Newsletter #1233

News of World Cup Blues past and present, transfer targets on the international stage, and Bischoff gets a contract with Coventry.

We have opinion on the transfer situation, the kit, reality, and Pearce’s choice of shirts.

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


World Cup Bulletin

How the Present Players Performed: World Cup appearances so far by current City players have been less than auspicious. David James sunned himself on the subs’ bench as England beat Paraguay 1-0 on Saturday. Claudio Reyna did at least see action, although his side’s 3-0 capitulation to the Czech Republic wasn’t too impressive. The US skipper hit the post, at least. “We have a lot of guys who had their first game in a World Cup and I think they were a little bit nervous”, he commented afterwards. “We were a bit hesitant. There’s no excuse for that in the next game. We have to come out because we have to win from the first minute. There’s still a lot of play for so we have to get ourselves together and motivate ourselves because it’s a big game. Now there are no more excuses, we have to play better than that.” Claudio also revealed that once his contract runs out next summer, he’ll be packing his backs and returning Stateside. “I would love to play in the USA before I retire,” he said. “Moving home is one of the obvious attractions but it is also the chance to play in front of my family and friends. When you join a club in Europe, you get attached to it and give everything for it. But I look around and see team-mates who need to find 10 or 20 tickets for every game. I am the first one they turn to because I hardly ever need them. It is a position I would really like to be in.”

How the Past Players Performed: Star performance by an ex-Blue so far has to be Paulo Wanchope’s, who slammed two goals against the hosts in the opening game of the tourney. He couldn’t prevent Germany beating Costa Rica 4-2. Wanchope, now with unheralded Herediano in his homeland after a spell in Qatar, may have well put himself back in the international shop window. Despite the defeat, Wanchope said he drew plenty of positives from the game in Munich, which saw him take his international career haul to 45 goals in 70 outings. “I am happy to have scored twice, of course. But it was down to the team,” said Wanchope. “We played well. Now we have four days to digest it all and mull over our mistakes before the next game.” France needed to call up a late addition to their squad, in order to replace broken leg victim Djibril Cisse. It was believed that Nicolas Anelka might be in with a shout of a recall – instead, alleged City target Sidney Govou was Cisse’s replacement. “I was available to help so it is a shame,” mused Nico. “This is more of a personality problem than anything else.” Still, Anelka might be able to console himself at the Reebok Stadium next season because Bolton boss Sam Allardyce has set his sights on luring City’s former striker to the Reebok Stadium.

Sturridge for Brasil! Thanks to the Clan Patriarch for supplying me with an interesting article from last week’s Sunday Times. Daniel Sturridge’s “What I did in my summer holidays” essay should be quite interesting this year – under the headline “Boy Wonder Tastes the Big Time”, the Times revealed that Daniel’s agency Octagon thought that their client would benefit an encounter with the world’s best players – so he was whisked off to Brazil’s World Cup training camp to meet some rather special talent. There’s a marvellous picture of the lad with an “am I bovvered” look on his face, standing next to Cafu and Ronaldo no less! On an England theme, Daniel revealed that he was on good terms with England’s youngest squad member at the Finals, Theo Walcott having played together at under 17 and 18 level. “He played on the right with me in a 4-3-3,” said Sturridge. “He’s the fastest guy you’ll ever see. Every time I’d get the ball I’d be thinking about turning and pinging it in behind. It didn’t matter how bad your pass was, Theo would be on to it and producing a cross. He’s a nice lad. We share the odd text and I’ve wished him good luck in the World Cup. He’s level headed and I don’t think he’ll be fazed. With him working as hard as he does, he deserves what he’s achieved.”

Transfer News and Gossip

Bisch-off for Good: Mikkel Bischoff has left City on a permanent basis, joining Coventry City on a free transfer. “Mikkel is a competitive defender with great pace and at 24-years-old, he fits the profile of the kind of player we are looking for,” says Coventry boss Mickey Adams. “He went to Manchester City for a fee of £750,000 having achieved a big reputation in Denmark and I feel that his potential has yet to be fulfilled. We’re hoping that will happen here at Coventry. There were lots of other football clubs interested in Mikkel both in the United Kingdom and abroad, so we’re delighted that he’s committed himself to Coventry City.” Bischoff signed for City from Danish side AB Copenhagen in 2002 and spent two loan spells at Wolves during the 2004-05 campaign, as well as a month at Sheffield Wednesday last season.

This Week, Fortune Favours the Blues: Last week ex-Red midfielder Quinton Fortune was salivating at the thought of joining Glasgow Celtic, was looking forward to playing alongside his old mucker Roy Keane, was house hunting in the West of Scotland and was waiting for the results of a medical. Now Keano’s retired (thanks for the memories Roy), Celtic got cold feet and hey presto – Quentin never wanted to leave the North West in the first place, so Bolton and City are back vying for the 29-year-old’s signature. Francis Martin, Fortune’s agent, had met Celtic’s chief executive. Martin said: “I spoke to Peter Lawwell and he said, because of Quinton’s injury history, Celtic could only offer him a one-year deal. Celtic had some concerns about his scans, but it was more to do with his injury record. Quinton did not want to uproot his family and bring them to Scotland just for one year. We understand Celtic have to be sure about a player. He is the type of person who would move lock, stock and barrel to a new club, not go somewhere and stay in rented accommodation. So he wants to stay in the North-West and will probably sign for Manchester City or Bolton. Peter said Celtic will see how he goes in the next season. All the clubs have offered much the same and if other interested parties had offered Quinton three or four years then Celtic’s 12-month offer would have been a concern for us. But we understand Celtic have to be sure about a player and it is just one of those things. I would like to thank Celtic for the way they conducted themselves. They could not have been more accommodating.”

Leadbitter’s Not Bitter: Stuart Pearce has reportedly ruled out a move for Sunderland youngster Grant Leadbitter. The future of the twenty-year-old is in doubt after the midfielder turned down a new contract offer. Blackburn Rovers and City have both being linked to the player. However, the M.E.N. thinks Mr. P. has other targets in mind. He apparently wants one central and one left-sided midfielder. Agent Ian Elliott said on Monday: “The basic problem we have got is that the club’s valuation is vastly different to mine and we have got to be mindful of the interest in him from other clubs. There is a lot of interest in Grant right now. Grant is a Sunderland lad and he wants to stay at Sunderland. He doesn’t want Sunderland fans to think he is greedy, because that is not the case. But their offer is too low. We are talking to clubs at the minute. But I can’t say who they are at this time.”

Swept to Fratton: As Joel’s brother Ben told us last week, SWP is highly unlikely to be rejoining City on loan. And now Stuart Pearce has confirmed this. “There has been a lot of talk about Shaun of late, particularly after he was left out of the World Cup, but I think the chances of him coming back to the club are slim,” admitted the gaffer. “We approached Chelsea during the transfer window, and also last month, trying to get him back here on loan. I personally love the player and think he is a smashing kid. I would love to have him return but financially we cannot afford to buy him back – more is the pity. But it is true that we have enquired about the possibility of a loan deal. I do think it is a bit of a long shot though.” And the latest club sniffing round our former jet healed superstar is Portsmouth Football Club. Harry Redknapp is keen to take him on loan to Fratton Park.

Home, James! City have reportedly rejected an offer of £2 million from Premiership new-boys Reading for David James. Royals’ boss (and winner of the MCFC “Gaffer for a Month” competition in 1996) Steve Coppell wants to strengthen his Reading squad as they step up to the Premiership, but City are not interested in selling England number two James, even though he will be 36 by the time the Premiership resumes in August. A move to Berkshire might suit James, as it would bring him nearer to his family roots, plus City now have a surfeit of goalies with the signing of young Joe Hart. However, DJ only recently signed a one-year extension to his contract and SP surely views his experience as essential to his team. And Geert de Vlieger has returned to Belgium after signing a two year contract with SV Zulte Waregem. The 34-year-old has spent the last two seasons with City but his time in England was heavily disrupted by injury. He tore his Achilles soon after joining the club and after recovering, failed to break into the first team, never appearing in a Premiership match. Zulte-Waregem play in the Belgian Premier Division and are this year’s Belgian cup winners. They finished sixth in the league. [Many thanks to Henk Timmer]

Lancashire Mills: Danny Mills will be a target for Wigan Athletic if they do lose Pascal Chimbonda this summer. French star Chimbonda (agent: Willie McKay) handed in a transfer request five minutes after Wigan’s last game of the season and is wanted by Tottenham although the North London club have yet to match Wigan’s valuation of the player. Mills has been linked with a move to Aston Villa. City want £1 million for Mills, while Paul Jewell reckons £500,000 is sufficient.

Stag Do for Paul: Paul Collins, just released by City, is to join up with Mansfield Town for pre-season training. “Paul is a player I quite liked when I saw him playing for Manchester City reserves last season when I went to watch Jonathan D’Laryea,” said Stags’ boss Peter Shirtliff. “He is someone I have kept my eye on and when I heard he had been released I got on the case. We are a bit short on left-sided players at the club so I thought it would be a good idea to get him in and have a look at him. Paul seems keen and is looking forward to it and hopefully it will go right for him.”

Young Talent Wanted: According to the Daily Mirror, Samir Nasri is poised for a season-long loan move to the COMS according to reports on Wednesday. The 19-year-old Marseille midfielder had been linked with a move to Liverpool as part of the deal taking Djibril Cisse back to France. That move broke down last week when Cisse sustained a serious injury in a World Cup warm-up fixture. And City are keen on Helder Postiga, a website claims. Once dubbed one of the brightest young forwards in European football, the 23-year-old Portugal international had a torrid time when he moved to Tottenham Hotspur for £6.25 million in 2003. He returned to Porto a year later for £5 million, yet after spending last season on loan with St Etienne, he has been told by coach Co Adriaanse he has no future with the Portuguese club. This has alerted City, who are in the market for reinforcements this summer, although they could struggle to raise the £3.5 million asking price for Postiga.

Ex-Blues’ News

Forward with Niall: Could Niall Quinn be the next Frannie Lee? Recently relegated from the Premiership, Sunderland officials have held talks with a consortium lead by Quinn in Dublin as moves to sell the club gather pace. Chairman Bob Murray, vice chairman John Fickling, chief executive Peter Walker and director of marketing and communications Lesley Callaghan flew to the Republic of Ireland on Tuesday for further discussions with Quinn and his partners. A club spokesman said: “I can confirm discussions between the board and Niall Quinn are ongoing, but because of the take-over code we are unable to comment further.”

Squad News

No New Gigg for Kasper? Bury boss Chris Casper accepts timescales may prevent any move to bring Kasper Schmeichel back to Gigg Lane next season. The 19-year-old spent the end of last term with the Shakers and was a key figure as the club avoided demotion to the Nationwide conference. Casper said: “City aren’t going to make a decision until pre-season by which time it will be too late. It’s pretty unsettling for the defenders, they need to know and they need to work on things in pre-season. I would love to bring Kasper back, I really would, but unfortunately I don’t think it’s going to materialise.”

Don Barrie <news(at)>


Well it takes a lot for me to get writing as this is only my third rant – last one was about Anelka and the unfair treatment we gave him!

Let’s get the full story. I have been a fan for over 30 years and what a rollercoaster, I have been a subscriber to MCIVTA since 1998 and even when I was in New Zealand kept up to date with news.

So we had a bad finish, let’s just get on with it, and I will tell you why!

We have (in my mind and every true fan) the best manager with SP. A manager that is young and full of energy (we seen him on the touchline kicking every ball), talk about conviction and he was even in the frame for the England job – that says volumes. A squad that is certainly being changed (for the better). Getting rid of the deadwood from KK (remember some of his buys!). Getting players who want to play for us. I am sorry but Dickov is good for us. Do we forget who scored that goal for us when we were in the lowly play-offs? Short memory guys. Let Distin and Barton go as they do not want to play for us as they want more money, which we can’t afford. Disappointing with Barton as we all stood by him through everything from ‘cigargate’ etc. He certainly went very cold after the transfer request and was not on form as he was last year. I will wait for the criticism about pay rates for footballers and why we should pay to keep good players etc. Probably from agents. If Barton stays then it will show his true passion for being a Blue.

Hang on, we did have a little Cup run didn’t we?

So I know we will have another interesting year supporting our team but let’s stop moaning and be a little more positive. We are still in the Premiership.

Jerry Miles <jemmiles(at)>


I know I am not alone when checking the papers and Sky Sports to see how City are involved with transfers, and these aren’t exactly inspiring to date. I appreciate SP is looking at exactly what fits the bill, and does not want to buy for the sake of adding another player to the squad.

Again, I am sure all City supporters would love it if Distin and Barton signed a new contract soon. Distin, even though he has his “David James moments”, is a big plus in our defence, and would be hard to replace.

Barton, love him or hate him (I personally think he was ill advised by his agent and if he could turn back time, would have done things differently), we will not replace him easily or cheaply, and if SP can convince him to stay, he will be a good asset to the Club. Logically if SP gave him an extra £5,000 a week, what would it cost us per season? Approximately £250,000; where are you going to get a decent player like him for that amount of dosh? There are plenty of City supporters who will not forgive Barton for his “bad timing” transfer request, but we should not hound “our” player out of the club but give him a reason to stay; it’s in our interest, especially as we are not a rich club.

What SP needs to do is to have competition for places in midfield, Reyna is very injury prone so we definitely need cover. Having watched all the World Cup games to date, I was quite impressed with Yaya Toure of the Ivory Coast, tall midfielder who has a lot to offer, maybe he is a possibility. Appiah for Ghana also looks a good prospect, price dependent.

Whilst on the World Cup theme, I think the whole world saw last night what the Brazil Manager did not: two supposed superstar strikers put in a showing that would not get either of them into a Sunday pub team – Ronaldo and Adriano. Brazil virtually played with 9 men for 70 minutes. Ronaldo was so inept I would have taken him off after 20 minutes. Adriano was not much better; can you remember him having a shot at goal? I was very impressed with Dado Prso of Croatia, never stopped trying and looked a real threat. Ronaldo is the proverbial “big fat pudding”, and needs to hear the chant “Who ate all the pies”.

Considering Carlos Alberto is so experienced and has a great squad, he does resemble Sven in that he cannot seem to make changes to either counteract the opposition’s threat or liven up his own team with “positive substitutions”. He should sit higher up in the stands to get a better view. With a little luck, Croatia could and should have equalised, and posed a lot of problems to Brazil.

I am a great believer that substitutions have a big impact on the team. First, it gives a message to the player coming off, and secondly it should “liven up” the team with fresh legs, and something new for the opposition to deal with. Look what a difference Australia’s 3 substitutions made against Japan.

I am not sure if Gravesen or Malbranque will come to fruition, especially as they are being eyed up by other clubs. We definitely need a quick, tricky player on the left, and ideally the same on the right, perhaps Lua Lua? What about all the reserve players at Arsenal (players of the future)? Would it not make sense to get a couple on a season-long loan?

Come on SP, bring on the transfers we are all hoping for.

Glyn <glynalbuquerque(at)>


Having read with interest the debate on the new shirt(s), I felt the need to add my thoughts to the debate. I quite like the new shirt – not sure about the shorts though.

If the club are strapped for transfer cash, then not buying the shirt will deny our team much-needed income. If we are to afford the quality players we all desire then we should be doing our bit to help out.

Too many people are too quick to stick the boot in and whinge about the shirt, the lack of transfer activity etc. Get off your butts and help out.

After all it is our City, and I for one will be wearing the shirt with pride and getting behind our team this coming season.

Paul Bond <bondie1(at)>


Am I the only person who thinks the new home strip is OK? Come on, surely I’m not alone!

OK, it’s different, I’ll give you that but it’s not that bad, although the jury is out on the Arsenal style white sleeves. You see I come from the age when City played in all sky blue – no, not Coventry City, Manchester City. When I first started watching City in the late 70’s, early 80’s City wore an all blue home strip – no white shorts at all. So when in the mid 80’s City changed to white shorts I didn’t understand.

“Surely mum, this isn’t right” I said. “But hang on Graham, in our day City always wore blue shirts and white shorts so they are going back to how it should be,” mum replied.

Now my mum, bless her, is no spring chicken, she won’t thank me for telling all fellow subscribers that she is of “retirement” age! So she was old enough to remember those days. I wasn’t, so what the hell was going on?

I for one was confused. I remember wearing all blue for the Cup final in 1981 and on countless days before and since and I just wasn’t sure about white shorts, after all United wore those as well! Anyway, in time I got used to it and it soon became the norm. But this new kit, for me is almost like going back to the good old days (I’ll quantify that by saying from a kit point of view – field of play good old days didn’t really exist in my early days as a Blue).

Bring back the circular badge. That definitely gets my vote; it contains the club’s true identity, note: FC United have already half ripped it off.

On a totally separate note, my wife would like to personally welcome Paul Dickov!

Graham Keller <gkmcfc(at)>


I phoned the club about the awful new shirt and shorts. They told me that Reebok design it and they had no input into it apart from the colour!

It could only happen to us.

[Surely even City couldn’t be that stupid as to give 100% control on the kit design to the producer, somebody somewhere must have approved – Ed]

Tony Morehead <tonymorehead(at)>


I have to say that having just seen this online, it is truly rank. What the **** are they thinking? It is dire. What muppet was allowed to design this?

Oh my God, I will never buy it. No right minded blue/off – grey/white fan should ever be seen dead in this pile of rubbish. Those clowns at Reebok have a lot to answer for.

Calling all fans. Burn these shirts at some pre-season friendlies, preferably in front of the dug out.

Yours in disgust, Paul <paul(at)>


Burning question about our Manager.

On the Carlsberg advert, why does he have a pink shirt?

CTID, Graham Lord <gooch(at)>

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Newsletter #1233