Newsletter #1503

Disappointment on Saturday as 10-man Stoke City got the better of us thanks to some very poor defending. We have views on that tonight, together with transfer reaction as the window creaks shut and the Shay Given deal is completed.

So where to now? More opinion on that, together with the sad news of a City fan who collapsed and died during last Wednesday’s game vs. Newcastle.

Next Game: Middlesbrough, home, 12.45pm Saturday 7 February 2009


I am writing this about an hour before the Stoke match. A lot has been written about City’s forays into the transfer market, especially regarding all the big names we have been linked with, and never got (most of it paper talk). I read with great interest Phil Banarjee’s opinion in MCIVTA 1500, where he felt City got bad press over the Kaka deal. There were some bits that I agreed with him, but there were also bits that I feel City could and should have handled better, and these were the areas that the press took umbrage with, and chose to criticise City and Gary Cook in particular. As a City follower, I long for the day when we have a team with at east 5 or 6 world class players in the squad, but that should happen gradually, and more importantly from a “solid base”. However, I think it is very apparent that as a result of the “mind boggling” figures touted over the Kaka deal, City have now got themselves “known” all over the world! So on the PR front Gary Cook has been spot on.

The down side to this, is that every foray we make into the transfer market, means that all the selling clubs add on at least £5 million to the valuation of the player. Look at Blackburn (I just cannot stand Allardyce) and the stance they are taking with RSC; he is not worth more than £10 million at the max but guess what, we are pursuing him so much that Blackburn are calling the shots. If I were City, I would say here’s £10 million take it or leave it, and that would send a better message to all selling clubs. The world is our oyster, but let’s not pay 5 times over the odds for a player who is not setting the Premier League alight this season. A better bet would be Peter Crouch for around £12 million. I think we paid well over the odds for Nigel de Jong, and I would have preferred to have gone for someone like Kevin Nolan, who was a steal at £4 million.

What is very obvious to everyone, is just how small we are physically as a team; we need a mixture of a physical presence and good pacey, tricky small ones. This is one of Mark Hughes’ comments: “It’s going to be a difficult fixture for us. They’re a big, strong, imposing side and if we’re honest with ourselves we haven’t got a big, physical presence, apart from our back four.” Well MH, then go out and buy some big imposing players, to complement our little shrimps (good little ones though!).

I was very impressed the way City played against Newcastle in midweek, especially in the first half. We kept possession well, and Robinho certainly showed what he can do. I thought Zabaleta in his new rôle, was very, very good, he has grit and determination and looks to get forward. Kompany too, looked very assured. However, our new left back does not give me the same confidence. Richards seems to find right back much more to his liking, and I always believed that he was playing out of position at centre half. I like the look of Bellamy, and I think he will be a good buy for us, full of energy and desire. We need to turn our dominance into goals, as that is what is lacking. If and when we get Shay Given, that will be good for the club and Joe Hart too, as he needs to be rested a bit, and hopefully also learn from a seasoned campaigner.

The future certainly looks a lot more promising than a month ago, and I hope we continue to have a good level of consistent performances till the end of the season. We need to clear the decks of some driftwood, the sooner the better; hopefully someone will come in for them. Whatever happens we must retain the services of Daniel Sturridge.

Come on City!

Glyn Albuquerque <glynalbuquerque(at)>


Great to see Bellamy and DeJong make such an impact against Newcastle, and at the time of writing this, still don’t know if Given and our mystery striker are going to appear prior to the deadline. But one thing mystifies me: when are certain players going to leave?

Surely we can’t add four or five more players without letting someone go? Tal Bel-Haim has to be ticketed for the exit, same with Vassell, Jo, Ball, Hamann, Fernandes and Benjami. I can understand City letting Ched Evans and Michael Johnson go as well. But as I write, they are still on our books?

I just hope that City won’t get too carried away with all these big-money signings and spend whatever they have to in order to secure Daniel Sturridge. It would be a crime if they are panning the globe for a major striker when they have a great prospect in their midst. Sturridge is a keeper!

One other player I really feel sorry for is Kasper Schmeichel. If indeed Given is en route, then Kasper has to find another team, which is a shame. I thought he was brilliant early last season when we were winning all those 1-0 games. His performance against Arsenal (great penalty save) and The Rags were memorable. He never did anything to deserve being dropped and the knock against his height isn’t justified when you think of the high balls Hart has missed that have cost us goals and points (WBA, Everton).

Real shame that he has to go and he is going to be a brilliant signing by some other team. One thing about City…n ever dull!

Let’s clean Stoke’s clock.

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


Like a couple of sheep in the ship canal, Hughes and Cook both look hopelessly out of their depth.

Former England player James Beattie, 30, signs from Sheffield United to Stoke for a fee that could rise to £3.5 million. Beattie, unmarked by Bridge, scores against us and secures 3 points for 10 man Stoke.

Former England player Wayne Bridge 28 who was signed for over £10 million, and who is paid more than any other full back in the country, is largely responsible for the goals against us last week by both Newcastle and Stoke.

I don’t think that good players become poor overnight when they play for us. The tactics and the manager have to play a big part in this. It will be very interesting to see what happens to Jo when he goes to Everton (10 goals?).

The only chance Hughes has of being manager at Eastlands next season (unless there is a vacancy in the box-office department) is if we win the UEFA Cup. When he goes he will take Cook with him, and we get a world class manager and business-like CEO.

For all those who keep imploring give Hughes more time, more time and he’ll get it right, don’t worry, he’ll be royally rewarded, his pay-off will be more that you’ll ever earn in a lifetime. And Cook’s pay-off will probably pay for another left back.

You may scoff at this but I think Hughes may be an OK manager in the right circumstances. He played for Wales and did OK as their manager. He played for Blackburn and did well as their manager. He used to play against us, and his managerial style (dictatorial and arrogant) combined perhaps with some poor decisions and bad luck has alienated good players.

CTID, Mike Dean <mikedean(at)>


Considering it was Manchester City, it was obvious we were never going to beat the 10-man Stoke side today, which played with much more intent and desire than City could ever muster. There is a case that SWP should also have been sent off for appearing to kick out at Rory Delap which, in hindsight, probably would have benefited us, since it would have evened up the sides to 10 men apiece, so we would have not taken the extra-man situation for granted.

What makes today’s performance and result even more unpalatable and embarrassing is when you consider the cost of assembling the Stoke side to the cost of ours. Not to mention what I’m sure is the enormous disparity of the wage bill of each club. Once again, today’s result for us is unacceptable. We couldn’t punch a hole through a paper bag, even though Craig Bellamy had one terrific shot fly just over the bar.

For those calling for Mark Hughes’ head, many more results similar to this and I don’t believe the board will fire him; there’s probably an excellent chance he’ll simply walk away out of frustration, to save it the bother.

So, it’s back to square one for Mark and the boys. And, the end of the transfer window is just around the corner. It just gets better still, the main thing is City’s players get very well paid win, lose or draw, right?

I’m not sure how others feel, but I’m convinced Sam Allardyce is simply trying to take advantage of City’s wealth re. Mark Hughes’ incessant chasing of Santa Cruz. The player cannot be the only striker of paramount interest to City yet we apparently still continue to make increased bids, leaving Sam A. feeling totally in charge of the situation which, under these circumstances, indeed he is. We seem to be desperate for this particular player, which I fail to agree with, so I would no longer give Allardyce the satisfaction of stringing us along. Enough is enough.

Apparently, yet another increased bid from City has been rejected today, Friday so, it clearly now is time to put this situation to bed and just walk away from this proposed deal.

To my knowledge no other club is interested in Cruz, so, why us? According to the press Allardyce needs funds to make further purchases so, let him use others’ money, if he can obtain it for Santa Cruz, not City’s. Time to call his bluff and put an end to this situation once and for all and move on. It has become tiresome.

Graham Mills <gkm_5(at)>


The first half versus Newcastle saw some crisp passing and the new players fitted in as if they had been with us all season. It was a deserved win, although the goal we let Newcastle have could have been prevented.

The game versus Stoke turned out to be a frustrating game. Stoke in all fairness, although I hate to have to say it, played the right kind of game to beat City on the day.

There are two ways to defend a corner: you can set a zone defence, or you mark players.

In my humble opinion I would have the two main marksmen, which in the Stoke team are Fuller and Beattie, marked by players designated to do the job, the rest would be zone defenders.

City have got to defend better for set pieces. I understand there were new players in defensive rˆles, but they’re still professionals.

Looking at the cross for the goal a second time, I feel that Richards should have stopped the cross; once the ball had gone over the heads of the City defence, Beattie had a free header at goal to score what became the winner. We had no defender on the goal line for the corner, and we never do, why?

It has become obvious that we need a target man up front, just hope that we can still get Santa Cruz, time is running out.

The team is taking shape with Bridge, Bellamy, and De Jong looking part of the team; De Jong has not been playing prior to coming to City, so needs to get match fit.

I write this on Saturday, so by the time the next MCIVTA edition comes out, we could see Shay Given, and a target man possibly signed by City?

I am not convinced that Richards is the best option for right back, I prefer Zabeleta going on the form of the players right now. Richards is not the player of last season, he has got to improve.

Put Zab in the right back position, and Elano in the midfield slot.

Come on you Blues! I still trust in Sparky!

Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)>


As many people will be aware, City fan Brian Nuttall very sadly collapsed and died at Wednesday’s game vs. Newcastle.

We have just posted a story on with a statement expressing the Club’s sympathy, but having spoken to his widow this afternoon, she wanted to pass on the family’s gratitude to all the people who have expressed their sympathies via message boards.

The URL for the statement is:{DBD12D53-8346-431D-A04F-5D0F8664DE80}&newsid=6626160&siteid=&pageno=&newscategory=&frommonth=11&fromyear=2008&tomonth=1&toyear=2009



1 February 2009

Newcastle United      1 - 1  Sunderland            52,084
Liverpool             2 - 0  Chelsea               44,174

31 January 2009

Stoke City            1 - 0  Manchester City       27,236
Arsenal               0 - 0  West Ham United       60,109
Aston Villa           0 - 0  Wigan Athletic        41,766
Bolton Wanderers      3 - 2  Tottenham Hotspur     21,575
Fulham                3 - 1  Portsmouth            23,722
Hull City             2 - 2  West Bromwich Albion  24,879
Middlesbrough         0 - 0  Blackburn Rovers      24,303
Manchester United     1 - 0  Everton               75,399

League table to 01 February 2009 inclusive

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F   A   GD Pts
 1 Manchester Utd  23 10  1  0 25  4  6  4  2 15  6 16  5  2  40  10  30 53
 2 Liverpool       24  7  5  0 19  7  7  4  1 20  8 14  9  1  39  15  24 51
 3 Chelsea         24  6  4  2 21  7  8  2  2 23  8 14  6  4  44  15  29 48
 4 Aston Villa     24  5  6  1 18 12  9  0  3 20 12 14  6  4  38  24  14 48
 5 Arsenal         24  7  3  2 18 11  5  4  3 20 14 12  7  5  38  25  13 43
 6 Everton         24  3  5  4 15 16  7  2  3 16 12 10  7  7  31  28   3 37
 7 Wigan Athletic  24  6  3  3 13 11  3  3  6 13 13  9  6  9  26  24   2 33
 8 West Ham United 24  6  1  5 18 16  3  5  4 13 15  9  6  9  31  31   0 33
 9 Fulham          22  7  3  1 19  9  0  5  6  3 10  7  8  7  22  19   3 29
10 Manchester City 23  7  0  5 27 12  1  4  6 14 20  8  4 11  41  32   9 28
11 Hull City       24  3  3  6 13 25  4  4  4 18 21  7  7 10  31  46 -15 28
12 Bolton Wndrs    24  4  2  6 11 14  4  1  7 16 20  8  3 13  27  34  -7 27
13 Sunderland      24  4  2  6 13 15  3  4  5 12 18  7  6 11  25  33  -8 27
14 Tottenham H.    24  4  4  4 11  9  2  2  8 15 22  6  6 12  26  31  -5 24
15 Newcastle Utd   24  4  5  3 19 20  1  4  7 11 20  5  9 10  30  40 -10 24
16 Portsmouth      23  4  2  5 14 18  2  4  6  9 20  6  6 11  23  38 -15 24
17 Stoke City      24  6  3  3 13 11  0  3  9  8 27  6  6 12  21  38 -17 24
18 Blackburn R.    23  3  4  5 15 19  2  4  5 12 19  5  8 10  27  38 -11 23
19 Middlesbrough   24  3  5  4 10 15  2  2  8  8 20  5  7 12  18  35 -17 22
20 West Brom A.    24  5  2  5 16 21  1  2  9  6 23  6  4 14  22  44 -22 22

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1503