Newsletter #1290

Something of a bumper issue tonight, with plenty of news and reaction to the games over the festive period and forthcoming transfers. Don has certainly been kept busy.

We have plenty of opinion on the results, why the club (and fans) are right to stand by Pearce, players or whether they aren’t depending upon your cup half full stance. There’s also the start of what could be a good debate on season ticket renewals.

Next game: Sheffield Wednesday, away, 3pm Sunday 7 January 2007 (FA Cup)


General News

Hit Where it Hurts: What a great turn of phrase our manager has! The club website picked up on the fact that City had kept a clean sheet in nearly half of their league games this term, so asked the boss for his views on this defensive solidity. “If we hadn’t have kept the clean sheets we’d have been in big trouble – you look at us statistically,” Pearce says. “Make no mistake, we’ve not dominated the opposition at West Ham or at Sheffield; what we have been though is very difficult to break down at the back. When players have got to get out there and get in the way of shot and get one in the doe-ray-mi’s, they’ve done so for me. That’s what they’ve got to do for every minute of every game of the season.” He doesn’t ask for much, does he?

Transfer News and Gossip

No Slosh Money: At the start of the mid-season transfer-fest, it’s rather worrying to report that SP’s transfer pot is shrinking almost by the minute. A couple of weeks ago, we heard that £5 million was available, this week a figure of just £1.5 million was being bandied about in the press. Pearce’s comments suggested that there was in fact next-to-nowt available. “There is no money sloshing around the accounts, so I don’t imagine three successive league wins will have any bearing on the money I get from the chairman,” he said. “Any finance I do get will be coming straight out of the chairman’s pocket again and obviously, with the input he has had already, there will not be a great deal coming to me. But there are no tricks and no hidden money. We have said that from day one.”

Puppy Love: More funds could be available if Rouble-Rich Chelsea were to snap up Micah Richards, of course – but this was not an appealing prospect to Mr. Pearce. “If I say no to any sale, then I would hope it would mean the club says no, otherwise someone else might as well manage the club,” said Pearce. “The bottom line is that I have never suggested for one minute that any of the key players in my squad, like Micah, are for sale. I don’t think it is prudent to sell your better players. I don’t think it would be beneficial to this club. And I don’t think the kid will come to me and say he wants to go either. I think he wants to stay here. I would if I was 18 and my manager had picked me when I was just a pup. I want to keep the better players at this club and drive it forward, not backwards.” The excrement really hit the air conditioning when the soararway Sun claimed the following: Chelsea had made an opening £13 million bid for Micah Richards – and had demanded the youngster should sit out City’s clash with Everton. Demands for apologies from Chelsea then came from the COMS, and if the apologies weren’t forthcoming, a complaint to the Press complaints commission was mooted. Stuart Pearce was certainly unimpressed by this story: “There has been speculation that a deal has been done with another club,” said Pearce. “That is blatant lie. The one thing I can say is Micah is fantastically happy at this club. I want to bring players in to add to the quality players we already have. The main thing is he doesn’t let his head get turned by what they read in the papers. Sometimes that is difficult for an 18-year-old.” And Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, while admitting that he’d like to buy a defender, was adamant that his club wouldn’t pay ‘crazy money’. “But I am telling you with the reality of the English market, I prefer to play with assistant Baltemar Brito as a central defender,” mused the Special One. “He is 55, he was good central defender and I would rather play him than pay the crazy money that people are looking. I promise you, I prefer that. It is everybody, not just Manchester City. We didn’t even speak with any club, but just because of the smell that Chelsea needs one central defender at least puts people dreaming or thinking we are stupid. I would love an Aston Martin, but if you ask me (for) £1 million for an Aston Martin, I tell you, you are crazy because they cost £250,000.”

Talking Up His Boy: City’s players are allegedly very popular with other clubs – next came word that Joey Barton was wanted by Newcastle United. The North East side were said to be ready to bid the required £5.5 million that would trigger a release clause in Barton’s contract. Newcastle soon indicated they were not interested in signing him, and the player’s representative Willie McKay revealed there has been no offers for Barton and that the player is only concentrating on maintaining his fine form and breaking into the England side. “As far as I know there have been no offers for Joey,” McKay told “Joey is content at Manchester City and I believe if he was to move he would deserve to play for one of the Premiership’s top four sides in his current form. It is unfortunate he is banned for the next three matches and Joey is only concentrating on getting back to playing and trying to win a place in the England squad in February.”

Don’t Go: With all this attention swirling around Barton and Micah Richards, SP has warned the pair that they’d be gambling with their careers if they choose to leave the Blues. Of Barton, Pearce says: “The player tells me and my coaching staff that last season he had a fantastic start like he’s done now. He took his eye off the ball in regard to contract negotiations and his season nose-dived. He doesn’t want that to happen again. There has been speculation about how the England manager is looking at him and a year on he has become a cleverer man. I don’t think he can gamble on moving and it affecting his form – that is why I didn’t leave Nottingham Forest for 12 seasons. When people came knocking on the door for me, my form and England place were more important than a couple of quid more down the road.” Of Richards, Pearce added: “I have to instil in him my experience of life both on and off the football pitch. I want my better players to stay here because I honestly feel I can make them better.”

Ruling Nothing Out: Sylvain Distin has given (by his standards) an almost effusive commitment to staying at City. The Frenchman’s contract at the COMS expires in the summer and SP has moved to play down suggestions that the defender was set to leave and he will be boosted by the stopper’s most recent comments. “Several clubs are asking for me,” Distin told L’Equipe. “It is very nice, but I won’t rule out staying at City.” Middlesbrough, Portsmouth and Newcastle have all previously been linked with a bid for Distin.

Are Euze Talkin’ to Me? City are targeting a swoop for Polish forward Euzebiusz Smolarek during the January window. According to Wednesday’s M.E.N., Stuart Pearce is desperate to pep up his attack for the rest of the season. And he sees 25-year-old Smolarek as one of his main transfer targets. Polish sources claim several Premiership clubs are interested in Smolarek, currently plying his trade in Germany with Borussia Dortmund. The paper says City confirmed they have watched the player, and reckon Dortmund would want around £2 million for his services. He has scored three times in Poland’s three Euro 2008 qualifiers, and when asked, Smolarek Didn’t exactly dismiss the idea. “Manchester City?” he told Polish sources. “Why not? It is definitely a good squad which plays in the best league in the world. It will be necessary for the club and I to obviously consider such an offer really seriously. I am certain that I would adapt to the Premiership.” Nearer to home, City are said to be running the rule over Birmingham’s David Dunn – so says the Sunday Mirror.

Great Mills Sale: Defender Matthew Mills could be on his way to Crewe Alexandra. Twenty-year-old Mills has made one Premiership appearance this season, the 4-0 drubbing at Wigan. The 6’3″ defender made one appearance for City in 2005/06, coming on for his namesake Danny in the 2-0 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in March 2006. City have been reported to be interested in Crewe’s Billy Jones, so could an ongoing Swap Shop scenario be about to take place? That other Mills chap, by the way, may well be getting his wish and returning to Hull City. Chairman Adam Pearson hopes to bring old Bullet Head back on a second loan deal.

More Chance of Bette Davis, Methinks… Bolton Wanderers boss Sam Allardyce is facing a battle to hang onto striker Kevin Davies. Allardyce revealed last week that they were close to securing Davies to a new contract, but the News of the World says Rangers, Aston Villa and City are all tracking the striker, who is a free agent in June. And another transfer rumour snippet. City are tracking Twente Enschede striker Blaise N’Kufo. The 31 year-old has scored 16 goals in 19 games so far this season and has been watched by City boss Stuart Pearce.

Ex-Blues’ News

Japanese Chop: The transfer activity of early ’07 has even reached the ranks of the former City players. Paulo Wanchope for instance has joined Japan’s FC Tokyo, the J-League club said on Friday. The 30-year-old former Costa Rica international, who has scored a record 45 goals for his country, has also had spells with Derby County, West ham United and, in Spain, Malaga.

Bisch Off Home: Mikkel Bischoff is has left Coventry City and has joined Brondby on a free transfer. The moves marks a return to his homeland for the former City man, who has struggled with injuries since moving to the Ricoh Arena in the summer. (Thanks Matt Thomas)

Reactions and Comments

Beasley on Damarc at Last: DaMarcus Beasley’s late goal eased City’s relegation fears with a 1-0 victory over West Ham at Upton Park, and stretched the Blues’ unbeaten run to a whopping two games. Substitute Beasley fired in the only goal of the game with seven minutes remaining with a run and finish far superior to anything that happened before or after. Nicky Weaver was forced into action first in the 11th minute when he dived to keep out a low Hayden Mullins effort at his near post, while Teddy Sheringham almost broke the deadlock with a deflected 20-yard effort before half-time. Sheringham then came close with a couple of free-kicks early in the second half, while Carlos Tevez looked lively after replacing Matthew Etherington. However, Beasley won it for the visitors when he fired into the top corner from 12 yards. SP said: “I think over the last two games we’ve showed a steely determination and resilience about our play; unless you show that on a daily basis, you are not going to get results on the road or claim back to back wins.” Pearce again employed the 3-5-2 system that gave a Boxing Day win at Bramall Lane and added: “We felt at the time that we had to change one or two things and freshen up a touch. I think the formation lent itself to the likes of Nedum Onuoha coming back to full fitness. So whether you put it down to the change of the shape or whatever, no matter what shape you play, if you show that sort of determination to keep the ball out of the net you are going to get the opportunity to win a match. We were disappointed with the home game at Bolton,” he said. “We’ve regrouped in crucial games against Sheffield United and here today. They’ve responded well. They’ve been in a tough battle, but we’ve come out on top and we’ve nicked a goal. I’ve got to compliment the team because they’ve got a win at a tough place.” Beasley’s goal came in the 83rd minute against West Ham, and Pearce has hailed the American international’s professionalism. “We’ve asked him to play in a position that isn’t his favourite. We’ve asked him to play on the left so defensively we were looking for him to contribute too. He’s found it difficult to break in to the team, but that will definitely give him a lift.”

Not the Same Team: New West ham boss Alan Curbishley was putting a positive spin on proceedings. “I think we deserve something from today and I think Stuart would have taken a point,” he said. “The goalkeepers had nothing to do.” Prior to their two defeats, Curbishley’s West Ham had picked up two impressive results, but he reckoned there was still nothing to panic about. “After beating Manchester United and drawing with Fulham, we were expecting to lift off,” he continued. “But I don’t think we’ve done too badly today. When you’re down at the bottom, it’s a combination of things. We’ve got to correct that though. The crowd’s quiet, but you can understand that. We’ve got to give them something to shout about.” In their return to the Premiership last season, The Hammers finished in the top half and came close to FA Cup glory, and many are baffled by their poor start to the season, but Curbishley claims the difference is in personnel. “It’s not the same team. Last year the team was very consistent but if you look at the team today, it’s not the same team in comparison to that which was winning games last year,” he said. “I don’t think that people should think it’s just happened recently. We haven’t won enough games and we’ve got to get points on the board.”

Super Sub Sam: So if two wins on the trot was mind blowing, how does three-in-a-row grab you? On New Year’s Day Georgios Samaras was City’s super sub as the Blues defeated Everton at Eastlands to make it three wins in a row over the holiday period. The Greece international was brought off the bench at half-time and responded by scoring City’s two goals. He struck within five minutes of his introduction with a goal he started and executed superbly and then sealed victory from the penalty spot. But Everton showed great resilience as they refused to throw in the towel and produced a sterling fightback. Substitute Victor Anichebe was denied by a superb save from ‘keeper Nick Weaver before Leon Osman halved the deficit with little over six minutes left to set up a frantic finish to a match that had been flat after a lifeless opening period. “We did not play in first half, we looked weary and tired,” said SP. “We changed things at half-time and looked a different side, with more energy and drive. I’m pleased for Georgios getting his goals. He is a 21-year-old playing Premiership football for the first time. He can be a handful on any given day and trip over the ball on any given day. Things are slightly different for him here after coming from Holland. But he has come on and turned the game and anybody who can come on and do that in the Premier League deserves to be respected. If he delivers like that all the time for me I will be delighted. He is certainly willing to learn in what is the hardest league in the world to learn.” Samaras said later that “I feel good about both the physical side of my game and in my mind, I’m enjoying my football. It was great to score twice against Everton. I feel better every day and every week, in both training and in the games. I think there will be better things to come from me in the next few months. I’m so positive in my life and in my game that I know when my gaffer needs me I’m ready to give my best. I’m enjoying my football and everything is OK for me. Being left out is not a problem for me, when I’m feeling good and training well I just never give up – that’s my motto. I’ve always been ready when they need me, that’s why I’m here.”

Moyes Makes Some Noise: Everton boss David Moyes agreed with Psycho on how the game had progressed. “We had no problems in the first half apart one free-kick just before half-time,” said Moyes. “But we come out in the second half and give them the lead. But even at 1-0 I still felt we could score a goal but we made it difficult by giving a second one away.” He added: “It was a game we should not have lost. We have not picked up enough points over Christmas. I was encouraged that the players gave us a throw of the dice after Leon Osman scored but we should not have lost.” Everton were not pleased when a late call for a penalty was turned down. Sylvain Distin slid in on Leon Osman on the byline, trying to hook the ball away but appearing to get the man. Everton appealed, the linesman signalled for a goal-kick and Moyes stormed down the touchline to remonstrate with the official. Moyes said: “Distin did not touch the ball. But we didn’t get it so we have to get on with it. It’s a game we should not have lost. We controlled the first half, at times it was too easy for us but we should have finished it off. We just did not create enough chances in the final third. Then we allowed City to get a head of steam.”

Squad News

Hart Beats It to Rovers: Goalkeeper Joe Hart has joined League One outfit Tranmere Rovers on an emergency loan deal. The 19-year-old has made one Premiership start for City, keeping a clean sheet against Sheffield United in the 0-0 draw in October. Hart, who signed for City from Shrewsbury Town in the summer in a £600,000 deal, will stay at Rovers for an initial 28 days as a replacement for injured first-choice John Achterberg. SP explained why Hart has gone to Birkenhead. “We had a phone call from Ronnie Moore asking about taking Joe on loan on New Year’s Eve, and I snapped his hand off. It’s been difficult for Joe, because everything goes back to Nick Weaver and his form this season. Nick’s kept Andreas out, who has looked a million dollars in training, and Joe has also been fantastic in training. In the summer I told Joe that he might have to sit tight, but he’s already had his first team début and been on the bench for the majority of games this season. He’s played most of his games in the Second Division but now he’s gone to Tranmere for a month, and I think the experience will be absolutely invaluable for him. When we rang him to tell him about the loan, he was totally delighted. Goalkeeping is the strongest position I have got at this club at the moment, coupled with the centre half position.” Joe played for Tranmere on New Year’s Day in a 2-1 win over Rotherham. “I thought Joe did very well. He will be disappointed with the goal but he made a tremendous save right after it to keep out a ricochet.” Tranmere gaffer Ronnie Moore said. “I must have made a million phone calls on Sunday trying to get hold of everybody, and that is difficult on New Year’s Eve. I spoke to Stuart Pearce and he was brilliant. He’s given us Joe for a month, and to have somebody of that quality is great. He’s a big lad and he kicks the ball a mile.”

Willie Spreads His Tentacles: MCIVTA’s favourite agent has added another Blue boy to his roster. Stephen Ireland wants a new deal from City, and according to the Guardian has hired that man Willie McKay to find him another club or, failing that, to persuade City that he deserves an improved contract. Sounds like Oor Wullie is already exerting his charms…

Respect Due: Comeback ‘keeper Nicky Weaver meanwhile could be rewarded with a new deal at City. Weaver, 27, has played 20 matches this season following a career-threatening knee injury. Such has been his good form that £2 million summer signing Andreas Isaksson is spending his time on the bench. Weaver’s 12-month contract expires in the summer and manager Stuart Pearce said: “I have spoken to Nicky’s agent and we will have another chat this month. I am in the fortunate position of having four top goalkeepers on my hands. But Nicky has been in a rich vein of form and I have nothing but respect for him. When I first came to the club five and a half years ago I thought he could have been more professional. Then the penny dropped. He has been unfortunate with injuries and I accept that. But he has now got a grasp of what needs to be done in professional football to get your rewards. He has pressure from the other goalkeepers to play well and that has kept him on his toes. Nicky’s work ethic has to be admired when you consider at one time there seemed no light at the end of the tunnel.”

Don Barrie <news(at)>


So match comments rather than a report as such, but from an eye witness in the south stand. I shall skip the first half as it was a total non event from both sides. Suffice to say that when I met some friends at half time we couldn’t think of a single thing to talk about from the half. It seemed Everton had set their stall out for a 0-0 and possibly nick it judging by the extended time wasting that started about 15 minutes in. Carsley was playing well, but anyone else?

City, well they haven’t been sparkling of late, and they certainly didn’t sparkle now. Corradi seemed to get no change out of his battles with Yobo(?) but was remarkably slow and still got caught offside far too many times. Only shot on target was from Corradi in a scramble 2 yards out that hit Lescott on the hand (possible penalty and bear in mind for later).

A sensible substitution to bring on Samaras for the second half who, yes, can look lazy and disinterested, but has two good feet and, today, showed more pace than I realised he had. So, the second half started very nicely with a well worked move, Samaras picking up the ball near the halfway line, running directly at goal, slipping a pass out to Beasley on the left (yes, pushing him a bit wide but not disastrously so) who knocked the ball back in to the area for Samaras to tuck away. City then proceeded to totally dominate the game, eventually leading to a second (for once) when a long ball from Dabo found Vassell racing on to it. Cue a clumsy challenge by Howard right at the edge of the penalty area and a cast iron penalty given (whilst it would have been great to see Howard sent off as Everton had just made their third substitution, Yobo? was covering and a yellow was probably right). Howard went the right way but it was an excellent penalty right in the bottom right corner from Samaras. Before this Samaras had breathed a couple of other chances, Richards flashed a drive across and everything was looking comfortable.

Everton now woke up and having taken off Beattie (who was woeful) and thrown on some more attacking players, they started to push forward in greater numbers. Scored from a quickly taken free kick pushed out down their right, and crossed to the onrushing Osman from 10 yards out or so. Well worked, but a bit of concentration from Jordan would have probably prevented the ball in. Everton had a penalty turned down when Distin slid in for a ball on the goal line with Osman and, from my excellent vantage, took Osman just after Osman touched the ball. However, from the ref’s angle (and certainly from Moyes’ angle) there was no way you could tell it wasn’t the defender getting a touch to the ball (and remember that first half handball). Johnson rightly booked in the aftermath for complaining (should have had one earlier for deliberate handball as, for about the only time in the game, he nearly got round Dunne/Distin) and Arteta finally booked a few minutes later for his third volley of abuse at the assistant (oh I wish they’d bring in rugby’s rule about speaking to the ref. – the first week would be carnage but when the team was down to 8/9 men they’d soon remember for next time).

City weren’t quite hanging on but they weren’t exactly solid either and I was certainly nervous of a couple of late Everton set pieces. Still, a merited win for their display for two thirds of the second half but, had the game gone on as the first half did, I would have viewed it as money wasted and can see why the crowds are falling. One final thing; Everton won almost every second (and third) ball – something for City to work on ASAP before opponents such as Wednesday and Bolton.

Player ratings (and I don’t start with a minimum of 6):
Weaver: One excellent late save, claimed balls well and no chance with goal. 7
Jordan: Did what he can do well (doggedly defend) except for the lack of concentration for the goal. Not much of a feature going forward. 5
Dunne: Solid and Johnson only got away once. Some glory cross field ball attempts woeful. 6
Distin: Also solid and rarely doing that last-minute-stretch-to-recover-thing. 6
Onuoha: Also untroubled by a lacklustre attack. No real telling forward moves. 5
Beasley: Bright at the start of both halves but disappeared in both as well. Getting better and I hope turns into the player he can be. 6
Dabo: Although played the pass for the second goal, wasn’t picking up loose possession as a defensive midfielder should. 4
Richards: Occasionally tried to do too much but maybe that’s just a great engine. 7
Trabelsi: Not as telling a contribution as in other games but came into it more and more and a good outlet. 6
Vassell: Occasionally didn’t seem to know where the ball was when chasing it but his pace is one of our most useful assets. Not many chances himself. 6
Corradi: Lack of pace but tries and I feel has been unlucky in several games but maybe not in this one. I’d rather him than Dickov (as neither are going to score much), and rather a motivated Samaras than either. 4
Samaras: We looked like we could score when he was on the pitch and also got back to make some defensive contributions. Can you give MoM to a player who only played half the game? 8
Miller: Came on but only right near the end.

Thomas Bodey <tbodey01(at)>


Funny how the Christmas period affects seasons – the last two it’s made the difference between a push for European qualification and a bottom half end of season tinged with drabness.

Not sure whether this season will be the opposite…. but it’s the best Xmas period I can remember for the club.

Having said that, the Richards thing is really frustrating, especially in the context of what happened with Anelka / the Bolton game. You think about it – the current squad, plus Anelka, SWP, van Buyten and maybe one of the other wingers who left… the pressure on players like Samaras changes from responsibility to a positive pressure to get into the team, and there is competition for places.

And then look at the league table – we’re 11 points off 4th, at the halfway stage. Add 10 goals in during the season, and we’re pretty much a Champion’s League proposition.

So what I’m getting at is this – it’s a reasonably rosy picture, that just needs the board to start holding on to our best players.

We shouldn’t let Richards go, because there is no-one who can do the same job long term that he can. He shouldn’t go, because it will do his career no good (especially at Chelski). Don’t kid yourself that £18 million will allow us to bring in 3 top class players. The going rate for top class players is, erm, £18 million, from where I’m sitting. And even when you buy one, it might not work out. So when you have one, you’re a mug if you let them go.

P.S. Went to my first away game for far too long at Bramall Lane, and had a top day out (cheers Gav). But do us a favour lads, and stop it with the Munich chants – you’re an embarrassment.

CTID, Jon Marshall <jon_g_marshall(at)>


Well obviously hindsight is a wonderful thing and I don’t think anyone could have predicted what a great Xmas City would have – we remain as unpredictable as ever. Above all though, following our three wins on the bounce, I am absolutely delighted for Stuart Pearce, and I think that those City fans who have been calling for his head are so ‘out of order’ on this matter it is absolutely ridiculous: these fans really ought to take a reality check. You’ve only got to look at the mess that Charlton Athletic FC are now in and remember the stupid way in which Alan Curbishley came under pressure from his own supporters, for no real reason other than general unrest to recognise that sometimes you’ve got to stick with what you’ve got, because the grass ain’t always greener. Besides, I still rate Stuart Pearce as the best thing to happen to this club in ages.

Put simply, Stuart Pearce has done a brilliant job steadying the ship since taking over from Kevin Keegan, and I think that before they start picking on Stuart Pearce, some City fans really do need to recognise the (nearly terminal) damage that Kevin Keegan did to our club. To recap, Kevin Keegan lost us around £35 million in hard cash in transfer fees alone, and this was over a ridiculously short period of time. Amazingly, Keegan was still pushing to spend even more money before he finally retreated into his shell (suit) and sat glumly on the bench, leaving the board with no option but to pay him £750,000 to go away (shameful in my opinion). When you recognise that Keegan was no doubt careless too about the top wages he wanted us to pay for the over-rated players he brought in, then it’s no wonder we are in still such deep debt. As I write this, such classic Keegan-era wasters as Sinclair, Mills, Thatcher, Sun Jihai and Reyna are draining cash out of the club to no-one’s benefit but their own: where were they this Xmas fixture period and did we miss them?

Furthermore, as Stuart Pearce rightly points out, he is currently in credit to the tune of £13 million and I don’t think that currently our squad is that much worse than Keegan’s vastly inflated squadron of millionaires. And those of you out there who still want to have a go at SWP for ‘walking out’ on City, do you really think we could have got through the last 18 months without his £21 million bail-out from Chelsea? Thank you SWP, and I’d certainly welcome you back as soon as we can afford it.

I’m also pretty unhappy at those fans who have been having a pop at Samaras saying that he is a waste of money – well I don’t think so. When he came to this club last year, he looked total value for money and started off really doing the business for us; I for one was praying that he would be fit for the FA Cup tie against West Ham, especially after he pretty much knocked Aston Villa single-handed in the previous round. Okay, so things haven’t looked so good this season for Samaras, but you can’t knock SP for bringing him in when he did, because he really looked good and full value for £6 million when he joined us. Compare this for example to Keegan’s purchase of Nicholas Anelka for £12 million, a fee that City simply could never afford to lash out on such an untrustworthy player: We chucked £6 million down the drain the moment he walked through the door. And don’t even get me started on Macken and Vuoso.

Make no mistake, City have still got a long way to go to recover from the Keegan era and I’m sure that Stuart Pearce would love to spend more on our squad to take us to the next level – but the money is simply not there, especially whilst attendances are starting to fall at COMS.

We’ve simply got to keep the faith, and our fingers crossed for a decent FA Cup run this year.

Happy New Year.

Neil Haigh <city(at)>


I read in a recent programme that Michael Johnson was the 20th Academy

‘graduate’ to play for the first team since it was set up in 1998. That set a friend and I off on one of those drunken bets to work out who they all were, and what those who have left were sold for. For those of you as sad as I am, therefore, here is my best shot at this;

S Wright Phillips – £21 million
B Wright Phillips – free
S Ireland
L Croft – £600,000
D Etuhu – £300,000
S Elliot – £125,000
J D’Laryea – free
J Barton
W Flood – free
M Johnson
S Jordan
N Onouha
M Richards
I Miller
C Shuker – free
L Mike – £50,000
T Dunfield – free
C Killen – £200,000
T Mears – £200,000
G Whelan – free

Grand total of £22,475,000 (thanks to SWP) but the valuation of the current crop (Barton £5 million?, Richards £15 million?, Ireland £2 million?, Jordan £1 million?, Miller £1 million?, Johnson £500,000?, Onouha £2 million?, never mind the new generation – Danny Sturridge, Kasper Schmeichel, et al) would be significantly more than double this I suspect, should we have wanted to buy the players we have grown, and make the value to the club in terms of players £45 million plus. Does anyone know if any other club has had such a productive and valuable Academy over the last 10 years?

As you can see, I’ve had a productive new year!

It was seeing Tyrone Mears come on against City for West Ham that spurred me on, so I’ve searched religiously and think this is now an accurate list of ‘Academy graduates’ since it was established in 1998. Interestingly, Mears and Etuhu are the only players who have been sold on again for more than they were let go for by City – Mears from Preston to west Ham for £1 million, and Etuhu for £400,000 from Preston (again) to Norwich. Presumably we took a percentage of these sales too.

Arise, Sir Jim Cassell – what a job he has done at our club!

[Agreed John, the work the Academy have done over the past few years has been incredible, a terrific asset and team there – Ed]

John Roughton <jgproughton(at)>


After a first half that was drab by both City and Everton, the second half was brought to life when Stuart Pearce brought on Samaras for Corradi. The rough diamond glittered for a while to remind us all that there is still potential for him to be a sparkling diamond in the future.

Samaras beat a couple of defenders before passing the ball out to Beasley on the left who straight away returned the ball for Georgios to score a well taken goal.

Later Vassell was brought down by Tim Howard (in goal for Everton) in the box; Samaras hit home the penalty to give the Blues a 2-0 lead.

The City defence appeared to go to sleep and allowed Everton back into the game; Stu was furious on the side line as Osman scored, but he continued to encourage his players to hang on for the win.

Well done City!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


A very Happy New Year to everyone from

I would imagine that the MCFC Board, like many other clubs, will be anxiously waiting to see the level of season ticket renewals in the next month or so, even though there is a massive increase for Premiership clubs next season in the Sky revenue. The dramatic drop in turnstile clicks at many clubs including City (remembering that the announced matchday attendance includes all season ticket holders even if they stay away) is now a major talking point in football. This of course is no surprise to the real fans, and using a food analogy, we are paying top whack to dine in the best restaurants in the country, expecting 5* service, yet are constantly served up what can best be described as transport café grub.

However, another nail is about to be driven into the attendances coffin, as I am led to believe that the Football League will be introducing a total ban on smoking in football grounds from this July, and if the Premier League adopts the same policy, this will be the excuse for yet more fans staying away from live football. For those smokers reading this, you won’t be able to have a sly fag in the toilets, as an activated smoke detector triggers a tannoy message, with a polite female voice asking you to extinguish your dimp (as is already in place at West Brom apparently). Guess the COMS spiral ramps will be pretty congested at half time next season, and that will be another excuse for the stewards to eject you!

The only way I can see a surge of renewals is if City splash the cash whilst the “transfer curtain” (a colleague’s name for it) is open, to give us what we don’t currently have (a “hero”), by bringing back Shaun Wright-Phillips to the club. There are rumours that West Ham may sign him for around 9 million pounds, and though he has moved back to London, he is the only permanent signing (not loan) that would make me reconsider my decision not to renew for next season.

Winning helps, as does entertaining, but ultimately it is only the combination of winning and entertaining that is guaranteed to fill a football ground, and with SWP you have hope (something else we don’t currently have).

[Interesting debate beginning Steve on season ticket renewals, is it really worth owning one these days? – Ed]

Steve Kay <steve(at)>


Talk about beautifully timed. Richard Mottershead’s ‘Open Letter’ proves that you might have the most important point to make but please pick your moment [To be fair to Richard, it arrived before the Bolton game, McV was delayed – Ed]

After 3 wins in 3 games and a top 10 position, utilising the existing players, Richard’s words rang a little hollow.

Away from that obvious flaw in what he had to say I would also say that he has a helluva a cheek. I’m not sure how close to MCFC Richard is but I am sure his heart is in the right place, and he isn’t likely to be in a position to invest £60 million?

I had the good fortune to attend 2 season’s worth of games in the Director’s box, which included the period before and after FHL took over the club.

I remember with absolute shock an approach made to me by people then involved with the club, which was a thinly veiled attempt to get my money out of my bank and into their’s. They neither knew me, or cared who I was, but they liked the idea that I may be able to invest a few hundred thou’ simply because I was in the Directors’ box!

The strange thing is that FHL the ‘saviour’ very quickly proved he was neither up to, or interested in the job at hand. He was hoping to turn a profit, something he isn’t likely to do any time soon.

There is some famous footage of FHL standing in the Directors’ box, as the fans applauded and chanted his name; he really enjoyed that moment (I think that’s the only reason he was there) and if you look closely you will see me 3 rows back with a face like thunder and the only one not clapping. In fact if you get a chance to watch it you will note that there are some very stern looking faces across the directors’ box; most of us knew at that point that the wrong person had taken control of the club.

When Mr Wardle and Mr Makin invested their own cash to save the club, they weren’t interested in public appearances or adulation, they were interested in the club. To the best of my knowledge, they still have the best interests in the club at heart but they don’t have another £20 million to throw at it.

For any City fan to disrespect Makin and Wardle in such a way as Richard is unbelievable.

I’m no longer lunching with the directors on match days, so I don’t wear a suit and tie for kick off, but if I were I would probably accept that, at this moment we have the best people in place for financial reasons to run the club. Whether they are employing the best people in other, non-footballing departments is open to debate and I have made a point or two recently about that.

There was a time when MCFC was a damn site worse off than it is today. We have a world class stadium, a youth policy the envy of most clubs and a young team capable of developing greatly.

The current Chairman is not the type of man to secure a buyout of the club simply to secure repayment of the debt the club owes him and Mr Makin. He is a good man, a City fan and he has done more for the club than most ever will.

I often wonder where we would be if the JD guys hadn’t made that call and offered their money up. Let that idea sink in for a moment … the 1998/9 Premiership table had Leeds in 4th, Derby 8th, Leicester 10th, Sheff’ Wed’ 12th, Coventry 15th, MK Dons 16th, Southampton 17th and Forest 20th. City were of course 2 divisions lower and who led us there?

In the following years we may well have been back in then out of the Premiership for one year but what a bounce back up (I really enjoyed that season in Division 1, just Ali B to be honest).

During the 4 seasons back in the Premiership we have been 9th (9 points clear of relegation), 16th (8 points clear), 8th (19 points clear) and 15th (9 points clear). Incidentally in the 2 seasons prior to our downward spiral, 1994 17th (6 points clear) and 1993 16th (3 points clear). So historically we haven’t been more securely fixed in the Premiership.

It’s all a matter of perception and expectation isn’t it? I like the idea that we may well surprise a few people with a top 10 place, or even better.

We currently lie 11 points clear of relegation and if you offered me that on day one of the season I would have taken it, as I’m sure most would. After all in the last 10 years we have only bettered that once.

Richard I admire your passion, I just don’t agree with who you targeted in your frustration.

Andy Morris – He of the exhaustive polemic email <andy(at)>


Nice comment about the 9 points Ed, still have not changed my mind or opinion! The 9 points are handy but we are still very poor. Just like last season, good job there are 3 or 4 teams worse than us.

I was lucky enough to get a digital radio for Christmas, which has allowed me to listen to both 5Live and Sportstalk over the Christmas period. You see, living in the Lake District we don’t get a good reception on the radio or the telly sometimes. I could listen to a local radio station in Latvia but neither of the above. It’s been absolute magic to know that the 3 teams who we played to get the nine points were actually very poor teams. Comments on the games are as follows.

Bolton – Ball never crossed the line, Barton should have caught Anelka early on and at least got sent off for something worthwhile (and yes he should have been sent off: stupid challenge with nothing to gain from it)

West Ham – They were probably as bad against us as they were against Reading

Sheff. Utd. – Warnock was right to complain about the ref’s comments to the press at half time

Everton – Perhaps a certain person was justified in saying that Andy Johnson was a diver. Diving and deliberately handling the ball in effort to get a goal amount to the same thing.

Not much about the football is there? Why? Because there wasn’t much football to comment about. As one pundit on the radio stated: “The only difference between most of the teams is the will to win the game” More often than not our players only appear to have the will to take their wages. Is Joey Barton looking for another club? Is his agent banding him about? If so then all well and good; if not then Joey should tell him to shut up or push a cigar in it. Come on Joey, agents are like football clubs, there are plenty about, that is if they want you.

My words from a chant this week are: Can I Sl@g You Off Every Week?

Sam Duxbury <member(at)>


After reading Kevin Williamson’s comments in a recent MCIVTA, can I ask him what these malevolent ‘Masonic Influences’ are?

Are they something that happened after 1976 or were they suspended for our successful periods (’65 – ’76 for instance)?

Joe Ramsbottom <joeramsbottom(at)>


Stadium Rock? Gimme the Blues. The only reason we won on Monday was because they played great music before kick-off – for once.

The Boy With The Thorn In His Side, Bizzare Love Triangle, bit of Doves. Splendid. What would be your top three tunes – prior to a home match?

Happy New Year Y’all.

P.S. Now can we sell Barton?

Joel Perry <j.perry(at)>


Some information received on the Arsenal game that people may not be aware of.

There is a possibility that the Arsenal match will be postponed if both of the following set of circumstances happen:

  1. Arsenal draw at Liverpool in the FA Cup on January 6, therebyparticipating in a replay. Tottenham Hotspur draw their FA Cup ThirdRound tie and Arsenal qualify for the Carling Cup Semi Finals threedays later.
  2. Arsenal win their Carling Cup Fifth Round tie at Anfield therebyparticipating in the Carling Cup Semi Finals.

At the present time Arsenal’s possible Carling Cup Semi-Final fixture dates are:

Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Liverpool or Arsenal (8pm)
(Subject to FA Cup replay matches not being played)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Liverpool or Arsenal vs. Tottenham Hotspur (7.45pm)

Contingency dates:

In the event of Liverpool/Arsenal or Tottenham Hotspur requiring an FA Cup Third Round replay, the Semi Final dates will be amended as follows:

Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Liverpool or Arsenal (8pm)

Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Liverpool or Arsenal vs. Tottenham Hotspur (7.45pm)
In this case Arsenal’s Premiership game at home to Manchester City will be scheduled for a later date. This will be announced on at the appropriate time.

Howard Burr <reddishblues(at)>


I am not sure if this was mentioned in previous issues, but I just thought that I would warn anyone who was planning a trip to the game vs. Chelski next month that the Carling cup final is scheduled for the day after on the 25th of February.

City Till I Die, Paul Fegan <paulo9(at)>


Fellow Blues, we would just like to iron out a few things about what Bluewatch is.

Bluewatch is an organisation of City fans that is independent of the club, but whose goal is to organise stuff so we all can become the twelfth man when we watch the Boys in Blue. Whatever happens off the pitch is another thing. We believe in working together to add colour and atmosphere to matches, if that’s buying more banners, giant flags, or confetti cannons… then so be it.

We hope to work with the club and discuss our ideas so we can worksafely and be well co-ordinated when we have projects in the pipeline.We now have over 300 members and are growing all the time. We have adonation fund on our site where fans from all over the world can helpby donating to huge banners, flags, streamers etc. All our fundsare transparant, and as soon as you donate, we show your donation onour message board. We have just had made two banners for CoMS which are:


(the other one was stolen)



We are currently asking for donations for a huge photograph banner that will have pictures of Meredith, Mercer, Allison, Bell, etc. with the City club crest and the bluewatch logo on. This will be 100 foot square and will be made in Germany. Nothing like this has ever been seen in this country. It will be fireproof and totally safe and will draw huge attention to our campaign. To have a look at a similiar one have a look at this site – it is the printed banner half way down. This will cost over £2,000 but will look unreal.

Bluewatch is not just a website, it it a fanatics’ organisation similiar to Aberdeen’s Red Ultras and Crystal Palaces Holmesdale Fanatics.

We have made contact with the club to see if we can meet with them to discuss our ideas. Please look at the link above and you will see the flags and banners that we want to use.

All Blues of any age, sex or background are welcome to join us, and we need more hands on Blues to get involved. You can check out all our stuff on our site

CTID, Simon Cooper <Ffccity(at)>


Medical researchers are to start using Manchester United fans instead of rats for experiments. They are more plentiful and lab assistants won’t get attached to them. However, it will be more difficult to transfer the test results to humans.

Dave Kilroy <dave.kilroy(at)>


2 January 2007

Arsenal               4 - 0  Charlton Athletic     60,057
Aston Villa           0 - 0  Chelsea               41,006

1 January 2007

Fulham                0 - 0  Watford               19,698
Liverpool             3 - 0  Bolton Wanderers      41,370
Manchester City       2 - 1  Everton               39,836
Middlesbrough         3 - 1  Sheffield United      27,963
Newcastle United      2 - 2  Manchester United     52,302
Portsmouth            1 - 1  Tottenham Hotspur     20,194
Reading               6 - 0  West Ham United       24,073
Wigan Athletic        0 - 3  Blackburn Rovers      14,864

League table to 03 January 2007 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  22  9  1  1 26  7  8  2  1 23  8 17  3  2  49  15  34  54
 2 Chelsea         22  7  4  0 20  8  7  2  2 17  9 14  6  2  37  17  20  48
 3 Liverpool       22  9  2  0 23  3  3  2  6  9 13 12  4  6  32  16  16  40
 4 Arsenal         22  6  5  0 28  8  5  1  5 13 11 11  6  5  41  19  22  39
 5 Bolton Wndrs    22  7  1  3 17 10  5  2  4 10 11 12  3  7  27  21   6  39
 6 Portsmouth      22  7  3  1 20  8  3  3  5 13 14 10  6  6  33  22  11  36
 7 Tottenham H.    22  8  1  2 19  9  1  4  6  7 19  9  5  8  26  28  -2  32
 8 Everton         22  6  3  2 18  8  2  4  5 10 14  8  7  7  28  22   6  31
 9 Reading         22  6  1  4 18 13  3  2  6 12 17  9  3 10  30  30   0  30
10 Manchester City 22  5  4  2 10  6  3  1  7  9 19  8  5  9  19  25  -6  29
11 Blackburn R.    21  5  2  4 14 13  3  2  5 10 16  8  4  9  24  29  -5  28
12 Fulham          22  5  3  3  9  8  1  6  4 13 24  6  9  7  22  32 -10  27
13 Aston Villa     22  4  4  3 12 11  1  7  3 11 14  5 11  6  23  25  -2  26
14 Newcastle Utd   22  5  3  3 16 13  2  2  7  7 15  7  5 10  23  28  -5  26
15 Middlesbrough   22  6  2  3 13 11  0  4  7  8 16  6  6 10  21  27  -6  24
16 Sheff. United   22  3  4  4 12 14  3  1  7  5 15  6  5 11  17  29 -12  23
17 Wigan Athletic  21  3  2  6 12 18  3  2  5 11 14  6  4 11  23  32  -9  22
18 West Ham United 22  5  1  5 10 11  0  2  9  2 22  5  3 14  12  33 -21  18
19 Charlton Ath.   22  4  3  4 10 13  0  1 10  7 27  4  4 14  17  40 -23  16
20 Watford         20  1  5  3  8  9  0  4  7  4 17  1  9 10  12  26 -14  12

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v0607.01]

[1] MCIVTA Addresses

Articles (Heidi Pickup)          :
News/rumour (Don Barrie)         :
Subscriptions (Madeleine Hawkins):
Technical problems (Paul)        :
FAQ (David Warburton)            :

[2] What are MCIVTA’s publishing deadlines?

Deadlines for issues are nominally 6pm, Monday and Thursday evenings bu email. Unfortunately we cannot accept email attachments.

[3] MCIVTA Back Issues and Manchester City Supporters’ home page is the unofficial Manchester City Supporters’ home page. Created in 1994, it is the longest running of the Manchester City related web sites. Back issues of MCIVTA are also hosted on the site.

[4] What is the club’s official web site?

The official club web site can be found at

[5] What supporters’ clubs are there?

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

[6] Where can I find out about the fans’ committee?

The Fans’ Committee operates as an interface between supporters and the club. The Fans’ Committee has been relaunched as “Points of Blue”. It has appeared on the club website as a minor entry under “Fans Zone”.

[7] What match day broadcasts are available on the web?

The Radio Manchester (née GMR) pre and post match phone-in is available on the web at

Live match commentaries and archives of games, reports and interviews can be found at

[8] Where can I find out if City are live on satellite TV? provides a listing of Premiership games being shown on UK domestic and foreign satellite channels. Useful sites for North American viewers are,, and

[9] Do we have a Usenet newsgroup?

Yes we do: is our home on usenet. If you are not familiar with usenet, a basic explanation is available here:,289893,sid9_gci213262,00.html

[10] Do any squad members have their own web pages?

There are a number available and direct links can be found at

[11] Can I buy shares in the club?

Yes you can: Shares in Manchester City PLC are traded on OFEX. The latest prices can be on found the Plus Markets Group web site or in the business section of the Manchester Evening News.

[12] Where can I find match statistics?

Statistics for the current season are available from the club site, but for a more in-depth analysis try

[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:

The views expressed in MCIVTA are entirely those of the subscribersand there is no intention to represent these opinions as being thoseof Manchester City Football Club, nor of any of the companies anduniversities by whom the subscribers are employed. It is not inany way whatsoever connected to the club or any other relatedorganisation and is simply a group of supporters using this mediumas a means of disseminating news and exchanging opinions.

[Valid3.2]Heidi Pickup,

Newsletter #1290