Newsletter #1442

News from Don tonight on the latest signing rumours with some new names thrown into the frame (sounding more likely than the Ronaldinho saga), and departures of Mpenza and Big Sam.

We have opinion tonight on the players needed to bolster the squad, news of a trial in Thailand and the usual requests.

Next Game: tbc


General News

Two In, One Out: The changes to the off-field personnel at the CoMS continue apace. As predicted last week, City appointed Paul Aldridge as Chief Operating Officer. He is in effect the replacement for Alistair Mackintosh, albeit in a less senior rôle. Executive Chairman Garry Cook said: “Paul will be an excellent addition to our senior management team and I look forward to working with him.” Going the other way from Aldridge – Reserve team coach, Ian Miller and fitness coach, Stefano Marrone have left the club. Miller took over the Reserves when Kenny Jackett left for Milwall in November and Marrone joined the Blues’ backroom staff last July under S-GE. No replacements have been announced as yet.

Odyssey Starts at Oakwell: Great news for those City fans who spend half their working week in South Yorkshire (that’d be me, then). It’s been confirmed that City will play the home leg of the first qualifying round of the UEFA Cup at Barnsley’s Oakwell ground. City needed an alternative venue because of the time required for the CoMS pitch to recover from this summer’s events – Bon Jovi waits for no man. The first leg will be Mark Hughes’ first competitive game in charge. The home leg of the first qualifying round will take place on either 16/17 or 30/31 July. The draw takes place on 1 July. Barnsley boss Simon Davey said: “It’s a fantastic honour for the club to host this game. It promises to be a great night of European football and should give us something to aspire to in the years to come. It’s a great coup and, who knows, maybe we can take this club into its own European adventure one day.” It’s nice to dream, Simon… In other pre-season fixture news: City have confirmed that they won’t be taking part in a tournament in Switzerland next month. The Blues were supposed to face FC Lucerne and FC Basel in Grenchen on the 8th and 10th of July, but instead the players will attend a training camp in Southern Germany. According to the M.E.N. “City will consider fans’ cases for reimbursement individually if they can demonstrate that they have already made plans to travel to Switzerland.” There is news of some games that are going on – City face SV Hamburg on Saturday, July 26th at the HSH Nordbank Stadium, kick off time to be confirmed. A local derby then beckons, when the Blues travel to Edgeley Park to play Stockport County on Saturday 2nd August at 3.00pm. A week later, the Rossoneri of Milan visit the CoMS – AC Milan will contest the annual Thomas Cook Trophy match on Saturday, August 9 (kick off 5.15pm).

MVF Remembered: Can it really be five years since the tragic death of Marc-Vivien Foe, who collapsed during a game for Cameroon? The club website commemorated the anniversary of his passing this week. New Chief Operating Officer Paul Aldridge knew Marc at West Ham, and commented: “I spent a week with him in Lyon working on his transfer to West Ham at the time and couldn’t speak highly enough of him. He was a really nice lad and his death was a tragedy.”

Transfer News and Gossip

Three New Names: Week three of the Hughes era, and not one player has been signed yet. So let’s fill in the news void with some press speculation instead. Sparky is reportedly interested in signing Liverpool’s Yossi Benayoun who has failed to hold down a regular place in the starting line up since his transfer from West Ham. Benayoun, 28, cost the Reds £5 million last summer but made only 15 league starts for Liverpool last season and is considered to be surplus to requirements at Anfield as manager Rafael Benitez seeks to raise funds for his own summer spending spree. Liverpool are believed to want a fee of around £6 million for their Israeli wideman, although Hughes may face competition from Portsmouth who are also reportedly interested in signing Benayoun. If it’s Israeli internationals you’re after, how about Tal Ben Haim of Chelsea? His season at Stamford Bridge consisted of (a) Falling out big style with coach Avram Grant and (b) Cropping goalie Petr Cech in a training ground incident. The Sunday Mirror says Manchester City and Portsmouth are chasing Ben Haim. Sounds great for team unity. If that doesn’t grab you, how about this? City, Newcastle and Portsmouth are locked in a battle for French-born Ivory Coast international defender Guy Demel. The 27-year-old spent a year in Arsenal’s reserves at the start of the decade before moving on to Borussia Dortmund and Hamburg in the Bundesliga.

Cast Out? Remember how desperate Nery Castillo was to join City? Well it seems that he may have had a slight change of heart. The 23-year-old Mexico international claims three Spanish clubs are wanting to take him on board, and he sounds quite chuffed about that. “I have 50 percent chances to move to Spain,” he told Estadio Deportivo. “I know that teams such as Villarreal, Valencia and Betis [are interested]. If any offer is made then I’ll be totally delighted.”

Suffolk Punch for Emile: Emile Mpenza is set to miss out on his move to Ipswich, apparently. The People says Mpenza is facing a shock snub from the Championship club after a change of heart by manager Jim Magilton. Belgian striker Mpenza was told he was joining the Suffolk side, but Magilton has stalled on the deal.

Never Let a Diego By: The agent of Real Zaragoza’s Argentinian striker Diego Milito has confirmed that City have made an offer for the player. The 29-year-old hitman looks almost certain to quit the Spanish outfit following their relegation from the Primera Liga at the end of last season and, despite Tottenham being heavily linked this summer, it now seems City are leading the race for his signature. Milito’s agent Adrian Faija says City are the only club to make an offer for his services. “Manchester City are the only club to have placed a bid with my clients’ employers,” Faija told Marca.

Sam Day His Move Will Come: Georgios Samaras seems very popular, despite making a less than dynamic showing at Euro 08. Could he be Italy bound? Lazio are interested in the striker. Lazio president Claudio Lotito told the Daily Record: “Samaras is a player we’re considering and we’ll see what happens. I can confirm we’re actively trying to sign a striker and hope to secure a deal for one any day soon.” Newly-promoted Lecce are also rumoured to be keen on Samaras as they plan for life in Serie A next season. Samaras still prefers to return to Glasgow Celtic however. “Coming back to Celtic would still be my first choice,” he said this week. “I had a great time at the club and the loan deal we made in January worked out really well. It helped Celtic, but it helped me too. Everything was correct during that time. I think the supporters took to me and I feel really happy about that. I also formed good relationships with my team-mates, the coaching staff and everyone else inside the club. I hope that can all continue in the future because there was so much support and love shown to me at Celtic last season. I’m waiting to see what will happen over the next days. At the moment, I don’t know what my future holds and it is still relatively early in the summer.”

Double Trouble: City have been knocked back by two world class talents this week, one on the way up the ladder, and one on the slide down. The latter first. It doesn’t sound like Ronaldinho will be wearing the sky blue shirt next term (quelle surprise). Despite being quoted this week saying he’d like to play in England (“Every player would love to play in such a competitive championship like the English league. I’m happy because almost all the teams want me.”), his agent Roberto De Assis said that his brother is Milan-bound: “We are working to take the best player in the world to the greatest club in the world. We have always had an excellent rapport with Milan and are in constant contact. The chances of Ronaldinho playing with a Rossoneri jersey this coming season remain the same as they were a few months ago.” Rising Russian star Andrei Arshavin, meanwhile, is definitely on the move. His coach at Zenit St Petersburg Dick Advocaat confirmed this week. “Andrei has told us that he wishes to change clubs,” said Advocaat. “At present in the way of offers it is quiet. The situation may well change after the game against Holland for the national side.” So City’s long held hopes of signing him were up – but not for long. The player wants to move to Spain. “I know that I have offers from England and Germany, but what I really want is to play in the Primera Liga. It’s the championship that I have always followed, I like how football is played there. But for now, I have no offers from Spain.” He then rather pointedly confirmed that he’s been a Barcelona fan all his life. Mind you, after his rather feeble performance in the Euro 08 semi final versus Spain tonight, perhaps he might have to settle for a move to the CoMS…

Forward Planning: Mark Hughes is said to be in a battle with Juande Ramos at Spurs for the services of striker Lukas Podolski. The German international is not guaranteed a first team place at Bayern Munich and has hinted he may move on if that continues to be the case. Bayern would want a fee of (gulp) £20 million. If he did arrive at the club, Benjani Mwaruwari might be on his way. Sunday’s People newspaper said that the former Portsmouth striker is being lined up by Sunderland as a replacement for Kenwyne Jones who faces a long lay-off after suffering an injury in Trinidad and Tobago’s international with England last month. He could be landed for a fee of £5m.

Dutch Destination: We have another possible destination for wantaway goalie Andreas Isaksson. PSV Eindhoven have confirmed that he’s on their list as a possible replacement for Heurelho Gomes, who’s wanted by Spurs. “It is true that Andreas Isaksson is one of the candidates to replace Gomes,” said Reker in Eindhovens Dagblad. “But we are looking at other ‘keepers too.”

Squad News

Flush Dunnie: It sounds like the salary negotiations between Richard Dunne and the club are going well. He looked all set to leave the CoMS this summer, as he was reportedly disillusioned by the unceremonious sacking of Sven and felt a new challenge somewhere else was what he needed. The likes of Portsmouth, Tottenham, Newcastle and Sunderland were all said to be happy to accommodate him. But the arrival of Marky H has forced a rethink, and it’s amazing what an offer of £55,000 per week will do for discontent. And there’s encouraging noises about Joe Hart as well. He’s ready to knock back Tottenham Hotspur and pledge his future to City. The Blues are keen to reward the 21-year-old with an improved contract – even though he has two years left on his current deal. Spurs have expressed an interest in Hart but they’re unable to offer Hart a guarantee of first-team football.

Charlie Says: Vedran Corluka says he’s a better player for his move to the Mighty Sky Blues. The full back, last seen on TV sobbing his little heart out after Croatia’s surprise defeat to Turkey in Euro 08, said: “It was a tough season for me at City but I’ve learned so much in the last year. I’m definitely a better player than I was a year ago. The quality of the training is higher, players are better and the work is harder. They ask more from you and your concentration has to always be at the top level. All this helps you to grow.”

Don Barrie <news(at)>


Now that we have Mark Hughes as Manager, all that awaits now is the culling, followed by the strengthening of the squad.

Sven brought in some right rubbish, that either do not fit in to the robust nature of the Premier League, or perhaps it’s still tpo early to pass judgement. I think Caicedo is not up to it, Bianchi certainly was a bad buy, Garrido cannot defend, Benjani needs a partner up front, and Castillo has plenty of promise and needs lots of games to prove himself.

Get rid of: Bianchi, Mpenza, Sun Jihai, Garrido, Corradi, Dickov, Caicedo.

As City are now considered one of the “rich” clubs, we seem to be linked with every player possible in the press. I know Shinawatra wants a couple of big name players, so that he can promote City in the far east, but Ronaldinho is one I hope we do not get, as his performances for both club and country have been woeful to say the least over the last year. Between him and his advisers, all they are looking for is one last big pay deal, and he will be a big risk for any club. We do not need “show ponys” but guys who produce week in, week out. Why spend a fortune on one “questionable” player, and pay far more deserving players a pittance in comparison?

These are the players I would like to see at City:

What we definitely need, is cover at the back. Dunne was a shadow of himself in the last 5 games, and we need another towering centre half; Samba would fit that bill nicely. We have cover at right back – Corluka, Richards. At left back, get rid of Garrido and bring in Zherkov the very impressive Russian. In midfield we need another ball winner/holding midfielder – perhaps Yaya Toure or Marcos Senna.

We really need a quality right sided midfielder, maybe David Bentley, SWP, Aaron Lennon? Arshavin is too similar to Elano, and seems to favour playing in Spain or will more likely go to Chelsea.

Up front, we desperately need a tall, mobile centre forward, and Jo or Pavlychenko would be someone who might do the job for us, in conjunction with Benjani.

The transfer scramble will start soon… Chelsea, Barcelona, Inter and AC Milan will dominate the player movements.

Glyn Albuquerque <Glynalbuquerque(at)>


All we need to do is watch the Ronaldo mess at the Swamp, and the shambles at Chelsea and Arsenal to know that we don’t need Ronaldinho to disrupt the dressing room and City’s pay scale. Gone are the days of Colin Bell, Neil Young, Alan Oakes and other faithful stalwarts. You don’t own players anymore, you lease them for a year. City suffered through this with Anelka and I am sure many of Sven’s signings are heading back over the channel. This is why securing Mark Hughes was a masterstroke. Now we have to secure the true City players; Dunne, Hart, Richards, Johnson and Ireland, develop Sturridge and yes, sign one or two big names who can adapt to Winter conditions in the North West.

Instead of Ronaldinho we should be grabbing Santa Cruz and Bentley. These two have settled into the Premier, Hughes knows them and both have a proven track record. Surely we can get these two for a hell of a lot less than Ronaldinho and Jo?

We don’t need mega million pound players who are going to be disruptive, score a couple of goals and then shop themselves for better deals elsewhere.

City may never be in the class of a United, Chelsea and Arsenal but at least we get to cheer for real City players who want to be here rather than unscrupulous mercenaries like Ronaldo who continue to chase a bigger paycheck. These types we don’t need.

Keith Sharp – Toronto, Canada <keith(at)>


Just some thoughts on the Ronaldinho issue:

A class international footballer, famed for his skill and knack of scoring class goals, deemed expendable by his current club but stalling over a move to City as he doesn’t fancy the move despite a huge pay offer… doesn’t this sound like the signing of fatty Fowler all over again?!?

And we all know how that turned out!

Robert Springthorpe <robertspringthorpe(at)>


The obsession of the Manchester City owner Thaksin Shinawatra to get Ronaldinho to be playing for City looks like it might be at an end.

As Ronaldinho expresses his dream of playing for AC Milan. But can AC Milan pay the money that Frank is willing to pay?

Another name linked with City was the Russian Arshavin, now this is a player that I would have preferred over Ronaldinho.

But Arshavin has a dream of playing for the team he followed as a child, that being Barcelona; after everyone has seen him play for Russia his fee will have jumped up, and more clubs chasing him. It’s not too late!

Both Ronaldinho and Arshavin’s names were mentioned in the media long before Sparky became the City team manager, so it was never Sparky who had these players in his sights.

The clock is ticking and if MCFC are to sign new players it must be done swiftly. Of course Sparky will want to look over the players that are on City’s books, but after beating the City team, I’m sure that Sparky will know where the City team needs to be strengthened.

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)>


Thought people may be interested in this story about our esteemed Chairman from the BBC website.

Bribe case tarnishes Thai ex-PM
By Jonathan Head
BBC News, Bangkok

The case could jeopardise Mr Thaksin’s chances of a political comeback. Three lawyers representing the former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra have been sentenced to six months in jail for trying to bribe court judges.

The Thai media are calling it “Pastrygate” – and it has left Mr Thaksin with plenty of egg on his face.

Mr Thaksin, who was ousted by a military coup, returned from exile this year, but still faces several charges of abuse of power and corruption.

Two weeks ago, two lawyers walked into the Supreme Court, which is hearing a high-profile case against Mr Thaksin and his wife, and left a bag with court officials, telling them to enjoy its contents.

Inside was a cake-box – but instead of a cake, there were bundles of cash, worth around $60,000 (£30,500).

Suspicion immediately fell on Mr Thaksin’s lawyers – but they insisted such a crude attempt at bribery was beneath them. More likely, they said, it was intended to discredit Mr Thaksin.

But, after a two-week investigation, the Supreme Court has found otherwise – it has sentenced the former Prime Minister’s chief lawyer and two assistants to six months in jail for contempt of court.

Which leaves Mr Thaksin with a weakened defence team and a tarnished image. The case against him is pivotal to his future. It concerns an alleged illegal land purchase by his wife while he was in office. If found guilty they could both be jailed, and his prospects for a political comeback would look dim.

The government, now led by his allies, has tried to amend the new constitution, in the hope of weakening the momentum behind the cases against Mr Thaksin – but has been forced to back down. The new charter, which was drafted by the military last year, gives much greater power to Thailand’s top courts – leading some Thais to argue that the judiciary now risks being embroiled in the long-running political contest between Mr Thaksin and his opponents.

Phill Gatenby <Safestanding(at)>


Following my piece in the last McV, the maths genius in me realised I’d made an error. “He only took 1 more point from 12 against Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal.”


Rob Hyslop <rhyslop(at)>


Owing to changes in my working routine, I am giving up being News Editor of the mighty MCIVTA. This is sad for me, because I still enjoy trying to write something entertaining about City every week (mind you, there’s always plenty of material for entertainment!), but my travelling to and from work has increased significantly in recent times, and it means that I’m bowing to the inevitable. Thanks for reading my ramblings since I began in November ’01, and a big thank you to all those contributors who sent me bits and pieces over that time. And where would I have been without the able stand ins over that time, especially Sarah. I won’t be going for a few weeks though I hope to end my tenure and hand over the reins at the end of July. Which brings me to the real purpose of this posting…

Do you spend a lot of time reading up all that City news and gossip? Want to have a legit reason for doing it? Then how would you like to be the new News Editor? If you fancy giving this City news reporting lark a go, then drop me an email. If you’re a budding newshound, why not send in a sample of your writing? If you want some guidance on what the job entails, I’m happy to answer any questions you might have, and I’m currently writing some notes on how I put the news together it’s not a definitive set of rules of course, it just shows how I approach the weekly writing.

If you are interested, can you let me know by June 30, emails to the address below.

Don Barrie <news(at)>


Just a short note to let you know that I run a blog about City, in Italian. If someone wants to take a look I’d be pleased to welcome!

The address is

I’ll waiting for you!

CTID, Dario Gigante <citaly(at)>


To date I have received cheques to the value of £445 for the Ghana appeal. And I sincerely thank those who have donated: In addition to that I have a 100 euro note from Sweden. I’m dead chuffed to accept a very generous offer of £150 for the Platt Lane Penalty Spot from a reader in Hungary but will be re-siting the ‘Penalty Spot’ in Prague. How cool is that!

Two other offers of £90 and £25 have been made which I’ll stick in the total when I receive those monies.

If my estimation of 3,000+ Mc’V readers is correct I reckon very shortly I’ll be holding over £700 from just 0.3% of MCIVTA readers. I’m hoping I can persuade another small percentage of McV readers to part with a small or larger amount of cash for the Manchester City Babies in Ghana. The more I receive for the Ghana Appeal the more kit etc. I can buy for Manchester City Babies in Ghana.

Peter K Amoabil currently runs 3 junior teams at under 8, 12, and 14. Shortly there will also be a U/17 team. None of these teams have a proper kit to play in and struggle just to get a couple of balls for training. With your help the Ghana Appeal can kit out all these teams and provide a few decent balls for training.

It is an expensive business. My local Post Office advise me it will cost £169.54 to post a 20kg package to Ghana by the cheapest method available. The final package will weigh far more than 20kg. There may also be an import duty tax or something similar at the other end. If there’s anybody out there in MCIVTA land who knows a cheaper way of shipping stuff to Ghana would you please get in touch with me.

I know it’s not recommended or considered completely safe to post cash but I did receive a 100 euro note, concealed inside a very nice card from Sweden. If there are any other McV readers who are prepared to send me cash in any currency that way I’ll accept it. I can easily change currencies at my end.

Cheques should be made payable to MCCSA and forwarded to me:

Alex Channon
‘Penalty Spot’
81 Milner Street
M27 4AS

Please mark the cheque or envelope Ghana. Kind regards to all and please, please, please support the Ghana Appeal.

Alex Channon <alexchannon81(at)>

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Newsletter #1442