Newsletter #1328

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My apologies for the lateness of this issue, but as I guessed would happen, this edition of MCIVTA is a bumper one. With opinions/thoughts on who the new manager will be, the takeover and the new shirt, there is plenty of stuff crammed in here to get some great debate going.

Hold on to your hats, the rollercoaster that is Manchester City promises to be a very fascinating ride this summer!

Next game: TBA

NEWS SUMMARY

‘So Long Stu’ News

In one of those neat little Circle-Of-Life things, Stuart Pearce’s reign as City manager ended where it began – in a 2-1 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur. Pearce took charge of 97 games at City, with 34 wins, 43 losses and 20 draws. Although no City fan could proclaim him or herself surprised, perhaps the timing was a little unexpected. It came the day after the season ended at North London, and was widely reported to have been the start of a clearing of the decks ahead of a takeover by not-very-shady-honestly former Thai PM Thaksin Shinawatra. Time to track the media coverage of the sacking of Psycho, and its aftermath.

Pre and Post Match: Stuart Pearce is optimistic that he’ll still be in charge come the new season in August. “I do my job to the best of my ability, and I’m sure I’ll be at this club next year,” he says. “People are speculating that I might not be, but that is the nature of the game, and the nature of expectation on all Premiership managers.” And he still loves the job he’s doing: “I love what I do,” he says. “I have crawled around under skirting boards for a living, so it is definitely a step up from that. When I went into management, I knew it was a difficult job. Nothing that has happened in the last two years has dissuaded me from that view. But I feel as though I have dealt with problems in the right and proper manner and if anyone thinks every problem I have grinds me down to the point where I will pack it in, I can assure them there is not a chance of that.” There was the first hint of what was to come – Sunday’s News of the World thinks that SP will be axed if and when Shinawatra completes a £160 million takeover (that figure’s crept up a bit in recent days, has it not?). Still undaunted by the speculation, SP is bullish in his after match press conference. “From my position, I never worry about losing my job, my reaction would be exactly this – I’d thank the supporters and everyone connected with the Club,” he says. “It’s a fantastic Club and you people [local press] know that better than me, you’ve been around the Club a lot longer than I have, but I’ll go and work somewhere else and prove myself elsewhere. I’ve got a feeling that I’ve got something good to offer management. If they say to me, ‘Someone else is better than you Mr Pearce,’ I’d shake their hand and wish them all the best – I’d mean that as well. I hope Manchester City are successful.”

Monday: A Short Announcement on the Club Website: “Manchester City can confirm that the Club has terminated the contract of Manager Stuart Pearce with immediate effect. Chief Executive Alistair Mackintosh said: ‘The Board of Directors would like to thank Stuart for his hard work and service during his six years here at Manchester City and wish him well for the future.'”

Unhappy Camper: Within hours of Pearce’s dismissal, shaven headed rent-a-quote Danny Mills was naturally on air sharing his views with the nation. Mills claimed that morale in the dressing room prior to Pearce’s departure had been low (well I never!). Mills told BBC Radio Five Live: “Some players may have been slightly discontented this season. Some have said their pieces in the papers and the press and they’ve felt things haven’t been going well. Ultimately that’s for a new manager to come in and put right. You need happy players. A happy camp is normally a successful camp” (thanks Simon Moorehead).

Let the Speculation Begin: On the same day that Psycho gets the bullet, Paul Jewell resigns as Wigan boss. Many informed sources (and Our Kid) put two and two together and got 3.9999999999999999 – could Jewell be on his way to the COMS? At the present, the answer appears to be ‘no’, because Jewell’s Chairman Dave Whelan cites health reasons for his manager’s departure, while Jewell confirms he simply needs to recharge his batteries after helping Wigan stay in the Premiership by the skin of their teeth. “I am not going to Manchester City,” Jewell tells Sky Sports News. “I gave the chairman my word, I looked him in the eye and I have got an open relationship with him. I am having a rest from the game and he has been very understanding about that. I would not do that to the chairman. I have got too much respect for him and Wigan Athletic to do that. If I was going to go somewhere I would be straight with him, but I am not going anywhere. I said to the chairman I want to take a break and spend time doing things I want to do. I had lots of calls off my friends saying am I alright. I am fine, I just want a break, there is nothing wrong with that. I have had six years at Wigan and we have climbed mountains really and everyone deserves credit for that and I just feel the time is right for me to step aside and take time off. I think I have done well enough at Wigan to walk way with my head held high. I think I have done as much as I can there and I want a break.” The Sun says Thaksin Shinawatra’s choice for City boss is Blackburn’s Mark Hughes. Also mentioned in despatches are Preston’s Paul “Simmo” Simpson and Derby’s Billy Davies.

Foreign Fancy: And then a funny thing happens – City are linked with ever more exotic coaches. It begins on Monday night, when Radio 5 Live claims City’s board, with the agreement of the prospective new owners, are keen to go Dutch. Louis van Gaal, currently at AZ Alkmaar, and Ronald Koeman of Dutch Champions PSV, are top targets. It doesn’t stop there. Other names are added to the list of galactico gaffers. Most ridiculous of the lot is failed former England supremo Sven Goran Eriksson, currently earning a bundle by the FA for not working – but most papers report that Gerrard Houllier and Claudio Ranieri are serious candidates for the post. The former Chelsea supremo is currently on a short-term deal in Italy, attempting to keep Parma in Serie A. He is known to want another chance in the Premiership, and some bookies stopped taking bets on him to be the next COMS Commissar. Houllier enjoyed considerable success as boss of Liverpool, and has just lead Lyon to the French title. On Wednesday Lyon deny in a statement that Houllier is going anywhere. A representative for Koeman, Gerrit Lagendijk, is also adamant the former Holland and Barcelona defender will not be joining City. Lagendijk told BBC Sport online: “Ronald has one more year with PSV and would like to fulfil the contract. We have spoken with two Premier League clubs in the last three weeks, but not Manchester City. Even if Manchester City is coming up at this time, we would have to say ‘no’.”

Wednesday: An Even Shorter Announce,ent on the Club Website: “Manchester City can confirm that Steve Wigley has left the football club with immediate effect. A Club spokesperson said: ‘We thank Steve for his service and offer our best wishes for the future.'” Later it emerges that the third member of the Forest Old Boys Club, Ian Woan, has also left, exactly 3.5 minutes after arriving.

Take Care: SP gives his reactions to being sacked in the M.E.N. By his own standards, he sounds quite bitter (understandable in the circumstances). “Losing your job is all part of football management and I knew it would have to happen one day,” he says. “I wasn’t taken aback, shocked or angered by the board’s decision. I am not naïve or stupid. I felt we were going in the correct direction but needed some finance to drive the club forward. The previous manager had around £50 million to spend and if the club is taken over the next manager may have £50 million to spend, so in that sense I feel as though I have been a caretaker with no money to spend, getting the books balanced whilst keeping the club in the Premiership. But I do not regret taking the job. I feel City are not far away from becoming the top six side they want to be and nothing would give me greater pleasure than this time next year to see Richard Dunne climbing the steps at Wembley to lift a major domestic trophy or the side to qualify for Europe.”

The Best of the Rest

Bad Bart: Following his training ground contretemps with Ousmane Dabo, Joey Barton has now been arrested. “We can confirm that a 24-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of a Section 20 assault following an incident with a 30-year-old man at Carrington,” a spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said on Wednesday. “He has been bailed until July 11 pending further enquiries.” It was going to be another lively week for Barton – before the change in manager, SP had confirmed that “We will be speaking to the player and his agent on Tuesday.” Presumably that particular D-day has been postponed, pending a new boss – however, there is a new suitor in the wings, apparently. The People reported that Sam Allardyce, newly installed at Newcastle United, would love to sign Barton.

Back to McNab: As predicted in this very publication a number of weeks ago, City announced a new kit deal with Le Coq Sportif. And very smart the new shirt looks too, with not a white sleeve in sight. It re-introduces a pinstripe not seen since the heyday of Neil McNab, but you can judge for yourself by looking at the piccies on the club website. There’s no clue yet whether blue or white shorts’ll accompany it. The club have announced that the adult shirt will cost £30, and the juniors £19.

Get the Coat: This week’s purge isn’t just confined to the backroom staff. Hatem Trabelsi is leaving City, less than a year after moving to the COMS. The Daily Mail says the Tunisian international, once courted by The Swampdwellers Inc. and Arsenal, was handed a one-year deal with the option of an extension when he signed from Ajax Amsterdam last season. But his injuries and a lack of form have held him back this term. Also heading for the exit is Stephen Jordan. “Stephen will be released at the end of the season, along with various younger members of the squad. Both Stephen and Trevor have served the Club very well down the years, we’re sorry to see them go and we wish them well for the future,” said SP. City have also confirmed that DaMarcus Beasley, 24, will be sent back to PSV Eindhoven this summer. The United States international winger joined City on a year-long loan at the start of the season.

Getting Zigic With It: City are said to be joining the race for Racing Santander’s beanpole striker Nikola Zigic. The Serb has a host of clubs chasing him, including Tottenham Hotspur. And Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp has made it pretty clear that he’d like to add to his collection of ex-City boys. Having relieved the Blues of David James and Andy Cole last summer, Redknapp has expressed his admiration for Sylvain Distin. Redknapp believes Distin, who is out of contract at the end of the season, will be one of the best free transfers of the summer. “I like him,” mused the Pompey Boss. “He’s a good player, a great free transfer for someone. But I think he’s got plenty of offers. He is big, strong and quick – one of the best free transfers in the country this summer, a top player.”

Happy(ish) Days: Micah Richards is ‘happyish’ at City, although he admits that he would like to play in the Champions’ League and would view a switch to Arsenal as a ‘dream move’. The England international full-back keeps being linked with the Premiership’s ‘top four’ during the summer. But Richards told the News of the World: “Obviously I’d like to play Champions’ League football, but time is on my side. I have three years left on my contract and I feel a commitment to the manager and fans.” He added: “Arsenal are my team and it would be a dream move. I grew up supporting the Gunners.”

Fowl Farewell: Back in that honeymoon period for Psycho, during his first season as gaffer, Robbie Fowler’s spot-kick miss against Boro denied the Blues a UEFA Cup place. In the week that Psycho walked the plank, his penalty Ace is also bowing out. Fowler has confirmed his contract will not be extended at the end of this season by Liverpool. The striker’s deal runs out in the summer and he has been told by Reds’ manager Rafael Benitez he is free to leave Anfield. “I have not even thought about my future beyond Liverpool,” the 32-year-old told the Liverpool Echo. “The manager explained the situation to me this week and I wasn’t a bit surprised to be honest.” Fowler played against Charlton on Sunday in his last match at Anfield and could feature in the Champions’ League final on 23 May. He said: “Obviously it will be an emotional day for me but I want everyone to know I am still completely focused on what I see as two very important games ahead for the club. Firstly I want to play well and win against Charlton to help us finish third, and then there is the preparation for and hopefully playing a part in the Champions’ League final. I will think about everything else after that because I don’t want anything to interfere with such an important match. But everyone knows I’ve treated every game back at Liverpool in exactly the same way and given all I could for the team, and that’s going to be the case in the last two matches as well.” Fowler is in his second spell at the club, having first left Anfield under a cloud to join Leeds when Gerard Houllier was Reds’ manager. He made his début for the Reds as an 18-year-old in 1993, scoring 171 goals in 330 games before joining Leeds for £11 million in 2001 and then Man City for £6 million in 2003. He rejoined Liverpool in January 2006 and has netted seven goals this season. He added: “At least this time I will get a chance to say goodbye properly because I was gutted the way it happened last time. Since I’ve been back the support I have had from the fans has been tremendous, it’s been even better than it was first time around. Maybe you appreciate it even more when you’ve been away and missed it so much, but I’ll never forget the reception they gave me and will always be thankful for it. I just hope I can finish with a few goals and a Champions’ League final win. That will be the perfect way to end the season for me.” Fowler’s record whilst a City player was 28 goals in 75 starts – prolific by our current strikers’ standards. Celtic and Rangers are set to battle for the services of Fowler.

Sturr Crazy to Impress: Daniel Sturridge has set his sights on a regular place in the City side next season. The 17-year-old has come off the bench twice this season, playing a combined total of 20 minutes in the home defeats to Reading and Wigan. But he is hoping to make a big impact next season and does not believe his age should stand in the way. “I’m a typical No 10 with flair, dribbling ability and pace,” he told The Times. “Age doesn’t matter to me. It’s not about my age, it’s about my abilities. I think I am ready for first-team action. Playing two games in the Premiership is a big thing for a 17-year-old, but I’d like to say it’s not good enough for me.”

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

MCFCSTATS PREMIERSHIP SURVEY

Thanks to those of you who have completed our online survey about the Premiership, live football on TV and football in general. The response has been brilliant so far, and the results are interesting. If you haven’t had time to take part yet, please join in and have a go now! Don’t forget also to pass the message on to other football friends, family and colleagues.

The link is http://www.mcfcstats.co.uk/survey/

Steve Kay <mcfcstevo(at)tiscali.co.uk>

OPINION: THOSE WERE THE DAYS, MY FRIENDS

You can get the FA Cup final on DVD from Amazon. It makes for beautiful viewing. It’s in colour too. I must confess I’d never seen the full game – only highlights previously, but it’s an open, flowing game that City just gradually dominated, great goal from Young (as an aside doesn’t the Grafton on the Burnage/Stockport boundary have a really good painting of the goal being scored in the back room?). The second half has some great moments. Slide rule passes – diagonal through balls – splitting the defence. Some great running from Mike Doyle. Colin Bell as effortless as they come. I’ve watched it a few times this season to remind myself what football can be. No replays, no advertising, no names on shirts. Pure class.

Here’s to next year. A song for Psycho – “sad about us”. Either the Who or the Jam version. I’m sure he’d appreciate it. Considering we played most of the season without any strikers (Corradi and Pampered @ss) it wasn’t too bad. Makes you wonder what might have happened if either one of them had delivered.

Keep the faith.

Andrew Johnson <fastandyj(at)yahoo.com>

OPINION: MANAGER’S HOT SEAT (I)

Stu Wells writes that he’d like to see Glenn Hoddle as manager of City. I would cease to support the club I love if he became City Manager.

The man is simple. Remember Eileen and her alternative therapies?

But what does it for me with Hoddle is what he said about disabled people. Remember? Disabled people are getting their come-uppance for misdemeanours in a previous life.

Well I happen to have a disabled little boy and if Hoddle came to City, I’m finished with them.

How would our black supporters feel if City employed Ron Atkinson?

Hoddle is an unemployable half wit.

Wardle take note!

John Nisbet <nisbet1957(at)btinternet.com>

OPINION: MANAGER’S HOT SEAT (II)

Go for the best – forget the rest.

For the best football manager on the planet in terms of team preparation, tactics, motivation and experience it is hard to go past Guus Hiddink. He is able to take talented but under-resourced teams (PSV, South Korea 2002, Australia 2006) and whip them into world beaters. City would be just the challenge for him if he were to enter the EPL.

Sebastian Harvey <harveybrand(at)optusnet.com.au>

OPINION: MANAGER’S HOT SEAT (III)

I am reacting to Steve Kay’s comments about the next manager/coach at City.

I would find it a sorry state of affairs if City were not able to find an English manager who could lift them into a European challenging position.

Take Steve Coppell, for example, who has achieved remarkable results at Reading in their first Premiership season, almost getting them there. Who would have thought three seasons ago that they would be where they are now, missing out on a European place by one, with a limited budget and talent?

If City could prise him away, then he would be my choice. The fact that he is ex-Red should not be allowed to cloud people’s judgment. Houllier is French and should remain at Lyon, where he has done well. Erikson and Ranieri don’t fill me with enthusiasm. And as regards Big Sam, where is the sense in going from a successful club to one that is much less successful?

Philip van Gass – Cape Town based Blue <philipvangass(at)yahoo.co.uk>

OPINION: BYE BYE SP! (I)

Why did Pearce go?

Much as I like Pearce he had to go because:

  • The results were appalling – 13 wins in 53 games.
  • His signings were poor and didn’t perform (Samaras, Corradi, Mills, etc.).
  • He spent quite a considerable sum of money unwisely – the no money stuff isrubbish – consistently complained about lack of funds when what there waswas wasted.
  • Players were let go unwisely (Cole).
  • Training methods questioned.
  • Players who left were bad mouthing the club – Thatcher.
  • Players who stayed were bad mouthing the club (Barton, Mills, Dunne) – dirtylinen etc.
  • Players who were thinking of going said they were going to go (Distin).
  • Players in two camps (at least); can’t command respect of key players.
  • Lowest goals record.
  • Fans voted with feet on season tickets – Chris Kenyon and his posse werethinking of not renewing.
  • We would have got relegated – players wouldn’t come here.

So who do we get – hopefully not Sven but I’m in the top foreign coach camp – even so Paul Le Guen who was my bet last time (what do I know?) didn’t cut it at Rangers.

Simon Moorehead <simonmoorehead(at)yahoo.com>

OPINION: BYE BYE SP! (II)

Goodbye SP. I said it all along, He was not up to the job. All he did was save the Board a little money as others might have cost more. Probably a good business move from our MD.

There are some good managers out there, either home grown or from abroad. It’s about man management and football, not just football. Pearce did not know much about either. Just because you play with your heart does not mean you will make a good manager. Please do not pick one of those guys who have just been a coach under someone else, such as Kidd or that idiot who manages England.

City till I die.

P.S.: Might even get myself a few more tickets for next season.

Sam Duxbury <samduxbury(at)safesystems.fsnet.co.uk>

OPINION: BYE BYE SP! (III)

I may be in a minority but I think SP was badly treated by the City board. They give him little money to improve the squad (and it shows), but he did bring through some genuine talent from the Academy.

The players must take the lion’s share of the blame for their non-performance and the board must shoulder its responsibility too. Now I do think that Pearce didn’t help his cause with the Under 21 affair and the Barton fiasco didn’t help him too much either. I wish Pearce good luck – he will be a fantastic manager for somebody. As for City we probably will scurry around and eventually disappoint everybody with our choice of manager and the amount of funds we supply for him to improve the team.

Shame on the City board and the players for not doing their part.

Mike Edwards <Cityfan2(at)bellsouth.net>

OPINION: BYE BYE SP! (IV)

I would like to give Stuart Pearce a big thank you for keeping Manchester City in the Premiership, and a very important point, keeping City in the black with his transfers in and out, SWP making the big difference. Many will be disappointed with his biggest signing Samaras, but look at how much others cost? Not the stars we would have liked, but with no money to spend, SP did as well as he could.

After the runaway spending spree of Kevin Keegan, the club came to its senses.

John Wardle and the Board had to restrain the spending or we might have ended up like another Leeds United.

Stuart Pearce kept City in the Premiership on a shoestring budget until it was ready for the next move forward.

I wish SP good luck in the future, and thank you.

Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)aol.com>

OPINION: TAKEOVER (I)

While it saddens me to see yet another manager leaving through the ever revolving door at City, I do believe it was the right decision for Pearce to be sacked. I do, however, wish him the best because I believe he was dedicated to his job, he just ultimately paid the price for bad signings (need we mention names?) and a very poor two seasons.

It remains to be seen who comes in now as so much is subject to the takeover speculation with our Thai friend being the most likely suitor at the moment. I would like to see a manager of proven ability come to City, although I will leave the suggestions to others on this forum!

It is clear that a complete overhaul of the playing and coaching staff is needed – hopefully the club will bring somebody in who can persuade Distin to stay although I suspect this will very much depend on whether the club can match his ambitions. Whatever happens, it’s high time that we stopped settling for consolidation isn’t it? We must aim for a UEFA Cup place as a minimum year in and year out. We should not accept smaller clubs like Bolton, Reading and Portsmouth achieving more than us.

What’s clear is if Thaksin does complete a takeover – or anyone else for that matter – our success will be determined by how much money is made available for the next manager. Moreover, whether any money can be provided over a sustained number of years. Let’s face it, City’s boom and bust spending policy in recent years is why we struggle now and the only way we will ever compete with the Evil Empire and Chelski et al is if a sustained level of money is made available year in and out. Surely the Board are right to disregard proposals that will not change the current position of the club?

Here’s hoping for a positive close season and for a reason for me to renew my season card!

Graham Keller <gkmcfc(at)ntlworld.com>

OPINION: TAKEOVER (II)

So SP is no more. We’ll have to admit, it was on the cards, but is 2 years really enough? Apparently it is these days!

I would say though, in praise of SP and following up on the comments from some who have at least thanked the man for his efforts, that at least he gave it a go. It is great to be an armchair critic, as it is so easy to be right in your own world, unlike actually getting out there and doing the job for real. Still, we move on and now the circus has started again for someone new; everyone who has breathed in management is going to have their name put in to the hat on this.

So long as the ex-Wigan Manager is not top of that list, God forbid!

Still wondering as well if this is not connected to the item below?

*However I would like to note some of the comments in MCIVTA 1322, by Andy Johnson and others and wholeheartedly agree, that the last thing we need is interest from a dodgy, Thai ex-PM (my wife and I were visiting Thailand around this time last year, when the proverbial pooh hit the fan there, and the majority of the people we spoke to all said they felt betrayed by what he had done) so why should we consider this?”

I appreciated since this issue, it is becoming more likely this person is being touted as a strong candidate, I still hope not.

Regarding the American interest (if there ever was any), and with respect to Jesse McClure, there are going to be those for and against, but generally there is a perceived opinion and view of American business overseas outside of the US, that they will only suffer lack of success for so long before they make major changes. I have worked with Americans a lot in recent years, and the majority I would certainly say fall into the ‘success breeds success’ camp. This is also by no means any disrespect to our North American readership, it’s just based on personal business experience, gained over the last 20 years. It is alright for LFC and the Rags, because they have strong set ups, but if I was a supporter of either Portsmouth or Villa, I would be very worried; if either do not find some sort of success after a couple of years. Will it be any different with the Thai fellow? I’m not sure?

I do also agree with Andy’s comments on the supporters having more say, I would quite happily, as any true Blue would, spend £100 or more to buy shares in the club, if it meant we could head off this unsettling takeover talk. I have in recent months become more interested in ‘The Supporters’ Trust’ and thought would it really help. I don’t know, but if enough like minded people got on board, maybe this is the best way forward?

Thoughts on the new shirt. Finally we manage to get shut of Reebok (about time) and Bolton’s cast off designs. I like the look of this new one and will certainly buy it.

Finally, interested to see again in MCIVTA 1322 the comment “Look at the Boddingtons vs. Holts. The only analogy I can think of at the moment. Where is Boddies now? Where is Holts?”

Boddingtons, a tragedy that a Manchester based brewery with an international reputation, was allowed to be sold down the river, firstly to Whitbread’s, and then Interbrew of Belgium, who wasted no time in shafting everyone at the Manchester site and are now demolishing a landmark and our heritage.

My point, there is really never a such a thing as a ‘Good Takeover’; someone will get shafted somewhere along the line, and I for one hope that it is not the fans (see recent Rags announcement on pricing).

Peter Godkin <peterandness(at)mac.com>

OPINION: TAKEOVER (III)

Thaksin Shinawatra’s Wikipedia entry http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thaksin_Shinawatra is at least more interesting and more revealing than that of John Wardle. Would the fans welcome such a change of ownership or is it a case of anyone will do as long as they bring new money into the club?

Following the latter theme, I do find the dual morality of some fans to be intriguing: on the one hand requiring the highest levels of probity from the board, agents, players, etc., then on the other hand seemingly willing to turn a blind eye to the possible sources of the funds that are feeding their club. Or maybe such old-fashioned values don’t matter any more as long as the team is winning.

Does anyone care?

On the other main talking point – Stuart Pearce, seemingly a nice bloke but a hopeless manager. I believe that City must have far and away the worst track record of all senior clubs in their appointments of managers over the years. Which of the last ten for example leaves you with wistful memories?

Alf King <alf.king(at)ntlworld.com>

OPINION: MCFC AWARDS

Well folks, it’s that time of year again, when the season-long despair induced by City is marginally relieved by survival in the Premiership, and we gaze ahead in fear and trepidation, wondering what unheard-of indignities the team will heap on our heads next season. Nevertheless, it seems appropriate that we should acknowledge the team’s efforts during the past season and hence the awards below, and despite the intense competition within the team, the winners below richly deserve their awards. So here goes with the Annual MCFC Awards.

First up: The Mike Tyson “Completely Deranged Loose Cannon of the Year” Award. There was only one contender, and as there was no-one brave enough to get within presentation distance of the winner, the Award will be sent by post to the one and only (thank God) Joey Barton (if we can find a postman to deliver it).

Second up: The Batman and Robin Award to the Most Apathetic Duo since Kevin and Perry. Step right up Georgious Samaras and Bernardo Corradi – if you can manage it. Your total lack of energy, your joint failure to step up to the plate and the impact you had on the team will be remembered for at least as long as the official MCFC goldfish’s latest whirl around his bowl.

Third up: The John Wayne “Take Him Out and Shoot Him Right Now Award” for Conspicuous Failure to Nail the Rags. The entire first team squad was in contention here, but the award has to go to the player who was able to hit a skinny goalkeeper’s legs in mid-air, while failing to find a net as big as a barn door. It must be his natural modesty which explains why winner Darius Vassell is slinking out of the back of the hall right now. Darius, come back, take the rest of the team with you!

Finally, the Main Award: The Wizard of Oz “Scarecrow on E” Award for Manic Tramp Impressions in the Technical Area. We have indeed been fortunate to have the services of a man who has the ability to make the Nora Batty’s Compo look well dressed and Basil Fawlty look positively serene. We all remember fondly how the visiting manager usually looked as if he had stepped out of a Saville Row window, while our man looked as if he had just cleaned it. To add to this vision of elegance, our man bawled like a fishwife and gesticulated like an insane dervish, presumably issuing instructions to our men. The team usually ignored him, but, to their credit, I think this was probably the right thing to do! Ah, the communication! The teamwork! The weekly farce! Memories are made of this – but I hope they will fade in time.

Still, it’s been nice to know you. Stu, pick up the award on your way out.

Tony O’Leary – CTID and sad b*st*rd <aolearyster(at)gmail.com>

OPINION: 2D TACTICS

In MCIVTA 1327, Stu Wells criticises Stuart Pearce for employing 2D tactics. I await the look of astonishment, next season, when our new manager employs three dimensional tactics.

John Wilson <john.wilson(at)btinternet.com>

OPINION: NUMBER 8

Some random thoughts…

I, for one, would keep Joey Barton. If I remember correctly, when Alf Inge Haaland was almost maimed, in the 84th minute and pre-meditated there was no great outcry that Keanethug should leave the Swamp. Cantonathug was also lauded after serving his ban after Jackie Chan episode… I’ll go back further and lament the fact that videoness was not in place when thug Buchan snapped the greatest inside-forward the world has ever seen. There was no outcry then for him to be f1scked off. What’s the difference here?

For sure, serve the ban but I am a passionate believer in “2nd is first loser”. JB is not a loser in a similar footballing sense. I’ve been lucky enough to see a great City team; I want my son to have memories too, not sh*te Division 2 play-off exultations either – not good enough.

The sale of SWP was lamentable but financially… er… something.

Mr Barton actually seems to give a s**t. I do too.

Oh, while we’re at it, Micah. Whatever it takes. Blue. Keep at all costs.

Garry Higgins <balrog(at)mcb.net>

OPINION: MORE EXCITEMENT OFF THE PITCH THAN ON IT!

A new owner? Huge investment? Replacement manager? Fans renewing their season tickets? The mind boggles.

As time marches on, it seems more likely the Thailand acquisition will prove fruitful – at least from the various press outlets, it would appear as such. Plenty of money in the Blue corner, finally.

Stuart Pearce really had to go – unfortunate, as I like the guy, but his time had undoubtedly come. I’m sure he’ll be fixed up with another club before too long and I, for one, certainly wish him well.

The selection and eventual placement of his successor should prove interesting, and by all accounts it shall be a “foreigner” – as such, my bet would be the ex-Chelsea boss: Ranieri. An extremely likeable character – if so, I hope he doesn’t mind the rain.

A non-English manager would certainly mean more incoming foreign players – as such, the club had best open its own passport office, I think.

More foreign players mean less opportunities for the British players – I view this as a negative and I personally don’t like it. It’s no wonder the British game, as such, is going to hell.

Perhaps the EPL should now change its name to The WPL (World Premier League).

They say money is the root of all evil – football, then, has become a wicked, wicked game.

So, see what tomorrow brings – keep the faith, as we really don’t have much of a choice.

Graham Mills <gkm_5(at)yahoo.com>

OPINION: THREE RING CIRCUS

In heaven’s name, what kind of three ring circus have we now become? A team that can’t score, a coach that can’t coach and a board that can’t manage. We’ve become the laughing stock of world football.

It would be nice for a change, that someone is honest about the whole situation. I suppose telling the truth for a change would be too easy. From every player and the groundsman having their say in the papers, to a bent ex-politician that wants to put his crooked money into this great club, to every manager bar one from the 2nd Division linked to manage when such-ian-such takes over, the whole thing has become something of a farce. I’ve supported this team forty-odd years, through many bad times and a few great ones and it feels like nothing is going to change.

I have to marvel at Sir Alex and United for what they have achieved (and it grates having to say that), when we are still bumbling around in the dark with no-one knowing where the light switch is!

Reira scored a cracker in the UEFA Cup final, not good enough for us, huh?

Does anyone know what the hell’s going on?

Kevin Williamson <scribbs(at)slingshot.co.nz>

OPINION: FOOTBALL VIOLENCE

I’ve been looking into the subject of football violence during the past few months. Although I am neither English nor do I live in England, the English hooliganism subject really intrigues me. I have read certain hoolie lits books and seen films, trying to emphasise the problem still exists and is getting worse in recent times. From those books, it seemed City are relatively quiet on the hooligan front, especially when compared to the Rags. I am really surprised by that, since my impression of the Rags are the football corporation with Cockney supporters who ate shrimp cocktail sandwiches at games. I’m certain it’s a minority thing these days, and my previous trips to football in England were very peaceful. So I just have had two questions in my head for ages:

  1. Do football fights still happen? If so, any risk for normal fansbeing intimidated?
  2. How is City ranked on the hooligan front (present days or in thenasty old days)? Have we ever ‘scored a blinder result’ over the Rags,or ran over by them before?

I know it’s a sensitive topic, but it is an element of City that remains a mystery to myself. It would be great if anyone can provide information.

Calvin Chan <calvinc(at)ccbintl.com>

OPINION: NEW SHIRT

I thought I’d better write to MCIVTA subscribers about what I think must be some kind of email spam related to MCFC. First of all, last week I received an email purporting to be from MCFC regarding the new football kit for next season. However, when I followed the link all I got was an empty page asking me to check back a week later to view the new kit. Quite frustrating and I was quite angry that some spammer would waste my time in this way – presumably they wanted to antagonise me to the extent where I lost any kind of interest whatsoever in City’s new strip.

Then amazingly this week things took another turn for the worsE. I got another (presumably spam) email directing me to view (at last!) the new Manchester City Football Club football strip for 2007-2008. However, when I clicked the link, I was staggered – for some reason the link took me directly to the Coventry City Football Club website, which when you think about it is quite a clever marketing scam to maybe get me to buy a Coventry FC shirt? Trouble is, I don’t want to wear a Coventry City FC football kit – I want to wear something with pride, that shows my Mancunian heritage and/or 100% backing for Manchester City Football Club. The kit I was shown did neither.

Put simply, I don’t want to wear the football shirt for a football club that either means absolutely nothing to me whatsoever (e.g, Coventry City FC – no disrespect to them intended), or is in terms of design a total embarrassment to me (e.g. any recent edition MCFC football strip). Is it so hard to design a football shirt with some kind of design flair that illustrates quite clearly who we are?

Just what on earth is going on? The people who made City change their home strip for an ill conceived away strip for an important home fixture against Middlesbrough FC (i.e. the UEFA Cup play-off) which we then lost, should have been fired. The people who have designed the latest MCFC strip now need to be fired. And anyone who buys it should be asked why on Earth they are wearing a Coventry City shirt instead of a Man City shirt.

Our club have had enough problems in the last few years with the move from Maine Road, that surely the smart move would have been for a few years to establish (or maintain) an iconic brand image in terms of our football strip to tide us over so that anyone can recognise Manchester City Football Club (either fan or player) wherever they are. The recent issue of a free ‘classic’ MCFC blue and white scarf at the home matches was an inspired example of this idea; the latest football strip design is definitely not.

It was commented recently that most of the people in charge of marketing at MCFC had no connection with our club – now they have gone and designed a football strip to prove it. I’m appalled and yes, I’m not buying it. How about you?

Neil Haigh <city(at)blueside.freeserve.co.uk>

GOOGLEMAIL FIX FOR HOTMAIL PROBLEMS

Yep, gmail will work. Some readers might find the gmail format a little strange, as I did, but if you have “Outlook” installed, gmail can be routed through this format. Gmail gives detailed instructions on how to make this work – and even I could follow them!

Tony O’Leary <aolearyster(at)gmail.com>

HOTMAIL PROBLEMS

After subscribing to MCIVTA since 1994, I suddenly stopped receiving copies. Now I know that this is down to Microsoft’s spam blocker. I’m told that the answer is to switch to google. But that is easier said than done. It’s like changing a bank account after many years. Too many people have my address and it would take me a lot of time to change everything and then notify all my contacts.

The problem simply lies in the header. I’m sorry Heidi but it’s your name; Heidi Pickup. My wife once asked me who you were and it does sound suggestive.

When someone else takes over the mail gets through again. I am not saying that Microsoft are right to block mail without giving notice, but it would surely be easier to just take Heidi’s name out of the header. I would hope that she can still sign at a later stage of the letter and get credit for all her hard work.

I appreciate what you do Heidi, but please consider removing your name from the header so I will get my MCVTA back. ;O)

Philip Calderbank <pcalderbank1(at)hotmail.com>

MCIVTA FAQ [v0607.01]

[1] MCIVTA Addresses

Articles (Madeleine Hawkins)     : 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]Madeline Hawkins, editor@mcivta.city-fan.org

Newsletter #1328

2007/05/17

Editor:


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