Newsletter #1391

From a thriller away at Villa to a stutter at home as we draw both games and lose our 100% home record. We have opinion on the performances tonight, together with areas to address come the transfer dealings. Don’s news round up brings us reaction to the festive season’s games, Micah getting himself into a bit of bother and of course our ex number eight’s latest escapades. We also have Elano’s declaration of love for the Blues, and potential transfer rumblings.

Have a very Happy New Year, we’ll be back on 3rd January.

Next Game: Sunday 30 December 2007, 4pm, Liverpool (home)


General News

Take a Break: ‘Tis the time of year for that seasonal topic, should English clubs have a winter break like most of the continent? Sven is very much in favour of a seasonal sojourn, and it was a point he tried to impress on the great and the good during his time as England’s coach. “I really do not understand it,” he said this week. “In my last job, I spoke to every Premier League manager. They all agreed. I spoke to Chairmen and Chief Executives and all of them agreed as well. But in the end, nothing happens. I am not talking about reducing the number of teams in the Premier League. You could not even dream about that. And I am not talking about having a break over Christmas or the New Year because I understand that is impossible. There must be football in this country on Boxing Day. It is a tradition. But you could easily take a break after the New Year and I don’t know why people don’t want it. The whole of English football would benefit,” he continued. “I can show statistics which prove the number of injuries from February to the end of the season in the Premier League is far higher than it is in any other country in Europe. If you talk to the medical people, they are sure it is because there is no break.”

The Retiring Type: Thaksin Shinawatra says S-GE could have a job for life with the Blues. Thaksin told the Daily Star: “I think Sven can remain our manager until he retires. I didn’t expect the team would achieve this kind of level. But I did believe when I arrived that Manchester City could improve a lot. And you simply have to hand it to Sven who has done a marvellous job.” He added: “He is a very good football strategist and he teaches the players well. His motivational ability is another important part of his game. We consider him as a world-class manager. There are not many of them in football but Sven is certainly one of them.” Sven, level headed as ever, isn’t getting too carried away, saying he’d like to hear it from the horse’s mouth. “I want to hear that from him before I believe it,” he concluded. “It’s good. The chairman has been very, very good to the club and I’m sure he’ll go on like that.”

PPP Power: Should you be one of those folk who believe Thaksin’s only using City as a springboard to relaunch his political career back home, then keep a weather-eye on news coming from Thailand in the next few weeks. There have been elections in the country recently, with the pro-Thaksin People’s Power Party winning most seats – but they were unable to secure an overall majority. The talk is of a coalition government, with PPP leader Samak Sundaravej likely to be the Prime Minister. When asked about Thaksin, Samak said he expected Dr Thaksin to return to Thailand after a government is formed, which could take about a month. Mr Samak added that, if possible, the PPP would grant amnesty to the City owner, allowing him to return to the country, and to have access to all of his fortune, which is at present frozen by the current regime.

Sunday Roast: OK, it’s time for you to build your own story based on a few key phrases.

  • The News of the World.
  • Allegations.
  • Micah Richards.
  • A friend.
  • A mobile phone.
  • A disabled toilet.
  • A video clip.
  • An unnamed female.
  • “I have spoken to him” – Sven.
  • Club taking no action.

I trust you have more intelligence that master Richards to work out what’s going on…

Transfer News and Gossip

Elano No Go: Let’s get a bit more meat on the bone on last week’s story of Inter Milan seeking to spirit Elano away from the COMS. According to the News of the World, Inter will ask City to name their price for their playmaker, with an Italian source quoted as saying: “Inter are in no mood to take no for an answer. They will ask City to name their price. They want a big-name signing to replace Luis Figo who retires at the end of the season and see Elano as a major addition.” Sven scoffed at such reports. “If Inter wanted one of our players, I am sure [Inter coach] Roberto Mancini would have telephoned me straightaway,” he said. “I know him well, we worked together for nine years and we speak regularly with each other. He would be the first one to tell me if Inter wanted Elano. So I don’t think they do.” That’s good enough for me – and as if to get his own back, Sven then said he’d rather like Inter ace Zlatan Ibrahimovic. “I’ve read comparisons to Marco van Basten, but I’m not convinced – Zlatan is Zlatan and he is unique,” he explained. “He is a giant with the technique of a Brazilian. I’ve said to Mancini that if he gets bored of Ibra he should send him here as I would pay any price.”

Ask Elano: And speaking of City’s talented number 11 – Nery Castillo admits he should’ve listened to Elano when he first signed with Shakhtar Donetsk. The Mexican said: “He took me on one side and said ‘things are very difficult here, it is going to be very tough for you’. It was a warning – and he was not wrong.” The 23-year-old striker is happy that his unsuccessful stint in the Ukraine is over. “I’m delighted to come to the Club. The welcome I’ve had is the reason why I’ve come here. I knew from the very first moment that I came to the Club that this is where I want to play my football. It was a frustrating time at Shakhtar and yes I helped make the move happen but that shows you how much I want to play football and want to play for Manchester City. I’ve been very impressed with everything I’ve seen here. The Manager clearly is a great manager and the Club is going in a positive direction and I want to be part of that. I have been happy since the day I arrived here,” he said. “I have seen the style of training and the enjoyment the players get out of it. It is a total contrast to what I have been used to over the last few months and I just want more of it.” Castillo also revealed that this isn’t his first sortie to Manchester – the Swamp dwellers have already taken a look at the forward. “I had a trial at United but it didn’t come to anything,” he said. “I’ve still got photos of me with Sir Alex and all of the players. Maybe now I can get my revenge on them with City.”

City Nimbly in for Nimley: City haven’t had a Liberian on the books since the great George Weah was at Maine Road for about five minutes, back in the days of Joe Royle. That may be about to change. The Sunday Mirror says City have sealed a deal to sign 16-year-old Alex Nimley – after the Liberian lad scored a sensational goal in training with the first team squad. Nimley came to England last month from Cameroon outfit Cotonsport to pursue his Premier League dream. But after Portsmouth refused to meet his wage demands and Blackburn failed to make an offer, City stepped in with a three-and-a-half-year contract which, according to the paper, Nimley will sign in the next few days.

The Substitute of Substitutes: Ousmane Dabo went all philosophical on us this week by claiming that he ‘doesn’t exist anymore’ after being overlooked by S-GE. The midfielder has just one appearance to his name this season – a late substitute’s outing against Bristol City in the Carling Cup in August. Dabo is disappointed by his situation and wonders why he has not been given a chance. “Eriksson warned me early this season that he didn’t rely on me, but I believed I could get my position back,” Dabo told L’Equipe. “Even when he changes the team for the Carling Cup, I am on the bench. I am the substitute of the substitutes! Some people believed I was injured or I left Manchester. It is a strange situation. I don’t exist anymore. However, I didn’t become the worst player in the world in six months. I can’t stand not playing,” added the Frenchman. “I feel in good shape and my first choice would be to continue playing in England.” It appears that Dabo’s City career will be best remembered for the ‘Elephant Man’ pictures taken after his alleged training ground altercation with one Jospeh Barton. Whilst feeling utmost sympathy for Dabo, City fans would surely not miss the Frenchman should he decide to depart in January.

Doing a Foreigner: What has the City Boss got to say about possible transfer targets in the New Year? Asked about the January transfer window, the Blues’ boss said: “We’ve already taken in Castillo and he’s a very, very good football player, so that’s one. Hopefully there will be one or two more.” And as players come in, those not featuring may well wish to leave, (are you listening, Andreas and Ousmane?): “If we take in two or three players we can let people leave. I expect that some will come to us and say they want to leave, so we will listen to them and see what happens. So far no-one has come asking to leave.” Sven did reveal that his assistant Tord Grip has been clocking up the air miles in an attempt to find the talent City are looking for. “We are still working hard and hopefully something else will happen,” said Eriksson. “Our scouts and Tord Grip have been travelling a lot. In fact, Tord is away so often, when he does eventually come in, we call him a foreigner! The main thing is that this time, it is much easier to know what we need.”

Striking Opportunities: Here’s some of the tabloid tittle tattle concerning potential striker targets. The Daily Star has reported that S-GE will ask Real Zaragoza to name their price for the Diego Milito, after missing out on Brazilian ace Adriano. The Argentine star has bagged 8 goals in 17 appearances for Zaragoza this season and will not come cheap. Or, City are moving for FC Basle striker Felipe Caicedo. The People says City should confirm they have won the battle with West Ham for the £8 million signature of Caicedo, 19, this week. And despite his goalscoring feats of recent games, Rolando Bianchi is being linked with a move back to Italy – now it’s Palermo. The Daily Star says City could sell Bianchi to the Sicilians to boost manager Sven’s winter market transfer kitty.

Jens Under the Lens: There’s been lots of talk surrounding the comings and goings of goalies this week. Arsenal’s Jens Lehmann will make a decision on his future in early January after admitting there is an interest from other clubs. The Arsenal goalkeeper has lost his place to Manuel Almunia this season and has been contemplating a New Year exit. “I should know more in a week, so that I can make a decision in the first days of the New Year,” Lehmann told German newspaper Tagesspiegel. “I’ve listened to something, but at the moment I can’t say much about it.” The 38-year-old has also been linked with a switch to City, but Lehmann acknowledged there has been no contact with Eriksson. “I haven’t spoken to anybody there,” admitted Lehmann. Going out of the club (possibly) – Andreas Isaksson, who’s wanted by Middlesbrough. Boro boss Gareth Southgate is resigned to losing Aussie international Mark Schwarzer after contract talks stalled, and is ready to pay the £2 million asking price for Isaksson. How’s this for a crazy ‘keeper conundrum – Sven is reportedly ready to bid for Celtic goalkeeper Artur Boruc. The People says City will test Celtic’s resolve next summer by offering ‘keepers Joe Hart and Kasper Schmeichel to try to get Boruc.

Nice for Nashat: City’s net for talent trawled even further this week, as news came in that Iraqi midfielder Nashat Akram has been offered a trial with the Blues. Akram currently plays for the Abu Dhabi-based Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates, but he has been granted the all-clear by his club to travel to England. A statement on the player’s official website states: “After receiving an invitation to undergo a 10-day trial with Manchester City, Al Ain’s administration has given the green light to Nashat Akram to go ahead and travel to England. Akram will be heading to England in the upcoming days. Akram will be the second west Asian player to trial with Manchester City as AFC Player of the Year and Saudi Arabia skipper Yasser Al Qahtani travelled to Manchester last week to trial with the team.” The news coming from Carrington concerning Al Qahtani, by the way, is that he won’t be singing for City just yet – although Sven hasn’t ruled out the possibility of inviting the striker back for a further look in the future.

Ex-Blues’ News

Christmas Cheer – Scouse Style: File this under ‘You Couldn’t Make It Up’. Joey Barton is back in his home town for Christmas – and has been arrested and charged with assault. Newcastle United’s finest was arrested along with Andrew Barton, 19, and 27-year-old Nadine Wilson on Church Street in Liverpool city centre on Thursday. Joey Barton and Ms Wilson are charged with common assault and affray. Andrew Barton is charged with affray and assault occasioning actual body harm. Ms Wilson, of Huyton, and Andrew Barton, from Widnes, have both been bailed. At the time of writing, the player was in custody, ahead of a court appearance on Friday.

After-Match Reactions and Comments

One, Two Carew: Not quite the away win Sven hankered for, but City held on for a rare away point at Aston Villa on Saturday. It helps the push for a European spot, and came after City had been under the cosh for long periods at Villa Park. City, without a victory away from home since the opening day of the season, went ahead after 10 minutes through Rolando Bianchi’s third goal in three league games. This seemed to spark Villa into life against their bogey side and they dominated after the impressive John Carew had levelled four minutes later. But they could not display the killer touch, although Carew hit the post and Gabriel Agbonlahor had an effort cleared off the line (Elano made the clearance, and looked somewhat guiltily at the linesman after he’d completed the act) and have still to defeat City at home since 2002. The Elano escapade was one of three such incidents that took place in the Premier League last weekend, and Sven is all in favour of technology being used to settle such goal-line disputes. “We are going to have a debate about technology every time something happens,” he said. “No-one can really say for certain whether the one Elano stopped was in or not. The referee does not have a chance, you cannot tell from the bench and while the linesman might be able to if he was in line, he never would be if the shot was outside the box. It is a very difficult situation but as long as you don’t have technology there will be errors because the pitch is too big and the football is too fast.” Speaking about the whole game, S-GE commented: “I think it was a very good match from both sides. We started the first fifteen, twenty minutes maybe the best we’ve ever played away from home. We scored a goal and I was very, very happy on the bench, then Aston Villa came into it and they tried very hard and scored.” He added, “Maybe it has been sometimes in the spirit and how brave we have been, but today I liked the team, all 90 minutes fighting and getting the ball and trying to score goals, so I’m happy today. I was very happy with the spirit out there. We fought and tried to win.”

You Thought, You Thought: Aston Villa manager Martin O’Neill is never short of a word or two, so here’s a précis of the some of the Irishman’s thoughts. “I don’t think we got that wee bit of luck our performance deserved,” O’Neill declared. “I thought the performance after we fell behind was terrific. I thought we played very well indeed. We got the equalising goal, we hit the post and had one cleared off the line. We had most of the play and while Manchester City to their eternal credit are always a threat, I thought we were the better side on the day. We just didn’t get that wee bit of luck that I think we probably deserved. It was a spirited performance and I’m delighted with the effort of the side.” O’Neill was particularly fulsome in praise of Villa’s goalscorer, John Carew. “I thought John Carew was unplayable at times today. He was absolutely immense. He had players on his shoulders, on his neck but he doesn’t get too many fouls John. Apparently he’s 6′ 3″ and should be able to look after himself! He’s a big talent, he got himself going, the goal gives him an enormous boost of confidence. He hits the post and if that goes in then we’re flying. He was fantastic today against Richards and Dunne, two top class defenders.”

Bianchi’s Bandwagon: City’s goalscorer Rolando Bianchi, having scored his third goal in as many league games, thinks that the best is yet to come. “I was happy for the goal at Villa, but I can play even better. With my team-mates, I can score a lot because they play for me and they put me in the best condition for scoring goals. I am now playing a lot of games and, for me, that is important for my confidence. If I play, I can score because I have chances to score.” Bianchi also believes City can earn a place in a European competition. “It is important to pick up points away from home if we are to qualify for Europe,” he said. “At this time of the season, we have a lot of games and, if we collect points away, it is very important for the future.”

Having a Ball: Michael Ball has begun to feature more regularly in City’s team, and like his manager felt that City hadn’t capitalised on a great start to this game. “We started off really well, playing some good football, got the goal and kept on going trying to get that second goal. Then Villa got their goal and we were on the back foot a little bit because they had the momentum. We were a little bit unlucky with the goal, it looks like it’s gone in off Micah. We were very disappointed that the goal happened. We looked like we were quite comfortable and then all of a sudden Carew’s got his shot in on target.” And the Blues full back admitted of Carew: “He’s a handful and he obviously drags you about, but that’s the way he is. You’ve just got to be clever against him and you need to know what thoughts are going to be. There’s no point fighting with the guy because he’ll hold anybody off and you’ve just got to be careful.”

Christmas Not Cancelled: After the game, Sven confirmed that he’d be giving his players a holiday on Christmas Day rather than make them slog through training like most of their peers at other English clubs, earning him the nickname ‘Santa Sven’ in some of the newspapers. “Many of the players will not be used to the demands and I have told them all to have Christmas Day to themselves. It is important for them not only physically, but mentally too. They should look after their families, open presents and have a nice meal,” said Eriksson. “Many of them have not played in a league like this with the pace and physical demands and when you have five games in 15 days, you need to make sure that one of those other days is a rest day. We have got very big games coming up against Blackburn and Liverpool and it is extremely important to us to be ready for those and get results if we want to remain where we are now into the New Year.”

Bad Santa! City were left distinctly unimpressed by Santa’s visit to the COMS this Christmas time. The Blues lost their 100% home record in the Premier League this season as in-form striker Roque Santa Cruz bagged a brace for Blackburn. The Paraguayan has now scored seven goals in his last four games and he denied City fourth place in the league in the process. Three first half goals in as many minutes saw City going ahead when the Martin Petrov (who was having a storming game, until Brett Emerton decided to knock a couple of lumps out of him) crossed for Darius Vassell to nod in, before Santa Cruz headed a Bentley free-kick to equalise. Then another Petrov cross was put into his own net by Ryan Nelsen. But with eight minutes to go, we had the most controversial moment of the match. Santa Cruz reacted quickly to get his head on the end of a Bentley cross from the right and earn his side a crucial point. The assistant referee originally ruled the goal out for offside against Dunn, but he quickly reversed his decision and after a brief delay, the goal was allowed to stand. By Sven’s standards, he was livid about that final goal. “I spoke to the referee afterwards and he said it is a little bit of a grey area,” he said. “For us the ball is played into Dunn, who is offside, he tries to reach it – he can’t and from an onside position Santa Cruz runs in behind him and scores. For me it’s offside but the referee defends his position. I don’t know the rule to be sure and I think it’s a grey area. It’s very much up to the referee to decide there. The offside rule is very complicated sometimes – very simple sometimes – but when you talk about players interfering it’s difficult. For me that was interfering because he was trying to get the ball and that makes our defenders and goalkeeper think about him. But we can’t do anything about it, the two points are gone and that’s it.” As you’d expect, Mark Hughes was extremely (and unusually) full of praise for the officials. “The flag went up very early and when you see that you expect the goal to be chalked off,” admitted Hughes. “In fairness to the assistant, he was strong enough and brave enough to admit that he had made a mistake. We are grateful for that, although it was the right decision. Sometimes, it is very difficult to know the difference between black and white. We have had examples in the past where we have felt hard done by, where decisions relating to phase one and phase two have gone against us. But if the referee explains it, I think most people would say it was the correct decision.”

Scuppered by Set Pieces: Whatever the controversy, you can’t get away from the fact that City disappointingly conceded two similar goals at the near post. Eriksson added: “If we had been more lucky we could have won the match in the first half and scored one or two more. I’m disappointed that we didn’t hold the lead we had with a few minutes to play. I’m also disappointed that we conceded two goals from set pieces. It was a little bit too easy for them and we have to work on that.” Blackburn manager Mark Hughes added: “In the first half we didn’t lay a glove on City, they played around us. We needed a response in the second half and we took the game to them, we were the only team trying to win it. We have been on a difficult run, but this is a positive result and we’ve now got two games we can get points from.”

Squad News

Hart Stopper:

Sven promised he’d announce his first choice goalkeeper, and he has done so.Ahead of the Aston Villa game, he confirmed Joe Hart as City’s first-choicecustodian for the ‘foreseeable future’, which leaves Sweden’s no.1, AndreasIsaksson at a bit of a crossroads in his City career. “I have spoken toAndreas and obviously, he is not very happy,” confirmed Eriksson. “I havetold him it is up to him whether he leaves or stays and fights for hisplace.” He added: “It was important for everybody that I came up with thisdecision before the transfer window opens in January. I don’t know whatAndreas will do but if he comes back and tells me he wants to go, I will notbe surprised and I will understand.” Eriksson’s decision is a massive voteof confidence for Hart, who was signed by Stuart Pearce in May 2006. Thetransfer fee could reach £1.5 million depending on how far Hart goes in thegame. “Joe will be my number one for the foreseeable future,which just shows how much belief I have in him,” said Eriksson. “I stronglybelieve he will be a great goalkeeper. He is only 20 and he will get betterand better. He is the England Under-21 ‘keeper and he has a great future.”

Kelvin Captured: Kelvin Etuhu has signed a new contract that will keep him with the club until 2010. The 19-year-old made his Premier League début against Wigan Athletic in December and scored his first senior goal in the 4-2 win over Bolton Wanderers last Saturday. S-GE told the club website, “We are very happy. It’s one more young, talented player and we’ll see how good he can be.” Etuhu said, “I’m very happy to be at a club that’s going forward. I was hoping that a new contract would come and I’m delighted that it’s arrived.”

Mills to Stay? Oh No He’s Not! Do you remember last week’s Danny Mills news? He’s highly thought of at Charlton, they want to extend his loan period, etc.? Well forget all that – Mill’s future at that club has been thrown in severe doubt following a red card he received for (you’ll never guess) foul and abusive language against Hull City last Saturday. That means a three game ban, which effectively kyboshes the rest of his loan period with the Addicks. Charlton boss Alan Pardew admits he could cut short the loan of the full back: “We have been discussing the situation with City in terms of keeping Danny,” said Pardew. “We need to absorb what happened here on the back of that. It’s difficult to reflect now. He will miss three games, so we have a big decision to make. The sending off was for something he said and not something he did. I’m afraid that’s inexcusable.” Mills’ full-back partner at Charlton, Chris Powell, is the antithesis of the bone-headed Mills, and was substituted after Mills’ red card to reshape the team. Powell later said: “Everyone’s different. I’ve always been quite easy-going. You can’t change. You are what you are, you have to manage it in different ways. Players like Danny and Robbie Savage, especially this time of year, are almost like pantomime villains. Danny is what he is. You won’t change him. He is a very good player technically. It’s a shame he’s going back. He’d have been useful – not for the next three games though! He’s fully committed. It is a fine line and every now and then he oversteps it. If he didn’t play like that he wouldn’t be half the player he is. Danny said he swore but not at the ref. It’s the end of his loan now and I don’t think we will see Danny in a red shirt again. He has been really good around the place. Totally different to matchdays. He puts his boots on and gets into scrapes. He plays on the edge.” One player certain to join up with the Blues is keeper Kasper Schmeichel. He’s currently on loan at Cardiff but the Manager confirmed he’ll be back for 2008. “Kasper is coming back from January 2. I think his last game is the day before. He’s here today training, as always, he comes here training twice a week with us.” Finally, a player Sven has to think a bit more about is Welsh Under 21 striker Ched Evans, who is enjoying Championship football, and goals with Norwich City. He revealed: “They want him to stay I think for the rest of the season and our answer to that is to wait a little bit before we take that decision.”

Not Sent to Coventry: According to last Sunday’s News Of The World (yes, there was some football news in it), Coventry City have asked Sven for the loan of two players. Georgios Samaras and Kelvin Etuhu were the players reportedly wanted by Coventry manager Iain Dowie. Dowie can strengthen his squad when the transfer window opens next week after getting the thumbs up from new Chairman Ray Ranson.

Don Barrie <news(at)>


Unfortunately, we just threw away 2 points tonight, against Blackburn. If we are to build upon the very good league position so far, this season, then Sven simply has to get players in the side who have a ruthless, killer instinct. For me, the side remains too lightweight in midfield and our attacking play is simply not competitive enough. Pleased to say that Petrov was excellent, tonight; Corluka also looked the part and oozes class; Michael Ball continues to catch the eye with another solid performance. Elano, I wonder if he truly is fit and up to the rigours of a full Premier League season? He needs to be more consistently effective.

A very tough game against Liverpool coming up. If we’re not up to the job, we’ll get a pounding. We need to radically improve over the last couple of performances, that’s for sure – this next game shall be a true test for the club and I’m looking forward, particularly, to this match. Pretty football is all well and good. Let’s just show more blood’n’guts in our play and I think we can solidify our league standing, somewhat. More work still needs to be done.

Graham Mills <gkm_5(at)>


We never won this game because we just never showed that we really wanted to win as much as Blackburn did in the last 30 minutes. Blackburn’s second goal looked offside but the goal was given by Howard Webb because it’s a grey area about the offside rule; the referee could have said either goal or offside, and his decision overruled the linesman. The FA must change something to make the rule a positive where no mistakes are made, and leaving supporters wondering what’s going on. Make it a black and white rule, and not a grey one please for the sake of the game. Manchester City just have not been playing with the same intensity in the last few games as they were earlier in the season. Sure, there have been some moments of some brilliant football, but only in patches. Our super hero Elano has not been at his best since his injury, and getting over his injury and returning to true form might not be that easy. Good to see Superman (Ireland) return after his suspension, worked well with Petrov on the left flank. If only Bianchi had connected with a Petrov cross, it looked so easy to have scored.

Petrov was my man of the match, he worked his socks off in the first half, but was quieter in the second half. Corluka played a good game in his holding rôle.

Micah showed his speed in defence, whilst Michael Ball showed why he is better than Garrido who is a very good squad player. In general no complaints against any individual player, just that as a team we threw 2 points away. Now beat Liverpool and we could be back in good standing in the table. Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


When Bianchi fluffed his first chance I jumped out of my chair, almost hitting the ceiling, shouting “go back to Italy” on my way up there. The second chance in the second half he can be exonerated from as it was out of his reach. Maybe I am being unfair but consider this. Santa Cruz cost Blackburn 3.5 million pounds while Bianchi cost City 8.8 million and Samaras 6 million. Correct me if I am wrong but you may find that Santa Cruz has scored more goals during his short time at Blackburn than the other two put together during their careers at City. That is so much of a bargain that it should be considered a ‘steal’.

Philip van Gass <philipvangass(at)>


Having just watched the game live on Sky Sports, I just knew we were not going to hold on to our lead. If we were good in the first half, then we were equally bad in the second. What was so patently obvious is just how poor Bianchi is as a lone striker; he does not win or hold up anything up front, Mpenza is so much better in that rôle. Compare Santa Cruz to Bianchi (and I think we had a look at Cruz): Bianchi is rubbish in the air. We just do not look threatening up-front. For all Petrov’s work on the left flank, what was our expensive striker doing… sod all. All the decent teams have a potent striker or strikers; we are the only ones who do not possess that “threat”. Compare Bianchi or our other out and out strikers to the following: Torres, Rooney, Drogba, Adebayor, Cruz, Carew, Berbatov, Keane, Defoe… agreed, no comparison!

I do hope we go in for Peter Crouch as his height will trouble most defences, and he is more than useful with the ball at his feet. I am not going to shoulder the blame on our forwards because it was our lack of cohesive defending at two set pieces that cost us 2 points; why was Dunne or Corlucka not in front of Cruz (he was the only Blackburn forward who posed a threat and still we allowed him 2 near post headers – crazy)? In the second half, Blackburn bossed the midfield; we missed Haaman’s bite in the middle, even though Corluka had a decent game, and neither of them have the burst of speed to join in the attack. Compare this with Hargreaves, Mascherano, Essien, Reo Coker. I do hope we go for Mascherano, he will be that Bumble bee that we need in the middle of the park, biting, winning tackles and being a nuisance. I feel sorry for Geovanni, who has not had much of a look-in, and I would have thought it wiser to have brought him on, instead of Elano.

We really need to boss the midfield against Liverpool, and someone needs to keep a really close guard on Gerrard, who is just one of many dangerous players in the Liverpool team. How we are going to keep Torres etc. quiet and still create opportunities at the other end? That is going to be the 64 million dollar question. This game really gets me worried, hope we play a pressing game and don’t give them time on the ball. Well here’s hoping for a decent result. I just want the January transfer window to come quickly, so we can really bolster the team.

Glyn Albuquerque <glynalbuquerque(at)>


Well we’ve seen all three ‘keepers now and I’m afraid the only that’s impressed is young Kasper. Sure, he’s smaller in statue than the other two, but is a better shot-stopper and has his dad’s confidence. If Sven thinks he has trouble with high balls he hasn’t watched Joe Hart lately, and you can see a couple of times from Richard Dunne that maybe he hasn’t the confidence in him as well. Our defence isn’t watertight anymore, and although Blackburn’s headed goals were good ones, any ‘keeping coach says that you don’t get beaten at the near post.

As for the Blackburn game, we shut down for a 2-1 win and decided not to play. As for the players, if there’s a better left foot in the league besides Petrov’s I haven’t seen it, nice to see Nedum to get another run. We missed Elano’s creativity, and badly need a first class striker. I hope we’ve just signed him. Well the Christmas period and 35 points, some would say great, but I think it could have been a few more to the good, roll on the New Year. All the best to those who work so hard in putting this together each week.

Staying Blue, Kevin Williamson <scribbs(at)>


In the game versus Villa, a point well earned away from home. If you have not yet visited the official web site to see the MCFC Christmas greeting, do it now! It’s very, very good. Merry Christmas everyone, and a Happy Blue New Year!

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


I was wondering if anyone knows:

  • When did a City player last score a competitive hat trick, in the top division?
  • When did a City player last score 20 goals in the top division?
  • When did a City player end a season as top scorer in the top division?

I’m not sure if we’re likely to get a player to do any of these this season either.

Andy Morris <andy(at)>


Can I say a big thank you to all who responded to my posting in MCIVTA last week. Some responded directly to me and some via last Thursday’s MCIVTA. It was great to know so many agreed with my views and were very supportive. I can say that the club have been aware from the start of the season of the significance of the date of the next derby game at OT. They have been doing much behind the scenes to hopefully, on our part ensure the day passes without incident.

A number of people at the club have maintained regular contact with myself and my counterpart at the OSC to share views and ideas for the day. I can assure all MCIVTA readers that all the suggestions put forward through this medium are amongst many that have, or are being considered by our officials. I feel confident that whatever measures the club do on our part will have been carefully thought out and will be the best possible, practical ideas for the day. One other thought put to me is a bit of self policing would not go amiss, it works well with Celtic supporters. If you are close to someone who chooses to use abusive Munich chants, why not try a quick, quiet word? It can work.

Kind regards and Merry Christmas to all.

Alex Channon <alexchannon81(at)>


I had to respond to John Nisbet’s hatchet job on our defence. It seems to me that the reason he thinks our defence is poor is because we conceded a goal. This is nonsense. The major reason we are where we are is down to the defence. Derby, the Rags, Villa, Sunderland, Birmingham, Norwich (cup), Bolton (cup) have all been beaten by the single goal. Teams with crap defences do not win 7 games 1-0.

To say Dunne is a liability is something I cannot even begin to understand. In what way? Diouf’s goal on Saturday was a great goal. Accept it. If we had scored that goal, we would be waxing lyrically about it, not putting it down to bad defending by the opposition. I have no hesitation in saying that Dunne has been our best player over the past 4 years and undoubtedly our best defender in the 20 plus years I have watched City. Which centre half would you replace him with because there are only a handful playing in the Premier League who are arguably better than him. Carragher? Vidic? Terry? Toure? I don’t think any of them would do a better job than Dunne.

Being beaten and conceding goals against teams that are better than you is generally what tends to happen when you come up against teams that are better than you. Why should that be a reason to decide that the entire back four aren’t good enough and want rid, without a thought about who you might replace them with?

The back four is the one area of our team that does not need surgery. We need a quality defensive midfielder who can run the middle of the park on his own and enable Elano to play with him behind a front two. Until we get this, Sven will continue to play one up front and pack the middle. Don’t worry about our defence. There’s nothing wrong with the odd blip and certainly no need to panic if the opposition have the temerity to score a goal. I’m more worried about our ability to find the back of the net than our opponents.

Iain Warren – Exiled of Leighton Buzzard <iain.warren.1972(at)>


Regarding Joel Perry’s piece in MCIVTA 1390 regarding the Munich issue. Excellent post Joel… and your last paragraph “Just as an aside, as much as it pained me, I asked ‘nited if we could put a full page advert in their programme promoting next years Versus Cancer gig. (shameful plug). They didn’t even bother getting back in touch. City? Yeah, they gave us three games worth free of charge!”

Sums Utd up for me… this huge corporate machine who wouldn’t even reply to a request for an advert in their mag that will advertise an event that Manchester has come to be very proud of. Well done City for the offer of 3 games FOC. That’s the kind of club I want to be associated with.

Happy Blue Year everyone.

Brian Jenkins <Brian.Jenkins(at)>


Have been let down with tickets someone was supposed to have got me for the game against Liverpool and the fixture is now sold out, gutted. Really don’t want to have to miss a home games for the first time this season (and a lot of seasons come to think of it!) so if anyone has 2 tickets or even 1 going please get in touch. Tel 0775 123 3723.

Daniel Bowen <daniel.bowen(at)>


I wonder if anyone has a spare ticket for the Derby County away game on 29 January? Would be happy to meet at the ground or beforehand. Please email or give me a call on 07974 368758.

Steve McHale <Steve.McHale(at)>


I’ll be away to Banjul, the capital of Gambia for a about a week in January. Any Blues out there that would know if there is any way of watching the game in Banjul? I’ll be there for the game away to Everton on the 12th of January. Any help in much appreciated.

Christian de Lange <Chrdelange(at)>


26 December 2007

Chelsea              4 - 4  Aston Villa          41,686
Tottenham Hotspur    5 - 1  Fulham               36,077
West Ham United      1 - 1  Reading              34,277
Birmingham City      3 - 0  Middlesbrough        24,094
Derby County         1 - 2  Liverpool            33,029
Everton              2 - 0  Bolton Wanderers     38,918
Sunderland           0 - 4  Manchester United    47,360
Wigan Athletic       1 - 0  Newcastle United     20,304
Portsmouth           0 - 0  Arsenal              20,556

23 December 2007

Manchester United    2 - 1  Everton              75,749
Newcastle United     2 - 2  Derby County         51,386
Blackburn Rovers     0 - 1  Chelsea              23,966

22 December 2007

Arsenal              2 - 1  Tottenham Hotspur    60,087
Aston Villa          1 - 1  Manchester City      41,455
Bolton Wanderers     3 - 0  Birmingham City      19,111
Fulham               1 - 1  Wigan Athletic       20,820
Liverpool            4 - 1  Portsmouth           47,071
Middlesbrough        1 - 2  West Ham United      26,007
Reading              2 - 1  Sunderland           24,082

                            HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F   A    GD Pts
 1 Manchester Utd  19  9  1  0 22  3  5  2  2 14  6 14  3  2  36   9   27  45
 2 Arsenal         19  9  1  0 23  7  4  4  1 13  8 13  5  1  36  15   21  44
 3 Chelsea         19  5  4  0 18  7  6  1  3 11  7 11  5  3  29  14   15  38
 4 Liverpool       18  4  4  1 20  6  6  2  1 13  6 10  6  2  33  12   21  36
 5 Manchester City 18  9  0  0 17  5  1  4  4  8 15 10  4  4  25  20    5  34
 6 Everton         19  6  1  2 21  7  4  2  4 13 11 10  3  6  34  18   16  33
 7 Portsmouth      19  2  6  1 11  7  6  1  3 18 12  8  7  4  29  19   10  31
 8 Aston Villa     19  5  1  4 14 13  3  5  1 19 12  8  6  5  33  25    8  30
 9 West Ham United 18  2  4  3 10 10  5  1  3 13  6  7  5  6  23  16    7  26
10 Blackburn R.    18  4  2  4 11 12  3  3  2 12 13  7  5  6  23  25   -2  26
11 Newcastle Utd   19  5  3  2 16 15  2  2  5 10 14  7  5  7  26  29   -3  26
12 Reading         19  6  1  3 14 13  0  3  6 11 23  6  4  9  25  36  -11  22
13 Tottenham H.    19  4  1  4 24 17  1  5  4 11 15  5  6  8  35  32    3  21
14 Birmingham City 19  3  2  4 11 11  2  1  7 10 19  5  3 11  21  30   -9  18
15 Bolton Wndrs    19  4  3  3 15  9  0  2  7  6 20  4  5 10  21  29   -8  17
16 Middlesbrough   19  2  3  4 11 15  2  2  6  6 18  4  5 10  17  33  -16  17
17 Wigan Athletic  19  4  2  3 12 10  0  2  8  7 24  4  4 11  19  34  -15  16
18 Fulham          19  2  5  3 15 16  0  3  6  5 18  2  8  9  20  34  -14  14
19 Sunderland      19  3  3  3  8 12  0  2  8  9 26  3  5 11  17  38  -21  14
20 Derby County    19  1  2  6  6 17  0  2  8  3 26  1  4 14   9  43  -34   7

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v0708.01]

[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 Points of Blue (formerly the Fans’ Committee)?

The committee operates as an interface between supporters and the club. Points of Blue appears 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] 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

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 #1391