Newsletter #1425

Yet another case of “typical City” as we managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and throw away our 2 goal lead against Fulham. Match report tonight thanks to Phil, though the performance defied belief as did the post match activity.

We have opinion on the end of season, some more great 1968 memories and what must be a first in the blues viewing requests!

Next Game: Sunday 4 May 2008, 4pm, Liverpool (away)


City threw away a two goal half time lead to slump to a defeat to lowly Fulham whose top flight status hangs by a thread. It was, as the cliché goes, a game of two halves. City played some lovely football in the first and were out of sight. In stark contrast, City’s second half performance is best described as unprofessional and totally unacceptable. The fact that three defenders were out injured shouldn’t have mattered. City had enough chances to win this game comfortably, and with more effort, and a little less complacency, would have done so. Because City didn’t take their chances or apply themselves and because of the visitors’ effort and skill, Fulham, in the end, deserved their win. It is very disappointing for all City fans that the Blues signed off the home games with a defeat like this.

With Dunne joining Onuoha and Richards on the sidelines, City fielded a makeshift back four with Elano continuing out of position at right back, and Ball moving across to partner Corluka in the centre. Sun Jihai filled in at left back. Well, that was the theory. The rest of the team remained unchanged after the excellent win over Portsmouth.

Like a lot of teams that are fighting for their lives, Fulham took the fight to City and dominated the early stages, prompted by the driving runs of Jimmy Bullard. Dempsey had a shot well saved by Hart, but it soon looked like their seven year stay in the top flight was coming to the end as City scored a spectacular goal with our first attack of any real meaning. In a City break, Petrov ran down the left into the Fulham box and cleverly back-heeled the ball to Ireland, who hit a superb shot into the top right hand corner of the net.

City were playing some lovely football with Ireland and Petrov at the business end of it with some lovely touches and clever turns. Vassell was unable to profit from one of their combinations and another Petrov cross just eluded the ex-Villa man’s head. At the other end, Davies had another shot saved by Hart, but it wasn’t long before City deservedly extended our lead. Elano played a beautiful raking pass inside the Fulham left back and Vassell outpaced the Fulham left back and from his pinpoint cross, Benjani assertively swept the ball into the net for 2-0.

City started to show signs of sloppiness as we headed towards half time, with Ball and Elano failing to clear from a corner, and then Sun casually gave the all away in a dangerous position. Both times City went unpunished: Healy had a header well saved by Hart; and Davies shot wide prompting a chant of ‘That’s why you’re going down’ from the Kippax.

All looked to be well as City began the second half pressing for more goals. Ireland cleverly played a perfectly weighted pass through for Vassell whose shot from a tight angle was saved by Keller, and then Johnson had a header cleared off the line from a corner. Benjani then held off a Fulham defender and took a return pass from the young midfielder but Keller saved his shot. Stephen Ireland was then replaced by Geovanni and was lauded with ‘Ireland is Superman’. Maybe that’s an exaggeration, whatever his choice of underwear is, but the young Irishman deserved the praise for another intelligent performance. There was still no sign of the débâcle to come as Fernandes passed to Johnson who played in Vassell whose shot was saved. From the resultant corner, Benjani headed over after he failed to time his jump correctly. It didn’t look like it would matter either when Petrov missed after Benjani set him up, but the game was about to turn as Roy Hodgson injected some pace and power into his team. Diomansy Kamara was introduced in place of Healy and presented City with a new challenge: one that was to prove decisive with immediate effect.

Receiving the ball in the box, Kamara was allowed too much freedom by Corluka to turn and slot the ball through Hart’s legs from close in. This really galvanised the visitors and the City team had already quite clearly taken its foot off the pedal. Too often it was four Fulham attackers on three City defenders or, worse still, five-on-three as some midfield players failed to track their men. Where was Johnson? Having a pint? Inspired by the influential Jimmy Bullard, who was the best player on the day, Fulham were repeatedly running at the City defence in numbers and from one of these breaks, they won a free kick on the edge of the box. From the resultant free kick, Hart brilliantly tipped away Bullard’s well placed free kick.

City failed to heed these warnings and the effort levels were poor from too many City players. A cross from the left saw Sun take leave of his senses and unnecessarily push a Fulham player to the ground at the far post and the referee awarded a penalty. Hart saved Danny Murphy’s spot kick but was unlucky that the ball rebounded kindly for the ex-Liverpool man to equalise.

This belatedly prompted City back into action and the game became an end-to-end contest that could have gone either way – Fulham were fighting for their Premiership existence and City finally awoke. Geovanni went on a long run and shot disappointingly wide at the end of it. The inspirational Bullard skimmed the top of City’s bar with a long range shot that had Hart beaten and Murphy’s effort from Dempsey’s cross was saved by Hart. City then had a series of chances to score as Fulham pushed for a winner. Caicedo was sent on for Vassell to give us more muscle in the centre, and he played in Benjani, who in turn fed Geovanni, but the Brazilian hit the side netting. A clearly miffed Petrov volleyed wide from a clever Elano long range pass. Then City really should have scored but with Caicedo well placed, Benjani’s pass was too long and the chance was gone. The young Ecuadorian was presented with another good chance by Benjani but fired wide. Petrov was unlucky when his rare right-footed shot after his jinking run was saved brilliantly by Keller.

Kamara ran our back line ragged and kept running inside Elano on City’s right. This proved to be our eventual undoing when he fired in to win the game at Hart’s near post with almost the last kick of the game. Elano has played right back before in Brazil but hasn’t played there regularly for a while and it showed at times. A specialist right back would not have allowed an attacker to run goal-side of him. Maybe Sven would have been better playing a natural defender like Shaleum Logan, who was recalled from his loan spell at Stockport.

Thaksin Shinawatra looked very unhappy as he waited for the post match lap of honour and competition presentation – both were a damp squib in an almost empty stadium. Indeed, sources within the club later confirmed that the Chairman wasn’t at all pleased. One would hope that he is unhappy for the same reason as we were (i.e. that City had thrown away a winning opportunity) and that he will persist with Sven in the project that they Sven started last summer. Any dissatisfaction on this day should be directed at the players who did not perform to acceptable levels, not the manager whose defensive resources were stretched to the limit. The players need to be reminded that anything less than full commitment to the cause is unacceptable. There were too many half hearted performances in midfield and defence – we missed Dunne, Richards and Onuoha – and the club would be well advised to make sure that the skipper’s new contract is agreed rather than letting some other club tempt him away.

City need at least one player who can dominate a game in midfield and strikers who can clinically finish. Too often we are bullied out of games by lesser opponents – not that Fulham bullied us in any way – and our profligacy in front of goal means that crucial points are dropped. Hopefully Thaksin will equip Sven with the resources to acquire such talent and blend it with our young side that has, overall, given us a good season that is a significant improvement from last year.

Hart: Made some great saves. The shot for the first goal went through his legs, but otherwise he could not be faulted. 6
Elano: Very good on the ball, but struggled when his opponents ran at him. 6
Corluka: Strong in the air and some classy touches, but easily turned for Fulham’s opener. 6
Ball: Did well enough out of position and could not be faulted for their goals. 6
Sun: A liability on this occasion. Struggled badly against Davies’ trickery, was frequently out of position towards the end and gave away an unnecessary penalty. 5
Vassell: Industrious as ever, and rewarded with an assist for the second goal. 7
Johnson: Largely anonymous in the first half and AWOL for long periods in the second. Must try harder: much, much harder. 5
Fernandes: Worked as hard as ever but needs much better support. 7
Petrov: City’s most potent attacker again with some lovely touches, but did little to help out his defence. 7
Ireland: Combined very well with Petrov again and scored a super goal before going off after the break. 7
Benjani: Worked hard, took his goal well, but missed other chances to make the game safe. 7
Geovanni: No little skill again and had chances to win it. 6
Caicedo: Very raw still. Should have scored late on. 5

Phil Banerjee <phil.banerjee(at)>


Having watched another hugely disappointing game on Saturday. I feel it’s incumbent on me to, at the end of a very topsy turvy season to put my views across the Alps.

I was so looking forward to this game, I suppose like most of you thinking this was going to be a goal feast against a very poor Fulham side. We started great as you would expect and having scored two goals, you would have thought that there was more to come, but surely not from the visitors. Alas, how wrong we can be. I suppose when you follow City you can expect anything to happen and so it did.

So now it’s time to be nasty. If we are going to be serious contenders for trophies in the future, we have to have Premier League players and nothing less in the squad. So we need a clearout in the summer, and I really don’t want to be doing this but I feel it has to be said.

The following need to be shown the door as soon as possible.

  • Javier Garrido
  • Jihai Sun
  • Darius Vassell
  • Emile Mpenza
  • Georgios Samaras
  • Matthew Mills
  • Danny Mills
  • Michael Johnson
  • Michael Ball
  • Felipe Caicedo

Some of you might be surprised that I mention Michael Johnson in this list, but I do based on his recent performances and in particular on Saturday where he looked a disinterested spectator, who had already had got the call from Rafa. I also mention Sun, who I know sells jerseys in China, but is one of the worst defenders I have ever seen in a City jersey.

I will finish by saying that, by our standards in recent years we have done quite well, but again we have failed to beat some of the rubbish teams.

Six points off the Swamp dwellers is fantastic, but one point from games versus Fulham, Blackburn, two points from Wigan just not good enough.

Regards to all.

Paul Fegan <paulo9(at)>


The City vs. Fulham game was shown in USA as a delayed tape game, so before our game I watched the Chelsea vs. Evil Empire game; many of the United fans did not have far to travel since the game was played in London, but a good result.

Many will never believe this but before our game I joked City will lose against Fulham to a last minute goal, a gift from our Chairman Thaksin to his friend Chairman of Fulham Mohamed al-Fayed; of course I only meant this in jest. My friend who watches the games with me looked at me after the game as if to say, you must have gone on the Internet and peeped at the score, but I honestly did not, for I like to watch the games as if live if they are delayed for TV; I avoid the Internet altogether as I don’t want to know the scores and spoil the game.

Little did I realize at the time but the result would prove to be true, we lost in the last minute 3-2. The result of this game means very, very little hope of Europe next season; maybe the club knew this when pre-season games have aleady been arranged in Switzerland?

We can all criticize on how the team played and in what positions players played versus Fulham, for it is very easy after a game is over. The game was a very good game to watch if you were neutral or maybe a Fulham fan at the end with the result in Fulham’s favour.

How many readers will agree with me that whenever Sun has played he has been a liability? Around the penalty area giving free kicks away in dangerous positions, but today versus Fulham, Sun was already pulling down the Fulham player before the ball had arrived to give the penalty away (maybe an accident?).

Careful to what I am saying, but we can all have our thoughts on the game, and I am not accusing any player of helping a Fulham win.

I still think that after today’s results Fulham will go down (but fighting), but what’s more important City proved today that they are not worthy of Europe this season. Liverpool and Middlesboro last two games will have little meaning to our season, unless the players want to play for pride, and maybe bonus money?

On a positive note I like the way Darius Vassell has improved, and of course Benjani who has proved he is a goal scorer, and Petrov played tirelessly with his efforts. At the end of the day I guess we missed Dunnie and Micah, that being the truth of why we lost.

As regards to Sven losing his job it would be a very big mistake, but if and only if he left City, is Jose Mourinho ready to come back into football? But I am all for Sven to stay, as I said only if Sven decided to leave.

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


“NEWCASTLE, 4.45 PM, 11-5-68” so reads the Dymo label on my small, air tight packet of grass from the spot(ish) where Franny Lee scored the fourth. The grass is not quite as green as it was but considering it’s been in my wallet (I’ve got a back up in a safe place in case I get mugged) for the past 40 years that’s not surprising.

In 1968 I was an engineering apprentice at AEI doing HNC on block release at Stretford Tech. The City fans numbered about 3: me, Dave Cooper and Brian Chapellow. Even the lecturers were Rags although the worst one had shut up after we won 3-1 at the Swamp in March.

In those days my usual routine was to go to the match, home or away, and then race back to the Lowenbrau Bier Keller in Piccadilly where the football atmosphere was amazing with chants of City! United! going on all night with not much trouble, usually. The arrangements for Newcastle are hazy now but I think that Charlie Chapellow and I got a Fingland’s coach from Levenshulme and we were amazed that all the traffic seemed to be blue and white.

At St James’ Park we stood waiting to get in with Geordies and everything seemed very good natured. The game has been well documented but we were in the covered end where Buzzer scored so we must have run the length of the pitch at the end to get the grass from Franny’s spot.

Obviously the journey home is even more hazy but the coach seemed to stop lots of times and everywhere there were Blues singing and dancing. At one point there was even more excitement when the City coach was spotted on the road near us and they were partying the same as everyone else.

We eventually got home and I arrived back in Burnage sometime the next day. I think my travels had included the Bier Keller, Mr. Smiths and… ? This was my first experience of winning a big one (we had had promotion etc.) but over the next two years I was at Wembley twice for the FA Cup and League Cup and Vienna for the Cup Winners’ Cup. I thought that this was how it was going to be forever!

P.S.: If anyone wants to see my grass they’ll have to come to Wellington because I live in New Zealand now.

John Jennings <>


Have come to this a bit late as I am only just catching up on emails. I’m 61 now, but of course, 40 years ago was just a fresh faced youth working in Hertfordshire for ICI.

I came back to Manchester in my little mini reg JTC677B (why can I remember that?), a journey which took quite some time as I think part of it was on the A5 (when did the “midlands link” M6 open?). I got home late on the Friday and after eating and catching up with the news from Mum and Dad, went to bo-bos. Next thing I remember was my dad waking me up at some ungodly hour and politely suggesting I should get up so that he and I could be getting on our way to Newcastle.

Now today, in my lovely Volvo, I can be there in under 2 hours (my kids both went to Newcastle University and I spent many hours going back and forth). In those medieval times, the journey was just a bit longer!

The game is a blur in my memory, but I remember the exhilaration of winning and the wonderful feeling when we heard that Sunderland had won 2-1 (I think). I remember driving back down the A1 and everyone sounding their horns and a sea of blue scarves sticking out of cars and flapping in the wind. What a day – I hope that for my son’s sake it might one day be repeated and I’ll be able to be there with him when it does. The way we are going though at the moment, I reckon I’ll have to be a fairly fit 90 year old at the time! Happy days!

Christopher Ryder <christopherryd(at)>


Well each of us was at the Newcastle game 40 years ago. Reading all the articles in MCIVTA was terrific, so thanks to all for contributing. We all have such marvelous memories of that day, even though some of us confess to them being somewhat faded over time.

I see Gillingham are doing battle this weekend to stay in League One and it reminds me how close we came to languishing for another season (at least) in the lower divisions but for our eleventh hour comeback to steal glory from them. Sitting eighth in the Premier League doesn’t seem so bad when you remember those dark days, although it’s been a long, long time since we’ve seen any silverware.

Thanks again for the trip down memory lane and hopefully we can trade e-mails this time next season as we hoist a trophy or two.

Dave Smith <dsmith(at)>


Thanks to David Smith for prompting us to jot down our Newcastle 1968 memories. What I forgot to add in mine was that we stopped off at a pub in Wakefield on the way home. It was a ghost town – Trinity were playing Leeds in the Rugby League cup final at Wembley and it showed on telly Don Fox missing a last minute penalty right in front of the sticks in the pouring rain. He was the brother of the more famous Neil Fox.

If he’d scored Wakefield would have won the game and the cup. Commentator Eddie Waring’s comment was “the poor lad” and we all felt for him. I’m told he was gutted for years afterwards, understandably.

Dave Wallace <dw001e8104(at)>


Fantastic day, I stood behind the goals at the open end with my mates from Failsworth. The end that Franny scored the 4th goal.

My very clear recollection was at the end of the match, in a raised gantry to our left in the commentary box, was Barry Davies, who appeared to be as pleased and excited about the outcome as us City fans. Is Barry Davies a Blue?

Peter Wilson <psw(at)>


I don’t want to keep hearing about the ‘Good old days’ because they were just that, old days. It’s all in the past and no matter how we go on about it, only hard work and a certain amount of quality in our team will bring those days back.

However, the ‘memories’ expressed in recent MCIVTA’s about the Newcastle game are a bit of an exception because they are ‘real’ experiences and stories about the circumstances surrounding the visit to the North East and I have to say that some of them are fantastic.

I particularly love Dave Wallace’s Hillman Imp ‘Front End Knocking’ and Fred’s mini. The image of the group of City fans driving through Leeds the day after with cut outs from the papers is brilliant.

And the poor chap who ‘nicked’ a bit of the turf and nurtured it only for his ‘mam’ to chuck it away when he was out. Superb.

Please can we keep this going for a couple of issues because they are great stories and I, for one, would love to hear more.

I heard from some that were there that as they travelled up and down the A1, there were people in City scarves hanging out of all sorts of vehicles including horse boxes. Would have loved to have seen that.

My own experience of 1968 was that I’d only ever been to City once, in 1963 with my brother, and by 1968, I was only 12 and my ‘mam’ wouldn’t let me go to football matches on my own and didn’t trust any of my mates to look after me (she molly coddled me).

On the day of the Newcastle match, I was actually down Moss Side with my mum and dad buying a pram for my sister who was expecting. The shop was at the traffic lights (all the buildings now demolished and new ones take their place) just along from the dental hospital. In every shop we went in there were reports of City being in front 1-0. In the next shop it was 2-2. Then it was 3-3 and we heard that United were losing 2-1 at half time. The rest is history and from the Nottingham Forest game the season after, I began my long and expensive support of Manchester City ‘live’. From that game up until 1995 (27 years), I missed only 7 home games and visited many away grounds in the process. Hope I haven’t bored anyone with my memories of that famous day. Nowhere near as exciting as those who were there. I’m jealous.

John Nisbet <nisbet1957(at)>


I just could not believe Kevin Williamson’s rant at Tom Ritchie in MCIVTA 1424, for expressing the opinion that the majority of us fans have of the new City under new ownership, is the best thing that could have happened to us.

Everyone knows that when large corporations etc. are bought, the owners in general are fickle; if things are going great, than the new owners want to be part of it, if not then they look to sell and maximise their return. You only had to read the situation at Newcastle when Allardyce was replaced by Keegan and talk was rampant about the Chairman cashing in, then along come some good results, relegation threats averted and suddenly the talk is all about let’s bring in the players that can excite etc.

We are lucky to have MCIVTA to express our varied opinions whatever they may be, and IMHO I just do not think we would have survived this season in the Premier League had we not been taken over by the new Thai owners. Perhaps Ray Ranson (steeped in Football and City history) would have come in, and in reality would he have had sufficient funds to “better” us? I very much doubt it.

Kevin start getting real, what you want we cannot get, and what is this about your soul? Move on with the times please. There probably are conditions in place, why shouldn’t there be? You only want to trust English takeovers – well go ahead and find one. Things look so much rosier now than they have done for a long time. Football at the highest level is all about big business, and I for one, would rather be part of it that looking at it from afar and just wishing!

Liverpool are in turmoil I see you say: oh yes, 4th in the League and in the Champions’ League Semi Final, I don’t think that’s too bad. The players still get their £80,000 a week salaries and life goes on with 2 matches a week, if Benitez gets the chop he still walks away with a nice hefty compensation package, win-win scenario! What goes on at Board level makes no difference, it’s great for the newspapers. Man Utd are still having success, even with new foreign owners, and just look how Chelsea have changed since Abramovich took over. Why moan when we have an opportunity to get some much needed success ourselves?

In reality, and purely due to us getting taken over by “wealthy” owners we now have a chance to compete, and get better. It’s easy to be pessimistic, in your case the glass will always be half empty, instead of half full.

I am going to enjoy the ride whilst it lasts, and hopefully this will be for a very long time. Come on Kevin, join the ride instead of being a pessimist and doom and gloom merchant.

Glyn Albuquerque <glynalbuquerque(at)>


I leave for North Korea on Monday to play cricket for a Shanghai based team (yes cricket!), but as an ardent City fan will be flying the flag for our wonderful team in this mysterious country.

I wonder is the first time a City fan has been there or has someone beaten me to it?

Philip Gregory <ph.Gregory(at)>


27 April 2008

Portsmouth            0 - 1  Blackburn Rovers      18,722
Everton               2 - 2  Aston Villa           37,936

26 April 2008

Chelsea               2 - 1  Manchester United     41,828
Birmingham City       2 - 2  Liverpool             29,252
Manchester City       2 - 3  Fulham                44,504
Sunderland            3 - 2  Middlesbrough         45,059
Tottenham Hotspur     1 - 1  Bolton Wanderers      36,176
West Ham United       2 - 2  Newcastle United      34,980
Wigan Athletic        0 - 0  Reading               19,043

League table to 27 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  36 16  1  1 43  6  9  5  4 31 15 25  6  5  74  21  53  81
 2 Chelsea         36 12  6  0 35 12 12  3  3 27 13 24  9  3  62  25  37  81
 3 Arsenal         35 13  5  0 36 11  8  6  3 30 18 21 11  3  66  29  37  74
 4 Liverpool       36 11  6  1 42 13  8  7  3 22 15 19 13  4  64  28  36  70
 5 Everton         36 10  4  4 31 16  8  4  6 21 15 18  8 10  52  31  21  62
 6 Aston Villa     36 10  3  5 34 20  6  8  4 35 27 16 11  9  69  47  22  59
 7 Portsmouth      36  7  8  3 24 13  9  1  8 24 24 16  9 11  48  37  11  57
 8 Blackburn R.    36  7  7  4 23 18  7  6  5 23 25 14 13  9  46  43   3  55
 9 Manchester City 36 11  4  4 28 20  4  6  7 16 24 15 10 11  44  44   0  55
10 West Ham United 36  7  6  5 22 22  6  3  9 17 22 13  9 14  39  44  -5  48
11 Tottenham H.    36  8  5  5 46 32  2  8  8 19 27 10 13 13  65  59   6  43
12 Newcastle Utd   36  8  5  5 25 24  3  5 10 19 36 11 10 15  44  60 -16  43
13 Sunderland      36  9  3  6 23 20  2  3 13 13 36 11  6 19  36  56 -20  39
14 Wigan Athletic  36  8  5  5 21 15  1  5 12 11 34  9 10 17  32  49 -17  37
15 Middlesbrough   36  5  5  7 17 22  3  7  9 16 30  8 12 16  33  52 -19  36
16 Bolton Wndrs    36  6  5  7 21 18  2  4 12 12 35  8  9 19  33  53 -20  33
17 Reading         36  8  2  8 19 24  1  4 13 18 41  9  6 21  37  65 -28  33
18 Birmingham City 36  5  8  5 26 22  2  3 13 16 37  7 11 18  42  59 -17  32
19 Fulham          36  4  5  9 20 31  2  7  9 15 29  6 12 18  35  60 -25  30
20 Derby County    35  1  5 11 10 33  0  3 15  7 43  1  8 26  17  76 -59  11

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1425