Newsletter #1409

A disappointing result and overall performance on Saturday as we failed to capitalise on our chances against Wigan, but did give them a leg up the table. Match report tonight thanks to Phil and views from TV.

We also have opinion on form, the usual requests and yet more on the not really here.

Next Game: Saturday 8 March 2008, 3pm, Reading (away)


In a damp squib of a match on a wet March evening, City fired blanks and dropped 2 more points against a dogged Wigan side who might have snatched all three points at the death. Sven restored Elano to the playmaker’s rôle just behind Benjani up front; Stephen Ireland was pushed into a left sided rôle in Martin Petrov’s absence through suspension; and Michael Johnson made a welcome return alongside Gelson Fernandes in the midfield engine room. Vedran Corluka was restored to right back with Nedum Onuoha moving across to centre back to replace the injured Micah Richards who is recovering from a cartilage operation.

City played far too many long balls in a dull first half, and when we did get the ball down and play the usual passing game, too many moves broke down in the final third of the pitch. The visitors, though limited, carried a threat and it took two City defenders to stop their right winger, Valencia, from capitalising. For City, Vassell had an effort saved after a good cross from Michael Ball. Most chances were from long range: Michael Ball’s shot sailed over the bar after good work by Vassell and Ireland; and from Elano’s corner Johnson cleverly played in Ireland who blazed over. It was good to see Johnson back in midfield and he went on a powerful run but his shot also ended up over the bar. City’s best chance of the first half came: after an accurate pass out from Hart to Johnson, the young midfielder played in Ireland who threaded an incisive ball to Benjani. The Zimbabwean’s close range effort was smothered bravely by Kirkland.

Michael Brown, who had been whispering sweet nothings in Elano’s ear ever since the Brazilian mistimed a challenge on him, predictably flattened our playmaker with a thuggish challenge that was so late that it was almost made on Sunday morning. Referee Bennett duly booked Brown who is one of those ex-City players from an era that we try not to remember. Come to think of it, he is one of those players that we try not to remember! The visitors carried a legitimate threat too with Heskey as ever a handful and the England striker headed wide from a Wigan free kick on the stroke of half time.

The second period resumed with Elano playing a great diagonal ball to Vassell who crossed for Benjani but it was to no avail. It was to be the last that we saw from the Brazilian who had to be helped off with what looked like a painful knee injury. In his place came the powerful Felipe Caicedo in a more advanced striker’s rôle and he was soon in the action as City moved the ball round quicker and looked more comfortable with 2 strikers. The Ecuadorian made one super turn and also fed Benjani, whose shot was saved by the impressive Kirkland. Wigan still carried a threat and Dunne was forced to block a powerful effort by Marlon King.

Sven looked to add more pace to the side when he brought on Castillo for the toiling Ireland who had looked like a fish out of water on the left side of midfield. Antoine Sibierski was on for King to a mixture of boos and polite applause. As average as Sibierski was overall, the boos don’t really make much sense as he didn’t really leave us under a cloud.

Castillo has a shot from distance saved. Then Benjani really should have scored after an excellent pass from Caicedo inside the full back found Vassell, whose accurate cross from the left was struck wide by the Zimbabwean: it was a bad miss. It was that sort of day and it was obvious at that moment, if it wasn’t before, that we weren’t going to win. After that it was a case of would we get a point as Wigan made a late bid for a smash and grab. Sibierski nearly made us pay when he hit wide from a Heskey cross, and then the England striker made another powerful run and his cross resulted in a great save by Hart from Palacios’ shot and the Honduran midfielder thankfully blazed the rebound over when he should have scored. Sven acknowledged afterwards that he needs to freshen up his tactics as we have become predictable and teams have worked out how to snuff us out, particularly at home. That is reassuring as City need to find some more inspiration if European qualification is to become reality this season.

Hart. His sharp reflexes were put to good use again and his reputation grows by the game: 7
Corluka. Good to have him back: 6
Dunne. Stood up well to Heskey’s challenge: 6
Onuoha. Pretty solid. One very good tackle in the first half. Needs to sharpen up his distribution: 6
Ball. Struggled when Heskey pulled wide late on and ran at him but otherwise solid and good going forward: 6
Vassell. Should have had an assist that his relentless hard work deserved: 7
Johnson. Good to have him back. A mature performance from one so young alongside his possible long term midfield partner: 7
Fernandes. Good industry throughout again: 7
Ireland. Some good balls but tended to drift inwards into an abyss from his unfamiliar left midfield rôle: 5
Elano. One sumptuous pass, but marked well and kicked out of it: 5
Benjani. Worked hard but should have scored twice: 6
Caicedo. Pacy, powerful and creative: looks ready for a start: 7
Castillo. Ran down some blind alleys but threatens with his pace: 6

Phil Banerjee <phil.banerjee(at)>


Thank goodness I didn’t have to get up in the middle of the night to watch that dribble, I had more fun playing with my six month old granddaughter. That was two very ordinary sides, playing ordinary football, with an ordinary result (it could have been worse, we could have lost). Mind you there was several times I yelled at the TV for Wigan to score to put us out of our misery!

I dunno, maybe our tactics are wrong, maybe we should play two up front. It just seems that our system is to stop the opposition scoring instead of us winning. I look at United with envy, they have a bad result and the next week they’re back scoring three or four. We have a bad day and next week we have another, and another. Something wrong somewhere huh.

Well it’s 8.30 am, it’s stopped raining, the sun’s out and my granddaughter has finally gone to sleep. Gee it’s quiet!

Stay Blue, someone has to!

Kevin Williamson <scribbs(at)>


Wigan left the CoMS with a point from a dismal game, I think you probably would have had more excitement reading the match programme than watching this game.

In fact the TV cameras at one point showed a young girl in the stands reading a child’s book whilst the game was going on, I thought to myself the kid’s got it right.

For the talent that City have, this game should have been won, it must have been on the cards for a draw for this game could have almost put me to sleep, I just kept hoping something positive would happen.

Man of the match? No player even deserved that title. Europe next season? No, City are not ready for it, it will be like Derby County coming into the Premier League ahead of their time, we would not survive, unless big changes are made.

Sure, City have improved, but we are behind the other top clubs not only in points but in the goals that we have scored. Big improvements have got to be made to be a top club; we’re on our way but some way to go.

So as not to sound too negative I will close on a positive note, it was great to see Michael Johnson back in action.

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


Graham Mills in MCIVTA 1408, what a load of tripe!

We were beaten by a much better Everton team that has been built over the last 3 or 4 seasons.

“Futile display”, “abject displays”, “markedly uphill task”. These things should not come into the vocabulary of any City fan this season at all. The team have not even been together for 20% of the time that the Everton players have.

I for one will back the team and Sven 100%; watching the football we play now compared to the last number of years does not compare.

We keep the ball, play well with it and create some chances, and this will continue to improve as this team grows together, I am convinced of that.

Rome was not built in a day. Get behind them and support the things that are happening, be patient, don’t expect things to happen overnight.

Your negative post really wound me up. You can’t have supported City that long if you are coming out with the rubbish you posted.

“Good luck to Sven, he needs plenty of it”… what we really need is people and their comments such as yours to put a sock in it and not expect a turnaround in one season.

Brian Jenkins <Brian.Jenkins(at)>


Don’t know if you’ve seen the attached website but thought it might interest some readers. It is saying something when one of my paralegals brings this to show at lunchtime in New York:

Jon Davenport <jdavenport(at)>


Following recent comments about the origin of the Invisible Man song I think it is time to put the record straight once and for all. This is the correct and only true version of how it came to be sung at City games, I am sorry to dispell myths and propaganda about all the other reasons people now believe how it came about. In 1993 while about 30 lads from Prestwich were on a stag do in Amsterdam, one of the mates back home died in tragic circumstances. A week after we got back loads of us were out having a drink in the Forresters Arms in Prestwich when a lad stood up to toast our mate and then called for silence and sang the full version: “If you drink you will die, if you don’t drink you will die but it is better to be drunk than be sober when you die just like the fan etc.” About 12 months later I organised 2 coaches on City’s tour of Ireland playing Athlone and Cork. We spent most of the time on the coach getting drunk and singing songs .I started the Invisible Man one on the coach. We were invited to the Cork branch of MCFC supporters’ branch, and instead of giving a thank you speech I started singing that song again. The following season Bill Black from Levenshulme who helped organise the Ireland trip started running coaches to all away games. Fans who were on the ireland trip went to most of the away games and with others just stated singing it but left the first bit out. It was catchy at first but to be honest it gets on my nerves now. The origin had absolutely nothing to do with football, but I suppose over the years fans have added their own interpretation to it.

Don Price <donprice(at)>


Does anyone have two spare tickets to the Reading game?

I want to take my 5 year old, so would appreciate having the tickets up front rather than having to buy them outside.

Please e-mail me or call me on 07970-070372.

St. John Cox <COXST(at)>


Does anyone have a spare Reading ticket please? If so let me know, thanks.

Anne <annemcfc(at)>


2 March 2008

Bolton Wanderers      1 - 3  Liverpool             24,004
Everton               3 - 1  Portsmouth            33,938

1 March 2008

Arsenal               1 - 1  Aston Villa           60,097
Birmingham City       4 - 1  Tottenham Hotspur     26,055
Derby County          0 - 0  Sunderland            33,058
Fulham                0 - 3  Manchester United     25,314
Middlesbrough         0 - 1  Reading               23,273
Newcastle United      0 - 1  Blackburn Rovers      34,969
West Ham United       0 - 4  Chelsea               34,969
Manchester City       0 - 0  Wigan Athletic        38,261

League table to 02 March 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         28 12  3  0 32  9  7  5  1 25 12 19  8  1  57  21  36  65
 2 Manchester Utd  28 12  1  1 32  5  8  3  3 26 10 20  4  4  58  15  43  64
 3 Chelsea         27  8  5  0 23  8  9  2  3 19  9 17  7  3  42  17  25  58
 4 Everton         28  9  2  3 27 12  7  3  4 19 12 16  5  7  46  24  22  53
 5 Liverpool       27  6  6  1 29 11  7  5  2 17  9 13 11  3  46  20  26  50
 6 Aston Villa     28  8  2  4 24 17  5  7  2 27 19 13  9  6  51  36  15  48
 7 Blackburn R.    28  6  4  4 17 14  6  5  3 20 20 12  9  7  37  34   3  45
 8 Manchester City 28  9  4  2 21 13  3  5  5 13 18 12  9  7  34  31   3  45
 9 Portsmouth      28  4  7  2 16 10  8  1  6 22 19 12  8  8  38  29   9  44
10 West Ham United 27  5  5  4 16 17  6  2  5 15 10 11  7  9  31  27   4  40
11 Tottenham H.    27  6  2  4 33 22  2  6  7 16 23  8  8 11  49  45   4  32
12 Middlesbrough   28  4  4  6 14 19  3  4  7 11 23  7  8 13  25  42 -17  29
13 Newcastle Utd   28  5  5  5 18 24  2  2  9 12 29  7  7 14  30  53 -23  28
14 Wigan Athletic  28  6  2  5 17 14  1  4 10  9 28  7  6 15  26  42 -16  27
15 Sunderland      28  7  3  3 17 13  0  3 12  9 33  7  6 15  26  46 -20  27
16 Birmingham City 28  4  5  5 19 17  2  3  9 12 24  6  8 14  31  41 -10  26
17 Bolton Wndrs    28  5  4  6 18 15  1  3  9 10 27  6  7 15  28  42 -14  25
18 Reading         28  6  1  7 15 21  1  3 10 17 34  7  4 17  32  55 -23  25
19 Fulham          28  3  5  7 18 26  0  5  8  7 22  3 10 15  25  48 -23  19
20 Derby County    28  1  4  9  8 24  0  3 11  5 33  1  7 20  13  57 -44  10

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1409