Newsletter #1521

Yet more disappointment on the road this weekend as we lost at Arsenal. We have opinion tonight on just why our away form is so poor in the league this season, and views on motivational management and team selection.

There’s pre- and post-match reaction to the Arsenal game, including one of our own mixing with hoi polloi, and some last minute Hamburg requests.

Next up the UEFA game against Hamburg; for those going, have a great trip!

Next Game: Hamburg SV, away, 7.45pm Thursday 9 April 2009 (UEFA)


When will City win an away game this season? Personally speaking, I cannot see us doing it, as we just lack the personnel and the necessary tactics. I watched Liverpool’s display at Fulham, and it was so one sided you just would not believe it. I thought to myself, what would City have done, and to be honest we would have struggled, as we have this “flawed” theory that we should play a pint sized attack that is dependent upon our midfield to get the goals. Who in our team plays like Gerrard? Who passes the ball around like Alonso? Who runs his socks off like Kuyt? Who plays like Torres? At set pieces, we always seem to shoot ourselves in the foot; who was marking the tallest man in the Arsenal team (Adebayor)? No one!

Why are we playing Mr Utility at left back… especially when we know Bridge is carrying a hamstring strain? Why not have the reserve team left back on the bench? We have 7 forwards in the Club, but still we use the same guy who under-performs away from home and is just back after a long flight from South America. There are so many things that Hughes does that do not make sense, but still plenty of people who write into MCIVTA, state “In Hughes we trust”. I am sorry, but we are not going to win anything under Hughes (as much as I would love him to turn us into world-beaters). He states on the City website: “We lost key personnel very early and had to rejig things. We just lacked a bit of physical presence to dictate to the opposition. They are a big, athletic side who are able to get around the pitch. As the game wore on, we found it more and more difficult in that respect.”

What has Hughes done to replicate what Arsenal had on the pitch? Everyone knows that, man for man, we are physically smaller than most teams. Arsenal had 2 players that in essence won them the game. What did we do to negate their effectiveness? I would have asked Fernandes to man-mark Fabregas, especially as Gelson loves to run around, as he was pivotal in creating most of Arsenal’s attacks – cut it out at source!

We can only rely on us winning at home, and that is not enough to attract the big names that have ambitions, that our owners crave for. If Hughes could only have a look at Everton, a club that does not have any superstars (and even took a player that Hughes does not consider good enough, but who is scoring goals for them), and sees how efficiently they go about winning matches, even when they have to draft in a few reserve team players.

We need players like Yaya Toure, a big presence in midfield, a big, physical presence up front (imagine if we had bought Kevin Davies from Bolton), and one more decent and big centre half, and maybe another quality left back, these would complement our talented pint sized players such as Ireland and SWP, and Robinho too…

We need to replicate the “blueprint” of successful teams.

C’mon City!

Glyn Albuquerque <glynalbuquerque(at)>


Another away game, another feeble performance, and yet another defeat. Again, beaten by a top 4 team very, very easily. Arsenal never had to go up above second gear, they played the second half like a training match and 4-0 would not have been unrealistic. We still sit on the 38 points, going nowhere fast!

Some months ago on this forum I questioned the progress (or lack of) of the team and club under the stewardship of Mr Hughes. It provoked one or two robust responses! However, I really do think it is time to review the situation once again: It is very clear we will not finish in the top 7 and therefore miss out on the new Europa league next season. Luminaries such as Wigan, Fulham and Everton will finish above us. All of these teams are run on an absolute shoe-string but have half decent managers and that is the difference.

Mr Hughes has had his full season in charge, he has had his transfer window, he has spent £100 million of other people’s money on “reinforcements” and we are no further forward whatsoever than when Sven was shown the door! It if wasn’t so damn sad it would be funny! The only chance Mr Hughes has of keeping his job is if we win the UEFA Cup. Whilst I dearly, dearly hope and pray we will, we have to be realistic. We have been unbelievably lucky with the draw, meeting Danish sides who are no better than Championship teams until now. Let’s see. It is also important to remember that qualification to this competition was won by Sven. OK it was through the back door on the fair play rule but we qualified and not only did Sven play fast, attacking, free flowing football, he played it fairly. It is not unjust to say that the words “fair play” and “Mark Hughes” would never go together either as a player or a Manager. If you don’t believe me then simply take a look at the numbers of sendings off and bookings we have racked up this season so far.

I also questioned the man management skills (or lack of) of Mr Hughes. Hopefully, you read the interview with Jo in the Guardian over the weekend? The man-management skills of David Moyes has transformed a cart horse who couldn’t hit a barn door into a goal machine. A striker / target man who leads the line, knows where the goal is and who can both make and take his chances, exactly what we have been missing since Anelka moved on. Just how typical is it of City to buy just that type of player for a not unsubstantial sum of £18 million then loan him out to one of our closest European rivals?!

The transformation of Jo is 100% down to the man-management of Moyes. Jo makes this very clear. He also makes it clear that Mr Hughes never wanted him, never rated him and has never even spoken to him since he went out on loan. How on earth does that style of management bring out the best in people? A rumour surfaced in the press over the weekend that Sunderland would be interested in Mr Hughes taking over the Black Cats. This would be ideal for Mr Hughes. A small club whose sole and whole ambition is to remain in the Premier League. It would be a good fit for both the club and the manager. It will then allow us to bring in the experienced, respected and successful guy we so badly need. So mote it be…

Ray Bardsley <rbardsley(at)>


Let me be very honest ,I never thought that we would beat the Gooners at the Emirates, I was just hoping that we would win, and if other supporters are honest they will say the same. Arsenal were on the day a better team and deserved their win.

City did play some decent stuff in the first half and Fernandes should have scored, but in the second half we looked tired, and maybe thinking ahead about the important game coming up next Thursday?

Should Kompany and Bridge have been playing if not 100% fit? Now maybe they might miss the Hamburg game? Could be that they appeared 100% fit before the game and really wanted to play?

How’s this? We beat the Gooners 3-2 on aggregate; of course I’m not really serious about it.

What is far more important right now the result in Hamburg, and let’s not start thinking that we always have the second leg at home, we have to do well in both games.

I just hope that we don’t go to Hamburg to play a defensive game, for I feelthat will be disaster, our team just cannot play that kind of game. There usedto be an old saying “The best form of defence is attack”.

We saw today versus the Gooners eight City players in defence, and they could not stop the Gooners from scoring, when the Gooners scored from a set piece. Sparky should be upset about it. I am not saying play against Hamburg all out attack, what I am saying is counter attack at speed and often.

We need Superman back in the team, I feel confident that we shall progress, just don’t take anything for granted, it will be tough!

In Sparky I trust.

Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)>


OK, you have all made me comment again! Robinho is world class, Elano is adapting to working harder. Stephen Ireland is setting a good example of a hard working player with style (few head problems but so far, not on the field). They are both still young and have yet to figure it all out, but they will.

They are a joy to watch when it works and frustrating when it doesn’t but you must all remember how negativity drives away the creative players and destroys their confidence. As for Hughes, be patient, all the successful clubs keep a manager for more than one year! Sven was driven away too soon from England and look what happened. Cappello is now playing the same team Sven picked and he is a genius!

Jim Heaviside <jheavis502(at)>


Cesc Fabregas was born and raised in the next village to me (Areyns De Mar). Met him several times and now know his family.

He visited last weekend and we had a good chat about City’s visit on Saturday. He expects to play and said two (possibly three) others returning also for Arsenal. Left him with the statement that City would win 2-0 and he would be “Spitting Feathers” this time (remember Hull incident). He looked a little puzzled so I explained.

My prediction stands and I expect Robinho and Elano to come on as subs and score the goals late on.

If other games also go our way, we will be 7th on Sunday night and all fired up for Hamburg on Thursday.

[I do hope you hadn’t put money on that result, Patrick! – Ed]

Patrick Knowles <pjamk(at)>


Just heard the news that Sven has been sacked. What are the odds on re-employment at Eastlands?

Who would you rather trust with a pot full of summer transfer money? Eriksson with his experience, his great tactics and pleasing on the eye football, astute transfers etc. or a man called Sparky who has never won anything as a manager and has managed over some absolutely abysmal performances this season (Brighton, Nottingham Forest, Portsmouth away etc.). Stuart Pearce who had no money, no backing, stuff all players after Keegan’s profligacy, managed to keep us in the league and produced dogs of war efforts that frankly shame those defeats mentioned above.

At the very least we could do with Sven in charge so that we can beat the Reds again and wind up Fergie into calling him a “lucky manager”.

Simon Clarke <simbadiow(at)>


A big shout to fellow Blue and MCIVTA subscriber Neil and his mate, who contacted me in response to my plea for Hamburg away tickets a couple of issues ago. I’m now the proud owner of two tickets for what will be my first European escapade (and hopefully not my last!) with City.

I’ve already thanked him personally but think it’s right to show my appreciation publicly, it always makes me proud that us Blues look after each other in times of need, and I hope that I’d do the same. Also thanks to Heidi and the team for providing the medium to make it happen.

Barrie Stoddard <Barrie.Stoddard(at)>


If there are any seasoncard holders not going to Hamburg with 3,800 points or more this is an appeal from me to you.

Having already booked my flights etc. I need to get 2 seats for this game and would be eternally grateful if someone would allow me the use of their card/s to obtain tickets for this fixture. They are on sale for these criteria from Friday.

I can be reached on 07885434914 if anyone can help!

Graham Keller <gkmcfc(at)>


I have flights and hotel booked for Hamburg, but no ticket and not enough points on my season ticket at the moment. I’m looking for one ticket can anyone help? Please mail or call on 07815 851770.

Paul Whitelegg <pwhitelegg(at)>


Foolishly I left my brother to organise tickets to the home leg of the Hamburg game and it is now obviously sold out. I should have know that a p**s up in a brewery was beyond him, so must accept some responsibility myself.

Living in Hampshire these days with two young children I get very few opportunities to get to games and this is one match I would have been able to make due to a couple of strategically arranged business meetings.

Could anyone possibly help me out with two tickets to this match? Please e-mail me or call me on 07970-070372.


St. John Cox <COXST(at)>


5 April 2009

Everton               4 - 0  Wigan Athletic        34,427
Manchester United     3 - 2  Aston Villa           75,409

4 April 2009

Blackburn Rovers      2 - 1  Tottenham Hotspur     21,891
Arsenal               2 - 0  Manchester City       60,097
Bolton Wanderers      4 - 1  Middlesbrough         20,819
Hull City             0 - 0  Portsmouth            24,802
Newcastle United      0 - 2  Chelsea               52,112
West Bromwich Albion  0 - 2  Stoke City            26,277
West Ham United       2 - 0  Sunderland            34,761
Fulham                0 - 1  Liverpool             25,661

League table to 05 April 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  30 13  1  1 34 11  8  4  3 18  9 21  5  4  52  20  32 68
 2 Liverpool       31  9  6  0 27  8 10  4  2 28 13 19 10  2  55  21  34 67
 3 Chelsea         31  8  5  2 24  8 11  2  3 27  9 19  7  5  51  17  34 64
 4 Arsenal         31  9  5  2 24 11  7  5  3 26 16 16 10  5  50  27  23 58
 5 Aston Villa     31  5  7  3 21 17 10  0  6 24 22 15  7  9  45  39   6 52
 6 Everton         31  7  5  4 27 17  7  4  4 17 14 14  9  8  44  31  13 51
 7 West Ham United 31  8  2  6 21 17  4  6  5 16 18 12  8 11  37  35   2 44
 8 Wigan Athletic  31  7  4  4 14 12  4  4  8 16 20 11  8 12  30  32  -2 41
 9 Fulham          31  9  3  4 24 13  1  7  7  6 14 10 10 11  30  27   3 40
10 Manchester City 31 10  0  5 31 12  1  5 10 15 27 11  5 15  46  39   7 38
11 Tottenham H.    31  6  5  4 16  9  4  3  9 21 27 10  8 13  37  36   1 38
12 Bolton Wndrs    31  7  2  7 19 19  4  2  9 17 26 11  4 16  36  45  -9 37
13 Stoke City      31  8  4  3 18 13  1  4 11 13 34  9  8 14  31  47 -16 35
14 Blackburn R.    31  4  6  6 18 23  4  4  7 17 27  8 10 13  35  50 -15 34
15 Hull City       31  3  5  8 16 30  5  5  5 19 22  8 10 13  35  52 -17 34
16 Portsmouth      30  6  2  7 20 23  2  7  6 12 23  8  9 13  32  46 -14 33
17 Sunderland      31  5  3  7 17 18  3  5  8 12 23  8  8 15  29  41 -12 32
18 Newcastle Utd   31  4  6  6 21 27  2  5  8 15 24  6 11 14  36  51 -15 29
19 Middlesbrough   31  4  7  4 13 16  2  2 12  9 30  6  9 16  22  46 -24 27
20 West Brom A.    31  5  3  8 20 30  1  3 11  6 27  6  6 19  26  57 -31 24

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1521