Newsletter #1595

Mancini’s first game at the helm on Boxing Day saw us victorious over Stoke and maintaining our sixth spot in the table.

We have match report tonight thanks to Phil, with views on the game and the continuing fall out over the departure of Hughes and Cook’s comments.

With best wishes from everyone at MCIVTA to all our subscribers and contributors for 2010.

Next Game: Middlesbrough, away, 3pm Saturday 2 January (FA Cup)


Roberto Mancini started off his Manchester City career with a steady, but unspectacular win over a tough Stoke City side, to maintain a challenge for the top four target that the board have brought him in for.

He was introduced to the crowd to rapturous applause, looking very dapper in a black coat, and sporting a blue and white striped City scarf. “Mancini wooah, Mancini, wooah, he comes from Italy…” went up the chant from the Blue hordes. “You’re getting sacked in the morning” was the retort from the Potteries.

Mancini made a few changes, some enforced, some by choice: Robinho was in a more central striking rôle for Bellamy; and Petrov starting down the left; de Jong returning for the injured Wright-Phillips, with Ireland playing more of a tucked in, central rôle, than wide right; in defence Zabaleta was back in for Richards whose ability to last 90 minutes was in doubt, and Kompany came in for the injured Onuoha.

Yet it was Stoke, backed by their typically boisterous fans (who made a din all afternoon), who carried the greater threat early on, as City took a while to adjust to the changes. Tuncay should have scored when Touré allowed him to get goal side and clear in a darting run onto a through ball but Given made himself big and smothered the Turkish striker’s effort. Mancini and Brian Kidd were gesticulating periodically to the defence, which was looking rather vulnerable again. A massive cheer went up when Craig Bellamy warmed up down by the South Stand and his name was chanted with gusto. He didn’t look unhappy as he acknowledged the crowd. If he is unsettled after Mark Hughes’ sacking, he may reflect on where City are going, and that he has never been more popular than he is in Manchester.

The new manager then made an adjustment, switching from a 4-4-2 formation to 4-3-3, moving Petrov onto the right of Tevez and Robinho, and it paid immediate dividends. Released by Ireland’s pass, Tevez made a typical driving run down the left, and his searching low cross was mis-hit by Robinho into the path of Petrov who side-footed City first goal in with his right foot. The stats may show that the Brazilian has an assist, but the real inspiration came from Buenos Aires.

Buoyed by the goal, it was all City up to the break with the tenacious de Jong and the brilliant Barry running midfield and Tevez making powerful runs and using the ball intelligently. Petrov fired wildly over after a superb pinpoint cross by Sylvinho, and the well out-of-sorts Robinho was similarly inaccurate after Tevez (that man again) played him in. With City lacking height up front, the ball was kept on the ground by City for much of the afternoon, and Tevez held it up well when he had to do that in a fine centre forward’s performance. His skill and industry was rewarded with a goal in first half stoppage time. Zabaleta floated a high cross from the left, Barry nodded goalwards and Tevez acrobatically diverted the ball past Sorensen with his right foot. It was a well deserved goal and a lovely piece of skill from the Argentine. It was a very happy Eastlands crowd (the visitors apart) at the break.

Petrov nearly added to City’s lead after the interval but Sorensen made a good save to thwart him. Thereafter, it was largely unspectacular fayre as City contained a pretty blunt Stoke attack, and kept a rare clean sheet. The whole team defended as a unit and were determined not to be breached. Kompany won a plethora of headers in a powerful performance at centre half and Zabaleta had a good solid game at right back. The latter was switched to left to counter Stoke’s physicality, with Richards coming on down the right. Given still had to make a reflex save from Beattie’s header but that may have been going wide in any case, and Huth headed wide from a Stoke corner, but Barry made several important blocks and interceptions as City held firm.

City should have had a penalty when substitute Bellamy was tripped in the box after outpacing Huth but the referee (a Mr B.Lobby a.k.a. Lee Mason, not so resplendent in his awful bright pink shirt), inexplicably waved away appeals. There was a deafening cheer when Bellamy was brought on for Robinho, who had looked out of touch all afternoon. None of the Brazilian’s flicks came off on this occasion, and it has to be said that he didn’t look too enthusiastic for much of the afternoon. The brutal truth is that Bellamy did far more in 20 minutes on the pitch than Robinho did in his 70.

As for Bellamy, there is no problem between him and Roberto Mancini. Any person would be upset when their mentor has been sacked, and it has happened to many of us in all walks of life but we have to be professional, and that is what Bellamy and his team mates are doing. The most likely explanation for Bellamy not starting is Mancini wanting to save him for the Wolves game. This makes particular sense with Bellamy having persistent knee problems that need nursing through training and games: something the new manager is well aware of.

Following on from his predecessor, Mancini made sure that he shook the hand of every player that left the pitch, including a smiling Bellamy, so the rumour mongers need to check their facts.

After a week where the club’s reputation has been dragged through the mud after the appalling treatment of Mark Hughes and crassness of Garry Cook’s handling of the unveiling of Mancini, not to mention the Chief Executive’s subsequent ‘we did not lie’ utterances (when has a City board member ever needed to do that?), it was good to see City win convincingly. Indeed it was good to get back to talking about football.

I’m not worried that Mancini was not the board’s first choice, nor should we be fretting on that count. Hiddink is likely to sign a two year extension to his Russian contract and Mourinho wants the United job (reports suggest that he has already bought a house in Alderley Edge). We don’t know how long Mancini will stay, and that is a concern. It is no surprise that his family is not moving over here at least until the summer, and who would blame them? The impression is that he has a 6 month probationary period and then, in theory, 3 years after that. Hopefully he will get time to deliver his aims of Champions’ League football and eventually, the title of Champions of England. After all, there is a lot to be said for continuity. Top 4 would be a great achievement, but surely if Mancini has a successful 2nd half of the season and if we, say, finish a good 5th or 6th then he should get another go at it again next season?

We all want City to finish as high as we can but it does not necessarily follow that spending hundreds of millions of pounds brings automatic, immediate success. Football is not like that, and the sooner that is understood by the powers that be, the better for Manchester City.

Given: It may well have been a very different game if it wasn’t for his excellent save from Tuncay: 8
Zabaleta : A very good all round full back’s performance against the pacy, tricky Etherington: 8
Toure: Rather shaky in the first half, twice allowing Stoke attackers to get goal side of him in the first half. Improved a tad after the break: 6
Kompany: Rock solid, powerful and used the ball well: 8
Sylvinho: Picking up the pace of English football; an improved display: 6
Ireland: A decent, hard-working midfield performance: 7
de Jong: Typically tenacious: 8
Barry: An excellent all round box-to-box midfield performance: 9
Petrov: Took his goal well on his weaker right foot, some good delivery and unlucky not to have a 2nd: 7
Robinho: Not his day, but surely needs to show much more desire than this: 5
Tevez: Another brilliant all-action, compelling skill packed afternoon in the life of Carlos Tevez, which makes him such a joy to watch: 9

Att: 47,325
Bellamy: A livewire in attack and tenacious in defence: 7
Refwatch: Lee Mason: Got so many decisions wrong, and failed to play advantage on one occasion which actually penalised City: 3
Best Oppo: Tuncay: An intelligent runner but should have scored: 7

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


Some Christmas cheer at last! And plenty of reasons to welcome the latest Blue dawn judging by the first week in charge, including the following noticeable differences from Mark Hughes’ reign:

  1. The full-backs were used as full backs and not wing-backs and as aresult we were less open on the flanks and the back four defended much moreas a unit. Any attempt by Stoke to get down our wings was mostly successfullyfought off by putting two or three men in the way of a possible cross.
  2. The tactic of using two defensive midfielders was used, but unlikebefore they were there primarily to protect the defence and were not allowedto both abandon their position. In other words when Barry did ventureforwards, de Jong stayed back to cover. I think what his former player atInter, Ibrahimovic, has had to say is very interesting: “I don’t know whatplayers he has in mind, but being Italian a good defence is important forhim. He likes his attacking football, and his teams play some great stuff.But like all great Italian managers he demands a solid back four. Iunderstand the City defence has not been that tight this year, and itwouldn’t surprise me if he tried to sign one or two world-class players inJanuary. There are very good players at City that I am sure he will get thebest out of, but he will want to bring in some of his own players. The Citydefenders will be playing for their places, because the transfer window openssoon and I am sure Roberto already has people in mind.”
  3. We had people on the posts at corners, which is something we last sawunder Sven. All top teams do this, but why Mark Hughes abandoned it, nobodyknows.
  4. Substitutions were made proactively – i.e. not after we had gone a goaldown or as a panic measure. Richards was brought on for Sylvinho to addheight to the defence, Bellamy was brought on for Robinho who obviouslywasn’t up to it, and Garrido was bought on for Tevez who was tiring and totighten things up for the last few minutes.
  5. Mancini exhorted the team from the touchline throughout the match andwas obviously advising the team tactically. He also spent a lot of time witheach of the subs before they came on to make sure they knew what he wantedthem to do. For the first time in a long while I, and the other supportersaround me, could easily see what we were trying to do tactically, and itwasn’t the bemusement we tended to experience throughout the Hughes era.
  6. Despite Robinho’s disastrous performance Mancini still provided wordsof encouragement for him to the press. He also didn’t make any excuses, andhe seems to have much more about him to deal with the top players. Despitewhat the press would like to whip up, there was no problem between him andBellamy, and unlike Hughes his way of dealing with troublesome situationsdoesn’t seem to be to blank players and ostracise them. He has also made itclear that reputations count for nothing so I have confidence that if aftergiving him public support, Robinho continues to fail to deliver he will beshipped out. Again, Ibrahimovic makes some interesting points: “Only the bigmanagers can handle the big players, and if those players spot a weakness ina manager who has not been at a top club they may take liberties. That iswhat possibly happened at City. It’s no disrespect to Mark Hughes, but Citynow have a coach that knows how to manage big players andbig teams. City want to become a big team, and in order to do that you needa manager who knows how to run one. I think City have already learned thatyou don’t become Barcelona or Inter Milan overnight. It takes a lot of timebut it also takes the right man in charge. Roberto will change the mentalityof the club overnight, he is a big manager and the players will learn thatvery quickly. He is used to working with big players, and he will make surehe lets them know who is boss. I am not sure what the City players have beenused to, but they will find out very quickly it is his way or you won’t beplaying for the club. He is his own man, but he shares many of thecharacteristics of Mourinho, and that is what the Premier League can expect.He is a very educated, calm, sophisticated guy, but when he needs to showanother streak he really means it. There are some big names at City, but theywill not faze him. He will make sure they know who is in charge,and if you don’t like that or don’t listen [Micah Richards, pay attention!]then you don’t play for him.”

It wasn’t the best match we’ve ever played and it was against a pretty crap Stoke team but it is exactly the kind of game where under Hughes we could have let them back in it, and possibly drawn. We still managed to have most of the possession, create a number of chances and play some good football and I think the signs are positive that over the next few matches we’ll see a much more settled system with performances to match.

Forza Mancini!

Steve Burrows <stevieburrows(at)>


The first game going into another era in the history of Manchester City under our new manager Mancini was a winning game. I did not see anything special in this game than what we have seen in the past, but then again were we supposed to in Mancini’s first game?

The main difference in this game was the fact that we didn’t concede a goal, but we can give thanks to Shay Given who came out to make a great save from Tucay to help City keep a clean sheet.

With all the injuries that City have right now, Mancini has a difficult job in picking what might be his preferred team of players. Today every City player deserves credit for going out there and giving his best for their new manager.

Robinho still looks rusty, and for a professional player of his calibre he must do better, perhaps one good game and that will be enough to give him his confidence back?

Great to see the reception that Bellamy got as he went on to substitute Robinho, and good to see that Bellamy as a true professional has not lost his fire, after his friend Mark Hughes got bad treatment by MCFC and Garry Cook.

From now on we must give all our support to Mancini and every City player that is selected to play, for we must move forward, and not look back, only to thank Mark Hughes for all his hard work; I feel sure that Mark will be wanting the team to do well.

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)>


I’ve never been so despondent about a change in manager. I suppose it’s because of what it represents. One week ago, I was supporting a club that, for the first time that I could remember, was being professionally run. The manager was fully backed in the transfer market. The ability to bring in superstars was not allowed to muscle out home grown talent. And despite some disappointing results, we were, in Scott Wallis’s excellent phrase (MCIVTA 1594) “on a natural healthy path to glory”. It was all about patient, sustainable growth, not rushed gluttony.

A week later and that’s all changed. I have discovered that Garry Cook (and I resisted this opinion until now) is a plonker. Brian Marwood is apparently our director of football, not in virtue of having any managerial experience whatsoever, but in virtue of being Garry Cook’s pal from Nike, and we are replacing Hughes with Mancini who is a personal friend of the chairman. It’s all jobs for the boys, apparently.

They’ve lost all credibility too. Up until recently, I took word from the club as gospel. It was nice to be able to ignore the paper talk and hear from the club what the plans were. Hughes was here for the long term, a reasonable top 6 target had been set, but we could hope for top 4. The situation would be evaluated in that light at the end of the season. Great.

It was rubbish. They either didn’t have the honesty to say what was really happening, or they didn’t have the ability to stick with a plan they had set. Either way, it looks pretty amateurish. This image is compounded by Garry Cook’s laughable talk about our “trajectory” in the Premier League, as if he were talking about selling trainers. A report in the Daily Mail, however, reveals that at the time of his sacking, Hughes’ Man City was the second most improved team in the Premier League over the same point last year, second only to the currently high-flying Harry Redknapp. If these kinds of short term “trajectories” were worth serious study, why would Cook ignore this one?

As if constantly trying to outdo himself, Cook apparently justifies the sacking of Hughes by pointing out that they did things pretty much the same way with Eriksson. Now I ask you. What kind of wally tries to justify one of the most criticised firings in recent years by likening it to another one of the most criticised firings in recent years, one that he was also involved with?

Richard Dunne said he was forced out of the door by Cook. I disregarded it at the time. But I can see now that Cook was probably pressuring Hughes to improve the market image of the team from day one, and as we know Dunney didn’t fit Cook’s brand image. It’s all about marketing, and Cook can’t have a mid-table team at the end of this season for fear he won’t be able to sell City Soda in Shanghai. The problem with Cook’s marketing strategy, though, is that he doesn’t understand the product he is flogging. And that’s a cardinal sin in marketing. Right now our “brand” has the lowest image it has ever had thanks to him. And I for the first time am wondering how I am going to be able to stomach following a club that is rapidly becoming everything I ever hated about United, but worse.

Bernard Molyneux <molyneux(at)>


My thoughts and feelings on the Hughes departure:

No surprise yet disgusted by this ‘business move’ from our owners. This day has finally come. I was expecting this since day one of the Middle Eastern takeover, because Sparky was not their choice of manager. Yes, every investment requires a time frame for return but Christ, what differentiates us from the Rags is our genuineness as a football club.

I am not from the UK nor lived in Manchester but I supported City since ’94 when I was 14. I saw City as a genuine club with genuine fans and a sense of family and community with all fans. We are a club with morals and principles, no snobbery or corporate nonsense! Looking at my mates who support other so called ‘clubs’ but in fact they are no different from supporting just the ‘shirt’.

Mates all get back at me saying we are just another Chelsea now, but I thought screw you, you people never understand how much we have been through. Supporting City has always been a true reflection of how life was, ups and downs, dramatic, everything is just so real. I am afraid it is the official end of an era, the end of a club; the last 12 months was just an illusion of the owner’s fake pretension of loyalty and faith in its staff. We all sworn CTID but am I breaching my truce when the City has now officially become Manchester City Football Corporation?

I am seriously considering calling it a day with City. I really need some counselling on this issue. Meanwhile, I will still watch the upcoming derbies, call me a glory hunter, but I can say to myself, I am a deserved one!

Calvin Chan <mcfc(at)>


I’ve been lurking on the site for a while now. However, all the twaddle that’s been said and written about the demise of Mark Hughes and the supposedly callous, classless and downright wrong behaviour by City’s board causes me to take up the cudgels once more.

Well, well “the neutrals’ favourite” club is now, according to the British media “classless”. Manchester City, they say, is “a joke”. Well, we have been a joke many times before, haven’t we? As when previous owners were bigging us up as a “massive club” with a great history, talking about “putting us back where we belong” yet, at the same time, failing to put up the investment to make it happen.

Now we are no longer “a joke”. We are deadly serious. Sheikh Mansoor has invested enough money to take us into the top echelon of British football and is willing to invest more. What is better still, he’s not doing it for financial gain in the strict sense. I’m sure he’s shrewd enough to know you can’t make real money out of owning a football club there won’t be any more Martin Edwards or Ken Bates killings. The Sheikh’s sole reward is sporting success and, rightly or wrongly at the minute, he can’t see it coming. So presumably, after consultation with his aides Mubarak, Cook and Marwood he decides to make changes. As he’s the owner, that’s his privilege and anyone else’s opinions of this triumvirate is irrelevant – he and he alone pays their wages. He asks for advice, they give it.

Mansour must also read the papers. He’ll have read, after dispirited defeats like away to Spurs or squandered victories like the drawn games against Liverpool, Hull and Burnley that ‘this City team has no hope of making the top four’; that ‘the defence is atrocious’; that ‘Hughes can’t motivate Robinho and Adebayor’; that Lescott, Bridge and Touré are a waste of money. Of course he doesn’t necessarily realise that the papers are largely Big 4 driven and don’t want the established order upset; else their scribes are closet Man United supporters who will say anything to put us down. These are the very same papers, of course, who are now bleating that Hughes has been hard done by.

Okay, let’s have a look at the ‘right or wrong’ vibe. After a bright start, City the team started to stutter. What should have been home bankers turned into draws, mostly thrown away from winning positions. It gets to the state where your average fan says “Oh no! Wolves this weekend. We’ll probably cock it up” or “We should win that one but we probably won’t”.

Yes, we are still in touch with 4th place but only because others have messed up too. There’s no sense of us ‘driving’ the thing, not with all those draws. If Hughes had done his job we would have been looking at the next run of fixtures thinking “right, now the push for the top, we mow down the strugglers and prepare for the crunch fixtures at the back end of the season”. Hughes, for me, is like a jockey who has overdone the ‘waiting game’ and left his class horse with only an outside chance.

It’s when we examine the actual performances of the team that the real cracks in Hughes’ wall appear. The Spurs match substitutions, where we’ve two tall strikers on, Petrov’s on the left with 3 men on him and we have no one who can cross a ball from the right. The peculiar tactical formations that have left Ireland as half the player he was. The defensive organisation, 4 good players turned into quivering jellies.

The transfer buys I’m equivocal about: there have been good, bad and indifferent. We all know which is which.

Okay, time to come off the back foot. Classless are we? Well, hear this. Since Sheikh Mansour and his team took over we’ve had season ticket reductions; a complete upgrade of the training facilities; we’ve got rid of what must have been the most inept medical team/worst facilities of any Premier League side and replaced them with better; we’ve got ground improvements, with more to come and the playing surface, in comparison to most in the Premier League, is a treat; we’ve got a brilliant new website, undoubtedly the best in the Premier; we’ve got active PR, not always hitting the target but both the massive ‘blue moon by night’ atmosphere raiser and the Tevez poster were sure-fire hits; we’ve got stylish, honest quality replica kit; we’ve seen the initiation of a scheme for academies worldwide; we’ve had money for player purchases (something that was missing from previous regimes since, to give him his due, Swales). We’ve seen the club jacked up from being the poor boy down the gym with no gloves and his brother’s gumshield to being at least ‘a contender’.

What’s more, all these improvements have been for the good of the fans. All that’s been missing is the consistency on the pitch; this is the manager’s job to get right and indeed Garry Cook mentioned, in one of his early speeches, that the club needed to exorcise what I call TCS the Typical City Syndrome. Which means not losing cup ties to minnows and, even more important, not blowing a 2-0 lead to the likes of Hull City. I’ve watched 17 full matches this season and have to say I can’t see TCS as a thing of the past. Hughes’ selection and tactics frequently have my heart in my mouth.

But the press, after weeks of denigrating Hughes now believe he’s some sort of visionary who has been nailed to a cross. First we were to be pitied or patronized: “Manchester City, a 30-odd year footballing joke”. Then we were immoral, owned by a criminal with genocide in his CV. Then we were rich and a bit vulgar. Now we are “classless”.

Fine. If that’s the prevailing attitude of the sporting press and fans of other clubs, so what. I can handle a bit of “everybody hates us”, if we develop a siege mentality it will bind us together in the common cause. We enter a transfer window with a new manager and a blank sheet of paper. Some may find it “classless”; to me it’s put a gloss, a bit more interest on the season. And given hope that the glaring errors we’ve seen from the TV and the terraces will be eradicated and that we’ll finally perform to our potential.

As Brendan Behan said “F- the begrudgers”.

Ernie Whalley <scoop(at)>


I was never convinced that Mr Hughes could do the business for us. However, I am disgusted at the way he was ousted. The odious pair of Marwood and Cook are clearly void of any understanding of the game of football. Neither has either an inkling of trust or decency. They have obviously been working behind Hughes’ back to set up Mancini (please tell me he is not related to the legendary Terry!) whilst pretending Hughes’s job was safe.

I am intrigued as to whether Mancini can cope with a two leg derby when he doesn’t know his squad. I doubted that Hughes could prevail, but I was praying that he could prove me wrong. Now we’ll never know. I can’t remember Swales ever sacking anyone worse than this. We seem to be back to the bad old days. I wonder how long Mancini has got?

The only plus is how embarrassing it would have been to see Hughes buy yet another defence in January. At least Mancini can’t be blamed for the lot that got Hughes sacked, that was down to Sparky and no one else.

Good luck to him. My hopes for MCFC are seriously low whilst Marwood and Cook are back-stabbing and conniving in the wings. Football is no longer important, it is now targets and profits, a language I don’t want to learn!

P.S. Merry Christmas and very best wishes to Heidi and the MCIVTA team.

Martin Hunt <Martin.hunt(at)>


Well, I watched the press conference and have a few points to make. Gary Cook said that City were “not on track” and he could not see that changing. Statistically he is not completely wrong, just a little pessimistic. A trait that tells you he has not been a City fan for long.

However, to achieve 70 points you need 1.84 points per game; we are at 1.77. I can only guess he is assuming linear progression. Football is hardly linear, a good run can change all of that.

The remaining games in the league may even be made easier for City by the so called “top 4” having extra games in Europe and having to substitute to account for that and having no serious injuries. I am not a Mark Hughes fan but he was getting there until the injuries slowed down the progress. No one can deny we are making progress. The only real mistake so far was Dunne.

Having said that, Mancini has a six month contract to be renewed for three years if he achieves his goals (top 4 finish); if not, Guus Hiddink is waiting in the wings.

It’s great to be a City fan!

Jim Heaviside <lablue69(at)>


As events unfolded on Saturday I had a terrible feeling of déjà vu. While I am not a particular fan of Mark Hughes I think he has been treated pretty shabbily, and should have been given more time to sort out the defensive problems. Constantly replacing the manager has got us nowhere for years, why do we keep doing it?

Results may not have been as spectacular as many would like but we are at the right end of the table and in a cup semi-final for the first time for an age – hardly staring down the barrel of a relegation battle.

Since the weekend as more information has come out it is clear that this change has been in the pipeline for weeks, and the knives have been out for Hughes for a while, despite the assurances of the security of his position from above.

There have been two common threads in City’s recent history; a lack of success and a revolving door on the manager’s office. What we really need is stability to build a solid platform for success instead of constantly reshuffling the pack hoping for a magic formula. The club up the road has had the same bloke in charge for more than 20 years and they seem to do ok; maybe we should take a leaf from their book?

What is done is done, thanks to MH and best wishes to Roberto Mancini – I suspect he will need it, and a kevlar waistcoat!

Neal Barton <nealbarton(at)>


We need to calm the noise down, the feeding frenzy of the press, media, Sky and every pundit from local radio Micky (dodgy tenners) Thomas to Henry Winter in the Times to Robbie Savage to Alan Green and on and on, all putting their 2pence worth to create the noise, it’s doing my head in.

Meanwhile in Afghanistan our 100th soldier has just been kitted out with a wooden overcoat.

Every journo has said MH is 1 game away from the sack all year and on one particular week in 52 weeks they were going to be right.

Yes, the manner in which it was done was poor but you live and die by the sword in their world. MH will cry into his Dom Perignon and beluga caviar this Christmas, many of us will not. As he carves his virgin tender organic capon and swigs on a Chateau de La Tour Merlot 1983 he will be OK as sits down to watch Dr Who with his family and trust me he will be OK. Big Sam will be nervous if MH is available now and so will other under fire managers cowering at the moment. Brown, Moyes, Megson, Bruce etc.

I was given a US$8 million sales target one year and I turned in £11.5 million in sales, boy did I feel a smug git going to my appraisal only to be shown the door as they can now get someone cheaper to do my job, thanks for your efforts mate now foxtrot oscar and if you want a pay off then whistle. It’s cruel out there, the namby pamby cradle to grave welfare system does not apply to most of us.

We move on, people will hate us even more now. We are no longer the Cinderella club we once were under captain combover (Swales & Co.). We are not quite in the hate league of Man U, Leeds, Millwall and Chelsea but getting there.

Bottom line right decision, appalling timing, appalling lack of class. The muppetry of Garry Cook is making Swales look dignified. But we need to move on. Bring on the Stoke…

Merry Christmas!

Phil Lines <phil.lines(at)>


The new manager is in place and Mark Hughes has gone. Many of us have had our say as regards to the treatment of Sparky but now we must move on, it is a new era in the history of Manchester City FC.

It will do no one any good to go on at anyone who is connected with MCFC. By this I mean the Chairman, Garry Cook or Brian Marwood; together we all must now think of City’s future. If mistakes were made by the way MH was dismissed we must now forgive and move on.

We must all thank Mark Hughes for all the good things he did for City, for he has left some very good players for Roberto Mancini as a basis for his squad to move us forward, and hopefully win some trophies for City so that we once again can celebrate, and eventually move ahead of our neighbours United.

I ask all fellow City supporters and fans to join me in giving Mancini and the players he chooses to wear the proud blue of City our full support. I feel sure that Mark Hughes would want us to do just that. To Mark Hughes I wish you all the very best, and thank you for all your hard work.

So how about this for starters: “In Roberto I trust”. Now go get ’em Pink Panther!

To Heidi, Alex, and the McV crew, all contributors, and readers across the World, Merry Christmas, and A Happy Blue New Year!

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)>


What we have to realise is that as far as fans are concerned with regards to how the club is run then they don’t count. So let’s get behind this manager like we have all got behind the others and hope that in 18 months and 2/3 transfer windows we can see the improvement unlike the previous 18 months; Hughes had no better team than Pearce.

What I find difficult to understand is how the new man can operate under the sorts of pressure that he’s under to deliver a return on the money invested.

As for Hughes I hope he spends the 5 million pounds wisely!

Sam Duxbury <sammy459(at)>


I’m surprised that no-one has yet spotted the amazing omen of impending good-fortune that has come with the arrival of our new manager! Arsenal’s greatest manager in recent years (possibly their greatest ever) is called Arsene and shares the first five letters of his name with the club. Who have we gone and signed? Why, Mancini, of course. There … the future is secure and we can all stop worrying about what will happen. It’s all in the stars!

Seriously though, I am happy that Hughes has gone and we have a proven successful manager as replacement, although I would be lying if I said I thought we handled it well. However, it is unlikely that the owners would have wanted things to be carried out in this publicly embarrassing way, so I hope that Gary Cook gets his come-uppance as soon as is possible. What has happened as a result of his mishandling of the situation is that we now have every single know-nowt journalist rattling on like we’d just murdered Bambi, and shed loads of ‘fans’ who’ve never attended a match in their life going on about the death of the club they loved!

When Abramovich arrived at Chelsea, he decided to give the manager Ranieri time to prove that he was the man to bring back the top level of success to their club. He greatly improved their squad, buying players such as Duff, Joe Cole and Makélélé, and got them to second in the league from fourth the year before, but Abramovich and knowledgeable Chelsea fans knew the Tinkerman would never bring them the Holy Grail of the Premiership, so they replaced him after twelve months with a foreign manager who had won something and who then went on to bring instant success.

At City, Mark Hughes, despite the many misgivings of City supporters who knew of his tactical limitations, was given 18 months. Like Ranieri, he progressed, and greatly improved the squad with the money he was given, but never managed to iron out those tactical deficiencies we’ve come to know and hate. If lessons had been learned in Hughes’ 18 months than things might have been different but the owners were right to say in their statement that there was no sign that things would change sufficiently for City to meet the targets set. We have now replaced him with a foreign manager who has won several things and who will probably go on to bring success sooner than later.

Many of those people who constantly harp on about giving managers time are only ever half-right. At City we’ve been just as guilty of employing the wrong people to start with, and there is never any point in giving time to someone who doesn’t have the capability, and if you’ve watched football long and hard enough it isn’t difficult to spot who can and who can’t manage! Wenger, Mourinho and Ferguson were all successful before they managed in this country. Those people who pine for a Brian Clough, a Malcolm Allison (v.1) or a Bill Shankly (in my heart I still do) have to face the fact that we are no longer in control of our club, the game of football or anything to do with how the game is run or managed. We are all just pawns to be emotionally manipulated into continuing to attend matches and support the team of our lifelong commitment. Instead you have to ask yourselves, would you rather have: some owners with unbelievably deep pockets, who have taken decisive action and installed a previously very successful new manager, or support a club where foreign owners have robbed the club of any funds, and where the club is in such unbelievable debt that one bad season could mean the end of the club forever as its demise makes the fall of Leeds United look like a picnic? Tick tock …

In Mancini(ty) we trust!

Steve Burrows <stevieburrows(at)>


Well the dust is starting to settle after City, in their utmost glory, got rid of yet another manager, and a new sucker, (ooops manager) has taken his place. City (or should I say Cook) showed what money in sport is really about. Beggar what has been agreed, loyalty means nothing. I’ve been in business as a design artist for nearly thirty years, and if I treated my clients like City treated Hughes, I would have been ‘broke’ years ago.

It’s not the sacking that angers me, but the way it was done and the manner it was done. And do you know what is worse? Our Brazilian ‘big-mouths’ coming out in the press, that they’re glad to see Hughes gone. Sure they are, they might get a run under Mancini. Why can’t players shut their mouths and do the talking on the field? I hope Craig Bellamy and Shay Given stay. Far better value than ‘Dumb and Dumber’.

As Ernie said, I thought Mancini was dead. I wonder if City will come out to ‘The Pink Panther’ theme song. You can only laugh, the whole episode is and was a farce. But then that’s what City are all about.

Hope everyone had a great Christmas.

Kevin Williamson <scribbs(at)>


One good thing that has come out of the dismissal of Hughes is that it has once again shown the CEO of City to be a complete prat who is prone to being “economical with the truth”.

This column in today’s Guardian says it all really!

Regards and Merry Christmas, Graham Lister <graham.lister1(at)>


Is there a “nice way” to sack someone? I’m pretty sure there isn’t. I hope my season ticket affords me a little quality entertainment after the farce I’ve witnessed under Mark Hughes. With the exception of matches against the top clubs, for 1/4 billion pounds, the return has been dreadful.

Dave Lees <dave(at)>


Just a quick note to wish all readers and contributors, editors etc., a great 2010 for themselves and all things Blue. It will never be boring will it?

Also, the 31st December is a true ‘Blue Moon’ as it will be the 2nd full moon in the calendar month.

Joe Ramsbottom <joeramsbottom(at)>


28 December 2009

Tottenham Hotspur    2 - 0  West Ham United      35,994

27 December 2009

Arsenal              3 - 0  Aston Villa          60,056
Hull City            1 - 3  Manchester United    24,627

26 December 2009

Birmingham City      0 - 0  Chelsea              28,958
Fulham               0 - 0  Tottenham Hotspur    25,679
West Ham United      2 - 0  Portsmouth           33,686
Burnley              1 - 1  Bolton Wanderers     21,761
Manchester City      2 - 0  Stoke City           47,325
Sunderland           1 - 1  Everton              46,990
Wigan Athletic       1 - 1  Blackburn Rovers     20,243
Liverpool            2 - 0  Wolverhampton Wndrs  41,956

League table to 28 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         19  8  1  0 25  5  5  2  3 18 10 13  3  3  43  15  28  42
 2 Manchester Utd  19  7  1  1 19  8  6  0  4 21 10 13  1  5  40  18  22  40
 3 Arsenal         18  8  0  1 28  7  4  2  3 19 13 12  2  4  47  20  27  38
 4 Tottenham H.    20  7  0  3 26  8  4  4  2 16 14 11  4  5  42  22  20  37
 5 Aston Villa     19  6  2  1 17  6  4  3  3 12 11 10  5  4  29  17  12  35
 6 Manchester City 18  6  3  0 22 13  2  5  2 13 14  8  8  2  35  27   8  32
 7 Liverpool       19  6  2  2 26 11  3  1  5 10 14  9  3  7  36  25  11  30
 8 Birmingham City 19  5  3  2  8  5  3  2  4 11 13  8  5  6  19  18   1  29
 9 Fulham          18  6  2  2 15  6  1  4  3  8 11  7  6  5  23  17   6  27
10 Sunderland      19  5  3  2 18 13  1  1  7  8 16  6  4  9  26  29  -3  22
11 Stoke City      18  4  2  2 11  9  1  4  5  4 13  5  6  7  15  22  -7  21
12 Blackburn R.    19  4  3  2 11  9  1  2  7  7 24  5  5  9  18  33 -15  20
13 Burnley         19  5  4  1 14  9  0  1  8  8 29  5  5  9  22  38 -16  20
14 Everton         18  2  5  2 12 15  2  2  5 12 17  4  7  7  24  32  -8  19
15 Wolves          19  3  2  4  9 12  2  2  6  8 21  5  4 10  17  33 -16  19
16 Wigan Athletic  18  3  3  3 10 13  2  1  6 11 26  5  4  9  21  39 -18  19
17 West Ham United 20  3  3  4 18 20  1  3  6 10 17  4  6 10  28  37  -9  18
18 Bolton Wndrs    17  2  3  4 14 19  2  2  4 10 15  4  5  8  24  34 -10  17
19 Hull City       19  4  3  3 13 16  0  2  7  5 24  4  5 10  18  40 -22  17
20 Portsmouth      19  3  0  6 12 12  1  2  7  5 16  4  2 13  17  28 -11  14

With thanks to Football 365

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