Newsletter #1599

News tonight from the Africa Nations Cup, reaction to the new manager and player news and views together with those transfer rumours.

We have opinion on Mancini and the changing manager policy. Next up a trip to Goodison.

Next Game: Everton, away, 5.30pm Saturday 16th January 2010


General News

Togo Tragedy: The world of football has spent the week in mourning for the three members of the Togolese national squad who were shot dead whilst travelling through Angola. Only days before the African Cup of Nations was due to begin, the Togolese squad coach came under heavy gunfire, which left the driver and two non-playing members of the African squad dead. ‘Manu’ was lucky enough to escape unhurt but was clearly devastated by the events. Though Togo have withdrawn from the continental competition, City have allowed the Togo skipper indefinite leave and have also released a statement of sympathy: “Our thoughts are with the Togo team, their Football Association and the people. We send them our best wishes at this traumatic time.”

‘Manu’ recounted the awful events: “We saw military people dressed like they were going to war and it was a little bit of a shock at the beginning, but I thought ‘okay, it’s for security, which is normal, because we are players here for a big tournament and we are like ambassadors for Africans so it’s normal that security is big’. We went through the border and got into Angola and, I don’t know, 5km away from the border we started hearing shooting on the bus, for no reason. At the end of the day we got a lot of (people) injured. One of our second goalkeepers got a bullet in his body. To be honest without the security then I would not be here talking. Maybe you would be talking to my dead body. The security have done their job quite well. I don’t know whether I am the target or not but I know my team or my country is the target – why, I don’t know. We waited in hiding for 30 minutes because the bus had nowhere to go. Our driver was dead. He had the steering wheel in his hand but he had passed away. After that there were about seven or eight 4x4s arriving and we had to go out from the bus and climb into that car. I was one of the people who had to carry the injured players and injured staff into the hospital. Those are the times that you realise what is happening really. Everyone was crying and calling their family, I think this was the worst moment of this day. I am still in shock because I don’t know whether it has really stopped or not or if we are still a target.”

Squad News

Double Bubble: Carlos Tevez was awarded both the Barclays’ Premier League and Etihad Player of the Month awards this week for his December performances. Tevez, who now has 10 goals in seven games, beat off competition from the likes of Didier Drogba, Wayne Rooney and the in-form Joe Hart for the League award and came in with a massive 57% of the club vote ahead of Craig Bellamy and Nigel de Jong. The Argentine striker continued his superb form on Monday with a hat-trick against struggling Blackburn and seems to be revelling in his cult status at CoMS with his new celebratory dance. Of his recent success, Tevez revealed that he was honoured to be singled out but felt that the team performance is much more important: “I’m delighted to win the award but I want to give credit to my team-mates for all their help. It’s not just down to me – without them I would not get my chances to score, and it’s important that we keep this going with some important games coming up. It’s nice to get awards like this and the one from the City fans as well, but as long as the team does well, that’s all that matters. I’m very happy with my form, but what’s more important is that the team has been playing well recently.”

The former West Ham striker also expressed his delight with the way Roberto Mancini has transformed the team since being appointed as manager: “This squad has the ability for the manager to pick a team to suit a certain game or if there a few injuries about. He is willing to change things, even during a match, so you have to be alert to what he wants to do. He’s very strong on us working hard when we have not got the ball, and we have not conceded any goals in the last three games so his methods are obviously working. I’m really enjoying the way he has us playing. There’s a great spirit in the squad right now. Everybody was out to impress the new manager when he came here, and it’s not easy to get into the team because there are others ready to take your place.”

Magic of Mancini: City winger Martin Petrov made no secret of his rocky relationship with former manager Mark Hughes but admits that he never expected the squad to settle so quickly under new management. The Bulgarian winger would probably have been playing for another club now, had Hughes remained at the Eastlands, but the 30-year-old is relieved to have stayed in Manchester with a club who he believes the manager will make a success of: “I think everyone now knows they must work on the pitch and knows exactly what the manager wants from them. I think because of that the team is getting better and better. It is very clear what each individual must do under this manager and I think that’s normal, because he comes from Italy. Everyone knows what it is in Italy with the tactical stuff. It’s good for the players, if you play with everyone helping each other that has to be good for the team. We know we have a very good squad with big players but if you don’t play like a team on the pitch then you can’t win. We all have to get back and defend – me, Robinho, Tevez – everyone. You know if you play you have to do that. We know when we go forward we have quality but we also know that we have to get behind the ball at other times because if you’re not strong defensively, you know 100% that you’ll have a problem. We’re working very hard on that.”

Here for Life: Once-derby-day hero Benjani has pledged his loyalty to the club for the rest of his career, if Mancini would like him to stay on. The Zimbabwean only has six months remaining on his contract but having started in two of Mancini’s four games, the 31-year-old has high hopes for the future: “I’m very happy because I’ve started two games in a row and it’s been a long time since that happened. As a player you have to keep on believing, even if you know the chances of playing regularly are slim. You have to be very professional, do everything right and work very hard and now I’m glad I’m getting my chance. I’ve always wanted to see out my career at City. I have six months left on my current deal and it would be nice if I could get another year or so. The only thing that is important to me is to fight hard for the right to play. I love the rôle I’ve had in recent weeks. I think it suits my game because I love a physical battle but the good thing is that when one player goes out, another comes in and does just as well – those are the ingredients of a very good team. We need to take each game as it comes but we feel we can beat anyone at the moment. We have reached the top four and now we want to stay there, of course we do, and while we have such competition for places and such belief and determination in the team then there is no reason why we cannot do that.”

Off the Ball Setback: City academy star David Ball has suffered a setback to the foot injury that will now keep him out for a further six weeks. The 21-year-old was back in full fitness training following two months on the sidelines, hoping to impress the new City chief when he suffered a recurrence of his metatarsal fracture. Ball was obviously disappointed but stated that watching Vladimir Weiss and Dedryck Boyata progress into City’s first XI in recent weeks has been a huge boost to his recovery: “I’d been running outside and did a turn and felt some discomfort. I’d resumed training and obviously wanted to impress the new manager. The medical team x-rayed my foot as a precaution and discovered that the callous surrounding the original injury had fractured down to the bone, so I’ll be out for around six weeks again. I felt flat because I wanted to show the boss what I could do. There was also talk of one or two Championship clubs wanting to take me on loan, but obviously everything is on the back-burner now. I’m going to work as hard as I can in the gym and hope that the next few weeks pass as quickly as possible. It’s a pity because I felt stronger than ever, but there are far worse injuries you can have than a stress fracture.” It was great to see Vladimir and Dedryck play the other week and, in truth, it’s a relief for all the younger players in the squad. You do get a bit worried when there is a change of management because you feel you have to start from square one again. To see two more Academy lads playing so soon after the boss has come in gives everyone a real boost. Now I have to get back to full fitness, show him what I can do, and hopefully join that list.

Transfer News and Gossip

Inter the Mix: Former Arsenal midfielder Patrick Vieira became Roberto Mancini’s first signing for the club last Friday having left Italian Champions Inter Milan for the much colder City of Manchester Stadium. The club’s new number 24 was unveiled to fans ahead of the Blackburn fixture on Monday night and Mancini hopes that the player, who he also signed when manager of Inter, can help City reach the highest level of the game: “Patrick is a world class midfielder with a winner’s mentality and will fit into this group very well. He knows me and my staff well, and importantly he also knows what the Premier League is all about. He will not need much time to settle in. Patrick is one of the great players of his era with every almost every honour in the game against his name. I am sure City fans will welcome him warmly and appreciate the contribution he will make.”

The Frenchman, who signed a six month contract with an option of a further year, has his sights set on an international return for this summer’s FIFA World Cup but also has high hopes at club level, even suggesting that the Blues could possibly win the league: “I came back to England because I think City is really exciting club with big ambition. I still have dreams in football and one of them is to come back to the Premier League and win something. We can achieve something really special here. I want to convince the City board and the City players and fans that I didn’t come here just to spend six months. I have come here to give something to the club. I believe that I still have a lot to give and I believe the team is strong enough to win trophies. The squad is packed full of quality that is why I believe the ambition should be high. We should not be afraid to say that we are good enough to win the league because we are and as a team we should believe we can do it. At Arsenal one year we won the title from 15 points behind at Christmas. Everything is possible.”

Roberto Rubbishes Richards Rumour: Tottenham Hotspur were once again linked with an £8 million move for City defender Micah Richards as the England international’s future seemed uncertain. Mancini, however, has other ideas and has claimed that Richards is indispensable to his plans: “How could I afford to lose Micah? We have only four fit defenders at the moment! Anyway, I rate him very highly, he has played for England and has great potential for the future. It is important that he stays.”

The City Chief has also declared that he does not intend to sell former Blackburn striker Roque Santa Cruz: “Roque is most important for us, and I do not want to lose him. He was injured for 15 days and we missed him. For me, he is important to the team.”

Two players whose exits have been confirmed are Academy boys Paul Marshall and Clayton McDonald who have moved to Aberdeen and Walsall respectively. The club has wished them both well for the future.

Juan Funny Guy: When 33-year-old Patrick Vieira walked through the door at Eastlands, Mancini invoked his ‘age is no barrier’ policy and so talk of a move for former Lazio midfielder Juan Sebastian Veron was not so unbelievable. The 34-year-old has spent much of his career playing with or for City’s new boss and though the Italian manger admitted that he had spoken to Veron, he was keen to explain that he never intended to sign the Argentine international: “Veron is my friend. I played with him at Sampdoria, and at Lazio, and when I was the manager at Inter he played for me. I called him just to say hello and as we talked I joked with Seba, ‘If you want, you can come to play for City’, but I was only joking and he knew that. He plays for Estudiantes and is very happy there. It was never a possibility for us.”

Elsewhere… Portsmouth’s Younes Kaboul and Crystal Palace’s Victor Moses are City’s top transfer targets, if you believe the papers, with both players reportedly set to join the Bblues in £7 million deals. With both Pompey and Palace currently in financial trouble, it shouldn’t be too difficult for City to sign either player should they choose to make a move for the experienced centre back or this country’s hottest prospect.

Two players who are apparently not for sale this month are Palermo’s Simon Kjaer and Sampdoria’s Antonio Cassano. Palermo President Maurizio Zamparini has moved quickly to dismiss any possible sale of his star defender with the 20-year-old also attracting the interest of AC Milan: “They are just rumours, I have not had any contact with anyone. Several clubs are interested in Kjaer but for the time being we have not received any offers. For sure, he will remain with us until June.” Italian striker Cassano may not have lived up to the hype at Real Madrid but he is a hugely influential member of the Sampdoria squad and his agent Beppe Bozzo believes that there is no chance his client will move this month: “Antonio is very happy playing for Sampdoria and he is fine in Genoa. In any case, no one from City has contacted us and therefore there is no point in speaking about rumours in the press. There is a reciprocal esteem between Cassano and Mancini, as the coach has always spoken highly of the player and he has supported him even when he was not coaching.”

Northern Irish defender Ryan McGivern has extended his loan at Championship side Leicester City on a deal that will keep him at The Walker Stadium until the end of the season. The 20-year-old has impressed at Leicester since his loan move and only hours after scoring an own goal in a league game against Ipswich, the two clubs reached a deal to extend the move. Also out on loan is striker Felipe Caicedo, whose temporary deal with Sporting Lisbon was terminated this week only for the Columbian to join Spanish side Malaga until the end of the campaign.

Post-Match Reaction:

He Just Doesn’t Score Enough Goals! Carlos Tevez scored his 8th, 9th and 10th goals in seven games as City comfortably overcame Blackburn Rovers to move fourth in the league. In a typically Italian-influenced game, the Citizens played much possession football with various spells of little excitement, but when it was good, it was fantastic. The return of Benjani brought a new dimension to the Blues as the determined Zimbabwean fought for every ball and held up every pass before allowing the creativity of Carlos Tevez to dominate.

When Christian Samba and Paul Robinson made a spectacular mess of a simple set-piece only seven minutes in, Benjani played the ball into the path of Tevez who knocked it past England’s former number one goalie. Half an hour later, Micah Richards found himself with the ball in his own half and no-one expected the defender to sprint fifty yards and end up knocking the ball into the goal after Benjani had missed from 12 yards. The second half provided some much needed entertainment value as Carlos Tevez turned on the magic with two brilliant strikes, either side of a Gamst Pedersen consolation goal for Rovers.

With a fourth win under his belt, City boss Mancini broke the club record for most consecutive wins in his first games as manager and the players were keen to give the Italian all the plaudits. Nigel de Jong exclaimed: “He changed a lot of tactical stuff working with the same players, but he has brought a lot of young players in as well and some that were written off. Credit to him for putting a good side out in each game, and we saw it again tonight. We’re happy with our team performance and we have a lot of confidence right now. We just have to keep this momentum going. We’re all on our toes for every game, you don’t want to go to the bench. I think that’s why we are successful at the moment, so we must keep it going into the next game. Comparing last season with this, there are a lot of new names and a switch of managers – if you look at the league table now, we’re fourth. We’re trying to make a difference to the future. Everybody is excited with the good performances and we just want to stay on track. The title? It’s a possibility. Nothing is impossible. You’ve got to go for it but be realistic as well. It’s season No.1 for us after the big spending, so we have to take it step by step. The most important thing for us is a Champions’ League place and to try to keep competing for that place. We’ll see in March or April where we stand with that.”

Goal-scorer Richards also explained that Mancini was making a huge mark on the current squad: “Since the Manager has come in he has brought a real confidence with him. We’re showing that on the pitch and we’re getting results. I feel I’m at my best at centre half, but there’s another hard game at Everton coming up so hopefully I can take my form into that one as well.”

The boss himself was happy to earn another three points but was disappointed with the first goal conceded under his tenure which came courtesy of an uncharacteristic Vincent Kompany mistake: “It’s nice scoring goals but the most important thing was that we won – but we must have more attention in certain situations, because one lapse resulted in conceding a goal and the game changed after that. It is nice being in fourth now but it doesn’t count for anything at this moment. It’s important we finish in the top four at the end of the season. It’s important we continue our run and keep winning games if possible, and improve game after game. Every game is difficult and the next match at Everton will be tough too. We must prepare for every game very well otherwise it is difficult – preparation is everything. I want all my players to be playing well so I can bring players in and rest others when necessary.”

Mancini also paid tribute to his star striker: “When I was in Italy I had six or seven Argentinian players, and they all told me that Carlos is a wonderful player, but I’d seen him enough times to know that for myself. Now I work with him on a daily basis and I can see how good he is in training and during matches. I hope he reaches any target he sets for himself, but of course I’d also like lots of other players to score goals too.”

Alex Rowen <news(at)>


Is a Revolving Door Managerial Policy All Bad?

Despite the notion that clubs can only ever achieve true success by keeping a coach for a long time, examples such as Arsenal and Man United may actually be exceptions rather than the rule. Consider almost every other top team in Europe: Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus, Inter Milan, Chelsea, AC Milan, Bayern Munich – they all seem to have revolving-door managerial policies and yet they all enjoy consistent success. I’d like to suggest that although giving managers at least three years may be the best policy for smaller (poorer) clubs, the managerial merry-go-round might actually be more appropriate for the mega-wealthy.

First, let’s look at the apparent exceptions to the rule, United and Arsenal. How did they become so stable and how have they maintained that stability for so long? The answer to the second question is that their managers have both been consistently successful for most of their respective tenures. Ferguson has delivered a multitude of trophies, and continues to do so. Wenger has won his fair share and even when his team isn’t winning trophies, the football played by Arsenal has been of the very highest calibre and quite frankly a joy to watch (as long as you’re not on the wrong end of it). Consequently there’s really been no good reason to replace either of them (except early in Ferguson’s tenure at Old Trafford, which I’ll address later). The way they became so stable in the first place was by happening upon the right guy after doing exactly what all the other “unstable” teams do, replace a relatively successful manager because he’s not considered successful enough (United) or replace a promising manager very quickly, before he’s had a real chance to prove himself (Arsenal).

Ferguson’s predecessor at United was Ron Atkinson, who was fired early in his sixth season in charge after winning two FA Cups, reaching a League Cup final, a European Cup Winners’ Cup semi-final, and leading his team to two third and three fourth place finishes in his five years at the helm. Wenger replaced Bruce Rioch early in his second season in charge after finishing fifth in the league (qualifying for Europe), and reaching the semi-final of the League Cup. If City fired a manager in either of those circumstances, many of us would be rightly upset, but that’s how United and Arsenal got started on their current, amazing runs.

But what about the old chestnut that United showed great patience in giving Ferguson several years to come good, despite abject failure up to that point? This story may have contributed to the demise of many clubs who have stood by a failing coach to the bitter end in the hopes of a United-like success in the long run but it’s far from being as clear cut as suggested. The circumstances were as follows; after performing miracles at Aberdeen (multiple Premier League titles, breaking the long-time dominance of the Old Firm, as well as several cups), Ferguson took over a United team that was second from bottom of the old First Division in November 1986 (showing that despite his years of success with United, just a few months of bad form was enough for the board to sack Atkinson). By the end of the season Ferguson had taken them to eleventh in the table, a pretty good first six months in charge. Things got even better the following year, with United finishing in second place behind Liverpool, only the second time they had finished this high in twenty years. The next year they slipped down to eleventh place again, which probably created some doubt in the boardroom, but after such a good finish the year before, and his history of great success in Scotland, very few clubs would have fired Ferguson there and then. And so he got to start another season in charge, though it didn’t begin well (especially that 5-1 defeat at Maine Road). Perhaps the board couldn’t find anyone to take the job, or perhaps they were afraid Ferguson would kick over their tea urn if the fired him (or maybe this is the one time they did, briefly, show some genuine patience), but for whatever reason, he was still in charge come January. Even so, you can bet the press weren’t far wrong when they reported that he was only an FA Cup defeat away from being sacked by this time. Of course, he got tremendously lucky after that and winning the FA Cup gave him some more time to tinker. Even then he only managed a sixth-place finish the next season, but reaching the League Cup final and winning the European Cup Winners’ Cup was more than enough for him to keep his job. The following year they won the League Cup and the Super Cup and finished second in the league. I’ll stop there, as we all know the story since then and I’m sure you feel as queasy reading about United’s successes as I do writing about them. So although lots of teams might have replaced Ferguson before he won anything, many teams would have done just what United did (including City, I would guess).

So, setting United and Arsenal aside, all the other big European powers change managers at the drop of a hat, and they all stay more or less at the top of European football in spite of, or maybe because of it. The biggest threat to these clubs seems to be spending too long away from the gigantic cash cow that is the Champions’ League. Without that consistent source of income, they risk dropping back into the pack where they’d actually have to compete with the other teams on a financially level playing field. Patiently backing a manager with a vision who is building a team slowly over several years is not an option if those several years include mid-table finishes and millions and millions in lost revenue. Big name clubs can attract big name managers (proven managers) so if one doesn’t change their fortunes fast, they just get another. Any team on this top manager merry-go-round is bound to find a winning combination sooner or later, which is why this may be the best (if not only) strategy available to super-rich teams who need to stay at the top to remain super-rich so they can stay at the top and remain super-rich (etc).

The picture is quite different, however, for the teams outside the ‘elite’. The costs associated with constant managerial upheaval may be relatively low for teams with regular Champions’ League revenue but they can be significant for the rest (pay-offs to the departing manager and to the team you steal your next manager from, players sold at a loss and new ones brought in). If this is done too often and it doesn’t work, a team can get into serious trouble, especially with the paucity of proven managers available to these teams. Unlike the big teams, smaller teams can afford to be patient as they have no major revenue stream to lose in the meantime (as long as they stay in the top flight – it’s no surprise that the smaller teams most likely to have the least patience are those in danger of relegation). The best chance of long-term success for small teams is probably to get the best manager available and give him time to slowly build a team in his image.

We undoubtedly fitted into the small team category before Shinawatra arrived, and probably until the Abu Dhabi takeover. Now, we’re in the unusual position of being super-rich without any reliance on Champions’ League money, so we can afford to chop and change top managers every year, like the big boys, but we can also afford to be patient, if we feel the manager is on the right (long-term) track. My best guess would be that our owners genuinely planned to take the long-term, patient approach, but were worried that our recent run of poor form suggested that Hughes might not be on the right track. They may also have been prompted to act now after Liverpool’s terrible start to the season left a real opening for a fourth place finish this year. If you were carefully saving up to buy a new car next year, but it suddenly went on sale, you might very well be tempted to change your long-term savings plan and take out a loan to get it right now.

Although a club’s financial status may make one or other managerial strategy more appropriate, the final decision on whether to keep a manager or sack him is always going to depend on the board’s assessment of the team’s performance on the field. If a club is smart, it will look beyond the results so that unlucky defeats/draws don’t count against a manager, and lucky wins/draws don’t count in his favour. Which is where I begrudgingly have to agree with the decision to sack Hughes. It’s true that we were unlucky to lose in the manner we did at United, and the penalty against us that allowed Hull to equalize was a joke, but we were also lucky to escape with a draw at Birmingham, and to beat Chelsea, both thanks to late penalty saves. Although we’ve looked pretty good on the break, our defensive play and concentration have been appalling all season, making every game against any opposition a nail-biting nightmare to watch, even when we’ve eventually come out on top. In the last year and a half we’ve shown no signs of improvement in these areas, and consequently, I think we were right to replace Hughes, and I think the time had to be now. It gives Mancini a chance to see what he’s got before the January sales, and then half a season to have a real run at a top four spot. And the best part is that I’ve been able to watch four of the the last five games (let’s not mention Everton, okay?) without panic attacks, heart attacks, or high blood pressure for every one of the 90+ minutes. Long may it continue!

Mike Maddox <mwm2240(at)>


Roberto Mancini made his priority that the players learn discipline and to concentrate on everything that is happening in the game, and work hard in defence.

Until the goal against us versus Blackburn, the team had not conceded a goal, the goal coming when Kompany took his eye off the ball for that split second of concentration and not controlling the ball, and bang – we all know the rest of the story. But I don’t want to pick on Kompany who is an excellent player, just giving an example of what Mancini means by concentration, and what can happen if it’s not happening.

Unfortunately this was an area where Mark Hughes failed; that City were ahead in most of the drawn games is testament to that.

Sure, I backed Mark Hughes; I just thought he should have had his chance until the end of the season, and then whatever. For the record I supported Kevin Keegan, Stuart Pearce and Sven, I give my support to whoever is the manager, and to the players selected by the manager/coach in charge.

Now I give my full support to Roberto Mancini and I like what he is doing; so far not one player different from when he joined City. He has used his resources carefully, and great to see he has not forgotten the Academy, and he has had injured players.

The one new player that Mancini has brought in so far is Vieira, who should help the squad be stronger.

We City fans have to be very pleased with the results so far, and as Mancini has stressed one game at a time, look no further ahead. I like it but I can’t get the United games out of my head.

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)>


11 January 2010

Manchester City      4 - 1  Blackburn Rovers     40,292

9 January 2010

Arsenal              2 - 2  Everton              60,053
Birmingham City      1 - 1  Manchester United    28,907

5 January 2010

Stoke City           3 - 2  Fulham               25,104

30 December 2009

Portsmouth           1 - 4  Arsenal              20,404
Manchester United    5 - 0  Wigan Athletic       74,560

League table to 13 January 2010 inclusive

                            HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L   F   A  GD Pts
 1 Chelsea         20  9  1  0 27  6  5  2  3 18 10 14  3  3  45  16  29  45
 2 Manchester Utd  21  8  1  1 24  8  6  1  4 22 11 14  2  5  46  19  27  44
 3 Arsenal         20  8  1  1 30  9  5  2  3 23 14 13  3  4  53  23  30  42
 4 Manchester City 20  7  3  0 26 14  3  5  2 16 14 10  8  2  42  28  14  38
 5 Tottenham H.    20  7  0  3 26  8  4  4  2 16 14 11  4  5  42  22  20  37
 6 Aston Villa     20  6  2  2 17  7  4  3  3 12 11 10  5  5  29  18  11  35
 7 Liverpool       20  6  2  2 26 11  4  1  5 11 14 10  3  7  37  25  12  33
 8 Birmingham City 21  5  4  2  9  6  4  2  4 12 13  9  6  6  21  19   2  33
 9 Fulham          20  6  2  2 15  6  1  4  5 11 16  7  6  7  26  22   4  27
10 Stoke City      20  5  2  3 14 12  1  4  5  4 13  6  6  8  18  25  -7  24
11 Sunderland      20  5  3  2 18 13  1  2  7 10 18  6  5  9  28  31  -3  23
12 Everton         20  3  5  2 14 15  2  3  5 14 19  5  8  7  28  34  -6  23
13 Blackburn R.    21  4  4  2 13 11  1  2  8  8 28  5  6 10  21  39 -18  21
14 Burnley         20  5  4  1 14  9  0  1  9  8 31  5  5 10  22  40 -18  20
15 Wolves          20  3  2  5  9 15  2  2  6  8 21  5  4 11  17  36 -19  19
16 Wigan Athletic  19  3  3  3 10 13  2  1  7 11 31  5  4 10  21  44 -23  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    18  2  4  4 16 21  2  2  4 10 15  4  6  8  26  36 -10  18
19 Hull City       20  4  3  3 13 16  0  3  7  7 26  4  6 10  20  42 -22  18
20 Portsmouth      20  3  0  7 13 16  1  2  7  5 16  4  2 14  18  32 -14  14

With thanks to Football 365

[Valid3.2]Heidi Pickup,

Newsletter #1599