Newsletter #1413

A much needed victory against Spurs at the weekend as City fought back from behind to take the game 2-1. We have match report tonight thanks to Phil and views on the performance, together with more “big name” Blues’ fans.

Next Game: Saturday 22 March 2008, 3pm, Bolton Wanderers (away)


Nedum Onuoha scored his first senior goal to clinch a much-needed win for Manchester City against the perennially tricky and talented Tottenham, who had previously beaten us here on their way to their League Cup triumph.

Richard Dunne bravely made it, to skipper the side after his horrendous wound that needed 9 stitches in the previous game and Nedum Onuoha returned alongside him after tweaking his hamstring against Wigan. Javi Garrido replaced the injured Michael Ball for his first start for a while.

Tottenham were first to threaten but Keane was wide from a tight angle. It was an even first half and City’s movement was better than in previous games with Nery Castillo at the centre of much of it. He played Benjani in down the right but there was no one on the end of the striker’s cross: City’s failure to get enough bodies in the box has been a problem for much of the season.

Elano is the great enigma. At times he looks like a player who doesn’t fancy English football any more. That may or may not be true. It could be that he has lost his confidence. Or is there a mysterious bald-headed guy in some remote Far Eastern temple affecting him with distant calls of “Elano! Elano!”? Whatever the answer, Sven’s International Rescue mission has been less effective since the Brazilian lost his form.

At times Elano didn’t look interested, failing to chase back on occasions, but at other times he looked like the enthusiastic talent that graced Eastlands in the autumn. When he did make a positive contribution going forward, City threatened and he was unlucky not to give City the lead in a first half that was short on chances. Michael Johnson’s shot was blocked with what looked like a handball and immediately after Elano’s goalbound shot was blocked by the chest of Michael Dawson on the line.

Tottenham broke down the left. Corluka sold himself too easily with a uncharacteristically half-hearted attempt to intercept, Chimbonda sped past him and played in Robbie Keane (him again!) who scored his inevitable goal against City from a tight angle past Hart’s outstretched left hand. Rather than enjoying his goal too much, he engaged in a bit of animated banter with some City fans behind the goal. Whatever all that stuff and nonsense was all about, it looked like Tottenham were going to do their usual thing at City, i.e. win.

City replied with a series of chances up to the break but all to no avail: Johnson cleverly played in the lively Castillo but the diminutive Mexican’s shot was wide; Elano had a shot saved by Robinson; and Dunne headed wide from the ensuing corner.

City continued to take the game to the visitors after the break. Stephen Ireland, who had a poor first half, played a slide rule pass through to the industrious Benjani, but his shot was blocked. Johnson played in Elano down the right and he in turn fed Castillo but Tottenham got in another block. Benjani played in Ireland and his lobbed pass was just too long for Elano to latch onto. Was this to be another game of frustration against an awkward old foe? Thankfully, the answer was a resounding no!

Benjani drove down the left and crossed. Castillo fluffed his shot, the ball looped up for Elano to flick the ball diagonally to Ireland who scored in slow motion. It would be unkind to say that it was the most half-hearted goal we’ve ever seen and that Wiggy tried his best to miss, but it all happened so slowly! Nevertheless, it was a very welcome moment and hopefully, one which will give the young Irishman a much needed boost in confidence.

City’s perennial nemesis Robbie Keane was then substituted and threw a tantrum and the tracksuit top offered to him as he left the field much to the amusement of the crowd, and I have to say, relief of many of us. At least, he couldn’t score from his sulking rôle on the bench!

Sven made his own changes, bringing on Darius Vassell for Castillo, and it paid immediate dividends. Chasing a lost cause into the right hand corner flag with his characteristic all-out endeavour, Vassell won a corner. Elano’s inch perfect flag kick was met with a firm bullet header by Nedum Onuoha and the net rippled, much to our delight. Nedum celebrated by blowing kisses into the Colin Bell/North Stand corner and was mobbed by his delighted team mates. It was a delightful goal and great to see this impressive young man grab a bit of glory.

Vassell continued to play an influential rôle: making good progress down the left, his cross was dummied by Ireland at the near post and Michael Johnson, who was having a superb game alongside the industrious Fernandes, was just wide with a snap shot.

Tottenham tried to hit back. Substitute Huddlestone had a shot well saved by Hart and the young goalkeeper parried another low, testing Berbatov effort. From the resultant corner Tottenham had the ball in the net but it was disallowed for offside. Thereafter the home fans in the Kippax/South Stand corner in particular took great delight in mocking and impersonating the visitors’ premature cheers. How nice it was to be having a laugh at the expense of this country’s gobbiest fans for once! For a change the Tottenham fans were silent, which was nice.

Vassell then played in fellow substitute Caicedo whose effort was saved. The young Ecuadorian then was wide with another effort, as City looked more likely to add to their lead than the visitors. Nevertheless, it was a relief to hear the final whistle blown; any win is welcome, but especially against an awkward and talented Tottenham side.

Hart: Did whatever he did with his usual assuredness. 7
Corluka: Worked hard to make up for his error that lead to Tottenham’s goal. 6
Dunne: Rock solid and didn’t put a foot wrong in a five star performance on St Patrick’s Day. 8
Onuoha: Scored the winner and defended solidly. Must work on making his passing less predictable. 7
Garrido: Skinned by Lennon early on but steady enough on his return. 6
Castillo: His best game to date and some good runs forward. 6
Fernandes: Linked play nicely alongside Johnson and covered every blade of grass in a very good performance. 8
Johnson: Influential, cool and composed in another mature performance. 8
Ireland: Rallied after another poor first half and showed some nice touches in the second. 6
Elano: Some very good delivery, even out of position, but it’s reasonable to expect more. 6
Benjani: Worked very and held the ball up well. 7
Vassell: Came on and made the difference with his pace and passion. 7
Caicedo: Raw but is powerful and has an eye for goal. 6
Sun: Too late to mark. n/a

Phil Banerjee <phil.banerjee(at)>


Papering over the cracks?

Having just watched the game live on Sky Sports, I am extremely happy with the result, especially as one my friends watching the match was a Spurs supporter. I was going to put down my feelings in MCIVTA after the previous match, but did not get round to it, and I was going to be scathing and vent my fury. Re the match vs. Spurs I feared us getting a pasting, as we had Richards, Ball, Petrov and Hamann missing, and our lack of a potent threat up front, did not look any different.

We were lucky to win, and SGE must start to play 2 up front. Benjani for all his work rate on his own, is not a Torres, Adebayor or Drogba and will not score as much as he did at Portsmouth.

This is my player analysis:

  1. Joe Hart: Generally did very well, not much chance with the goal, and had oneminor blip when he rushed out for a cross, and ended up in mo-man’s land. 7
  2. Richard Dunne: Colossus, has not been great in our previous 2 matches, butwas back to his imperious best, and knows how to defend. 8
  3. Nedum Onuoha: I have never seen a City player give the ball away as much ashim, I counted at least 7 occasions when he gave the ball away as soon as hewas under pressure. He has to work far more on this aspect. He was also beatenvery easily early on by the byline by Lennon, and got away with it. His winninggoal saved him from getting a rating of 4. 7
  4. Corluka: This guy comes with such acclaim, and at times looks a fantasticfootballer, but in reality, he is a poor defender and for his height he getsbeaten too often in the air. As for his defending, at times it’s a joke and heis so slow at getting back, he might as well not bother. You analyse our last 3games and you will see how poor he has played at the back. Compare him toRichards, Dunne, Jagielka etc., they put their bodies on the line, defending iswhat they thrive on, Corluka is a guy who wants to play the ball out of defence… play him in Didi’s position. 4
  5. Garrido: Again, this guy is not as good a defender as Ball, and quite often iscaught out of position – stick to the bread and butter that the positionrequires, before going walkies. He does have ability and at times looks good. 6
  6. Fernades: He has been a revelation, I cannot question his work rate anddesire, he covers the most ground in the team. I would start every match withhim. A very honest hard working central midfielder who gives 100% every match. 8
  7. Johnson: Slowly getting back to his best, flitted in and out of this match.He is one for the future and can only get better. 6
  8. Elano: Was very excited when SGE bought him and his early showing was justfantastic, but since late November he has played so below his best I would notstart with him. He just does not do enough to merit a place in front of so manyplayers who are not getting a look in. What about Geovanni, what has he donewrong? 5
  9. Benjani: Works his socks off, but has been poor in front of goal to date andI can honestly say that he needs a rest and either Caicedo or Mpenza needs achance, with maybe Benjani coming on as a sub. 6
  10. Castillo: I saw this lad play in the Copa America, and thought he wasfantastic for Mexico, I think he has great skill, and he just needs a run ofgames in the Premier League under his belt before we can honestly judge him. Hasbeen unlucky with injury. I feel he should have played on the left of midfield,it is so obvious he is all left foot, and SGE plays him on the right. 6
  11. Ireland: Another player who has one decent game followed by average one. Hehas plenty to offer, and should be encouraged to attack and break into the box,like all top midfielders do. 6
  12. Vassell: Like Fernandez, works his socks off, and that is what is endearingabout him, just needs to score a bit more to be a great striker. 5
  13. Sun: Past it. 5

I hope we can use this victory to gain some much needed confidence, and truly build on this.

Glyn Albuquerque <glynalbuquerque(at)>


The game versus Spurs was a high tech game between two very good managers/coaches in Sven Eriksson and Juande Ramos.

It was Sven who proved to be the mastermind winner in this game of chess played for the best part at high speed. Spurs gave City a very good game, but it was a defensive mistake that let Spurs in to score the first goal by Keane.

City never stopped attacking though, and I felt that it was only a matter of time before City scored. Ireland scored just before he was going to get substituted by Vassell; because he had scored Ireland stayed on and can now celebrates St Patrick’s Day.

Richard Dunne was back after his injury, nothing was going to stop this gallant player who captained his team in style; less fortunate was the Spurs captain fellow Irishman Keane who was substituted against his wishes and he showed his displeasure as he went off the pitch. City fans then chanted “Keane’s not playing anymore”. Ouch, salt on poor Keane’s wounds.

The winning goal came from a corner as Nedum headed home a rocket to win the game for City. In this game Benjani had more company up front as City pressed forward with several City players getting into scoring positions and mixing it up with Benjani. Elano was back and in better form than of late.

This was a very entertaining game to watch, and a game City deserved to win.

Although Everton slipped up against Fulham, we are still eight points behind them. I feel that City can get into sixth position in the Premier League, but unless Everton crumble big time it’s going to be tough to overtake Everton.

Another season and sixth place could have got a team into Europe but not this season, we still probably have to look at our other options for Europe.

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


To John/Joel’s list of famous City fans:
DJ Mike Pickering

And I’m sure these guys have already cropped up but, in case not:
Eddie Large
Stuart Hall

Matt Thomas <Matthew.Thomas(at)>


Hang on, hang on. Regular of the old Kippax lower – Middleton’s finest Mark Chameleon Burgess. Nick Leeson. St. Bernard RIP.

I once bumped into Nick having a pint in the Claremont a few seasons back. Not to be wowed by big names, I said to him “you were great in darkman, but I didn’t rate you in the mission”. He got a chuckle out of that and we had some Holts. Marc’n’Lard, Mark Hodkinson – more Oldham than City now. Trevor Sinclair.

And if there is any UK Subs fans out there, Nicky Garrett supports Blackburn and Alvin Gibbs is a big Palace fan with a huge respect for City.

[Thought Hod was Rochdale rather than City/Oldham? – Ed]

Stay Blue, Andy Johnson <fastandyj(at)>


Add to those names:

  • John Stapleton (TV Presenter)
  • Susan Bookbinder (Radio Presenter)
  • Mike Mclean (TV Presenter, used to be on the Big Breakfast)
  • Mark & Lard
  • Eddie Large
  • Bernard Manning (RIP Dear Bernard)
  • Ricky Hatton
  • Rick Wakeman
  • Amanda Barrie (Coronation Street)
  • Nigel Bond (Snooker)
  • Giles Carruthers (Talk Sport)
  • Howard Davies – chairman of the CBI
  • Tiffany Chapman – Brookside actress (Rachel Dixon)
  • Eddie George – Governor of the Bank of England
  • Michael Gomez – boxer
  • Stuart Hall
  • Will Greenwood
  • Simon Hill – football commentator (Radio 5 Live)
  • Jeff Hordley – Emmerdale actor (Cain Dingle)
  • Bruce Jones – actor – Coronation Street (Les Battersby)
  • Archie Kelly – comedian (Phoenix Nights)
  • Kevin Kennedy – actor – Coronation Street (Curly Watts)
  • Nick Leeson – rogue trader
  • Martin Lewis – money saving expert on This Morning
  • Clive Lloyd – former cricketer, now commentator
  • Matthew Maynard – cricketer
  • Jason Orange – member of Take That
  • Andy Peebles – Radio 2 DJ
  • Steve Penk – DJ
  • Mike Pickering – M People
  • Reni – ex Stone Roses drummer
  • Adam Rickett – actor – Coronation Street (Nicky Platt), turned pop star
  • Mark E Smith – the Fall
  • Marsha Thomason – actress (Lost, Las Vegas)
  • Mike Wedderburn – Sky Sports newsreader
  • Bob Willis – former cricketer, commentator
  • Thaksin Shinwatra (Oh he’s just jumping on the bandwagon)

Already added:

  • Sir Kevin of Cummins the worlds greatest photographer
  • Johnny Marr (You sure about that one? Sure he’s not vermin?)
  • Andy and Jez Williams Doves
  • Jimi Goodwin Doves
  • Billy Duffy The Cult
  • Damon badly worn hat Gough
  • Liam and Noel G
  • David Potts Monacp
  • Mike Joyce Smiths
  • Ian Curtis RIP Joy Division
  • Nat Curtis Ian’s daughter
  • Sally Lindsay
  • Lee Dixon
  • Paul Scholes (really?)
  • Freddie Flintoff

[Isn’t Flintoff a PNE fan, he was brought along to CoMS by Greenwood after the world cup win? – Ed]

John Nisbet <nisbet1957(at)>


16 March 2008

Fulham                1 - 0  Everton               25,262
Wigan Athletic        1 - 0  Bolton Wanderers      17,055
Manchester City       2 - 1  Tottenham Hotspur     40,180

15 March 2008

Derby County          0 - 1  Manchester United     33,072
Liverpool             2 - 1  Reading               43,524
Portsmouth            2 - 0  Aston Villa           20,388
Sunderland            0 - 1  Chelsea               44,679
West Ham United       2 - 1  Blackburn Rovers      34,006
Arsenal               1 - 1  Middlesbrough         60,084

League table to 16 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 Manchester Utd  29 12  1  1 32  5  9  3  3 27 10 21  4  4  59  15  44  67
 2 Arsenal         30 12  4  0 33 10  7  6  1 25 12 19 10  1  58  22  36  67
 3 Chelsea         29  9  5  0 29  9 10  2  3 20  9 19  7  3  49  18  31  64
 4 Liverpool       30  9  6  1 38 12  7  5  2 17  9 16 11  3  55  21  34  59
 5 Everton         30  9  2  3 27 12  8  3  5 20 13 17  5  8  47  25  22  56
 6 Portsmouth      30  6  7  2 22 12  8  1  6 22 19 14  8  8  44  31  13  50
 7 Aston Villa     30  8  3  4 25 18  5  7  3 27 21 13 10  7  52  39  13  49
 8 Manchester City 30 10  4  2 23 14  3  5  6 13 20 13  9  8  36  34   2  48
 9 Blackburn R.    30  6  5  4 18 15  6  5  4 21 22 12 10  8  39  37   2  46
10 West Ham United 30  6  5  4 18 18  6  2  7 15 18 12  7 11  33  36  -3  43
11 Tottenham H.    29  7  2  4 37 22  2  6  8 17 25  9  8 12  54  47   7  35
12 Wigan Athletic  30  7  3  5 18 14  1  4 10  9 28  8  7 15  27  42 -15  31
13 Middlesbrough   30  4  4  6 14 19  3  6  7 13 25  7 10 13  27  44 -17  31
14 Reading         30  7  1  7 17 21  1  3 11 18 36  8  4 18  35  57 -22  28
15 Newcastle Utd   29  5  5  5 18 24  2  2 10 12 32  7  7 15  30  56 -26  28
16 Sunderland      30  7  3  5 17 15  0  3 12  9 33  7  6 17  26  48 -22  27
17 Birmingham City 29  4  5  5 19 17  2  3 10 14 28  6  8 15  33  45 -12  26
18 Bolton Wndrs    29  5  4  6 18 15  1  3 10 10 28  6  7 16  28  43 -15  25
19 Fulham          30  4  5  7 19 26  0  6  8  8 23  4 11 15  27  49 -22  23
20 Derby County    30  1  4 10  8 25  0  3 12  6 39  1  7 22  14  64 -50  10

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1413