Newsletter #1281

Could this week get any weirder? City win an away game, Sylvain Distin scores the goal of the season and yours truly ends up presenting this issue for you.

You can blame the last freak incident on Heidi suffering from a few “Internet connectivity issues” as her home’s being redecorated. As to the other two events, who knows where they came from – all I know is I was deluged during and after the game with texts from three generations of my family all saying “How the blinking flip did that happen?” or words to that effect. Let’s just enjoy the warm, rosy glow of a frankly unexpected victory, say I.

In tonight’s small but perfectly formed publication – Thursday night is News night of course, plus there’s some opinion on City’s last two games.

Normal service should be resumed on Monday. No, not in the Watford game, I meant MCIVTA 1282, provided the painters and plasterers are done at Pickup Towers.

Next game: Watford, home, 8pm Monday 4 December 2006


General News

Euro Having a Laugh: The manager is certainly an optimistic fellow. He’s aiming for a place in the UEFA Cup, and not through the Fair Play league either! He explained: “Everybody outside the top three or four will be looking at a European place as their target and we are no different. We are not that far off now really. We are only seven points behind the third-placed team, so the table is extremely tight.” He made these comments before the Liverpool game – but anyone wishing to scoff at such sentiments should check the league table out after the Villa game.

Grimes Cleans Out Stocky: ‘Tis a while since we caught up with the Reserves, so let’s remedy that now. In the Manchester Senior Cup this week, the Blues triumphed 3-1 over Stockport County. Ashley Grimes had opened the scoring on ten minutes, although the visitors pulled level twenty minutes later. Before half time though, Goal Getter Grimes had restored the lead, and a second half strike by Ashley Williams secured the win. Andreas Isaksson continued his rehabilitation after injury with another full ninety minutes of action.
Team: Isaksson, Obeng, Logan (Williams 60), D’Laryea, M.Mills, Johnson, Laird, Grimes, Etuhu, Dabo, Williamson. Unused subs: Matthewson, Ramsey, Weiss, Daly.

Transfer News and Gossip

Which Suitor Suits Shaun? New West Ham United owner Eggert Magnusson has confirmed that his club are hoping to lure Shaunie Wright Wright Wright to Upton Park. He told BBC Radio Five Live’s Sportsweek: “He has not been playing regularly at Chelsea, but he’s a good player and he has great possibilities to do well. Alan Pardew has told me he has already asked Chelsea about him. It came out of Chelsea that we have shown an interest, but it has not gone any further. I know Peter Kenyon well and I think we will sit down and try to find the right fee, whatever that might be.” And later in the week, SP made big headlines in the footie press by stating that City would be interested in bringing the prodigal son home – if the price was right. (The Mirror provided the headline of the week – “GET SHORTY”) “The question is whether Chelsea would want to sell him, after that it is something for our board to decide. If a price was set and Chelsea were prepared to sell him, I think he’d give this club a very, very big lift if he walked back through the door. He’s certainly the sort of player that would give our fans a big lift. We’d have to look at signing players of his quality. It’s not often that Shaun Wright-Phillips becomes available, unless you break the bank and buy him like Chelsea did from us”, Pearce said. “I would suggest that Shaun would have a lot of suitors around this country if he became available. In the past we’ve made an attempt to bring him here and I believe that he’s a fantastic player.” SP has made it clear that he doesn’t want any kind of swap deal for Shaun involving Micah Richards. “I am not actively looking to sell Micah because he has a great future here,” Pearce said. “Whatever offers come in for him, it is going to take a ridiculously big offer to get him out of this football club. I would love to see Micah stay here, captain the club, and maybe be here for 10 years and carry the club on his back if he can. He is good enough to do it. I have not worked with anyone so good and so young.”

Jim’s Jottings: As the January transfer sales are but four weeks away, the tabloids are whipping themselves into a right old frenzy about the comings and goings at all clubs – Sunday’s City related gossip-fest has produced a stream of new targets to consider. And I’d like to thank a certain senior member of the Barrie clan, who every week selflessly trawls these august Sunday organs to find these choice cuts for our delectation. It’s a dirty job but someone’s got to do it. So let us begin. City have shown an interest in Crystal Palace midfielder Ben Watson. Palace chairman Simon Jordan is adamant Watson is not for sale, but the News of the World says SP intends to bid for the England U21 star in January. Bolton Wanderers are also monitoring developments. Also in the News of the World: SP is being linked with a move for Werder Bremen’s Croatian striker Ivan Klasnic as he looks to strengthen. Werder are going well in the Champions’ League and may refuse to sell the 26-year-old who is a key member of their squad. The German outfit could progress through to the knock-out stages if they get a point away at Barcelona in the final round of group matches and if that happens they are unlikely to sell. Meanwhile, the Sunday People reckons that SP is still looking to reinforce his options on the left side, so is chasing QPR’s winger Lee Cook. Championship promotion hopefuls Cardiff are said to fancy taking Nedum Onouha off our hands – although his inclusion in the team at Liverpool suggests the youngster is still part of Psycho’s first team plans.

Bramble Could Turn Us to Jelly: Now here’s a story to strike fear in City fans’ hearts. A website for Newcastle fans claimed this week that SP was at St James’ Park on Thursday, and was rumoured to be checking out Toon defender Titus Bramble. Bramble, for those who don’t recall the centre half, has a reputation for being accident prone on the pitch, which begs the question – if Sylvain Distin really is leaving City in the New Year, shouldn’t SP consider promoting from within the ranks (Micah and Nedum spring immediately to mind)?

Yann Know What I Mean: Skysport’s website report that a large number of clubs are in for the signature of Olympiakos striker Yannis Okkas. Blackburn sound like they are favourites – the Cyprus international is set to travel to Ewood Park for a four day trial in December. Waiting in the wings though are City, Bolton, and Newcastle.

Ex-Blues’ News

I Thank You: He’s at it again. Antoine Sibierski scored the decisive goal in Newcastle United’s 1-0 over Portsmouth on Sunday. Coming on as a sub, Sibs broke the deadlock by heading past his former City team-mate David James. Jamo’s string of superhuman saves had threatened a lock-out of the home team, until Antoine’s shiny pate came to the Toon’s rescue. The Frenchman’s arrival at Newcastle in August was unpopular with some supporters who wanted to see a big-name signing, but he scored his fifth goal for the club as Portsmouth were outclassed. Sibierski is now a favourite of the fans and Roeder said: “I just hope his critics are big enough to recognise what a good signing he has been. Football is about opinions and that’s the beauty of the game. He’s proved to be a shrewd piece of business. David Moyes at Everton is a good manager and he was really upset that Antoine signed for us instead of them.” These quotes, by the way, come from a match report by one John Wardle – I kid you not. The new Shearer commented afterwards: “I am very happy and the job is done now – I have scored in the Premiership (his previous four goals were in the UEFA Cup] I think that it was more difficult to do, because it always hard to get your first in the League. Hopefully I am going to score a lot more goals in the Premier League. But I have felt no pressure, I enjoy my life at Newcastle and I have no pressure or no worries on the pitch. I don’t want to disappoint my manager or my team-mates. I will continue to play my football as good as I can and at the moment that is good enough.” You sensed that he was none too impressed by his previous treatment at the hands of his previous manager. He said: “Stuart Pearce didn’t give me a chance last season. He didn’t understand my position on the pitch but Glenn Roeder does. I have to thank him. I’m happier now, because I can show everyone here what I can do.”

Nico Awakes: And Sibierski’s old buddy Nicolas Anelka also got on the scoresheet in the Premiership with his new club Bolton Wanderers. Bolton beat Arsenal 3-1, and Anelka grabbed the headlines with two goals – to take his team up to third in the Premiership table – after failing to score in his first 10 league games for Wanderers. “We had a little bit of fortune today,” said Bolton Supremo Sam Allardyce. “The woodwork was in our favour, but you can’t deny us a win today – particularly with a goal like that from Nicolas. That will be up there for goal of the season.”

Reactions and Comments

Stevie Wonder and Joey Blunder: If Joey Barton really does see himself as the next Stevie Gerrard, then there was an unfortunate comparison between the two during City’s visit to Liverpool last Saturday. The visitors were doing an excellent job of taming Liverpool for over an hour when JB gifted possession to The Reds and Gerrard punished him with a clinical finish. Before the goal City had frustrated Liverpool and might have taken the lead themselves had Bernardo Corradi taken a couple of reasonable chances. Georgios Samaras also went close with a clever shot in the last 10 minutes. Methinks Psycho the Gaffer was not best pleased. “I’m bitterly disappointed that we have lost again, the organisation and the way we played deserved something out of the game,” mused SP. “But, if you give Steven Gerrard the ball 25 yards out from goal with a written invitation on it, you are asking for trouble. That was the difference between the two sides today. I think they found it very difficult to break us down,” Pearce told Sky Sports News. “They did not put in too many clear-cut efforts on our goal and we gifted them a goal to win the game and that’s what frustrates us the most. I think right through from the front to the back we defended very well. We were organised, everything was going to plan if you like. We were coming into the game a little bit more and we got sucker-punched a little bit. If you get sloppy, especially with people like Gerrard around, you get punished and we did today. I am disappointed, I felt the players deserved to get something from the game.”

You Are My World: “I thought Stevie was outstanding, not just for the goal, but in the first half as well,” Jamie Carragher, the Liverpool defender, said. “He was our best player and the man of the match. I wouldn’t trade Stevie for anyone. If you were picking a World XI, Stevie would get in, no problem. There’s not a lot more he can do. He’s won Player of the Year, the Champions’ League, scored in just about every final he’s been in, so what else could he do? Maybe get his hands on the Premiership trophy before he retires.” The goalscorer praised his team-mates after they battled to their hard earned victory. “It was a difficult game against a physical side,” he said. “I thought Man City defended really well and didn’t give much away. We had a difficult game in midweek and Man City have had a week’s rest, so a big three points today and the most important thing was the win rather than the performance. We managed to get the breakthrough with my goal and we went on and claimed the three points. It was a good team performance today.”

Extra Legs: Plenty of City fans have been wondering if Micah Richards might be suited to a midfield rôle. On Saturday SP decided to give it a whirl, bringing Nedum Onouha in at right-back and pushing the Boy Richards into the centre of a five man midfield. Asked to comment on his team changes, SP said that “I wanted Micah in there to give us some more legs in midfield, I thought Nedum has shown me over the last two or three weeks that he has played well and I wanted them both in there. I thought the way we were set up went quite well. Everything was working well until we made one elementary slip on the edge of the box. We are very frustrated that we have made that mistake.” Nedum, who started his first match for City since last January’s derby win, played for the full game. He said: “If you were to ask any of the players, and that includes the home team, about when they scored they would say that we were on top in the game at the time. Liverpool had had to do a lot of defending before that, so it was a horrible, horrible time to concede a goal.”

Sylv Strikes: A sublime goal from Sylvain Distin last night sealed a great victory for City over Aston Villa at Villa Park to end their dreadful run of away form. Prior to Wednesday’s contest, Stuart Pearce’s side had lost 14 of the their last 16 away games and were without a win on the road this season. Former Villa striker Darius Vassell put City ahead on 18 minutes when he angled a half-volley past Stuart Taylor. Just past the half-hour Taylor was picking the ball out of the net for a second time when Joey Barton swept a shot home after a flowing City move. Midway through the second half Gavin McCann’s long-range shot made it 2-1, but Sylvain Distin capped a fine display with a superb individual goal. “I thought we were magnificent – probably the best football we’ve played,” SP told Sky Sports. “Collectively, shutting down the opposition we have done extremely well, passing the ball we have done extremely well. Certainly in the first-half, we caused them problems all over the pitch. We were disappointed that we conceded a goal in our dressing room, but to be honest, on the run of play, we thoroughly deserved to win the game and probably got our just rewards for some decent performances on the road where we’ve not drawn any points. If you play like that, you win games. There was a hard-nosed professionalism about everything we were trying to achieve tonight.” He was also quick to heap praise on opposing manager Martin O’Neill. “We were playing against a team on their own pitch that have got a great home record and have only lost one match in the Premier League this year. He has got Villa going in the right direction. The likes of Agbonlahor and Petrov have caused problems all over the Premier League this year. But we dealt with them pretty well and I think, man for man, they were sensational.” What was his opinion of Darius Vassell, who grabbed his customary goal against his former club, his fifth to date: “He’s a colossus, to be fair. We were disappointed when we lost him for the early part of the season because of injury. Now, he’s coming back to full fitness and I’m asking him to fill in on the left-hand side of midfield for me, which isn’t his best position, but there’s not one moment he turns round to me and says, ‘I don’t want to do that’.” Pearce was full of praise for Distin. “His defensive work all night was fantastic, his athleticism was there for all to see from the goal, and I think he thoroughly deserved to get some more credit up the other end of the pitch for the defensive work he’s done. Not just today, but the other night at Anfield as well.”

Here for the Right Reasons: Sylvain Distin said he was delighted to have the chance to respond to speculation linking him with a move away from the club. “I was a bit tired, but it was important for me because a lot of people have been talking about me and saying things that were not true,” Distin told the club’s official website. “So far I have never answered, never said anything and just done my job out on the pitch. I wanted to show people that didn’t think I was here for the right reasons that I am,” he said. He also hopes the team can build on this result. “We don’t feel like we have succeeded in anything, we feel that we have to keep going now. You have got to perform away, because at home we have had such good results but our away form is keeping us in the bottom half of the table. If we can get more points from our away game we can get into the top ten.”

Too Loose, You Lose: Martin O’Neill admitted City deserved their 3-1 win. “We didn’t do enough in the first half,” he said. “We found ourselves 2-0 behind and deservedly so. The way we defended, we didn’t do well enough. In the second half, we got back into the game, but obviously at 2-1 the next goal’s vital. I thought we had a chance of getting it, whether we deserved it or not on the whole evening’s play is another thing, but we did come back into it at 2-1, and I thought if we could get the equaliser we might go on to win the game. But they got the goal and their overall play eventually deserved that. We played disappointingly in the first- half, and we didn’t get tight enough when it mattered. We were loose in our play, and it can happen at times, but we’ve got a group of young players essentially in the side, and obviously these are big games – for all of us to be perfectly honest. Tonight, we didn’t do enough.”

Squad News

You Need Hands: Kasper Schmeichel is back at City after completing his loan spell at Bury, and admits his future is in the hands of SP. “I’m very disappointed to be going,” Schmeichel told Bury’s official website. “It’s just playing regular first-team football at a place where I really like being. It’s a bit of a kick in the teeth, but what can you do? The rules say I have to go back now. If the rule wasn’t there, then Stuart Pearce would probably leave me here, but it’s out of my hands, there’s nothing else I can do. I don’t know what my situation is at Man City now. I will have a meeting with the manager and see where we go. It’s up to him now what happens to me. It’s not really in my hands what happens now. I love playing and that’s all I want to do, it’s just the way things are.”

I, Claudio: Claudio Reyna has dismissed talk of a return to America in January. “I am not really sure where those rumours are coming from but those kind of things naturally start with any American player who is my age and playing overseas,” said the 33-year-old after being linked with a number of MLS clubs. “There are clubs back home interested but at the moment there is nothing to it. I am enjoying my time here. I am playing and I want to keep fighting for my position. My first intention was to get back in the team and I have done that. Now most of all I want City to be successful and climb the table because we should be further up the league than we are.”

Don Barrie <news(at)>


There are some certainties in life – taxes, death and Vassell finding the net every time City play Villa. Perhaps Stuart Pearce should ask permission for Manchester City to switch all their away games to Villa Park.

Distin, I believe was a great goal, have to catch the goals this Friday when we have our highlight show on Sky!

Always thought that City should go with the idea to win away games instead of trying to get one point, of which they get none! They may win 1 in 4, which would be a better return than they have been having pass 12 months!

The big question now; can City win 2 (yes two) games back to back, last time was?

The signs are not looking good, as they play another bottom team.

Yes of course they will, in fact they will win 3 games, that means next 2 games.

And they are against Watford and then following weekend another easy game – from the bottom to the top – United. Guess we enjoy it while we can.

CTID, John W. Lim <johncity(at)>


Rob Stiles will be like all the rest, however he was not to blame was he? Did he change a winning team? Why would you go to Liverpool and make the changes SP made? Why do we keep going on about SWP? It does not matter how he ended up at Chelsea, all I know is that he does not get a game and neither does he get a game for England. But is he really bothered? His pay packet is not any less. Please can someone explain how my contract of employment can be changed with 12 weeks notice but a footballer’s can’t?

Sam Duxbury <member(at)>


Can I suggest that Blues spend a moment to read the following research article:, about Britain’s top 20 supported teams?

Peter Carlisle <Carlisle(at)>


Question: Who is afraid of that George Kitis, the long-haired Greek fan who appears on this week’s official City screensaver? By George!

Joel Perry <j.perry(at)>


28 November 2006

Watford           0-1 Sheffield United 18,887

29 November 2006

Aston Villa       1-3 Manchester City  30,124
Fulham            2-1 Arsenal          24,510
Liverpool         0-0 Portsmouth       42,467
Manchester United 3-0 Everton          75,723
Bolton Wanderers  0-1 Chelsea          23,559

League table to 29 November 2006 inclusive

Home Away

   Team          P  W D L F  A  W D L F A    GD PTS
 1 Man Utd       15 6 1 1 17  3 6 1 0 16  4  26 38
 2 Chelsea       15 6 1 0 14  3 5 1 2 11  5  17 35
 3 Portsmouth    15 5 1 1 12  4 2 2 4  7  8   7 24
 4 Bolton        15 4 1 3  8  7 3 2 2  7  7   1 24
 5 Aston Villa   15 4 3 1 12  7 1 5 1  5  6   4 23
 6 Arsenal       14 3 4 0 13  4 3 0 4  9  8  10 22
 7 Liverpool     15 6 2 0 14  3 0 2 5  1 12   0 22
 8 Reading       14 4 1 2 10  9 3 0 4  6  9  -2 22
 9 Everton       15 4 2 1 11  5 1 4 3  7 10   3 21
10 Fulham        15 4 1 3  7  7 1 4 2  9 14  -5 20
11 Tottenham     14 5 1 1 10  5 0 3 4  3 11  -3 19
12 Man City      15 4 3 0  7  1 1 1 6  6 16  -4 19
13 Wigan         13 3 2 1 10  6 2 1 4  7 10   1 18
14 Middlesbrough 14 4 1 2  6  7 0 3 4  5 10  -6 16
15 West Ham      14 4 1 2  8  6 0 1 6  2 10  -6 14
16 Blackburn     13 2 2 3  8  9 1 2 3  3  8  -6 13
17 Newcastle     14 2 2 3  6  7 1 2 4  3  8  -6 13
18 Sheff Utd     15 1 3 3  7 10 2 1 5  2  9 -10 13
19 Watford       14 1 4 2  7  7 0 2 5  3 13 -10  9
20 Charlton      14 2 2 3  5  7 0 1 6  5 14 -11  9

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1281