Newsletter #1461

An incredible day in the ongoing saga of MCFC as news broke that the club had entered into due diligence for a takeover by the Abu Dhabi United Group (they’ll have to change that name).

The transfer window draws to a close and we have bids flying around like there’s no tomorrow for players including Berbatov, Villa and Gomez, with most Blues’ fans shaking their heads in disbelief and could be forgiven for thinking the clock had turned back 5 months.

SWeeP made a dramatic return to the team this weekend, scoring a brace in our 3-0 victory over Sunderland. We have match views tonight on that and the UEFA game, opinion on the takeover, the executive chairman and players.

It’s almost reassuring to see, however, that despite the heady news some things stay the same as the calendar curse strikes again.

Next Game: Chelsea, home, 5.30pm Saturday 13 September 2008


We really did not deserve to win this tie. Out of 210 minutes of both legs we probably were second best for about 180. Only Joe Hart really emerges with credit although Sturridge and Evans looked good whilst they were on. Three specific problems worry me:

  1. Early days yet but Jo doesn’t look to be any improvement on Samaras andcertainly Sturridge and Evans look better prospects.
  2. The back four look totally dishevelled when Ben Haim is amongst them.
  3. The flash of magic that I saw when Johnson transformed before my very eyesinto Colin Bell has long since faded.

Let’s hope that SWeeP hasn’t been terminally damaged by his stint at Chelsea.

David Lewis <dfl(at)>


The game versus FC Midjylland was a very difficult game; not only were Midyjlland a good team that played with good tactics but the pitch was slippery in parts and the referee let too much niggly things go on.

I would just like to describe the game as a frustrating game, a game that we were lucky that we came away the winners, and Joe Hart the hero.

And now to the next round of the UEFA Cup proper; to say better teams to play against would be taking something away from Midyjlland who proved to be a very good team.

Nice to see SWeeP back, he might be at his old best right away; on the other hand we might have to give him time to settle in. Good luck!

Come on you Blues! In Sparky we trust.

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


Shaun Wright-Philips sinks Sunderland with his double on his dream first game back. Superman (Ireland) opened the scoring just before half time.

Concern again for Micah who had to leave the game after another collision with a fellow team mate, this time Joe Hart.

Mark Hughes has strengthened his side again with the addition of Argentina defender Pablo Zabalets and Brazilian defender Glauber Berti.

With the Premier League allowing seven subs on the bench this season, even though you can only use three of the subs, it gives Sparky more options from the bench when it comes to tactical changes, and of course hoping that it is not for injuries.

The Sparky team are almost ready to go, just need the injured strikers back to have a full squad ready for an assault on the top four. The squad really looks very good now, we have a season to look forward to.

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


Well these are exciting and good times to be a Blue aren’t they? Dare I say these are good times to be a Blue? I will anyway…

Shaun Wright-Phillips has returned (and how!) in a rollicking good 3-0 win at Sunderland and a big welcome back home to him. It’s wonderful that he should settle straight back into City life with a well taken brace from his new free rôle, created for him by Mark Hughes. Welcome back, Shaun. It’s great to have you on board again.

We have the best young manager in the UK in Mark Hughes and he is already making his mark, making astute signings like Vincent Kompany. Whilst I’m sorry to see Vedran Corluka go, I’m impressed that Hughesy has signed his replacement in Argentine Olympic Gold medal winner, Pablo Zabaleta. There are more signings in the pipeline with a reputed cheeky £28 million bid in the offing for Berbatov (wouldn’t that be delicious if old Sour Face is gazumpted by ‘little old Ciddy’?). If that wasn’t enough good news, now we can dream of new horizons again with the takeover by the Abu Dhabi group. That’s the Abu Dhabi City group, ok? Their reputed aim is to make City the biggest in the Premier League, with the goal of top four finish this season. Is it possible to get drunk on good news alone? It feels like it… At City we only do good times and bad times in extremis. This latest chain of events could be the start of something brilliant.

I hope they give Mark Hughes time to get this job right. It would be great to finish top four this season, but it would be wrong to change managers again if we didn’t make it this time around. Success can take time to achieve, and all the best teams are built over a period of time. Just look at Chelsea. They were already a top four side before Abramovich came in. I don’t see why, given the right financial backing, Hughes cannot achieve real, sustained success here over a period of time.

I don’t wish Thaksin Shinawatra anything other than the best of luck against the right wing establishment of Thailand but it was time for him to relinquish control of City. Thaksin definitely helped keep City in the Premiership last season, of that there is no doubt, and his financial muscle brought players to City who made it fun again. However, his problems were damaging the club, and a cloud of uncertainty blighted Manchester City. With him taking a back seat, and with a wealthy new investor who seems to be on far more solid ground, the club’s future looks more secure than it did.

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


His performance in the UEFA Cup game was outstanding; I think it would be difficult to disagree with that. Admittedly that is only one game but if many of his team mates had been as consistent and as committed to the club as Dunnie then we would have finished higher up the table over the years.

Yes, he did dither over a new contract after Sven had been sacked but that was for that reason. Distin went on a free to Pompey for the money even when offered a week by week contract until the Thai buy-out was completed; he refused the opportunity.

Dunnie has performed well for our club and stuck with us; we should stand by him. “Average at best” I don’t think so.

Chris Chew <chewychris(at)>


This morning I turned the page on my official City calendar from August to September. And guess who features for the month of September… Corluka! Ironic that on this first day of September he signs for Spurs!

Sorry to see him go, but apparently he requested the transfer… is there some “behind the scenes” gossip we know nothing about?

A true MCIVTA, living in the French Alps!

Philip Taylor <philtaylor(at)>


As I turn to a new month on my official Manchester City calendar, the player’s picture is Vedran Corluka who left today for Spurs.

But I think that all of us City fans are shell shocked by the moves in the last 24 hours: New owners, and Berbatov coming to City and not to the Evil Empire. Credit to Thaksin who helped make the club attractive to be taken over.

No more from me, I leave it to the experts to tell it all.

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


Can I just say for the record that I have just read the “full” interview that Garry Cook gave for the first time. The recent submission that I made stated that his interview had made me feel better about things but I had no idea about his ramblings regarding his interference in the transfer policy, his derogatory remarks (directly and indirectly) re: Dunne, Corluka and Ireland. And his stupid statement about the Masters tournament; he’s the ultimate businessman isn’t he? He really does undermine the Manager doesn’t he? What a to**er!

I’m sure that I’ll be slated in the next edition for saying that his comments actually made me feel better! This was obviously before I had read all this c**p; I was just talking about his comments re: Shinawatra and the options available to us on that score. Apologies for any misunderstanding. Just wanted to get that one off my chest.

Noel Wilkes Wells <Wilkes.wells(at)>


Thanks to Roly Allen for his link to the Guardian interview with Garry Cook.

I applaud Cook’s ambitions for City and we should want to win the League and European Cup. Whilst it’s nice to be ambitious and want to win the League and the European Cup can we really bigger than Manchester United? I’d settle for having a better team personally. What true fan is bothered about City as a ‘brand’ as he puts it? If building up our ‘brand’ makes City more powerful, then fine, just as long it does not negatively impact on City and its fans.

Cook has, though, made a series of naïve and worrying statements, which need to be challenged.

Already he is undermining Mark Hughes with nonsense like ‘Hughes is old fashioned’ in his tastes over football transfers and wanting to get in players he knows. Old fashioned? Is he heck. What nonsense. What’s wrong with Hughes signing players that he knows? A prudent policy if ever there was one. What exactly is Cook on about? Cook says of Hughes: “He doesn’t like the unknown because it takes him out of his comfort zone.” Again, that’s rubbish. If Hughes wanted to stay in a comfort zone as he puts it he certainly wouldn’t leave the quiet life of a well run club like Blackburn for the slings and arrows of our beloved Manchester City. Hughes has probably had more of the ‘unknown’ in 3 months here than people have in a lifetime.

Most fans would back Mark Hughes’ judgement in the transfer market over Garry Cook. After all who in their right mind would back a businessman over a football man? Cook would do well to let the football man do his work, and keep shtum about a subject that he seems to know little about. Yes, Cook really should wind his neck in.

As for his denigration of the Manchester City Masters players with him saying of them: “using our name and our badge when they had nothing to do with us, then, lo and behold, we congratulate them in the programme. You couldn’t set up a band and call it the Drifters, so what are they doing using our name?” he is well out of order. Does he know anything about the history of this club? As he is a Birmingham “fan” who has spent substantial time in the US, evidently not. Eric Nixon, Steve Redmond, Ian Brightwell, and co all served this club well and he would do well to show them a little respect. These ex-players are the very fabric of our club, and long may that continue. Ask most Blues and they would be pleased that these players retain an association with Manchester City. Personally, being a similar age to the likes of Redders, Brighty and co, I relate to that team, perhaps, more than any other City team. I loved watching them win the FA Youth Cup in 1986 and gain promotion in 1989 in the days when football was far more in touch with its roots than it is now.

Anyway, aren’t there more important things for Cook to get ‘angry’ about?

Cook’s most crass idea is the abolition of promotion and relegation, presumably to protect his ‘brand’ from relegation. I hate relegation, having suffered it along with you in 1982/1983, 1986/1987, 1995/1996, 1997/1998 and 2000/2001. It’s awful, it’s crushing, numbing, depressing, it’s many bad things. I don’t want us to suffer it ever again, but to take away relegation or the threat of it though would take a lot away from our game. It keeps teams going all season, every match means something until very late on nowadays. If you’re not fighting for Europe you’re looking over your shoulder. And what right has Garry Cook to take away the right of players, clubs and fans to dream of watching top flight football? It’s bad enough that they reduced it from 22 clubs to 20. He has no right. Cook is clearly out of tune with the overwhelming majority of football fans, for whom football is a sport. So if Cook is to stay at City he should work harder to ensure that relegation is an issue on sporting terms (i.e. merit) and sporting terms alone.

Cook is, indeed, prone to silly pronouncements. “You look at our brand and it’s Thomas Cook. There’s something not quite right about watching us in a bar in Beijing or Bangkok or Tokyo and seeing ‘Fred Smith’s Plumbing, call 0161 …’.” Whilst it’s good for City to be earning as much sponsorship revenue as possible, Cook would do well to remember that a lot of City’s fans are people like Fred Smith and they are into plumbing! Maybe Cook should be a little more humble, and remember that it’s our City.

As Jon Marshall suggested in MCIVTA 1460, his comments also show ‘a startling lack of awareness of his market’. Cook should get to know his market and therefore, ‘customers’, a little better than to make naïve and ill-chosen comments like that.

Maybe it won’t matter any more if he is gone in this Abu Dhabi takeover.

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


I hope Blues haven’t already arranged travel for the UEFA Cup game.

City’s UEFA Cup tie against AC Omonia will now start with the away leg being played first, the Club has confirmed.

The first round tie was originally scheduled to begin with the Blues facing the Cypriot side at home on September 18th, followed by the second leg on October 2nd. Omonia ground-share with APOEL, who have a Champions’ League game in the GSP Stadium the night before, so the order of the games has been reversed from what was originally drawn.

Kick-off times for both games will be announced in due course.

Phill Gatenby <Safestanding(at)>


In answer to Phil Gatenby I give an open answer as to why it was “Nice to see Frank at the CoMS watching his team.”

Had Thaksin not been at the game, the press and media would have had a field day of more negatives against the club. For Frank to have been at the game helped say to the World “Things are not as bad as reported”. Besides, he is a fan of his own team. It was good for any potential buyers to see Frank at the game.

As I made comments in my last article in McV, you will have read that I feel Thaksin has done good in many ways to raise the quality of the club, but unless he comes forward with some of his own money that might be unfrozen in Thailand he will have helped put MCFC in more debt.

There are many clubs in the Premier League that have borrowed against the club’s future earnings, it’s just that we never expected it with an owner like Thaksin. We all know the reason is that his money being frozen in Thailand though.

What MCFC have done is bring in some quality young players with a great manager/coach, and coaching staff, a very good Executive Chairman in Garry Cook who having been with Nike in a top position, has got the contacts in the business world, it is Mark Hughes who has the knowledge on the pitch.

Let us not paint MCFC in bad light when the future is not that bad, we have lots of good things to look forward to.

Now let’s all get behind the team.

Come on you Blues! In Sparky we trust.

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


Are there any Blues based in Singapore? I move out there on 26th September for 2 years and having searched supporters’ clubs on t’Internet but cannot find one for City.

Darren Wareing <darren.wareing(at)>



Just so that nobody is surprised next time they go to the ground, it will now be known as “Middle Eastlands”.

John Nisbet <john_nisbet(at)>


31 August 2008

Chelsea               1 - 1  Tottenham Hotspur
Sunderland            0 - 3  Manchester City
Aston Villa           0 - 0  Liverpool

30 August 2008

Bolton Wanderers      0 - 0  West Bromwich Albion  20,387
Everton               0 - 3  Portsmouth            34,418
Hull City             0 - 5  Wigan Athletic        24,282
Middlesbrough         2 - 1  Stoke City            27,627
West Ham United       4 - 1  Blackburn Rovers      32,905
Arsenal               3 - 0  Newcastle United      60,067

League table to 31 August 2008 inclusive

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F   A   GD  Pts
 1 Chelsea          3  1  1  0  5  1  1  0  0  1  0  2  1  0   6   1   5   7
 2 Liverpool        3  1  0  0  2  1  1  1  0  1  0  2  1  0   3   1   2   7
 3 Manchester City  3  1  0  0  3  0  1  0  1  5  4  2  0  1   8   4   4   6
 4 Arsenal          3  2  0  0  4  0  0  0  1  0  1  2  0  1   4   1   3   6
 5 West Ham United  3  2  0  0  6  2  0  0  1  0  3  2  0  1   6   5   1   6
 6 Middlesbrough    3  2  0  0  4  2  0  0  1  1  2  2  0  1   5   4   1   6
 7 Aston Villa      3  1  1  0  4  2  0  0  1  2  3  1  1  1   6   5   1   4
 8 Bolton Wndrs     3  1  1  0  3  1  0  0  1  0  1  1  1  1   3   2   1   4
 9 Manchester Utd   2  0  1  0  1  1  1  0  0  1  0  1  1  0   2   1   1   4
10 Blackburn R.     3  0  1  0  1  1  1  0  1  4  6  1  1  1   5   7  -2   4
11 Newcastle Utd    3  1  0  0  1  0  0  1  1  1  4  1  1  1   2   4  -2   4
12 Hull City        3  1  0  1  2  6  0  1  0  1  1  1  1  1   3   7  -4   4
13 Wigan Athletic   3  0  0  1  0  1  1  0  1  6  2  1  0  2   6   3   3   3
14 Fulham           2  1  0  0  1  0  0  0  1  1  2  1  0  1   2   2   0   3
15 Stoke City       3  1  0  0  3  2  0  0  2  2  5  1  0  2   5   7  -2   3
16 Portsmouth       3  0  0  1  0  1  1  0  1  3  4  1  0  2   3   5  -2   3
17 Everton          3  0  0  2  2  6  1  0  0  2  1  1  0  2   4   7  -3   3
18 Sunderland       3  0  0  2  0  4  1  0  0  2  1  1  0  2   2   5  -3   3
19 Tottenham H.     3  0  0  1  1  2  0  1  1  2  3  0  1  2   3   5  -2   1
20 West Brom A.     3  0  0  1  1  2  0  1  1  0  1  0  1  2   1   3  -2   1

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1461