Newsletter #1229

News tonight from Don on the youth team in Spain, transfer ins, outs and maybes and yet more trouble around number eight, whosd agent is desperately touting him around in a bid to secure his 5% and the status he obviously craves.

We have opinion on Dickov, Cityitis, and the new kit is launched to great dismay. Although it could quite easily be mistaken for a pair of kid’s pyjamas from a market stall, apparently it is made of the latest designed fabric. Never mind, we’ll have another new one next season!

Next game: Wrexham, away (Friendly), 7.45pm 19 July 2006


General News

Youth Reigns in Spain: The Under 18’s finished a highly successful season with a tournament victory in Valencia, Spain. The Blues beat Spanish team Javea 4-2 in their opening match, and then triumphed over the home side on penalties. The game finished 2-2, but the Blues prevailed 3-2 in the shoot-out. Academy director Jim Cassell reckoned that: “We are absolutely delighted with the lads, not just for their results on the pitch, but with the way they conducted themselves. The standard of football in the competition was better than we expected, and Valencia have a great track record in producing good, young players, which makes our achievement even better.”

Transfer News and Gossip

We’re Gonna Party Like It’s 1999: Number of incoming players arriving at the club this week: one. Paul Dickov signed a two year contract last Friday, bringing the Scots striker back to the Blues after KK let him leave for Leicester in 2002. “It’s fantastic for me, I never wanted to leave in the first place,” says Paul. “I’ve got a great love for this club, and I know that players often say that and people may question that, but I genuinely have a big affection for Manchester City. I support the club myself, my kids are Junior Blues and it’s a massive thing for me to come back. I can’t stop smiling about it! Blackburn offered me a great deal to stay and UEFA Cup football as well but I let my feelings for City rule this decision. It has nagged me for four years that I never wanted to leave in the first place and I can’t wait to get going again. There is no bitterness towards Kevin Keegan for letting me go and he may have even done me a favour because I feel I am a much wiser player now than I was then. I am fitter, stronger and more mentally aware on the pitch. I suppose being savvy is what getting older is about. Playing for Stuart Pearce was a draw, but so are the fans. I said it when I was here and since I left, but they are the best fans in Europe. I had a lot of good luck messages from City fans when I went to Leicester, and even when I went to Blackburn. They were a factor, and a big reason to pull me back to the club.” Stuart Pearce sounded pleased with his capture: “I played against him and alongside Paul, now I have the opportunity to be his manager. When Paul Dickov walks through your door you know exactly what you are going to get from him. His love for this club is unbounded; when I first spoke with him his attitude was ‘I’ll sign tomorrow’. He was not that interested in finance, the overriding factor was joining Manchester City. He’s not here just because I like him, he’s here to get in the first team and stay there, and if he can help the youngsters along the way, that’s his job. I think he’s a winner, no doubt about it, and the more winners you can have in your squad the better you are going to be. Winning’s a habit that people have got to get into, the biggest compliment that anyone could pay me was that I was a bad loser. The more people that you get that hate losing, want to do something about it on the pitch and don’t bleat about it in the squad better. The way we want to develop the squad is to have players who give you a push rather than me having to push them every day. Paul does that and he will be a great asset to this football club.”

Fore! As John Nisbet mentioned in MCIVTA 1228, the Sunday Mirror brought us news of yet another misdemeanour by Joey Barton. Apparently Barton earned the wrath of SP by turning up half an hour late for an end of season de-briefing meeting with the gaffer. According to the M.E.N. “Having made one error of judgement, Barton then compounded it by leaving the training centre, reputedly to play golf, before returning for his meeting with the manager.” The Mirror claims that City want to offload the troubling midfielder – but there is no interest from other clubs. Thursday’s media begs to differ, however, as there were reports suggesting that Barton was on the shopping list of AS Monaco. One option open to Barton would be to see out the final year of his contract with City, before leaving on a Bosman in 12 months’ time. While UEFA regulations do not allow Barton to negotiate with another Premiership club until next summer, they do permit him to sign pre-contract terms with continental sides from January 1. You could imagine the lifestyle in Monaco suiting a sophisticate like our Joey – and I bet he could buy some very fancy cigars there.

Yabba Dabo Didn’t: Last week it seemed that this transfer would definitely go through – but this week it’s said that City have missed out on French international Ousmane Dabo. After confirming his intention to quit Lazio this summer, Dabo immediately expressed a desire to join City. However, talks between the Blues and Dabo have now ended, with City failing to come up with a deal that would satisfy the 29-year-old. It has been suggested Bolton could be interested in Dabo, although the prospect of a move to the Reebok Stadium has also been ruled out by the player’s agent (it’s that man again!) Willie McKay. “We are speaking to three clubs apart from City and Bolton,” said McKay. “Ousmane is one of the best Bosman signings available in Europe this summer and he has expressed his intention to play in the Premiership. He did admit he fancied playing at City but now we are looking at other options and hopefully something will be sorted out in the next couple of weeks or so.”

Un-Fortune-ately… Another of last week’s sure-fire signings isn’t going to join the Blues, apparently. Ex-Red Quinton Fortune will forego his summer holidays to prove he is fit enough for a move to Scottish champions Celtic. After a tour of Parkhead, and chats with former team-mate Keano and the manager Gordon Strachan, Fortune favoured the green hoops. The South African’s agent Francis Martin told the Daily Record: “There is no doubt that Celtic are very high on the list of Quinton’s list of options. He was hugely impressed by the set-up and very encouraged that Gordon Strachan was so keen to meet him before Gordon went on holiday. Fitness will not be an issue and neither will be motivation. Quinton is desperate to play top-class football again after missing most of the season. He is fitter than ever and is so determined to do well that he is not going on holiday this summer. He has started pre-season training on his own.” After his visit to Glasgow, Fortune burbled that: “Celtic are one of the greatest clubs in the world, and the history and passion around the place is unbelievable. From what I saw of them, it would be an honour to play there. There are a few clubs involved, but I can’t say too much because I don’t want to come across as being cocky or disrespectful to any of them.”

Tommy Gone: And another oft-mentioned City target could be heading for Celtic. Real Madrid’s Thomas Gravesen is now being linked with a move to the Scottish Champions. Gravesen’s agent John Sivebaek has claimed that the player would have no qualms in swapping La Liga for the Scottish Premier League. “I don’t think Thomas would have any problem with moving to Scotland,” he said. “Celtic are as big a club as any other in Britain. Thomas is a great player and it would not be a problem for him to adjust to the game in Scotland. But he has a contract in Madrid for another two years and nothing can be decided until July after the presidential elections.”

Danny’s Too Suggestive: It wasn’t all bad news this week – at least Danny Mills has been told he can leave the club. Mills is shocked by SP’s decision, but he was in defiant mood when he spoke to BBC Radio. “I’m very disappointed the way things have turned out,” said Mills. “I’m also surprised because Stuart Pearce called me into his office before I got injured and praised me for the way I had been playing. But once I’d recovered I played just five games, despite our results – I don’t think the manager liked me asking questions or making suggestions. I am open-minded about my future. You never close any doors in football. The club has given me permission to talk to other clubs and try to find something else. I will look at any offer but ultimately, the ball is in my court. I have three years left on my contract and if I want to stay and fight for my place, that is what I will do.” Aston Villa, Wigan and Sheffield United are all reported to be eyeing a move for Mills, who made 18 appearances for City last term.

Beep off to QPR? The Daily Star reports that Bradley Wright-Phillips is a loan target for Queen’s Park Rangers, with the London club wanting to take the 21-year-old forward on a season-long deal. With Paul Dickov, Andy Cole, Darius Vassell and Georgios Samaras all ahead of Bradley in the striking department, this move could be ideal – it would give him useful Coca-Cola Championship experience. In other news, Ben Thatcher beware – Republic of Ireland international defender Ian Harte has been linked with a close-season move to City. The left back has spent the past two seasons at Levante but has been informed by the club that he can move on this summer. The former Leeds United man is bent on returning to England at the end of the Spanish Second Division season, which still has two weeks to run. Meanwhile, City are said to be facing mounting competition from within the Premiership for Lens’ striker Olivier Thomert. Thomert is one of the most promising strikers in Ligue 1 and says he wants to test himself in England. Portsmouth and Middlesbrough are the latest two teams to join the pursuit of the 26-year-old, who has also been tracked by Spurs and Everton. City and Portsmouth are also being linked with Sochaux defender Souleymane Diawara. The French club are seeking close to £5.5 million for the 27-year-old central defender. The Senegal international, who almost joined Pompey on loan in January, has also attracted interest from Spurs and Newcastle United.

Ex-Blues’ News

Not So Little Gio is Back: On a quiet newsweek, the M.E.N. and the club’s website must have been rather pleased to see the Georgian genius known as Gio Kinkladze turn up in town this week. He had quite a sporty time as well, attending the cricket at the true Old Trafford, then dropping in at the COMS. Now 32, and looking a bit tubbier and with a much longer mane of hair than in his heyday (check out for the evidence, folks), Gio was reminiscing about his time in a Sky Blue shirt. “Obviously I loved playing for Manchester City, even though it was a very strange time for the team. I had a good relationship with the fans – they loved me and I loved them – but we didn’t play too well. I try to keep up with their scores, and I hope they can achieve a lot with Mr Pearce in charge.” He now plies his trade in the Russian Premier League for Rubin Kazan, who currently lie second in the table whilst on a mid-season break for the World Cup. “I do miss England – everybody who has played here does – but we are in the UEFA Cup next year, and Russian football is very good,” Kinkladze said. “For me, my memories of playing at City are easily the best of my career. There are so many, but playing for the City fans was always great. It’s eight years since I left, but I am still in touch with a few people from here, like Nicky Summerbee.” Let’s hope they aren’t still playing racing drivers on the Motorways…

World Cup Build-Up

Reyna’s Recovering: The City player most likely to appear in the World Cup (injuries permitting) will be Claudio Reyna. Claudio reckons that, despite his injury filled season, he should be fit to lead his country in Germany. “I felt strong when the season finished, but being out injured is mentally difficult as well. People think you are just sitting around, but it’s more work than playing because you are around the treatment room, you are in earlier and leave later, and it’s stressful. Players that have had recurring injuries, like Kieron Dyer and David Dunne, I know exactly what they are going through and they have only played a handful of games in a couple of years. You need a ‘pre-season’ but because the team’s not in pre-season you have to do extra work to make up for it, but I feel good with my fitness levels after the last few games of the season.” Reyna feels that in footballing terms, playing in Germany will feel a bit like coming home. “I started my career there, and of all the countries that have hosted World Cups I have played in, it’s by far the biggest footballing nation. Friends of mine in Germany say that it has been crazy over there for months, the stadiums and everything about it is giving them World Cup fever. It should be incredible, and for players in our squad who maybe have not experienced this before it will be really memorable.”

Corrigan Counsels Concentration: The M.E.N. tracked down former City great Joe Corrigan for his opinion on David James. Big Joe, now goalkeeping coach at West Brom, got to know DJ during Corrigan’s stint as coach at Liverpool. “David James has got the things you want in a top-class goalkeeper. He’s got great spring, agility and strength, and he’s a great shot-stopper,” said Corrigan. “The only thing that has let David down is his concentration. At Liverpool, we would always be worried if he hadn’t had anything to do for 89 minutes. He’s a perfectionist, but he always wants to be involved in the game, and that has probably marred his career. David should have been England’s number 1 for a long, long time, but circumstances didn’t help him. To come out after the Denmark match and say he wasn’t prepared for that game, as he did, was unprofessional. I was in the England squad regularly from 1976 to 1982 and in that time I only played nine times. But I always prepared myself, because you never know when you might be called on.”

Squad News

More to Come From Dunne: A current player signed on the dotted line this week – Richard Dunne penned a new contract that keeps him at City until 2009. and SP will be pushing the big Irishman to further heights next season. “I am delighted that we have secured him, the thing I like about Richard is that he is a no-nonsense talker,” the Boss said. “He does not go around the houses, he tells it like it is. If you offer him an extension to his contract he will say, ‘I’m delighted to stay here and work with you’. The contract was done very quickly, his agent was very good to deal with, and I think there’s a lot more to come from Richard Dunne. I’ll be putting more and more pressure on him next season, and I’ll be expecting more from him. The mark of it is that he has been our player of the season for two successive years, which speaks volumes on how well he has played but I still feel as though he is about to come into his prime, I really do. He is very well respected in the dressing room now as a player; a few years ago, and he would be the first to admit it, his professionalism was not up to standard but over the last three years he has become a serious professional. He has a settled home life, a new baby and I see a proper man stood in front of me every time I talk to him. I think that there is a genuine leadership in there, and that pleases me.” Dunnie said that “I am pleased to have seen my initial contract out and I am thrilled to have been offered more. Continuity is important in football, particularly for fans. I am sure that they do not want to come back every pre-season looking at a completely new side. I think we can safely say that we have progressed because of the number of talented young players who have come through and are still coming through,” he said. “These lads have not just emerged to fill gaps here and there either. A lot of them are first team regulars. In that sense it has helped the club and saved them a lot of money. We have some really talented young players here who I see on the training ground all the time and, in the long term, they could save this club millions of pounds. When the young players get more experience so will come with it a consistency that will make a difference on the pitch. I feel that things are better here than ever they have been before. Everything is spot on at this club.”

Don Barrie <news(at)>


I have been following the latest bout of whining about the Blues in this “Blog” – get real folks. SP has one of the smallest squads in the Premiership, a club that is in debt and injuries to key players at critical times. Last time we had a manager with an almost unlimited transfer budget (KK) he wasted the money on 2nd rate players and prima donnas.

Give me SP and his intention of bringing on home grown youth anytime. Dickov was obtained on a “free” and SP is going to have to get more senior players from that route before we are done. The club has (IMHO) the best Academy in the nation – I would hate to see us squander our home grown talent to get money to buy risky seniors.

CTID, Mike Edwards <cityfan2(at)>


Remember the days when it was the City way when players in blue shirts never got booed?

I was glad this season ended but at Blackburn it was a sad day in the terraces as the boo boys were out in full force. Barton was the target but none of the players did anything to impress me. When Barton goes and I’m sure he will, he will never be big name in a big club, just an average player with a big ego and a stupid agent pulling the wrong strings to earn a big wedge. So boo him then, not while he wears our colours. The whole team since Christmas have played with no passion on the pitch; why single one player out? A Blue is a Blue.

Also anyone at the Blackburn game, including the management, heard Dickov get booed at every touch so why have we have gone and signed another has-been that not one fan is happy to see come back? We all sit there reading our papers sighing in disbelief.

We seem to be a magnet for old players; perhaps Pearce can persuade a few of his old England teammates to join us on a freebie. Maybe make another pizza advert. Maybe.

We are a laughing stock in the transfer market. And yet the club boasts about breaking records in season ticket sales and in the retail market. Have our leaders truly lost the plot?

Mike O’Brien <mike.obrien(at)>


Contrary to opinions in a few mails over the last couple of issues, I’m happy with the Dickov signing. It’s cost us nowt at a time when we would appear to have next to nothing to spend.

Contrary to cries of ‘lack of ambition’, does anyone seriously think that Dickov is ever going to start a game? He’s obviously a squad player for us, when we have a paper thin squad. I was at the West Ham FA Cup game, when we couldn’t buy a goal. I would have loved to have had Dickov knocking around back then. The truth is this – Cole and Samaras are up front for us. We have Vassell on the bench. And behind that? BWP. Sorry, but I’ve not seen anything from this kid. If he was called Bradley Smith, then I can’t help but feel that everyone here would be on his case. As much as we all love his brother, BWP just is not going to help us.

But Dickov, coming on in the last ten minutes when we need a goal? Or filling in for an injured starter? I’ll take that, quite happily.

[Well said Ade, Dickov as back-up makes sound sense – Ed]

Keep the faith, Ade


I think this is a smart move by Stuart Pearce to bring in Paul Dickov; our squad was weak last season, it needed to be strengthened. Dickov is the perfect squad player to help City.

Paul Dickov will be a player that the young strikers Samaras, Sturridge, and BWP can all learn from – his non-stop running, and never say die attitude.

Welcome back Paul Dickov to the club he loves.

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


Dickov will, it’s true, chase waste paper and duly punt it over the bar. Blackburn let him go quick enough and it’s no secret he will end up suspended; is it just so that Psycho can learn another lesson at our expense? Samaras and Dickov, little large or brittle and barge your choice. Well it’s good to see we’ve got another ‘keeper; God knows we need 5, don’t we? I mean, shouldn’t the club start look at the other end of the pitch?

I love City so last season broke my heart – from good to good grief. Yes teams go threw rough patches but if you don’t learn by your mistakes you lose and that’s what we did. Referees have a hard job but Psycho is far too polite in my book; call a plank a plank, after all I think the players got it in the neck and rightly so. I am glad Dunney signed a new deal; let’s hope Sylvain does, though I am not sure he will – that man wants trophies and he doesn’t think he’ll get them at City. As for Bart, very boring isn’t it? Shame about the brain cell; another one and he’d be a plant. Worst thing about it: my son bought me a signed photo of the greedy one for my birthday. Do you ever get the feeling your kids are not listening? I know there are good things happening at City and I look forward to the coming season. Have a good holiday.

Blue through and through <Thebrotherjudge(at)>


I note that the new shirt is now on the City website for all to view.

I also note that the away shirt is also being changed. I only bought mine last year. Does that mean that they will only have a 1 year lifespan now?

On top of all the other things, this club are just profiteering like the rest of them. I’ve bought my last City shirt!

Paul Haigh, your words are echoing now chum: “Making milllionaires out of ordinary footballers”.

John Nisbet <nisbet1957(at)>


Just saw the new home kit on the City webshop – oh dear, oh dear.

Although I would love a more “retro” look (like an all-sky kit), I can’t really enjoy a shirt that looks like it was designed and hand-made by my late grandmother. What I especially did not fancy was the white sleeves. Even Arsenal have now abandoned the white sleeve politics, and they used to be an integral part of their classic kits pre-2000.

Svenn Hanssen <svenn(at)>


Will we ever hear some good news about Joey Barton? Everything we ever hear is detrimental to Barton and MCFC.

MCFC are not rich in resources, and as much as City need attacking midfield players, it’s going to be a tough road ahead for Joey Barton if he stays as a City player; he has upset too many City fans, he has a lot to overcome.

As far as we know there have been no offers for Barton. Surely this would tell him and his agent that his value has gone down considerably, probably because of his actions against the club that brought him up through the Academy and into first team football. Joey Barton has shown no respect for City; he does not deserve any back.

There are some players still around that put their playing careers ahead of money; an example of this is Aaron Lennon, who took a massive wage cut to join Spurs from Leeds. I’m sure that Lennon, who is only 19 years old, will get his rewards in time. Joey Barton please take note.

Plenty of time before the new season starts, and time for Stuart Pearce to make his adjustments as needed to get his team of willing players together.

No one player is bigger than City, and we don’t need prima donnas in our team. We support a team of players called Manchester City.

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>

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Newsletter #1229