Newsletter #1372

Evening all!

Tonight we bring you the week’s news summary, featuring the return of Hans Backe, changes to City’s fixtures in December and January, and word that Rolando Bianchi’s patience may be wearing thin.

Also in MCIVTA 1372 – Garry offers us a (shall we say) unique preview of the Birmingham game. Plus we have some offerings for the songs for City’s new hero Elano.

Work commitments mean I won’t be editing next week, but fear not, Maddie’s in the chair, so please send your thoughts, reports opinions and song lyrics to the usual address; <editor(at)>.

Next Game: Saturday 20 October 2007, 3pm, Birmingham City (home)


General News

No Jackett Required at the Den: With Willie Donachie taking the high road from Millwall last week, the Sun reckoned it knew who had been appointed as the new boss at the New Den – none other than City Assistant Boss Kenny Jackett. This was swiftly denied by the London League One side, and a statement was duly released: “Reports that Millwall have already appointed a successor to Willie Donachie as manager of the football club are both inaccurate and premature. A short-list of candidates is in the process of being drawn up and interviews are likely to begin shortly.” On Monday it was suggested that Jackett had made it clear that he was out of the running for the job.

All in the Family: If you thought things had gone quiet in Thailand over Thaksin Shinawatra, then think again. Saturday’s Guardian reported that Thai prosecutors had arrived in London to discuss the possible extradition of the club’s owner and his wife. The article concludes: “The junta, which has promised elections at the end of December, may have an uphill struggle in pressing its case. The British government has little appetite for helping a military junta to put a legitimately elected politician on trial.” In a further development, the Thai government also began criminal proceedings against Shinawatra’s 25-year-old daughter Pinthongta – a City director and a student at the London School of Economics – over her refusal to answer questions about the family’s share dealings at an anti-corruption committee hearing in Bangkok.

All Change! The club have announced changes to the start times to four fixtures. This is due either to the European commitments of opponents, or to the requirements of the TV masters of the Premier League, namely Sky. City now take on Spurs away on Sunday December 9, kick-off 3.00pm. The home game with Blackburn will now take place on Sunday December 27, starting at 7.45pm, and Liverpool’s visit to the COMS goes ahead on Sunday December 30, starting at 4.00pm. Last but not least, the reunion with Joey Barton takes place at Newcastle on Wednesday January 2, k.o. 7.45pm.

International Blues’ News (1): The first batch of international fixtures began on Friday, when Joe Hart and Nedum Onouha turned out for England’s under-21 side. They both played the full game, which saw England beat Montenegro 1-0. Nedum was unlucky not to score in the second half, as he saw his header hit the Montenegrin crossbar. Next day, Micah Richards continued to show why the full England side don’t need Gary Neville when he’s fit again. Micah got an assist for Engalnd’s first goal, where a neat interchange between Micah and one SWP left the former Blue in space, where he opened the scoring with a low shot between the ‘keeper’s legs. England won 3-0. Richard Dunne meanwhile played in Ireland’s 0-0 home draw with Germany. Dunnie ensured he’d have a midweek rest when collecting his second yellow of the qualifying round. So no game versus Cyprus on Wednesday for him then. Andreas Isaksson might not be forcing his way into City’s team, but he’s still playing for his nation – he kept a clean sheet as Sweden beat Liechtenstein 3-0. Vedran Corluka played at centre half for Croatia at the weekend, as they beat Israel 1-0, while Gelsen Fernandes played for Switzerland, who beat their fellow Euro 2008 hosts Austria 3-1. Brazil struggled to an uninspiring goalless draw away to Colombia in their opening match of the 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign on Sunday. Which serves them right, seeing as how they didn’t play Elano, relying instead on some chaps called Kaka and Ronaldinho instead. Probably the least welcome news of the weekend for City fans came from a practice match in Bulgaria, where Martin Petrov was taken to hospital after taking a knock to his ankle. Fortunately first reports suggested that this wasn’t too serious an injury, although Petrov was said to be a doubt for Bulgaria’s game on Wednesday against Albania.

Having a Ball: All the goal action took place early on at the Regional Athletics Arena on Tuesday, as a very young Reserves side drew 1-1 with Middlesbrough. David Ball had given the Boy Blues the lead on three minutes, but before another six had been played, Craddock had equalised for the Boro. And thus the scoring ended. Coach Ian Miller was pleased enough with his team’s performance: “The lads were a credit to themselves,” he said. “The busiest man was the physio and it was like Holby City in the dressing room! The Academy lads stepped in against a very good Middlesbrough side and I thought they were excellent. We kept the ball, created chances and with players going off injured we had to re-jig it. The substitute goalkeeper came on and we were down to 10 men for the last few minutes, but they showed character and more than that they showed an ability to play football.”
Team: Mentel (Hartley h-t), Vidal, Williamson, McDonald (Mee 51), Breen, Laird, Clayton, Grimes (Poole 22), D Ball, Marshall, McDermott. Unused Subs: Daly, Weiss.

Backe’s Back: S-GE announced on Tuesday that he expected his assistant manager Hans Backe to return to his duties with the club later this week. Last month Backe went back to his native Sweden on compassionate leave, but our loquacious manager has said that his right-hand man will be back at the club within days. “The other coaches have been sharing the job, and have done very well but Hans will be back in on Thursday,” waxed Sven.

International Blues’ News (2): At the same press conference, Erikson lessened fears over the fitness of Martin Petrov. It sounds like the boss had a bit of difficulty contacting his star winger – but when he did, Petrov assured Sven that all was well, and that he’d be available to face Albania on Wednesday night. “There’s been a bit of confusion,” explained S-GE, “because I had two phone calls from people saying that he was badly injured. The club doctor and myself tried to reach him, and I eventually got his Bulgarian mobile number on Saturday. I spoke to him and asked what was going on, and he told me it’s nothing. He says that he got a knock but that he’s going to play on Wednesday. It’s nothing, I don’t know where it came from that he was badly injured, because he’s not.” Petrov did indeed make the Albania game, a 1-1 draw. Micah Richards endured a less happy experience in Moscow, where England lost 2-1 to Russia. England’s qualification to Euro 2008 is now highly unlikely, unless a series of improbable results in other matches takes place. Andreas Isaksson’s Sweden drew 1-1 with Northern Ireland in Stockholm, while Georgios Samaras came on after an hour in Greece’s game in Turkey, just in time to see his team score the only goal of the game. The Euro 2004 Champions have now qualified for 2008, and Samaras: “We weren’t nervous going into the game. We gave it everything we had. Our plan was to go for a draw or score on the break. It got easier for us as the night went on.” Elano found the net in his country’s 5-0 World Cup qualifying win over Ecuador on Wednesday but now faces a long flight from Brazil back to England. S-GE has encountered player problems with jet-lag in previous jobs and will wait for Elano to tell him whether he is fit to face Birmingham over the weekend. The Swede said: “I have been in this situation before. When I was with Lazio I had Salas, Crespo and Veron all in their national sides for World Cup qualifying and that group always follows the same fixtures. One of those three players could not handle the situation and never played on a Saturday after such a long trip but the other two were fine to play and could handle it. It is very much an individual thing.” The night before, Joe Hart and Nedum Onouha enjoyed a 3-0 success playing for England under-21s against the Republic of Ireland in Cork.

Transfer News and Gossip

Striking Out? Many of the Sunday papers mentioned that Thaksin would be handing S-GE a bumper £25 million warchest in January. Eriksson will be looking for three quality players apparently – a ‘keeper, a holding midfielder and a top-class goal scorer. The press had three candidates for the latter – Michael Owen, Adrian Mutu and Nicolas Anelka (name sounds familiar). Owen, 27, is said to be unsettled at St James’ Park after reported disagreements with manager Sam Allardyce over his fitness. He could cost as much as £15million. Even though we mentioned his somewhat dismissive attitude towards City last week, the press still thought that the Blues will be bidding £15 million for Fiorentina striker Adrian Mutu. The Romania international revealed last week that he had resisted an approach from City about returning to England, though Florence sources say that hasn’t put off Dr. Thaksin. And finally – yet again – our old chum Nicky Anelka is being linked with a return to City. Anelka signed a four-year deal in the summer, but it is believed that Anelka has a £10 million get-out clause in his contract. The 28-year-old has previously hinted that he would welcome a move to a ‘big club’, so maybe the Thai millions currently sloshing round the club brings us into that category.

Young Guns Sought: When not being associated with old familiar names, City have been linked with wonderkids. Three of ’em. First we heard of exciting Torino striker Dominique Malonga. The 18 year-old Frenchman has featured in coach Walter Novellino’s first team this season and is being watched by Arsenal and City scouts. Next, City were threatening to rock Everton with a bid for John-Paul Kissock. Kissock is regarded as the best talent to come through at Everton since Wayne Rooney and the People says S-GE has been to watch the midfielder. It would take at least £3 million for Everton to part with him. Then there was a story linking City with Ghana’s latest sensation, Ransford Osei. The striker proved his credentials at the FIFA under-17 world Cup in Korea where his six goals earned him the silver boot award. Osei, who plies his trade with newly-promoted local Premier League side Kessben Football, claims the deal is nearing to be sealed. “I am moving to London and I’m going to play for Man City. I can say 90 percent has been done but it’s left with a little,” the prolific marksman said. Let’s wait and see.

Ex-Blues’ News

The Return of the Ringmaster: Our old boss KK popped up on BBC television this week. He was interviewed on the Inside Sport programme. The old boy now runs an interactive football attraction in Glasgow called the Soccer Circus – although to this untrained eye it looked more like a soccer fairground, with training routines replacing the rides. Asked if he would ever consider a return to football management, Keegan replied: “I don’t think it will happen. I think my life has gone in a different direction. You never know, I mean I do get offers to go back into football, but I made a decision that I would come and do something different with my life.” He added: “I mean I haven’t watched a game of football, I mean live, since my last game at Manchester City and I can’t even remember what game that was now.” Kevin, it was a home game against Bolton, we lost 1-0, and we were dire. I know, ’cause I was there. Despite expressing his ignorance about the game today, KK still lost no time in giving his views on how it’s difficult for clubs like City and Newcastle to break into the top four of the Premier League. He said: “It’s very difficult to get into the top four. Why? Because the money they get from being there keeps them away from the others down there. So when you are at the smaller clubs or even some of the bigger clubs that aren’t in there, it’s about how you get in – it’s very very difficult, as Newcastle and Man City have found out. Everyone says there are the top four and they are one league and then there’s another league. You have got the people fighting to get in, that’s the way I see it, that has been the big change.”

Squad News

Bianchi Blanked Out? There were more rumblings of discontent this week coming from Rolando Bianchi. The Italian was S-GE’s first signing as City boss, costing almost £9 million from Reggina, but has started only three of the team’s nine Premier League games so far. If Bianchi does not see more action, he has hinted he may look to move on when the January transfer window opens. “I have set a reasonable deadline of December for things to change and then we will have to consider options as I don’t like playing five or 10 minutes of games,” he said. “I’m not used to being left out of the side and we’ll see what happens.” Mr. Eriksson responded to these remarks by asking the player to, in the words of Take That, show a little patience. “He’s a goalscorer and came from a great season with Reggina,” he said on the club website. “He scored 18 goals for a team that’s not a top team, and that was a fantastic achievement. Hopefully he will score a lot of goals for us, and don’t forget that this a long season. He’s been a little bit unlucky and maybe found it a little bit difficult to settle in at first. Then he got injured, came back, and was injured again. Hopefully he can re-start this week and prepare himself for the next games. I’ve spoken many times to him in my office, and if there are any difficulties for him we are here to try and help. We don’t put pressure on him, we are happy to see him out there with the rest of the boys training and then it’s up to me to decide who’s going to play.” Eriksson’s words failed to stop the speculation over Bianchi’s future. In Italy, Gazzetta dello Sport reported that Roma are interested in taking Bianchi on-loan for the second-half of the season in January.

Sturr Crazy to Return: The club website have been talking to Danny Sturridge, who is convinced that he’ll be back playing in a couple of months after suffering a series of hip injuries. And you sense that he’s rather keen to make up for lost time and prove himself to his new boss. “On his first day the Manager came in and he said he was really sorry that I was injured because it would have been good to have seen me in action. I totally agree because I feel bad that I’m not showing what I’m about. I’ve got to get through this stage and hopefully once I’m fit I can show him that I’m good enough to be in his team. When the new manager arrived it was a new start for me as well because I thought I could prove myself and hopefully get my opportunity. But with the injury it’s stopped me doing that so I’ll be like a new player. I can fully sympathise with Valeri (Bojinov) because he obviously came here to prove himself and is out for longer than me. I can only imagine how he feels.”

A Boj Job Well Done: Speaking of City’s other crocked striker – Valeri Bojinov is still on course for a return to action in the New Year, and the Evening News reported that Bulgarian is back in Manchester after being operated on in Italy. S-GE was keen not to raise expectations too high though. “I have seen the report sent from the doctor in Rome to our club doctor over Valeri’s injury and it was very good,” confirmed Eriksson. “You never know with such operations but he may be back in some form of light training in late November or early December. There will be no pressure put on him. You cannot rush a player after an operation like that.”

Shal We Get Some Experience? Shaleum Logan has gone to Grimsby Town on a one-month loan deal, which is intended to give the youngster some valuable first team experience. Logan has made two first-team appearances for City this season in the Carling Cup, against Bristol City and Norwich City. He signed a three-year contract at the COMS in the summer after progressing through City’s successful youth academy. He went into the Mariners’ squad to face Rochdale at Blundell Park on Friday evening, and, according to the BBC, scored a “superb solo goal” though his side ended up losing 2-1.

Sun Up for a Squad Rôle: Another Carling Cup ever-present is Sun Jihai, who is philosophical about his lack of action in the Premier League. “The team that has been playing has been winning and playing great football so there is no case to be made for Sven to change it,” he commented. “Those who are not in the side just have to be patient and ready to perform when they are called upon.” Sun also offered an interesting insight into the working methods of the manager. “Sven is very good at keeping players happy and he instils a loyalty in them. The great thing about him is that he respects everybody at the club. He treats the staff at the training centre – those who wash the kit and make the tea – just like he treats all the players. There are no favourites. He has created a team that is good to watch and that is together off the pitch. Sven also has a great eye for the small details that can make a team improve and be one step ahead of the opposition. After a game he will have a piece of paper with just four or five points on it and will communicate those to the players in a straightforward way. Those few points can make a difference. Of course it helps that he has also brought in quality players. Elano is world class and has lifted the team up. The fact that the new owner and the new manager have come to the club means that we have signed some quality players and made it harder for everyone to get a game, but that has to be great for City and the supporters.”

Micah’s Top Three: Over the last week or so there have been a number of press interviews featuring our star England international Micah Richards – it’s as if the denizens of Fleet Street have suddenly realised that the 19-year-old has been doing rather well for club and country. Micah has cited three players who inspire him, two at City and one with the national team. “I am still young and I am still learning,” said Richards. “I know I have a tendency to chase people all over the place sometimes but that is where Richard Dunne has been such a big help to me. He is always moving me into the right positions and has given me the confidence to believe in myself. With him, it is very much a case of it doesn’t matter how old you are, it is your ability that counts.” Also his right back partner at the COMS gets a special mention. “I don’t think many people have noticed how well Vedran and has slotted in at full-back,” he said. “It is like he has been playing there for years. Vedran is just like a Rolls Royce – he is so calm and never seems to break sweat.” And in assessing his progress with the England team, Micah mentions the skipper as setting the example he’d like to follow: “I can’t lie,” he said. “I do sometimes look back and think how far I have come in a short space of time. But I look forward a lot more often. I am 19 and have won eight caps. In two more years I hope to have 30 or 40. I also look at how John Terry handles himself. He is a total leader. He has all these injuries, yet he still wants to play. I am trying to put what he has got into my game. I am a passionate sort of player and I enjoy the responsibility of leadership. I know the being captain of England is a long way off for me but it is something I would like to do in the years ahead.”

Don Barrie <news(at)>


Hello fellow biscuits.

Me an’ our kid have hatched a bit o’ skullduggery ter tek me Ma to COMS fer’t Brum game fert’ birthdee. It’s involved a few slipped in comments, gently-probing-like, in the vein of “Yer’ve not bin’t match fer a bit, Ma” and “Would yer like ter go City, Ma” “Well I’ve not bin toot’ new ground so I s’pose I might”

Getting 77 candles on’t cake might be a bit of a mare. Fire Officer is on standby. Mam were a Season ticket holder at Maine Road for many years (them paper ones what we all understood… oh and vouchers in’t back o’t book fer Cup games) … buses from Eccles to Maine Road (not direct flights) are a childhood memory savoured. We were brung up proper. ‘least we never ‘ad fer’t walk it.

I were tellin’ ‘er as ‘ad fetched out programme fert’ ’56 Cup Final, seein’ as ‘ow it were Brum this week.

“Bloody mine, that were, yer Dad’s fell out of ‘is pocket on’t train ‘ome” Nice one, Mam.

Satdee, May 5th 1956. KICK-OFF 3pm I were an egg so I were there genetical-like.

Trautmann, Lievers, Little, Barnes, Ewing, Paul, Hayes, Dyson, Johnstone, Revie, Clarke.

Oh how me dad loved that team. Oh how me mam loved Dave Ewing for protecting her Bert when his neck weren’t right after a bit of a coming together. She’d ‘ave left ‘ome fer Bert, so she sez. She bloody was first in the queue when he was signing his book in Manc, er, recently, when he was there. She was, honest.

Anyroad, she thinks she’s off fer a bit o’ dinner (lunch) and a stroll up Rivington or summat, so wrap up warm. Hopefully the Isle of Man flights will work OK and suitable surprise will work.

Not going out for tea (dinner) tho’. Will have to suffer Rugby World Cup Final and takeaway Chinese and beer (order of service might vary). Not tempting the fates too much, I might venture that worse days could be had. Bin wrong before tho’

CTID, Garry Higgins <Balrog(at)>


I never thought I’d see the day when City would pay £9 million for a player and he would be unhappy and looking to move after 3 months!

It’s usually players we’ve never heard of that want to move because of the lack of opportunity. How times have changed.

I hope Bianchi stays but can’t help feeling that Mpenza is well worth the shirt at the moment.

He chases anything that moves. You need that in a player.

I think that when the team are more fluent (ironic when they look pretty good now but there’s a long way to go) we might go two up front in which case, Bianchi will probably be an automatic selection.

Come on City!

Whilst I’ve got my fingers tapping, I might as well add this.

We’re now a quarter of the way through the season and we are third. I said… third.

For those who have just landed from Mars, I have not been at the bottle. Hard to believe isn’t it (the position in the league, not that I haven’t been at the bottle)?

Who knows where we will end up but it’s Brum next at home, a fixture that I now expect to win. But Liverpool go to Goodison this week, a sticky fixture for them at the best of times and, dare I use the word if, if Liverpool lose there and City win, it will open up a 6 point gap between the Blues and one of the so called ‘Top 4’.

We’re 4 points ahead of Chelsea! Who’d have thought that?

Long may it continue.

John Nisbet <nisbet1957(at)>


Not sent anything for ages but was stirred by the call for a song for Elano (I thank you God!) So, here it is.

(To the tune of Mull of Kintyre)

Elano’s on fire
His shots roarin’ in
Some are low, some are higher
And City will win
‘Cos Elano’s on fire.

Rick Eagles <R.Eagles(at)>


I can’t believe that nobody has suggested the tune from “I Am The Music Man”; not sure of the exact title but I would suggest this:

I am the Magician
And I come from down your way
Now watch me play

Let’s watch him play,

El-an el-an el-an – O
El-an – O
El-an – O
El-an el-an el-an – O
El-an el-an – O!

The chorus can just go on and on and on and also get faster and faster but I can’t get it out of my head!

Happy singing!

Gareth Rogers <>


Anybody got spare tickets for Bolton cup game!?

Please email me if you have any.

Graham Keller <Gkmcfc(at)>


League table to 18 October 2007 inclusive

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F   A   GD Pts
 1 Arsenal          8  5  0  0 14  4  2  1  0  5  2  7  1  0  19   6  13  22
 2 Manchester Utd   9  4  1  0  8  0  2  1  1  3  2  6  2  1  11   2   9  20
 3 Manchester City  9  5  0  0  9  2  1  1  2  5  5  6  1  2  14   7   7  19
 4 Liverpool        8  1  3  0  9  3  3  1  0  5  1  4  4  0  14   4  10  16
 5 Portsmouth       9  2  2  0 11  6  2  1  2  6  6  4  3  2  17  12   5  15
 6 Blackburn R.     8  2  1  1  4  3  2  2  0  5  3  4  3  1   9   6   3  15
 7 Chelsea          9  2  2  0  4  2  2  1  2  4  6  4  3  2   8   8   0  15
 8 Aston Villa      8  4  0  1  8  3  0  2  1  4  5  4  2  2  12   8   4  14
 9 Newcastle Utd    8  3  1  0  7  3  1  1  2  6  7  4  2  2  13  10   3  14
10 Everton          9  2  1  1  5  3  2  0  3  7  8  4  1  4  12  11   1  13
11 West Ham United  8  1  1  2  4  4  2  0  2  5  4  3  1  4   9   8   1  10
12 Reading          9  3  0  2  5  6  0  1  3  5 12  3  1  5  10  18  -8  10
13 Birmingham City  9  1  1  2  3  4  1  1  3  5  8  2  2  5   8  12  -4   8
14 Wigan Athletic   9  2  1  1  5  2  0  1  4  3 10  2  2  5   8  12  -4   8
15 Middlesbrough    9  1  2  1  7  6  1  0  4  3 10  2  2  5  10  16  -6   8
16 Sunderland       9  2  0  2  4  5  0  2  3  6 11  2  2  5  10  16  -6   8
17 Tottenham H.     9  1  1  2 10 10  0  3  2  6  8  1  4  4  16  18  -2   7
18 Fulham           9  1  2  2  9 11  0  2  2  3  5  1  4  4  12  16  -4   7
19 Bolton Wndrs     9  1  1  3  6  7  0  1  3  3  7  1  2  6   9  14  -5   5
20 Derby County     9  1  2  1  5  5  0  0  5  0 17  1  2  6   5  22 -17   5

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1372