Newsletter #1483

Match views on the draw at Hull and player performances, more opinion on the management capability, and a book review in time for Christmas.

Next Game: Arsenal, home, 3pm Saturday 22 November 2008


Typical City… can’t hold on to a lead!

I have just watched the match on Sky Sports, with anticipation and trepidation at the same time. Our defence does not fill me with any confidence, irrespective of who is playing there, especially the 2 centre backs, you can take Ben Haim, Richards and Dunne and any 2 from 3 would still give me the jitters. Ben Haim and Richards are just not tall enough, and the number of times the opposing centre forward gets a flick on is incredible. Well, with “calamity Dunne” (makes a change from David James!) not playing there was hope we would keep a clean sheet. How wrong I was, as Ben Haim showed a lack of confidence on the ball to gift Hull the opening goal. His mistake cost us double, as Joe Hart was injured in the process.

For virtually the whole first half we were second best in all departments, especially as I think Hull are a mediocre team, who just work incredibly hard in closing teams down (City take note!), and capitalising when the opportunity presents itself à la Geovanni from distance. We were gifted a goal too, but this time a lot of credit must go to Ireland for the tremendous run he made to get there. His second goal was just brilliant and he seems to be the only player, who plays consistently well for us each week. At half time with the score at 2-1, I assumed we would go onto win this match comfortably. How wrong I was, we were rubbish in the 2nd half, and could still have won it.

What really irked me in the second half was that Mark Hughes did not make any positive changes to win the game early enough, i.e. with half an hour left I would have taken off both Benjani and the appalling Vassell and brought on Jo and Elano.

Our midfield is unbalanced, we rely too much on SWP and Ireland to virtually play as wingers, and then come back and defend. Our other midfielder Kompany plays too deep and should be played elsewhere; he should play at centre back. If we are to dominate matches both home and away, then this is what I would like to see: Zabaleta at right back, Kompany and Richards at centre back, Garrido or Ball at left back, SWP at wide right, Ireland and Hamann in the middle, Robinho wide left, Jo and Elano up front.

What really annoyed me was how poor Vassell was, and yet he played the full game, what does Hughes see that we cannot?

Vassell was so poor it was just shocking, he did virtually nothing in attack squandered all the chances that fell to him, and really should have won us the game at the end. Jo was winning the aerial battle, but came on too late to get accustomed to the pace of the game. Benjani works hard but was caught offside too often, and does not do enough to warrant starting the game. Robinho tries too hard, and thinks he can score from anywhere on the pitch. SWP worked his socks off as usual, but is best suited to wide right.

Our attack with Petrov showed how direct wing play causes most defences problems; Hughes should take note and utilise direct running wingers (what about Vladimir Weiss?) and 2 front men if we are to get back to winning ways. He should forget about the spat he has had with Elano, and play him, rather than that donkey Vassell, or haphazard Fernandes.

I just cannot wait for January for some new signings, a classy box to box midfielder, a towering centre half, and a pacy left back.

If Hughes does not get his act together soon, I can see him being replaced pronto.

I have just read we might lose Sturridge; that will be terrible for us.

C’mon City!

Glyn Albuquerque <glynalbuquerque(at)>


In two words: “Typical City“. Knew it was going to be one of those early mornings when Joe Hart came out in yellow and black and had to change his kit.

Well all those who think Dunnie’s finished, think again, the defence was worse. Ben Haim gave a goal away and our ‘keeper, the full backs got beaten time and time again, and Richards isn’t the player we know he can be.

Once again out thought, out muscled, out passioned (if that’s the right word), and for a lot of the game, out played. Robinho ran his socks off, thank goodness for Stephen Ireland. The rest, well … enough said.

The whole Hull side wouldn’t be worth what we played for Robinho, but they showed what old fashioned grit, determination and attitude will do.

The Under 17’s World Cup has finished and it is a pity that money has ruined sport. These girls played with the passion and attitude, not to mention a fair amount of skill, which is sadly missing in some of our players. Maybe we should start docking players some of their wages.

Well done Hughsie for fining Elano for his outburst. You don’t have to wonder why players like Elano move from club to club. Mind you the fine was probably only a few days’ wages; still, it sent out the right message.

Kevin Williamson <scribbs(at)>


Am I alone in thinking Mark Hughes is utterly out of his depth? Manager of BlackEye Rumpus mediocre at best. Manager of Wales – a large English village!

Why on earth would the likes of Robinho, Elano et al pay such a low-profile boss any respect? He was at best a bustling first division forward with a fat @rse.

I am utterly fed up with his efforts to ruin my club. Big stars need a big boss. Frank Rijkaard produced beautiful football, winning football, at Barça, before getting stale. What a challenge for him and for City.

Hughes out! Before the pipe dream evaporates.

We have Robinho, for God’s sake. The most talented footballer ever to play for City. One of the top five players on the planet. Build a team round him, SWP and Elano.

We will not win the League but by God we shall beat Bolton and Middlesbrough.

Hughes out! Before it’s too late.

Mike Bains <mikebains2006(at)>


One point off the relegation zone and four places lower than we were at any time last season despite the millions spent; obviously something is very wrong.

Mark Hughes and his taffia management team have a very different approach and style to Sven and his Swedish coaching staff, and this is a management approach that is based on idolizing Ferguson at the Rags. It is autocratic, and assumes that footballers are mostly stupid and lazy individuals who have to be told exactly what to do and when to do it.

In this Rag system the manager is to be perceived as unapproachable. There are layers of coaching staff between the great manager and the players. To help reinforce this perception Hughes immediately ordered changes at Carrington to physically separate him from the players, so that all meetings would be entirely at his choosing.

Sven in contrast had a relatively flat management structure, players could approach him readily and discuss tactics, selection and other issues.

The Sven approach is based on the assumption that discussion and trust brings out the best in the team. Players want to do well and win matches, and open discussion of tactics is healthy. The Rag method requires the players do exactly as they are told when they are told it. There will be no debate, and if it goes wrong they will be replaced by new players.

The talented and highly paid Brazilians at City particularly resent being treated like this and expect to able to voice their views.

At Tottenham earlier this season the players resented the rigid and inflexible Ramos regime with boring training sessions and strict diets. When “honest” Harry replaced Ramos with a more relaxed approach, the response was instant.

It is much easier to play the rôle of the great manager when you have actually won something.

It is quite likely that we will be beaten by Hull City at the KC if we continue to play as we have done at Bolton, Middlesbrough and Newcastle.

CTID, Ned O’New <Ned.Onew(at)>


When Manchester City played their penultimate game of last season at Anfield, it was against a backdrop of yet more turbulence behind the scenes. Despite achieving the target set by his employers, manager Sven Goran Eriksson was on the verge of being sacked, the fans were in revolt (again) and the Chairman was facing corruption charges in his home country. Just another typical Manchester City scenario and one that had The Liverpool Echo introducing its match report: “When the nation’s favourite footballing basket-case rolls into town…”

Basket-case directors, basket-case players (Stephen Ireland’s dead grandmothers comes immediately to mind) and, of course, basket-case fans… bananas, the lot of them.

The above leads one to question author Dave Wallace’s state of mind when he decided to finally get round to writing this, his first book. Not for him, the glories of the late sixties/early seventies under the Mercer-Allison regime, nor a look back at City’s last trophy, way back in 1976. He could have retreated to the pre-war era when at least the club was a bigger outfit than their now gargantuan neighbours United, but no, Mr Wallace decides to pick a season when City didn’t actually win anything and conceded 100 goals in the process. It is also the season when their neighbours suffered the tragedy of the Munich Air Disaster and as a consequence almost anything City achieved would have understandably been overshadowed by the sadness and enormity of that event. However, what City did achieve that season was to come 5th in the old First Division and, perhaps more amazingly, end with what is now termed a “positive goal difference”, by scoring 104 goals.

This was an historic season, but one that may have been ignored, because of the air disaster and because there was no trophy at the end of it, but Dave Wallace’s ability to scene-set and to break-up the match reporting in an a variety of entertaining ways ensures that journey from August to the end of April is an absolute joy. Sketches of each ground, programme covers, beautiful caricatures by wife Sue, wonderful extracts from Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly, and cigarette card photos are just some of the content that will bring delighted gasps of recognition from those of us of a certain age.

In case you are not “of a certain age” or because of it, you are having difficulty recollecting, then Dave Wallace does a masterful job at the beginning of the book recalling Manchester in the late 50’s. This is further solidified by contributions by City fans who remember the time when players got the bus to the game and the opposition contained players with glorious names like Norman Uprichard and Redfern Froggatt. Recollections of derby matches also emphasise a different era: “Welsh Ewan Joness took me. He had his red and white scarf and rosette on and I sat on his shoulders in the 70,000 crowd wearing my blue and white one, plus my bobble hat and rattle.” The fans are only referred to by their first name and their location and as such you can play a game of trying to spot the numerous celebrity contributions. Not everything was so different though (50 years ago, remember!). Match reports include such observations as… the only note of interest then was to show how petty and childish some professional footballers can become, contempt for the referee, followed by open abuse of him.

It is the City fans’ recollections that help put the Munich Air Disaster into context. Comments like, “I thought it was dreadful and kept disappearing upstairs, lying on the bed, crying my eyes out. I was devastated.”, “I shed a few tears that night”, “I, a staunch Blue, was in tears”, “It was an awful thing to happen and I remember the bodies arriving at Ringway and being driven in hearses to Old Trafford… the whole thing was so real and awful”. One is tempted to suggest that these are reflections from an era long gone, but then a quick fast forward to the 50th Anniversary derby game at Old Trafford and the impeccably observed silence reminds us that football fans remain largely a very decent bunch.

I write this piece six weeks from Christmas. As a present for a City fan, I can think of none better. For those of that “certain age”, its attraction is obvious, but this was an era just before I followed the Blues and I loved every page of it. Younger fans will enjoy adding to the sum of their knowledge in a totally effortless way and they will smile knowingly as they read about City’s fortunes being up one minute and down the next. Even the editor of the Wolves programme comments, “If you want anxiety with your enjoyment, follow Manchester City”. The book’s appeal should not reach out solely City fans though. The thoroughness with which the author has captured this era should ensure that anyone wishing to enrich their understanding of why football has always been such a durable and addictive pastime, will have the most enjoyable of reads.

I opened this review by questioning Dave Wallace’s sanity and in his acknowledgements, Dave thanks his children and grandkids, who think I am quite mad. However, this book is not the work of a madman, but rather a labour of love, put together sensitively and in such an original format, that I defy anybody with an ounce of feeling for the game not to enjoy it.

Dave Miller <djm68(at)>


I am moving to Sydney and wondererd if City had a supporters’ club out there or Blues who meet up to watch the games?

If so, any info would be appreciated.

Many thanks, Ian Pemberton <pembertonian(at)>


Desperate for a ticket (or two) for the away game at Racing. Have flights/travel booked but 200 loyalty points too short for a ticket.

Miles Webber <miles.webber(at)>


16 November 2008

Everton               1 - 1  Middlesbrough         31,063
Hull City             2 - 2  Manchester City       24,902

15 November 2008

Bolton Wanderers      0 - 2  Liverpool             24,893
Arsenal               0 - 2  Aston Villa           60,047
Blackburn Rovers      1 - 2  Sunderland            21,798
Fulham                2 - 1  Tottenham Hotspur     25,139
Manchester United     5 - 0  Stoke City            75,369
Newcastle United      2 - 2  Wigan Athletic        47,657
West Ham United       0 - 0  Portsmouth            32,328
West Bromwich Albion  0 - 3  Chelsea               26,322

League table to 16 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         13  3  2  1 13  3  7  0  0 19  1 10  2  1  32   4  28 32
 2 Liverpool       13  5  1  0 11  4  5  1  1 10  4 10  2  1  21   8  13 32
 3 Manchester Utd  12  5  1  0 18  4  2  2  2  7  6  7  3  2  25  10  15 24
 4 Arsenal         13  4  1  2 14 10  3  1  2 11  5  7  2  4  25  15  10 23
 5 Aston Villa     13  3  2  1 10  7  4  0  3 12  9  7  2  4  22  16   6 23
 6 Hull City       13  2  2  3  7 14  4  1  1 12  7  6  3  4  19  21  -2 21
 7 Everton         13  1  3  3  7 12  4  1  1 12  9  5  4  4  19  21  -2 19
 8 Middlesbrough   13  3  1  2  7  9  2  2  3  7  9  5  3  5  14  18  -4 18
 9 Portsmouth      13  3  1  2  8  6  2  2  3  5 12  5  3  5  13  18  -5 18
10 Fulham          12  5  1  1 10  5  0  1  4  2  6  5  2  5  12  11   1 17
11 Sunderland      13  2  1  3  6  8  2  2  3  6 11  4  3  6  12  19  -7 15
12 Manchester City 13  3  0  3 16  8  1  2  4 10 14  4  2  7  26  22   4 14
13 Bolton Wndrs    13  2  2  3  6  7  2  0  4  5  8  4  2  7  11  15  -4 14
14 West Ham United 13  3  1  3 11 11  1  1  4  5 11  4  2  7  16  22  -6 14
15 Stoke City      13  4  0  2 10  9  0  2  5  3 15  4  2  7  13  24 -11 14
16 Wigan Athletic  13  1  2  3  3  8  2  2  3 12 10  3  4  6  15  18  -3 13
17 Newcastle Utd   13  3  2  2 11  9  0  2  4  6 13  3  4  6  17  22  -5 13
18 Blackburn R.    13  1  2  4  4 12  2  2  2 10 12  3  4  6  14  24 -10 13
19 Tottenham H.    13  2  1  3  6  6  1  2  4 10 14  3  3  7  16  20  -4 12
20 West Brom A.    13  2  1  4  8 14  1  1  4  2 10  3  2  8  10  24 -14 11

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1483