Newsletter #1250

James has today completed his transfer to Portsmouth, and Isaksson trained with the Blues at Carrington so hopefully the Is are dotted and Ts crossed and we are merely awaiting formal confirmation of his joining us.

We have a report tonight on the Porto friendly, which ended up in our losing the coveted Thomas Cook trophy. Colin points out some worrying flaws to the game as we look to the start of the season and our visit to Chelsea.

We also have opinion on the pre-season, formations, new signings and the usual requests together with a mini Why Blue. Any more for any more?

Next game: Chelsea, away, 4pm Sunday 20 August 2006


This was our third defence of the Thomas Cook trophy and the previous three games had all been pretty good. However, there is an exception to every rule and this was it.

The previous two domestic friendlies against Port Vale and Bradford had been very encouraging but this was back down to earth with a violent bump as the Blues turned in one of the direst displays I have seen for some time. Forget the nonsense from SP that this was a display he was pleased with. If he was, then he must be the only one as we seemed unable to string two passes together all afternoon. This performance must bring into question the wisdom of flying halfway round the world to play two pointless games in China just before the start of the season as it would appear that the players have come back in body but their football abilities appear to have been sent on a different plane to somewhere else.

In slight mitigation there was an unbalanced line-up with Weaver in goal, Onuoha, Distin, Richards, and Thatcher in defence, a midfield of Dabo, Barton and Reyna, with Samaras out on the left and Vassell and Corradi up-front. It wasn’t clear whether it was 4-3-3 or 4-4-2 but whatever it was it didn’t work at all. There were a few early flurries from City with Vassell and Samaras coming closest. The latter should have done far better with an earlier clear header, which didn’t even head goalwards. After that the game settled into a nondescript pattern that involved some neat passing but little threat from Porto and a completely aimless and artless display from City. It was so tedious that it was a struggle to keep my eyes open and it would have been more appropriate to have renamed the game the Valium Trophy. The boredom was broken just before the break when Adriano headed home decisively from a corner.

The second half was just a couple of minutes old when Samaras had a decent chance. He elected for placement rather than power but his shot hit the post. As far as incident was concerned that was pretty well it until very late on. There were a number of substitutions, one of which produced an amazing incident. There was apparently no electronic board for signalling substitutions and added minutes and the officials had to make do with cards with numbers on. Both Porto and City were ready to make a change and Porto made theirs using the boards. The announcer then said that Miller would be coming on for Vassell, but there were no boards. Vassell didn’t move and the announcer repeated it. Vassell then moved but to everyone’s astonishment Reyna ran off the field, past a bemused Vassell. A couple of minutes later Dickov came on for Vassell, to great applause and the little man quickly got stuck in as only he can. He looked our biggest threat and forced the Porto ‘keeper to save with his legs late on.

There really wasn’t one player who you could say had a reasonable game. Distin was probably the best of the bunch and got forward a bit but even Joey Barton wasn’t up to his usual standard. The ‘keepers (Hart replaced Weaver after an hour) did OK but both had a “David James” moment when slicing clearances. Onuoha was as clueless on the ball as ever and Reyna has been clearly watching too many Ray Wilkins videos. The home debutants, Dabo and Corradi were both largely anonymous, in contrast to very good displays at Port Vale and Bradford respectively. Samaras was particularly frustrating, with his constant inability to hold the ball up and use it effectively. Vassell looked sharp but the intention must surely be to play him off a target man (Corradi or Cole) and he rarely got the service he needed. Hopefully we will have a better balanced team who will be much more up for it next Sunday.

Colin Savage <colin(at)>


Well after that I’m not sure at all what’s going to happen this season.

At the back, one thing that’s for sure, if Thatcher is ahead of Jordan in the selection stakes then we’re in deep trouble. Indeed, SP’s playing of Thatcher and Mills pre-season is a huge worry. Both are incompetent. Both dither and both have failure modes, which other teams will exploit. Then there’s Distin who looks like he couldn’t give ‘a stuff’. I’m both sad and glad that James has gone because he has played well for us in the time he was here. But then again he never got us a single draw or win that we didn’t deserve last season – yes, he stopped the odd cricket score against us but it seemed that he needed a goal to go in before he woke up and some of his positioning was questionable, especially the number of goals he conceded at his near post.

In midfield, we have not been consistent in our selection. So how can Dabo and Hamman gain an understanding? Also the lack of pace and ability down the flanks is very worrying. I hope SP is reading this because we need to buy a player with pace, skill, and flair that can operate down the flanks (preferably the left flank).

The only good thing is up front where Corradi looks to be a great buy. Though Samaras and Vassell have to get closer to his knockdowns or we’ll be forever giving the ball away.

I have to say I fear a season of struggle. Especially as the team doesn’t look to have any confidence (like last pre-season) and the fixture list is a little unkind to start with.

Richard Mottershead <richardjohnm(at)>


The final test of the pre-season ended in a 0-1 lose to Porto, who gave City a good game and final exercise before the first league game versus Chelsea. This was the pre-season game I was hoping that City would win, but I’ve stated before that pre-season results do not matter, it’s always how individual players perform and stay fit.

It was a game that Stuart Pearce could not present his full Manchester City team for the season, due to some players having minor injuries; SP was right not to risk them in a friendly game.

Up to now I think that Stuart Pearce has been nothing less than brilliant in his pre-season transfers. Of course, all the players have got to prove to us all now that SP was right in having faith in them.

Letting David James (who has been excellent for City) go, and to bring in Andreas Isaksson, the Swedish International goalkeeper, has been a shrewd bit of business by SP, who is bit by bit making this Manchester City his team.

Just going to make my last comment on Sylvain Distin: if he stays with City without signing an extended contract, I have no fears that he will give his best, if not just for City but to showcase himself.

I still do not think that we are quite ready for the new season, but have no doubts that we will do better than last season. Not sure that our squad is big enough yet, but then we must not forget all the young talent just waiting to show us all that they are ready.

Whilst most of us have been focused on what our favourite club have been doing getting ready for the new season, we must not forget that all the other teams have been doing the same, so competition will not be easy.

I keep my faith in Stuart Pearce who I feel will get us into Europe, as long as Lady Luck looks down on us regarding keeping our key players fit.

Team spirit, passion, commitment for City: Stuart Pearce will deliver the goods.

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


Several years ago it was understood by a lot of people that by now the England ‘keepers’ positions would be filled by Nicky Weaver and Richard Wright. That theory went out the window when about six months ago they both faced each other in a reserve match, with none of them having played first team football in a long time.

I read today then David James could be leaving City and the next piece of news I read is the England squad. There are three ‘keepers chosen: Robinson, Kirkland, and Foster. Now if I was Nicky Weaver I can see no better incentive to make the number one spot at City his own as he is then on his way to claiming the England position as was foreseen not all that long ago.

City have also signed, to the dismay of my Ajax season ticket holder colleagues, Trabelsi. This could be a major signing for us as he is as good as Ashley Cole according to my Dutch mates and has captained his national team. Only problem is, if he is as good as we think, why City? No one else made a bid yet not long ago he was on the wanted list of every top club in Europe. A few people here think he is too good for us; fine by me if he is and he can take on the Premiership’s best.

Looking forward to a good season and have tickets and flights booked for the West Ham home game.

Bob Price <bob.price(at)>


Just thought I would send a few thoughts in after watching the Porto game. First, the football: not massively impressed with the display. Samaras was positioned wide for most of the match and not very effective. Generally no real width in the play or movement of the ball down the wings, which is a little worrying. Not sure as yet who could provide this attacking option. Corradi had a few good touches and Micah Richards had a decent game. Not a great deal to shout about. I am eager to see how Distin responds if he does not ship out, he seems disinterested at the moment. Another point of interest was the recent sale of Willo Flood; I watched him at the Wrexham match and he performed superbly. I think selling him may well prove to be a mistake, I also see a certain Lee Croft got off the mark on Saturday!

Congratulations to City for the new LIVE4CITY campaign, which seems like a good deal for the youngsters. Which takes me to my last point about the Porto match. Well done to Moonchester for providing the best entertainment on the day. My two daughters were in fits of laughter watching him in the top of the empty stands. He was directing play and doing a good SP impression. They actually met him at half time, made their day! They are only 4 and 6!

Ian Richardson <kinkladze(at)>


I disapprove of what you are saying but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

I usually agree with the above statement, which was attributed to Voltaire or someone like that but my patience is wearing a bit thin. The season hasn’t started yet and already the manager, chairman and board have been criticised in contributions to MCIVTA and then I read MCIVTA 1247 and James Walsh’s article criticising Channel M.

Dear me, I for one am glad to receive news and footage of the Blues in any format or quality: VHS, Betamax, super 8, black & white, silent, I don’t care. So, Channel M keep it coming please, I think it’s great!

David Sterrett <blueds(at)>


I am in a long standing feud with one of those ‘people’ from Teeside. I believe God named them Middlesbrough ‘fans’. I am sick of him digging me about the superiority of his club. Lest it be said he now lives in Manchester and the only game he attended last season was the semi and final of the UEFA cup, for whom we can blame Fowler. I cannot even be bothered retorting to his ‘council house’ provocations any longer. Or his Man Utd ‘Citeh’ jibes – boring and obvious.

To even coin a phrase that our so called ‘neighbours’ have tagged us with is telling of ‘Boro’s inferiority in itself. I mean, United they wish to be but. The very fact his town has no identity, and whose nearest affiliation with anything resembling real or human is Yorkshire makes me chortle with the arrogance beyond words. ‘They are the best supported club per head’ he reckons! And why is that? Is it because their nearest rivals are at least 40 miles away? You’d hope so, there’s no-one to divide loyalties.

We know about them shouting United all game when the play us, and the Tiatto disallowed goal, or having Southgate as a manager etc. Now, this is where you come in. I want hard facts. Dirty, below the belt and nose-rubbing filthy facts on ‘the Boro’.

Please email me with the reasons you hate Middlesbrough so much – so I can compile a nice little email to him. He’ll like that won’t he, old smoggers?

Come now. You too can join in.

Up the Blues.

Joel Perry <j.perry(at)>


I just got sent my International Citycard in the post. In the envelope was another international Citycard for a Ms. Desire Veenboer (customer number 1163632). I called the club ticket line and got put through to 4 different departments who each claimed it was not their responsibility. If anybody knows Ms. Veenboer – or if she herself is a McVittee subscriber – I will gladly send her card through the post from Dublin.

I was very unimpressed by the customer services at MCFC and the entire process cost me a small fortune in international phone calls.

Joe O’Doherty <joeodoherty(at)>


I’m taking some mates to watch City vs. West Ham on Sat 23rd Sept and then out for a night in Oldham. Trouble is one of them is a Leeds fan and insists on going to watch Leeds that day. Does anyone know someone who can get him back to Manchester or Oldham after the Leeds game that day?!

Alan Frost <Alan.Frost(at)>


It’s back by popular demand. The all new Manchester City Supporters’ Annual Gentlemen’s Morning.

Takes place on Saturday 14th October prior to the home game vs. Sheffield United.

Venue: Heaton Park Social Club (15 mins from Eastlands), 10am start.

All the usual fun and games, music and sing-a-long with the one and only Oz. MC James H Reeve. Top comedian. Starring 3 brand new Go-Go girls.

Tickets £7.50; buy 10 get 1 free. Make sure you don’t miss out, book you tickets now.

Ring Don Price on 0161 798 9994 or Aide Dickson on 0779 1538656.

Don Price <pwblues(at)>


I hate to say it but my family were “Reds”; then I met my husband to be in 1960, he went to all City’s matches with his father, uncles and cousins, all true Blues. He lived near the ground, so if I wanted to be with him on a Saturday, I followed the crowd to Maine Road.

My family were not impressed but I became a City fan. I have been a fan ever since, through some pretty dour times as we all know with City. My sons, daughters-in-law and six grandchildren are all “Blues”; as my late father-in-law said once, once you become a Blues’ fan, it’s stamped into you like a stick of rock, it goes on forever. How true.

Denise Thomas <denisethomas2(at)>

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Newsletter #1250