Newsletter #1588

Another game, another draw, as we put in an abject performance against Hull at the weekend. We have match report tonight thanks to Phil, together with plenty of opinion on the run of form, performances and management.

Next up the Carling Cup.

Next Game: Arsenal, home, 7.45pm Wednesday 2 December (Carling Cup)


Frustration abounded at wintry Eastlands as City recorded a seventh straight League draw as we failed to beat lowly Hull. For the fourth time in seven matches, we threw away a winning position. It can easily be argued that draws at Anfield and Villa Park are good results, but, whilst no disrespect is intended to Burnley and Hull, draws at home to those teams cannot in any way be described as positive outcomes.

City never really convinced in this game. Although we enjoyed the lion’s share of possession, our game often lacked an end product. The first half was a tepid affair despite the trickery of the returning Robinho and the pace and guile of Shaun Wright-Phillips down the flanks. For the visitors, the (Bad) Hair Bair Bunch of the intelligent Jimmy Bullard and the industrious Stephen Hunt tried to get the visitors going.

We did, however, have a few chances to score but our finishing was found wanting: Adebayor played in Tevez but the latter’s angled shot hit the ‘keeper. The best move of the game was initiated by Adebayor: he played in Tevez who in turn found Robinho down the left. The Brazilian combined with Ireland who squared to Wright-Phillips, but he shot wide. His disappointment was clear at the end of a scintillating move as he knew that he needed to hit the target. His accuracy didn’t improve when he was well wide with another effort after Tevez played him in. At the other end Murphy headed wide from Garcia’s cross, having lost Micah Richards. Other than that the closest City had come were a speculative overhead kick from Robinho and a flick from Ireland after good work by Toure and Richards: both efforts sailing a foot over the bar.

How we could have done with Uwe Rösler to put some of the chances away. Indeed it was great to see an old favourite take his bow in front of the fans before the game when he was officially inducted into the Manchester City Hall of Fame.

Just when it seemed like we were going to go in goalless at half time, City took the lead in the first minute of first half stoppage time. Tevez played in Shaun Wright-Phillips on the right: the winger checked inside Hunt and his powerful right foot drive took a slight deflection off Gardner and fizzed past Duke to give City the lead.

We were lucky to stay in front after the break when Altidore played in Garcia but Lescott cleared the Hull midfielder’s goal-bound shot off the line. This underlined the need for City to score more goals, especially with the wily Jimmy Bullard starting to pull the strings and dominate midfield. Having been our nemesis on previous occasions, he frequently carried the ball into dangerous areas in Hull breakaways. One of his many talents is knowing when to hold the ball and when to pass it: it’s a pity that we didn’t have anyone who could match this.

Nevertheless, without looking clearly dominant, City looked the more likely side to score for most of the 2nd half, but we still failed to deliver the knock-out blow to put the game beyond reach. Stephen Ireland played a couple of lovely defence splitting passes but we failed to capitalise on them, whilst SWP, who was the pick of City’s players, was a real threat with his pace and trickery down the right. He should have had a penalty when he was clearly hauled down by Hunt, but the referee inexplicably waved play on.

At times, we looked like a collection of expensively assembled individuals, with Robinho and Tevez looking like they were trying to out-do each other. When they did combine, Robinho went very close with a curling low shot after a Tevez back-heel. Even then we should have put the game beyond Hull’s grasp. Adebayor passed to Tevez who played in SWP but his shot was easily saved. Robinho was well wide with a free kick.

It was no surprise when Hughes replaced Adebayor, who was either spending too much time away from where he is most effective (i.e. in the opposition penalty box), arguing with opponents or moaning to the referee. Get on with the game, man! In his place came Roque Santa Cruz, but this did not improve matters, as he did not receive the kind of service that he thrived on at Blackburn, where he was fed with a series of high crosses which allowed him to use his heading ability to great effect. As a result he too went searching for the ball well away from the box and it had to be said that he looked rather rusty to say the least.

With victory in sight, City suddenly started to panic in the last ten minutes. City fans had to endure the unedifying sight of experienced international players panicking and thrashing the ball anywhere: finding amber shirts with unerring accuracy. Not that the players could complain about the support they received: ‘C’mon City’ rang out as Eastlands as became anxious. We needed someone to put his foot on the ball and steady things down: someone to lead the boys in seeing the game out. Sadly we didn’t have this leadership quality. Despite a dearth of chances, our recent propensity for throwing games away suggested that Hull would somehow fashion an equaliser, and with the excellent Bullard prompting, we were never safe. Any pessimism proved to be justified in the 82nd minute: a ball from the left found its way into the City box, and from a Garcia header, the ball seemed to strike Lescott’s hand. The ref blew for a penalty, which later turned out to be for a perceived foul in an innocuous collision between Toure and Venegoor of Hesselink. Bullard despatched the perfect penalty, and proceeded to act out the infamous Phil Brown ticking off to his team mates who sat in the penalty area. We were too numb to laugh.

City failed to really test Hull after that and yet another chance of a win was squandered. The fates had conspired against us, but we didn’t deserve to win this match, as our team didn’t do enough to demonstrate its superiority.

Success this season will be governed by our ability to finish teams off. In essence, we must improve our ball retention and finishing, and this means hard work on the training ground. Our defending as a team must also continue to improve, and to underpin this all we must be cool under pressure. The best teams either can close out winning positions or emphasise their superiority by scoring more goals. People will blame Mark Hughes for our failure to win for 7 league matches, but it is not his fault that quality players missed chances and that experienced players bottled it and panicked. Furthermore, we need more vocal leadership on the pitch. Whilst it could be argued that we shouldn’t be too defensive against a struggling team, maybe Hughes could have brought on Kompany or Johnson to stiffen midfield at the end. Surely, it’s better to secure the points? There is plenty for the players and coaching staff to ponder, and it’s fair to expect them all to learn quickly from the mistakes that have been made.

We have firm leadership at the very top of this club and they will give Mark Hughes time to improve this team. That is the way forward rather than knee jerk reactions. So to Arsenal in the League Cup Quarter Final, and as well as making the above improvements, City will need to be sharp, incisive, ruthless and play at a higher tempo if we are to progress to our first semi-final since 1981.

Given: Had little to do. Guessed right but had no chance with Bullard’s excellent penalty that was too good for any ‘keeper. Uncharacteristically inconsistent distribution though 6
Richards: Tenacious in defence and some good runs forward. Though there are signs of improvement, his positional play still needs work 6
Toure: Unfortunate with the penalty, but needs to be a little more assertive 6
Lescott: A much improved, aggressive and assured display, which must be maintained 7
Bridge: Showed hat he can defend well when he puts his mind to it 7
SWP: His skilful, hard working performance deserved to be on the winning side 7 (Man of the match)
De Jong: Consistently solid, tough and determined 7
Ireland: Industrious in defence and attack: his highlights being two superb defence splitting passes in the 2nd half.
Robinho: It was like he’d never been away: all tricks, flicks and step-overs. A pleasure to watch but can he be more of a team player? 7
Tevez: Clever creative work was a positive, but his finishing needs to be sharper.
Adebayor: An under par performance that lacked concentration: spending too much time on his backside, whingeing. Needs to be more disciplined in his positioning too so that he is in the opposing penalty box more 6

Santa Cruz: Off the pace, but starved of decent service 5
Bellamy: Worked hard in the short time he was on the pitch, but one shot apart, was unable to influence the game to any great effect 6
Best Oppo: Bullard: Intelligence, wit and enthusiasm 7
Refwatch: Lee Probert (Gloucs): Missed a clear penalty claim for the Blues, gave a harsh penalty to Hull and should have issued a 2nd yellow to Zayatte for dissent, but City cannot blame him for yet another draw 5

Att: 46,382

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


It is a fans’ cliché to call for a change of manager after a bad run of form, but seven consecutive league draws focus the mind. And I have been surprised that there has not been more criticism of Mark Hughes in MCIVTA before now. The performance against Hull City must surely put his future firmly on the agenda?

In my view the most important question to ask about a manager is this: is the team less or more than the sum of its parts? On that test the verdict on Mr. Hughes must surely be negative. The current squad ought to be able to dispose of teams like Burnley, Fulham and Hull, especially at home, without much difficulty. Yet they have struggled against all of them. He cannot possibly be said to be getting the best out of the talent at his disposal. I cannot say whether this is primarily because he has bought unwisely, or coaches poorly, but the results are clear.

The underlying problem at the club seems to be a mismatch between strategy and management. When they took over, the new owners could choose between two approaches. Plan A would have been to build slowly, getting rid of dead wood first, filling obvious gaps, and gradually adding talent, with a view to mounting a realistic challenge for a Champions’ League place in three years or so. Plan B involves buying galacticos, one after another, and going for broke quickly.

Personally, I am more attracted to Plan A, but then I have been a supporter for over 50 years, so another few years wait for glory doesn’t bother me greatly, and I still hope to live long enough to see it. It is clear, however, that they have chosen Plan B, which is entirely up to them. The problem, as I see it, is that they have stayed with a manager who might be a good bet for the easy does it strategy, but who lacks the experience, record of success and reputation to deal at the level we want to be at in the transfer market, and to get the best out of highly-paid primadonnas with egos to match their salaries. I don’t think he is a bad man, or even necessarily a bad manager, but he just isn’t right for the position City are in at present. It’s a pity, but there you go.

Howard Davies <howardjdavies(at)>


When I submitted an opinion a few weeks ago, worrying about a fall splutter, never in my wildest dreams did I think that these weeks later we would still not have won a league game. Seven consecutive draws! We’ve had all the games on TV here and although you get a different sense of the game than being in the stadium, here are some thoughts.

I have four observations.

  1. Are the players good enough?
  2. Do the players care enough?
  3. Are the right players being picked?
  4. Is the coaching and management good enough?

I am less optimistic about my responses than I was after the United game. If the answer to the first three questions is yes then why did we draw at home against teams like Burnley and Hull? The Hull game was very difficult to watch; many of the players seemed to approach the game in such a casual manner. When Jimmy Bullard can make them look poor and indifferent we have a real problem. If, as some have suggested, a number of our players only get up for the big games then we are going to take a very long time to challenge for major honours.

While I am interested in the Arsenal League Cup game I am more focused on the Chelsea game. I can’t begin to guess what the line up will be. Is this comment another way of saying I am losing faith with the manager? Not quite but the recent displays have been so poor that I am not sure how it can turn around long term. Even against Liverpool we played well for 15 minutes. It was enough for a draw but that was a game that should have been won. While I never expected we would win all the drawn games we should have won at least 3 so it is probably 6-8 points lost.

Thanks for all the news and opinions. And deep sadness on the news about Steve Kay. Puts a lot of the above into real perspective.

Best wishes, John Pearson <john.pearson(at)>


Another draw and at home against a team Hull who have had some good results in recent games, and were unlucky not to have beaten Liverpool at Anfield, and last game they went on to beat Everton 3-2.

Many will blame Mark Hughes for not winning this game, but I blame the players for not taking their chances to score. The team played good, attacking football, and at times it was slick with some good passing, but missed opportunities to score.

I have not given players ratings for a game for quite some time, so here goes.

Given 7, Richards 6, Toure 6, Lescott 7, Bridge 8, SWeeP 8, Ireland 7, de Jong 7, Robinho 8, Tevez 8, Santa Cruz still not showing any form 5, Bellamy too late to rate.

Mark Hughes 7. I do not blame him for his team not taking their chance to score, Sparky’s team played attacking football especially in the first half.

What concerned me is the wasted chances from set plays. The team must practice more whilst training; the manager plans, the players execute. SWeeP got City’s goal just before half time with a slight deflection.

Hull got their goal from a penalty that should never have been given. So the result 1-1 was somewhat unlucky, but I blame the missed chances by City as the reason why we never won.

Next game the Carling Cup versus the Gooners; maybe City can play better against the top four teams with Chelsea in the Premier League to follow? If we are to have any dreams of Wembley and our first trophy in many years, City have got to start winning pronto.

A positive today was seeing Robinho back in action. I just hope that he gets rid of that wild hair of wanting to play for Barça, at least for some time after giving City some service first. Stay Robi we love you.

Come on you Blues, get rid of this drawing syndrome! We have seen some good football from the team this season, but at the same time some frustrating results.

The players at times look a little nervous, I suggest we all get behind the manager and players so as to get their confidence back. Get the next win under the team’s belt, break the draw sequence, and we shall be back on track.

Let’s not panic – we are in sixth position in the Premier League and it’s only November. “All I am saying is give Sparky a chance” – it is where City end up at the end of the season, then make decisions.

Someone tell Adebayor it is OK to score against the Gooners, just celebrate in front of City supporters.

After watching Jim Cassell in his interview on the MCFC official web site, he has cleared up anything that the “News of the World” printed last weekend, and also after my article, at least I did mention that you cannot believe everything in the press, so I hope that most of you felt the same.

The main point is that Jim Cassell and not Mark Hughes brought in Andy Welsh into the Academy. Great to see the legendary Jim Cassell happy with his new position as International Academy Chief.

Andy Welsh is going through a transition, and as much as we are not happy with the games’ results, he too has to have time to adjust; we wish both Jim and Andy good luck.

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


I write the morning after yet another deeply disappointing and totally unsatisfactory performance at the Hull game. As regular contributors are aware, I am no fan of Mr Hughes and have not been since the day of his appointment. However, I think we should take the emotion and passion out of things and try to view things in a rational and objective manner. However, how long can other contributors to this forum continue to defend the indefensible?

After each successive match it is now becoming abundantly clear that Mr Hughes and his assembled management team and coaching staff are not up to the job of taking Manchester City football club where we need to be on the field. And as everyone knows and likes to state: ‘Football is a results driven business’. Regardless of anyone’s opinion or viewpoint it cannot be argued that we are achieving the performance or results on the pitch that are required. Any Premier League team that cannot beat Fulham, Burnley or Hull at home cannot have any pretensions whatsoever of being a top 4 team. Not even a top 6 team and in all probability we will be a top 8 team. If my memory serves me correctly we finished 9th under the stewardship of SGE hence once again my question: what progress has been made on the pitch with Mr Hughes at the helm?

The honest and real answer when you look at league table and number of points won is not a lot. With the investment of some £250 million+ this really is totally unacceptable.

The problems on the pitch are manifold. Mr Hughes is fielding a team that is totally unbalanced due to constantly and persistently playing players out of their natural position. He is tactically naïve in the extreme and the less said about his man management and personal motivation skills the better. Mr Hughes always insisted and stated (supported by Garry Cook) that he wanted to be judged with ‘his team’, his signings and his players. Well, here we are…

Whilst I fully endorse the view of Phil B that we should yet again fall into the trap of changing the manager for the sake of change are we now falling into the opposite trap of not changing the manager for sake of not changing things? Chelsea have a revolving door but they seem to continue to do more than OK (as do Real Madrid and Bayern Munich). However, the difference is that they employ high quality, proven managers who have the required experience of handling and managing big name, talented players and delivering trophies (even Avram Grant was one penalty kick away from winning the Champions’ League final against the Rags!). Who in all honesty could blame Robinho for wanting to leave us and going to play for Barcelona? However, this then leads to the problem once again of not being able to sign top class, international star players due to the fact we are still 2 years away of any possibility of being near Champions’ League football with a unknown, unproven and unsuccessful manager.

The conclusion to this posting is that Mr Hughes has to go for the sake of the future of Manchester City Football club. He is clearly and totally out of his depth at this level with a club this size. The good Sheikh needs to do the deed now and bring in a new man in December (and at the same time showing Garry Cook the door) The new man will then have a transfer window to do what he needs to do.

The time for the excuses of Mr Hughes is over; it is time to be decisive, to take action and bring in someone who knows what he is doing. Guus Hiddink would possibly be a good start and he has the clout to attract and bring big name players to the club and knit them into a cohesive footballing unit who can at the very least can win home games against the likes of Hull, Fulham, and Burnley.

Ray Bardsley <rbardsley(at)>


Been following City since I was five years old. In some ways I have always liked to be the underdog. But now when opportunity showed itself, I crave for more. I don’t care or need to know how many draws we have had. I just know that something is wrong.

I have never cared for MH and I never will. His tactics are crappy, I turn to the results if someone disagrees. We are a top 5 club, a club that smashes teams like Hull, a force to follow and look up to.

I want not only his head, I want the tongue he has so far up the chairman’s backside to be hung up over COMS to remind everyone that we need a man with vision, courage and a tongue that can put words to action.

I rarely post anything here and I enjoy reading what you fellows has to say but this is one of those times where I’m in rage. A rage that would put MH in hospital if he was in front of me. I settle with this and I hope I have stated something that is viewed in the same way as I see it!

Excuse my English, my bad English and thanks for listening.


Pehar <pehar(at)>


A few months ago someone somewhere was asking whether Man City issued a club tie for the 1969 FA Cup Final. I have got one such tie, which I was given by Joe Mercer when he moved from Chorlton to move to Hoylake or Coventry (can’t remember which).

The tie has 1969 and an FA Cup repeated diagonally with a white and blue band on a royal blue background. If anyone can remember who was asking I can send them a scan of the tie.

Daily Express Five-a-sides – does anyone remember our victory?

Simon Moorehead <simonmoorehead(at)>


Could I just write a few words of affection to one the best Blues and friends I have met in my life.

I got to know Steve in the third division season, when I had started up my fanzine City ’til I Cry! and me, Steve, Noel Bayley, Leanne and Mike Billinge all shared a car as we travelled to just about every away game that season.

Steve tended to be the driver, although I also shared, but Steve seemed to prefer being the driver as it was just his nature to put himself out for other people. While the rest of us got into a pub early doors, Steve “sacrificed” his pleasures seeing as he was doing the driving.

And that generosity of spirit and friendship was the trademark of Steve, and something everyone that came into contact with him recognised.

Steve started selling City ’til I Cry! that season and carried on right up until the fanzine ceased some nine years later. It is no exaggeration to say that the fanzine’s demise would have been hastened that much earlier had it not been for Steve’s support.

Once the fanzine finished I lost track of Steve. From meeting up with him every week I only bumped into him every now and again. He had told me some time ago about his medical problems, but every time I saw him he insisted that he was okay and getting better. The last time I saw Steve was at the home game against West Ham this season. I didn’t get a chance to have a chat with him, but thought no more about it.

But last week when I heard the devastating news that Steve had passed on, I remembered that you should never say “next time” as there may not always be a next time.

Steve was one of the nicest, most passionate, friendliest people I have ever known and I will miss him very much.

And Steve, if you’re reading this… get standing outside those pearly gates and see if you can shift some more of the fanzines!

Tom Ritchie <Tom.Ritchie(at)>


29 November 2009

Wolverhampton Wndrs   0 - 1  Birmingham City       26,668
Everton               0 - 2  Liverpool             39,652
Arsenal               0 - 3  Chelsea               60,067

28 November 2009

Blackburn Rovers      0 - 0  Stoke City            25,143
Fulham                1 - 1  Bolton Wanderers      23,554
Manchester City       1 - 1  Hull City             46,382
Portsmouth            1 - 4  Manchester United     20,482
West Ham United       5 - 3  Burnley               34,003
Wigan Athletic        1 - 0  Sunderland            20,447
Aston Villa           1 - 1  Tottenham Hotspur     39,866

League table to 29 November 2009 inclusive

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F   A   GD Pts
 1 Chelsea         14  7  0  0 20  1  5  0  2 16  7 12  0  2  36   8  28  36
 2 Manchester Utd  14  6  1  0 16  7  4  0  3 14  6 10  1  3  30  13  17  31
 3 Tottenham H.    14  5  0  2 21  7  3  2  2 12 12  8  2  4  33  19  14  26
 4 Arsenal         13  5  0  1 20  7  3  1  3 16 11  8  1  4  36  18  18  25
 5 Liverpool       14  4  2  1 21  8  3  0  4 10 12  7  2  5  31  20  11  23
 6 Aston Villa     14  4  2  1 13  6  2  3  2  9  8  6  5  3  22  14   8  23
 7 Manchester City 13  3  3  0 14  9  2  4  1 10  8  5  7  1  24  17   7  22
 8 Sunderland      14  5  1  1 16  9  1  1  5  5 11  6  2  6  21  20   1  20
 9 Stoke City      14  4  1  2  9  7  1  4  2  4  8  5  5  4  13  15  -2  20
10 Fulham          14  4  1  2 11  6  1  3  3  7 10  5  4  5  18  16   2  19
11 Birmingham City 14  3  2  2  5  4  2  1  4  7 10  5  3  6  12  14  -2  18
12 Burnley         14  5  1  1 11  6  0  1  6  8 25  5  2  7  19  31 -12  17
13 Blackburn R.    14  4  2  1 11  7  1  0  6  5 21  5  2  7  16  28 -12  17
14 Wigan Athletic  14  3  2  2  7  9  2  0  5  8 22  5  2  7  15  31 -16  17
15 Hull City       15  4  2  2 12 13  0  2  5  5 18  4  4  7  17  31 -14  16
16 Everton         14  2  3  2  9 12  2  0  5  8 13  4  3  7  17  25  -8  15
17 West Ham United 14  2  2  3 15 15  1  3  3  9 11  3  5  6  24  26  -2  14
18 Bolton Wndrs    13  1  2  4  8 15  2  1  3  8 12  3  3  7  16  27 -11  12
19 Wolves          14  1  2  4  5 11  1  2  4  7 16  2  4  8  12  27 -15  10
20 Portsmouth      14  1  0  6  8 12  1  1  5  3 11  2  1 11  11  23 -12   7

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v0910.01]

[1] MCIVTA Addresses

Articles (Heidi Pickup)          :
News/rumour (Alex Rowen)         :
Subscriptions (Madeleine Hawkins):
Technical problems (Paul)        :
FAQ (David Warburton)            :

[2] What are MCIVTA’s publishing deadlines?

Deadlines for issues are nominally 6pm, Monday and Thursday evenings by email. Unfortunately we cannot accept email attachments.

[3] MCIVTA Back Issues and Manchester City Supporters’ home page is the unofficial Manchester City Supporters’ home page. Created in 1994, it is the longest running of the Manchester City related web sites. Back issues of MCIVTA are also hosted on the site. You can also follow on to get the latest updates.

[4] What is the club’s official web site?

The official club web site can be found at and the official club Twitter page at The club also has a facebook page at

[5] What supporters’ clubs are there?

Manchester City FC recognises three supporters’ clubs: The “Official Supporters Club” (; the “Centenary Supporters’ Association” ( and “The International Supporters’ Club”.

[6] Where can I find out about Points of Blue (formerly the Fans’ Committee)?

The committee operates as an interface between supporters and the club. Points of Blue appears on the club website as a minor entry under “Fans Zone”.

[7] What match day broadcasts are available on the web?

The Radio Manchester (née GMR) pre and post match phone-in is available on the web at

Live match commentaries and archives of games, reports and interviews can be found at

[8] Where can I find out if City are live on satellite TV? provides a listing of Premiership games being shown on UK domestic and foreign satellite channels. Useful sites for North American viewers are,, and

[9] Do we have a Usenet newsgroup?

Yes we do: is our home on usenet. If you are not familiar with usenet, a basic explanation is available here:,289893,sid9_gci213262,00.html

[10] Do any squad members have their own web pages?

There are a number available and direct links can be found at

[11] Where can I find match statistics?

Statistics for the current season are available from the club site, but for a more in-depth analysis try

The views expressed in MCIVTA are entirely those of the subscribersand there is no intention to represent these opinions as being thoseof Manchester City Football Club, nor of any of the companies anduniversities by whom the subscribers are employed. It is not inany way whatsoever connected to the club or any other relatedorganisation and is simply a group of supporters using this mediumas a means of disseminating news and exchanging opinions.

[Valid3.2]Heidi Pickup,

Newsletter #1588