Newsletter #1245

Another pre-season win as City beat Port Vale 3-0 this week; match report and assessment thanks to Colin tonight. Barton and Richards have also pledged their futures to the Blue cause by signing 4 year contracts and Big Sam and Appy Arry are supposedly interested in a couple of City players. All the round-up in Don’s news summary.

We also have opinion on the Citystore pricing, investment and transfers, together with the usual requests and answers.

Next game: Bradford City (Friendly), away, 3pm Saturday 29 July 2006


Transfer News and Gossip

Pal Joey: How could we ever have doubted him? Joey Barton has signed a new four year deal to stay with City, keeping him at the club until (if my pocket calculator’s working correctly) 2010. The first hint of a rapprochement with the wayward Scouser came in SP’s aftermatch comments following the Rochdale game. “He’s a good player and I don’t think there’s a cloud hanging over him,” stated Pearce. “We are hopeful he’ll sign a new contract very shortly and he’ll be at Manchester City for a very long time.” Then came Tuesday’s news of a deal being struck. “This is excellent news,” announced SP. “I have always maintained that Joey’s future lay with this football club and the player is very happy here. Joey is improving as a player and I am sure with continued hard work on his and our part, he can achieve his ambitions at Manchester City. There has been a vast improvement in Joey’s conduct. He is more mature than he was at Christmas, that’s for sure, with the way he carries himself on and off the pitch. Joey will be the first to admit he has made mistakes but I can only applaud his attitude this pre-season. He has been extremely helpful.” The player added: “I am grateful for the support and faith the manager and the chairman have shown me by offering me this contract. The support I have received from City fans has also been a great boost. I am ambitious and so is the club. I said if the club would sign quality players I would commit my future to City. The club has done that and I am a man of my word. Since we came back from the pre-season break there is a real mood of optimism at the club. I have always given my absolute maximum for this football club and I am looking forward to the new season and helping City challenge at the highest level.” Fans of Barton’s agent Willie McKay will have enjoyed the following part of the official statement: “City spokesman Paul Tyrrell added: ‘We are grateful to Joey’s advisor, Willie McKay, for confirming that he is unwilling to accept any fee in relation to the rôle he has played in Joey negotiating this contract. Some advisors may take a different attitude towards contract re-negotiations but Mr McKay clearly has the best interests of Manchester City and Joey at heart.'” Barton is understood to have doubled his money to £30,000 a week.

Micah’s Mission: How could we ever have doubted him? Micah Richards has signed a new four year deal to stay with City, keeping him at the club until (if my pocket calculator’s working correctly) 2010. That last sentence sounds eerily familiar, but no matter! Micah’s newsweek began with the Daily Mirror apologising for its suggestion that the 18-year-old had asked for a transfer. Next, via the pages of the People newspaper came word that West Ham United was about to bid (gulp) £9 million for the lad. I must confess, dear reader that a number of Barrie family members thought that we should snap up Pardew’s money and run. Shame on you, because such speculation was blown out of the water by Tuesday’s announcement. “Various clubs showed an interest but neither Micah, his father or his agent wanted to take him away from this club,” SP said. “When he was given his contract to read he barely looked at it. Instead he made it crystal clear that all he wanted to do was play for his football here.” Chairman John Wardle was pleased at securing the future of a number of young City stars this summer. “People have endlessly speculated about the future of Danny Sturridge, Joey Barton and Micah Richards – all of them have ended the debate once and for all,” he said. “This football club cherishes its young talent, nurtures them and gives them every opportunity to play first-team football.”

Bolton Dig for Cole: This News Summary prides itself on its lack of cynicism, but I venture to point out that Bolton’s Big Sam Allardyce might still be smarting from a rejection by a certain burger munching German? Bear that in mind when reading this extract from Wednesday’s Independent: “Bolton Wanderers are considering a surprise bid for Andrew Cole, who has become unsettled by the arrival of two new strikers at Manchester City. Cole expects next season to be his last and, understandably, does not want to spend it on the bench. He is understood to have held talks with Pearce to try to seek reassurances about where he stands. The striker wants to stay at City, having moved back to the North-west from Fulham because his family were still settled in Cheshire, and is not seeking a move, with Pearce keen to involve him in the club’s coaching set-up. However, Bolton manager, Sam Allardyce, has become aware of the situation and may test City’s resolve to hold on to Cole as he tries to bolster his own forward line.” And just to prove that the Hamann deal hasn’t ruffled feathers at the Reebok, cop for these words from Bolton skipper Kevin Nolan: “If a player doesn’t want to be here, we certainly don’t want him. We want people who are 100 per cent committed and if Hamann was not going to give us that then it was probably a waste of our time.”

Pompey Swap Shop? If you believe some reports this week, Portsmouth want one of our players, and we want one of theirs. Striker Lomana LuaLua sounds like he’s on the way out of Fratton Park, while Pompey are supposed to be making a bid for Sylvain Distin. Despite having four strikers in the squad, City were again linked with the DR Congo player, with West Ham apparently also in the frame. “The board have made it impossible for me to stay. They alone are responsible for this situation,” LuaLua told the News of the World. “I came here four years ago, played my part in keeping us up and now it’s over. It’s not my fault, the club will have to take the cash and sell me on.” Elsewhere, Portsmouth are reportedly closing in on a deal for Distin. The People claim a £3.5 million deal could be completed this week, with City ready to cash in on the defender who has yet to sign a new contract. Money is not a problem for Pompey with new owner Alexandre Gaydamak set to bankroll a summer spree, but so far Redknapp has had difficulty in tempting new faces to Fratton Park. And despite losing the captaincy and being pushed to a squad number of 15, SP is sure that Distin will soon sign his new City deal. “We don’t want to sell Sylvain,” said Pearce. “We want him to stay as he is an extremely good player. With Joey and Micah signing new deals and five new players coming in, hopefully that will push Sylvain in the right direction. We would like Sylvain to be part of what we are trying to build here. Certainly Joey and Micah feel as though this club has a bright future – and so do I. We are now equipped to have a bash at the Premiership and a cup competition as well.” Yet hardly were the words out of Psycho’s lips than another club revealed its interest in the centre half – Middlesbrough chief executive Keith Lamb stated that his club have tabled a £4 million bid for Sylvain Distin. “We have made an offer for Distin. City said it would be considered and I’ve heard nothing since,” confirmed Lamb.

Will Hermann Muster a City Bid? Could City be keen on Hermann Hreidarsson? The Charlton Athletic defender is entering the last year of his contract at The Valley, and reports suggest the Blues are lining up an offer in the region of £1 million for the 32-year-old Icelander. But his agent Olafur Gardarsson insists he has not heard of any offers for his client although he believes the Addicks have been contacted. “Hermann is happy, he is happy at the club and he has one year left on his current deal,” he said. “We have heard there have been offers, but the club has not said anything. Hermann is an ambitious player, he has a lot of ambition but he is not worried. He likes the look of the new manager and thinks he is very good, indeed the club have said that they will be looking to open talks over a new contract.”

Canaries Swooping: There are plenty of reports this week suggesting that Lee Croft was on his way to Norwich City. In fact, the ever accurate Daily Mirror suggested on Wednesday that the winger had already been snapped up by the Championship side, for a fee of £800,000. This was swiftly denied by the Canaries, although Thursday’s press suggested that City had accepted an offer for the 21-year-old, and the player was pondering the move. Norwich boss Nigel Worthington had commented that: “A big centre forward is the No.1 target but the wide right situation is something we would like to try and add to the group.”

Ex-Blues’ News

The Big, Big Boss: Niall Quinn’s attire will be something to behold this week – apart from his oft sung about disco pants, Big Niall now has two hats to wear as well. After announcing his consortium had bought a controlling stake in the Sunderland earlier this month, it was reported that Niall would be made Chairman of the club, but his unsuccessful quest for a top manager forced the new boys at the Stadium of Light to take a dramatic decision – Chairman Niall is now Manager Niall as well. It sounds like his reign may yet be shortlived, however. Quinn admitted: “If it takes three months to get to a point where we can bring in a new manager then great, I will gladly walk away.” He’s been frustrated in his attempts to fill the rôle, with moves for former Celtic boss Martin O’Neill and Bolton manager Sam Allardyce both coming to nothing. He said: “When I was in full flow with the club three months ago, becoming manager is not something I thought I would be doing. But it has transpired that way, even though the group who are backing me could not have been more ambitious in trying to attract a world-class manager. What happened is that we decided we would try to attempt the first hurdle because what we have to do is try to stop the slide, to turn the corner. We have to gather momentum, and then to lift it so that we get to a point where I can pick the phone up, go to a world-class manager and hopefully with the position we are then in, say to him ‘come now’.” Quinn has appointed Bobby Saxton as his assistant – Saxton was on Peter Reid’s staff at both City and Sunderland. Quinn has also confirmed that he is fully qualified to coach in the Coca-Cola Championship as he took his badges at a Football Association of Ireland coaching course.

Pre-Season Tour: Reactions and Comments

Spotland Spot of Bother: On Saturday City continued their pre-season form of giving a lower league team a sporting chance – last week Wrexham benefited from some City generosity to snatch a draw, this time Rochdale were recipients of some largess by the Blues. Just to make it interesting, City gave Rochdale a two goal start within the first 12 minutes. Georgios Samaras continued his good goalscoring form, as he curled one in just before half time. A brace of second half penalties converted by Joey Barton and Paul Dickov saw City complete the fightback. The gaffer pronounced himself contented with outcome: “We were expected to win here today and maybe we should have done that a bit more comfortably than we did, but credit to them they did well today, so I was quite pleased. Most of my seniors that I wanted to had 70 minutes today. Still, the passing is not as good as we want and we gave the ball away too cheaply. The fitness is coming and that’s what is pleasing and also coming out of the game with no injuries.”

Vale Trail in City’s Wake: At last, City had a nice, easy and successful pre-season friendly. The venue was Stoke-on-Trent, and Port Vale were the recipients of a 3-goal first half hiding from the Blues (City also had the honour of being watched by your Humble News Editor and Master Editor Jr., who was there as part of his twelfth birthday treat. We were half a dozen yards from Mr. Barton as he kissed his badge after scoring his first goal – someone should tell Mr.B. that that gesture is often performed by insincere money-grabbing football types, but I digress). A Joey Barton hat-trick inside the first 45 minutes meant that City had the luxury of introducing numerous reserves and youth team graduates for the second period. A happy SP said: “After we’d shipped too many goals in the previous two games, I was very pleased we didn’t concede any goals or too many chances. I think we played a lot better with a high tempo and I was thoroughly pleased tonight with everyone’s contribution from the oldest to the youngest.” Barton’s performance left his manager beaming. “To score a hat-trick at any level at any time is a great achievement,” said Pearce. “You have to give Joey a lot of credit, he has bags of energy and got into the box on regular occasions. As I have said many times before, I see Joey as a major asset for this club. That is why we offered him a new contract when he still had 18 months of his existing one to run.”

Squad News

Feel the Bern: Last week’s signing Bernardo Corradi has begun training with his new teammates and wants to prove himself in England. “I hope that I have the possibility to show what I can do and for this I am working so hard,” Corradi told Sky Sports News. “I started yesterday to train. Only by working hard can I arrive to do something good. Since I was 15-years-old I had the desire to come to England because this is for me the best way to think and to live football because people come to the stadium to watch and support the team and they are behind you at every time and every moment,” he added. “I lived in Spain and I played in Spain, but I am here like a child, to live everything and to know everything about this kind of football.”

Don Barrie <news(at)>


Three goals again but a clean sheet and a much better performance from the Blues tonight. The Barton and Richards contract sagas are now resolved and both started tonight. The starting line-up was: Weaver, Mills, Dunne, Richards, Thatcher, Sinclair, Dabo, Barton, Miller, Samaras, and Dickov. The game was full of incident from the start, with Samaras putting a header over after just two minutes. Port Vale responded within a couple of minutes with a shot just past the post and then City had a free kick turned behind for a corner. Dickov collected a throw-in and, with a great turn, set up Barton but his shot hit the roof of the stand rather than the roof of the net. However, he made amends on 8 minutes. A strong run by Miller allowed Thatcher to cross to the far post. Sinclair met the ball on the bye-line and centred for Barton, who had a fairly simple tap-in to make it 1-0.

The end-to-end action continued with a mistake by Dabo letting in Port Vale in a dangerous position but Weaver saved with his legs. Then Thatcher set up Miller, who had a great run on goal but shot well over. On 20 minutes a stunning cross-field ball fell to Samaras in the area but the ‘keeper just whipped it off his toes. City were well on top now and some great inter-play set up Sinclair in a good position but he failed to make the most of the opportunity with an indifferent cross. It was a similar story three minutes later when he displayed some fancy footwork to live up to his “Tricky” nickname. He made space for a cross but again couldn’t find a City player.

Port Vale had a bit of pressure but they shot well wide then Dunne cleared a dangerous cross. Weaver cleared the ball a couple of minutes later and Samaras headed on. Under pressure from Dickov, a Port Vale defender passed back to his ‘keeper. City were given a free kick and Dickov took it quickly whilst Port Vale were arguing and sorting themselves out. He played the ball back to Barton who had another easy finish for 2-0. The Port Vale players were not happy with the referee but credit to Dickov for some quick thinking. It was one way traffic now and the Blues were playing with confidence and dash. On 35 minutes there was a battle for the ball on the halfway line, which Barton won. Another superb interchange of passes ended with Samaras having a shot saved from a tight angle. Sinclair then did find Samaras on the edge of the box with a pinpoint cross and he cleverly headed the ball forward to Dickov but he didn’t read it well enough. Samaras was in the thick of the action again, with a shot blocked by the legs of a Vale defender.

Vale relieved the pressure momentarily with a couple of wasted half-chances but City struck back in lethal style. Miller played a great through ball to Dickov, who held it up superbly before playing it to Sinclair coming in from the right. Tricky Trev played the ball to Barton who smartly skipped away from his marker and fired in joyfully from 8 yards. 3-0 and his hat trick – what a way to celebrate the new contract! The half-time whistle came as a relief to Port Vale as City had been totally dominant for the vast majority of the first 45 minutes and, more importantly, had made sure the score reflected this.

For the second half, Hart, Ireland, and Jordan replaced Weaver, Barton, and Richards. City continued where they left off and good work from Dabo freed Sinclair down the right. Another dazzling series of passes set up Dickov but his shot was narrowly wide. The game quietened down a bit but City were still moving the ball confidently and switching the play from wing to wing very well. Sturridge replaced Samaras on 55 minutes and then City seemed content to sit back, absorb some pressure and play on the break. On 64 minutes Port Vale had only their second shot on target. It was hit strongly but straight at Hart, who collected comfortably. Dickov then blotted his copybook with another nasty looking tackle similar to the incident on Saturday at Rochdale. It was unnecessary from the little man, whose contribution up to then had been very positive. Cut it out Dicky!

With about 20 minutes to go there was a mass substitution, with Flood, Logan, Etuhu, Johnson, and Williamson replacing Dunne, Dickov, Miller, Dabo, and Thatcher. There were two more incidents of note – the first being a good run and shot from Johnson, which was well-saved and the other being the realisation that City had two number 15’s out there. Was Graham Poll doing the kit? The game fizzled out and the main entertainment was provided by the fans. A chorus of “If you hate Stoke City clap your hands” got the Port Vale fans going and then the whistle went and it was a dash back home on the M6 and on the computer.

They have clearly been working on passing over the last few days and it showed. After Saturday’s laboured performance, they were moving the ball accurately and quickly, over long and short distances. This was in great contrast to the “aimless hoof upfield” style of last season and hoofer-in-chief, Danny Mills was a particular revelation. If this is the result of Steve Wigley’s coaching then we could well be in for a less disappointing season than last.

Player Assessments

Weaver 7. Not much to do but none of the uncertainty he showed at Rochdale.
Mills 9. Superb. Strong defensively and distribution was infinitely better. This is more like it.
Dunne 8. A typically strong performance.
Richards 7. Another effective display.
Thatcher 8. Was also strong defensively and combined well with Miller.
Dabo 6. Took him a while to settle in but found his feet with some good passing.
Sinclair 6. A busy and effective night for him but crossing could have been better.
Barton 9. Outstanding. He should sign a new contract before every game.
Miller 8. Strong and direct. We should see more of him this season.
Samaras 6. Worked hard and showed off some skills but should study Dickov for lessons in how to hold the ball and use it effectively.
Dickov 8. Typical Dicky. Worked his socks off, held the ball up well and created chances for others. However, another silly tackle left a sour taste.
Hart 7. Looked good when he did anything and dominated his area well.
Ireland 6. Couldn’t compare to Barton but did OK.
Jordan 7. Did well in unfamiliar central defensive rôle.
Sturridge 6. Not quite as spectacular as at Rochdale but often looked dangerous.
Of the others, Johnson and Etuhu, stood out, while Logan was typically busy and lively.

Colin Savage <colin(at)>


Now that Chelsea are staging a garage sale of past stars (Damien Duff £5 million quid to Newcastle, Wayne Bridge available for £1 million) why doesn’t City sell Distin to Middlesbrough for the £5 million they have offered and make a pitch for SWP?

He has already been given a one month ultimatum, which is totally unfair and he’s likely to end up with Tottenham or Newcastle otherwise, so why don’t City jump in and grab him back? Imagine SWP on the right side with the current line-up, deadly on current form; they should be able to get him for one hell of a lot less than they sold him for. And if Damien Duff can go to Chelsea for £17 million and be resold to Newcastle for £5 million, anything is possible.

Keith Sharp <keith(at)>


Why are City fans raising questions about the number of strikers that Stuart Pearce suddenly has at his disposal? Have they already forgotten why we went out to West Ham in last season’s FA Cup?

I know many Blues have gone into whinge overdrive this summer but criticising the manager for adding depth to the squad really does take the biscuit.

With all these expert psychologists in football nowadays, I think City should have hired one to deliver season tickets alongside a course of therapy to induce some positive thinking.

I normally look forward to this newsletter but all it seems to have done this summer is depress me. I hope all these pessimists have sorted their heads out by August 20 because I’m not sure I can bear to be in the same stadium anymore.

Mike Holden <mike(at)>


I recently purchased 2 new home shirts from City’s online store at £39.99 each. One for myself and my teenage son, which totalled £79.98.I understand that buying direct from the Club allows profits to go towards the Club’s Academy.

While visiting a sports outlet in Aberdeen, the same shirts were on sale at the price of £27.99. If I had purchased the shirts from the store at £55.96, I could have saved myself £24.03.

Does anyone know how much of the profit from sales go into the Academy? I find it hard to understand how the price in the local sports shop in Aberdeen is a lot cheaper than from the Club itself.

Ian Bell <Kylsandra(at)>


An article in The Times this week gave an all-time league table dating back to the start of the English League. City came in a disappointing 17th position. Here’s the top 20:


It’s well worth taking a look at the article in the Times.

Peter Carlisle <Carlisle(at)>


It’s reported that Randy Lerner, the owner of the American NFL team Cleveland Browns, has shown interest in Aston Villa.

What I would like to see is the owner of the Miami Dolphins, Wayne Huizenga, make a move for MCFC. Mr Huizenga has previously owned the Florida Marlins (Baseball) and Florida Panthers (ice hockey), and has won a championship with both teams.

Mr Huizenga is a brilliant businessman who owns Blockbuster Video Rentals, and a big used car business called Auto Nation. His wealth is in excess of $1.8 billion. It is obvious that he likes sports, being the only man to have owned 3 teams at once in the USA.

What a great competition it would be; the owner of Tampa Bay Glazer MUFC versus the owner of the Miami Dolphins as the owner of MCFC?

Would it be too much to ask Mr Wayne Huizenga if he would be interested? I think he is the kind of person that likes a challenge, and loves sports.

Come on you Blues.

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


I haven’t posted on MCIVTA for quite a while now although I still read the zine. A couple of points in answer to a question and a question to pose.

Someone asked is there a place to get a City tattoo done? I had mine done at the Village Tattooist on Ashton New Road. It is a stylised version of the official club crest but with flames coming out of the eagle’s mouth and flames around the stars. Cost, if I remember correctly, £55 and took about an hour to do.

The question I would like answering in return is this: does anyone have the address or details of a supporters’ club on Malta? We were there last week and met a guy who is a true Blue in exile. He would really like to know if there are any other Blues on the island and if there is a proper club. I have been told that City are very popular on Malta and that there is a very staunch Blue contingent over there.

Dave Cash <Vanda_David(at)>


I just wanted to let everyone know about a regular programme showing City on ‘Channel M’. The programme is called ‘Inside City’ and is on every Thursday at 10:00pm and repeated over the next few days.

Not sure of the channel details of the other providers, but it’s on channel 26 on NTL. Thursday’s programme is showing highlights from the 3 friendlies so far.

A big thanks to Geoff Donkin for letting me know about it and Mrs W for reminding me it was on.

Tony Ward <anthony.ward(at)>


For those who like me can’t get across to the City games in China next month but live in Asia, all the tournament games are being shown live in Thailand (on ESPN or Star I think) and therefore it’s a fair bet that they will also be shown in neighbouring countries.

Peter Carlisle <Carlisle(at)>

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Newsletter #1245