Newsletter #1482

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Some excellent opinion tonight on recent form, with the stats looking strange as we have the third best goals for record, and third equal worst goals against record – shades of ’58!

News from Alex on the current situation and speculation, an award for CITC, the players’ reactions and transfer rumours.

Finally, we have the usual requests.

Next up, Premiership new boys Hull City.

Next Game: Hull City, away, 4pm Sunday 16 November 2008

NEWS SUMMARY

General News

Not So Hughes-Less: I won’t point out my opinion on the whole management situation quite yet but the hierarchy of the club has been quick to dismiss any reports that suggest the manager is under pressure: “We are calm and under control and we on the board have the highest regard for Mark. I am personally committed to him as I am committed to the partnership between Executive Chairman Garry Cook, Mark and myself. This is a winning team that is going through a learning curve right now. While January is going to be an interesting opportunity for Mark to improve the team, this is an exciting ten-year dynasty that we are building and we are only in the first two months.” Of the rumours that Mourinho or another of Europe’s elite coaches will soon be in to replace Hughes, Chairman Mubarek laughed: “It is rubbish. I am committed to Mark and his team and I think people will see in January that we have good foundations in place in the team, we have a good coach and that we will be upgrading in terms of players. Hopefully the results will come.”

Top of the Class: At an awards ceremony at Wembley Stadium last week, Manchester City Football Club was named the top of the class in terms of helping youngsters. City in the Community has been a huge success since its inception and its work has been recognised having been awarded the Team Achievement Award and overall Club Achievement award at the first ever Kickz Awards Ceremony. City’s extra effort to reduce racial tension among young people in the Moss Side and Fallowfield areas of Manchester was given a special mention as City was named Britain’s most successful youth project. Fallowfield Neighbourhood Inspector Dave Gilbride said: “Thanks to Manchester City, young people are able to get involved in diversionary activities instead of them hanging around on the streets and we are pleased to support them.” Manchester Labour Euro MP Arlene McCarthy couldn’t hide her excitement: “It’s now official; City in the Community’s Kickz project is the best in Britain! I have seen at first hand how hard the team work with young people in the community and they really deserved this recognition.”

Didi Really Think We’d Do Any Better? Champions’ League winner Dietmar Haaman has given his current club a boost of confidence despite a poor run of form. When asked about the Spurs game, Didi told post-match reporters that: “Maybe we should have been more positive at the start of the second half as they did not want to over commit, we were pretty comfortable and did not look in trouble until the second goal. We kept pushing forwards afterwards, had a couple of chances but could not take them.” And what of the coming games? “When things are not going your way, like they have not done in the last few weeks, then these things will happen. But we had to keep our heads up and we matched them for most of the game, even with a man down, so we have to keep working and try as hard as we did against Spurs, especially in the second half. If we do that then the results will improve.”

My First City Game: No I’m not going to reminisce but you’re being given the opportunity to as the club launch a campaign to involve all Blue fans. The club is offering fans the chance to be a part of the City of Manchester Stadium by entering their experiences of their first City game. All entries will be kept on a specially designed forum on the website and the most compelling stories will be given pride of place as a part of a collage that will run on the walls of the stadium. Executive Chairman Garry Cook explained: “As our fans, you have always been the heartbeat of our club, and your support makes Manchester City the most special club in the world. We want to look to the future without ever forgetting the past, and it’s only right that we do this using the memories of those most important to the club. The City of Manchester Stadium is a fantastic facility; My First City Game will introduce even more personality and life to it, and help make it feel like the spiritual home of our club.”

Stephen Ireland Version 2.0: Despite City’s Brazilian contingent and the return of the club’s prodigal son SWP, it’s Stephen Ireland who has been receiving all the early season plaudits. Now the midfielder himself has assessed his season and stated his intentions for the rest of the season: “There is no doubt that this is a big season for me because I feel I am over that ‘promising’ level and now an established player. Even so, I feel as if I will improve with games under my belt. I think last season I was used more to plug gaps and it was hard to be consistent and find my best form. This year I think I have done that but I still feel I can get even better.”

“They Treat Me Like Maradona” – That’s Because You’re Just as Good: Robinho has come out and sang the praises of the City fans this week, claiming that their love for him has truly made him feel blessed. Having transferred controversially from Real Madrid in the summer, Robinho felt that a move to City would provide him with a stage to play first team football after being left out on the bench for Madrid. Now he believes he can become the best player in the world and that Manchester City is the best place to do this: “They treat me like Maradona here. I feel a little embarrassed at times. I hope I can repay all this love on the field. It (becoming the best in the world) can be done – and it will be done. You can be sure. Many people think it’s difficult because of the team. But I think it’s even easier, because here I will always start.”

All Doors Closed: Dr Thaksin Shinawatra currently finds himself in limbo after the Philippines denied him the right to stay in their country. The former Thai Prime Minister who has been sentenced to two years in prison following a corruption charge had been seeking asylum in Britain. However, when on a recent business trip the UK withdrew his visa and now it would seem that the Honorary Chairman has no place to go.

Squad News

Suspensions Dunne and Dusted: Gelson Fernandes and Richard Dunne will both miss the trip to Hull City this weekend having both received one game bans from the FA. Gelson, who was booked twice in the space of twenty-five minutes during City’s 2-1 defeat to Spurs, will have to sit it out with his skipper, who denied Darren Bent an obvious goal scoring opportunity, at the KC stadium. Whilst Gelson cannot appeal against his dismissal (as it was based on two cautions), Dunne is unlikely to appeal his sending off and run the risk of being suspended even further by the FA.

Present Kompany Included: Vincent Kompany couldn’t have planned his return to first team action any better following the suspensions of Gelson Fernandes and Richard Dunne. The midfielder, who missed out on the game against FC Twente due to injury and the Spurs game because of suspension, will hopefully return to the first eleven this weekend: “We’ll check Vincent again today, but we still have a few days and we don’t have to quickly get him out onto the field of play to see if he is OK. Hopefully this slight groin injury will resolve itself over the next couple of days, but we’re positive on that. He had to miss the weekend but in hindsight that was good for the injury, although not so good for us because we did miss him. However, we feel that it’s likely that Vincent will be available for Hull.”

For Queen and Country: It’s the week of Armistice day (a pun was always going to happen). Both Micah Richards and Nedum Onuoha have been called up to Stuart Pearce’s Under 21 side for England’s friendly with the Czech Republic next week. Whilst Nedum continues his run as the most internationally experienced player in Pearce’s squad, Micah looks set to miss out once again on the senior squad for the friendly against Germany. The Under 21 game will take place at Sheffield United’s Bramhall Lane next Tuesday.

Transfer News and Gossip

Take Your Pick: Manager Mark Hughes has been in conversation with new owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan and the message is clear – only the best will do. Having shocked world football in August with the sgining of Robinho, the Sheikh expects transfers of that quality again in January with the likes of Kaka, Buffon and Abidal being mentioned specifically. This is also said to be a warning to the underperforming current squad and could mean that the likes of Elano, Richards and Dunne who have all been far from their expected best in recent weeks.

Jose Mourinho: The former Chelsea manager stated his intentions to return to England when his current contract finishes at Italian Champions Inter Milan and the media have suggested that he is the next man to take over at the Blues – only five months after Mark Hughes was appointed. It is rumoured that the club are willing to pay a huge fifteen million pounds a year and with the bottomless pit of money that City will have to spend, Mourinho will find himself in a similar job to the one he was forced out of at Stamford Bridge. Reports in Italy have claimed that far from planning a move to Eastlands, Mourinho is planning a £12 million swoop for unsettled Blues’ midfielder Elano.

Summer Contract Not the Dunne Deal: Despite being the first player that Mark Hughes contacted and tied down to the club after being employed as Manchester City manager, Richard Dunne may be on the move come January. His inconsistent performances have been brought to light of late and now new Spurs boss Harry Redknapp is hoping to take advantage of the situation. With a flurry of new quality players expected in the coming transfer windows, Dunne’s place may be under threat and Redknapp is willing to pay £5 million to take him to White Hart Lane. Redknapp failed to take the skipper from CoMS in the summer when in his previous job at Portsmouth.

Post-Match Reaction

FC Twente: Well this time McLaren chose to use his substitutions but not to great effect as substitute number three missed an absolute sitter in the dying minutes and with it handed the Blues all three points. SWP’s second minute goal had fans thinking they may see another 6 goal thriller but that wasn’t to be. Poor defending allowed Twente to equalize before Robinho put City back in front. Benjani marked his return with a deflected goal from twenty yards before terrible positional play allowed Twente to put the fear of failure in the minds of fans for the final twenty minutes. Manager Mark Hughes explained how important it had been to grab three points: “We created some good chances and Robinho scored one great goal but he could have scored two others and it would have been a fantastic hat-trick once again. In the end we’re grateful for the win. It’s really important that we got a positive result and we’re in decent shape for the group now. If we can win our next home game in the group stage more often than not six points is enough. It was important to get the first three on the board today.”

Tottenham Hotspur: Joe Hart was again on top form, SWP put in a ridiculous amount of effort and Robinho was desperate to win but it just isn’t working. Hughes’ tactic to sit back and sit back and sit back until the other side is in your eighteen yard box isn’t the most effective way of not conceding goals. Playing a lone striker has been the most useless waste of talent this season and the fact that with 4 minutes left and whilst 2-1 down at home, Hughes was about to send Ben Haim on to shore up the defence has driven me to really question his tactical nous. Very simply, things are fundamentally wrong and the players’ morale has hit rock bottom as proved by when the second Spurs goal came. Rather than getting back to halfway and recovering, they stood there looking shell shocked and had hands on heads. Hardly the body language fans wants to see having paid out to watch ninety minutes of football and only getting seventy five. Hughes had a somewhat different and sugar-coated view of the game, which already makes me question if he’s the right man to take the club anywhere. Saying that, the stadiums in the Championship are of much higher a standard than when we were last there: “Up to the sending-off, we were very much in the ascendancy and comfortable with the way the game was panning out. Obviously we were disappointed with the sending-off. These things change games and then we conceded the first goal, it was a straight ball down the middle that squirmed under Richard’s foot, so they took advantage and equalised. We had to remain positive even when we went down to 1-2, and we worked hard all over the pitch when down to nine men. The qualities we showed augurs well for the future, the lads showed some real character.”

Alex Rowan <news(at)mcivta.city-fan.org>

OPINION: DEFENDING MEDIOCRITY

I read with interest that the club are backing Mark Hughes, and Mark Hughes is backing Richard Dunne. I don’t have a problem with the first one because the club were taken over too close to the transfer deadline to give Hughes long enough to bring in any more top class players to boost the squad.

What I do have a problem with though is by backing Richard Dunne, Hughes may be trying to tune into how he thinks the fans think about our skipper by saying how great he has been for the club. No City fan doubts that Richard Dunne has been a credit to the club, having won the Supporters’ Player of the Year award for the last four seasons, but why was that? Could it be because we haven’t had anybody better during that period? That’s not true because fellow defender Sylvain Distin was a much more athletic and complete footballer, and was much the better of the central defensive pairing in my opinion. The real reasons he got the vote are because he always gave, and still gives 100% effort every game, and after SWP left, he is the player we can relate to most… he is one of us! Good old Dunney (what you see is what you get) he’ll make some goal-saving tackles, he’ll kick one into his own goal now and again, but we all love him. “He’s here, he’s there, he’s every ‘ucking where, Richard Dunne.” We even put “Dunnaldo” and “Dunninho” on the back of our shirts in mock celebration of his (ahem) skill and pace. I’ve used the words “has been” a couple of times above, and maybe that is what Richard Dunne has become?

Nobody can deny that Dunne has been a model professional, and somebody you would want stood next to you in a time of adversity, but helllloo-oo, let’s wake up and smell the Brazilian coffee! How many trophies have we won in the eight years since Dunne joined in 2000? OK, we know the answer is “none”, as is the answer to questions like “how many finals since 2000?”, “how many semi-finals since 2000?”, and “how many times have we finished in a European qualifying place?” It was the right thing to do to keep him at the club in the summer, because had he gone just after Hughes was appointed (and he’d had a medical at Spurs by all accounts) there would have been riots. Remember we’d just got tonked 8-1 by bl**dy Boro, Sven had been sacked by Shinawatra, who was becoming increasingly unpopular with some of us, and we didn’t have an inkling that the club was about to become the wealthiest in the world. Had you known that, would you have really been bothered about re-signing Richard Dunne? Er, no!

By backing Dunne and speaking about his “achievements” in the past, Mark Hughes is worryingly accepting mediocrity in my opinion. Well I am sorry Mr Hughes, September 1st was supposed to be the last new dawn we would ever witness at City, and Richard Dunne is not even close to the standard of player that we now need at this club if we are to challenge the so-called Top Four and I think Richard Dunne knows it! He is under increasing pressure and that is why he is making so many mistakes. His confidence is simply ebbing away as he sees the standard of incoming players improving.

I honestly thought that Mark Hughes would have ruled with a rod of iron, but his post-match interviews don’t convince me that next week will see an improvement. I know Rome wasn’t built in a day (how many days was it built in by the way?), but even Stevie Wonder can see that the defence is being left wide open. There is not one defender who seems to come out of a game with any credit, not even Micah Richards, who has willingly played in every defensive position this season. Zabaleta was embarrassingly over-run by FC Twente last Thursday and has no pace. The same can be said for Garrido, Ben-Haim and Ball (the list goes on), so why not give 100-metre junior champion Nedum Onuoha an extended run? As for Darius Vassell, well, nothing changes does it? He seems reluctant to shoot on goal, and is taking up the area where Shaun Wright-Phillips is at his best. Aaargh!

My other worry at the moment is the long-term future of Robinho. He is undoubtedly the biggest world class star we have ever had at the club (with Nicolas Anelka being the only other one that comes close), but you can’t help but see how close he is to Elano, yet Elano isn’t doing enough in Hughes’ opinion to warrant a regular starting place in the side. After scoring his last two goals Robinho immediately ran to find and hug Elano, even though Elano was on the bench against Spurs. This is not a good sign! With Jo finding it difficult to get into the team now, he seems to be going the way of Samaras, Bianchi and Corradi… out of the door. And with Geovanni doing so well at Hull after being jettisoned by City, I really fear that unless his fellow Brazilians are around him in the team, and the team start winning regularly, Robinho will be on his way sooner than you think, closely followed by his mates! This is a critical period for City now with the possibility of gathering no points from the next three matches.

I am not saying that Hughes has to pander to Robinho, but he has to make a decision as to where he goes as a manager. Does he want to be “a good league manager” who can get the best out of the Richard Dunnes of this world, or does he want to be lauded and respected by the best players in the world as “a great world manager” like Mourinho, Eriksson or Scolari? If it’s the former, he and his coaching staff won’t be around much longer. Even if it’s the latter he needs to start moving up to the next level pretty quickly if we are to attract more world-class players to the club from January, because the best players will only come to clubs that are winning things.

By defending mediocrity Hughes will keep the club where it has been for the last 30-odd years – in a state of mediocrity.

Steve Kay <steve(at)mcfcstats.com>

OPINION: GET BEHIND THEM

It doesn’t take long does it? The end is nigh, oh woe is me, hang them from the rafters, shoot Dunnie in the head, Harry Redknapp is great (oh dear); get a grip!

I just can’t get my head around this attitude. I heard all the City fans after the Bolton game on Sky and couldn’t believe my ears to the point of embarrassment. Quotes like “We’re supposedly the richest club in the world but all I can see is a team, which are always second best!” What? Eh? Since being labelled the richest team in the world, we’ve bought one player; maybe two if Shaunny boy was bought with the takeover in mind. Both are absolute quality in my opinion but aren’t going to bring instant success on their own. But long may it continue if that’s the calibre of player we’re looking at bringing in. I just don’t understand where the expectation of instant success is coming from.

January will be interesting but again not the be all and end all. Who’s available in January? It’s very, very rare that world class players are allowed to leave at that point of the season not least because you’d still expect them to be involved in the Champions’ League. I’m sure there’ll be a few shrewd signings though and I’d like to think we can convince the likes of Wayne Bridge that regular first team football is the way forward. Garrido, who incidentally looks to have improved a little lately, would offer decent cover if necessary. Somebody like Diarra in the middle would be acceptable although I don’t want any mercenaries in the team rocking the boat, and in all honesty I can’t really think of any other centre-mids that would be available in the January window, there aren’t many absolute world class central midfielders around. Forget the likes of Gerrard it’s not going to happen. If we do get a forward in the foreseeable future then that absolutely needs to be the right decision as we already have an abundance at the club with some great youngsters for the future (Sturridge and Evans both great but Daniel’s my personal favourite although both have different qualities for different games). Any forward coming in would need to be absolute quality without question.

Hughes is still trying things out with a squad that he largely inherited. I agree that some of his decisions are bizarre but I think we should give him the benefit of the doubt for now as he looks to try a few things; some of which will not work out as intended (as we are finding). I’m all for playing players in their natural positions. If you’ve got a left-back by trade in your squad then play him at left-back, I’m not without criticism but will reserve judgement until Hughes gets it out of his system, which he now appears to be doing. I do like most of his buys, but again I would like to reserve judgement on Haim. All the rest have been great.

I think that we are badly missing a fit, in-form Johnson and a fit Petrov who was one of our main attacking threats last year and is badly missed. This has been unfortunate for Hughes and something he will need to address if we are going to be without them over a sustained period of time. I do worry about Johnson’s injury as I think he’s a great player and it must be soul destroying for the lad at the minute as he keeps breaking down. Get well soon!

And Harry Redknapp! He can do no wrong can he? Don’t get me wrong; he is good but he has also had his fair share of problems over the years, which we seem to have forgotten. Going to Southampton from Portsmouth was a terrible insult to the Pompey fans. What kind of person would do that? I’m not naïve enough to say that Hughes wouldn’t do that if Man Utd came knocking but I could (very, very resentfully) understand that decision with him being a former player, the resources available etc. (even if I never forgave him for it) but Southampton. Why? Harry comes across as being a loveable character, a cheeky chappie, cockney wideboy etc., but you have to question somebody by their actions. I’m sure he had his reasons but even so. And look how he got on at Southampton. Took them down and left! Deary me. He then did well at Pompey over the past few seasons, buying some quality players along the way culminating in winning the FA cup last year. I don’t think it’s any coincidence though that he’s decided to move on now when things weren’t going too well and a few replacements in key positions are needed. He’s inherited a very expensive football team at Spurs, full of quality players and got the slackers playing again. I think that there was something fundamentally wrong with Ramos’s regime rather than Redknapp being brilliant. Yes, he has got them motivated but any manager worth his salt should have been able to do that. The grass isn’t always greener.

I thought that Hughes did brilliantly at Blackburn in a relatively short space of time so I’m all for giving him a chance; he must have something about him even if he hasn’t got the charisma that some of us seem to crave. He certainly got Blackburn playing like a bunch of Banshees at times! Give Dunnie a chance too; he has been our most consistent performer for the past four years for heaven’s sake! That’s not to say that he isn’t having a bad time of it at the moment as it is there for all to see but he deserves our support; show some loyalty to players who have given their all for the club on many occasions. I don’t think that his general play has been too bad but the mistakes must be sapping away at his confidence. He’ll have a rest now and only people who work with him day after day know how to prepare him for a return to the first team. Also bring in another quality centre-half (even two) by all means; keep them on their toes but get rid? Honestly. Personally, I’d give Nedum a chance in his absence but we’ll have to wait and see on that one.

Who was booing Corluka on Sunday? Shame on you. Whether he wanted to go or not, he gave his absolute all for us (including Sunderland away on the eve of his transfer if memory serves?) until we had a replacement (Zabaleta, who I like) and the price was right for the club. What must our current players think of things like that when they hear it? We talk about there being no loyalty amongst players but it works both ways at times. I feel we’ve got a lot to do to live up to our tag as (self-proclaimed at times) the best fans in the world. I’m actually ashamed when I hear things like that. All the best Charlie.

I just think that we need to all take a pragmatic approach to recent events; both the takeover and recent results. Every manager deserves a season at the very least to get things right but we do need to start picking up results very quickly. Our home form is pretty good and I think we’ll win the majority of games there but we must start picking points up on the road, which I believe we will (forever the optimist!). I think Ireland has been a revelation this season and I’m really happy that we decided to keep hold of him; I thought he played very well again on Sunday and deserved a goal. I also thought the fans were good on Sunday; I thought we really got behind the team in the second half as we could see they were giving it their all. I thought that Hughes was spot on in his assessment of their character; it does bode very well.

I can’t finish without a special mention for Robinho. He’s great isn’t he? His work rate is outstanding and that was something that I never expected to be honest. He seems to have a great ethos about him and never comes across as a big-time Charlie. Love him!

I imagine most of the people who have been complaining are the people who gave Man Ure fans pure grief when we were taken over and are now feeling a little let down, embarrassed and probably taking a bit of stick themselves. Just keep a low profile and your time will come!

Stick with it, we’ll come good.

Noel Wilkes Wells <wilkes.wells(at)btinternet.com>

OPINION: SOMETHING’S GOT TO GIVE

Well it’s come earlier than I expected. But a decision has to be reached now about MH.

Anyone who read Elano’s article in the Observer 10 days ago and/or his SkySports remarks yesterday can see that MH could be a bully, without intelligence or sensitivity.

I watched the Spurs game “live” on Spanish TV and unlike the MoTD coverage saw and heard MH’s miserable whinging/screaming obscenities and ridiculous instructions to City players when down to 9 men. You had to hear it to believe it. I also hold him responsible for Gelson being wound up like a clockwork rabbit and conducting himself stupidly. He’s just a kid who did as he was instructed.

This man has reached his personal Peter’s Principle moment. Everyone reaches their level of incompetence some day.

His experience at Wales and Blackburn was with mostly mediocre players who ran all day for him. Harry Redknapp evidently put up the weekly Blackburn stats on the dressing room wall when at Pompey to inspire more effort, they were that good.

But the situation at City is on another planet. Elano is a very special talent limited to one effective rôle only (see my remarks last week). MH does not understand Elano and what makes players/Brazilians especially of his ability tick. He plays him repeatedly out of position and shouts and balls at him to do the impossible. From which he’s created a stand-off with the player.

It’s reported today that MH has told the board that Elano is bad for the dressing room and wants to sell him pronto. What’s really bad for the dressing room is that MH is out of his depth. Reinforced by his allowing Corluka to leave because again they didn’t see eye to eye about position(s) and tactics. See the Spurs website comments after the game. Corluka felt the result and City’s performance a nice piece of what he called cold revenge. Evidently he wanted the Kompany rôle/position. Again it was Him or Me Gary.

Many people have complained like me that he plays people out of position and after the Micah/Elano tragedies we now get SWP played out of position two games running. He’s not only ignorant and wrong, he’s obstinate. He’s to Football Management what W was to the Presidency.

It hurts saying all this but really something has to give and I hope it’s curtains immediately for MH.

Would Sven come back? Or can we believe the Sun this morning that Mourinho is being lined up at £15 million/year? Please be true.

Met up with Hugo Alves the great Portugese Jazz Trumpeter last night (current Barcelona Jazz Festival). He’s also a Portuguese football fanatic and has become a devotee of the Premier League since the arrival of Mourinho and Christiano Ronaldo.

He made some interesting points about City and MH, making the comparison with Graham Souness’ time at Benfica. GS culled all the expressive cultured players out, including Deco and tried to implement a physical/English style on the team, which resulted in a disaster and his sacking.

Deco was sold to Mourinho/Porto, where he excelled winning League(s)/Cup(s)/Uefa Cup and then the Champions’ League. Then went to Barça and won two league titles and again the Champions’ League.

Now lighting up the Premier at Chelsea. He asked “could things be repeating themselves” with Elano likely to join Mourinho at Inter and Corluka already gone to Spurs. Those two being the very best cultured players at City on MH’s arrival.

Someone has to get this message to Gary Cooke and Mubarak. Are they aware of just what a similar cull at City will mean?

Patrick Knowles <Patricknowles(at)hotmail.com>

OPINION: KNUCKLE DOWN, ELANO I

I like watching Elano. He’s given us a new dimension over the last 15 months with his silky skills and at times he has played football that we dream about. He has begun this season fairly well and has started more games than not.

I am, however, totally unimpressed by his moan on television and in an Observer interview about not being in the team. Most fans do not need an explanation as to why he is not in the team, as he is suggesting, because we can see for ourselves. The fact is that Elano has not started every game because he hasn’t been good enough to. Every team needs a balance of skill, pace and muscle, and Elano falls down in the latter two categories. Would it be right to leave out Shaun Wright-Phillips or Stephen Ireland in favour of Elano? Of course not, unless they were being rested. They have all shown consistently good form this season and in the case of Wright-Phillips and Ireland, they have shown willingness to work hard and compete physically despite not being traditional, midfield powerhouses. Wright-Phillips has already proved that it was a good move to bring him back and Stephen Ireland has really impressed with his improvement and ability to intercept and tackle, as well as being skilful and having a very bright footballing mind. Whilst Elano has shown some lovely touches this season and scored four goals, he does get knocked off the ball, whereas Ireland has been knocking opponents off the ball at times, as well as being involved more creatively on his way to the same number of goals! So the message to Elano has to be, stop moaning, and get yourself up to Ireland’s standard. In any case, in modern football, well paid players are often asked to sit out matches as they are rotated in and out of the team. If Elano really respects Mark Hughes as much as he says he does, then he will voice his concerns to him face-to-face rather than whining in public, which is actually quite disrespectful.

I do hope that this can be resolved properly, and I would expect that Mark Hughes will not be influenced to pick Elano on the basis of his public moan at a time when Manchester City does not need it. Quite rightly, Mark Hughes will tell him to work harder in training and when he gets a chance on the pitch, because that is the only fair way to judge who should and shouldn’t get into the team. It’s good that Elano isn’t happy that he is not starting every game as it suggests that he is ambitious, and wants to play for City, but he should have kept his feelings within the club. The club needs strong characters who will fight for the jersey, and I hope that Elano is one of those. No one player is bigger than this club, no matter who he is, and that is how it should be.

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)tiscali.co.uk>

OPINION: KNUCKLE DOWN, ELANO II

Disappointing to read Elano’s recent comments that he is apparently dissatisfied about not starting more games. I assume it has not occurred to him that, in view of the quality of his performances, the manager is fully justified in not selecting the player? Seems to me, in Elano’s case, he has more than a touch of Prima-Donna syndrome. Perhaps he should be reminded of the amount of money Manchester City Football Club hands to him on a weekly/bi-weekly/monthly basis whether fully deserved, or not. Ungrateful, or what?

However, the situation can be settled quite easily during January: simply allow the player to move to another club.

Apparently, Jo saw fit to miss training and was disciplined by the club? If he is another who not satisfied then, by all means, I would not be too heartbroken to see the player also move on during the January transfer window. In reality, why we bought him in the first place, at such an inflated price, hardly seems logical in view of his overall performances and low goals tally.

Too bad players do not appreciate just how fortunate they are, in modern-day football.

Graham Mills <gkm_5(at)yahoo.com>

OPINION: HUGHES

Whilst never calling for his head, I have queried the wisdom of appointing Mr Hughes since day one. I still cannot fathom the huge and immediate support he has enjoyed from so many Blues. He seems to be viewed as some sort of Barack Obama figure, but I honestly cannot see it. I actually aspire to better than the semi-final of the FA Cup (his greatest achievement to date). I am prepared to suspend judgement and wait to be proven wrong, but not much longer.

I think the crunch time is the end of this month. Under Sven, we got used to winning derbies. I have no optimism whatsoever about the next one. Mark Hughes is probably the biggest thorn in our side of all time when it comes to derbies and I cannot see that that may change, even now that he is earning his crust from our pockets. The supposed “fortress of Eastlands” myth also escapes me. Losses to Chelsea, Liverpool and Spurs (of all clubs!) out balance wins against West Ham, Portsmouth and Stoke, so where is our great home record (and we all know about the away record).

The defence has been awful in its inconsistency and inability to avoid schoolboy errors. Hughes’ tinkering has done nothing to resolve that and a great deal to exacerbate it. He himself points out that top players do not move in the January window, so the bizarre expectation of many fellow subscribers that a shed load of money will guarantee that everything becomes alright is quite surreal. I know we tend to win derbies against all expectations and have most hope when we are playing badly, but I fear our present manager will not have any passion to impart and clearly no tactical response to any eventuality whatsoever.

I would be very relieved to be proven wrong, but surely from what we have seen so far, a derby loss at home must be one backward step too far to stomach?

Martin Hunt <martin.hunt(at)wales.gsi.gov.uk>

OPINION: MANCHESTER CONGESTION CHARGE

I just thought I’d warn City fans that the congestion toll tax could be extended to other towns (confirmed yesterday by GMPTE) and to other days if it goes through but doesn’t raise enough money. This means that fans travelling to a game, which as we know can be on any day at any time. Could be charged each time they enter a zone which could be say the Manchester zone going and the Stockport zone coming back!

This is an evil tax raising scheme that will hit 1 in 3 people and if they don’t raise enough, money will go on the rates.

Once these things are in there’s no stopping them.

Simon Moorehead <simonmoorehead(at)yahoo.com>

REQUEST: SCHALKE BLUES’ MEET

The meeting place that Markus sent in last issue has been set up by himself, who is a member of the Bredbury branch of the CSA. He has done a lot of work with the police and other bodies to put this on. Everyone who goes will be very welcome, please go and enjoy yourselves, but show some respect for the Germans who have done this off their own back for us. They don’t need reminding who won the war or to hear two world wars and one world cup chants, please!

[Well done to Markus for organising, and hope that everyone has a fantastic time. The German fans’ organisations are tremendously well organised as anyone experiencing World Cup and recent England games there will know – Ed]

Ian Arnfield <bluearnie(at)ntlworld.com>

REQUEST: CITY BLOG

Within a day of each City game being played I plan to publish a page on my blogsite, blog.mcfcstats.com, containing the opinions or comments from City fans relating to the match, and would therefore like to invite all McV subscribers to email their pieces to me for inclusion within 24 hours of the game finishing. So, if you have done an article for MCIVTA, why not copy it to me at <steve(at)mcfcstats.com>?

All pieces will contain your name as a credit, but I won’t publish your email address – promise! It is known that the press read these fan blogs as it gives them a real feel for how the fans feel about the goings on at their club.

My blog articles have been appearing on the newsnow.com website for over a year now (http://www.newsnow.co.uk/newsfeed/?name=Manchester+City), and some of the recent ones have appeared in the Top 10 read articles that day, which is no mean feat. Because of the way the page is submitted, your article will not only be accessed by City fans around the globe, but also by the fans of City’s opponents, so this is the quickest and easiest way to wind them up with your comments about their team, manager, support, stadium, etc.!

Steve Kay <steve(at)mcfcstats.com>

REQUEST: FANS’ MEMORIES

City of Manchester Stadium to be Filled with Fans’ Memories

Fans are to be placed at the centre of a new initiative to celebrate the club’s history.

Manchester City FC is proud to announce it has this week launched a campaign to fill the City of Manchester Stadium with fans’ memories of their first City game. Entitled My First City Game, this initiative has been developed by Chief Executive Garry Cook to put the supporters at the very centre of the City of Manchester Stadium, and celebrate the history of the club through the eyes of the fans.

Fans of all ages are encouraged to submit their memories via the MCFC official website, where they will permanently reside in a specially developed interactive forum. The club will review all submissions and select the most compelling memories to develop into a bright and vibrant collage that will fill the concourses throughout the entire stadium.

My First City Game has also been developed to encourage new fans to submit their experiences following their first visit to City of Manchester Stadium, or another ground to see Manchester City. It is hoped that submissions from first time supporters will be made for every home game, through which fans continue to write the club’s history in coming years.

Garry Cook, MCFC Executive Chairman, said “The fans have always been the heartbeat of this club, and their support makes Manchester City the most special club in the world. We want to look to the future without ever forgetting the past, and it’s only right that we do this using the memories of those most important to the club. The City of Manchester Stadium is a fantastic facility; My First Game will introduce even more personality and life to it, and help make it feel like the spiritual home of our club.”

Richard Dunne, MCFC Club Captain, said “We are nothing without our fans. The new owners have really impressed me since they took charge of this club and I’m delighted they recognise the rôle our supporters play, clearly they are very much in their plans. My First City Game is a great idea and these memories will make the City of Manchester Stadium feel even more like home.”

Submissions can be made at http://www.mcfc.co.uk/myfirstcitygame and include the following:

  • A quote describing your first experience of a Manchester City game: what itfelt like, where it was, who you were with, your memories of not only the matchbut the whole experience.
  • Photographs, ticket stubs, newspaper clippings, or any memorabilia that can bescanned and uploaded on the website.
  • An email address so the club may contact you.

If you would like any further information please email me or call 07980 310 236.

Tim <Ed_Rich(at)jcpr.com>

RESULTS

League table to 12 November 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         12  3  2  1 13  3  6  0  0 16  1  9  2  1  29   4  25 29
 2 Liverpool       12  5  1  0 11  4  4  1  1  8  4  9  2  1  19   8  11 29
 3 Arsenal         12  4  1  1 14  8  3  1  2 11  5  7  2  3  25  13  12 23
 4 Manchester Utd  11  4  1  0 13  4  2  2  2  7  6  6  3  2  20  10  10 21
 5 Aston Villa     12  3  2  1 10  7  3  0  3 10  9  6  2  4  20  16   4 20
 6 Hull City       12  2  1  3  5 12  4  1  1 12  7  6  2  4  17  19  -2 20
 7 Everton         12  1  2  3  6 11  4  1  1 12  9  5  3  4  18  20  -2 18
 8 Middlesbrough   12  3  1  2  7  9  2  1  3  6  8  5  2  5  13  17  -4 17
 9 Portsmouth      12  3  1  2  8  6  2  1  3  5 12  5  2  5  13  18  -5 17
10 Fulham          11  4  1  1  8  4  0  1  4  2  6  4  2  5  10  10   0 14
11 Bolton Wndrs    12  2  2  2  6  5  2  0  4  5  8  4  2  6  11  13  -2 14
12 Stoke City      12  4  0  2 10  9  0  2  4  3 10  4  2  6  13  19  -6 14
13 Manchester City 12  3  0  3 16  8  1  1  4  8 12  4  1  7  24  20   4 13
14 West Ham United 12  3  0  3 11 11  1  1  4  5 11  4  1  7  16  22  -6 13
15 Blackburn R.    12  1  2  3  3 10  2  2  2 10 12  3  4  5  13  22  -9 13
16 Tottenham H.    12  2  1  3  6  6  1  2  3  9 12  3  3  6  15  18  -3 12
17 Wigan Athletic  12  1  2  3  3  8  2  1  3 10  8  3  3  6  13  16  -3 12
18 Newcastle Utd   12  3  1  2  9  7  0  2  4  6 13  3  3  6  15  20  -5 12
19 Sunderland      12  2  1  3  6  8  1  2  3  4 10  3  3  6  10  18  -8 12
20 West Brom A.    12  2  1  3  8 11  1  1  4  2 10  3  2  7  10  21 -11 11

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v0708.01]

[1] MCIVTA Addresses

Articles (Heidi Pickup)          : editor@mcivta.city-fan.org
News/rumour (Alex Rowen)         : news@mcivta.city-fan.org
Subscriptions (Madeleine Hawkins): subscriptions@mcivta.city-fan.org
Technical problems (Paul)        : paul@city-fan.org
FAQ (David Warburton)            : faq@mcivta.city-fan.org

[2] What are MCIVTA’s publishing deadlines?

Deadlines for issues are nominally 6pm, Monday and Thursday evenings bu email. Unfortunately we cannot accept email attachments.

[3] MCIVTA Back Issues and Manchester City Supporters’ home page

http://www.mcivta.com/ is the unofficial Manchester City Supporters’ home page. Created in 1994, it is the longest running of the Manchester City related web sites. Back issues of MCIVTA are also hosted on the site.

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

The official club web site can be found at http://www.mcfc.co.uk/

[5] What supporters’ clubs are there?

Manchester City FC recognises three supporters’ clubs: The “Official Supporters Club” (http://www.mcfcosc.com/); the “Centenary Supporters’ Association” (http://www.reddishblues.com/CSAWebsite/CSA.htm) and “The International Supporters’ Club”.

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

The committee operates as an interface between supporters and the club. Points of Blue appears on the club website as a minor entry under “Fans Zone”.

[7] What match day broadcasts are available on the web?

The Radio Manchester (née GMR) pre and post match phone-in is available on the web at http://www.bbc.co.uk/manchester/sport/manchester_city/index.shtml.

Live match commentaries and archives of games, reports and interviews can be found at http://mcfc.videoloungetv.com/do/preLogin?clubSiteCode=MCFC&CMP=AFC-003.

[8] Where can I find out if City are live on satellite TV?

http://www.satfootball.com/pl.html provides a listing of Premiership games being shown on UK domestic and foreign satellite channels. Useful sites for North American viewers are http://msn.foxsports.com/foxsoccer, http://www.soccertv.com/, and http://www.livesoccertv.com/.

[9] Do we have a Usenet newsgroup?

Yes we do: uk.sport.football.clubs.man-city is our home on usenet. If you are not familiar with usenet, a basic explanation is available here: http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/0,289893,sid9_gci213262,00.html

[10] Do any squad members have their own web pages?

There are a number available and direct links can be found at http://www.uit.no/mancity/players/

[11] Where can I find match statistics?

Statistics for the current season are available from the club site, but for a more in-depth analysis try http://www.mcfcstats.com/.


DISCLAIMER
The views expressed in MCIVTA are entirely those of the subscribersand there is no intention to represent these opinions as being thoseof Manchester City Football Club, nor of any of the companies anduniversities by whom the subscribers are employed. It is not inany way whatsoever connected to the club or any other relatedorganisation and is simply a group of supporters using this mediumas a means of disseminating news and exchanging opinions.


[Valid3.2]Heidi Pickup, editor@mcivta.city-fan.org

Newsletter #1482

2008/11/13

Editor:


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