Newsletter #1608

A half hearted performance against Stoke on Saturday evening, where we scored first but then just sat back, saw us make hard work of a draw and face a replay in the FA Cup.

We have views on the game, performances, team selection/tactics and Tevez’s absence tonight together with a request for Blues’ views on the Premier League.

Next up we face Stoke again, in the league this time on Tuesday night.

Next Game: Stoke City, away, 7.45pm Tuesday 16 February 2010


Watched City’s 1-1 draw with Stoke on Setanta television in Toronto and I am spitting mad at the biased colour commentary delivered by one Lou Macari. It’s bad enough that he seems to get all the United games where the thinks the sun shines out of Alex Ferguson’s backside but he also gets the City home games too!

During Saturday’s telecast, he never once mentioned that Tevez had pulled out of the line-up for personal reasons or that City were also missing Kompany and Bellamy because of injuries. Yet if Rooney had been missing from United we would never have heard the end of it.

In his opening remarks Macari said that City were in a terrible slump after United had knocked them out of the League Cup – tied for fourth with two games in hand?

He claimed that Ireland’s pass to SWP for his goal was “clearly offside” and he spent virtually the whole game ragging on Adebayor and Zabaleta who he claimed was having a nightmare game. You could tell he was hoping that Stoke would get a winner and his final observation was that with City out of the League Cup, about to exit the FA Cup and “only” fifth in the league that our season was about to crash and burn and that Mancini was obviously going to get the boot.

Now I appreciate that Setanta went bankrupt in England but surely they can find a couple of competent commentators? But having Macari call a City game is a total joke.

I have to agree with one of his observations that the City crowd did nothing to support our team. Where was everybody? All I saw was acres of empty blue seats? Surely we can’t be so complacent that we figured a win was a gimme. No singing, no reaction. And City’s performance reflected that blasé atmosphere.

One final rant. How come we or anyone else hasn’t figured out how to defend against Delap’s throw-ins? Put Adebayor on the penalty spot facing Fuller, put defenders on either post and tell Given to get off his line and challenge for the ball. Between Adebayor’s height and Given, there is no way Fuller should beat them. But we will get beat if Given remains static on his goal line.

Come on City. Beat Stoke in the league and the cup so we can get Macari to shut his gob!

Keith Sharp <keith(at)>


To say that I am unhappy with City’s performance against Stoke would be putting it mildly, it was pathetic! City missed the pace of Bellamy and Tevez.

Ireland got his wish from his manager Mancini to play in his favourite position; the only good thing he did was his through ball for SWeeP to score. Other than that nothing special, I guess Superman has run out of Kryptonite, but we all have seen him play well, and we know that he can do better.

But let me not make Ireland a scapegoat for this dismal display, other players were also to blame for this disaster of a game. The England manager Fabio Capello was in the stands watching the game, and Wayne Bridge did enough to claim man of the match, with SWeeP a close second. I hope it was enough to confirm both to be in England’s squad for the World Cup.

Lescott came back from his injury and had a decent game, but again the City captain Toure was not at his best. I think that it is time for Mancini to give the captain’s armband to another player; maybe Toure will play better without the responsibility of captain? Zab in the right back position played hard but gets reckless at times, though always puts in 100% effort.

Everyone in football is aware of how Delap throws the long balls in, that is except the Manchester City defence; the throw in gave Ricardo Fuller a free header to score Stoke’s equalizer, as the City defence stood still and watched with amazement.

I think the next two games against Stoke will be the defining games for Roberto Mancini; his style of play for City has slowed the game down, perhaps to the pace of Italian games?

Sometimes the Italian style of play will win games but not fans. I think most of us like fast football with fast counter attacking play, exciting football with pace; we are not seeing this.

Stoke now playing at home can kick City out of the FA Cup, and give City a black eye in the effort to get a top four finish in the Premier League.

On the positive side we can still win both games but it will have to be a much better performance than today’s. What I ask was the technical side of today’s game by Mancini? Was it to try to hang on to a 1-0 lead?

Petrov had so many misplaced passes, his balls into the goal area were always to close to the Stoke #keeper: never do that, it’s elementary. Barry and de Jong worked hard to try to make something happen but unless you give Adebayor the ball on the plate, odds are against him scoring. Give him a clear cut chance though and he is good at it.

Barry came close to scoring from a well placed ball from SWeeP on the right, Stoke’s ‘keeper making a fingertip save to put the ball over the bar. Not many other clear cut chances from City though.

Sorry but when you are bad you are bad. City do not get good marks from me for this game and it will be a tough game at the Britannia Stadium. Now we shall see how strong Mancini is by turning things around, I feel sure that he is capable.

I also acknowledge that Mancini is playing all the players he inherited, but we saw better when he first took over as manager, things are now on the decline; he has got to change things and quick or our season will be lost!

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)>


A few years ago I read “Full Time” by Tony Cascarino and I’d say it’s one of the best books about football I’ve ever read. What’s so good about it is the honesty, so Cascarino describes some of the tricks he pulls in trying to win the manager over.

Hair dye to hide ageing, a quick sprint when he knows the manager is looking and when the manager’s not looking Cascarino dawdles. I was reminded about that book today because of the performance of a lot of our recently acquired players, most of whom didn’t seem to get out of second gear.

Gareth Barry does a nice line in falling down and sideways passes, Adebayor doesn’t chase with 10% of the commitment of Tevez and our centre backs are pillars of weakness at the back. A lot of them are picking up big wages and are keen to be seen to putting in performances à la Cascarino rather that actually putting in a performance.

Allied to that is a manager who plays two holding midfielders in de Jong and Barry and at 1-1 takes off a winger for a forward and substitutes Ireland, our one creative midfielder, with Vieira. On the TV commentary they were talking about taking one of either Barry or de Jong off and bringing Santa Cruz on but this was never going to happen with Mancini, whose teams are defensive bores and that’s the worst part for me: I was actually bored watching City today. I lived in Manchester 10 years and fell in love with a team where anything could happen.

Now we’ve a bunch of overpaid mercenaries led by a manager who sends the team out not to lose rather than to win. Not good enough.

Arthur Magee <arthurmagee(at)>


Been a while since my last contribution. But if the owners of my beloved City read this newsletter, can you please get us a manager who sends out a team to play football?

Jack Millington <jack(at)>


It has become clear that we will have to get used to Mancini’s Italian way of playing football. For example, 3 defensive midfielders against a bottom of the league Bolton side 2-0 is a good result but 1 more goal and with the Scousers losing we would have gone 4th with 2 games in hand.

I did think Barry had one of his better games; he has looked pretty jaded recently. We may not have won as many games under our last management team but it was b****y good to watch going forward. I hope Bobby finds his strongest side soon; he has lots of talent to choose from and just needs to get the formula right.

Something to ponder: is it a coincidence that the defence, makeshift as it was, improved whilst Toure (I have to agree with Keith Sharp in MCIVTA 1607: Toure is a liability) was away on international duty. Makes you think!

It would be good to see a little more creativity in the side as well as both flanks utilised. Super début by Adam Johnson – it was like watching Petrov with two feet.

Come on City!

Steve Alcock <salcock(at)>


Kevin Williamson’s opinion re: City’s new found riches (MCIVTA 1607), astounded me, especially with so many clubs in financial difficulties. If he really wants heart and soul, start following Portsmouth, Hull, Burnley or Crystal Palace… I am sure many of their supporters would give their right hand to be able to be in the position that we are in and we can only get better. And yes, at a cost (financed by a wealthy backer, just like Chelsea – I don’t see too many Chelsea fans claiming the have lost their “heart and soul”).

What I will agree with him is yes, we have been taken to the cleaners with the amount we “overpaid” for some of our players, but such was Hughes’ desperation that the selling clubs just demanded silly money and we paid it. The way football is being run, if you want the best players, then you just end up paying over the odds for them – look at Real Madrid. Our Club’s administrators should look at playing hard ball with the financial demands of some of our players, e.g. Robinho, Toure, Santa Cruz (poor return on investment).

I am not happy with the way that City are currently playing. With our resources, we should not be struggling to beat teams like Bolton, Hull and Stoke, we should be way too good for them. We are just not functioning on all cylinders, there seems to be something missing, whether that is a lack of a “quality” attacking midfielder or our malfunctioning defence, which is why we are playing so defensively. I will agree that Toure has been a massive let down, and not tall enough, he gets beaten very easily in the air; we need another player in the mould of Kompany.

If we play 4-4-2 then hopefully, our defence will be Bridge, Lescott, Kompany and Richards/Zabaleta, our midfield can be Johnson, Barry, de Jong, SWP, and Adebayor and Tevez upfront. On the bench, will be Onuoha, Vieira, Petrov, Santa Cruz, Toure, Sylvinho. I really want Mancini to get us playing a pressing game on the opposition, not giving them any time on the ball, and looking to attack as much as possible. However, the last few games have seen us surrender easy possession to teams like Hull, Bolton and Stoke. When we play Stoke, Fuller needs to be closely marked as he is very dangerous, with good running skills and he is tall enough to trouble us in the air. Maybe someone needs to go in hard on Delap (take him out of the equation!).

We really need to start playing better, and I am so pleased that we have bought Johnson, as he is in the same mould as Angel de Maria (a tricky winger, who runs at defenders and scares the s**t out of them). We should use him and SWP to fly down the wings, terrorising their opposite full backs, and providing ammunition for our 2 strikers.

By the way, how has Robinho retained his place in the Brazil team, whilst Ronaldinho (who’s been playing very well for AC Milan), has been omitted? Very strange!

Come on City, do the business in midweek.

Glyn Albuquerque <glynalbuquerque(at)>


I’ve heard and read some idiotic comments in my time, but the small minority of Blues who have been moaning about Carlos Tevez going to Argentina to attend the birth of his child are really off the Richter scale when it comes to idiocy. In fact these people make me very angry indeed.

These halfwits who are questioning Carlos Tevez’s commitment really need to get a life and ask themselves a few questions. If they were working abroad and their wife or girlfriend wanted to have a baby in the UK, would they really say ‘Oh, I’ll get there when I get there’?

Yes everyone is entitled to an opinion and in the days of the Internet we can all voice our opinions on all manner of subjects, but what right has anyone got to deny a man (or woman!) the right to attend the birth of their child? Thankfully Manchester City is not like that. Carlos Tevez going to Argentina to attend the birth of his child is not an issue with our club or any decent person. His wife wants to have the baby in Buenos Aires (which is perfectly reasonable and furthermore most prospective mothers want their family around them) and Tevez is rightly allowed to be with her at this time.

Of course we miss Carlos Tevez when he doesn’t play for us. He is brilliant. I love his energy, skill, commitment and enthusiasm for the game. Indeed, he can go on to be a City great. I don’t doubt that the Tevez family have the very best wishes of the vast majority of True Blues everywhere. If other so-called City fans are seriously making an issue of his absence then they need to take a long hard look at themselves, and ask themselves ‘where is my sense of perspective?’, and most significantly, ‘where is my humanity?’ End of.

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


Looking at what the new manager is doing I am reminded of the final scene that famous film.

We too are stuck on that coach teetering on the cliff edge, one end filled with the promise of Italian gold and glory and the other with a long fall to disaster.

It is a shame then that although just like Michael Caine, Roberto seems to “have an idea lads”, we the fans, just like viewers at the end of the film have no clue as to what it might be.

Whilst Hughes had his detractors, at least his teams had passion and played wherever possible attacking football. The new boss seems intent on filling the midfield with defensive holding players and stifling our attacking flair.

I really cannot see a Hughes team going down so feebly in the semis as we did. It was a lesson in how to sit back and lose a game rather than attack and put a weakened team to the sword.

It feels as if the new man knows he is only there till the end of the season and is just trying to play it safe and come out of the whole episode with some of his reputation intact and avoid being sacked on the touchline like Hughes.

The real reason I have written in though is my despair that Mancini has brought in Vieira, a player Arsenal knew was past it 4 years ago, yet lets SWP languish on the bench and has ignored Mr City, Stevie Ireland, to such an extent that he is now considering a move away from our club.

Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and the Muppets from Stretford have all expressed an interest in our boy and funnily enough they are the four clubs who are the regular elite top four! The very clubs whose places in the league we covet.

If they can see his worth why can’t we?

Like Chelsea and Lampard have proved, no matter how much cash we have we should surely build our team around the likes of Ireland as they have done so successfully with Lampard.

Finish top four or top six I really don’t care if it means we lose our heart and soul by reverting to less attractive defensive football and losing our true Blues.

Just like the Italian job, you love the film but always wonder at the end if it is just about to all end in disaster rather than glory.

Dave Marcus <Gerryfrandave(at)>


My name is Nathan Shackcloth and I am currently in my third year at Liverpool John Moores University studying Science and Football.

I am presently undertaking a dissertation in the competitive balance of the English Premier League and was hoping you could take five minutes of your time to fill out my questionnaire. My research looks to explore supporters’ views on issues affecting competitive balance in the Premier League and looks to discover fans’ opinions of the potential introduction of control mechanisms such as salary capping, and shared revenues. It also aims to discover fans’ opinions on the idea of a European Super League and how this would affect English football. As a person linked with a supporters’ club, your views would be gratefully appreciated. Confidentiality will remain high at all times, with only me and my personal tutor having access to the information.

If you wish to participate in this study, please take time to read through the participant information sheet which can be found here:

If you wish to fill out the questionnaire, it can be found here:

Once completed, you just have to click ‘submit’ at the bottom of the page. Feel free to pass this link on, all replies are welcome. Do not hesitate to contact me with any queries you may have regarding the study via email. Your time and help will be gratefully appreciated.

Nathan Shackloth <N.J.Shackcloth(at)>


League table to 14 February 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         26 12  1  0 39  8  6  3  4 22 14 18  4  4  61  22  39  58
 2 Manchester Utd  26 11  1  1 36  8  7  2  4 26 13 18  3  5  62  21  41  57
 3 Arsenal         26 10  1  2 36 14  6  3  4 25 16 16  4  6  61  30  31  52
 4 Liverpool       26  9  2  2 31 11  4  3  6 12 16 13  5  8  43  27  16  44
 5 Manchester City 24  9  3  0 30 14  3  5  4 17 18 12  8  4  47  32  15  44
 6 Tottenham H.    26  8  2  3 28  8  4  5  4 17 18 12  7  7  45  26  19  43
 7 Aston Villa     25  6  5  2 18  8  5  4  3 14 11 11  9  5  32  19  13  42
 8 Birmingham City 25  6  5  2 12  8  4  2  6 12 18 10  7  8  24  26  -2  37
 9 Everton         25  6  5  2 20 16  3  3  6 15 20  9  8  8  35  36  -1  35
10 Fulham          26  8  2  3 19  8  1  5  7 11 20  9  7 10  30  28   2  34
11 Blackburn R.    26  7  4  2 18 12  1  3  9  8 31  8  7 11  26  43 -17  31
12 Stoke City      24  6  3  3 18 13  1  6  5  5 14  7  9  8  23  27  -4  30
13 Sunderland      25  5  5  2 19 14  1  3  9 13 28  6  8 11  32  42 -10  26
14 West Ham United 25  4  4  4 20 20  1  5  7 12 20  5  9 11  32  40  -8  24
15 Wolves          25  4  3  6 10 17  2  3  7 11 25  6  6 13  21  42 -21  24
16 Wigan Athletic  24  3  4  4 11 15  3  2  8 15 34  6  6 12  26  49 -23  24
17 Hull City       26  5  5  3 18 20  0  4  9  7 31  5  9 12  25  51 -26  24
18 Burnley         25  6  4  2 17 12  0  1 12  8 38  6  5 14  25  50 -25  23
19 Bolton Wndrs    24  3  5  5 17 23  2  2  7 12 23  5  7 12  29  46 -17  22
20 Portsmouth      25  3  2  7 15 18  1  2 10  5 24  4  4 17  20  42 -22  16

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1608