Newsletter #1450

Pre-season Blues, injuries and more transfer possibilities in the news tonight as the team travel to Hamburg for a friendly game this weekend.

There is opinion on the striker situation, the training ground ban, ticket prices and more on TV viewing.

Next Game: Hamburg SV, away, 3.30pm Saturday 26 July (friendly)


Transfer News and Gossip

Dindane Merrily on High – Is Santa Coming? The Blues are in the market for a striker, as Benjani is set to join Jo in missing the start of the season. City’s record signing will play for his country at the Olympics so will not be available for the start of the campaign, while Zimbabwean Benjani is facing a spell on the sidelines after reportedly rupturing a thigh muscle in pre-season training. So that’s why City, along with Portsmouth and Fulham are said to be chasing Racing Lens’ Ivory Coast international Aruna Dindane. One problem with that though – he won’t be available until October following a knee operation. So it’s hardly solving the frontman issue is it? Still, at least I get to use the last scrapings from the barrel marked ‘corny headlines’. And that nasty rumour about Craig Bellamy isn’t going away – Bellamy has been on City’s radar following his recent recovery from a groin injury, showing encouraging form in his pre-season preparations, which restricted the Wales captain to just nine appearances during his first season at Upton Park following his £7.5 million arrival from Liverpool. Boss Sparky is known to be an avid admirer of his compatriot’s talents having managed Bellamy at both international and club level for Wales and Blackburn Rovers but is understood to be monitoring Marseille and former Liverpool striker Djbril Cisse, also a West Ham target, if unsuccessful in his attempt to agree a fee for Bellamy. Any move for the extravagant France player, however, would have to be completed within the next ten days after Marseille sporting director Jose Anigo put a deadline on Cisse’s probable departure. And guess what – the M.E.N. think (for the 412th time this summer) that City are going to raid Blackburn Rovers for Roque Santa Cruz. A mere £15 million will land the player.

Been Buying Ben? Reports today (Thursday) suggest Chelsea central defender Tal Ben Haim is on the verge of signing for City in a £4 million deal. Israeli international Ben Haim has struggled to hold down a first team slot at Stamford Bridge, with his route to the starting line-up blocked by the considerable presence of John Terry, Ricardo Carvalho, Alex and new signing Branislav Ivanovic. Blue Hughesy is looking to reinforce the heart of his defence, with Dunnie and Micah short of quality competition. Ben Haim is believed to have snubbed the chance to negotiate a deal with Newcastle United (sorry KK) in order to pursue a move to Eastlands. The 26-year-old was left out of Chelsea’s Far East tour this week to facilitate an exit from the club.

Nancy Boy is Fancied: Michael Chretien has confirmed Manchester City are interested in signing him, but the Nancy full back has admitted a preference for playing in Spain. The 24-year-old was due to join Sevilla earlier this summer, but the deal collapsed for financial reasons. “Nancy have told me we are waiting to see if there are more offers on Monday,” Chretien declared. “I told them Betis’ offer seems very interesting to me, but I understand other teams want me so I can wait for their propositions. Right now I’m on holiday. They have told me they will respond to Betis’ offer on Monday.” When asked if City were interested in his services, he said: “Yes, but I’d rather play in Spain. Betis would be a good destination for me. Sevilla was a possibility as well, but at the end of the day Nancy and them failed to reach an agreement.”

Money Isn’t Everything: Milan transfer consultant Ernesto Bronzetti has revealed that Ronaldinho turned down a substantially better offer from Manchester’s moneybags, preferring a move to Italy. “Manchester offered the Brazilian a five-year contract and twelve million dollars,” Bronzetti told Italian channel Sky TG24 Mattina. “But Ronaldinho has preferred to come to Milan for just over half.” Bronzetti credited the “ability and experience” of Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani for the success of the signing. He revealed that the negotiations were close to breaking down, if it wasn’t for Galliani, who took personal responsibility for the negotiations, to bring the Brazilian to the San Siro. Meanwhile the Sun says City still want to splash some of the cash earmarked to buy Ronaldinho in Spain – on £6 million Espanyol midfielder Pablo Zabaleta. Mark Hughes was interested in the Espanyol man when in charge at from Blackburn. And he is ready to move for the 23-year-old Argentinian again now he is at City. Zabaleta, who holds a Spanish passport, has five caps for his country and captained their Under-20 side to world championship glory in 2005. Hughes is looking to bolster his options in midfield, especially on the right flank.

Ex-Blues’ News

Reyna Retires: Claudio Reyna has retired. Thirty five year-old Reyna had been bothered by hamstring and back injuries this season that had limited his playing time for MLS side New York Red Bulls (an injury prone Claudio Reyna, some mistake surely?) and he said that played a rôle in his decision. “My mind and body together told me it was time,” Reyna said. He will stay on with the Red Bulls in an advisory rôle, though he said details were still being worked out. “I’m very happy with my decision,” he said. “Some people hang on and keep looking for another team. I didn’t want to be that guy.” Steve Kay’s website tells me that Reyna played 87 games in four seasons for City, between 2003 and 2006, scoring a grand total of two goals. And don’t forget, there’s still a City connection with the Red Bulls – they’re managed by the Blues’ former fitness coach Juan Carlos Osorio. [Thanks to Neil Adshead for the news item]

Bet You’re a Dead Ringer: Now I know that this has been story has been mentioned before in MCIVTA, but (a) it’s not been in the News Summary before and (b) You’ve got to laugh, haven’t you? I can but quote verbatim from the Independent. “An English Sven-Goran Eriksson lookalike duped one of Mexico’s top football clubs into giving him red-carpet treatment, claiming he wanted to check out the squad before making his first selection for the Mexican national side. Derek Williams, flanked by two glamour girls, was given a tour of Universidad Nacional’s stadium before issuing a statement to journalists and posing for photographs…” Mexican officials have since warned all clubs to be on their guard should the imposter strike again. “The real Eriksson is in the US at the moment and the character who has been claiming to be him is just a ringer,” the federation said in a statement, adding that Mr Williams had shown a “total lack of respect”. The Universidad Nacional manager Ricardo Ferretti, who chatted to Mr Williams and showed him around the ground, said: “To be honest, I was quite amused. The fake Eriksson told me he was watching my players ahead of his next call-ups, and I believed him.” Please insert your own “Derek wasn’t in charge at the COMS last year was he?” gag here.

Squad News

Skipper Dunnie: Hot on the heels of him getting a new deal, wor comes that Richard Dunne will carry on as City’s skipper. Richard Dunne will skipper Manchester City for the third season in succession. Boss Mark Hughes confirmed the Republic of Ireland international is to retain the armband first given to him by Stuart Pearce and then Sven-Goran Eriksson. “There was absolutely no reason for me to change the captaincy this season,” said Mark Hughes. “It was important for me to understand Richard’s situation when I arrived here and to get it resolved and now everyone is happy. I have been delighted with the response that Richard has made since he has signed. He has been part of this squad and this club for a long, long time and I felt it was important that we made sure he would continue to be a big part of things. The strength and the pace that he has at the back will be one of the keys to the way we play this year.” Hughes said that as skipper, Dunnie has been the players’ spokeman in the early days of the new regime. “Richard fulfils that rôle very well and will continue to do so. I have had a number of discussions with him and he understands where I am coming from,” said the manager. “It is important that rôle develops and he puts the players’ point of view from time to time. I think he is enjoying the work that we are doing – even if he is on occasion moaning and groaning!”

Anyone Fancy a Game Up Front? Don’t forget to add Valeri Bojinov to the list of crocked City strikers – his comeback from injury has fallen behind schedule. Manger MH said: “He is a little bit behind the group because he hasn’t been able to join in the sessions. He has been out for a long, long time and he is suffering from a knock-on from the knee injury. We are aware that he will have setbacks along the way. His body is compensating, and he needs to get more base strength.” All this striker crisis malarkey looks like giving the Boss a chance to check out Daniel Sturridge in Saturday’s pre-season friendly against Hamburg. “We are looking to involve Daniel if we can at the weekend because he did not have a lot of training with us when we came back. He had an injury and then was away with England, so we need to have a look at him and he will be involved at the weekend. Hamburg is another opportunity to look at what we have got here, I have been very impressed with the squad’s approach to training, and pleasantly surprised with the high level of technique and understanding of the game that they have, so we will build on that.”

Ham Not Had Chips Yet: One of City’s goalscorers in the Faroes last week, Dietmar Hamann insists that he can still play a major part for City in the new season. “I know that I have to prove to the new manager Mark Hughes that I am still worth my place,” he said. “I am happy to work for Mark. He has only been here a few weeks and he has impressed everyone. I am looking forward to the new season just like always. Maybe he will sign a few more players before the start of the season, but that does not bother me. I am looking forward to the challenge and I am always here to fight for my place. I still think I have got a lot to offer. If the manager wants to buy a new player, that is up to him. He needs to know what he wants for the team and that does not bother me,” he continued. “Obviously a few names have been linked but I just take it as it comes. We have been training for two weeks and I have other things to worry about than new players coming to the club. I have only worked with the new manager for a couple of weeks but the intensity has been very high. He is always asking the players and the staff to do things right and correctly. We have been training very hard and we will only see the difference from last season later on. When you played against Mark Hughes’ sides at Blackburn it was always a very physical and they were a tough side to break down. Probably he will try to do the same here. Maybe at times last season we were found a little short. But we played some very good football, especially in the first half of the season. I was satisfied with a good season last time. It did fall apart in the last few weeks, but overall it has been good and we are obviously looking for an improvement on that.”

Poole Makes Splash in Southport: A goal at each end of the game saw City’s Reserves draw 1-1 in a pre-season friendly at Southport this week. The home side took the lead after just 3 minutes, but City equalised in the last minute of the match through James Poole. The game saw the return from injury for Kelvin Etuhu and Shaleum Logan. City: Martin, Logan (Vidal 72), Williamson (Morris 72), Clayton (Kay 61), McDonald (Brown 46), McGivern (Ramsey 46), Weiss (McDermott 61), Marshall, D.Ball (Poole 46), Etuhu (Daly 72), Moore. Unused subs: Hartley.

Don Barrie <news(at)>


Now Benjani has got a bad thigh injury and will not be able to play at the start of the season, and Jo is at the Olympics with Brazil.

Corradi and Bianchi are waiting to be shipped back to Italy and we have Bojinov fighting for his fitness; he has been unlucky. Caicedo I’m not too sure about; he has still got to impress me.

I have never been a big fan of football at the Olympics; we have a World Cup competition every four years, why do we need the Olympics? In fact I don’t even care who wins the football in the Olympics; the World Cup and Euro Cup yes, and then there is the Copa Americas for South America.

So it looks like City might have problems with a striker at the start of the season. So many players are being mentioned in the press and media but most of the players mentioned I just hope never come to City. Having said that, I will trust Sparky’s judgment and the players he brings into the club.

We have two excellent prospects with potential in Chad Evans and Daniel Sturridge, but they might have to be brought into the side gradually. One never knows though, players can produce talent at an early age, good luck to them both.

“In Sparky we trust”, Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


Sid Blain asked, does anyone know who has been stopped from calling at Carrington?

Everybody, seems to be the answer.

“The new Management team understands this may cause some upset amongst fans but states that the complex should be a private place for the players and staff to carry out their training with no interruptions to give them the best possible results on a matchday.”

VIP Visits might be arranged, but all visitors are being stopped at the barrier, and if your name does not appear on the Visitors List you will not be allowed access.

Steve Parish <bloovee(at)>


Anyone shed any light on CityCard ticket prices for 2008/09 in the South Stand? Cat A, B and C Exclusive sale period and post sale (why so complicated – oh yeah, to rip us off on the more attractive games; was never like that in the good old days).

The club don’t seem to have a clue. I bought a ticket for West Ham last week for £30 less £5 discount for CityCard membership. Last year it was £25 for a Cat B game.

Seems to be a 20 per cent increase.

£35? (no discount) for a cat A game in the South Stand.

Nineteen games = £665 less citycard disc of £30. That’s the cheapest section.

Is it just me or is that expensive?

Everything has gone up by 20 per cent everywhere. Bloomin’ell. It was bad enough before.

Mark Redgrave <leaguecup1976(at)>


Are there any City fans that live in South Florida that have “get togethers” for the games? I’ve been in South Florida for 10 years now and would love to join some local Blues fans to watch the games with. Anyone in the Palm Beach area please email me.

CTID, Steven Kersh – Lake Worth, Florida <Rudy502(at)>


Further to Simon’s response to Graham’s question about watching footie on US television: I use DISH, which is a major competitor to DirecTV, and can confirm that Setanta and FSW are the two channels you need to ensure you get.

I would further recommend that you invest in a DVR (Digital Video Recorder) with the provider – having the ability to automatically record the games while out is just indispensible, as is the ten-second instant-rewind to watch the goals again! If you ever get interruptions while watching the game, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without the ability to pause the live games.

Stuart Booth – Miami <stuwbooth(at)>


Jack Buckley is absolutely correct in all he says. There is, however, one caveat. Fox has the worst “review” with an idiot Scotsman that hates City and, if it was up to him, there would no coverage of City at all. How do these people get these jobs?

This makes Setanta a must because they have pre and post game shows and even a half time show sometime. After last year I wonder why I still subscribe to the radio broadcast from MCFCTV as the reception is iffy at best and the commentary amateurish at times. I don’t think I am being paranoid when I say the team on last on Fox, if at all, is nearly always City.

Jim Heaviside <jheavis502(at)>

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Newsletter #1450