Newsletter #1402

Derby weekend, and Don’s news takes a look at the confirmation of late signing Benjani and the other new arrivals, a preview of this weekend’s fixture and international Blues’ news.

Meanwhile, we have some more good opinion on the Munich memorial, Alex has his monthly round-up, reaction to the Premier League’s proposals of overseas games and the usual requests.

Next Game: Sunday 10 February 2008, 1.30pm, Manchester United (away)


General News

Europe Beckons… Should City fail to qualify for a European place this season, Sven has revealed that the players will have an early start to next term – he’s put City in for the Intertoto Cup. Speaking to the club’s website, Eriksson said: “The deadline for the Intertoto Cup was 25 January and we are in it. Hopefully we won’t need to but it’s a possibility. I’ve already told the players, ‘for you the holiday will be very short’ – they know that.” The competition starts in July.

Munich Anniversary Marked: The fiftieth anniversary of the Munich air disaster was commemorated on Wednesday. Ahead of Sunday’s derby, City have unveiled their special kit for the day. It’s a sponsor-free number, with a black bow on the sleeve and the message ‘Manchester Remembers’. United players will wear a 1950s-style kit, also free from sponsorship, and numbered one to 11. United’s Chief Executive said this week: “We’ve been working closely with City and discussed it with them. Frank Swift was one of their greatest goalkeepers and we’ve talked to them about the plans for the day. They’re aware of what we’re doing, for example with the kit, and they’re doing something special with their kit as well. We’ll be giving a memento to every fan, both United and City. There are 3,000 City fans going through the gate on the day and we’re involving some of their former players on the day. We’re working to ensure they remember that it wasn’t just Manchester United, it was the city of Manchester that was affected and it was the world of football that was affected. We hope and believe that the minute’s silence will be observed appropriately.” In the Daily Mirror, City legend Bert Trautmann called for five-year bans to be imposed on any spectator who disrupts the Old Trafford minute’s silence. Trautmann said: “The silence is for City fans as well as United fans to show their respect. If there are one or two who let their fellow supporters down, people should get hold of them and hand them over to the police. They should be given a five-year ban from going to football, and ordered to report to a police station before kick-off on Saturday or in midweek. No true fan would take a chance on that punishment.” Bert also recalled the effect the crash had on the whole city. He said: ‘I can’t tell you what it was like to turn on the radio that day. At my age, I have seen tragedies – personal, local, national, international. This was devastating, terrifying news. We were all dumbfounded. I will never forget it. I had lost a son a couple of years earlier. It was that same awful feeling, that somebody from your family had died in an accident. People were united in their grief. When they flew the coffins back, we stood on the road and waited. The flight was delayed – it must have been midnight on a cold night when they passed us. There were 200,000 lining the roads, and they were not all United supporters. People showed their respect and affection that night, and those at the derby should think about that.” But a Greater Manchester Police spokesman said: “Actually taking hold of an offender could leave someone open to an accusation of assault. Fans should point out any offenders to stewards. Stewards can then eject them and identify them to (police) officers. Offenders can be given banning orders by the authorities or by an individual club, including a life ban.”

International Blues’ News: Vedran Corluka found himself back home this week, and he probably wished he hadn’t bothered. The Netherlands convincingly defeated Croatia 3-0 in Split in a friendly ahead of the the Euro 2008 finals in June. Gelson Fernandes got to play at Wembley this week, as Switzerland lost 2-1 to England in Fabio Capello’s opening game as England coach. Micah Richards was an unused substitute for the home side. Richard Dunne played for the Republic of Ireland against Brazil at Croke Park, Dublin. The Elano-less visitors won 1-0, thanks to a goal by Robinho. Jihai Sun had the longest trip – to Dubai, where Iraq were playing their home game with China. Captain Zheng Zhi scored a late equaliser to earn China a 1-1 draw in their opening 2010 World Cup qualifier on Wednesday. Iraq’s midfield playmaker Nashat Akram was given his marching orders on 71 minutes for a second bookable offence. Akram you may remeber is currently appealing the British government’s decision to deny him a work permit to play for City. Joe Hart was in goal for England’s Under 21s on Tuesday, as England beat the Republic of Ireland 3-0 at Southampton. Nedum Onuoha had been in the squad, but withdrew from the squad with injury. Ched Evans continued his great scoring run for the Welsh Under-21’s. Currently on loan at Norwich, he struck twice as Wales stormed to the top of their Group, after thumping Malta 4-0. Elsewhere, City players were double winners – Richard Dunne has been named as the Football Association of Ireland’s International Player of the Year, while Stephen Ireland was named as the Republic of Ireland’s Young International Player of the Year. Stephen’s award was particularly curious, bearing in mind his self-inflicted absence from the full Ireland squad following Grannygate, and the grilling he received last week from caretaker Irish coach Don Givens. Speaking at the ceremony, Richard said: “It wasn’t a great year for Ireland as we didn’t qualify for EURO 2008, but it’s nice to be recognised.”

Derby Delight: City have made a good start to this derby week – the Blues’ under-18’s beat their Red counterparts 5-0 this week at the at the Cliff Training Ground. The goalscorers were Donal McDermott, Derek Boyata, David Ball (penalty) and two by Robbie Mak. City: Hartley, Trippier, Boyata, McGivern, Kay, Tutte, Tsiaklis (Ibrahim), Weiss, Ball (Nimley), Mak, McDermott (Poole). Unused sub: Robinson.

Transfer News and Gossip

Ben’s Been Signed: On Tuesday Benjani Mwaruwari finally became a City player – a full five days after the transfer window slammed shut. And City were feeling mighty pleased with themselves, as the final fee for the 29-year-old had halved from the original sum (the rest would only be paid after an agreed number of games). Last week we left you with complete confusion, as City insisted that Benjani’s deal hadn’t gone through by midnight on Thursday. It was said that some paperwork had been sent to the Premier League in time, although doubts over an old knee operation on the player had caused City reason to ponder. There was talk of renegotiating the price, amid City claims that the striker’s medical was insufficient, because he turned up almost six hours later than expected. So the Premier League was left to rule over whether the transfer could go ahead. On Saturday, Sven was ruing the fact that the transfer hadn’t gone through. “I went to London in the afternoon to get the work permit sorted and that was positive,” he said. “I got back to Manchester at 5.30pm and was supposed to meet Benjani. He didn’t come so I asked, ‘OK, when is he coming?’ and I was told 9pm. But he didn’t come at 9pm either and he did not actually arrive at the training ground until about 11.15pm. I don’t know what exactly happened to him – his planes were cancelled or whatever.” A very basic medical was rushed through but there is confusion about whether City submitted all the required paperwork to the Premier League for the transfer to be ratified by the deadline. Pompey manager Harry Redknapp was also asked by the press whther the transfer had gone through. “[Portsmouth’s chief executive] Peter Storrie got a call at 11.55pm from City saying they’d sent off the forms to the Premier League, so that’s when we gave the go-ahead for our forms [to register Benjani’s replacement, Jermain Defoe] to go through,” said Harry Redknapp. “City sent half the forms off and I’m not sure where it went from there.” However, at 12.15am Portsmouth were contacted by the Premier League and told that the administrative procedure had not been completed in time. Redknapp also indicated a reluctance to see the striker leave – “We didn’t want to lose him but we needed to balance the books.” City fans hoping that the deal would be allowed to go through must have been pleased to hear Benjani express his desire to play in Sky Blue soon. “I’m still hopeful that the move will go through,” Benjani told the M.E.N. “I want to play for Manchester City.” Speaking of the rush on Thursday evening, the Zimbabwean added: “I had to drive from Portsmouth up to London to catch my flight at 7pm. I got there in time but the flight was cancelled. By the time I got up to Manchester, it was too late to get everything done in time. I’m here and still hoping everything can be sorted out so that I can continue my career with Manchester City.”

Greedy Manager: Monday dawned, and City were still playing hardball. It was said that the Blues were insisting on taking Benjani only on loan from Pompey if his switch was ratified by the Premier League. However, Redknapp believed the transfer will be completed soon, saying: “I feel for Benjani because at the moment he seems to be the big loser in all this, but hopefully it will all be sorted out tomorrow and I think he will end up as a Manchester City player. If not, from a greedy football manager’s point of view, I’d be delighted to get Benjani back. I didn’t want to lose him in the first place but, of course, I had to because it is good business to sell a 29-year-old and get in a lad of 25 who is always going to get you goals.”

Half Priced Heaven: And so to Tuesday afternoon, when City finally confirmed the signing of Mwaruwari. The Blues had bought Zimbabwe’s international skipper for an initial outlay of just £3.87 million – half the original asking price. City chief execuitive Alistair Mackintosh told “I would like to thank Portsmouth Football Club, the Premier League and the Football Association for their help, understanding and assistance in enabling this transfer to be completed to the satisfaction of all concerned. In particular I would like to thank Peter Storrie of Portsmouth and Sir David Richards of the Premier League for their hard work and pragmatism.” Sven-Goran Eriksson said: “I am delighted that we have signed such a quality player, and I am looking forward to working with him straight away.” Further payments will be made if the player makes up to 75 senior starts, and Benjani will wear the number 27 for City.

We Love Benji: Portsmouth’s director of communications, Gary Double, said there was no issue with the striker’s fitness. “It’s good to get this sorted for both clubs and of course for Benji, who is the most important person in this,” he told The News. “Manchester City are concerned about Benji’s knee, whereas both Portsmouth and Benji know there’s not a problem. He’s as strong as an ox and never misses a day’s training, but in order for the deal to go through for Benji we’ve agreed to phase the payments. The terms have been changed, however. Portsmouth will still get the agreed fee. We are happy this matter has now been settled to everyone’s satisfaction. Benji has been great for Pompey and we wish him every success for the future.” Portsmouth Chief Executive Peter Storrie revealed that the transfer failed to take place on deadline day because the player fell asleep when he was supposed to be catching an aeroplane to the North West. “In his own inevitable, wonderful way – and we all love Benji so much – he falls asleep at the airport and misses two planes,” Storrie said in The Times. “You couldn’t write the script. The next plane at 7 o’clock got cancelled and the 8.30 was delayed. It just made the whole situation a fiasco.” Storrie is sure Benjani will play sufficient games for his new club to activate the full fee. “We, of course, are confident of him playing the required number of games, otherwise we would not have agreed to the deal,” he said. “City had expressed some concern over a knee operation 18 months ago but, as Benji has never shown any sign of trouble since the operation and rarely misses a match or training, we were happy to come to this arrangement.”

Derby Début? Sven was soon enthusing about his new striker. “He’s a very good footballer, he’s scored 12 goals in the league so far this season, which is a good record,” he said. “When we had the opportunity to take him, I did not hesitate at all, my reaction was ‘yes, let’s take him’. He’s 29, he has a lot of experience, he’s very strong and is a proven goalscorer. We need that, that’s for sure. He’s always been a hard worker. I know people who worked with him at Grasshopper FC in Zurich a few years ago, they said he was a goalscorer and a hard worker even then and it’s good if you can have that combination in a player. I don’t know him well yet, but he looks very lively and is always looking around to see what’s going on. I’m sure he will be a very good signing for us. I think he will fit in very well,” he concluded, “he’s played by himself for Portsmouth many times, and I hope he can play on Sunday.”

No Gala Performance: Andreas Isaksson has explained why he didn’t take up the opportunity to join Turkish giants Galatasaray – he didn’t want to leave City on loan. “I want to be bought by a club if I am to move,” Isaksson said. “I have considered a loan, but I don’t want that. It collapsed between the clubs and there is not much I can do about that. It’s been a tough time and therefore it feels good to have made a decision. I will do my best, train and play for the reserves.” After taking a look at all three of his goalkeepers in first team action, Sven has declared his number one ‘keeper to be Joe Hart, and it was thought Isaksson would move on in the January window in an attempt to cement his place in the Swedish national side.

London Boys Sturring It: Chelsea and Arsenal are tracking City’s latest superkid Danny Sturridge – but City will repel all such interest. The News of the World are reporting that the young striker will be offered a bumper new deal at City as once again the club battle off attention from the London duo. Sturridge’s current deal runs until the end of next season, but S-GE is keen to tie him down on a longer contract, says the People.

Summer Swap Shop? The People claims that Liverpool’s Peter Crouch and Michael Johnson will be heading for a shock £12 million swap in a delayed deal that was scheduled for the January window. The paper claims that the transfer would have gone through already but was held up by Johnson’s injury lay-off after an aborted return from a double hernia operation. Apparently Johnson’s heart is set on a move to Anfield, a dream he was in line to realise last summer until Eriksson’s arrival as City boss halted Rafa Benitez’s first attempt to buy him.

Transfer Titbits: Trabzonspor are chasing Emile Mpenza. The 29 year-old’s representatives have been contacted by Trabzonspor officials about a summer move to Turkey. City are still tracking Sporting Lisbon winger Marat Izmailov. Izmailov is on loan at Sporting from Lokomotiv Moscow, but it’s emerged he is reluctant to commit to a permanent deal with the Portuguese club. Sven was keen on Izmailov in January, while Bolton and several other Premiership rivals have been linked with the Russia international this season. Meanwhile City made an attempt for former Pescara prospect Edgar Cani. The Albanian attacker, 16, has joined Palermo and Nello Di Mascio, Pescara’s academy chief, revealed: “He was followed by Manchester City, Udinese and Inter Milan. But he went to Palermo.”

Ex-Blues’ News

Ousmane’s Happy to be Out: Ousmane Dabo has expressed his happiness at securing a dream move back to Lazio, having dubbed his time at City as a nightmare and having some harsh words for his former team-mate Joey Barton. “When I learned I was once again a Lazio player, I was very moved and excited,” he declared. “I really didn’t expect to be back here. I walked out of a nightmare to come into a dream. I couldn’t be happier.” Of his time at City, he said: “I wanted to have a new experience, but lots of ugly things happened to me instead – bans, injuries, I was devastated by a brawl and then I didn’t play any more,” Meanwhile, Lazio president Claudio Lotito has expressed his delight at Dabo’s return and praised the player’s attitude. “I consider Dabo more than just a returning figure, as he is a prodigal son,” declared Lotito. “I opened my arms to him because we had left on very good terms a year and a half ago. Dabo is an added value to the squad who slots right into the Lazio project thanks to his quality and also his ability to forge team spirit. Basically, he is a Lazio man.”

After-Match Reactions and Comments

Sven in “I’m Angry” Shocker: City’s run of unbeaten home League games came to an end last weekend, as a classy Arsenal side won 3-1 at the COMS. Emmanuel Adebayor scored twice – he set Arsenal on their way, sweeping the ball in from close range. And Eduardo’s acrobatic turn and volley made it 2-0 from Adebayor’s clever header after another glorious move. City replied when Vedran Corluka dispossessed Gael Clichy and found Gelson Fernandes but Adebayor sealed the win from six yards late on. So what went wrong? Sven felt that City allowed their opponents to start too well, accusing his team of being “too soft”. “Arsenal were good – but we let them be at the beginning,” he explained. “We were too slow, too soft at the start. After the two goals we started to fight and show courage, which is good, but we were too soft again. This is not the first time we have done that. We have to think about it because we want to play in Europe next season and we have to find a solution. We have to wake up if we want to get there as it looks far away at the moment,” said the unusually gloomy Eriksson. “We weren’t aggressive and didn’t make life difficult for Arsenal in the first 25 minutes. And when a team like Arsenal go 2-0 up, it is difficult because they are good on the counter-attack. My players know I’m angry. It is up to them how they respond.” Goalscorer Gelson pretty much echoed his manager, saying; “Arsenal are a long way ahead of us, and losing 3-1 shows us that we have to wake up earlier in the game. When you are 2-0 down against a team like Arsenal after 25 minutes, you make it difficult for yourselves. After that we started to play, if we had not given those early goals away we could have played better and got a better result. It’s not the first time we have started a game badly like this, and we should know by now that we can’t let it go like this because we are making it so difficult. We’ve got to keep working, and not let ourselves down again.”

Enjoying the Victory: Arsenal’s personnel made all the right noises about City’s performance, which teams usually do when they have a comfortable win. Gunners’ boss Arsene Wenger admitted that there had been a number of awkward moments for his team, however. “I believe we controlled the game but at 2-1 you never know,” he said. “We are not a team who is comfortable when we just defend so I pushed the team to go and score a third goal. It came because City opened up.” He added: “We want to enjoy our victory first and see what the others do. It means we have done our job for the weekend and can see what happens.” Adebayor was made Man of the Match by Sky Sports, and he later told the TV station that “We knew the game was going to be tough and difficult and you could see that. We are pleased with the performance. They played quite well and have a lot of talented players. When we scored the second goal you thought the game was finished but they made it difficult. But we responded very well. The most important thing is we have won and we are very happy with that.”

Squad News

Corradi’s Parma Scram: To be filed under ‘no great loss’: Bernardo Corradi wants to sign permanently with Parma. The News of the World says Corradi plans to clinch a £550,000 move from City to Parma this summer. Corradi, 31, who scored just three Premier League goals for Blues last season, has bagged five in 15 games for the Serie A outfit since joining them on loan five months ago. The former Italy star has also been made Parma’s skipper in recent weeks and City will be happy to let Corradi remain in his homeland.

Spread a bit of Nastiness: Speaking of strikers on their way out of City – Georgios Samaras came on as a late substitute for Celtic in their Scottish Cup tie at Kilmarnock. With five minutes to go, Samaras scored the final goal in the Bhoys’ 5-1 thrashing. “Players who arrive at this point of the season do give the whole club a gee-up,” said Gordon Strachan, the Celtic manager. “The existing players respond to them as if to say look at me, I’m a good player as well’.” Former Hibs boss John Collins agreed. “You look at a big, tall guy such as Samaras and you think he is going to be fairly static. But that’s far from the case. He was running right and left and all over the frontline making himself available for passes. He showed great movement and from a midfielder’s point of view that’s what you want. You are always looking for a striker to go wide and take the ball into feet. When he got the ball there was only one thing on his mind and that was to drive at the defender. He showed superb composure as he slid it into the far corner. He is a good signing.” Meanwhile Paul Dickov also enjoyed a goalscoring début on loan. The veteran striker netted a crucial late winner for Blackpool against one of his old clubs, Leicester City at the weekend. “Paul has scored a lot of goals at the highest level, he has a wealth of experience and gives us something different – a little bit of nastiness,” said Seasiders’ boss Paul Grayson. “People keep reminding me about my age and experience but I’m enthusiastic and I love playing football,” said Dickov after scoring a 90th minute winner. “Sven at Man City has been great to me and I could have easily sat there until the end of the season but I love playing and training. I’ve got fond memories of Leicester and I had two fantastic years there. I’d like to think I did well for them, but it’s just sweet to score a goal, it’s been a long time coming.”

Drogba-esque: Enough of yesterday’s stars – how about a couple for the future? Sven-Goran Eriksson has been giving his views on new signings Felipe Caicedo and Filippo Mancini. City signed the 19-year-old Ecuador international attacker Caicedo from Swiss side FC Basle on a four-and-a-half year deal on the January transfer window deadline day. “He is a big, strong guy with pace,” said Eriksson. “He has a very good left foot. At 19, he’s good for now, very good, and good for the future. He will get even better. He played for Basle in the UEFA Cup and he plays international football so he shouldn’t have any problem with the Premier League. With his pace and strength it should not be difficult for him. There is a little bit of Drogba, maybe. I am not sure if he will score as many goals as Drogba. That we will have to wait and see. But he is a good player and I am very happy to have him.” On the loan-signing of 17-year-old attacker Mancini, who is the son of Inter Milan coach and former Italy striker Roberto Mancini, Eriksson said: “I haven’t seen him play but Roberto wanted him to come here into our academy. How good he is, I don’t know but he has played for Inter, so I think he will be good. If he is only half as good as his father, it will be enough.”

We All Like Charlie: Vedran Corluka has been hailed as the “best right-back in the world” by his national coach, Slaven Bilic. “For Corluka’s whole career, he played sometimes in midfield but he always played like a centre-half,” said Bilic of the player who has been used as a full back, centre back and midfield anchor by City. “Then I had a problem in my first game, away in Russia in September 2006, when I didn’t have a full back. I went to him and said ‘Charlie, I don’t have a right-back, but I think you can do it’. He’s such a strong boy. He was 19 or 20 but said ‘no problem’ and since then he’s been full back for the national team and I really think he’s the best full back in the world right now. I really do, with no disrespect to others like Micah Richards and Dani Alves (of Sevilla). They are great and every one of them is better than Corluka in one part of the field. But Corluka is good in every part of his game. He is brilliant.”

Miller’s Crossing to Albion: Ishmael Miller has joined West Bromwich Albion on a permanent basis, and has paid tribute to Albion boss Tony Mowbray. Ishmael has no regrets over his departure from City, following his £900,000 move. He said: “I’ll miss Manchester because I lived there for 20 years but West Brom feels like home now. Tony is the reason why I signed. He’s going to take us places and, hopefully, I can repay him.”

Secure the Defence! Micah Richards insists there is “nothing to worry about” over a new deal and is willing to commit his long-term future to City. He said: “I have got two-and-a-half years on my contract and I am not going anywhere. There is no timescale in my mind, just when it’s ready to be signed it will be signed. I am 100 per cent going to sign for the club. There’s nothing to worry about. Things don’t happen overnight.” Sven must be pleased to hear this, and he is keen for the club to arrange new contracts for both Micah and Richard Dunne. “It’s important that we work on that now and get them both to sign new contracts,” he said. “There are a lot of other things to work on here in the club as well, as now we have the time to do them.” The City manager also confirmed he already knows what is required to improve his squad at the end of the season. “This summer will be very different for me as I will be fully involved here, I arrived late and did not know about the club or the players. Now I do, and we have a lot of time to know what we want. I can tell you that already we know, more or less, what we want this summer because we have plenty of time to work on it. Clubs don’t want to release their players in January, and it would be the same here if someone wanted to sign one of our best players, it would not leave us with enough time to bring someone new in.”

Looked North: Kelvin Etuhu has revealed that his brother Dickson convinced him to join City’s academy. Dickson is now with Sunderland and a Nigeria international and Kelvin told City’s website: “I had a few clubs in the north interested in me and I felt that the right club for me was Manchester City. Obviously, my brother was here and there were others I was familiar with like Shaun and Bradley Wright-Phillips, so I thought it would be a good move. Having been to Manchester before I knew it would be a good place to come.”

Don Barrie <news(at)>


Disappointing would be the word I would use to describe the turn of the year. The first game of 2008 saw a City side searching for three points having drawn three consecutive matches. The aim was achieved when the Blues ran out of St. James’ Park 2-0 victors as Elano put us in front and Gelson Fernandes finished the Geordies off with his first Premier League goal, vitually putting the final nail in Allardyce’s coffin.

Unfortunately, this was the highlight of the month and from there City went on to lose at Goodison Park and drop points against both West Ham and Premier League strugglers Derby County. The league game against the Hammers was their second visit to CoMS in four days as earlier in the week City overcame West Ham to progress to the Fourth Round of the F.A. Cup at the second time of asking having taken a goaless draw at Upton Park.

The next round of the FA Cup saw the Blues travel to Bramhall Lane and officially burst the Sven revolution bubble or balloon depending on your sense of humour. Two early goals for Sheffield United (including Balloon-gate) saw the Citizens fall behind and the only light at the end of the tunnel was the pearl of a goal scored by academy graduate Danny Sturridge, who is being considered as the answer to our goal scoring problems. To cap off January, City fell at the hands of Derby County and whilst Pride Park was chuffed to pick up their eighth point of the season, City fans questioned what direction we were moving in.

The transfer window was meant to provide some light relief as Sven went in search of strikers to bolster the Blues’ attacking instincts. Rumours linking us with Berbatov, Anelka and Adriano all proved to be unfounded and come the 31st, only one player had joined up and he went on to get injured three matches into his City career. Nery Castillo, a Mexican striker from Shakhtar Donetsk, was so committed to joining the club that he paid two thirds of his three million pound signing on fee for his one year loan move. Unfortunately, the fans didn’t get much time to show their gratitude as Castillo dislocated his shoulder in only his third appearance. Deadline day introduced two new strikers to the fold, Filippo Mancini, son of Italian hero Roberto Mancini and relatively unknown Ecuadorian striker Felipe Caicedo. I’ve learnt not to complain though about unknown players as six months ago I, like many others had never heard of Elano. Two sagas are still ongoing as I write with Akram of Iraq waiting for an appeal over his work permit and Benjani of Portmouth awaiting the Premier League verdict over his mess of a transfer.

February will play host to the 149th Manchester derby and of course in memory of the 50th anniversary of the Munich air disaster, a minute’s silence shall be observed. I’m going to take this opportunity to implore all traveling fans to pay their respects during these 60 seconds and do this club proud. This is not a football matter- this is life and to taunt during the silence would simply disgrace this club and be disrespectful to the lives lost. We lost one of our own during that accident and if you respect this club and its players – past and present – you will keep your mouths closed. I know I only speak to a minority and I apologise to those whose only intention is to enjoy the game but this has to be said. Observe the minute’s silence and then make your noise for the rest of the game. I plead of you no taunts, no inappropriate chanting; do this club and all of us who can’t get there proud. Thank you.

January’s highlight- The emergence of Danny Sturridge and his lovely goal at Sheffield United.

January’s star performer- Joe Hart. His consistently strong performances and reflex saves saved City at least five points this month and the youngster was more than worthy of a place in the England senior squad; unfortunately it was not to be.

Alexander Rowen <ajpr2007(at)>


So Premier League Chairmen are considering taking Premier League matches overseas. No surprises there then as the greed of those who run football is seemingly insatiable.

It doesn’t take a genius to deduce that this is all wrong and is all about the moguls who run football and getting their grubby mitts on even more money. What is being proposed here is a threat to the integrity of football as a sport.

Why should certain clubs play an extra 39th match against the top teams when others play against those at the bottom? It clearly skews the whole idea of a league, where everyone plays each other twice and twice only, home and away. Not only that, but these people are proposing to take away the rights of fans to go along and watch their local team: all at the altar of greed.

Can we do anything to stop it? I don’t know, but it is time for this dithering, lily-livered Government to legislate to stop it from happening: for the good of the game. Write to your MP, complain to Points Of Blue, lobby the Sports Minister, vote on Websites, but for heaven’s sake, please don’t do nothing. To paraphrase an oft-heard quote, evil prospers when the good do nothing.

Phil Banerjee <Phil.banerjee(at)>


I am 50 years old and have been a Manchester City fan all my life. I was only 9 months old when 23 people died in the Munich air crash. I have been to all the derby matches over the last few seasons, but I will not be at Old Trafford on Sunday because I didn’t renew my season ticket this season, and obviously couldn’t apply for a ticket though I would have liked to have been there.

So, this morning I decided I would visit Manchester United to pay my respects. I wanted to leave a message amongst the other tributes. That message would be that genuine City fans do respect and remember those who lost their lives at Munich, including our very own Frank Swift who was retired from football after a successful England and Manchester City career. Frank was on the flight as a reporter for the News of The World, and was one of eight journalists to die that day. Many younger supporters also forget that Sir Matt Busby played 202 games for Manchester City before moving on to Liverpool.

I laid my sky blue and white scarf on the table, and after some thought, with a black marker pen I wrote the words: TRUE BLUES REMEMBER THOSE WHO DIED AT MUNICH – THURS FEB 6TH 1958 3.04PM. I also added the 23 names of those who died: Bent, Byrne, Colman, Edwards, Jones, Pegg, Taylor, Whelan, Swift, Clarke, Davies, Follows, Jackson, Ledbrooke, Rose, Thompson, Chrickmer, Whalley, Curry, Rayment, Miklos, Cable and Satinoff.

I arrived at Old Trafford at about 2pm and already there were hundreds of people milling around, with most of them congregating underneath the Munich memorial and clock, which is fixed at 3:04 pm, the time of the crash. There were many, many tributes that had been laid under the memorial, mostly flowers with messages, and I was pleased to see one or two City scarves and a flag. There was also a Sunderland shirt. I had my City shirt on but kept my jacket zipped up so as not to cause any upset or trouble.

I took my scarf out of my bag and laid it out on the tarmac with the others, stood back up and quietly studied each name I had written. Within a couple of minutes two or three United supporters patted me on the shoulder and thanked me for “a nice touch”. What amazed me over the next couple of hours was how many people not only read the message on my scarf, but photographed it! That brought a lump to my throat because perhaps my simple message had summed up that today was not just about football, it was about a loss of lives, and how it affected Manchester especially, and the rest of the country.

I stayed throughout, even joining in the spontaneous applause following the minute’s silence. The whole forecourt had been in silence until around a quarter to three when some fans started singing all the songs relating to the Busby Babes, including Flowers of Manchester, which has a verse dedicated to Frank Swift.

When I got home I watched a live report from the ground on BBC’s North West Tonight, and was delighted when the reporter held out my scarf and read out the message to the viewers, saying “this sentiment summed it up”.

The reason for doing what I did today was a personal show of respect, but at the same time I wanted to reach out to as many United fans as possible before Sunday’s derby match. This is because of the dreaded minute’s silence that will be held before the game. As I see it, Manchester City Football Club have got everything to lose from this. Because the game is live on Sky Sports, literally the eyes and ears of the world will be on the City fans for those agonising sixty seconds. If everybody is quiet and perfectly well behaved then that is what is expected, and my greatest wish is that is what will happen, but sadly I am not that naïve. I have been at an Old Trafford derby recently that coincided with the Munich anniversary, and I have experienced what happens. Apart from the odd United fan doing “aeroplane” gestures to wind up the City fans in an adjoining section, one or two City idiots, probably “under the influence”, and possibly entering the stadium at the last minute, think it’s clever to break the silence. Other City fans then ‘shush’, which is then followed pretty quickly by abusive shouts from a few United fans. Before too long thousands join in, the minute’s silence is cut short, City are seen as scum for being disrespectful, and the hatred between certain elements of both clubs’ supporters is restored. I think both clubs accept that the rivalry and hatred between the two clubs is and will always be inbred in many younger fans. Sadly this was brought home to me today as some, and I say some not all, fans chanted “Hello, hello we are the Busby Boys, and if you are a City fan surrender or you’ll die, we all follow United”.

United could have easily prevented this happening this coming weekend in such a high profile event. I wrote to City some time ago, as have City’s two Supporters’ Clubs, pleading with United to have a minute’s appreciation, where the sounds of a few idiots would be drowned out by the applause of everybody else in the stadium, including 3,000 City fans. United, understandably, said that applauding the deaths of 23 people was not appropriate, yet today the memorial service inside the ground was split into two parts; respectful remembrance followed by laughing and joking as the survivors related stories about their departed fellow players.

Let us hope and pray that Sunday’s match is a memorable occasion for the right reasons, i.e. a great football match with Matt Busby and his Babes and Frank Swift cheering from above.

The BBC clip can be found by clicking on the link and selecting view latest edition in full. Hopefully this will be Wednesday’s programme and then scroll to the last report of the programme.

For those wishing to see the scarf, there is currently a photograph of it, taken at Old Trafford today, on the front page of my website

Steve Kay <steve(at)>


Thanks for the messages of support for my plea “albeit to the lowest common denominator of society” to observe the minute’s silence on Sunday.

One of you kindly sent me a link that indicates that the entire article has been submitted to the comment section on the MEN and inserted a moniker “bitterest blue”.

Flattery aside, had I intended to put the article outside of the MCIVTA forum I would have done so myself and put my name to it and it goes without saying that I did not give my permission for the article to be submitted to the MEN, nor a nickname to have imposed upon.

Obviously I did some cut/paste myself and I’d like to think I referenced the book (The Lost Babes) where I got my research, however I failed to put the author’s name (apologies). It was Jeff Connor. A brief review from Amazon:

“The Lost Babes (Manchester United and the Forgotten Victims of Munich) written by Jeff Connor describes the inauguration of one of the great football teams in sporting history, and does so against a backdrop of the Britain of the day. He is unsparing and when describing the aftermath of the plane crash, with the club making the Munich tragedy emblematic while not looking after the survivors or the families and relatives of those who died. Of the surviving members of the team, some were unable to play ever again, and the case of the celebrated Jackie Blanchflower, severely injured in the crash, became a cause célèbre, as he became homeless when he was abruptly removed from the club house very shortly after the accident, without compensation.”

It appears the cut/paste generation of submitting homework, coursework and now articles in newspapers is alive and kicking, I suppose if High Street fast food outlets are now offering courses equivalent to A Levels and Bachelors Degrees then as an employer I shudder at the next batch of CV’s coming through and the subsequent interview process.

Can you imagine the examination: “You may now turn your burgers over and examine the entrails of the chicken’s colon”

Q: Tell me about your degree?
A: Well I got a BSE in Burgerology.
Q: Hmm was it a sandwich degree?

Next please!

Phil Lines – Not Bitterest Blue <philipjlines(at)>


I sincerely hope that there are no unseemly chants and retorts from the City contingent at O.T. next Sunday. I just hope that the City fans will remember the greatest goalkeeper to pull on an England jersey, Big Frank.

The whole loss of life was a tragedy, but I always think of Frank, he was the reason that I first started to support City back in 1946/47.

I was a little lad just starting out to play football as a goalie, and there was only ever one idol. I was taken to Maine Road in the immediate post-war seasons and I will never forget seeing the great man in goal, we beat Leicester City in the old Second Division 1-0 with Jimmy Constantine scoring the only goal. This was Christmas holiday period, and we had gone to the shrine the match before and seen the Rags play Bolton Wanderers.

C.T.I.D., Brian Rawling <brian.rawling(at)>


I just watched Sky News’ report of the England game last night. Of course, the minute’s silence was mentioned, including the fact that it was a fitting place to remember the “four” England internationals who died. I checked out the international appearances of all those who died:

Roger Byrne 33
Duncan Edwards 18
David Pegg 1
Tommy Taylor 16
Frank Swift 33

Yet again, Frank Swift is excluded. As many of us as possible should write to Sky News <news(at)> and complain about this.

George Alexander <cymruisrael(at)>


I read today that United fans have been asked to remove the ’32 Years’ banner for Sunday’s game. To be honest I’m not too bothered about what banners they have at Old Trafford but surely United fans could get their facts right – the banner should say ‘6 Years’ or was that First Division Championship in 2002 a figment of my imagination?

Alistair Wade – Glasgow <alistairgrahamwade(at)>


“Like I said I only want one thing from the deal: absolute silence between the two whistles. What do the scum 25 get from the deal! You have my permission (albeit reluctantly) to sing what ever you like for the rest of the day;” said Phil Lines in MCIVTA 1400

“Always look on the bright side of life”… appropriate song?

John Taylor <taylorjst(at)>


Congrats to Alistair MacIntosh on not being ripped off over Benjani! Well done – If only we had done the same with Keegan over Fowler!

Simon Moorehead <simonmoorehead(at)>


Just on the off-chance, if there is a spare knocking around obviously in the preferred end i’d glady take it… I’m desperate.

Up the Blues.

Joel Perry <j.perry(at)>


I have lived in San Francisco for twenty years and had to endure the local mostly-Irish-ex-pat Manchester United following. Imagine my surprise when I came across a new pub (and Thai restaurant). It is called the Manchester City Pub and is run by Tony, who is a proud friend of Frank (City’s owner). The bar is not really authentic because it has good beer, is spotless and the food is great. The barmaids wear City shirts. The pub is located in a very touristy area called North Beach. It is on Grant Avenue at Columbus, just across from the very famous Cafe Trieste.

Any City fans visiting San Fran should visit to get this place off the ground or at the very least congratulate Tony on his good sense. He can be reached at <toisanfran(at)>

TDave Humphreys <d.w.humphreys(at)>


League table to 05 February 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         25 11  2  0 29  8  7  4  1 23 10 18  6  1  52  18  34  60
 2 Manchester Utd  25 12  1  0 31  3  6  3  3 18  9 18  4  3  49  12  37  58
 3 Chelsea         25  8  4  0 23  8  8  2  3 15  9 16  6  3  38  17  21  54
 4 Everton         25  7  2  3 23 11  6  3  4 17 12 13  5  7  40  23  17  44
 5 Liverpool       24  5  6  1 26  9  6  4  2 14  8 11 10  3  40  17  23  43
 6 Aston Villa     25  7  2  4 20 16  4  6  2 24 17 11  8  6  44  33  11  41
 7 Manchester City 25  9  3  1 21 11  2  5  5 11 17 11  8  6  32  28   4  41
 8 Blackburn R.    25  5  4  4 13 13  5  5  2 19 18 10  9  6  32  31   1  39
 9 Portsmouth      25  3  7  2 15 10  7  1  5 20 16 10  8  7  35  26   9  38
10 West Ham United 24  5  4  3 15 12  5  2  5 14 10 10  6  8  29  22   7  36
11 Tottenham H.    25  6  2  4 33 22  1  6  6 12 19  7  8 10  45  41   4  29
12 Newcastle Utd   25  5  5  3 17 18  2  2  8 11 25  7  7 11  28  43 -15  28
13 Middlesbrough   25  3  4  5 13 18  3  4  6  9 20  6  8 11  22  38 -16  26
14 Bolton Wndrs    25  5  4  4 17 11  1  3  8  9 23  6  7 12  26  34  -8  25
15 Wigan Athletic  25  5  2  5 15 14  1  3  9  9 26  6  5 14  24  40 -16  23
16 Sunderland      25  6  3  3 15 13  0  2 11  9 32  6  5 14  24  45 -21  23
17 Reading         25  6  1  6 14 19  0  3  9 16 33  6  4 15  30  52 -22  22
18 Birmingham City 25  3  4  5 13 14  2  2  9 11 23  5  6 14  24  37 -13  21
19 Fulham          25  3  5  5 18 22  0  5  7  7 21  3 10 12  25  43 -18  19
20 Derby County    25  1  3  8  8 21  0  3 10  5 31  1  6 18  13  52 -39   9

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v0708.01]

[1] MCIVTA Addresses

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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)?

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The Radio Manchester (née GMR) pre and post match phone-in is available on the web at

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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.

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Newsletter #1402