Newsletter #1474

A lengthier newsletter tonight containing thoughts on the new Board, team strengthening, good news on the Ghana Appeal and a request for Schalke tickets.

We also have Alex’s regular Thursday night spot with all the news.

Heidi will be back next week so please keep your articles coming to the usual address of <mcivta(at)>.

Next Game: Newcastle United, away, 8pm Monday 20 October 2008


General News

Three hundred million is the magic number: Mark Hughes has assessed just how much he aims to change the landscape of English football and the price is a mere £300 million. The signing of Robinho was at the time described by the club as a “signal of intent” and Sparky has now stated that he intends to spend at least £100 million each transfer window from now to 2011 in order to create a major European force to compete with the likes of Chelsea, Real Madrid and Inter Milan. Hughes explained his vision for the future: “We feel we can offer big-name players something that little bit different – although obviously the aim is that we are eventually we have a team playing in the Champions’ League. The arrival of Robinho was a signal of intent that there is now another major player in town. I am sure that there will be top players out there who are at different stages of their career who will now look at Manchester City as a viable option.” More Fixture Fun: The UEFA Cup has a habit of completely changing your plans just as City are seeing in recent weeks. Last week we brought light to the fact that the Blackburn and West Brom game times had been re-arranged and the madness doesn’t stop there. Though originally scheduled for Saturday the 8th November, the home fixture against Spurs will now take place on Sunday the 9th due to both clubs participating in Europe on the preceding Thursday. The away trip to Fulham will stay booked on Sunday the sixth of December but has moved times from 3pm to 12.45pm as it has been selected for Sky TV. The UEFA Cup kick off times have been confirmed. First up is FC Twente at CoMS and that will be a 7.45pm k.o. on Thursday, November 6th. Next is a trip to Germany for the Schalke game and that will k.o. at 6pm UK time. Both the PSG and Racing Santander games will begin at 7.45pm UK time.

The BL-UEFA Cup: City winger Darius Vassell and centre back Micah Richards have both commented this week on the confidence in the dressing room when it comes to the European draw. Vassell, who is soon to return from injury, claimed: “For clubs like us, that can finish in the top six or top eight of the league, this competition is one we are capable of winning so we have to take it seriously. The fans love the big occasions at the stadium and especially these European games, so hopefully we can put on some more good performances for them. With the squad we have got, we know we are good enough to win it. We’ll need a bit of luck but also that determination to win it, and then we’ll be giving ourselves a good chance.” Micah added that: “The experience will benefit us, what we are coming up against is that we have had a lot of games already and that’s something we are not used to. But that’s the point of having a big squad and hopefully we’ll be alright.”

Board Reshuffle: Given the recent take over a board re-shuffle has been imminent and the club can now reveal the names of those who will be looking to create a golden generation of football from behind the scenes. The first is obviously that of new Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak, whilst joining him are his personal advisor Simon Pearce, American lawyer and property specialist Martin Edelman and Victor Restis who will continue to represent Thaksin Shinawatra on a newly rejuvenated City board. Though little information has been released regarding the new board members’ positions, the club has made it clear that Executive Chairman Garry Cook shall stay in his position. Cook stated on behalf of the club: “We welcome the new Chairman and Board members to the Club, following the change in ownership. The new Board marks the start of an incredibly exciting era for Manchester City and its fans. The Board and the executive team that we are building will be worthy of the heritage and potential of Manchester City Football Club.”

Joe Backs City to Have Hart: Now West Bromwich Albion goalkeeping coach and former City star Joe Corrigan has backed Joe Hart to become a huge success. Corrigan attempted to take Hart to The Hawthorns whilst he was still a youngster at Shrewsbury but now the former Blue believe Hart is in the right place to achieve great things: “Mental strength is a major asset for a goalkeeper but he’s got the ability too. He’s got quick feet, he’s tall, he’s a good kicker and he’s got good reflexes. And he’ll get stronger the older he gets. So if he handles the pressure in the right way, you never know what he can achieve.”

Squad News

Returning Blues: After the MEN reported that the club had turned to yoga in order to help Michael Johnson’s long standing return to full fitness, the young England midfielder said that he feels he is on his way back to the first team. His main target is to: “Just to get fit at the minute! If I get fit and back into this team then hopefully I can have a good season, push on from last year and go for a higher placed finish.” Also returning after a long time on the sidelines is former England striker Darius Vassell and it is believed that Micah Richards is much closer to full fitness than first expected. The main injury worry now is that of Robinho who was stretchered off in Brazil’s goalless draw with Columbia. Robinho will return to the UK on Friday morning where he will be fully assessed by the club’s physios in the hope that the Samba star will be fit for the trip to St James’ Park on Monday.

Defensive Conundrum: With Pablo Zabaleta suspended for the next three fixtures, Sparky is deciding who it is he will call up on for the game at St James’ Park on Monday night. Moving Micah to the right and allowing Glauber or Ben Haim to play centre back doesn’t seem to be an option due to the partnership that Dunne and Richards have formed in recent years: “As a partnership, they are doing exceptionally well, they have the physical attributes to make an impact on the opposition, and they are solid when they need to be. They will get stretched at times, that happens with all teams at times, given the way we are playing at the moment they may get exposed because of the nature of our attacking play. But they are vital for what we do.” However, Nedum Onuoha seems the sensible option despite vast numbers of injuries since the end of last season: “Nedum’s been training this week so we will have a look at how he is. He’s obviously not had any football for a while so we will have to be careful with him because he has had a number of injuries of late.”

Transfer News and Gossip

Fernando Torres: Speculation about City signing the Spanish superstar has been rife ever since the takeover at CoMS and this week was no different. The Arabs look set to flex their financial muscle in the January transfer window as Hughes prepares to offer the Liverpool striker a salary of £100,000 a week (double what he is currently earning on Merseyside). Though both Torres and Benitez have quite clearly denied any speculation linking Euro 2008 winner with a move away from Anfield, you have to question what Torres would do if Liverpool weren’t challenging come Christmas and Abu Dhabi United Ltd. offered him the chance to play alongside the likes of Robinho.

Antonio Cassano: Another club was quick to rule out a move to Eastlands this week for one of its stars as City targeted Italian striker Antonio Cassano. The former Real Madrid star is well known for his temperamental attitude after his suspension under now England manager Fabio Capello. It is rumoured that Cassano has turned down City in the past when he chose instead to go out on loan to Sampdoria but now the Italian side seem desperate to resist the much increased threat of a move from City: “Since he arrived at Sampdoria, Antonio has delighted us with his fantastic play and it’s normal that this will attract interest from great clubs in Europe, including Manchester City. But I wouldn’t talk about an open negotiation; there are other clubs that want Antonio.”

Thierry Henry: Just as I tried to get excited about a genuine Premier League star coming to CoMS, he claims there’s no chance of it happening. The French star who has been much on the outskirts of the Catalan squad this season has stated that: “One thing’s for sure, the Manchester City thing and all the things you’re talking about need to stop.” The former Arsenal skipper has been linked with a move back to the Premier League all year as his time in Spain has been blighted by under performance and being played out of position. Yet it seems that he has no plans to move. But then they all say that don’t they?

Roque Santa Cruz: Another of the targets who has been forever linked with the blues since the induction of Mark Hughes as manager has taken a complete U-turn by declaring that playing alongside City’s Samba boys would be a huge lure for him. Santa Cruz who signed a new four year deal in August had spent the summer ruling out a move to City and yet now he has professed: “I am very happy at Blackburn but I like the idea of playing for a team that will be fighting for important objectives. I will keep on doing what I do at Blackburn but if the coach of Manchester City is interested in me I would like to join Robinho in that team. He is a wonderful player and I would like to play next to him.”

Felipe Caicedo: The Ecuadorian striker who almost made a deadline day move to Germany in August has now been linked with a move to France. PSG look set to pounce on the opportunity as Caicedo has fallen out of favour with the City management. A five million pound signing from Basle under Sven Goran Eriksson, Caicedo has never quite settled into the first eleven and as such will look for some first team experience in the New Year.

Jason Banton: Young sixteen year old talent Jason Banton has plans to leave Arsenal having once again fallen out with the club’s hierarchy. The youngster who has left the Gunners once before for arch-rivals Spurs, has drawn great comparisons with England winger David Bentley both on and off the pitch and it seems that City are poised to take advantage of the situation in order to add him to the country’s best academy.

International Blues: A Robinho double and an Elano cross aided Brazil in their World Cup qualifying round as the South American’s hammered Venezuela 4-0. Robinho scored both a wonderful thirty yard strike and a finish that you’d expect any Brazilian to take in his stride whilst Adriano added the third from an Elano assist. The 4-0 win left Brazil second in their group trailing only behind Paraguay. Only three days later Robinho, Elano and Jo couldn’t help the Samba boys find a way past their Columbian opposition and the goalless draw was met with a chorus of boos from the home crowd as pressure mounted on Brazil Coach Dunga. Elsewhere in South America, as Pablo Zabaleta didn’t even make the bench for Argentina’s 1-0 defeat to Chile, Felipe Caicedo played an ineffective rôle in Ecaudor’s 3-1 loss to Venezuela.

Martin Petrov’s return to injury failed as he found himself substituted at half time in Bulgaria’s goalless draw with Georgia due to a re-occurrence of the same injury. SWP was the man to watch for Blues’ fans this week as he, alongside his fellow teammates, made history as the first England side ever to win four consecutive opening games in the group. Wins against Kazakhstan and Belarus impressed England fans and finally allowed Fabio Capello to stamp his authority on the national side. Theo Walcott was never going to be usurped from the eleven after his hat-trick against Croatia yet it seemed that when SWP replaced him in both games, there was a much more potent threat from the wings. Fernandes, Ben Haim and Vincent Kompany all took part in international duty for their respective nations as Ched Evans got on the score sheet for Wales in their 2-0 victory against Liechtenstein.

Alex Rowen <news(at)>


In reply to Calvin Chan regarding Joe Hart playing in the under 21’s and not sat on the bench with the full team, I think the reasoning behind it is the Under 21’s have never played to their full strength (players like Owen/Rooney etc. bypassed it and went straight into the full team at 18) and as a result England has never won an Under 21 tournament and therefore none of the current full team players have won a major international tournament.

Stuart Pearce has stated that Joe Hart/Micah Richards and others would benefit more by continuing to play in the U21’s than to simply warm the bench and not get a full game. This increases the chances of the U21’s winning the tournament and the players themselves then gaining experience of doing so by the time they are ready to be full internationals.

Robert Green will (in my opinion) never win a cap in a proper game (maybe a friendly) so let him warm the bench whilst Joe is being successfully groomed to be the heir to David James’ throne.

Phill Gatenby <safestanding(at)>


Just had to respond to Ernie’s comment, that he’d like to see the defence ‘beefed up – too many sloppy goals conceded’.

Why do we need to spend money on defenders? Why not try to get our defenders playing like they ought to? The goals from Liverpool rang of the same old story that has been bugging City for years – defenders watching the ball and not the player. Dead easy to rectify, and doesn’t burn a hole in your wallet.

And we were always going to lose to Liverpool… when did we last do otherwise, just before international qualifiers? 🙂

P.S. Anyone want to sponsor me and my dogs in a 300-mile sled-dog race?!

Melanie Clegg <melanie.clegg(at)>


I watched “live” the Brazil vs. Venezuela match.

From a pride point of view, to hear two City players names announced in the Brazil team, plus one on the bench, brought tears to my eyes.

From a marketing point of view, the commentators announced “Manchester City” 18 times in the 90 minutes. Think about that when you’ve got nothing else to do. To an audience of millions of Spanish speaking people.

Today I read City have a new director who’s the top property development lawyer in NYC.

When these guys are finished not only will we have the best team in the world, we will have the greatest entertainment/consumer/tourist site, on the 300 acres around Eastlands, in the world. Leading to “City” being on a par with brands like Disney/Coca-Cola whatever.

I first saw City in August 1955 playing Fulham on a sunny Wednesday night at Maine Road. I was placed on top of one of those concrete stanchions that provided support for the access tunnel (best view in the ground) at the old scoreboard end. Saw Johhny Haynes and Bobby Robson as well as Bert, Roy, Ken, Bobby, Joe, Colin, Ewing et al.

I was one of the 8,000 against Swindon. I was at Newcastle in ’68, Cup Final in ’69, Vienna in ’70, League Cup Final in ’70 and League Cup Final in ’74.

With my kids (and now grandkids), I’ve stayed loyal through thick and thin. My son Matthew summed it up in his wedding speech. “The only cause worth fighting for is a lost cause”. It brought the house down, but “many a true word spoken in jest”.

I’m now bursting with so much pride and love for City.

Anyone going to Santander and Shhalke get in touch so I can meet up with asmany City fans as possible. Anyone know of organised City group travellers tothese games and how to meet up? Let me know please as I’ve got to get them allsinging “I’m The Sheikh Of Araby, I’ve Just Bought Man City”.

Patrick Knowles <patricknowles(at)>


For the first time ever I have been pleased to hear what a Manchester United player had to say. Rio Ferdinand has admitted that life under SGE (and Brolly Man) was less than conducive to great football.

Others have made similar statements including players from City who are less than impressed with what was achieved under the walking Specsavers ad.

I have made my position quite clear and those who know me personally (and you know who you are) will also remember being in full and noisy disagreement with me about his lax attitude to motivation and control etc.

Well I was right and you lot were wrong so there ner ner ne ner nerrrrr!

I admit that’s a little childish but some of my frustration goes back to England vs. Brazil.

Also all of you folks who marched in protest at the possibility at SGE’s departure should also apologise for the abuse that was heaped on me (ooohh this feels good, unburdening myself, very cathartic) yet again I was right. See above for the ner ner bit.

And whilst I’m here may I please request some email apologies for not going to town on the good Doctor Thaksin as well, as he seems to have done us proud. And unlike so many previous boards his at last tried (and often fully succeeded) in being professional and honest with us all.

I also would like to officially say this: Isn’t it chuffing fantastic being linked with Villa, Kaka and any other world beater as opposed to getting our mitts on Lee Bradbury for £3 million. Oh beautiful.

This one simply isn’t going to go pear shaped because we have people in place not only with very, very deep pockets but with a level of commitment to quality that would put any organisation to shame.

I have a friend who lives and works in the far east, he is pretty well off to be honest and when we chatted recently about this he simply said “You guys had better get ready for some serious success and some very strange changes in attitude towards your club. The football world simply can’t imagine the impact these guys will have.”

And he knows his onions.

Anyway, I’m feeling better now.

Andy Morris


We have a tough looking UEFA Group, not that I am complaining as these are exciting times, and it is good to be back in Europe again. I have to say, though, that having got past FC Streymur, Midget Land (only just) and Omonia Nicosia I’m still gutted that we didn’t get FC Honka of Finland a couple of rounds ago, but you can’t have everything. So to the Group stages: Schalke away will probably provide the biggest test in the group, given their recent exploits in the Bundesliga and Champions’ League. Sources in Germany suggest that they are strong on set pieces, so hopefully we won’t give too many of those away and when we do we will have to defend a lot better in Gelsenkirchen than we have recently at home. We also have Steve McLaren’s Twente Enschede and the buffoon will be saying in his bizarre, fake Dutch accent: “Well obvioushly, it ish great to be drawn againsht an Englishhhh club. For shure, Twente will be, how you shay, it… the underdogshh”. Whilst we shouldn’t underestimate anybody, given our attacking flair, we should win home matches against Twente and a PSG side that just avoided relegation last season. Hopefully the last game in Santander will not be significant in our bid to make the top three, but knowing City you can bet your bottom dollar that it will be. Finishing top would steer us away from some of those failed Champions’ League teams that, ridiculously, are allowed to have another bite of the cherry, so we should aim for the top spot.

A lot of criticism has been directed at the centre backs this season. That is unfair as they have lacked a little protection in front of them. Midfield runners from the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool held a physical advantage against us – something that Mark Hughes will be looking to address in January. Another strong, physical central midfield player who is creative and can complement Vincent Kompany, has to be a priority. Whilst Robinho, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Stephen Ireland and Elano are thrilling to watch and play very exciting football, we probably cannot play them all at once in every game. We need more steel in order to compete physically and thus stop us getting bullied out of games, particularly away from home. Thorsten Frings has been mentioned as a possible signing in the media. Whilst he is 31, if he still has the legs and hunger for a new challenge in England, then why not? He would bring a wealth of experience and physicality to our midfield engine room.

In Hughes we have the best young manager in the United Kingdom and he should be given time to turn City into a top side. We have done fairly well in a fairly tough set of fixtures so far and he has dealt with the media very well, especially at difficult times. I’m also very encouraged by the understated approach of the new owners, especially after all the bold pronouncements by Suleiman Al Fahim when he brokered the deal. They seem to have an understanding and respect of Mark Hughes and recognise his talent. They also declared their respect for English football and its traditions. I hope that this will mean that they will not be pushing for games to be played abroad à la Richard Scudamore’s half baked 39th game nonsense, which was motivated by finance. Whilst fans from all over the world follow the Premier League – and there is nothing wrong with selling TV rights and merchandise around the world – this is the English Premier League and by its very name, that is where it resides – England. Rather coming up with crass ideas like the 39th game, Football needs to get its own house in order and make sure that there is be a fairer distribution of TV revenue so that all of football should benefit, especially in such difficult times, rather than just a few wealthy clubs in the Premiership. We should be proud of our 92 clubs in this country – well, 91 of them anyway – and preserving our clubs is to the benefit of football fans everywhere.

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


Can I thank McV readers for their generosity in supporting my appeal on behalf of ‘Manchester City Babies’ in Ghana. Whilst not achieving the target figure of £2,000 I have raised just over £1,000.

In addition to that I have received kit donations from all over the place including items posted to me from 2 separate Blues in Spain. I’ve had cash sent to me from Spain, Holland, Italy and Sweden. I’m awaiting delivery of a second hand kit from a Blue in Aberdeen which will be much appreciated in Ghana. The Platt Lane ‘Penalty Spot’ went for £150 and awaits re-planting in Prague. A Blue from Northampton gave me a box of footballs prior to the Liverpool game. A Blue from Down Under sent stuff directly to Peter Amoabil in Ghana.

One of the wonderful things is most cheques etc., from McV readers and others have been sent anonymously. The only clue I have is the name on the cheque.

I called at my sports supplier at the end of last week to order 2 full kits only to find he’s gone to sunnier climes for a short while. He’s back next week so I’ll hopefully conclude the deal soon. Whilst the Ghana Appeal is now officially closed I can and will accept further donations of any kind, cheques, kit, etc., which I assure will go directly to Ghana.

Please send any such donations to me:

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

Just to remind McV readers what the Ghana Appeal is about; it’s this: A trainee teacher and City fan in Ghana, Peter Amoabil has set up a junior football club in his region of Ghana under the name of Manchester City Babies. He and his coaches run 4 teams at U/10, U/12, U/14 and U/17. His junior football club and community simply cannot afford the resources to run and support 4 teams. The support of McV readers ensure Peter Amoabil and his coaches can maintain the 4 teams in Ghana and further helps promote the name of Manchester City FC in his part of East Africa.

My heartfelt thanks go to all McV readers who have supported my appeal. May the sun always shine on you.

Alex Channon <alexchannon81(at)>


I am travelling up from London for the Stoke game but unfortunately I booked my ticket before they re-arranged the game to Sunday. Will Sheikh Mansour be willing to refund me the money for the train ticket, as Virgin Trains certainly aren’t keen!

Anyone know of anyone who fancies a train ticket leaving morning of Saturday 25/10, returning from Piccadilly on the morning of 26/10, give me a shout!

Murray Withers <murraywithers(at)>


My friend and I have bought travel, accommodation, cleared it with the missus and booked time off work to go to Schalke.

However, we haven’t considered that we may not have enough points for match tickets.

So if anyone could possibly get us 2 together, please phone me on 07891117637 or email me at <blueboys_mr(at)>.

Thanks in advance, David Ford <>


League table to 13 October 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          7  2  2  0  8  2  3  0  0  6  1  5  2  0  14   3  11  17
 2 Liverpool        7  2  1  0  4  2  3  1  0  6  2  5  2  0  10   4   6  17
 3 Hull City        7  1  1  1  4  8  3  1  0  6  3  4  2  1  10  11  -1  14
 4 Arsenal          7  2  0  1  5  2  2  1  1  8  3  4  1  2  13   5   8  13
 5 Aston Villa      7  2  1  0  6  3  2  0  2  6  7  4  1  2  12  10   2  13
 6 West Ham United  7  3  0  1 10  6  1  0  2  4  7  4  0  3  14  13   1  12
 7 Portsmouth       7  3  0  1  6  3  1  0  2  3 10  4  0  3   9  13  -4  12
 8 Manchester Utd   6  1  1  0  3  1  2  1  1  5  3  3  2  1   8   4   4  11
 9 West Brom A.     7  2  0  2  6  6  1  1  1  1  1  3  1  3   7   7   0  10
10 Blackburn R.     7  1  1  2  2  7  2  0  1  6  7  3  1  3   8  14  -6  10
11 Manchester City  7  2  0  2 12  6  1  0  2  6  6  3  0  4  18  12   6   9
12 Middlesbrough    7  2  0  1  4  3  1  0  3  3  6  3  0  4   7   9  -2   9
13 Wigan Athletic   7  1  1  2  3  4  1  1  1  6  2  2  2  3   9   6   3   8
14 Sunderland       7  1  1  2  3  5  1  1  1  4  4  2  2  3   7   9  -2   8
15 Everton          7  0  1  3  4 10  2  1  0  7  5  2  2  3  11  15  -4   8
16 Bolton Wndrs     7  1  1  1  4  4  1  0  3  4  6  2  1  4   8  10  -2   7
17 Fulham           6  2  0  1  4  3  0  0  3  1  4  2  0  4   5   7  -2   6
18 Newcastle Utd    7  1  0  2  3  4  0  2  2  4  9  1  2  4   7  13  -6   5
19 Stoke City       7  1  0  2  5  7  0  1  3  3  7  1  1  5   8  14  -6   4
20 Tottenham H.     7  0  1  3  2  5  0  1  2  2  5  0  2  5   4  10  -6   2

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1474