Newsletter #1243

Another week and yet more transfer dealings, rumblings and sagas as City secure Bernado Corradi from Valencia, No 8’s agent is still playing dirty and the ex-number 5 still cannot make his mind up. With the new signings of Hamann, Dabo and Corradi (our first Italian?), Samaras et al, any ideas as to whether Pearce is also ensuring Esperanto is taught on the training field!

Don’s news brings us all the transfer news real and rumoured, ex-Blues Wanchope and Anelka with new deals and get well soon to Glyn Pardoe.

We have opinion on the Wrexham friendly, the ticket office and views on loyalty in the game, together with the usual requests.

Next game: Rochdale, away (Friendly), 3pm Saturday 22 July 2006

General News

New Arrivals: The club announced the full list of squad numbers this week. As Andy reported last week, Osumane Dabo has been given the number 5 shirt, while skipper Sylvain Distin has been “promoted” to number 15 (draw your own conclusions). Paul Dickov’s back at 14, while Dietmar Hamann gets 21. Latest new boy, Bernado Corradi, will appear with a number 30 on his back.

Transfer News and Gossip

Do You Want a Peter Kay DVD With That Sir? Hats off to Britain’s soaraway Sun newspaper, for digging up the real reason why Didi Hamann fled Bolton Wanderers after just a few days at the Reebok. Apparently City have Ronald Macdonald to thank for the German star’s change of heart. Let the Sun take up the tale: “The clinching factor in changing his mind came when he popped in for a burger near Wanderers’ ground. Hamann, 32, was shocked to discover that he could hardly understand a word any of the locals were saying. A source revealed: ‘Didi speaks decent English but with a heavy Scouse accent having spent seven years on Merseyside. The Bolton accent is far different and he struggled to understand it. As he was already in two minds over whether he was making the right move or not, that convinced him he had made a mistake.’ In a panic Hamann rang Anfield striker Robbie Fowler, himself a former City star, to find a little more about the club. And that ultimately led to his telling Bolton he would not be moving there, but wanted a transfer to Manchester instead. Hamann himself had to cough up half of that fee and has been joking to friends it was the dearest meal he will ever eat.” In the words of a Sun columnist, you couldn’t make it up… Meanwhile, City have hit back at allegations from Bolton chairman Phil Gartside that they “tapped up” Hamann. An angry Gartside said: “There’s something that’s gone on.” But a City spokesman said: “It must have been a blow to lose a player of Hamann’s calibre, but we conducted ourselves in a proper manner.” Gartside said: “There’s something that’s gone on – Dietmar and his agent went into Liverpool and said the only club he wanted to sign for was Bolton. He must have been tapped up by Manchester City. I feel very insulted and I think Bolton fans deserve better that that. For someone like Dietmar Hamann to have treated us the way he has is absolutely disgraceful. He rang me when I was in Germany and he felt like he couldn’t travel to Bolton because it’s too far from the Wirral, irrespective of the fact that City is probably further away than Bolton.”

Bernie Bolts to City: City have today announced the signing of Italian striker Bernado Corradi. His name has been mooted as a target for some time, but he has now agreed to join the club. The 30-year-old was contracted to Valencia but spent the whole of last season on loan at Parma. Despite an impressive year in Serie A and Parma’s obvious interest in keeping him for longer, Valencia have decided the time is right to sell him. Italian sources claimed that Corradi, who has also been linked with a move to Middlesbrough, was in Manchester this week for talks with City. Those talks have clearly borne fruit, as Corradi told the club website today: “I hope to bring all my enthusiasm to Manchester City and I want to show everyone that I want to work hard now and during the season with my team-mates. I want to do well here. I hope to have the possibility to work well with my team. As I striker I will work hard and help the team to make a lot of goals. At the end the important thing is the team – and by working together as one the team will end in a good position.” SP said of his latest capture: “I’m delighted to have secured Bernardo, he his a player I’ve been looking at for some time and think he will be a terrific acquisition for this football club.” Officially the fee is undisclosed, but the press speculation reckon that the Blues paid approx. £2 million for the Italian international.

Troublesome Two May Stay: This week there’s been plenty of news concerning City’s two contract refuseniks, Joey Barton and Sylvain Distin. “BARTON TIED UP BY CITY” announced the headline in Daily Mirror. Blimey, thinks I – that’s a bit of a harsh punishment for falling out with Psycho, but if the gaffer thinks it’s a worthy punishment then who are we to argue? What the story actually meant was that Barton will finally sign a new contract to stay at the COMS for the next three seasons, according. Barton’s new £30,000 a week deal would contain a clause allowing him to leave for no more than £4.5 million if he is sold. With the 23-year-old able to leave on a free next summer, the club are likely to accede to Barton’s wish. The M.E.N. brought word that City had offered skipper Sylvain Distin £35,000 per week to keep him at the club. The paper quoted a “club insider” (Hi Paul), who said: “Substantial offers have been made by the manager, who has stressed that City do pay good wages compared with other Premiership clubs outside the big four. We will not be held to ransom and we do hope both these players sign. We want to keep our skipper and Joey Barton. Distin is stalling over the offer while things are looking good with Joey.” So things seemed to be looking up for City – but next came news that there could be a test to City’s resolve to keep the pair. The Mirror then reported that Middlesbrough had made a £7 million bid for Distin and Barton. Boro had reportedly been interested in Barton during last winter’s transfer window, while new boss Gareth Southgate was supposedly interested in landing a centre half after a £5 million swoop for Chelsea’s Robert Huth collapsed over a failed medical. The M.E.N. has alleged that the reason Barton’s failed to resign is because they are reportedly refusing to pay agent Willie McKay over £100,000 for renegotiating Barton’s contract at the club. McKay is quoted as saying: “It’s just propaganda and I am fed up with it. I’m trying to do my best for Barton. I brought in Nicolas Anelka, Ali Benarbia, Daniel van Buyten, Marc-Vivien Foe and Antoine Sibierski into City and it is bang out of order for information like this to go public. It’s unprofessional. They’re just having a pop.”

Sidwell Will Stay: Steve Sidwell will not be allowed to leave the Madejski Stadium this summer. The 23-year-old midfielder was a £3 million target for City but despite having just a year left on his contract, Reading are keen to keep the player for their first season in the Premiership. Sidwell said: “It seems likely I will still be a Reading player come the start of the season as the club have said they don’t want to sell me. Man City did put in a bid for me and I went up there to have a look around. I was very impressed but Reading rejected the bid. They have decided I am not going to be leaving whatever happens. Reading did come back to me with another contract offer and we had a few meetings. But we couldn’t come to an agreement and after speaking to my family, my mum and dad, and a few other people, I’ve decided not to sign anything now.”

Change of Gera? According to one website, City are considering making a move for West Bromwich Albion midfielder Zoltan Gera. With SP missing out on Steed Malbranque and Steve Sidwell, it is being suggested that he has set his sights on Hungarian playmaker Gera, who has asked to leave the Hawthorns following their relegation to The Championship. However, the Blues face a fight on their hands to lure the player after the Midlands club released a statement on their website insisting he will not be sold. “Albion have rejected out of hand a transfer request from Zoltan Gera,” read the statement. “This is in keeping with The Baggies’ strategy not to sell any of the key members of their first-team squad.” City, though, are set to test this stance with an offer of £3 million.

Thanks But No Thanks: Micah Richards has emerged as a target for Spurs boss Martin Jol, so said a number of websites and newspapers this week. The highly-rated 18-year-old has attracted interest from a number of clubs since breaking into the City first team last season and Jol sees him as a player who can step straight into the Tottenham side. A £5 million bid had reportedly been made. This report was duly rebutted. “We have not received a bid for Micah Richards from Tottenham or anyone else,” a club spokesman said. “Micah Richards is not for sale.” End of story? Not quite, because next day we had the story that Micah had now asked for a transfer. The flames of speculation were further fuelled when the boy gave an interview to Sky Sports. “For now, I’m with Manchester City, but I can’t always say I’ll be a Manchester City player in the future,” Richards said. “This is my club now and we’ll see what happens for the future. At the end of the day, everyone wants to better their career and if Chelsea, Arsenal, wherever was the right place to go, I’d have to consider it, wouldn’t I? Obviously, there’s been interest from different clubs. After only 15 starts, the interest from other clubs is unbelievable, really. It’s good to know, but my dad just tells me all the time to keep my feet on the ground, keeping working hard and things will pay off. I’ll just keep working hard and we’ll see what happens.” Manchester City has taken the unusual step today of issuing a statement regarding recent transfer speculation concerning Micah Richards. City’s Head of Communications, Paul Tyrrell was by now a deeply unhappy bunny: “There was a claim in a national newspaper this morning that Micah had submitted a transfer request to the Club. This is totally and completely untrue. To make such an inaccurate claim is an appalling abuse of a newspaper’s power and the Club has made representations to the offending tabloid in the strongest possible terms. If we do not receive a correction to this story, the Club will be making an official complaint to the Press Complaints Commission. For the record, Micah has not submitted a transfer request. He is not for sale and is happy at Manchester City. We are looking to extend his contract here at this football club.” Stirring stuff, but what to make of a story saying that City were trying to buy out Oldham’s Athletic’s sell-on clause on the player? That deal was struck when Richards joined City from the Boundary Park club when he were but a nipper. “The club can now confirm that following press reports, City have been in touch with a suggestion that they buy out the clause which could eventually net a six-figure sum,” read a statement on Oldham’s official website. “Latics’ polite reply was: ‘Thanks, but no thanks’.”

Bid is Down the Lu: As the Corradi deal has gone through, then perhaps this next snippet is redundant already. City and West Ham are chasing Portsmouth striker Lomana LuaLua after he turned down a new deal to stay at Fratton Park. The DR Congo star has just one year left on his current contract and Pompey are willing to let him leave for £2 million, rather than risk losing him for nothing next summer. The 25-year-old will be free to talk to other clubs from January and it appears Harry Redknapp will give up his battle to keep hold of the striker by letting him leave now.

No Win, No Fee: We have a late update on the saga of Joey Barton, for anyone still interested. Today, Barton’s agent Willie McKay has announced that he doesn’t want an agent’s fee for negotiating Barton’s new deal – so in theory, there are now no obstacles to the midfielder signing up. “I had a meeting with Stuart Pearce and chief executive Alistair Mackintosh, and I told them I did not want a fee for renegotiating Joey’s contract,” said McKay. “All I want to do is ensure that Joey gets the contract that he deserves. As things stand we are still talking to City about a new deal for Joey and he is ready to sign a new deal. He is in super-fit form and he is looking forward to the new season, regardless of whether he signs a new deal or not. The most important thing is that he gets his head down and starts playing football. It is true that Joey wants a clause in his contract that will let him leave for a certain fee if a top club comes in for him,” added McKay. “At the moment, Joey is happy to play for Manchester City, but like any ambitious young player he wants to play at the highest level.”

Ex-Blues’ News

Fray Bentos Chop: I’m pleased to report that Henk beat the Evening News to this next story by some days. He emails: “I don’t know if this has been reported yet, but Paolo Wanchope has signed for Rosario Central (premier division Argentina). That is, according to their director Horacio Carbonari. There was also interest from clubs in the First Division (Championship), Brazil and Belgium. Wanchope has also called it a day for him playing in the national team. He is their national top scorer with 45 goals.” When the local paper caught up, under the headline “Wan’s Samba Time” (excuse me, samba? In Argentina? Oh, never mind), they garnered a quote from ol’ Crazy Legs. Wanchope said: “I am very excited. This is a challenge for me.” He admitted he had offers from an English club as well as from Brazilian side Corinthians. “I’ve always admired Argentinian football,” he said.

Minor Abuse from Nico: Much-misunderstood French striker Nicolas Anelka has been pouring out his heart to L’Equipe. He has confirmed that he could be heading to one of the giants of the Premiership, namely, err, Portsmouth: “Portsmouth is the only club to have made a concrete offer to Fenerbahce. I think it is a €12 million offer. I had talks with Harry Redknapp. He knows me well. If I was to go to a club like Portsmouth, I would go willing to give my best. My priority would be to join a club that plays regular Champions’ League but I can’t do anything if those clubs don’t want to hire me. It is the same for Bolton or Blackburn, from whom I had phone calls from the managers.” Apparently Nico blames all his travails in recent seasons on the Liverpool manager back in 2002, Gerrard Houllier. Liverpool decided not to sign Anelka after a loan spell at Anfield, leading poor old Nico to have to make some horrid decisions. “When he told me at the last minute that he had no intention of keeping me, he put me in a difficult situation because I had not negotiated anything with other teams, and I ended up joining a club against my will,” said Anelka. “Gerard Houllier is responsible for what happened to me. If he had not snubbed me at Liverpool I would not have had to play with minor clubs for the past four years [“Minor Clubs”? how very dare you!], which I had never imagined joining. I would not be where I am right now, that is to say waiting to be signed by a great English club. I was told that people from Manchester City were saying bad things about me to other clubs who are interested in me,” he added. “The clubs should instead ask the players I played with and they would see. It’s incredible because I have never had any problems when playing in England except when I asked to leave Arsenal. If great clubs don’t sign me it’s never because of the way I play. It’s very frustrating, especially because I know I could do as well, if not better, than their strikers.” Wait for the denial, and claims it was all a mis-translation.

Glyn Pardoe: The club website announced this afternoon that Glyn Pardoe, the left back in City’s legendary team of the late 60’s was taken ill last night having suffered a heart attack. The reports suggest that Glynn is in a comfortable condition, so here’s to a swift recovery for Glyn.

Pre-Season Reactions and Comments

Draw from the Jaws of Victory: City started their pre-season campaign in typical fashion at Wrexham’s Racecourse Ground last night. Having taken the lead three times, City allowed the home time to equalise on each occasion. The match saw Joe Hart, Dietmar Hamann and Paul Dickov make their débuts, while the Blues’ goalscorers were Ishmael Miller and Georgios Samaras(2). Of his team’s Welsh work-out, SP remarked: “We’re pleased that everyone came through unscathed and as it stands we have picked up no injuries. The new boys have had a taste and it shows that as much work as you do on the training pitch, you know full well that in a match situation it’s a different kind of fitness. Wrexham have had a few more games already and credit to them, it was played in a good stadium on a good pitch with a nice tempo to the game, and we brought a few fans. We’ll be stronger for that and I expect a better performance on Saturday.” Team: Hart, Flood (D Mills), Thatcher (Jordan), Dabo (Hamann), Dunne (Distin), M Mills (Richards), Sinclair (Croft), Barton (Laird), Miller (Ireland), Sibierski (Samaras), Vassell (Dickov). Subs: Schmeichel, Logan

Squad News:

Captain Dunnie: Not that he’s leaving the club of course, but Sylvain Distin is no longer the club skipper. The captain’s armband has been passed to Richard Dunne. SP explained his reasons for appointing the 26-year-old. “It was almost impossible for me not to give him the captaincy, because he has come so far of late. Richard’s settled down, he has a lovely girlfriend and a new baby, and he’s a model professional both on and off the pitch. Since I have been at the Club, his professionalism and ability have improved and the respect for him in the dressing room is immense. I just felt it was the right time to make that change. As a Manager you sometimes do things with a gut feeling, and I have a gut feeling that Richard will wear that armband with pride, and it will take him up to the next level as a player as well. This will allow Sylvain to concentrate more on playing. I spoke to him at the end of last season, it was a decision that we both agreed to. It’s not a snub to Sylvain in any way, shape or form, he did an extremely good job captaining the side. I just feel that Richard has got a maturity now, and there’s a feeling in my bones that giving him this extra responsibility will take him onto another level.” Dunnie seemed suitably cock-a-hoop: “It’s an honour, there are some really great players in the team, players with experience and ones that have done much more than me so I am really pleased to be asked to be captain. Some great names have captained City down the years, and even in my time here as well. In the dressing room right now there are the likes of Cole, Hamann, Jamo and Dickov who could all do it so to be asked is a real honour for me.”

Welcome Home: The old old boy and the new old boy have been talking about being at City. The old old boy, a.k.a. Paul Dickov, has noticed big changes since he was last at the club. “It’s four and a half years since I was last here,” says Paul, “and straight away it hit home to me that everything here was a lot more professional. The facilities, the coaching and the management has moved on as it has done at every football club, and you have to take your hat off to the Manager and the Chairman for allowing that to happen. When I first started you were made to run until you were sick, and that’s when you were thought to be fit! Everything is a lot more scientific now, there are certain aims and you have to make sure your target is the first game of the season. Clubs are learning more and more each year about recovery, muscle strength and looking after yourself. The ice baths are a part of that and have been a great benefit, but I am one of those who will try anything if it improves me by half a percent.” Both Dickov and the new old boy Dietmar Hamann knew SP as a player, but both acknowledge that he is the gaffer now, not just a team mate. “The relationship is different now, but either way the Manager is very passionate and enthusiastic about his football, as I am,” stated Dickov. “You can see that enthusiasm, the way that he is and how he wants his team to play. It comes over in training sessions as well, it’s infectious and when you have a manager like that it’s bound to rub off on everybody else.” Dietmar Hamann was in the same Newcastle squad for a season, and has nothing but praise for his new boss. “He has the right ingredients to be one of the top English, or even European, managers. He has only just started, but he began very well last year and with more experience every manager gets better. Can I have a double sausage and egg macmuffin meal please, with coffee?” OK that last sentence might not be genuine…

Don Barrie <news(at)>


The first friendly ends up in a draw at the Racecourse against Wrexham, 3-3.

Before we play another friendly, let me just say I never really care too much about the friendly results, what I care about in pre-season friendly games is how the players as individuals perform, show fitness, and don’t get any injuries.

In the game versus Wrexham, the gaffer Stuart Pearce played 2 sets of players, giving the players 45 minutes each, with the exception of Hart in goal who played the full game.

Miller scored the first for City in the first half, with Samaras scoring a brace in the second half. All the players had a good work out and there were no injuries, which must have put a smile on the gaffer’s face.

Joey Barton was apparently ready to sign his contract when his agent Willie McKay wants £100,000 for negotiating the deal? I always had the impression that Joey Barton has always been a City player, and all it was but change a contract; good to hear the MCFC board say no to McKay and stand firm to such an agent.

A mistake by Sylvain Distin that put the ball in his own net in the 82nd minute gave the home side the draw. SD has not yet signed for the £35,000 offered by MCFC as I write this; with Pompey now showing interest in signing Distin, I say take the money. I guess SD is still dreaming that a top club will come in for him, but none so far, not even a French club that I know of.

A good work out, we all have to be pleased, except for the non-signings of the two players Barton and Distin. But my feelings are that we should sign Joey, and let Sylvain go as he is not worth £35,000 a week (just my opinion).

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


Hot on the heels of Superman Returns, we now have “The Box Office Returns”, and with a vengeance. It all started so well, with the receipt of my new season card. On time, a great design and a friendly letter from the Chairman asking me not to stand. I have no problems with that, difficult to do anyhow at the back of level 3. From there it started to go wrong.

I had noticed on the website that tickets for the game versus Porto were available on Monday. My work time is fairly flexible (don’t tell the boss) so I thought I would pop down first thing Monday and select my seat. My own seat wasn’t available as Level 3 was closed off, I have no problems with that, makes good financial sense. So I got there early and selected a good seat on Level 2 of the East Stand somewhere near the halfway line. Great, £12 paid, waited for receipt. Bit of a delay then someone else came to the window and said that there had been a mistake, someone had forgot to reserve the seasoncard holder’s seats so I couldn’t have that one.

They did sort me out another good seat but I wonder how many other seasoncard holders who didn’t get there early or didn’t order over the phone lost out? I checked the website when I got home later that day and it said that seasoncard holders had 3 days to claim their seat: obviously not.

Problem number 2 came when I asked to buy my tickets for China. £32 each seems a bit steep but I don’t want to go all that way and be unsure of my tickets so thought it best to apply in advance. Even though they were advertised as being available on Monday, I was told they hadn’t received them. I was offered the opportunity of paying and them being posted but didn’t want to chance that so having been assured they would be ready Tuesday I said I would call back then. I did however leave my payment details; good job as when I got there I was at first I was told that they were sold out. As it was, mine had been done so I collected it but pity those who didn’t leave their payment details. The guy at the window said they sold more than they expected (does he not know how stupid we City fans are?).

The icing on the cake was tonight. I thought I would have a look at the website to read up on anything new; good job I did as to my amazement I spotted that tickets for Chelsea go on sale tomorrow (Wednesday). What is that all about? I thought the policy was 4 weeks before and always on a Monday. Looks like they are keeping us on our toes nice and early. So I will be back there again tomorrow, 3 visits in 3 days; oh how helpful to us loyal fans they are.

One other thing, I have over 3,400 points but Chelsea go on sale from 3,000 points: this seems low. Does anyone know the maximum number of loyalty points? I did ring customer services tonight but they said they didn’t know. Silly me, as if they would.

[Plus ça change, Dave! – Ed]

Dave Knowles <WSHA30Y(at)>


I am reading all these reports that Distin and Barton want to move to Middlesbrough and that Micah Richards can’t get out of town fast enough! What the heck is going on?

Since when did Middlesbrough become a preferred destination and how does some 17-year-old kid get elevated into the first team and then instantly demand a transfer? So much for progressing though the youth system.

Surely these players must have learned a lesson by looking at the apparent demise of SWP? Distin I can see wanting to go back to France to make the national team, but going to Middlsborough? Please!

At the end of the day, if these blokes don’t want to play for City, good riddance. Turn the light off when you leave.

But you would think that loyalty would count for something. Especially in the case of Micah Richards. I smell the foul stench of an agent involved here.

Oh well, that’s modern day, rent-them-for a season mentality for you. In the immortal words of Monty Python, “I fart in your general direction”.

Keep it Blue, Keith Sharp – Toronto, Canada <Keith(at)>


Just to add my opinions regarding the club’s ongoing and protracted saga regarding Barton and Distain:

Isn’t it about time a club took a stand against players’ greed factor, which affects all clubs, at most levels, throughout the game? If so, then why not Manchester City? And, if so, there is no better time than now.

Barton remains only an average player with oustanding, above-average levels of anger. For the last several months he has adequately shown where his loyalties lie – as such, we should put an end to his nonsense and sell him for the next reasonable offer. Good riddance, and not before time. No more delays.

Distin has the gall to dither over whether or not to accept the club’s latest pay offer? I would simply give him 24 hours to come to a firm decision; if not, then, sell him and let him ply his trade with another football club. No more delays.

Enough of this nonsense; time to move forward – with or without these greedy, petulant individuals.

Others may learn from this, and act accordingly. The game is going to hell.

And, while we’re at it: get rid of Reyna who, when fit, has never been impressive – he should never have been brought into the club.

Stuart Pearce has his hands full, this season – as usual, it should be interesting. Best of luck to him.

[It’s not as if clubs are beating down the door to sign this pair with serious offers is it? Agents talking them up as usual, and time to call their bluff. – Ed]

Graham Mills <ride4311(at)>


Barton’s agent wants £100,000 sterling from City to get his client to sign a contract – unbelievable! It’s like an attorney going to the opposition asking for money so that he will get his client to settle a lawsuit out of court. The agent McKay says that the leak to the newspapers is unprofessional on City’s part – it should be considered as unethical what he is trying to do. The Football League should enforce standards of behaviour on these agents and City should tell McKay to take a hike!

[The more you hear about this odious example of an agent, the more you loathe him. Time for somebody to take a stance and refuse to deal with him – Ed]

CTID, Mike Edwards <cityfan2(at)>


Reading a copy of Time Magazine whilst waiting for an interview and scanning the photos from the World Cup; imagine my surprise when I saw a photo of some Tongan lads in Togo crowding round a telly watching Togo vs. South Korea. My surprise and elation was because one of the lads had on a City top. Have a look if you can. I am not sure if the photo is only in the Oz July version of time magazine or in all them worldwide but see if you can find it.

I would like to pass this onto the club. Maybe they can find out from Time Magazine who these lads are and where in Togo they are and send them some city stuff – kit the rest of the lads out in City tops. Would make a good story for the club and you never know one of them might be a brilliant footballer who will end up at City. We could do with a new star.

Adrian Bates <adrianb(at)>


Hello fellow frustrated City supporters. Can anyone help me? I am travelling to the UK and plan to stay a few days in Manchester to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land sometime in early September.

I need somewhere cheap and clean to stay a few nights, something like a B&B would be perfect; I am travelling on my own. I need somewhere central as I would like to visit the CoMS and also the training facility. If anyone can suggest something, please email me on the address given.

I am also trying to get tickets for the Portsmouth game as well if anyone can help.

Thanks, Roy Hunter <mcfc0321(at)>


Further to Steve Phelan’s request in MCIVTA 1242 for footage of Gio vs. Southampton, try here:

or here:

Paul Howarth <paul(at)>
Sam Bullock <fsbullock(at)>

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Newsletter #1243