Newsletter #1338

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on Pinterest


Some 6 months since the AGM announcement, the takeover deal is confirmed and Shinawatra has agreed with the board an £80 million deal to take control of 56% of the club, aiming for 75% before appointing the new manager for whom his advisors are drawing up a shortlist. Then we can start rebuilding our fragile squad for the season ahead. Shinawatra finally gave an interview yesterday about his plans for the club, and remains bullish about the future, although he still faces charges from his home country’s ruling government brought against him post the coup, so there appear to still be a few uncertainties ahead.

Tonight there is much opinion on the takeover and managerial situation, requests from far-flung Blues and a dash of humour.

Next game: TBA

NEWS SUMMARY

It’s Thaksin Time!

Paris Match? The first ride on the managerial merry-go-round this week had a distinctly Gallic flavour to it. And both of the candidates mentioned were new to this game. Didier Deschamps emerged as the first shock target of the week. The Sun said that City chief executive Alistair Mackintosh had flown to Paris last Tuesday to talk to the former French skipper. Deschamps is on the market having quit as boss of Juventus despite guiding the Turin giants back into Serie A. But it was claimed that the job hadn’t been offered to the 38 year-old, because of the uncertainty over the Thaksin takeover (of which much more later). Next we heard that Jean Tigana was the latest name to emerge as a candidate for the City job. Former Fulham boss Tigana is clubless having left Turkish side Besiktas towards the end of the season – his fourth managerial position. The 51-year-old has indicated in the past that he would be keen on a return to the Premiership.

Domestic Bliss: The M.E.N. was convinced that City’s number 1 target was Mark “Sparky” Hughes, ex-Reds player and currently Blackburn boss. Other journals disagreed – they said Hughes wouldn’t consider any offer from City, and a source close to Hughes told the Lancashire Evening Telegraph: “Mark is happy where he is and he’s fully focused on the job he has at Blackburn.” Sunday’s periodicals were somewhat confused over whether Graeme Souness was interested in the club. The Sunday Express said that the former Rangers and Liverpool manager wanted to buy the club, and was now ready to rival Thaksin Shinawatra with £70 million bid for City. A Souness-led consortium was linked with a takeover of Wolves last season, and the News of the World had Souness bidding for City – Coventry City. So one of these august organs is getting its Sky Blue Cities in a twist, though at the time it was hard to tell which paper was in error.

Ram the Man (Or Maybe Not): Some reports suggested that Juande Ramos, boss of Sevilla, was still in the frame for the post of manager. “CITY RETURN TO RAMOS” claimed one item, suggesting that John Wardle and Alistair Mackintosh both believe that, if they could attract outside investment quickly, Ramos could yet be enticed from Seville. If quotes attributed to Ramos are true, these suggestions are somewhat wide of the mark. “For me, it is a pleasure to see my name in the English papers, but I think it would be very complicated for me to leave,” Ramos said this week. “I am happy in Seville because I have the chance to make the most of my career. I do need to ask some questions of Seville. That will have to wait until the end of June because now we play for our lives in two big matches.”

Fancy a Swede? But these other names were mere hors d’oeuvres to the main smorgasbord of a Swedish / Thai delicacy that the media were all serving up by the end of this newsweek. The Sunday Mirror began the feast – step forward Sven-Goran Eriksson – the former England boss was set to become the new manager of City they said, provided Thaksin Shinawatra’s takeover of the club goes through. A month ago, Sven said he didn’t want to manage City, he wanted to be in charge of a ‘big club’. What could possibly have changed the Swede’s mind? On Tuesday the media claimed that Eriksson was on the brink of accepting the City manager’s job after having not one but two interviews with the representatives of the ex-Thai Premier. And by Wednesday BBC Radio was confidently announcing that Sven would be City- bound, provided the Shinawatra deal for the club went through. Just to muddy the waters, Sven’s agent was stoutly denying that any talks had taken place with anybody. These stories were “Total, absolute rubbish,” according to Athole Still on Sky Sports News. “I’m on holiday in Italy at this precise moment and I’ve been here for 10 or 11 days. It’s completely untrue to say there has been any kind of meeting, indeed any kind of contact between Mr Eriksson, myself or anyone purporting to represent us with either Thaksin Shinawatra or any of his representatives or anybody purporting to represent them. It’s just nonsense. I truthfully and absolutely haven’t the vaguest idea where it’s coming from.” So it’s probably true, then. He added: “The point is he is a top-class international coach who has done it in clubs in three different countries, taking them to the very top. I’m sure he could do exactly the same with Manchester City, so naturally, as a general principle, he’d be interested in a club like Manchester City. At the moment nothing is happening – that’s the basic truth.”

The Cheque’s in the Post… And what of this never-ending quest of Mr. Shinawatra to purchase the new apple of his eye, namely MCFC? Despite no access to his Thai finances, Thaksin could still fund the takeover, his lawyer claimed. The former Thai prime minister had his assets frozen, locking him out of £830 million. He was ousted in a bloodless coup last year, and his rule was marked by accusations of human-rights abuse from certain groups. Lawyer Noppadon Pattama said that Thaksin had set aside £107 million before the freeze to fund the takeover of City, and that the Thai government had not frozen the assets of Thaksin’s children. “We have money to buy Manchester City, and the signs from the club in the latest negotiations are good,” Noppadon said.

Welcome Home: So all was going swimmingly with the takeover? Err, not quite. On Tuesday Shinawatra was ordered to return to Thailand or face arrest. He and his wife were said to have been charged with concealing assets. Police have ordered him to return to Thailand from his London base and to appear before them by June 29 or face arrest. Department of Special Investigations Director-General Sunai Manomaiudom said police had strong evidence that Thaksin and his wife secretly held stock through nominee companies in SC Assets Corp. PLC, a Shinawatra family holding company. Serving Thai Cabinet ministers are not generally allowed by law to hold shares in publicly listed companies. They are also required to reveal their assets, including stockholdings. The police are charging Thaksin on both counts. Then Shinawatra had more of his assets frozen by the Thai government. Officials had traced an additional £310 million in assets of Thaksin. The Assets Examination Committee (AEC) has already frozen around £800 million of Thaksin’s money. But the government said £310 million was missing from the sale of his telecommunications company Shin Corp to Temasek Holdings, a Singapore government investment company in January 2006. “The AEC tracked the money trail and found that more than 20 billion baht (£310 million) was shifted to the accounts of companies instead of to individual accounts. AEC is set to freeze those accounts,” auditor general Jaruvan Maintaka told reporters. So nothing at all dodgy there then. Definitely not. No siree.

Thai Takes Away City: Talk about a story developing before your eyes. At the time of writing it’s Thursday 21 June and this morning we saw major developments taking place, all within a few hours. City fans awoke to the news that Thai prosecutors had filed corruption charges accusing Thaksin of illegally helping his wife to buy government-owned land at a bargain price four years ago. Thaksin was accused of illegally influencing the deal, and the Supreme Court in Thailand said it would decide on 10 July if it would hear the case. Within an hour came news that Shinawatra had formally lodged a £81.6 million takeover bid for City. The offer is 40p in cash for each share, valuing the existing issued share capital of the club at approximately £21.6 million, together with net debt of approximately £60 million – hence the figure of £81.6 million. Thirty minutes later, and the City board were said to have accepted the offer. “I am delighted that the Board of Manchester City has recommended my bid for the club and I look forward to continuing the excellent work of John Wardle and his team,” a statement on behalf of Shinawatra read. “We share a determination to take the club back to its rightful place at the highest level of competition in both the FA Premier League and European football.” John Wardle, meanwhile said: “Following our significant progress over the last few years, this offer provides an exciting opportunity to take Manchester City to the next stage of our development and deliver the on-field success we have all been striving for.” Wardle said he had been asked to remain on the board of the club as Deputy Chairman, together with Chief Executive Alistair Mackintosh – the press soon picked up on who hadn’t been asked to stay on – namely Dennis Tueart, Mark Boler and David Makin.

General News

England Needs Nedum: What a busy week for Nedum Onuoha – he’s been involved in three games for England’s under-21’s. The week saw Stuart Pearce’s side (remember him?) reach the semi finals of the European Championships, before losing on penalties to Holland. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Nedum began the week playing the full 90 minutes as England drew 2-2 with Italy. The 21-year-old played in central defence as Stuart Pearce’s men let a two-goal lead slip in Arnhem. Pearce said: “I was so proud, they showed guts and determination and you have to give credit to the Italians. It’s all to play for now.” England then secured a semi final place with a 2-0 victory over Serbia last night, but the game left a sour taste in the mouth, following the news that UEFA are to look into claims of racist abuse. Serbian fans taunted Nedum Onuoha during the first half and Arsenal’s Justin Hoyte was targeted afterwards in the tunnel by opposition players. “It was horrific, a bad moment, and it’s not the first time it’s happened in my career,” said Nedum afterwards. “Hopefully in a few years it will have stopped. People were talking about banning Serbia from the tournament but they got to the semi-final fair and square. I couldn’t possibly say what UEFA should do, but sometimes if you send out a massive gesture it causes even more problems. Hopefully UEFA will deal with it in the right way.” SP was mighty proud of how Onouha had acted under such provocation. “He’s an outstanding young man, not just as a footballer,” said Pearce. “I’ve got that first-hand knowledge of him and he comes from a great family. He’s a credit to the English nation. He’s such a strong character, that’s the case with most of our players. I told them that is what is going to happen at international level. It’s difficult to keep restraint under provocation. You’ve got to learn that in football.” And so to the semi on Wednesday, which saw England succumb 13-12 in a lengthy penalty shootout. Nedum missed out on participating in this lottery, having limped off during extra time. Afterwards Stuart Pearce told thefa.com: “I’ve told them it’s the proudest night of my career. Representing my country brings out a lot of emotion in me as a person, but that aside this was unbelievable. I’ve lost near enough both centre halfs and Taylor’s attitude to carrying on was unbelievable. Onuoha couldn’t finish the game and we had one or two players who got booked and knew they were going to miss the final but still slogged away.”

Transfer News and Gossip

Custodian Sentence for Two: Two stories appeared on the same day that suggested that Joe Hart might be City’s first choice goalie at the start of next season. Not one, but two City ‘keepers were said to be heading for the exit. The more surprising of the pair of escapees was said to be Nicky Weaver. He’d agreed a two-year contract with SP but the club were said to be stalling on the deal – Chief Executive Alistair Mackintosh feels he’s unable to complete the deal until new owners and a new manager are found. Next we heard that AC Milan were eyeing Andreas Isaksson. The Swede is being considered by the European champs as an understudy to their Brazilian No 1 Dida.

Striking Out: Limp striker Bernardo Corradi is almost certain to be playing in Italy next season, his agent has revealed. “I’m 90 per cent certain that Corradi will return to Serie A,” noted Moreno Roggi on Monday evening. The Italian international joined City only last summer, but has struggled to settle and he looks to be peninsula bound yet again. “He would be of real use to sides like Sampdoria, Parma and Torino – teams who all need a target man,” added the representative. “Nothing has happened yet surrounding his future, but some interesting situations may arise between now and August 31. I think a Lazio return would be improbable and there has never been anything with Roma at all,” he concluded. And the power vacuum at the COMS means that City may well miss out on one replacement as Spurs striker Mido could be on his way to Fulham. The Cottagers are on the verge of making a £4 million bid for the Egyptian who has been told that he can leave White Hart Lane after failing to make an impact on the first-team squad last season and with Martin Jol in the hunt for another striker, his future looks bleak.

Good News! Honestly! But fear not, oh miserable readers of this Summary, there was the odd chink of light amongst the gloom this week. For instance. Kyle Bartley will reject Arsenal for a deal with City in order to stay in the North West. City are about to steal Bolton whiz Bartley from under Arsenal’s noses, says the Mirror. The Gunners thought they had a £500,000 deal set up for the England youth centre half after he toured with their kids. But Bartley, 17, is now ready to switch to City in an arrangement that allows him to stay close to his Bolton digs – and that will stun Arsenal who thought they had the player signed up. That sounds good – just think how much City can flog him for in a couple of years? And – hope Noel Gallager’s paying attention – Richard Dunne has assured City fans that he is staying put with the Blues. He said: “I’m sure if I asked my agent to tell the papers that I wanted to move for £20 million, they’d run the story. But I’ve always been very happy here, and I’m enjoying my life, so why would I want to go anywhere else? I don’t see the point of moving just to put a few extra noughts on my bank account. We all earn enough money here, and I don’t want to upset my personal or professional life. I feel like I’m playing really good football. And besides, you could move somewhere else and six months down the line decide you really don’t like it.” So said Dunnie in this month’s City Magazine.

Ex-Blues’ News

Swept Away: Chelsea have sparked a summer scramble for Shaun Wright-Phillips by admitting he can leave Stamford Bridge for £10 million. The 25-year-old cost £21 million when he was signed from MCFC in July 2005. But he has failed to cement a regular first-team place under Jose Mourinho, who is now prepared to cash in on Shaunie to generate some transfer funds for his own squad strengthening plans. Roman Abramovich’s wallet is obviously a bit emptier than we realised – if only some newly cash rich club, desperate for a wide player, would make a bid. Are you listening Mr. Shinawatra? Other suitors are said to be West Ham, Aston Villa, Tottenham, Liverpool, and Newcastle.

Who’s the Daddy? Bouffant-haired former manager John Bond is dipping his toe back into the cesspool of football – he’s helping non-league Northwich Victoria as a football consultant. Bond has been hired to work on a selection panel for Northwich’s new boss. The 74-year-old will continue to work for the club in an advisory capacity once the appointment has been made. “John is going to be a consultant on football matters,” Vics chairman Mike Connett told the BBC. “It’s loose, but there is an arrangement and so whoever is in place (as manager) they know if they have got any problems they can talk to somebody who is the daddy of them all. I don’t think you can get better than that.”

Squad News

Holiday Hell: Micah Richards has told the City magazine that he’s preparing to undergo a vigorous rehabilitation this summer. Richards, 18, said that “The operation means I won’t get as much rest or as much of a holiday as I wanted, but I needed to clear up the problem in time for next season. I did have a couple of holidays planned, but the operation means I might have to reschedule those, because I need to come into Carrington and get things right before I go away anywhere.”

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

OPINION: THE TAKEOVER I

I lived in Thailand for the past 10 years and have seen at first hand just what kind of politician Thaksin is. His first public order on entering power was to support the shoot-to kill policy of the Thai police (he was once a policeman himself) to gain popular support as a quick fix to stop the drug trade. Over 2,000 people were gunned down, mostly little players and some innocent bystanders and children.

Of course the big players were not touched. Thaksin is a clever marketing politician and his only interest is in enriching himself, his ghastly family and his cronies who have bought into his get rich quick schemes, where Thailand and the Thai people are treated like a Monopoly game.

Thaksin would love to play up on the image of the “victim” of democracy. However, while in power he did all he could to silence opposition, close down any media or journalists who questioned his pork-barrel policies. His appeal is to the uneducated rural voters who have been traditionally bought over by promises and a few bottles of cheap alcohol.

Thaksin has no interest in football. His only interest is to get back into power on the back of popular support by the gullible poor who are mad about football, as they are in the slums of South America.

Manchester is a proud working class city whose people should not be compromised by the political moves of the likes of Thaksin. Surely somebody more worthy than this person can save Manchester City football club?

Yours sincerely, Kevin Dempsey <kdbang(at)hotmail.com>

OPINION: THE TAKEOVER II

Well, it has finally happened, the Thai guy has made an offer and we have accepted.

I didn’t think it would happen, not even sure how I feel about an alleged corrupt billionaire taking over the club that I support, but whatever happens we need big money and soon.

Now for the really tricky bit – who is going to spend it? The name Sven has been mentioned and I know how I feel about that. I don’t want him to manage our club.

Everyone keeps saying that he’s got a great club record, but I can only judge him on his time as the England manager and watching England play under Sven’s guidance was mind numbing.

The only decent game that I can recall is the 5-1 gubbing of Germany. He is mesmerized by celebrity – David Beckham couldn’t be dropped, not that he’ll have that problem at City.

I’ve spent the last two years watching negative football and quite frankly I do not want to spend another 4-5 years watching dour, unexciting games. Maybe I’m doing him a disservice, but I don’t think so.

Some people say that he knows the English game, but we haven’t got Beckham, Lampard or Gerrard. If he couldn’t get the best out of our “golden generation”, how is he going to motive our current crop of players, who are not as good? If City are to achieve the glories some fans think we naturally warrant then these are the kind of players we must attract.

Dilemma: SGE might attract quality players but what can he do with them once they are here? Bu**er all.

Who else is there?

I don’t want Coleman, Warnock, Roeder or Jewell. My ideal choice would be Arsene Wenger, but that is not going to happen.

Ok, I’ve told you who I don’t want, and to be quite honest I’ve no idea who is available, but I do know I do not want Sven.

Ramos the Seville coach plays good attacking football, but why would he leave Spain for Manchester? His team is in the Champions’ League and in the final of the Spanish cup but maybe he needs a challenge!

Let us sing – all together now – “We need stability la la la …”

Or “Mr XXXXXXXXXX out!!!….”

Averil Capes <averil.capes(at)uk.fujitsu.com>

OPINION: THE TAKEOVER III

The Thai saga continues with a bid for the club, although it appears to be far short of the £90-120 millions as previously quoted in the media, so no surprise there. Whether this takeover is actually in the very best interests of the club remains to be seen. I hope so.

As for the prospect of having the Swede, Erikkson, as the manager-in-waiting, that should also be an area of grave concern. He likely has the requisite skills, but I very much question whether he has the true motivation and desire for the job in particular, at our club. I feel he would in reality prefer a permanent location in the south, closer to London – as such, we’re likely to come off second-best.

The club, now more than ever, is clearly in a state of turmoil. The days are surely long gone when it should expect the fans to follow in blind allegiance (as some undoubtedly shall continue to do, obviously). Money and business has taken the lead in all things football-related and this is detrimental to the English game, as demonstrated by the continuing exclusion of many English-born players at the top tier, as well as by the financial greed of said players, managers and agents alike. Shame on the system, in general – reality has long gone.

Manchester City Football Club is not the entity it used to be, sadly, in my opinion. I fear for the future of the club, more than ever – but I wait to be proved wrong in that respect.

An interesting new season ahead.

Graham Mills <gkm_5(at)yahoo.com>

OPINION: THE TAKEOVER IV

“What shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:31-38)

Today, after selling out to an evil, corrupt politician, and letting itself be used for money-laundering of ill-gotten gains like so many others, City sold its soul.

Thanks for the memories, of Trautmann, Bell, Lee, Summerbee, Neil Young, Tueart, Mercer and Allison and all the rest.

I am sickened at this sell-off and close to tears.

Goodbye City, Robert Sleigh <Robert_Sleigh(at)web.de>

OPINION: THE TAKEOVER V

So, this Sinatra character has finally found his cheque book and decided to do the deal before the authorities close in on him has he? I can’t help but feel the days and weeks ahead will not be quite as smooth as people would like. After all, the takeover has taken more than 6 months of stalling, and without knowing whether the Thai authorities are right in their pursuance of him for whatever misdemeanours he is supposed to have committed they aren’t going to let that lie quietly.

£80 million for the club, what happened to the £100 million takeover plus £50 million player fund? Anyone else feel the board have sold us short on this one and are desperate to get their money and run? Only they aren’t running are they? I read in the announcement today that both Wardle and Mackintosh remain on the board – how come? Now we know why they were desperate to deal with this one only! So they get their money back and remain in place to carry on the good work they’ve done over the years (yes keeping us in the Premiership) losing money and cutting the fans off from the club.

Forty pence a share, that’s real value for money for those of us who like me and a few mates dipped our hands in our pockets years ago when the club was desperate and bought our shares at a quid. Rather shred the certificate than have this derisory offer from somebody with no interest in my club getting their hands on it.

I know so many Blues who haven’t renewed tickets due to abject performances and abject direction of the club, and won’t be returning even now this supposed takeover has happened. Too many false dawns.

I guess we also know why the club have done nothing for 5 weeks on the manager front and have let this guy’s financial advisors do the appointing of a manager (which really raised questions about the club’s handle on things) and we’re getting a world class manager like Sven. At least the tabloids will be busy around City over the next few months then with him in charge! And he is reputedly after £3 million a year: well, it is a comedown from the £5 million with England.

RIP MCFC.

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

OPINION: THE TAKEOVER VI

Good to know our old pal Shinawatra has the odd 81 million quid stashed under his mattress that hasn’t been frozen by the Thai government and maybe, just maybe, City’s joke of a summer will get kickstarted in a positive fashion.

However, this whole scenario seems a bit ropey to me. Are City that desperate for a major buyer that they will bet the farm on Shinawatra not being locked away when he heads back to Thailand to face the music?

I guess we are at a stage now where we are desperate enough to take his dodgy baht, grab some name manager who hasn’t laughed us out of the newspapers and buy a couple of players in what’s left of the garage sales to send a team out in August.

I can’t see the City hardcore lining up to buy season tickets, but like the rest of you, all we can do now is hope for the best and that the current executive will keep an eye on things. Come back Ray Ranson, all is forgiven!

Keith Sharp – Toronto, Canada <keith(at)accessmag.com>

OPINION: THE TAKEOVER VII

Some questions on the deal if anyone can answer them.

  • Does the 80 million quid deal include all City shares or just the 56%obtained today from City directors/Franny Lee?
  • Does it include all bank borrowings/debts?
  • Does it include all loans/debts to/from Wardle and others?
  • Will any new players purchased be additional to the 80 million quid?

If anyone knows, please let me know.

Patrick Knowles <pjamk(at)hotmail.com>

OPINION: THE TAKEOVER VIII

Been biting my lip on some of the recent support for Shinawatra. Joel has a great talent for the controversial and long may it continue. However, I find myself strongly disagreeing with his opinion, again. City should be owned by people of Blue pedigree, and if that means leveraging manageable debt, then fine. Let’s have some balls and get serious by borrowing as much as we can afford to pay back, at least a further £75 million in my opinion. More so than someone with public affection for United, Liverpool and anyone else to hold a shirt up with his name on. I’d go for the debt every time. Money doesn’t kick footballs. It is important we retain what we are about as a club and not sell to just anyone. Barcelona being the ultimate model in supporter ownership if we could raise the funding.

Similarly, I love Ernie’s contributions, but again find myself on the opposite side of the fence on this one. Frank has not got City at heart and is in this for one thing, himself. Our club needs to be above all of this. City has to be the be all and end all for whoever holds custody of control at any period in time. Frank does not come close to this criteria and is a disaster waiting to happen. Why are we even entertaining him? The latest I hear is that he is being ordered back to Thailand. With due respect to our Thai following, MCFC has to remain in Mancunian hands.

Our board need ambition of the highest order to bring in a man of the right calibre. My shortlist: Capello, Houllier and if funds are not there: Simmo. Two managers with winning track records and one with sufficient potential and attacking flair to bring back the football we were famous for.

I still think Pearce deserved another year to prove his plan. Whilst accepting his football was dire for the first two years, another twelve months would have kept with the programme we set out on with his appointment. Two hard years home and away wasted. I was also behind the rehabilitation of Joey Barton. I think he should have received sanction for his latest misdemeanour and not reward. A strong managerial test was waiting, but now he is rewarded with a contract trebling pay out and playing for our nearest rival. Not too much sense to that in my opinion. Suffice to say he no longer has my support following the £300,000 débâcle.

There you have it. We have a clean slate, no continuity and deluded fans. A massive managerial appointment and some inspired signings and we will all be pouring down to the Bluecamp again. Let’s hope! Whilst first is a long shot, fifth is achievable next season for anyone with a half decent squad. Then an assault on Europe from there.

Blue dreams, bring it on.

Whatever you do, stay Blue!
Dave Clinton <daveclinton(at)kisit.co.uk>

OPINION: THE TAKEOVER IX

I am a Dubliner living in London and have supported City since 1970. I have been a regular supporter 1994-2003 and whilst I have been an irregular match goer for the last 3 years, I have been an MCIVTA subscriber since 1995 and consider myself City through and through.

It has struck me how little opposition there has been to the impending takeover bid. I am also guilty of doing nothing, but I really didn’t believe this bid had a hope in hell of coming to fruition. Three weeks ago I laid the Ranieri appointment on Betfair at 10/1 on, and I was expecting to lay the current takeover.

If it is not too late, I suggest MCIVTA and fans as a whole (organisers, subscribers everybody), registers its discomfort immediately. Reports suggest this Thai guy is a crook and a murderer and I for one will not support MCFC while he is in charge. Maine Road FC now, anyone?

I mean this sincerely.

Garreth Ryan <garreth.ryan(at)btinternet.com>

OPINION: THE TAKEOVER X

Well… who said Music Hall was dead?

I can’t recall being so depressed since the Poyser era in the mid 60’s. Our stock is now so low that we have to have recourse to a dodgy Thai who tried to buy Liverpool with raided lottery money and whose main assets have been frozen by the local junta and an equally undependable (and overrated) Swedish manager with the motivational and electrifying personality of something one can find on a slab in your local fishmonger.

We are a laughing stock. It’s quite one thing to spend the past thirty-odd years being the object of derision by glory-hunters – we can laugh that off – but, now, locally, City supporters are pitied to the point that Liverpool, Rags, Chelsea and Arsenal fans are breaking the habits of a lifetime and treating me to a pint!

Talk about bungling! We must be the most ineptly run organisation in professional football. No copper-bottomed investor, half-decent manager, or players will touch us with an electrified cattle-prod. We’ve already lost six weeks of the transfer window and a couple of our ‘marquee’ players and I doubt that, even if sufficient funds were made available, we’d be able to attract staff of sufficient calibre to keep the ship afloat next season. To cap it all, in today’s (Friday) ‘Times’, there’s a photo of a beaming Thaksin being presented with a U*&$%d shirt by Sir Red Nose in 2001!

Oh yes, … I nearly forgot an additional minor problem to quote that paper’s article (titled ‘Malaise in Manchester’): he, Thaksin, ‘… moved to reassure supporters that events in his homeland, where he is facing arrest on corruption charges would not prevent him from becoming the ninth foreign owner of a Barclays Premier League club.’ Apparently, ‘… he has been told to return to Thailand by Thursday (28th. June) or face arrest.’ Ho hum… details, mere boring details.

On the bright side, there’s also the equally small matter of his passing the Premier League’s ‘fit and proper person’ test before he can complete his takeover. So, no problems there!

You couldn’t make it up! On second thoughts this is City, after all.

Yours, despondently, Dafydd Goronwy-Roberts <dafydd.Roberts(at)wales.gsi.gov.uk>

OPINION: THE TAKEOVER XI

This piece was posted on a debate today. Unfortunately I think it sums up my feelings too. I am, until he goes, a fellow City widower.


EgalitarianDreamer
June 22, 2007 6:33 AM
Bangkok/tha

Before I could even see, my vision was tainted sky blue. Hours after I was born my dad’s mate registered me as a Junior Blue (Man City junior supporters’ club). One of my first images is of a poster on my wall as a young boy. I remember a black guy with an afro who stood out on the team photo (I think his name was Dave Bennett?). There are plenty of picture as me as a small boy, beaming in my sky blue kit, sponsored by Phillips, or was it Saab?

Throughout all of those 26 years It’s never been much fun to be a City fan. We’re the team that gets relegated, that always manages to mess everything up, that employed such footbal luminaries as Alan Ball, Frank Clark, Phil Neal, Alfons Gronendijk, Laurent Charvet and Gerry Creaney. At school it was cool to support United, but for me that made it much cooler to support City. I went even when we were in the third division and getting beat by Lincoln and Barnet. In spite of all the s**t I never wavered from my dedication to the cause. We were the family club, the real Manchester club. We didn’t care if we lost as long as we played with heart. While we were falling through the divisions our local rivals were cheating and moaning their way to countless trophies. Not once did I ever wish I was a United fan. They won trophies by employing players like Roy Keane, Paul Ince and Mark Hughes and having a whingeing manager with a stopwatch and a frown.

Today that has all changed.

I should be delighted. Twenty six years might be finally coming to an end. Twenty six years of no trophies, hardly any good players and public ridicule may be over as our knight in shining armour has rolled into town. Thaksin Shinawatra, former Prime Minister of Thailand has bought out the controlling stake in the club and promised to spend big on renovating the squad. Most fans are delighted. After all of these years we may be able to compete with the big boys and win something. That should make me feel great. It doesn’t. Quite the opposite in fact.

I lived under Thaksin’s rule and saw first hand the kind of person he is and how he has made his money. I’m not sure what my favourite ‘Thaksin moment’ is, perhaps the death squads roaming the streets during his infamous ‘war on drugs’? Perhaps it was when he gave government aid to the Burmese military junta in order for them to buy satellite access from his personal company? The destruction of democracy? The mess of an airport that stands as monument to his corruption? Mass media manipulation? Or was it him using the country as his own personal piggy bank in order to further the wealth of him and his family? There are so many examples of that final one it’s untrue. Selling government land to his wife at a massively reduced price, subsidising his private television station with government money, buying a 50% stake in AirAsia in order to grant them a license to fly within the country. There are plenty more…

I can’t support him. I can’t watch Manchester City knowing that everything that I am seeing is funded by him. I won’t pay for another piece of merchandise or a ticket until he’s gone. I know it’s a big statement but I just can’t support what he stands for. If that means cutting off a part of my life that has been me since birth, then so be it. I can’t imagine watching a game and seeing that smug square faced w****r in the stands while he is wanted for arrest over here. If a man has no morals how can he truly be a man?

So that’s it. I’m an official football widower. I can never remarry, there will be no other, but my one true love has turned into a cheap whore on the arm of the local crook and I can’t overlook it. It’s like the man who raped your wife (she was a cheap hussy but that’s not the point) offering to pay for a night on the town for you to make up for it. Or the man who robbed your life savings giving you a 100 quid back to ease the pain.

I hope for all my friends and family that the team go on to do great things, win the trophies that I have dreamed about us winning, sign the players I have dreamt about us signing and thoroughly stuff United every time they play them. Maybe this is just an initial reaction and it will become easier with time. I doubt it.

Gibby Zobel <gibbyz(at)gmail.com>

OPINION: RACISM, MONEY AND MANAGEMENT

First off, just wanted to echo the sentiments expressed in the last issue regarding racism during the England-Slovenia U21 game. Bravo Nedum! I’m a bit disappointed that the England players weren’t given more protection by the ref (when such scenes have erupted in senior games over the last couple of years, hasn’t it always been stated that the ref should bring the players off?), but Onuoha’s comments in the press afterwards were absoutely on the money. He’s a bright lad, and if there’s any justice in the world, he’ll go on to have an exemplary career both at club and national level. What a contrast with Barton – Nedum kept his head, played the game out because he wanted to stand tall as part of the team, and then eloquently expressed his case afterwards. A real breath of fresh air.

I also agree with the concept of zero tolerance on this one: if a team’s fans can be proven to chant racist slogans or show racist banners, the team should receive a ban. Immediately. No questions, no right of appeal. The only thing I would say is that this should be the case for City too, when the mindless jokers who sing Munich songs are allowed to find a voice…

On a happier note, I bumped into David Bernstein on a golf course a few weeks back. I asked him how he thought the club was being run, and was surprised that there wasn’t more vitriol in his answer, given the way that he was treated. I got the impression that he was just quite sad about the lack of direction at the club, and it was clear that he is a fan and was frustrated at the stagnation over the last couple of years. We could do with a man such as him at a time like this. Is it just me or… I want the club to be properly-run more than I want to see a figurehead throwing a one-off, heavily financed lump sum in. I want us to build, I want us to give the Academy lads a proper chance and not sell them. I want us to create an environment where the Academy players want to spend the remainder of their careers. I want ambition, but I want a realistic plan to achieve things.

What scares me the most is the supposed lack of a back up plan. Nosuccessful company operates in this way. It rather feels like the currentboard spied a goose that might just lay the golden egg, and went all outto catch it. It smacks of a profitable exit strategy for them, ratherthan a potentially successful vision for the club.

As for Eriksson… you don’t win major competitions with Sampdoria unless you are a decent coach. What I don’t want is the tabloid rubbish, and for that reason I’d rather go for the Spanish chap. I want City to be on the back pages because of winning games, having exciting, goal-scoring players, and the most exciting young talent in Europe. We’re really not that far off the last one of these, otherwise Chelski wouldn’t have sniffed around Richards so much. How the Academy coaches have achieved what they have, given the mismanagement of the rest of the club, is beyond belief.

So it’s not all doom and gloom, but it’s going to be a trying season.

Stay Blue, Jon Marshall <jon_g_marshall(at)yahoo.co.uk>

OPINION: FRANKIE

Interesting piece that may put Frank’s track record into a slightly more positive perspective, given the fact that criticisms being levelled at him appear to come solely from the Thai military junta.

The order from the Thai Military for Thaksin Shinawatra to return home and face trial is the latest twist in the saga of Thaksin’s plans to take over at Manchester City. It is certainly not the first negative comment we have heard about his character and his past, and if as Manchester City fans we are to be fair to him, we need to distinguish between such comment and the facts. For as the great Manchester journalist C.P. Scott once observed: ‘Comment is free but facts are sacred.’

Because there isn’t the space to examine every accusation and denial, we can only look at the main events that have drawn us into this dilemma about Thaksin’s integrity. However, in taking a limited view it becomes important that when we judge Thaksin’s political and financial career, we carefully distinguish between the historical facts and the comment of his enemies. For example, it is an historical fact that Thaksin won landslide election victories 2001 and 2005 and that in 2006 a military junta overthrew his elected government. Then the Junta annulled the Thai constitution and dissolved Parliament and the Courts. They continue,to this day, to censor the media and prohibit political activity and meetings. It is also a fact that the Junta remain the source of most of the negative comment that is being made against Thaksin. They continually taunted Thaksin’s government throughout its existence with allegations of corruption, dictatorship, treason, human rights offences, the use of legal loopholes and hostility towards the press.

Thaksin began his career as a cadet in the Thai Police, and later became a successful entrepreneur. He made his fortune before he entered politics. First establishing the Shin Corporation and then Advanced Info Services, he became one of the richest people in Thailand.

On entering politics it was Thaksin’s progressive economic, health, education policies that upset his enemies, and enabled him to become the first Prime Minister in Thai history to complete his term in office. His progressive policies were particularly effective in relieving rural poverty and providing near universal access to affordable health care for the people of Thailand.

No one ever achieves political success or amasses a vast fortune without leaving some skeletons in the cupboard. But who gives those who wantonly destroyed the Thai courts the right to try people in a court of their own making?

David Walker <davidjwalker1(at)tiscali.co.uk>

OPINION: GOOD NEWS BAD NEWS

The Daily Telegraph (June 21) reports that Frank has bought more than 60% of the shares from the major shareholders, and that the takeover is almost complete, despite reports of more assets being frozen.

Some more good news is that Goran Eriksson’s agent Athole Still claims no approach has been made by Manchester City for Eriksson’s services.

I think that most City supporters would like Juande Ramos be the next MCFC team manager, or if British, Mark Hughes, I too would like to see either one as manager.

This weekend should see some movement in the right direction; just don’t bring Eriksson to the CoMS.

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)aol.com>

OPINION: KEYBOARD WARRIORS

You only need a daily visit to the MUEN’s overheating message boards to see what this is doing to us all. Hysterical and hilarious stuff. Hyperbole meets giant blue angst on the Highway to Hell. What in God’s name has happened to football?

A lot of us have harboured a slightly concealed dislike for the whole distasteful circus for a few years now, but it is getting far worse very quickly. We’ve got Birmingham, Blackburn and the rumbling, spluttering City “deal” in the news at the same time. Clubs changing hands one after the other. The likes of West Ham spraying cash around in an obscene manner, just weeks after crawling out of the relegation scrap with blood and dirt on their hands, the fresh corpse of Sheffield United steaming in the background. Distin’s ambition, impressively, has taken him to the lofty stands of Fratton Park, Portsmouth, those well-known and regular European specialists, whilst Barton cannot let it go without one last, foul, ill-advised gesture before packing his Louis Vuitton matching bags for the North East. Allardyce meanwhile whimpers on about disgusting behaviour whilst the commission for bungs names him and his son in dodgy waters for transfer dealings.

And all of this played out to a takeover, which is at the same time a damp squib and an embarrassment but also carries all our forlorn hopes for City to compete at least with the mid table aristocrats instead of what we have to look forward to at the moment: an unedifying scrap with Wigan, Fulham and Derby to stay up in this league of robber barons. It has come this far then: dirty money, dodgy deals with people you would not trust the mother in law with just to stay somewhere in the also ran running, just to battle it out gamely with little Everton and puffing Villa. Without these ill-gotten bhats, we face meltdown and – if you see the world outside the cash cow of the Premiership as a desert- oblivion. Football, in its moment of greatest wealth, is an impoverished, bankrupt wretch, filleted of its soul and morals.

All that is left is to hope, for City’s sake, that the coffers are soon filled up and we can splash around in the pre-season transfer market like Billy Bunter in a pig trough. We might feel a little more comfortable if it didn’t happen at all and we drifted quietly out stage left. How many days to the start of the season? God help us all.

Simon Curtis <Simoncurtis.efb(at)mail.telepac.pt>

OPINION: BLUE FARCE

With regards to Heidi’s comment in MCIVTA 1337 “The whole saga appears to be descending into farce”

Is Heidi the most optimistic Blue alive? Just how bad does it need to get before it stops descending and is actually a farce?!

Keep up the good work Heidi in these dark days. The future is bright… the future is blue (I think).

Rob Hyslop <Hyslop_one(at)hotmail.com>

OPINION: THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BLUE & RED

This is a comment I have copied from the BBC website BBC 606 Comment, posted from RobbieBrewer in reply to some Rag posting on the City comments pages. I do not know RobbieBrewer but I certainly support his comments!


Vertigo… ever wondered why, even with all the trophies, glory, showbiz weddings, superstar “glamour” players and planet-sized, graceless egos that surround the “entity” that is Manchester United, you still can’t kill off local support for a skint club that has won nothing for 31 years, shoots itself in the foot at every opportunity, sells its best players and yet is somehow still one of the best-supported teams in England? I’d say that says more about your club than ours. Supporting City is typically Mancunian, backing the underdog in the face of adversity, knowing that one day soon, “our time will come again…” Supporting United is heroism in a can, the refuge of the characterless, the humourless, the bland, the footballing epitome of “blending in”… though I guess you’ll just never understand that’s what separates us from you, and long may it remain so. Thanks for reminding me why I’m a Blue!

John Taylor <taylorjst(at)hotmail.com>

REQUEST: LONDON BLUES

Is there a London supporters’ club? If so, could someone pass on the contact details please?

Haydn Morris <haydn.morris(at)bpb.barclays.com>

REQUEST: US BLUES

I just want to let Blues everywhere know that three MCFC supporters’ clubs in the United States are in the process of forming. If anyone – American or not; in America or abroad – is interested in becoming a member of one of these clubs, please get in touch with the contact listed below.

Manchester City Football Club Supporters New York City (OSC branch)
I am heading up the formation of an OSC branch. While we are based in New York City, we welcome prospective members from anywhere and already have several members from across the US as well as one in England. Also, we encourage non-member Blues when in town to meet with us at Nevada Smith’s to catch a match on the TV; please let us know when you’ll be in town. Our website is: http://www.mcfcnyc.org/, and I can be reached at <donny(at) mcfcnyc.org>.

Red, White and Sky Blues (CSA branch)
George Cuddy, who lives in Massachusetts, began the formation of a CSA branch a few months ago, and his club seeks to represent Blues from across the USA. George has set up a page on MySpace at http://www.myspace.com/mcfc_csa_usa, and he can be emailed at <puskasfan(at)yahoo.com>. You may also be interested in reading the following article about George’s efforts to assist fellow Blues in war-torn Sierra Leone: http://www.townonline.com/brookline/homepage/x1101473897

MCFC America (OSC branch)
Matthew Semisch is from America’s midwest, Omaha, Nebraska, and he is putting together a US-wide branch of the OSC. Matthew also has a page on MySpace, and it can be found at http://www.myspace.com/mcfcusa. You can reach Matthew directly at <mcfcamerica(at)gmail.com>.

While being separate, the three clubs anticipate coordinating efforts to bring together Blues on this side of the planet and to help raise the profile of our good club. We hope to hear from you.

Donny Schreier <donny(at)mcfcnyc.org>

BLUE HUMOUR

A young ventriloquist is touring the clubs and stops to entertain at a bar in a small town in Surrey. He’s going through his usual run of football jokes when a very big ugly bloke in the fourth row stands on his chair and says, “OK jerk, I’ve heard just about enough of you denigrating Man United. What makes you think you can stereotype football supporters, and Wayne Rooney that way? What do a person’s physical attributes have to do with their worth as a human being? It’s guys like you who keep ordinary decent fans like me from being respected at work and in my community, of reaching my full potential as a person, because you and your kind continue to perpetuate discrimination against fat people; all in the name of humour.”

Flustered, the ventriloquist begins to apologize, when the bloke shouts, “You stay out of this mister, I’m talking to that little b’strd on your knee!”

William Harfleur <w1ll1amh(at)yahoo.fr>

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 #1338

2007/06/21

Editor:


Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on Pinterest