Newsletter #1314

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News round-up on the international scene, injury news with Richards now a worry, and potential transfer targets both in and out.

We have opinion on the chants, ticket costs and the usual requests ahead of tomorrow’s game at St James’ Park.

Next game: Newcastle United, away, 3pm Saturday 31 March 2007

NEWS SUMMARY

General News

He’s No Mug: It’s two years since Psycho assumed the reins at the City of Manchester Stadium, so time for a spot of reflection from the Gaffer. “I’m a stronger and more balanced manager than I was two years ago,” he told the M.E.N. “If I hadn’t picked things up and learned from my experience I would be an absolute mug. I still feel we should be in the top half of the table and my coaching staff, the players and the supporters think that too.” And he repeated his request for more funds to take the team onto the next level. “The bottom line is that I feel as though I should have done better in respect to our league finish over the last two years but I also think that the club needs a touch of investment to push it forward again. Everybody is trying to make that happen and if it does we have the nucleus of a hell of a good squad here. My words are the same as two years ago – we need three or four top-class players to come back in and give the supporters and the club a big push.”

Community Service: For a positive story about the club, you should check out: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml?xml=/sport/2007/03/24/sojimw24.xml It covers the great work being done by City in the Community – although the funding for the scheme is under threat from the dosh being pumped into the London Olympics (thanks the Lawn Mower Man).

Under Cover at the Under 21’s? You may recall that when SP took up his part-time rôle as coach of England’s under-21’s, the club insisted that he would not be in charge when Young England faced Italy. That game took place on Saturday, and unless my TV was playing tricks on me – Psycho was in the stands for this first fixture at Wembley, while Steve Wigley sat on the bench alongside Newcastle’ Nigel Pearson, who was nominally in charge for the day. Lest it be thought that Pearce was involved in any underhand dealings with the squad, the FA let it be known that he attended an under-21s photocall on Friday when he spoke briefly to the players, then congratulated them on earning a 3-3 draw after the match. An FA spokesman said: “Stuart met up with the squad on Friday to take part in the official photocall for the Championships. He did not take part in the training or preparations for the match. He watched the match from the stands and went to the changing rooms after the match to say well done and to say they’ll see each other in the summer. Nigel Pearson was head coach for this game.” So that’s alright then…

Pontin in the Right Direction: The Pontin’s League Young’Uns notched up another win in the week, as Gregor Rioch’s side came back from a goal down to beat Accrington Stanley 2-1. The two goals came within a minute of each other, and were scored by Shaleum Logan and Clayton MacDonald. And Academy Director Jim Cassell has hailed the entry of a City team into the Pontin’s to be a great success. “I’m absolutely delighted with the way it has gone this season,” Cassell told City’s website. “We knew it was a risk and after a few games there were a few eyebrows raised towards me! But taking decisions like that is what I get paid for. Everybody feels that it has been a good decision, yes, we’ll get bashed a couple of times and we knew that would happen but overall the boys have developed. It’s much better than playing friendly games against inferior opposition,” he continues, “and I say that with the greatest respect. Every game we play is competitive, they play at the athletics arena like the reserves do, so I think it’s been a good thing.”

Transfer News and Gossip

Billy Can: It seems that City are less likely to sign Crewe’s defender Billy Jones this summer. Alex’s local rivals Stoke City were said to have held talks this week with Crewe for the youngster. These talks reportedly broke down, and Everton are now thought to be favourites to land the Northern Irish player.

Do You Want to Phone a Friend? As predicted in this very column last week, Hull City’s bid to sign Danny Mills collapsed last week amidst doubts surrounding the defender’s fitness. Tigers’ Boss Phil Brown was keen to get the defender back at the KC Stadium after he impressed on loan during a spell at the club earlier in the season, but doubts over his fitness scuppered the move. “There was too many unanswered questions,” Brown revealed. “Danny couldn’t answer them, the medical staff at Man City couldn’t answer them and I certainly couldn’t. It was all to do with him being out for four months without regular training.”

Back Heal: Far be it from me to suggest that this is wishful thinking – but City and Sheffield United are among Premiership clubs tracking Leeds striker David Healy. The Daily Mail says Healy has the Premiership spies following his every move for the rest of the season after another five-star show for Northern Ireland. The former Preston marksman has scored nine goals in his country’s Euro 2008 qualifying campaign – including a double blast against Sweden in last night’s 2-1 victory at Belfast. Yet he can’t hit a cow’s backside with a banjo at Elland Road this term – so the question is; is this down to a general malaise at Leeds, or down to poor personal displays?

Egyptian Relic? Mido admits he may have to leave Tottenham Hotspur in the summer in search of regular first-team football. And this has reopened talk of a move to the COMS. “I was unfortunate with the injuries I had,” Mido told Dream TV. “Every time I play and put in a good display an injury strikes me to halt my progress with Spurs. The form of Berbatov has also been impressive and that’s another reason for my limited appearances. I will sit down with Martin Jol at the end of the season to discuss all possibilities. I’m not that sort of player who wants to just receive money no matter if he is playing or not, I’m keen on participating on a regular basis. I have two good offers from Manchester City and Celta Vigo. PSV Eindhoven coach Ronald Koeman phoned me and expressed his interest as well.” Let’s hope SP has been following his own scouts’ reports, rather than the complaining Spurs fans on Radio 5’s phone-ins recently, moaning that Mido is overweight and overrated.

Rich Pickings: Ay caramba! “Fergie fancies a move for Micah” was a headline I hoped not to read over my Sunday oatcakes, but there it was. Sir Red Face wanted to tempt our latest England international over to the Swamp, according to a number Sunday tabloids. The Dark Knight of Govan would have to join an ever-lengthening line of interested parties – Chelsea, Spurs and Liverpool were all mentioned as Micah Likers by the Sunday Mirror. Monday’s Mirror suggested that City, alarmed by the attentions from across the city, would offer the 18-year-old a doubled salary in an attempt to keep him Blue. As the paper reckoned he’s on £10,000 per week at the moment, a salary of twice that amount would easily be beaten by most of his cash-rich suitors.

“New Macca” on the Way? – How Kewell… Trevor Sinclair apart, City are getting a bit low on injury-prone pro’s who have seen better days. Fear not, because we could soon see City increase the crocks’ army by a summer move for Liverpool midfielder Harry Kewell. Bolton and Spurs are also thought to be monitoring the 28-year-old’s situation as he struggles to overcome a foot injury that has kept him out of action for the entire campaign. The Australian, who joined Liverpool from Leeds United for £5 million three-and-a-half years ago, would most likely sign on a pay-as-you-play basis.

Ex-Blues’ News

Carlo A Go-Go: What a popular boy Carlo Nash is at the moment. The Daily Mail says that Fulham will sign the Preston man, once the keeper’s loan spell at Wigan ends. He is currently on loan at the JJB Stadium after a January move to Craven Cottage was blocked. Nash subsequently fell out with Preston manager Paul Simpson and was offloaded at the first available opportunity to the Latics, who were in the midst of a goalkeeper crisis. But Fulham boss Chris Coleman remains interested and Wigan could also be one of several clubs looking to sign the 35-year-old in the summer. And if a move to the Premiership fails, Hull City could swoop for Nash.

Life of Brian: Former City manager Brian Horton is the favourite to take over at League One basement club Rotherham United. Horton, who was sacked by Macclesfield earlier this season, heads a shortlist of five to succeed Alan Knill at the Millers. And Horton was at Crewe on Saturday to watch Rotherham United lose by a goal to nil. The Sheffield Star speculates that Horton might be brought in for his experience, to work alongside current caretaker manager Mark Robins.

Reactions and Comments

International Blues: Top billing in this international week has to go to Stephen Ireland, who became the first international footballer to score at Croke Park. The Republic beat Wales 1-0, and ensured Stephen’s goal scoring extended to three in three games for his country. Four days later and Ireland beat Slovakia by the same score, although our Stevie didn’t find the net, and was substituted on 70 minutes. Richard Dunne played throughout both matches. Micah Richards, despite hobbling off playing for City against Middlesbrough a week ago, was declared fit and was named as a sub against Israel, and then started the game against Andorra in Barcelona on Wednesday. Micah came on for 18 minutes of the bore draw in Israel, and was worryingly stretchered off against Andorra. He left the ground on crutches, and must be a major doubt for the Newcastle game. On Thursday SP said: “He’ll come in later this morning and our physios will have a look at him to assess the situation. The same applies to everyone away on international duty, you have your fingers crossed that they all come back OK. Obviously we have concerns about his calf problem as well, but the bottom line is that it’s a great honour for him and for this club that he represents his country.” Elsewhere, Northern Ireland’s goal machine David Healy stuck two goals past Andreas Isaksson in Sweden’s goal, while Georgios Samaras started for Greece against Turkey – but probably wished he hadn’t, as the Turks pulled off a stunning 4-1 away victory. Big Sam was relegated to the subs’ bench for the midweek fixture with Cyprus, which the Greeks won 1-0 thanks to a controversial penalty (well that’s what the Maltese website said that I read, anyway). Further afield, Sun Jihai played in China’s double-header back in the Motherland, against Australia and Uzbekistan. The home side lost the first tie 2-0, but won the second game 3-1. That same score saw the USA dispose of Ecuador, with DaMarcus Beasley providing the pass for one of Brandon Donovan’s three goals. The US team couldn’t repeat their goalscoring feats against Guatamala however – the game ended scoreless. SP mused over the worries of having a squad of players dispersed all over the world. “As a club manager you have to hope for the best, you are proud of your players going off to play for your countries, but you have a head count when they come back on a Thursday or a Friday. You look at them physically, see how they are and then pick your team accordingly. DaMarcus has been in the States, Sun Jihai has been in China so we have a couple who we don’t know exactly when they will get in, but it won’t be today. We’d probably prefer internationals to be on a Tuesday so they can return on Wednesday to train Thursday, but that’s not happening so we just get on it with it and keep our fingers crossed. It pushes our plans back by a day, any video work we do on the opposition we’ll do on Friday instead.” Oh yes, and it’s good to report that Daniel Sturrdige’s shooting boots are still in full working order – he scored twice for England Under-18’s crushing 4-1 victory over Holland.

Squad News

Bernie Can Bolt: Call me psychic, but I get the impression that Bernardo Corradi won’t be troubling City fans next season. Corradi has criticised SP and described his first season at Eastlands as “a nightmare”. The 30-year-old Italian has not played since the FA Cup quarter-final defeat to Blackburn and is reported to be keen on a return to his homeland just one year into a three-year deal. Corradi told the Daily Star Sunday: “The manager is typically English. He expects you to go out and beat the other team without knowing how they play. There’s no preparation. It has been a nightmare.” He added: “Then I woke up on the morning of the FA Cup quarter-final to read that the captain had criticised all the foreign players.” [thanks Mark McCracken] And in rebutting Corradi’s comments, SP proved how continental he is by calling his misfiring forward “Bernard” throughout. He said: “Bernard’s been in to see me through the course of the season to discuss how things have gone for him. But I reiterate that this is not the biggest squad in the world, and everyone’s had a fair crack of the whip at this club this season. I don’t think any senior players, certainly, can say that they have not had enough games on the pitch to fight for a place in the team. Bernard’s here, and he has a long contract at the club.”

The Boys Are Back:

Stuart Pearce has revealed that three of his senior players are close tonearing full fitness. He told City’s website: “Nedum Onuoha and TrevorSinclair both trained with us this week and Danny Mills joined in thisweek also. We’ve just got a slight worry over Micah, Stevie Ireland,Emile and Michael Johnson has a slight problem too. Those four are onlyslight problems we hope. Stevie and Micah are the two main concerns outof everybody and we hope that there’s nothing more worrying with them.”And with Newcastle up next for City, Pearce hopes to be able to call on acouple of long-term absentees. He confirmed: “If we can get a good weekand a half’s training into Trevor Sinclair, Nedum and Danny Mills, thenthis time Friday week hopefully we’ll have more selection problems.”

Matt Finished: Matthew Mills has returned to the COMS prematurely on Friday after a two-month loan spell at Layer Road and has set his sights on winning a place in Stuart Pearce’s first-team squad. He revealed that he would probably have stayed at Colchester had he been considered a first-team regular. The 20-year-old central defender told the Evening Gazette: “I wasn’t really guaranteed first team football at Colchester week, week out. I think I would have stayed if I had been but now I just want to push towards the first team at Manchester City.” And he told the official website that his spell ended in interesting circumstances, helping Colchester beat Southampton, his first club. “I didn’t really get the reception that I would have liked! I spent a lot of time there and I’ll always hold Southampton close to my heart, it’s where I learned my trade. Geraint Williams told me I would be on the bench beforehand but it worked out that I had to come on. I didn’t get the best reception but I was there with Colchester to do a job, we won 2-1 so it didn’t really matter.”

Syl Still Staying: SP has revealed he will do everything he can to keep Sylvain Distin at the club. The 29-year-old central defender has so far resisted all offers from City and with a host of Premiership admirers including Tottenham, Newcastle, Middlesbrough, Portsmouth, and Fulham all keen on his signature, City are fearful of losing the man they signed from PSG for £4 million in 2002. Pearce said: “I passionately hope that he will be here longer than the summer. Only time will tell but we will do everything we can to keep him here. People only have to look at his reaction to scoring a goal both at Aston Villa earlier in the season and at Boro last Saturday to know he is a player fully committed to this club. If there had ever been any inkling that he wasn’t committed because of his contract situation then we would have had to address that. I have always known that even if his contract negotiations go right to the wire that he would be fully committed because that is the type of man he is. There’s no doubt we will face competition to keep him because Sylvain is a good player. We’ll have to endeavour to do the best we can to persuade him to stay.”

Ash in Lincoln Clash: Swindon Town beat last week’s deadline on loan signings to snaffle City youngster Ashley Grimes on a month-long deal. Ashley began his League Two experience by coming on as a last minute substitute for the Robins on Saturday, in their 3-2 win at Lincoln.

Don Barrie <news(at)mcivta.city-fan.org>

OPINION: THOSE CHANTS AGAIN

We’ve all heard it, felt uncomfortable, wanted to challenge it but never knew how. It is most evident at away games, especially in the pubs and bars, sung by a small but not insignificant number of our ‘fans’. Regrettably, it is not uncommon to hear it at home games.

Unbelievably, the Munich (1958) air crash and the death of United players and journalists (including our very own Frank Swift), it seems, is something we City fans should celebrate. It doesn’t stop there. When playing Spurs, I have to listen to that sickening song that highlights the fact that many Spurs fans’ are of Jewish heritage, and celebrates the mass extermination of Jews at Belsen during WWII.

Week in, week out I hear references to Munich, yet it goes unchallenged. I realise that many of those who revel in the misery and misfortune of others are younger City fans. To them these historical events are of no significance. But to older City fans it has become something that everyone tolerates, albeit uncomfortably.

It remains part of our culture [largely] because our football club continues to turn the other cheek. And so it continues. Uncomfortable as it might be to challenge yob behaviour and deeply embedded practices, enough is enough. The silent, overwhelming majority can do something, at least to eliminate it from home games.

Before the United and Spurs games in May 2007, write to MCFC and demand that instead of ejecting decent City fans for standing, MCFC stewards eject fans that make reference (in any form) to Munich and Belsen. Do it because you are a decent human being. Do it because we are a decent football club. Do it because we are City fans. Do it for Frank Swift, City’s greatest ever goalkeeper.

Write to:

Alistair Mackintosh
Manchester City Football Club
City of Manchester Stadium
SportCity
Manchester
M11 3FF

[Martin, MCIVTA initiated a campaign that was joined by several websites and both OSC, CSA and MCFC back in January 2006, see link here: http://www.uit.no/mancity/mcivta/11/87.html – Ed]

Martin – St Petersburg Blue <citehboy(at)yahoo.co.uk>

OPINION: INFLATED COSTS

Having been a season ticket holder for many years, I didn’t renew this season and instead have an access card so I can pick which games I want to go to.

I have just been informed by the ticket office that I can’t have a ticket for the match against Un***d as I haven’t got a City card, which cost £21-50! It hardly seems fair that City are making fans pay up an extra £21-50 to watch this game, I would like to know why all fans are not being treated equally, there are 5 of us in our family that go so it would cost us over a hundred pounds extra.

I was sure that City were backing the MEN make it fair for fans campaign but I must have been mistaken. This will be the first derby game I have missed since leaving the Royal Navy in 1977. I have written to City about the situation but, surprise, surprise I have not had a reply.

Don Price <cathdon.price(at)virgin.net>

OPINION: MEMORY TRICKS

My recent article stating that we had not lost to a team that we had beaten or drawn with this season, was of course incorrect. I was just testing to make sure you had not all gone asleep. We did lose to Pompey away after drawing at home.

CTID, Paul Fegan <paulo9(at)eircom.net>

REQUEST: OUTLOOK FIXTURES

Does anyone have a fixture list that syncs up with Microsoft outlook? There was one floating about a while back but I have switched to XP and it has gone.

David Ford <david.ford(at)blackburn.gov.uk>

REQUEST: ARSENAL TICKETS

Looking for a pair/trio of Arsenal away tickets. I am near the top of the waiting list for returns but the club say none have been returned yet. If anyone has spares or can’t go to the rescheduled game would appreciate if they could e-mail me.

Struan Malcolm <struan_Malcolm(at)hotmail.com>

RESULTS

League table to 27 March 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  30 13  1  1 39  9 11  2  2 31 11 24  3  3  70  20  50  75
 2 Chelsea         30 11  4  0 33  8 10  2  3 21 11 21  6  3  54  19  35  69
 3 Arsenal         29  9  5  0 34 11  7  2  6 17 13 16  7  6  51  24  27  55
 4 Liverpool       30 11  3  1 29  4  5  3  7 15 16 16  6  8  44  20  24  54
 5 Bolton Wndrs    30  8  3  4 21 14  6  2  7 14 24 14  5 11  35  38  -3  47
 6 Everton         30  8  4  3 22 11  4  6  5 16 15 12 10  8  38  26  12  46
 7 Tottenham H.    30 10  1  4 28 18  3  5  7 15 26 13  6 11  43  44  -1  45
 8 Reading         30  9  2  4 26 16  4  3  8 17 22 13  5 12  43  38   5  44
 9 Portsmouth      30  8  4  3 22 12  3  5  7 14 19 11  9 10  36  31   5  42
10 Blackburn R.    30  7  2  6 20 18  5  2  8 16 23 12  4 14  36  41  -5  40
11 Newcastle Utd   30  7  5  3 23 17  3  2 10 11 22 10  7 13  34  39  -5  37
12 Middlesbrough   30  8  3  4 21 16  1  6  8 11 20  9  9 12  32  36  -4  36
13 Aston Villa     30  6  5  4 15 12  1  8  6 14 23  7 13 10  29  35  -6  34
14 Fulham          30  6  5  4 14 13  1  8  6 17 31  7 13 10  31  44 -13  34
15 Manchester City 29  5  4  6 10 13  4  2  8 12 21  9  6 14  22  34 -12  33
16 Wigan Athletic  30  5  3  7 14 20  4  3  8 16 24  9  6 15  30  44 -14  33
17 Sheff. United   30  5  6  4 18 17  3  1 11  7 27  8  7 15  25  44 -19  31
18 Charlton Ath.   30  6  3  6 17 17  1  3 11 11 32  7  6 17  28  49 -21  27
19 West Ham United 30  5  2  8 17 21  1  3 11  6 30  6  5 19  23  51 -28  23
20 Watford         30  2  7  6 13 20  1  4 10  6 26  3 11 16  19  46 -27  20

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v0607.01]

[1] MCIVTA Addresses

Articles (Heidi Pickup)          : editor@mcivta.city-fan.org
News/rumour (Don Barrie)         : news@mcivta.city-fan.org
Subscriptions (Madeleine Hawkins): subscriptions@mcivta.city-fan.org
Technical problems (Paul)        : paul@city-fan.org
FAQ (David Warburton)            : faq@mcivta.city-fan.org

[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

http://www.uit.no/mancity/ 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 http://www.mcfc.co.uk/

[5] What supporters’ clubs are there?

Manchester City FC recognises three supporters’ clubs: The “Official Supporters Club” (http://www.mcfcosc.com/); the “Centenary Supporters’ Association” (http://www.reddishblues.com/CSAWebsite/CSA.htm) 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 http://www.bbc.co.uk/manchester/sport/manchester_city/index.shtml.

Live match commentaries and archives of games, reports and interviews can be found at http://mcfc.videoloungetv.com/do/preLogin?clubSiteCode=MCFC&CMP=AFC-003.

[8] Where can I find out if City are live on satellite TV?

http://www.satfootball.com/pl.html provides a listing of Premiership games being shown on UK domestic and foreign satellite channels. Useful sites for North American viewers are http://msn.foxsports.com/foxsoccer, http://www.soccertv.com/, and http://www.livesoccertv.com/.

[9] Do we have a Usenet newsgroup?

Yes we do: uk.sport.football.clubs.man-city is our home on usenet. If you are not familiar with usenet, a basic explanation is available here: http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/0,289893,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 http://www.uit.no/mancity/players/

[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 http://www.plusmarketsgroup.com/ 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 http://www.mcfcstats.com/.

[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:http://www.channelm.co.uk/features/city.html


DISCLAIMER
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, editor@mcivta.city-fan.org

Newsletter #1314

2007/03/29

Editor:


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