Newsletter #1570

Ok, so at some point this alternative reality I seem to be in will come to an end, but no matter how many times I look at that table, it still says played 6, won 5! It’s just not logical; it’s just not City!

The last time I took over from Heidi (who as always deserves her break!) it was nigh on a miracle if we won two games on the trot. We’re still very fragile, as we showed when West Ham scored last night, but we’re beginning to be a very difficult team to play. As some of our contributors mention, we’re still lacking in defence and in killer instinct. Last night’s game should really have been over after 15 minutes. Still lacking, maybe but it’s really looking very good. Aston Villa next, and that should provide a tough test for the defence.

This issue has some match reviews from last night, some views on the lads, a couple of viewing requests and of course that glorious table. There’s also a first contribution from Pertti from Finland, so thank you Pertti for making the effort.

Please keep contributions coming as usual.

Next Game: Aston Villa, away, 8pm Monday 5 October


A very good game to watch, and City definitely deserved more goals. In the up coming games it is important to get the extra goals when possible so that we can overcome the teams at the top on goal difference; it might become very important later on.

De Jong might have the nick name of “terrier” in Dutch football; I think it should change to “rottweiler” (a much more fierce dog); his non stop running, and non stop tackling gave him the man of the match.

Tevez produced his best game so far in a City shirt, scoring two goals. He could have scored a hat trick in the first fifteen minutes, he came very close.

Martin Petrov, almost a forgotten man, claimed his place in this City squad by creating a goal and scoring a cracker from a free kick from just outside the area; his left foot has got to be one of the best in the game.

Bellamy produces such fantastic speed that he was always a threat.

Right back position: it looks like Zabaleta wants it badly, and is showing it with positional play for defence, and looking good going forward.

SWeeP as always lively and taking on players, but not his best tonight.

Gareth Barry, who despite getting over a bug, gave a good performance.

Bridge at times looked a little shaky but came through well, and teamed up well with Petrov when attacking down the left.

Toure gave a commanding performance as captain.

Lescott played a little better tonight but needs to take charge in the air; he will come through with more games under his belt.

Shay Given could not be faulted for West Hams goal; he otherwise played a good game with not too many shots from the Hammers to deal with.

Santa Cruz and Johnson came on as subs for the last few minutes of the game to signal that they are on their way to full recovery.

Where are the anti Mark Hughes fans now? Sure, we have a long way to go but can’t you feel that all the new players and the players who were already at the club are gelling together, and playing some good, aggressive, attacking football?

To me Mark Hughes in his playing days was an aggressive striker and this is how he likes his team to play, with aggression and fast, attacking football; this is a Sparky team!

Next game should be interesting when we pay a visit to Richard Dunne and his Villains.

And of course Gareth Barry’s old team; put ear plugs in Gareth’s ears, they probably will not give the best of welcomes.

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <bristolcityblue(at)>


Great 3-1 win over West Ham but there are still problems at the back. West Ham had quite an inexperienced side out, and at times we looked brilliant with our great inter-play, but when are we going to kill sides, the way Liverpool and Spurs do, by burying a lot of chances? In reality we could have easily won 6-2, had we taken some of the great chances we created. However, we are just not clinical enough!

There is an obvious lack of height at the back and Carlton Cole on his own always looked a threat, purely because of his size. What is going to happen when we play Villa and Carew plays up front, or Crouch when we play Spurs? We just cannot compete in the air at set plays, and always look vulnerable. Given is not a tall ‘keeper so he cannot come to take crosses! This is an area that Hughes will need to assess for the future.

I would also like to see Hughes use all 3 of his subs, as this would give us fresh legs, especially up front. Why knacker the likes of Tevez and Bellamy?

These are my player ratings:
1. Shay Given (7) – had no chance with the goal, always looked assured!
2. Kolo Toure (7) – had a good match and made some timely challenges, but gets caught out in the air.
3. Joleon Lescott (7) – generally very assured, but was lucky when one on one with Cole!
4. Wayne Bridge (7) – again, he had a good game and is looking better, made one iffy back pass.
5. Zabaleta (7) – he is our right back; showed Richards how to defend. Zabs is a “footballer”, compared to Richards, who is an athlete that tries to be a footballer!
6. Nigel de Jong (8) – worked his socks off in the defensive midfield position.
7. Gareth Barry (7) – worked well with de Jong and knits the midfield together.
8. Petrov (8) – great outlet on the left wing, and is City’s best left winger (Robinho does not give us what Petrov does); just needs to covert the easier chances he makes for himself.
9. Carlos Tevez (7) – scored 2 goals, but could easily have had 4 or 5.
10. SWP – (5) – probably needs a break, not one of his better matches.
11. Bellamy (6) – works his socks off, but lacked the finishing today, but he was involved in good interplay with all our forwards.
12. Santa Cruz (4) – not on long enough, but does not look as threatening as Adebayor!
13. Johnson (4) – not on long enough, looks to have bulked up a lot – hope he stays fit and is used much more.

I hope Hughes starts resting a few key players, especially as we will have a few more players to choose from. It’s good to get everyone in the squad involved, especially as he has not really rested the “core” of the team, who have played in nearly every match this season.

I would like to see Kompany back, as he will give us the much needed height that we seem to be lacking. Also it will be good to have Adebayor back to give us the bigger presence up front. I cannot believe I am saying this, but I really am not too bothered if Robinho takes his time to get back from injury!

Keep on winning and making us smile City!

Glyn Albuquerque <glynalbuquerque(at)>


Carlos Tevez inspired a slick City to a highly enjoyable win over West Ham in front of an appreciative Eastlands audience to propel City into 5th place. The Argentinian led the way on a night when every City player can look back with pride at a job well done in an excellent victory against a West Ham side who will probably end up in mid-table.

It wasn’t long before Tevez was on the scoresheet, neatly steering in Petrov’s cross in the fifth minute of the game. He celebrated one arm raised aloft but very respectfully in front of the West Ham supporters, who to their credit, all applauded him. Whatever wrongs with how their club handled the murkiness of the ownership issues of his contract, there is no doubt that Tevez holds a special place in Hammers’ hearts for almost single handedly keeping them up, and equally that Tevez is a class act both on and off the pitch.

Whilst the Hammers’ fans afforded Tevez a great reception, they loudly booed his striker partner, ex-Hammer Craig Bellamy, especially early on. The Singing Section at the corner of the Kippax/South Stand in particular weren’t having any of this, giving Bellers a wonderful reception when he went to take a corner, silencing the lads and lasses from Essex on that score at least.

Bellamy, who got the biggest cheer when the players’ names were announced, is fast becoming a real cult hero at Eastlands, now we know that he is a hero in a very different way, not only as a terrific footballer, but as an individual who is generous of spirit, time and his own money in his own way with his great work in Sierra Leone.

Bellamy was brilliant to watch in this game: pacey, inventive and highly intelligent, as well as his usual industrious self. At the end of a brilliant interchange of passes between the Welshman and Petrov, Bellamy played in Tevez but his shot was just wide, hitting the goal stanchion.

Tevez could and should have scored with an even better chance when blazing a Wright-Phillips cross over after good work from the diminutive winger, Bridge and Petrov. With the tenacious de Jong and Barry dominating the centre of the park against two decent campaigners in Parker and Noble, City were playing slick, intelligent football in sweeping moves that switched from flank to flank and it was surely a matter of how many we won by.

There was a lovely flow to City’s play and a superb balance to the team. Wright-Phillips, Bellamy and Tevez linked intelligently in another incisive move and Petrov’s powerful drive was well saved by England ‘keeper Robert Green. “Millwall, Millwall, give us a song” piped up the Singing Section cheekily. There was no reply. The Hammers didn’t reply to “Where’s your famous ICF?” or “On the pitch” either, but it was by no means a nasty atmosphere. Cheeky little ditties apart it would be rather harsh if the Hammers have to play their next League Cup game behind closed doors, or worse still, thrown out of the competition. Why should the well behaved majority have to pay for the actions of a minority of half-wits? Their support was wonderful on this occasion (as it normally is), and added to the enjoyment of a really good night.

So, it came as shock when West Ham dared to equalise. Lescott’s long clearing header from a free kick found Diamanti, and his shot, which was going wide, was cleverly flicked into the net by Carlton Cole. Eastlands fell silent for a couple of minutes, as if in a collective state of disbelief. The Hammers’ closest attempt before that was a Mark Noble shot that was more like a back pass into Given’s arms.

“Can’t buy an atmosphere” taunted the ‘Appy ‘Ammers in the away section, as we picked ourselves up off the canvas, to find our voices again. West Ham grew in confidence, though, with Noble and Parker pulling the strings in midfield, and Diamanti darting hither and thither. Given was forced to save at the foot of the post from another sharp Cole effort. With West Ham starting to take a hold, City had other ideas, and broke quickly, earning a free kick just outside the box. After lining up with Tevez for the free kick, Martin Petrov curled a powerful drive around the wall and inside the right hand post, leaving Green clutching at thin air, and City back in front. As if to remind Mark Hughes of his talents and latest achievement, Petrov pointedly waggled the name on his shirt at the bench. Mark Hughes will certainly have some dilemmas in selection this season, which is nice.

Petrov turned provider again when he cleverly played in Tevez, who turned a defender inside out, forcing Green into a desperate save with his legs. By now, City’s superbly balanced attacked of Petrov, Bellamy, Tevez, and Wright-Phillips were rampant. Showing great vision, Tevez played an excellent, inch-perfect pass into the path of the advancing Zabaleta, and his first time volleyed cross was headed goalwards by Bellamy only to be saved by Green, who was getting busier and busier up to the break. At the other end, Parker had the ball in the net well after a linesman flagged for a nudge by Cole, though it was a difficult to see the infringement from the Colin Bell Stand. Zabaleta then found Wright-Phillips who in turn played in Petrov whose powerful volley was saved. The Bulgarian’s corner was met by Tevez but his shot was deflected wide. City’s ovation at the break was well deserved.

Inspired by Gianfranco Zola’s half time pep-talk, West Ham came out fired up and dominated the early stages of the second half. City struggled to get the ball back for the best part of ten minutes as the Hammers played their trademark passing game. Bridge, like a rabbit in the headlights under West Ham’s pressing, played a couple of loose passes, one of which nearly played Given into trouble. There was, however, little end-product from the visitors and when they got near the City goal they found the City rearguard, led well by Kolo Toure, ready, willing and able.

Zabaleta, who had been restored to right back in the previous game was impressive, using the ball intelligently and being the right place at the right time in defence. Micah Richards will have a real fight on his hands to get back into the team, on the evidence of the Argentine’s superbly mature performance. One great pass from Zaba stretched the defence and forced a corner, pushing the Hammers onto the back foot again. Lescott seemed to be tugged back at a corner, but the referee ignored this. On the hour, City won a free kick out on the left after Julian Faubert committed his third foul of the evening, earning him one of those last warnings from referee Foy.

City’s new found set-piece expertise then sealed the game as Bellamy’s accurate free kick was whipped into the box for Tevez, who headed home powerfully to put City 3-1 up. “Fergie, Fergie, sign him up” went up the chant around Eastlands as Tevez, again celebrating respectfully, was congratulated by his team mates. For added measure, we lapped up the goal again on the big screens, which are a wonderful addition to the match-day experience.

Tevez was on fire at this point, leading the line so expertly, and frequently dropping deep into midfield where he carved out a series of passes that opened up West Ham down the flanks. Tevez is one of those players who always wants the ball, always wanting to be involved. With his low centre of gravity he also has great strength, which allows him to hold the ball and win fifty-fifty balls. Add his great skill and vision to all this and we have a terrific player on our hands who is a joy to watch. If this is what he is like with a dodgy knee, how good will he be when he is fully fit?

Continuing to dazzle under the lights, Tevez’s pinpoint cross was fired over by Craig Bellamy who was relishing the occasion and getting used to his new found status of cult hero. Who have thought Bellamy would find a place in hearts here? He is probably as pleasantly surprised as we are: another really good Hughes signing.

The banter between the fans continued: “You’re so hard it’s unbelievable” chimed City choristers and “Where you when you were ####?” enquired the Hammers. Er, York, Lincoln etc. Fair play to the Hammers, though, who were unflinching in their appreciation for Tevez, as they were to end the game chanting “There’s only one Carlos Tevez”.

Back on the pitch, West Ham weren’t finished: Jiminez having a shot saved by Given, Diamanti having a drive deflected behind for a corner and Mark Noble forcing another sharp Given save from a tight angle. At the other end, Barry drove over the bar from Petrov’s corner.

City should have added to the 3-1 scoreline, such was the quality of our build up play: a highly intelligent move that was initiated by Bellamy saw clever combination play from Bridge and Barry play the Welshman in but he shot over the bar. Barry’s goal-bound drive was then thwarted by an excellent tip over by Green after more clever build up play from Bridge and Bellamy.

It wasn’t all fun for Bellamy, though, as Mark Noble left his boot in on him but this went unpunished by an unsighted referee (had he seen it would been at least a yellow). Thankfully Bellamy was unharmed but it could have been worse. Michael Johnson had the briefest of reintroductions and before that there was time for a cameo from débutant Roque Santa Cruz who received a warm Eastlands welcome, and he almost marked the occasion with a goal when he fired wide from Petrov’s searing cross from the left. It had been a superb night’s entertainment. It was one of those games that you don’t want to end. Sheikh Mansour must also be enjoying how Hughes is building a side that is not only effective but playing lovely football. We have much to thank him for.

City formation: 4-4-2

Given: His great powers of concentration meant that he was ready to use his skills when needed after long periods of inactivity: 7
Zabaleta: An expert performance at full back: solid in defence and a threat in attack: 7
Toure: Made excellent tackles and interceptions when needed: 7
Lescott: Composed on the ball: 7
Bridge: One risky pass aside, a decent performance: 7
Wright-Phillips: 7
De Jong: Loves nothing more than to get stuck into tackles and distribute the ball accurately and swiftly. His and Barry’s power allowed us to dominate midfield and were the platform for this victory: 8
Barry: Powerful, efficient, common sense play that was unlucky not to be rewarded with a goal: 7
Petrov: Provided great left-sided balance to our attack: 7
Bellamy: Tireless, skilful and pacey all night. City’s fast-emerging cult hero was an absolute joy to watch: 8
Tevez: Led the line brilliantly, took his two goals superbly, and creative to the last, the superlatives are endless. An absolute delight: 9
Santa Cruz: Not a bad introduction: 6
Johnson: Too late to mark: n/a
Man of the Match: Carlos Tevez
Best Oppo: Carlton Cole: Very powerful centre forward. It is easy to see why his stock is rising: 7

Att: 42,745

Refwatch: Chris Foy: Was hardly noticeable, which is how it should be, but missed a bad tackle at the end: 7

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


Hello there!

I’m a Finnish City fan since 1995 (yes, odd) and have never written here, although now I thought I’d do it. I’m baffled by the authorities’ silence after the “Fergie time”. It makes one feel that in a very followed football league there is favouritism. Not so, I hope. I think we have it enough here in some Finnish sports.

At any rate I think the spirit of the team in the derby was unbelievable. It’s a long way from the 2nd Division and the journey has just started.

Pertti Soini <pertti.soini(at)>


Dave Kilroy in MCIVTA 1569 wondered how come the final whistle was blown only 16 seconds after the restart following United’s 4th goal – with no time added for the goal celebrations.

Sorry, Dave, you’re not on your own, but I’m amazed at how many don’t get this. Our goal celebration cut into the 4 minutes added time, so time was added for our celebration so that there was still 4 minutes left at the restart. The ref reckoned there was only 16 seconds left when the goal was scored, so he only played 16 seconds. Time was up during the celebrations, but he blew a minute later. They could have taken 20 minutes to restart and there would have only been 16 seconds to play.

Now of course the big question is whether he could justify adding the full time for City’s celebration (rather than the time above what would be normal after any goal). And the paranoia questions are why Ferguson made a substitution in added time (normally a time-wasting tactic, so he must have been sure he’d get the extra time), and why United seemed so relaxed about the time they took to take the free kick (which should have been in our favour anyway).

Oh – and Bellers is what the other players call Bellamy – as was unfortunately obvious during the quieter moments of the Fulham game.

Steve Parish <bloovee(at)>


Now the dust has settled…

There was a clip on Sky Sports News this week from a different camera angle to those shown last Sunday – Gary Neville in his tracksuit running down the touchline and celebrating in front of the City fans’ corner. You can then see that he suddenly remembers his £5,000 fine for doing something similar against Arsenal, and it dawns on him that millions of people might be watching and so turns his celebrations into a few ‘warm up’ skips and star jumps – warming up in the 96th minute, with all their subs already on the pitch! Comedy gold – the David Brent (Ricky Gervais in ‘The Office’) of Salford; he even has the goatee beard.

With ref to Phil Banerjee ‘Gary Neville is a Blue…’ – I’ve always laid claim to starting this chant after Shaun Goater robbed the ball off him to score in the last derby at Maine Road – I was in the Platt Lane end of the Kippax lower tier that day.

Mike Kay <mike.kay(at)>


Cracking article from The Observer about our favourite feisty and fiery Welshman.

(Ed – both the Guardian and Observer have published lots of great City stuff recently)

David Walker <davidjwalker1(at)>


I will soon be in California for a few weeks, staying at a place called Cambria, which is on the coast close to San Luis Obispo. I don’t suppose anyone knows of any places to watch live Premier League football in the area do they? Many thanks.

Paul Rawling <p-rawling(at)>


I’m going to be in Prague for the Villa game on 5th October. Will locally based Blues me gathering anywhere to watch? Or, can someone recommend a good bar in which to catch the game?

Peter Sidell <rockcityblue(at)>


28 September 2009

Manchester City       3 - 1  West Ham United       42,745

27 September 2009

Sunderland            5 - 2  Wolverhampton Wndrs   37,566

26 September 2009

Portsmouth            0 - 1  Everton               18,116
Birmingham City       1 - 2  Bolton Wanderers      28,671
Blackburn Rovers      2 - 1  Aston Villa           25,172
Liverpool             6 - 1  Hull City             44,392
Stoke City            0 - 2  Manchester United     27,500
Tottenham Hotspur     5 - 0  Burnley               35,462
Wigan Athletic        3 - 1  Chelsea               18,542
Fulham                0 - 1  Arsenal               25,700

League table to 28 September 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   7  3  0  0  7  4  3  0  1 10  2  6  0  1  17   6  11  18
 2 Chelsea          7  3  0  0  8  1  3  0  1  8  5  6  0  1  16   6  10  18
 3 Liverpool        7  3  0  1 15  4  2  0  1  7  6  5  0  2  22  10  12  15
 4 Tottenham H.     7  3  0  1 10  5  2  0  1  7  5  5  0  2  17  10   7  15
 5 Manchester City  6  3  0  0  8  3  2  0  1  6  4  5  0  1  14   7   7  15
 6 Arsenal          6  2  0  0  8  1  2  0  2 10  7  4  0  2  18   8  10  12
 7 Aston Villa      6  2  0  1  4  2  2  0  1  5  3  4  0  2   9   5   4  12
 8 Sunderland       7  3  0  1 12  7  1  0  2  2  4  4  0  3  14  11   3  12
 9 Everton          6  2  0  1  6  7  1  0  2  2  3  3  0  3   8  10  -2   9
10 Wigan Athletic   7  2  0  2  4  7  1  0  2  3  6  3  0  4   7  13  -6   9
11 Burnley          7  3  0  0  5  1  0  0  4  0 14  3  0  4   5  15 -10   9
12 Stoke City       7  2  0  2  4  4  0  2  1  1  5  2  2  3   5   9  -4   8
13 Bolton Wndrs     6  0  1  2  3  5  2  0  1  5  4  2  1  3   8   9  -1   7
14 Birmingham City  7  1  1  2  2  3  1  0  2  2  3  2  1  4   4   6  -2   7
15 Blackburn R.     6  2  1  1  5  4  0  0  2  1  5  2  1  3   6   9  -3   7
16 Wolves           7  1  1  1  3  4  1  0  3  4  9  2  1  4   7  13  -6   7
17 Fulham           6  1  0  2  2  4  1  0  2  2  4  2  0  4   4   8  -4   6
18 West Ham United  6  0  0  2  3  5  1  1  2  3  4  1  1  4   6   9  -3   4
19 Hull City        7  1  0  2  2  6  0  1  3  4 13  1  1  5   6  19 -13   4
20 Portsmouth       7  0  0  4  2  6  0  0  3  1  7  0  0  7   3  13 -10   0

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1570