Newsletter #1345

First pre-season friendly under the belt and a view here from Paul on the day’s proceedings with some interesting news on Bianchi. The team are now in Sweden preparing for the next two games.

We also have opinion tonight on the squad, building for the future and requests.

Next game: Wednesday 18 July, 7pm, Orgryte IS, Sweden (away), friendly


I attended the match at the Keepmoat Stadium (Doncaster) last Saturday and thought I would contribute a few observations regarding the day.

The weather was good and the Keepmoat stadium and pitch are a credit to League One. What an improvement on the old ground. I arrived early with a small group of friends who are Doncaster Rovers fans and so I wasn’t sitting in the ‘away’ end. However, this did give me an opportunity to get down to the tunnel area where Sven was having a wander around. He seemed very relaxed and willing to sign any programmes, shirts etc. that were flung into his path and to chat with anyone and everyone, which seemed to go down well with all of the Doncaster Rovers fans around me!

I then met somebody who was visiting the game to see Rolando (Roly) Bianchi. Evidently this guy plays for the Reggina reserve team as centre half and spent the whole of last season marking Bianchi in training sessions. He had a lot of positives to say about Bianchi such as he holds the ball up well and that he is certainly a goal poacher. He felt that Bianchi would do well in the Premiership. However, the one thing he did highlight was the need to feed him. Please note Sven that at Reggina they were able to supply regular crosses for Bianchi to feed off.

As for the game, I thought that the team seemed somewhat lethargic in the first half. I know this was just a pre-season friendly and it was the first one; however, Sven has a transfer budget and for the current players the next few games will define whether they have a City career or not. I was pleased to see that the team seemed much more fired up in the second half and the goals then came.

Goalkeepers: Neither Isaksson nor Hart had anything much to do during the game.

Defence: Richard Dunne worked hard and commanded the back line, which included at various times Richards, Onuoha, Ball, Matthew Mills and Danny Mills. In fact, at the back there were only really a couple of dodgy moments for the defence and one led to their goal. The rest of the time I thought the back line did a really good job. Richards took his goal well and does look as though he will pick up again from where he left off before his injury (Sven don’t sell!).

Midfield: In the first half the midfield seemed to get a bit overrun although Doncaster had little end product (apart from the one goal!). Ireland and Miller showed a few good touches; however, Dabo seemed a bit off the pace. It would be good if Sven could find the real Dabo (the one we signed) over the next few weeks otherwise I fear for his future. In the second half the midfield of Hamann, Ireland, and Johnson seemed to be much more assured.

Strikers: Corradi took his goal extremely well, really worked hard during the second half (he was a half time substitute) and led the line well, winning many headers and setting up the third goal. Vassell was in and out of the game and showed some good touches; I just wish he would take on defenders and show a bit more confidence. Mpenza put in a lot of effort and took his one opportunity to score.

Which finally brings me to Georgios Samaras. When Samaras arrived at City I had great hopes for him and during his early City career he showed some moments of real promise. However, last season he seemed to be a largely peripheral and slightly forlorn figure. Whether it is a lack of confidence or just playing out of position, I simply don’t know. The clock is ticking and perhaps more than anybody else in the team the next few games are extremely important for Georgios Samaras. Sven has already brought in one young striker and it looks like at least one more could well be on his way. I really want Samaras to achieve his full potential at City mainly because this would give us yet another option up front but time is running out fast. On Saturday there was one moment where he wrong footed the whole defence only to tamely scuff the ball into the hands of the goalkeeper. The rest of the time, I have to say, Samaras was largely ineffectual, so much so that the Doncaster Rovers fans around me started laughing every time he attempted to win the ball because most of the time he seemed to end up on his backside. I really hope Georgios Samaras can show Sven what he can do in the next few games because I fear that if the other pre-season games are anything like last Saturday his City career will not be a long one!

Paul Howe <pho(at)>


I wasn’t too sure about the appointment but so far I have to say I am very impressed with the relaxed, confident manner in which Sven has conducted himself since becoming our manager. I also like the way the transfers so far have been handled. No fuss and little information until the deals have been completed.

Tender green shoots so far, but maybe this time we might have the funds, staff, and infrastructure to fulfil the ambitions of our success starved support. Promises of building for the future in respect of ‘global’ academies, increased investment in the future from new sources and being able to choose the players we want at this time as opposed to picking up available ‘journeymen’ looking for a last ‘hurrah’ pay day.

Let us hope that these early positive signs come to fruition and we can all enjoy watching our team move forward into a period of growth and long overdue stability. An improvement on last season, certainly in terms of entertainment value shouldn’t be too difficult to achieve.

Hopefully everything will settle down and we can actually look forward to and enjoy the forthcoming season. Please let it happen, fingers crossed, keep the faith – it surely has to be our turn soon?

N.B.: Song for Sven? To the tune of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Mrs Robinson”:

All wave to Sven and sing “This is to you Sven Goran Eriksson, the Kippax love you more than you will know, Wo, Wo, wo… Wo, wo, wo” (musical experts feel free to correct me if I get this bit wrong).

Stuart Latham <lathamws(at)>


Sven Eriksson is looking at Peter Crouch, a player whom he introduced to international football with England.

But Liverpool, who now have five top strikers on their books after letting Craig Bellamy go to West Ham, want 20 million pounds for him, a bit over priced methinks, more like £10 to £12 million would be a true valuation.

Ronaldo Bianchi played along side a tall striker, 6′ 1″ Nicla Amorouso, at his former club in Italy, and both enjoyed success playing alongside each other. I can see why Sven’s interested in bringing Crouch to City – he is 6’7″ and Sven knows all about him.

If only our rough diamond Samaras (6’4″) could just sparkle a little; he has got a fresh start – as do all the other players – with the new manager. Georgios Samaras could be that tall striker with Bianchi, and save the club a lot of money, or he could still become a loss for the club. It’s up to Georgios and his attitude.

I hope that City can get Peter Crouch; trouble is, Liverpool know that the City owner has money to spend, and are trying to take advantage of it?

I like the two younger signings so far, more to come before the season gets under way?

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


I’ve set up the fantasy league for the 07/08 season. Here is the website: or here:

On the official Premier League site you may register your Fantasy Premier League team and compete against other managers from all over the world. You start out with £100 million and after choosing a team of 15 players you can either set up your own league with your friends or join one of the other leagues that has been created.

As usual you need to follow the easy directions and set up your team, then join the league. The league name is MCVITA (sic) CITY FANS and the league code (i.e. the code you need to input to join) this year is 4098-1847. The league administrator is Jack “Thaksin apologist” Buckley.

I’m hoping there will be more than 100 players this year when the whistle sounds on August 11th. As of Friday 6th of July there were four players, which is not too bad as the league had only been open for shady business a couple of hours. So far:

First, as of 10:00hrs EST-USA, Sunday 15th of July, there are 67 teams signed up.

Second, many are back from last year. It’s like the good old days… same faces every week in the Platt Lane side of the Kippax. Some folks are missing, perhaps they are on their hols? In this league sarcasm, smoking, and peeing down the terrace is encouraged. Stewards have bags of two pence pieces available on request for sharing with the away fans.

Third, for newcomers I have posted some tips on transfers in the league forum. Additions are always welcome.

Fourth, Bianchi is now available as a City player… expect other City players to become available as Sven signs them. I just added Bianchi to my own team.

Fifth, in the MCVITA league forum, Pride Of Manchester manager Edward Hopkins suggested not signing any United players; this was seconded by Jean-François Maille, manager of Gorton St Marks. After some resistance from me, I decided to make a rule proposal in the forum, which is repeated here below. Now, given that this rule was not in place when folks signed up, I am not sure about imposing it: there have never been any rules in past seasons. Any input would be appreciated. Here is the text of the rule proposal as appears on the forum. Thanks.

The suggestion has been made that there ought to be a rule about not signing United players. I raised the question of moral hazard.

Now, I can enforce any rule by simply banning the team. One prefers “voluntary codes of conduct” in life… but… screw that, they never work (for long). So, here is the proposed rule.

The Rule:

  1. No United players may, under any circumstances, play for any team inthe MCIVTA City Fans’ League 2007-8.
  2. First violation: public warning with requirement for immediate teamchange
  3. .
  4. Second violation or failure to comply with immediate team change:suspended from the league for one week / suspended until team change ismade.
  5. Third violation: suspended for season.

Comments, suggestions, loopholes in rule?

Jack Buckley <Jack10000days(at)>

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Newsletter #1345