Newsletter #1422

At last, something to celebrate as City win the FA Youth Cup – match report and news tonight and all congratulations to those who have been running the Academy so successfully for the past few years.

We also have news on the rumour mill given the chairman’s comments and media speculation this week on the manager and players, and finally a request for your memories of 1968’s success.

Next Game: Sunday 20 April 2008, 4pm, Portsmouth (home)


General News

Big Phil to Fill In for Little Sven? If I was a Swede called Sven, who wore Cuban heels with lifts, I’d be a very worried man today. As we’ve been reporting over recent weeks, the signs were that all was not well between S-GE and Dr. Thaksin, and Sunday saw an explosion of ‘Sven to Go’ stories in the papers. The Sunday Times claimed that the club have ‘lost confidence’ in Eriksson, while the Observer quoted one of those mysterious sources close to the club as saying “Thaksin rang Sven to reprimand him, telling him he would be sacked at the end of the season if results did not improve.” Both journals agreed that the man Thaksin would approach was Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, who will become available after the Euro 2008 campaign is over. On Monday, Paul Tyrell was wheeled out to deny these claims. “The chairman made it clear recently that he was happy with the progress made and that a top-ten finish was his target this season,” he said in the MEN. “Our win at Sunderland equals the club’s biggest points tally in Premier League history and with four games to go everybody remains focused on continuing the dramatic progress we have under Thaksin Shinawatra and Sven-Goran Eriksson.” But the speculation was further fuelled by the owner’s less than ringing endorsement of his manager on Tuesday. Asked by reporters in Dubai whether Eriksson’s job was in jeopardy, Thaksin said: “There are no plans at the moment. We will have to evaluate at the end of the season.” This non-endorsement was neatly summed up by Mirror in the headline: “THAK MAY BE YOUR LOT SVEN.” And what was the phlegmatic gaffer’s reaction to all this speculation? “These kinds of stories do not annoy me,” he declared. “When you live in football you also live with rumours. I have a contract for two more seasons and that is it. I am here to complete what I started. I can understand people not being happy with the second half of the season. I have not been happy with it either but after winning at Sunderland I hope we are back now and everything should be on track.”

Youth Triumphs: Best news of the week? City have won some silverware! City’s under 19’s beat Chelsea 3-1 at the COMS on Wednesday night in the Final of the FA Youth Cup, securing a 4-2 aggregate victory over the Londoners. City suffered an early setback as Ray McGivern deflected the ball into his own net, but secured a lead thanks to a towering header from skipper Ben Mee, and a cracking free kick from winger Vladimir Weiss. David Ball’s penalty strike 3 minutes from time eased City’s nerves, then Chelsea assisted even further by having their player Mellis sent off. So a first FA Youth Cup since 1986, and the first one won under the guidance of Jim Cassell. “We have had many proud moments in the last ten years, but this is right up there with them all,” said Cassell. “Vladimir’s goal was of such quality that it would have graced any game in any stadium in the world. That is just what he is capable of but this was a win for the team not for one player. In many ways the game typified our whole run in the competition. These lads do not know the meaning of the word quit and my staff and I are immensely proud of all of them. They showed wonderful commitment and will to win and no little skill either. Make no mistake Chelsea are a top quality side and in the end we were very brave coming from behind as we did. Lots of the lads were out on their feet in the final quarter of an hour which seemed to last about an hour! It was great that the crowd got behind them so well in the closing moments. They were a terrific help and it was great to see so many come to the game.”
TEAM: Hartley, Trippier (Ibrahim 90), McGivern, Boyata (Tsiaklis 82), Mee, Tutte, Weiss, Kay, Ball, Mak, McDermott. Not used: Mentel, Nimely and Poole.

Trap Set for Stephen: Stephen Ireland is inching ever closer to a return to his national squad. Stephen hasn’t featured for his country since announcing his international retirement in the wake of the embarrassing “Your-Grannies-Aren’t-Dead-Gate” (I think I’ll have to work on a snappier title than that – leave it with me) in September last year. There was one report this week suggesting that Irish boss Giovanni Trapattoni has included Stephen in a training camp. Meanwhile, the player was quoted as saying: “I have never told anybody that I am not going to play for my country and I have an open mind going into my meeting with Mr Trapattoni. Obviously, because I am meeting with the new Irish manager I cannot say a lot, but I am looking forward to sitting down with him. Personally, I will be happy to resolve the matter as soon as I have met with the manager and we have both discussed our situations.”

Singapore Sling: Thanks to Neil Adshead, who’s spotted some more details on City’s forthcoming tour of Asia. City it seems will play Singapore’s national side between May 14 and 20 (although who’ll be in charge of the team by then remains to be seen of course). “Mr. Thaksin will be with the team and he hopes this tour will give the people of Asia a chance to get close to the City players,” a spokesman said. Other stops of the tour include Hong Kong, Macao, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur. Blimey, that’s a lot of Air Miles…

Boj Job in the Reserves: City’s Reserves lost 2-1 to Liverpool last week, although the interesting point for City fans is that Valeri Bojinov came on as sub and scored a goal – or may not have, depending on who you talk to. City’s late consolation goal came from a free kick swung into the area by Adam Clayton, which ended up in the net after a scramble between Valeri and the Liverpool goalie. Reserves’ coach Ian Miller said: “Valeri claims he got a touch on it, as all good strikers would! Liverpool’s TV people told me it looks like Adam’s goal, but Valeri did very well after coming on, and he could have scored with virtually his first touch. The two teams were pretty even in the first half, but Liverpool were clinical in front of goal. I thought we were the better side after the break, and it was nice to see Valeri get some match action under his belt after so long.” S-GE doesn’t believe that the former Fiorentina man is ready for a first team return just yet, but has welcomed the news that Boj is back on the comeback trail all the same. “Bojinov looks better and better. He has a long way to go before he is 100 percent but he played 25 minutes in the reserves against Liverpool, which is good,” said Eriksson. “I wouldn’t say he is desperate to play football but almost. He has been out for a long time but has been working hard in the gym with the physios. Five or six weeks ago we thought he was on the right way and he played for the reserves and then we had to take him out and put him on more training in the gym and more muscle work. It has been very tough for him and that is good (he has returned to action).”
Team: Andreas Isaksson, Curtis Obeng, Karl Moore, Sam Williamson, Garry Breen, Michael Daly, Adam Clayton, Ashley Grimes, Alex Nimley-Tchuimeni, Paul Marshall, Christian Mouritsen (Valeri Bojinov 69). Subs: Richard Martin, James Poole, Ian Daly, Matthew Brown.

Micah in Good Company: Despite having a season disrupted by injuries and a tawdry story or two about his private life, Micah Richards is on this season’s shortlist to be Young Player of the Year, as voted for by his fellow professionals through the PFA. The other nominees are – the Aston Villa pair of Gabriel Agbonlahor and Ashley Young (Young has also featured in some sleazy Sunday tabloid tales this term), some bloke called Cristiano Ronaldo (now he’s definitely been in the News of the Screws for non-footballing reasons – is this the only way to qualify for the award these days?) and Fernando Torres of Liverpool (nominated for scoring – a lot of goals only, as far as we know). Micah’s views on his selection? “I’m really pleased to have been nominated, especially after having to miss the last few weeks because of my knee injury. It’s flattering to be up for the award against so many great players, but I’m the only defender to have been nominated so it’s nice to fly the flag for the boys at the back!” Micah gave the club website an update on his recovery from his injury. “The knee feels OK now, but I don’t want to rush it. I was out for six weeks, did a bit of training on Thursday and now it feels good. I’m not rushing it, and I don’t want to put a timescale on it but I think I should be back in full training next week.”

Transfer News and Gossip

Do What, Ron? Can you believe it? Given a choice between the throbbing metropolis of Mancunia (along with the tense excitement of fighting for top spot in the Fair Play league), or some sleepy hamlet in Northern Italy called Milan, world superstar Ronaldinho is looking more and more likely to sign for AC Milan. Hard to comprehend, I know. It’s being reported that he of the corn row hair and prominent teeth has agreed initial terms with Milan according to his agent and to the Italian giants. The 28-year-old Brazilian has struggled for form at the Camp Nou this season and misses the rest of the campaign because of a leg injury. His agent, and brother, Roberto de Assis, and Milan are now set for further talks with Barcelona. Spanish and Italian reports have speculated that a €20-30 million transfer fee could be tabled, with Ronaldinho buying up the rest of his Barça contract. “In general, Ronaldinho and Milan are in agreement,” de Assis said to Gazzetta dello Sport. Milan’s chief executive Adriano Galliani concurred. “There is a general agreement with the player. Now a deal has to be reached with Barcelona. Give us time,” he stated.

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: Today’s Sun newspaper claims that City are ready to accept an offer of around £8 million for Stephen Ireland from Sunderland in the summer. Ireland is contracted to City until the end of next season but our old chum Roy “take that you b*****d” Keane (of whom more later) has made no secret of his desire to land his fellow Irishman. Keane said: “Whatever problems he has, he is a very, very good player.” Another youngster allegedly on his way is Michael Johnson, who once again is being linked with a move to Liverpool. The Daily Mail believes that it is Rafa Benitez’s third attempt to take the 20-year-old midfielder to Anfield, with talk (yet again) of a possible swap deal involving Peter Crouch. And while we’re flogging off the young talent, how about shipping out the skipper as well – it’s said Newcastle United are willing to pay £8 million for Richard Dunne. The Republic of Ireland international has just one more year remaining on his contract at City, and he is believed to want a huge pay rise to put him alongside the top earners and stay at Eastlands. However, former City boss Kevin Keegan is well aware that discussions have not yet resulted in an outcome, and he is willing to pay £8 million to take 28-year-old Dunne to St. James’ Park. Despite this speculation, S-GE is determined to keep his skipper. “I’m quite sure it will be sorted out,” said the Swede. “He has become a special, special player for us. He has been the best player for the club for the last couple of years. It’s easy to see why we want to keep him.”

Come Home, Shaunie: Enough already with the gloom and doom of who’s supposed to be leaving – what about a word or two about some arrivals? Here’s a favourite old story about an old favourite. Shaun Wright-Phillips is all set to leave Chelsea in the summer and return to the club where he made his name, according to a report in the News of the World. Sven inquired about the winger during the January transfer window and was told the former City player could be available at the end of the season, for around £10 million. Could City be looking North of the Border for a new striker, with Rangers’ prolific striker Kris Boyd in their sights? The Rangers striker, 24, is the second highest goalscorer in SPL history with 113 goals. Boyd has shrugged off talk of such interest, however. “It’s not come to that stage for me, and I don’t think it’s come to that stage for Rangers either,” he told Sky Sports News, when asked about a possible departure. “At the end of the day if the gaffer didn’t want me then he’d come and tell me that it’s time to find another club.” S-GE has identified Diego, the outstanding Brazil midfielder, as his principal target in the summer transfer market. The Guardian reports that the Bundesliga footballer of the year could cost in excess of £10 million from Werder Bremen but Eriksson believes it will be money well spent on a player who, at the age of 23, has already won 34 caps. It sounds like he’s already set on leaving Germany, as he mulled over the merits of potential moves. Diego said: “In Italy there are extraordinary clubs with rowdy fans, which unfortunately are creating some problems. Now Spain and England are somewhat at the top.”

Li-Lo Bid Floated: Porto’s Argentinian striker Lisandro Lopez is a target for City, Newcastle and Tottenham – according to reports in Portugal. The 25-year-old has topped the scoring charts in Portugal again this season with 21 goals in 23 games – ten more than his nearest rival – and has attracted interest from all over Europe. “The good performance that Lisandro has delivered since he arrived to Porto and the goals that he has scored this season for his team, being the top-scorer of the Portuguese league, has made English teams and Sevilla interested in him,” Lopez’s agent told the Argentine press. “For the moment I can’t say the names of the English teams that have shown their interest but what I can say is that I haven’t received any kind of proposal from Roma like it has been said in the Italian press,” he said. “Lisandro will cost nearly 15 million euros (£12 million) so the teams interested have to know that to start any negotiations they to have the intention to pay that amount.”

Back in Blue? Now here’s a thought – we might not have seen the last of Rolando Bianchi. Lazio coach Delio Rossi has admitted that the permanent signing of the striker Rolando Bianchi may depend on UEFA Cup qualification. He said: “It’s not about whether we buy him or not. The problem is much more difficult than that. Lazio must consider whether we will be in the UEFA Cup or not. We have a duty to build the strongest team possible here, though everything depends on budgets.” While you ponder the return of the scarf-wearing one, here’s a couple of transfer rumourettes. West Ham United defender Danny Gabbidon is interesting the Blues, apparently. Sven sees Gabbidon as ideal cover for first-choice defensive pairing Richard Dunne and Micah Richards. And finally, Barnet youngster Albert Adomah is believed to be attracting attention from a pack of Premiership clubs, including Eastlands’ finest. The 20 year old attacking midfielder has bagged 5 goals in 18 appearances for the League Two side so far this season and has impressed watching scouts with his performances.

Ex-Blues’ News

Wember-Lee, Wember-Lee… He Was the Best Chairman We Had in Years, and He’s Going to Wember-Lee: I think a former Chairman of MCFC counts as an ex-Blue, so thanks to Phill G for sending in this item. It’s good to know that someone with a City connection might reach Wembley this year… “Wembley Stadium faces a period of upheaval following the resignation of Michael Jeffries. The Guardian understands that he has agreed to step down as chairman of Wembley National Stadium Limited, and an announcement confirming his departure is expected shortly. Sources have also confirmed that negotiations over refinancing between WNSL and the consortium of banks that funded the project are at an advanced stage. Jeffries’ move comes as the new Football Association chairman, Lord Triesman, takes a hands-on rôle at the stadium. He is leading a review of the management structure and financing of the arena, which has been a constant source of trouble for the FA for a decade. David Bernstein, the former Manchester City chairman, is a strong candidate to succeed Jeffries, but it is thought Triesman is considering whether he should take a seat on the board, or even chair the organisation. “

Morrison in Court: Former City captain Andy Morrsion is to appear at Crown Court next month. Morrison, aged 37 has denied a charge of assault causing actual bodily harm. He was arrested on February 3 following an alleged incident in a pub car park. His case was adjourned to Chester Crown Court for a pleas and directions hearing on May 13.

After-Match Reactions and Comments

Listen to Me! It’s always a pleasure when City win of course, but an extra frisson is added by the knowledge that the manager of the vanquished side is Roy Maurice Keane Esq. So Saturday afternoon’s 2-1 victory away at Sunderland was a doubly sweet occasion. Not that the quality of football was up to much – according to the pithy half-time text I received from one of my siblings at the Stadium of Light, “They’re playing long balls all the time and we’re sh**e” (thanks Andrew). All the action took place in the last eleven minutes. Sub Danny Sturridge tumbled in the area, and Elano converted the subsequent penalty, Sunderland equalised with the goal of the game, a crashing volley by Dean Whitehead, before Darius “Who Needs Ronaldinho” scored the comedy goal of the season by scuffing a shot so badly that Black Cats’ ‘keeper Craig Gordon dived 20 minutes too early, and the ball bobbled 17 times before crossing the line. But we’ll have that. Time for a bit of a rant, about the penalty and about his team’s end-of-season-itis, from Keano. He began in philosophical mode: “Football can be a cruel game and I think today was cruel on the players, but we gave away some bad goals I have to say. It [the penalty] changed the game and I have seen it again and it clearly wasn’t a penalty. That’s another decision that has gone against us and we have to accept it and move on, we cannot expect the referee to change his mind obviously. I would have taken a draw at the time as I don’t think we started the game well and when we got back to 1-1, I would have taken the draw there and then because our passing and movement was not up to our pretty high standards. It just makes it much harder to take to concede such a bad second goal. It had draw written all over it and we would have been happy to take it but we haven’t and we have to move on and learn from it. I have been saying all week that we have got a lot of hard work ahead of us,” added Keane. “Maybe the players thought they can maybe take their foot off the gas a bit, but football has a great way to bring you back down to earth with a bump and we have had that today and we have to make sure we are better next week. Everybody keeps telling us we are safe, but I am the manager and I keep telling them we are not so they’d better start listening to me.”

Things Can Only Get Better: Sven came mighty close to using that well known cliché about these things evening themselves out. “It was always going to be a battle and a difficult game,” he said, “but the spirit seems to be back and let’s hope it stays until the end of the season. From the bench I though Vassell’s goal was going out, and maybe the penalty was harsh but Rob Stiles gave a harsh one against us at Birmingham. There was definitely contact though. Maybe the luck has turned, but I thought the boys did very well today and Elano was very good, more like the real Elano and I hope we see more of it in the next few weeks.” Warming to his theme, Sven continued: “It’s good to see a player like Elano coming back and doing so many good things again, because we need the real Elano and I hope he stays like this until the end of the season,” he declared. “He’s been out of form a little bit for some time, he and Petrov have been important for us in terms of scoring and creating goals all season. Petrov was out of the team for a while, Elano was out of form so it’s good to see them back like this. Elano’s the player with imagination who can see things, play team-mates in and score goals as well, but he worked hard defensively against Sunderland as well. That was important with what kind of game we knew it would be.” He also thinks that this team will be better next season. “Nobody knew very much about us at the beginning of the season – today, everybody knows Petrov, everybody knows Elano, everybody knows everything about us, which is normal. Then we have a lot of players playing their first year in the Premier League and that has been a tough experience for them, many, many games, no breaks and things like that. But those new players, I am sure they will be better next season than this season. Next season, they will know what the business is about.”

Squad News

Isak’s Praise: Sven has paid tribute to Andreas Isaksson, who despite losing his place in the team, has maintained a dignified attitude. “Andreas is extremely professional,” Eriksson said. “He didn’t like my decision, which is understandable. He was disappointed, but he has been professional. There has not been one bad word.” He wasn’t too sure when last week’s rumour was put to hi, viz: Chelsea would sign the Swedish shot stopper as emergency cover. “I hadn’t heard about that one,” asserted a bemused boss. “I’m not even sure if that’s allowed under the rules, is it?” I’m afraid it is, Mr.E.

Don Barrie <news(at)>


‘Maybe in another generation…’

Manchester City’s Youth team deservedly won the FA Youth Cup in a thrilling game at Eastlands in front of a good crowd of 19,743. They emulated the winners of 1986: Redmond, Brightwell White, Lake, Hinchcliffe et al and it is a great achievement for Jim Cassell’s Academy. Like the lads in the 80s, this team won it in an exciting game and it was great to see City Youth Team Captain Ben Mee lift the trophy. Furthermore, fans can look forward to some of these players graduating to the first team in the near future. As a club City can take great credit because most of this Chelsea side were bought from other clubs rather than scouted like the majority of City’s players.

Naturally, the FA’s top brass were there including good old Sir Trevor Brooking who was being interviewed pitchside by Sky before the match. The conversation probably went like this: “So, Sir Trevor, who do you think will win tonight?” to which West’aiim’s finest undoubtedly would have replied with great insight “Weww, er, gotta say, er, City have a charnss of winnin’, bat, er, actually, Chewwsey could well, er, win the cap.”

Chelsea, who had been taken to Sardinia in preparation for this game, started off the stronger with stumpy little left winger (complete with orange tan and dodgy bleached-blonde mullet), Miroslav Stoch giving Kieran Trippier plenty to think about down our right. Stoch aside, the visitors looked like the bigger, stronger side and they were perhaps allowed too much time to pass the ball. Stoch was wide with a shot after he cut in and Chelsea were definitely carrying the greater threat. Unfortunately, like some of his team mates, young Stoch liked a dive and earned the ire of the crowd with his feigning of injury. He wasn’t the only one, and as happy an occasion this was, it was depressing to see Chelsea’s youngsters behaving in such an unsporting manner. The visitors took the lead when a powerful run into the box by a Chelsea forward led to a shot being saved by Hartley in the City goal and the rebound deflecting in off the unlucky Ryan McGivern who was coming back to cover.

Led by skipper Ben Mee, City gradually worked their way into the game with the thrilling Vladimir Weiss on the right flank and impressive Donal McDermot on the left leading the charge with some powerful, tricky running at the Chelsea defence. They linked very well with tricky, quick turning strikers David Ball and Robbie Mak (who was in for Danny Sturridge who was injured winning a penalty for the first team on Saturday). Kieran Trippier was getting to grips with Stoch – “You’ve been tangoed” commented one wag when our full back put in a tackle on him. With Scot Kay and Andrew Tutte taking control in midfield and providing the basis for Weiss in particular to terrorise Chelsea left back Gordon, the Boys in Blue exerted no little pressure on the retreating visitors. Andrew Tutte had a powerful goalbound shot brilliantly saved by Taylor in the Chelsea goal. City were rewarded when after a corner the ball was cleared out to Tutte whose long cross was headed in by skipper Ben Mee. City had the bit between their teeth now in a thrilling game, with Weiss and McDermot swapping wings. Vladimir Weiss was even more effective down the left wing and as well as terrorising the Chelsea backline with his skilful, pacy running, he played some lovely inch perfect balls up to the lively, intelligent partnership of his fellow Slovak Robbie Mak and David Ball.

City soon were in front. We won a free kick down the left and from more than 25 yards out Weiss struck an unstoppable shot high into the top right hand corner of the net. It was an absolutely brilliant free kick and underlined Weiss’s undoubted talent: it cannot be long before he breaks into the first team.

City picked up where they left off early in the second half, pressing for a second goal, before tiredness crept in and the team dropped deeper and deeper into defence, relying on the breaks of Weiss, Mak and Ball. The whole team had to work hard in a tight, tense contest.

Chelsea’s attack was blunted by superb defending and the visitors got increasingly desperate. Some of the Chelsea youngsters did like a dive, it has to be said. Indeed, their lack of sportsmanship stank the place out more than the young Chelsea fan with a personal hygiene problem who sat next to me on the bus (Chelsea, Schmelsea!) and they later earned a chant of ‘Same old Chelsea, always cheating.’ All this from a sporting City crowd that was happy to clap their players off when substituted.

Young Debryk Boya had been a colossus at the back alongside Mee and he suffered from cramp to increase our anxiety. However, much to the Blues’ credit, they kept Chelsea at arm’s length, restricting them mostly to long range efforts. Not only did Weiss and Donal McDermot demonstrate great skill but they have an excellent work ethic and defended superbly as well – something that runs right through this City youth team. Greg Hartley deserves special commendation for his excellent handling in goal. He made some good saves and his handling especially under pressure at set pieces, was faultless. There were so many positives from this performances, so many great individual performances, but overall there was an excellent team spirit and organisation that is a credit to the boys and the Academy coaching staff. Boyata was finally substituted perhaps ten minutes later than he should have been to warm applause. This is a team of many talents: left back Ryan McGivern showed great vision and precision to play an inch perfect 70 yard pass into the stride of Mak.

With the clock being run down, Weiss then broke down the right at great speed from his own half. He should squared the ball to an advancing team mate but took the ball into the box and was fouled. From the result spot kick David Ball coolly sent Taylor the wrong way and secured the FA Youth Cup for City. The whole team ran over to the touchline and ecstatically mobbed coach Alex Gibson, as the crowd broke out in a chorus of ‘Blue Moon’, ‘We’re not really here’, not to mention ‘Champione!’ A very sweet moment indeed.

This was the cue for Chelsea to display the sort of petulance that is the trademark of their first team, with a series of dangerous challenges and bad behaviour towards the officials. Hardly surprising from a club where their rôle models are John Terry, Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard and the Chelsea youngsters were rightly booed off at the end. Sadly, City right back Kieran Trippier suffered a suspected broken leg when he was floored by a thuggish tackle by Jacob Mellis who was rightly red carded. Kieran has been training with the first team this season and had done very well in this game against a tricky opponent. Hopefully he will recover soon and knowing the team spirit of this Youth team, his team mates will have made sure that he got to hold the Cup.

This was a triumph for the City boys, and most definitely a triumph for the wonderful Jim Cassell and his team of coaches and scouts. I really cannot speak highly enough of them. Much credit is due to them all.

Hartley; Trippier (Ibrahaim), Boyata (Tsiaklis), Mee, McGivern; Weiss, Tutte, Kay, McDermott; Ball, Mak.

Phil Banerjee <phil.banerjee(at)>


I am so pleased for our youth team who were fantastic in winning the FA Youth Cup. Jim Cassell and his team have again proved that the future is bright for MCFC. The City fans were out supporting the team as usual. I don’t know of any club in the world who could get nearly 20.000 bums on seats in a youth match.

Regards to all who support the best team in the land and all the world.

Paul Fegan <paulo9(at)>


I don’t for one minute believe that Thaksin Shinawatra is going to replace Sven Goran Eriksson at the end of the season but I do think it’s a good sign that Shinawatra is sending out a message that he’s not happy with current performances.

Vassell’s scuffed shot winner aside, City’s form has been lacklustre over the past three months and Sven has to take the blame for his short-sighted tactics. Surely you don’t need to be Einstein to figure out that pretty well every other team in the Premier League (except United!) have sussed City out by now.

This one-man up front business is rubbish and so predictable. Our sole threat is Petrov; freeze him out and Benjami is left stranded up field. What does it take for Sven to figure out that a 4-3-2-1 system does not work in the Premier League? All it does is inspire boring, defensive football is easily contained. Get SWP on the right, Petrov on the left, a striker that can complement Benjami, and a creative midfielder. The defence and goalkeeping is fine.

If Sven doesn’t address these problems then Shinawatra has every right to find a manager that can be creative with his resources. Thank goodness though that mad idea to sign Ronaldinho never materialized. It would have been Nicolas Anelka all over again. The whole team built around one sulking individual.

No thanks! Let’s finish in style.

Keith Sharp <keith(at)>


The rumours about Thaksin Shinawatra dispensing with Sven are more than that as he says he is reviewing his position. He had previously – a few weeks ago – said that he was happy with the progress that Sven has made towards the original aim, i.e. a top ten position this season.

So what’s changed? Has Thaksin got carried away with the early form when in most City fans’ eyes, we’d punched above our weight, considering we had been fighting relegation for most of last season? If City finish in the top ten it will most definitely have been a satisfactory first season in charge for Sven. To get rid of Sven would be ridiculous and very short sighted. He’s done a very good job here. Sven is laying down solid foundations at City and has helped Micah Richards and Nedum Onuoha progress as high quality defenders and Joe Hart to fringe of the full England squad.

Most of his signings have been a success: Corluka is a very good international class right back who has performed equally well at centre back when called upon, Elano is the top scorer, not to mention an important creator, even if he has been inconsistent. Hardly a failure. The only objective conclusion about Petrov is that whatever his defensive shortcomings are, or his attitude at times, he has provided high quality service down the left this season that has propelled us into the top 8. Even the lesser lights like Geovanni have made some sort of impact, scoring a winning goal in the Eastlands derby and being a more than useful sub when he has come on. Not bad at all for a free transfer. Javi Garrido is a young man settling into this country and, so it is too early to judge him on the basis of one season. Bianchi chose not to settle into this country, – not a success, though certainly not a bad player. It could be argued that if we get our money back on him it’s hardly been a failure. Valeri Bojinov had the misfortune of a bad knee injury and it’s way too early to judge Felipe Caicedo. That sweet derby goal aside, Benjani hasn’t been convincing so far, but we have to give him time – he is settling into a new club. Last and certainly not least, Gelson Fernandes looks very impressive in the midfield engine room with his workrate and has a very bright future.

Anyone can criticise those signings and not see the positives, and that is their prerogative. It just looks ridiculous when they do! Thankfully, most City fans are fair minded and take a more balanced view of Sven, his signings and his team’s performance. I don’t think you’d find very many who would want to get rid of him. Hopefully Thaksin Shinawatra sees sense, and sticks with him.

Let’s continue to show our support for Sven and the Boys in Blue, at every match this season. Just louder and longer.

Phil Banerjee <phil.banerjee(at)>


Ireland to Sunderland, Johnson to Liverpool, Elano to Lazio. I know the silly season is about to start, but if these rumours are true, what’s going on at the club (a familiar well used statement about our beloved Citeh)? What’s the point selling two of our better creative players, UK born players and replace them with what? Players that haven’t a clue what the English game is all about, players that when the going gets tough are AWOL.

I really hope to be proved wrong, but selling the club was the worse thing we could have done. Sell to someone that knows football by all means, someone that has football running through his veins, but to someone who is questionable to say the least, was in my opinion totally wrong.

All this talk about sacking Sven (yes, and I have questioned some of his tactics) bemoans the fact that overall we’ve had our best Premier league season (surpassing Kevin Keegan), unless the wheels fall off completely in the last few games.

Still nothing surprises me after following this club since 1966! Surprised I have any hair left as well as my sanity. Still, worse things happen, after all it’s only a game of football, yeah right.

Stay Blue, somebody has to.

Kevin Williamson <scribbs(at)>


My daily rag tells me Johnson is desperate for a move to Liverpool at £12 million. Sven wants him to stay, he has 3 years to run.

If we sell him or let him go in the next two years then frankly we might as well give up as he is not being compared to Colin Bell lightly. We will regret it as he plays alongside Gerard for the next ten years we will wonder why we are not as good as the top four. The answer will be blindingly simple because we sold one of the best young players in England.

Don’t sell Johnson at any price or UEFA is all we can expect to attain. Even if he wants to go.

Simon Moorehead <simonmoorehead(at)>


As a historic day 40 years ago approaches it would be great to hear from any of the older MCIVTA readers who travelled to Newcastle to witness what I can only describe as the best football moment in my life.

Who could have predicted that we needed to win our last two matches to clinch the Championship (Spurs and Newcastle both away)?

What a remarkable team. What a wonderful last day performance.

Steven Davies <stevendavies(at)>


14 April 2008

Chelsea               1 - 1  Wigan Athletic        40,487

League table to 15 April 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  34 16  1  1 43  6  9  4  3 29 12 25  5  4  72  18  54  80
 2 Chelsea         34 11  6  0 33 11 11  3  3 26 13 22  9  3  59  24  35  75
 3 Arsenal         34 12  5  0 34 11  8  6  3 30 18 20 11  3  64  29  35  71
 4 Liverpool       34 11  6  1 42 13  7  6  3 18 13 18 12  4  60  26  34  66
 5 Everton         34 10  3  3 29 13  8  4  6 21 15 18  7  9  50  28  22  61
 6 Portsmouth      34  7  8  2 24 12  9  1  7 23 21 16  9  9  47  33  14  57
 7 Aston Villa     34  9  3  5 29 19  6  7  4 33 25 15 10  9  62  44  18  55
 8 Manchester City 34 10  4  3 23 16  4  6  7 16 24 14 10 10  39  40  -1  52
 9 Blackburn R.    34  7  6  4 22 17  6  6  5 22 25 13 12  9  44  42   2  51
10 West Ham United 34  6  5  5 18 19  6  3  9 17 22 12  8 14  35  41  -6  44
11 Tottenham H.    34  8  4  5 45 31  2  7  8 18 26 10 11 13  63  57   6  41
12 Newcastle Utd   34  7  5  5 23 24  3  4 10 17 34 10  9 15  40  58 -18  39
13 Middlesbrough   34  5  5  6 17 21  3  7  8 14 27  8 12 14  31  48 -17  36
14 Sunderland      34  8  3  6 20 18  2  3 12 13 34 10  6 18  33  52 -19  36
15 Wigan Athletic  34  8  3  5 20 14  1  5 12 11 34  9  8 17  31  48 -17  35
16 Reading         34  8  2  8 19 24  1  3 12 18 39  9  5 20  37  63 -26  32
17 Birmingham City 34  5  7  5 24 20  2  3 12 15 32  7 10 17  39  52 -13  31
18 Bolton Wndrs    34  6  5  7 21 18  1  3 12 10 34  7  8 19  31  52 -21  29
19 Fulham          34  4  5  8 20 29  1  7  9 12 27  5 12 17  32  56 -24  27
20 Derby County    34  1  5 11 10 33  0  3 14  6 41  1  8 25  16  74 -58  11

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v0708.01]

[1] MCIVTA Addresses

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[2] What are MCIVTA’s publishing deadlines?

Deadlines for issues are nominally 6pm, Monday and Thursday evenings bu email. Unfortunately we cannot accept email attachments.

[3] MCIVTA Back Issues and Manchester City Supporters’ home page is the unofficial Manchester City Supporters’ home page. Created in 1994, it is the longest running of the Manchester City related web sites. Back issues of MCIVTA are also hosted on the site.

[4] What is the club’s official web site?

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)?

The committee operates as an interface between supporters and the club. Points of Blue appears on the club website as a minor entry under “Fans Zone”.

[7] What match day broadcasts are available on the web?

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

Live match commentaries and archives of games, reports and interviews can be found at

[8] Where can I find out if City are live on satellite TV? provides a listing of Premiership games being shown on UK domestic and foreign satellite channels. Useful sites for North American viewers are,, and

[9] Do we have a Usenet newsgroup?

Yes we do: is our home on usenet. If you are not familiar with usenet, a basic explanation is available here:,289893,sid9_gci213262,00.html

[10] Do any squad members have their own web pages?

There are a number available and direct links can be found at

[11] Where can I find match statistics?

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.

[Valid3.2]Heidi Pickup,

Newsletter #1422