Newsletter #1231

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No news on transfers, but some good news in Andrew Cole signing a new one year deal, whilst Sylvain (Marcel Marceau) Distin has reportedly turned down his new contract offer and, in a development which won’t surprise City fans, Sicknote is fit for the World Cup.

We have some excellent opinion tonight on the state of affairs at CoMS, Joel’s SweeP Scoop and more opinion on that kit.

Wherever you’re watching, enjoy the World Cup and come on England!

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


The “Where do They Get These Tales From” Transfer News and Gossip

Breaking the Branque Balance: OK let’s get the silly stuff out of the way first, shall we? First comes news that Fulham’s Steed Malbranque is a £3 million target for both Liverpool and City – apparently Malbranque, 26, has turned down a new £40,000-a-week contract, which has forced Fulham boss Chris Coleman to listen to offers since the Frenchman only has 12 months left on his current deal. Which sounds great, apart from three teensy, tiny details. 1. Malbranque didn’t fancy a move to the COMS last summer, after the clubs had agreed a fee. 2. Liverpool can offer Champions’ League football next term, and 3. Over forty grand a week? At City? I should co-co! Elsewhere, Ajax’s defender Hatem Trabelsi is reportedly attracting the attention of City. The 29-year-old full back, currently preparing for the World Cup, is a free agent this summer after the expiry of his contract with Ajax. In the past he has been linked with a number of top clubs, both in England and abroad. This would nicely fill the gap left by a departing Danny Mills, so it sounds like a possibility – until you hear the other clubs said to be interested. Premiership rivals Tottenham, along with French outfit Paris St Germain and Italian giants Inter Milan all thought to be eyeing the full back.

Distin Disappearing? The News Summary’s award for the most disappointing piece of news goes to – Sylvain Distin, who has rejected a new three-year deal at the club reported to be worth £35,000 a week. The defender has become a key player at City since arriving at the club from Newcastle back in 2002. However, the French ace now looks set to be on his way from the club, the prospect of which must be a major setback for SP as he plans ahead for the new campaign. The news is bound to have alerted a number of top clubs both in the Premiership and around Europe.

A Villa in the Midlands: Danny Mills would welcome a move to Aston Villa Football Club, if last week’s reports of a move by his former Leeds manager David O’Leary turn out to be true. “Villa are a big club,” said his agent Neil Featherby. “We’d be interested in talking to them.” Which is all well and good, but Villa ain’t interested. “We do not have any plans to bring in Danny Mills. I am happy with that position and there are other areas of the team we need to concentrate upon“, quoth O’Leary this week. The link no doubt arose with O’Leary having been the manager that took Mills to Elland Road when he was in charge of Leeds United. Speaking of players destined to leave the club – Newcastle are reportedly ready to make a frankly derisory bid for Joey Barton. The People claim that the Toon will offer just £1.5 million for the 23-year-old, who has just 12 months left on his City contract and is showing no signs of penning fresh terms. A bid that low looks doomed to fail with City wanting a figure closer to £5 million for Barton, who has a confirmed admirer in Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger. This tale was rubbished by the Evening Chronicle in Newcastle, whose reporter Alan Oliver reckoned that Toon boss Glenn Roeder had other midfield targets. Perhaps the thought of managing both Barton and Lee Bowyer proved just too grisly for Roeder!

Fortune Faded: Quinton Fortune hasn’t joined Celtic yet, as the Glasgow club are checking out the results of a scan on his knee. Fortune’s agent, Francis Martin, still thinks this deal will go through, however – and even if it doesn’t, there’s always Bolton and City. He said: “Peter Lawell, Celtic’s Chief Executive, told me there are one or two things that they want to look at following his scan. But he said they will make an offer in the next few days. I’m not a medical person and I don’t know what their concerns are but I’m sure they will explain it when they make an offer. I’m not concerned about the delay at all. Celtic are just one of a number of clubs who are interested in Quinton and we have had firm offers from Bolton and Manchester City. I would be more concerned if we had not had offers from other clubs. But we understand the situation. Celtic are trying to cover their backs and make sure there will be no future problems with Quinton. And whatever they pay they want to make sure they get value for money. We will look at the type and size of offer and that will determine how confident they are that he has overcome those injury problems. He’s interested in Celtic, he was impressed by the people there and the size of the club and that’s why he is holding out. But we just want to sort out his future as soon as possible.”

Rumours Round Up: Leeds United are said to be casting admiring glances at Willo Flood. The 21-year-old has found himself out of favour at City since making he first team two seasons ago. Last season was not so successful for the boy in terms of MCFC appearances, although he does know all about the Championship after spending a spell on loan at midlands club Coventry last season. The Sunday tabloids had City and Fulham in talks to land Lyon forward Sidney Govou: “He’s interested in those teams”, said agent Frederic Guerra. City and Blackburn are believed to be ready to battle for the signature of Sunderland midfielder Grant Leadbitter. The tough 20-year-old, one of the Black Cats’ best performers in the Premiership last season, has turned down a new deal at the Stadium of Light. Leadbitter’s current contract expires this summer but Sunderland will receive compensation if he does move on. “It is obviously very flattering for Grant that clubs like Manchester City and Blackburn are looking, but there have been no talks,” Leadbitter’s agent Ian Elliott told Sky Sports. Meanwhile, SP will offer Birmingham £2 million for their Dutch full back Mario Melchiot.

Ex-Blues’ News

Wicked Willie: I’m very grateful to Matt Thomas for bringing us a typical tale of every City fans’ favourite agent, Willie McKay. And it concerns a former City boy to boot. Here’s what the BBC website had to say: “PRESTON RUBBISH MEARS SALE TALK – Preston chairman Derek Shaw has denied reports that defender Tyrone Mears, 23, is up for sale. Mears’ agent Willy McKay was quoted saying: ‘I have spoken to Derek Shaw and they’ve agreed a fee they would accept for his transfer.’ But Shaw told the club’s website: ‘I told him (McKay) that it would take a bid in excess of £2 million to persuade me to sell Tyrone Mears. That seems to have been misconstrued as me putting him up for sale.’ McKay has said that several clubs are chasing the former Manchester City player’s signature and that Preston are ready to do business. Mears joined the Championship side for £200,000 in 2002 and has scored four goals in over 50 appearances. “ Mr. Mackay seems to be featuring so much in City-related news at the moment that I’m thinking of giving him his own section in the News Summary. Perhaps I’ll call it “Willie Watch“> On second thoughts, perhaps “Mackaywatch” might be better.

Wiser and Better: SWP believes he will become a better player by learning from his difficult first season at Chelsea. Just 10 league starts led to him being overlooked for England’s World Cup squad, but he does not regret moving to Stamford Bridge. “I haven’t got one regret going to the club whatsoever,” he said. “I came to the club knowing it would be difficult and, for me, it is a learning curve to become a wiser and better player. It will show in the time to come.”

Blue Wigan: There’s a Sky Blue tint to the JJB Stadium these days. Wigan manager Paul Jewell has appointed former City and Bolton defender Mark Seagraves as his new first-team coach. Seagraves, who began his playing career with Jewell in Liverpool’s reserve team, has been working as a coach at League One side Blackpool. John Benson has also rejoined Wigan after three years as general manager at Birmingham. Benson was manager of City in 1983 for about five minutes, and has been manager, assistant boss and director of football at Wigan. His rôle will be a link between the playing and administrative sides.

World Cup Build Up

He’s Fit – A Nation Rejoices: His fellow countrymen have speculated for weeks on whether he’d be fit to lead his nation to World Cup glory, after being injured for many months. But now it’s been confirmed – USA captain Claudio Reyna has been declared fit for the opening World Cup group game against the Czech Republic on Monday. The (how shall we say) unlucky midfielder played in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Angola on Monday, in what was his first outing since injuring his hamstring against Morocco on May 23. The 32-year-old is now fit and raring to go for what will be his fourth appearance at a World Cup finals, after resuming full training at the weekend. “Everything has really gone to plan, which is nice,” said Reyna. “Now it’s just full steam ahead.” Reyna thinks that his USA side are in good shape for the upcoming event. “We have an experienced team, and even the younger players have good experience at international level,” said Reyna. “We are comfortable with each other, when we get together it does not take us a long time to get used to each other. It’s the same nucleus of players that we had four years ago and our manager has done a good job of getting everyone with a genuine shot at getting into the squad some experience at international level so they are comfortable on the pitch.”

Squad News

Goal King Cole os a Merry Old Soul: Andy Cole has signed a new one-year contract with the club. The former England international made an impressive start to his City career, grabbing 10 goals in 21 games before injury ended his season early in February and SP was delighted with the contribution of the striker. Terms had been agreed on a new deal towards the end of last season and the contract keeping Cole at the club for another season has now been signed, much to the player’s delight. “I think when I came here last year a lot of people were not sure how it would work out for me here, but I’m happy with the way it has done,” Cole told the club’s website. “I was pleased with how it was going for me before the injury, but that’s the nature of football. But to sign for another year, and have the chance to carry on playing is very nice.”

Sam-thing Better for Next Term: Georgios Samaras says that next season we’ll begin to see why SP paid £6 million for the Greek striker. “Fans will see the best of me next season; that is why I made the move when I did,” he insists. “I have learned how my manager thinks and operates, I have learned how my team-mates like to play and how the club operates and next year I will be stronger and more physical. Everyone is different in the way that they approach the game and every dressing room is different, with a big mix of characters and personalities. You cannot just arrive from a different country as a young man and expect to be able to work them all out instantly. There has to be a settling-in period, a time when you get to know how people think and feel on the pitch and the training ground and now I have had that, I am sure my game will step up a level next season. My aim is to grow with City as a player at the same time that the club is growing as a force in the top half of the Premiership. We have everything in place here to progress,” he stated.

Don Barrie <news(at)>


I know it’s mostly doom and gloom at MCIVTA at the moment, but personally, I’m finding a lot of the discussion interesting and constructive regarding the future of our club. One thing we should all be clear upon is that had we won a trophy this year, then we’d all be very pleased with ourselves, just like the supporters of Liverpool, United, Arsenal and Chelsea, but we’ve not won anything in 30 years now and it’s starting to wear a bit thin. It’s not that our expectations are ridiculously high for goodness sake – it’s just that we are now getting very much a sense that things are ‘overdue’, and it’s a real pity that these circumstances should arise whilst a top bloke like Stuart Pearce is in charge. An FA Cup quarter final in his first full season is great compared to what we ultimately got from Reid, Royle, Clarke etc., and SP has also shown that he’s careful with our money, he talks sense and he doesn’t bellyache like so many others. I love having him as our manager.

All that said, I want to pick up on my comment a few weeks ago about the ‘lack of professionalism’ at the club, and the Distin and Barton situation in particular. When we look at the mess we are in with both Distin and Barton, then you have to blame the poor negotiation skills of the club. Negotiation must always be a two-way street, and if you are not prepared to back out of a deal totally, then you are not really negotiating, instead you are just ‘hoping’. And City have got themselves in the situation where they are ‘hoping’ that Distin and Barton will do us a great favour (sic), and the overall negativity surrounding their failure to do so, is because we have approached the negotiation from the wrong direction, and with the wrong attitude.

First of all, when you sign any player on a contract, you should be expecting and intending for that player to stay for the full life of the contract and then leave on a Bosman, and you must budget accordingly. The primary business objective of Manchester City Football Club is not profit orientated (clearly!) so when we signed Distin, we should have budgeted for a complete loss of the £4 million transfer fee over the full term of his five year contract, and this terminates at the end of next season, not this. With this approach, when his contract ends next year, we can then see if he wants to re-sign with us for whatever we are prepared to pay (loyalty bonus (!) included if necessary) and if he gets a better offer elsewhere, then tough on us. In reality there aren’t that many clubs that can match our wages or even trophy aspirations, so why we are panicking now I don’t know. We don’t complain when we pick up a player on a Bosman, and so we shouldn’t expect to have it both ways when the boot appears on the other foot. Where City have got things wrong IMHO is by appearing to be desperate to keep these players at the club, when in reality we should have shown the nerve to make them see out their contracts if necessary: they are supposed to be professional footballers for goodness sake. We should also have made it totally clear to them both, that this is what will very likely happen should they decide not to extend their contracts. In terms of his transfer fee, Distin is currently costing us less than £1 million per season, and I think that in this regard we got ourselves a bargain (for a change), and it’s now pretty much ‘paid off’, just like the Ford Fiesta I drove into the ground a few years ago! For some reason though, we are now in the situation where clubs like Newcastle are sniffing around to see if they can pick him up cheap because they sense we are vulnerable, when in we reality, we aren’t. But given our general performance in the transfer market (SWP transfer excluded) who can blame them and others for sniffing around? The proposed offer of £1.5 million for Barton from Newcastle was as usual, so insulting as to be laughable.

Even worse, Barton and Distin are now talking about their ‘ambitions’ (instead of ours) and their aspirations to play in Europe next season as if their departure from MCFC is already a given! And I’m thinking, “you’ve got to be kidding sunshine – MCFC are already in a relegation battle next season and you are getting us out of it.” Especially for a poxy few million quid. If City got relegated next year, then that could cost us tens of millions of pounds overall, and could even wreck the club completely, so worrying about what Barton and Distin do now is all a bit moot. And hoping to pick up maybe a few millions for them is a totally false economy, compared to the bigger picture. These players should both be told that they are going nowhere and that MCFC will worry about where they go in 12 months’ time. Their current contract offers should be removed forthwith (Barton’s should have gone in January), and this will also serve the useful purpose of sending the message to other players at the club, and especially to Willie Mackay, that a negotiation from MCFC is just that, a negotiation, and it is certainly not a prelude for anyone getting permission to ‘bunk off‘ early just as it suits them. Now obviously, if some other club wants to pay a fortune to wrench them off our hands (e.g. just like Chelsea did for SWP), then of course we can talk about it, but in the meantime…

Roll on next season, and Barton and Distin – that includes you, know what I’m saying?

Neil Haigh <city(at)>


Let’s face it, Chelsea and their Russian Godfather have killed the English game. Even the likes of Liverpool and United have trouble keeping up. The rest of us have no chance.

The inflated transfer fees, greedy agents, egotistical players (some who normally wouldn’t get a run in a Sunday league team) have made the game I love and have played for nearly fifty years, a joke. I see Chelsea have spent nearly fifty million pounds so far. The average Premiership club hasn’t a hope of competing with that. It makes the game a farce!

To think an average player can earn more in a week than most of us can earn in a year, says a lot. The world has turned upside down.

So now we wait for Chelsea to win another Premiership, the rest of us just fighting for the scraps, that’s the simple truth, and wait for the day the Godfather pulls his money and goes somewhere else to kill someone else’s game.

It can’t come soon enough for me. I hope City’s board are more astute than we

think they are!

Kevin Williamson <scribbs(at)>


My youngest brother Ben, along with his team mates, became the 8th best 5-a-side team in the country on Sunday, just missing out on the quarter-finals of the Powerleague competition – having played 20-odd consecutive games for the coveted prize of 5 grand and a PSP each.

The more notable factor here, is not this tremendous achievement by our kid but the fact that a certain Shauny Wright presented the eventual winners with the trophy. Now our Ben, not being one to shirk the opportunity of putting the feelers out re his beloved club, has a quiet word in the little fella’s ear about the possible move back to City on loan. The response? “Nah mate, I’m going to stick it out at Chelsea…” So this rumour is now negative fact and we can now get on with greater things like symbolically burning the new kit in protest and harking back to those heady days of Dickov up front. In Division 2. Yeah.

Ben Perry on the other hand, has now renewed his ticket and will further his aspirations by taking Simon Cowell up on the offer of auditioning for Pop Idol.

Good luck mate.

Joel Perry <j.perry(at)>


MCFC, after giving Kevin Keegan the money to go out buying players like a kid in a candy store, are being cautious with what money there is to spend.

So far only Dickov has been signed; we still await to see if Distin will sign a new contract, and of course rebel Barton still holds out.

It’s great to see that Reyna will be fit to play in the World Cup; more important to City supporters is that he returns fit for next season.

When fit, Reyna contributes to the City team, but can City depend on him for a full season? Unfortunately, Reyna appears to be plagued by injuries; this is why I feel bringing in midfield players of quality is important for next season.

I wish both David James and Claudio Reyna well in the World Cup, and come back fit.

Come on England, win the World Cup and USA do well.

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


Just seen the new home kit. It is awful. Possibly the worst City kit in decades.

It has far too much white, and the sky blue shorts make us look like Coventry City. It really looks like a Championship kit. The designers have tried too hard – or more likely not at all. As always in design, less is more. Compare City’s new home kit with elegant simplicity and understated confidence of Liverpool’s home kit. As my design teacher used to say: “Cop and Out, have you met?”

Sorry, but my money is staying in my pocket.

James Barber <jbarber780(at)>


I have to agree with the negative reactions to the new kits. Used to be a time when City were noted for their innovative away strips. Remember the maroon and blue stripes of our ’56 Cup win or the red and black stripes of our glory years in the early seventies? But with the greed of changing the strips every year, we have generated that hideous yellow/green outfit of 1999 or that equally odious canary yellow outfit of last year. No wonder we couldn’t win away, we looked like a carnival act!

Surely a team’s uniform has a lot to do with their attitude on the pitch and surely, the fans who buy the strips should have a say in the design?

For City and Reebok to say: here is this really crappy new shirt (white sleeves, come on!), now please shell out 40 quid because next year we are going to throw an equally hideous design at you, is a total insult.

City’s home shirt is sky blue – not blue and white or blue and black. And to market something different is a total insult to the history of this club.

I agree with other correspondence. Don’t buy the shirt. Nothing wrong with last year’s and maybe, just maybe, someone will get the message.

Stay Blue (but not blue and white), Keith Sharp <keith(at)>


I note that the City Museum has won an award according to the official website.

The stadium and pitch continue to win things. In fact, the only thing that doesn’t win anything at City is the first team.

Why the museum is popular I cannot understand. Have you seen the entry prices?

Maybe we should try signing the stadium to the first team. Then there might be a chance of a cup.

John Nisbet <nisbet1957(at)>

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Newsletter #1231



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