Newsletter #1490

The lurgy has hit MCIVTA Towers this week, so thanks to Alex for coming off his sickbed to bring us recent match reactions and injury updates together with new sponsor links.

We also have opinion on the performances so far and the usual requests.

Next Game: Everton, home, 3pm Saturday 13 December 2008


General News

Derby Win: No I’ve not gone mad, I’m completely aware that the Rags took us for a ride at CoMS a couple of weeks back but I also know that currently City have an unbeaten under-18 squad who are walking their way to even more silverware. Having progressed to an away FA Youth Cup tie at Portsmouth in order to defend the success of last year, the Blues have been on top form in the league too. In beating Middlesbrough 9-0 early doors in the season wasn’t enough to show off, they followed it up with an 8-2 win only a couple of weeks ago. Last week the Blues took on their arch rivals where goals from Robbie Mak and Abdi Ibrahim helped the Blues continue their ridiculously good run of results.

Ambitious: With the Christmas period of endless games coming up and points needed on the board quite desperately you’d think that the nerves may be slightly getting to the Blues. That’s not what Vincent Kompany thinks, in fact he sees it as a challenge that the players will do their hardest to complete to the best of their abilities. “I have had this before, but the Premier League repeats itself, and we’ll have a lot of games like this again during the season. I might have to adapt a bit more, but I’m pleased because the more games I have the more I enjoy my life as a footballer. I’m looking forward to whatever comes up soon. It’s a challenge; you can’t allow yourself any breaks. You have to keep working hard every day to make sure you are not going to break down under the pressure of all those games. That’s what I am trying to do to maintain the level until now, I know it demands a lot but I’m happy to do it because I know what I am doing. We need to get three or four wins in a row, then we are going to see what this team can achieve. I’m aiming for us to get some wins, I have experienced it before and I know that when you do start winning like this then anything is possible, so we’ll have to work hard to achieve that.”

Winning Mentality: From ambition to the winning mentality that was splashed all over the local papers recently. Robinho’s comments, which stated City’s settling for a point away from home rather than pushing for a win would affect their whole season, have been met by support in the squad. Michael Ball is the latest player to come out and say just how right Robinho was about going for gold when it comes to the league: “In the squad, we were fine with it. Robbie has played for one of the best clubs in the world, and their mentality is that second is nothing. I have had that when I was with Rangers and with PSV – you could lose the league by just a point and it’s not good enough. That’s the kind of attitude that you want, it breeds confidence and that’s where we want City to be. We don’t want second best, we have got to keep pushing up the league.”

Thomas Cook Fly Off: As the Thomas Cook sponsorship deal runs out come the end of the season, City’s Abu Dhabi connections seem to be planning a huge new deal that will by far out do the AIG shirt sponsors from across the city. Etihad, the national airline of the UAE look set to come to an agreement with the Blues despite negotiations only being in the early stages.

Yet Another Fixture Change: Sky has flexed their financial muscle again and has gained the rights to the Manchester City vs. Middlesbrough game on the seventh of February 2009. Though the day of fixture stays the same, the kick off time changes from 3pm to 12.45pm.

Squad News

Foot-ball through and Through: Despite spending two months on the sidelines with many different injuries/illnesses, Michael Ball finally got the chance to remind us of his quality against Fulham… and he didn’t do too badly. Javier Garrido’s achilles injury allowed Ball to show of his talent but it was touch and go for a while as Hughes (less literally that the player himself) sweated on whether the former England left back would overcome a bout of ‘flu. Ball himself spoke of his determination to be ready for the game: “It’s December, I’m a man – I get the flu! I couldn’t train much this week, but with Javi having his injury I just told the boss that getting a sweat on would help me play better. I was disappointed in midweek, I knew there were going to be a few changes and that was going to be my chance to show the boss what I can do and get back into the first eleven. The ‘flu meant I could not make it and it was really frustrating for me, I was determined to make it for the weekend, which thankfully I did.”

Zab’s the Lad: Argentinean right back Pablo Zabaleta has recently earned praise from manager Hughes for his ability to settle into the squad so easily and make his mark so soon. Zab’ had a lot to live up to after the rumour mill reported that both Arsene Wenger and Rafa Benitez had been chasing him and he also had to follow to example by former fan favourite Vedran Corluka. In all fairness to Zab’ he’s gone about his job successfully and quietly. He’s not made a fuss, he’s not questioned tactics and method, and he’s simply done what he’s needed to do. I worry that I’ve not seen him tackle on his feet all season but as long as he wins the ball, I won’t mind too much. Sparky claimed: “He kept joining in, he kept trying to make things happen in that final third without ever forsaking his defensive work, which is still very important for us. I thought he played really well; he had a very positive impact on the game. He was always looking to join in in attack, and he put in a great ball from the right for Benjani’s header. Pablo is a good professional; he understands the game and the times when you need someone to be resolute. You need someone to make the right decisions at the right times, and he is certainly one of those players.”

Injury Front: Some good news for the first time in weeks as we look to the ever extending injury list. Nedum Onuoha came through sixty minutes of the reserves clash with Middlesbrough this week and looked in fine form after six weeks out with a leg muscle injury. In terms of the Blues’ Bulgarian pair, there is good and bad news. The ever injured Valeri Bojinov looks set to return in the New Year as he progresses well with his achilles tendon rupture. Petrov on the other hand is expected to sit it out until April with the knee injury he picked up when on international duty. Assistant boss Mark Bowen stated: “We expect them both back before the end of the season. If you’re asking for an exact date, I can’t give that but Boj is back on the training ground now and he’s working hard on a one-on-one basis with our sports science department. His fitness seems to be improving every day, and I imagine without having any exact dates that it could be a matter of weeks rather than months before he is able to work with the rest of the players. Martin’s situation is more serious, he has had his operation and is not even doing any work at the moment, he’s waiting for the initial stages of his rehab to unfold. We’ve missed him – we’ve missed both of them, but with Martin we know what he can give to the side. Boj is a different kettle of fish, I don’t think anybody has seen too much of him since he came here because he has been so unlucky with injuries. The sooner they are back, the better.”

Transfer News and Gossip

Jo: Throughout the week, £19 million Brazilian striker Jo has been linked with a move away from the club after not quite settling to the British way of playing football. CSKA Moscow are hoping for a loan move for their prodigal son: “There’s a strong possibility we’ll get Jo on loan. He needs more first-team football, but he’s unlikely to be getting it in England. It’s going to take another year to build up his physical condition to the standards needed there, although he’s fine for Russian football.” But the Russian Champions do face tough competition from Everton who found themselves with only one fit senior striker having been hit by their own injury crisis.

David Villa: Yes, it’s one of the hopeful and possibly crazy rumours but £52 million is the price on the Spaniard’s head and it’s not like we can’t afford it. Villa told reporters that he would not leave until the Chairman required him to do so due to Valencia’s poor financial state: “I will stay at Valencia for as long as the president wants me. If he tells me I have to be sold to save the club, then that is his decision and I’ll look for a fresh challenge.” Those behind the scenes of the deal claim that the transfer is close: “It is clear City need a world-class striker and Villa fits the bill. The Arabs have been impressed with him and Mark Hughes is convinced he will do well in English football. His agent will be flying in on Tuesday and there is every chance talks and a deal will be concluded by the end of the week.”

Frank Ribery: The Bayern Munich winger may be looking to a move to the Premier League this January and fancies a challenge. Well with a UEFA Cup campaign and relegation struggle, what more could you ask for as the citizens have reportedly bid for the Frenchman. Ribery never quite settled in Germany and papers have noted that his agent stated it would be very hard for him to knock back a transfer to England. No fee has been revealed as yet.

Post-Match Reaction

Fulham: Taking a point away from home should always be seen as a positive but there’s always that niggling thought in the back of your mind that tells you that you gave away a lead. Fair play to Benjani; he took his goal brilliantly and on the whole the Blues didn’t perform badly at all, which makes it even more disappointing that we couldn’t hold on for three points. Again the squad seemed to beg out for an out-and-out striker, which makes the news of Valeri Bojinov’s impending return even more mouthwatering and again there were signs – few though they may have been – that Hughes will have to buy big when assessing the weaknesses of his defence. Pablo Zabaleta has his best game for the Blues patrolling the Fulham left wing whilst also making bursts up our right wing but overall given the amount of chances and the difference that one goal can make with regards to league position this year, Hughes’ side really should have won this one. The manager seemed happy enough: “In truth we are a bit disappointed considering the number of chances we had, certainly in the second half when we got into some wide positions on the right. We didn’t quite pick the right pass, but overall in the circumstances we have lost so many players this week. Everybody stood up to be counted, and I was pleased. Our shape was good and we never looked in any real danger of losing the game, with a bit more belief in the final third we could have won it. This year for whatever reason everybody is packed together very tightly in the table, so if we get a couple of back-to-back wins we’ll be in the top half. We have a few home games coming up as well, which we’ll look forward to.”

Alex Rowen <news(at)>


Reg Swallow states that ‘Hughes is already building his team and it’s Rubbish’ then he goes on to mention the only 3 players that Hughes has genuinely bought: Kompany, Zabeleta and SWP and how good they have been (I hope Jo does come good but Hughes didn’t broker that deal in case he was on your list of flops)! And why doesn’t SWP count? Is it not the manager that sells the vision of the club and entices the player to sign and make an impact on the field? What is wrong with a signing that gets the fans onside? Getting the fans onside means the player is giving 100% and making a real impact on the pitch, sorry if you think this is a negative Reg. OK so the Robinho deal was probably done by the money men but I don’t need to tell anyone about his class because it is there for all to see, it’s Hughes who he has scored 8 goals for.

How can any supporter be taken seriously when they call for the head of a manager that has been in charge for 4 months? Hughes has a war chest to spend in January but everyone knows it is a difficult time to entice the top quality players from their clubs, especially those still in the Champions’ League, so until he has had the summer to assemble his squad judgement on his credentials should be left until this time next year at the very least. I will be the first one calling for his head if we are not within touching distance of the top four.

Reg is right when he questions who of the big, world class players will want to come to City; it is very difficult to attract the best players and it takes time and will be a gradual process, money does not always talk the loudest, the Champions League is as at least as important, hence my comment at the end of the previous paragraph.

I for one am exited about the future and the class of players we could see at the club but anyone who thinks that we will suddenly become a title challenging club overnight is a little (well very actually) naïve.

Mat Howden <Matthew.Howden(at)>


I quote from The Times newspaper dated Saturday 6 December 2008.
Most fouls and equal most red cards in Premiership League this season: Manchester City.
Most fouls and equal most red cards last term: Blackburn.
Manager of both: Mark Hughes

Yet again the facts and figures do not lie. Mr Hughes continues to take our club backwards. His ‘ale house’ style of football is not welcome at City, it never has been and it never will be. Again against Fulham yet more long ball, pump it forward, ‘up and at em’. More of Vassell and from all reports apart from the first 15 minutes we were dreadful.

When will people wake up and see where Mr Hughes is taking us? Sven wasn’t perfect, but by God he was a million miles better than this inexperienced, tacticly inept, self opinionated, ‘disciplinarian’ loser. It’s the ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ syndrome. He will be found out by the end of February mark my words.

Ray Bardsley <bardsley(at)>


Since the start of last season City have played 54 league games. In games that Darius Vassell has started, City have won just 6. No, that’s not a misprint, 6.

Overall Vassell has started in 26 league games. City have won 6, drawn 10 and lost 10. Compare this with games where Vassell has not started where City have won 14, drawn 3 and lost 11.

Wallace Poulter <wallace.poulter(at)>


I am looking for a DVD of the 1977 UEFA Cup match between Widzew Lodz and Man City or Man City vs. Widzew Lodz at Maine Road.

Can anyone help me please?

Thanks, Piotr Rodziewicz <p.rodziewicz(at)>


I have one place booked on the City trip to Santander (the official Thomas Cook travel) on 18 December which I can no longer use.

The face value cost of the trip is £281 including match ticket and includes travel insurance. If any season ticket holder would like to take this off my hands please get in touch.

Please note you must be a season ticket holder. I will pay the £40 admin fee to transfer the ticket.

Strictly first come, first served, payment must be received in full before I will transfer the ticket. Transfer must be complete by 15 Dec.

Joe Martin <joemartin01(at)>


Just to say that the latest King Of The Kippax, number 165, is on sale at Saturday’s home game with Everton. Production was overshadowed by the news of the car crash of John Burfield and family and the latest news is better:

We have just got the news that Lewis has just been discharged, despite suffering a severe skull fracture, which sounds fantastic.

Dave and Sue Wallace <dw001e8104(at)>


8 December 2008

West Ham United       0 - 2  Tottenham Hotspur     34,277

League table to 10 December 2008 inclusive

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F   A   GD Pts
 1 Liverpool       16  5  3  0 11  4  6  1  1 13  5 11  4  1  24   9  15 37
 2 Chelsea         16  3  3  2 14  5  8  0  0 21  1 11  3  2  35   6  29 36
 3 Manchester Utd  15  6  1  0 19  4  3  3  2  8  6  9  4  2  27  10  17 31
 4 Arsenal         16  5  1  2 15 10  4  1  3 13  9  9  2  5  28  19   9 29
 5 Aston Villa     16  3  4  1 10  7  5  0  3 15 11  8  4  4  25  18   7 28
 6 Hull City       16  3  2  3  9 15  4  3  1 15 10  7  5  4  24  25  -1 26
 7 Portsmouth      16  4  2  2 13 10  2  3  3  6 13  6  5  5  19  23  -4 23
 8 Everton         16  1  3  4  9 15  5  1  2 13 10  6  4  6  22  25  -3 22
 9 Fulham          15  5  2  1 11  6  0  3  4  2  6  5  5  5  13  12   1 20
10 Bolton Wndrs    16  2  2  4  6  9  4  0  4 12 10  6  2  8  18  19  -1 20
11 Wigan Athletic  16  3  2  3  6  9  2  2  4 12 11  5  4  7  18  20  -2 19
12 Middlesbrough   16  3  2  3  8 12  2  2  4  8 11  5  4  7  16  23  -7 19
13 Stoke City      16  5  1  2 12 10  0  3  5  5 17  5  4  7  17  27 -10 19
14 Manchester City 16  4  0  4 19  9  1  3  4 11 15  5  3  8  30  24   6 18
15 Tottenham H.    16  3  1  4  7  7  2  2  4 12 14  5  3  8  19  21  -2 18
16 West Ham United 16  3  1  4 11 13  2  2  4  6 11  5  3  8  17  24  -7 18
17 Newcastle Utd   16  3  3  2 13 11  0  4  4  6 13  3  7  6  19  24  -5 16
18 Sunderland      16  2  1  5  7 13  2  2  4  6 12  4  3  9  13  25 -12 15
19 Blackburn R.    16  1  2  5  5 15  2  2  4 12 16  3  4  9  17  31 -14 13
20 West Brom A.    16  2  2  4  9 15  1  1  6  3 13  3  3 10  12  28 -16 12

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1490