Newsletter #1536

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Heidi is taking a well deserved break for a couple of weeks leaving me – a complete novice MCIVTA editor – to guide you through the next couple of weeks of news and rumours. I hope to serve you well.

Tonight we have a match view of Bolton, more strong opinion on Sven versus Mark Hughes, and sad news about Stephen Hewitt who died this past weekend – our thoughts are with his family and friends.

Keep your contributions coming to the same address!

Next Game: TBA

BOLTON MATCHVIEW

Very much a last game of the season atmosphere from the players and the crowd. An enjoyable game although it could have been a lot more enjoyable if City had killed it off as they really should have done. For me all the tricks and passing could have been more appreciated with a two goal cushion. Good noise from the crowd until Bolton got into the game a bit in the latter part of the first half, then got very silly in the second with ball keeping etc.

Bolton offered little (about as much as Fulham did last season until they’d scored 2) but could have scored a couple as the simple long ball down the centre or swung across field and flicked on for a runner happened far too often in the latter stages of the first half. Thankfully none of the runners had the necessary pace. However, by then City could and should have been more than one up. The goal was well worked with Robinho shaping to shoot from a free kick but passing short to Ireland who lifted the ball over to Richards, whose volleyed cross didn’t look entirely elegant and Caicedo tapped in. However, several of the other short passed corners and free kicks weren’t so successful, so something to work on there. Surprisingly Bolton didn’t even trouble City unduly from set pieces but of course that’s another seemingly permanent City weakness.

I didn’t see any TV highlights but I hope they include Robinho’s improvised overhead flick after falling over, and also his lift of the ball over the defender’s boot when out wide on the touchline, and even Richards’ accidental stepover. The team played well without killing the game off, and there were some sensible tactics from Hughes with Kompany being deputed to mark long balls to Davies and doing this very effectively. However, to me this flagged up Bridge’s ineffectual display as if you have to get another player to do some of your duties but you still don’t shine then what’s going on? So, player ratings (with a bit of opinion thrown in):

Given – little to do and did it competently.

Richards – played well going forward and defending. I totally disagree with anyone who says we should sell a good, immensely promising and still extremely young player.

Bridge – with Kompany taking some of his aerial defensive duties he should have played much better. Never used his right foot, hopefully a close season of fitness training may bring back the pace he seems to be lacking.

Dunne – good interceptions but struggles when out of a blocking/clearing/heading rôle.

Onuoha – seems the more reliable of the two centre backs, rarely troubled by the aerial Bolton attacks and would look even better when paired with Kompany I think.

Kompany – did manfully against Davies, a wily opponent. Not able to step forward as effectively because of this though.

De Jong – odd to see him pushing up instead of Kompany although the difference in height made the marking choice logical. However, not terribly constructive, just tidy.

Ireland – creative but less of a force after injuring himself off the ball (and I think just landing awkwardly) and reduced number of pitch-length runs. Still tracked back well and made several important interventions at both ends.

Wright-Phillips – didn’t appear to be suffering with his knee. A threat, creative and switched flanks well with Robinho.

Robinho – often demanding ball, several glorious touches and flicks. Anyone who thinks he shouldn’t play away from home is quite simply wrong (check out Times finktank for some analytical backup), and do you all remember how much Petrov tackles back? I worry that there’s a bit of what I would call the ‘Kinkladze-tendency’ in the other players in that they give him the ball with 2 men on him and don’t offer enough options to him, expecting him to beat them alone.

Caicedo – linked up relatively well, but sometimes could have done with being in the box. Still, scored the goal and the best of our current centre forward options. Definitely one to keep remembering how young he still is with room to improve and, hopefully, some high quality strikers to learn from after this close season.

Weiss – glad he came on as it was a good game to introduce him. Looked confident, tried some tricks and can only benefit from the experience.

Zabaleta – not on for long and was competent without being spectacular.

Berti – emphasised the end-of-season feel with the loudest cheer for his introduction and most of his touches. However, performance in that time suggested he isn’t a Premier League left back and didn’t look to have the pace to perform in this league. Still, a nice sentimental touch and did nothing wrong.

Lastly the whole team – should shoot a bit more often and pass on the edge of the box a little less.

And finally, great to see and a great reception for 5 of the ’99 play-off team, Tony Vaughan’s let himself go a bit.

Thomas Bodey <tbodey01(at)qub.ac.uk>

SVEN VS. HUGHES I

Wow, what an action packed edition MCIVTA 1535 was!

However, I dont quite see where Martin Hunt and Ray Bardsley are coming from. It’s fine to have your opinions as is everyone else on this forum, that is what makes it such a great read and provokes such great comments. But Martin, I think you took Graham’s comments far too personally. Have you had your toys placed back into your pram now?

So, we sack Hughes – then what? It puts us back another year at least, he replaces the staff both back-room and playing staff. Then the million dollar question – who do we get as a replacement? Clearly you want someone who has a history of winning trophies so maybe you can suggest names that will win us a trophy in their first season?

Ray, sorry but you come across as so bitter and twisted that possibly you should seek medical assistance!

Yes, Sven did finish the season higher than Hughes did this year but there is a touch of Hull City syndrome about that; we started so well (albeit falsely) with our run of home wins that the débâcle of the 2nd half of the season kept us higher up the table – fact. Doing the double over the Rags, yes, as you correctly point out is a fact, but is it that what keeps you alive and kicking? I could quite happily get used to them beating us year in year out so long as we finish above them over the course of a season and finish as Champions. Do you think our victories over them last season really hurt them? Probably for a few hours/days but we will cling to that for years as they go on to win the League.

The Boro 8-1 defeat was not a protest, it was a shambles of a game. I was there and it was surreal. I still wish that it was Richard Dunne’s last game for the club because he has had the same season this year as he played in that game – or is he still protesting?

You comment that we could have lost against Chelsea and Arsenal by 5 or 6, maybe, but we didn’t – last season Chelsea did score 6 – fact.

Being the richest club in the world does not give City a divine right to improve year on year, you have to earn that right. Suggesting otherwise makes you sound like a Yoonited fan!

Sometimes you have to take a few steps back to move forward – fact.

Hopefully Hughes will make great progress next season. I assume that your self imposed exile will remain should we qualify for any semi-finals or dare I say it ‘finals’?

Oh, and for all of those who are spending too much time listening to their Rag mates, you should Google Etihad and look in Wikipedia or translation websites and you will see that Etihad does not mean United, but describes the Arab way of life – Unity, Unite (without a ‘d’ at the end).

As always, Keep the Faith.

Oh, and it would be wrong of me to submit this without congratulating Barcelona. Not just because they beat the Rags but the way in which they won the game. An absolute delight to watch and I would have paid any amount of money to have watched that. It was simply amazing, you would never have thought that they were playing in the final of the top European club footall tournament.

Andrew Keller <akcity(at)msn.com>

SVEN VS. HUGHES II

I thought I would wait till we see some movement(s) re new signings before sounding off again.

However, I just have to give my verdict on the Sven vs. MH debate.

It’s like the debate that’s transpired from Pat Metheny’s rant about Kenny “G” and his recording of “It’s A Wonderful World”. It’s a no brainer. Sven is far superior to MH in any way you could care to analyse (for those interested go google it and type in patmetheny/kenny “G” and enjoy).

Sven was and still is a class act and what he brought to City, after the “watching paint dry” era of Pearce, was a collosal achievement. His choice of players and team formation was beautiful. It was a really enjoyable time to support City until Thaksin started to undermine him and he did big-time (I think it was jealousy – did not like the adulation shown to Sven).

We are stuck with MH and I accept this and only hope and pray that with the resources at his disposal, he makes the right choices with who to bring in/part with and the style of football the team plays.

We are still coming down to earth here in Cataluña. The best press comment was in El Pais about Cristiano Ronaldo. “He acted arrogantly like Real Madrid before the game, he conducted himself towards the end like Madrid, the players say he even smelt like Madrid; he is Madrid bound for sure.”

Talking to the locals here, Fabregas would come to City if they offered him the right amount/deal. He is (he’s on a business course in London) and all his family are, business people with a capital “B”. He is the next Guardiola/Xavi/Iniesta to come off the La Masia production line.

If Wenger does not make significant signings this summer, City could and should make a move as Fab is getting fed up with the status quo at Arsenal and dislikes the new Russian guy intensely.

That would be the smartest move City have done since signing Colin, Franny and Buzzer.

Just think of Fab running the show on the pitch with Robiño/SWP wide, either side of him and a couple of top class strikers to feed and who can do the business up front (think Eto’o and Drogba). And of course a solid back four and a holding midfielder (DJ, VK or Zab can do it) behind him.

Patrick Knowles <pjamk(at)hotmail.com>

SVEN VS. HUGHES III

I’ve been reading the end-of-the-year notes from everyone and feel obliged to send my own, if only to capture some feelings and thoughts at this point of time before the madness starts up again in a few weeks’ time.

Even though our league finish is down a place, I don’t think there can be any doubt that the club is in a much better situation than twelve months ago. This time last year Dead Man Walking Sven was leading a mishmash of players on a farcical tour of Thailand and posing for entirely phony photo-ops with Thaksin, knowing the axe had fallen; and the team had just been humiliated 8-1 by Boro (in what I agree was a players’ protest).

A year on and Thaksin is gone and almost forgotten (except in Thailand where he is gearing up to attempt a return to power – shockingly, it turns out he wasn’t ‘retired’ from politics after all), and we have a stable ownership situation and obviously a lot of financial muscle. It’s important not to romanticize the new owners, but while few City supporters would want to live under the UAE regime, the owners are not aiming to use the club as a tool in an ongoing political conflict.

It also seems like they know what they are doing. I have been very much on the fence about Hughes all season. Not excited about his appointment initially, partly because of anger at how Sven was treated, and not impressed by results on the whole. In particular, I still don’t understand how the defence took such a big step backwards this season with the same or better personnel. I found my feelings on Hughes fluctuating wildly game to game based on the most recent result. Generally we were excellent at home and relegation-worthy away. Failure to produce any kind of away form with players who are clearly quite good has to lie at least in good part with the manager. And the domestic cup performances were disgraceful.

But I think Mansour made a good case in explaining why Hughes will be back. A measure of stability is indeed important given our recent past. People rightly criticized Micah’s form and seeming lack of focus during mid-season, but I reckon some of that is the impact of playing for 3 managers in 3 years. My biggest worry with Hughes has been the apparent tension he had with Elano and by extension Robinho, but by the end of the season that seemed to have resolved itself and the players seemed to be rowing in the same direction.

Plus, having a proper pre-season as well as time to think carefully about how to improve the squad should be a big benefit. I think City need to add 3 or 4 more top quality senior players, including ideally one striker, one attacking winger capable of playing on left or right side, a central defender, and depending on Michael Johnson’s status, possibly another all-around midfielder. Then we should perhaps take a look at 2-3 more younger players who can provide squad depth and replace the likes of Vassell and it seems Sturridge who will be departing.

Five to seven new players should be plenty – any more than that would be too much, too fast. Getting a striker with enough quality to command an automatic first team place should be top priority. Painful to say as it is, getting a defender who can challenge Richard Dunne for his place should be next on the list. With the resources available to Hughes, the strategy should be to begin by targeting the best available players in the world. We won’t be signing a team of galacticos, but we should be able to get some excellent players. Though to be honest, getting one more galactico might be a good thing in terms of taking some attention and pressure off Robinho.

Next year should be an enjoyable season, and if it’s not there’s no question the manager will walk the plank. It’s difficult to predict places because not only the top 4 but also Villa and Everton will be very tough to overtake, and Spurs and perhaps one or two others are also on an upswing. The competition to get near the top is going to intensify, and won’t be decided simply or even mainly by the amount of resources available to the clubs, but by things like team cohesion, tactics, and individual players emerging to raise their game (like Ireland this year). City could have been up there on 60 points or more this year but we simply threw too many points away from winning positions, home and away, and didn’t show any capacity to battle back and win once behind. Hughes should be judged most on whether we can reverse that next year.

I’m cautiously optimistic that we can and will. We have a strong squad that with intelligent spending should be an excellent squad by the time August rolls around, and the club is no longer surrounded by chaos and speculation off the pitch. For the first time since I’ve started supporting City, I’ll be able to say with a straight face that we have a legitimate chance of finishing (if all goes really well) as high as 4th in the Premier League. Just writing that sentence gives me excitement!

Thad Williamson <twillia9(at)richmond.edu>

SVEN VS. HUGHES III

I think that some supporters and fans who have been anti-Hughes will give him a big boost if he signs on the right players during the summer.

If Sparky fails to get the right players on board it will only go against him by many.

And yet whoever the players are that sign on for City, the thing that truly matters is will they fit into the City squad?

There will always be supporters and fans who will either like or dislike future signings, that being the nature of our beloved game.

New players must be given a fresh start, just like every other player in the City squad, a new season and a chance to impress.

There are some rumours flying around that Sturridge already has a contract lined up with Chelsea; in truth I still hope that he signs the City contract.

Come on Sparky, get the right players for MCFC and soon.

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)aol.com>

SVEN VS. HUGHES IV

Dear Sir,

With appropriate deference to Private Eye, I’d like to point out that David Sterrett’s contribution to MCIVTA 1535 is factually incorrect. A negative City fan’s glass is half empty, not half full!

Here’s to next season. I never wanted Hughes, felt that Sven was a makeweight and never wanted Pearce sacked. I thought he did a great job with b***er all.

Still, let’s go with what we’ve got… plus Eto’o.

Steve Roughsedge <Roughsedge(at)aol.com>

STEPHEN HEWITT

We have recently been informed that fanzine contributor and City fan Stephen Hewiitt passed away at 6am on Sunday morning May 24th after a massive seizure. Stephen’s witty and biting humour will be sorely missed and we offer our condolences to his friends and family.

The funeral will take place at 10.30am tomorrow Tuesday June 2nd at Rochdale Crem. Directions given are junction 20 off the M62, down to traffic lights, straight on and up to next set of lights approx 1/2 mile turn left and sharp right into the Crem. Parents Frank and Ann welcome all and the wearing of blue or City ties would be appreciated.

King of the Kippax <dw001e8104(at)blueyonder.co.uk>

UP THE JUNCTION BY LIONEL MESSI

(with apologies to Chris Difford & Glenn Tilbrook)

I never thought it would happen
With me and the boys Catalonic
Out there at Olimpico
Their team was catatonic

We beat the reds two-nothing
It was a real stuffing
It was started off by Eto’o
Who was far too good for Rio

Then sixty minutes later
As Xavi’s cross came over
I knew it was our time
My header was sublime
(Their defence was up the junction)

The look on Fergie’s face
Was one of sad disgrace
He cannot take a beating
Always moaning and bleating

And as for little Ryan
I swear I saw him cryin’
The player of the season
But I can see no reason

And then there was the pony
Oh he is such a phony
A fouler and a diver
And he’s no good at either

Next year I’m joining City
We’ll soon be sitting pretty
Up there above United
I’m getting all excited

I’ll speak to my mate Carlos
And see’f he’ll come across
With us and Zabaleta
We’ll make City much better

And with Mansour’s billions
We will not have a debt
We’ll sign all the best players
You ain’t seen nothing yet

And when we do the double
We’ll really burst their bubble
And so it’s my assumption
They’re really up the junction!

Martin Rayner <ezman461(at)bigpond.com>

MCIVTA FAQ [v0708.01]

[1] MCIVTA Addresses

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[2] What are MCIVTA’s publishing deadlines?

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[3] MCIVTA Back Issues and Manchester City Supporters’ home page

http://www.mcivta.com/ 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 http://www.mcfc.co.uk/

[5] What supporters’ clubs are there?

Manchester City FC recognises three supporters’ clubs: The “Official Supporters Club” (http://www.mcfcosc.com/); the “Centenary Supporters’ Association” (http://www.reddishblues.com/CSAWebsite/CSA.htm) 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 http://www.bbc.co.uk/manchester/sport/manchester_city/index.shtml.

Live match commentaries and archives of games, reports and interviews can be found at http://mcfc.videoloungetv.com/do/preLogin?clubSiteCode=MCFC&CMP=AFC-003.

[8] Where can I find out if City are live on satellite TV?

http://www.satfootball.com/pl.html provides a listing of Premiership games being shown on UK domestic and foreign satellite channels. Useful sites for North American viewers are http://msn.foxsports.com/foxsoccer, http://www.soccertv.com/, and http://www.livesoccertv.com/.

[9] Do we have a Usenet newsgroup?

Yes we do: uk.sport.football.clubs.man-city is our home on usenet. If you are not familiar with usenet, a basic explanation is available here: http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/0,289893,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 http://www.mcivta.com/players/

[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 http://www.mcfcstats.com/.


DISCLAIMER
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]Paul Robinson, editor@mcivta.city-fan.org

Newsletter #1536

2009/06/01

Editor:


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