Newsletter #1395

An extremely lacklustre performance on Saturday in which we hardly managed a shot on goal and succumbed to a 1-0 defeat, which sees us slip to 7th place.

We have views on the game tonight, where attention is required, the academy business, news on a recent triallist, and a couple of requests.

Meanwhile, news reaches me of another City classic chant from the recent West Ham game where two little girls with their mum and dad after the ‘He’s here, he’s there, he’s everyf*ckingwhere, Richard Dunne’ chant had just been ringing round, piped up with, “He’s here, he’s there, we’re not allowed to swear, Richard Dunne”; thanks to Bill for that one!

And on that note, Wednesday night sees the F.A. Cup replay against West Ham and our first of two games against them this week.

Next Game: Wednesday 16 January 2008, 8.05pm, West Ham United (home), F.A. Cup 3rd round replay


It’s been a great season so far, which has exceeded most Blues’ expectations. We’re level on points with the team in 4th place, and we have a good draw that could see us in the 5th round of the F.A. Cup if we keep doing what we have been doing most of time, which is to play attractive, counter-attacking football.

Yet there is no pleasing some people, and it’s ridiculous how some people over-react to defeats. It’s not like they have been that common this season is it? We lost at Everton, and yes it is disappointing, but it is no cause for doom and gloom, or slagging off this player or that player. Everton are a good side who are knocking on the door of that 4th spot and have been for a few years now.

City’s curve is on up and we have a manager who most definitely knows what he is doing. Constructive criticism is one thing but the whingeing is ridiculous. We do need players to be bolder and accept the ball and hold it against the pressing teams like Everton – something that Sven alluded to at Goodison. Sven will address that, by improving these players by coaching and impressing upon them the need to express themselves in the face of competitive physical teams and by bringing in players who can do this.

Look at how hysterical Newcastle fans get and see where they are? The so-called ‘loyal’ Toon Army seem to want a new manager every 6 months. Those who whinged about Bobby Robson (and they did) after he got them to 4th, 3rd, 5th – what must they be thinking now when they are not pining for that ‘lovely’ Shee-rah fella? Do we want to end a laughing stock like the Geordies are now, and like we were in the dark old days of the 3rd division? Let’s enjoy the ride and see where this season takes us. It’s exciting battling with the likes of Aston Villa, Everton, Blackburn, and yes, Liverpool! Europe would be fantastic, and personally, I think Sven will do it, but if it doesn’t happen on the back of this season, we regroup and have another go next year.

On a lighter note, in recent weeks we have had been blessed with some witty chants from travelling Blues: in the win at Newcastle there was ‘Joey Barton, Joey Barton, can you hear us in your cell?’; then at Everton Joe Hart was lauded with ‘England’s England’s number one’ after a fine sharp save, and then a few minutes later after he sliced a kick into touch, the City fans sang “England’s England’s number two!”. Even the scousers laughed. It’s great to be enjoying the football and the banter again.

Phil Banerjee <Phil.banerjee(at)>


I’ve just been reading Keith Sharp’s observations on the Mark Laird transfer to Millwall in MCIVTA 1394 and whist I can understand his frustration I thought that it would only be fair to provide an alternative opinion as I believe Man City’s Academy to be one of the best, if not the best, in the country given what it has achieved over the last five years or so bearing in mind that it has only been going for about 10 years in total.

To begin with I believe that we sold Bradley Wright-Phillips and Lee Croft for around £500,000 and £700,000 respectively, which is pretty good going for two players who, although we had invested in significantly, weren’t going to quite make the grade in the Premier League no matter how hard we were willing them to do so. There must be a profit in there somewhere and this money, if distributed in the right way, would probably run the academy for a little over a year from what I understand. Shaun Wright-Phillips and Joey Barton collected about £27 million between them so we’re not exactly giving away the Premier League standard players.

As for Mark Laird, I’ve only heard about the good reviews he got whilst playing in the reserves; I have no first hand experience of him playing so I am certainly no expert. However, I’m confident that there are enough people at the club who have been monitoring him on a daily basis for some time now and decided that it’s just not going to happen for him at City; it’s obviously going to be even harder now given that we have money to spend. As Kevin quite rightly points out, it does appear that we actually did let him go for free. There are a few things with this. One is that this may have been an ‘old pals act’ to Kenny Jackett on this occasion and not something that you could afford to do too often but I also believe that City do their very best to provide Academy players with careers in football even if it doesn’t happen to be with us. And before I get too carried away with City being completely unselfish, this also bodes well when attracting young players to the Academy in the first place. I think the message is quite simple; if you’re good enough you’ll get into our first team (as others have proved) and if not we’ll do our very best to find you an alternative club. For an academy that has only been going for 10 years, I believe the successes far outweigh the failures e.g. Micah Richards, Michael Johnson, Stephen Ireland, Nedum Onuoha, Kelvin Etuhu, Ishmael Miller (loan), Ched Evans (loan), Shaleum Logan, Daniel Sturridge etc. And that’s just our current crop without a mention of Shaun and Joey (okay, I just did!). I don’t believe any of these players would leave us for less than £500,000 with some probably demanding in excess of £10,000,000, which is why we can afford to be nice and do people a few favours every so often.

I can’t say I’m quite sure what to expect in the January transfer window now that it’s upon us. There are a lot of rumours flying around so I think I’ll just wait for the dust to settle. Obviously a forward who can handle the ‘one up front’ rôle effectively will do nicely as that looks to be the formation we will stick with, a combative central midfielder (somebody with a good engine who can put their foot in, win the ball and distribute effectively – not asking for much) and also somebody who can play on the right of midfield (Steve Ireland has done an admirable job but it isn’t his natural position and he should be fighting it out for one of the central midfield spots IMHO). I thought that Castillo could play on the right of midfield but the fact that Elano played there on Saturday against Everton with Castillo behind Vassell makes me wonder as out wide is the last place I would put Elano given the choice. We’ll have to wait and see.

I hope the Sunday papers are talking c**p re: Richards’ demands for a new contract. If he’s been offered £50,000 per week as suggested then he should take it right now. If he (or his dad) believes he’s worth £80,000 a week as the papers suggested then I hate to say it but we should move him on for a handsome sum to somebody who is willing to pay it as that will just cause unrest amongst the other players i.e. if Richards is worth £80,000 a week then so is Dunne etc. It may all be rubbish, wide of the mark and completely unjustified and if so just get the contract signed because I’d love to see him for many years to come.

Looking forward to the game on Wednesday with my £10 ticket (great value). Come on City, there’s still plenty to play for.

Noel Wilkes-Wells <Noel.wilkes-wells(at)>


City move down the table to seventh; is this a more realistic position if we take into account the poor performance from a City side that showed no emotion for the game during the first 45 minutes against an Everton side that jumped above us in the table?

The second half showed more effort into the game, but on the day City were second best.

After about twenty players’ names being mentioned by the press, media etc, MCFC have to date only brought into the squad just one player, Castillo, who played his first league game versus Everton; in this game he seemed lost by the pace of Premier League football, but that’s not to say that he will not shine when he becomes adjusted to it. Sven holds a high opinion of him and that’s good enough for me.

The transfer window in January has never resulted in Premier League clubs signing lots of players, for most clubs do not want to part with their best players, and so they over inflate the price of their players, and more so to these clubs like City who had been reported in the press to have lots of cash to spend on players.

A good example of this when Chelsea offered eleven million for Anelka, but Bolton said fifteen million and got it. A better example is when Spurs, who do not want Berbatov to leave, slapped a thirty one million price on his head. Unrealistic? It has kept other clubs up to now away though.

It’s been reported in the press that Sven has the two lists of players, one if he gets the cash to spend, and the other list is a budget list.

If City are to sign another player, I feel it will happen after some players have left, in particular Samaras.

It has been reported that MCFC have the ten million to spend; the kitty should improve if we are able to get some cash for some players, and that would give MCFC the chance to get a better player for the money.

After Frank’s wife being arrested in Thailand, and is out on bail until January 23rd when she will face a court, the future of Frank’s bank account that has been frozen looks uncertain right now, and so I feel that purse strings have had to be tightened. Of course we City fans and civilized people hope that all charges against will be proven to be false, and that Frank, his wife, and family can get back to normal living again. Now that there is be a democratically elected government in power in Thailand, things should be just and fair, we can only wait and see.

In the meantime it looks (at least to me) that the best time to get any super type players into the team might be during the summer when negotitions for players are more to true values. On the other hand some club now realizing that MCFC are not the money bags that they first thought, might get more realistic with their dealings, and Sven might still get his player or players this month to strengthen his squad.

We are still in a very good position in the table and can easily jump back up, we are still in the major domestic cup competition the F.A. Cup, so City still have a lot to play for, but must play with more passion and for 100% of a game.

Come on you Blues! F.A. Cup, beat the Hammers and burst their bubble!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


There was a football masterclass in midfield and attacking play, today. The venue was Old Trafford where Newcastle were, for long periods, completely outplayed and outclassed by a very dangerous and more dominant Manchester United.

Sven and his players take note: the gulf between the two Manchester-named sides and, as a result, their league placings is wide and is becoming wider.

I hope Sven gets hold of a tape of the Old Trafford match, today, and makes his players watch the game several times. Let’s see if the message gets across.

Simply not good enough at Everton, today. Our attacking play remains woeful.

Graham Mills <gkm_5(at)>


I’m not sure you can believe everything you read in the papers, but I had to share the following snippet from today’s Irish Independent:

Asian player of the year Yasir Ai Qahtani was exposed as a wimp during his recent trial for Manchester City. The Saudi Arabian striker claimed he rejected the chance to stay with City but according to John Burridge, ex- City ‘keeper and now a pundit in the Middle East, Al Qahtani just wasn’t up for it.

Burridge, who says that Al Qahtani brought a huge entourage to training to cheer his every move, tells how a bulky lad from Tallaght (in West Dublin) helped bring about a premature end to the Saudi striker’s Eastlands career.

“When Al Qahtani got the ball, Richard Dunne smacked him with a good, old- fashioned ‘welcome’ tackle”, says Burridge. “Al Qahtani fell to the ground like a bag of chips. He started rolling around, squealing, and had to be carried off the pitch. Then he started crying”.

You couldn’t make it up. Now roll on Richard Dunne vs. Rolling-around Ronaldo!

Tony O’Leary <aolearyster(at)>


I for one am glad that at long last MCFC have at last woken up and have decided to take positive action about trying to fill the stadium, Why it has taken so long though still remains a mystery, Since we moved into the new stadium, fans’ groups and supporters’ organisations have put forward many proposals relating to prices for tickets amongst a list of other things that supporter wanted. Unfortunately, officials at the club would at one time only pay lip service to the requests and refused to do much about anything. How things have changed recently with sensible admission prices for the Cup replay. I don’t think they have done it though because they have suddenly taken pity on hard up City fans, it is more like that the new chairman is embarrassed at watching so many games with so many empty seats. Now they only have to bring the prices down for the league games where it is anticipated there will be a low crowd and to scrap the £20 City card fee and then we might really believe that the club are on the same wavelength as the fans.

Don Price <cathdon.price(at)>


My dad was born in Kippax Street in 1910,and I don’t need to tell you who he supported until the day he died in 1997.

I have a photo of him and his two elder brothers taken in 1914, outside their terraced house. Above the door on the wall is the grand old ornate victorian “Kippax Street” sign. Both elder brothers were killed in the war aged seventeen and nineteen.

We live in South Africa, but on a visit to Manchester decided to find the very spot where the photo was taken. This was about four years ago. Sure enough the victorian street name was still there, no more than a 100 yards from the Kippax End, where I spent every second Saturday from about 1968 to 1973.

Upon our return to SA I decided that the photo, together with the original street sign, should be part of our families history, especially in view of the fact that we live so far away. I phoned the Manchester City Council and e mailed them on numerous occasions, offering to buy the sign and replace it together with a considerable donation to a charity of their choice. Understanding that there are other more pressing priorities, I was not surprised to “draw a blank”.

Enter ‘Plan B’: I’ll steal the sign, then once back in SA, offer to pay them for it! So the next year at 03.00 in the morning armed with a ladder, screwdriver, eight pints of Boddingtons and a getaway driver, who shall remain nameless, I returned to the scene. To my horror the sign had been replace by a plastic one! We then woke the neighbourhood and had to make a run for it, losing the ladder and the screwdriver in the process.

Now to my request. That Victorian sign must surely have been kept by the Council? Can someone from the club perhaps relay the story to a contact in the Council who could help me buy the sign? Maybe you can leave out the previous paragraph though.

What a pleasure to at last have a competitive side again after so long, and furthermore there’s young local talent in there.

Regards from Cape Town, David Wood <dhwood1(at)>


I’ve just moved to sunny Oz and have seen requests before for those who live in Melbourne looking for a place to gather to watch City. Having just given up my ‘Kippax’ season ticket I’m rather gutted that I’ve already missed the Everton game and don’t want to miss any more :(.

Where should I be heading in Melbourne to watch City?

If anyone’s out there, drop me an email.

Chris Lake <chrislake(at)>


13 January 2008

Sunderland            2 - 0  Portsmouth            37,369
Bolton Wanderers      1 - 2  Blackburn Rovers      18,315

12 January 2008

Arsenal               1 - 1  Birmingham City       60,037
Aston Villa           3 - 1  Reading               32,288
Derby County          0 - 1  Wigan Athletic        31,658
Everton               1 - 0  Manchester City       38,474
Manchester United     6 - 0  Newcastle United      75,965
Middlesbrough         1 - 1  Liverpool             33,035
West Ham United       2 - 1  Fulham                34,947
Chelsea               2 - 0  Tottenham Hotspur     41,777

League table to 07 December 2008 inclusive

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F   A   GD  Pts
 1 Manchester Utd  22 11  1  0 29  3  5  2  3 15  8 16  3  3  44  11  33  51
 2 Arsenal         22 10  2  0 26  8  5  4  1 17  9 15  6  1  43  17  26  51
 3 Chelsea         22  7  4  0 22  8  7  1  3 13  8 14  5  3  35  16  19  47
 4 Liverpool       21  4  5  1 21  7  6  4  1 14  7 10  9  2  35  14  21  39
 5 Everton         22  7  1  3 23 11  5  2  4 15 11 12  3  7  38  22  16  39
 6 Aston Villa     22  7  1  4 19 15  4  5  1 21 13 11  6  5  40  28  12  39
 7 Manchester City 22  9  2  0 19  7  2  4  5 10 16 11  6  5  29  23   6  39
 8 Blackburn R.    22  5  2  4 12 12  5  4  2 18 17 10  6  6  30  29   1  36
 9 Portsmouth      22  2  6  2 11  8  7  1  4 20 14  9  7  6  31  22   9  34
10 West Ham United 21  4  4  3 14 12  5  1  4 13  8  9  5  7  27  20   7  32
11 Newcastle Utd   22  5  3  3 16 17  2  2  7 11 22  7  5 10  27  39 -12  26
12 Tottenham H.    22  5  1  4 30 21  1  5  6 12 19  6  6 10  42  40   2  24
13 Reading         22  6  1  4 14 15  0  3  8 16 32  6  4 12  30  47 -17  22
14 Middlesbrough   22  2  4  5 12 18  3  2  6  7 18  5  6 11  19  36 -17  21
15 Bolton Wndrs    22  5  3  4 17 11  0  2  8  7 23  5  5 12  24  34 -10  20
16 Birmingham City 22  3  3  4 12 12  2  2  8 11 21  5  5 12  23  33 -10  20
17 Wigan Athletic  22  4  2  4 13 12  1  3  8  9 25  5  5 12  22  37 -15  20
18 Sunderland      22  5  3  3 13 13  0  2  9  9 27  5  5 12  22  40 -18  20
19 Fulham          22  2  5  4 16 18  0  4  7  7 21  2  9 11  23  39 -16  15
20 Derby County    22  1  2  8  7 20  0  2  9  3 27  1  4 17  10  47 -37   7

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1395