Newsletter #1545

News tonight from Alex on the new website, pre-season fixtures and the latest transfer rumours and moves.

We have opinion on the new look team and club, musing about the origins of Blue Moon, the usual requests and a Why Blue.

Next Game: TBA


General News

Ready to Sheikh Up City: The launch of the new-look official City website yesterday was introduced with the first interview with City owner Sheikh Mansour. Despite a failure to launch at the expected time, technical staff at CoMS worked throughout the day to get the long awaited website up and running. The reformed website provides much cleaner cut, professional and accessible club news and is coherent with the new era of the club. Yet it wasn’t just the appearance of the website that caught the eye but also the first official interview with club owner Sheikh Mansour. The City owner revealed that he was dedicated to bringing success to such loyal fans and that he intended to wake the sleeping giant of Manchester City: “The EPL is the biggest league in the world. Premiership football is one of the best global entertainment products. Add into the mix one of football’s great sleeping giants, with a big, passionate and loyal fan base, and all the elements are there for a wonderful opportunity that was too good to pass up. Ten months on since the acquisition I am more convinced than ever of the potential that is there to be realised. You certainly see and hear that in the longstanding commitment of the fans for the Club. As I have said, it was very clear that Manchester City was a sleeping giant of English football and waking that giant I think is going to be rewarding on a number of levels.”

BBFC: Media giant Endemol has joined Manchester City in a partnership that seeks to make the football club a world wide brand. Intending to stretch City’s profile from Europe across Asia and Africa, Endemol will work alongside the Blues on media events such as press conferences, Internet coverage and international programming in order to raise the profile of the club. City’s Market and Brand Officer David Pullan announced the deal that partners MCFC with the media company that is behind the Channel Four Series Big Brother: “We’re delighted to be working with Endemol Sport at this important time in Manchester City’s development and growth. They bring a creative and innovative approach and their presence in international markets and leadership in digital and social media places them in a strong position to help build the City brand and fan base worldwide.”

Manchester Slippy: Fire crews were unexpectedly called to Eastlands on Sunday afternoon when a drainage system on Alan Turing Way collapsed and flood waters filled ground floor offices and lift areas of CoMS. As the drainage failed, reports suggested that the pitch had been ruined by the leak but the club has confirmed that this is not the case and it is only non-playing surfaces of the stadium that have been affected. A fire service spokesman played tribute to the staff who worked exceptionally hard to ensure no further damage was caused: “The crews worked tirelessly pumping the water from the lift shafts, with water collecting here at the lowest point. At the height of the incident the lift shafts contained over 3m (9.8ft) of water.”

Real Threat: Blackburn Rovers manager Sam Allardyce compared Manchester City’s revolution to that of Real Madrid’s this week and he believes that whilst Floretino Perez may be creating a second generation of Galacticos in Spain, back here in England, Arsenal and Liverpool could face the threat of losing their Champions’ League spots to high spending City. The former Bolton Wanderers manager, who was once linked with the City post, has already been subjected to the financial might of City having sold Roque Santa Cruz to the Blues and he’s fired a warning to all other clubs: “Chelsea did it when Roman Abramovich came in and I have no doubts City could do the same. Chelsea had no impact for a decade before he came in – and then they won the League and broke the domination of the Big Two at the time, Manchester United and Arsenal, to make it a three-horse race. City look like they are intent on getting to that level and if the spending is on the same level of Abramovich then I am quite sure they will have a major impact. And I believe that spells real danger for both Arsenal and Liverpool. I think they will be more vulnerable and they will be very nervous about what City are doing. All of a sudden they are under threat. They have been in the top four so long that each year they have been able to set their budget in advance because they know they will be in the Champions’ League. Now that could all change. And if City do take one of their places it could be catastrophic financially because it could cost them £25 million or more if they aren’t playing in the Champions’ League.”

It’s not only Allardyce who has realised the threat posed by the Citizens as Liverpool star striker Fernando Torres also admitted his fears of the Blue revolution: “Manchester City are putting together a strong team with good signings. Manchester United have yet to sign players with the money they received from the sale of Ronaldo, but he will be sorely missed along with Carlos Tevez. We will have to wait and see which players they bring in. I’m sure that Manchester United and Chelsea will be our main rivals but you can’t leave Arsenal or Manchester City out of the equation.”

Old Firm Challenge: The back end of City’s pre-season preparations this summer will end with a double challenge from Scottish opposition. The Blues will take on Glaswegian rivals Rangers and Celtic who have fought between themselves for years in order to claim the title of Scottish Champions with the Blue side of the City currently overcoming the Hoops. Though the Rangers fixture is yet to be confirmed due to the Champions’ League third qualifying round, it is set to be played at Ibrox on either August the 4th or 5th. On the other hand, the Celtic tie has been confirmed as City’s last before the new season begins and Giorgios Samaras and Co. will visit CoMS on August 8th as the fixture takes the place of the old Thomas Cook Trophy. Rangers manager Walter Smith has revealed his excitement of the prospect of competing against the revolution south of the border: “Manchester City have a squad packed with quality and this match will give us another good test ahead of the new SPL season. I know our fans will enjoy watching players of the calibre of Robinho, Gareth Barry and Roque Santa Cruz and it should be an entertaining game. We have an exciting pre-season programme lined up following our three-game trip to Germany with matches against Arsenal and Paris St Germain in the Emirates Cup, Portsmouth at Fratton Park and now Manchester City so our players will certainly benefit from competing against teams of this calibre.”

Will It Last? Following his £57 million move to Real Madrid, Kaka has explained why he moved to Madrid, only five months after stating his intentions to see out his career at Milan when rejecting the offer of a £91 million move to CoMS: “I was very flattered by Manchester City’s interest in January but it is just a project at the moment. And with projects sometimes you don’t know how long the investment will be there for. Lots of smaller clubs have periods of spending big money. But suddenly the investment stops when the owner decides to do something else. Or sometimes it stops because of other reasons like a failing economy. Things can be great one moment and not so great the next moment.”

Season-Ticket Sales Soar: In the first year of the Abu Dhabi era, the Blues sold 28,200 season tickets altogether and yet with a whole eight weeks before the start of next season, the Blues have already flown past that number of sales. The number sold so far is above the 30,000 mark and with eight weeks left, the Blues expect this number could easily rise to 33-34,000. Executive Chairman Gary Cook praised the Blues for their loyalty: “We’ve always known that City fans are passionate and unswerving in their support for the club. The impressive take-up of Seasoncards already shown simply underlines that loyalty.”

Squad News

Where the Axe Falls: The imminent arrival of world class stars to CoMS has created a fever of excitement that currently runs throughout Manchester and yet for some Blues the journey is over. Darius Vassell, Dietmar Hamaan and Michael Ball are all out of contract today and they will join Danny Mills on the free transfer market. Fringe players Glauber Berti and Richard Martin are also searching for new employers whilst in an attempt to trim his squad, Hughes is said to be encouraging bids for the likes of Javier Garrido, Tal Ben Haim and Gelson Fernandes. Danny Sturridge has all but signed for Chelsea, with a compensation deal yet to be confirmed by tribunal, whereas Ched Evans, Benjani Murawari and Jo may all soon be subject to bids that are likely to be accepted as they find themselves surplus to requirements. Though the club is keen to sell, the hierarchy will only sell at prices that represent value for money and having already knocked back a £1.5 million bid from Sheffield United for Evans, teams like Portsmouth and Fulham who have enquired about Benjani and Jo respectively, will probably not get the cut price deal that they might expect. With so many players reportedly on their way out, Hughes knows that he has to buy excellent replacements who will be capable of challenging for the top six of the Premier League, if not the Champions’ League spots.

Plan to Progress: Whilst many will be leaving the club this summer, there’s one player who certainly has no plans to be playing for anyone but the Citizens next season. Young midfielder Michael Johnson had an injury plagued term last time round and plans to progress as an individual and as part of the team next season as he fights his way back from a pelvic injury that has seen him absent from the first eleven since last September. When asked whether he has found a replacement club should City decide his time at the club was ending, Johnson pledged his loyalty to the club and claimed that the ambition currently being shown by the club is something that makes him very excited about the future: “I don’t want to go anywhere. Look at the signings [at City]. They want to challenge the top four, which is what I expect us to do. That’s why I want to be here. When any new players come in you have to prove that you’re better than them. It is such an exciting time to be at Manchester City and I have not been able to be part of it. It is very frustrating. But I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now because I am confident we have got to the root of the problem.”

Further to this, Johnno, who was dubbed ‘the next Colin Bell’ in the 07/08 season, believes that the club will progress at such a rate that the club will win the Premier League title in his time at the club: “Of course it is realistic to think Manchester City could be champions in my time at the club. Every player at the club wants to finish as high as we can. But the truth is we want to win the league. That is the bottom line.”

Transfer News and Rumours

Is That Stratospheric with an ‘F’ or a ‘PH’? City fans woke up on Sunday morning to the news that another world class name may be making his way to Eastlands. Barcelona president Joan Laporta revealed that mega rich City had offered Samuel Eto’o a ‘stratospheric offer’ which has been reported to be £250,000 per week before tax: “It’s starting to become clear that he has this monster offer. He wants to stay but an offer like this is very difficult to refuse.” However, the £25 million transfer has hit a snag as the Cameroonian striker has demanded half the transfer fee from the Catalan side as his signing on fee. This would usually be a no brainer for the Champions of Europe as to pay a player £12.5 million to leave your club seems ludicrous, however, this time next season Eto’o can leave on a free transfer and therefore Barcelona are almost in a lose-lose situation but it is for the Spanish League winners to decide whether they would rather earn £12 million, or make a point of principle by keeping him in the squad until next season as Hughes explains: “There appears to be a situation between the player and his club that we cannot be part of. We have to sit back and see what develops. Patience is a word that has been mentioned – we may need some. The player wants to stay and complete the last year of his contract – if Barça don’t want him they should say so, so we can pursue the player’s future in a professional manner. The club said coach Pep Guardiola did not want him. Guardiola has not told the player he is not required.”

Maicon a Splash: Jose Mourinho’s interest in Elano may be heightened this week as Manchester City prepare a swap deal for Inter Milan right back Maicon. Whilst City’s Brazilian has made noises about a possible move to the San Siro, his fellow countryman has been demanding a higher wage in Italy. Mourinho has not reacted well to such demands and has reminded the player that with four years left on his contract, there is no incentive for the club to renew his deal. The scene seems set for City to offer Elano in exchange for the ambitious right back who would fit in well given the club’s inconsistent defensive displays last season. Maicon’s agent has hinted towards a possible move to the Premier League with Chelsea and Real Madrid providing stiff competition for the Citizens: “Maicon is the best right-back in the world. I would rule out that Manchester United are looking for him but I know that City made an approach.”

The Tiny Pato of Brazilian Feet: Maicon is seemingly not the only Brazilian that Hughes is chasing as it was revealed that City may have made an attempt to bring another Samba boy to the City fold. AC Milan told the Italian media this week that: “The only offer that has arrived (for Milan Striker Alexandre Pato) at our club was a monster offer from England.” Given the current financial situation, it is reasonable to assume that only Chelsea or City could have made such a huge offer for the 19 year old forward, yet the London side have denied any rumours of a bid. Milan president Adriano Galliani is confident however that ‘The Duck’ is happy with life in Italy and will sign a contract extension in the coming weeks.

International Blues

Samba Success: Brazilian stars Elano and Robinho were integral in the three goal haul that completely changed the destination of where the Confederations Cup now sits. Despite finding themselves 2-0 down against USA, the Brazilians worked hard to earn their 3rd Confederations Cup title. Tournament top scorer Luis Fabiano socred a brace that brought the Brazilians level after Robinho had hit the bar and Lucio completed the turn around in the 84th minute from an Elano corner. Robinho is now one of four Premier League names on the short-list for player of the tournament.

Hart of a Lion: Three lions on his shirt and Joe Hart became an England hero for one night only as the 22-year-old ‘keeper led the England under 21 side into the European Championship final. Despite being three goals to the good, with City defender Nedum Onuoha scoring one of the goals, Pearce’s young guns crumbled in the second half and the game went to extra time. With Manchester United’s Frazier Campbell dismissed, the under 21s were up against it in extra time and were ‘lucky’ to make it into the shoot-out. When Milner relived the Beckham penalty of 2004 by slipping as he shot, all hope seemed lost for the nation whose penalty taking has never been their strong suit, but it was City goalie Joe Hart who turned the game on its head. Not only did Hart save the first of the Swedish penalties but he then stepped up and smashed England’s second into the top corner of the goal. Unfortunately, Hart received a harsh booking for unsporting behaviour during the shoot-out, having already received one earlier in the tournament, which led to his absence from the 4-0 thrashing that Pearce’s side got in the final against Germany. Hart explained how disappointed he was to miss the final but that once he got his caution, he was determined to put his team in the final: “As soon as I got a yellow card I was determined to win it. I thought both my bookings were harsh but it’s got nothing to do with what I think. Unfortunately, it’s what the ref thinks and he thought to book me. I don’t understand why. I just tried to look at them. I just had a bit of fun but the ref didn’t see it that way.”

Academy Blues

Donal’s Deal: Donal McDermott is the latest Academy star to sign a new contract and commit his future to the club. With the club promising to combine the imminent world class arrivals with local talent, the McDermott deal signifies that the club is sticking to their promises. The 19-year-old Irishman was a part of the City FA Youth Cup winning squad two years ago and the striker is thrilled to have signed a two year extension: “Life is exciting here and I’m sure it will be more so. The reserves under Glyn Hodges feels like you’re part of the senior set-up – when they went to Schalke and Santander last season, we went as well. You’re part of unbelievable times here, and though it might get harder to make the breakthrough you can only learn from good players. I’ll maybe go out on loan for a while next season, keep on learning, and see how it goes.”

Ex-Blues’ News

Turkish Trial: Despite only having left the club two days ago, Darius Vassell has his future planned out and it seems that a move to Turkey is on the cards. The former England international who signed for City in 2005 for £2 million is in talks with Turkish Super Lig Side Ankaragucu and their Chairman believes that snapping up the versatile forward will be a huge boost to his club: “We’ve completed the pre-negotiations with Darius Vassell. We aim to secure a big signing as this year is our centenary. He [Vassell] will visit the city and our installations. Then he will make a decision. I hope we can include him in our squad.”

Alex Rowen <news(at)>


It is pretty obvious by now that Mark Hughes is set on fielding his own team. He has a masterplan, he is acquiring players in his own image, and we as City fans, at least owe him that chance of either being a spectacular success or an equally spectacular failure. I applaud his signing of Gareth Barry and the impending signing of Carlos Tevez and would encourage Hughes acquiring Joleon Lescott. I don’t understand why we signed Stuart Taylor. Yes, Joe Hart needs first team football but what about Kasper Schmeichel?

I thought he was terrific when he started for Sven two seasons ago and surely he is good enough to back up Given? I can’t see how he is going to stay around behind both Given and Taylor. And defensively, I can understand why Hughes wants to replace Dunne with Lescott but I hope he is not in a hurry to dump Richards or Onuoha. This is the future of Man City, quality players who have come through the Academy.

The biggest headache Hughes faces is who to unload? He obviously has belief in Santa Cruz, which means goodbye Benjani, Jo, Vassell and Caciedo. Sturridge is gone and I am sure Ched Evans will follow.

All this talk of Eto’o signing would surely cause lineup problems. What with Robinho, Bojinov, Petrov, Elano, Ireland and let’s not forget Michael Johnson also fighting for a start.

Hughes is obviously going to jettison a bunch of players. If next year’s squad are world-beaters, brilliant. But Hughes has to know that a lot of the players he is bringing in are mercenaries and will not be around for the long haul. Look what is happening at the Swamp with Ronaldo and Tevez leaving. Suddenly United look badly depleted. I will be cheering Hughes next season but I really hope he can balance his star signings with a strong support team of Academy graduates. Otherwise, these players will come back and bite us in the rear.

Here’s hoping.

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


To offer some light relief after the arguments for and against our manager that have raged in these pages recently, I’d like to pose a question. When precisely did City fans adopt “Blue Moon” as their song? Was it during the desperate days in the Second (Third) Division?

When I first watched City, we had nothing, and it was rather embarrassing during the community singing before the Cup Final against Newcastle in ’55 to hear the Geordies rapturously singing their “Blaydon Races”, and wondering what on earth we would be asked to sing for our team. It turned out to be “She’s a Lassie from Lancashire”; my generation knew the tune, but certainly weren’t familiar with the words, so we lost that battle well and truly. The game itself wasn’t much different, Jackie Milburn scoring in the first minute and Jimmy Meadows being injured in the 19th (no subs allowed in those days).

I wasn’t present the following year at Wembley when we again played against a team that had a well established song. For some reason Birmingham City fans had chosen the old Harry Lauder song “Keep Right On to the End of the Road” and sang it at every game to encourage their team. I don’t know if we were again given the “Lassie from Lancashire”, but whatever it was, it worked. We won that final.

Funnily enough, I don’t remember other teams having a particular song until 1960, when Third Division Southampton were drawn away to City. I was emerging from the Kardomah in St. Anne’s Square after my Saturday morning ritual of a coffee, when about a dozen young men entered the square, swinging football rattles and singing. Now it wasn’t unusual to see groups of fans with rattles in those days, but it was most unusual to hear them singing, and it’s stuck in my mind. The song, of course, was “When the Saints Go Marching In”. Shoppers looked on indulgently, and I admit to a condescending smile, as they passed by, no hint of aggression, just good-natured enthusiasm. The smile was wiped off my face that afternoon, as the Southampton wingers Paine and Sydenham tore First Division City to shreds and inflicted a 5-1 defeat on us.

I’ve no recollection of Liverpool fans singing their “You’ll Never Walk Alone” until their glory years of the 70s, but I may well be wrong.

Back to the original question: when did “Blue Moon” come on the scene?

David Buxton <dbb26(at)>


We all wait in the hope of signing Tevez and Eto’o; I feel sure that a lot is going on behind the scenes to sign both these players.

The clubs that are in the Champions’ League have the upper hand in most cases to sign the top players, and MCFC know that it will take more money to get the best, so that City can compete for a Champions’ League spot next season.

It has been reported that it is easy to spot a Manchester City fan, they have hardly any nails left, whilst they are waiting for Tevez and Eto’o to be City players. Our attacking force will be complete when we get Tevez and Eto’o (positive thinking); well we do not want Eto’o and Barça to do a Kaka on us do we?

Mark Hughes has also made a statement that if he had got Rocky into the team during the winter transfer window, City would have made it into Europe.

I say if Bellamy had stayed fit we would have made it into Europe; this is an important reason why MCFC should sign Eto’o, we cannot afford to fail in the final weeks of the season due to injuries, we must be prepared to be the best.

The new MCFC website is a fantastic improvement, and all the videos are in a first class condition. It is easy to find anything that you want to see, I give it a thumbs up!

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


Some words of wisdom from a Chelsea fan with an open letter to all Citizens. I tried it on a Man U fan the other day who came over all…

“Don’t think your gonna win owt just coz of your money you know it’s still 34 years and counting for citeh”

My retort was: “Well it’s all work in progress, anyway what kind of season do you think Darren Fletcher will have, he must have been gutted to have missed the final in Rome?” Then watch as the face takes on bamboozled status.

Dear City fans,

I’m sure you guys are sick and tired by now of the constant swipes and slurs that seem to hit you on a daily basis; believe me it will only get worse as the rest of the jealous Premier League fail to accept your good fortune.

As a Chelsea fan I believe that I am in a better position than most to understand what you are going through at this moment in time. When Roman first arrived at the Bridge and it was obvious that we were going to splash the cash, our transfer dealings were deemed immoral, we were apparently killing football as we know it and rival supporters used us as an object for their frustrations, instead of concentrating their efforts on their own failing clubs. I found the best way to deal with it is to just be even smugger, rather than rise to the bait.

I have noticed looking around various sites that City fans are continually on the defensive, having to justify the club’s actions and are out to jump on any rival that is willing to take a pop at your club. I ask you the question as to why you bother as it isn’t going to get any better in time. You’re better off just sitting back, perhaps enquire about how their own clubs are doing, or just gloat at your own good fortune. At the end of the day in the next few years City will be challenging for the title every single year, if the Arabs continue their interest in the club.

The sky is the limit for City and it won’t be long before you will see trophies being paraded around Eastlands; it may not happen next season, but you certainly won’t be waiting long. Embrace it, enjoy it and more importantly don’t let anyone else tell you what is right or wrong. All those supporters would love to be in your boat and if you asked them deep down the real reason for their cheap shots, I bet you jealousy will be the most prominent response.

Yours sincerely,

A success-spoilt Chelsea fan.

Phil Lines <philipjlines(at)>


25 MCFC staff are doing the 3 Peaks Challenge (walking up and down Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon) this weekend. We are raising money for the New Children’s Hospital Appeal, and donations are being taken at

If anybody would like to donate then we would be hugely appreciative.

Many thanks, Tim Oscroft – Manchester City Football Club


I have been looking for a Terry Cummis for the last 15 years. I worked at Butlins Ayr with him in the 1970s; he was a big City fan and he lived in Manchester. He would know me as Rocky. If anyone knows Terry please could they contact me?

Thanks, John Wright <johnwright212(at)>


Frank Swift was my hero, never seen a ‘keeper like him since. Ok, there have been some great ‘keepers over time but Swifty had that bit of magic about him.

I remember one game, against Spurs, Willie Hall came charging through the City defence and he was about 15/20 yards out of the box. Swifty just stood still on the 6 yard line, hands loose as if not a care in the world, Hall kept coming, looked up at Swifty, shot, Swifty just casually knocked it down with hardly a movement. Hall looked flabbergasted, Swifty just smiled and patted him on his head, threw it out, one handed to Maurice Dunkerly on the half way line. Classic moment.

Swifty could also throw a ball, the big heavy one, further than most could kick it. He smiled a lot, although I missed the game when Bradford PA put 8 past us at Maine Road, I would have liked to have seen his face then. Swift, Sproston, Barkas, three huge characters. Both full backs had fierce dead ball kicking power, Bert Sproston probably shaded it.

My first City game, around 1944/5, City vs. Everton, we lost to Everton 2-0. They had some great players. Next match was Grimsby Town, I cannot remember the score, think it was a draw – they also had a good ‘keeper George Tweedy I think but may have been Moulson. I only saw Peter Doherty once but we had a great left winger then called Pearson from Newcastle. Of course, lots of loan players then due to the war.

Lots of memories but Big Frank was my all time favourite, still is, always had time for fans, signing autographs, having a quick chat. I also remember a Boxing Day match against Plymouth Argyle, we were cruising 3-1 at half time, we won 4-3… just: one of their goals was brilliant and Swifty actually gave the player a handshake – can you see that happening today?

The best days of football are behind us I think but despite all the hype and TV of today I have still to witness the atmosphere of mixed supporters in a packed ground, everyone shouting and rattling away (rattling would probably be banned now under health and safety rules!). Very little police on duty, crowds knew how to behave then; just imagine the cost savings if everybody behaved themselves – not much to ask is it?

Brian Longworth <brian.brian2(at)>

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Newsletter #1545