Newsletter #1353

Our first game of the season saw us return from London with three points, and a positive performance from the new signings. Tonight we have match report, plenty of opinion on the game and signings, and a hatful of requests.

Next game: Wednesday 15 August, 7.45pm, Derby County (home)


It’s the start of a new season and a whole new era, under our new owner and manager. Also a new era for me as, having moved down to London during the close season I was able to attend a London away game as a home game. So just over an hour’s journey from West London, accompanied by a fair number of Hammers’ fans, brought us to West Ham on a burning hot day. There seems to be a lot of similarities between City and West Ham and while many of the West Hams felt they wouldn’t be in the same position they were in last season, there was a sense that they weren’t too confident.

Of course, we never know what will happen next and we could easily be this season’s West Ham, of whom a lot is expected but not delivered. The team had looked OK against an accomplished Valencia team who played well within themselves and the new players clearly needed time to gel. So how would they deal with the hectic, physical pace of the Premier League?

We didn’t seem to have sold out our allocation (according to the City web-site) but we must have come close as there was a good crowd of City fans in the Centenary Stand. Good to see so many familiar faces as well, including an ex-colleague I hadn’t seen for ten years.

The City fans were in good voice at the start, singing “We should be at Bramall Lane” as the teams came out. The line-up was Schmeichel in goal (with a proud father watching in the stands), Corluca, Dunne (on his favoured right side), Richards and Garrido. Midfield had Ireland on the right, Johnson and Hamann in the centre with Petrov on the left. Elano was playing behind the striker, Bianchi. West Ham had Bellamy and Ljungberg and Bowyer in their starting line-up with Ashton, who always seems to do well against us, on the bench after last season’s injury nightmare.

Somewhat to most City fans’ surprise, it was the Blues who made the early running, playing confident, and possession football. Petrov doesn’t seem to be afraid of shooting and he had a couple of early off-target efforts. Elano was looking particularly lively and put a good effort over the bar. West Ham couldn’t get into the game at all and on 17 minutes City made their superiority tell when Hamman broke up a West Ham move deep in the City half and fed Elano. He set off on an unchallenged run but as Upson did move to cut his apace down, he simply accelerated, leaving the defender in his wake. On the edge of the West Ham box he looked up and played what could have been a shot or could have been a cross. Whatever it was, the West Ham defence failed to cut it out and Bianchi crept in behind them at the far post to slide it in.

It was inevitable that West Ham would start to come back into the game and sure enough they did but very rarely looked threatening. Zamora was busy but ineffective and neither Bellamy nor Boa Morte got the better of Corluca. The plan seemed to be to sit back and defend our lead and, whereas in the past that would generally have spelled disaster, everyone seemed to know the plan this time. The intensity of West Ham’s attacks increased as the first half ebbed away but there seemed very little chance of them scoring and so we went in 1-0 up.

City had been a revelation; the ball was played to feet most of the time and most of the passes found their target. Hamann (the only Pearce buy in the team) was doing a fine job anchoring the midfield and the new boys looked like they’d been playing together for a while rather than a week. Indeed, it was so unlike the hoof-it-and-hope-for-the-best City we saw last season, that the fans were jokingly singing “What the f*** is going on?” They also sang Sven’s name and the Swedish iceman even waved back. He’s getting the idea.

West Ham made two changes for the second half and became much more menacing, with Etherington particularly having some success against a tiring Corluca. My pre-game 1-1 prediction was looking a reasonable bet, particularly when Ljungberg somehow failed to connect with a dangerous ball across the face of the goal. However, Richards and Dunne were doing really well in defence and Hamman was particularly effective in breaking up attacks and ensuring City kept a little possession. The home crowd got excited as Ashton warmed up and eventually he came on to replace, somewhat surprisingly, full-back McCartney with the dangerous Etherington moving into defence. This looked like a major blunder by Curbishley but it nearly paid off as Ashton fired only just over.

City made their own changes, with Bojinov replacing scorer Bianchi on the hour, Onuoha replacing Corluca a few minutes later, and Geovanni replacing Elano. Bojinov looked sharp and strong and put a powerful header just over. Geovanni finally looks like the Benarbia replacement we’ve all been waiting for, full of Brazilian flair.

As the minutes ticked away, West Ham seemed to run out of steam and the three points seemed a lot more assured than they had been. They became a racing certainty however, when Onuoha picked up the ball in his own half and set off down the field. An early tackle seemed to have knocked him out of his stride but he got control of the ball again although two defenders now flanked him. He showed incredible power, aggression and skill to shrug them off as he raced into the far right hand edge of the West Ham area. The defenders stood off but seemed to have the angles covered, leaving young Ned nowhere to go. However, showing a deft touch that Ali B or Gio would have been proud of, he flicked the ball back past the first defender to give himself some space, then nutmegged the second. He had options now and, having criticised him earlier in the game for not really looking comfortable with the ball, he proved me wrong by picking out Geovanni, just inside the box and he slotted home confidently for the second. We were perfectly placed as the scorer and his delighted team-mates raced behind the goal to celebrate right in front of us, earning Geo a booking I suspect won’t bother him too much.

Geovanni nearly got his second after some good work but Green just denied him. The only downer was fussy referee, Peter Walton, who seemed to produce the yellow card any time City did anything wrong but kept it in his pocket for equivalent West Ham misdemeanours.

That was it, as far as the West Ham fans were concerned and the stands emptied quickly, a scene we became all too familiar with at CoMS last season. The City fans, however, stayed in place, scarcely able to believe what they’d witnessed.

Schmeichel 8. Well protected by the defence and really wasn’t troubled but looked assured.
Corluca 8. West Ham threw everything at him but he stayed firm.
Dunne 9. A captain’s performance.
Richards 9. Wasn’t totally convincing against Valencia but he was here.
Garrido 8. A very sound performance.
Ireland 7. He’s muscled up over the summer but didn’t make the impact he’s capable of.
Johnson 6. Did OK but not as sharp as at the end of last season and a bit slack at times.
Hamann 9. Yes! The sort of performance we’ve long been waiting for from him.
Petrov 9. Full of running and aggression plus not afraid to have a shot.
Elano 9. Has energy, invention and pace.
Bianchi 8. Took his goal well and worked extremely hard.
Onuoha 9. Worth a 9 just for the run that set-up the second goal.
Bojinov 8. Looks like he will be a handful for defences. Unlucky not to score.
Geovanni 9. I remember saying Samaras was going to be a legend but believe me, Geo definitely will be.

Overall Out-of-the-Seat Factor 8. Plenty to keep us happy and a very determined but professional performance.

Colin Savage <colin(at)>


I was as pleased as punch with our opening day victory over West Ham, a fixture I was looking forward to with an equal measure of anticipation and trepidation. I thought we played very well overall, although to be fair West Ham could easily have equalised and at times we were scrambling in defence, just about managing to keep them out. I am not totally at ease with Kasper in goal, though it has to be said he didn’t do much wrong and has a very good kick on him.

Personally, I would have played Corlucka in the centre of defence to utilise his height (especially as Ashton seemed to win everything in the air) and Richards at right back; only time will tell if this will be the case. The players who really stood out for me on the day were Richards, Onuoha, Hamann, Elano, and Petrov. In particular, I though Hamann had a great game, mopping up in front of the back four and then linking up play. He was also very commanding in the air, his physical presence being an advantage, and if he carries on in the same vein he could be a regular starter in the holding position. Then we had Petrov, who is all left foot but looks threatening whenever on the ball. Elano is the player we have been looking for these last few seasons, comfortable and assured on the ball with a good change in pace and good vision too. Hopefully he will blossom into the playmaker behind the forwards. Bianchi also works hard and puts himself about, so hopefully he too will get a lot of goals. It was also pleasing to see Johnson and Ireland in the starting line-up, I hope they continue to improve with each game.

I could not believe how Zamora never got a yellow, he was persistently committing fouls, especially the late tackle on Elano, but yet City had four players booked, what was the referee watching?

I am very pleased with Sven’s “new” look team and hopefully we might add a couple of players more to the squad. I would really like to see either Bresciano or Stephen Appiah in our midfield, as we need a little bit more muscle there; we seem to have plenty of options up front.

The writing seems to be on the wall for a few of our fringe players and as much as I like Vassell for the pace he offers to the team, his woeful finishing could see him being offloaded to Derby. Samaras also appears to be surplus to requirements and I can seem him being sold (nothing less than £4 million should be accepted), he just does not do enough to warrant a starting place and is a real enigma. It looks like Sven is building a squad containing 2 players for every position., I am not sure if Corradi will still be kept, but perhaps he and Mpenza will be the backup for Bianchi and Bojinov, whilst Geovanni appears to be the backup for Elano, therefore Bresciano might be the alteranative to Haaman if Fernandes is considered too young.

After this good start to the season, every City fan will have more reason to be positive, however we must not expect too much too soon from quite a new lineup, but hey, we deserve success and here’s hoping and praying for a couple more victories before the end of the month.

Let’s all get behind Sven and his new revolution – or is that evolution?

Glyn Albuquerque <glynalbuquerque(at)>


Manchester City came out with all guns blazing, they shell shocked West Ham with the running on and off the ball, with some great passing.

Didi took the ball away from a West Ham player and Elano took up the ball, running to the right with such speed he left the West Ham players in his wake. He then crossed the ball to see Bianchi show what a world class striker does by scoring a great goal, his first of many in the Premier League. Move over Drogbog, Bianchi has arrived.

City remained the dominant side and looked like a side who had been playing together for several weeks; no question Sven knows how to gel a team.

When the second half first started, West Ham came out with a purpose, only to see the City defence hold firm; young Kasper in goal never had any real shots to deal with, but on a couple of occasions came out fast to smother the ball at the feet of a West Ham player. Kasper did all that was asked of him with his proud dad Peter Schmeichel looking on in the stands.

Also in the stands was Steve McClaren who every time the camera went on him looked as if he was sucking a lemon. In truth he was probably wishing the City players were all English, but Micah and Nedum must have impressed.

The second City goal was made by Nedum, who through a gritty performance beat three West Ham players before passing the ball to Geovanni who made no mistake by scoring a fine goal in his first Premier League game.

Petrov was my man of the match for his switching from wing to wing and his non stop running, but Elano was a very, very close second. Every player in the team deserves a big thanks for a very fine effort and away from home, with some players playing together for the very first time, well done!

Who say’s Sven never plays attacking football? This was class attacking football.

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


I am absolutely delighted with the win at West Ham, and after watching the highlights on Sky on Saturday night, it looks like we have acquired some decent players during the summer. I am also happy with the fact that five former Academy players finished the game, so take a bow Jim Cassell and your team. Regards to all.

Paul Fegan <paulo9(at)>


Well, that wasn’t a bad start at all was it? A fine 2-0 win against a West Ham U-Cheated side that really shouldn’t be playing Premier League football this season if there was any justice.

Six new City signings gelled quickly with 5 Academy products and other existing City players to turn in a fluent victory against expensively assembled opponents, yet still, predictably, instead of giving credit where it is due, large sections of the English media have it in for Eriksson, waiting for him to fail.

The latest ruse from so-called reporters is that Sven has only bought players on the strength of videos. If you believed what was written, then Sven, Tord Grip and the scouts never watched any other live football, and spend their time getting Repetitive Strain Injuries, pressing the video remote. We won’t get much objective reporting by a large section of bigoted, bitter, Inger-lund supporting journalists who have already started chipping at Eriksson. Witless scribes like West Ham U-Cheated fan Martin Samuels in the Times who launched a tirade against the Swede in his latest column are typical of the little Englander variety that had it in for Kevin Keegan and now Sven because he couldn’t fulfil their own wet- dreams with England. There’s no chance of objective journalism where these people are concerned. Good on you Sven for referring to such people as idiots.

I’d confess that I wouldn’t have made Sven my first choice of City manager, and that I wasn’t his number one fan after his England days, but even though it’s early days, I have to say that I’m impressed so far with his work in the transfer market, pre-season and that first performance. I’d agree that Sven wasn’t good value for money for the FA and that his team underachieved and played the worst football at the last World Cup. I’d even say that he had the England job for at least 2 years longer than he should have. Whilst an over-hyped England team full of overrated prima donnas weren’t good enough to win the World Cup, they should have made the semi finals, but the players had a responsibility too. After all, they can’t blame the manager for continually giving the ball back to opponents.

Yes, Erikkson had his limitations tactically in the very top games with an inability to change it against 10-man Brazil and a limited Portugal in 2 World Cup exits, but it could also be said that there’s no great shame in being outwitted by a great, World Cup winning coach such as Big Phil Scolari. It has to be said that Sven had an excellent record in qualifying for tournaments, something the less objective journalists choose to ignore. They’d do well to compare Eriksson’s performance with that of the current England manager. Not much chance of that though.

Erikkson’s club record is, of course, very impressive, and his haul of trophies is there for all to see. The fans of Gothenburg, Benfica, Sampdoria, and Lazio would bear testament to that. As for those lazy hacks who say that Eriksson’s teams only play dull, stereotyped football, well (to use a Svenism), they are about as wide of the mark as those people who said that The Smiths were depressing. They just don’t get it! Or rather, they don’t want to…

Wouldn’t it be great if Sven rammed those critics’ words back down their throats by making a success of his time at City? We’re rooting for you Sven.

Phil Banerjee <Philban65(at)>


Apologies for getting on my soapbox once again about the attitude of certain City fans, but I couldn’t let Paul Robinson (MCIVTA 1350) get away with his comments in that issue. After Noel Wilkes-Wells commented on the upbeat nature of the previous issue, it seems Paul just couldn’t help himself from bringing the mood down a little.

In the words of Andy Gray: “Take a bow son!” When it comes to negativity, his rant in the last issue was truly spectacular.

So now City are getting berated for being too active in the transfer market over the summer, and somehow that makes our new chairman similar to a crack addict along with all the other allegations. Quite ironic, I thought (not that those allegations are any laughing matter, of course)!

“I’m excited as anybody,” he proclaims – although only after he had expressed his reservations about the apparently indiscriminate nature of Sven’s summer spending and the effect it might have on morale inside a dressing room that hit rock bottom at the end of last season.

Apparently, the players who “kept us up” deserve a chance to prove themselves under the new regime!

For what it’s worth, I’m encouraged by Sven’s swift and decisive approach to transfer activity. He looks like a man who didn’t waste any time during his 12 months out of the game, and the fact these deals are going through so efficiently suggest he is conducting his business with a great deal of respect from both players and agents alike.

I am understanding of the fact that all the new additions hail from overseas and it will require a significant amount of patience for everyone to bed in properly. Unfortunately, my faith in City fans to remain patient for 12 months is not quite as great as it is in most of these new players (whom I don’t know a great deal about) to offer something worthwhile eventually.

I couldn’t give two hoots about the fact that all eight signings are foreigners. In fact, I’m positively excited by it because they don’t come with any pre-conceived ideas about the stigma attached to City that is common in home-grown players.

The more we keep telling ourselves that City are an under-achieving club with long suffering fans, the quicker home-grown players are to assume that rôle. It might not be intentional, but you know somewhere in the back of their minds they find failure a little bit easier to accept because they have no recent history to live up to.

Look back at all the heroes we’ve had in recent years, they’re nearly all foreigners or kids that have come through the Academy with a carefree attitude. When was the last time we signed a twenty-something British player who became a rousing success in the Premiership?

These boys we’ve picked up in recent weeks all have some pedigree already, but more importantly they also still have plenty to prove, a burning desire to show everyone that they can make an impact in the most famous league in the world.

Meanwhile, we also appear to be getting value for money because the equivalent British players would be costing at least twice as much. It’s a sad reflection on the domestic game, but I have absolutely no doubts that City’s conscious decision to go continental is entirely justified.

So what exactly do we have to get down about? Nothing, as far as I can see.

To all those people who were negative last season but generally consider themselves to be positive City supporters on the whole, be vigilant against such negative outbursts. This is a clean slate for everyone, a fresh start to show how positive we can be for the overall benefit of Manchester City.

All it takes is a few more outbursts like Paul’s to pervade through the culture and suddenly we have all the sad excuses we need to return to our preferred state of wallowing, much to the detriment of the football club.

Mike Holden <mike(at)>


In referenced to Paul Robinson in MCIVTA 1350. Surely the ‘knee jerk’ to which you refer is the collective need to strengthen where we were so incredibly weak last season?

I doubt these purchases given the pedigree of our new manager are on the same level as those of say Mr Pearce? I would personally say Corradi, Samaras (who incidentally, may, just may, come good) and people like Danny Mills from a previous incarnation of managerial presiding were far bigger gambles.

I’m not blowing smoke up Sven’s behind here because let’s face up until now, he ain’t done nowt for City. That starts later. But come on, we do have money to spend. And it does have to be spent to achieve success. Success that Franky boy will want.

He does have a vast knowledge compounded by the backroom staff he’s taken on and I would like to think he’s not stupid enough to just Spend Spend Spend, like Viv ruddy Nicholson. Plus didn’t we get a player for free?

On the subject of Frank. If all those ‘peddlers’ he allegedly ‘ordered’ the ‘deaths’ of (although those who allege are an entity, whose methods and regime are to be seriously questioned themselves) surely, coming from Thailand, they have got to be bl**dy Yiueewnited fans anyway? Bring that regime to London that’s what I say.

Joel Perry <j.perry(at)>


I thought you might be interested in the following article from spiked:

Why shouldn’t oligarchs buy football clubs? by Duleep Allirajah

Clubs should be judged by their results on the pitch and their place in the League, not the alleged human rights records of their owners.

Peter Birbeck <peter.birbeck(at)>


Maybe we need new sponsors for away matches, Cadbury’s.

George Cisar <georgecisar(at)>


Did BBC Five Live forget to mention that Mr Shinawatra has won two democratic elections and is being chased by a military dictatorship?

Chris Phillips <scewphillips(at)>


I’ll be in Zug this coming weekend and there does appear to be an English pub called Mr. Pickwick’s on Alpenstrasse that shows matches. Will anybody else be watching in the Zurich/Zug area?

Eric Floyd <erictfloyd(at)>


Does anyone know where the City fans go for a drink before visiting the Emirates?

Thanks in advance.

Neil Adshead <neil.adshead(at)>


Are there any other Blues in the vicinity of New York going up to see the Becks BS tour on Aug 18 at 7pm? Tailgating will start around 3pm, BBQ & beer so we can get ready for the game. We, me as the blue and various others (Bosnian, Peruvian, American, etc.) will be at the East end facing New York by gate C, so if you are going, come early as you will need plenty of beer to watch an MLS game.

Philip Telford <telfordpnt(at)>


I write to see if any City fans living in Hong Kong are interested in watching the Manchester derby on Sunday 19 Aug?

I can be contacted by email at the address below.

Calvin Chan <mcfc(at)>


Desperately seeking 1 or even better 2 tickets for derby. If you can help please call 0790 873 8897 or email.

Many thanks, Simon Hope <simonjhope(at)>


For those who don’t know, you can catch all the highlights here:

Dave Kilroy <dave.kilroy(at)>


I wanted to let you know that my website is now up and running at where you will find in-depth previews of all 72 Coca-Cola League clubs and pre-match analysis on 15 of this weekend’s games.

I did have a marketing budget but, unfortunately, I spent it at the chippy yesterday – so now I’m forced to using more primitive methods to get the word out there!

Anyway, have a look round if you get chance and pass on the info on to anyone you think might be interested in a website dedicated entirely to the lower leagues.

Mike Holden <mike(at)>


After SP’s departure, someone at City (probably from marketing and clothing merchandising) told the board of directors there was a need for a new club tie. Due to a mixture of misunderstandings and spelling errors, we end up with a new club owner; fortunately, with cash to spare and now look at us, having to learn a new list of player-names and chants, and half-a-division above manure.

But let’s not get too excited now – one swallow does not, a summer, make, many a slip, twixt, cup and lip. But could this be the season when we could have cause to follow City’s league position for all the right reasons? Let’s hope so.

Keep up with the Premiership (Premier League!?) statistics, throughout the 2007-8 Season, with the new-season version of my “Excel” spreadsheet file; “The-BIGGER-One” (All Premier League team-progress file) – now entering its fifth season – ready and available as a free download at:

Visit the website to read the full list of the file’s features; but, basically, all you need to do is type in the scores (or your predictions) and all the statistical tables and graphs are instantly revised. It is already filled in with all the provisional dates for Premier League fixtures for the season.

Also available are completed statistical versions for the last 4 seasons, which can calculate a league position for any date of the season. The website has been checked-out, and has a listing with (under the miscellaneous/statistics, listings).

If you have any problems with the file, drop me a line. And as ever, if you like the sheets, please tell your mates.

Mark Vincent <Vincent(at)>


12 August 2007

Arsenal               2 - 1  Fulham                60,093
Chelsea               3 - 2  Birmingham City       41,590
Manchester United     0 - 0  Reading               75,655

11 August 2007

Aston Villa           1 - 2  Liverpool             42,640
Bolton Wanderers      1 - 3  Newcastle United      25,414
Derby County          2 - 2  Portsmouth            32,176
Everton               2 - 1  Wigan Athletic        39,220
Middlesbrough         1 - 2  Blackburn Rovers      25,058
Sunderland            1 - 0  Tottenham Hotspur     43,967
West Ham United       0 - 2  Manchester City       34,921

League table to 12 August 2007 inclusive

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F   A   GD  Pts
 1 Newcastle Utd    1  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  0  3  1  1  0  0   3   1   2   3
 2 Manchester City  1  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  0  2  0  1  0  0   2   0   2   3
 3 Chelsea          1  1  0  0  3  2  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  0   3   2   1   3
 4 Arsenal          1  1  0  0  2  1  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  0   2   1   1   3
 5 Blackburn R.     1  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  0  2  1  1  0  0   2   1   1   3
 6 Everton          1  1  0  0  2  1  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  0   2   1   1   3
 7 Liverpool        1  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  0  2  1  1  0  0   2   1   1   3
 8 Sunderland       1  1  0  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  0   1   0   1   3
 9 Derby County     1  0  1  0  2  2  0  0  0  0  0  0  1  0   2   2   0   1
10 Portsmouth       1  0  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  2  2  0  1  0   2   2   0   1
11 Manchester Utd   1  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  1  0   0   0   0   1
12 Reading          1  0  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  0  0  0  1  0   0   0   0   1
13 Birmingham City  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  1  2  3  0  0  1   2   3  -1   0
14 Aston Villa      1  0  0  1  1  2  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  1   1   2  -1   0
15 Fulham           1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  1  1  2  0  0  1   1   2  -1   0
16 Middlesbrough    1  0  0  1  1  2  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  1   1   2  -1   0
17 Wigan Athletic   1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  1  1  2  0  0  1   1   2  -1   0
18 Tottenham H.     1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  1  0  0  1   0   1  -1   0
19 Bolton Wndrs     1  0  0  1  1  3  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  1   1   3  -2   0
20 West Ham United  1  0  0  1  0  2  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  1   0   2  -2   0

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1353