Newsletter #1340

Speculation, speculation, speculation is the order of the day with announcements and denials on the managerial front, tenuous links to players and even pre-season friendlies with Real Madrid. Never mind, only 6 weeks until the season starts!

Don brings us a summary of all the toings and froings this week around the takeover, the vacancies, and action. There’s also plenty of continuing opinion on the takeover and a Why Blue.

Next game: Saturday 11 August, 3pm, West Ham United (away)


The New Era

The Geezer From Sweden: City found themselves a new manager this week. Well almost. After endless weeks of speculation, former England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson agreed in principle to take over as manager, Sky Sports News reported on Tuesday. The club weren’t so forthcoming however, insisting that they would only announce the appointment of a new manager once Thaksin Shinawatra’s takeover of the club is completed. “The board notes the media speculation concerning the managerial position at the club,” read a statement on the club website. “Earlier today, UK Sports Investments Limited announced that the Offer Document in respect of its offer for the club was posted to shareholders. Discussions are on-going with managerial candidates and once the offer becomes or is declared unconditional in all respects, the club expects to announce the appointment of a new manager.” And let’s not forget, Sven has a bit of previous form for agreeing to manage clubs, then not taking up the post. Back in 1997, he agreed to become boss of Blackburn, before Lazio wooed him and he stayed in post in Rome. And in 2004 he allegedly agreed to be Chelsea’s coach, before a huge wage increase from the FA inspired him to stay on as England coach. So it may be clear what principle Eriksson had agreed to…

“nobody’s Perfect”: Sven emerged as the front runner for the post just before the weekend, when Mr. Shinawatra made it clear who was being considered. The papers said Erikson was being offered a potential salary of approx. £8 million in a three year contract – that was £2 million per year plus a further possible £2 million in bonuses (that sounds like some mighty fine principles to me, Sven). Thaksin said that he wanted Eriksson to make the club “as popular in Asia as Manchester United and Liverpool.” He also said he was not concerned by criticism of Eriksson’s record with England. “I heard about his performance in the past and, yes, I can understand the criticism but nobody’s perfect,” he said. “He will bring good things to this club.” Thaksin confirmed his headhunters had met Eriksson twice this week and that he has taken a hands-off rôle in attempting to recruit the Swede. “I have met him, I said hello and touched base but my advisors have done most of the talking,” he said. “I am very new to the Premier League so I leave it to the professionals. They give me the analysis and say who they prefer and normally I go along with their recommendation. As long as he can do the job and he’d like the job, and my advisors say he’s the man, I will support him.” This deal will comfortably make Eriksson City’s highest paid manager and equates to more than three times what Stuart Pearce was earning at the club.

Still No Still: And it became clear why Eriksson’s purported agent, Athole Still, had been so adamant that he knew nothing about any talks between S-GE and MCFC. Because Still had been “left out of the loop” as they say. To quote from the Observer: “Sven-Goran Eriksson is so keen to repair his image and reputation in England that he agreed to keep his agent, Athole Still, out of negotiations with potential new owner Thaksin Shinawatra for the vacant manager’s job at Manchester City.” Apparently he’d been taking advice from Pini Zahavi, an agent named last week by Lord Stevens as having not fully co-operated with the Quest investigation into potential transfer irregularities. Zahavi, who is threatening legal action against the Premier League, confirmed he was in negotiations with Thaksin, although not as an agent. Keith Harris, Thaksin’s chief adviser, said that: “There is a fair chance that Eriksson will take the job.” Harris is sadly not the man who stuck his hand up that awful green creature Orville for that ventriloquist act, but Executive Chairman of Seymour Pierce Investment Bank and a former Chairman of the Football League. He also told BBC Radio Five Live’s Sportsweek that “the important thing is that Eriksson is highly respected by England’s players. They all hold him in high regard. Manchester City’s Academy has been successful in bringing through young England players, so it would knit well in that respect. Manchester City want to attract a high quality manager who can in turn attract high quality players. Sven-Goran Eriksson is on the list of candidates but we don’t know if he will accept, so it behoves anyone to think of alternatives. The good news is the alternatives have not been in the gush of publicity and there are talks going on with those others as well. But the important thing is that a good quality manager is chosen and that a manager who wants the job takes it in the next couple of days.”

Doyle’s Dilemma: Should S-GE’s principles get the better of him, who might City turn to? The Sunday Mirror reckoned that Celtic boss Strachan was a new possibility, while Mark Hughes wasn’t in the frame, preferring instead to remain at Blackburn to safeguard his chances of returning to Old Trafford as manager one day. The same paper carried an interview with City legend Mike Doyle, who made it clear he’d rather see (gasp) an ex-Red in charge at the CoMS rather than Sven. “If Eriksson turns the job down then I think City will have had a lucky escape,” mused Doyle. “I don’t hold any prejudices against Sven. I know people criticise him for his record with England, but perhaps international football was a step too far for him because he proved previously that he is a very capable club manager. But if you’re asking who I’d choose between Sven and Gordon Strachan, I’d take Strachan every time. If it was a question of Sven or Mark Hughes, I’d take Hughesy every time. If it came down to a choice between Strachan and Hughes that would be very difficult, because I rate both of them very highly. I could only separate those two on the toss of a coin. City need a young manager with the energy and enthusiasm to completely transform the club and I worry whether Eriksson has still got the drive to do that after the career he’s had.”

Nesta Tables Support: Erikson received warm support from a player who knows him well, AC Milan defender Alessandro Nesta. Nesta, a pivotal member of Eriksson’s Lazio team that won Serie A in 2000, said: “Eriksson is a different manager, but in a good way. He gave me the freedom to do the right thing and to work it out myself. You could also go to him with your problems. He has helped me a lot and been a very important person in my career. He has a different style and a different temperament to other coaches I have had.” He added: “He took a step back and let me develop.” Meanwhile, former FA bigwig David Davies was claiming that his former colleague at the FA had unfinished business in England. He said: “After the huge disappointment of the World Cup last summer, Sven thinks he has got something to prove, particularly to the people who have been pretty cruel about him since then. City fans are passionate and if Sven brings a bit of success, they will get behind him. But of course Sven will get stick at other grounds. He’s been around a few years and he understands that. I don’t think this is the easiest option for him and I understand it’s not the best paid option Sven had either.” The article revealed that Eriksson had had a late offer from Dinamo Kiev which was thought to be worth a whopping £5 million a year but he has instead decided to join City. So there, he’s not a money grabber at all, settling for a mere £2 million p.a. Another former coach of England also expressed some cynicism about Sven’s reason for looking City-wards. He wrote in the Daily Telegraph: “Even if it goes wrong, he is on a nice little earner for three years. Eriksson is no fool and, having sat on an astronomical weekly compensation salary from the Football Association since his exit from the England job a year ago, he has bided his time until a club with money to spend on himself and players has come along. The problem with Manchester City is that, irrespective of who the manager is, they continually shoot themselves in the foot,” Taylor added. “Being a City supporter just cannot be good for your health. Like Newcastle fans, they deserve more than they have been given over the years. So Sven, I think you are either brave or daft. Whether you are one or both, you are not going to be short of cash, but I hope that is not the main reason you decided to go for the job.” Taylor warned Eriksson that the transition from international back to club football may not be as smooth as he anticipates, saying: “It could easily take the same time to grow back into club football, renewing those day-to-day contacts which went cold at international level.”

Won’t You Be My Number Two? Pehaps Sven-Goran is serious about City, as he’s sounded out Roland Andersson about becoming his assistant. Andersson revealed the former England coach had contacted him but he is delaying a decision until Eriksson’s position is finalised. Currently Sweden’s assistant coach, Andersson said he was “flattered” to be offered the rôle. “I was contacted by Sven,” he told the Swedish Football Association’s official website. “He said he was considering an offer to become Manchester City manager. I often speak with Sven and Tord Grip about football matters. We have known each other for many years. Of course I am flattered [by the offer] but, to really consider it, he has to have the position of manager first. If he is not the manager, there is nothing to discuss.”

Taking Control: So how goes the Thai takeover of the club? By last Friday, Thaksin had a controlling interest of 55.9% and City were recommending to shareholders that they accept his offer to take him beyond 75%, where he can remove the club from the Stock Exchange. It was reported that he’d begin next season as chairman, with his son Panthongtae and daughter Pinthongta on a board with the current chairman, John Wardle, and chief executive, Alistair Mackintosh. He was hoping to tempt Eriksson with a transfer budget of £50 million and the new owner said that the club were looking for “two strikers, two midfielders and maybe a new goalkeeper”.

Clean Clean: The former Thailand Prime Minister’s problems show no signs of abating in his homeland. Nine judges were named in a special tribunal that will hear a case against him and his wife relating to her apparent purchase of government-held prime Bangkok real estate four years ago. Thaksin, who was ousted from office in a bloodless military coup, and his wife face charges of conflict of interest and malfeasance in connection with the deal, with the first court hearing expected on July 10. Thai Finance Minister Chalongphob Sussangkarn said. “This money that would be used for Manchester City is still a mystery to Thailand,” he told reporters in Singapore at the World Economic Forum on East Asia. But Keith Harris dismissed concerns over the allegations of corruption. “These charges are being prosecuted by an unelected military regime and we all know they are politically motivated,” the former Football League chairman said. “We have done a lot of research. We are absolutely satisfied and the Thai Central Bank gave their blessing for the transfer of monies to effect the takeover. That money has been in my client’s bank account for some time now. It is sufficient to be able to finance the takeover and, equally significant we think, in a sensible budget, to provide funds for the manager. The money to buy Man City is clean. It has been legitimately and transparently transferred to the UK, he concluded.”

Sky’s (Not) the Limit: By Tuesday, Thaksin had moved a huge step closer to signing up Eriksson after BSkyB agreed to sell their stake in City. The former Thai Prime Minister took his stake in the club to 66% by buying the satellite TV giant’s 9.9 per cent shareholding. And that will put him within reach of the 75 per cent shareholding he needs to delist the club from the Stock Exchange, which will be enough to convince Eriksson to sign a three-year contract with the Blues. So any day now, we’ll know if we have a manager. Honest.

Is This For Real? There’s already talk of the All-New Super-City facing some exalted company in a pre-season friendly. The Daily Mail says Thaksin is hoping to begin his reign at City by delivering a match with Real Madrid to the City of Manchester Stadium. The paper reported that Thaksin’s aides had been in contact with Real, trying to set up a game in late July. Asking is one thing, but perhaps it’ll be more impressive if the fixture actually gets arranged. At the moment City’s only confirmed pre-season game is at Burslem’s Port Vale ground on August 1.

Up, Up, and Away: It didn’t take the club long to announce that there had been a swift upturn in seasoncard purchases in the wake of the Thaksin takeover. Alistair Mackintosh told the club’s official website: “We were initially delighted with the number of early renewals we received from Seasoncard holders, along with the new applicants. But with a new manager and new players to come in before the start of the season, we look forward to more supporters becoming City Seasoncard holders.”

Textual Healing: This is how good the publicity people in Mr Shinawatra’s organisation are. The Times reported that boxer Ricky Hatton, whilst training for last weekend’s title fight in Las Vegas, was somewhat surprised to receive a good luck text allegedly sent by Thaksin. “It was sent to Dennis Hobson’s (the promoter’s) phone,” Hatton, a lifelong Blue, said. “It was a bit of a surprise.” What is the Hitman’s view of the potential new manager. “I suppose you could say he has been a success wherever he has been at club level,” a less than enthused Hatton said.

Transfer News and Gossip

All Aboard! As soon as the Sven bandwagon gained momentum, the transfer speculation express took off at full pelt (OK let’s stop that extended metaphor right now). The papers were sure that Sven would chase up one of his golden boys from his England days, namely Michael Owen – ‘CITY KEEN TO THAI UP OWEN’ said the Daily Express while the Daily Star reckoned ‘SVEN GOIN’ FOR OWEN’. The journals claimed that Owen’s contract contained a get out clause that means he could leave Newcastle for £10 million. And how about this for a crowd pleaser – “Shaun Wright-Phillips is being tipped for a return to City as the bookies begin speculating on the players Sven-Goran Eriksson might sign if he takes over.” So sayeth the M.E.N. And it helpfully listed the odds on the potential candidates. And they are: Shaun Wright-Phillips 5/2, Freddie Ljungberg 4/1, Nigel Reo-Coker 6/1, Craig Bellamy 8/1, Benni McCarthy 12/1, Michael Owen 12/1, Alan Smith 12/1, Frank Lampard 33/1, Carlos Tevez 33/1 and David Beckham (huh?) 50/1. So Aston Villa will be facing competition from City for West Ham midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker. The Daily Mail says Eriksson will begin the rebuilding task at Eastlands by launching a bid for Reo-Coker. The midfielder is seen as a perfect replacement for Joey Barton, who left City to join Newcastle, and is likely to be available for around £8 million. And if last week’s news of a goalie exodus at the COMS depressed you – fear not, the media had a replacement ready and waiting. Liverpool goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek is being linked with City. The Pole has confirmed he has an offer from a Premiership rival and the Daily Mail says that City are the in frame for the Bosman prospect. Thirty-four year-old Dudek was thought to be set to join La Liga champions Real Madrid after confirming the Spanish giants are interested in him, however he would only play second fiddle to Spain number one Iker Casillas at the Bernabeu. Other newspapers were sure that West Ham striker Marlon Harewood would become Sven-Goran Eriksson’s first signing for City. It is thought Eriksson is a huge fan of Harewood, 27, who he sees as a younger version of former England hitman Emile Heskey, and would like to take him as part of a little and large partnership possibly involving Newcastle’s former Liverpool and Real Madrid star Michael Owen.

Outward Bounds: If all these players are joining the club, then inevitably some must be leaving. Heerenveen want to re-sign their former striker Georgios Samaras apparently. But the Dutch club are only prepared to pay £2 million. Feyenoord, Olympiakos and Real Betis have also made contact with Samaras’ representatives, so he’s a popular boy. And Ousmane Dabo is desperate to leave the club – the 30-year-old Frenchman started only 14 matches following last summer’s switch from Lazio and was involved in that scrap with Joey Barton. Although Barton has since moved to Newcastle United, Dabo has no intention of staying at City, telling the News of the World: “I do not want to go back. My time there has been difficult and I cannot forget the fight with Barton. Although he has now left it doesn’t change much for me. I haven’t had the best of times. The old boss Stuart Pearce didn’t pick me after saying he absolutely needed me in the team. Then came the fight with Barton. Ideally I won’t be at City next season. I have a lot of contacts in Italy but Spain would be my preferred option. If the new man wants me I could change my mind. But that is a long-shot. I feel I will leave.”

Add to Your Basket? The football media have been filled today with a whole new selection of players for City to buy. Take Freddie Ljungberg, for instance. Arsenal’s 30-year-old Swedish star has been cited as a candidate to fill City’s right-wing rôle if a Sweep swoop swallow dives. But his agent Claes Elefalk told BBC Sport: “Freddie wants to stay at Arsenal until he stops playing and there is a good chance that’ll happen. This is just speculation. Freddie is most certainly not leaving Arsenal.” I’m sure I heard Thierry Henry say something similar recently, and look what happened to him… Meanwhile, Tottenham striker Mido has denied already agreeing to join Fulham as he awaits developments at City. The 24-year-old was talked out of joining City by Martin Jol in the final hour before January’s transfer window closed, but was unable to win a regular starting berth in the manager’s line-up. Speaking on Egyptian TV over the weekend, Mido confirmed he had not agreed a deal to join Fulham and that he was still interested in City – if Sven Goran Eriksson fills the vacant hot seat. Reports have also suggested that Spurs have offered Mido to Portsmouth. And West Ham’s Yossi Benayoun is said to be another player on Sven’s wish list, although City would have to hijack a prospective move being planned to Liverpool. The player’s agent Ronen Katzav admits that Benayoun’s future is still not decided. “We are still waiting,” Katzav told “The deal is still in place with West Ham. We are waiting to see if the two clubs can come to an agreement. I am not going to say Yossi is desperate for a move at all, but it is only natural – any player in the world would be attracted by Liverpool.” The Lancashire Evening Post reported that City were in for Preston’s prize asset, David Nugent. The 22-year-old has been told by Steve McClaren that he needs to be playing in the Premiership if he wants to pursue a full England career. Sunderland were said to be close to agreeing a deal last week, but the arrival of City on the transfer scene with bucket loads of bahts has muddied the waters. The Evenuing Post even had a photo of Nugent in a City shirt, and very fetching he looked in at as well. It was from January’s FA Cup tie between City and PNE however, and was taken after Nugent had swapped shirts with an opponent. Darn.

General News

Beware, Harry Potter… You think your obsession with City’s bad – how about this nugget from the BBC website?

LEGO REPLICA OF FAN’S MAINE LOVE – A Manchester City fan has realised his dream of building a Lego replica of Maine Road stadium – four years after the club’s former home was demolished. Gary Standford, 37, of Salford, spent more than £1,500 on about 500,000 pieces of Lego for the project – which he started 13 years ago. The Maine Road ground, in Moss Side, was demolished in 2003 when the club moved to the city’s Eastlands complex. But Mr Standford says he does not plan to replicate the new stadium. He said that he dreamt of building the 3ft (91cm) replica when he was still at school and a big fan of Lego. “I built a small-scale model but as I got older the Lego was put away in a box and I forgot about it,” said Mr Standford. “For 12 years I never even looked at it. But when I moved into my own place I came across the box and found plans of Maine Road tucked away inside it. It was then that I decided to re-build a larger, more exact model of the ground.” Mr Standford worked on his replica about five hours a week and had to mould his own plastic for the more technical parts. But like the club itself, Mr Standford’s model has endured a difficult history. He had to bring the project to a standstill when the Harry Potter films stopped his supply of vital sky blue bricks from Lego in Denmark. “When the Harry Potter films came out, the sky blue bricks were licensed for the Harry Potter model only – so I couldn’t buy them separately,” said Mr Standford. “I had to adapt and also used burgundy bricks, the colour of City’s away strip, and took the bricks from the Star Wars models and figurines that were out at the time.” He says he is thrilled with the final model even though the club moved to the City of Manchester Stadium in 2003. “I was sad to see the end of Maine Road but I really like the new stadium. Despite it being a challenge and a real learning curve I don’t think I’ll be building a model of the new stadium as well.”

Ex-Blues’ News

Rangers are the Beas Knees: Stuart Pearce didn’t rate him, but clearly someone in Glasgow does – for on Wednesday DaMarcus Beasley signed for Rangers. Beasley was on loan at the CoMS last term from PSV Eindhoven, and scored 4 goals in 22 games for City. The Blues had an option to buy, but chose not to exercise that option. The 25-year-old has signed a three-year deal at Ibrox for the princely sum of £700,000. “I’ve got a couple of good friends who played at Rangers, Michael Ball and Claudio Reyna, and they had good things to say about the football club,” Beasley said. “Claudio said that being at Rangers is like being part of a massive family. Everyone is nice. Everything is first class.” He is looking forward to helping Rangers qualify for the European Champions’League, with the qualifying draw being held on Friday. “It’s a big draw,” Beasley said. “I played two years there with PSV, and we had a great run in my first year there. We went to the semi-inal and no one thought we could do it. We were a small club compared to Real Madrid, Chelsea, Barcelona and teams like that, so Rangers can do the same thing. I’m looking forward to starting that campaign. Hopefully, we will qualify, and I’m sure we will.”

Squad News

Right Said Ned: It may have seemed at times this summer that all City’s playing squad were attempting to jump ship. But not everyone was – in fact, Nedum Onouha has just signed a new 4-year contract with the club. “I’m delighted that the contract is all sorted out now, I just want to get back to working hard and playing well when pre-season training starts again next week,” said Nedum. “I like to think that I have been improving game-on-game and season-on-season recently, when I compare myself from now to two years ago I think there is a massive difference in my performances.” Chief Exec Alistair Mackintosh told the club website that “We opened talks with Nedum a couple of months ago and then had to wait until the Under 21s tournament was over before the deal could be concluded. Nedum’s contract extension re-affirms Manchester City’s commitment to having a first team squad with the very best young, home-grown, talent and securing their long-term futures at the football club.” Meanwhile, City have handed a two-year contract to teenage keeper Filip Mentel. The 17-year-old Slovakian impressed while playing for City’s Academy side last season. Mentel’s agent Emil Kovarovic said: “It is a big chance as well as a big call for Filip. He is expected to join the first team’s training from July and has the potential to impress.”

Don Barrie <news(at)>


At the time of writing Shinawatra has 8% of shares left to purchase to have the potential to gain a 75% stakeholding. With this comes the ability to change the memorandum and articles of association of the club in order to borrow further monies against the club, as well as de-list us from the PLUS market. Otherwise, why the wait? Why not purchase what you have agreed and then buy up the rest in due course in order for us to make up lost time?

I am wholly against this man taking over our club and we as supporters and small shareholders should do all we can to stop him getting to this point. That would severely test his ability to actually put money into the club. Being able to buy 75% at 40p represents a cheap sell off to me, as we have done with many of our commercial deals in the last five years – Anelka, SWP, James, Cole, kit sponsorships, kit manufacture deals etc. It’s not good enough.

My concern is we have been panicked into accepting a proposal from anyone who can deliver a manager to us in time for pre-season. Given that, why did we let Pearce go? At the very least we should have had a replacement properly lined up. By having owners wanting to sell and no manager, we have been placed in an unenviable and entirely avoidable situation by changing two key variables at the same time. Now we have a split support, some willing to accept a man of no City credentials, in order to bring stability.

Notwithstanding his lack of City credentials, he has tried and failed to buy Fulham and Liverpool before us. Talk about sloppy seconds? His dubious human rights record does not ingratiate him to me either. Irrespective of his political and social background, he owns a United shirt with his name on presented to him by Ferguson. How low do we want to go?

As to the £130 million ‘purchase’ of City. From what I have read from the recommended cash offer, and it’s as much information as any fan has at this stage, he is purchasing the club for much less:

If he gains the 75% he is looking for, it will cost him £16,226,812.

He has agreed to buy Wardle and Makin’s debt for £17.5 million, a loss to them of around £5.5 million over five years, based on £21 million of loans at 5% interest.

Total cost to Shinawatra of £33,726,812. Not the £81 million headline figure the club is valued at.

In my opinion, he will take over the existing debt and then add more debt based on our existing assets to fund purchases. Something I think we could have done ourselves two years ago when we needed two more players to be a good team. Having now sold four of our best players in Anelka, SWP, Distin and Barton, we are at least six short and have had to put up with miserly football to boot. I do not understand why Wardle and Mackintosh did not just borrow more themselves to kick us on into at least the top five. A false economy of at least 20 places and European revenue lost over two seasons.

Shinawatra may well underwrite the debt with the money he has manoeuvered away from the reaches of the people who are freezing his other assets to secure the borrowing, but it will be just that, borrowing. Any one of us, could, in principle do this. The backing to secure the borrowing is all we are missing. Further, bringing his son, daughter and AN Other to the board smacks of nepotism, when what we needed was a professionally skilled board. i.e. executive directors with appropriate professional backgrounds to lead: a Sales and Marketing Director; an Operations Director; a Director of Football; a Commercial Director. All these still missing from our non- executive shareholder based board.

When Wardle refused to deal with Ranson I can only assume from what I have read that it was the leveraged proposal that put Wardle off. That and maybe his and Mackintosh’s demise. It is clear both of them want to stay on. JW belying his ‘reluctant chairman’ tab. However, when funds are being frozen left, right and centre Shinawatra will not want to tie up his own money. So the proposal will be heavily leveraged whichever way you look. Would you pay if you could get someone else to pay? You know who that is going to be.

This purchase is a total win-win for Shinawatra. If he pays debt off his share price goes up. If he loads the club with further debt, it’s not his money. The £81 million value of debt and equity, whichever way it is made up, is gained for £33 million – see Modigliani-Miller theorem for the irrelevance of the make of debt and equity in the club’s make-up. Hence the reason to knock Ranson back must run much deeper than leveraging.

Further, why are we even dealing with someone who is having assets frozen? The association is not good for City and does not fit with our community/family based club image. Shinawatra has no affiliation to us and is using our club for his own ends. The press speculation about breaking our hard fought wage structure and transfer dealings will put the long term future of the club in doubt. We will have to pay in the long run. Remember the pain of the Keegan spend we and Pearce have had to tighten our belts and put up with trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear for. Remember the pain of the boom and bust of Swales? Why have we not learned? We do need to take risk as a club? The risk we are taking now will be borne by us as a cost to the club and not this fly by night pedigree-less character.

This was an opportunity for City to be purchased in the name of the supporters. The TV money coming in would allow the club to repay this purchase price and a transfer kitty of £30 million in six years. The Barcelona model.

To own City I believe you need to adhere to its values. I have made up the values I believe have entailed making us City in the past:

Honesty: On this count Shinawatra’s credibility has to be questioned. As does Eriksson in his personal dealings.

Loyalty: None for either.

Pride: Not in our club.

Passion: For the game of football, but not for City.

Flair: I have yet to see it from either. Although I am no expert on Sven’s pre-England performance.

Owning and managing City is more than just being able to borrow the cash. It is about values. Something I had given Mackintosh and Wardle the benefit of the doubt on for many reasons. Including: the work with the community, environmental strides, links with minority groups and the work they appear to have put in themselves – despite some terrible deals, a further example being, First Advice remaining on our shirts despite going bump the previous season. However, this deal has tipped me against both of them. The values I have considered as core to City do not fit with the persona I understand to be Shinawatra. As for Eriksson I believe he will have to do, but would not have been on my shortlist – as an aside, I too feel for Heidi in the deluge of abuse she has taken for no other reason than gauging the evidence on this very site. Others may have been different, but her straw poll was, in my opinion, correctly qualified but abused by the press and vilified by so called supporters.

The values that have made us City in the past appear to be being thrown out of the window in an effort to take cash at all costs. It is not what we were about.

Whatever you do, stay Blue!

Dave Clinton <daveclinton(at)>


To Glyn Albuquerque in MCIVTA 1336, please read my contribution in MCIVTA 1335 more carefully. I would never want my club to go down, I said if we aren’t good enough we would go down, that is how it has always been. If you ignore the history of the club I have followed for over a third of its existence you will easily miss the points I was trying to raise. Mike Summerbee today (Monday 25 June) spoke on Talk Sport Radio and stated that there isn’t a lot wrong with our club that a little tinkering wouldn’t put right. He likened it to when he signed for the club. He went on to say we were in the Second Division playing in front of 10,000 fans, a couple more signings and the next season we were promoted and playing in front of 50,000 fans and the season after we won the league. That was my point, we didn’t have to sell the soul of our club to achieve the best run of success our club has ever tasted. He went on to say, at present we have the best Academy in the country and all we need is two or three old heads to gel them together. I agree with Buzzer, give the youth their head, they are chomping at the bit to show their worth.

Big Mal tried to splash the cash and ended up nearly bankrupting the club with no reward although John Bond did manage to salvage a Cup Final out of it after adding a few bargain basement players. Kevin Keegan spent a darn site more than the Thai charlatan proposes to spend on new players and for what, a crippling debt? But there again if you ignore the history of our club you would miss this point too.

With the addition of a shed load of Sky money this season we could at last have a chance to put this club back on a reasonably stable financial footing so that when the likes of West Ham, little Portsmouth and Newcastle financially implode we at least will not have to go cap in hand to any Tom, Dick or Thaksin to help us out of our financial nightmare.

Glyn also wrote “Look at Chelsea, Man U, Arsenal, Liverpool, Barcelona, AC Milan etc, are they investing in home grown talent? No!”

Isn’t it strange though Glyn that most of these teams have been after Micah Richards at one time or another which wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t invested in our home grown talent. Also Liverpool, who we played in the Youth Cup Final a couple of seasons back and are the present holders I think, seem to be investing a fair amount. If you ever get the chance to visit Barcelona, literally facing the front entrance is the youth academy, brimming with talent, they even have a spare stadium close by where they play for the club’s nursery team. Even I as a dyed in the wool Blue couldn’t deny Man Ewe have a top academy to rival most and the results of that can be seen on the field most weeks. Even Chelsea have just unveiled plans to build a state of the art facility to resurrect their youth scheme. AC Milan have 4 youth team players who represent their nation at Under 21 level. “Now Look at Chelsea, Man U, Arsenal, Liverpool, Barcelona, AC Milan etc, are they investing in home grown talent? Yes they are!” Except for Arsenal who just invest in all round talent.

It may not matter to some people where the money comes from but for me it does, I am proud of my club and don’t wish to see it tainted with dirty money. I, like many other friends of mine, am not comfortable with the whole episode. I agree with Mark Redgrave, I want my old City back.

Stay Blue, Malcolm Hough <malcolm.hough(at)>


It appears that many fellow Blues don’t care about the background and perhaps the source of the money that is being used to purchase their club, and in some cases even their own shares. Fine, they are welcome to their views but they shouldn’t moan about those who for genuine reasons of principle object to this takeover to the extent that they may not feel able to continue to support the Blues during this (probably brief) period of tenure by Mr Shinawatra.

Dave Lees commented “It’s business, it’s dirty”. Well it patently doesn’t have to be, many people make informed consumer decisions to support ethical businesses. Now, supporting a football club may not be a simple consumer business and I doubt whether any of the critics are seriously considering switching to another provider of football, but they can sure as hell decide to no longer actively support City if they see the values of the Club being eroded to a point where they no longer recognise the club that they have supported in many, many cases for a very long time.

It will be interesting to see whether the Premier League determine Mr Shinawatra to be a “Fit and Proper” person to own a Premier League side. I suspect they will, which says more about the current (lack of) integrity and state of football in general than it does about the appropriateness of the owner of Manchester City FC.

Robert Barker <randr.barker(at)>


The proposed Thai takeover continues to progress at a snail’s pace. Meanwhile, the new season looms ever larger than ever, and indeed appears to be on fast-forward.

What is also particularly disconcerning to me, with regard to the apparent appointment of Eriksson as manager, is the fact that this interminable process is also moving quite unbelievably slowly.

Clearly, the Swede does not consider to job at City to be his ideal position, otherwise, he would have surely and pretty darn quickly have officially accepted the position and got on with the job of building a decent squad. Are we really such an unattractive prospect for the man, or, is he simply waiting for a bigger and better offer to come from another club?

Unfortunately, this entire scenario continues to remain quite the farce, quite unbelievable.

The fans deserve better than this.

Graham Mills – RI, USA <gkm_5(at)>


I very much agree with Glyn Albuquerque’s contribution in MCIVTA 1336.

I have been a City supporter since 1945 and most of it has been painful (literally when I got caned for missing school prize giving in order to watch City play Stoke with Stanley Matthews in their side!). I also have seen City win the FA Cup twice, the League Championship once, win in Europe and the League Cup. My son has seen us win a fraught play-off final against Gillingham and a couple of promotions. I want him to enjoy what I once enjoyed and that will involve a great deal of investment.

So bring on Sven and Frank and let’s start rocking and rolling.

CTID, Jack Millington <jack.Millington(at)>


Well we’ve all got one, but it really makes me laugh at how differently the average City fans’ opinions are.

You can analyse, stick pins in it, draw graphs, dissect and ruminate, but all you have at the end is; someone’s opinion. Here’s another.

As with any new manager we have had (and by God there’s been one or two), optimism and humour are tantamount. And as with all cases in change, we reward ourselves with some renewed hope.

So, when Sven, if indeed it is Sven, takes over and when he’s brought in 5 new players in the immediacy, and when we are 8th top at Christmas and bid for a greater striking asset who’s shown an interest in ‘playing in the Premiership’ and we get him, and we are having a great cup run in April and have scored some great goals aplenty, and the run in to the end of season could see us finish in 5th spot with an outside chance of fourth place, and we are sold out every other week, and the singing section is the funniest, wittiest and loudest the stadium has ever heard and Sven, if indeed it is Sven, says publicly he’s enjoying his football more than he ever has before at club level, and Thaskin throws a few more quid at us… and Warnock is managing Scarborough in the Sunday league, and not here, then we won’t be moaning. We’ll have forgotten about Sven’s England record (top points to game ratio actually in fact the best England has ever had). Even hardened through witnessing too much defeat, I’ve personally found it really hard to support two teams whose only consistency has been the ability to consistently let us down; another tale.

But we won’t moan. You will not moan. You’ll have forgotten about the corruption charges, and the trying two months we have just endured and those dreadful Pearce years and Ball, and Franny Lee and Tueart creaming our club. And just scraping a win at Macc. You’ll have forgotten all this people. Because you will be happy. Football at its beautiful best conquers all, nothing crosses it, reason has to bow.

And the Distins and Bartons of this world won’t even notice us. They aren’t football fans, they are employees who have gone to further(?) their careers. No sentiment.

But all of us, in two minds at the moment or not, will still be here. And as terrible as things may have been for those who have witnessed first hand in Thailand or elsewhere will still glance at the results and smiles will appear. They will. And that is all that matters in all of this.

Supporting your team is the one true kind of unconditional love regardless of how badly they treat you, you cannot have an affair with another team; it’s stronger than a bond with your family. An extension of your family. We are Manchester City Football Club and no matter what the future holds for us we have to be there for them.

And we are, whether we like it or not.

Unless of course you have a different opinion.

Joel Perry <j.perry(at)>


I have to say I am somewhat surprised and disappointed with some of the negative comments made in MCIVTA of late regarding the now likely takeover by Frank.

There has been much speculation about Frank’s time as Prime Minister of Thailand, his financial dealings, allegations of corruption and so on. What I do know is that Thailand is currently being run by its military and there isn’t any democracy, which cannot be healthy for any country. As far as I’m concerned there are two sides to each story and much of the propaganda or allegations are coming out of Thailand at the moment. Does it matter to us as City fans what happened in Thailand while he was Prime Minister? There has been so many versions of what went on, good stories, bad ones, I think we need to get real and look closer to home: how many voted for the not so brilliant Tony Blair for instance!

Are Chelsea fans “bothered” about the suspect origins of Roman Abramovich’s money? I would say that he and other people in Russia didn’t have to work hard for their fortune in the aftermath of the fall of communism did they?

Back to football side of matters. City are a club in a league that sold its soul when its clubs resigned from the Football League in 1992. That is when in my view money became paramount for clubs and players in order to compete at the highest level. It’s no surprise that the competition since then has been dominated by the richest clubs, with only one or two cameos from less fashionable clubs. The last 5 years in particular has seen the Premier League become a global brand with many of its clubs attracting interest from foreign investors.

We can all talk about how it was in the good old days and how in an ideal world we would like to see City achieve greatness. Sadly this isn’t going to happen in a million years with a fantastic Academy system and a shoestring budget, fact. I’m fed up that the game has been hijacked by the money men but I’m also fed up that City cannot compete against the big boys anymore. I don’t want to watch my club struggling to beat Reading and Wigan and thinking we’ve had a good season if we beat United. I want more for my club than that.

Now I’m not saying Frank and Sven and a few million quid will guarantee that but it might just get us a bit closer. Sven (if he signs) has a club track record equal to most of the top coaches in Europe. What must be good for Chelsea and United (they both courted Sven) is bl***y well good enough for City! We need money to spend on players and a top quality coach; maybe for the first time in a long time Frank can bring us that plus the success we all crave.

Graham Keller <gkmcfc(at)>


In the last 75 years there have been 11 successful military coups in Thailand, 12 unsuccessful military coups, and 17 constitutions come and go. I think that it would take a brave person to run for office in Thailand knowing the track record of their country.

Every time there has been a military coup they have always had an excuse for doing it, be it right or wrong; this time it’s Frank that’s to blame.

The only way for Thailand to deal with their government is to have a democratic elected government, and this should be done by December 2007.

After the new government is in power Frank Shinawatra says he will return to Thailand. I don’t blame him for not going back until then; why face the military government that put him out of office whilst he was out of the country in the United Nations making a speech last September 2006. There are two sides to every story, and everyone has the right to a fair hearing.

Now let’s concentrate on football, all this is getting to be a bore, and I promise not to write about it again (unless I hear something special).

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


I have never felt so split as a City fan in my entire life. Her indoors reckons I’m fickle, me, I just feel so undecided; does anyone else feel the same?

A short while ago, I heard Sven’s name mentioned and cringed. Now he’s on the brink of signing, I’m all for it.

A short while ago I heard all this takeover talk and listened quietly to the rumblings from the fans towards the board and again didn’t know which way to turn.

Now we seem to be owned by a Thai national with a colourful background, at the moment I’m excited at the prospect of investment into the team but I have a terrible niggling feeling we might be being used for other reasons, which I don’t know.

Apparently Sven’s on his way and again I’m feeling like he is using us for his own benefits, “I’m available for employment, but open to offers” is the way I’m interpreting it.

What do I want? I honestly don’t know.

Let’s all see what happens in the short term and judge the whole situation in 5 years. It could be the blessing we’ve all been waiting for, or we could end up the laughing stock of football, which unfortunately will not be for the first time.

My view: I’m glad Barton’s gone, he has tarnishing City’s image for far too long regardless of stature or talent. I think Wardle and crew have saved City becoming a Nottingham Forest/ Sheffield Wednesday, thank you.

My prediction: The short term future is bright. Sven, if appointed will be a success, but with constant media intrusion, the first offer he receives from a top European side his head will turn and leave within the 3 years. Thaksin gets assassinated on return trip to Thailand.

Someone settle my nerves please.

Does anybody know where I can purchase any Maine Road remains? I have seen some seats on e-bay, but don’t want to purchase something like that from profiteers. Brick, seat, sign, tap, anything (no toilet seats please)?

Anyone on the Northern Beaches, Sydney, ever fancy catching up for good old reminiscing session, get in touch.

Graham George Davidson <ggdavidson(at)>


Last issue Svenn posted his suggestions for signings. After each suggestion (and with due consideration for his abilities) I have my own remark:

Summary (total £55 million):

  1. Jermain Defoe (24) Tottenham – £11 million (maybe)
  2. Shaun Wright-Phillips (25) Chelsea – £9 million (yes)
  3. Carlos Tevez (23) West Ham – £18 million (yes)
  4. Fredrik Ljungberg (30) Arsenal – £5 million (yes)
  5. Kevin Nolan (25) Bolton – £6 million (no)
  6. Wayne Bridge (27) Chelsea – £5 million (yes)
  7. Jussi Jaaskelainen (32) Bolton – £1 million (yes)
  8. Jerzy Dudek (34) Liverpool Free (yes)

Carlos needs a buddy from Boca to help him out…

FYI (is anyone really interested?) the new 2007/8 MCVITA City Fans’ League will be open for registration on or about July 6th 2007. Details to appear soon.

On this Thai chap: listen folks, there is hardly a road, building, or pound in your pocket that does not, in some way, derive from malfeasance either by your damn selves (cheat on any school exams, stab someone in the back at work?), or your employer, or his antecedents in interest, or HM Govt recently, or going back to, oh, I dunno, Henry VIII? Get a grip you hypocrites. And you are. You’ll eat ill-gotten food, off an ill-gotten plate, sitting on an ill-gotten table, in an ill-gotten house and complain about this man. Not one of you is possessed of property that is clean, not one of you. If your (selective) consciences are bothering you, sell what you have, and go and beg alms.

You make me sick.

Jack Buckley – Raleigh, North Carolina <Jack10000days(at)>


Mingling with the great and the good, two stories emanating from Thomas & Mack and Caesar’s Palace.

  1. SWP – Personally asked him if he wanted a lift back to Manchester. Helaughed, smiled and said yes!
  2. Joey Barton – Sat with a mate for over half an hour explaining he didnot want to leave City. He was very willing and accommodating to a numberof Blues I met on the trip who had spoken to him and had pictures taken.Still a loss in my opinion.

City flag got a good showing:; click on boxing Elvis’s picture.

Whatever you do, stay Blue!

Dave Clinton <daveclinton(at)>


From talking about Eriksson:

“He is a very good coach, a very good trainer, both on the training field and during games. If you meet him and Tord Grip then always start talking about 4-4-2 or 4-4-3. That’s the main thing they like to discuss.”

4-4-3? Man the hatches and batten down the main sail… we are in for a rough ride.

The future is bright, the future is Blue (with a little yellow cross on top).

Rob Hyslop <Hyslop_one(at)>


The contributions regarding the recent comings and goings at City raise some more profound thoughts in my mind. It must be fifty years since I was first taken to Maine Road by Mum and Dad. Dad, now 95, had previously watched City at Hyde Road.

So supporting City is a tradition in our family. But what do we support?

Are we supporting a name? Well, if so, then does it matter who “owns” that name? Can we support the name without supporting them present owner / management? Are we perhaps supporting that group, or tribe, that associate themselves with that name, in which case the “ownership” is only relevant insofar as it maintains that name.

Are we perhaps supporting an ethos? To be a City fan and not be insane (and I’m conscious that may be an oxymoron) we cannot embrace the “winning is everything” philosophy that followers of a certain team in Stretford may adopt. Perhaps the ethos could be loyalty to a cause even when all seems lost – and residual Leeds fans must also hang onto that.

Maybe we represent the more thoughtful and fair minded element of football supporters; would that be lost by a change of ownership? Well, if we are successful and attract a different support base then maybe that would be the time to depart.

I think of myself as relatively liberal and certainly not a far left socialist but there is, for me, some truth in the saying “all property is theft” and when my Sunday paper tells me 25,000 African kids a day die for a lack of basics I don’t feel I can criticise others. I don’t like the thought of my City being bought by any wealthy person. That sadly is the way of football at present and maybe it contains the seeds of its own destruction. I don’t know how I will feel about City next year. I’d be pleased to see them rival United but whether the cost is worth it I don’t know.

For now I’ll just wait and see what happens next; perhaps we just support unpredictability!

David Lewis <dfl(at)>

MCIVTA FAQ [v0607.01]

[1] MCIVTA Addresses

Articles (Heidi Pickup)          :
News/rumour (Don Barrie)         :
Subscriptions (Madeleine Hawkins):
Technical problems (Paul)        :
FAQ (David Warburton)            :

[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 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

[5] What supporters’ clubs are there?

Manchester City FC recognises three supporters’ clubs: The “Official Supporters Club” (; the “Centenary Supporters’ Association” ( 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

Live match commentaries and archives of games, reports and interviews can be found at

[8] Where can I find out if City are live on satellite TV? provides a listing of Premiership games being shown on UK domestic and foreign satellite channels. Useful sites for North American viewers are,, and

[9] Do we have a Usenet newsgroup?

Yes we do: is our home on usenet. If you are not familiar with usenet, a basic explanation is available here:,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

[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 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

[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:

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,

Newsletter #1340