Newsletter #1513

No action for the first team this weekend, but the youth team were victorious in their cup quarter final against Norwich.

We have opinion tonight on support for the team/manager, a look at the last few games, tactics and the latest on the Aalborg trip.

Next Game: Aalborg, home, 7.45pm Thursday 12 March 2009 (UEFA)


Well said Mr Barrow (MCIVTA 1510). I too support Mark Hughes. I was also happy to support Sven Goran Eriksson. In fact, I am happy to support any manager with a proven track record (as both of these managers have) for at least their first 2-3 years of management because that’s how long it takes to turn a club around. Apparently, Martin O’Neill is the new football genius. People have short memories. Martin O’Neill only won 11 Premiership matches in his first season at Aston Villa (a feat Hughes should comfortably beat) and has spent £83 million on players, a not inconsiderable sum.

The fruits of the transfer policy of the current regime were there for all to see against FC Copenhagen last night. Like many season ticket holders, I found myself surrounded by armchair pundits for whom I suspect the game was their first visit to the stadium this season. Most of them would struggle to understand the tactics of tiddly-winks judging by the inane things they were shouting out. How I long for the old days of the Kippax in the early seventies where those not blessed with a sense of humour had the self control to keep their mouths shut, allowing the genuine wags to make the incisive and humorous comments that lit up our Saturday afternoons (this of course at a time when the definition of a wag was ‘someone prone to jesting’, not an overly made-up wife or girlfriend prone to sitting on the knee of billion dollar fraudsters at cricket matches!).

Back to the armchair pundit. Apparently, our diminutive forward line was giving him some concern. From where I sat, we had created about a dozen clear chances and our lack of goals was not down to our inability to cross the ball to a lump of a centre forward. “Bring on a hitman” came the cry from the tiddly-winks champion on my left. A hitman? Edward Fox, now he did a pretty good job in The Day of The Jackal. What about Steven Segal? I’m sure that either would come cheaper than Karim Benzema, the centre forward Hughes apparently tried to buy in January.

Or then there was the guy at the back who got knocked out in the first round of the tiddly-winks championship. He was one of those fans who gets on players’ backs. Like a star struck lover, he only has eyes for one player and comments on their performance throughout the game. Poor Sun Jihai, who always used to put in an honest shift commensurate with his ability, was always subject to these sort of supporters on the radio phone-ins. Sibierski is another one that comes to mind. Well this particular armchair pundit was on the back of Richards. Granted, Richards has not had a great season but at the age of 20 you should expect inconsistency. Contrast Jonny Evans at the Swamp being eased into the team gradually at the age of 21, with Richards being expected to play every game and fill in every position in the back line this season. Personally (and of course we all have our opinions) I thought Richards was showing signs last night of getting some form back now he is in his preferred right back berth, albeit that a bit of throw in practice could benefit his all round game!

“Richards, watch the man behind you” came the cry. “Richards, the man is in front of you”. “Richards, you’re going to get caught”. “Richards, you don’t know what you’re doing”. Now I have to confess my eyesight isn’t what it used to be, but I have to say that during this tirade I didn’t notice the ball go near Richards once.

So here is my appeal. If you don’t want to support the team, don’t go. Watch it on TV. Give the benefit of your insightful tactical genius to your cat. If you shout moronic things like “bring on a hitman”, and I see you at the Champions’ League Final in 5 years’ time, I am going to get a steward to throw you out. I have no way of knowing if Mark Hughes can go on to set up a dynasty at City to rival the one on the other side of town, but I do know it took Ferguson 7 years to win his first league title.

Mal Ogg <Mal.Ogg(at)>


I think it’s a shame Steve Burrows can’t give credit where it’s due to City’s midweek performance against Villa. To claim Villa were poor as opposed to City being at all good is unfair to the manager and to the players.

Watching the game closely, we simply didn’t allow Villa to play. Kompany and De Jong (who were excellent) just didn’t allow Barry and Petrov the room to play and frankly they didn’t know what had hit them. We played at the perfect pace and dictated the game with Elano, SWP and Ireland showing great awareness and understanding and Villa struggling to pick them up.

My main critic is that we didn’t take our chances and that was always going to be an impetus for Villa in the second half because they knew they were lucky to be still in the game. O’Neill changed things around and along with our enforced change (De Jong) the game began to swing their way for half an hour or so. Again credit to us for showing great resilience against a very much improved Villa side this season.

I know Hughes hasn’t always got it right but this in the main has been away from home. Had we won anything up to 4 or 5 aways this season where would we be? Very frustrating at times but we just all have to be patient. Don’t we?

Graham Keller <gkmcfc(at)>


Having watched the last 3 matches, it is obvious that Hughes and his back room staff do things very, very differently to what the average fan would given the players at our disposal.

When we play away, we cannot play Robinho; he has been really awful (in the papers he gets a rating of 4, and that for a £32 million player?). We need a battering ram or at least a tall player to play up front. The Portsmouth game away was probably the worst performance I have seen from a City side for some time, yet Hughes does not learn from that. We just about beat Copenhagen, and their sub scored 2 goals; thankfully Bellamy got us through. I totally agree with Steve Burrows (MCIVTA 1512) where he criticises Hughes’ formations. I also agree with him, how can you play 2 defensive midfielders? At home we should play 2 up front, and I liked the look of Evans, he works his socks off and gets stuck in but he needs a partner to work with, maybe Caicedo or Bojinov. I am also bemused that Garrido does not come on to play left wing, especially as he is more than useful on the left and he will be quite fresh too. We should play Kompany and Ireland in the middle and SWP on the right.

Against West Ham, you could see Collison run half the length of the pitch down their right channel, with not one City player within 10 metres of him. Why? And when the ball is parried by Given, there he is unmarked and puts the ball away. All our players want to play on the right; we need to have each of the opposition’s players covered by one of our own (man for man); too often we mark space.

To me, Micah Richards has been extremely poor this season. I would leave him out for a bit and let him get his desire back. His defending at times can be compared to a youth team player’s; he ball watches and does not read the game, assuming his pace will get him out of trouble. His heading too is woeful, he never seems to be able to head the ball more than a few metres away, and as for his shooting well enough said!

Dunnie has been a revelation since he returned, looks like the enforced break has done him the world of good. Fernandes is absolutely rubbish and should not really feature, unless we have loads of injuries. I cannot understand why Hughes has not given young Weiss any time on the pitch; I watched him playing in the youth team and I reckon he would trouble most defences, as he runs at the opposition’s defence more than Robinho does, and is someone that could create something out of nothing. Maybe it is a blessing that Robinho is out injured, this just might give another player a chance to blossom. How long is Sturridge out for?

Elano had probably his best game this season against Villa, and in my opinion all he needs is confidence and the manager’s backing that he will start games, if he shows desire and application in equal measures. Being a Brazilian international and not playing for City probably irks him a lot, especially when we have had other players like Vassell get given so many chances and still do nothing.

Transfers: I would love us to buy Ribery in the summer, as he would really be a big plus with his skill and energy, hopefully offloading Robinho in the process. We should also look to buy Glen Johnson from Portsmouth as our right back, and offload Micah, who flatters to deceive.

Then we should look at a big quality centre half, to partner Dunne. Why oh why are we being linked with the likes of Kaka and Messi when we are an average Premier League team, all we keep getting is rejections. Hughes needs to get us safe first, then progress, before we can even think of quality players like these. Maybe this will all happen if we get Rijkaard as our manager?

Come on City make it 2 wins on the trot!

Glyn Albuquerque <glynalbuquerque(at)>


How can we explain the difference in performance between City’s inept performance against West Ham and their dramatic turnaround against Aston Villa? Talk about night and day!

But that is City for you. Totally annoying one game and then absolutely amazing the next! But knowing that City can play against the best, there is still no excuse for slumping against the bottom feeders.

We do need some consistency in the run-in but the defence is coming together. Just need to repeat the offensive performance against Villa. Hope they go for it against Chelsea.

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


I have to respectfully disagree with something that Steven Burrows keeps saying about City playing with two defensive midfielders. Kompany hasn’t played defensive midfield in the last several games. Instead, Kompany has played further up the pitch leaving De Jong doing a pretty good imitation of Makalele. We were not playing 4-2-3-1 versus Villa. Lately, we are playing 4-1-4-1. A subtle difference that in my eyes has made all the difference. We haven’t been getting bullied in midfield and have been able to retain possession more effectively with Kompany free to seek and destroy.

By the way, Real Madrid won the Big Ear Cup playing with two defensive midfielders in 2002. It’s less about formations and more about players, effort, and the ability to adapt to changing circumstances to put your best players in a position to succeed. City beat Villa because Villa could not cope with De Jong’s tackling, Kompany’s ball winning and holding, Ireland’s passing, and SWP’s running with the ball in space. The basket of tactics that creates these conditions is going to change from game to game depending on form and the opposition.

Jesse McClure – Fort Worth, Texas <jfm3tx(at)>


Anyone who thinks MH is going and Wenger is coming is clearly living in the same dream world as the Red-infested press. As it happens Arsene Whinger has stated on the Arsenal website that the rumours in the press are just that, end of.

Great display against Villa, spot on tactics and only allowed Villa space to attack when NDJ had to go off. Missing Rob, Bellemy, Petrov, Johnson, Micah and still thrashed Villa. Well done MH keep on track and you will be here for many, many years.

Jack Millington <jack(at)>


Ernie Barrow, that’s beneath you! Being a happy clapper is one thing but trying to shift focus away from Hughes’ inadequacies by making mischief is another. Saying Ferguson “came to Trafford” is only in the geographical sense i.e. he was working in Scotland before that. Unfortunately I have to live near the Swamp, so I don’t need spin from you as a weak attempt to bolster your stance, not when I’ve put up with a shed load of abuse from Reds already in my life, and have to watch them swarming around where I live on match days! Regardless of our different opinions it would show more sense for us Blues to stick together. Nuff said! In my opinion, the only “Red in disguise running down” City is Mark Hughes!

Steve Burrows <stevieburrows(at)>


For those of you who are thinking of going to Aalborg but have not yet booked on to the trip: since going on sale last weekend, we have sold nearly two thirds of the aircraft (240 seater). We are just letting you know that we expect it to sell out quite quickly, and we cannot get a larger aircraft or put on an additional one.

Flight Details

Thursday 19th March ’09, kick off time to be confirmed.
Depart Manchester 0730 hours
Arrive Aalborg 1040 hours
Friday 20th March ’09
Depart Aalborg 0030 hours
Arrive Manchester 0145 hours
We will be flying with Jet2 again from Manchester Terminal 1

Price £175.00

Michael <90-minutes(at)>


7 March 2009

Sunderland            1 - 1  Tottenham Hotspur     37,894

League table to 08 March 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  27 12  1  0 30  5  8  4  2 18  7 20  5  2  48  12  36 65
 2 Chelsea         28  7  5  2 23  8 10  2  2 25  8 17  7  4  48  16  32 58
 3 Liverpool       28  8  6  0 22  8  8  4  2 23 12 16 10  2  45  20  25 58
 4 Aston Villa     28  5  7  2 20 15 10  0  4 22 14 15  7  6  42  29  13 52
 5 Arsenal         28  7  5  2 18 11  6  5  3 23 15 13 10  5  41  26  15 49
 6 Everton         28  5  5  4 20 16  7  4  3 16 12 12  9  7  36  28   8 45
 7 West Ham United 28  7  1  6 19 17  4  5  5 15 17 11  6 11  34  34   0 39
 8 Manchester City 28  9  0  5 30 12  1  5  8 15 24 10  5 13  45  36   9 35
 9 Wigan Athletic  28  6  4  4 13 12  3  4  7 14 15  9  8 11  27  27   0 35
10 Fulham          27  8  3  2 21 10  0  7  7  3 13  8 10  9  24  23   1 34
11 Bolton Wndrs    28  6  2  6 14 15  4  1  9 16 25 10  3 15  30  40 -10 33
12 Tottenham H.    28  5  5  4 15  9  3  3  8 18 24  8  8 12  33  33   0 32
13 Sunderland      28  5  3  6 16 16  3  5  6 12 20  8  8 12  28  36  -8 32
14 Hull City       28  3  3  8 15 29  5  5  4 19 21  8  8 12  34  50 -16 32
15 Stoke City      28  7  4  3 17 13  0  4 10 10 31  7  8 13  27  44 -17 29
16 Newcastle Utd   28  4  6  4 20 22  2  4  8 14 23  6 10 12  34  45 -11 28
17 Portsmouth      27  5  2  7 18 22  2  5  6 11 22  7  7 13  29  44 -15 28
18 Blackburn R.    27  3  5  6 15 21  3  4  6 15 22  6  9 12  30  43 -13 27
19 Middlesbrough   28  4  6  4 12 15  2  2 10  8 25  6  8 14  20  40 -20 26
20 West Brom A.    28  5  2  7 19 27  1  2 11  6 27  6  4 18  25  54 -29 22

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1513