Newsletter #1428

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Don’s news brings us the latest on the Sven/Thaksin saga with Sven having held talks with Benfica and Thaksin saying he is unclear on whether to dispense with the manager or not. We also have news on the Thai flag scandal, rumours of approaches for our ex-academy talent. There’s also the much awaited appointment of our executive chairman who can hopefully steady the helm.

Meanwhile, continuing opinion on Thaksin, managers and end of season together with the usual requests.

Next Game: Sunday 11 May 2008, 3pm, Middlesbrough (away)

NEWS SUMMARY

All Aboard the Managerial Merry Go Round!

Benfica Bound (1): Let’s doggie paddle through the murky miasma of this week’s MCFC managerial speculation shall we? The rumour mongers went into overdrive once City cancelled Sven’s routine pre-match press conference on Friday due to “exceptional circumstances”. Eriksson was linked again with a move away, most notably to one of his previous clubs, Benfica, whom Portuguese media claim want him to replace Jose Antonio Camacho. “The door is not closed on Benfica,” Eriksson’s agent Athole Still told O Jogo. “The question of money is important. He may have been contacted indirectly. If any club wish to talk with Eriksson, they must call me.” Then we heard that City have made the first moves to appoint Luiz Felipe Scolari as the next manager. The BBC reported that contact had been made between City and Portugal coach Scolari’s representatives in a bid to bring him to Eastlands. Then Scolari was said to be resisting the lure of City – he’s unwilling to move his family away from Portugal, as his two sons are in further education there. And the Brazilian denied all knowledge of a City approach. “It’s the first time I have heard something about this topic,” Scolari said. “My agent was in Lisbon to have a few days with me and we were talking about many things but none of them related to England. I will not decide anything about my future until we finish the European Championship.” Whoever the City manager is come August, it won’t be Croatia coach Slaven Bilic. Bilic, last week linked with the City manager’s job, has signed a new contract keeping him in charge of his national side until the 2010 World Cup. The Observer claimed Thaksin Shinawatra wants Chelsea boss Avram Grant, no less, with Sven going in the other direction. “The club would be interested in Grant. The owner likes him very much,” a City insider said – and there’s more from that mysterious insider later.

Support for Sven: Support for Sven has come from many quarters. There were stories that City’s players had to be talked out of striking as a show of support for Eriksson. The Guardian reports that when the players found out about Sven’s impending dismissal, they told Eriksson they would boycott the club’s end-of-season promotional tour to Thailand. The Guardian says that a delegation of senior players, apparently led by Richard Dunne, approached Eriksson offering to put their names to a public statement expressing strong misgivings and accusing the former prime minister of Thailand of making a grave mistake. But Eriksson talked them out of it and also advised against embarrassing Thaksin in his native country by refusing to take part in a game against a Thailand Premier All-Stars team on May 17 and in a match in Hong Kong five days later. Then League Managers’ Association chief executive Richard Bevan then branded Thaksin’s treatment of Sven as a disgrace. “I do think Shinawatra is behaving disgracefully. He had a five-year plan back in July which was to get City into the top 10,” he said. “Sven has done an excellent job. He won the first seven out of 10 matches and got the double over Manchester United. Shinawatra’s short-termism is destabilising the club. I’ve spoken to Sven and he remains a true gent. He’s waiting until he has more details and is confused by his situation. A poll last week showed that 97% of all City fans are in favour of Sven so the pressure is back on the owner in this case. I’d like to speak to Shinawatra and talk about communication.” Blimey, even the puce-faced one was on Sven’s side. Fergie blasted club owners who “want to pick the team” and expressed his surprise that S-GE is facing the sack. “Nothing amazes you but I am surprised. We have all different types of owners in Premier League football I’m afraid.” He added: “Sometimes I read the newspapers and find it quite hard to fathom these situations, stories that first Scolari, then Bilic, then Mourinho is going to get the City job. You have all different types of owners coming into football now and some want to be hands-on. That’s why I’m very fortunate, the Glazer family have been tremendous. They have let me get on with my job and I think that speaks volumes for our club. At some other clubs the owners want to pick the team. I know at one club the owner faxes his team to the manager every Saturday morning. Can you believe that?”

Selling Out? Not Likely! Then an odd story popped up in the News of the World. We needn’t worry about how Thaksin’s running City – because he’s going to sell the club! He’s shocked with how much it takes to run a Premier League football club. One Eastlands source said: “Shinawatra and his people have been performing a very skilful juggling act with the TV revenue, season tickets sales and other sponsorship money. But the time is approaching where he will need help from outside sources if he is going to continue to progress the club. If help is not forthcoming there are even suggestions that he might bale out and put the club up for sale – but at the moment that is a distant prospect.” Which begs the question: if you’re pondering selling the club, why go through the rigmarole of appointing a new manager? Anyway, Sven was allowed to speak to the press over the weekend, and did his best to shrug off the speculation by urging his players to concentrate on the games left. He said: “We are all professionals and we must concentrate on the two games we have left to play. It is strange to have two away games to finish and they are both difficult matches but I am sure we are going to produce good performances in both those matches. If we will win or not at Liverpool, you never know because they are a top side but all those fans that travel to see us play at Anfield and all those watching back home will see a good performance. The players are determined. There are certainly no signs in training that they have packed their bags for their summer holiday. They did excellent sessions earlier this week and playing Liverpool is always special. There will be days of speculation, I am sure, but we must be focused on winning matches.”

Fan-tastic Support: During the week, online polls showed support for S-GE running at between 90 and 97 per cent, despite the team having slipped from the top four at Christmas to ninth. The City fans at the Liverpool game on Sunday were more than keen to show off where their loyalties lay. There was less than five minutes on the clock at Anfield when the Blues supporters began a chant of “We don’t need no Phil Scolari, we don’t need no Mourinho,” to the tune of Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall. “Hey, Thaksin, leave our Sven alone.” His name was almost constantly chanted by City fans, and S-GE was suitably grateful. “It makes me stand up from the bench a lot but I can do that, no problem. It was fantastic, of course I am thankful. They have been fantastic all season, incredible. Maybe it will not affect things, I don’t know. But we have one week to go until the season is finished. But I would appreciate it if people would accept that we will start talking after that. We will not be talking on Monday, more so next month.” Eriksson’s reaction to remarks from his agent Athole Still that he would not be in charge at City next season, was: “He said that? They should work and not talk. I heard he had said something, but he has not spoken to me at all.” He also added about the end-of-season tour that “Yes, I suppose we all go to Thailand,” Eriksson said. “It is a tour programme. But a combination of football and a holiday – that isn’t bad.” Oh by the way – long standing (in all senses) target, Liverpool striker Peter Crouch, won’t consider a move to City if Eriksson is forced out – so says the Sunday People.

Benfica Bound (2): On Wednesday we found out that all this speculation, which had been stirred up for a week and a half by somebody, was all stuff and nonsense. The manager hasn’t been told he’ll be gone, and no replacement’s in the pipeline either. When asked about Sven’s future, Thaksin denied that any decision had been made yet. “We have not discussed it (Sven’s future) yet. We will do an evaluation at the end of the season about what needs to be changed and what needs to be added for the success of the club,” he said. “We will discuss it at the end of the season, we have no decision. Sven, Scolari and Mourinho are all great coaches.” And Scolari’s people reckon nothing’s been agreed either: “Nobody has contacted Luiz Felipe Scolari,” said his agent Acaz Fellegger. “The truth is that there has been no approach and Scolari has repeatedly stated that his future will only be decided after Euro 2008.” And today (Thursday), we’re back full circle with Benfica featuring as Sven’s presumed destination. Sky Sports showed Benfica’s President and captain both leaving Sven’s Manchester hotel, which seems a bit of a coincidence if there weren’t talks going on, and according to the Daily Mail Sven said “I’ve had a meeting with the Benfica people,” Eriksson is quoted as saying in the Daily Mail.

After-Match Reactions and Comments

Torres Torrent Continues: A football match took place amid all the Sven speculation last Sunday. In a typical end of season encounter, Fernando Torres took his tally to 32 goals for the season as Liverpool beat City 1-0. Torres left Richard Dunne trailing and angled in a shot to put the Reds ahead just after Elano’s free-kick hit the post at the other end. The Reds had chances to wrap up the game but Dirk Kuyt’s header struck the crossbar and Ryan Babel skied a shot. City rarely threatened but almost punished the home side only for Pepe Reina to save Benjani’s late free-kick. There weren’t many quotes about the game from Sven, who was mainly asked about his future. I’ve found a few tho’. He acknowledged that his side had not been good enough on the day, but was pleased by the attitude on show from his players. “I think we were very much in the game first-half,” he told Sky Sports. “Then during 10-15 minutes in the second-half Liverpool became very good and we gave away too many balls, and then we came back. We are not on holidays yet and at least we tried for 90 minutes to create chances and equalise, which is good. Of course we gave it away and I think if you take away corners and free-kicks every time they created a chance we gave the ball away some seconds before. It’s something we should avoid, but when you play Liverpool away it’s not easy.” Opposing manager Rafa Benitez, despite seeing his team missing a host of chances, declared happy with the victory. “I think that was a game with a lot of opportunities,” he told Sky Sports. “Usually when you play these type of games without any pressure both teams play open so we had plenty of chances, they had one or two, but we had clear chances. But it is good news, another goal, another clean sheet. I think we deserved to win and the only thing we can be disappointed about is that we had two or three chances that we could have killed the game off with.” Rafa is confident that Liverpool can mount a serious challenge for the Premier League title next season. “I think we can progress and try and sign the players we want,” he said. “It’s clear that we are too far behind but I think that in some crucial moments we were close. I think the key was maybe one or two of the draws, and it could have made a massive difference.”

General News

Flag of Inconvenience: Here’s a couple of snippets with a Thai angle to them. The first was brought to my attention by Lee Brogan a couple of weeks ago (thanks for that), but when I went to check out the link to a Thai news website, the story had been taken away. Curious, no? Well the story’s now made it onto other news websites, so here it is. Thaksin’s had to apologise to the Thai people no less, after someone thought it would be a good idea at the Fulham game to emblazon the owner’s name on the national flag, a crime in his homeland. The flag was unfurled reading “Thank you Thaksin”. Prime Minister Sumac Sundarajev was not amused, while Thai police were reportedly mulling charges against the former premier for disrespecting the flag. “I regret the incident by Manchester City fans in England, who were trying to show their love for the club and for Thailand,” Thaksin was quoted in the Daily News. “It’s OK in their culture, and once we explained the problem to them, they expressed their regret. I was there at the stadium and I saw it. At the time, I was caught up in the game, but soon afterwards we informed them of the problem and they agreed to stop. They understand the differences in our cultures, and they have conveyed their regret. I have explained the situation to Prime Minister Samak via a third person,” he added. And the second story, which I leave the good readers of this august newsletter to judge, was reported in the UK’s very own Sunday Mirror. According to the paper, Thaksin has asked the players to bow to him Thai-style before each game. A City insider (who are these mysterious insiders?) said: “At first we thought it was a joke, but the owner was serious about the players paying their respects. It’s just not going to happen.”

Cook’s Tour: City are trying to boost their power in the transfer market with the capture of a top Executive from Nike, named Garry Cook. The Daily Mail says Cook is being offered the position of Executive Chairman by Thaksin Shinawatra and his appointment will strengthen their hand in negotiations for the world’s top players. Ronaldinho, for instance, has been in talks with City’s current board through his brother and agent, who recently visited the club – and the Brazilian is one of Nike’s leading football ambassadors. Cook worked closely with basketball legend Michael Jordan while at Nike. Cook is believed to have agreed a three-year contract at the COMS, but it is not clear whether Chief Exec Alistair Macintosh will report directly to Cook under a new management structure. One Nike source said last night: “For Garry to leave such a key position here, Manchester City must be an attractive project. We tried to keep him, but this is not about money. Clearly, they must have a great deal of ambition. This guy is a serious operator, a class act.”

Dunne for a Fourth Time: Richard Dunne has created City history by claiming the club’s Player of the Year award for the fourth successive time. Unsurprising really, as the defender has enjoyed another fantastic season at the heart of the Blues’ defence. He is the first player in the club’s history to secure four straight awards.

The Final Comedown: City’s Under 18’s couldn’t quite pull off the double last week. The Blues went down 2-0 to Aston Villa in Sunday lunchtime’s game, with goals from Collins and Herd before the break doing the damage. Still, the Boy Blues have the consolation of the FA Youth Cup this season.
Team: Hartley, Trippier, McGivern, Boyota, Mee, Kay, Clayton (Ibrahim 65), Tutte, Mak, Ball (Moore 62), McDermott (Poole 57). Unused subs: Mentel, Obeng.

Transfer News and Gossip

Heaven Sant: City’s move for Giovani Dos Santos could continue even if S-GE is sacked at the end of the current season – because Barcelona want the move to go through. The Blues have held negotiations over a transfer for the 18-year-old Mexican starlet and the only hold-up has come with City asking for a one-year loan with a view to a permanent switch, while the Barça want to off-load the player immediately. Eriksson’s friendship with Dos Santos’ agent, Pini Zahavi, has helped ease the talks, but a transfer could still be on the cards even if the Swede is relieved of his duties in the summer.

Crown Jewells Targetted: You’d think City were a club in crisis, bearing in mind the clubs now swooping down to pick up some prize morsels on the playing squad. Michael Johnson, for instance, has two new suitors, both based in North London – Arsenal and Spurs. Arsene Wenger has been armed with a healthy transfer kitty ahead of the summer window, and he is prepared to pay £7 million to take Johnson – but The People says Spurs are planning a close-season bid for Johnson after having him watched against Fulham last Saturday. And Yikes! Sir Fergie is ready to stun both Manchester and Salford with an audacious bid for Micah Richards! The News of the World says a bid of around £25 million would be sufficient for City to sell Richards. However, a club insider has dismissed the speculation about the young players’ future, saying in the Manchester Evening News: “All the players that the press has been speculating about this weekend are under contract here and in some cases they have long-term agreements. Any stories linking our younger players with other clubs are speculation.”

Marking Time: Mark Bresciano has blamed “the worst year of my career” on the collapse of his summertime transfer to City. Palermo’s Australian international had agreed personal terms with Sven, but the deal collapsed when City refused to pay up-front, insisting on completing the £5 million transfer in instalments. “It was tough to recover from that psychologically, because everyone – including myself – was convinced I would go to City and instead it all crumbled. When I managed to get myself focused, I didn’t play very much because of physical problems, but my motivation was never lacking,” bleated Bresciano. “This has certainly been the worst year of my career. However, difficult campaigns are the ones that help you grow. It has been a strange season for myself and the team.” Yet the 28-year-old Australian is not taking a summer transfer away from Sicily for granted. “I have been happy in Italy and Palermo, so there is no other place I would prefer to be,” he insisted. “There’s nothing to say I have to leave. I must talk to the club and see if there are any concrete offers. Let us say that at the moment I am 50 per cent sure to remain with the Rosanero.”

**** Me! Coventry City boss Chris Coleman wants to sign on-loan Kasper Schmeichel permanently for £1 million. Coleman said: “I played against Kasper’s old man a few times including in an FA Cup semi-final between Crystal Palace and United, when he really was something special. Kasper is different to Peter in a lot of ways and he’s only 21 – but he is very opinionated, you do have to drag him off the training ground and he’s a top ‘keeper. One save at the end of our draw with Wolves was worthy of winning any match – you just turned round and said ‘God, **** me, how did he keep that one out?'”

Squad News

Cor, Look ‘Ere: Vedran Corluka’s been reflecting on his first season in England. “I think we’ve done well this season and when you compare it to last season you can see the big difference. This year I’ve learnt lots from the matches in England and I can learn for next year and I think I will be better next season.” Of his own season, he added: “I’ve enjoyed it very much because it was my first season in England and it has been something new for me. I think for a first season it was good and I’m happy that I chose this Club. Now I just want to show everybody that I deserve to be here in England and the best league in the world.”

Say It’s So, Joe: S-GE thinks that Joe Hart will soon be knocking on the door of the full England team. “Joe has been outstanding,” Sven said on the club website. “I think we are spoiled with the ‘keepers we have at this club, and we are coming to expect that he is playing as well as he is. I always said that I believed that he would play for England, sooner or later, but I think that could be very soon. He is in fantastic form at the moment, and he is spoiling us because we think the way he is playing now is normal. Some of his saves against Liverpool were incredible. He’s matured as a player and as a person this year and in the future I think he will be a real leader. He already is one, in some ways, but it’s not easy to be one in your first full season playing in the Premier League, and he’s just 21 years old still. It’s been an excellent year for him, he’s a great talent and is already a very good player – and, of course, he will only get better and better.”

Don Barrie <news(at)mcivta.city-fan.org>

OPINION: SAINTS OR SINNERS I

Thaksin Shinawatra has had plenty of criticism and is he is reaping what he sows, though whether he is bothered or not is another matter. So, back to those of us who are bothered, I have to take issue with Tom Ritchie’s comments in MCIVTA 1427 where he said ‘Too many of Thaksin’s critics are making subtle racist references with the view that as a Thai he knows nothing about football.’

Clearly, that’s nonsense. Who is saying that Thais know nothing about football? Of course it’s not subtly ‘racist’ to say that Shinawatra does not know anything about football. It’s an opinion, not a racial comment. By those standards, does Tom mean that anyone who is not from these isles cannot be criticised? I’d hope not. That Dubya Bush and that Osama Bin Laden certainly have a lot to answer for! Of course everyone has the right to criticise or be criticised, whatever race or creed they may be. Clearly any remarks about Shinawatra’s race or religion are out of order, and don’t help anyone’s cause, but that is not the case for most of us who are objectively criticising Shinawatra.

Shinawatra acts like he does not know very much about football when he is looking to replace a manager who has made great progress with a team that had to be scrambled together at the eleventh hour last summer. If anyone needs reminding of that progress, City have risen from 14th last season to 9th this. Success takes time to build. Everton have taken years of expert building under David Moyes to get to where they are, Villa are doing the same under Martin O’Neill; Randy Lerner stuck with O’Neill after a dodgy spell last season, and they have progressed further. Even Chelsea were a solid top four side before Abramovich let Mourinho loose on his cash and won titles. Furthermore, both Villa and Chelsea are foreign owned and most City fans I know don’t have a problem with that, and why should we? Most City fans don’t have a problem with foreign players either in my experience, given our adulation of Goater, Kinkladze, Benarbia, Berkovic, Elano etc. I’d say that the vast majority of City fans are fair minded. I suppose the obvious point here is that we are supporting our ‘foreign’ manager, Sven Goran Eriksson, if people want to describe it that way!

As someone of mixed race who has been on the rough end of racism, I find it very frustrating when people claim something is ‘racist’ when it isn’t appropriate. It sets the cause of ethnic minorities back and gives ammunition to the right wing Daily Mail-style press who jump on the ‘PC nonsense’ bandwagon. It’s also an unhelpful fogging of the issue at hand here, which is, that in most people’s opinions, Sven Goran Eriksson should continue to be manager of Manchester City.

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)hotmail.com>

OPINION: SAINTS OR SINNERS II

I’m tired of reading about City fans thanking Dr Thaksin Shinawatra for bringing money to Manchester City!

In Thailand, a country still reeling from the after effects of the tsunami, and where corruption amongst politicians is even worse than it is here (well, it’s less covert), army general Sonthi Boonyaratglin, spokesman for the King of Thailand, and well known (or infamous dependent upon which side of the line you’re standing) for his dislike of corruption, believed that the country’s then Prime Minister Dr Thaksin Shinawtra, now our beloved chairman, had taken a step too far. It was alleged that, on top of all kinds of financial irregularities, Dr Thaksin had added to his portfolio by applying Bush/Mugabe election techniques. The General lead what was possibly one of the most peaceful coup d’états in history. He waited until the good Doctor had nipped out to a mate’s, then he had the locks changed. Sadly, power has been handed back to the politicians (surely a sign that the aims of the coups were well intended), Dr Thaksin’s mates are back in the fold, and it is now unlikely that the Thai people will see a single bhat of the missing money (the General should have read General Franco’s ‘Military Coups for Dummies’).

Now, if any of us watched an item on Watchdog that alleged that a ruthless businessman had stolen money from a man whose house had been flooded, and whose relatives had died in the course of the tragedy, how many of us would think, “Fair play, son! I wonder if I could tap him up for a couple of bob?”

City fans did, and still do!

When Thaksin’s name first entered the frame I discussed all this with fellow Blues, and all that seemed to matter was the influx of money, not where it came from or how. What’s worse is that for many it still seems to be the case. The weakest argument is the old plea of, “innocent until proven guilty”, but how many of us would have taken our loved ones for a once over by Harold Shipman after the first time that the bobbies had knocked at his door?

Never mind thanking Dr Thaksin for bringing money to the club: Try thanking the people of Thailand whom we watched suffering on TV a couple of Boxing Days back! I’m sure that they would have been comforted in their misery and grief had they only had the hope to cling to that some day, possibly, some of the money that they had paid in taxes could help to buy a Premier League football team.

And if you’re unmoved by any of this, think about the consequences of having such a character in charge of MCFC. Wake up! Football is notorious for corruption, and what fertile pastures it makes for the wrong type of person. You’ve got to wonder about the future of the club. I’m not going to attempt any predictions but there’s an old Thai proverb: ‘If you ask a python to baby-sit your children, he’ll scare the bad men away but you’ll end up with a few less faces in the family snapshot’ (OK, so I made it up).

City may, or may not, burn brightly in the years to come, but given Dr Thaksin’s track record, you had better hope that when he eventually leaves, whenever that may be, that the door handles and light bulbs are still where they should be. When the bailiffs come knocking, Swiss banks are notoriously uncooperative.

I’ll not be renewing my season ticket, much as it stings me not to, but I have signed the online petition to keep Sven, out of respect for his record as a club manager and because I feel that he would have done well at City. I don’t believe that either of my actions will have any effect but both seem right to me.

The time for petitions was before Thaksin took over, and passed when he became chairman, so we had all better learn to live with it.

CTID, Sutty <NetSutty(at)aol.com>

OPINION: SAINTS OR SINNERS III

So Alex in his round up (MCIVTA 1427) believes that Dr Shinawatra is above criticism having invested his millions in the club. I for one don’t buy that argument. Shinawatra invested a lot of money and there were no other comparable investors on the horizon, that much I accept.

Thaksin clearly does not understand though that football is a long-term investment if you want to achieve success. It is no coincidence that 3 of the top 4 clubs have long-term managers in place. City fans, of all people, should know that getting rid of managers in rapid succession is a great way to drive the fortunes of the club down.

To put the club in effectively the same situation as it was last summer is incredibly misguided. It appears we will not have a new manager in place until the beginning of July (after Euro 2008), which gives him a month or so in which to make whatever investments in new players are needed during the summer break. In all likelihood some of the current core squad members will leave, in part due to the mismanagement of the club. Considering that Shinawatra appears to have significantly less funds available (in an unfrozen state) than Sven believes are needed any new manager is going to start next season in possibly a worse sate than if Sven were still in place.

What is Shinawatra’s strategy and ambitions for this club? I thought the strategy was to gain a top half position this season and go on from there. The first part of the strategy has been achieved but the “go on from there” bit does not appear to have been thought through, let alone articulated to the people who really matter – us the fans, and also the players. It used to take Blind Faith, Optimism and a Good Sense Of Humour to support the Blues. I think it may now require a degree of insanity!

We all acknowledge that the Swales and Lee eras were bad for the club. Some of us have similar reservations about the current leading shareholder as well. We have an absolute right to express that point of view.

Robert Barker <randr.barker(at)tiscali.co.uk>

OPINION: WHAT’S GOING ON? I

I’m a bit puzzled. I write this on Thursday afternoon just after reading that Sven has confirmed talks with Benfica.

Considering the way that he’s been treated, I don’t blame him and it looks certain now that he’s going. However, if he’s openly admitting now that he’s talking to another club, I don’t understand why he doesn’t just go now.

The other point is, I keep hearing that various players and their fathers, the latest being Santos of Barcelona, have confirmed interest from City.

How? Sven is going, so he’s hardly likely to be showing great interest in anyone. Is Frank showing interest? If so, why doesn’t he go the whole hog and manage the team himself?

It can’t be the backroom staff or Scholari as he hasn’t even got the job yet. I’m still puzzled. Can anyone enlighten this poor thick City fan?

Meanwhile, I heard on the news on Talk Sport this week that ‘Frank’ has had to apologise to the people of Thailand because City fans held up a Thai flag at Anfield with his name on it.

I’ve checked the internet since returning home today but can’t find any story with this in it. Apparently, putting your name on the Thai National Flag is strictly forbidden. What a funny old world eh?

John Nisbet <john_nisbet(at)btinternet.com>

OPINION: WHAT’S GOING ON? II

Now it seems inevitable that Shinawatra is determined to show Sven the door, one can only shudder at the imminent disaster that is about to befall Eastlands. If Scolari is indeed taking over the job, this is going to happen after the European Championships which means he is going to have about six weeks tops to have a team ready for the 2008-2009 season. About the same time Sven had this season.

  1. There is not going to be anyone worth signing by the time he getsaround to settling into the job.
  2. I can see a stampede of players heading out of the door well beforeScolari takes over. This whole mess is so ridiculous and so avoidable. Onething that is clear is that Shinawatra does not give a toss about us thesupporters. All that good will, cheering on Thailand Day, putting up with thatpropaganda c**p (does anyone in Manchester really drink Thai Beer!)

The whole PR image has been a sham. Shinawatra knows nothing about football. If he thinks he can buy his way to a top 4 finish he is delusional. And then to haul the team, and Sven, off to a propaganda trip to Thailand right after the season wraps, to line his pockets is barmy. If I was Richard Dunne, Micah Richards, Darius Vassell or any of the team’s seasoned pros, I would tell him to get stuffed.

Sorry people but we have a right mess on our hands here. One thing I have to say though is the City fans’ humour at Liverpool was brilliant. That Brick In The Wall chant was priceless. Too bad that Shinawatra doesn’t give a toss.

Is it too late to cancel your season tickets? This is probably the only act that will register with him.

Crying in my Smithwicks, Keith Sharp <keith(at)accessmag.com>

OPINION: NEXT… I

Dr Thaksin now says that Sven is not sacked but his position will be discussed at the end of the season. Is Dr Thaksin playing for time as he searches for another manager? This would be more insult to Sven.

Meanwhile, Benfica officials come to Manchester for talks with Sven, a club he managed twice with success, and Sven admits talks. I think that Sven-Goran Eriksson has shown great patience, and is a true gentleman.

After the way Sven has been treated by Thaksin, I could not blame him if he went back to Benfica (of course I do not want this to happen). Thaksin gave Sven a three year contract and I hope that both parties will abide to it.

For Manchester City to move forward we need Sven to stay in charge as team Manager/Coach. It is no longer a joke to the rest of the world but it has become a pantomime.

Dr Thaksin Shinawatra rescued MCFC and I think that the majority of City supporters have always appreciated it. Now Dr. Thaksin must rescue Sven from leaving, by admitting he has done a decent job in his first season in charge, and by building a foundation for next season.

If Sven leaves and no one else has said yes amongst the top managers, then who will be the next manager? Now more than ever “Keep Sven Goran Eriksson”.

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)aol.com>

OPINION: NEXT… II

So if (when) the erudite and urbane Mr Eriksson is forced to walk away with a cool £1 million compensation package because he refused to make big name signings “allegedly” to sell more shirts in SE Asia “allegedly” we may have the prospect of a new manager who will do as his told and sign big name players.

Hopefully the rumours about big name El Haj “spitting image” Diouf gobbing his way down the M61 are wide of the mark. ‘Diouf keen on Blue Move’, ‘Diouf to solve city striker problem’. Oh please.

Takes me back to circa 1978 M.E.N. ‘City sign Stockport Ace’.

More cringing than a combined episode of Sorry/My Family and Terry & June put together.

If Big Phil, Big Sam or Big Jose take up the reigns then Dr T may have his wish and we sign Ronaldo from AC Milan or should that read AC/DC Milan after the story that appeared in the Sao Paolo press recently!

Philip Lines <philipjlines(at)hotmail.com>

OPINION: ANFIELD

Top marks to the City fans at Anfield on Sunday. That’s the second year in a row that the so called great Kop has been outsung by a fantastic City crowd and even better, given the turmoil that we as City fans have had to endure all week.

I am, as a lifetime Blue, reasonably happy with our league position, and it was great to see the support for Sven on Sunday from the fans that were there but the question is, how come some of the big players do not seem to show the same loyalty to Sven as the fans do?

I have criticised players here before that I felt were not good enough to represent one of the biggest clubs in Europe, but two of our top players were substituted on Sunday, Elano and Petrov who looked totally disinterested in a game where, with a bit more guile from them, we could have won.

Congratulations to Richard Dunne on winning the player of the season award. I have been so proud of Richard the way he has become a great ambassador for City, not just in Manchester but in his home town of Dublin, where I see more and more Blue shirts boarding flights to Manchester in Dublin Airport on a Saturday morning season after season.

Paul Fegan <paulo9(at)eircom.net>

OPINION: PINK FLOYD CHANTS

It made me smile to read in the press at the weekend about the City supporters at Anfield singing a version of the old Pink Floyd song i.e. “We don’t need no Phil Scolari, we don’t need no Mourinho – hey Thaksin, leave our Sven alone!” And in view of all the current turmoil surrounding City it was nice to have a lighter moment.

Unfortunately though they missed the best line (unless it just wasn’t reported) “All in all you’re just a-nother p**ck on the board!”

Anyway, it set me thinking, what other Pink Floyd tracks could be applied to City? Apologies to readers not as old and sad as me especially if you’re not a Pink Floyd lover, but the ones I came up with are:

  • Play On You Midfield Diamond
  • See Benjani Play
  • Shame Us
  • The Great Gig in The Sky Blue
  • Set The Controls For The Heart Of Sun Jihai
  • A Momentary Lapse Of Reason
  • Wish You Weren’t Here
  • Meddle

and my personal favourite: Careful With That Axe Thaksin

Steve Maclean <fruitbog(at)googlemail.com>

REQUEST: BLUES VIEWING IN THAILAND

I’m going to be in Bangkok on 17 May. Are any City fans meeting up to watch the game?

Let me know by email please!

Howard Marshall <hgmarshall(at)ntlworld.com>

REQUEST: SOS RALLY

Manchester City Supporters’ Clubs (CSA, OSC) are holding a Support Sven Rally at the City of Manchester Stadium on Saturday 10 May 2008.

We encourage as many City fans as possible to attend this event to show Sven our support and thank him and all his staff for their fantastic efforts during 2007/08.

All those attending are asked to congregate in North car park 1 from 2.30pm on Saturday. We will then proceed over Joe Mercer Way towards the main entrance where representatives will then hand in a petition.

The organisers would like to stress that this rally is not anti-MCFC or any of the board members, including Dr Shinawatra, but a show of appreciation for Sven.

For further information contact Alex Channon or Kevin Parker.

Kevin Parker <Kbmp2000(at)aol.com>

REQUEST: NAME THAT TUNE

Sorry to bother you, but I’m searching for this football song for ages!

It’s a cover version of “La Ploma Blanca”.

The refrain goes: “We are the City Supporters, follow our team everywhere, we’ll always be there, …”

Here is a link for a sample of an old tape: http://www.cmens.741.com/city%20supporter.rm

Big thank in advance for your help!

Clemens Mand – Austria <cmens(at)yahoo.co.uk>

RESULTS

5 May 2008

Newcastle United      0 - 2  Chelsea               52,305

League table to 06 May 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  37 17  1  1 47  7  9  5  4 31 15 26  6  5  78  22  56  84
 2 Chelsea         37 12  6  0 35 12 13  3  3 29 13 25  9  3  64  25  39  84
 3 Arsenal         37 14  5  0 37 11  9  6  3 36 20 23 11  3  73  31  42  80
 4 Liverpool       37 12  6  1 43 13  8  7  3 22 15 20 13  4  65  28  37  73
 5 Everton         37 10  4  4 31 16  8  4  7 21 16 18  8 11  52  32  20  62
 6 Aston Villa     37 10  3  6 34 22  6  8  4 35 27 16 11 10  69  49  20  59
 7 Blackburn R.    37  8  7  4 26 19  7  6  5 23 25 15 13  9  49  44   5  58
 8 Portsmouth      37  7  8  3 24 13  9  1  9 24 26 16  9 12  48  39   9  57
 9 Manchester City 37 11  4  4 28 20  4  6  8 16 25 15 10 12  44  45  -1  55
10 West Ham United 37  7  6  5 22 22  6  3 10 18 26 13  9 15  40  48  -8  48
11 Tottenham H.    37  8  5  5 46 32  3  8  8 20 27 11 13 13  66  59   7  46
12 Newcastle Utd   37  8  5  6 25 26  3  5 10 19 36 11 10 16  44  62 -18  43
13 Wigan Athletic  37  8  5  5 21 15  2  5 12 13 34 10 10 17  34  49 -15  40
14 Middlesbrough   37  6  5  7 19 22  3  7  9 16 30  9 12 16  35  52 -17  39
15 Sunderland      37  9  3  6 23 20  2  3 14 13 38 11  6 20  36  58 -22  39
16 Bolton Wndrs    37  7  5  7 23 18  2  4 12 12 35  9  9 19  35  53 -18  36
17 Fulham          37  5  5  9 22 31  2  7  9 15 29  7 12 18  37  60 -23  33
18 Reading         37  8  2  9 19 25  1  4 13 18 41  9  6 22  37  66 -29  33
19 Birmingham City 37  5  8  5 26 22  2  3 14 16 39  7 11 19  42  61 -19  32
20 Derby County    37  1  5 12 12 39  0  3 16  8 46  1  8 28  20  85 -65  11

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v0708.01]

[1] MCIVTA Addresses

Articles (Heidi Pickup)          : editor@mcivta.city-fan.org
News/rumour (Don Barrie)         : news@mcivta.city-fan.org
Subscriptions (Madeleine Hawkins): subscriptions@mcivta.city-fan.org
Technical problems (Paul)        : paul@city-fan.org
FAQ (David Warburton)            : faq@mcivta.city-fan.org

[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

http://www.uit.no/mancity/ 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 http://www.mcfc.co.uk/

[5] What supporters’ clubs are there?

Manchester City FC recognises three supporters’ clubs: The “Official Supporters Club” (http://www.mcfcosc.com/); the “Centenary Supporters’ Association” (http://www.reddishblues.com/CSAWebsite/CSA.htm) 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 http://www.bbc.co.uk/manchester/sport/manchester_city/index.shtml.

Live match commentaries and archives of games, reports and interviews can be found at http://mcfc.videoloungetv.com/do/preLogin?clubSiteCode=MCFC&CMP=AFC-003.

[8] Where can I find out if City are live on satellite TV?

http://www.satfootball.com/pl.html provides a listing of Premiership games being shown on UK domestic and foreign satellite channels. Useful sites for North American viewers are http://msn.foxsports.com/foxsoccer, http://www.soccertv.com/, and http://www.livesoccertv.com/.

[9] Do we have a Usenet newsgroup?

Yes we do: uk.sport.football.clubs.man-city is our home on usenet. If you are not familiar with usenet, a basic explanation is available here: http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/0,289893,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 http://www.uit.no/mancity/players/

[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 http://www.mcfcstats.com/.


DISCLAIMER
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, editor@mcivta.city-fan.org

Newsletter #1428

2008/05/08

Editor:


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