey’s part was that he announced to the world that he wanted to put a marker down. I spoke to him last week before he came out with the statement and said ‘don’t shut the door on this club’. We feel as though we have made a good offer and we will carry on talking to him and his representative. Hopefully Joey Barton will stay with us for five to ten years, I certainly hope that, I always have done. He dealt with it badly, he realises that and it is refreshing to hear him say that he would like to stay at this football club for longer to come. What we have said from day one is that we don’t want him to leave, and that is still the case.”

Nicky Weaves to Wednesday? Supreme City shot stopper Nicky Weaver has been linked with a free transfer switch to Sheffield Wednesday, who have admitted they are hoping to sign him. The Owls are desperate for a new ‘keeper having lost David Lucas for the rest of the season and manager Paul Sturrock has said the ideal scenario would be for City to release the ‘keeper from his contract early. The 26-year-old’s career has been wrecked by injury over the past few years and he has admitted a move away from City might be the best way to kick-start his career. He has already had a loan spell with Wednesday before Christmas – the club he supported growing up. He’s out of contract in the summer and has only made one appearance for City in the last two seasons.

Up the Pole! According to a couple of reports today, City are about to sign 18-year-old Polish defender Pawel Krol, who has impressed in a recent trial spell. The 18-year-old is currently with our old Cup Winners’ Cup opponents Gornik Zabrze, and has spurned a move to Widzew Lodz in order to sign for City (Good! I still haven’t forgiven Lodz and their star man Boniek for ruining our UEFA Cup campaign by scoring twice at Maine Road in September ’77. Us bitter Blues have long memories…). “I will start in the reserve squad of Manchester City,” said Krol. “But it’s only one step from the first team and, from there, it’s The Premiership. That would be the realisation of my dreams.” City will have to pay a fee to Gornik because of Krol’s age, and the youngster is likely to team up with his new colleagues in the summer.

City Arrive for Clive: City are the latest club to have been linked with a move for Sunderland midfielder Dean Whitehead who insists he is happy at the Stadium of Light. City have been linked with the all-action midfielder who has impressed despite Sunderland’s struggles in the Premiership, while Liverpool are also reported to have targeted the 24-year-old. With Sunderland almost certain to be relegated, Whitehead has been earmarked as a possible target for SP but the player insists he has no plans to jump ship. “I’m really happy at the club. I’ve got three-and-a-half years left here and I’m not thinking about any other club,” Whitehead told the South Tyneside Shields Gazette.

Ex-Blues’ News

Geordies “Would Just Love It!” Former Newcastle midfielder Rob Lee is backing his old club to bring back Kevin Keegan to the reigns of power at St. James’ Park. Keegan was the man who took Newcastle to runners-up in the Premiership, but lost a 12 points lead to the Stretfordonians that season. Lee admitted it’s very doubtful that Keegan would want to go but the he thinks the Geordie’s would love him. “I’d like to see Kevin Keegan back,” said Lee on BBC Radio 5Live. “Whether they could get him or whether he’d want to go I very much doubt it but I think the Geordies would love him. I don’t know whether he’d actually come out of retirement.”

Out to Pasture: Shaun Goater has told the Royal Gazette that he’s retiring at the end of the season. Currently helping Southend top League One, the Goat is ready to go home to Bermuda next summer. “No, this is definitely going to be it for me,” said Goater, who nearly retired after a miserable year with Reading before Steve Tilson came in with an offer and Goater was talked out of retirement by both Kyle Lightbourne and former England star Cyrille Regis. “I am 100 percent going to put an end to it all at the end of this year. I am happy that I made the right decision to play on for one more year and have enjoyed my time here at Southend immensely but this is going to be the last season – I have made my mind up. Cyrille can try and talk me out of it again but I will be in Bermuda by then and I won’t be budging. I want a fairytale ending to my career and that would be helping Southend to promotion. We are in a strong position now and I am going to do everything I can to play my part in ensuring we are still at this end of the table come the end of the season. It would be the ideal way to end things in football for me here and a great way of saying thank you to the Southend fans who are making my final season so memorable.” And last Saturday, Shaun proved that actions speak louder than words by bagging his seventh goal of the season as the Shrimpers won 2-0 at Yeovil.

Reactions and Comments

Toffees Make it Sticky: City failed to capitalise on the good result against Newcastle last week, as an early strike from David Weir proved decisive as Everton took all three points against lacklustre City. David Moyes’ side made the best possible start to the game by opening the scoring after only eight minutes, having dominated from the kick-off. Weir bundled the ball over the line following Mikael Arteta’s curling corner to the near post and City were left reeling. And although Georgios Samaras skimmed the crossbar with a powerful header just past the hour mark, it didn’t get much better for City. The misery was compounded on 88 minutes when Stephen Jordan was shown a second yellow card for a reckless challenge on Tony Hibbert. “We did not play well, and we did not start particularly well. In the second half we picked up a little bit, passed it better. Coley gave us a lift with his cuteness on the ball, but once again in a game with hardly a chance at either end we have conceded a sloppy goal. It’s disappointing, it’s frustrating and it’s something we have got to put right to climb up the table. The thing that compounds it more is that we play so well at home. We’re full of life, but when we go on our travels we let people dictate to us. I’m the same as the supporters, it’s annoying and I’ve got to put it right.”

Saturday Night’s Alright: Everton manager was delighted with the win, which lifts the Toffees to 11th in the table. This was a ninth game unbeaten for the Blue Scousers, and Moyes admitted that “The players were determined to keep the run going. We have not shouted too much about it, but that’s nine games unbeaten. It has been terrific and the players have been doing really well. They are showing a lot of confidence. They have got a great team spirit. I have a had a lot of bad Saturday nights, but I’m beginning to enjoy my Saturdays again. We said we would keep doing the things we felt were right. I never thought that a team that finished fourth last season had suddenly turned into a team that was struggling. We would like to get the second goal to make life easier for ourselves, but the lads at the back have done terrifically well.”

You Greedy Ba…rton: Mensa candidate Joey Barton got another mixed reception from City fans – for instance, a banner reading “Greedy Greedy Barton” was hung from the City end, only to be removed by a steward to cheers from some of the visiting support who chanted Barton’s name. SP stood by his decision to play the midfielder: “I had no thoughts of leaving Joey out. If his form is good he plays, if it’s not he goes out of the team. It’s as simple as that. Supporters just want to see if a player is putting a shift in for their team. If a player does that they will support him, if a player doesn’t produce that and the fans are not happy then they will voice their emotions accordingly. There was no problem with Joey out there.”

Squad News

Knee’s Up for Nedum: SP gave the full S.P. on Nedum Onouha’s injury woes. As we reported last week, the 19-year-old has badly hurt his knee ligaments, and isn’t expected to play again this term. “It looks as though we will do well to get him back before the end of the season, which is very disappointing for him and for us,” said Pearce. “There was a collision in training, and he’s damaged some knee ligaments. It will be at least a couple of months, but we do have some back-up in the defensive department.”

Ishmael and the Golden Goose: Meanwhile Pearce gave an upbeat assessment on an even younger star in the making – 17-year-old Micah Richards, who made his home first team début against Newcastle last week. SP remarked that “He’s been by far the best player in the Reserves. After he came on he rose like a salmon and headed one – I turned to Steve Wigley and said: ‘I think you’ve lost your golden goose now.’ I’m pleased for Micah, he’s been top-notch for us this year. He’s only 17-years-old and he’s a very game lad. I did tell him before he went on against Newcastle, ‘Don’t worry about it, be nice and relaxed and if you make a mistake you’ll never play again!'” Pearce feels that the Reserves’ scoring expert Ishmael Miller is almost ready to taste first team action – but not quite yet. “I get a lot of enquiries about Ishmael going out on loan, and he will go out on loan sometime this season, if he doesn’t break through into the first team. I still feel as though he needs to show us a touch more consistency over 90 minutes. If he achieves that over a full 90 minutes he’ll be very, very close to our first team.”

Cole’s Contract Goal: And at the other end of the career spectrum – it’s been reported that Andy Cole will sign a new one year deal at the club next week. The 34-year-old striker has scored 10 goals this season and SP said: “We are speaking with Andy and his agent on Thursday and we should sort everything out then. He wants to be here and we want him here. It is as simple as that.”

Leaning on the Loanees: SP is hoping loan stars Albert Riera and Kiki Musampa can fire City back into contention for a European spot. Ahead of Sunday’s encounter with Charlton, Pearce hopes that the pair, on loan from the Primera Liga, will help supply goalscoring support to the likes of Darius Vassell and Andy Cole. “Albert has really wanted to be part of this club,” enthused Pearce this week. “I don’t usually leave the training ground until 8pm but three or four nights a week, he is still in there having English lessons. That shows a man who wants to stay here long beyond his loan period when it expires in the summer. If he keeps doing well for us, that will give me in a nudge in the right direction.” Musampa, after a period out of the side, is benefiting from a central midfield rôle, a return to the position he first appeared in during his Ajax days before he was switched to the left wing. “When I asked Kiki to play in central midfield for the reserve team six weeks ago, his face lit up,” confirmed Stuart. “Kiki spent a lot of his time in that position at Ajax and I just feel the way he takes care of the ball will be a big asset. And, with Claudio Reyna not being available for a number of weeks it might give him an opportunity in a new position.”

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

MATCH REPORT: NFFC YOUTH 0 MCFC YOUTH 3

Down to the City Ground for our 5th round FA Youth Cup tie against Nottingham Forest. We were looking forward to this one, having missed the West Ham game, despite us always having a lengthy debate about the best route into Nottingham. I won, well women are always right.

There was a good turnout from both sets of fans, especially the Forest youngsters who would probably find it far easier to support glory clubs like Chelsea, Rags and Arsenal. The only blight on the evening was the memory of our reserve defeat there last year when McPointalot excelled himself in the useless stakes.

Line-ups below, we were expecting a lot of City given some of the experienced reserve players we have in this age category. Forest unfortunately had a few players withdraw due to illness at the last minute, which left them in a predicament.

From the off, City were on the attack. Sturridge was a threatening presence but it was pretty obvious the Forest lads had been instructed to man mark him and he had 3 of them to shake off all night. We laid siege to the Forest goal in the first 10 minutes with Kelvin Etuhu freeing himself up as his striking partner was occupied and from inside the box he hit the ball easily into the right side of goal. 0-1.

We dominated in midfield as Johnson commanded the centre and Karl Moore provided plenty of pace down the left hand side, with the equally pacey Logan as left back. Etuhu was through on goal again within minutes from a Johnson ball, and hit the crossbar. Proving that rare commodity, a forward who can use both feet, Etuhu then had another chance, which went wide to the left. Just over the 20 minute mark we were awarded a free kick on the left of the area, which Johnson took and sent just wide of the right post. The Forest ‘keeper was certainly earning his keep tonight, with a number of fine saves and organising of his makeshift defence. After 25 minutes we slackened off somewhat, and both sides were happy to play the ball around the field without really creating too many more chances. As half time approached, the City ‘keeper Matthewson was called into action as our defence, captained by centre half Micah Richards, momentarily lost concentration and Forest had their first real chance. Fortunately Matthewson caught the ball. For those who haven’t seen him, his style of play is very reminiscent of Weaver when we first signed him.

Half time and we could, or should, have been 3-0 up; time for a coffee to try to ward off the biting cold that was settling in.

Within the first two minutes of the second half, Sturridge came so close to scoring as his first shot was fired over, followed by another follow-up shot that was saved. It wasn’t to be his night, but not for want of trying. Forest again clawed back possession and we were on the back foot for a little while as they advanced, and Bastians shot wide. A couple of City corners that we couldn’t quite connect with – aim for Richards’ head next time guys, and he’ll score. With a little over 10 minutes to go, and City clinging on, there then came a claim for a foul from the Forest players on the edge of the City box, the referee didn’t give it and Karl Moore made the move of the match. He ran from deep within the City half, beat 4 Forest players and his cool right footed shot from 15 yards out past the ‘keeper made it 0-2.

Etuhu was replaced by Ched Evans, and in the final attack of the game that saw an attempted “Tueart” overhead kick, Evans sealed the victory with a back heeled goal.

A deserved win from a committed performance. Despite the lapses in concentration and lulls in play, this was a terrific game and the lads and coaching staff have to be congratulated. We now face the Rags in the quarter finals at home, to be played by 4th March.

MotM: difficult to single one out, but will go for Karl Moore who put some fantastic runs in and that goal was just superb.

Forest: Gamble, Fairclough, Heath, Power, Cullingworth, Thornhill, Glass, Bastians, Newbold, Mullarkey (Reid), Staples (Meikle).

City: Matthewson, Logan, Obeng, Richards, Williamson, Moore, Marshall, Johnson, Williams, Sturridge, Etuhu (C. Evans)
Unused subs: Vadon, McDonald, S. Evans, Breen

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

OPINION: STAND UP, SIT DOWN, SHIP OUT

With recent postings saying how disillusioned supporters are becoming with the “modern day game”, this is brought to the fore again as the club have been forced to take action against “persistent” standing in the South Stand. Two rows, including the one I sit/stand in are to be closed for the Charlton game all in the name of safety!? The club were kind enough to relocate us to the 3rd tier of the East stand (look out for fans standing in the East stand!).

After swapping emails with the club’s safety officer, Peter Fletcher, I was informed that this decision was taken the much reluctance after the City Council put pressure on the club to take action. Apparently the Council are also under pressure from the non-elected Governmental body that is the Football Licensing Authority.

To be fair to City this is clearly something out of their control but shouldn’t clubs and supporters be concerned about this over zealous attitude towards supporters? It is and I quote “deemed by Manchester City Council to be unsafe to persistently stand”.

So if we take this at face value we are collectively “unsafe” while celebrating a goal; unsafe during the half time break and when entering and leaving the stadium. If standing in a seated area or any other area was unsafe then frankly we would be discouraged from celebrating goals or getting up as “excitement” occurs!

Am I on my own here? Something has to be done to contest what is the biggest contradictive law/regulation that some idiot sat in a cosy office has ever dreamt up. It’s time football supporters said enough was enough and stop treating us like imbeciles and second class citizens. We fought ID cards so why can’t we fight something like this? I might sound daft but I firmly believe our human rights are being infringed. Why, because it should be one rule for all or not at all. All lower league clubs should have to replace their standing terraces as should all rugby league and union clubs – shouldn’t they?

The problem is football as a whole isn’t bothered. The FA don’t care and the clubs whose grounds are more than 75% full week in, week out don’t either. Until football becomes less popular and people start to vote with their feet we will continue to be ripped off and treated like sheep.

It just saddens me when I read of fans on these pages turning their back on football for reasons I entirely agree with. I will persevere but how long for I don’t know – one day we will be listened to.

Rant over with, thanks for listening!

Graham Keller <gkmcfc(at)ntlworld.com>

OPINION: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

I thought I just had to join this debate, I’m surprised it’s taken this long for fellow Blues to stop renewing season tickets (cards).

Two years before we departed our real home for the COMS stadium I gave up my season ticket. This was down to the fact that as a regular season ticket holder in the hallowed Kippax I had to think about where to sit (not stand!) in the future. I decided to renew my season ticket for the new Platt Lane all seater stand. This was one of the worst decisions I ever made.

From being able to stand where I liked to having to sit exactly where my seat was allocated. No more standing! No more singing with the lads! Sitting next to someone else’s kids (no offence, just couldn’t vent my frustrations the same way). Being spat at by opposing fans in the so called executive boxes, complaining to stewards who couldn’t care less! But they would soon tell you to sit down; looks like these herberts were re-employed at the new gaff! It was awful, just like the view. Needless to say this was my last season ticket.

While the new stadium looks nice it has no character, the place is sterile. This is not just down to all seating policy. People who had stood close to each other in the past have now been split around the ground. Therefore, when anyone starts chanting, it takes a while for others to join in. There are extra seats so perhaps new people have come to the club who maybe could not get tickets for Maine Road.

Then there is the cost; the club have announced this week that season card prices are to be frozen next season. This is a nice gesture but I think I’m not alone in saying it’s still too much. Don’t come back to me and say we are one of the cheapest (I already know this). My point is we are paying too much to fund overrated foreigners, has been’s and never will be’s.

Thanks to a well known satellite operator pumping money into the clubs, fans are left buying a seasoncard in advance wondering how many Saturday afternoon 3pm kick-offs there will be. Then the nice agents jumped on the bandwagon and made a killing for themselves and the players they represent.

Compared to rugby and cricket, it’s hard to say that on a regular basis there is a better atmosphere at COMS. Expectations are higher than ever for us fans. After all we are paying extortionate amounts of money to watch what can only be described in the nicest way as pure drivel at times. Which brings me to the Joey Barton farce.

Joey Barton will never be a top class player as long as he has a hole in his backside (bracing myself for the onslaught). The way I see it, Joey is an average player in an average team. He is also not the first player on my team sheet either. Only because I go from 1 to 11! Joey is a fans’ favourite for one reason only, he came through the youth system and tries to give 100% every time he puts on his shirt. This young man needs to grow up and quickly too, all his off field antics have been a major embarrassment to the club and himself.

I can’t think of another job in the world where an employee could ask for such a hefty and unjustified pay increase. He is not fit to clean the boots of Gerrard or Lampard and is never likely to be in a position to replace them in the England team. When City offered him a new contract he should have jumped at it. If he had doubts over the merits of it he should have asked to renegotiate over the length of the deal and not anything else. A 12 month extension on new wages with a review next summer and the words if I’m in the England team, if I help City win a trophy or gain a European place I would like to have a new contract then.

And finally, once a Blue, always a Blue. Will always support the club through thin and thinner! After all that is all I can remember for my 34 years!

Best wishes to all Blues, Mike <wythyblue(at)ntlworld.com>

OPINION: THE BAD OLD DAYS

I know feelings are running strongly at the moment, but can we get away from the idea that Maine Road was this mythical place where the sun always shone, the football was always brilliant and the atmosphere was superb?

I had a season ticket from the late 70s onwards – standing in the Kippax, then later sitting in the Main Stand – and I have very fond memories of the place, particularly the further back I go.

But I can also remember afternoons of unmitigated misery, some of the most inept displays of football I have ever endured, and atmospheres of stunned disbelief or ugly mutiny that I hope never to experience again. The incident at Middlesbrough at the weekend reminded me of the fan who ran onto the pitch at Maine Road not so very long ago and ripped up his season ticket.

So let’s have a balanced view. We have a superb stadium that is the envy of most other clubs in the country and which has already witnessed some wonderful performances. We still have the ‘typical City’ curse of inconsistency, but we’ve been in the top half of the Premiership all this season and I’d rather have the current squad of the players than any of the collections of no-hopers from the last 15 years or so.

OK, the stewarding can be a bit heavy-handed at times and we’d all like the beer, balti pies and replica shirts to be a bit cheaper, but I don’t recall being allowed to stand up at Maine Road, and the club is in business to make money – to reduce the debt and buy us better players.

One of the less pleasant features of sitting in the old Main Stand was the collection of old-timers who moaned continually about how much better things were in the old days. It seems some things never change!

John Caley <john(at)caley.net>

OPINION: MIDFIELD REQUIREMENTS

Joey Barton’s change of mind can only be good news for the team. It was sad to hear the boos and the people who were doing this need to realise the while he has a City jersey on, he is still an important member of the team. If he had decided to go elsewhere, then maybe they would have had a reason to boo on his return to COMS.

Next point – the performance against Everton was less than poor and we all know that. It seems pointless to blame Vassell/Samaras/BWP etc. about not being in the game and creating chances. With our midfield, we could have Ronaldo (the Brazilian one!), Eto’o, Henry or anyone else and they wouldn’t be in the game either.

Some of the players mentioned as “being wanted” by City: Holland, Parker, Murphy, Malbranque, Brown, Ashton etc., none have arrived. We urgently need at least two midfield players and two full backs. As long as the sun shines, Jordan and Sun will never be top class Premiership players.

Malcolm Clelland <clelland(at)netactive.co.za>

OPINION: HE LOVES IT HERE, HONEST

So now Joey loves the club and wants to sign a new contract after all. Am I the only one who suspects that this is somewhat disingenuous on the part of his agent? Consider the scenarios:

Joey’s transfer request is turned down, the increased offer is withdrawn and he is told that he will be held to his contract until it expires. In the meantime if another club decides to buy him for a sufficient price in the interim he can go. Result – no big bonus for his agent until he leaves.

Joey pledges allegiance to the club and decides to “accept” an increase and a new contract. Come the close season when he is devastated to learn that Sven has somehow been able to overlook his talents, he blames this on being with an “unfashionable” club. After some disturbance he leaves to join a more ambitious club (Middlesbrough, West Brom, Everton etc.) on an enhanced contract. Result – one big bonus for the agent when he signs City contract, another big bonus when he leaves.

Tell me I’m just being cynical, please.

Alf King <alf.king(at)ntlworld.com>

OPINION: MILLS IS THE MAN

My friend Mike is a lifelong Southampton fan and season ticket holder. I sent him an email when we signed Matthew Mills last week asking “is he any good?”

His reply: “Brilliant. He will play for England and I and 30,000 others are very p****d off. Still very young but plays like Rio with a brain. He is a real prospect; at 19 he plays like a 29 year old for us anyway”

Wonder if we’ll see him in the first team this season – especially given our injuries at the back?

[Mills was at the City Roadshow tonight and is certainly hoping to get his chance, very confident and articulate for an 18 year old footballer – Ed]

Dave Watkin <dw(at)holkerwatkin.com>

OPINION: THIS AND THAT

Joey Barton

I am also of the ungrateful, little s**t opinion but I lay the blame more on the arrogant agent he has decided to hook up with who caused me to vent my spleen (whilst driving home last week, which wasn’t a good idea!) by declaring on the radio that “his client” didn’t owe Manchester City anything! Whoa, hang on there Mr Agent (I can’t bear to write his name either)…. if it hadn’t been for the board and management, your client wouldn’t still be in gainful employment at MCFC. After the two incidents that could have got him the sack, and anyone in any other profession would have been sacked, the club helped him, supported him through his anger management, which he paid for himself, fair play to him; then helped him through the trauma of finding out his sibling is a murderer… for that man to say he owes us nothing is nothing short of scandalous. The whole situation has been very, very badly mishandled indeed and I can fully understand SP’s frustration and anger at what went on. Yes I did boo the lad at the Newcastle game last Wednesday at first, but he had such a good game, by the end of it I applauded him off the field, as did many others.

He is now seeing the error of his ways and eating humble pie as he should… it would be nice to see his agent doing the same but I’m not holding my breath on that score! There was a rather loud argument at Everton on Saturday between two lads in front of me who were slagging JB off at every opportunity and someone a few rows further down who was defending Joey – luckily it didn’t come to blows but it could have done. Feelings will run high on this subject for some time to come. I would like Joey to stay and earn the right for the money he’s seeking, but he needs to be a far more consistent performer first – will he ever play for England? Pass!

Standing!

Mentioning Everton leads me on to the standing subject. OK I realise it isn’t illegal to stand at games even though all grounds are trying to stamp it out. What really cheesed me off on Saturday was that, despite sitting, sorry standing, in row 9 of the lower tier, nobody made any attempt to sit down and the stewards gave up the attempt after the first ten minutes of the game. There was a fan with his young son three rows behind me who complained bitterly to stewards that neither he nor his son could see and that he probably wouldn’t come to away games again – and I couldn’t blame him!

I know I am probably in the minority, but I am beginning to get rather hacked off at paying anything from £25-£35 for a seat at an away game and not being able to sit it in! The only time I seem to have been able to sit all the way through the game was at Charlton and that was because I had a front row seat! I’ve even asked for a front row seat at Anfield (can’t do the Villa Cup game) so I can hopefully watch the game in some comfort! Don’t get me wrong, I am just as guilty of jumping up when we are on the attack but then sit down when the attack fizzles out but there are some people who refuse to sit down whatever.

So, what is the answer? We’ve heard enough about away grounds drastically reducing the allocation for all teams whose fans persistently stand and yes I appreciate our fans aren’t the only ones who do it and who aren’t the worst either but don’t forget there are children and elderly supporters who can’t necessarily manage to stand all the way through the game and who may not be able to ask for seats near the front so they can see and enjoy the game.

End of rant… I’m just going to keep taking the tablets so I can get my arthritic knees ready for the next away game I need to stand at! And yes, what’s the betting it’s Anfield!

Carol Darvill <carol(at)city-fan.org>

REQUEST: BEST CAPTAIN

City Magazine is asking for your Top 5 favourite captains of all-time for a feature in the March issue of the official club magazine. It doesn’t have to be the most successful, just who you loved leading the team.

Send your nominations to me at the email below by 13th February!

Many thanks, David Clayton <david.clayton(at)men-news.co.uk>

REQUEST: QATARI BLUES VIEWING

Great to read all about the mighty City while working here in sunny Indonesia.

Could anyone out there tell me where I can watch the City games in Doha, Qatar? I’m going to be out there until the end of the year and would like to catch up with any other City fans there to watch the games.

Dave Rodgers <davidrodgers57(at)hotmail.com>

REQUEST: NEW YORK BLUES VIEWING

City’s next two matches have been confirmed for live television viewing in the US, and the Liverpool match on the 26th should be aired live as well.

Those in New York for any of these matches should get themselves to Nevada Smith’s, 74 Third Ave., between 11 & 12th Sts.

Charlton: Sun, Feb 12, 11:00 a.m. (pay-per-view. $10 cover charge)
Villa: Sun, Feb 19, 1:30 p.m.
Liverpool: Sun, Feb 26, 7:15 a.m.

Donny Schreier <mcfc(at)donnyphysicaltraining.com>

BLUE HUMOUR

Two Liverpool fans are riding along the M62 on a motorbike to watch Liverpool play City. They break down and start hitching a lift. A friendly trucker stops to see if he can help and the scousers ask him for a lift. He tells them that he has no room in the wagon as he is carrying 20,000 bowling balls but will take a look at the bike for them. He tries everything he knows but is unable to repair it. Time is getting on now, he’s late for his delivery and they’re getting late for the game. He tells the scousers he has to leave.

They put it to the driver that if they can manage to fit in the back with the 20,000 bowling balls, will he take them, so he agrees. They manage to squeeze themselves and their motorbike into the back of the wagon so the driver shuts the doors and gets off on his way. By this time he is really late and so puts his foot down.

Sure enough PC Plod of Greater Manchester Police pulls him up for speeding. The good officer asks the driver what he is carrying to which he replies with sarcasm “Scouse eggs”. The policeman obviously doesn’t believe this so wants to take a look. He opens the back door and quickly shuts it and locks it.

He rushes back to his cruiser and gets onto his radio and calls for immediate backup from as many officers as possible. The dispatcher asks what emergency he has that he requires so many officers. He says:

“I’ve got a wagon with 20,000 Scouse eggs in it. Two have already hatched and the sods have managed to nick a motorbike already.”

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

RESULTS

8 February 2006

Charlton Athletic     2 - 0  Liverpool             27,111

League table to 08 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         25 12  1  0 31  7  9  2  1 21  6 21  3  1  52  13  39  66
 2 Manchester Utd  25  8  3  1 25  8  7  3  3 24 18 15  6  4  49  26  23  51
 3 Liverpool       24  9  2  1 18  5  4  4  4 12 12 13  6  5  30  17  13  45
 4 Tottenham H.    25  8  4  1 20  8  4  4  4 14 13 12  8  5  34  21  13  44
 5 Arsenal         24  9  1  2 29  7  3  3  6  9 12 12  4  8  38  19  19  40
 6 Wigan Athletic  25  6  2  5 17 16  6  1  5 13 15 12  3 10  30  31  -1  39
 7 Bolton Wndrs    23  6  4  1 14  5  4  4  4 15 17 10  8  5  29  22   7  38
 8 West Ham United 25  6  1  5 19 16  5  4  4 17 18 11  5  9  36  34   2  38
 9 Blackburn R.    24  7  2  2 19 13  4  2  7 12 17 11  4  9  31  30   1  37
10 Manchester City 25  7  2  4 19 10  3  2  7 14 18 10  4 11  33  28   5  34
11 Charlton Ath.   24  5  2  6 15 16  5  1  5 15 18 10  3 11  30  34  -4  33
12 Everton         25  5  1  6 10 15  5  2  6  8 17 10  3 12  18  32 -14  33
13 Aston Villa     25  3  4  5 13 15  4  5  4 18 18  7  9  9  31  33  -2  30
14 Fulham          25  8  2  2 19 12  0  3 10 11 24  8  5 12  30  36  -6  29
15 Newcastle Utd   24  5  4  2 12  9  3  1  9 10 19  8  5 11  22  28  -6  29
16 West Brom A.    25  6  1  6 19 15  1  4  7  4 17  7  5 13  23  32  -9  26
17 Middlesbrough   24  3  5  5 17 24  3  2  6 13 20  6  7 11  30  44 -14  25
18 Birmingham City 24  3  2  7 14 16  2  3  7  7 18  5  5 14  21  34 -13  20
19 Portsmouth      25  2  5  5  7 13  2  1 10 10 29  4  6 15  17  42 -25  18
20 Sunderland      24  0  3 10  8 26  2  0  9  9 19  2  3 19  17  45 -28   9

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v0506.02]

[1] MCIVTA Addresses

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

[2] What are MCIVTA’s publishing deadlines?

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

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

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

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

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

[5] What supporters’ clubs are there?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[9] Do we have a Usenet newsgroup?

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

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

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

[11] Can I buy shares in the club?

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

[12] Where can I find match statistics?

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

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

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


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


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

Newsletter #1197

2006/02/09

Editor:


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