Newsletter #1315

A much needed 3 points from our visit to St James’ Park, with Emile (Needles & Pins) Mpenza on the scoresheet once again. We have match reports tonight thanks to Phil and Colin. There’s also opinion on communication and ticketing.

Charlton up next on Good Friday, let’s make it a special atmosphere as flags are out and the Live4City crowd can claim free scarves from the club shop, although the nicotine addicts will have to forego their little helper, as it’s the final “no smoking” game ahead of this summer’s legislation.

Next game: Charlton Athletic, home, 5.15pm Friday 6 April 2007


Blues enjoy Geordie Hospitality

It was a lovely, sunny day on Tyneside and we took our binoculars again for the seat up in the gods at St James’ Park for a view of the little matchstick men down on their lush, green oblong of turf. The Geordies have a great reputation for being disarmingly hospitable and friendly and we had a lovely day up there, but as in previous visits, Newcastle United are not exactly hospitable in charging you £32 for a seat miles away from the action. Still, you can see the whole pitch and how moves develop, which is especially nice when you see a lovely City move win the match! Indeed, it was great to celebrate this win with my nearest and dearest and other friends.

Having made our long ascent up the stairs – all those hours in the gym meant that we weren’t too out of breath at the end – we saw a match that was contested by two struggling, tentative sides. Newcastle were very poor indeed and City were set up defensively to snuff out whatever threat they carried with Pearce’s 4-5-1 formation, and it worked. His return to four at the back has seen an improvement in the team of late, with defenders more sure of their rôles, and it is to be hoped that he sticks with it. What he needs to do now is get the attacking side of the game flowing a little better. My fiancé and I differed over who dominated the first half: let’s just say it was fairly even! Newcastle had a goal disallowed for offside – a very tight decision that the linesman thankfully got right, and at the other end, our lone striker, Emile Mpenza, hit the bar, having cleverly wriggled clear of Newcastle’s notoriously ponderous defence. It was clear that City had the basis of getting at least a point as the home side kept giving the ball away and City looked very solid: the whole team work tirelessly with Hamann anchoring a five man midfield behind Barton and Johnson, who is looking a decent prospect, and Vassell and Sun supporting them ably on the flanks. If we lacked something in that first period particularly, it was movement, and Barton’s passing was ill-directed on occasion, but it was clear that they were playing to a definite plan to keep it tight.

The second half saw substitute Samaras move initially onto the left flank, and Sun move inside into to replace Hamann in the ‘holding’ rôle. Sun made the transition superbly, giving us a little more pace and mobility in this area, and latterly making a crucial block as the Geordies besieged our goal in the final few minutes. In fact the midfield’s passing improved in the second half, as City weathered the home side’s ineffective attack. Dunne headed over from a corner and with Newcastle misplacing a plethora of passes, it was clear that the game was there for the taking.

Johnson swiftly learned that passes are read more quickly at this level and like at Middlesbrough, he settled down and grew in stature to give a good account of himself: more credit to Jim Cassell’s wonderful Academy. The latest youngster to break through played a key part in the decisive moment of the match: taking Barton’s short ball forward, Johnson threaded the perceptive match-winning pass through to the hard-working, mobile Mpenza who controlled it on the run with his right and swept home a terrific shot past Given. Cue bedlam in the away end, high up in the sky as we hugged and po-goed: some of us even laughed maniacally, I suppose out of relief!

We had another chance to increase the lead but Samaras’s clever through ball was not read quickly enough and thereafter, it was the home side who laid siege to our goal in their one sustained spell of pressure: Taylor hitting the bar with a header, Sun getting a crucial block in from a shot and another effort whistling wide, but City held on for a deserved win. The defence was rock solid, the pick of whom, Distin had made a crucial block with his body, but every man played his part. The Frenchman was ably supported by the rock solid Dunne and the returning Nedum Onuoha who memorably shoulder charged the ineffective Duff off the pitch, and Ball who is a quality left back: let’s hope they can all stay fit and that we can sign up Ball and the tireless Mpenza for longer. Who knows, and it’s early days, but in Mpenza, we may have found ourselves a new cult hero in the mode of Uwe Rösler and Shaun Goater. It is clear already that Mpenza is a quality player with an eye for goal.

All in all, it was a well merited victory, thanks to City’s endeavour, organisation, a moment of quality, and, it has to be said, the Geordie team’s own brand of hospitality in giving us the ball back so often! It might have been a more comfortable victory, had we been more positive, so poor were the troubled home side, but it would be churlish to overly critical of the tactics. This win should steer us towards safety though a couple of more wins are needed, and we need to carry this form into the Charlton game, where we will need to be more positive.

Phil Banerjee <Philban65(at)>


Forget all this rubbish about magpies Heidi; I have discovered the secret to Manchester City’s away success. But more of that later.

Before the game we met up with a mixed group of Blues and Toon fans in Newcastle city centre, including the Portadown branch of the City Supporters’ Club. And a jolly good time was had by all. This may well account for the fact that my recollection of the game is somewhat less detailed than usual.

I do know that Richards was out, replaced by Onuoha, with a 4-5-1 line up. It was a pretty forgettable first period with neither side able to string together anything threatening. Newcastle had the ball in the net but Parker was ruled offside. I haven’t seen it on TV but it looked a good decision from where we were.

The one bit of excitement for City fans came when Mpenza hit the bar. However, this was a game that had 0-0 written all over it. The home fans were far less happy than we were at the interval and booed their team off.

We put our secret weapon into action during half time when a friend moved seats to sit with us. So far we have had 100% success with this tactic, having employed it at Villa, Preston, and Boro so we were hoping it would do the trick this time.

City made a change at the start of the second half, with Samaras replacing Hamann. This meant a move to 4-3-3. Despite this leaving us a bit light in midfield, Newcastle still failed to capitalise and the midfield trio were largely untroubled. The introduction of Milner gave them a bit of a lift and the game began to open up. Then old “50p head” himself came on to a chorus of boos (from both sets of fans I think). Would he do what Anelka did for Bolton and score against us?

We were all getting a little nervous as the final 15 minutes ticked away but on 80 minutes the impressive Johnson found Mpenza in the area. He made himself a little bit of space and fired a left footed effort past Given.

There was a late scare as Newcastle hit the bar but that was the sum total of their threat as their fans streamed away. The whistle went and was greeted with joy by the City fans. The home fans were less than overwhelmed though and had a little demo against the board outside the main entrance. No doubt Mr Shepherd will deal with their displeasure in time-honoured fashion by sacking the manager.

It had been a pretty poor game in all but how we needed those 3 points.

Isaksson 7. Continues to impress with his control of his area.
Onuoha 8. Solid and untroubled by Milner.
Dunne 7. Easy day at the office.
Distin 7. Barely needed to break sweat.
Ball 6. So little threat from Toon that he was rarely seen.
Sun 6. Usual energy and commitment.
Barton 6. Didn’t need to be any more than OK.
Hamann 7. Starting to be much more consistent.
Johnson 7. Another assured performance.
Vassell 5. Unusually for him, rarely in the game.
M’penza 7. Makes a big difference to the team.
Samaras 5. He’s not a right winger.
Trabelsi 5. Didn’t have much to do.

Overall Out-of-the-seat Factor 4. Shame the game wasn’t as good as the Old Peculiar in the pub before and after. Not a classic.

Colin Savage <colin(at)>


Up early Sunday morning to watch the Newcastle game. Nervous last 10 minutes of the game. Maybe lady luck has arrived and we have turned the corner? We’ll see this Friday, hoping it will be a Good Friday.

Only fault is Samaras; if we have to play him it should be in the middle otherwise he’s a waste of a place in the team. If Vassell or Corradi had been in Mpenza’s place, I do not think they would have got the goal. Yes maybe we have a new hero here in Mpenza!

Maybe SP has a game plan, great to see the ‘boys’ Onouha (hope he stays fit) and Johnson do so well. We have to carry on the winning ways this Friday.

Up early again this Saturday in New Zealand to watch City become 9 points from Charlton. Then it’ll be a great for us City fans to have a great Easter.

Best wishes from Kiwi land.

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


Only a few weeks ago Paul Tyrell claimed that “No leading club communicates so frequently and on so many levels with their supporters as we do.” This comment made me think back to just before the Club’s 2006 AGM.

Just a few days before the AGM the Club asked for questions to be sent in to the Club to be raised at the AGM. A friend of mine was at the AGM and does not remember any questions being raised on behalf of shareholders or supporters who had e-mailed them in.

On 14 December 2006, the Club issued the following statement: “Following on from our request last week for AGM questions to Chairman John Wardle and Chief Executive Alistair Mackintosh, would like to thank everyone for the overwhelming response. After the vast amount of questions we received, we will soon be able to reply to a selection of the emails and post them on the website. Thank you again for the brilliant response, with as ever, emails coming from Blues in all corners of the world.”

It is now three and a half months since the AGM and the Club’s statement and no follow up article or the questions that were sent in (with the answers) have appeared on the Club’s website. I wonder how many MCIVTA readers sent in questions received a response? Perhaps those that did would let us MCIVTA readers know their question and the response (if one was received)?

In the meantime, I will settle down with Paul Tyrell’s view ringing in my ears: “No leading club communicates so frequently and on so many levels with their supporters as we do.”

John Buckles <mrbuckles(at)>


In reply to Don Price’s question (MCIVTA 1314) regarding the fact that City won’t sell United tickets unless you have a City Card.

It is my understanding that City won’t sell tickets (at least not yet) to fans with Access Cards to ensure that no United fans obtain them given the potential importance of this season’s game.

As much as I don’t like agreeing with policy decisions of MCFC, I have to agree with this one. Unfortunately you and many others stand to miss this season’s derby and maybe future ones by virtue of not having a Seasoncard.

It may seem a harsh decision but certainly a sensible one. Depending on how tickets sell, I suppose they may start selling tickets to Access Card holders with maximum points?

Keep the faith and keep standing!

Andrew Keller <akcity(at)>


Following my rant at being told that I couldn’t get a ticket for the game against Un**ed because I didn’t pay £21.50 for a City card, I have now been informed via MCFC website that fans with access cards and a certain amount of loyalty points can now, after all get tickets for the derby.

The following questions need to be answered: why were the ticket office staff not informed of the correct criteria? Do we really have 17,000 fans with City cards as the club will have us believe? If so, why do the majority of them not want a ticket for the derby? What is the point of paying £21.50 for a City card when you can now get tickets with an access card?

Don Price <cathdon.price(at)>


1 April 2007

Tottenham Hotspur     1 - 0  Reading               36,067

31 March 2007

Bolton Wanderers      1 - 0  Sheffield United      24,312
Charlton Athletic     1 - 0  Wigan Athletic        26,500
Fulham                1 - 1  Portsmouth            22,806
Liverpool             4 - 1  Arsenal               43,958
Manchester United     4 - 1  Blackburn Rovers      76,098
Newcastle United      0 - 1  Manchester City       52,004
Watford               0 - 1  Chelsea               19,793
West Ham United       2 - 0  Middlesbrough         34,977

League table to 01 April 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  31 14  1  1 43 10 11  2  2 31 11 25  3  3  74  21  53  78
 2 Chelsea         31 11  4  0 33  8 11  2  3 22 11 22  6  3  55  19  36  72
 3 Liverpool       31 12  3  1 33  5  5  3  7 15 16 17  6  8  48  21  27  57
 4 Arsenal         30  9  5  0 34 11  7  2  7 18 17 16  7  7  52  28  24  55
 5 Bolton Wndrs    31  9  3  4 22 14  6  2  7 14 24 15  5 11  36  38  -2  50
 6 Tottenham H.    31 11  1  4 29 18  3  5  7 15 26 14  6 11  44  44   0  48
 7 Everton         30  8  4  3 22 11  4  6  5 16 15 12 10  8  38  26  12  46
 8 Reading         31  9  2  4 26 16  4  3  9 17 23 13  5 13  43  39   4  44
 9 Portsmouth      31  8  4  3 22 12  3  6  7 15 20 11 10 10  37  32   5  43
10 Blackburn R.    31  7  2  6 20 18  5  2  9 17 27 12  4 15  37  45  -8  40
11 Newcastle Utd   31  7  5  4 23 18  3  2 10 11 22 10  7 14  34  40  -6  37
12 Middlesbrough   31  8  3  4 21 16  1  6  9 11 22  9  9 13  32  38  -6  36
13 Manchester City 30  5  4  6 10 13  5  2  8 13 21 10  6 14  23  34 -11  36
14 Fulham          31  6  6  4 15 14  1  8  6 17 31  7 14 10  32  45 -13  35
15 Aston Villa     30  6  5  4 15 12  1  8  6 14 23  7 13 10  29  35  -6  34
16 Wigan Athletic  31  5  3  7 14 20  4  3  9 16 25  9  6 16  30  45 -15  33
17 Sheff. United   31  5  6  4 18 17  3  1 12  7 28  8  7 16  25  45 -20  31
18 Charlton Ath.   31  7  3  6 18 17  1  3 11 11 32  8  6 17  29  49 -20  30
19 West Ham United 31  6  2  8 19 21  1  3 11  6 30  7  5 19  25  51 -26  26
20 Watford         31  2  7  7 13 21  1  4 10  6 26  3 11 17  19  47 -28  20

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1315