Newsletter #1593

Disappointment from our performance against our nemesis Spurs this week; we have plenty of opinion on just what went wrong with the team selection, tactics and game. Back to Typical City I’m afraid! The result means we slip down to 8th in the table.

News tonight from Alex on the squad members, Hughes’ aspirations, injury updates and the transfer rumour mill.

Finally, our MCIVTA festive editions will be as follows:

  • Monday 21st December
  • Monday 28th December
  • Monday 4th January
Next Game: Sunderland, home, 3pm Saturday 19 December


General News

World Cup Comes to Manchester: Manchester has been selected as one of twelve English cities to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup, should England win the bid. With two world class stadiums and the celebrity endorsement of Noel Gallagher and Andrew Flintoff, Manchester was always the city most expected to be successful. FIFA will now carry out their own inspection of the city in May 2010 to ensure that their own standards are being met. The bid’s shock inclusion was Milton Keynes whose bid saw Leicester, Hull and Nottingham fall by the wayside.

Hughes Tells City to “Go Fourth”: City boss Mark Hughes has warned his side that they face a tough battle to qualify for next season’s Champions’ League but will never get a better chance to succeed one of the current ‘big four’. Though United, Chelsea and Arsenal look certain to finish in this season’s top three, Hughes believes fourth place is up for grabs as Rafa Benitez’s Liverpool continue to struggle, though competition will come in the form of the highly accomplished Spurs and Villa: “One team is usually deemed as the most vulnerable – and currently that is Liverpool. It is highly unlikely to change now. Teams won’t be challenging for the top two or three. That is not going to happen this year. It probably means only one club is going to get into the top four. Maybe it will change in the future. But this season fourth place is one that is up for grabs. If we benefit from other teams not being able to get positive results then hopefully we will take the opportunity that presents itself.”

Squad News

Barça Brilliance the Way to Go: 35-year-old left back Sylvinho is a champion in all senses of the word having won La Liga, The Spanish Cup and The European Champions’ League with Catalan giants Barcelona and the Brazilian believes that if City can find a way of playing that works for them, they should stick to it in an attempt to be successful. Barcelona were applauded for their Arsenal-esque ‘pure’ football that won them Europe’s most prestigious trophy last season and the former Nou Camp favourite knows that with the quality of players and the superb backing that the Blues have, success is just around the corner if City get it right on the pitch: “We can learn from the Barcelona way. They play the same way every game. They play the same against Chelsea as they do against a third or fourth division side in Spain. We still have to improve that aspect, but the club is moving in the right direction. We are changing the mentality of a whole club, not just 25 players.”

Nedum’s Need for Success: Whilst Sylvinho believes that success is impending, Nedum Onuoha doesn’t know why that success can’t come this season. With a Carling Cup semi-final coming up in the New Year and the Blues placed only six points adrift of the that elusive fourth place in the league, Nedum hopes that a good run of form over Christmas will set the Blues up with a springboard for the rest of the season: “We’re in a good position in terms of the League and the Carling Cup, but also with regard to mentality and motivation. Going into the Christmas period, you know that starting off with a win is crucial. The games you win around the holiday period can kick us on again and if we can keep going, hopefully we will be flying into the rest of the season.”

Onuoha also admitted that he was very grateful to Shay Given who saved Frank Lampard’s penalty last week after the defender had felled Didier Drogba in the box: “When Frank Lampard was stepping up to take that penalty, I feared the worst, even though everyone was saying that Shay would save it. Of course, he did exactly that and I should have known better! I know from training just how difficult he is to beat from the penalty spot, so if we do concede a penalty, there’s no guarantee the other team will score, which is always going to be a good thing for us.”

Nigel’s de Best: Whilst Carlos Tevez, Emmanuel Adebayor and Shay Given have earned all the plaudits this season, one man has gone about his job with very little acclaim. Dutch midfielder Nigel de Jong signed from Hamburg SV last January for an inflated fee of £17 million and failed to make an impression in his first few months at the club. Now, with Gareth Barry and Vincent Kompany for competition, the holding midfielder has truly found his feet in the Premier League and City skipper Kolo Toure believes the tough tackling 25-year-old can become the best on the continent in his position: “Nigel can be one of the best that there is in his position; he just needs consistency. The way he played against Chelsea was the best I have seen him play, he was outstanding all through the match and every time there was a second ball he was there to win it. The last two games we have shown the kind of fight for each other that we need if we are to be successful and Nigel exemplified that.”

Manchester’s Finest: Carlos Tevez was the man of the moment when he crossed the Manchester border in order to move from United to City back in July and the creative Argentinian is fast becoming a cult hero. That’s the view of manager Mark Hughes who acknowledges that the Blues bought one of the United faithful’s favourites when Tevez left Old Trafford for CoMS this summer but the boss suggests that Tevez is no longer a City legend merely for swapping Red for Blue, but thanks to his excellent performances on the pitch: “He is already a folk hero. Carlos was outstanding at the Reebok. He led the line and carried the fight and the group responded. He wasn’t fit earlier in the season and has had to get fit playing games, which is not an ideal situation. He is now at a level where he is happy with his physical condition and he knows he can get through games. Now he is having an impact for all ninety minutes, that is what we saw at Bolton and against Arsenal and Chelsea. Carlos made a big decision to come to City from United with all that entails. He is not fazed by big decisions and he takes responsibility when he plays. The quality of his goals has been outstanding, he takes people on in key areas and unsettles defences. There will be even better to come I am sure of that now he has his fitness levels up.”

The Case for the Defence: Joleon Lescott has been subject to much criticism this season for the way he seems to have failed to have settled into the Blues’ new-look back four, but the former Everton defender believes it is only a matter of time before the Blues’ back-line clicks into place. Despite an early season run of form where City didn’t concede in five consecutive matches, Shay Given has only one clean sheet to his name in the last twelve league fixtures. With Lescott and Toure both having joined in the summer, Bridge and Given signing only eleven months ago and the club’s first XI right back switching between Richards and Zabaleta, a lack of consistency can be understood but City’s England international thinks fans should give the players time to gel and then watch them shine: “You have to take things on a game by game basis and I’m feeling really confident and getting a better understanding with Kolo, Shay Given, Wayne Bridge and Micah Richards each week. It was always going to take time to gel. Obviously the back four can’t operate as individuals – you have to work together as a unit and we’ve started to do that now. I’m sure the clean sheets will follow.”

Full Backing of Gareth: Gareth Barry hopes to be a part of England’s World Cup XI next summer in South Africa as a crucial part of a midfield that boasts the talent of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard but is currently happy to play in any position at club level. Both Wayne Bridge and Joleon Lescott face spells on the sidelines over Christmas and following the poor performance of veteran full back Sylvinho during the week against Tottenham Hotspur, Barry may be called upon by manager Mark Hughes to play at left back. The former Aston Villa captain has said that he is proud to wear the blue shirt and is happy to play any part of City’s revolution: “It’s a position I’ve played in before and have actually played left-back for England when Kevin Keegan was in charge. It’s all about doing a job for the team, which is part of my game and I’d be more than happy to fill in if asked, but there are other left-backs at the club as well.”

Competitive Kompany: The ever-versatile Vincent Kompany accepts that he won’t be an automatic first choice in City’s XI this season following the toe injury that kept him out of the start of the campaign but the Belgian international asserts that competition is good for the squad. Kompany faces stiff competition from Gareth Barry, Nigel de Jong and Stephen Ireland for a place in City’s starting line-up, but the former Hamburg man feels that to train alongside such quality players and then go head-to-head for a starting place can only bring the best out of each individual player, which in turn gives the manager more options on match day: “I’ve had a few chances and I feel that I have done well when the chances have come. But what’s most important at the moment is that the team has been doing well. Being on the bench is not a failure, the team is doing well and I had an injury for so long. After a time out of the side, once you get a taste of it the more you want to be back in there. It’s a matter of time, but there are plenty of games to come and some really important ones at that. It makes it more interesting because you have to perform and get the best out of yourself. I do feel that there is a chance to get back in there, because players can get tired or injured. Our strength has been that at any moment we have made changes and the team has not looked any weaker. I’d say that the team has looked just as strong and as capable of winning a game, and I’m just happy to be part of it.”

Success Suits Superman: Last season’s Player of the Year Stevie ‘Superman’ Ireland admits that he’s thoroughly enjoying playing alongside the likes of Tevez and Co. but the Irishman has assured fans that he won’t be resting on his laurels following his excellent campaign last term. Like Kompany, Ireland acknowledges that the club’s strength in depth will be the key to success this season and is happy to fight for his place in the team’s first XI: “It was fantastic to watch the lads beat Chelsea in our last home game. I was gutted to not be involved. I celebrated with the lads, but I would have loved to have been part of beating them, but I picked up an injury and that game came around too quickly for me. Being in and out of the team is all part of the job. Of course I want to start every match but so do 20-odd other top class players at the club. Rotation is here to stay at any successful club. It is going to happen and that’s the main difference between this season and last season. It happens at Chelsea and all the other top teams and we seem to have the right blend at the moment and things are going really well for us; so if you’re in one week and out the next, you can’t really complain. It’s something you have to get used to. I make sure I work my socks off and give everything each time I train or play. I always make sure that when the stats are checked mine are the highest in the team – or at least up there with the highest – and apart from a couple of injury set-backs they have been. When I get back in the side I’m going to be doing everything I can to make sure I stay there as long possible and make it difficult for the gaffer to leave me out. That is how teams evolve and improve. Every team needs competitor to drive players to improve and we have loads of it now at City. Last season we had three central midfielders and it was easy enough for me to get into the team, but this year is different and that is a challenge for everyone in the squad, not just me.”

Taking the Michael: Michael Johnson has picked up his third serious injury in as many seasons as he faces another six months out on the sidelines. The England under-21-international only returned from a persistent abdominal injury in September, having not been involved in first team action for twelve months, but now the 21-year-old is set to miss the rest of the season. City chief Mark Hughes, who described the return of Johnson as similar to “the signing of a multi-million pound player” only two months ago, has revealed how disappointed he is for the club’s Academy graduate: “We are really disappointed for Michael, he has had a terrible run of injuries and this has come from a very innocuous situation in training. His foot caught in the turf, the knee hyperextended and he has done significant damage. His season is over, he had worked really hard to get back to a level where I was considering him for games again, certainly at this busy Christmas period and he was very much in our thoughts. He is not going to be available for quite some time and it is going to be difficult for him. He showed real strength of character to come through the year out that he had last year, he will have the operation on the 21st and he’ll have landmarks to get through with his rehab after then.”

Johnno may be out for some time but team-mate Wayne Bridge is hoping to return earlier than expected after suffering knee ligament damage in the win over Chelsea: “It is definitely a lot better. I am walking without a brace this week. I will be having more intensive treatment this week and then hopefully doing some weight bearing stuff. I hope to be back at the start of the New Year. I don’t want to push too hard too soon because knee ligament can ‘go’ very easily. I will make sure that I am strong first but I will push it as hard as I can to be back as fast as I can.”

Transfer Speculation

The ‘Robbie’ Saga: Some press reports would have you believe that a £35 million deal for Brazilian winger Robinho was set to be tied up during the Club World Cup as Barcelona hoped to take the British record signing to the Nou Camp but Hughes has dismissed such reports and revealed that ‘Robbie’ has never been happier at CoMS: “I know Robi’s feelings. He is very happy around the place and with life in Manchester. He always has a smile on his face. He is playing alongside good players in a good team. He knows he can be successful with the club and the players that are here already. He likes the way we play and wants to be a part of that. Robi was frustrated earlier in the season because he wasn’t playing. Now he is playing perhaps people will start speaking about his performances.”

The man himself pledged his long term future to the club and spoke of his ambition to win the English Premier League with the Blues: “I am very happy at Manchester City and I intend to continue playing here for a long time. My focus is with Manchester City. There will always be speculation but I am very happy and so are my family. I hope to continue playing here. I think I will stay five years, 10 years – I don’t know. I love it here and love the fans. I am enjoying playing English football. It is very beautiful. With every game I play, I feel more comfortable. I hope to continue playing football in England for a long time. I want to be champion. I’ve been lucky that every team in which I have played, I have been able to be a champion. My frame of mind has not changed playing for Manchester City. To finish in the top four would not be bad but we are going to fight for the title until the end. We have a great manager in Mark Hughes. He has proved this in all the teams he has managed and is showing that now with Manchester City. He has a great relationship with all the players, including me, and I hope that this year we can be champions together; that is our goal… I think the morale of the team is improving. It is a winning spirit and our mentality has to be that of the team that wants to win and that wants to be champions.”

Waiting With Abate’d Breath: In the same week that Bayern Munich skipper Phillip Lahm was linked with a move to Eastlands, fellow right back Ignazio Abate has ruled out a move away from AC Milan. The 23-year-old has been in good form this season for the Italian giants having finally broke into the first team, but Abate’s agent has rubbished rumours of a transfer despite being linked with the Blues: “I’ve also heard these rumours, but they have no basis. Certainly these things are pleasing because it means that they are all realising the potential of the player. The truth is that Abate is very happy at Milan and Milan is very happy with Abate. To confirm this I can anticipate that we will meet soon with Milan to deal with the contract extension.”

Post-Match Reaction

Ten Men Draw Again: City’s defence took another battering this weekend as Toure and Co. conceded three at the hands of Bolton Wanderers. A controversial goal by Bolton’s Croatian striker Ivan Klasnic gave Gary Megson’s men the lead despite seeming to be a good couple of yards offside. City’s attacking options were severely limited as Bolton pressed every ball and gave the Blues’ ‘superstars’ no time on the ball. That was until Carlos Tevez scored the first of his two goals to equalise before the half hour mark, only for Gary Cahill to score a stunning curling strike from the edge of the area to put the Trotters back in front. With the Blues looking set to go in at the break behind, Micah Richards equalised on the stroke of half time to place the Blues back on a level footing.

Klasnic completed his brace to take the wind out of City’s sails only eight minutes into the second half and referee Mark Clattenburg became Christmas’ pantomime villain as he dismissed Craig Bellamy for a second cautionable offence having supposedly dived. Bellamy seemed appalled by the decision and subsequent video replays suggested that the Welsh captain had a right to feel aggrieved having had his ankles clipped on his way towards the penalty area. Carlos Tevez saved the day though with a little bit of magic to ensure the Blues came away with a point.

Despite another disappointing performance by the Blues’ back-line, City boss Mark Hughes moved quickly to blame the match officials: “The first goal was clearly offside. The Bolton player was ahead of the ball, why the officials didn’t see it I have no idea. As for the sending off, Craig was clipped. It was a laughable and ridiculous decision. We now lose a key guy in our team. We were mystified by some of the decisions the officials made and didn’t make. We had to show courage to get back into the game. Everyone gave a terrific effort. We deserve credit for taking something from the contest.” Such comments have led to the FA requesting Mark Hughes to explain what he meant by his comments about the match officials.

Goalscorer Micah Richards admitted he was chuffed to have scored his second goal of the season but gutted that the Blues were so inconsistent at the back yet again: “We’re delighted to score three but disappointed to concede three. Credit to Bolton, they had a game plan and pressed us from the start. They knew what they needed to do to try to stop us. Teams will raise their game against us. But we’ve got the quality in the dressing room, and it’s up to us to do what we did against Arsenal and Chelsea the other week. After what happened, we’re pleased to get the draw. It was a harsh decision to send Craig off. He went down genuinely, he didn’t dive, but it’s the referee’s decision at the end of the day. In the circumstances we’re delighted with the point – I think to come back from 3-2 down with ten men is the sign of a good team.”

Of Richards, Hughes revealed that he and his player had had talks about the defender’s early season performances and admitted that these talks have done England’s Under 21 captain the world of good: “I think Micah’s done really well. He’s not getting carried away with his form at the moment. He’s been more solid, his concentration levels have been good, and we’re reaping the benefits of that. What he has to do now is make sure he maintains it. We can’t have a situation where Micah’s form burns brightly for a couple of games and then starts to fade again. We don’t want that. I’ve talked to Micah about his form and where he feels he’s at in terms of development. There’s more to come from him, and I think he accepts that. So we’re looking for him to maintain his current level and possibly surpass it.”

Krancjar Spurs Tottenham On: Tottenham wingers Niko Kranjar and Aaron Lennon were just too much for City’s defence at White Hart Lane in midweek as Harry Redknapp’s Spurs ran out 3-0 winners in a battle of the Champions’ League aspirants. With Spurs lying only one point above City in the table before the game, this was City’s chance to make, as Mark Hughes put it, “a statement of intent”, but the Blues crumbled under the superiority of Spurs’ attacking prowess and the Citizens were left six points adrift of the Champions’ League qualification spots. Krancjar’s brace came either side of Jermaine Defoe’s strike and with the news that Joleon Lescott would be out for the next 4-5 weeks, it was a bad night all round for the Blues. Gareth Barry stated that the squad were extremely disappointed with their performance in North London and hoped to make amends when Sunderland visit CoMS on Saturday: “It’s obviously very disappointing, because I thought in the first half an hour we played some really good football and there was nothing in the game. But once they scored we really did not create anything until the last 20 minutes. We are very disappointed and we are really hurting in the changing room, and the best thing we can do is try to put it right on Saturday. We knew that the first goal would be important, with them being at home their confidence was bound to grow. They had looked a bit nervous early on and if we had gone in front it could have been a different story. Shay has not had too many saves to make, we played some good stuff at times and got some shots away. We were also a bit unlucky with a couple of offsides, but there are not too many positives to take and plenty of things to put right. We’ve only got a couple of days to put it right, but we want to repay the fans that came down to Spurs and put a good performance in for them.”

Ex-Blues’ News

Martinez on the Ball: Former City defender Michael Ball has been offered a life line by Premier League rivals Wigan Athletic. Roberto Martinez had offered Ball the chance to join up and trial with the Wigan squad and the Latics’ boss has hinted that he may offer the England international a contract if he can regain full fitness: “Michael has been working with us for a long time. He’s had a lot of problems with his injury but he is recovering, trying to get match fitness, and now he is looking sharp, looking ready. He’s got great experience, he’s a great influence and it’s great to have him around, but at the moment he is simply regaining his fitness. We’re just enjoying having a very experienced player around with great standards who is good for our daily work.”

Alex Rowen <news(at)>


White Hart Lane is rarely a happy hunting ground for us, but City teams normally give a better account of themselves than they did on this latest trip. It was a really poor performance: Tevez, Ireland and the tenacious de Jong apart, it lacked any kind of spark.

Too many big name players did not perform: Adebayor was rarely involved and when he finally got a chance near the end, he fluffed a similar opportunity to the one that Defoe converted for their second. Robinho barely registered in the consciousness and even the normally reliable Barry looked leaden footed and clumsy on this occasion, despite giving his usual total commitment. Tottenham may have been slightly flattered by the 3-0 scoreline, but that does not take away from the fact that we were well beaten, and can have no complaints about this defeat, even if referee Wiley should have booked Palacios a long time before he did. He might have awarded us a penalty late on after Dawson’s arm steered the ball back to Gomes, but to say that would have made much of a difference would be stretching a point to say the least. Missing the injured Shaun Wright-Phillips, our attack lacked pace and width down the right. With Robinho having one of his anonymous away days, and Adebayor skulking round like a sulky teenager, the creativity of Tevez and Ireland had no outlets to aim for. When changes were made (Santa Cruz for Robinho; Petrov for de Jong) the attack was still too narrow and funnelled into Tottenham’s defensive web. If we are going to make the best use of Santa Cruz then we need to supply him with plenty of high crosses, so we would have been better bringing on Weiss for Adebayor to give us two wingers to do that. It would at least have given Tottenham something different to think about (after all, they don’t like it up ’em) and we may have actually got behind their full backs: something that Lennon did to us repeatedly.

The night didn’t get off to the best start with the news that Joleon Lescott has had an operation to remove floating bone from his knee and will be out for 6 to 8 weeks. As one would expect, Onuoha did well enough in his place, but after an initial spell of possession our narrow attack failed to make inroads into a Tottenham defence that was well organised for once. Thereafter Tottenham homed in on our weakness at left back with Lennon repeatedly skinning Sylvinho and making a Tottenham goal inevitable. At 36, Sylvinho has had a distinguished career and played a part in last season’s Barcelona side that swept aside all before it, but maybe we would have be better deploying Zabaleta or Barry at left back on this occasion, especially as Robinho offered little support to his full back. To compound this defeat, de Jong’s needless booking for dissent means that he will miss the Sunderland game this weekend. It would be stating the obvious that we must win that game, but win it we must.

Are Tottenham better than us? On this evidence, yes, definitely, but on the evidence of the respective teams’ games against Chelsea, maybe not (they lost 3-0 but that was at Stamford Bridge). The League table suggests that Tottenham are the more proficient team, though. That is something that City must address.

Given: Blameless 6
Richards: Did well enough defensively 6
Toure: Beaten to the ball by Defoe for their 2nd and was generally well below what is expected 5
Onouha: Being beaten in the air by Crouch (for their 2nd) is no disgrace. A solid enough come back 6
Sylvinho: Struggled badly all night against Lennon’s pace and trickery 4
Ireland: Always inventive and industrious 6
De Jong: Won his fair share of ball but needed better support. Picked up a silly booking 6
Barry: No lack of effort but below par 5
Robinho: Went missing for long periods after a reasonable start. Rightly subbed 5
Tevez: His work rate and constant search for openings is commendable 6
Adebayor: Should get involved more. Poor finishing and decision making when he was involved 5

Subs: Santa Cruz: When he gets the right service he will be a threat 6
Petrov: Not enough time to make an impression n/a

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


I’m usually happy to read what others have to say in this excellent news letter but after tonight’s defeat to Spurs, felt I needed to pitch in with my own observations as a kind of post-match therapy, as I find the tactics from Mark Hughes very naïve and frustrating!

He was forced to change the line-up due to injuries and suspension to Bellamy, and in my opinion, the way he did this lost us this game, and the advantage we had of the game in hand, having now slipped to 8th in the league.

I’m afraid, in my opinion, that both Richards, and Onuoha are not top 6 team quality, whilst still being Premier League quality, and I wouldn’t be playing either of them if not absolutely necessary, so would it be so terrible to play a back 4 of: Zabaleta, Kompany, Touré, and Barry?

I pretty much thought we had established last season that Robinho isn’t committed when playing away from home, not that there’s too much evidence that his heart is truly in it at home either. Steve Claridge on 5Live Sports Extra tonight was amazed and critical of Mark Hughes, for apparently not seeing, or doing anything about, the lack of defending by Robinho, observing how Lennon had the repeated beating of Sylvinho, and of course, this was where the first Spurs goal came from; not only was Robinho not tracking back and getting stuck in, he wasn’t contributing anything going forwards either. I think, despite all the comments to the contrary by both Robinho and the club, he will be moving on in January, probably at a considerable financial loss to the club too.

Anyway, back to what I call naïve tactics; when Mark Hughes finally conceded that Robinho didn’t deserve to stay on the field of play, instead of bringing Petrov on – who not only deserved to start the game ahead of Robinho, but who will put in more of an effort both in attack and defence, he brought on Santa Cruz, thus making an already narrow game even tighter, with no width. Thankfully Petrov did come on later, and it did appear that there was a bit more urgency then.

Another alternative to the line-up would have been to play Barry on the left, and Robinho on the right if Hughes was so determined to find a place for him, though I’d liked to have seen Weiss given a start as Wright-Phillips was injured.

In conclusion, Mark Hughes doesn’t seem to have the vision to change things, or the courage to surprise the opposition with brave substitutions.

A final observation from Steve Claridge, from seeing several games involving City, is that players get themselves out of position too easily, getting involved in flowing attacks, which when they break down, leave us vulnerable. I have to say I only hear the radio commentaries, but it does sound to me that he is right in his observations; it seems to from listening that we use Barry to mark big forwards in opponents’ set plays, surely a tactical error?

I’m not particularly having a go at Mark Hughes, just recognizing his limitations; it takes a strong manager to leave the so-called top players on the bench, or out altogether, but sometimes that is what’s needed to bring them down to size, or to help them see they are part of a squad, not superior to its other parts but part of the whole. The way Adebayor is playing at the moment, not guaranteeing him his starting place might just gee him up. It could be a good thing that he’ll not be available in January; I’d quite like to see Santa Cruz and Tevez play longer together, and it doesn’t look like Hughes will bring that partnership about other than by his hand being forced, not that overall I think Santa Cruz is a better player, but rather, Adebayor is out of form, and also, isn’t working as hard as he did before his suspension.

Good! That’s off my chest then, feel a bit better now.

Andy Collins <Andy(at)>


Having just watched an extremely frustrating match against Spurs, I don’t know what Mark Hughes is thinking when he selects his starting eleven.

Firstly, anyone who has watched Crouch will know he is a right handful, so match him up with a defender with a bit of height, how about Kompany? But no, he plays Onuoha! Then he knows that Robinho does not turn up when we play away, but guess what? Hughes starts with him, and leaves Sylvinho to be terrorised by Lennon, and no one to help him. It does not take a master tactician to work this out, simple logic will suffice. All Hughes had to do was do his homework on the opposition. You can see why there are reservations about him as a good enough manager at the highest level.

Our defence were run ragged by 3 players: Lennon, Crouch and Defoe. We could not handle them. Then Spurs defended brilliantly. Dawson (apart from the handball – why didn’t the linesman flag?), he was immense, whilst their left back showed how good he was. Their whole team pressed the ball and gave us no time to settle. What do we do? Let them have the ball.

Our first half display was so bad that I felt sorry for Adebayor, no service at all; work out how many times Crouch headed the ball compared to Adebayor. Lennon was providing the service from the wing, and Crouch was looking to lay on the header for Defoe, who eventually put away one of the chances.

If Robinho is a winger, does he ever take on and beat his man and then cross to the centre forward? Never! There’s no way he should have started; we need to offload him as soon as we can. We sorely missed SWP and Bellamy, 2 wholehearted players, who would have given Spurs a much harder time, both in attack and defence. I don’t rate Corluka but he strolled through the game because no one ran at him like Lennon was doing to us.

I thought Barry worked his socks off, and so did Tevez and Ireland. We gave away the ball so often though, we were just hopeless, lacking any width – what is young Weiss doing on the bench?

I really am angry at the way we were beaten, and yet Hughes had enough options on the bench and failed to get it right.

In Mark Hughes I do not trust! Bring on one of the following: Martin Jol, Guus Hiddink or Klinnsman!

Glyn Albuquerque <glynalbuquerque(at)>


I am bewildered by Dafydd Goronwy’s remarks in the last edition as there were absolutely no disparaging comments in my last letter and absolutely no vitriol, so where he saw it, I cannot imagine. I did express a lingering doubt but cannot see how someone as erudite as Dafydd could describe that as disparaging or vitriolic. However, once again we have the old chestnut that Hughes was a Rag and that is the only reason I “hate” him.

Well, so were Dennis Law and Brian Kidd and I loved ’em both while they were with us even though both remained utterly devoted to the Dark Side. My dad was an afflicted person, as is my brother and the daughters that he has corrupted. I may laugh at their affliction but I do not hate them for it. I lived in Manchester for over 20 years and met many people who were afflicted: I didn’t kill one of ’em! Obviously, it does not need to be said that I meet even more of ’em since moving out of Manchester. To imagine that my intense hatred blinds my judgement in all things is a little unrealistic.

I am bewildered because my comments were actually quite conciliatory and yet seen as vitriolic. I had a similar reaction from Ernie when I answered his question “Where are all the doubters now?” (clearly implying that there was no longer any doubt). All I did was respond that some of us were still doubtful and the furious response was inevitable.

Perhaps I expressed my anger too strongly in the past and everyone repeats that script in their head. It seems whatever I write, it provokes an angry response. Still, debate is always good, even if what is actually said is completely ignored and overlooked. I have not once commented on our more dismal performances of the season and yet my name seems to bring angry responses, no matter what I say. So I hope this letter is as successful in provoking furious and often derogatory, if not insulting responses. At least it keeps the pages full.

[It is a shame Martin when people can’t accept the differences of views and think all should agree with them! Different opinions are what make the world go round – Ed]

Martin Hunt <martin.hunt(at)>


I have enjoyed the web coverage and have successfully had Key103 commentary link going for most matches. Being interested in photography, I am a tad frustrated but not sure if it’s the ISP/bandwidth but very often after the initial few the rest don’t download. The text commentary is an extra bonus especially when the radio link fails; twitter seems very sparse last time I looked.

Football wise I’m happy: great matches, especially recently – at least we’re digging in now. Most matches I can see where Mark Hughes (if “Sparky” is his nickname what’s it got to do with who his employers at the time are?) is coming from. It would be boring if we were “perfect” or had a team of bruisers so having ups and downs is a lot more fun. Although biased, I watch 2 teams on match day, not one.

City have always been a club of characters – BBC Sports Personality of the Year has he any? He didn’t even have a speech!

Spurs hopefully will be another open game with lots of goals. I will enjoy the game – winning is not everything, never has been! That’s why there’s nearly 100 league teams.

Nedum Onuoha is a great City grown player – one of the best!

Colin Puddephatt <citypool(at)>


So poor, let’s get Billy McNeill back as Director of Football. Aston Villa and now Birmingham City – at this rate it will be Wolves, West Brom and Walsall. Hughes has not got a clue and hopefully it won’t be long now.

Sam Duxbury <sammy459(at)>


Well there was only going to be one winner. City are a work in progress? Sounds a bit like my old school reports: ‘got the talent, could do better’! It was a very inept display, and Spurs taught us a lesson in fast, direct football, with a fair bit of flair thrown in for good measure, and an eye for the goal.

City, well they just passed it about, back and forward, not doing much or gaining any ascendancy. Spurs on the other hand slick, quick passing, the usual high ball to Couch and Defoe picking up the pieces, a couple of midfielders that can score, a couple of decent backs that can also score, a decent sort of side.

I know I sound a bit of a moaner but I would have thought spending £200 million on players, we might expect something better. Birmingham are ahead of us with a team with nothing but fight and heart, everyone on the same page. We can’t keep on saying City are a work in progress; I’ve heard that since the eighties.

The trouble is with all this money: we’re not buying a heart but an ego! With the exception of Shay Given and Craig Bellamy. Just imagine a team with players with their work ethic in it. We’d probably get a few sent off!

I’m just watching Chelsea. Money can buy success – you just have to buy the right players, players that are winners, and hate losing. Caught the last part of Auckland City’s game against African opposition. Not the most skilful of sides but they battled until the end and got the winner in time added on. Now that gave me something to smile about.

Kevin Williamson <scribbs(at)>


My report on this game has nothing positive to it; when it’s bad it’s bad.

The game versus Spurs was my game to really see how far we have come, for Spurs are one of the other teams fighting for a top four finish. City never even came in a close to being second in this game. Spurs were far superior.

First let me say this: when City signed Adebayor I said in the first MCIVTA after his signing that his signing did not excite me. More than ever I say it again; he has only played one good game for City and that was because of his personal vendetta with Arsenal. Adebayor is not even half the striker that Defoe is, enough said. Adebayor is not worthy of being able to clean the Goat’s boots.

At the same time in that same MCIVTA I said that I was excited that we had signed Tevez, I still say that today!

As regards to the City defence we can all see that it’s pathetic. I blame the signing of Toure; if Dunne was in Toure’s position with Lescott, Micah and Bridge our defence would have been in better shape, but hindsight is easy. Many blame Lescott but I blame Toure; watch replays of the defence in sixes and sevens and Toure is in the middle of it all.

For a start I would make either Barry or de Jong the captain. In this game Nigel “Tiger” de Jong was still lame from his bout with Piggy Flu. Get well soon Tiger, City need you.

OK so MCFC have all these players now; the great majority signed by Mark Hughes are very good players but he has made mistakes and they are starting to show.

Robinho – I don’t care if he has been on TV to say he wants to stay with City, he is the biggest waste of money and space on the pitch. Let young Vladimir Weiss play in his position and I guarantee he will play with more heart and commitment.

I don’t know about referees being a joke: Robinho is the biggest joke to wear a City shirt right now. Put him in the reserves for a while; even that might be too good for him, he is a prima donna.

The game versus Spurs started with City looking sharp with some crisp passing, but for all the passing the ball about between one another there was no real effort to shoot on goal. City could have passed the ball around to one another all night long and Spurs must have loved it, for there was never any danger from City.

If City are going to be any threat to being in the top six, never mind the top four, major changes have got to be made, and soon. One major win versus Chelsea does not make a season!

Mark Hughes once said that Stevie Ireland would be made captain one day. Make Superman the captain for the next game versus Sunderland!

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


Thanks to all the fans who responded to my question about which two former Man City players were in the allied team that played the Germans in the 1981 movie Victory (or Escape To Victory as it was titled in the UK).

Movie credits show Buzzer Summerbee and Kaz Deyna as the two players I had in mind. However, some of you bright sparks picked out goalie Paul Cooper as a third ex-Blue.

For the record, Cooper isn’t mentioned in the movie credits but is mentioned in Wikipedia as a stand-in for Sylvester Stallone. Technically not a member of the team but I will concede that a third ex-Blue was involved in the movie. And if our Arab money had been around in ’81 we might have had a fourth in Pele… more realistically Ossie Ardiles. Thanks for all you that responded, great to make personal contact with so many MCIVTA fanatics.

I will let the rest of you pass comment on the White Hart Lane débâcle.

Keith Sharp <keith(at)>


It’s been a year since I posted on MCIVTA and said “get rid of the Rag”.

I’ve read and agreed/disagreed with some posts over the last 12 months, very articulate arguments in some cases but let’s all get real. I don’t mind City losing, just playing like a bunch of t****rs is what gets me annoyed. We have a team of expensive, well paid professionals who only play when they can be bothered. Bellamy and Tevez excepted.

Well I’ve not changed my mind. Watching tonight away at Spurs ,does anyone expect us to take the world by storm? Not me that’s for sure. We have all seen the draws (good and bad) and the great display against Chelsea (and Arse youth) at home.

I had a few days off work but decided not to spend 47 quid and visit London. What a good decision that was.

MH couldn’t manage a call centre. Adebayor was a passenger tonight and should have been replaced at half time, but no, he saw out the full 95 minutes. Give Petrov more games – the more he plays the better he is. Why does Weiss not get a game when SWP is out? Lots of excuses from Management but no solutions.

Personally I always felt top 4 is and always was out of our reach this season but results have proved me wrong. Problem is we can’t take advantage of the dips by other top teams and Spurs and Villa are doing what we should be and taking advantage.

Now I never expected miracles even with all the money spent but for shrewder mangers to take advantage where we can’t p****s me right off. Eighth and a point behind b****y Birmingham even with a game in hand just proves how poor this league is. We need to take advantage and with the quality and ability of our squad we should be able to do so.

The manager is rubbish. Nice that he had a go at the officials after Bolton but not loud enough to get a ban and the officials censured! We are MCFC: stand up and shout loud, the fans and players will all appreciate that. There are no prizes in this arena for being quiet and being dumped on. All being well we will take 6 points from Sunderland and Stoke and at least one at Wolves but time will tell.

Now “supporting our supporters”, forty quid for the semi? Don’t think it would have been as much if we had drawn Blackburn. We all know that the Rags will cash in on everything they can but come on City, if this is the way forward you may be alienating loyal fans!?

Anyone out there who wants to argue that this is the cost of watching top class football needs to look at the similar cases in Europe where fans walk away and watch TV when costs become restrictive. Good to know Boro aren’t trying to cash in on our visit in the new year.

Merry Christmas to all associated with MCIVTA and all subscribers and Happy Blue year to all.

See you in the chemical wastelands that is Boro; better result that our last visit I hope 🙂

CTID, Mick B <koolfurmick(at)>


The latest issue of City fanzine King Of The Kippax, number 175, should be available tomorrow (Friday) in the outlets at Urbis and Aleef, corner of Cross Street and Market Street. It is also available from 25, Holdenbrook Close, Leigh, Lancs, WN7 2HL for £3.20 including P&P. (cheques to King of the Kippax).

This issue includes the usual regulars, Burfield, Ged, Colin Savage, Uncle Ryan, Bunbury, Tony Petrie, etc., plus review and previews of games plus articles on the month’s events, referees, the FA, Paul Lake interview, and a review of Gary’s Big Book of City. Oh and Cook’s gaffe does get a mention both factually and objectively!

Luckily we were at the printers for the Spurs game otherwise it may have been a mite negative!

Merry Christmas to Heidi and all at MCIVTA, always a fascinating read.

Sue Wallace <dw001e8104(at)>


We’ve got a really nice thing going on at the stadium on Friday allowing fans to send a Christmas message to friends and family who are abroad via our site.

All the info here:

Chris Nield <Chris.Nield(at)>


16 December 2009

Burnley               1 - 1  Arsenal               21,309
Chelsea               2 - 1  Portsmouth            40,137
Liverpool             2 - 1  Wigan Athletic        41,116
Tottenham Hotspur     3 - 0  Manchester City       35,891

15 December 2009

Birmingham City       2 - 1  Blackburn Rovers      23,187
Bolton Wanderers      3 - 1  West Ham United       17,849
Manchester United     3 - 0  Wolverhampton Wndrs   73,709
Sunderland            0 - 2  Aston Villa           34,821

League table to 16 December 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         17  8  1  0 25  5  5  0  3 17  9 13  1  3  42  14  28  40
 2 Manchester Utd  17  7  1  1 19  8  5  0  3 18  6 12  1  4  37  14  23  37
 3 Arsenal         16  6  0  1 22  7  4  2  3 19 13 10  2  4  41  20  21  32
 4 Aston Villa     17  5  2  1 16  6  4  3  2 12  8  9  5  3  28  14  14  32
 5 Tottenham H.    17  6  0  3 24  8  3  3  2 14 14  9  3  5  38  22  16  30
 6 Liverpool       17  5  2  2 24 11  3  1  4 10 12  8  3  6  34  23  11  27
 7 Birmingham City 17  5  2  2  8  5  3  1  4 10 12  8  3  6  18  17   1  27
 8 Manchester City 16  4  3  0 16 10  2  5  2 13 14  6  8  2  29  24   5  26
 9 Fulham          16  5  1  2 12  6  1  4  3  8 11  6  5  5  20  17   3  23
10 Sunderland      17  5  2  2 17 12  1  1  6  5 12  6  3  8  22  24  -2  21
11 Stoke City      16  4  2  2 11  9  1  4  3  4 10  5  6  5  15  19  -4  21
12 Blackburn R.    17  4  3  1 11  7  1  1  7  6 23  5  4  8  17  30 -13  19
13 Burnley         17  5  3  1 13  8  0  1  7  8 27  5  4  8  21  35 -14  19
14 Wigan Athletic  17  3  2  3  9 12  2  1  6 11 26  5  3  9  20  38 -18  18
15 Everton         16  2  4  2 11 14  2  1  5 11 16  4  5  7  22  30  -8  17
16 Hull City       17  4  3  2 12 13  0  2  6  5 21  4  5  8  17  34 -17  17
17 Bolton Wndrs    16  2  3  4 14 19  2  1  4  9 14  4  4  8  23  33 -10  16
18 Wolves          17  2  2  4  7 12  2  2  5  8 19  4  4  9  15  31 -16  16
19 West Ham United 17  2  2  4 15 19  1  3  5 10 15  3  5  9  25  34  -9  14
20 Portsmouth      17  2  0  6 10 12  1  2  6  5 14  3  2 12  15  26 -11  11

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 #1593