Newsletter #1426

There is really only one topic on people’s minds at the moment, the rumours that Dr Shinawatra has decided to dispense with Sven’s services this summer. Although yet to be confirmed officially, Don’s news brings us the up to date situation and there is also plenty of opinion.

In the news too, transfer rumours and reaction to last Saturday’s capitulation against Fulham, a match view and first time view of CoMS.

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


Will He Stay or Will He Go?

He’s a Man With a Plan: So turning a team from relegation material to a top 10 team isn’t good enough. Although the club have announced nothing officially, reports suggest that Sven-Goran Eriksson will leave the club at the end of the season. Yet prior to the Fulham game, Thaksin seemed to be lessening the speculation over his current coach. Look at the owner’s comments in the match programme on Saturday. “I have a definite plan, a strategy: the first year top 10; the second year to qualify for Europe; and the third we want to be in the top four and qualify for the Champions’ League,” said Thaksin. “We have to fit the plan. I know from what we have shown already this year that a top six spot will not be too much pressure but to break into the top four will. So that is when I will be prepared to spend a lot of money; to take us into the top four. The message is this: I will not be spending huge amounts of money this summer but next summer I will.” But Thaksin spoke very much in the past tense when addressing what excited him about his first year at the helm. “I felt very optimistic after I got Sven-Goran Eriksson as coach,” he said. “We also got some new players and even though it was quite heavy on my pocket, I was very confident the club would be moving forward. At the start of the season we were playing exciting football and making new friends. I like that style and the way Sven was training them, the way the team came together and the way they played football.” Then the showdown talks took place, and the indications were that all was still well. Sven held talks with Thaksin Shinawatra over the weekend, and a senior City source said the pair met at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester and shared a “cordial” meeting. They had further discussions before a dinner held in honour of City’s FA Youth Cup-winning side.

What an Athole: By Tuesday, all suggestions of Eriksson staying in the job had gone. His agent Athole Still has claimed it was “looking odds against” the Swede still being manager of City next season. “That’s the way that it’s looking – believe me I don’t know, I am just giving an answer and a reasonably-formed opinion – it’s looking odds against,” he said. “It’s just developments over the last couple of days. If Dr Shinawatra was going to give his ringing support we would have heard it over the last couple of days.” He continued: “I could be wrong – I hope I am wrong because there is a job half-done there and I have no doubt that Sven-Goran Eriksson left to manage in the way he manages and to select his own players who he purchased, would have been challenging UEFA next year or maybe even higher. The only thing I can say with assurance is that Sven-Goran Eriksson will not be walking. You walk if you feel you have done a bad job and are not worthy of the position and in Sven’s case that is very, very far from the truth.”

Grip Loosened: Sven has maintained a dignified silence since news of his demise seeped out, but that hasn’t stopped his right-hand man Tord Grip holding forth. “We are left with the two games. They probably think we’ve done a poor job,” Grip told Sportbladet. “We think we’ve done it well. It has been going a little bit worse after Christmas but it’s always going up and down in the football and the Premier League is a marathon. It takes time to build up a team.” When asked if Shinawatra was showing a lack of patience, Grip said: “I would think that it has something to do with that”. If Eriksson does lose his job at City, Grip says his fellow Swede will not be short of offers from other clubs. “Sven will get new offers, I’m convinced about it. But nothing is happening before the season is over.” And the players have jumped to Sven’s defence. Micah Richards for instance said, “The players are 100 per cent behind him. I think it’s crazy that his job is being talked about as being in danger. He has been good for everyone at City. We finished 14th last season and were only four points above the relegation zone. Compare that with Sven’s results at the beginning of the season. And even though we have fallen away, we have been in the top 10 all year.” Nedum Onouha, speaking on Setanta Sport, expressed a similar note of disbelief. “I think for him to be sacked would be pretty ridiculous to be honest,” he commented. “I think he’s done very, very well this season for a new manager to come in from international management and I can see him doing even better next season. We all know international football is a totally different type of football to just day in day out football. So for him to come in and to start building the team that he’s got now and for the team to be in the position that they are I think he’s done very, very well.” The Sun says Eriksson has told the players that he is going to be sacked in the summer. One eyewitness said: “Everyone was totally shocked. The players have all taken to Sven and enjoy his methods. It seems ridiculous after what has been an excellent season.” The Guardian said that the situation has demoralised the English representatives on City’s board, all of whom want Thaksin to change his mind but are aware that the former prime minister of Thailand is not a man who can be talked around easily. The chief executive, Alistair Mackintosh, and vice-chairman, John Wardle, are particularly dismayed, apparently (an expression involving supping with the devil comes to mind).

Had Your Phil? Amid the criticism of the owner, the inevitable speculation has begun on who will be City’s manager next season. The press seem to believe that Thaksin must have a candidate ready to step up, or else why would he show Sven the door now? Favourite with the bookies is Luiz Felipe ‘Big Phil’ Scolari. Scolari is set to become a free agent in the summer after five years at the helm of Portgual, with the 59-year-old leading them into this summer’s European Championships. The ex-Gremio and Palmeiras coach has been Eriksson’s nemesis at international level since they first met at the 2002 World Cup. Eriksson’s England were knocked out at the quarter-finals by Scolari’s Brazil and Sven’s boys suffered the same fate in the last eight at Euro 2004 and Germany 2006 when ‘Big Phil’ was in charge of Portugal. Although the Daily Express reckons that Croatia’s coach Slaven Bilic will be the man Thaksin turns to. If Scolari and Bilic are the type of person Shinawatra’s looking at, he couldn’t find more anti-Sven types, because both are extrovert, larger-than-life characters. And one person is already in place for next season – City have appointed former Thai national coach, Roberto Carlos de Carvalho as an advisor to the development of the Club’s international academies. Now this must have sounded like good news for Jim Cassell, who presumably could concentrate of doing what he does best, developing outstanding talent at Platt Lane. But then we had reports that de Carvalho could have a bigger influence at Eastlands than originally believed. The Daily Mirror reckoned that his close links with Thaksin could see him take a more senior rôle in time. And the M.E.N. reckons that the beloved leader wants one man and one man only to lead his sky blue hoards to the promised land – and that man is Jose Mourinho. This of course totally disregards the alleged interest in the Special One from Internazionale of Milan. So just like a certain Brazilian player, Mourinho must chose Manchester or Milan. Tough call…

Don’t Believe the ‘Truth’: One of the most eloquent defences of Sven came from Oasis’ Noel Gallagher, and I defy any City fan to disagree with a word Noel says. He was so outraged about the shenanigans at the COMS that Burnage’s finest was moved to call in to BBC Radio Five Live to vent his spleen. Gallagher said: “To get rid of him after the best season I can remember is ridiculous. It can’t be for any footballing reasons. For a club that’s been going nowhere fast for the last 25 years, with a manager who’s the best out there bar Jose Mourinho… he turned it around and gave us a bit of style and dignity and grace. He bought some great players. The fans have got pride back in the club… I just think it’s beyond a joke. We’ve got a manager who’s got style. If the owner thought they could come in and qualify for the Champions’ League straight away then he’s tripping. It’d be like sacking David Moyes at Everton or Martin O’Neill at Aston Villa because they didn’t qualify. It takes more than one season. Eriksson is a graceful and dignified man. This guy Shinawatra has come in and he seems like a bit of a nutcase. The only thing that will get him off the hook is if he’s got Mourinho lined up. Apart from Mourinho Eriksson’s the best thing out there. I’d be amazed and appalled if I met a City fan who thought getting rid of Eriksson was a good thing. They all love him up there. I’d give him a big kiss and say, ‘You know what, you take them to the cleaners.'”

The Son Also Rises: Now here’s a queer thing after all the ‘Sven will go’ stuff all week: Thaksin’s son has said that the Swede will manage the club on their end-of-season tour to Asia. Panthongtae Shinawatra’s comment that “he will lead the squad to Thailand” has added to the intrigue over Eriksson’s future at the COMS. Which leads us to conclude either (a) we’ve all been lead astray this week, or (b) Thaksin Jr. doesn’t know what the MUFC he’s talking about.

Transfer News and Gossip

Perhaps I should preface this section with the following disclaimer: “these rumours are dependent on who’s in charge at City by the summer time.” Although I think we all know who’s really in charge, don’t we?

A Homage to Catalonia: Why have one of Barcelona’s superstars when you can have two? The Independent are reporting that City are watching AC Milan’s negotiations with Ronaldinho, with the Italian club believed to be struggling to match the Brazilian star’s wage demands of £8 million per year. Enzo Bronzetti, who is working on the deal on behalf of AC Milan, said: “I am aware of the attention of Manchester City for Ronaldinho, who have proposed to pay Barcelona €40 million (£31.6 million). “But he only wants Milan, we talked together in Barcelona at the Formula 1 Grand Prix. Rossoneri have an agreement with the player, now they deal with the Catalan club.” It is also believed that fellow Barça star Thierry Henry is on City’s wanted list. The French star is unhappy in Spain and is keen on a move back to England, and Barça appear to be willing to sell if they can recoup most of the £16 million they paid Arsenal for him last summer.

London Mod: One of City’s supposed targets has gotten away, durn him Tottenham Hotspur have agreed a deal to sign Luka Modric believed to be for a minimum of about £15.5 million. Modric, 22, was instrumental in helping his country to beat England 3-2 in the crucial European Championship qualifying match at Wembley in November, a defeat that led to Steve McClaren’s departure as England head coach. And Modric has revealed that City were very close to his signature. “I got a call from Vedran Corluka, my Croatian team-mate and best friend who plays for City,” said Modric. “He said that Eriksson is shocked that I have signed for Tottenham.”

Who’s Leaving? Reports resurfaced on Monday suggesting that Richard Dunne is a key target for Newcastle and that the Toon have now approached City. The reports suggest that Dunne could double his existing £28,000-a-week wage packet by making the switch to St James’ Park and joining the ‘Kevolution’ (see what I did there?). The Evening Chronicle claims that Dunne’s contract expires in 13 months and, despite City’s best efforts, his new one still lies unsigned at Eastlands. Which is a tad worrying. Although less worrying is the news that the Times says City are keen to offload, among others, Rolando Bianchi, Bernardo Corradi, Georgios Samaras, Paul Dickov and Danny Mills, all of whom are on loan elsewhere. Bianchi’s homeward journey looks like it’s back on track, after suggestions that Lazio wouldn’t be completing the deal. Lazio president Claudio Lotito is ready to seal a permanent deal for the on-loan striker. Bianchi has already agreed terms on a five-year contract with Lazio, says Corriere dello Sport, and the Rome club has the option to make his stay permanent for £8 million payable over three years. However, Lotito hopes to negotiate a lower fee with City officials in the coming weeks. The News of the World claims that Andy Johnson is on his way out at Everton and there is a big queue forming for his services. Newcastle are said to be heading the queue for the 27-year-old, although City are also mentioned. And it appears that the signing of Jo Alves from CSKA Moscow, much touted in last week’s journals, may be more complicated than was first realised. The Mail on Sunday says Jo is part-owned by MSI, the company who brought Carlos Tevez to England, and CSKA Moscow will receive only 70 per cent of the proposed £18 million transfer. The sale will be the biggest in Russian league history, even though CSKA might only be left with £12 million as MSI take the other £6 million. And elsewhere, Luis Fabiano can’t rule out a move away from Sevilla. City, Newcastle and United are among clubs interested in the Brazil international, who said: “I would like to stay but it does not only depend on me, there are three parties and things are complicated.”

After-Match Reactions and Comments

How Did That Happen? It was all going so well, with 70 minutes gone, but in their last home game of the season the Blues subsided to a 3-2 defeat against Fulham. City had opened a 2-0 lead thanks to a brilliant curler from Stephen Ireland and Benjani’s side-foot finish. Diomansy Kamara put Fulham back into it with 20 minutes left by drilling a shot through ‘keeper Joe Hart’s legs. Danny Murphy equalised nine minutes later, slotting home after Joe Hart saved his penalty, and Kamara fired the winner in the very last minute. And as we know, the result did nothing to improve Sven’s chances of staying as City manager. Sven said, “It was very disappointing, especially for the fans, who were fantastic again today, even after the game. But I’m very disappointed, we gave away three points and we thought we had won the game with 20 minutes to go. If you have the attitude that if you lose the ball you don’t need to try to get it back, then anything is possible. We had a good attitude for more than an hour, but that went, we gave away the win and it’s bad. Even though we didn’t have the right attitude in defence, we should have won the game because we still had so many chances in the last 15 minutes.” Perhaps echoing what the owner might say to him, Eriksson added: “The really bad thing is that we showed we are not yet a great team capable of fighting for a Champions’ League place. If we want to take the next step then we need more players. It’s important to know how much money we can spend this summer. As long as it’s clear what’s going to happen then everyone will be happy. This is about the future. But I don’t need to speak about my future, Dr Thaksin does. I’ve a contract for two more years.”

Kamara Clicks for Fulham: Fulham manager Roy Hodgson reckoned that “It was a splendid victory for us, one we so badly needed. I thought we were unlucky to be two goals down at half time to be honest,” Hodgson told Sky Sports. “But I didn’t say that to the players at the break, I just challenged them to win the second half. It was a tremendous victory for us, a very exciting performance and both teams threw caution to the wind to an extent and it must have been a very exciting match for the supporters. It looked bleak at half time with two goals to nil and a mountain to climb. It was just a good performance because Manchester City are a very good team, they’re very organised and they have some good players, so to come here and win is no mean feat.”

Bad Bounce of the Ball: Michael Ball was captain in Richard Dunne’s absence, and made no excuses for City’s defeat. “Fulham had nothing to lose, then they made a change up front and just went for it. We’ve only got ourselves to blame, we had our chances to kill them off and maybe we thought it was too easy. Maybe we thought we could get away without doing the dirty work and Fulham punished us for it. We played some great football in the first half, although we knew that Fulham could break well and were using an extra man in the middle of the park. Having said that, when we won the ball we were breaking well too and when we got the chances we stuck them away. We had more chances in the second half, but we didn’t want to do the dirty work that we had done before the break to kill the game. We wanted to finish at home on a high, but the game typified our season. We started really well, but in the second half of the season we could not get over the line and kill games off. We’ve let teams get back in, and the way we played against Fulham reflected the season. With more hard work we could have finished it off.”

Squad News

Nery a Bad Word… Sven gave a vote of confidence to Nery Castillo this week – but also suggested that the Mexican international would have to improve. Castillo has made just four starts since joining the Blues in January, although a broken shoulder in the FA Cup tie against West Ham hasn’t helped his cause. The manager said: “We believe that he will be a great player for us, as he was at Olympiacos and as he has been for Mexico. I believe in him, absolutely. But he has to be stronger and fitter. When he came, he was not 100 per cent fit. He has been unlucky. Since January, he has missed 50 per cent of our training sessions, so he’s still not fit. But I hope and I still believe that he will get better and that he will play this season. I can’t give you any guarantees that he will play in the final matches of the season. It’s very much up to him to show me he deserves to play. He has worked very well in training, though. I think he has a good chance.” Eriksson also believes that Castillo has a good chance of extending his City career beyond December, when his loan deal expires.

Micah to Return? Micah Richards could make an appearance before the end of the season as he makes good progress following knee surgery. “It’s coming along nicely,” Richards said on Sky Sports. “It’s still not 100 per cent yet, but I won’t rush it. I just want to take as long as I can on it and make sure that it is right and hopefully come back as soon as possible. It has been frustrating, but it is frustrating for any footballer to be on the sidelines. It is part and parcel of football and you just have to take it as it comes. Hopefully I will come back firing like I was before. I’d do anything to play. But until the manager and the medical staff think that I am good enough to play, they don’t want to risk it. But I think I am getting towards that (playing) and hopefully I can get in a couple of games before the end of the season.”

Mark My Words: Northampton goalkeeper Mark Bunn is spending two days this week training with City. The highly-rated 23-year-old, who has made more than 100 first team appearances for Town, will spend time working with City’s goalkeepers and staff. Cobblers manager Stuart Gray said: “This is an excellent opportunity for Mark. The chance for him came about through I contact I have there, Eric Steele, who is City’s goalkeeping coach. These two days will give Mark a taste of what is demanded at the very highest level and will give him the chance to work with Premier League players in Premier League facilities. Mark has been superb for us over the last two seasons and I think this an excellent opportunity for him to broaden his experience. His attitude and application to training is first class, and he is always working at his game to constantly improve on his already high standards. Working with Eric and the staff and Manchester City is an excellent opportunity for him.”

A Sky Blue Miscellany

Mine’s a Double – Hat Trick, That Is: Away from the first team, City’s sides at other levels are having an exciting time as the season draws to a close. The Blues secured second place in the Pontin’s League with their second win in a week against Wrexham. And what a goal fest it was – 6-3 was the final score, with hat tricks for both David Ball and Robbie Mak. And the Youth team aren’t finished yet – following their FA Youth Cup triumph, the under-18’s have a chance to complete the double. They beat Sunderland 4-2 in the Semi Final of the Barclays Premier League competition, setting up a Final fixture away at Aston Villa. In a bruising encounter, all the goals came in the second half, and all this without star winger Vladimir Weiss, who was injured. The goalscorers were Dedryck Boyata, Donal McDermott, Ryan MGivern and Kieran Trippier.

Alpine Treat: Whoever ends up picking the team by the summer time, they’ll be beginning their preparations for the new season with a Swiss holiday, with a couple of games thrown in. The club have announced that they’ll play FC Lucerne on July 8 and FC Basle four days later.

Don Barrie <news(at)>


Deeply disappointing in many ways, not just because a last minute loss will always be that way. Still, it may make this view more negative than it might have been. Early on it was an open game but Fulham lacked a cutting edge and City played some attractive possession football, going back when necessary to keep the ball and scoring two good goals. The game looked won and the fans were singing as if to confirm it.

Then half time came. I have never watched a match in which a team scored three times and looked so far from scoring for most of the game. Neither have I ever seen a ref see a two handed push from a player and wave play on. I have equally never seen a team come out for the second half looking as totally uninterested as City did. The team came out in dribs and drabs, ambled onto the pitch clearly considering the game won (and Fulham had offered precious little other than some shots from distance in the first half). I don’t know where that attitude came from but it stinks. A third would have buried Fulham. I would say it was exemplified by the penalty (which was a penalty and a needlessly given away one at that) where no player was running in to try to get any rebound, and then every Fulham attack after that in which 4 or 5 poured forward and were consistently outnumbering the City defence.

A game that could have rounded off the home games in style with a comfortable victory in an entertaining game with a worthwhile lap of honour rather than the farce (or should I say UEFA cup practice) that it looked like it was going to be (I left when I saw how protracted it was going to be). Instead the team were entirely switched off and paid the price. Views on players:

Hart – Some fault for the first (third?) but made several good saves and was very unlucky with the penalty.
Elano – Clearly out of position but obviously provided an unusual depth of passing from a full back. Constructive and didn’t entirely disappear after a knock.
Corluka – Calm and confident in possession and looking strong until Kamara started running against him when he no longer appeared to fancy it. Should have prevented a shot on target for the first and at least tried a challenge for the third.
Ball – With a makeshift defence the captain needs to be much more vocal. Played solidly himself but offered little instruction to his makeshift left back and should have given Petrov a dressing down as well.
Sun – Tried but never looked comfortable and kept tucking in rather than staying wider. Didn’t offer much going forward either. Not sure why Garrido wasn’t picked (unless he’s unfit and I don’t know that).
Vassell – A solid tryer but doesn’t take on his man and stopped moves on occasions by turning back. Good vision for second but he’s not the answer in right midfield.
Ireland – Cracking opener but fairly anonymous in the latter part of the first half. Taken off very early in second but hadn’t done too much then either.
Fernandes – Again looked good although does a lot of chasing and not as much tackling. Clearly overrun when Fulham poured forward.
Johnson – Mostly anonymous, link play but nothing outstanding, also overrun in the second half.
Petrov – Clearly had the beating of the full back but didn’t take him on as often as he could have. Good linkage with balls from Elano played across for him to run on to. Might as well not have been on the pitch for large parts of the second half and, when he got a couple of chances, hurried and wasted them.
Benjani – Got little change out of defence, unluckily called offside a couple of times and took goal well. Not enough support for him overall though.
Geovanni – Some nice touches but didn’t look like turning the tide back again.
Caicedo – I’m not sure what he offers that say, Miller and Sturrridge, don’t. He’s enormous but thrown on to try to score left a very unbalanced team and it really didn’t look like working.

A frustrating game, although if it helps Fulham stay up at the expense of Birmingham and Bolton then I would personally be quite happy about that.

Thomas Bodey <tbodey01(at)>


Having relinquished my season ticket in protest at the formation of the Premiership and having moved to North Wales and suffering physical disability, I had never even seen the stadium before Saturday. My son is a seasoncard holder and decided it was time to attend to my education and bought me a ticket to see the last home game of the season against Fulham.

It was a strange experience having one’s offspring taking me to my first ever match but it was a very enjoyable rôle reversal. The stadium really is quite nice, if you like that sort of thing. Personally I’d prefer to rip the seats out of the Colin Bell stand and replicate the mighty Kippax, but what do I know?

Before the game we were enjoying the carnival atmosphere in Mary D’s and it felt great to be back in the wider family until about half past two when about a dozen boorish yobs decided to sing loudly and endlessly, songs of hatred about Munich. They even tried descending into racist filth to try and cajole the other hundreds present into joining in.

After insulting everybody else for not joining in their mindless filth, the last resort was to sing “there’s only eight of us singing”. This rapidly reduced to “there’s only six of us singing” and then finally “there’s only three of us singing”. Sadly, the buffoons totally lacked the intellect to work out why. Why these unspeakables were allowed to abuse everyone else with impunity escapes me. It really was sad to see this sort of behaviour tolerated and it really took the edge off what had been a carnival atmosphere.

Apart from these sad recidivists it was a brilliant day, notwithstanding a typical City result for a last home game. It was a strange experience, going back after years of abstinence. The craic was brilliant, as was the feeling of belonging. I have missed that far more than the football. I certainly enjoyed the whole day, but still can’t see justification for the obscene cost for passionate loyalty. I don’t think I’ll be back that often, but it was a brilliant reminder of what it is to be Blue!

Martin Hunt <martin.hunt(at)>


Don’t know who actually believed that it was a penalty: even Hanson and the hopeless defensive coach did not think it was a pen. It was plain to see by the Fulham player’s face that he had fooled the ref. But never mind, better our position now than in previous seasons.

Sun struggles to play the game, never mind foul anyone.

Sam Duxbury <samduxbury(at)>


If the Thai T*&t does get rid of Sven, then every City supporter should descend on The City of Manchester Stadium and demand Shinawatra goes instead. Sven has brought pride and good football that is played with flair. If he goes then City will struggle next season and it will be back to the bad old days.

Time to show support for Sven and for City. This just goes to show that Shinawatra is only interested in the pot of gold that at this moment in time only the top four clubs have access to. Get rid of Shinawatra, before City go belly-up.

Stephen Marks <salty12(at)>


Oh dear, I’ve opened a hornets’ nest. I’m just wondering if it’s just me who thinks the Thai takeover is not in the best interests of Manchester City or others think the same way, and judging by the latest Internet stories Sven won’t be at City much longer.

From the beginning of time man has been bought by the lure of fast money. Judas selling his soul for thirty pieces of silver was just the beginning and I liken this takeover as selling the soul of this great club. Sure you can get on the bandwagon and go for the ride, but sooner or later the petrol runs out and the tyres go flat.

To Glyn, Liverpool are in turmoil in the boardroom, Manchester United were the biggest name in football before their takeover and new management hasn’t made a scrap of difference. Just think of what happened at Leeds United. When Thaskin pulls the plug on City and he will, what then? We’re left with a bunch of players on huge salaries that no one really wants or can afford.

I’ve been in business over thirty years mainly by not taking high risks without fully going into these risks at great detail.

So people, how many of you support City and our new owner, and how many of you don’t? How many of you want the thirty pieces of silver? Staying Blue for the long haul – this season being the 42nd.

I suppose I could say I told you so, but at this time all it does is saddens me. Manchester City through the years have done some amazing things that leave us fans scratching our heads, but really this takes some beating doesn’t it? To sack one of the world’s top club coaches after a fairly successful season defies all logic, and to all coaches thinking about applying: don’t, if you value your reputation.

Thaskin is just someone with an over-inflated ego, who doesn’t give a t**s about this club, knows nothing about running a football (sports club), and is just in for amusement (who’s to say it was even his money?).

Manchester City are in a very deep hole, and quite frankly I don’t know how the club is going to get out of it. We have become a laughing stock. After watching the United-Barcelona game this morning, I wonder how Sir Alex would go?

Well the sun’s up, my granddaughter’s smiling and laughing in the lounge, and United keep on winning (maybe there’s a lesson in there somewhere?). A few City fans are having a drink this Friday night in Christchurch, should make for a fairly interesting evening, huh?

Kevin Williamson <scribbs(at)>


Just reading all the reports about Sven about the get the boot! Please, please, please don’t let this happen.

I was as disappointed as most City fans with their shocking second half display against Fulham, but considering the state of City’s defence and Fulham’s win-at-all-costs second half effort, we can’t let this be Sven’s defining moment. On the positive side, he did ship in a bunch of relative unknowns at the last minute and for the first three months of the season, City were the talk of the Premier League. Yes, we slipped in the New Year and Sven’s tactics, or lack of, had a lot to do with that. But we still have the basis for a very good team moving forward. Sack Sven and most of his signings will probably go too. And what would Richard Dunne and Micah Richards think of the situation? You can guarantee that they’d be gone.

Time for cooler heads to prevail. Shinawatra may be disappointed but all the cash in the world can’t instantly buy a top four position. Give Sven at least another season and let him build on what he started. A top 8 or 9 position is not to be sneezed at considering the past two campaigns. We have to keep the core of this squad together.

In this part of the world Thaskin is looked on as a nasty piece of work and now he’s shown his true colours. I really feel for this club, we just never seem to get it right.

Here’s hoping that City don’t shoot themselves in the foot again. We are so close to being contenders.

Still Bleeding Blue, Keith Sharp <keith(at)>


I am stunned by the news that Sven will be sacked at the end of the season. Sven has got City into the top ten as Thaksin wanted, City have accumulated the most points ever in a season in the Premier League, a very good season as Sven’s first in charge and with new players.

What has gone on behind the scenes is anyone’s guess, and I don’t think that Sven has been given all the support that he was promised. Thaksin has had his problems in his homeland Thailand having his money frozen, so there has been a lot of pressure on him.

Betting says Sven will be sacked is 1/2 and that he will go to another Italian club. The odds do not look in Sven’s favour but Sven has said he will not resign, he loves Manchester City and that the job is not finished, SGE has a 5 year contract so he won’t be short of cash.

What a fool Dr Frank has turned out to be. As supporters and fans of City we all have not been happy with the results since Christmas but look at the injuries to key players and we must all look at the season in full and not since Christmas.

Here is a list drawn up by the bookies on who will become the next City manager. Scolari 4/1, Sam Allardyce (what a joke) 6/1, Jose Mourinho 8/1, Steve McClaren (another joke) 8/1, Paul Ince (still learning, another joke) 8/1, Gus Hiddick 8/1, Mark Hughes (better off at Blackburn) 10/1,Frank Rijkaard (if Barça lose in Champions’ Cup) 12/1, Stuart Pearce (happy in his new job as England’s under 21 boss) 12/1, Ronald Koeman 12/1, Harry Redknapp (‘Arry is too wise to move) 14/1, David O’Leary (another joke) 20/1, and the list went on with more outsiders.

Just watched Sky Sports News and Frank Rijkaard hit it on the nail when he said “British football is all about winning, it’s no longer about entertaining football, it’s defend with your life, and counter attack”. Frank Rijkaard was not bitter after his exit from the Euro Cup, and I have always admired his honest comments.

Looking back at our season with Sven I think that we saw a bit of both, ugly to win, and at times entertaining.

The game in the Premier League has changed, it’s all about money, survival for money, and winning by defending, and then fast counter attacks, we have seen it by so many teams, and the teams who could not do it well have not survived in the Premier League.

Dr Frank please look at which players defended for City in the last few games. We haven’t played with the same back four for many games since Christmas, therefore our game plans were disrupted; Sven had to play who was available.

I plead with Dr Frank to come out and back Sven Goran Eriksson now so that the supporters and fans will come out and back Dr Frank Sinatra. There could be a backlash that will not only hurt MCFC, but Dr Thaksin Shinawatra as well.

If Dr Frank cannot come to reason, then please go to see a psychologist, the pressure back in Thailand is affecting your judgement.

Thaksin’s son says the SGE will lead City on the Far East tour; I do not think that this is a turn around, it’s just that Scolari does not end his contract with Portugal until the European Championships are over at the end of June.

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


I’d like to suggest a simple way City fans can make their voices heard to try to protect the future of our club. Simply send a postcard to Frank at Eastlands with a simple message. Something like “Don’t sack Sven. The objective of a top 10 finish has been achieved. We need stability”.

Tell all your mates to send a postcard too, and tell them to tell their mates. 50,000 polite postcards must make an impact. And if not, then at least we’ll have tried. And we have to try. We owe it to our club.

Chas Sinclair <charles(at)>


It will be utter madness if Sven is replaced after this season, as has been widely reported today. Usually I don’t read too much into the papers as most stories are well wide of the mark but after reading the M.E.N., which I do respect and hearing ‘close sources at the club’ it sounds inevitable.

What kind of a mess have we got ourselves into? What kind of lunatic megalomaniac owns our club? I chose to give Shinawatra the benefit of the doubt when he first rode in on his snow white charger, preferring to chuckle at the Swamp dwellers who were saddled with the evil Glazers. At least he’s a football fan said I. God how wrong could I be!

Before today’s news this was going to be a “40 years on” piece because I was also at Newcastle with my dad and uncles. Standing in the open end behind the goal where Franny scored the fourth and invading the pitch at the end; I also got a piece of turf, which we planted in a flower bed in the back garden. I’m glad my old dad’s not here anymore to see this s***e. Never been more depressed about the club I love than today. Really, it’s the worst I’ve ever felt.

Bob Simnor <bobs5455(at)>


It’s hard to fathom what Shinawatra is thinking sacking Sven, if all the rumours are true. But putting all the rumours together…

We’re bidding £40 million for Ronaldinho. Sven has the final say over who comes in.

If I were Sven, I’d nix the Ronaldinho thing right quick. He isn’t worth that kind of silly money and, with Sven’s knowledge of what’s out there, I’d gamble on 5 youngsters for £8 million apiece rather than a possible has-been. Besides which, the £40 million on Ronaldinho goes down as a Sven buy so if he doesn’t work out Sven gets the blame and loses £40 million he might have spent elsewhere. And when Sven’s season fails, the papers say you can’t blame it on Thaksin because he backed the manager, even spending £40 million on Ronaldinho… plus the wage policy goes bananas, and we have a prima donna in the dressing room. Sven isn’t that daft. That’s a no.

But, assuming there’s some truth in the Ronaldinho rumour, why would Thaksin want him? Easy. To sell kits in Asia. Publicity. Bojinov returning from injury isn’t going to do that, nor are a few unknown (in Thailand) £8 million buys. Given Sven’s contract, the only way Thaksin gets his way is by sacking him.

Just speculation though.

Bernard Molyneux <molyneux(at)>


Ok before everyone starts getting carried away about any potential sacking of SGE, has MCFC officially announced Sven’s departure? No.

Has Thaksin or any one of his many aides announced it? No.

It seems suddenly everyone believes everything that is being written in the all-of-a-sudden believable press!

Let’s wait and see what happens. Having said that, if I had spent circa £130 million then I would want some fast return on my money. This isn’t your normal ‘chairman sacking a manager’ situation. I hope that Sven stays but you have to remember that even in our record breaking start to the season we were very fortunate to have won some of those home games (Derby, Man U, Villa, Brum and Reading) giving us an inflated beginning.

Since December it has gone shockingly wrong: out of the FA Cup by Sheff Utd and ‘balloongate’, not to mention only 6 wins in the last 23 games in all competitions including defeats to Fulham, Birmingham and Reading along with an abject failure to beat the overwhelming whipping boys Derby County. It simply isn’t good enough, especially when you include the fact that we have only managed 2 wins out of all the games against all of the teams above us in the league (taking Man U out of the equation).

Most of those defeats came because we couldn’t change the game plan, when Plan A failed there was never any Plan B. Sometimes there was no Plan A to start with! Things like that are unforgivable and if it was anyone less than Sven some people would have asked for the manager to be sacked.

Now we have the news that Sven is allegedly taking he club on tour to Asia and suddenly Sky Sports are asking the question as to whether Sven’s future is actually in doubt. I finish by repeating where I started: no one ever said it was except for the media!

Andrew Keller <akcity(at)>


So City fans are up in arms about Thaksin’s decision to give Sven the bullet in the summer. Anybody would be mistaken for thinking the relationship between the fans and the team has been a bed of roses this season.

But all I’ve heard is incessant whingeing and moaning about City’s shortcomings all season, so it’s hardly surprising that Shinawatra thinks he’s getting a poor return on his investment so far.

The political history of the man tells us two things: he’s very big on propaganda and he doesn’t mess about when he thinks something needs changing.

The way City fans have been carrying on this season, you would think it’s our money that Sven has been spending.

But look at it from Thaksin’s point of view, it’s his money and yet we are constantly bleating that things aren’t good enough. To a propaganda man, that’s not a good situation at all.

Well the bed has been made and now it’s time to lie in it.

Maybe next time when we’re faced with a period of stability (if ever we are blessed with such a possibility again) we might learn some lessons about the virtue of patience from this experience.

The biggest one being this: if the only things you can think to say are negative, then keep your f*****g mouth shut.

This football club will never be successful because the 40,000 people who claim to love it don’t know how to love it.

Mike Holden <mike(at)>


If you are a Manchester City or football supporter and are shocked that someone could be so short-sighted as to terminate Sven after one season, there are a couple of on-line petitions that you can add your names and comments to:

Feel free to express your concerns/ disgust etc. After the years and years of c**p we have had to put up with, this past year has given me optimism again and the hope that we may someday win (or at least get into a final or semi-final of) a major trophy in my lifetime. Sven may or may not be the man to deliver this, but as far as I am concerned he must be given a fair shot at bringing about change for us. How can you possibly decide a case when only a portion of the evidence has been heard?

I have no idea who are behind the petitions or how they intend bringing them to the attention of Mr Shinawatra, but we need to speak out and let him know how ridiculous this is. Even if you are not a fan of Sven, I’m sure you would agree that he at least deserves a chance.

If anyone else knows of other avenues to voice your displeasure at this absurd piece of news, please post them up or email me please.

Martin Prendergast <martinjprendergast(at)>


Outrageous, ludicrous, ridiculous, preposterous. What next bit of foolishness can we expect from the Manchester City Boardroom? We’ve seen plenty of idiocy over the last thirty years: bringing back Big Mal, selling Dave Watson, Gary Owen, Peter Barnes, Garry Flitcroft (with a few games to go in a relegation scrap), buying Steve Daley, Lee Badbuy, appointing Alan Ball etc. The list is endless. Well, the imminent sacking of Sven Goran Eriksson surpasses that idiocy. And yes, sacking Sven is all those things: outrageous, ludicrous, ridiculous, preposterous. Add to that moronic and crass. It’s the sort of decision that comes from someone who apparently knows nothing or very little about football.

It is ridiculous that we have been even discussing Sven’s position. Sven has done a good job this season. Thaksin Shinawatra set him the target of being in the top ten this season and he achieved it. So what’s changed in Shinawatra’s mind? City can finish no lower than 9th now and can finish as high as 6th. Sven has turned a team that struggled against relegation into one that has challenged for Europe ahead of schedule. No team can play well in every game, but we’ve played good football and have beaten United twice. That is progress to anyone who understands football. Clearly Shinawatra and his advisors like that renowned world expert on footballing matters, Taweesuk Jack Srisumrid, don’t seem to get that.

Why would someone want to work for a man who sacks managers even though that manager achieved the goal that he was set? What manager worth his salt is going to work for Shinawatra? He’ll certainly have to pay well over the odds to get a good one if, indeed, he can get a good one. Slaven Bilic has signed another contract with Croatia, so that’s one less candidate and it remains to be seen whether World Cup winner ‘Big Phil’ Scolari can be tempted to England. And don’t tell let him tell you that Sam Allardyce is an improvement on Sven, or the coach of the Thai National team whose team has recently lost at home to that great footballing power that is Oman.

Don’t get me wrong. Without Shinawatra coming to City last summer, we’d probably have been involved in another relegation scrap this season and probably wouldn’t have survived. However, in dispensing with Sven, Shinawatra is bringing embarrassment and shame to our club when it really should be looking to build on Sven’s achievements.

I can’t get to Anfield on Sunday as we’re expecting our first child (a shocking lack of commitment, I know), but I know you will give the Boys in Blue and Sven your full backing. Raise the roof, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. I know I’m not alone in hoping, just hoping that Shinawatra will see sense and change his mind about removing Sven. Sadly, as Shinawatra doesn’t seem to be listening to anyone but his ‘experts’, that doesn’t seem likely, but we can but try. Like so many of you, I’m disgusted at the way Sven has been treated. Sven has not only brought progress and style back to City, but this dignified gentleman of the game has brought decency and respect to our club. It’s a pity that this cannot be said of the other protagonists in this sad state of affairs.

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


So I’m just off Skyline Boulevard in the Oakland Hills overlooking San Francisco to meet a contractor from the Emerald Isle last week. After discussing business, naturally the conversation turns to footie. It turns out he’s a mate of Dunne’s from way back. Apparently Dunne’s sister lives in LA so he often visits there. Contractor bloke gave me some background on the drinking days, where Dunne felt obliged to pay back a lot of his old mates who helped him out when he was trying to make his way. Hence all the late nights of boozing. He also told me about the Keegan ultimatum – lose a stone over summer or don’t come back. He lost 30lbs in 3 months. If you look at DVDs of City a while back it shows. The last nugget was the Arsenal bid. Apparently coming in the summer. Dunne wants to stay in Manchester, he loves it up there, lots of mates and that… but the offer will come. Last story was the Mr. Marsh and Mr. Best playing a game in San Jose during the glory years (ok days) of American soccer. The story goes that they hit almost every pub in San Jose that weekend and didn’t make the plane home etc. Starting Friday night and finishing God knows when. Classy stuff. Moving on from that, if you get the chance to see “once in a lifetime” (not the Talking Heads arty concert whatsit), but the film about the New York Cosmos, do. A great documentary. Rodders has a few things to say, Dennis Tueart features in a few scenes, Pele etc.

It’s good to be Blue despite the 3-2. From grinning to crapitulation.

Andy <fastandyj(at)>


In response to the email from down under strangely enough my dad Paul Moorehead and Keith Mullins also ran on the pitch and dug up the spot where Franny scored the winner. Well he was a big bloke so it would cover a large patch! The grass is now in St Helens where Keith lived. Are there any more gardeners out there?

I see the Cups for Cock Ups will need a new chapter. Overall Sven has been superb. Sure I’d have done some things differently but given the hand he had at the start he has done a superb job. I can’t understand how a prime minister can be so stupid as to not give Svennis another season to build. Then there is Gordon Brown and then you realise they can be.

Thanks Sven, under you we have had the best top flight entertaining team since Joe Mercer.

Simon Moorehead <simonmoorehead(at)>


Just checked out Scolari on Wikipedia, and I like this bit:

Scolari is famous for his temper and for his histrionic “performance” by the field while the match is going on, reacting strongly to both the best and the worst moments of his team. A good example of his fierce temper was a September 12, 2007 qualifying match for Euro 2008 against Serbia when, at the end of the game, and after the referee had blown the whistle for a 1-1 draw, Scolari, after being slapped in the hand by the Serbian player Ivica Dragutinovic, grazed him in the face with a left hook.

But, does he speak English as well as the Swede does?

Peter Birbeck <peter.birbeck(at)>


28 April 2008

Derby County          2 - 6  Arsenal               33,003

League table to 30 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         36 13  5  0 36 11  9  6  3 36 20 22 11  3  72  31  41  77
 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    36  1  5 12 12 39  0  3 15  7 43  1  8 27  19  82 -63  11

With thanks to Football 365

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