Newsletter #1456

News from Alex tonight on Dr T’s latest troubles, and press stories mounting, which Hughes was quick to dispel on his tenure. Meanwhile the speculation and mischief continues on transfer targets with many sources looking to link City players (Corluka, Ireland, Johnson) with moves out of the club, again denied by Hughes. With the season beginning on Sunday, Hughes faces selection dilemmas as Vassell is out injured and Jo away enjoying himself at the Olympics.

We also have opinion on Dr T, media speculation and Blues viewing.

Next Game: Aston Villa, away, 3pm Sunday 17 August 2008


General News

Thaksin Flees Thailand: Well we knew when he signed up to the job about his ‘behind the scenes problems’ but now City may have to face the consequences. As his wife was on bail and he himself was due to face corruption charges, Thaksin took it upon himself to fly to the UK and seek political asylum. Reports have suggested that Dr. Thaksin was looking to sell the club but more recently Executive Chairman Garry Cook has stated that: “these reports are categorically untrue.” The Thai government has issued an arrest warrant for their former PM and if he is convicted during his time in the UK, the Premier League would be permitted to apply their Fit and Proper Person test. Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore claimed: “We have to establish where it leaves him in terms of the legal process in Thailand.” If the league find that Dr. Thaksin doesn’t meet there criterion, the Owner/Chairman could be forced to give up the club he bought only one year ago. Uncertainty is again rife at CoMS and quite who will be in charge, given the fact that Shinawatra may soon be deported, come the end of August, is yet to be seen.

Hughes Hurrying Out? During all the confusion and mess, Hughes has had to stand by and watch as his new venture seemingly crumbles around him. In various papers last week it was claimed that Hughes was on the verge of quitting and rumours that Corluka and Ireland were to be sold behind is back have supposedly fired the Welshman up. It was claimed that one City source stated: “It feels as though we’re in meltdown and all Mark is trying to do is hang on to everything for the sake of the club. But if it carries on – and players are sold without his consent – he won’t stand any more. He’ll just walk.” However, Sparky himself has appeased fears by claiming: “The club is not going to be sold. I have been assured of that. The owner is looking for parties to invest if they are the right people, and for the right areas of the business.”

Get On With the Game: On the 12 August, all Premier League chairmen, managers and captains signed up to the new ‘Get on with the game’/Respect Charter to the sceptical relief of all referees. Though it is still to be seen as to whether the new initiative will make any difference to the overall game in the heat of battle, this allows football to move in the right direction and is essential to the development of young up and coming referees. Sky Sports News hosted the official launch of the Charter in which Blues’ skipper Richard Dunne played his part. Scudamore made it clear how the changes were made to help: “The referees have a responsibility too. In forging better relationships with team captains and the other players and by communicating their decisions in the right way, it will help the players and that will make the game better for everyone – fans included.”

Sun and Sea for City: The second round of the Carling Cup has typically drawn an away tie for the Blues as they will have to make the journey down to the Withdean Stadium to face League One side Brighton and Hove Albion. The tie, which has been postponed from the original date due to City’s busy schedule, will now take place on a date to be confirmed during September. Brighton will no doubt look forward to the visit of Premier League opponents but will feel they may possibly be able to take something, having convincingly beaten Barnet 4-0 in the first round of the competition.

City Stifled in Senior Cup: City’s reserve side lost their first Senior Cup tie of the season last week when they took on Bolton Wanderers. Having been 1-0 in front, City allowed Bolton back into the game and the Wanderers took advantage by going 2-1 up. With only a few minutes remaining, City grabbed a deserved equaliser and took the game to penalties. The Blues were unlucky to lose 4-3 from the spot but remain confident ahead of their next Senior Cup tie away to Oldham on the 20th of August.

Squad News

Injured Vassell: The impressive victory against AC Milan came at a cost as the Blues’ already small squad was dealt a blow with Vassell picking up a knee injury. Vass was one of the top performers again against Milan, having been in a rich vein of form throughout pre-season. The former Villa man will face ten weeks out on the sidelines and the loss of such a consistent performer will need to be dealt with before the season begins. The manager noted what a blow the injury was to the squad: “We are desperately disappointed for Darius. I think the whole group of players would agree that he has been exceptional in pre-season, and for him to miss out so close to the start of the Premier League is really disappointing for him and myself. It’s likely to be something like 10 weeks that he won’t be available. He will be in a brace for something like six weeks, then another month to try to get back to match fitness.”

Kelvin Conundrum: With the right wing slot still causing problems at City, Academy graduate Kelvin Etuhu was given a boost by manager Mark Hughes this week as his successful spell last season was given deserved recognition: “He’s a young player that’s still learning his position, but the asset he has got is his pace. You ask any full back to face a guy with the pace that Kelvin has, then they are not going to have an enjoyable evening.” With his pace and strength, Kelvin could be the perfect solution to a problem that has not been dealt with since the exit of SWP. The release of Geovanni would seem to open the door for the youngster who impressed when out on loan to Leicester City last season.

Jolympic Bid: Brazil began their Olympic bid with a convincing win over Belgium in Beijing this week. The 1-0 victory was fully deserved and though Jo didn’t get on the score sheet he did put the ball in the back of the net. His last minute strike was ruled out for offside but his technical abilities were again put on the big stage and the former CSKA Moscow striker is looking a more attractive acquisition every day. Brazil’s under 23 squad are yet to face New Zealand and hosts China but their positive start has placed them one step closer to an Olympic medal.

Trapattoni Turned Down Again: As Richard Dunne received his much expected call-up to the Ireland squad to face Norway in a friendly next week, Stephen Ireland once again reiterated the fact that he is simply not ready to return to the international scene. Twelve months on from his controversial withdrawal from the Irish national team, Trapattoni revealed that Stephen was simply not prepared to return before he felt fully comfortable doing so: “Stephen Ireland has told us he is not yet ready to make himself available but has indicated that he may do so in the future. As I have said before, my door remains open.”

Transfer News and Gossip

Corluka Confusion: Various national newspapers continued to link Euro 2008 star Vedran Corluka with a move to Tottenham Hotspur, yet the official word coming out of the club is that Corluka has turned down the chance to leave the Citizens. Having missed the Milan game and also the MCFC Official Team photograph this week, it looked certain that the Croatian right back would follow fellow countryman Luka Modric to Spurs. Sky Sports reported that “Vedran is very unhappy and had agreed personal terms with Tottenham Hotspur”. The £8.5 million price tag looked to be too good to turn down in this time of financial uncertainty but Hughes made it clear that he wasn’t willing to sell his best players: “I am a huge admirer of Vedran. He is a top class player with a bright future ahead of him and I am delighted that he continues to be a part of our plans at Manchester City. It is a real boost for everyone at the Club. Vedran is a great lad and I am really looking forward to working with him over the coming seasons.”

Irish Connection: Stephen Ireland was another of the City players who seemed to be unsettled by the reported upheaval at the club. As a boyhood fan of now-Sunderland manager Roy Keane, Ireland looked set to make a £7-9 million move. Hughes was supposedly unaware of the proposed sales of Corluka and Ireland and some national papers have claimed that early ructions have been created between him and new Chief Operating Officer Paul Aldridge, yet Sparky was keen to deny any sale was ever on the cards: “At this time of the year a lot of agents are flying around and at times some are of a view that they can start to exercise some interest in their clients. Anything we have said in regards of Stephen has been misinterpreted and people have run away with it. He is staying. Absolutely he is staying. Sunderland has been mentioned, but there has been no contact in that respect.”

Johnno Jumping Ship? Despite recently professing his loyalty to the club by signing a new four year contract, it seems that Michael Johnson has turned down the opportunity to take a pay rise, sparking speculation that he could be on his way out. Whilst Wenger looks set to bid £8 million to replace the recently sold Alexander Hleb, Rafa Benitez sees Johnson as the perfect alternative if he is priced out of a move for Gareth Barry. Having just missed out on young Portuguese playmaker Joao Moutinho, David Moyes is looking at the much cheaper possibility of bringing the Manchester born midfielder to the Blue side of Merseyside. However, Hughes has already stated his desire to keep his best young talent at the club and will be unlikely to sell for anything less than the sort of amount that saw City reluctantly let go of SWP.

Bianchi Move Beckons: Rumours surrounding Rolando Bianchi seemed to materialise into something more than a newspaper column when Torino made a bid of £2 million for the Italian striker. It was confirmed that City has knocked back a loan bid from one Italian club a fortnight ago (supposedly Torino, though Genoa are also interested). Now Torino seem to have tried their luck with a bid that makes a mockery of the £9 million paid out by SGE only one summer ago. City have rightfully turned it down though it remains to be seen whether the former Lazio man is a part of Hughes’ long term plans or if they are simply just holding out for a more reasonable bid.

Castillo Contract Close to an End? Spanish side Real Betis have made contact with Shakhtar Donetsk with a view to signing Mexican striker Nery Castillo on loan. Castillo signed for City on a twelve month loan deal in January but injuries stopped him from ever becoming a permanent fixture in the side. Now Betis have made a move and it seems that City would not be against possibly terminating his loan deal early so that he could make a move to Spain. Betis are looking at a twelve month loan deal with an option to sign him for ten million Euros if he impresses during his time there.

Real Ronaldo Possibility: City may be about to make the shock transfer of the summer with a move for former Real Madrid striker Ronaldo. Missing out on Ronaldinho hasn’t exactly hit City fans hard but if Ronaldo can get back to full fitness and get some games under his belt then it is possible that signing the Brazilian on a free transfer could be the crowd pleaser that Dr. Thaksin desires. The £6.5 million a year wages could cause a stumbling block though as the man released by AC Milan this summer has much to do to prove himself on the worldwide stage again.

Kasper Criticises City Chances: Kasper has reportedly made it clear that it is his definite intention to leave the club despite signing a new four year deal only four months back. The young Danish ‘keeper was always uncertain of his chances of first team selection when SGE was in charge: “I have been trying to leave for a while because last season, the week after I signed a contract, I was told I wasn’t playing.” Now with Joe Hart being handed the number one jersey, Kasper feels his options will again be limited and is looking to move for his own development: “It is heartbreaking every time you don’t play and one year sitting on the bench would not be good for my development. I want to leave City – no question.”

Ex-Blues’ News

Former Academy goalkeeper Ashley Timms seems to be staring jail in the face as the courts prosecuted him for blackmail. Timms supposedly ordered that a player, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pay him £15,000 or he would release sexual images of the unnamed player to his family. The prosecuting barrister claimed: “There was a long protracted series of text messages that culminated in the offence. It is a series of messages followed by a series of threats.” The trial judge has now stated that a jail sentence is inevitable and three years is the most likely outcome.

Pre-Season Results

AC Milan: 1-0 doesn’t quite tell the story of an impressive display from an under pressure City side. Though Vassell picked up an injury and Richards seemed to take a slight knock, Bojinov took all the headlines. For a whole twelve months City fans have waited to see what the Bulgarian from Juventus could do and now he has proven his talent. The goal was superb and his all round performance was that of a player not taking his position in the first eleven for granted. Overall, the players knocked the ball around well and when under pressure from a Kaka-less Milan side, the ever consistent defence put on another solid display. For the first time in three years City have regained the Thomas Cook Trophy and Sparky and co. will be hoping this isn’t the only silverware that makes its way into the trophy cabinet this year.

Alex Rowen <news(at)>


The more we see, the more it is clear in mine and many other Blues’ opinions, that Thaksin Shinawatra’s regime is bad for Manchester City, and the sooner that they are gone, the better. Call me naïve if you like, but like so many Blues, I was prepared to give Thaksin the benefit of the doubt when he took over. After all, it was a military junta who had deposed him when he was a democratically-elected Prime Minister, so who were they to call judgment on anybody? The previous chairman, John Wardle, also gave him the benefit of the doubt and sold him his shares last year, along with many others. It looks like we were wrong to give him that benefit of the doubt, given recent events and the underlying uncertainty that continues to dog the club. The fears of so many who dismissed Shinawatra at the time of his arrival are starting to be realised, and we have ended up with a relatively cash-strapped ‘owner’ who is now a fugitive from his home land, having skipped bail from a judicial system and country that is no longer under a military dictatorship.

Whilst Shinawatra has appointed two good managers in his short time here, in my opinion, he has shown little or no evidence that he knows how to run a football club or provide the leadership that the rôle of Chairman requires. Having asked Sven to get City into the top ten in his first season and into the UEFA Cup in his second, he sacked him even though the Swede achieved that first goal. Then appointed Mark Hughes and we learned last weekend that someone within the club has been trying to sell players above the Manager’s head. Misunderstanding or not, this is clearly a violation of Hughes’ remit. What a way to run a football club, our football club. It goes without saying that any club board in England worth its salt leaves the final say on transfers of players to the Manager. There are strong suggestions that the City job and the resources available are not what Hughes was promised when he took the job. To lose one good manager is bad but to lose two would be downright foolish. What a sad state of affairs it would be for City if we did lose Hughes. Thankfully, Hughes is made of sterner stuff and he has laid down the law and he has made it clear that there is no doubt who is in charge of transfers at City. Big respect is due to Mark Hughes, a pure football man if ever there was one, for asserting himself so impressively.

I don’t believe everything I read in a pretty biased and self-righteous tabloid press, many of whom who are looking for City to fail under Shinawatra. I do share Sutty’s concerns at what is happening to City, as he detailed in MCIVTA 1455, and fair play to his principled stand. However, if we stop attending matches then while we are turning our backs on ‘Toxin’, more importantly, we are turning our backs on the team also. Shinawatra may ‘own’ the shares but he is not City. He never will be for me, and like that whole ‘mythical’ Dallas series, I too would like to think that we can wake up from a bad dream and forget all about him like he never happened in time. We are City. We, the fans, are a huge part of what City is. The players, coaching staff and scouts are City, and so are all those people who care about it. Despite its chronic lack of success in recent years, and the current owner, this is a wonderful club. I’ve had too many good experiences over 28 years of watching City for it to be otherwise. And if we are talking about points of principle, surely, people who continue to support City are also principled in standing by their team. Why should we go away from something we hold dear just because we don’t have a high opinion of the guy who owns the shares? I still urge people who feel like Sutty does to stick with City because it is important to get behind Mark Hughes and the players, particularly now, as they really need our support. Hughes in particular is worthy of praise for sticking his neck out and preventing the sale of Corluka, and that for me, is even more reason to get down to Eastlands and support City. By doing that we do more to further convince a man of Hughes’ ability and integrity that City is a club worth working for, despite its current difficulties. I am very impressed by Hughes who has shown the strength of character and authority to make sure that he stays in charge of the football side of things. The more he speaks and acts, the more impressive he is. I really do hope that Hughes is not lost to City in all this terrible mess. I hope that Shinawatra sells City sooner rather than later, preferably and ideally back to the fans, but if not, to someone who is worthy of running our beloved Manchester City.

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


The hour before dawn is always the darkest one. I hope so… “Hughes to quit City” reads the telling headline in one of the web newspapers.

You read on and it mentions that if, as expected, MH is continually undermined in deciding transfer policy, he could just simply walk. There’s also £800 million frozen, money required for first instalments on Jo, cash injection for players wages etc.

I am surprised no-one has yet coined “Asylum seeker at the Council House”. I don’t know about you but I just wish there was a central repository for truthful information in this media-laden world where we live. Everyone is now a 24/7 news junkie and we are constantly bombarded with a mixture of rumour and fact.

So when people ask what’s happening with City, what do want to know?

  1. Transfer in?
  2. Transfers out?
  3. Corluka to Spurs?
  4. Ireland to Sunderland?
  5. Micah to United?
  6. Is Dr T going down?
  7. Does the UK Government (and the Premier League) recognize the Thai Government?
  8. Will he sell the club?
  9. Will he be forced to sell the club?
  10. Or is he looking to find investors?
  11. Did Mark Hughes know all this?
  12. Can we rely on Garry Cook to be the real deal?
  13. Who was the powerhouse behind the Ronaldinho chase?
  14. Will MH leave?

This is before we get the question, how do you think we’ll do this season or are you going to Villa Park on Sunday? Where do you find the answers?

Team Talk / Talk Sport / NewsNow.Com / BBC World / Five Live / Sky Sports / City website / Blueview / MEN / McVittee / King of the Kippax / Bar Maid at Mary D’s / Daily Mirror / The Times / Jimmy Hill’s Soccer Sunday / Speak to Dunny at the Met Pub in Didsbury

If you go to pretty much any of these sources they all have their opinion and as far as I can see they all carry a certain prejudice and baggage that clouds the objectivity of the information.

For example The Sunday People: Amid speculation that City are about to go into financial free fall, Ferguson is considering an audacious £19 million raid for Micah Richards. It is thought that SAF is an admirer of the England starlet and an anonymous source close to the player admits that young Micah would potentially relish the thought of playing at OT.

Going over the sentence again you highlight the words or phrases speculation, considering, thought to be, potentially relish the thought.

You can safely see that the entire piece is completely horlicks and also the most telling point, the Sunday People; which of course is written by retards and read by morons. In fact if the editor were to drop two more points on his IQ he would need watering twice a day.

Couple that with the fact that the story does not appear in any of the reputable papers (I suppose intellectual snobbery comes into the definition of what is considered to be a reputable paper so you can have your own judgment here).

However, once you discover that editors / journos of certain papers are fans of other clubs or have shares in certain companies that sponsor clubs, the judgement becomes even more cloudy and therefore you breathe a sigh of relief and you say…

“Of course they would say that.”

You go to the official MCFC website and there is a flat denial from Garry Cook / Mark Hughes and you think great, but “Of course they would say that.”

And so it goes with all the other sources. But as Agent Mulder says, “the truth is out there”. Where!

Who do you trust in the media? Where do you go for the answers?

I would be delighted to know where to go to sort the wheat from the chaff.

Phil Lines <philipjlines(at)>


Part of Garry Cook’s statement is below, with a quote about Thaksin.

“He wants to build a dynasty and he was disappointed that people think he wanted to get in and back out.”

If that’s the case, why can’t Thaksin hold a news conference and put everyone’s mind at rest, detailing exactly what he has got planned?

As for the charges against him, I have to say that some of them are rather flimsy. I wonder if it’s a case that the current government in Thailand fancy getting their hands on Thaksin’s millions?

John Nisbet <john_nisbet(at)>


The fate of Thaksin will be resolved in the weeks ahead, and I am sure that many will be following it very closely.

But the reason we are all here is because of the football; the next game in Europe is on Thursday versus FC Midtjylland, with our first Premier League game at Aston Villa on Sunday.

The club desperately need Mark (Sparky) Hughes to stay, he is the main reason that the new season has hope for City.

With so many strikers injured even before a kick of a ball in th ePremier League, and Jo with his country Brazil in the Olympics, it’s a tough call who will start up front, whilst Sparky says he still wants more players to complete the job.

Having Boj back and getting fit is a blessing, and with our two young stars Evans and Sturridge will be a great help for the City cause.

For the sake of our proud club, support must not weaken, we have to show Sparky that we are still behind him, and the team.

Now is the time to show our colours: “We are City”

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


It doesn’t really matter what I think of Thaksin (Toxic, whatever). What matters is that I offer my support to my football club (yes mine, yours and everyone else’s). Phil Bannerjee is spot on here folks. The soul of the club will always belong to the fans and not to the Doctor. I don’t care what anyone says about him really and whether it looks good for the guy or not – I continue to read two sides to this story, so who do we believe?

If Thaksin because of his troubles cannot move the club forward, then he will be quite justified in looking for more investment or to sell the club on. If that happens then so be it. Whoever comes in, I will still be there supporting my club. Not going no some holier than thou crusade to support some local non-league club for what was described a bargain £7.00. If that truly was the way to go then the Premier League would be dead and so would our club – is that what people want?

I’ll tell you what a bargain is: £95.00 season ticket for my 8 year old. £10.00 to go and watch the UEFA Cup match on Thursday (if I want).

Support your club. If you can’t afford it, fair enough, but if you turn your back on so-called moral grounds – don’t ever come back!

Graham Keller <gkmcfc(at)>


Are any London Blues getting together in town to watch the FC M game tonight?

Struan Malcolm <sm(at)>


Many thanks to all who responded, both directly and via the newsletter, re my recent request for details on viewing City via US TV. I appreciate all of your input.

Graham Mills <gkm_5(at)>

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[2] What are MCIVTA’s publishing deadlines?

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[4] What is the club’s official web site?

The official club web site can be found at

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Manchester City FC recognises three supporters’ clubs: The “Official Supporters Club” (; the “Centenary Supporters’ Association” ( and “The International Supporters’ Club”.

[6] Where can I find out about Points of Blue (formerly the Fans’ Committee)?

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The Radio Manchester (née GMR) pre and post match phone-in is available on the web at

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Newsletter #1456