Newsletter #1393

A rather uninspiring game and performance on Saturday with a nil-nil draw, but unlike Bolton, Everton and Blackburn we are still in the FA Cup. The replay is on 16 January at CoMS, and means we face West Ham twice in 4 days given the league fixture.

We have match reports tonight thanks to Stu and Colin, and another “old time” MCIVTA contributor Martin is back with his review of the season thus far. We have John’s view on the festive season and opinion on how to win away, match officials, the Munich commemorations and the usual requests.

A more unusual request, however, from Chris who is compiling a book on the best football chants. We’re sure that McVers can provide him with a few of the classic City terrace chants that have appeared spontaneously over the years.

Next Game: Saturday 12 January 2008, 3pm, Everton (away)

MATCH REPORT I: WHU 0 MCFC 0 (FA Cup 3rd Round)

Good to be able to do a match report again and this one found us back at Upton Park, scene of our opening Premier League game of the season. That game was an eye-opener to the vast majority of City fans, who weren’t sure what to expect from Sven’s team and saw them play West Ham off the park for a well deserved 2-0 win.

We now know what to expect and hopes were high for a similar result in this tough tie for which 4,000 City fans had made the trip. The new signing, Nery Castillo, made his début in the starting line-up, replacing Elano who was reportedly suffering from a stomach bug. He appeared to be filling the same rôle, playing just behind the main striker, Darius Vassell. It was also an interesting confrontation between the two great young hopes of English goalkeeping, Green and Hart.

City started really well and forced three corners in the first 10 minutes but never really threatened from any of them (when was the last time we scored direct from a corner?). There was then a very controversial incident as Petrov, who was tormenting Lucas Neill, got into the area and played the ball past Ferdinand, who stuck a leg out bringing Petrov down. It looked a sure penalty but referee Rob Styles, who seemed to be in a good position, amazingly waved play on. So if it wasn’t a foul, in his eyes, then why didn’t he book Petrov for diving?

Petrov then worked his magic to set up Ireland inside the West Ham box but his accurate shot was well saved by Green. Apart from that, Hart was the busier of the two ‘keepers, making one save from Etherington low down that looked like it might be creeping in. It was a really open game, compared to the largely tactical game against Liverpool the week before. City were building up carefully but lacked a real killer touch when they got near the box. The combination of Petrov, Ball and Corluka had was working particularly well, with Corluka becoming much more adventurous than in the holding rôle he first played and some of his long passing was superb.

West Ham were breaking quickly and their strikers Ashton and Carlton Cole were keeping Dunne and Richards on their toes. West Ham seemed to be getting on top as the first half advanced and Ball twice stupidly fouled Dean Ashton on the edge of the box. Neither free kick came to anything though.

Down at the other end some great work from Castillo gave Vassell a chance but he played one pass too many, when a shot might have been better. Vassell was in action again when it looked like he had been brought down illegally in the area and it looked even more blatant than the Petrov shout but again no penalty. Castillo was on the end of a great ball and was only denied by a last ditch tackle from Ferdinand, this one legal.

During the interval, former player Alfie Haaland was spotted on the concourse and was paraded around on someone’s shoulders to great acclaim. West Ham made a change for the second half, taking off captain Lucas Neill, supposedly because of injury. Nothing to do with the fact that Petrov had given him the run-around for 45 minutes then. It was interesting that the Blackburn right back also picked up a similar half-time “injury” when they were at CoMS.

The second half started in much the same vein and, after 12 minutes, more good work from Castillo set up Ireland again but he didn’t really seem to connect and his shot was saved by Green. West Ham were pressing harder now and if their finishing had been up to the standard of their approach play then we might have been in trouble but a combination of some woeful finishing and Joe Hart kept us in the game. City brought on Etuhu for Ireland, seemingly to give us a different attacking option but then seemed to consolidate, bringing on Gelson and Bianchi for Castillo and Vassell. By the last quarter it seemed that Sven had settled for the replay, with everyone behind the ball and only rarely venturing forward. However, that tactic nearly backfired when Ashton got on the end of a superb cross to direct a powerful header goal wards but Hart proved equal, tipping it over. I had been critical of Sven for preferring the inexperienced Hart over the experienced Isaksson but the youngster had a superb game and did as much as anyone to keep us in it. Débutant Castillo also looked very useful, seeming to have plenty of time on the ball whenever he got it, always the mark of a good player.

Player Ratings:
Hart 9. Near faultless display.
Onuoha 7. Solid defensively but looks less sure going forward.
Dunne 9. Another outstanding display under constant pressure from Ashton.
Richards 8. Never put a foot wrong and better positioning.
Ball 7. Looks much better with Petrov and gives little away.
Ireland 6. Had his moments but gave the ball away needlessly too often.
Hamann 8. Just does everything right, without fuss; would love to see him shoot more though.
Corluka 8. Looks at ease in the middle and made things happen.
Petrov 9. Another torture session for the opposition right back; works harder defensively as well.
Castillo 7. Good début; could be very interesting when he gets a few games under his belt.
Vassell 6. Can’t fault his effort but not enough end product.
Etuhu 7. Strong and direct.
Gelson 7. Good contribution.
Bianchi 6. Did what was expected.

Overall Out-of-the-Seat Factor: 7. First half good, second half not so good (to quote our manager) but still largely a cracking cup-tie that either team could have won.

Colin Savage <colin(at)>

MATCH REPORT II: WHU 0 MCFC 0 (FA Cup 3rd Round)

Just got back from The Boleyn Ground, Upton Park. It’s the first time I’ve seen the new City in the flesh and I must say I’m quite impressed. Those of you who are fortunate enough to view regularly may know otherwise but what I witnessed was a well organised team, going away from home and looking solid and un-troubled.

I was a passenger with 3 West Ham supporters who thought it would be fun to take me on my first excursion to the Smoke (more later on that!).

We had tickets for the ‘home’ end 2nd tier, right at the back. I mean ‘wall behind’ sort of at the back. Good view but for-shortened the pitch a bit.

We arrived early and I got dragged around first: the cafe for breakfast (not bad for 4 quid), the shop (City are so lucky!) and then we stood around for a long time out the front. Robert Green arrived and seemed a genuinely nice bloke. He had a Range Rover. The players’ car park was full of them, and Merc 4x4s. Hmmm.

We were just moving to check out the dodgy sellers on the street for a scarf or something when I spotted a familiar face. It was Frank! He had a Bentley and arrived with a bit of an entourage but made a discrete entrance at 1:30ish I think.

Up to now I had seen one City fan! A cuddly bloke talking to stewards at the gates in his shirt sleeves (everyone else had 15 layers on!). When we got in, after the steward opened the gate for me ’cause the ticket didn’t work, I eventually saw the away end fill up spectacularly. What a support. Made me proud.

The announcer played The Bubble song to remind the Hammers why they were there and they sang. once! After that City blasted out Blue Moon that was louder my end than they were. Made me proud again.

No real surprises with the line-up, Castillo instead of Elano but that was about it. The game starts. I won’t give a blow by blow account of the game itself ’cause I’m more an observation person.

First observation is fans: The Bubble Song was started (often half way through) only about 4 times in 90 minutes. The City end gave everything for the whole game. Brilliant! At one time the Hammers started a ‘Stand up if you love West Ham’. Remember I was in the home core. I would be generous if I said 50% stood up. Pathetic.

There was some guy in a white jacket at the away end who was stood up with arms outstretched for 90 minutes. Either had a wet seat or passionate guy. I know what I believe.

Also, during the game I thought Ashton looked dangerous early on. He drifted out of the game and I can tell you why. He was constantly abused by his own fans in a bad way. He must have heard and thought why should I bother, especially as Dunney had him in his pocket all game! What causes fans to shout such vitriol at their own players? They moved to others as well so it was if City had both ends covered. City support at one end and anti-West Ham at the other. Bowyer came on late (good east end lad) to cheers. Within 5 minutes he had mis-controlled a ball and guess what? Open season on Bowyer. What do these so called fans think they will achieve by ‘downing’ their own team? My 3 Hammer mates were quite embarrassed.

2nd Observation: Players (City)
Hart: Can’t really judge. He had one shot going wide which he palmed out of boredom and one header from Ashton that he waved gently over the bar. One good punch when it was the right thing to do. Apart from that not much.
Ball: Excellent (with Petrov). Overlapped well and never looked in trouble.
Richards: I watched him closely to see if he had been affected by paper talk/scandals/contract talk. Answer: No. Solid.
Dunne: My Man of the Match: (hard to choose in a pretty dull game!) Tackled/headed/cleared. The label said Dunne and he did exactly what it said on the tin. Good job Dunne.
Onouha: (sorry for spelling) did not get forward as much as Ball but he did not have Petrov in front of him. Fairly quiet really. Didn’t really notice him until he got injured and the Hammers booed when we got given the ball back from the restart.
Petrov: Best summed up by my 3 mates. ‘We effin hate him!’ There was a chance of something happening every time he got the ball. Hugged the line and beat the two!!) full backs time and time again. Blowing hard at the end and deserved to.
Corluka: Pure class. The one player who seemed to have loads of time in a very condensed game. Wish he would shoot though. He often got to the edge of the box by silking his way through, and then stopped to try and pick out a team-mate.
Hamann: I think I can best praise him by saying, whoever this mystical replacement may be, he will have to be one hell of a professional and disciplined player. Nothing flash. Break the opposition up, pass it 10 yards and that’s it. Every team needs one and we’ve got a peach.
Ireland: The first bad vibe. This guy needs replacing. He is squad player at best. Bad touch, bad passing, no penetration (he was on right wing). My only defence would be that Petrov had good support from Ball. Ireland got very little from Onnythingy. If one had clicked maybe the other would have looked better.
Vassell: If only he could get the chance to run forwards. He spends every moment charging from left to right closing down defenders. This is surely meant to be part of his job. He does it well. Hard worker but zero goal threat. Sorry Darius; I like you but this is another position that can be improved.
Castillo: New guy wanted to impress. Bit too much as it happened but got better as the game went on. He reminded me of Berkovic a bit. Very fast feet when on one of many dribbles. Trouble was he went sideways until he lost it. As the game progressed he released earlier and he looked better until he got knackered and got subbed.
Subs: Time wasting subs so no point in judging.

3rd Observation: Referee (Rob Stiles) Waved away two penalty shouts for City in the first half. Only got one look but he looked to get them right. However, he seemed to think “you’re not conning me!” and from then on allowed Corluka’s shirt almost to be pulled off his back without a free kick. Twice the Hammers’ left back had two hands on Petrov’s arm pulling him back and again nothing. Crap ref gave us nothing.

We left and went home to Wimborne, Dorset. We discussed the game and if I was honest we struggled to find many highlights. We have the replay just before we play them in the league. Both at home. I can only say that we will win both if we can get a striker.

Finally, on that subject; Bianchi came on with about 20 minutes left. He got a rousing welcome song from the City faithful, which he acknowledged. He then went on to mis-control every ball hit at him and display outrage at every ball that wasn’t. At the end of the game (and I mean the instant the whistle blew!) he ran straight off and down the tunnel. Didn’t shake anyone’s hand and didn’t even look at the bench. Not a happy bunny. Goodbye!

Stu Wells <stuloujos(at)>


It’s been a long while since i last posted an article, so with nothing more to do…

A brief half term report

I must say when Sven was chosen as the new manager i had reservations, mainly because he’d been out of club management for over, what, 5 years? He therefore had no day to day involvement with players and would possibly be devoid of contacts on the transfer front. Well he’s proven me wrong, he’s still got everything and it’s a breath of fresh air to see how well the team is doing.

Talking of the team, 4th in the Premier League and 39 points, who would have dreamed of that after last season? I think we the fans have to keep calm and not get giddy. Where would we have accepted at the being of season? Scraping safety, mid-table? Well that’s what we should still be aiming for, safety to start with and it’s almost there – another win or 2 and City should be safe. Mid-table, I would have accepted that, so let’s stay calm and if the club finish there, good. Anything more is a bonus, but let’s not heap pressure on the players, let’s see what they bring.

The players, other than the unfortunate Bojinov and the newly loaned Castillo, they’ve all given something to the team and bonded with the existing squad. My only concern is that when Elano doesn’t play well the team doesn’t seem to play well; hopefully that will be resolved.

Let’s hope the good play continues and gives us all something to smile about at the end of the season, but remember anywhere above 9th place will be City’s best ever season in the Premier League and anywhere in mid-table will be an improvement over the last few seasons.

As an aside, I have left the university so will be unsubscribing from the list from this email address, but may return again in the near future, in which case I’d just like to wish everyone well for the future.

Martin Ford <>


I was criticised for having a go at Richard Dunne but feel that my worries are justified. He showed again, at Newcastle, how he lets someone run free as when the ‘Poison Dwarf’ came on at half time and ran free from Dunne only to be thwarted by Joe Hart.

Other than that, he’s had a couple of really good games over Christmas and New Year so credit where credit is due. Maybe he reads this column?

Disappointing result against Blackburn when the 3 points should have been ours but for a wrong call by the match officials (no comments please Heidi).

Against Liverpool, the ‘Mighty’ Reds weren’t as mighty as some would have you believe. I though that honours were even in the first half and only in the last 20 minutes were we under pressure but even then, it looked ‘contained’.

At Newcastle, poor old Sam is in trouble again. Did he really think that he could turn that round and make them win? They are now worse than ever. Not taking anything away from City though, whose game plan worked well and we took our chances when we had them.

One shining light out of all of this is Vedran Corluka in midfield. He reminds me of Viera (no, not the telly from Panasonic), Patrick, who used to play for Arsenal, and also used to hate Roy Keane (no he’s an instant hero then).

Our Croatian maestro is breaking up attacks, creating space, holding the ball, passing through to our forward/s, and generally making a nuisance of himself. I hope he stays in midfield because he’s a breath of fresh air. Great to watch him surrounded by three opponents and watch him wriggle free with the ball. Keep it up Vedran.

And now, as we enter the second half of the season, only 1 point away from relegation safety (oh come on, I am a City fan) if you’d said that we would start January in 4th place, then I’d have sent for the men in white coats. Who knows what we can achieve and I still don’t think we’re playing that well yet.

Certainly, the 4-5-1 formation suggests that Sven also believes that we are not yet good enough to go all out offensive and so he perseveres with this formation. No problems for me with this as it is working within our capabilities and, if I am right, just wait until we strengthen and start to really play well. Watch out top three.

[Match officials, making a mistake, surely not? – Ed]

John Nisbet <john_nisbet(at)>


City’s impressive 2-0 away win at Newcastle proves what I have thought all along. All City has to do to win away is to wear their home sky blue shirts. No rocket science here. If we can win 9 and draw 2 in our home shirts then surely we can win away by wearing the same uniform. City in their sky blue shirts are an intimidating force. But when they wear those ridiculous purple and white pyjamas, they look ridiculous.

Keep the sky blues wherever possible, bring back their red and black away strip out of mothballs and turn the boys loose in 2008.

Come On You Blues.

Keith Sharp – Toronto, Canada <keith(at)>


The person to blame is Howard Webb. Once the referee’s assistant had raised his flag, Mr Webb had the duty to either stop the game and award an indirect free kick to City or wait until there is some sort of outcome and then converse with his assistant. What we don’t know is what the assistant actually saw or what he actually said to anyone.

I know because I’ve been in many a similar position.

Sam Duxbury <SamDuxbury(at)>


If what I have just read in today’s Daily Mail is correct the anniversary of the Munich disaster is now a national event and not a local / domestic one?

Apparently, at England’s next game against Switzerland on February 6th the FA will act ‘with sensitivity’ when paying their respects to the deceased of the Munich disaster, with messages on the big screens around Wembley.

If this is correct, the question has to asked why? Other tragedies such as Hillsborough and Bradford are not remembered on a national basis and to my knowledge neither is the Ibrox disaster. These are events are special to the specific club, town or city. Why is MUFC any different?

Please understand I am not against any commemoration of any such event by the people it affected and touched, in fact the very opposite. However, am I the only one who feels that yet again the marketing people from the dark side have successfully seized upon the opportunity to exploit, promote and in fact ‘celebrate’ what was a truly tragic disaster?

I have written before on this subject and there is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that the Munich disaster is exploited and milked to a totally unacceptable degree by MUFC. The excuse of having a ‘world-wide’ fan base simply does not wash and nor should it. However, the hype is continuous and relentless. Surely, someone from within the media must stand up and tell the world of this global con? Then again old red-nose would ban them from the ground and they would be cast as a social leper. The truth is that MUFC have won – they have brainwashed the media in supporting them and articulating their chosen message. Sad, very sad and what chance have we got when we play them 4 days later of getting any 50-50 decision from the officials?

It is a game that we will simply not be allowed to win under any circumstances. Cynical? I think not, just experienced enough to know that’s how it’s going to be and there is nothing we or anyone else can do about it…

Ray Bardsley <rbardsley(at)>


If you think “Shipman was a scouser” was a tasteless chant. What about the terrible ‘S**t Joey Barton, you’re just a s**t Joey Barton…” aimed at Gerrard?

I felt absolutely awful about singing that one at the top of my voice. Hilarious!

Joel Perry <j.perry(at)>


Here is a chance for Manchester City to announce that they are serious contenders for Europe.

Sell Bianchi, sell Samaras, sell Isaksson, sell Miller and buy Berbatov!

Imagine an attacking line-up with Berbatov combining with Petrov, Elano and new boy Castillo with Vassells and Mpenza in support.

Just imagine the shock if City could buy Berbatov under the noses of Chelsea and United. Definitely worth consideration.

Keith Sharp – Toronto, Canada <keith(at)>


Please can anyone help me? I would like to download video highlights of the following matches:

  • Bolton vs. City (Carling Cup)
  • Newcastle vs. City
  • West Ham vs. City (FA Cup)

I’ve tried Googling to find somewhere to download them from but without success. Any suggestions or recommendations please?

Steve Maclean <fruitbog(at)>


Armani Sheku Kamara, founder and Chair of the Sierra Leone branch of the Manchester City Centenary Supporters’ Association and Manchester City FC (Sierra Leone version) will be at the next meeting of the Reddish branch this Wednesday 9th January.

The meeting starts at 8.00pm (doors 7.30pm) at The Ash Hotel, Manchester Road, Stockport and admission is free to CSA Members, £2 for non-members adults and £1 for non-members juniors.

This may well be the last time Armani is over here for a while and if you’ve never met him then this will be great opportunity to see him and I can assure you once you’ve met him you’ll never forget him!

Whilst Armani is with us he will also be collecting items of kit etc. kindly donated by the Club and CSA branches to take back with him to Sierra Leone. So, if you’ve any spare kit that you no longer want then why not bring it with you and give it to Armani personally?

If there are any individuals or branches, whether or not members of the CSA, who might be interested in supporting Armani with his tremendous efforts in Sierra Leone then please come along to the meeting to find out more or contact Howard Burr or Alex Channon at the addresses below for more details.

Howard Burr <reddishblues(at)>
Alex Channon <alexchannon81(at)>


I’m e-mailing to ask for your help with a book I am writing on football’s funniest songs and chants.

The book will be published by New Holland Publishers in time for Christmas 2008 and will be a collection of the wittiest songs and chants sung by fans from the English and Scottish leagues. As part of the research for the book I’m contacting unofficial fan clubs as I know they’ll be the best source of their team’s chants and I’m keen for as many teams as possible to be represented in the book.

The Manchester City faithful are well known for their singing and so I’d really appreciate it if you could take time to e-mail me (address below) with the funniest songs and chants you and your fellow City supporters sing.

I’ve included a couple of examples below to give you an idea of the book’s contents. As you can see, I’m not really after your basic “We’re by far the greatest team” type chants but the ones that really make you chuckle. And as well as regular songs and chants sung at every game I’m also keen to include those spontaneous ones that just come up during a game – for example in response to the opposition, a refereeing decision, a player or something in the news at the time.

If you are able to help then any background info to the songs and the tune that the song is sung to would also be great. And if you’ve heard other fans singing tunes that you’ve admired then please do let me know. All contributors to the book will of course be acknowledged in the book and any contribution would be greatly welcomed!

A few examples from the book (sorry about the first one!):

No song about Gary Neville would be complete without reference to his imaginatively named father… (to the tune of Rebel Rebel):

Neville Neville, you play in defence,
Neville Neville, your play is immense,
Neville Neville, like Jacko you’re bad,
Neville Neville is the name of your dad

West Bromwich Albion fans nobly resist the obvious (to the tune of When The Saints Go Marching In):

Oh Andy Hunt, is good up front,
Oh Andy Hunt is good up front,
He’s got a name that rhymes with fanny,
Oh Andy Hunt is good up front!

Chelsea adapt a classic terrace chant especially for the visiting fans from the Turkish club Galatasaray (to the tune of Go West):

You’re Shish, and you know you are,
You’re Shish,and you know you are

I hope that’s all clear but any questions, please do let me know.

[Where do you start? My initial thoughts are the Jose Mourinho “Your coat’s from Matalan” and the Everton – Maine Road thrashing in 2000 – “You should have gone Christmas robbing”! I’m sure you have loads you can send through to Chris – Ed]

Thanks and best wishes,

Chris Parker – freelance writer <christopher_john_parker(at)>


League table to 06 January 2008 inclusive

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F   A   GD  Pts
 1 Arsenal         21 10  1  0 25  7  5  4  1 17  9 15  5  1  42  16  26  50
 2 Manchester Utd  21 10  1  0 23  3  5  2  3 15  8 15  3  3  38  11  27  48
 3 Chelsea         21  6  4  0 20  8  7  1  3 13  8 13  5  3  33  16  17  44
 4 Manchester City 21  9  2  0 19  7  2  4  4 10 15 11  6  4  29  22   7  39
 5 Liverpool       20  4  5  1 21  7  6  3  1 13  6 10  8  2  34  13  21  38
 6 Everton         21  6  1  3 22 11  5  2  4 15 11 11  3  7  37  22  15  36
 7 Aston Villa     21  6  1  4 16 14  4  5  1 21 13 10  6  5  37  27  10  36
 8 Portsmouth      21  2  6  2 11  8  7  1  3 20 12  9  7  5  31  20  11  34
 9 Blackburn R.    21  5  2  4 12 12  4  4  2 16 16  9  6  6  28  28   0  33
10 West Ham United 20  3  4  3 12 11  5  1  4 13  8  8  5  7  25  19   6  29
11 Newcastle Utd   21  5  3  3 16 17  2  2  6 11 16  7  5  9  27  33  -6  26
12 Tottenham H.    21  5  1  4 30 21  1  5  5 12 17  6  6  9  42  38   4  24
13 Reading         21  6  1  4 14 15  0  3  7 15 29  6  4 11  29  44 -15  22
14 Bolton Wndrs    21  5  3  3 16  9  0  2  8  7 23  5  5 11  23  32  -9  20
15 Middlesbrough   21  2  3  5 11 17  3  2  6  7 18  5  5 11  18  35 -17  20
16 Birmingham City 21  3  3  4 12 12  2  1  8 10 20  5  4 12  22  32 -10  19
17 Wigan Athletic  21  4  2  4 13 12  0  3  8  8 25  4  5 12  21  37 -16  17
18 Sunderland      21  4  3  3 11 13  0  2  9  9 27  4  5 12  20  40 -20  17
19 Fulham          21  2  5  4 16 18  0  4  6  6 19  2  9 10  22  37 -15  15
20 Derby County    21  1  2  7  7 19  0  2  9  3 27  1  4 16  10  46 -36   7

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1393