Newsletter #1205

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City travel down to Portsmouth on Saturday hoping to regain some away from, and surely Fratton Park (or as some refer to it Krap Nottarf) is the place to do it.

Meanwhile, Don’s news round up brings us a review of Sunderland, preview of the Villa replay, Pearce signing his contract at long last, players talking about signing contracts, injuries and potential moves. We have plenty of opinion on the state of the game, the treatment of “fans”, team selection and number eights.

The reserves won tonight 4-2 against Wigan, not a terrific game and we had to wait for Neil Mellor to be subbed before we took control – report on Monday.

Finally the usual requests, including a call for information on former captain Alfie Haaland.

Next game: Portsmouth, away, 3pm Saturday 11 March 2006

NEWS SUMMARY

General News

Crunch Time: City face an FA Cup replay against Aston Villa on 14 March as they also try to mount an assault for a European place via the Premiership. SP has highlighted the importance of the next month and stated: “It’s massive. I talked to the players before in the week and I will do so again on Wednesday in respect to where we are going, our targets and where we are at this moment in time. Some of the games coming up are near enough cup finals.” And a high finish in the League is, as ever, imperative. “The financial aspect of our league position interests us because that might be the difference between me getting a player in during the summer or not,” said Pearce. “Each league position is worth about £470,000, so we must do our best to finish as high as we can to bring in as much money as we can.” And the Club have clarified the position regarding SP’s contract. Press reports had suggested that the Gaffer was about to sign a new contract. Paul Tyrrell said: “The Manager agreed a two-year rolling contract last summer and has been working to the terms of that deal ever since. When he finally signs, it will simply rubber-stamp the existing agreement.” SP’s confirmation of his position suggested that his signing would be sooner rather than later. “It’s only a technicality that I have not signed it yet, but I will sign it one day in the next week, and then that will be that,” said Pearce.

Empty Kitty: The press were quick to jump on stories which suggested that SP was demanding a transfer kitty of £20 million in the summer. This tale emanated from a question put to the gaffer at a press conference – what would it take to improve the team this summer? To which Psycho replied: “I still need to bring in four, probably five top-line additions. We’re running a football club here as well as a business and the sale of Shaun Wright-Phillips for £21 million has helped alleviate a lot of problems. The chairman has been quite open with me – there aren’t vast sums of money around, whatever the financial report says.”

Transfer News and Gossip

Getting the Willies: Agent Willie McKay’s stable of City-based players has been in the news again this week, with apparently familiar tactics being employed to secure better deals for Sylvain Distin and Joey Barton. The Sun’s headline “Europe or I’m Gone” succinctly summarised the captain’s stance. In the article Distin warned the club he will only sign a new deal if the club secure qualification for European competition. Distin has been in ongoing talks with the club for the last few months with his current contract due to expire in the summer of 2007. “When I signed for City, it was because I wanted to play in European competition,” said Distin. “I am taking my time as I want to make sure the club and I are going in the same direction. It has never been about money. [That last comment sounds eerily familiar – News Ed.] Spending £6 million in the transfer window was a signal that the ambition is there, but at the same time we lost Robbie Fowler, so it is normal that another player comes.” City have prepared a three-year offer for Distin but the Frenchman has spoken of his frustration at a failure to break into the French squad and feels he needs to be playing at the top level if he is to force that issue. Meanwhile Joey Barton’s contract talks have been put on hold until the summer. SP commented that “Deep down I think Joey wants to stay. The sticking point is the valuation. If, at any point, Joey comes to me and asks if the offer is still there I would say yes. But, as things stand at the moment, we will not be talking again until the summer. In a sense, it is not a problem because Joey is contracted to us for another season after this one. But, if somewhere down the line we get an acceptable offer for a player that allows me to spend the money on a someone I deem slightly better we have to address that. It is the same situation which applies to any player at the club. I want Joey to stay and we hope he does. Time will tell on that one.”

Al’ll Be Staying Then: On a more positive note, we can reveal that one current City player is actually keen to secure his future with the club. On Tuesday it was reported that Albert Riera would become a permanent City player in the summer with a deal for his signature set to be completed this week. The 23-year-old midfielder joined on loan from Espanyol during the January transfer window and has already become a regular in Stuart Pearce’s side, making 9 appearances for the Blues. “The agreement for the sale of Riera is practically complete, City have confirmed their interest in closing this subject,” said an unnamed source in the Catalonian capital. It now appears City will splash out £3.4 million to make the deal permanent. Riera is keen on the switch and has been undergoing intensive English lessons to help make the move come about. On Wednesday City dismissed these reports. Spokesman Paul Tyrrell said: “Albert has quickly settled into the club and we are pleased with his progress; however there is no imminent deal to permanently transfer the player to us. There is already an established process in the loan agreement which includes the option to buy the player at the end of his loan period.”

Calling Ishmael: Newspaper reports reckon that City are interested in signing Besiktas striker Ahmed Hassan. The 30-year-old Egyptian is out of contract in the summer and this has alerted several clubs including the Blues, Liverpool and Newcastle. Hassan’s agent Alper Gokdemir has confirmed there is interest from England but it would appear that it is more serious in the North East. Gokdemir said: “Newcastle are serious and we’re waiting for an official offer.” Elsewhere, striker Ishmael Miller is a loan target for Burnley boss Steve Cotterill according to reports. The 19-year-old has yet to make a senior appearance for City but has been a regular goalscorer at youth and reserve team level. One youngster who’s interesting City is allegedly Crewe’s 18-year-old Billy Jones. He started his career as a defender, but has impressed in midfield this season, top scoring for Crewe in the process with 6 goals. It now appears that his performances have alerted at least half of the Premiership’s clubs, and with Crewe likely to be relegated from the Championship, the Cheshire club may be tempted to let Jones leave to build up funds for their sojourn in League One.

Ex-Blues’ News

Mick’s Dropped Like a Brick: The curse of Psycho has struck another North East manager. A month ago Newcastle United dismissed Graeme Souness, the day after a defeat at the hands of City. History repeated itself on Monday, as Sunderland sacked manager (and former City centre half) Mick McCarthy after three years in charge. The Black Cats announced that the move was “in the best interests of both parties for him to leave immediately.” Chairman Bob Murray said: “I would like to thank Mick McCarthy for his efforts for the club whilst at Sunderland. We wish him and his family the best for the future.” The Sunderland fans were calling for the Chairman’s head at the COMS on Sunday, so in time honoured fashion – the Manager got the chop. Murray said that as chairman he took “responsibility for what has proven to be an unsuccessful and heartbreaking season, despite the best intentions, efforts and expectations of every one at the club.” He went on: “I feel deeply sorry that the excitement, optimism and aspirations of all Sunderland fans looking forward to a return to the Premier League have been rewarded in this way and I apologise for this.”

In Praise of Elliot: Continuing on a Sunderland theme – Sunday’s game saw the return of City’s prodigal son Stephen Elliot, who left City two summers ago when it became clear that he couldn’t be sure of attaining first team football with the Blues. Elliot’s Premiership return with the Black Cats has been hampered by injuries, although SP was talking up the Irish international in pre-match interviews. “I know a great deal about Stephen, he was a player we did not want to leave this Football Club. I wish he was still here to be honest; he was a fantastic kid with an eye for a goal. It would have been great if he had stayed – but he chose somewhere where maybe he had more first team options. Working for me, it might have been different, who knows?”

Reactions and Comments

“Feed the Greek and He Will Score”: City punished Sunderland for some woeful defending as Georgios “He’s Greek, He’s Great.. He’ll Smash Your Dinner Plate” Samaras scored twice for a 2-1 Premier League win on Sunday. Bottom of the table Sunderland also had captain Gary Breen sent off five minutes from the end of a game they threw away by gifting City two goals in the first 10 minutes. Defender Danny Collins was caught in possession by Samaras in the penalty area and the Greek forward smashed his angled shot past ‘keeper Kelvin Davis after nine minutes. Winger Trevor Sinclair got behind the Sunderland defence a minute later and crossed for Samaras to score his second. Kevin Kyle pulled one back for Sunderland in the 25th minute but too much damage had already been done. Micah Richards was denied a second half penalty for City, who held on for the three points.

Two Footed Fun: After the game Samaras, who scored with right footed then left footed strikes, said: “I feel good, I’m very happy that I am at this club and I will now go on. It was a difficult week for me because I’ve played four games in one week, and I’m a bit tired now, but it was a nice week and I hope the coming weeks will be the same. The first quarter of the game we worked a lot, but after that we seemed to relax, and I don’t know why. But overall we worked really hard and we deserved the three points.” His manager was impressed: “He has done very well and we are very pleased with him. He has fitted in extremely well since he has been at the club. I think he can improve and he will do.” Of the game, Pearce commented that: “I’m pleased with the result. As for the performance, not only am I a little disappointed with it, but the players are too. For me that’s a fantastic sign, they’re in there the dressing room, they’re talking about points tallies and when your players are talking the way the Manager and the coaches are talking that’s really pleasing. They’re looking at the next game and saying ‘if we get this’ and ‘if we get that’ and I like that in the squad. They’re all keen as mustard – we’ve won a game and we’re disappointed. I’ve told them don’t be disappointed, let the coaching staff and the Manager be disappointed in the manner in which we’ve won, but the bottom line is we’ve won in the Premiership, which is never easy.” Pearce added that he thought the penalty should have been awarded to his side: “I’ve only seen it the once and I thought it was a penalty straight away. I’ve been assured that it was a stonewall penalty – but that happens. I thought the referee did very well today.” Trevor Sinclair paid tribute to the vanquished visitors, saying: “Letting them get a goal back left us disappointed at half-time. Credit to Sunderland, they battled all the way and we’re happy to get the win. We’ve been playing well at home but away we’ve not picked up the points. If we get the consistency, and if we can get a few points starting with Portsmouth next week, we can start looking up the table rather than down.”

Lousy and Ridiculous: With the benefit of hindsight, you might conclude that Sunderland boss Mick McCarthy had definitely reached the end of his tether, after a fine rant at the COMS on Sunday evening. “It was two minutes of madness,” said McCarthy. “We conceded two goals that nobody should, to be honest. We have then done reasonably well to get back into it. We should have had something out of it but I am sick of talking about that nonsense as it is not good enough. The start has cost us the game. Towards the end, somebody with a finishing touch would have got us a point.” He added: “I wish someone was saying ‘they are nasty so-and-sos, we hate playing against them and they don’t play very well but have got 40 points’. I’m sick of trying to talk up a lousy position from a lousy season.” Of his captain’s volleyball-style interception, which earned Gary Breen a second yellow card and an early bath, McCarthy spluttered that “It was ridiculous. That’s all I can say, that’s enough. Ridiculous.”

Squad News

Meanwhile, at Faz’s Annual Press Conference: Darius Vassell is set to play through the pain barrier with a hernia problem until the end of the season. Vassell has been struggling with the problem for the last few weeks and he was left out of last weekend’s defeat at Liverpool in order to rest the injury. Just in case you ever wondered what the Jimmy Frizzell of the twenty first century, namely Derek Fazackerley, actually did, well here he is commenting on Vass’s travails. The Head Coach is confident Vassell will be able to continue with the discomfort until the end of the current campaign. “The hope is that he will be able to play with it until the end of the season, but it’s a case of suck it and see. It’s down to Vass and how he feels with it, at the moment he feels that he can train and play with it, fingers crossed, he will be able to do that until the end of the season and then have it looked at in the summer. We’re getting to the business end of the season, with games coming up thick and fast, but there’ll be more rest than anything-else for him. The players don’t lack match-fitness, but when you have people with niggles you can nurse them through a little bit.”

Not so Handy for Andy: Vassell’s strike partner Andy Cole is still some weeks away from full fitness. Cole is still recovering from a cartilage injury sustained against Charlton in February, and SP reported this week that: “He went to see the specialist again last week, and he is about three weeks away from resuming training. It’s a case with surgery that you are taking a day at a time, but we have fingers crossed. He did have some bleeding directly after the injury, but that’s settled down and he’s showing good signs.”

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

OPINION: WHO’S THE RELEGATION CONTENDERS?

Some observations.

After the poor performance last week against Sunderland, you would never have guessed that the team in stripes were bottom of the league. City have an uncanny knack of putting the fans through unnecessary torment; therefore, I thought I should air my views on some of City’s players:

Micah Richards: fantastic player for City, saved us a few million, and can only get better; he should start at RB every week, much better than Mills.

Mills: we should offload him ASAP; Sommeil is a far better stand in.

Musampa: a lot better playing left of central midfield, has ability if not pace, and he complements Barton. He needs to practice his shooting though, as he rarely gets a shot on target.

Riera: 15 minutes is all he is good for, lacks real pace down the left, and goes missing too often, and not surprisingly he is the first player to be subbed. If City pay £3 million for him it would be a total waste. I would go for Julio Arca, a far better player who would be a lot cheaper.

Reyna: another player who is only good for half a game, and is too injury prone.

Ireland: has talent but is not consistent, not the finished article yet, so will reserve judgement.

Sinclair: has had a few good games recently, could do with him scoring more, always seems to be trying, I like his attitude.

Vassell: currently no confidence in front of goal; with his pace and experience he should be scoring much more. Is the ideal foil for Samaras. He does not know when to chip, go round the ‘keeper or hit a first time shot, what do they do in practice? How much did Darren Bent cost?

Samaras: Exactly the player we needed, tall bloke with a bit of skill. Far from the finished article and can only get a lot better.

Come on City, there’s a few more wins and you never know a European place perhaps?

Glyn Albuquerque <glynalbuquerque(at)blueyonder.co.uk>

OPINION: PEARCE’S PICK’N’MIX

I must admit that I didn’t attend the Sunderland game – nor did I pop down to the local pub (listened to Radio 5 where Kevin Campbell thought that initially we should have walked it but then thought Sunderland were unlucky).

I am puzzled by SP’s team selections and use of subs. He picks Sibierski irrespective of how badly he plays (thank heavens he was injured) and then puts a player who can’t pass or tackle on as a midfield sub – viz Sun. Why not let Crofty come on – at least he can pass the ball and he makes things happen? Surely we have better players than Sun and Sib?

Can anyone enlighten me as to why SP insists on persevering with these two players who, at best can only be considered to be moderate?

On a different, but related, note heaven’s knows what we’ll do without JoeyB next season; if he goes. I liken JB to being our ‘Roy Keane’ rather than Stevie Gerrard. If that analogy is correct then the club had better do its best to retain JB and perhaps JB and Sylvain Distin will sign when the manager decides to sign his contract.

Ian Burgess <i.burgess1(at)btinternet.com>

OPINION: THE FUTURE’S BRIGHT

Well, every so often I feel the need to write my opinion and the time has come again after the Sunderland game.

If you read regularly you will know that I live in Southern California. This means that I am surrounded by foreigners at work and they come from all corners of the world. Every Monday we all talk about the games we watched over the weekend and occasionally someone will visit their homeland and see a live game. In my case, it is thanks to my brother in law or nephews who are all gracious enough to surrender one of their tickets when I am in town. Everybody at work agrees that the Premier league is the most exciting to watch because of the atmosphere and the passion. For a mild mannered race we are very passionate about our teams.

In saying that, we don’t always see the wood for the trees. The presence of foreign players has improved the game immensely, just like it did with the Italian game when they had a lot of foreigners and they had money and were a world power. Thanks to Sky the Premier League has worldwide coverage and consequently, lots of money.

The one thing everyone at work says is that City have a very young team and as long as we all support them (including immature acts like Joey Barton), if we are patient, they will be incredible in a year or two. Samaras is a brilliant but rough diamond, Musampa has found his spot and if Reyna can play more than a couple of games they will form a very strong nucleus of a good team. On their day they can stay with anybody and outplay most on a good day so let’s get behind them and England for the World Cup!

Jim Heaviside <JHeavis502(at)aol.com>

OPINION: LUCKY OMENS

Am I the only one who’s superstitious about City?

I wrote to the Club in 1968 saying I’d noticed how we always won when we kicked towards the Scoreboard End in the first half and when we changed to red and black stripes on our travels. So could Tony Book and all concerned make sure this happened in future, please? I was 17 at the time so when the Club Secretary of MCFC phoned me up, I was amazed. Yeah, he took the trouble to ring me up and very earnestly explain that the toss of the coin had a lot to do with which way we kicked and the League regulations laid down strict instructions about the kit we wore. The rest is history and when some young Geordie nearly wrenched my arm out of its socket yanking away my scarf as it dangled out of the coach window outside St.James’s, I couldn’t have given a monkeys. We were League Champions.

This year I was at a Family Do on the 7th January so I took in Robbie’s swansong hat trick and here’s where the superstition kicked in again. I thought I’d better go to the 4th Round and I did and they won. So now I’m on a roll, next stop Villa Park. Lucky ground for me, two semis and SWP’s last league goal for us (for now, anyway). I stood with all the other City fans behind the goal. You have to stand otherwise you can’t see. Great atmosphere but I’ve got dodgy hips, back, legs, you name it… so after two hours standing I’m walking like John Wayne with piles for days!

Anyway, I’m planning a trip to the replay and hope that the luck lasts through till May, by which time I’ll be skint and divorced because I’ve lived in Tenerife since 1984 and it’s a 3,000 mile round trip for each game!

Just a point about our wonderful support at Villa Park. We only sing when we’re drawing or winning, presumably. Since all the chanting and Blue Mooning stopped as soon as Milan Barosed us. Surely the team needs our support more when we’re losing? I like to sit down (see reasons above) and sing and chant and clap and cheer and stand up when we score. I try not to upset people behind me by blocking their view. The Munich Olympic Stadium system sounds great so you can stand and not cause an obstruction – why don’t City adopt that suggestion in a certain area of the ground?

If I write to the club do you think anybody will ring me up? No, didn’t think so either.

Harvey Marcus <marcusmanagement(at)infonegocio.com>

OPINION: CHALK AND CHEESE I

For me there is only one comparison between Colin Bell and Joey Barton. They’ve both worn the No 8 shirt; so have many others, but nobody has matched Colin Bell.

  • Colin Bell captained Bury at only 19 years of age when they were then aSecond Division club.
  • Colin Bell was a then record price for a teenager when City brought him toanother Second Division club.
  • Colin Bell played in a trophy winning team for many years.
  • Colin Bell never asked for a transfer or more money.
  • Colin Bell deservedly won many England caps.
  • Colin Bell was and still is a gentleman.
  • Colin Bell has an MBE.
  • Colin Bell has a stand named after him.
  • Colin Bell is revered by City fans some 30 years after he finished playing.
  • Colin Bell is one of our top ten all time goal scorers.
  • Colin Bell is one of our top ten all time league appearance players.
  • Colin Bell is articulate and eloquent.
  • Colin Bell has never got himself into trouble on or off the pitch.

I’m a great admirer of our current No 8 and hope he stays with us for many years to come but quite frankly he’s not yet fit to lick the mud off Colin Bell’s boots.

Alex Channon <channons(at)cwctv.net>

OPINION: CHALK AND CHEESE II

Interesting to read some of the comparisons between Colin Bell and Joey Barton. It’s always difficult to compare footballers from a different era. One thing I always ask is how many of the past legends would have sat on the subs’ bench week after week, just taking their wage and therefore not actually playing at the highest level. As a City fan I wonder how you could compare anyone to Colin Bell – he was pure class. That’s just what we lack now, a player of pure class; we have had them in the past but at this moment we don’t have one.

To be fair to Joey Barton I believe he is our most committed player and from what I’ve seen he deserves to be the highest paid.

Sam Duxbury <samduxbury(at)safesystems.fsnet.co.uk>

OPINION: ONE RULE FOR US I

On Sunday my son and myself were relocated from the South Stand (Block 117) to the West Stand lower tier, row B, and what a naff place to sit that is!

Having had a conversation the week before with a representative of the Club, I was informed that we will have our South Stand seats back for the Wigan game.

And so two good goals are scored in the South stand goal, one of which was a real gem and we don’t get to see it until after the two and three quarter hour journey back home.

I was also informed that the reason that two rows of supporters have been moved, is so that stewards can get into the middle of the row and ask the persistent standers to sit down. I pointed out to them that at the Charlton game, the two rows had been criss-crossed with red/white barrier tape, which made access fairly difficult and that no stewards made use of this arrangement.

But the Club representative was not aware of this and did say that they would check this out for the Sunderland game. I spent some time looking across to the South Stand to see what was happening and yet not once throughout the whole game did I see a steward access Row L or M to ask the persistent standers to sit down, so what is the point?

My son was at the Liverpool game (Anfield) on 26 February and he informs me that about ten minutes into the game the PA system was used to ask the City supporters to sit down, which he says they did.

The problem with the City supporters is being compounded with the lack of action against away supporters.

If Liverpool can use the PA system then why can’t City? I’m not suggesting for one minute that it will work, or at least not immediately, but it would show willing on behalf of the Club towards its own supporters.

Also, have the club advised ‘all’ of the supporters in Block 117 what action they will be taking and why? The answer is ‘no’, you only get a letter when it is your turn to be relocated!

If the home supporters started to see some action by the club and the stewards towards the away supporters, then they might be more willing to cooperate and sit down.

Treating City supporters like second class citizens is not the solution.

The position with my season ticket for next season remains unchanged; if they can’t resolve the problems, then I am not paying for a ticket to argue with stewards and watch at best 30 minutes of football.

[Jim, I’m with you on the renewal front. The complete disregard with which City fans (sorry customers) are being treated by Council and Club is getting beyond a joke. Ed]

Jim Ireland <loreburne_centre(at)btconnect.com>

OPINION: ONE RULE FOR US II

While I agree with what Colin Savage thinks are far more important issues threatening football, i.e. TV, Financials and development of players, I do think he has largely missed the point when it comes to standing at games.

First, this isn’t necessarily a campaign to bring back standing terraces (although I would welcome that). Like Colin I have traditionally sat down at matches, but I do enjoy games with atmosphere and do not object to standing in a seated area for prolonged periods if the atmosphere allows. However, I am an advocate of freedom of choice. If I “persistently” stand at a football match to take part in the atmosphere – so what? As long as everybody in my vicinity is happy to do the same, where is the danger? I agree that this should not be to the detriment of any fan sat near me who wants to do exactly that, which is why clubs could be encouraged to have areas of unreserved seats or areas with the caveat that supporters may stand for long periods.

A football match is an audience participation sport in the same way that a rock concert, rugby or cricket match is. It is a cop out and total lie that authorities should single out any form of standing at a football match as unsafe, while a club like St Helens RLFC are planning new stadia with standing accommodation. Has anyone watched a Ssuper League match – the grounds are often full with predominant standing areas – what’s the difference? The same goes for rock concerts that have been held at our ground. The difference – the three events are licensed differently and football benefits from having its own licensing authority – great!

It’s the inequality that offends me. When I watch European games from the Champions’ League and see supporters being able to stand persistently in seated areas without being challenged then surely this should be challenged by the likes of us? I agree that it will be a long road but so what? The lifeblood of the game we all feel passionate about is being taken away on many levels – this being one of them so yes we should fight it. It’s either one rule for all or not at all.

Graham Keller <gkmcfc(at)ntlworld.com>

OPINION: HARD AS NAILS? I

As a lifelong City fan, my brother decided that for my 50th birthday he would buy us tickets for the stadium tour. He also, unknown to me, wrote directly to Stuart Pearce, and explained that we were both big City fans, and would it be possible to meet him whilst we visited Eastlands? The reply from Stuart was fantastic: he invited us to Carrington and said he would meet us there and we could, weather permitting, watch the players train. On arrival at the security gates at Carrington we were made very welcome, and the security guards were even aware of our visit and names. We met Stuart, he chatted with us for half an hour or so, we took photos, shared numerous City stories, we spoke about his career; he made it a fantastic day for us. I have on my office wall a large, framed picture of Stuart and me; it was an absolute pleasure to meet him. We met several background staff and they to were very helpful, and we were able to have a shorter chat with a few players. I have always been massively proud of City but this made my birthday so very, very special. Stuart even wrote to me wishing me a happy birthday and sent another signed photograph. The man is second to none, and for me I hope he goes onto become a real true City legend.

Steve Shepley <steve.shepley(at)ifb-ltd.co.uk>

OPINION: HARD AS NAILS? II

Thought others may like this, from Eurosport this week comparing managers http://www.eurosport.com/football/sport_sto845639.shtml


This week Jose Mourinho stakes his claim for the title of hardest Premiership manager, whilst PSG suffer the humiliation of a goalless draw against a Marseille ‘B’ team and a Romanian player gets sold like a piece of meat. It can only be Inside Europe.

Not only did Jose Mourinho try to kick off a fight with opposite number Bryan Robson at the Hawthorns at the weekend, but his actions also sparked off a heated discussion in the Eurosport newsroom.

The Chelsea manager proved himself to be one tough little cookie in Saturday’s victory over West Brom by making a lunge for Robson on the touchline, prompting the inevitable question: who is the Premiership’s hardest manager?

Mourinho, for all his talents, would not have been top of most people’s list prior to the weekend, but the way he stood up to Robbo – a man more than capable of taking care of himself – indicated there is more to the good looking, fashion conscious, multi-lingual and intelligent manager than first meets the eye.

So, who would win a Premiership all-for-one? In a league filled with hard – and sometimes broken – nosed former players, the line-up is tasty to say the least, and there are contenders for the title everywhere you look.

Take Robson’s former Manchester United colleagues, Steve Bruce (Birmingham) and Mark Hughes (Blackburn) for example. Both regularly flung themselves round on the pitch, and neither are the shy and retiring types when in the heat of battle.

If not, what about Wigan’s stocky little bruiser Paul Jewell, sure to pack a mean punch, or Bolton’s Sam Allardyce, the embodiment of honest aggression.

David Moyes, of Everton, has that ‘cold as ice’ look in his eyes that could stop a tank in its tracks at fifty yards, and is someone not to be messed with, whilst anyone coming up against Portsmouth gaffer Harry Redknapp should be aware he grew up in London’s East End, the traditional heartland of old school gangsters.

The Irish connection, with David O’Leary at Aston Villa and Mick McCarthy at Sunderland, should never be dismissed either, and the same goes for Manchester United’s Alex Ferguson with his arsenal of weapons (tea cups, hairdryers and such like).

The ‘new wave’ of foreign managers only bring their managing skills and refinement to the Premiership, and the likes of Rafa Benitez, Arsene Wenger and Martin Jol are far too sophisticated to be mentioned in discussions such as this.

But, for Inside Europe, the hardest of all managers – of maybe even of players as well – has to be Manchester City’s very own Stuart Pearce.

‘Psycho’, as he is affectionately known to friends and family, has over the years done more than enough to demonstrate his toughness. He has it all; the ‘mad’ staring eyes, the bulging biceps and thighs, the roaring passion and an upbringing in the English lower divisions.

Mess with him at your peril. Inside Europe is willing to bet Mourinho, for all his bravado at the weekend, is far too clever to take Pearce on in the same way. And for the record Stuart, should we ever meet in a dark back alley, please remember we are your number one fan.

[Not as hard as he thinks, my dad out-eyeballed him recently! – Ed]

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

REQUEST: ALFIE HAALAND

I wonder if you can help me with a search?

I’m a (City-supporting) producer making a two-hour documentary for Sky One about infamous sporting dismissals and one of them is Keane’s shocker of a tackle on Alfie Haaland. I’m trying to track down Alfie for an interview – the club couldn’t help me out, and emails to his personal website bounce back.

Any chance you or one of your subscribers might have an idea where Alfie is now? Any help much appreciated.

Mark Cohen <markc(at)waddellmedia.com>

REQUEST: POMPEY TICKETS WANTED I

I’m after three tickets for the City end at Fratton Park on Saturday. I’ll be travelling down there regardless because I’m using the fixture as an opportunity to visit family and friends on the south coast for the weekend. Unfortunately, I just left it too late to get the applications in!

So if anyone has any spares and can help me out, it would be very much appreciated.

My mobile number is 07791 480 743.

If anyone is holding tickets for other people and suspects somebody might let them down because of the early departure on Saturday morning, I’d be grateful if you could take the number down just in case and give me a ring on the day.

By the way, I’m taking the missus to this game; she’s originally from Southampton and I can’t guarantee she’ll keep her mouth shut without some reference to Redknapp and Scummers – so I’m a little concerned that going in the Pompey end might be a recipe for disaster!

Mike Holden <miguelmcfc(at)hotmail.com>

REQUEST: POMPEY TICKETS WANTED II

Desperately seeking up to three tickets for Saturday’s Portsmouth game. If anyone has any spares (even 1) please contact me, Sefton Owens on 07774 927 555 or email.

Can collect from the ground on the day.

Thanks, Sefton Owens <so(at)recruitmentstore.com>

REQUEST: ARSENAL TICKETS WANTED

I will be travelling home to Manchester from Australia soon and the only game possible for me to see if City against Arsenal at the COMS on Easter Monday. If anyone has two tickets, it would be very much appreciated.

Please e-mail me if you can help at all.

CTID, Martin Russell <martyruss(at)gmail.com>

REQUEST: CHELSEA TICKET AVAILABLE

Ticket for Sale – Chelsea away, 48 pounds. Please email for further details.

Darren Nadin <darren(at)nadin.co.uk>

RESULTS

6 March 2006

Wigan Athletic        1 - 2  Manchester United     23,574

League table to 08 March 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         28 13  1  0 33  7 10  2  2 23 10 23  3  2  56  17  39  72
 2 Manchester Utd  27  8  3  1 25  8  9  3  3 29 20 17  6  4  54  28  26  57
 3 Liverpool       28 11  3  1 20  5  5  4  4 13 12 16  7  5  33  17  16  55
 4 Tottenham H.    28  9  5  1 25 12  4  5  4 15 14 13 10  5  40  26  14  49
 5 Arsenal         28  9  2  2 30  8  4  3  8 13 14 13  5 10  43  22  21  44
 6 Blackburn R.    28  9  2  2 22 13  4  2  9 14 21 13  4 11  36  34   2  43
 7 Bolton Wndrs    26  7  4  1 16  6  4  5  5 17 21 11  9  6  33  27   6  42
 8 West Ham United 27  7  2  5 24 18  5  4  4 17 18 12  6  9  41  36   5  42
 9 Manchester City 28  9  2  4 24 13  3  2  8 14 19 12  4 12  38  32   6  40
10 Wigan Athletic  28  6  2  7 18 19  6  2  5 15 17 12  4 12  33  36  -3  40
11 Newcastle Utd   28  7  5  2 17 10  4  1  9 12 20 11  6 11  29  30  -1  39
12 Everton         28  6  1  6 11 15  5  3  7 10 21 11  4 13  21  36 -15  37
13 Charlton Ath.   28  5  3  6 15 16  5  3  6 17 21 10  6 12  32  37  -5  36
14 Aston Villa     28  4  4  6 15 17  4  6  4 18 18  8 10 10  33  35  -2  34
15 Middlesbrough   27  5  5  5 21 24  4  2  6 15 20  9  7 11  36  44  -8  34
16 Fulham          28  9  2  3 25 17  0  3 11 12 26  9  5 14  37  43  -6  32
17 West Brom A.    28  6  1  8 20 19  1  4  8  5 23  7  5 16  25  42 -17  26
18 Birmingham City 27  4  2  7 15 16  2  3  9  7 22  6  5 16  22  38 -16  23
19 Portsmouth      28  2  5  6  8 16  2  1 12 10 32  4  6 18  18  48 -30  18
20 Sunderland      28  0  4 10  9 27  2  0 12 10 24  2  4 22  19  51 -32  10

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 #1205

2006/03/09

Editor:


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