Newsletter #1495

Into the New Year with a damp squib as City were drubbed 0-3 by Forest in the FA Cup at the weekend. Phil has provided a match report from the game in which City capitulated and leave us concentrating on the league once again.

Inevitably we have plenty of opinion on what is going on with the team and performances of late and a look behind the scenes at recent rumblings, with a number of individual players being called to account.

Maybe it is time for the term “crapocity” to be recognised by the Oxford English Dictionary?

Meanwhile, transfer season is upon us and with Bridge now confirmed, we wait to see which of the other rumoured deals may come to fruition.

Next Games: Portsmouth, away, 3pm Saturday 10 January 2009


Nottingham Forest’s young side gave Manchester City’s players a footballing lesson and application in deservedly thrashing us by three goals to nil.

There can be no excuses even with the absences of Ireland and Robinho, and the injury to Shaun Wright-Phillips, as there should be enough in this squad to beat a young, inexperienced side that is fighting relegation in the division below. The fact is that Forest showed more skill, intelligence and desire than City did, not to mention cohesion. Credit must go to Forest who played football that the great Brian Clough would have been proud of but it was indeed a shameful performance by City and some players need to take a long look at themselves.

It’s not as if City didn’t have a warning about Forest’s potential with their 7 match unbeaten run away from home. Three unchallenged headers flashed wide of our goal before the visitors opened their account. When Forest did score it was hard to argue that they didn’t deserve it, as they played good, quick passing football. A rare long ball forward by the visitors was headed by the retreating Richards straight to Nathan Tyson who powerfully volleyed a goal of the highest quality past Hart from 20 yards out. It was soon two-nil to the visitors when Zabaleta was dispossessed by Cohen after being over elaborate when row Z was needed. Cohen’s cross was deflected to the poorly marked Earnshaw who deflected home a deserved 2nd goal for Forest. It was appalling marking that was symptomatic of the atrocious defending that has dogged us several times this season. At least one if not two centre backs are needed now as Dunne and Richards have not been anywhere near the high standards that they set last season.

Forest might have added a third when Elano’s careless header found Rob Earnshaw who blazed over when well placed. ‘Are you Derby in disguise’ enquired the seven thousand Forest fans. The truth is we weren’t that good.

Sturridge was the only one to force a save of any note in the whole first half, with a sharp effort from Vassell’s cut back. City tried to hit back in the 2nd half: Caicedo forced a couple of great saves from Smith in the Forest goal, including an excellent tip over when a goal seemed inevitable. Sturridge fired over and wide and a heavy touch took him away from goal when he was well placed. Kompany tried to drive us forward but with the exception of Caicedo and Sturridge, our movement lacked imagination and we eventually ran out of ideas, as Wes Morgan and Breckin proved solid at the back for the visitors. To put the tin lid on it, sub Hamann’s terrible throw-in across the box found Forest sub Joe Garner instead of Dunne, and the deserved third goal was clinically despatched. At 34, Hamann should have known better.

With the exception of Joe Hart and the injured Shaun Wright-Phillips, City’s players were either well below form or simply didn’t care. To compound this, we had the unedifying sight of Elano and Sturridge arguing on the pitch. Having told Elano to get out on the left wing Sturridge whined to Eddie Niedzwicki, then Elano bleated to Mark Hughes. It was embarrassing. Sturridge is still a boy (and at least he tried all afternoon) so what’s Elano’s excuse? If he showed as much passion in his play as he did in arguing with Sturridge, we might not have so many problems. He did not win a single challenge all afternoon. In fact he didn’t bother to challenge all afternoon, and created very little. When you compare him to players of similar ability from the modern era such as Benarbia and Berkovic, who weren’t physical players by any stretch of the imagination, Elano clearly isn’t fit to lace their boots. When Benarbia and Berkovic didn’t have the ball, they tried to intercept and often did so successfully. They cared. Elano is said to be ‘flattered’ by Lazio’s interest in him. He most certainly is. It is sad to say that after such a promising start, the sooner he is gone the better.

It would be churlish not to recognise how well Forest played. The strong running of Tyson and McGugan as well as the clever wing play of Cohen and Anderson gave us problems all afternoon and it is difficult to believe that they will struggle for long as they played good football. They have always produced good young players and that will be their salvation like it has been ours. Youth alone, however, will not save us from a relegation struggle, and Mark Hughes is right to bring in proven Premiership experience like Wayne Bridge, who was paraded before the kick off. The likes of Kolo Toure and Scott Parker amongst others would be very welcome additions to our squad. We need those players in now.

Is ‘ratings’ the right word?
Hart: Couldn’t be faulted for any of our goals 6.
Zabaleta: Lost possession in the build up to their second. His first below par game for City, but no lack of effort 5.
Dunne: Always gives his all, but guilty of poor marking for the 2nd goal and might have prevented the 3rd 5.

Richards: Clearly struggling this season despite plenty of effort: his poordefensive header gifted Tyson the opportunity for his wonder strike 5.
Ball: Poor marking at the 2nd goals allowed gaps; his efforts to rally us in the2nd were in vain 5.
Shaun Wright-Phillips: City’s best threat until hamstring injury 6.
Fernandes: Another headless chicken performance that tied him up in knots 5.
Kompany: Bravely tried to carry the fight but needs far better support 6.
Elano: Lacked effort yet again. Played like he didn’t care 4.
Sturridge: At the centre of a lot of good work and had chances to score but itwasn’t his day 6.
Caicedo: Denied by a great save 6.
Vassell: No lack of effort but totally lacking in confidence and afraid toshoot 4.
Hamann: Some good passing until he made a schoolboy error to gift wrap Forest’s3rd 5.
Jo: Too late to mark.

Att: 31,869
Refwatch: L Probert: Missed little and was barely noticed by the crowd, which is always a good thing. Makes you wonder why we have so-called ‘Premiership referees’ 8.
Best Oppo: Amongst several good Forest performances, Nathan Tyson was a menace with his power and pace all afternoon, and scored a brilliant goal 8.

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


I think that some players, knowing that players have been mentioned in the media, and to take up their positions in the team, just never showed up to play. These players are not professional footballers, for if they were, they would have given their best to try to remain at the club, or otherwise let other clubs see how good they are so as to be transferred to a good club.

I could see this coming as I have already made remarks about a list of players to leave not being a good idea, but list or no list, it is no excuse.

I am not going to name players’ names, but everyone can see who they are, and they all deserve to leave our proud club. We want players that care 100% about the club that they play for.

I just hope that the club signs the other new players quickly so that we can get on with an improved team.

As supporters and fans we do not know what has been said in the dressing room. But I am not about to blame Mark Hughes, it was the players today who did not care one little bit; they lack professionalism, get rid.

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)>


Congratulations to Nottingham Forest.

Right now I feel for Wayne Bridge; a pity he didn’t wait until after this game to decide whether or not to join Manchester City. He must be kicking himself right now.

Instead of concentrating on bringing in new players this month, Mark H must first be wondering whether he’ll still have a job by the middle of the upcoming week. Up for grabs, I should think, after this. Wenger may be a good bet, and should certainly be attracted by the money to be made available by our owner.

Today was deplorable, and about time the club began witholding players’ wages if this is their idea of playing as a team. No excuses this time from anyone. Completely inexcusable.

Perhaps the fans should now finally act in a similar vein to the players and simply no longer bother to show up on a regular basis.

Graham Mills <gkm_5(at)>


Silly season with Mark Hughes means not reaching for the stars nor the top. MH has an unlimited amount of money and yet he looks at Cruz, Bentley, players that are good but not the cream of the crop. I want to hear City connected to players like Messi, Gerrard, Ibrahimovic.

MH is building a team like he used to build a team. That team is a mid-table team with no ambition. He even uses the same tactics like SGE but the team has stopped playing interesting and fun football. Now it’s just long balls on whoever might be there.

I say kick him. Kick him so we can bring in someone with a bigger mind, vision and ambition. Bring us someone like Bernt Schuster or Roberto Mancini because I think that he has had his chance to prove what he can do.

As always I want to excuse myself for my poor English 🙂

Roger “Torcida” Pehar <pehar(at)>


It may be a Motown song by Marvin Gaye, or it may be the ultimate question about Manchester City: What the heck is going on with this football club at the moment?

Some fans blame the Manager, some blame the players, and some (well actually none) blame the owners. I have struggled to point the finger at the answer because it’s really hard to find an ultimate answer to an ultimate question. That is if you’re not Douglas Adams and the answer is 42, but then again he died at 49 so I’m not so sure about that 42 answer after all.

Enough gibbering. It’s so easy to find the answer when there is no money involved: Then it’s always the owner. It’s also easy when you have a good squad: Then it’s the Manager. And it’s also easy when you have money and a good Manager: Then it must be the players. Well in this case it seems we have the money, a decent manager, and a good squad, but still can’t get the results. Let’s briefly analyse the three factors involved:

Do we have the right owners? Well they are the richest of the richest and so far they have not put the club in incredible debt like some other gangsters in this league. They have backed the Manager, and never spoken ill about any members of the team, or the fans. Come to think of it they don’t say much do they? So far so good.

Do we have a good squad? Well we have scored more goals than every other team except Chelsea. We have a positive goal difference and are in a relegation battle. Robinho has scored 11 goals in 15 league games. We have internationals in almost every position on the pitch (and one that doesn’t want to play for his country), we have academy graduates that would bleed for the team. So yes before this season we all thought that we had a very good squad, especially after the signing of Sweep and Robinho.

Do we have a good Manager? Well it’s getting to be a bigger and bigger question by the day. Why? Because he took over a good squad with a lot of potential: Hart, Richards, Ireland, Johnson, Sturridge, Onuhoa, and added a few quality players like Sweep, Kompany and Robinho. Replacing Corluka was so-so, but probably not only up to the new Manager. He brought in some rather peculiar performers like Ben-Haim, Berti and Jo. Some say the problem is related to the man-to-man management of established players like Elano, Hamann, Dunne and Richards. None of these have performed even close to what they managed last season. Even Sweep is starting to fade away. On the positive note Ireland has blossomed and Robinho is showing glimpses of extreme quality. The Manager has previously showed that he can produce good teams, but can he build a winning team, that remains to be seen.

Some people believe that the squad is unsettled by the news that there will be a lot of new faces coming in during this and the next transfer window. How can this be? How can you as a player be unsettled by this kind of news? If a player feels that his position is under threat shouldn’t he dig in and show his best side to save the Manager the trouble of finding his replacement and spare the owners from the expenses? Raise your hand all of you who wanted to get rid of Stephen Ireland 1-2 seasons ago. Now let’s take it down if we consider that we don’t need to replace him at this point in time. Isn’t this the kind of attitude we would like to have in the team?

If players are performing under par because they are unsettled by fear of losing their place, then they really should be replaced. We have a small club mentality claimed Robinho a few weeks ago. He might be correct in his judgment. We need players that want to be part of an exceptional squad, and not those who want a safe ticket to match day. The Manager has clearly indicated that he wants to build the team around Robinho, not Hamann or Elano, can they all please get used to it and move on?

So to a dilemma: The owners want success. They want the Manager to build a winning team by using a lot of (their) money. The Manager wants to recruit the best players in the world. He can only do so by giving them a route to a winning team and at least Champions’ League football on a regular basis. To get there he has to motivate the current squad to perform like a winning team. I don’t believe that every player in this world is only in it for the money. At least it’s unhealthy both to the current squad and to the competition as a whole. So you need to prove that you can build a winning team.

It would have been a lot easier in this transfer window if City had been competing for the number 4 spot with Villa and Arsenal. At the moment we can’t recruit anyone with ambitions because we have no route to anything except a small chance of winning the UEFA Cup. Hardly a safe bet after getting rubbed against the backside by Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup this weekend.

And finally a prediction: The Manager has got his vote of confidence by the owners and will not be replaced this season unless we actually get relegated. If that happens it will be the end of Mr Hughes’ career as a big club manager for sure. The Manager has to build a winning team. He’ll do so by ridding the team of players that don’t meet his expectations (a.k.a. unsettled and under performing) and we all know that Hughes is in for a harder, old-fashioned, Tayloristic, autocratic line of management than the previous regime. On the other hand he’ll bring in new players on extremely high wages that may or may not perform and act the way he wants. So it’s a gamble.

In this gamble there are three possible outcomes: If City win the UEFA Cup (probability: 15%) the Manager will be safe and the players have proven that they are part of a winning team. Pats on the back to everyone, top 4 challenge awaits next season, and it will be a lot easier to attract players with extreme quality to help us get there. If we don’t win the UEFA Cup, but qualify for Europe next season (probability: 35%) the Manager will probably be safe until next January but has to improve the results, keep us in Europe and be a contender for the top 4 by then. The third possibility is that we miss out on Europe and don’t win the UEFA Cup (probability: 50%). That means that we have a team with no route to anything, and a Manager that has failed and therefore will be sacked.

Well the positive side is that the Manager has a 50% chance of succeeding in his job this season.

And since we started this article with Marvin Gaye, let’s finish with an advice from the same song: “Picket lines and picket signs. Don’t punish me with brutality. Talk to me. So you can see. What’s going on.” Let’s all hope they manage to sort it out and create a winning team this season!

Svenn A. Hanssen <svenn(at)>


Can someone tell me what’s going on at Manchester City? Even by our own poor standards this was a beauty!

They say we’re the richest club in the world, well here’s a little thought for our owners. I hope they have very deep pockets, because it’s going to take plenty to get this under-performing club even into the top 10.

Goodness gracious, 3-0 at home to a bunch that’s struggling to stay in the Championship doesn’t bode well. Even allowing for Robinho’s absence and SWP’s injury, we should have been far too good for Forest. After supporting City since the late 60’s I shouldn’t really be surprised by what transpired at COMS, shouldn’t be surprised at the lack of pride in the famous blue shirt, shouldn’t be surprised at the lack of attitude; the only thing that surprises me is that players want to come here. I know it’s only for the money, but any decent players with an ounce of pride would give our club a very wide berth.

I said when Thaskin bought the club, we’re in for a very bumpy ride. Chelsea got it right, Aston Villa seem to have got it right, and United have always got it right. City? Well time will tell, I hope for the best but I’ve got a feeling we’re going to end up flat on our faces.

As you know from previous posts, I’m not a fan of paying exhorbitant money for players and paying them huge wages – you tend to lose something. Unless you buy the right player, you don’t have the hunger, the attitude etc. Just imagine this load of players playing against the likes of Billy Bremner, Nobby Stiles, Chopper Harris; they kick them off the park and send them crying back to the flash houses and huge bank accounts.

I know that seems a bit extreme but I’d rather watch a side that gives their all, like the Hulls, the Fulhams of this world, than watch a bunch of players (with the notable exceptions – you know the players I like) that really are a disgrace.

Well, where to now? Who knows!

Kevin Williamson <scribbs(at)>


Like a number of other subscribers I have been content to sit back and watch the many City games on US TV this season, including the two Xmas games. Here’s my “ten cents” worth of opinion.

I continue to wonder how City would be doing if Petrov and Johnson were fit and playing. I’d add Bojinov in there except we’ve not had a decent look at him yet.

I would like to see Sturridge given a decent run. I’d like to see if the impact he had in the Blackburn game can be sustained or whether it was a one off.

Unless I am missing something with Jo I think we have not found our much needed striker yet.

Elano just disappoints me. His passing is quite poor (but then the much improved Ireland also had stages where his passing was also not good) but there appears to be disinterest. Even looking back at last season when Elano played a lot I often wondered why Geovanni was not given more time.

Please not Bellamy. I always worry about players who have had a lot of clubs and did not make a significant impact at any of them.

Any chance young Wright Phillips could practice shooting with his left foot? He has been a pleasure to watch on his return with this caveat.

I also have been impressed, albeit for just two halves and a bit, with Onuoha. Is he the new David Connor of old? I’d not like to see him leave the club. He may not have the potential of Richards but I felt he did as well as Richards in the last two games.

I am tempted to say that we miss Barton… or rather a player like Barton who could work with Kompany (a very good buy – now if we had only kept van Buyten!) and give a little strength in midfield. But then who do you leave out? When and if Petrov and Johnson are fit, who do you leave out then? I’ve said it before in these pages but we need a Mike Doyle. In a number of games there appeared to be no leader on the field, even though someone has the captain’s arm band.

There seems to be consensus on who should be allowed to leave. I won’t add to the discussion.

Joe Hart is ok and I have mixed feelings about bringing in a more experienced goalkeeper. Of course it happened with Joe Corrigan if I remember correctly; Keith McCrae was brought in because it was felt Joe was still too young/too error prone. And we all know what happened there.

The next month promises to be interesting. Rather than “star” names I’d like to see the weaknesses addressed. Defenders of quality, midfield and a goal scorer. But If Kaka is eager to come to Eastlands I’d not turn him away. I’m perfectly ok in seeing how Hughes comes through this season. There are a few games in January where we should pick up a number of points.

Happy New Year to everyone. Thanks to Heidi and all the regular and dependable contributors who continue to bring us all this wonderful newsletter.

John Pearson <john.pearson(at)>


I have just read an excellent article by the Daily Mail’s Ian Ladyman, and it gives a great insight into the troubled mind of Mark Hughes and the problems within the club. Hughes has never had the supporters on his side (when was the last time we chanted his name or asked him to “give us a wave”?), and not that we needed telling, a big chunk of the squad are at odds with him.

Is it only me that wondered why Hughes wasn’t photographed with Wayne Bridge before the match instead of Garry Cook? Does Cook know something we don’t?

Here is some of Ian Ladyman’s article. For the full article click on this link–day-life-Manchester-City.html

The full extent of Mark Hughes’s anger after Manchester City’s capitulation to Nottingham Forest on Saturday was felt not in the dressing room but in the boardroom, it emerged last night. Journalists who waited for an hour to talk with Hughes after the final whistle presumed the City manager was spelling out a few home truths to his players who had failed him so nakedly at Eastlands. But Hughes had headed straight for an impromptu meeting with City executives, whom he believes need to act more promptly to get him the players he needs so badly.

Hughes understands the complexities of transfers but told executive chairman Garry Cook and chief operating officer Paul Aldridge weeks ago he needed his new players at the club in the first week of the transfer window as City’s season continued to limp towards disaster. He reinforced the message in blunt terms on Saturday, effectively telling his employers to do whatever is necessary to get him the players he wants to prop up a squad who continue to prove themselves so shockingly unfit for purpose.

It is understood Hughes did not even give his side a particularly noticeable rollicking on Saturday. The Welshman is fed up with talking to players who, aware that they have no long-term future at the club, just stare back at him with blank, emotionless faces. On Saturday one player, who had played a major part in City’s downfall, laughed with a team-mate as he took his post-match shower.

Only a fortnight previously, a group of players, prominently featuring Brazilian Elano and Israeli defender Tal Ben Haim, called a team meeting with the express purpose of denegrating Hughes’s tactics. One player (no longer in the squad) recently went to Cook to complain (unsuccessfully) about the manager.

Against this background, it is clear why Hughes feels the need to shake up his squad and isolate those who appear to have lost the desire to play for him. Michael Ball, Didi Hamann, Elano and Jo would not figure in another Hughes team in his ideal world.

Hughes delivered his thoughts to those paid to do club transfers as the crowd drifted home with anger in their bellies and the City boss also delivered his message to Simon Pearce, the influential right-hand man to chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak, in a meeting last Tuesday.

Pearce had only good news to impart when he met Hughes. The message, primarily, was that Khaldoon and City owner Sheikh Monsour continue to appreciate the deficiencies in Hughes’s squad and the need to address them.

For now, Hughes is escaping the blame. The fact that Khaldoon was also asking for information relating to Prozone statistics, though, also indicates how closely the chairman wishes to monitor individual player performances from now on.

I’d never condone the use of player power to get rid of a manager, and the players have a duty to perform for the paying supporters no matter what their issues with the management team (one supporter on the radio suggested that the players club together to refund the total cost of the City fans’ admission price), but it seems that Hughes could be a dead man walking with a dwindling number of allies within the club.

After reading Hughes’ comments on the official City website, he breaks the golden rule of not publicly criticising the players after a poor defeat. The most poignant part of the website comment, accompanied by a black and white photo of Hughes(?), read as follows:

I think people have to be honest and accept that today we didn’t perform. We’re not good enough to be able to carry players when we play games, irrespective of the opposition, if we’ve got three, four or five players not at the level we know they’re capable of then it compromises the team. That was evident today we had too many players nowhere near that level and as a consequence we lost the game.

I was concerned with the collective showing of the team itself. Today, without the shining lights of the season so far, Stevie Ireland, Robinho and Shaun Wright-Phillips, we looked lacking. We’re honest in that respect and I think we’ve possibly relied on those players too much and allowed them to carry the team somewhat.

I too was concerned with the collective showing of the team itself Mark, and for my part I have committed not to waste any more time and money attending another away match (including Europe) until this situation is resolved. Though Blackburn was my first away league game for a couple of years, it has cost me £500 a time to travel to Midjytland and Santander. Thankfully the few days spent in each country made it money well spent, but the same couldn’t be said for the first 88 minutes in Denmark and the entire match in Spain. It is a rare thing to be humiliated at a home match, but there is every chance of it away from home with games coming up against Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Everton, Manchester United and Tottenham. The only easy away games are at Portsmouth, Stoke and West Ham. Ha!

The problem facing the club is this:

Do you get rid of all the troublesome anti-Hughes players (if indeed you know who they all are), or is it easier to just get rid of the management team and bring in somebody who will gain instant respect for what they have achieved as a manager?

Answers on a postcard please…

Steve Kay <steve(at)>


So the pantomime continues, we sign Bridge but manage to lose 0-3 to a team just out of the relegation zone in the Championship.

Hughes’ muppet management was illustrated by the complete confusion on the pitch with Elano and Sturridge arguing about which positions they were meant to be in. Hughes standing there chewing gum, while Bowen waves his arms about. The overall impression was that they couldn’t manage a Welsh whelk store. We had no wide players, and without Robinho and Ireland no one capable of playing on the left (except Garrido who was naturally left on the bench). From the academy we have in Vladimir Weiss a brilliant young winger, but he was not even a substitute (though of course Berti was, because Hughes bought him).

It appears that most of the players don’t really want to play for Hughes, they don’t believe in the football factory aerobic fitness training, and resent the constant threats that they will soon be replaced by better players (Bellamy! and Parker!). So they feel they are living on borrowed time at City, which is not a great motivator.

We are the richest club in the world but out of both domestic cups, and two points above the relegation places, so the only way we will get into Europe next season is by winning the UEFA Cup. I am not going to book my ticket to Istanbul just yet. We need a manager who commands respect, is tactically sound, can attract big players and can handle the pressure of being at a big club with a lot of money. Hughes isn’t that man and never was. He lacks tactical and technical skills, and has almost no man management skills. In the summer the owners will be able to get such a manager. In the meantime Stuart Pearce (remember what he achieved with no money) would be able to stop the rot, and could still combine the job with being Under-21 coach.

Mike Dean <mikedean(at)>


What a gutless, spineless, mistake-ridden performance that was.

I could not believe what I was watching. Nottingham Forest had 3 shots on target and won 3-0. It was a disgrace. Never have I felt so ashamed of being a City fan. I am not a “Hughes out” type, preferring managers to be given some time, but I must admit to having dark thoughts about him on the way home.

How difficult can it be to motivate 11 millionaires to try to provide some entertainment for the long suffering fans? Do you think we have a case for the Sheikh to offer a refund for the non event?

After 55 years of putting up with this, I left a game 15 minutes before the end for the first time ever. I couldn’t even be bothered to stay and do a bit of booing as they no doubt trudged off in my absence.

Get a grip Hughes. Try throwing a few Ferguson type boots around the place – maybe it will help?

Yours disgustedly – grumpy old man from Heald Green.

Chris Ryder <christopherryd(at)>


Before I start venting my thoughts on some of the team, I would just like to say that this is my opinion so if anyone disagrees then by all means write and say so, but please don’t write and say I’m wrong and have no right to say these things. Everyone has their own opinions.

World class players don’t become Blue Square Premier players until they are about 45 years old, and even then some of them are still good enough for some First Division clubs, so why have players like Elano, Dunne and Richards become worst class players in the space of a year? This time last year they were world class players; you never lose your skill in such a short space of time, they just don’t want to play for MH, so something has to be going on behind the scenes.

The players have no respect for him and why should they when he never stands in the technical area and speaks to them? Sturridge, on more than one occasion, had to go off the pitch to ask what to do! He doesn’t even stand and shout at them when things are going wrong. The only time I’ve seen him stand up is coming into the ground and at the end of a match. Oh and occasionally when City are winning! Elano and Dunne have lost all confidence in his managerial / motivational skills. I suppose it’s difficult having to fill the boots of a world class coach like SGE, but he’s demanding respect from the players. It’s got to be earned. It might have worked at Blackburn but the City players are not ‘yes men’, seasoned players (like Dunne and Elano) will not take to being told what to do and I think the younger players like Richards are being influenced by them. Charlie was a good judge of character and managed to get away to Spurs!

It (the back four) worked well last year so why try to fix something that wasn’t broken? Constantly playing players out of position and ridiculing them when things go wrong isn’t the way to earn respect. And from today’s display it seems to be rubbing off on Zabeleta and Kompany. Zabeleta was labouring in getting back to his defensive duties and Kompany’s passing was woeful at times.

Why does he persist in taking off strikers and putting on midfielders when we are losing? On a one off game like today why not play 4-2-4 or 3-3-4 when you’re losing? Where are the younger players? City have had one of the best youth sides for years and I’m sure in a game like today’s any one of them would have played with more passion and commitment than most of the players today.

He’s bought Bridge but where is he going to play him? He seems to like Ball (for me Carrido has got better with each game) so maybe because he couldn’t get Buffon he’ll play him in goal!

I went on the stadium tour some years ago and in the dressing room were a safe for jewellery and two notices (one on the wall and the other on the door) telling the players about the FA rules regarding jewellery so why was Vassell wearing earrings and had to take them out before getting on? Why was Vassell put on? Why is Vassell still a first team player? Why is Vassell allowed on a football pitch? Has he got something over MH and threatens to make it public if he isn’t picked? It can’t be for his skills surely and I suppose the same can be said for Fernandes as well. I have never known a player to be so negative than him. He could be on the edge of the opponent’s area and, instead of the killer pass to a forward, it would be a back pass to Hart. Vassell and Fernandes run around like headless chickens. Not once this season have I seen any of these players make me think ‘he’s had a good game today’ or ‘he passed the ball well today’. Youth players can run around like headless chickens for a fraction of the wage but show more passion and commitment in doing so!

Vassell, Fernandes, Jo, Ben-Hiam, Elano and Ball should go, and a spell in the reserves will bring Richards back down to earth. Give some of the youngsters a chance if no one wants to come to City because even if we lose a couple of games at least we’ll know how good they are and it’ll be better than watching the team lose with players that don’t want to play.

Should he stay or should he go? Go definitely, but not before the end of the transfer window. If he goes now, there wouldn’t be enough time for another manager to go and get the players he wants, so let MH bring in the players and then sack him; at least the new manager would know who he has to work with for the rest of the season.

I heard on the radio that George Graham has said he has one more ‘big job’ in him! Maybe if City can’t get Mourinho (and why should he come to a relegation threatened team that won’t be in Europe next year), they should give GG a chance. At least he had good managerial/motivational skills and earned the respect of the players, not demanded it!

Theory: City players play so badly that no one wants to come to the club therefore the players keep their places!

CTID (and if I see more of this rubbish I’m going to have to kill myself anddie without lying!), Kev Pollitt <kpollitt(at)>


The last two games versus Hull and against Blackburn should have raised most supporters’ morale, after picking up four points to get us out of the dreaded bottom three.

I don’t think that there has been a single City supporter who has not been frustrated by the games and football prior to the last two games.

Although the players showed more commitment in the last two games, it is still very much a team that needs some added strength in areas that stand out.

The January transfer window has never been a good one to get the best players for any team; clubs still in Champions’ Cup will not part with their best for obvious reasons and even if City were in the Champions’ Cup, players would not move because they would be cup tied.

However, there is one bright thing about City: we are still in the UEFA Cup and this might still help get some decent players to strengthen the squad, players who might not look too badly at City’s position in the league, for it will only take a few wins to be back in the top half of the league, that’s how close the Premier League is this season.

I think that some players have got to be sent on their way (if possible), whilst others who might just be on the fence, told that City are not bringing players in to replace them, but to strengthen the squad. Players have got to have a big desire of playing in the team, and with a chance if they show that they can be part of it.

I see some readers still want Mark Hughes sacked, although one person says Mark Hughes must go, but he says he is not calling for him to be sacked?

Some supporters want instant success from a manager; we have had too much of this attitude in the past. How many managers have we had whilst the Evil Empire still have the same one, who also had a bad start to his career with United? Sir Red Face was given time, we need to be patient and not so easily get frustrated that some call for the manager’s head. We need stability, and success will come.

I stand firmly behind Mark Hughes as the City Manager/Coach, and I say stand behind him, and the team and we shall move forward together.

Come on you Blues! In Sparky I trust.

Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)>


Crikey, having read MCIVTA 1494 it’s a mixture of ‘promise’ and ‘doom and gloom’.

Whilst MCIVTA is a great platform for opinion and debate, I sometimes feel that some people take it to the extreme and I wish some would check things out before sl***ing people off, especially Hughes.

Colin Hunt commented “but certainly didn’t expect our most reliable forward to be taken off halfway through the performance of his lifetime for a £19,000,000 pair of shiny boots.” in reference to Caicedo being taken off at half time whilst we are 4-0 up at home to Hull. For clarity Colin, he was taken off as a precautionary measure as he had a tight calf muscle. You must have written your piece during the game as Hughes explained all after the match. Why risk someone when we are well on top of an easy game? Having seen his performance against Hull, I am not convinced that he is 100% fit still.

Andy Armstrong commented “What I don’t understand is why Mark Hughes has not been sacked yet? Are the current owners going to let him spend their money in the transfer window then sack him when things go wrong, then appoint someone else who has not picked those players?” Sorry Andy but you totally contradict yourself! you want Hughes sacked, and assuming that it’s after the transfer window, you defend the next manager by virtue of him using Hughes’ players. You seem to forget that this is the exact scenario that Hughes finds himself in, yet you don’t extend that defence to him?!

Steve Oatway commented “I never have in 40 years of supporting City and no offence to Blackburn or Wales but he has managed a second rate Premiership club and a terrible national team and won nothing with either. Granted he had limited resources at both but what has he done that makes him such a highly rated manager?” and you the answer your question as “nothing”. Well Steve, I agree, he has only managed to get Blackburn into the top 10 in each of his full seasons there:

2005/06 he got them to 6th – City were 15th
2006/07 he got them to 10th – City were 14th
2007/08 he got them to 7th – City were 9th

Much better than Pearce or Sven managed on equally limited resources (compared to SP) and I suppose he must have done better than SGE as Sven managed to splash the cash.

As I said in MCIVTA 1494, Hughes has to be given a chance to spend in the transfer window to formulate his own squad. We are more than capable of finishing in the top 10 this season and improving on last season’s 9th place finish. At least we didn’t get tonked 8-1 at Middlesbrough this season, now there’s an improvement!

Keep the faith.

Andrew Keller <akcity(at)>


I await with bated breath the hysterical response to Saturday’s humiliating defeat against Forest. Yes, the performance was abysmal. Yes, everybody who parted with their hard-earned cash has got a right to be furious with what they witnessed. But I want to underline my continued support for Mark Hughes and the job he is trying to do because the players are the ones to blame for our present shortcomings.

It all comes down to psychology. One moment they were in their comfort zone, playing at a level they knew they could sustain, with a club that was willing to accept a culture of limited achievement. The next moment they were thrust into the spotlight of playing for the wealthiest club in the world and most of those players are clearly not good enough to raise the bar and sustain the higher level of performance that is suddenly expected of them.

Some of these players clearly cannot handle the pressure of playing for their own futures, so what chance does Hughes stand if they are playing for his?

I realise many people are going to scrutinise Hughes’ team selection and tactics in recent weeks, pick out mistakes he has made and highlight them in isolation but we have to stay focused on the bigger picture at all times, the main point being these are not his players.

So what happens if we sack him?

We start all over again and the real guilty parties, the players who have shafted him, get a second chance while another manager has to settle in and decide who stays and who goes. We could be another 12 months down the line before we realise who has the mental capacity to handle the pressure of playing for the wealthiest club in the world.

Luckily, I think Abu Dhabi group know this. Whatever Hughes said when he had Khaldoon al-Mubarak round for dinner obviously made a lasting impression because the club appear to be supporting him implicitly.

I understand the fans’ frustration but we must be careful not to over-react and rock the boat too much. We could be on the verge of something very special and it would be a shame if we deny ourselves that opportunity by chopping and changing managers before each has been given enough chance to get to the root of the problem.

It’s easy to be successful with all this money we have. With a bottomless transfer kitty, any manager can satisfy our craving for instant gratification by getting us into the Champions’ League, winning the odd FA Cup and maybe even a league title. But lasting success, the sort we have been made to suffer across the road for the past two decades, can only be sustained on solid foundations. Lasting domination takes something a bit more than money and I think Hughes, as a man, possesses that extra dimension.

Had Sven still been in charge, he might have achieved a lot more up to this point. We might have been in the hunt for a Champions’ League spot and still in both cup competitions. But Sven is a different type of manager. He doesn’t build dynasties, neither does Mourinho. Come to think of it, very few managers ever do build dynasties outside of their homeland.

Foreigners generally bring something new to a club, something exciting, fresh ideas and innovative approaches. But they always get sussed out eventually and then they move on to the next ‘project’, usually with a big compensation package in their back pocket. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule (if you aspire to what Wenger and Benitez have achieved in this country), but very few indeed.

Home-grown managers, on the other hand, might take a little while to wrestle control of a club but once they have that control, they generally stay one step ahead of the game and they are more inclined to invest a lifetime in the same job without walking away at the first sign of trouble.

So the question we must ask ourselves now is this: do we want to build a dynasty and achieve consistent success or do we just want to satisfy the craving for instant gratification and maintain this ‘typical City’ culture of extreme highs and lows for the next couple of decades?

For some City fans, the second option might appeal. Some of us genuinely do love the emotional rollercoaster of being a Blue, that’s the reason why they are City fans. For me, it’s different. I didn’t get a choice. My dad made me a Blue and I want us to be the best team in the land. I want a home-grown manager with his best years still ahead of him and I still think Hughes fits the bill better than anyone.

Mike Holden <mike(at)>


Right, we all agree City were unbridled s***e (that should beat the censors) against Forest. The big question is why? Calls to sack the manager at this stage need to be placed in perspective. Mark Hughes is working with Pearce and SGE dross. I expressed similar sentiments after the WBA débâcle but the FA Cup exit was worse, much, much worse.

Hughes has bought well thus far, Tal Ben Haim apart, and isn’t hanging around perpetuating that mistake and it looks like TBH will be reunited with Fat Sam this month all well and good.

The problem lies with lazy, not-very-talented ‘footballers’ who are self serving and don’t give a monkey’s about the greater good of MCFC or the long-suffering support.

We should get rid of: Dunne, Vassell, Benjani, Elano, Fernandes, Jo, Ball, Caceido, Hamann in January if possible. It’s incredible how Dunney’s performances and those of Micah have dropped like a stone but enough is enough. Let’s hope Dodgy Harry still wants him, albeit a fee is now involved unlike the freebie Dunne would have been last summer.

As for Vassell, the man is a coward, a ‘forward’ who resolutely refuses to shoot on goal. Utter garbage. Fernandes is just a joke, running around like a deranged Daddy Long Legs to absolutely zero effect. Elano and Jo just don’t want to know whereas Benjani and Caceido carry no threat or pace up front. Hamann is now a spent force and sadly Ball simply isn’t up to standard. Micah needs a rocket up the Arsenal and should recognise he has the potential to be an outstanding full back because he sure as hell isn’t a centre back.

When I look back at Sven’s much heralded signings there’s very few have lasted the test of time and we’re only talking 18 months. Petrov and Corluka yes, Bojinov will probably turn out to be the best of the lot, injuries notwithstanding, Garrido decent squad player, Geovanni a mystery given his performances at Hull, Elano a self serving spineless runt, Fernandes clueless, Caceido nah and Jo – not a Hughes signing – ineffective.

I say gives Hughes the money and let’s see if we’ve qualified for the UEFA Cup in May time. It’s far too early to call time on what most people perceive is a talented young British manager so let’s support him and see where we end up.

David Walker <davidjwalker1(at)>


First of all a happy and, hopefully, prosperous New Year to all fellow Blues. This is certainly a potentially exciting time and I honestly believe our new-found riches will bring us success in the future. I suspect the January ‘window’ will bring a stabilising signing or 2 but the real action will take place in the summer.

Just a quick note to let you know that in December 2009 there will be a true ‘blue moon’ on December 31st. A rare occurrence but one which will be the bearer of good times ahead for us Blues.

Joe Ramsbottom <joe(at)>


Lots I could say, but to sum up: “an absolute disgrace”.

CTID (God alone knows why!), Mick B <koolfurmick(at)>


In answer to the request from Peter Carlisle regarding game memories, I was also at both of the games you mention but the passing of time has blurred the events…

I think (and I do say think) the game where Corrigian kicked the ball forward and it was volleyed back past him was City versus West Ham. Possibly the début game for Jimmy Greaves? I think we got hammered 5-1! The conditions were dreadful, absolutely soaking wet. The game would never even be thought to be played these days. Also, in true MCFC fashion we could have possibly gone 1-0 up!

Also, the Ian Storey-Moore game: I think it was his début game for Forest. We either won or lost 2-1. He did indeed get carried off with a broken leg after an injury in the penalty area at the Platt Lane End. 1969-70 sounds about right. No doubt someone will have an encyclopedic memory and prove me wrong!

Ray Bardsley <rbardsley(at)>


The next meeting of the Reddish branch of the Centenary Supporters’ Association is on Wednesday 14th January at Reddish Working Men’s Club, Greg Street, South Reddish, Stockport, starting at 7.30pm.

We have three confirmed guests from the Club for the evening, who are:
Garry Cook – City Executive Chairman
Alex Williams – City in the Community
Pete Bradshaw – MCFC Community and Social Responsibility
There will be a video presentation on the activities the Club are involved with followed by an open Q&A session.

Howard Burr <reddishblues(at)>


Carl went to watch City play against Schalke in Germany. On the way home he had an accident at the train station and suffered massive head injuries. Carl was in a coma for over 3 weeks and has just been transferred to a rehabilation unit so he can be assessed. He can now actually breathe on his own and is showing small signs of improvement. Carl is originally from Heywood and now lives in Liverpool. His twin brother Andrew has been keeping a vigil at the hospital. To help alleviate their financial situation, we did a collection in some pubs before the Hull game and with some other donations collected £1,600. Outside the Fernhurst at Blackburn we collected £630. Liverpool and Everton fans have collected £1,000. Bluemoon website have collected £350 and other fans have sent cheques to the family. We would like to thank everyone who has donated and sent messages of support. If any individual or supporters’ branch would like to make a donation or send get well or good luck cards please send c/o Andrew Ramsbottom, 100 Miller Street, Heywood. For more infomation please contact Ian Ramsbottom on 07852 826 150. Many thanks. Have a good New Year everyone.

Don Price <donprice(at)>


Next meeting will be at the stadium on Tuesday 20 January at 6.30 p.m.

We’ll follow the revised pattern of just one evening meeting with club reps I’m hoping the car park supervisor will attend. Any other requests?

If we know what issues are to be raised, it is more productive to let the club reps know in advance, as they might have chance to find out an answer.

Steve Parish <bloovee(at)>


Five minutes to go and 2-0 down to Blackburn; I decided to leave the comfort of the pub and go outside for a cigarette.

“Where are you going, that’s your team innit?” said the barmaid, a self confessed know-nothing when it comes to football. “You wouldn’t understand why,” I said and sulked off into the cold.

On my return I stared at the TV to see the number ‘1’ against the ‘MC’. I instantly announced that, at no concern for my personal health, I was going straight back outside for another smoke.

As my teeth rattled, the barmaid came bowling through the door shouting “two-two! two-two!” I waited until I was sure that the game was over and ventured back inside. My superstitious antics having shown their worth, the rest of the punters gave a respectful nod.

Then out of the blue (pardon the pun) came the words I didn’t expect at that time. “Hey that was really exciting! I was going to choose a team to follow. I think I will support City from now on” said a bouncing barmaid.

Even after I gave the lecture on ‘City is for life, not just for Christmas’ her mind was made up. A generally woeful performance followed by a Gillingham-esque comeback and another Blue materialises. In retrospect I can see that it was moments like this that make being a City fan unique.

So there you go, another Blue is born. How similar many of our own ‘Why Blues’ are to this. One simple moment and we are hooked for all time, just like I was 40 years ago.

On a personal note, West Brom and Blackburn are just the latest two cases where I have watched us on telly. I couldn’t make Hull. I hereby promise to not watch City on the box again this season, and if I even catch a glimpse of a set, I’ll instantly light up!

Happy Blue Year all.

Stu Wells <stuloujos(at)>


30 December 2008

Hull City             0 - 1  Aston Villa           24,727

29 December 2008

Manchester United     1 - 0  Middlesbrough         75,294

League table to 04 January 2009 inclusive

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F   A   GD Pts
 1 Liverpool       20  6  4  0 16  6  7  2  1 19  7 13  6  1  35  13  22 45
 2 Chelsea         20  4  4  2 17  6  8  2  0 23  3 12  6  2  40   9  31 42
 3 Manchester Utd  18  7  1  0 20  4  4  4  2  9  6 11  5  2  29  10  19 38
 4 Aston Villa     20  4  5  1 16 11  7  0  3 17 11 11  5  4  33  22  11 38
 5 Arsenal         20  6  2  2 17 11  4  3  3 16 12 10  5  5  33  23  10 35
 6 Everton         20  2  4  4 12 15  7  1  2 15 10  9  5  6  27  25   2 32
 7 Wigan Athletic  19  5  2  3 11 10  3  2  4 13 11  8  4  7  24  21   3 28
 8 Hull City       20  3  2  5 10 20  4  4  2 18 17  7  6  7  28  37  -9 27
 9 Fulham          19  6  3  1 16  8  0  5  4  2  6  6  8  5  18  14   4 26
10 West Ham United 20  4  1  5 13 15  3  3  4 11 13  7  4  9  24  28  -4 25
11 Bolton Wndrs    20  3  2  5  8 11  4  0  6 14 17  7  2 11  22  28  -6 23
12 Portsmouth      20  4  2  4 14 17  2  3  5  7 16  6  5  9  21  33 -12 23
13 Manchester City 20  5  0  5 24 11  1  4  5 14 19  6  4 10  38  30   8 22
14 Newcastle Utd   20  4  3  3 16 17  1  4  5 10 15  5  7  8  26  32  -6 22
15 Sunderland      20  3  2  5 11 13  3  2  5 10 16  6  4 10  21  29  -8 22
16 Tottenham H.    20  3  3  4  7  7  2  2  6 13 18  5  5 10  20  25  -5 20
17 Middlesbrough   20  3  3  4  9 14  2  2  6  8 15  5  5 10  17  29 -12 20
18 Stoke City      20  5  2  3 12 11  0  3  7  6 22  5  5 10  18  33 -15 20
19 Blackburn R.    20  2  3  5 10 17  2  3  5 12 19  4  6 10  22  36 -14 18
20 West Brom A.    20  4  2  4 13 16  1  1  8  3 19  5  3 12  16  35 -19 18

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v0708.01]

[1] MCIVTA Addresses

Articles (Heidi Pickup)          :
News/rumour (Alex Rowen)         :
Subscriptions (Madeleine Hawkins):
Technical problems (Paul)        :
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[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 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

[5] What supporters’ clubs are there?

Manchester City FC recognises three supporters’ clubs: The “Official Supporters Club” (; the “Centenary Supporters’ Association” ( 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

Live match commentaries and archives of games, reports and interviews can be found at

[8] Where can I find out if City are live on satellite TV? provides a listing of Premiership games being shown on UK domestic and foreign satellite channels. Useful sites for North American viewers are,, and

[9] Do we have a Usenet newsgroup?

Yes we do: is our home on usenet. If you are not familiar with usenet, a basic explanation is available here:,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

[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

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,

Newsletter #1495