Newsletter #1594

Yet another eventful weekend in the life of MCFC. After a lively game on Saturday the club released a statement confirming that Hughes had been sacked and replaced with Mancini. There is mixed opinion, and plenty of it, tonight on the change and the way it was handled.

The weekend statement and press conference today have caused much reaction amongst both fans and media. It may just be me, but are the owners and those in charge at the club slightly missing something here in that we’re a football club, not a business planning for production increases, market share and constantly changing KPIs?

We have a match report tonight thanks to Phil, pages of opinion and a dose or two of much need Blue humour.

All the best to MCIVTA subscribers and contributors from the team here for Christmas and we’ll be back on 28th December.

Next Game: Stoke City, home, 3pm Saturday 26 December


Mark Hughes galvanised his troops to beat a game but off-form Sunderland in an Eastlands Winter Wonderland. This was an Eastlands that was awash with chatter about the future: in particular the manager’s future. Garry Cook had already sounded out Guus Hiddink’s agent and the media jungle drums suggested that Hughes was on borrowed time: he would have to win his next few fixtures to keep his job, some said; he was already history, said others. As heavy snow filled the sky just before kick off, it was impossible to see the vultures hovering overhead but their cacophony was unmistakeable and deafening. Surely we could beat Sunderland, and this would buy Hughes some time to keep them at bay?

City raced into a two goal lead: after 3 minutes, Tevez delayed his pass expertly to Bellamy who crossed accurately from the left and Roque Santa Cruz swept home a tap in for his first League goal of the season. It was a superbly executed move: just the kind of exciting football that City fans love to see. Then Bellamy was tripped by Nosworthy in the box, and after much delaying gamesmanship by the Sunderland players, Tevez finally converted his penalty with calmness. Tevez wiggled his backside in an Argentinian Tango of a celebration that would have earned at least a ‘seven’ on Strictly Come Dancing. We were 2-0 up and Eastlands celebrated in anticipation of more goals: more City goals that is.

Sunderland may be having a little lapse in form but they are a spirited bunch who can play a bit, and they showed us how for a good while. A cross was partially cleared out from a packed City penalty area out to our left but Reid was given acres of room to cross and Mensah headed in unchallenged to give Sunderland a lifeline. It was like taking candy from a baby (without the tantrums).

The confidence visibly drained out of City. How many times have we seen that over the years? Sunderland, in contrast, were well on top, and clearly dominant with the combative Cattermole steaming into tackles, winning them hands down, and passing to eager team mates like Jordan Henderson who probed the City defence. As Sunderland physically grew in stature, City wilted for a while, and it was no surprise when Sunderland scored again: City failing to deal with another set piece (including a wild fresh air kick from Toure), and Henderson swept home. The visiting Mackems cheered, as we sat there in ‘oh no, not again’ silence.

Thankfully Mark Hughes has signed some ‘sparky’ characters who don’t take this sort of nonsense, and inspired by Bellamy, Tevez and Wright-Phillips, City roared back.

Zabaleta, on for the injured Richards, floated a ball down the inside right channel. Wright-Phillips controlled it, turned his man cleverly and centred across to Bellamy who swept in to regain the lead for the Blues. It was another beautiful move. Tevez nearly added to the lead when he cleverly exchanged passes with Ireland, but the Argentine striker fired wide.

After the break Sunderland attacked us with renewed vigour, in the knowledge that our defence is still shaky. Toure in particular looked very shaky and his nerves were evident throughout the afternoon.

City were still creating chances though: Bellamy and Barry played a delightful one-touch one-two from which Tevez forced a sharp save from Fulop in the Sunderland goal after Bellamy’s cross. Then Bellamy shot ever from distance and the stadium announcer then informed us that ‘Fulham’ were making a substitution before correcting himself. Fulham may well have been making substitutions as they joyously thrashed the Rags 3-0 (Ho Ho Ho, City take note), so we can forgive Signor Announcer for getting his teams mixed up. I do wonder, though, what the Sunlun fans thought about being mixed up with the Cottagers.

Another substitute, Kenwyne Jones, with his whirling dreadlocks and power in the air, was proving a handful and our sub Kompany was detailed to contest long, high balls with him. For a while our man held sway until Henderson was given the freedom of our left flank to cross and Jones ran beyond our midfield and backline to head in sharply for 3-3.

To the fearful amongst us, it had 3-4 defeat written all over it. It was beginning to be reminiscent of another very cold, icy day at Maine Road back in 1981: a bleak day when Dennis Tueart snapped his Achilles tendon as he was running along. It was a day when we were leading 2-1 with a few minutes remaining, we chanted ‘Merry Christmas Sunderland’ as Trevor Francis and Co. strutted their stuff. We spoke/chanted too soon, though. Inspired by the tricky, diminutive Stan Cummins, and a previously unknown 17-year old Barry Venison who orchestrated a bold Sunderland comeback, the Mackems won 3-2: Venison setting up their 2nd and running the length of the pitch to take a pass and score their winner. Not again, surely?

Thankfully, in this latest game there were no serious injuries and City had other ideas. Tevez played in Zabaleta in the inside right position but he shot over. The Argentine full back then played an important part as City took the lead yet again, when he showed good vision to find the advancing Barry in the penalty area with a lofted diagonal ball. Barry crossed from the left and Santa Cruz stabbed home the winner to the delight of us all. It was good to see Santa Cruz leading the line with vim and vigour, something Adebayor only does when he feels like it. Sadly, as we were to find out, neither Santa Cruz nor Santa Claus could save Hughes from the sack (no ho ho ho, here) as Eastlands’ ambitious and ruthless powerbrokers wielded the axe.

There was still time for Ireland to shoot over after a Bellamy knock down from a Tevez pass; and Turner was finally red-carded after an elbow on Barry. He’d been lucky as it wasn’t his first offence of that type.

We should have been walking away happily to prepare for Christmas on the back of an important win, but it wasn’t to be. The talk on the walk back to Piccadilly was that Mark Hughes had gone, with conflicting reports saying that he’d resigned and others that he’d been sacked. Several accounts suggested Roberto Mancini had been spotted in the Colin Bell stand, and was taking over. It was surreal. What should have been a happy occasion had been soured. Whilst some would be happy that Mark Hughes had gone (the split was 50-50 on Ian Cheeseman’s BBC Radio Manchester phone-in), there were several disgusted City fans on the train. Mark Hughes will now know how Peter Reid and Sven Goran Eriksson felt.

Like those esteemed gentlemen, Mark Hughes is a decent, dignified man, a good manager and he has done a good job at Manchester City. He’s got City to our first semi-final for 29 years and we are in 6th place with a game in hand. His team played football with a swagger, and has entertained us richly, even if it clearly has defensive frailties. It would be reasonable to expect that he would be given time to sort out our defensive frailties but he hasn’t been given that time. It would be reasonable to expect that he would be given time to reach that club’s stated aim of a top six spot but he hasn’t been given that time. Have the goalposts moved? It would certainly appear so. It is sad and very disappointing that he has been sacked, and many of us, myself included, feel disgust at the disgraceful, shabby way he has been treated.

It goes without saying that the owners of a football club have the right to hire and fire who they want. Equally, as paying fans we too have the right to voice our opinions, for what they are worth. Whether you agree with the sacking or not, Mark Hughes’ dismissal was handled appallingly. Roberto Mancini reputedly agreed to take the job on Dec 2nd: the day we knocked Arsenal out of the Cup, yet Mark Hughes only officially found out that he lost his job after the Sunderland game 17 days later.

It will be interesting to see what happens with several high calibre players who placed so much faith in Mark Hughes, having been brought to City by him. I hope that we don’t lose the quality players that Hughes has signed, and he signed several: of these, Tevez, publicly urged the owners to stick with him last week; Given, Barry and Bellamy led the deputation of at least half a dozen outraged players who looked for Garry Cook and Brian Marwood after the game. Whilst Hughes’ sacking is an outrage in many Blues’ opinions, the players have to remember that they have a job to do and they must continue to be professional. We cannot have a repeat of the 8-1 Middlesbrough débâcle. I expect that this bunch of players are made of much sterner stuff. It will be up to the new manager Roberto Mancini to carefully manage the dressing room, not to mention continue Hughes’ good work.

Mark Hughes goes with very best wishes and thanks for a job well done. We can only hope that Roberto Mancini is given time to build on Mark Hughes’ good work. I wish him all the luck in the world. He’ll need it.

Att: 44,735
Given: Couldn’t be faulted 6
Richards: Not enough time to mark n/a
Toure: Should have challenged for their first goal, fresh air kicked for their second. A wobbly performance 5
Onuoha: At least he brought some solidity to the defence with some vital interceptions 7
Sylvinho: Nowhere near what is required 4
SWP: Always a threat despite not being fully fit. Great work for our 3rd goal 8
Ireland: Battled on gamely without quite hitting the heights 6
Barry: His physicality, power and skill were crucial in earning this victory: can claim an assist for the winner 8
Bellamy: An absolutely thrilling performance down the left wing with his customary pace, and skill. Took his goal brilliantly 9
Tevez: A livewire as ever, and another key catalyst in this win 7
Santa Cruz: A complete centre forward’s performance 8

Zabaleta: Good, solid defending and intelligent attacking, including a major part in the winner 7
Kompany: Competed well too, but his shooting was absolutely lousy 7
Petrov: Not enough time to mark n/a
Best Oppo: Jordan Henderson: Lively, clever and competitive 8
Refwatch: Andre Marriner: Some good decisions, some bad 6

Thanks to Heidi and the team at MCIVTA for your hard work in getting this wonderful publication out, week in, week out.

A very happy Christmas and New Year to everyone.

Phil Banerjee <Philban65(at)>


Though I’ve been disappointed by the inability to turn draws into wins of late, and particularly disappointed by the loss at Spurs, I am yet more disappointed by the decision to fire Hughes. There is a simple lesson to be learned in football: the managerial revolving door hurts the club, whether it be ourselves 10 years ago, Newcastle lately, über-wealthy Chelsea in recent years, or ourselves now. And sticking with a manager through thick and thin is good for the club, citing the hackneyed example of Alex Ferguson, but also of David Moyes, who took Everton close to relegation a few seasons ago. You can add to that Sam Allardyce at Bolton, Paul Jewell at Wigan, Alan Curbishley at Charlton and many others who got their clubs to punch above their weight after being supported for a sustained period by their boards, managers that looked decidedly second class when playing for boards that were more fickle.

What now? Well maybe the new boss will bed right in and we will be on a path to glory. I fear otherwise though. I fear that we will see a short term spike in performances followed by a trailing off, another stressed, apparently “clueless” manager and a further revolution of the Manchester City door. I really hope not, but after so many years following City I am beginning to see a pattern.

Bernard Molyneux <molyneux(at)>


Totally disgusted with my club and many so called fans, but especially the ADUG and Garry Cook.

Your constant sniping and whining at Mark Hughes has finally got him sacked. Now we are back at square one, and a new manager who will need time to reshape and mould the squad to his liking. We needed stability! Surely anyone with even half a brain and small knowledge of football knows the most important theme at any successful club is stability?

There aren’t any fans I know who said don’t sign Touré, he’s cr*p. Don’t sign Lescott, he’s even worse. The fact is they are good players who are going through a rough time but not for any lack of effort and certainly not any fault of Mark Hughes. MH signed good, proven Premier players but it takes time together to gel. So, 6th in the table with a game in hand. Almost halfway to the targeted points total for the season. Semi-finals of the Carling Cup. Hmm, what can we do to f**k it all up and shoot ourselves in the foot? I mean, we are Citeh after all. Well done all you moaning idiots, you know who you are.

Totally disgusted, Bob Simnor <bobs5455(at)>


Have Manchester City taken over United’s title of the “Evil Empire”, with Garry Cook and Brian Marwood as the prime suspects in doing this?

I just feel that the way Mark Hughes was sacked was in very poor taste; I always pleaded for Mark Hughes to be given a fair chance until the end of the season, then to evaluate him and the position of the club. If MH had failed at the end of the season then I too would have wanted a change of manager but Mark Hughes was never given his fair chance.

The owners wanted Mark Hughes to take City to sixth position in the Premier League, the position that City are in today, and with a game in hand. On top of this, City have their first semi-final to any major trophy competition in 28 years, and it just happens to be against our old enemy United.

So after all these years, other clubs still get to call City the “Theatre of Comedy”, with the stability that we all wish for back to square one.

No one person is bigger than Manchester City, this is why I have to say to the Pink Panther Mancini – welcome!

Mancini deserves a fair chance; it has been reported in the media (so we don’t know for certain that it’s true) that the owners want Mancini to get City into the top four before the end of the season, or he will only be with City six months, despite him having a three and a half year contract.

For me to say “In Mancini I trust” just does not sound quite right does it?

We shall all just have to wait for the results to come, and at least give Mancini a chance until the end of the season, just like I asked the same for Sparky.

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)>


It’s spin time for Mark Hughes and his advisors. He claims he was on target; the club obviously thought otherwise. Who knows? Who cares? In this bizarrely unpredictable Premier League season, Hughes has been unable to motivate his players to the degree necessary. The defence has too often been a leaky shambles and the victory over Sunderland was more by luck than good management. This we all know.

Sorry Hughes has lost his job but doubtless his exit was softened by wads of cash. And, of course, he’ll be back at the helm of another team before this season is out. So let’s not feel too sorry for him. Look to the future. The title is still winnable.

Chris Cobb <cobsun(at)>


I can think of several regular contributors to these pages who will have been dancing in the streets on Saturday night. The departure of Mark Hughes and his assistants might well bring an upturn in City’s fortunes, and I can understand that our owners are dissatisfied with the progress made under his management, but I am ashamed and angry at the way the whole thing was handled.

It seems that Hughes was told he was out before the game, so his presence on the touchline was further evidence of the dignity we have come to expect from him. I have mixed feelings about his tenure, his pre-match press conferences recorded for the club website were sensible and informative but his post-match comments rarely said anything constructive. His team selections were sometimes baffling, particularly the wingless wonders he sent out against Spurs; why the reluctance to use Petrov? Wouldn’t young Weiss have kept their excellent left back busy? Why was Adebayor allowed to play the whole match? At least in his final game Mark Hughes had his revenge, dropping the two who have been the biggest disappointments to him.

Of the players he has bought, Given, Bellamy and SWP have been outstanding successes. Barry a good buy on the whole, as are Kompany and de Jong. Bridge was a reliable full back for Chelsea and England but has only rarely shown that form with us. Adebayor on his day is almost a Drogba, but those days are few and far between. I don’t consider Robinho to be a Hughes purchase. Santa Cruz actually looked a decent centre forward yesterday!

Hughes must take some of the blame for the wins that were turned into draws. His assistants don’t appear to have helped much. Did we have a defensive coach? Not much evidence of progress under him. The players have let him down considerably. I still feel a fit Onuoha and Richard Dunne would be a better pairing than our expensive purchases, but Toure and Lescott will surely get a better understanding as the season progresses.

The reason I am ashamed and angry, though, has nothing to do with the players. Whose bright idea was it at half-time on Saturday to say that the club would be issuing a statement that evening? To me that doesn’t sound like our owners, who have been most patient since they took over. I have misgivings about the Cook-Marwood set-up. Garry Cook has shown he can be crass: his reaction after the failed bid to bring Kaka lowered the image of our club in many eyes. We read that he had approached Hiddink’s agent but at the same time was assuring Mark Hughes that his job was safe. If true, not the most honourable of approaches. Brian Marwood is presumably the football man of that twosome, so I expect he suggested Mancini. Didn’t they want Mourinho or was he approached as well? If they’d appointed the Special One, City would have instantly gained a new fan (my wife). It appears that neither Cook nor Marwood was present when the statement was given to the media. Trying to distance themselves?

I wish Mancini nothing but the best but fear he could turn out to be another Scolari: excellent record but no Premier League experience and not fluent in English. If he brings in his own Italian assistants will that improve our defending? Maybe shouting in Italian will be just as helpful as the advice they received before? The one redeeming feature for me is the appointment of Brian Kidd. I know there will be some who object to his Rags background but he did play for Arsenal and he did score a few for us later in his career. He seems a decent and well-liked person, and that is something that City desperately need at this moment. Our image has suffered a lot this weekend.

On a lighter note, the name Mancini rings a bell. Will we now have to stop singing “Blue Moon” and learn “Moon River”?

Happy Christmas and a Good New Year to you, Heidi, and to your team.

David Buxton <dbb26(at)>


I was not totally shocked by City’s announcement that Mark Hughes was going to be replaced by Mancini. The owners have invested heavily, and as the saying goes “The Piper calls the tune”. I have to say that Mark Hughes has always behaved impeccably and with great dignity, and I have great respect for that. He always comes across as a gentleman. As much as we sympathise with any sacked manager, one must remember, that they all get handsomely compensated, and generally find new employment fairly quickly.

Top level football is all about managers coming and going, and look at Chelsea, they had 2 “supposedly” top drawer managers in Mourinho and Scolari; they were both replaced, and before long, the players and the fans got behind the new manager.

As the saying goes: “The King is dead, long live the King (Mancini)!” As City fans, we have had more downs than ups, and this has to be the first time for a very, very long time, that our Club is in a position to challenge the Top 4 teams in the Premier League, and potentially even win the title; therefore we just have to accept the change in Manager (we don’t have an option!) and get right behind both the team and the new manager. Mancini has a very good track record in Italian football (I appreciate he has not been tested anywhere else), and hopefully he can sort out the areas that need “fixing”, and will have an opportunity in the January transfer window to strengthen our team (hopefully 2 new full backs and perhaps a quality centre back), offload Robinho, and get in Angel de Maria from Benfica.

Sadly, and I really do mean that (even though I was beginning to doubt whether he could really push us to the heights both the fans and the owners have come to expect), Hughes was judged on the matches we could and should have got more points in. The real blame lies with some of the “expensive” signings that have occasionally flattered to deceive. For all the money spent on our defence, this is our “Achilles heel” (please, don’t say we should have kept Dunne, he was probably our worst defender last season, and a new club has rejuvenated him), and Toure has been extremely poor, and culpable for a lot of goals conceded, whilst Lescott seemed to get the most press coverage, due to his hefty price tag.

Touré was made captain and he might well be a natural leader on and off the pitch but his performances lately do not justify him having the armband or being in the starting eleven. All of our back four this season have been poor at various times and questions have been raised. Lescott has not been as good as he was for Everton but I think he will come good soon. Ireland has not been as consistent as he was last season, Kompany has been out so long with injury, and needs plenty of games to get back to his best. Adebayor’s suspension came at the wrong time for us and he has not re-captured his early season form. Petrov was flying at one time and got injured on international duty and lost his place. Santa Cruz has been out for a long time, and needed games to get match fit; hopefully he has turned the corner after the win on Saturday.

Finally, we have Robinho, a guy priced at £32.5m with a reputation as a top class striker, who happens to play out wide on the left. Well as excited as I was with his signing, I have been equally disappointed in the manner with which he has gone about his business with City. He chose to ignore “Club rules” regarding dress code, timing etc. and flouted the rules so often, it made you wonder if Hughes really had the authority to do anything about this! Compare how Bellamy or Petrov play on our left flank, with that of Robinho, whose “laid back” attitude, and lack of creativity, always left me wondering “Was Hughes’ hand forced, into picking him if he was fit?” Imagine shelling out £160,000 a week for a lack of effort; Hughes could have played young Weiss instead, and then shown the video to Robinho, to show him what is required from a wide player.

We have the skeleton of a good team; with a bit of fine tuning, there is no reason we cannot finish in the Top 6.

Thank you Mark Hughes for all you have done for City, and welcome Mancini!

Come on City!

Glyn Albuquerque <glynalbuquerque(at)>


So, he has been replaced! I guess that having half the defence injured and not performing is his fault! Seriously, perhaps it is, that coupled with not scoring from the many opportunities the team creates probably is, when coupled with the inability to defend against set plays. An Italian manager may give us a better defence but what will happen to the kids?

We are on the managerial roundabout again. Don’t anyone mention Chelsea because they have been, and still are, on that ride. We outplayed Spurs for much of the game and had most of the ball but were beaten by long, high balls à la Wimbledon. Spurs’ football is the kind of game that stops England from winning the World Cup. It is effective on the wet and windy fields of old England if you don’t have a good centre half, which we don’t any more. That is why we can’t beat Hull and Bolton. All we need to stop that is a Vidic or Terry; is this why Robinho was so happy, because he knew?

Sorry for the bitterness, it is not like me but I thought we were gradually getting there, we will see.

Merry Christmas. At least we got away with a win after conceding 3 goals.

Jim Heaviside <lablue69(at)>


I have very mixed feelings and what follows are just a series of thoughts.

Mark Hughes seems to be a likeable, honest, dedicated man who wished for the very best for the club. Whether he would have achieved success is of course what has concerned many of the contributions to MCIVTA over the last few weeks. My own opinion is that the jury was out. Clearly whoever coached the defence should have been moved on a few weeks ago but loyalty appears another trait in Hughes which, while admirable, may not have helped him here. My broader concern is that I really don’t like this facet of our Club’s history in the years since Mercer was moved aside. The continual changing of managers does make the club look clumsy at best and badly run at worse.

What I would like to learn more about is how this change now affects such things as the Academy. I still feel City’s strength is the connection to the community, which includes the encouragement of young, preferably, local talent. We seem to have a number of young players out on loan but only Weiss now in the squad from the new crop of young players.

I am not sure why the owners made this move if indeed 6th place was the target. But the table suggests that a top 4 spot is more possible this season than we might have thought in August. Liverpool are in trouble and while they are not out of it yet it does offer hope to three teams: Spurs, Villa and City. Perhaps the sense was we could get into the top four this season but we needed someone new to do it? Who knows? Given the rewards of the Champions’ League in terms of money and prestige I could understand such a business decision being taken, whether I agree with it or not.

Perhaps this was all sorted out 2-3 weeks ago but the Spurs game cannot have helped Hughes’ cause. We were really dreadful. And 9 goals conceded in 3 league games is not good going. I watched the Sunderland game in a bemused state. I didn’t think there was a point when we wouldn’t win it but I did wonder what the final score might be. Given now reminds me of Bert. A splendid goalkeeper getting shelled week after week, abandoned by his defence.

Looking ahead, for there is little purpose in now dwelling on what just happened (unless you feel so strongly about how it was handled that you stop following City) it will be very interesting to see (a) how the players react, (b) which players react in which way, and (c) how this new fellow determines his team. Against Sunderland I was impressed with Bellamy, Tevez and Santa Cruz. Barry played better than in the last few games. But what do you do with Ade and Robinho? We shall just have to wait and see. And then of course there is the transfer window. Perhaps the owners just did not feel confident in giving more money to Hughes. Perhaps they looked at home Dunne is playing at Villa and wondered what on earth he was sold for.

Finally, it will be interesting to see the rôle of Brian Kidd. He had a lot of success at Old Trafford as assistant to Ferguson but I just hope he can coach defenders to defend.

Best of luck to Mark Hughes. This may prove to be the right step for City but I do think he genuinely cared about the club. That he played for United never bothered me in the least. And if Mancini can’t improve the defending then clearly he is only posing as an Italian.

If I remember, in the early days of MCIVTA, it was asked the purpose of having a twice weekly email newsletter. I can answer by saying I eagerly look forward to the next couple of editions for what I am sure will be a diverse set of remarks on yet another chapter in the history of this club we all love but which, like the peace of God, passeth all understanding.

Happy Xmas to one and all.

John Pearson <john.pearson(at)>


The reality is that last year’s City side, although totally inconsistent, really wasn’t that bad. Their 6-0 win over Portsmouth and their 5-1 over Hull plus their two great wins over Stuttgart and Hamburg, haven’t really been replicated this season, Chelsea win aside.

Had Hughes taken the time to add to his squad, merge the new players in, set up a winning team and then added where he needed to, he could have avoided some of the shambles that triggered his demise. Yet Hughes was in such a mad rush to instantly turn City into Championship contenders that he spent mad money buying players like Lescott, Touré, Santa Cruz and Adebayor and then found out that they didn’t necessarily fit together. Hughes didn’t do a bad job overall with players like Barry, de Jong, Kompany and Bellamy and made the buy of the season in Given. But he did make one colossal blunder in letting Dunne go. And now, even with three England players on defence, the Irish international goalie, Togolese centre back and Dutch midfielder, they continue to leak goals.

Don’t know if Mancini is going to be much of an improvement but at least he doesn’t have any loyalty to Hughes’ signings. His first step should be to make Gareth Barry captain, second sell off Robinho who has been nothing but a disturbance to the team and tell Adebayor either to shape up or ship out. Defensively, he needs to set up a consistent back four with some height in the middle who can handle set pieces. Touré is not the answer.

For what it’s worth, the change came at the right time (although I would have preferred Martin Jol). City are still in it, have the potential to still be a strong force but they do need to establish consistency on defence and weed the floaters out of the team. Good to see Santa Cruz working well with Bellamy, Tevez and SWP on Saturday; this is the core of the team’s future.

Know any good chants for Mancini?

Keith Sharp <keith(at)>


Been keeping my powder dry till MH got sacked. I am delighted.

As Khaldoon’s statement noted “no evidence that the situation would fundamentally change”. We all know what was the main problem: The Defence or the lack of organisation and confidence therein.

Added to that the sale of Dunne and Touré/Lescott being no better individually or as leaders/organisers and as the weeks went by no improvements with the above nor better tactics, what was going on at Carrington with coaching by the Taffy Army (TA)?

I give you one example that illustrates MH and his coaching team’s incompetence and failure to improve. On a certain Saturday against Burnley all sorts went wrong but the biggest error was Burnley’s second goal. Lescott played the ball out of his area to Barry who was in his normal position as LSM and Bridge (obviously under the strictest instructions) took off up the wing like a bat out of hell to vacate his LB rôle. Barry promptly lost concentration and the ball and in two touches Burnley were crossing from the right wing with Lescott caught between his central defender rôle and trying to cover for Bridge. Hence Burnley easily scored, from a position where Lescott would normally have been.

The following Wednesday (4 days later) those three City players were playing for Capello against arguably the best international side in the world. And all in exactly the same positions/rôles. In my opinion, Lescott and Bridge were England’s best players that night and Barry was very good also.

Under Capello they knew their rôles and responsibilities and carried out his instructions to the letter. Therefore in my opinion it’s not the players but MH and the tactics/coaching.

Very quickly, two other points about MH/TA deficiencies. The last 15 minutes against Chelsea, Sunday pub team football lost possession at every turn, replicated most of the time against Spurs last week. Again, poor coaching resulting in the defence being under constant pressure. And Micah Richards turning from a future Duncan Edwards into almost a joke (look at his performance against Giggs in this season’s derby).

When Sven left, Alan Hansen was calling MR his favourite player in the Premiership (the last MOTD season 07/08). Only from MR encountering MH/TA did his slide begin. What went on at Carrington?

Roberto Mancini (Bobby ManCity)

This will be the greatest thing to happen to City since Mercer and Allison arrived in the mid-sixties. He will combine the obvious flair going forward – particularly with counter attacks – with a defensive structure that is both competent and plays the ball out, thus not losing possession.

City will get the best of both worlds, a Calcio defence and a Premier attack. And a midfield to gloriously combine the two. Finally, Bobby ManCity exudes a languid cool both as a person and in appearance and has a real sense of style.

So another beneficiary will be Mike Summerbee, with his seamsters working flat out to keep Bobby in new hand-made silk shirts. All Blue of course.

Patrick Knowles <pjamk(at)>


Surely nobody seriously thought that a guy who hasn’t won a carrot as a manager was anything but a stepping stone to the real thing? So, if you are going to replace the incumbent with your own man, which our board and management clearly decided to do months ago, then absolutely the last thing you do is tell the said incumbent that you are going to do it.

I can’t think of a more humane way for Hughes to go: quick and painless, with a good reference, a massive pay off no doubt, and the experience of having wasted squillions of someone else’s money on some very poor players.

And a classy piece of business by the Sheikh I say, smooth and efficient and in the best long term interests of the club. Everybody’s happy.

It’ll be the same slick routine when he sacks Mancini for a Hiddink or a Mourinho at some point in the next few years.

Paul Mooney <paul.g.mooney(at)>


The owners have shown their true colours after publicly backing Hughes after 7 draws; real stable to do so and sack 4 games afterwards? I fear for the worst, and I hope I eat my words when I say do our owners have any idea about football that they have bought into this hype? I say this because of what they have been publicly stating. Unsettling at best for me, and what about the players? They now have no idea what is going on with no stability. With more added pressure to get results even faster now, a bad touch and your head is on the chopping block.

I believe we were on a natural, healthy path to glory, not like the world wants to see now: gimme gimme gimme it all and I want it all now. How often does this approach work and end up successful and sustainable? Now have a go at me if you will, not bothered, but I think the Europa League first before the Champions League was in the natural pecking order of paying your dues before you enjoy the fruits of your labour. Then we get off to a cracking start, followed by a lull, two cracking wins, a bitter defeat and bounce back to get the deserved three points. Let’s be honest, how long has it been since we have earned our way into Europe, not counting back door side deals made by Sven on the fair play rule. Fun though, no? Earning our way into the Europa would have done wonders, a year playing in it and progressing would have been great. Setting up the next year’s run at the Champions’ League. No, not this year, possibly not next, three years from now reasonable. I want glory as much as you, yes it is true. I guess I was just willing to be patient and get it right rather than go through more turmoil which we do not need. I guess all I’m saying is that we as Blues have waited so long, what’s another year or two in a natural progression? Hate to make comparisons to Bacon Face but hard to argue.

Yes I’m foaming, but foaming at our owners and no one else. True colours are shining through, I just hope our beloved City aren’t heading for a Galacticos period. So with that said and a new manager appointed, should we be laying in wait for our first defeat to sack Mancini, or are we taking a more stable approach and letting him finish out just over half the year? Where two months before the end of the year when some want Mancini’s head and other want to keep, who will the sheikhs listen to? So with that being said, as Hughes is gone then Jose Mourinho had better be coming in the summer.

Oh and with all this new found stability around the club, what manager can believe and trust in our owners after what they have publicly stated, and what they have done behind closed giant doors made of solid gold and platinum? So who would want a job at City when the owners say one thing and do the complete opposite? What do you think, is Mancini just a “loan”?


CTID, Scott Wallis <s_wally7(at)>


Well City have gone and shot themselves in the foot again. When will this club ever learn that success isn’t bred in a few games, but over a number of years (our Red neighbours for example)?

Hughes was on a hiding to nothing and once again our club has acted with true integrity! What a couple of idiots Cook and Marwood are; maybe they should have gone before Hughes?

While I didn’t agree with everything Mark Hughes said and did, the players must take more of the blame than him. It’s a pity we can’t tear up players’ contracts as easily as we tear up our manager’s. The players haven’t covered themselves with glory this season, only seeming to try against the big name sides. Too many egos, with the exception of Bellamy, Given, de Jong and a couple of others.

Maybe we should make Bellamy the captain? That would certainly spice things up but maybe it’s not that silly a thought. Could do far worse. So we’ve become a circus again, giving United more reasons to laugh at us (that’s seems to have gone on for ages though).

Mind you, having Brian Kidd back may not be silly (but then he played for United too, oh s**t here we go again)!

And how long do we give Mancini? It just goes around and around and around. I wonder if he will be looking over his shoulder as well? But then he’s mates with Marwood! Oh a conspiracy! Wouldn’t surprise me in the least knowing what City have got up to in the past.

Now we have to start all over again. We have become a circus, managed by Cook and Marwood who don’t give a stuff about this club, only selling shirts and making money.

Really feel sorry for Hughes and like Richard Dunne, hope he comes back to bite City on their collected backside. It wasn’t what they did, but how they did it – wouldn’t trust those two. What’s the bet there’s a new manager at the end of the season?

Yippee, isn’t it great being a City fan?

Kevin Williamson <scribbs(at)>


I’m sure it comes as no surprise that old Sparky got replaced for lack of results. Let’s not be blind to the fact that football today is all about results, whether we like it or not.

If I poured a lot of money into a business I would expect evidence the business was going in the right direction. I like Mark H. but he just lacks that ooomph that is expected of a top four manager. I hope he finds a manager’s job soon because I feel he has a lot to offer football.

Let’s hope now some of these overpaid footballers who play for us can get serious about the game and put the effort in that’s needed at this time. I for one am tired of excuses for why we didn’t perform, I’m tired of being a laughing stock when I proudly ware my City shirt even after a lacklustre effort. I’ve seen my teenage boys play better than some of these million pound players. Get your A into G and play with passion for a change. Every game should be played with the passion they had against that London club a couple of weeks ago. Come on City, let’s push on through the big mouths at the top.

Vince Allen – New Zealand <vinniv1(at)>


I was browsing the Man City website yesterday and happened to click on the fan sites and did you know, I’m going to tell you anyway, there are 54 Man City fan websites?

Fifty four. Amazing. Well I was amazed.

One of the 54 is our very own MCIVTA site, which even features a picture of the who’s who of MCIVTA and they all scrubbed up quite well really.

Anyway, I would just like to say a big thank you to all the workers at MCIVTA for all your efforts throughout the year, they are most appreciated.

Bonne année from la belle France.

[Merci bien John – Ed]

John Shearer <Shearer(at)>


Stuart Hall, broadcaster, raconteur par excellence, radio reporter, will be 80 years old on Christmas Day.

Like many of you, I grew up watching him on Look North West in the 70s and 80s, not to mention as the wonderful presenter on It’s a Knockout. Oh, yes, the unforgettable It’s a Knockout. It was impossible not to laugh along with him particularly when he broke into uncontrollable wheezing laughter in some of the most ludicrous games. Check out the Penguin game on Youtube if you want to relive some vintage Seventies Hall japery, but I warn you, it may affect your ability to breathe, and it may bring you many tears of laughter. Indeed they were heady days from an era when television was more fun.

I make no apology for eulogising on a man who brings so much pleasure to so many of us. When you hear his wonderfully grand, lyrical voice chiming through clearly over the airwaves in one of his legendary match reports, it is hard to believe that he is 80. I love his Shakespearean quotes, and the bizarre references to King Ozymandas: delivered poetically in a clear, booming, golden hot toddy of a voice. Stuart Hall loves words and to say that he delivers them with such warmth and panache is an understatement. His voice in itself brings much pleasure as his playful nature and unadulterated sense of fun.

Indeed, it was a special treat to hear the two hour tribute to him that was held at Eastlands on Radio Five Live. All his friends were there and there was so much warmth towards a man who so clearly exudes warmth himself. It was two hours of fine entertainment and there were almost two hours of laughter. I say almost because when he wasn’t being a witty raconteur and engaging as ever, there was an interesting insight of how generous of spirit and what a wonderful friend he has been to those who really know him, especially in times of need. I can’t help having a warm smile on my face when I think of this great man with a wonderful sense of fun. Happy birthday, Sir. Thanks for the wonderful memories, here’s to many, many more.

Oh yes, one other thing. Give the man a knighthood!

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


Mancini – Didn’t he write the music for Breakfast at Tiffany’s? Blue Moon River?

Michael Cavanagh <mcavanagh(at)>


Dearly beloved, I must say it is a pleasure to see so many people in attendance at the MCIVTA Christmas Carol service.

At what is normally a joyous time of year we must take a moment to mourn the passing of yet another City manager. Although in a long and terminal decline, the end was surprisingly swift.

So, we move on to the traditional carols we expect around Christmas time. To make things extra special they have a Blue-focused edge to them this year. So, without further ado, let us start with number 19 “Mark, The Herald Angels Sing”. For those of you without hymn books the words are printed below:

Mark, the herald angels sing,
You’re no longer City’s king,
What on earth was your team’s style?
We’ve been wondering for a while,
At the back we’re short on height,
In midfield it’s not quite right,
And up front we failed to gel,
Carlos and Emmanuel,
Mark, the herald angels sing,
You’re no longer City’s king.

Every day expensive stars,
Came to training in flash cars,
Surely there must be a way,
That together they could play,
We all like Robinho,
But he vanished in the snow,
Shaun is working on the wing,
Richards tho’ has too much bling,
Mark, the herald angels sing,
You’re no longer City’s king.

So, alas, we say farewell,
Garry called time on your spell,
We may miss your 4-3-3,
Carlos, Ade and Bellamy,
But now in these pressured days,
Top 4 hopes can’t slip away,
Someone had to get the boot,
Glum-faced man in well-cut suit,
Mark, the herald angels sing,
Here’s your hook, now off you sling,

Mark, the herald angels sing,
You’re no longer City’s king.

If you are unfamiliar with the original lyrics or tune and so wondering what the hell I’m on about you could see a site like

I’m afraid that we have limited time today as we have a bit of a clash with the announcement of the winner of City’s December ‘Manager of the Month’ competition. Therefore, can I ask you to now turn to our final carol, hymn number 437 ‘Once the players had let down City’ only singing the first and last verses:

Again, if unfamiliar with Royal David (as opposed to Royle Joe) you could see a site like

Once the players had let down City,
Called the press for Hughes’ head,
Hiddink turned down City’s money,
So Mancini came instead,
Garry Cook left Leslie riled,
**Jesus Christ!** he has no style.

Now the club may be unstable,
And the fans may laugh or cry,
Could be hell or could be heaven,
Finish low or finish high,
City’s stars as champions crowned?
Is it worth a billion pounds?

And finally, let us pray (that Mancini has more of a clue what to do with the players than Mark Hughes did…).

Good luck Roberto and, as Dave Allen used to say, may your god go with you.

Andy Longshaw <andy(at)>


20 December 2009

Wolverhampton Wndrs   2 - 0  Burnley               27,410
Everton               1 - 1  Birmingham City       33,660
West Ham United       1 - 1  Chelsea               33,388

19 December 2009

Portsmouth            2 - 0  Liverpool             20,534
Aston Villa           1 - 0  Stoke City            35,852
Blackburn Rovers      0 - 2  Tottenham Hotspur     26,490
Fulham                3 - 0  Manchester United     25,700
Manchester City       4 - 3  Sunderland            44,375
Arsenal               3 - 0  Hull City             60,006

League table to 20 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         18  8  1  0 25  5  5  1  3 18 10 13  2  3  43  15  28  41
 2 Manchester Utd  18  7  1  1 19  8  5  0  4 18  9 12  1  5  37  17  20  37
 3 Arsenal         17  7  0  1 25  7  4  2  3 19 13 11  2  4  44  20  24  35
 4 Aston Villa     18  6  2  1 17  6  4  3  2 12  8 10  5  3  29  14  15  35
 5 Tottenham H.    18  6  0  3 24  8  4  3  2 16 14 10  3  5  40  22  18  33
 6 Manchester City 17  5  3  0 20 13  2  5  2 13 14  7  8  2  33  27   6  29
 7 Birmingham City 18  5  2  2  8  5  3  2  4 11 13  8  4  6  19  18   1  28
 8 Liverpool       18  5  2  2 24 11  3  1  5 10 14  8  3  7  34  25   9  27
 9 Fulham          17  6  1  2 15  6  1  4  3  8 11  7  5  5  23  17   6  26
10 Sunderland      18  5  2  2 17 12  1  1  7  8 16  6  3  9  25  28  -3  21
11 Stoke City      17  4  2  2 11  9  1  4  4  4 11  5  6  6  15  20  -5  21
12 Wolves          18  3  2  4  9 12  2  2  5  8 19  5  4  9  17  31 -14  19
13 Blackburn R.    18  4  3  2 11  9  1  1  7  6 23  5  4  9  17  32 -15  19
14 Burnley         18  5  3  1 13  8  0  1  8  8 29  5  4  9  21  37 -16  19
15 Everton         17  2  5  2 12 15  2  1  5 11 16  4  6  7  23  31  -8  18
16 Wigan Athletic  17  3  2  3  9 12  2  1  6 11 26  5  3  9  20  38 -18  18
17 Hull City       18  4  3  2 12 13  0  2  7  5 24  4  5  9  17  37 -20  17
18 Bolton Wndrs    16  2  3  4 14 19  2  1  4  9 14  4  4  8  23  33 -10  16
19 West Ham United 18  2  3  4 16 20  1  3  5 10 15  3  6  9  26  35  -9  15
20 Portsmouth      18  3  0  6 12 12  1  2  6  5 14  4  2 12  17  26  -9  14

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v0910.01]

[1] MCIVTA Addresses

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[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.

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[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

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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

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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

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

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

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Newsletter #1594