Newsletter #1533

News from Alex tonight on the owners’ plans for next season, Ireland as PotY and other awards together with the latest transfer rumours.

We have plenty of opinion on everything from squad size to the way forward, statistics and the manager together with the usual requests.

Final game on Sunday versus Bolton, then it’s the mad season of transfer rumours.

Next Game: Bolton Wanderers, home, 4pm Sunday 24 May 2009


General News

Hughes – Right for the Job: Club Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak has moved quickly to back his manager in light of the upcoming summer. It was around this time last season that Sven Goran Eriksson was facing an imminent sacking and went on to lose 8-1 at now relegation threatened Middlesbrough. Mubarak has emphasised that Sheikh Mansour does not follow the same lines of ownership as the controversial Thaksin Shinawatra and they still believe that Mark Hughes is the right man to take the club forward into a golden era: “I have been surprised at all the speculation, because I have always been consistent with everyone on the subject of the manager. Every time I have spoken, I have said the we have the highest confidence in Mark, and I would like to re-iterate that now. Mark will be our manager next season – nothing has changed. It has been a difficult season with all the rumours about Mark’s future and the number of players that we have been linked with. There has been incredible and unnecessary pressure put on Mark from outside the club, especially from the media, but I recognise that it comes with the game and with football. From my perspective, I think we have come a long way, and I am very much looking to a big finish to the season next week against Bolton. When you consider how things have gone since January, I think we have accomplished things and now we can start focusing on next season. For once this club can have a pre-season. This is a club that has had ten managers in 15 years – it is hard to believe we have ever had a real pre-season. So this time we will have that, and we will do so with a year’s experiences behind us. That will make us stronger. I think next year is going to be better than this one. The club has a lot more stability.”

Super Six: Having backed the manager for at least another season, Khaldoon Al Mubarak went on to set the aims for next season. Sheikh Mansour wil provide generous funds for the summer transfer market and in return would like to see the club finish in the top six. Such a feat would probably mean finishing ahead of either Everton or Aston Villa and Hughes’ men will have to be at the top of their game in order to do so: “I think people see me as a reasonable and realistic man, and I think given what we have done this year and the ambitions we have this summer, a top-six finish next year should be a reasonable and achievable target. There will be money for new players this off-season. The areas in which the team needs us to invest are clear. We need more depth and to fill the weaker areas within the squad and plans are already advanced. I have been talking to Garry and Mark for weeks now. We are pretty clear on what we want, and I am clear on what Mark has identified as the areas that need to be supported, and we will step up. We all know we are not going to splash money around, because that model, that formula, doesn’t work. You’re not going to buy 22 new players and then the next year you win the Premier League. It needs to be done sustainably, with quality management, quality infra-structure and a quality manager by the pitch. That’s what we are doing. The players will come, and the results will come.”

Jim is King of the Cassell: There’s no doubt that the Blues will spend big this summer in order to buy some of the world’s best talent but Chairman Mubarak has stated that the work Jim Cassell has done with the Academy has been vital to City in the last ten years and has promised that the club will not forget about it now there are millions in the bank: “We will not forget the Academy. It is key to our discussions. We have to be able to create that nice balance between a quality, strong first team with depth but at the same time retain the ability to bring in young, talented individuals. We have all seen what they (Ireland and Onuoha) have done since geting in the side. They have had fantastic seasons and there are more within the Academy. We need a good platform to bring the young lads into the team. Garry has done a wonderful job bringing in some incredible talent that will help take us forward. We have grown a lot as a team, and Mark has grown too. The foundations are in place for a very strong second season.”

Fan-Tastic: Whilst discussing his plans, his hopes, his faith in the manager, Mubarak has praised the fans as the “heart and soul of the club”. Having stuck through 33 years without silverware, the Chairman is well aware that the fans are hungry for success and has promised that their faith will be rewarded: “The fans are the heart and soul of this club – we have some great fans, that’s one of the gems at this club and one of the things that I have found most satisfying. They have stuck with the club through hard times and good times. There have been hard times this year and I appreciated their support. It will be rewarded in the years to come. I’ll never forget the Hamburg game, that was an incredible showing by our fans. We gave our hearts out to the players that night. It leaves a hunger to go back. We want that again, and I think we’ll get it. I always knew this was going to be a difficult season; there were no illusions in my mind. It was even more difficult than I had anticipated, but I never thought it was going to be a walk in the park. There were high expectations but the reality is that this was a club that was eighth in the table. I’m proud because it was very clear in my mind what needed to be done, and we’ve done it. We said we would have a first season of learning and building on and off the field, and that is what we have done. We said we would build a club for the future, and we have done that. We said we would build and invest in the management side of the company, and we have done that, and we said we would stick with the manager, and we have done that too. We also said we were going to bring in as much quality as we could on the playing side in January, and we did that with Shay Given, Wayne Bridge, Nigel de Jong and Craig Bellamy.”

Silver Lining: Losing at the hands of Spurs last Saturday left European qualification impossible but with a busy summer ahead and a season of promise to anticipate, Mark Hughes believes that the club will actually benefit from only having the Premier League to focus on: “Maybe it is a blessing, although it doesn’t feel like that at the moment because we are all disappointed that we are not going to be involved. But maybe in certain games this year, we have travelled into Europe on Thursdays then come back to play a League game on Sunday and not performed. It’s happened on occasion. So maybe going into more free weeks might help us next season. We certainly benefited from them in recent weeks after Hamburg, and that could well be the case for next year. It might even come to be seen as a blessing for our Premier League form – it just doesn’t seem that way at the moment.”

Squad News

Superman’s Sublime Season: For the fifth consecutive season, an Irishman has won the club’s Official Supporters’ Club Player of the Season Award but for the first time in five years, the name voted for is not Richard Dunne. The skipper, who had won it in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008, has handed over his trophy to Academy graduate Stephen Ireland. Ireland, who was also nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Season Award, has been magnificent all season and deservedly succeeds Dunne as the club’s best player. Vincent Kompany and Pablo Zabaleta followed in second and third with Daniel Sturridge winning the Supporters’ Young Player of the Season Award. Ireland thanked fans for the honour: “I am thrilled that the supporters have voted for me and I would like to thank them for the way they have backed me, not just this season but ever since I made my début. There have been some great performances by some of the other lads this year, so for me to be voted the winner of the OSC’s award makes me very proud.”

Thomas Cook Awards: Brazilian playmaker Elano was back to his best in April and has been awarded the month’s Thomas Cook best performer accolade with Nedum Onuoha winning May’s. Elano has shown some of the form that he hits when playing alongside the Samba boys of Kaka and Ronaldinho and if he continues to play that way next season then there is no doubt that he will be a constant first eleven fixture. Onuoha, who also won the honour in March, has been City’s most consistent defender since breaking into the first team and has fully earned his place in the England Under 21s’ Euro 2009 squad. Nedum has told of his disappointment with failing to qualify for Europe but also of his hopes for the future: “With our experiences in the UEFA Cup this season, we wanted to do that again and again. It gave us a taste of what these competitions are like, so this is a massive disappointment given that we had a chance to qualify. It could have just taken another goal or a better decision here or there for it to happen. Perhaps if we had not been in the UEFA Cup this season, we may have been in a better position in the League. We would not have worried about seventh, because we could have already qualified. It’s just one of those things, you get a taste of it and then it is taken away – but that’s football. Next season we will have sole focus on the League, apart from the Carling Cup and the FA Cup. We can pay all our attention to finishing as high in the League as possible. I believe, and so do a lot of people in the club, that we do have a team strong enough to do that. Some players are more tired than others this season, there have been 55 games this season, and that is without a run in the domestic cup competitions. That’s a lot of games, especially given that at times our squad was stretched and some played more than others. Next season we hope to knuckle down and do better.”

Transfer News and Rumours

Lionel Messi: Yes, we’ve had enough of Kaka and now we’ve moved on to a much less high profile signing, Barcelona’s wonder kid from Argentina, Lionel Messi. The Spanish media reported on Wednesday morning that Hughes’ multi-millionaires were preparing to buy out the remainder of Messi’s contract and offer him in excess of £8 million a year to join the Premier League in a deal worth £132 million. However, as in often the case these days, the Blues have moved quickly to deny any move and have set the record straight: “Manchester City Football Club note with interest the reports circulating in the Spanish media that the club has made an offer to the Barcelona player Lionel Messi and that he has turned down the chance to join the club. While acknowledging that Lionel Messi is a world-class player of the highest calibre, Manchester City would like to make it clear that the club has at no time made an approach to Mr Messi or his representatives.”

Diego Forlan: The former Manchester United striker seems set to leave Atletico Madrid in the summer with the Premier League his favoured destination and City willing to pay out the £18 million price tag on his head. The Uruguayan goal scorer has made a real impression in La Liga since leaving England having topped Europe’s goal scoring charts when at Villareal and creating a superb strike partnership with Argentinean wonder kid Sergio Aguero at Atletico. It is believed the signing of Forlan would either signal Danny Sturridge’s departure from the club or end Hughes’ chase for Blackburn Rovers’ striker Roque Santa Cruz.

Benfica Boys: The Portuguese media reported this week that City were in the market for Benfica duo Luisao and Oscar Cardozo. It is rumoured that Kia Joorabchian, close colleague of City Executive Chairman Garry Cook, had met with Benfica’s director of football Rui Costa to discuss a double deal for the Brazilian centre-back and Paraguayan striker worth £15 million. Luisao has revealed his interest in the move: “For me the idea is very interesting. All players dream of playing in English football and it’s no different with me. I’m happy about the interest, although as long as I’ve got a contract I’m also happy here. I’m going to speak to my agent to hear of any news.”

Post-Match Reaction

Tottenham Hotspur: The fight for Europe has ended and unfortunately the Blues have fallen on the wrong side of the line. With three points a necessity at White Hart Lane last weekend, the Blues fell short as a controversial late penalty handed Harry Redknapp’s side all three points. However, Valeri Bojinov did score his first goal for the club, and what a goal, Shay Given continues to look as if he’ll gain us 15 points a season and Stephen Ireland can only push the club onto bigger and better things. Whilst this season may have disappointed many fans in terms of outward success, there is definite potential and the 09/10 season will be one to look forward to. Mark Hughes gave his opinion of the game and that penalty: “The ref has made a really poor decision that has cost us the game and it’s really disappointing. There have been games this season where we’ve not deserved to get anything, but that wasn’t the case today. I’ve no idea why he’s given it. It was a speculative ball into Shay Given’s hands, never a clear-cut goal scoring opportunity. Maybe the angle the referee had made him appear closer to the ball than he was. That’s the only excuse I can give him, because fundamentally that’s a very poor decision. I banged on the ref’s door as I went past! But I don’t think there’s any point trying to speak to him about it. We would have loved to be back in Europe and that’s obviously not going to be the case now. We were much better in the second half. First half we were tentative and allowed Spurs to dictate, so they had the momentum, but after the break we were a lot more positive and got back to 1-1. We were all pleased for Boji, it was important that he got back on the goal scoring trail and everybody saw what it meant to him. With three minutes to go, we felt we were the team most likely to score.”

Alex Rowen <news(at)>


Everybody knows that if you have too many games and too shallow a squad, you’ll suffer. But which is better: To play twice as many games with twice as big a squad, or to play the normal number of games with the normal size of squad? Will you be better on any given Saturday if you have a big squad that has been playing a lot, or will you be better if you have a squad half the size that has been playing half as much? Will you be more tired, have more injuries, in the first case? Or in the second? Or is it the same either way?

The two should cancel out and come out the same, right? Twice as many games with twice the size of squad = no advantage, but no disadvantage.

I always thought so. But I’ve recently realized that’s not right.

They don’t cancel out. And this is a major reason why it’s so hard to break into the top four. Playing twice the games with twice the squad is much much better than playing the regular number with a normal squad. On any given Saturday, you’ll be in much, much better shape to play the game if you have the bigger squad, even though you have been playing twice as much.

Here’s why: Suppose that you have a “normal sized squad”. The details don’t matter, but let’s say that amounts to one top pro for each position, and one less talented, but competent, second stringer. Let’s say that 1/6 of your players are injured at any time. To simulate this, imagine that you roll a die before each game for each position. If you get a 1 then the best person for that position is injured. Roll again. If you roll a second 1 for that position then your second string guy is also injured. It follows that 1/6 of your team will be second string at any one time, about 2 players in most games, and you’ll be out of both players in a particular position 1/36th of the time. Which means you’ll have to play a much poorer player, or someone out of position about once per season for every position. That’s about 10 or 11 games per season where at least one player is very poor or out of position. You’ll occasionally, but not too often, have to have 2 or more players who are poor or out of position.

Now suppose that you have twice as big a squad, by which I mean that you have two top pros for every position, plus two competent second stringers for every position. Since you play twice as many games, your players should be injured about the same. Hence suppose that 1/6 of your players are injured at a time, just the same as before. Then you have to roll two 1s in order to be missing both your best guys in a given position, which will happen about 1/36th of the time. Even then you won’t be putting on a bad player, or a player out of position, you’ll be putting on a competent second stringer – unless you roll 2 more 1s, which will happen only 1/1296th of the time. In other words, you’ll pretty much never have to play a really poor player or play a person out of position.

Imagine just that advantage. Even if Fulham’s first team were as good as United’s, they would always face them on a good day for United. United will more often than not have only top string players on the field. And even when they don’t, they will have almost all their positions filled with top level players, and with one, and extremely rarely, two, positions filled in with a competent second stringer. They never play a poor player or a player out of position. Whereas Fulham will always be on a bad day, relatively speaking, with around about 2 (1/6) of their positions missing the first choice player in pretty much every match, with competent but less talented second stringers in those positions, and poor players or players playing out of position in about a quarter to a third of all the games in the season. So even if we discount the Ronaldos and the Berbatovs, United are going to win much more often than not just from squad size alone.

So every club should like to have two top class pros in each position.

The problem is that (i) you need money and (ii) unless you’re playing twice the number of games, there will be too many prima donnas and not enough games to give them. Manchester United always had the money. The rest of the magic formula Fergie discovered when he stopped devoting attention to a particular cup and started trying to win all of them. Being involved in everything allowed Ferguson to maintain a large squad of equally matched players competing for too few places without there being too much grumbling.

We are one of the first clubs outside the top 4 who can afford (i), but we haven’t got (ii) which is why it was important for us to qualify for Europe this year. That horse has bolted, so Hughes best course of action next season is to get a large squad together and try to stay in all the cups. A large squad of first stringers is the single most important component of success, mathematically, so we should strive to have one even if it will be difficult to keep everyone happy. But I’m worried, from what he says, that Hughes seems to like small squads, for suitably “intense” training sessions.

Bernard Molyneux <molyneux(at)>

Opinion: City are Going Backwards

After our recent good form, City reverted to type, with their truly pathetic performances against ManU and Spurs. How can a team with so much to play for, put on such mediocre displays? When you look at sides like Everton, Fulham and West Ham, do they really possess players of better “quality” than City? or does their management team get the best out of what they have?

I am afraid, as much as I would love MH to have success at City, I just cannot see him doing it with us, we are not progressing at all … how the Arab owners have faith in him, just makes me wonder! It’s either MH and his team are not good enough, or our players are not good enough. To be fair, it’s a bit of both. There are 3 candidates that I would not mind coming to City: Klinsmann, Rijkaard and van Basten. It will be interesting to see if any of these will be considered as our new Manager.

Looking back at the game against ManU, amazingly we dominated possession, but never threatened their goal; we need a top quality creative midfielder. Our defence, once again was found wanting, and Elano was very poor, giving the ball away too often. Against Spurs, had it not been for Given we could easily have been 3-0 down before half time. Our defence is “p**s poor” to say the least: Dunne is full of effort but is getting slower, and is looking like a liability, Onuoha has his moments, and possibly will get better, Bridge is nowhere near good enough – I can think of at least 5 better left backs than him. As for Micah Richards, he needs to decide if DJ’ing is better than playing football, because he is better on the turntable with all his bling than at right back. I have never seen a player with potential go backwards faster than this guy (well maybe Michael Ricketts?) – get rid as soon as possible! I saw the penalty awarded against Spurs and it was a joke so perhaps we could have got a 1-1 draw but the performance was well below par again. Are we ever going to beat them?

If we don’t buy quality players and ship out some of the dross, I fear for us next season, as we really are the typical Jekyll and Hyde team in the Premier League. There have been many reasons for not winning enough matches, a lot of it being our away form, injuries too have come at inopportune times but it’s the lack of quality at the back and up front, that have been the major reasons.

I know we are being linked with every player imaginable, and that if you asked 50 City fans, there is a good chance that they will all have different players in mind that they would love to have in a City shirt. Tevez and Drogba are the latest, but these 2 will know that the world is their oyster in the summer, and will City be considered “good enough” for them with so many potential suitors, many of them capable of winning trophies!?

Absolute musts for us next season are: 2 big commanding centre halves, a quality right back, a quality attacking midfielder and a quality centre forward. I just wonder what MH and his staff have on their shopping list, and how different it might be from what we would like to have? After all, de Jong would never have been on any of our lists, for a midfield player! I hope we do not chase the “galacticos” especially Ronadinho (a has been), as these players need quality around them to perform to their best, and would cost silly money too. We need a mixture of experience and very good potential.

Here are some of my choices, and I must apologise if I have repeated some of them in past issues of MCIVTA:

Centre Forward: Drogba, Luis Fabiano, Kenwynne Jones, Luca Toni
Right Back: Glenn Johnson
Midfield: Alonso, Yaya Toure
Left Back: Armand Traore, Yuri Zhirkov, Aly Sissokho (Porto)
Centre Backs: Luisao (Benfica), Mamadou Sakho (PSG), Bruno Alves (Porto), Daniel van Buyten (Bayern Munich)

Come on you Blues!

Glyn Albuquerque <Glynalbuquerque(at)>


So the owners have decided to stick with Hughes for another season. I find it hard to understand why, but perhaps they have been listening too closely to Gary Cook (who possibly has the most to lose if Hughes goes), or maybe they have come to see any criticism as the work of the media and have developed something of a siege mentality. Anyway, it is their decision and there is not much we can do about it as it is their club now, and we have no say in such matters. We are all now just ‘consumers’ who are expected to fork out dutifully, turn up and remain steadfastly ‘on message’ throughout the season. I will always continue to go, because in my heart it is still ‘my club’ and I will be here long after they lose interest in this part of their ‘portfolio’.

I doubt that they will ever read what we have to say here either, as there are far too many ‘off message’ comments, but should anyone in any position of influence ever deign to see what the more literate MCFC supporter is thinking, I would recommend the following action for the next season.

If you really believe in Mark Hughes then let him have 100% control over who he signs. As I have explained many times this season, he is only ever going to be a mid-table manager at best. To get the best out of him in the time he has here, before you wake up and realise he will not bring you success, you will need to let him buy his own players, the type who will respond best to his type of ‘management’. They will not be the big prestige names you want, but they will be grafters who will do what Hughes tells them to do, and in a year’s time we will be able to replicate that tremendous success that Blackburn have had so much of in recent years.

Don’t be tempted to make big money ‘marquee’ signings. It hasn’t worked with Robinho, and this season has proved that flair players won’t ever consistently perform to their best with such a churlish, uncommunicative and negative personality as their leader. It would be harsh to blame our dire away form entirely on Robinho, but it would be helpful if you also let Mark Hughes choose the team, rather than make him play your ‘big’ signings when they obviously don’t want to. At least it will give members of our talented (cup winning) youth team the incentive to push for a place in the first team, knowing that their position hasn’t gone to a ‘star player’ who always has to be selected regardless of form or ability.

If however, you have chosen to keep Hughes on because he acts so well as your puppet and won’t stand up to your transfer policy, then by all means carry on and make our club look ever more foolish as the list of top players who won’t come here grows ever longer and we end up with a team full of ‘top’ mercenaries who don’t give a fig about playing for City, and who Hughes stands no chance of being able to manage properly.

As United fans are currently so happy to tell us, it’s been a great season for them with two cups, the league title, a Champion’s League final and Agent Hughes given another year at City!

Steve Burrows <stevieburrows(at)>


For the statistically minded amongst us, you will be pleased to know that the Dubious Goals Panel has decreed that City’s goal at West Brom was not a Scott Carson own goal but a Felipe Caicedo special, meaning the Ecuadorian officially scored in three consecutive matches after breaking his duck at Santander. My chant that night never got lift off: “Caicedo, oh-oh, Caicedo, oh-oh, he came from Ecuador, he went to Spain to score, Caicedo oh-oh, Caicedo oh-oh”. The muscle-bound South American has now amassed seven goals for the club, albeit in 34 appearances.

Another interesting stat. If City do not draw against Bolton on Sunday, it will be the first time in the club’s history that there hasn’t been a home league draw in a season. The club have recorded a single home league draw in three seasons, in 1893-94, 1898-99 and 1902-03, all of which were achieved in League Division Two. So, even a draw on Sunday will be the lowest ever in the top division and lowest for over a century!

City’s defeat at Spurs meant it is our worst away record since City were relegated in 1995-96.

On a positive note, no matter what happens on Sunday, this season City will record the most goals scored at home and in the Premier League in a season.

Now the Chairman has confirmed Hughes will be manager at the start of next season and thrown down the challenge to the management team to finish next season in the top six, the two questions that we and the Chairman are keen to have answered by Hughes are:

  1. How will you maintain such a good points total at home next season? Fact:Only United have won more home games and scored more home goals than City thisseason.
  2. What changes will be made to the system away from home to ensure City winenough matches to finish in a European place? Will we play 4-4-2 more often?Will non-performing “superstars” be dropped irrespective of who they are?Facts: Only West Brom have won fewer away games than City this season. OnlyMiddlesbrough and West Brom have lost more away games than City this season.Everton have won the fewest number of away games of a top six team this season(8), a feat City have only achieved twice since they last won the league titlein 1968 (1970 and 1993).

Steve Kay <steve(at)>


Anyway, look on the bright side – we should have far more Saturday 3pm kick offs next season and lots of “her-indoors” all around Manchester may be a little happier?

Chris Ryder <christopherryd(at)>


Too bad the ever-present complaints from certain individuals against Mark Hughes continue to rumble on.

Judging by many players’ inept performances, particularly during away fixtures, not much he or anyone can do once a game is actually underway, no matter how much pre-game preparations have been carried out. Failures this season are due mainly to players’ non-efforts, obviously.

Our extremely supportive and pragmatic chairman has apparently now given the club a target of a top-6 finish for the 2009/10 season. Considering our financial resources regarding proposed new signings during this summer, that is a target we should indeed meet. If not, then I would have no complaint if the manager were dismissed if he fails to pull us up to that level within that time period.

Quite unlike some I have always believed in giving any manager enough time to prove himself, and providing this to Mark Hughes should not under any circumstances be an exception. I therefore agree with and commend the club’s chairman for taking his stance over the tormented issue of Mark H’s position within Manchester City. Instead of wanting him to fail, I wish Mark to succeed. The fact he is an ex-Manchester United player matters to myself not one jot. However, if others wish to cling to this aspect of his career to demean the man, that fact will surely not go away. In which case, they may wish to bite the bullet and consider switching their allegiance to some another club for next season should they feel Mark H is so unpalatable, and see what happens from a safe distance.

I trust the first order of business is to sign Tevez, as I had called for several months ago within MCIVTA. Then, move on from there in fairly rapid order, with the securing of additional quality players, many of whom have already been identified, not necessarily within the pages of the press.

I look forward with great interest and optimism and not to the rumble of pessimism.

Graham Mills <gkm_5(at)>


Sorry Sam Platt but the comparison with Sven and his top half finish doesn’t wash. At the end of last season we were on the slide and a couple more games would have seen us slip into the bottom half.

This season has seen a second half of the season rise and, but for the abject performance against Fulham we would have been pushing for a Europa slot much harder.

I am not a Hughes fan but believe he must be given at least another season to prove himself, with a full inter-season buying period and a proper pre-season build up. Changing the manager every season just doesn’t work. Get behind them.

Joe Ramsbottom <joe(at)>


Mark Hughes must be replaced immediately. No equivocation. No apologies for saying so. He is tactically inept, cannot motivate or man-manage major footballing talent. Defensively he is clueless, witness the disintegration of one of the Premier League’s best defences into a very mediocre one.

I have been saying all season on various fora that it is not unreasonable to call for his replacement as we have been watching a club bring in 7 new first-team players for s**t loads of money and have yet to see any improvement in its performance. We end the season in the same position as we ended last season, a season that, without the same level of investment, saw the manager sacked. I’m sick of Hughes loyalists asking us to make a better argument for getting rid of him. I think it is time we were offered a single convincing argument for keeping him. The continuity argument doesn’t wash because it is just as disastrous to stick with a never-will-do manager as it is to “chop and change”.

There are some terrific managers available at the moment: Rijkaardt, Ancelotti (available next week), and Sven just to mention three. Let’s have one of them.

On a related of possible comings and goings, the Chairman said yesterday, “We also said we were going to bring in as much quality as we could on the playing side in January, and we did that with Shay Given, Wayne Bridge, Nigel de Jong and Craig Bellamy.” Isn’t there one big name missing from that list? And what might that mean?

Andrew Lowrey <andlowrey(at)>


Must say I’m pleased Mark Hughes has been given the summer and hopefully all of next season to prove himself as a capable manager at City. Granted there have been many occasions when things haven’t gone to plan or even worked tactically but I do feel we should view this season as one of transition and Hughes cannot be held responsible for all that has gone wrong. I have been as impatient for progress as anyone else but we must bear with it as the squad is added to and improved over the summer.

This season, we have the most number of home wins outside of Stretford (that’s more than more than Liverpool and Chelsea!). Our Achilles heel, the away form, must improve though if Hughes is to have a future at the club but I am sure with the added quality surely coming into the squad over the summer we will see a marked improvement in this area.

The board has not succumbed to the temptation of changing things as we have seen so often in the past; after what has been 3 years of change and upheaval at the club, we can finally close off on Sunday knowing only that some players will leave and other players will arrive.

On a funny note I have said a few times this season though that City probably is the only club in existence that could screw up being the richest in the world! I hope I’m wrong!

On the subject of Daniel Sturridge, if the various media sources are to be believed I hope we stick to our guns and do not give in to his apparently ridiculous wage demands. Surely he hasn’t and will not play enough games to justify and I quote £65,000 per week!

Graham Keller <gkmcfc(at)>


Some of you may have heard about my next book on the Blues, The Big Book of City. The deadline for subscribers is 1st June and orders received by that date will be sold at a discounted price of £17.95, plus will give the subscriber the option to have their name and the name of their favourite City player included in the subscribers’ list at the back of the book (similar to “Manchester A Football History” and other books I’ve written).

This book will only have a small print run (between 1,000 and 1,500 copies) and, as usual, should prove highly popular.

Books will be distributed to subscribers before they appear in any shop. At present the publishers have not made any agreements whatsoever with any online bookseller and so copies ordered through those outlets cannot be guaranteed and the publisher may not supply them.

There’s more info on the website here

By the way… since leaving City I’ve spent almost every possible moment researching and am delighted to say that I have finally uncovered the specific reason why ‘Maine Road’ was given that name (the street rather than the stadium). It’s a minor point I guess but when I was researching Farewell To Maine Road it irked me that I could not find factual evidence for the road’s name change from Dog Kennel Lane to Maine Road and the reason why. I found a potential reason, but now I’ve discovered the truth and it’s not what was the potential reason. The story will be revealed for the first time in The Big Book Of City.

Incidentally, for those wondering about “City: Heart & Soul” I have now delayed publication of that until late next year as I wasn’t happy with the overall quality of my own writing in that book. Thanks to all those who have contributed I will be concentrating on the book during 2010 and so I expect to develop your stories at that time. Thanks again for your help.

Gary James <city(at)>


The club is doing a consultation on concourse catering.

The idea is to get six supporters (ideally between the ages of 25-65 and split male/female) to attend a meeting/presentation at the stadium on Monday 15th June, 6.00pm.

The aim of the meeting is to consult with supporters on ways to improve service, product quality and value for money at the concourse catering units and bars.

The OSC and CSA will be asked to send two reps, as will Points of Blue (where this is a regular topic).

Would anyone on the mailing list like to be our reps? If there’s a queue to do it, I’ll negotiate but may have to draw lots (how would one do that on the Internet?). I’d give priority to those who’ve attended regularly (and complained regularly!).

Steve Parish <bloovee(at)>


I stumbled across what is described as “open source sports network” at

It is a place where anyone can write articles, gain readers and get feedback of what they have put out there. I have been enjoying the experience and would heartily recommend it.

On a more specific note the City section could do with a few more numbers on there, even if they only read. We can also get an article about City as the Pick of the Day if we play things right.

Andy Morris <andy(at)>


18 May 2009

Portsmouth            3 - 1  Sunderland            20,398

League table to 20 May 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  37 16  2  1 43 13 11  4  3 24 11 27  6  4  67  24  43 87
 2 Liverpool       37 11  7  0 38 12 13  4  2 36 14 24 11  2  74  26  48 83
 3 Chelsea         37 11  6  2 33 12 13  2  3 32 10 24  8  5  65  22  43 80
 4 Arsenal         37 10  5  3 27 15  9  7  3 37 21 19 12  6  64  36  28 69
 5 Everton         37  8  6  5 31 20  8  6  4 22 17 16 12  9  53  37  16 60
 6 Aston Villa     37  6  9  3 26 21 10  2  7 27 27 16 11 10  53  48   5 59
 7 Fulham          37 11  3  4 28 14  3  8  8 11 18 14 11 12  39  32   7 53
 8 Tottenham H.    37 10  5  4 21 10  4  4 10 23 32 14  9 14  44  42   2 51
 9 West Ham United 37  8  2  8 21 21  5  7  7 19 23 13  9 15  40  44  -4 48
10 Manchester City 37 12  0  6 39 18  2  5 12 18 32 14  5 18  57  50   7 47
11 Stoke City      37 10  5  4 22 15  2  4 12 15 36 12  9 16  37  51 -14 45
12 Wigan Athletic  37  7  5  6 16 18  4  4 11 17 27 11  9 17  33  45 -12 42
13 Bolton Wndrs    37  7  5  7 21 21  4  3 11 20 31 11  8 18  41  52 -11 41
14 Portsmouth      37  8  3  8 26 29  2  8  8 12 27 10 11 16  38  56 -18 41
15 Blackburn R.    37  6  6  6 22 23  4  4 11 18 37 10 10 17  40  60 -20 40
16 Sunderland      37  6  3  9 19 22  3  6 10 13 29  9  9 19  32  51 -19 36
17 Hull City       37  3  5 10 18 35  5  6  8 21 28  8 11 18  39  63 -24 35
18 Newcastle Utd   37  5  7  7 24 29  2  6 10 16 29  7 13 17  40  58 -18 34
19 Middlesbrough   37  5  9  5 17 20  2  2 14 10 35  7 11 19  27  55 -28 32
20 West Brom A.    37  7  3  9 26 33  1  4 13 10 34  8  7 22  36  67 -31 31

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v0708.01]

[1] MCIVTA Addresses

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[2] What are MCIVTA’s publishing deadlines?

Deadlines for issues are nominally 6pm, Monday and Thursday evenings by 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.

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Newsletter #1533