Newsletter #1318

Tonight we have news of the potential US investment, potential transfer moves in and out, Mpenza declaring his love for City, Ireland signs up and of course reaction to the Easter games.

We also have a match report thanks to Neil, views on recent form and viewing requests.

Liverpool visit this weekend, the team Pearce notched up his first win against as City manager. Can we do it again?

Next game: Liverpool, home, 3pm Saturday 14 April 2007


Takeover News

Here Kitty: The American consortium allegedly preparing a takeover at City could put together a £30 million transfer kitty for the summer market. The Daily Mail says the wealthy Americans, who have insisted on strict secrecy as part of the deal, visited City’s training complex over Easter. They are expected to pay £70 million for the Premiership club, but are also ready to inject up to £30 million more into the deal, signalling a summer transfer windfall for Stuart Pearce – or his successor.

Are We Silly for Billy? SP knows that a new board might mean a new manager. He told the Evening News: “In the summer, there may be a takeover and they might say they need a new man at the helm. It is physically impossible to feel secure as a football manager.” Apparently Pearce met the prospective new investors when they were given a tour of the club’s Carrington training ground over the weekend and has been kept informed of the ongoing talks. Pearce still believes he is the right man to lead the club. “I know my job, what is coming through the academy system and what areas we need to strengthen,” he said. “I have a list of targets to give to the chief executive. I will tell him that’s what I want and that he has to deliver it for me if he can. The chairman and the board will, I am sure, do everything they can to support me.” And there’s yet more speculation on who might be the new manager. According to the Daily Express, City have sounded out Derby boss Billy Davies as a candidate to potentially replace SP.

Transfer News and Gossip

Clearing Out the Deadwood: There were noises on Sunday of a big summer clear-out at the COMS. Between them, the News of the World and the Daily Star Sunday reported that Psycho will be axing at least six of the present squad at the end of the season. Stephen Jordan, Danny Mills, DaMarcus Beasley, Trevor Sinclair and Hatem Trabelsi will not be retained by SP, while Sylvain Distin will be off to Fulham. SP said: “Thirteen players left our club last summer and there will be a few to make a decision on this term. The beauty of it is that if you want to move players on, it frees up financial constraints we have been under and it gives us opportunities again.” Pearce has called on his board to find cash to make new signings in the summer – even if a proposed takeover collapses. He added: “We have been financially cute but we need to strengthen now. I think the chairman is aware we have to find some – whether that’s from a takeover or internally. We need to invest in players, that’s what I want, it’s what the fans want and everyone here realises it has to be the case.”

Rich Pickings: I know it shouldn’t matter, but a little bit of the Bitter Blue makes me nervous when I hear City want to sign an OT swamp-dweller. SP is believed to be lining up a move for Stretford Redsox midfielder Kieron Richardson. The Boss is hoping to raise enough cash from player transfers to make a bid for Kieron Richardson. The England International is struggling to hold down a first team spot at Old Trafford and could be tempted with a switch to the COMS if there was the possibility of regular first team football. Richardson has made just 17 appearances for United this season, scoring 1 goal.

Edile Deal? Nigeria youth international Matthew Edile has confirmed contact from City. “I have had contacts from agents from Manchester City,” Edile, a 17-year-old winger of no fixed club, told the Daily Star. “But it is still early, so no agreement has been reached because I have not taken any decision.” Meanwhile, City and Chelsea are said to be watching Spanish under-19 international, Nigerian born Sunday Stephen.

Ball Spin on Moves Elsewhere: Michael Ball’s good form is attracting the interest of other clubs. Ball will become a free agent in the summer and his impressive form has attracted interest from Goodison boss David Moyes as well as from Wigan, Bolton, Middlesbrough, Sunderland and Southampton – so says the Sunday Mirror. But fear not – the defender wants to remain at City. He said: “I would love to stay here. City gave me the opportunity of a return to English football and I want to pay that back. I want to play as many games as I can and then at the end of the season sit down and talk and go from there.”

Ex-Blues’ News

The Return of the Mack: Derby County are currently in an automatic promotion spot in the Championship (that’s Division One in the days when it was worth winning, by the way), and leading their front line is none other than Jon Macken. He joined the Rams on a free transfer from Crystal Palace at the end of January. He’d rediscovered his scoring boots in a three month loan prior to that at Ipswich, but sadly for Mack he has yet to score a league goal for Derby. But he’d like another crack at the Premiership, especially to prove some folk wrong at City. He said: “I don’t know why it didn’t work out for me at City. My personal view is that I didn’t get a good run at it. I don’t want to make excuses. It just didn’t work. But I’d love to go into the Premiership with Derby.”

Reactions and Comments

Not a Bad Point: City’s fourth scoreless draw at home this season saw the Blues gain another point in the scramble for survival, as well as allowing Charlton Athletic to climb out of the Premiership relegation zone for the first time since September. In a whirlwind City start, Emile Mpenza saw his header cleared off the line. Scott Carson also denied Joey Barton twice before half-time but the home side ran out of ideas after the break. The Boss seemed content enough with another point in the kitty. “I thought we dominated play, certainly in the first half,” he said. “I lost count of the number of corners, knockdowns etc. we had. As often happens, during the course of a game you never dominate all 90 minutes. Credit to our boys, we had our backs to the wall at one stage. A draw was probably a fair result but we wanted to win at home in front of our own fans. Our top priority is to stay in this league. But with the matches we have left we are looking to finish as high as we possibly can. We know it is not going to be easy but there are a lot of teams in a compact group and you are better off finishing top of that group than the bottom.” If fans felt a bit frustrated that City didn’t try a more attacking formation towards the end, SP had a word for them. “We have probably learned from what happened to us against Reading, where had a go at them for 70 to 80 minutes, got stretched and ended up getting beaten. Today was a case of if we have had a go at the opposition but not won the game after 80 minutes, make sure you don’t lose it. On the back of two away victories, maybe this was not a bad point. The crowd may have been frustrated, and I might wake up tomorrow feeling the same because I wanted to win this game. Sometimes you have to look at the plusses and the minuses, like Johnno getting another game under his belt. Nedum’s come through OK, Mpenza has impressed me again and we did not let a goal in. We didn’t look like we were going to concede, and we haven’t done for three games now with two of them being away from home. Even against Chelsea we didn’t look like conceding one either, so there a lot of positives and we keep having to try to improve for Monday.”

Not Hard for Pards: Charlton boss Alan Pardew had already lost at the COMS this season, during his time as West Ham boss, so you could understand his satisfaction at gaining a point with his new team. “We’ve just got a point away from home, which we’ve not done much this year, so that has to be a good result. I feel a few teams around us will be starting to feel a bit nervous now. I know there are matches to be played on Saturday but the fans of those clubs will be apprehensive about their teams and that can spread to the pitch. Of course I’m relieved to be out of the relegation zone,” he added. “It’s important, we’ve put the pressure on everybody tomorrow. We’ve got a home game to come and find ourselves with a really tough away point in the Premiership and we’ll take that. I’m very pleased with the effort of the players, that’s got us where we are and we’ve got to keep doing that.” And SP is certain the men from The Valley will not be in the relegation zone when the Premiership campaign reaches it conclusion next month. “I said some months ago I didn’t think they would be one of the teams that get relegated,” said Pearce. “Primarily, to stay in this league you cannot ship goals. Just lately, Charlton have made sure there is a nice structure to their team and they don’t concede many goals. They also have Darren Bent up front. My centre-halves handled him well but we all know if you switch off for a minute he will score. As long as their defence keep things tight, there is every chance he will get them a goal.”

No Loss is a Gain: One unexpected bonus of Micah Richards’ injury travails is a return to the first team of Nedum Onouha. And as we’ve heard, Bossman Stu liked what he saw from Ned on Saturday. Of the Charlton match, Nedum commented: “It was nice not to lose but we went for the win, so we are slightly disappointed, but getting a point from the draw is not the worst result. I think we have something like 13 clean sheets so far this season, so we must be doing something right. It was a bit of a missed opportunity, but we have halted their progress in terms of catching up on us, so it was a bit of a missed opportunity for Charlton as well. We’re reasonably happy with being twelfth, but the only way is up.”

Full on at Fulham: On Monday, City reached the magic figure of 40 league points by beating fellow strugglers Fulham. City took the lead when Joey Barton fired home from the edge of the area. DaMarcus Beasley rounded off a fluid move with a neat finish to make it 2-0 and Liam Rosenior’s mistake let Darius Vassell run clear and add a third. Fulham pulled one goal back through a Carlos Bocanegra header and bombarded City’s goal in the closing stages but could not find a way through. City are now nine points clear of third-bottom Sheffield United with six games to go. Mr. Pearce professed himself less than thrilled at reaching the big “four-oh” mark, he wants the team to accumulate more points before the end of the season. “Reaching the 40 point mark was not a target for us,” he said. “I’ve told the players our focus should be to stay undefeated for the rest of the season. I am not sure whether that will happen because we have some very tough games. But it is very important for everybody at the club that we end this season on a high note. I think the team ethic and the willingness to get a result is the main thing I’d take out of this,” he continued. “There were a lot of good individual performances for the team. I think we thoroughly deserved to win the game today. We put a lot of hard work in to achieve that result. It’s important from now on that the players should be saying to themselves ‘Can we stay undefeated until the summer? Can we have a decent end to the season?’ We have to try and finish as well as we can.”

Cookie Crumbles: At least Fulham boss Chris Coleman had the good grace to admit that his team wasn’t able to break down City’s defence (unlike Mr. Roeder at Newcastle): “I have got a dressing room full of dejected players. We knew City would come here and play 4-5-1 and they defended very well. We struggled to find any penetration until near the end. This leaves us in a dogfight and now we have to go to Reading on Saturday and come away with something.” Given the recent pressure he endured, SP was asked if he had any sympathy for Chris Coleman. “Don’t take this wrong but I can’t have sympathy for ‘Cookie’ Coleman even though he is a great lad,” said Pearce. “We are in a competitive business and everyone is desperate to win games down at the bottom. But I think the way managers are being treated, the current phone-in syndrome, is unbelievable. All are going through the same thing. But I don’t see any danger of relegation for Fulham. When you see the interaction between the manager and the players you know the spirit that they have.”

Cursed! And 24 hours after the game, the curse of a City defeat struck another Premiership manager. Last season the Chairmen of Newcastle and Sunderland decided that their clubs could go no lower after suffering a loss to the Blues, thus ending the managerial stints of Graeme Souness and Mick McCarthy respectively. Late on Tuesday it was revealed that Chris Coleman had been let go by Fulham, and Lawrie Sanchez had been installed as caretaker boss.

Squad News

For Knees a Jolly Good Fellow: Paul Dickov has suffered a fresh injury setback. After recently recovering from a toe injury, the 34 year-old striker has been hit by a knee injury that will keep him out for a fortnight. Dickov told City’s website: “It’s very frustrating because I worked hard to try and get back as quick as I could from my toe injury. To be back for only probably two weeks full training and for this to happen is a bit of a nightmare because I was hoping to get back in the team as quickly as I could. The injury maybe came at the wrong time because the team weren’t getting results as I was coming back and now I’m injured again, but the lads have done fantastically over the last two games.”

China in His Hands: Sun Jihai wants to stay with the Blues for as long as he can, before going into coaching. His contract with City runs until 2008, and he revealed: “I want to stay and play here at the top level for Manchester City as long as I can. Then maybe I will think about going back to China where the standard of the league is not so great as it is here but is developing all the time. I was only speaking with my team-mate Didi Hamann the other day about the Olympics and how I would like to be part of it,” he admitted. “The whole of China is looking forward to staging the Games and perhaps showing the world what our country is all about. After that, who knows? Ever since I came to England I have made a point of noting down the best training sessions and putting them in a book at home so that, should the day arrive when I am a coach myself, I will be able to draw on my experience. When I quit playing I will have to find another job and I want to stay in football and help Chinese players improve. There are so many people interested in football that it is growing all the time and, as I said, the standard is rising. There may be many others following my path in the future and if I can help them and teach them then I will do so. I will not be retiring when I leave City – it is not the Chinese way.”

I Want to Stay at this Club: Emile Mpenza has indicated he would be happy to stay with City beyond the end of this season. The frontman revealed: “I’ve enjoyed being at City and I think it’s going well for me,” he said. “I like it here and if I get some more goals, then maybe we can talk when the season is finished.” That sound like good news for SP, who’s revealed that City will be starting talks regarding a longer deal for Mpenza in the next week. “All being well, this week we will speak to him and his representatives,” said Pearce in the Daily Star. “He has done extremely well. Against Charlton, he put in another performance of the type that said ‘I want to stay at this club’.” He’d better get a move on if he wants to secure the striker longer term – Glasgow Rangers are said to be eyeing Emile Mpenza. Rangers No.2 Ally McCoist was said to be watching Emile against Fulham on Monday.

Tangerine Dream: Joe Hart’s got himself a bit more League experience. He’s been signed on an emergency loan deal by League One outfit Blackpool, currently pushing for a play-off spot in League One. And Hart made an excellent start to his Seasiders career, making three superb saves to help Blackpool win 2-0 at Huddersfield. The move is initially for just a week and is expected to end after the Seasiders’ next game, Saturday’s Bloomfield Road fixture against Northampton Town.

Cold Comfort: It seems that City have taken the current trend for athletes taking ice baths to its logical conclusion. Steve Wigley has revealed that the players were plunged into a chamber at minus 135 degrees ahead of their victory at Fulham (I sincerely hope that’s Fahrenheit, not Centigrade…). The entire squad spent three minutes each in a dry, cold compartment at London’s Kriotherapy Centre on Sunday evening. Wigley believes the revolutionary technique helped the players avoid injury over the busy Easter weekend. “The lads all wondered about it, but they all reported feeling absolutely great the next day,” Wigley told the Daily Star. “We also had no new muscle injuries despite playing two games in 72 hours.” The unit’s consultant physio Neil Sillett explained the benefits of the procedure, which requires everyone taking part to wear cotton socks, gloves, shorts and a headband. “The process is great for recovery because it gets adrenalin and endomorphins absolutely pumping round the blood stream,” he said. “It aids sleep that night, and you wake up feeling invigorated and ready to go.”

Four Year Pitch: Mr. McKay’s hardball tactics have clearly worked – Stephen Ireland has signed a new four-year contract at the COMS. The 20-year-old Republic of Ireland international has made 23 appearances this season and established himself as a regular in midfield this term. “It’s all well worth it now to get it signed so I can concentrate on my football. I don’t have to worry about my immediate future, I’ve got a long contract now and it’ll set me up for a few years to progress myself and become a fixture in the side. It’s hard being a young player coming through from the Academy, you’ve got to be on form every day in training, as well as the games. You have to take that chance, you see Bradley, Willo and Crofty getting sold last year, so I could have been in that boat. I’m glad that I’ve been kept on and I’m happy here and hope to stay for as long as possible. It’s a good time for me to get my new contract, I’ve been here a few years and now I’m looking ahead to the next few.”

So When are we Signing Ronaldinho? Sylvain Distin has repeated his assertion that he’d consider staying with City – provided there’s evidence of ambition from his current employers. “I am 29 and I have ambitions,” he said. “I don’t want to be fighting against relegation every season. I want to enjoy my football and I need the club to invest in players and try to push forward. I have had the opportunity to move away every season. If money was my top priority I would have been at another club by now. It is not about how much you spend on players – Newcastle have spent a lot of money on players and they don’t succeed any more than us. It is about the quality of the players and how long the players stay at the club. That is important. In five years here I have seen a lot of good players coming and going. Maybe that also means something. I could speak to the manager about players but what is he going to say? We are going to get Ronaldinho?” he added. “Actions speak louder than words. We shall just see what is going to happen.”

Don Barrie <news(at)>


City lined up a strange 4-5-1 formation, successful away from home but surely a tad too defensive for a home game against a lowly Charlton missing the fire-power of Hasselbaink?

City lined up: Isaksson, Dunne, Distin, Onuoha, Ball, Sun, Barton, Johnson, Vassell, Ireland, Mpenza (subs: Weaver, Dabo, Samaras, Sinclair, and Beasley).

Charlton started with a 4-4-2 formation and with the two Bents up-front.

First half started at a tremendous tempo, City forcing 5 corners back to back in the first four minutes. Barton’s taking left much to be desired and no clear cut chances ensued. Charlton did put the ball in the net after Isaksson fumbled a high ball but play had already stopped for an infringement.

City had attack after attack, Barton missed a sitter, Mpenza miscued from about 3 yards and the longer the ball didn’t force the back of the Charlton net to billow, the more the tension could be felt amongst the crowd (41,000+).

Half time came with City well on top but nothing to show for it. Onuoha was looking solid at right back with some good runs, Dunne and Distin solid, Ball a little below what I’ve come to see as the norm. Sun was harrowing and running non-stop, Barton was replaced as corner taker looking subdued, Johnson looked promising and defiantly one for the future, Ireland the pick of the team and the one player looking to play Mpenza in, Vassell (why oh why does Pearce try to play him as a left winger, he doesn’t know where the touchline is and is scared silly to try to beat the full back) wasteful and looking forlorn. Mpenza never stopped running, pressurising their ‘keeper into hurried clearances and has done more in a fistful of games than the lanky Greek misfit all season.

Second half – surely Pearce will change things? No. Surely we’ll get better? No. Surely we’ll attack? Charlton looked poor at the back. No.

Charlton were allowed to play, we stopped the pressure and closing down the spaces and the Charlton midfield started to tick, Faye and Song ran the show with Thomas on their left looking a threat.

Twenty minutes to go, Pearce at last changed it; none too late from the reactions of the crowd either. But wait, what’s he thinking? Stephen Ireland off, replaced by Trevor Sinclair and Vassell replaced by the Greek misfit? Surely we should be pushing to win? No, we still play 5 across the middle with Samaras now as a left winger.

Charlton had the better of the next 10 minutes and then, with about 10 minutes left to play it seems the boys in blue woke up again. Too little too late. Nil-nil the final score.

Disapproval from the stands for the tactical naïveté of Pearce and the poor performance of several of the troops, it seems to be that if Barton plays badly City are inept and almost clueless.

Scores on the doors:
Isaksson        6
Dunne           6
Distin          6
Onuoha          7
Ball            4
Sun             5
Barton          5
Johnson         5
Vassell         3
Ireland         7
Mpenza          6
Sinclair        4 (for Vassell aprox 70 minutes)
Samaras         1 (for Ireland aprox 70 minutes)
                  (for only falling over twice)
Pearce          3
MOM - Nedum Onuoha

We will be safe I’m sure. Fulham were awful at CoMS in November and we can’t lose against them, especially after selling Boa Morte (they were, Corradi scored twice! – Ed]

In the close season we need a new centre half unless Distin stays and maybe still even then as cover, a new left sided midfielder, a target man centre forward who is good for 12 goals a season, a playmaker under 30 to work with Barton and Ireland and allow rotation.

Keep Mpenza, keep Ball. Get rid of: Corradi, Sinclair, Dickov, Mills (Danny), Jordan, and especially the bl**dy Greek. With the savings on the payroll pay decent salary and give long term contracts to the youth and our future, namely Ireland, Matthew Mills, Michael Johnson, Richards, Onuoha, Hart, and Sturridge.

So endeth the lecture and views of your truly.

Neil Whittle <Neil.Whittle(at)>


Just arrived back from two weeks holiday in the Dominican Republic from where I fashioned three wins and a draw, and managed to catch two of the games on the telly.

Anyway, if anyone at the club reads this and wants to pay for me to go back to the Dominican for the rest of the season I would be happy to oblige.

It can’t just be coincidence that we put together our first 3 game away win sequence in the Premiership whilst I was de-stressing.

Come on you Blues.

Dave Kilroy <dave.kilroy(at)>


“Feed Emile and he will score.” Surprised they’re not singing it around the COMS yet.

[We need something original, Needles & Pins got an airing the other week – Ed]

Ken C <kc888(at)>


It sounds as if Sylvain Distin is holding back on signing a new contract with City, until he sees signs that MCFC are positive on moving forward with investment on the right new players, something that we all want to see.

Good to see Stephen Ireland sign a new contract, more of the better players to follow soon please.

The team have got some good results in the last few games, but we are still not out of danger, every team below us are not going to give up without a good fight, the cost of relegation is too high.

The fight to avoid relegation is not exciting, it’s depressing; exciting is when we are fighting to win something.

We have some battles ahead starting with Liverpool on Saturday; come out of this game with at least a point and I shall be happy, win and I shall be over the blue moon.

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


Correct me if I’m wrong but of the last five Premiership managers to be sacked (Souness, McCarthy, Dowie, Pardew, Coleman), three have been sacked after losing to City.

Draw your own conclusions!

Pete Roythorne <pete(at)>


Just a quick note to say that I’ve been, to use a technical term, prattling on over at Soccernet as one of their fan correspondents.

Surely one of the signs of the coming apocalypse but feel free to check out

Wallace Poulter <wallace.poulter(at)>


I’ll be in Truro on the Saturday of the Liverpool game; does anyone know of any reasonably local pubs that will be showing the game live?

Dave Duffield <dave(at)>


9 April 2007

Aston Villa           1 - 1  Wigan Athletic        31,920
Bolton Wanderers      1 - 1  Everton               25,179
Charlton Athletic     0 - 0  Reading               26,271
Fulham                1 - 3  Manchester City       22,435
Newcastle United      0 - 0  Arsenal               52,293
Watford               4 - 2  Portsmouth            18,119

7 April 2007

Arsenal               0 - 1  West Ham United       60,098
Blackburn Rovers      1 - 2  Aston Villa           24,211
Chelsea               1 - 0  Tottenham Hotspur     41,864
Middlesbrough         4 - 1  Watford               25,534
Portsmouth            2 - 1  Manchester United     20,223
Reading               1 - 2  Liverpool             24,121
Sheffield United      1 - 2  Newcastle United      32,572
Wigan Athletic        1 - 3  Bolton Wanderers      18,610

League table to 11 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  32 14  1  1 43 10 11  2  3 32 13 25  3  4  75  23  52  78
 2 Chelsea         32 12  4  0 34  8 11  2  3 22 11 23  6  3  56  19  37  75
 3 Liverpool       32 12  3  1 33  5  6  3  7 17 17 18  6  8  50  22  28  60
 4 Arsenal         32  9  5  1 34 12  7  3  7 18 17 16  8  8  52  29  23  56
 5 Bolton Wndrs    33  9  4  4 23 15  7  2  7 17 25 16  6 11  40  40   0  54
 6 Everton         33  9  4  3 26 12  4  8  5 18 17 13 12  8  44  29  15  51
 7 Tottenham H.    32 11  1  4 29 18  3  5  8 15 27 14  6 12  44  45  -1  48
 8 Portsmouth      33  9  4  3 24 13  3  6  8 17 24 12 10 11  41  37   4  46
 9 Reading         33  9  2  5 27 18  4  4  9 17 23 13  6 14  44  41   3  45
10 Newcastle Utd   33  7  6  4 23 18  4  2 10 13 23 11  8 14  36  41  -5  41
11 Blackburn R.    32  7  2  7 21 20  5  2  9 17 27 12  4 16  38  47  -9  40
12 Manchester City 32  5  5  6 10 13  6  2  8 16 22 11  7 14  26  35  -9  40
13 Middlesbrough   32  9  3  4 25 17  1  6  9 11 22 10  9 13  36  39  -3  39
14 Aston Villa     33  6  7  4 17 14  2  8  6 16 24  8 15 10  33  38  -5  39
15 Fulham          33  6  6  5 16 17  1  8  7 18 35  7 14 12  34  52 -18  35
16 Wigan Athletic  33  5  3  8 15 23  4  4  9 17 26  9  7 17  32  49 -17  34
17 Charlton Ath.   33  7  4  6 18 17  1  4 11 11 32  8  8 17  29  49 -20  32
18 Sheff. United   32  5  6  5 19 19  3  1 12  7 28  8  7 17  26  47 -21  31
19 West Ham United 32  6  2  8 19 21  2  3 11  7 30  8  5 19  26  51 -25  29
20 Watford         33  3  7  7 17 23  1  4 11  7 30  4 11 18  24  53 -29  23

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1318