Newsletter #1275

Next game: Newcastle United, home, 12.45pm Saturday 11 November 2006


General News

San Marino Beckons… Both Richard Dunne and Stephen Ireland have been restored to the Republic of Ireland squad. The Irish face San Marino in a Euro 2008 qualifier on November 15 – Dunnie returns after missing last month’s 1-1 draw with the Czech Republic through suspension. Injury stopped Stephen’s appearance in that match, but his return to fitness means he returns to his nation’s squad.

Pontins Boys are Happy Campers: The Pontin’s League Second XI scored a rare and welcome victory this week. Goals from Ian Daly and Ashley Grimes saw the Young Blues to a 2-0 victory over Carlisle United. Coach Gregor Rioch commented: “It was good win for us, we had five or six first year scholars playing and Carlisle had a few more experienced players than us, but our fitness told towards the end. I’d like us to start the games a bit better through strength, but we have done better the longer the games have gone in every match so far. All in all I’m very pleased with the performance, especially with us putting a different team out again after a break of a few weeks.”
Team: Matthewson, Ramsey (Tsiaklis 77), Morris, Michael Daly, Nathan D’Laryea, Williamson, Laird, Williams, Daly (Poole 83), Grimes, Weiss. Unused subs: Hartley, McGivern.

Transfer News and Gossip

Fantastic Four Sought: The Boss has revealed that he’d like to strengthen his squad in four positions – sadly, he didn’t say which positions, nor did he say which players he’d like. “I’ve got a priority on four positions in our team that I think we can strengthen and that probably won’t change between now and the window and now and the end of the season,” said Pearce. Presumably Psycho won’t have much if any money to spend, so goodness only knows the quality of players he’ll be grabbing on this spending ‘spree’.

Is Mills a Wise Man? Don’t answer that! There’s been a number of stories concerning Danny Mills this week – all of them suggest Mills is staying away from the COMS, although whether it’s a permanent thing remains to be seen. First we heard SP confirming that he’ll be holding talks with Hull City over a possible extension to Mills’ loan deal at the KC Stadium. “I saw Phil Parkinson recently and he suggested that might be the case,” said Pearce. “So I’ll speak with Danny and with Phil over the next week. I think he’s due back on the 17th or 18th, so we’ll have a chat then and see what all parties would prefer to do and come out with some sort of solution.” Next came word that new Leeds United boss Dennis Wise wanted to take Mills back to Elland Road. The Daily Mail said that the loan deal with Hull had alerted Wise who wants more grit in his team and believes the 29-year-old former England defender can help provide it. Some reports claim that Mills is still receiving wages from Leeds from his first stint in West Yorkshire under the terms of his exit after the club’s well-publicised fall from grace, having featured in the Champions’ League semi-final in 2001. Next we had reports from East Anglia suggesting that Mills’ first club, Norwich City, were also sniffing around the full-back. His agent Neil Featherby said however: “We had a couple of meetings last week, but no one has approached me from Norwich. Danny’s still on loan at Hull and things have gone very well there. Phil Parkinson is pushing to take Danny for a third month.” He added: “There has been interest from a number of Championship clubs, including two big clubs, since Danny started playing again, but I haven’t spoken to Norwich.”

Young for Old: Newcastle are apparently joining Portsmouth in the race to sign City’s former skipper Sylvain Distin. The Magpies hope to capitalise on the fact that Distin is out of contract next summer to land him for a knock-down fee in January. Although City have offered to make him one of the highest-paid players in the club’s history, Distin has refused to sign a new deal – losing the club captaincy as a result. Distin has played for the Geordies before, in a loan spell on Tyneside in the 2001/02 season. Could SP be pondering a replacement for Distin from North London? The gaffer could apparently ponder a move for Spurs giant central defender Anthony Gardner when the window opens in January. Tottenham face a struggle to keep hold of Gardner when the transfer window opens as a lack of first team action has led to him apparently considering his options. Gardner almost left White Hart Lane in the summer for Charlton Athletic but an injury to Spurs skipper Ledley King put the deal on hold. The former Port Vale man has slipped right down the pecking order at the club this season as their boss Martin Jol has preferred to use the youngsters and the only appearance Gardner has made was in the Carling Cup. A fee of £2 million might tempt Jol into parting with the player.

An Innocent Abroad: Sky Sports’ website has revived a seemingly defunct piece of tittle tattle this week, when it quoted Marseille starlet Samir Nasri as claiming that City and Tottenham are keen to bring him to the Premiership. The 19-year-old is regarded as one of Europe’s hottest properties and has been attracting a host of interest, but claims City and Spurs have already been in touch. “Chairman Pape Diouf told me Manchester City were interested in me. I love the English mentality,” Nasri said. “Tottenham are a big club, they nearly reached the Champions’ League last season. They play beautiful football. But my agent didn’t tell me about it, because I have to stay focused on the pitch. I have been playing with the pros since 3 years now, and I know everybody. I feel very comfortable because I have kept a part of innocence.”

What’s the Slory? Thanks to Bob Price for alerting me to this Dutch tale. Bob writes: “Bit of a rumour from the Algemene Dagblad, my morning newspaper. Andwele Slory, a striker for Excelsior has attracted the attention of City. He is transfer free at the end of the season but Feyenoord have an option on him. He is 24 and has scored 5 goals this season.” Bob’s note sent me checking the footie news websites, which suggested that Slory had pace, and can play down either wing. “I think that the football in the United Kingdom is something that interests me,” he told AD. “But there is no use in occupying myself with that now.”

Ex-Blues’ News

Chris Makes a Killen: It must have been a quiet newsweek in Deansgate, because the M.E.N. tracked down and spoke to the Scottish Premier League’s highest scorer. That man is none other than former reserve Chris Killen, who’s banged in 8 goals for Hibernian this season. Killen made a handful of appearances as a sub for City during the Division One Championship-winning season, then went to Oldham Athletic for what the paper describes as “a chequered three-and-a-half years” (does that mean he was rubbish?). “Things were going stale at Oldham and it was probably the right time to move on,” he said. “There had been some interest from Hibs before so I decided to give it a go. A lot of people write off the league up here because they only think about Celtic and Rangers. And before I joined Hibs I never realised how intense the Edinburgh derby games were. They’re certainly a bit different than Oldham against Stockport or Bury. But they’re great games to be involved in and I’m really enjoying my football again. There’s a great set-up here, just like a Premiership club and, after the problems at Oldham, it’s a refreshing change.” Any chance of a return to the Blues? “Next time you speak to Stuart tell him to give me a call!” joked Killen. “My contract is up at the end of the season and I would have no hesitation in staying. But at the same time I want to further my career and, if a bigger club came in for me, I’d have to consider it.”

Dibbs Dibs Coventry: Coventry City have named Andy Dibble as their new goalkeeping coach. The 41-year-old, who spent almost a decade at MCFC during his playing career, had been working as the goalkeeping coach at Accrington Stanley. Coventry boss Micky Adams told the club’s official website: “Andy has a wealth of experience working at the highest level of football and I’m sure that knowledge will be an asset to us. I’m delighted he’s agreed to join us and I’m sure both Andy Marshall and Rafa Robles will benefit from working with him.”

Ball’s Spin: I’m grateful to Sebastian Harvey, who was inspired to write about Alan Ball’s recent attempt to put himself in the frame for the job of New Zealand’s national coach. He suggests that our former genius Supremo maybe needed to do a bit more research before giving his opinions (so no change there then, methinks). Sebastian writes: “I read your story on Alan Ball with some amusement. His comments about the Kiwi spirit are accurate. However, if he really did his homework he would know that only two (that’s right – 2!) of the squad members are from NZ. All the others are imports of questionable quality. If he really wants the job for those reasons his first task might be to ditch at least half the squad and recruit some locals.”

Reactions and Comments

Blues Bent Out of Shape: City’s generosity knows no bounds, Part 412. Charlton recorded only their second Premiership win of the season, thanks to Darren Bent’s goal and goalkeeper Scott Carson’s outstanding display. Bent connected with Jerome Thomas’ exquisite cross to send a deft glancing header into the bottom corner. Then a combination of superb ‘keeping from Carson, and a large portion of luck, helped Charlton keep out City. Carson made breathtaking stops to deny Georgios Samaras and Bernardo Corradi, while Hatem Trabelsi hit the post. As the BBC match report put it – “It was one of those days for City, who probably would not have scored had the goals been the size of a county.” So let’s try to be positive – City didn’t concede four goals, like at Wigan, and were a touch unlucky. The views of the Boss? “We’re disappointed to come away with nothing again but we need to convert our chances and get our noses in front on the road. If we had done that today we would probably have won comfortably but to be fair Charlton defended well. It was typical of our luck when Hatem Trabelsi’s shot hit the inside of a post and bounced to the ‘keeper. We created a lot of chances, to be honest with you, but credit to Charlton – they got some great blocks from one or two of our set-plays,” Pearce continued. “When they didn’t get the blocks in, the post helped them out on a couple of occasions. We’re disappointed. We felt as though we deserved to get something out of the game, if not win the game. We’re more disappointed because this result gets bolted on to a bad run of results on the road. I thought we needed a little poacher of a goal, and that would have done us nicely today, but we didn’t get that. I think the players deserved more than what they got.” Pearce was disappointed with the way they conceded Bent’s headed goal in the first half. “I thought we let the lad (Jerome Thomas) get the ball in to start with, and then from there, one of our defenders had lost Bent,” he added. “To be fair over the years, you cannot afford to do that because he’s got a great goal-scoring record. Someone who’s got six goals for one of the teams in the bottom three of the league speaks volumes in itself.”

Sinc-Cere Apologies: Trevor Sinclair offered his sympathies to the far-travelling, long-suffering City support. “It’s really disappointing when we lose a game like that, we understand what the fans are feeling. There were more than 2,000 of them here, and Charlton is a really difficult place to get to. I had friends here as well, and I totally sympathise with them. It’s particularly disappointing when we create chances like we did against Charlton but that’s something we can take from the game. We bossed the game at times and we have to take that effort into the Newcastle match.”

Dowie’s Not Dour: Charlton manager Iain Dowie was this week’s ‘Manager Under Pressure’, so was mighty relived at his team’s victory. “We played well for 70 minutes and caused them no end of problems but when we started sniffing the victory we invited pressure on ourselves,” he said. “Luckily we got through it and it is a big relief. After the good result at Newcastle last week we needed to reaffirm things and I think we did. This result is a big boost for us and I am very pleased. I am very proud of the side. We had an excellent first-half but did tail off a bit as the result got closer, which invited City to come at us and they were very dangerous at the set pieces,” said the former Crystal Palace manager. “We defended as a team. This is a result to build on,” added the former Northern Ireland international striker, who saw his side leapfrog Sheffield United in the table to sit one off the bottom.

Squad News

A Glut of Goalies: It may be hard to remember, but City signed an international goalkeeper in the summer. And SP reported this week that Andreas Isaksson is close to regaining full fitness. “Isaksson started training with us yesterday, albeit we’ll build him up slowly. He is officially fit now, but it’ll just be a case of building him up this week and see if he’s ready for a game in the reserves next week. He’s not been available since we’ve signed him, which is very disappointing for me, it’s the second most amount I’ve ever spent on a player and we’ve not had him available as yet. So despite that disappointment, we hope he’s back fit and we hope he’s back putting pressure on some of the other goalkeepers.” And that could make for a difficult decision for the City boss, bearing in mind Nicky weaver’s current form. “Nicky has been sensational,” he commented. “I feared whether he would come back to the level we needed him to be at. But he proved himself last year in the reserves and was a massive benefit to the young players around him. He got his opportunity this season and has gone from strength to strength both physically and ability wise. The fact he has kept a number of clean sheets already is testament to him.” And Weavs is setting his sights on a new contract with the Blues. “I would love to stay here beyond this season,” Weaver told the club magazine. “I have been in Manchester all my adult life and will have been here 10 years come April. I don’t know much different. I have seen the club in good times and bad. It has been incredibly good to me and of course I want to extend that relationship. I have to convince everyone that I can stay fit and focused and the best way I can do that is to play in the Premiership and keep clean sheets,” he said. “If I do that then hopefully the manager will offer me a new deal.”

Senior Service: Having just clocked up a ton of first team appearances, Joey Barton is now relishing a more responsible rôle within the team. “I’ve racked up a number of appearances now and I wouldn’t class myself as a novice any more,” stated Barton this week. “Week in, week out there are players you could put your house on and say ‘I’m going to get a performance out of them,’ and I’d like to think of myself as one of those players.” And he wants to ease the workload on skipper Richard Dunne. “We’ve got a real leader in Dunnie, but it’s very important that he does not see himself as the sole captain with sole responsibility. It’s down to the more experienced and consistent players to make sure that they are acting like leaders out on the park. He’s the captain of the whole team but I see myself as one of the major influences in midfield, and it’s my responsibility to make sure it is doing its job.”

Europe Here We Come! Paul Dickov reckons that City have yet to reach their full potential this season, and sees no reason why the Blues can’t shoot up that League. “I was involved in the Blackburn squad last season that qualified for Europe and there is just as much, if not more, ability here at Man City than there was at Blackburn,” Dickov told Sky Sports News. “So we’ve just got to be a little more resilient and get better consistency, and there’s no reason why we can’t push up the league.”

Don Barrie <news(at)>


In MCIVTA 1273, Ian Barton claimed City Chief Executive Alistair Mackintosh made an alleged derogatory remark about the supporters who attend Points of Blue. We understand that there was no truth in this and Ian should not have included it in the article. We have also been assured that Ian’s allegation that City’s Head of Communications, Paul Tyrrell, has asked club officials not to attend supporters meetings is also completely untrue. We are happy to set the record straight.

And here is the Club’s response:

Ian Barton’s offering to MCIVTA 1273 was high on opinions and raised some relevant discussion topics – although I welcome his decision to withdraw some of his more wild, inaccurate and distasteful comments.

I will endeavour to respond to his more reasonable questions and have done so underneath the original text of his note.

Relationship with Supporters

The first problem is the erosion of the close relationship that the Club enjoys with the fans. This is at an all time low; the sound bite “Supporting our Supporters” appears a distant memory. The Club has built its bedrock of support through being accessible to its fans but it appears that over the past 2-3 years the drawbridges have been pulled up. When the Club was at its lowest ebb the huge support it received was acknowledged as being its saviour. The close affinity with supporters’ groups, which had been fostered for many years, is now weak and the powers that be are resentful of the need to meet with fans.

The drawbridges are still down – always have been, always will be. Every official at the Club is immensely proud of the accessibility our supporters have to their Club. No other Club in the Premiership and probably Championship does as much open communicating with its supporters.

In Charlton’s matchday programme last Saturday the Addicks were shouting about a new idea – Iain Dowie attending a Q&A session with fans. We have been doing 3 or 4 of them every season for years…

On top of these ‘open mike’ sessions, we hold supporters’ branch meetings at the stadium in which a first team player will attend. The Chairman and Chief Executive have even laid on free bus travel for branches in the Manchester area. This is the only difference since those dark days of Division 2 – namely we now bus supporters in, rather than send a player out.

We actively send officials to branch meetings throughout the Greater Manchester area and beyond.

Our first team squad has an annual signing session with the London and South East -based Blues followed by a Q&A session with the Manager and a Board member.

We meet regularly at Points of Blue with supporters selected by their peers to represent your interests. At these meetings, we discuss any issue raised – from the price of a pint to the cost of controlling the Club.

The Chairman, Chief Executive and Head of Operations met with OSC officials this week to discuss a wide range of topics – only a week after a Points of Blue meeting. On the same evening I paid a trip to the West Yorkshire CSA branch.

We still, unlike most other Premiership Clubs, have an open-door policy at Carrington (apart from the day before a game) during which supporters can meet players and staff.

On a match day – players enter the stadium via the front door of the Colin Bell stand (not through the back door as at other Clubs).


Many other areas require attention but the evidence of the problem can be seen with the reduction in season card sales from 35,500 in our first year at Eastlands to around 26,250 now. I don’t know of many businesses that could be comfortable with a 25%+ drop in business in such a short space of time. In our first season at Eastlands the gates were at 98% of capacity, last season they were down to 89% and the trend seems likely to continue. My fears are for a long lasting impact on future gates. Scores of fans have been put off attending matches due to the complex ticketing policy and the difficulty in obtaining tickets on a game-by-game basis. The recently announced Live 4 City scheme is to be applauded but is probably several years too late.

We, like most other football clubs, have experienced a recent down-turn in attendances although our gates here at Sportcity are generally higher than they were at Maine Road. Only three times since the end of the Second World War did our Maine Road average season attendance reach 40,000 (1948, 1977 and 1978). There are many potential reasons for this and they are probably cumulative. They include: TV scheduling, on-field performance and increasing competition in the sport and entertainment industry. We could sit back and accept this, but we don’t.

Our pricing structure for seasoncard and matchday tickets is always extremely competitive. We have imposed price freezes on seasoncards since we moved into the stadium; introduced a whole raft of new, sliding scale, seasoncard prices for youngsters – starting from as little as £95 and have dramatically reduced ticket prices for some home cup games (sometimes ignoring FA pricing to subsidise matches for our fans).

I do not believe our ticketing process is complex – although the perception may be different, and therefore we must continue to work on that. One click on the home page of our Club website gives you every piece of information you could possibly require. For those people without Internet access, a call to 0870 0621894 will do exactly the same job.

Your negative attitude towards our Live4City scheme is shared neither by the 7,000+ youngsters who have joined the initiative, nor by the 2,000 young people who turned up on the last day of the half term holidays to see an open training session, meet the players and get autographs to their heart’s content.

Finances / Team Building

We have been told for a few years that our debt is manageable yet having sold our 2 best players in the last 18 months we have not replaced them with anything approaching comparable quality. If we cannot afford our debt repayment then the situation is more understandable but if we have been told the truth then we cannot afford a policy of debt reduction without investing in team strengthening. It would be a great shame if some of the highly talented youngsters were to fade due to lack of experienced support. They are the bedrock of our future but they need help. The policy of being a selling Club will not help attract or even retain talent. We must not become a mere stepping-stone for the best young players in years.

Our debt is manageable and well structured. There are other Premiership Clubs carrying considerably more debt than we have.

It should be remembered that the reason why we sold both the players I assume Ian is referring to (Anelka and Wright-Phillips) is that both of them indicated, in the strongest possible terms, that they did not wish to play for the football club. Our ambition to retain our homegrown talent is epitomised by the successful efforts we made to re-sign Academy graduates Joey Barton, Micah Richards, Danny Sturridge and Michael Johnson, despite the envious attention from others.

The failure to invest last season cost us several millions in lost prize money, disappointing when we had built such a solid base early in the season. The acquisition of say Didi Hamann or Danny Murphy last winter could have m ade a significant difference. Go back 3 years, we had a well-balanced midfield of Wright Phillips, Foe, Benarbia, and Berkovic, none of whom have been adequately replaced. I recall mentioning the name of Riquelme to a Club official when he was being offered on loan, we failed to get him, how much difference could he have made?

We did invest heavily in the last financial year to the tune of net expenditure reaching £10.3 million on player transfer fees. Our wages budget remains in the higher echelon of the Premiership, even if our performances last season did not accurately reflect this.

Our spending on the MCFC Academy is one of the highest in British football.

The major question here is what is our policy? Pure debt reduction or are we to balance that against reasonable investment to improve the team and its performance? Surely a statement of intent would be a huge help to management and supporters alike. What are the Club’s aspirations, where do we want to be? Under David Bernstein there was an avowed intention, now the Club appears to be run by an accountant and we have no idea of its direction. Colin Savage’s excellent Financial Reviews highlighted the fact that our Chief Executive Alistair Mackintosh is also on the Accounts Committee, which poses major questions about checks and balances. I personally doubt that despite the sale of SWP for £21 million last season that the debt has been significantly reduced, which leads me to suspect that we will be a selling club for years to come.

A slightly more than cursory glance at our recent Annual Report and Accounts reveals that external debt has been reduced by more than 16%, while we invested heavily in both transfer fees and the wage bill. John Wardle and David Makin’s fantastic financial support of the Club has continued with neither of them taking a penny back, in repayments or interest, of the money they have loaned.

Back Room Staff

As previously stated we suffered badly through injuries last season and to date this season the picture is equally bleak, which poses the question is the Manager happy that his medical staff is of sufficient quality and sufficiently well qualified? Under Rob Harris I cannot recall so many problems.

Our medical staff, and the results they achieve are the envy of the sports industry. Who says? Medical staff at Arsenal, England and England Rugby Union have all recently asked to assess our techniques because we get players back from injury, safely and in the shortest possible time.

Is the Manager happy with his coaching team? He has made some changes but is this what he requires? The Manager has had to work under conditions that no other City boss in recent times has had to tolerate. The Board have not supported him adequately in the market and he has to live on scraps. We cannot compete with the likes of Bolton, Wigan, West Ham, Spurs, Fulham, Newcastle, Portsmouth, Blackburn, Everton, Aston Villa, Birmingham or even Southampton. None of these teams can be seriously considered bigger fish than us. Our gates are well in excess of all of these.

The Manager is happy with his coaching staff. A transfer budget of more than £10 million and a wage bill that is higher than most Premiership Clubs is hardly feeding off the scraps.

Inwards Investment

The question of Investors in the Club is vital. It is understood that Abramovichs are thin on the ground but what leads have there been in that field, how has Mr Mackintosh fared? It is understood that Guydamak looked at City before going to Portsmouth, what went wrong there? Why are Ray Ranson and Niall Quinn looking elsewhere with their consortia? Have the likes of Trevor Birch who lined up the Chelsea deal been contacted?

The Chairman has always said he would not stand in the way of credible inward investment.

What value has the work in China yielded?

The Manager prefers to take the first team squad abroad for a ‘boot camp’ style preparation to the season. We visited China on pre-season tour and were paid a fee to take part in a tournament.


The image that a Club projects can make a huge difference to the public’s perceived view. This can mean the difference between the average supporter believing his Club is going places and feeling hopelessness, which is our current mode. Furthermore it can influence players and staff in terms of joining a Club or even re signing for the Club. In the Bernstein era there was a great feel-good factor engendered by everyone from the Chairman and Chris Bird to Kevin Keegan, which permeated to the supporters and then to the media. At present we have no perceivable feel good factor, one wonders what the PR department is doing, are the Board addressing this problem? I fear not. Where is the leadership? Where are the statements from the top? Where is the excitement?

As an example, a friend of mine recently bought his son the new shirt and asked him whose name he would like on the back; his reply was that he would leave it blank, a sure fire indication that this 12 year old could see no star quality in the team. Gone are the exciting times of Anelka, Wright Phillips, Benarbia and Berkovic? Who is exciting the youngsters now? In essence I am concerned on many levels but I earnestly believe that at the present time we are a Club that has turned its back on the supporters, has no direction let alone strategy, no media savvy and is looking increasingly in free fall. Please note that this is not a reaction to our desperate start to the season as the basis of my comments was prepared in early summer. I could probably write a huge volume on this subject but have tried to be brief and to the point, the issues that I have highlighted can be supported by hard facts. I know many die hard fans who have made supporting City their life’s love but are now turning away, that is a huge indictment of the current Board.

It is vital that strong action is taken immediately to arrest the situation by those in charge making sweeping changes to the policy within the Club. The first fundamental change would be to become more open and supporter-friendly; only by fostering the goodwill of the fans can we hope to move forward, a policy that past regimes embraced to good effect. The fans should be kept aware of the strategy of the Club: if it is debt repayment then be honest, if it is to be a balanced plan then it would not be giving away trade secrets. I do not kid myself that I know the answers to high finance but I do know that if your product deteriorates and your customers/ clients become dissatisfied then you are on a slippery slope.

It would be wrong of me to identify who are heroes in our squad, but there is a real source of pride from most supporters, and all staff, about the number and quality of home-grown players who make our first team. Since Stuart Pearce became manager, he has fielded 11 Academy graduates – a testimony to everybody at Platt Lane.

The Chairman’s statement in the Annual Report makes our strategy and aims crystal clear. Mr Wardle says: “Whilst Premiership survival remains an objective, it alone does not represent a successful season for Manchester City Football Club.”

This means we are a progressive Club looking to build on a record stay in the Premiership and the stability that that brings – which was our aim during the years of Mr Bernstein’s Chairmanship. It also means that we will look to progress in cup competitions, as we did in the FA Cup last year. Finally, it means that we will continue with our quest for silverware, which everybody associated with the Club craves.

But our Club is much more than that. Manchester City FC is recognised as a part of the Manchester community. A football Club that understands its responsibilities and a Club that remembers its heritage.

It is of concern to me that Mr Barton feels that we are not ‘media savvy’. However, his claim is not backed up by any facts. I would hope, and I firmly believe, that any respectable or reputable member of the media would disagree with him. They would certainly say that we are a Club who remembers and values our tradition and history, whilst being forward-looking and thoroughly professional.

I know they would say that the officials of the Club are true custodians of our great institution and our supporters are passionate, loyal and fair.

Paul Tyrrell <paul.tyrrell(at)>


After watching our last 4 matches, win 1 lose 1, I am sure everyone including SP and his back room staff, are deep in thought about how we can get the best from our distinctly average bunch of forwards.

Dickov might give 100% every time he puts a City shirt on (unlike Samaras), but ask yourself, is he likely to score a goal? No! Does he pose a threat to the opposition players when he has the ball at his feet? No! He is obviously there to inspire the younger players.

Samaras – he only comes to life at home, and when we are on our travels he is as much use as the corner flags (he should watch someone like Crouch or Dean Ashton and learn from them). He does not use his height to bully the opposition defenders enough, and added to that he lacks sheer pace, but most of all he really annoys me when he uses his undoubted skill to get into a good position, but then shoots wildly.

Vassell has pace that all our other strikers lack, but his finishing is woeful to say the least; just watch how many one on ones he creates with the opposition ‘keeper, but never finishes – like the 3 chances he had against Middlesbrough to kill them off – he obviously doesn’t practice enough!

Corradi – I feel sorry for him, as the one thing he does do is give 100% every match, and via a mixture of poor finishing and bad luck, he has been unable to find the back of the net to date. At least he puts himself about and shows some desire, and will only get better once he breaks his duck.

We really need a strong, bullish striker to be paired up with one of the other 3, just to be able to out muscle the opposition’s defence and create something for the midfield or fellow striker, either in the mould of Roberts or Ellington.

As for our midfield, we are basically relying on Barton and anyone else from Dabo, Reyna, Hamann, Ireland to provide the creativeness that we so lack. Sadly, Dabo and Hamann have been passengers to date. Damarcus Beasely looks so lightweight, he could well be lighter than Willo Flood, and looks likely to be knocked off his stride quite easily. It’s early days so I should not write him off just yet.

I am looking forward to seeing Trabelsi in full flow like when he was at Ajax and when playing for Tunisia, seen very little of him to date.

Barton seems to be taking all the set pieces, but should stop taking free kicks as he never seems to do anything with them; compare him and Ronaldo at United, every time he has a free kick he looks like he will score and he rarely disappoints. I have read that he puts in a hell of a lot of practice taking free kicks; why can’t the City boys do the same?

Before the season began Pearce knew we needed a quality left back and left attacking midfielder, and guess what? We bought neither. Jordan is shot to pieces and Thatcher isn’t the answer. We need a quality midfielder like Andy Reid, Jason Koumas etc., someone who is good on the ball with an eye for a good pass.

I hope we are not in the bottom 4 at Christmas, as this will only make it harder to attract quality players to the Club.

Glyn Albuquerque <GlynAlbuquerque(at)>


At last, enough fans now getting fed up with it all; all we need now is the board to see it. If I was managing a team going to play Charlton I would have told my defenders not to let Bent get a free header or shot, that’s because he was the most likely player to score, and the attackers not to give Carsley a free and easy afteroon. ‘Hit Him’; no, not with the ball,your body.

It’s not about having excellent players, it’s about getting those that you have got to play together and SP has not done that.

Can anyone tell me why neither Thatcher or Distin attacked the cross that Bent scored from?

Sam Duxbury <SamDuxbury(at)>


The next game City versus Newcastle has the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Just a couple of weeks ago the City Chairman John Wardle came out about the City team’s performance against Wigan. This week Freddy Shepherd the Chairman of Newcastle came out to give support to his manager Glenn Roeder after losing at home to Wigan with another bad performance.

Last week City lost to bottom of the table Charlton, this week it’s against second from the bottom Newcastle. The difference in this game will be that City are playing at home; the defence are yet to concede a goal at home, and have made CoMS into a fortress.

The attack has got to show a vast improvement in scoring some goals, so far this season in eleven games only one striker has scored: Georgios Samaras (2 ). No other City striker has scored in any of the eleven games,

The other City goals came from Richard Dunne (1), Micah Richards (1), both defenders, and midfield player Joey Barton (2), one from a penalty versus Arsenal. Our other goal came from an own goal by Ooijer of Blackburn. Oh yes Sinclair did score in that game but it was for Blackburn (sorry, being sarcastic here).

We can say that we have had some bad luck, but after eleven games it’s more than just bad luck. The game versus Newcastle will have a lot of pressure on many people involved with both clubs that the supporters are up in arms about.

The bad thing about pressure is it cannot always bring out the best football, on the other hand it might be just what the players need to show us fans what they are all about.

The players showed us some grit and determination versus Boro, we need that again but with some goals.

I stand firmly in Stuart Pearce’s corner as the manager/coach of City, any calls for a replacement right now in my opinion is wrong. I wish Stuart Pearce and his selected team very good luck in the game versus Newcastle.

Come on you Blues, turn this season around, you can do it.

Georgios Samaras, get your girlfriend to buy you a headband in time for this game, and good luck, we know that you can score, do it again.

Stay Blue.

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


Oh b*gger. Turned to my City supporting mate at Charlton and had to admit that I’m worried I’m losing interest. Correctly he ascribed this to not just City’s poor run but the general predictability that is the Premiership. Seems to be a cloud over it all just now.

I’ve got the same sinking feeling I had when that Wally Ball was manager when we just weren’t very good. Mark Bright (yeah name drop) said to me pre season that he couldn’t see how the team fitted together. And right now neither can I. What for example is our best front two? On the wings, why aren’t tricky Trev and goes-like-the-wind-Darius scary to other teams? Where is the really classy playmaker? Why did we extend the contract of the ever hopeless Reyna? I could go on.

I am not enjoying this season. Not being able to draw with let alone win against noddy little workmanlike teams like Reading, Charlton and Sheff Utd sees us at mid-table boredom at best or slipping into the relegation mire. Under that sort of pressure I am not at all sure this bunch of players could rise to it. And it sure looks like there will be three slots in the trap door as, unlike previous seasons there is no obvious candidate to take up one of the relegation positions à la Sunderland last year.

But I’ll be back next week. Of course. : (

Mark Thomson <mark.Thomson(at)>


There have been lots of comments recently about the decreasing crowds at Maine Road (sorry, but I will never be able to say City of Manchester Stadium, I’m too old!).

If the management of the club read MCIVTA, I would simply ask them to look at our next 2 games. Both of which are 12.45 KOs on a Saturday. Am I the only one who gets earache about this? This sort of KO time plays hell with domestic arrangements. It ruins any plans you have for the morning and the afternoon, and if you want a pint before the match, breakfast as well!

I am very pleased for all the exiled Blues around the globe, but for we poor suckers with season tickets, well it’s getting more and more wearing. According to my diary, we will have had 3 “proper” kick offs by the end of the year and I am fed up with it. Like many MCIVTA contributors, I have been a regular attender for 50 years and what with one thing and another, I am seriously having doubts about renewing next season. Does anyone care? Is it me (apologies to Terry Wogan)?

[No, it’s not just you Chris. Plenty are reconsidering the necessity of a season ticket for next year – Ed]

Chris Ryder <christopherryd(at)>


I have a spare season card for Saturdays game vs. Newcastle in the South Stand Upper Tier.

Can meet outside stadium before match. Call 07789 435999 or e mail please.

Chris Pilkington <Chris(at)>


League table to 05 November 2006 inclusive

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F   A   GD Pts
 1 Manchester Utd  11  5  0  1 13  2  4  1  0 13  3  9  1  1  26   5  21  28
 2 Chelsea         11  4  1  0  9  3  4  0  2  9  4  8  1  2  18   7  11  25
 3 Bolton Wndrs    11  3  1  2  5  5  3  1  1  5  4  6  2  3  10   9   1  20
 4 Portsmouth      11  4  0  1  9  2  2  1  3  7  7  6  1  4  16   9   7  19
 5 Arsenal         10  2  3  0  9  3  3  0  2  7  3  5  3  2  16   6  10  18
 6 Aston Villa     11  4  2  0 10  3  0  4  1  4  6  4  6  1  14   9   5  18
 7 Everton         11  3  2  0 10  4  1  3  2  6  6  4  5  2  16  10   6  17
 8 Liverpool       11  5  1  0 13  3  0  1  4  1  9  5  2  4  14  12   2  17
 9 Fulham          11  3  1  2  5  5  1  3  1  7 10  4  4  3  12  15  -3  16
10 Tottenham H.    11  4  1  1  7  4  0  2  3  1  7  4  3  4   8  11  -3  15
11 Wigan Athletic  10  2  1  1  7  4  2  1  3  6  7  4  2  4  13  11   2  14
12 Reading         11  2  1  2  5  8  2  0  4  5  9  4  1  6  10  17  -7  13
13 Blackburn R.    11  2  1  2  7  7  1  2  3  3  8  3  3  5  10  15  -5  12
14 Manchester City 11  3  2  0  4  0  0  1  5  3 14  3  3  5   7  14  -7  12
15 West Ham United 11  3  1  2  7  6  0  1  4  2  8  3  2  6   9  14  -5  11
16 Middlesbrough   11  3  0  2  5  7  0  2  4  4  9  3  2  6   9  16  -7  11
17 Watford         11  1  4  1  7  6  0  2  3  2  7  1  6  4   9  13  -4   9
18 Sheff. United   11  1  2  2  4  6  1  1  4  1  8  2  3  6   5  14  -9   9
19 Newcastle Utd   11  1  2  3  5  7  1  0  4  2  7  2  2  7   7  14  -7   8
20 Charlton Ath.   11  2  1  3  4  6  0  1  4  3  9  2  2  7   7  15  -8   8

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v0607.01]

[1] MCIVTA Addresses

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Manchester City FC recognises three supporters’ clubs: The “Official Supporters Club” (; the “Centenary Supporters’ Association” ( and “The International Supporters’ Club”.

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[13] I hear there is a TV programme specifically about City?

InsideMCFC is broadcasted by ChannelM. It is available on the SkyDigital (ch.203) and NTL (ch.26) platforms as well as being transmittedtraditionally within the Manchester area (ch.39). In addition, theprogramme is available to watch via the web. More details and schedule:

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Newsletter #1275