Newsletter #1561

News tonight from Sarah on the latest transfer deals; now that Lescott and Sylvinho are secured it looks like Dunne is off to Villa. We also have a look at developments behind the scenes with the club.

Opinion on the transfers and market demand, more mischief making and the season ahead together with the usual requests.

Next Game: Portsmouth, away, 1.30pm Sunday 30 August


General News

City Keep Wolves from the Door: The City fan who chose the tunes to be played before the sell-out first home game of the season has something of the prophet about him. Alex Ellis chose “Supersonic” and “Club Foot” as two of his three tracks to entertain an Eastlands full house. The first was the perfect sub-title for an exhilarating first half, the second an apt slogan for the last 20 minutes. For the first 45 minutes, the £80 million strikeforce of Robinho, Carlos Tevez and Emmanuel Adebayor, backed up by the darting thrusts of Shaun Wright-Phillips and the smooth perception of Stevie Ireland, produced some fantasy football. Emmanuel Adebayor continued to cement his affinity with the Blues’ fans by crashing City ahead on 17 minutes. And the fact that the goal was set up by a sublime touch from Carlos Tevez, making his first start for the club, only enhanced it. Tevez has already begun to win the hearts of the City faithful, not least because of his defection from United. His willingness to chase every lost cause, fight for every scrap of possession and to shirk no responsibility, is a vote-winner with any set of football fans. Five minutes before the break came the first warning of what can happen to a team that fails to convert so many chances when it is so much on top, but Shay Given came up with a stunning acrobatic save that won him acclaim on Match of the Day! The City chances continued after the break with efforts from birthday-boy Ireland, Adebayor and an offside Robinho. This gave Wolves hope and Andrew Keogh hit the bar, as the plucky visitors re-doubled their efforts. However, the big difference between this new-look City and the “typical” old City was that this one has the mental strength to tough it out. The City of last season would have drawn or possibly lost this match.

The Transfer Window is Closing: And with it the deadline for Seasoncards, which is also 31st August.

Spending Spree: Meanwhile, Mark Hughes says his whirlwind of summer spending is over. The manager who presented his wish-list at a board meeting at the end of 2008 has enjoyed the opportunity to build his squad in a far shorter time-frame than he originally expected, completing what he believed to be ‘probably 3 years work in 9 months’. And it is no coincidence that Hughes has recruited players as much for their attitude and work ethic as for their ability. And he believes that his earlier strategy – which has seen 14 players released, six sold and six sent out on loan since May, has given him a squad that is equipped to go up against the best. Now Hughes believes that he has addressed the previous lack of experience and has brought in players with a winning mentality. “I think every one of the players who has come in has a different mentality to the ones who have left the Club. That makes the group demanding of me and more demanding of themselves.” Hughes also insists that this movement of players is just the public face of an overall development plan, adding “There are things going on behind the scenes, improvement is happening at all levels to improve our standing in world football. We’ve acquired a lot of players through the market but investment is going into the Academy and scouting department. We’ll be targeting players and developing them ourselves. There is a plan for the future and the Academy and scouting department is key to that.”

Andy Takes Over the Academy: Andy Welsh has taken over at the Academy as Jim Cassell is given the job of heading a project to export the Club’s youth set-up. Both are thrilled with the new challenges. Welsh (who previously ran the Leeds Academy that produced Scott Carson, Aaron Lennon, and James Milner) knows “I have a lot to live up to at a club that is clearly going places”. Acknowledging “the extraordinary work done by Jim in building an Academy that is the envy of most football”, Andy is “excited by the challenge that lies ahead”. Meanwhile, Cassell, who has shepherded 27 youngsters into the Premier League and lifted the FA Youth Cup, is busy working on his venture, which is expected to start at the end of the year.

New Look City Programme: Now you can ‘Read the Goat!’ Having already been awarded ‘Programme of the Year’ last year, the City programme has been further improved by the addition of a new column from Shaun Goater, interviews with former City stars, a feature about local music and even a section dedicated to young fans and all things Live4City.

Transfer News

City Strengthen in Defence: Worth Waiting For? Hughes believes so. Lescott has finally become a light(er) Blue. City have paid £22 million for the player, with the five-year contract understood to be worth £94,000 a week. Manchester City manager Mark Hughes is of the opinion that his latest acquisition is the best central defender in England’s top flight. “Joleon is arguably the best centre-half in the Premier League and can be for a number of years,” Hughes is quoted as saying. “Some transfers are completed relatively quickly, others take longer. This has been one of the latter cases but the fact we kept pushing for it is indicative of my view on the player.” The player explained the reason behind his move, claiming that the Eastlands club is in a better position to take a leap upwards than cash-strapped Everton. “Everyone outside the top four are aiming for the same thing, but I think Manchester City are more equipped to get there faster than Everton,” he (Lescott) added. “That is why I made the change.” And he is also hoping the move will help him gain a place in the England squad for next summer’s World Cup. Furthermore, when asked on the possibility of usurping current first choices Rio Ferdinand or John Terry in the England team, the defender replied “I like to believe I can. At this moment in time, they are the two best centre halves and deservedly so. They have been at the top of the game for all of their careers, but as a player, you have to believe you can break into any team. I’m no different to anyone else and, hopefully, if I get a chance I can grab it with both hands.” However, after City’s summer-long pursuit of Terry, Lescott insists he is a very different kind of player to the Chelsea centre-half. “I don’t think I can fill the rôle that John Terry has at this moment in time,” he explained. “Obviously he has been the leader of his club and nation for a long time now so he has more leadership qualities than I have. But I look up to people like that and believe I can achieve what he has done.” Meanwhile, Lescott’s arrival has heralded the (likely) departure of Richard Dunne (see below), so the armband looks likey to be passed to Kolo Toure.

Sylvinho Gets His Second Chance: Brazilian defender Sylvinho, who had a two-year stint with Arsenal around the start of the decade, has been lured back to the Premier League by City. After winning the Champions’ League with Barcelona last May, the 35 year old was keen for another crack at the League, which he still sees as the best in the world despite his time in La Liga since leaving the Gunners. Sylvinho said: “It’s great news for me that I’m back in the Premier League. Every player likes to play in this league, this is my second chance and I’m very proud to have been asked to come back over here. This club is changing a lot, but they have a great mentality and they want to make this club even bigger. That’s great to hear for me, and to be part of this project will be exciting. A lot of good players have come here already, and it is promising to be a great season.” Teaming up with the mercurial talent of fellow countryman Robinho is also exciting Sylvinho, who added: “I know him, and I spoke to him just after I signed but I have known him for a few years. He is really happy, he enjoys the Premier League and he has adapted to it really quickly. I think he can improve a little bit more, but we will talk a lot, I may have more experience than him over here but he has already been doing OK without me!”

Richard’s Dunne With City: Richard Dunne looks to be on his way to Villa. As I write, the Club has agreed a fee and he is discussing personal terms. The current club captain, Dunne joined City from Everton for £3 million in October 2000. Stuart Pearce handed him the captain’s armband at the start of the 2006/07 season and he was on the pitch for every minute of every game that season, both league and cup, and went on to land fans’ player-of-the-season honours for the third successive time. Twelve months later, he made history by picking up the coveted award for the fourth time. The big defender continued as City captain under Sven-Goran Eriksson and Mark Hughes and will (I believe) be fondly remembered by many fans.

Serbian Blues: City are giving a week’s trial to Serbian wonder-kid Danijel Aleksic. Striker Aleksic, 18, made history last year as the only player to turn out for Under-17, Under-19, Under-21 and full national squads in the same calendar year.

Squad News

Be Afraid: Carlos Tevez believes Sir Alex Ferguson is worried about Manchester City following their busy summer of spending. Tevez spent two years on loan at Old Trafford before securing a permanent switch to Eastlands over the summer, and whilst Ferguson has played down the significance of the Argentine’s departure, he has also warned Man City that it will be difficult to break into the top four this season. However, Tevez feels Ferguson does fear his local rivals and will not be relishing the Manchester derby on 20th September. Time will tell!

Robinho – The Vision Becomes Reality: Manchester City’s Brazilian frontman Robinho believes that his club are ready to taste title glory this season. “I think we are now on the brink of something very special. I want to win the championship this season. I think we can challenge for the title.” The Brazilian international understands why eyebrows were raised over his choice of destination last summer. “I could understand why questions were asked about why I joined City last season because here was a club that had not celebrated any kind of success for many years,” he revealed. “It was said that I had come purely for financial reasons, that I had forgotten about my ambitions because of money. I said at the time that I signed because I had been sold a vision of Manchester City becoming a powerful club, not just in England, but throughout the rest of the world.” Robinho urged some caution in City’s ambitions, but stated his belief that the signings they have made this summer can push the club towards the title. “Maybe it is still too soon and we have to have more time to develop as a team, but I do know I will be part of a team that will bring excitement to everyone,” he smiled.

Barry Backs the Blues to Win: Manchester City midfielder Gareth Barry says he chose to join the Blues as he believes he will win trophies with the Eastlands outfit. The 28-year-old was subject of one the longest-running transfer sagas of last summer, with Liverpool expected to complete the signing of the England international, only for Rafael Benitez to refuse to meet Aston Villa’s valuation. Instead, Barry joined City for £12 million in June, with Benitez accusing him of joining Mark Hughes’ cash-rich club for the money. But the midfielder, who spent 12 years at Aston Villa, has hit back at Benitez, insisting he joined City in the hope of winning trophies under the ownership of the club’s billionaire owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan. “Criticism is inevitable when clubs spend money like City have done this summer, but the truth is I didn’t win anything at Aston Villa and I want that statistic to change during my time at City,” he said. “I’m hoping to be a success with this club – not just this season – but for many to come.”

Sarah Longshaw <news(at)>


So it’s a big welcome to Sylvinho and Joleon Lescott this week. Robinho will have a new compatriot in the squad, but a more mature one than Jo and Elano and one that is not likely to be trouble, unlike either Jo or Elano. Sylvinho, 35, played in Barcelona’s successful Champions’ League Final win over the Rags last season and distinguished himself at Arsenal before that.

Lescott comes to us with much to prove and will face competition for places with Nedum Onuoha, Kolo Toure and, hopefully, Richard Dunne. I do hope we keep hold of Dunney as we need 4 centre halves if we are to have a proper squad. Kolo Toure will be away on frican Nations Cup duty early next year so we will need that depth, especially if the fixtures pile up if we have ultimately successful runs in at least one of the Cups. Vincent Kompany can also play at centre half but he has had his injury problems and he might be needed in midfield. Hopefully Lescott can at least match his 10 goals of the 2007/2008 season, a very impressive haul for a defender, and give us extra class in defence.

As well as making rather unpleasant personal attacks on Lescott, David Moyes has continued to whine about him moving to City despite making a tidy profit of £17 million on England’s fifth choice central defender.

He grumbled: “We shouldn’t have been asked to wait this length of time for an amount of cash we think was the correct value for the player. If the money had been offered in June it would have been a lot easier for us. The time is against us to find a replacement. You can always spend money if you pay the right prices. The hard part is it will be expensive.”

So that’s ‘expensive’ like the £22 million that Moyes should have to spend, if his board give it all to him, so he should shut up, stop whingeing and get on with spending it!

Moyes might have had more time to buy players had he been more straight with City. If he’d have said the asking price is £22 million rising to £24 million at the outset rather than his mixed messages of ‘Lescott is not for sale’ and then in the next breath ‘they have not matched our valuation’. In this process he has complained that the lead up to the Lescott deal was ‘disgusting’, yet he has no evidence that there has ever been any tapping up of Lescott and he and his club are happy to trouser £22 million rising to £24 million. Talk about having your cake and eating it! If this was not enough hypocrisy you don’t have to go a long way back to find how Everton’s pursuit of Yakubu unsettled him whilst when he was at Middlesbrough, resulting in Yakubu’s transfer to, yes, wait for it, Everton! The Everton manager at the time was (cue drum roll, no prizes for guessing)… one David Moyes. Disgusting! Ta-dah… I give you the next manager down at the Swamp. And you can guess who would be the first to whine if his chairman said, ‘No, David isn’t going anywhere’ if or the Rags or another club come calling.

Phil Banerjee <Philban65(at)>


So, a potential buying club, which is much more affluent than the selling club, makes an attempt to buy Joleon Lescott. Obviously the selling club would rather not sell a player that is one of the better players at the club. The possible transfer gets into the public domain and Joleon Lescott’s head is obviously turned.

This is clearly much to the dismay of the selling club but in all reality what can they do? The potential buying club has more money available than they do and so cannot only afford a probably inflated transfer fee but also higher wages than Lescott is currently earning. The buying club flexes its financial muscle to ensure that a transfer is completed and Lescott moves on.

I have not just described City’s purchase of Lescott but Everton’s purchase of Lescott back in 2006. Looks a similar scenario doesnt it? That is what makes the frog eyed Jock look an even bigger hypocrite.

‘Moyzeeeeeeeee’ as the Mickeys like to call him (with the eeeeeeeeee part becoming so high pitched that it is only audible to dogs), needs to learn a few things.

  1. Anything he can do in 2006, we can now do bigger and better;
  2. If he wants bids for his players to remain a secret then he wants to ensurethat his own club keep quiet instead of erroneously blaming other clubs formaking them public knowledge;
  3. Transfers are conducted at Chairman/CEO level and not conducted manager tomanager (this will explain why Everton never buy any top players, ’cause no manageris going to want to give an opposing manager any encouragement!);
  4. Chairmen and their board run football clubs and not power delusionalmanagers.

Moyes should learn to show the same dignity that O’Neill and Wenger have shown when losing top players to City. The same as Allardyce is showing to Villa over probably losing Warnock.

Let’s hope that our great start to the season continues as, hopefully, our performances get stronger and stronger. Tevez to score the winner at the home of the Swamp Dwellers would be an absolute dream.

Keep the faith.

Andrew Keller <akcity(at)>


Why City have fallen to the same trick Blackburn played on us with Santa Cruz, I just cannot fathom! Sure we need quality defenders, but to pay way, way over the top for an average defender? You can ask anyone in the UK and they will tell you that Lescott is worth around £7 million to £10 million, nothing more. Will there be any return when his contract is over? Imagine £24 million for a defender, who is not necessarily the best in the world.

I am not complaining about any of Hughes’ other signings but this one really irritates me, as it shows we know very little about a player’s valuation, or even the ability to scout properly. Look at Arsene Wenger, he generally knows a player’s worth and does not budge much past that figure. Is Lescott a starter in the England team?

I really hope he proves me wrong, and turns out to be one of our best signings, but I cannot see that. For the money we are laying out for one player, we could have recruited 3 or 4 promising young players for the future. David Moyes must be laughing all the way to the bank, it will allow him to strengthen his squad immeasurably, at our expense.

I am generally pleased with our start to the season. However, most people will have noted that Shay Given has been called into action too many times and kept us in the game. Micah Richards has gone backwards so much you wonder when he will give way to someone else; he still cannot read the game and gets caught out way too often, relying on Toure to bail him out.

Robinho does a bit of fancy work on the wing but his scoring efforts have been woeful to date. Petrov must be thinking, use me I score goals! Adebayor will prove to be a great signing; he has pace, height and control and will trouble most defences, I am glad he is in a City shirt. I remember seeing young Weiss at the FA Youth Cup final at Stamford Bridge, and I felt Hughes could have had him on the bench a lot earlier. He obviously has benefited from all the pre-season chances and looks a real find. We really need Kompany fit again to bolster our midfield, I am still not convinced with de Jong, and we need another creative midfielder in the Fabregas mould.

C’mon City!

Glyn Albuquerque <glynalbuquerque(at)>


It looks like the squad are ready for the season, with all positions having quality players, including any back ups that will be needed from time to time. Having said that we don’t know what might happen before the end of the transfer window; will Sparky sign anyone else?

I feel sure that I will not be the only City supporter who has been pleased with the players that Sparky has brought in, with the backing of the new owners who have stood firmly behind Mark Hughes.

I like the attitude of Mark Hughes and the board who never gave up on getting Lescott; the player had put in a transfer request to join City, and this proved he wants to be part of the Manchester City revolution.

I read with dismay that some say City should have given up on Lescott: why? Just because Moyes wanted to keep him and valued him so much as a player? Lescott can very well be the last piece of Sparky’s jigsaw puzzle in building his team; of course if a fantastic player comes into the picture that can all change.

Perhaps we still might see some City players leave before the transfer window closes as surplus to requirements; I never like to give names on which players I feel should leave, for they all have done a job for City at some time or other, so if any leave I will wish them “Good Luck”.

Just two years ago how many of us could have ever thought how fortunate our club would be in having such great owners as the Abu Dhabi Group; they have stuck to their plan, and we all can see a fantastic Blue future.

Everyone is now talking about Manchester City, and now the team must continue to win the games, and put the Rags in the shadow of the Blues; the days of being in the shadow of the Reds are over.

Mark Hughes will have no excuse for failure after all the backing to bring in the players of his choice, now he has got to get them all to gel, and the squad to be understanding of one another when a team is picked for a game; a happy dressing room is a must!

Come on you Blues.

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


I enjoyed Mike Kay, Phil Gregory and Simon Gibbs sharing with us their ‘mischief making’. I particularly loved the one about spreading City magazines everywhere to cover up Rag mags. My wife also thought that I was the only person that did such things, but now she knows otherwise. It makes my blood boil to see United magazines in newsagents, particular when those newsagents are many miles away from Manchester, so even as a forty-something, I also feel the compulsion to make use of Four Four Two and World Soccer to cover up such sinful material. As well as the confusion factor that this can cause, as alluded to by Mike, why should decent people have to look at such offensive material?

I find that if I’m in a sports shop, if my clothing or hands brush up accidentally against Stretford merchandise, I have to wipe my hands clean: Liverpool, Arsenal or even Chelsea shirts come in useful for this purpose, as they are all sworn enemies of the Rags and therefore have some cleansing power but I wouldn’t feel right wiping my hands of such muck on a City shirt. It wouldn’t after all, be fair to the Blues who buy the City shirts to have them contaminated with such filth. I wouldn’t want that on my conscience. Rest assured, I do wash my hands thoroughly in soap and water at the next possible opportunity.

Can I also take the opportunity to ‘fess up to showing some United fans the ‘right directions’ one evening in the 90s? We were playing Portsmouth in the 2nd Division (a.k.a. Championship) and Stretford were playing Porto in the Chimps League, and I was pulling up to the traffic lights in Longsight. A car with a Nottingham dealers sticker in its rear window was in front of me and pulled into the right hand lane at the traffic lights whilst I was alongside them in the left. The passenger side window of their car opened up and I was asked in a flat East Midlands accent ‘Which way is it to the match, mate’.

‘I’m going to the match’, I replied, sussing that they were not going to Maine Road, and that they were neither Pompey nor Portuguese.

‘Old Trafford?’ one enquired.

‘No, Maine Road’ I said, a tad irritated. Then, I had an idea.

‘Which way is it?’ chirped the Nottingham Rag.

‘Turn right mate and keep going straight’ I offered, knowing full well that I was sending them in a different direction to where they wanted to be (but certainly didn’t need to be). With any luck they would have driven round Manchester all night, considered the errors of their ways, and either had a ‘road to Damascus’ or ‘road to Droylsden’ type conversion and seen that the Sky Blue way is the right way, or at least considered supporting Forest or Notts County. I will add that had they been supporters of any club other than the Rags, I would have happily given them the right directions to whichever ground they were going to. After all, you’ve got to do the right thing, haven’t you?

[Directing lost Rags in the City Centre was one of my favourite pastimes Phil, regularly gave them the bus number for Maine Road! – Ed]

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


Are there any City fans out there in Beijing? I’ll be there when City play at Wigan in October. It’s a Sky game so I guess it will be on TV in China.

Roger Haigh <rogerhaigh(at)>


Looking to get a supporters’ club in Toronto on the go to watch and chat City on game days. Too many Rag, Spurs, Everton, Liverpool clubs around!

Location: Opera Bobs Public House 1112 Dundas St West (Dundas and Ossington). All Setanta and regular cable games.

Please email if interested.

Ross Simnor <simmy_20(at)>


We are on the lookout for buskers and acoustic acts to perform outside the City of Manchester Stadium before City home games this season. In conjunction with the Umbro Playlist we need four acts each matchday to entertain the crowds as they arrive at the ground. Chosen artists will be asked to perform for approximately an hour before kick-off and will also receive a pair of tickets to the match. Any money collected through busking will be given to one of the clubs’ associated charities.

The first game we need buskers for is Arsenal on September 12th.

So, if you’re an acoustic act, guitarist, singer, violinist… anything musical, please get in touch by emailing us an MP3 of you playing or a link to a MySpace page etc. to the email given below with “MCFC Buskers” in the subject line.

Many thanks, Chris Nield <mcfc(at)>


We are looking for a number of fans to take part in a film about City. We want to hear from all kinds of fans, old and young, male and female.

If you want to take part, can spare some time during the ups and downs of this big year and are willing to be open, passionate and interesting, we like to hear from you with details of:

  • Your interest and love of the club.
  • The great City stories you can tell.
  • What you do outside your City life.
  • What are your rituals on match day?
  • Is anything big happening to you this year?

If you fancy getting involved, email your details to the address below.

Thanks! Chris Nield <Mcfc(at)>


24 August 2009

Liverpool             1 - 3  Aston Villa           43,667

League table to 26 August 2009 inclusive

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F   A   GD Pts
 1 Tottenham H.     3  1  0  0  2  1  2  0  0  7  2  3  0  0   9   3   6  9
 2 Chelsea          3  1  0  0  2  1  2  0  0  5  1  3  0  0   7   2   5  9
 3 Arsenal          2  1  0  0  4  1  1  0  0  6  1  2  0  0  10   2   8  6
 4 Manchester Utd   3  1  0  0  1  0  1  0  1  5  1  2  0  1   6   1   5  6
 5 Manchester City  2  1  0  0  1  0  1  0  0  2  0  2  0  0   3   0   3  6
 6 Sunderland       3  1  0  1  3  4  1  0  0  1  0  2  0  1   4   4   0  6
 7 Burnley          3  2  0  0  2  0  0  0  1  0  2  2  0  1   2   2   0  6
 8 Birmingham City  3  1  1  0  1  0  0  0  1  0  1  1  1  1   1   1   0  4
 9 Stoke City       3  1  0  0  2  0  0  1  1  0  4  1  1  1   2   4  -2  4
10 Liverpool        3  1  0  1  5  3  0  0  1  1  2  1  0  2   6   5   1  3
11 West Ham United  2  0  0  1  1  2  1  0  0  2  0  1  0  1   3   2   1  3
12 Aston Villa      2  0  0  1  0  2  1  0  0  3  1  1  0  1   3   3   0  3
13 Fulham           2  0  0  1  0  2  1  0  0  1  0  1  0  1   1   2  -1  3
14 Wolves           3  0  0  1  0  2  1  0  1  1  1  1  0  2   1   3  -2  3
15 Hull City        3  1  0  1  2  5  0  0  1  1  2  1  0  2   3   7  -4  3
16 Wigan Athletic   3  0  0  2  0  6  1  0  0  2  0  1  0  2   2   6  -4  3
17 Bolton Wndrs     2  0  0  1  0  1  0  0  1  0  1  0  0  2   0   2  -2  0
18 Blackburn R.     2  0  0  1  0  2  0  0  1  1  2  0  0  2   1   4  -3  0
19 Portsmouth       3  0  0  1  0  1  0  0  2  1  5  0  0  3   1   6  -5  0
20 Everton          2  0  0  1  1  6  0  0  1  0  1  0  0  2   1   7  -6  0

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1561