Newsletter #1487

A bumper issue tonight with reports and views on this weekend’s derby game, which after last week’s promising results and performances left something to be desired.

We also have views on the Arsenal and Schalke games, and opinion on squad members, tactics, management styles and the future together with the usual requests and thanks from Schalke.

Next up European action again as PSG visit.

Next Game: Paris St Germain, home, 7.45pm Wednesday 1 December 2008 (UEFA)


Shaun Wright-Phillips survived a 90 minute assault to emerge from this game as the outstanding performer in another all action performance. He was lucky that he managed to get through the game without having to come off injured, given the way in he was systematically targeted by the visitors. Not that Shaun will moan about it like the odious Ferguson and Fakeronaldo do. United have cornered the market in hypocrisy over the years, and in the build-up to this game, employing his usual ploy of putting pressure on officials, Ferguson whined to the press about Fakeronaldo being targeted by opponents. Vermin. Of course, no one should tackle the prancing show pony, now should they?

City were slow starters in this game and never got to grips with the opposition in the first half because we were unable to get a grip on midfield where we were out-muscled. This was down to the fact that Vincent Kompany was not employed in the midfield engine room. Instead he was playing again in central defence, where he had excelled in Gelsenkirchen. Hamann, for all his canny prompting, is not going to be able to be up the pace of a derby game at his age, and it showed here. Indeed, it is a sad day when average players like Fletcher and Carrick are allowed to dominate central midfield like they did in the first half.

Hart saved from the over-rated Berbatov after he made a sharp save from Rooney, who as usual, spent much of the afternoon swearing at officials. Why did he remain on the pitch? United made their intentions clear from early on, employing their usual tactic of taking it in turns to kick the opposition’s best players: Fletcher was the first to take a hack at Wright-Phillips who was left hobbling by the Scot’s cynical foul. Rafael was then booked for a foul on Robinho.

With City being unable to match the Rags physically, and trying to play football without kicking their opponents, The Cheats were in the ascendancy: Evra exchanged passes with Rooney whose shot was saved and the Rag left back fired over. Berbatov, who was well marshalled by Dunne, did manage to head wide from a Rooney cross. It didn’t help that City kept giving the ball away, and therefore could not provide adequate service to Robinho.

City’s best chance to take the lead came when Ireland’s half-hit shot was inexplicably left by the unmarked Richards and the ball drifted wide of the post: a good opportunity spurned. The Cheats punished this when Rooney pounced after Berbatov’s effort was parried by Hart. The utterly vile Rooney then thought it was a good idea to run past the City fans in provocative celebration. City tried to hit back straight away but Benjani fired wide after good work by Ireland and Kompany.

With City largely overrun in midfield, something had to change at the break. Zabaleta and Elano replaced Vassell and Hamann. Hughes did what he should have done from the start, pushing Kompany into midfield, with Richards moving back to centre back. Immediately the game took on a different complexion with City at last able to compete in midfield. The Cheats’ niggly fouls increased, the more City got on the ball, and it was clear that they had been instructed to kick Shaun Wright-Phillips at every opportunity. Shaun was kicked seven times in this game, and yet these only earned a mere 4 yellow cards (Fletcher, Fakeronaldo, Evra and Carrick). How Fletcher stayed on the pitch beggars belief, but referee Webb, doubtless fearful of a Ferguson tongue lashing, merely gave the Scottish midfielder a ticking off instead of a second booking after bringing the brave Wright-Phillips down for a second time. It is much to Shaun Wright-Phillips’ credit that he never reacted to any of the worst provocation in this game. Can anyone imagine the obnoxious Rooney or Fakeronaldo reacting with such grace?

City failed to produce the required movement and imagination to penetrate the visitors who were largely on the back foot in the second half. We weren’t any better after Fakeronaldo was sent off for the second time at Eastlands, after a blatant handball. It only encouraged the visitors to defend in depth more and without a left winger, and with traffic congestion down the centre our only real threat was Shaun Wright-Phillips’ runs down the right wing. Even then we were unable to fashion a chance as our passing and movement lacked imagination and we played down the centre too much. When we did get a sight of goal, we failed to test van der Sar: Benjani fired wide when played in cleverly by Wright-Phillips; Kompany was wide with a long range shot; Garrido was just wide with a free kick after yet another assault on Wright-Phillips’ shins; Dunne headed over from a corner.

There was still time for Dunne to have a left foot effort cleared off the line from a corner in stoppage time and Hart to show his athleticism in sprinting back from it to tip over Rooney’s lob. Behind him and on the line, waiting to clear was man-of-the-match, Shaun Wright-Phillips. What a man, what a player.

The Cheats will get a fine after earning six bookings in total, but that will be the merest slap on the wrist. They have laughed in the face of authority for years now, and sadly, there is no sign of that changing. Until the football authorities seriously clamp down on unlawful play, The Cheats will continue to prosper. Why not deduct points from teams’ who earn so many bookings?

We cannot, however, put our defeat all down to poor refereeing and quintessential dirty play from The Cheats, because we have conquered all these things before. Hughes must select Kompany in central midfield to give us power, pace and class. This gives us bite allowing us to play at a higher tempo and lets others play their game, and Ireland in particular was noticeably less effective for not having the giant Belgian alongside him. With the current players at his disposal, Hughes cannot afford the luxury of playing Kompany at centre back. Again, it was evident that we must buy at least one top class central midfield player with physical strength so that our naturally creative players, Ireland, Robinho and Wright-Phillips can prosper. A top class centre half is a must, preferably one that is left footed. Richards has not pulled up any trees at centre back and has much to learn about reading the game: he is better competing with Zabaleta for a right back berth. Hughes must already be very busy in the transfer market, contacting agents to make these signings. Hopefully these signings will be of the calibre of Kompany, Robinho and Zabaleta, or even better still. These signings will be crucial to the club’s season.

Hart: One spill early on but some good saves, including an amazing dash at the end to tip over a long range effort. 7
Richards: Shackled Fakeronaldo well at right back, but less assured at centre back. 6
Kompany: A Rolls Royce of a player either at the back or in midfield, where he should have been playing all match. 8
Dunne: Solid and dependable. 7
Garrido: His stock continues to rise. 7
Vassell: No real impact and failed to prevent Evra’s penetrating runs from full back. 5
Wright-Phillips: Brave, determined, committed, always inventive: superb all round. 8
Hamann: Off the pace and unable to get into this game. 5
Ireland: His quietest game of the season. 6
Robinho: Unable to weave his magic, but service to him wasn’t up to normal standards. 6
Benjani: Had to work hard on his own. Didn’t hit the target when presented with opportunities. 6
Elano (for Hamann 45): Tried to prompt from deep, but movement in front of him lacked imagination. 6
Zabaleta (for Vassell 45): Tenacious as ever in defence. 6
Sturridge (for Richards 76): Too late to mark. n/a

Att: 47,320
Refwatch: Howard Webb performed below his capabilities and The Cheats should have been down to eight men by the end, given Rooney’s constant dissent and Fletcher’s two bookable offences. 4
Home Fans: Passionate, and vocal: ‘You’re not Robinho’ to the dismissed prancing show pony being the highlight. 7
Rag ‘support’ (Londinium Verminatum): Charmless, witless, humourless. Vermin. 0
Who should we poach? Vidic: Strong in the air, hard as nails.

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


I am sure that there will be all sorts of comments about Sunday’s display against the Rags. All I can say is that the game provided a great opportunity for Mark Hughes to assess what he has to do to build City into a competitive top 4 team.

In all fairness to United, they fielded probably their best team, they totally dominated the first 30 minutes and were probably good value for a 1-0 lead. I counted two possible chances for City and we should have scored from both of them (all Richards needed was a touch to Ireland’s shot!).

What was blatantly obvious was our lack of a midfielder who could change the tempo of our attacks and find a way to break down United’s defence. Particularly after Ronaldo was sent off (petulant little sod!) we had SWP. Robinho, Benjani and Sturridge all going forward but no one setting anything up from midfield. For once, Ireland seemed lost for ideas and don’t get me started on Elano. He was absolutely clueless in the last 20 minutes. It speaks volumes when our best chance of the second half came from Richard Dunne.

Again, points dropped because we couldn’t break down a packed defence. But if we can compare City against United, there’s not a big gap in talent. We are just one or two players away from really shaking up the Premier League.

Keep the faith, Keith Sharp – Toronto, Canada <keith(at)>


Well another derby been and gone. Two things for certain: Rooney had to score and Ronaldo had to be sent off!

It also showed that we are not far off being a decent side a couple of top class players still needed.

Two things emerged after the game. You don’t win games with only one shot on goal, and top class ‘keepers hold on to low crosses: sorry, your fault Joe. Man of the match for me was Shaun Wright Phillips by a mile. Robinho, Ireland, Kompany, Dunnie all played their part. What a good piece of football business to get SWP back.

Two points from the bottom three, two points to relative safety, pretty close really. Think what a couple of wins would do.

Kevin Williamson <scribbs(at)>


Alex Ferguson said it best before this game: “City are not a threat!” On the basis of a quite exceptionally lethargic and inept performance against United, today, AF is absolutely spot on. We played like we were scared stiff!

For most of this game we were completely without guile, skill and decisiveness. Our 1st half display, for the most part, was abysmal and quite pathetic. It was embarrassing. Completely opposite to the performance in Germany, Thursday night, which was great to watch.

Where was Robinho, for goodness sake? No excuses from him. Today he had an absolutely perfect stage and opportunity to silence Ferguson, Rooney and Co. once and for all but he chose to remain ineffective for the majority of this game. Nowhere good enough, sorry to say.

As for Elano, after this he needs to find himself another club. He has the gall to complain about being left out of the side in recent times? I’d go one further and leave him off the training pitch permanently, until we send him on his way, come January. For him the ride must now be over.

SWP ran his socks off and gave his all. Richard Dunne gave another very solid display, adding to those of recent games. Kompany was outstanding, a terrific player! Vass has to go, also, come the new year.

I’m not quite sure why MH chose to begin the game with Hamann but no doubt he had his reasons. I would not have done so – best used as a 2nd half sub. only as per Europe, especially, due to his experience.

Today was a case of Men versus Boys, and too bad the kids shirked from the task. It’s never easy losing to United but to capitulate in this manner, it is inexcusable. I hope MH has more than a few words to say after this. He must be seething, right now.

Too bad the fans had to waste good money on this today. Our friends in Abu Dhabi can’t be best pleased either. The side has to go an awfully long way to fully redeem themselves after this shambolic affair.

Graham Mills <gkm_5(at)>


Hughes’ Team Selection costs us the game!

Mark Hughes selection was paramount to us losing today. I could not believe the starting eleven. How, please, please can someone explain to me, how does Hughes pick Vassell ahead of Sturridge, Elano or Jo? I watched City’s last 3 games and Vassell has been an absolute passenger, it doesn’t take a genius coach to work out he gives us nothing up front. Benjani is not much better, especially when we bomb high balls into the opposition’s box, only to see their defenders win every header. I know Jo hasn’t exactly shown what he can do as yet, but he is 6 foot plus, we paid £16 million for him and logically would be more of a nuisance. Hamann is now virtually past it, Kompany is so much better. SWP needs to play wide on the right, he looked threatening in that position. Elano looked confident when he came on. Unfortunately, Hughes wasted 2 substitutions getting the team right, and this stopped us playing Sturridge and Jo up front.

ManU bossed the first half, yet we could have taken the lead if Richards had deflected the ball in instead of leaving it. The following all had a very good match, especially in the 2nd half: Dunne, Kompany, Garrido, SWP, Elano. The rest including Robinho and Ireland were below their best.

Playing Robinho wide on the left does not seem to work. I would play the following in midfield: Sturridge on the left, Kompany and Ireland in the middle and SWP on the right, with Jo and Robinho up front. This allows Sturridge and SWP to bomb down the wings. Elano can then come on for either.

The 2nd half was a lot better for us, but regrettably we lost 3 more points and seem to be heading in the wrong direction. We really need another box to box midfielder, a potent goalscorer and perhaps another quality left back and centre half.

I have been very impressed with the left back at Portsmouth, Belhadj, and the right back too, Johnson. I would also love to have Jermain Defoe, as he always seems to be dangerous whenever I have seen him play. Whether we can get these guys is another question. The centre half at Stoke is another player worth looking at. It’s now just wait and see!

C’mon City!

Glyn Albuquerque <glynalbuquerque(at)>


Thanks to my Guvna for letting me slip out early to get to see this early kick off. Got home, settled down in front of the TV, beer in hand.

I see this as a tough game. Hoping we can nick a draw. Lots of posturing in the first 20 minutes, both teams feeling each other out. Schalke are pressuring, they have had a couple of good efforts, both saved with consummate ease by Hart in goal. City had had two speculative efforts from 20 yards-plus out from Benjani and Vassell respectively. Both off target. On 25 minutes Hamann is awarded a free kick about 30 yards from the Schalke goal. The resulting free kick is headed goalwards, a chance but their ‘keeper saves.

Around 31 minutes in now and a lovely piece of passing football from the edge of the City (penalty) box ends up with Sturridge running with the ball 30 odd yards then jinking past the Schalke right back and crossing in low to inside of the six-yard box. As it passes across goal, Ireland can’t make contact, a chance goes begging but no – Benjani, coming late at the far post, tucks it away. We’re off and running, 1-0 to City. Come on Citeh! Come on Citeh!

At 39 minutes after a good build up, Sturridge gets a shot in from the edge of their box. It looks like it’s going wide and then it’s tapped in by Ireland but he’s offside. No goal. Our possession of the ball is good and the players look confident. Can it last? With the half drawing to an end, Schalke put a high ball into our box but Dunne gets in first to clear it ahead of Hart.

The half-time whistle comes; we go in with a one-nil lead. Phew! Time for a trip to the fridge and a refill of the glass.

The second half kicks off. Ball on for Garrido the only change. Schalke have picked up their pace and are coming at us with a bit more of an edge it seems; they must have had the proverbial kick up the a**e sorry pants at half time!

On 51 minutes Pandar for Schalke has a drive at goal from a 25 yard free kick but it comes to naught. A minute later another Schalke free kick, thankfully with the same result.

The next few minutes see both teams getting and losing possession, then on 56 minutes Sweep lets fly from the edge of the Schalke box, forcing the ‘keeper into a smart save and earns a corner. Nothing comes of it.

The action is hotting up now, Schalke get into our last third and put a cross in but Dunne heads away powerfully. City attack, Sturridge is brought down in the corner by the edge of Schalke box near their goal line. Sweep whips in a crafty shot at goal but their ‘keeper’s alert and plucks it out of the air. Damn.

Half an hour left, the tension is mounting. Ireland is booked, looked innocuous. City throw-in on 66 minutes down our left wing, it’s knocked down to Benjani, he plays a little one-two with Ireland, edge of the Schalke box. Benjani appears to try to get a shot off, it’s blocked, it pops up, Ireland latches onto it and slides it in under the jumping ‘keeper. 2-0! I’m in disbelief; we’re 2-0 up. Amazing!

Schalke are now having a good spell, pressuring us, they’ve upped the effort. Can we keep them at bay? The clock’s on 69 now, good play by Schalke sees a ball driven in. Dunne’s there and clears up. Schalke work another chance, the striker shapes for the shot, it’s screwed wide from the edge of our box, a let off.

We’re under the cosh a bit now. Seventy-five minutes, Schalke free kick from their right, it’s whipped in, a real quality ball, their striker gets a header in. It’s on target, Hart makes himself big and blocks it. It’s cleared. Seconds later, another Schalke free kick from the other side. It’s whipped in again, City clear. Oh my God, I can’t take this!

We finally get up the other end, a chance for Benjani? No, offside! Schalke attack again, we clear to Sweep, he runs with the ball and is blatantly fouled. Free kick! And a moment’s respite. The clock creeps to 85 minutes. Benjani is subbed. Jo comes on. Benjani has worked hard for the cause tonight.

The ball’s in and around the Schalke box, a relief to my racing heart beat. Sturridge is hacked down from behind by the corner flag, he reacts, jumping up and pushing the defender; the ref to his credit gives us the free kick and doesn’t book/send off either player.

The fourth official’s board goes up. Three minutes added time is shown. Schalke seem resigned to losing, they’ve lost the surge of energy from earlier. Good! The final whistle goes, huge sigh of relief from me, we’ve done it, a great 2-0 win away from home. Quality! More beer! It’s medicinal, honest!

A great performance by the whole team tonight. With special mentions to:

Hart – his early saves kept us in it.
Kompany – he is just quality, slipped into centre-half alongside Dunne effortlessly.
Dunne – the guy was a rock at the back tonight, organizing, winning headers etc.
Hamann – always cool, keeps it simple, knows European style football.
and finally my M.O.M.: Ireland – the man is ubiquitous, he must run a marathon every game he plays. Top drawer.

Sorry that this is not as high a standard as the usual match reports but I only contribute once in a blue moon but I’d like to say that I really enjoy reading all the match reports that others McVeers submit, especially the “live at the game” ones as they see and comment on all the little things not shown or heard on the TV. Thanks guys and keep them coming.

The future’s bright and Europe’s orange!

Colin B <biff_mcfc(at)>


We were on a short holiday trip on Saturday November 22nd. Therefore, up to my return home on Sunday, I was not able to know the Arsenal result. As soon as I came home, I accessed and was relieved from another burden.

On Monday night, there was a replay of the match and I enjoyed the game of which the result was already known.

It was my first game to watch this season. What a change we have been through. New faces and old, welcome back Shaun, everybody tried hard to break the Arsenal.

However, overall performance was not satisfactory. We still need to strengthen our defence.

Now we have a fund to spend. But we must spend wisely. No more rollercoaster I strongly hope. Because of the time difference between UK and Japan, a kick off time is usually at midnight. It is a heavy difficulty for me as I am no longer young. But I can (but miss the November 30th derby). Live coverage will be on the air through the satellite channel. Therefore, I will take a day off next Monday in order to concentrate on a match. Pray for City.

Michio Ito – Tokyo, Japan <ito(at)>


Much has been said about Mark Hughes’ tactical ability. Having been at the Arsenal game on Saturday and watched the Schalke game last night, I think it’s hats off to Mark Hughes for recognising and starting to deal with our frailties.

In getting the balance of a side right, you have to sometimes compromise a little flair, and sometimes leave out what on paper are ‘better’ players. I think here of the Elano/Vassell argument. Although I for one would side with the “Is Elano really that good?” camp.

I am unfortunately of an age that can remember Sir Alf Ramsey and his England. There was outrage at the time that he left out the greatest goalscorer of his era, Jimmy Greaves. Sir Alf agreed that Jimmy was the best but said that he disrupted the balance of the side. He justified his decision by going on to win England’s only ever World Cup.

The key word here is balance. This is real football with a real team and real opponents. I think too many people these days look at their fantasy league team and think they’re great managers and pick a team with scoring defenders, four right sided midfielders and three attackers who are all very similar because individually they amass a good points tally. The fact that they would never play well together in a team is overlooked.

I think Mark Hughes still has much to prove and needs to buy wisely in January and next summer. If we can believe what the Chairman has said about bringing in the right players to ‘blend’ with our home grown talent we are fortunate in having someone who knows you can’t play fantasy football and will back the manager’s philosophy.

I’ll leave others to tell Mr Hughes who these players are because they obviously know more than me or him.

I also wanted to say a bit of a ‘wow’ to Steven Ireland. Where has this form come from? And long may it continue. I would, with my slightly blue tinted spectacles, suggest he is the best midfielder in the Premier League at the moment. His game is ticking every single box. Work rate, tackling, passing, dribbling, and the ability to not only time those runs into the box but to have attained a knack for finishing. I think I’m right in saying he has already equalled his best ever goal tally for a whole season (for those of a similar age who remember Billy’s Boots, did he find an old pair of boots belonging to Colin Bell?). To think that we almost lost him to Sunderland not so long ago.

Actually I think it comes down again to balance and having the right players around you. No individual is under immense pressure to be the star performer, and surprise, surprise with that pressure off everyone starts to perform.

Is this the reason our defence suddenly looks weak. For the past few seasons our defence has been much vaunted for its solidity. Well we were a defence minded team and had lots of cover around the defence. Suddenly we are an attack minded side, the defence is more exposed, and those defenders face different pressures to perform.

Back to balance again. Cover at the back and players with enough flair to counter attack with pace and get up to support the attack.

One other point. A couple of issues ago (I apologise but I’ve cleaned up my in-boxand can’t find the subscriber’s name) someone wrote in bemoaning City’s longball game. I know we all see things differently, that’s one of the beauties ofthis game, but I just can’t see it. There is a big difference between hoofingthe ball into the corners for the forward to chase down and playing a long ballinto the forward in a counter attacking move. I think, if anything, City mayproduce the latter from time to time but for me not enough. The continualrolling out of the ball and then passing it around between the defence allowsthe opposition to regroup and get back behind the ball, now that is something Ifeel we did too much of. As much as it pains me to say it, one of the mostsuccessful teams in the last decade of the ‘long ball’ game have been our swampdwelling neighbours.

It’s that word balance again. A blend of the two styles, within a game. Chelsea are as good an example as any of switching between the two.

Sorry if this has gone on a bit but I don’t post that often so thanks for indulging me. I write this ahead of the derby on Sunday and being of a sadly superstitious nature will not predict whether Mark Hughes gets the tactics right or how we will perform. I do feel, however, he’ll have as good a chance as anyone of getting it right.

Won’t it be nice when we can sing “We’re City, City, the best team in the land and all the world” and really mean it?

Dave Kilroy <dave.kilroy(at)>


In the short term we are in 14th place, two points off the relegation zone and have lost at home to the Rags. Despite them being down to 10 men for much of the second half, I think we only had one clear shot on target the whole match.

Admittedly, Fletcher and Carrick seemed to be in a private competition to see who could kick SWP hardest.

We are below those mighty football giants: Stoke, Fulham, Middlesbrough, Wigan, Bolton and Hull.

In the medium term Hughes is going to be allowed to spend millions and millions.

In the long term, who knows? And why take the risk?

The previous week was probably the best possible time to play the Arse, without Gallas, Adebayor, Fabregas, Walcott and Sagna. They were in crisis. The win over Schalke was an unexpected bonus, but by almost any level of assessment things are very wrong. We are on our lowest points return after 15 games for four years, and huge sums have been spent.

Players have regularly been played out of position. Vassell preferred to Elano, etc. At this same stage last season we were a top three club.

I know we have lost Geovanni to Hull, and Petrov and Johnson to injury, but really! We have signed Robinho, SWP, Kompany, Zabaleta and Jo (£19 million and 1 goal).

Hull thought they would beat us recently because various agents are trying to flog the entire squad, and team morale (with the exception of Stevie Ireland) was at a low point.

The question is why take the risk with a “great manager” who has never won anything? Of all our recent managers: Royle, Keegan, Pearce, Erickson and Hughes I have least confidence in Hughes and his ability to spend wisely and manage effectively at this club. The physical, violent and unattractive approach that he used relatively successfully at Blackburn is quite inappropriate for our squad, and replacing the likes of Elano with a player of that type is not an attractive proposition at all. It is just not convincing to say that it is too early to judge yet; Sven had instant results and spent less.

Cooke, another Shinawatra appointee, is backing Hughes but has a marketing background at Nike, an organization not known for running football clubs. I doubt if the previous Chief, the highly rated Mackintosh (who was forced out by Cooke) would have been quite so sanguine. Mackintosh is now at Fulham who are two points ahead of us having played a game less, and spent less on the entire squad than we have on one player.

Is there any truth in the suggestion that US management consultancy McKinsey have been approached to present a contingency plan, and they are reporting to Abu Dhabi not Manchester?

CTID, Mike Dean <Mike.Dean(at)>


In response to Frank Heukels, I agree that there’s much to be said for adopting a policy of buying up youth who are heading for the top rather than already-made-its, but I don’t agree on the “Heukels-test” i.e. “Would Kaka have joined City last year? No, he wouldn’t, so drop his name.”

Frank reckons this means that they’re only coming here for the money. But I don’t necessarily see it that way. If City-last-year broke the bank to make a big big big big big big offer to Kaka, he still wouldn’t have come. Why not, if it was all about money? Because, last year, he would have seen no prospect of us buying anyone else with whom he could win things.

Everyone made a fuss about Robinho coming here instead of Chelsea, concluding it must be about the money. But that isn’t necessarily so. Seeing how much money we have, Robinho knew he was coming to a club that would likely go places, where he was likely to be accompanied by other soon-to-arrive big names. So, in that sense, it wouldn’t be much different from joining Chelsea. As Robinho put it, we’re a club at the start of its adventure. I can see how that would attract a player.

Bernard Molyneux <molyneux(at)>


I am an occasional contributor but usually only when someone fires me up.

I must admit I am a little perplexed by the negative comments about Mark Hughes. He appears to be doing an excellent job with the personnel he has at present. As for the Vassell versus Elano arguement, if Elano chased back like Vassell he would play more often.

Unfortunately for Vassell he is only blessed with running ability so that is all he can do. He has scored the occasional goal but as a percentage they must be considered flukes. He runs up and down the field and gets in the way of the opposition a lot, and he can catch most people, but he can’t tackle or shoot so he must have a short term future. If Kaka is to join his friends, Elano, on the other hand, must be considered a keeper. SWP has always done what he is doing and so has Ireland, he has just got better at it with age. If/when Petrov comes back and Elano plays with him, we will have to play 4-4-2 with them up front because neither ever comes back to defend. Any comments?

Jim Heaviside <jheavis502(at)>


This is my first time as a contributor to McV, but am an avid reader of this publication. I listened to the derby match today (Sunday) and cannot believe the totally biased comments against Man City by that awful, awful commentator from the BBC, Alan Green!

It seemed to me that everything that United did was ‘truly exceptional’ or ‘absolutely fantastic’ or words to that effect all the way through the game. The match to me was a great match to listen to, not the result though! I thought that we at least deserved a draw.

Green’s comments about Kaka (why would he ever want to play at Eastlands?) were totally wrong. He could see Kaka playing at United or Chelsea, but why would he want to come to City? He has got to be the most stupid and biased commentator the BBC have ever had. He (Green) seems to me to be one of the many who thinks that the so called big four clubs must and should have a monopoly on big name players, not the clubs who, like City, are trying to break the stranglehold of the top clubs in this country.

Why shouldn’t Kaka or any other world class player come to City and join the revolution against these so called top clubs? Mark Hughes is trying to build a club that will challenge and break the monopoly. I really hope that when this happens Green chokes on his own drivel of commentating, and learns to give credit where credit is due. I would like to see clubs like Spurs, Everton, Portsmouth and Villa as well as City, ram Green’s comments down his throat. This man should not be doing the job that he does if he cannot give an unbiased commentary on a football match. I for one will not listen to another match on 5 if he is commentating and spewing out his cr@p about the team he thinks should not win, because they are not one of his favoured few.

Go away Green and learn how to be a first class match reporter and not a mouthpiece for the Reds, learn your job. Until you do, you will not have the pleasure of my company ever again.

K Hill <khill8887(at)>


Tried to get this going against Arsenal, but nobody took it up. Maybe just because it’s no good.

To the tune of She’ll Be Coming Round The Mountain.

Oh Robinho does his shopping on the bus
Oh Robinho does his shopping etc.

Dave Kilroy <dave.kilroy(at)>


Congestion Tax – Ferguson backs Yes

You will have noted that Alex Ferguson, with his historic links to Labour, has come out in favour of the congestion tax. He says “for the majority of fans, come on public transport” home or away. This is completely bananas. He obviously couldn’t give a beggar for the fan in the car. Mind you the key travel cost is the rail link to London.

However, he and his team no doubt can afford to pay any tax no matter the cost while the average man in the car cannot.

Can I suggest that we respond with “City fans say no to the charge but yes to sorting out a tram link to the ground that was promised for the Commonwealth games (as well as 2 England internationals a year) and which never happened like many other politician promises”.

As for Taggart I treat him with contempt.

Simon Moorehead <simonmoorehead(at)>


What! Who in their tiny football mind thinks that Vassell is worthy of a game ahead of anybody else?

Sam Duxbury <Sammy459(at)>


I have to say thank you very much to all City supporters who visited my small meeting point in Gelsenkirchen! Think between 400 and 500 English joined that peaceful party with us! I got a lot of positive feedback and mails from Schalke supporters.

Think it was good to have so much police nearby and to sort out the buses to the ground. The support during the match was absolutely fantastic. Never heard such a loud support at the guest stand. Respect! Hope you all enjoyed the day like I did.

Greetings from Gelsenkirchen!

Markus Rehse <Markus(at)>


Can anybody please help? I see a lot of car stickers “This is our City”. Where are they bought from? The City Store doesn’t sell them. I want one!

Thanks in anticipation.

Dot Keller <dot.keller(at)>


If anyone knows how I could get hold of some Racing Santander tickets for the game on December the 18th, could they let me know?

Joel Perry <joel.perry(at)>


Fulham ticket available in the away end at face value and in hand.

Contact me by telephone 07703 301857 or email.

Mark Bidmead <mrandmrsbidmead(at)>


We received a distressing text from John Burfield today saying that he and his family were involved in a high speed car crash on the M6 whilst returning home from the derby. Whilst John, his wife and first son escaped with relatively minor injuries, his youngest son, Lewis, was taken unconscious to Alder Hey Childrens Hospital with head injuries and is currently stable but critical.

John is a regular and much appreciated contributor to the fanzine King Of the Kippax, with a fan following all of his own, and is also a member of the London branch. Obviously John does not need endless phone calls at this time, just our strongest ever thoughts and prayers that Lewis makes a full and speedy recovery.

Dave and Sue Wallace <dw001e8104(at)>


30 November 2008

Manchester City       0 - 1  Manchester United     47,320
Portsmouth            3 - 2  Blackburn Rovers      18,111
Tottenham Hotspur     0 - 1  Everton               35,742
Chelsea               1 - 2  Arsenal               41,760

29 November 2008

Aston Villa           0 - 0  Fulham                36,625
Middlesbrough         0 - 0  Newcastle United      32,160
Stoke City            1 - 1  Hull City             27,500
Sunderland            1 - 4  Bolton Wanderers      35,457
Wigan Athletic        2 - 1  West Bromwich Albion  17,054

League table to 30 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         15  3  3  2 14  5  7  0  0 19  1 10  3  2  33   6  27 33
 2 Liverpool       14  5  2  0 11  4  5  1  1 10  4 10  3  1  21   8  13 33
 3 Manchester Utd  14  5  1  0 18  4  3  3  2  8  6  8  4  2  26  10  16 28
 4 Arsenal         15  4  1  2 14 10  4  1  3 13  9  8  2  5  27  19   8 26
 5 Aston Villa     15  3  4  1 10  7  4  0  3 12  9  7  4  4  22  16   6 25
 6 Hull City       15  2  2  3  7 14  4  3  1 15 10  6  5  4  22  24  -2 23
 7 Everton         15  1  3  3  7 12  5  1  2 13 10  6  4  5  20  22  -2 22
 8 Portsmouth      15  4  2  2 13 10  2  2  3  5 12  6  4  5  18  22  -4 22
 9 Bolton Wndrs    15  2  2  3  6  7  4  0  4 12 10  6  2  7  18  17   1 20
10 Fulham          14  5  1  1 10  5  0  3  4  2  6  5  4  5  12  11   1 19
11 Wigan Athletic  15  3  2  3  6  9  2  2  3 12 10  5  4  6  18  19  -1 19
12 Middlesbrough   15  3  2  3  8 12  2  2  3  7  9  5  4  6  15  21  -6 19
13 Stoke City      15  5  1  2 12 10  0  2  5  3 15  5  3  7  15  25 -10 18
14 Manchester City 15  4  0  4 19  9  1  2  4 10 14  5  2  8  29  23   6 17
15 West Ham United 14  3  1  3 11 11  2  1  4  6 11  5  2  7  17  22  -5 17
16 Tottenham H.    15  3  1  4  7  7  1  2  4 10 14  4  3  8  17  21  -4 15
17 Newcastle Utd   15  3  2  2 11  9  0  4  4  6 13  3  6  6  17  22  -5 15
18 Sunderland      15  2  1  5  7 13  2  2  3  6 11  4  3  8  13  24 -11 15
19 Blackburn R.    15  1  2  4  4 12  2  2  4 12 16  3  4  8  16  28 -12 13
20 West Brom A.    15  2  1  4  8 14  1  1  6  3 13  3  2 10  11  27 -16 11

With thanks to Football 365

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