Newsletter #1316

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Into the Easter weekend with two crucial games, Charlton at home on Good Friday and chance to put more breathing space between ourselves and the bottom three.

Tonight’s news looks at the reserve success, the Newcastle result, Distin’s potential departure and other transfer targets. We also have reaction to the AGM questions, football verdicts, a book review and a fair few requests including Fulham travel available.

Next games:
Charlton Athletic, home, 5.15pm Friday 6 April 2007
Fulham, away, 3pm Monday 9 April 2007

NEWS SUMMARY

General News

Good Evans! The Reserves (not the Pontins lot) made a mighty fine comeback on Monday night. Finding themselves a goal down at half-time to Liverpool, the Boys in Blue struck three times in the second half to secure victory. The scorers were Ched Evans, Marc Laird and Adam Clayton (who scored with his first touch as a late replacement for Evans). Reserve supreme Kenny Jackett mused later “I felt we were flat in the first half and we didn’t raise the tempo. Fair play to Liverpool, you can see they are a quality club even with their reserves. We raised the tempo in the second half, Ched Evans made a big difference when he came on with his hold up play, and it allowed us to get Ishmael Miller down the left. We made a game of it after the break, and it worked very well for us. Nick Weaver made a terrific save for us at one-each and generally it was a good game, particularly in the second half, the boys made a good comeback. In the reserves you always have a mixture of a few senior pros, one or two coming back from injury, and also a few keen, talented and enthusiastic youngsters. We had just that kind of mixture against Liverpool.” Of Clayton, Jackett said: “He’s a very talented young player, just signing professional forms now and I’m really looking forward to working with him.”
Team: Weaver, Logan, Williamson (Obeng 19), Jordan, D’Laryea, Laird, Abdound, Williams (Evans h-t [Clayton 90]), Sturridge, Miller, Marshall.
Subs: Matthewson, MacDonald

Loan Strangers: Liverpool’s Rafael Benitez and Chelsea’s Jose Mourinho have both called for the Football League to copy the model of the Iberian Leagues, and allow top clubs to play their Reserve teams in the lower leagues. Our Mr. Pearce does not agree. “I think statements like that can be made by the top four,” he said. “They’ve got world-class players from 12 to 23 as well as from 1 to 11. If you look at our numbers, they tend to be youngsters making their way, and blooding them in the reserves is fine.” He added: “We have sent players out on loan to Football League clubs to get them some experience. Now if we had a reserve team playing in the league, then we wouldn’t be able to loan Matt Mills out to Colchester or Kasper Schmeichel out to Falkirk. We’ve had six, seven, eight players out. We couldn’t do that if they were playing for us. It would have a trickle down effect on them. I don’t think the idea is workable. I think the bigger clubs could afford to have a big team in the lower leagues and probably do quite well. I’m not sure that so-called lesser sides in the Premiership could afford to do that or could be competitive doing that.”

Favourite Shirts: If you’re reading this and you’re a former England skipper and a current Manchester City manager, you should look away now. This week Celtic manager Gordon Strachan has become the 735th manager to be suggested as a new boss at the COMS – although the ginger whinger denied any interest in the post. Strachan said: “I can’t deal with speculation and rumours. I can only deal with reality and the reality of my situation is that I love what I’m doing here and I love working for this club.”

Transfer News and Gossip

Only When You Leave: The tabloids were full of suggestions that Fulham were set to sew up a £40,000 per week agreement to sign Sylvain Distin on a free transfer in the summer. Distin, out of contract at the end of the season, has refused to negotiate a new deal with City. Portsmouth have also shown an interest but Fulham are believed to be a more attractive option to Distin, who would add valuable experience to Chris Coleman’s defence. Hardly a move to a high- achieving club, Sylvain, and SP dismissed these reports. “He has never said that he is going to leave or that he wants to leave. Those words have never come out of his mouth,” he said. “Sylvain is playing like a player who wants to be at this club and it is up to us to convince him that his future is here. Neither he nor his agent have once told anyone at the club that he wants to leave and that is why we are still desperate for him to stay. We will work as long as it takes to achieve that.”

Hankering After Hanke: City have been linked with a crop of fresh names this week, which is always makes writing this column that much easier! For instance – Wolfsburg striker Mike Hanke is being linked with a move to The Premiership with both Everton and City being mentioned. The German international, who is currently sidelined with a knee injury, is understood to be considering his options. The forward admits that he knows about interest in him. “Yes, I know that there are clubs who are interested in signing me and I am currently considering my options,” he told Wolfsburger Allgemeine Zeitung. And Swedish international striker Johan Elmander is according to Sunday Mirror a target for both City and Tottenham. Elmander has impressed during his time in France with Toulouse; the 25-year-old forward has always been looked up on as a great talent. On the domestic front, the People report that SP wants to sign Southend United striker Freddy Eastwood for around £5 million – Eastwood has already endeared himself in these parts by scoring a 25-yard stunner to knock U****d out of the Carling Cup earlier this season. SP is also said to be in a race with a host of other clubs for the services of Arsenal midfielder Fabrice Muamba. Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is set to spark a £3 million scramble by allowing the youngster to leave the club. Muamba is currently on a season-long loan at Championship promotion hopefuls Birmingham City. The Blues would like to make it a permanent deal but they will only be able to afford the England under-19 international captain if they win promotion back to the Premiership. And City are said to be tracking 17-year-old Nigerian winger Matthew Edile. Edile has been compared to former Nigeria and Barcelona star Emmanuel Amuneke and there are calls for him to be included in the nation’s U20 squad for this summer’s World Championships in Canada. The left-sided winger came through the Weekend Soccer Academy at the Sportscity in Lagos.

Ex-Blues’ News

Van the Man: In Champions’ League action this week – Bayern Munich came from behind twice to snatch a 2-2 draw at AC Milan. The scorer of both Bayern goals was none other than Daniel van Buyten. Both strikes were similar – DvB smacked the ball into the net from close range with his left peg, having trundled forward for a couple of set pieces. As the Guardian pithily put it next day: “Daniel van Buyten never did this at Manchester City.” And he still rolls his socks up over his knees, by the way…

Mystics Sibs! In the week before City’s visit to St.James’ Park, our former “hero” Antoine Sibierski gave the Blues a fantastic pre-match team talk. The Gallic charmer slammed his former club, and predicted worse to come for City. Sibierski said: “I am not surprised City are struggling, I could feel it going downhill. We had quality but when you don’t play as a team, you can lose to anyone. The main thing for me is not just to take my pay but to enjoy my football. It’s not always so, especially at Manchester City.” Now read on to see how badly those misfits got on at Newcastle…

Reactions and Comments

Newcie Down: For the second game in succession, City enjoyed a win in the North East. Last Saturday, Emile Mpenza struck a glorious late goal to give the Blues a vital victory at Newcastle. Mpenza, who also hit the post with a fine 20-yard effort, lashed a shot past Given after a swift breakaway involving Joey Barton and Michael Johnson. Newcastle, inspired by Scott Parker, looked dangerous in patches with Kieron Dyer and Damien Duff the main threat. Steven Taylor saw a header hit the bar but Newcastle created precious few chances and were booed off at the end. Whilst pleased to notch up another win, SP made it clear that there is still plenty of work to do in the rest of season. “At half-time I said to them I thought we had done 85 per cent of what we wanted,” he told Sky Sports. “I felt we could have been a touch more aggressive in possession and shutting the opposition down. They had a lot of possession, but didn’t really threaten our goal. I always felt we could go on and win the game in the second half, even though Newcastle put us under a lot of pressure. I was pleased and proud of the players and they have done very well.” City are six points clear of the drop zone, but Pearce is aware they are not yet safe. “At the start of the season I felt it would be tight to the end,” said Pearce. “If you look, the third (bottom) placed team in the league has condensed it. I think any three from eight can go down and I think that is still the case. There will be one or two tight affairs before the end of the season. From front to back they grafted really hard and did exactly what we wanted of them for 90 minutes. We still just need more aggression when we close sides down and have a touch more cut and thrust when we get the ball. Newcastle had a lot of possession but didn’t hurt us. On the run of play we’ve deserved maybe a point but taken all three.” Nedum Onuoha, in for the injured Micah Richards, and Sun Jihai also came in for special praise for their unheralded contributions. “Nedum has come in for the first time in weeks and is on his knees at the end of the match. Jihai will play anywhere and does the best possible job he can, they deserve credit because they are not the ones who grab the attention.”

He Don’t Need This Pressure On: Glenn Roeder’s chief complaint after the game seemed to be that City had had the temerity to try to defend – presumably teams fighting for their Premiership lives are supposed to play 4-2-4 and lose 6-3, eh Glenn? “I am very, very disappointed,” he said on Sky Sports. “We found it hard to break Manchester City down. They came to do a job, very defensive, they did not really come out to play. It was up to us to break them down and I thought we had when Scott Parker scored. Having seen it, it is marginal he is offside and it could have gone our way on another day. If we take the lead they have to come out and play and that makes it easier for us. The goal was a classic counter attack. It was probably their only chance of the game, they score from it and it is disappointing that in the final ten minutes we don’t get an equaliser because we pushed forward and made some good opportunities. It is most difficult for the fans. There is high expectation at Newcastle, but they don’t understand how difficult it is to break a team down,” he added. “It proved very difficult and frustrating. Normally the fans are helpful here, but they quickly got frustrated and that got to the players. In the end it started to show in our play.”

That Much is True: Joey Barton sounded pleased with the win. He said: “It was a terrific victory, we worked really hard for it. We went into the game with a plan, and we’re happy that we came out on the right side of the result. Every game now is really important, everybody knows that and after this win there’s another couple of clubs who are looking over their shoulders.” He felt that Michael Johnson had a good game, as did Nedum Onouha. “Johnno has done really well when he has come in. His performances are great for the competition for places. It’s been a while since Nedum was in the first team, through injury and Micah’s form, but everyone knew that he wouldn’t let anyone down and he did really well keeping Damien Duff quiet.” And how’s the mood in the squad, Joey?. “The spirit’s good in the camp, there’s a really positive feeling about and we want to keep this run going to finish as high as possible in the league.” Michael Ball dedicated the win to SP: “The boss was at the front getting all the stick, but the players knew deep down that it was up to us. He can tell us what to do, but it’s in our hearts and heads to produce a performance. If we don’t give 110% it’s not going to work, and I think that Chelsea game was a turning point for us because we gained a lot of confidence from the way we played. We don’t want the manager getting stick because it’s down to us as well, we have stood up for ourselves as a team and we have reaped the benefits.”

Squad News

Too Shy Shy: Two vital goals in as many games has shown SP that Emile Mpenza is starting to adjust to the English game, and long may it continue. Pearce says: “He’s been a bonus for us, no doubt about that. If you take anyone outside of the transfer window there has to be a reason for it, but he has done well since arriving. He’s a quiet man, and you do wonder what’s going on inside his head at times! But, his English has improved since he first arrived and now he’s being a bit more vocal. He’s still quiet and a bit shy, but he can be proud of what he’s achieving. We need him to keep battling away and give us more options up top. If you look at his international record he has got a decent goalscoring CV.”

Ball in City’s Court: Michael Ball is hoping that his performances so far can earn him a long contract in the summer. The former Everton and Rangers man has impressed at left-back since his January switch from PSV Eindhoven, and he is enjoying his spell with the club. He told the club website: “Fingers crossed, but it’s up to the guys upstairs at the club. I’m really enjoying it, and the chairman and the gaffer know that as well so if we can keep this run going until the end of the season we’ll see what happens. I enjoyed my time in Holland, but you’re back in the public eye in England because it’s such a massive league to play in. It’s great to be back home and enjoying my football.”

Sturr Crazy: SP is sure that Daniel Sturridge will get a chance ion the first team – but not just yet. “Daniel’s a player that we have high hopes for at this football club,” says the Gaffer. “We’re waiting for him to push me just that little bit further to say that he’s ready. He’s been around the squad this year and made his début for us. We’re pleased for him about his England performance the other night, he has a bright future. But, like all young players, he has got to keep knocking on my door. Sooner or later, just like Micah Richards and Michael Johnson, he’ll get his chance if I feel that it’s necessary.”

Who’s Having a Laugh? If memory serves, Stephen Ireland employed the services recently of everyone’s favourite agent, Willie McKay, in an attempt to secure a better deal from the club. So hush my mouth, if young Master Ireland is reported as being deeply unhappy about the offer he’s received from City. Ireland is alleged to have said: “I’m getting mistreated by the management and directors. Contract talks are going on next week, but if things don’t start looking up, I’m going to have to start considering my options. It is becoming really frustrating. It is laughable and outrageous.” Now compare and contrast with a Willie-less Nedum Onouha, who is similarly in talks with the club. Onouha is hopeful that a deal can be struck, with the former trainee hoping to stay with City and continue to further his career. The defender admitted: “I’m quite happy that people are talking, but I just need to work hard, and I hope that things just slot into place. I can’t see my future anywhere else. I’ve been here 10 years now, that’s half my life. I can’t imagine going somewhere else all of a sudden.”

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

OPINION: MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS

In response to John Buckles (MCIVTA 1315) who was asking about the AGM questions and radio silence from MCFC, yes I sent something in and was wondering what had happened too. Maybe they didn’t like the questions? I asked what was the club’s 5 year plan – something I have seen talked about before on here, because right now we don’t seem to have anything communicated about these medium-long term plans at all.

When Kevin Keegan was manager and arrived in a blaze of glory, he got up there and said he had a 5 year plan to get us to Europe etc. Whether this was his plan or the board’s is another matter (a forum at City attended by a number of fans last season asked the question and the response was that it was “the manager’s” plan!) but the plain fact is that we knew what the club was aiming for.

I’m not surprised that the questions have disappeared into a black hole. There probably aren’t any straight answers to them. How many of us actually believe the club were talking to investors? Sorry, but people have no faith in what they say anymore.

All we get now is more propaganda from the MCFC press office than the KGB at its height. No wonder COMS is known as The Kremlin. We get told by the PR that they talk to their fans more than any other club. They don’t listen though, do they? And if they do get told what fans and media think, I have heard some get threatened with legal action or cold shouldered. It’s pathetic now how people are treated by the “custodians” looking after our club. I’ve never known people so dissatisfied and alienated with what these incumbents are doing – well not since Swales!

I asked before, and I ask again, Mr Wardle and Mr Makin, are you satisfied with how your club is being run? Losing money, losing fans, and losing respect? Why aren’t you phoning up GMR and ranting again about the state of your club?

George E <george.city(at)hotmail.co.uk>

OPINION: MPENZA

Sounds easy to say now, but I was really pleased when we signed Mpenza – I’d seen him on television years before and knew he’d once been a very hot prospect.

From his first touch in the two games he was brought on as a sub, he looked strong, aware, interested, a man with something to prove. I was absolutely dismayed that he wasn’t given a starting line-up chance in the game against Blackburn, or at least brought on earlier. I know now that I wasn’t wrong to hope he’d get a proper run.

Mpenza 07 = Rösler 94? Hope so.

Marc Starr <marc.starr(at)btinternet.com>

BOOK REVIEW

Title: Believe the Sign
Author: Mark Hodkinson
Publisher: Pomona (http://www.pomonauk.co.uk/)
ISBN: 1-904-59017-9
Price: £9.99

Mark will be familiar to many as the author of “Blue Moon: Down Amongst the Deadmen with Manchester City” following the 98-99 season he spent with MCFC.

Believe in the Sign takes us through the 70s and early 80s, a tale of a boy’s obsession with his local football club (Rochdale), charting the twists and turns of childhood into early adulthood. Anyone who grew up in a northern town during that time will find the memories come flooding back: the demise of the local mills and the arrival of the supermarkets leading to mass changes in the local economy; Tupperware; scrapes at school; unlikely hero worship; youth clubs; scouting groups. A focus on life outdoors, something we seem to miss today, and the innocence that goes with it of playing alongside the canal, treks along the motorway – the “normal” scrapes kids get into. As adulthood looms, along comes the worry of leaving school and the obsession with Rochdale from the childhood collection of scrapbooks to writing match reports and programme notes eventually leads to an unlikely career path. Throughout we meet the characters that make northern England great, the banter and the idiosyncracies, we’ve all met them. There is humour, poignancy and throughout a great tale that many will enjoy and see parallels of their own lives.

Heidi <editor(at)mcivta.city-fan.org>

REQUEST: FULHAM TICKET WANTED

I’ve just found out I’m going to be in London on Bank Holiday Monday. Because of the poor post and Easter Holiday I’m unlikely to get a ticket posted to me before I have to leave for London. Has anyone going to the match got a spare ticket please?

Michael Stoddard <Michael(at)strandbc.com>

REQUEST: TRANSPORT TO FULHAM AVAILABLE

Cheadle Branch have places left if anyone is still looking for transport for the Fulham game.

The bus leaves Cheadle at 9am on Monday, and we can also arrange to pick up on the M6 and M40.

Please contact Tommy Muir on 07702307333.

Pete Johnson <jinners(at)tiscali.co.uk>

REQUEST: ARSENAL TICKET

If anyone has a spare Arsenal ticket I would gladly take it off your hands.

I can arrange pick-up/meet in either Manchester (weekend) or London (weekday).

A long shot I know, but I live in hope.

John Bellairs <john_bellairs(at)btinternet.com>

REQUEST: WHATEVER HAPPENED TO?

Rod Adderley? Many years ago I worked in the Post Office in Manchester (I’m from Blackpool and a ‘Pool fan) and I had a work colleague who became quite a good friend.

His name is Rodney (Rod) Adderley, his father had a shop in the Miles Platting/Collyhurst area and we worked together at Newton Heath PO. Rod was an avid City fan and we used to go all over, on his scooter, to watch City (that is why it became my second team). I moved away and lost touch with him, but have often wondered where he is now and how he is getting on. He would be about 64 now.

I have tried to find him to no avail and I wondered if there is anybody out there who may be in contact with him?

I now live in France but follow City’s results closely and I sincerely hope they stay up and and progress to better things.

Dave Pickering <davepick(at)wanadoo.fr>

RESULTS

League table to 04 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         31  8  4  3 22 11  4  7  5 17 16 12 11  8  39  27  12  47
 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 Aston Villa     31  6  6  4 16 13  1  8  6 14 23  7 14 10  30  36  -6  35
15 Fulham          31  6  6  4 15 14  1  8  6 17 31  7 14 10  32  45 -13  35
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

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 #1316

2007/04/05

Editor:


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