Newsletter #1282

Firstly, thanks to Don for stepping in at short notice to ensure MCIVTA 1281 made it. A resounding away win at Villa last Wednesday night (we have match reports tonight thanks to Ed and Colin) saw Distin deservedly make “Goal of the Month” contender on Match of the Day.

After the reaction to Villa, we turned our attention to newcomers Watford who visited CoMS on Monday. Typical City as we then played out a turgid 0-0 draw.

We have opinion tonight on match viewing over the Net, all things Green at City, other fans’ views of our players and a Why Blue.

Next game: Manchester United, away, 12.45pm Saturday 9 December 2006


First things first, City were superb. I don’t believe any of this “oh, Villa were rubbish” nonsense I’d say that Villa didn’t know what had hit them is closer to the mark. Some of the one touch passing that City brought to the party in the first half, and certainly the first 30 minutes, was outstanding. Combine that with excellent movement off the ball and at times City were unplayable. Villa were chasing shadows. I’m a firm believer that if this had been a Chelsea, Man U or certainly Arsenal performance, people would have been purring, but it’s City, so the opposition must have been having a bad day.

City started brightly (as you might have gathered from the little rant above). They could, probably should, have been two up before Vassell struck home a confident volley. City then built from there and it wasn’t really a surprise when they went two up. A cracking bit of vision from our centre back (who had temporarily found himself on the left wing) put Samaras away, and the Greek lad, showing great composure and a new maturity (?), waited for others to join the attack before laying it back for Barton to stroke home from 8 yards. 2-0 and it felt like game set and match after 25 minutes.

Just before half time, Villa lumped the ball forward, and Baros, who till that time had been quiet, challenged Distin for the bouncing ball before Dunne clattered into him. Clumsy tackle. Free kick, no question. Petrov stepped up, smacked the ball over the City wall and against the bar. It would have been harsh (but not untypical) if City had gone in only 2-1 up.

After the break Villa were more in the game, I suppose only to be expected after what you would expect to be a pretty harsh half time talk. The game was open, but City seemed to be more relaxed, even maybe a touch complacent. City were slow to close down the Villa midfield for the first time in the match, and McCann had a pop from 30 yards. 2-1. Great strike. Hearts in mouths moments followed as time after time City failed to find Corradi or Samaras with the clearances. The short, sharp passing had gone and suddenly Villa were on top. The atmosphere was awesome (especially given the low 30,000 turnout). City were a touch lucky that Villa failed to capitalise on a number of overlaps, choosing instead to turn back inside where City bodies closed them down.

Distin then put in a pretty routine challenge on the edge of the box. Getting up with the ball at his feet, he obviously thought “no point lumping this, it’ll just come back”. He played a simple ball into feet, but rather than leaving it at that, he gambled. Taking the ball back, he simply knocked it past Ridgewell, backing himself to reach it first. He did. I by this stage was screaming for him to square it to the unmarked Corradi. No such luck. Distin calmly placed it inside the ‘keeper’s near post. 3-1. Good night. Cracking celebration by the way.

Last 10 were played out pretty comfortably. Villa retreated into their shells, and City didn’t bother to take any risks. Job done.

Overall, City comfortably deserved the victory. O’Neill’s assessment was right, Villa threatened to get an equaliser, but it would have been more than they deserved.

Weaver 7. No chance with the goal. Comfortable in all else he did. I thought his distribution was excellent – until the last 10 minutes, strangely just after I’d commented how good it was!
Richards 7. Tidy and worked well with Trabelsi.
Dunne 8. Villa struggled all night to get past the centre back partnership. Apart from the clumsy foul on Baros that led to the free kick, tidy.
Distin 10. My man of the match. Won everything in the air. Blocked everything on the ground. Put Samaras through for the second goal. Oh, and scored a wonder goal. All in a day’s work for a centre back. Ahem.
Thatcher 6. Anonymous. Didn’t really have to worry about Agbonlahor thanks to Vassell.
Trabelsi 8. Excellent. Really impressed me going forward, good delivery on balls into the box.
Reyna 7. Tidy and kept the ball moving all the time, especially opening half an hour.
Barton 8. Took the game to Villa, always hassling the midfield. Good finish. Threatened to fall out with Mellberg and the officials mid-way through the second half, needed a talking to from Trabelsi.
Vassell 9. Cracking finish. Should have scored with the header and the follow up to Corradi’s effort second half. Always tracking back well, and kept Villa’s silly speed winger Agbonlahor quiet all night.
Samaras 7. Cool head for the second. Good feet in and around the box. He loses a point in my book for being foolishly offside just before Villa scored. Otherwise, improving.
Corradi 8. Gets an eight (despite the weak finish when put through by Samaras) simply for his work rate. Never let the Villa defenders have time on the ball, which meant that their balls forward usually got mopped up comfortably.
Dickov, Hamann and especially Onouha weren’t on the pitch long enough to rate.

One last word for tactics: Pearce had it spot on. City have a good record against Villa at Villa Park and Villa would have known that. Coming flying out of the blocks as City did meant Villa never had time to settle. Also, using Vassell’s pace to keep Agbonlahor quiet was crucial, and Pearce deserves credit for this.

Ed Bodey <edbodey(at)>


We hadn’t won away this season and they’ve only lost once and that was at Liverpool. So it seemed a sure-fire home banker, except for the fact that Villa Park is probably our favourite away venue. I like it as a ground as well; it’s what Maine Road should have been like if we’d done it properly plus the stewards are friendly and helpful and don’t hassle you. Most of the City fans I spoke to reckoned they would be happy with a draw. Someone suggested a three-all draw but I scoffed at the thought of us scoring three away from home. That’s probably why I don’t do the lottery!

We started with the Fulham line-up, with Vassell on the left. I really can’t understand why he gets so roundly booed by the Villa fans every time. They sold him after all. I used to be a proponent of 4-5-1 away from home but I now realise it doesn’t work. We don’t have the right “1” and I think most City fans would rather see us go for it and lose than not try to win at all.

The first few minutes were full of action as City certainly seemed to be going for it. Barton fed Vassell, whose shot was blocked for a corner. Vassell, who does seem to love playing against his former club, went on a purposeful run but was tackled. Samaras also had a decent shot and it was clear that City were playing like men possessed. The action then moved to the other end briefly as Weaver had to be smart to save at the feet of Angel. However, that was a rare Villa attack and they were struggling to get out of their own half. Samaras and Corradi combined beautifully to set up Vassell and Taylor had to make a top notch save. The City fan contingent was actually quite quiet, presumably having been stunned into silence by the energy and breathtaking, first touch passing they were seeing from their team. Then Samaras horribly misplaced a pass and one wag shouted “That’s more like it City”.

Then on 18 minutes, Samaras crossed in to Corradi, whose headed flick fell to Vassell 8 yards out. This time Taylor got nowhere near it as Vass buried it inside the near post. We worried that this would wake Villa up but our fears were unfounded as City continued to play at the same pace and the same one-touch, fast-flowing football. Trabelsi crossed in and Vassell got in front of the defence to power a header just over. Then, just past the half-hour mark, Vassell seemed to have lost the ball after a tackle but got to his feet and fed the ball to Distin, who was well forward. His long crossfield ball to Samaras on the right was over-hit but the Greek just managed to keep it in. He held the ball on the goal-line and looked up to see Barton and Trabelsi steaming in. He picked out the former who placed a low shot inside the near post.

Still there was no let up in the City pressure and they were playing some of the best football of the last few seasons. At Port Vale, in the pre-season game, they played wonderful passing football and I had hoped at the time that this was a sign of things to come. They had been some time coming but now they had arrived and we were singing “Brazil, it’s just like watching Brazil”. And it was. Clearly the visit of Jairzinho and Carlos Alberto to Carrington during the week had rubbed off. We were praying that we could get to half-time with a clean sheet but nearly blew it in the last few seconds of the half when Petrov blasted a free kick against the bar with Weaver well beaten. Fortunately it bounced on, rather than over, the line.

Things had to change in the second half and sure enough they did, as Villa came out with more purpose and dominated the first ten minutes, though without really threatening. City then seemed to get on top of things again and in a wonderful move, Samaras out on the left fed Corradi in the centre. As the Villa defence converged he got a great shot in that Taylor again did well to save. However, he could only parry it to Vassell on the left edge of the six yard box and number three seemed a formality but Taylor got up and threw himself in front of the ball. Samaras then did well to get the ball into a good position, evading the desperate lunges of the Villa defence but chose to put in a daft shot rather than keep the move going.

Knowing City as we do, you always had this vision of an unlikely Villa goal leading to a fight back and on 67 minutes there was a seemingly unthreatening move, just inside the City half. McCann moved forward to pick up the ball and Samaras failed to go with him. With all the time in the world, he unleashed a wicked, low shot that bounced just in front of Weaver and hit the corner of the net. It looked like it was going to be a long last twenty minutes or so as Villa then went into fifth gear. The City midfield, which had been totally dominant up to then, seemed to melt away and a second villa goal looked inevitable. Samaras and Corradi were seemingly tiring and not chasing from the front as they had been in the first half. It looked like a good time to replace one of them with Dickov but Pearce stayed his hand as the travelling fans grew increasingly nervous.

The best was yet to come, though, as Distin broke up another Villa attack with a good tackle on McCann. He got up to win the ball and rather than hoof it clear, brought it forward. O’Neill won’t have been pleased that he wasn’t challenged and he seemed to have all the time in the world to stroll forward, looking for options. The option he chose was to lay the ball off to Samaras, who was on the left touchline just inside the City half. Samaras played a return ball that encouraged Distin forward over the half way line. He hit the ball forward and went after it, outpacing and brushing aside Ridgewell, who was left trailing in his wake. He took the ball into the penalty area and put a blinder of a shot inside the near post. He was clearly delighted and so were we. Pearce then brought Hamman on for Corradi to steady the midfield and the crisis was over. Dickov and Onouha came on late but Distin’s wonder goal had knocked the stuffing out of Villa and they were a spent force after that and we had our first away win and in some style. Also have to say that ref Mike Dean had a superb game, keeping a low profile, refereeing pretty sensibly and keeping the cards in his pocket. Are you watching Graham Poll?

Weaver 8. Beaten by a free kick and the goal but otherwise very safe.
Richards 7. Quiet by his standards and no repeat of his FA Cup exploits.
Dunne 9. Totally rock-solid.
Distin 10. Near perfect display at the back capped with a wonderful goal.
Thatcher 8. Agbonlahor rarely got a sniff and his distribution is also excellent.
Trabelsi 8. Great crosses and good defensive work as well.
Barton 9. Covered every blade of grass and rarely a bad ball.
Reyna 9. Outstanding. His best game by far in a City shirt. He looks fitter and meaner and tidied up superbly with some great passing.
Vassell 9. If he played like this every week he would be in the England squad. A hat-trick would not have been undeserved.
Corradi 8. Does the dirty stuff that Sibierski hated and did it pretty well last night.
Samaras 7. Good first half but lower work-rate in the second helped them get back in the game.

Hamman 7. Did what he was brought on to do and steadied the ship.
Dickov 6. Should have been on 15 or 20 minutes earlier.
Onuoha 5. Only had seconds – why bother?

Overall Out-Of-The-Seat Factor 9. We stood up all match anyway but this game nearly had everything.

Colin Savage <colin(at)>


Ex-Blue goes all green, interesting views from our ex ‘keeper and City’s latest acquisition:

Matthew Thomas <Matthew.Thomas(at)>


I have watched our last few games on here with great satisfaction until the Villa match. After thoroughly enjoying the first 30 minutes the picture was lost and the words “authorisation required” or similar prevented resumption.

Did anyone else suffer this or was it just me? Is the crackdown or such sites already having effect?

Stephen Mann <stephen.mann(at)>


If you could sign one player from each Premier team, who would it be? Very enlightening what other fans think of our lot.

Check it out at:

Peter Carlisle <Carlisle(at)>


Dad came from the Broomwood from a family of a mix of Blues and Rags. My mam came from Moss Side from a family who were all Blues but one of her brothers was a Rag (bizarrely).

Dad bought a Sky Blue and a Red football shirt and said “which one do you like best?” I immediately took hold of the lovely Sky Blue shirt with a Phillips sponsor and the old retro crest from circa 1988 and said “this one” I was about 6!

How glad am I that I chose that one, and how angry am I at my Dad that I could have had a silly moment that children have and chose the wrong colour? Since then that sky blue colour has completely filled my circulatory system and I am actually pumping blue blood around my body!

First game was City vs. Leicester, old Division 2 1989, we won 4-2 at Maine Road. I’ve been to hundreds of games since, my most memorable being the first away game at Blackburn 15 Apr ’89 though we lost 4-1, the 5-1, beating Liverpool 2-1 when, I think, David White scored the winner, beating Spurs 5-2, beating Spurs 4-3 away in FA Cup, and just because it was the best p!ss up I had in 2004, going to Bolton away winning one-nil! Plus many more!

I absolutely love City to death more than anything in life, anything! Good, bad and ugly!

“You’re my pigeon, you’re my dove.
You’re my City, you’re the one I love”

CTID, Daniel James Burgess <james.burgess83(at)>


League table to 29 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  15  6  1  1 17  3  6  1  0 16  4 12  2  1  33   7  26  38
 2 Chelsea         15  6  1  0 14  3  5  1  2 11  5 11  2  2  25   8  17  35
 3 Portsmouth      15  5  1  1 12  4  2  2  4  7  8  7  3  5  19  12   7  24
 4 Bolton Wndrs    15  4  1  3  8  7  3  2  2  7  7  7  3  5  15  14   1  24
 5 Aston Villa     15  4  3  1 12  7  1  5  1  5  6  5  8  2  17  13   4  23
 6 Arsenal         14  3  4  0 13  4  3  0  4  9  8  6  4  4  22  12  10  22
 7 Liverpool       15  6  2  0 14  3  0  2  5  1 12  6  4  5  15  15   0  22
 8 Reading         14  4  1  2 10  9  3  0  4  6  9  7  1  6  16  18  -2  22
 9 Everton         15  4  2  1 11  5  1  4  3  7 10  5  6  4  18  15   3  21
10 Fulham          15  4  1  3  7  7  1  4  2  9 14  5  5  5  16  21  -5  20
11 Tottenham H.    14  5  1  1 10  5  0  3  4  3 11  5  4  5  13  16  -3  19
12 Manchester City 15  4  3  0  7  1  1  1  6  6 16  5  4  6  13  17  -4  19
13 Wigan Athletic  13  3  2  1 10  6  2  1  4  7 10  5  3  5  17  16   1  18
14 Middlesbrough   14  4  1  2  6  7  0  3  4  5 10  4  4  6  11  17  -6  16
15 West Ham United 14  4  1  2  8  6  0  1  6  2 10  4  2  8  10  16  -6  14
16 Blackburn R.    13  2  2  3  8  9  1  2  3  3  8  3  4  6  11  17  -6  13
17 Newcastle Utd   14  2  2  3  6  7  1  2  4  3  8  3  4  7   9  15  -6  13
18 Sheff. United   15  1  3  3  7 10  2  1  5  2  9  3  4  8   9  19 -10  13
19 Watford         14  1  4  2  7  7  0  2  5  3 13  1  6  7  10  20 -10   9
20 Charlton Ath.   14  2  2  3  5  7  0  1  6  5 14  2  3  9  10  21 -11   9

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1282