Newsletter #1631

Ultimate disappointment on Wednesday night as Spurs emerged the winners of the game and the race to Champions’ League.

We have match reports tonight on this and the Villa game thanks to Phil, and plenty of opinion on the game, the season and the future.

News from Alex with reaction to the final games, Mancini’s pledge and player snippets together with the inevitable transfer rumours.

Final game on Sunday against West Ham.

Next Game: West Ham United, away, 4pm Sunday 9 May 2010


General News

Thank You: The club has paid tribute to City’s home support this season by releasing a banner made up of 9,000 randomly selected season card holders’ names. In last night’s crunch match with Spurs, the fans’ loyalty and devotion was once again evident as the City faithful rocked the City of Manchester Stadium before kick-off and during the game. In an effort to thank the fans for their magnificent support, the club bought adverts in the Manchester Evening News and Metro newspapers and re-branded the day of the match ‘thank you’ day. City Chief Roberto Mancini praised the effect that the club’s home support has had since he took over: “Since I arrived at the club, the support has been incredible. As I said at the weekend, they are our twelfth, thirteenth and fourteenth man and are the reason our home form in particular has been so good and I’d personally like to thank them.”

Sven Seeks City Success: Ahead of the club’s most important week in recent times, the City manager revealed that the club has a high profile supporter wishing them well. Mancini told fans that his friend and former manager, Sven Goran Eriksson, was hoping to see them succeed despite his sacking two seasons ago. The Swede visited the club’s training ground this week and had a long chat with the now City boss about where he believes the club will be in the coming years and Mancini admits that he would love to be as successful as his predecessor: “Of course he would like to see us in the Champions’ League. When Sven was here he was very happy, and when I arrived he told me that it was a big club, an important club. We stay in touch, and sometimes he will offer advice if I ask. He has been a big influence on me, seven or eight years as a player and then one year as his assistant. He is a good man and a good manager, one of the most important in my career.”

Here for the Long Term: The race for fourth may have ultimately ended in disappointment, but Roberto Mancini has pledged his loyalty to the club. Many have claimed that Mancini only replaced former manager Mark Hughes because he would be capable of guiding the Blues to the Champions’ League this season but having not fulfilled his objective, questions are being asked of his future at the club. When asked about if he knows whether or not he will still be at Eastlands again next season, Mancini answered: “No, I don’t know this. I can’t decide this. I can decide the training and the players but other things are decided by the owners. I want to stay 200%, and if the owner wants me to stay, I will. I think I will be manager in August. When you want to build a good team you must have time. I have three years left on my contract and I am here to make us a top team next year. I think we have a fantastic chance to become a very important team next year if we build, if we work hard and if we have time.”

A Way to Go Yet: Gianluigi Buffon spoke this week of City’s transfer policy and dismissed that the Blues were an ‘attractive’ outfit for the world’s leading footballers and argued that only when the club are playing Champions’ League football will the sport’s stars turn to Eastlands. Having been rejected by both John Terry and Real Madrid star Kaka in the last year, City are learning the hard way that football isn’t all about money and Italy’s number one believes it will many years until City are considered one of Europe’s elite sides: “It doesn’t surprise me that a lot of big players have turned down Manchester City. The best players in the world want to be playing for the top teams in the top three leagues, no more than five or six teams in Europe. It’s a very elite list and Manchester City have to accept the fact they are not one of them. I read that City were interested in me last summer. I don’t know if anything was tabled, but there is no way I could have considered it. I couldn’t justify leaving one of Europe’s most famous clubs for a team that are not playing football at the highest level.”

Squad News

Simply the Best: Carlos Tevez has completed a hat-trick of success this season having been named the Etihad Player of the Month for a third time. The April award follows similar success in December and January and comes after he was awarded 61% of the vote. Highlights of the Argentine’s month included goals in the 6-1 demolition of Burnley and 5-1 thrashing of Birmingham. Vincent Kompany and Nigel de Jong were second and third respectively with (16% and 11% of the vote).

With rumours of a move to Real Madrid on the cards and Champions’ League qualification put on hold for another season, there are rumours that Carlos Tevez may be on his way out. The 29-goal-hero has been in magnificent form this season but recently criticized his manager’s training techniques. Mancini has answered these criticisms quite simply by claiming if anyone wants to leave, they can go: “I’ve spoken to Tevez. What we said was private but I did remind him that there had been only one time when he had to train twice in a day. We have trained twice four times in the five months I have been here. On two of those times Carlos was in Argentina and one time he was here but didn’t train. So I don’t know why [he’s unhappy]. When we don’t have a midweek game I always train two times on Tuesday because it’s the only way I know. It’s important that when a manager or player works in a team, he must be happy. If he’s not, it’s not good for the club, for the squad, or for the player. This is not just for Tevez but for all the players; for Tevez, for Manu [Emmanuel Adebayor], for me, for everyone.”

Kolo’s in Good Kompany: Following the sale of Richard Dunne last August, City’s backline experienced a period of defensive instability. Many defensive partnerships came and went but the one that has stuck seems to be that of skipper Kolo Toure and Belgian Vincent Kompany. In the goalless trip to the Emirates, Toure and Kompany were at their very best to keep out a resurgent Robin van Persie and City’s Ivorian captain believes their partnership will only get better with each game they play together: “It’s going well. I think we played very well as a team and we were really focused at the Emirates Stadium. I enjoyed the game, but I stand by my words that the City supporters still haven’t seen the best of me, though I was reasonably happy with my display. We are gelling really well in central defence but whether it’s me and Vincent or Vincent and Joleon Lescott or whoever – whenever we play we work well together and over time we’ll get better and better. Playing regularly with a defensive partner means you need to know each other’s game really well so their movement becomes almost second nature to yours and you always know where the other player is. Vincent was outstanding at Arsenal and defensively we restricted one of the most prolific home attacks to just a couple of long-range shots. If you look at Manchester United, Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic have been playing together for two or three years and they know each other like brothers, but that doesn’t happen overnight.”

Gunnar Get His Chance: When City’s number one, Shay Given, saw his season ended by surgery on a dislocated shoulder last week, fourth choice ‘keeper Gunnar Nielsen seemed the obvious replacement, with Stuart Taylor and David Gonzalez also sidelined. Instead, City were granted an emergency loan deal and Sunderland’s Marton Fulop made his way to the City of Manchester Stadium. Whilst you can understand the move by City to ensure the squad didn’t lack experience between the sticks in its most important part of the season, the media were quick to criticise Mancini for not giving Nielsen a chance to shine. The Faro goalie did play the final 12 minutes at the Emirates last week and many believe that the 23-year-old should have been given the opportunity to prove his worth. Mancini has explained the reason behind the emergency deal and praised Nielsen’s attitude: “I don’t think it’s a case of Gunnar being disappointed. We spoke about it. Gunnar is a good guy, he understands the situation. This is a very big week for the club. We had only one fit goalkeeper – it is impossible that you can play these three games with only one goalkeeper. For us, it was very important to bring in another goalkeeper. I was very pleased with Gunnar at Arsenal; he did so well when Shay was injured. Gunnar came on and played a good game, and we won a good point.”

Harry Redknapp asserted that City made their own mistakes by not putting a clause in Joe Hart’s contract ensuring that he could be recalled from his loan deal at any time but the Spurs manager failed to note that this is not in fact possible where the loaning club pay a fee towards the deal: “They were talking about getting Hart back but there was no clause in the deal to bring him back. You need to put the clause in the contract if you want him back, if you get injuries that’s the key. It was probably an oversight on their part. They should have put it in.”

South Africa Bound: Roque Santa Cruz has been included in Paraguay’s preliminary squad for this summer’s World Cup. The City striker has had a tough season with injuries and in all honesty has failed to break out on to the scene for City but is forever a first name on the team-sheet for his country. The former Blackburn target man will be key to any success the South Americans hope to achieve this summer and let’s hope he comes back raring to go for next season’s campaign.

No Return for ‘Robbie’? British record signing Robinho has pleaded with his parent club to leave him be, playing his football in Brazil. The former Real Madrid winger made the loan move to Santos this January in order to guarantee first team football ahead of this summer’s World Cup but the £32.5 million playmaker is enjoying it so much that he hopes to remain at the recently crowned Brazilian Champions for the foreseeable future: “I’m very happy. This is an important title for me that I didn’t have before. I found happiness on the pitch here with a wonderful team that plays attacking football, with a smile. It’s great to be part of this team and thank God that the work was crowned. Let me stay here quietly, it’s good. I hope this can be just the first conquest of my return.”

The Rumour Mill

This Week’s Round-Up: If rumours are to be believed then it is the future of City’s Academy graduates that is under threat this summer. Micah Richards has once again been linked with a move to Aston Villa or Everton whilst David Moyes is also reportedly interested in defender Nedum Onuoha. Steve Bruce is said to have put Stephen Ireland at the top of his wish-list whilst Michael Johnson may also be on his way to the North East with Newcastle supposedly interested in reviving last summer’s £8 million bid. Real Madrid’s interest in Carlos Tevez may result in a part exchange for Argentine wonder kid Gonzalo Higuain as the Blues also focus their attentions on Bordeaux’s Youann Gourcuff – dubbed the ‘new Zidane’.

Post-Match Reaction

Hope Handed: At 1-0 it looked all over. Any City fan will tell you that as soon as we go a goal down, we simply don’t expect to pull it back. But this one was different. The Blues rallied superbly and with fourth still in sight, Tevez, ‘Manu’ and ‘Bellers’ were on call to grab all three points for City. John Carew’s goal had put City a goal behind in only the 16th minute of the game but when Stephen Warnock floored the advancing Adam Johnson, Carlos Tevez smashed home from the spot to equalize. Only minutes later, Manu tapped in to ensure City were in front at the break, only moments after Villa had hit the woodwork. The second half was a matter of ‘do or die’ and with Villa failing to break through for a second time, it was Craig Bellamy’s 89th minute curling shot that hit the net and ensured the Spurs match became a Champions’ League qualifier.

The boss was chuffed with the excellent result, which kept City in the race for fourth and the Italian clearly had his eyes set on the game to come: “It was an important win but of course, the season is far from finished. We have a huge game on Wednesday against Tottenham and it will be most important game for this club for many years. I think we must concentrate the same way we did today and it is important that we have good preparation for the match. What impressed me was that we did not sit back and relax and we were not too nervous today when we went 2-1 up. Everyone worked hard and we got our reward. I wouldn’t single anyone out because I was happy with everyone and now we go into Wednesday’s game with Tottenham with a lot of confidence.”

Craig Bellamy made an effort to celebrate his fantastic finish with the boss he was supposedly at odds with and Mancini was quick to refute that any hostility has ever existed: “I’ve always said there is no problem between Craig and me, after this, maybe people will believe it. I was pleased because we played with tremendous spirit and everyone made a great contribution.”

Nigel de Jong believes ahead of the vital Spurs match, this was the perfect preparation: “The only place to do your talking is on the pitch and no one who saw the game could ever accuse us of lack of spirit. We showed really good character out there on the pitch especially after we went a goal behind. We created a lot of chances and were well organized at the back in the second half. We started brightly in the game at the weekend and it was a shock that Villa scored first but we dug deep, regrouped ourselves and once we got in front we felt strong and confident that we would get the three points that we needed. Everyone seems to have something to say about the manager and about City; we have had to put up with that all season but it makes no difference to us; the confidence is still there in the team and the atmosphere is still good.”

Hearts Broken: Devastation. Like most City fans, had I been offered 5th place, Europa League football and a challenge for fourth, I’d have bitten your hand off. Unfortunately the Blue side of the city found themselves wrapped up in the hype and finishing fourth became the only option. Despite periods of domination, City simply couldn’t find the back of the net and when Marton Fulop was called upon the make three superb saves, it clearly wasn’t going to be an easy night. Peter Crouch’s 83rd minute header won Spurs that much coveted Champions’ League spot and the Blues are now destined for Europe’s second competition. On the bus home I found myself sat with a number of the City faithful who had never met each other. Yes they were deflated, yes they were disappointed that City’s revival may have to wait another season and yes it would have been so much better if the Blues had beaten Spurs and won the race for fourth, but the message was clear: “It will come!”

The boss revealed that he felt the same way as every other City fan but sought to take the positives from what has been City’s most successful season in the Premier League: “I’m disappointed but I am also proud because of the job we have done and we have had a good season. We could have got the fourth position, we had the chances but football can be strange. In two or three games we have been very, very unlucky, we could have scored in the first half and that would have changed the game, but we must accept it. City finished 10th last year, this year we could be fifth and we’re in the Europa League. If we work well in the market and in pre-season we could do something special. I want to thank all the supporters as well, they were fantastic, and thank you to the players, they gave me 200%. Spurs are a good side, and in the second half when we attacked we left a lot of space for them to counter-attack. I still think we were better than Tottenham, in the first half they played the long ball for Crouch many times, and we tried to play football but they played us well.”

Mancini admitted it was not just the club he was disappointed for after he failed to meet his own personal target: “I’m disappointed for myself; I want to work harder because I want to improve with the team. When you don’t hit your targets, you must think why that happened. To get fourth, we must work more next season.”

Alex Rowen <news(at)>


After a season long battle with Tottenham for the coveted fourth spot, City will not dine at the top table in European football next season.

Barry returned for Vieira who had shone on Saturday. For the visitors, Gomes and King were ‘risked’ after their fitness concerns. Eastlands crackled with expectation.

It was an even first half in which Crouch hit Fulop’s right hand post with a header and Tottenham had a goal disallowed for pushing, but City would have been in front but for the brilliance of Gomes in the Spurs goal. Firstly he tipped a long range shot from Johnson away at full stretch and repeated the feat from a powerful 25-yard Tevez drive. Tottenham will be glad that they patched Gomes up and fielded him for this crucial game because he was the difference between City being in front and the scores being level. Tottenham, though, saw a lot of the ball after City’s initial pressure and Bale went close for the visitors after a Lennon cross was nodded back by Crouch who was proving a handful all night.

Toure should have done better with a couple of headers at set pieces. Instead we were left to rue what might have been. Barry made an exciting run down the middle and he found Tevez, but his first touch took him wide and he hit the side netting.

City went at Spurs with gusto in the early part of the second half. Unfortunately there was no one on the end of a superb cross by Barry after he had been played in by Johnson’s right wing cross. Tevez and Bellamy tried to make inroads with thrusting runs but we found a solid brick wall in the form of the colossal Ledley King and the highly impressive Dawson. City lacked a creator in the centre of midfield to unlock the door against well organised opponents so Tevez dropped deeper to try to make the play but a combination of a lack of movement and Tottenham’s massed defence thwarted him.

Tottenham weathered City’s storm and with Barry going off injured when taking the full force of Lennon’s shot, City lost a little momentum. Still we created chances but they were spurned. Bellamy put in an excellent cross down the left but Adebayor’s header was so poor that it was headed for a Tottenham throw in: he was also wide from a perfect Johnson corner. Surely City need to invest in a better striker next season, or at least someone who can offer competition for places.

As time progressed and City committed more men forward, Tottenham looked increasingly dangerous on the break with their pace and ingenuity. Fulop made a great save from Defoe then a combination de Jong, Kompany and Toure were required in an almighty tacklefest with the skilful Modric and other opponents on the edge of our own box. Toure was forced to make a terrific clearing header from a superb Lennon cross, then a searching Assou-Ekoto cross flashed across our box. Fulop made another great save from Crouch. Substitute Patrick Vieira lobbed a ball for Adebayor to chase but that was claimed by the brave Gomes before Adebayor got there. City’s play was getting increasingly frantic, and our last good chance to take the lead was when Tevez’s howitzer of a shot from 25 yards was thwarted by a brilliant block by King. It just wasn’t to be, and having shown their resilience (yes, strangely, that’s ‘Tottenham’ and ‘resilience’ in the same sentence) the visitors finally found a chink in our armour with six minutes to go when Lennon was allowed to cross from the right and via deflections off Bridge and Fulop, Crouch headed high into the net to send the visitors into raptures and us into despair. After that, City rather disappointingly lost heart, and it was game over. Surely we need to show more fight than that. The presence of Paul Dickov and Nicky Weaver on the pitch before the game should have been a reminder to anyone associated with Manchester City that you do not give up until the very last whistle is blown.

It was another night when we went to Eastlands and dared to hope but ultimately came away disappointed. Granted, it is another disappointment but many of us hoped for rather than expected Champions’ League qualification this season, so whilst we might not be able to attract the very top players straight away, to finish up qualifying for the Europa Cup is no tragedy. This is certainly not a case of ‘new dawn fades’. As Ian Cheeseman reminded us on the way home on BBC Radio Manchester, it is the first time that City have qualified for Europe on merit since 1978. Surely that is a positive? If we are patient as a club and as fans, we will surely be rewarded with sustainable success.

City played pretty well in this game and did not fail due to a lack of effort, but we did not move the ball quickly enough and our movement off the ball was not good enough. There were rather too many long balls as a result of the lack of options. Our passing also needed to be much sharper. When an option was on, there was often a delay in releasing the ball.

Tottenham were a slightly better side on the night and a slightly better all season in all truth. They looked a little more cohesive than City. This is partly down to the fact that their manager has had 18 months to work with his players, whilst Roberto Mancini has had only 6 months. The other reason is that Tottenham’s squad is a little better than ours. Whilst inevitably there will be some departing players this summer, we don’t need to throw away what we have and make wholesale changes. Some of the lesser squad players may need to be moved on (e.g. Santa Cruz, Garrido), and replaced with players who can fit straight into the first team (e.g. Olic, Boateng, Chiellini) thus increasing the overall quality available. City have the basis of a good team here, and we must build on it. We must keep Bellamy and Tevez here (surely Tevez must become the best paid player at the this club ahead of Robinho?) and we also have a very good manager in Roberto Mancini. No one gets every tactical decision right all the time, and yes we should have been more aggressive against United at least twice this season, and maybe more positive against Arsenal, but we have an accomplished manager here who has a track record of winning things (3 Serie A titles and 4 Coppa Italias to his name). No successful team in England is built by changing the manager every 6 months. We do not need another new boss spending 6 months finding out about these players and we certainly don’t need more points being dropped watching another Robinho non-performance away from home. What we need is continuity and a chance for Mancini to build his own team to compete with the best.

Att: 47,370

Fulop: Three top drawer saves and his handling was superb all night 9
Zabaleta: Hand his hands full with Bale and he did not pass the ball quickly enough. It was as if he was thinking too much 6
Toure: A very good defensive display but failed to test Gomes at the other end when well placed 7
Kompany: Struggled against the dangerous Crouch at times but let no one down here 6
Bridge: Lets wingers get their crosses in far too easily and this cost us late on 6
Johnson: Some great crosses in and made Gomes work hard despite being double marked 7
De Jong: Some crunching tackles won in the engine room and his tenacity helped make it an even contest 7
Barry: Good work in the middle. Hope his injury doesn’t cost him a trip to South Africa 7
Bellamy: It was a pity that he didn’t get the service he deserved and that his crosses weren’t converted 7
Tevez: He was thwarted by defensive brilliance. Industrious as ever and dropped deep to create, but to no avail 7
Adebayor: Needs to play with more discipline. Too often he was not in the middle to get on the end of crosses. His heading was poor and finishing was wayward when he was in position 5
Wright-Phillips (for Johnson): Too late to mark n/a
Vieira:Too late to mark n/a
Santa Cruz: What he did was poor but too late to mark in all fairness n/a

Best Oppo: Gomes: Shaded the underrated Crouch, the colossal Dawson (take him to the World Cup) and King with his match winning saves: 9
Refwatch: Steve Bennett: Seemed to see what he wanted to see: 5


There was no lap of honour from the players last night. Just a half hearted return to the middle. Come on guys, it wouldn’t take much to recognise the supporters properly at the end of a long, arduous season.


Thanks to Heidi and everyone at MCIVTA this season for putting together a cracking newsletter and thanks for all the contributors for making it such a good read. Thanks also if you have read my match reports etc. this season and for any constructive feed back, which is much appreciated. I will continue to write them next season though there may be a delay in my return as my wife is expecting a baby some time in August. In the meantime, I’ll continue venting my spleen on here (it’s kind of therapeutic isn’t it?). Have a good summer, and keep the faith.

CTID, Phil Banerjee <Philban65(at)>


Manchester City overcame a slow start to defeat Aston Villa and set up what is almost a fourth place decider with Tottenham on Wednesday.

Patrick Vieira started in midfield as Gareth Barry’s hamstring injury kept him out, and Emmanuel Adebayor was restored to the City attack. Villa, with 3 straight wins behind them were ominously unchanged for the 6th successive game.

It certainly wasn’t going to be Croquet and Petits fours on the lawn. Games against Villa are normally exciting affairs and this one was no exception, especially given both teams’ need to win to maintain their challenges for the fourth Champions’ League spot. Villa always come to attack and their need to win was evident from the start as they attacked with pace and vigour.

It wasn’t long before this paid dividends, and in the 17th minute with City’s defence in disarray, Downing found Carew who scored with ease to give Villa the lead. Either side of this early setback, Craig Bellamy had crosses palmed away by Brad Friedel, the first of which was dropping into the net, but City were on the back foot. City’s defensive uncertainty was underlined when Kompany was booked for an ill-timed challenged and after the Belgian failed to clear a dangerous Young cross from the right, we were lucky that Stewart Downing fired wide when well placed. Eastlands became all the more restless. City were looking very vulnerable to Villa’s swift counter attacks featuring Young, Downing and the speedy Agbonlahor, with Carew providing muscle in the middle.

When we had opportunities our finishing was wayward, Adam Johnson and Craig Bellamy both firing wide with half chances. City had two penalty shouts turned down, one when Zabaleta was floored with a tackle and the other an appeal for handball, which prompted the Villa fans to mock our appeals with repeated “Handball!” chants ever time anyone kicked the ball in the next minute!

Villa, though, were definitely carrying the greater threat and Milner’s goal-bound shot was gathered by Fulop at the second attempt. Despite all this, Patrick Vieira maintained his calm and kept passing the ball simply, and this seemed to transmit to his team mates. Kipling’s oft-used quote “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs…” certainly rang true again here. Sometime you cannot beat a bit of experience. Vieira has not enjoyed the best of starts at City and had looked a shadow of the great player that he was in previous games, but on this occasion he rolled back the years, making several clever interceptions and crunching tackles, playing good, common sense football, spreading the play and bringing the wide men into the game with his accurate passing.

With City building up some rhythm, Adebayor found Johnson down the right. The winger skilfully cut back from the bye-line and Warnock tripped him for a nailed-on penalty. Tevez enjoyed a bit of fortune in levelling the scores as his spot kick was straight down the middle and Friedel dived over it, but it didn’t matter as it had the required power. City were back!

Villa were having none of this, though, and from the kick off Carew hit the underside of the bar after clever Villa build up play. It proved to be a pivotal moment as Villa were never to get so close again, and within a minute City were in front. Man-of-the-Match Vieira found Johnson with a sweeping pass out to the right, and delaying his cross expertly, the young winger found Adebayor who swept in low from close range to put City 2-1 up. Eastlands overflowed with jubilation.

The second half started with City trying to get a decisive third goal: Tevez and Adebayor had shots deflected behind for corners then a curling Bellamy shot that was heading for the top right hand corner was brilliantly tipped around the post by Friedel. Tevez dropped deeper into a prompting midfield rôle, but with City looking rather jaded in attack, the Villa defence, led by the returning Dunne, held firm.

Having failed to make the game safe early in the 2nd period, City sat deeper, inviting Villa on, and playing on the break. Martin O’Neill made a double change, replacing Warnock with Heskey, and Carew with the speedy Defouneso. The highly impressive Milner was pulling the strings in their midfield, spraying passes round the park. O’Neill’s Villa tend to play the ball wide and rain in crosses, rather than play passes through the middle of a defence, leaving their attack lacking a bit of variation. The crosses that City had to defend, particularly from Ashley Young, were of the highest quality, and our defence had to be at its best to deal with them. Fulop effectively punched away a clutch of searching crosses. Kompany’s aerial power was put to good effect on several occasions and Zabaleta was particularly impressive in this aspect, nipping in ahead of Villa strikers to make several far post headed defensive clearances. Vieira was a very effective front screen for the back four, and used his height to good effect to make several headed clearances at set pieces.

City indeed held firm in the face of a deluge of crosses. In contrast to the first half City’s defence was very impressive under pressure with Zabaleta being the pick of the bunch, giving a model full back’s performance. He made several powerful tackles to win the ball and start off attacks.

Mancini looked to re-launch City’s impetus and sent on Wright-Phillips for Johnson who received a richly deserved ovation. The change proved decisive. After an initial period down the right, the little winger was switched to the left from where he made a mazy, jinking run, hurdling tackles that would have made the great Olympian Ed Moses proud. Having beaten two men with his skill, agility and pace, SWP squared the ball for Bellamy who cut inside and unleashed a superb curling shot that made the game safe. It was great to see everyone mob the popular winger as we joyously celebrated this clinching goal.

There were emotional scenes at the end with Richard Dunne hugged by his former team mates. There is no underestimating the esteem that he is held in particular by the likes of SWP, Nedum Onuoha and Micah Richards, and their greetings in particular were heartfelt. Was that a tear that the big fella wiped away? That respect is held in the stands too. Dunney was warmly received in this match without fuss, and he was applauded off the pitch and returned that applause. We would have been relegated years ago but for the likes of Richard Dunne and wouldn’t be in this happy position without his sterling efforts in a City shirt. Garry Cook would do well to realise that performances in City shirts are far more important than shirt sales in Beijing. Indeed, Martin O’Neill is right when he says that Dunney would have fought his way back into this City team, had he not been effectively pushed out of the door.

We will have to defend better than this on Wednesday night if we are to beat Tottenham. Villa are a good side, but the Cockneys are quite a bit better than that and have more variation to their attack. Wednesday will call for alertness, commitment and courage and for our players to take the game to the opposition. We have the skill and the quality to beat Tottenham and set up another “must win” game in the Finale at Upton Park. Forza Mancini and his men.

Att: 47,102

Fulop: Overcame a nervous start to give a good display, making the right decisions to punch under heavy pressure 6
Zabaleta: The one defender who played well from first to last. His was a very tenacious performance at right back and he used the ball well throughout 8
Toure: Caught napping for Villa’s goal and was partly responsible for the defensive chaos in the 1st half. Rallied in the 2nd half, making two crucial tackles 6
Kompany: Overcame a nervous start to form an important brick in the wall, especially when we came under pressure after the break 6
Bridge: Good to have him back but he still allows crosses to be fired in rather too easily. In attack, he must improve crossing to beat the first man more often 6
Johnson: He certainly outshone his former team mate Downing. His trickery and superb timing of his crosses were decisive and his ovation was well-deserved 7
Vieira: Imperious in the engine room. Easily his best game at City to date 8
De Jong: Such a consistent battler in central midfield 7
Bellamy: A real pleasure to watch and took his goal brilliantly 7
Tevez: Not his normal super-charged self, and seemed to be in pain from a couple of fierce foul-tackles, but still made much of City’s play from a deeper rôle 7
Adebayor: A frustrating player, but one who changes a game with his striker’s instinct 7

Sub: Wright-Phillips (for Johnson): His brilliant run down the left set up Bellamy for the clinching goal 7
Richards (for Tevez): Too late to mark n/a
Best Oppo: Milner: The complete midfield player who shows great judgment and accuracy in his passing. City should be looking at making an offer for the best young Englishman, who is a must for the World Cup 8
Refwatch: Clattenburg: Sometimes you wonder whether the attention span of a referee and their officials exceed that of a toddler. This was one of those occasions 6

Phil Banerjee <Philban65(at)>


Ten minutes after referee Steve Bennett ended City’s 1-0 loss to Tottenham, I was still staring at the TV screen feeling totally gutted.

City had done it again!

All the promise, all the anticipation of finally achieving something, tossed away by their inability to press their attack.

First off, all credit to Tottenham. Not needing to win, only needing to draw, they executed the perfect away tactics, absorbed City’s initial pressure, threatened on the counter and then, when City started to run out of steam and out of ideas, finished us off with one moment of finesse.

The sad thing is that City didn’t play that badly. Johnson, Tevez, Bellemy and Adebayor were a major threat and City’s defence certainly played Defoe and Lennon out of the match. Yet Ledley King and Gomes were outstanding for Spurs and we just couldn’t get that important first goal.

So we will have to settle for 5th spot and the Euro League and have to contend with United fans pointing out to us that they took care of Tottenham 3-1 only two weeks before.

What was really gutting is that the City fans sang their hearts out and couldn’t have done more for their team only again to be badly let down. And, after also losing in the Carling Cup semi’s to United and blowing our FA cup against Stoke, we have to admit City still can’t win the games that matter.

One player who did play well for us on Wednesday was goalie Martin Fulop. Couldn’t be faulted for the goal and made a series of outstanding saves in the second half when our defence was vulnerable.

Don’t know what this means for the future but City still have the nucleus of an outstanding team and if Mancini still has the job, and can retain most of his current stars and add a few more players, I can’t see us wasting points like we did against Hull, Burnley and Fulham, which ultimately did us in.

Crushed again! … but there’s always next year!

Keith Sharp – Toronto, Canada <keith(at)>


Last night’s result stung. It was painful walking down the spiral listening to Spurs’ fans celebrating. There was little end-of-season bonhomie between fans and players. Most walked out before or at the final whistle without acknowledging the players; if there was a ‘lap of honour’, few cared.

Two groups of City fans near me were trading blows after Spurs scored. One Mancunian granddad was sick of hearing another moaning all season. I kid you not, they had to be separated by their sons and grandsons.

My gut reaction after watching the match and trudging through the East Manchester wasteland (I grew up in Gorton) was that it was the apt finale to another disappointing season. But the morning after did not seem so bad, even after reading the back pages of the UK newspapers. We are guaranteed our highest Premier League finish, highest number of points, we qualified for European competition for the first time since the late 1970s on merit rather than for kicking the least opponents, we have the highest average attendance for at least a generation and we have a squad of high quality (but overpaid) players.

I also feel slightly better after finding my name on the front cover of last night’s programme. I hope that Mancini is not released and we have a period of stability at the top. How else can we hope to move forward? I went on the stadium tour on the day before the Spurs match and heard an interesting Mancini snippet. He no longer allows players to drive to a home match on the day. The team stays in a local hotel and is transported to the ground in a coach ahead of the kick-off, as would happen for an away fixture. It’s a small way to try to build team spirit. It cannot be bought or be forced to happen overnight. It took Chelsea a couple of seasons. It will happen if Mancini is given the time to get it right.

We were beaten by the better team on the night. Crouch is another Niall Quinn: awkward to play against but effective, and a better player than he gets credit for. Capello should take him to South Africa. Not because he’s a ‘world class’ striker. He’s not. He is a defender’s nightmare though, and he battles away for the cause. Crouch and Rooney are like chalk and cheese, which is what you want. Adebayor on the other hand had a very poor game last night. To make it worse, when Santa Cruz was brought on, they stood in the same spot and looked equally clueless. I’m not going to criticize Adebayor, others will do that. The manager picked the team and the formation. Tevez played in a deeper rôle than he probably likes, and the central defenders did not excel against Crouch and Defoe. Spurs are ahead of us and it showed last night. I would be gutted if we had to beat Wigan or Stoke to make fourth spot and failed. The gap will close next season with a couple of signings and greater team spirit. We will be back to square one with the latter if the manager is swapped.

See you in New York in late July for those that make it. In last night’s programme there was reference to a City-friendly bar called the ‘Mad Hatter Saloon’. This could be a meeting place ahead of the City games in New York.

Neil Adshead <neil.adshead(at)>


The MCIVTA keyboards will be smoking across the world so I’ll make this short.

The Spurs result was devastating but made even more so by the lack of effort of so many players and the ease with which Spurs knocked the shape out of City with apparent ease in the second half. We were smothered and had no answer. Ten minutes into the second half and you knew it was going to end badly.

Long term, perhaps the inability of City to clinch fourth spot will prove a good thing and this time next year we will be saluting them as league champions.

Mancini will re-make the team during the off-season. He inherited this one and deserves a chance to create his own squad on which he will rise or fall. Hopefully he won’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. I would like to see Bellamy stay but there are strong indications he won’t. We need a world class striker with poise, skill and courage and some organizational backbone in defence. Lescott was looking promising before his injury. Perhaps he will be the answer to our rear guard problems. Given the money he cost, and the money he is being paid, would it be too much to ask?

It’s difficult to make a case for Stephen Ireland because he has been appalling and listless under Mancini. He will leave, doubtless re-emerge as the brilliant, creative force we know him to be and come back to bite us. And Micah Richards, a player of huge potential, has seen a similar decline. And SWP. It’s troubling because it points to inadequate coaching and iffy man management.

Adebayor has much demonstrated skill but compared to the likes of Tevez and Bellamy, he’s lazy. He was dreadful and frustrating in this vital game against Spurs and he was equally dreadful against Arsenal where he looked like he didn’t want to be on the field. Given the emotional weight of that game, it was a mistake to play him. We could, and should, have won. Brilliant as he can be, Adebayor seems to have difficulty reading a game. If he leaves during the off-season, I sincerely hope he takes Santa Cruz with him. A potted plant would be equally effective.

Barry is a disappointment and Bridge much the same. Vieira is past it.

I wonder too whether Brian Kidd will be long at Mancini’s side. TV images can be deceiving but it seems they have little chemistry.

For all the money and talent that money has bought, this was very much a typical Manchester City season: consistently inconsistent, always threatening to disappoint and ultimately coming good with the threat.

It is my fellow masochists, why we keep coming back for more.

Chris Cobb <cobsun(at)>


I could say that it was typical City to lose to Spurs but it wasn’t because the better team won tonight. The key word in that sentence being team – something we patently are not. If Adebayor is £25 million worth of player then I’m worth about £14 million and I’m fat, bald and half blind.

A lot of those in a blue shirt tonight are there because of the money and we’re lead by a defensive bore of a manager. Hopefully this result will see the back of Mancini and I hope he takes the half the overpaid mercenaries with him. We got what we deserved against a team who play the way I want City to.

Arthur Magee <arthurmagee(at)>


Great win for City on Saturday. Just a couple of points to make. Thought Vieira really came through in midfield and I thought Zabaleta was superb at right back. Same again against Tottenham but we might have to have a long look at the left back spot, knowing we are going up against Lennon, who destroyed us in the 3-0 away loss. Might be an idea to bring in Barry to replace Bridge.

I also hope Mancini gives SWP more time on Wednesday. I thought his sprint from the halfway line to set up Bellamy was the play of the game. It’s great that we have Johnson, Bellamy and SWP on the wings but I do feel SWP gives us an extra gear. Maybe bring him on around the 60th minute to keep the pressure on.

On thing I have to remark on in watching the City-Villa game on Setanta in Toronto is the disgustedly biased commentating by one former Rag, Lou Macari. This guy wouldn’t last one week in North America. He spent the first 20 minutes moaning about the injustice of Dunne’s transfer, then he rabbits on about how useless Adebayor is and how City fans hate him? Obviously didn’t see him play against Burnley and Birmingham – and of course Macari shut his trap when Adebayor put us in front. Then Macari spent the second half whingeing about Mancini’s negative tactics until we went up 3-1 and in his final insult, claims he couldn’t find one City player worthy of his man of the match selection – which he gave to Carlos Cuellar!

Sentanta must be really hard up to give this w****r a commentary job. For the game on Wednesday, we’ll probably get David Pleat! So long as we stuff them, I couldn’t care less.

Come On You Blues!

Keith Sharp – Toronto Canada <keith(at)>


Regarding Philip Telford’s note in MCIVTA 1630, City are actually playing games in Portland (Oregon), New York and Baltimore during their July pre-season tour. We are in close contact with management at City about match day events and will keep everyone informed as soon as we have finalised details. You can always check up on our website for latest news.

In the meantime, I can tell you that our home base in NYC (and the USA for that matter) is The Mad Hatter pub on 3rd Ave, between 26th and 27th Streets in Manhattan. All visitors are very welcome and there is always a great atmosphere for live games, all of which are televised there.

There will be several events at the pub during the tour and we are expecting quite a large influx of Blues from the UK (and elsewhere no doubt) so it promises to be a good time all round.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Michael Warren – Chairman, Manchester City Supporters NYC <michael(at)>


I am a City fan living in York. My wife and I were seasoncard holders until the birth of our daughter four years ago; I used to write the odd report for this esteemed organ! I wrote in a couple of years back and a couple of York-based subscribers did kindly get in touch, but the financial side of parenthood prevented me from going.

If there are still people in York who travel to City matches, or have a seasoncard to loan out from time to time, I would be really interested in making contact for our Championship-winning season 2010-11!

Mike Bains <MikeBains2006(at)>


Win tickets to A Question of Sport and support the NSPCC’s Save this Number Campaign

This month the NSPCC is running a three week Save this Number campaign with Barclays Premier League and Football League clubs across the UK. Players and supporters are being invited to save the NSPCC Helpline number: 0808 800 5000 in their phones in case they are ever concerned about the welfare of a child. Football clubs, including Manchester City FC are promoting the campaign in their match day programmes and on their websites.

What is the NSPCC Helpline?

The NSPCC Helpline is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Helpline staff are there to offer advice and support to adults concerned about a child. When you call, you don’t have to tell us who you are, you can remain anonymous. The most important thing is to call.

Why save the number?

You never know when a child might need you. Not all children can speak out for themselves. We are asking you to save our helpline number to your phone in case you need to call us with a concern about a child’s welfare. You may be that child’s only hope.

Win tickets to A Question of Sport live filming!

To celebrate the launch of the campaign we’re offering supporters the chance to win two tickets to see A Question of Sport being filmed. You’ll share some laughs and test your sporting knowledge whilst they film the quiz, and get to meet the stars of the show afterwards. You can also win two tickets to one of the live tour shows. For your chance to win, just text NSPCC to 83138. And whilst your phone is in your hand, why not save the Helpline number? 0808 800 5000 (texts cost £1.50; at least 92p goes towards helping the NSPCC Helpline continue to answer calls to protect children; lines close 28 May).

Rebecca Taylor <rtaylor(at)>


5 May 2010

Fulham                0 - 1  Stoke City            20,831
Manchester City       0 - 1  Tottenham Hotspur     47,370

3 May 2010

Wigan Athletic        2 - 2  Hull City             20,242
Blackburn Rovers      2 - 1  Arsenal               26,138

2 May 2010

Liverpool             0 - 2  Chelsea               44,375
Fulham                3 - 2  West Ham United       24,201
Sunderland            0 - 1  Manchester United     47,641

1 May 2010

Birmingham City       2 - 1  Burnley               24,578
Manchester City       3 - 1  Aston Villa           47,102
Portsmouth            3 - 1  Wolverhampton Wndrs   19,213
Stoke City            0 - 0  Everton               27,579
Tottenham Hotspur     1 - 0  Bolton Wanderers      35,852

League table to 22 May 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         37 16  1  1 60 14 10  4  5 35 18 26  5  6  95  32  63  83
 2 Manchester Utd  37 15  1  2 48 12 11  3  5 34 16 26  4  7  82  28  54  82
 3 Arsenal         37 14  2  2 44 15  8  4  7 35 26 22  6  9  79  41  38  72
 4 Tottenham H.    37 14  2  3 40 12  7  5  6 25 25 21  7  9  65  37  28  70
 5 Manchester City 37 12  4  3 41 20  6  8  4 31 24 18 12  7  72  44  28  66
 6 Aston Villa     37  8  8  2 29 15  9  5  5 23 23 17 13  7  52  38  14  64
 7 Liverpool       37 13  3  3 43 15  5  5  8 18 20 18  8 11  61  35  26  62
 8 Everton         37 10  6  2 34 21  5  7  7 25 28 15 13  9  59  49  10  58
 9 Birmingham City 37  8  9  2 19 13  5  2 11 18 32 13 11 13  37  45  -8  50
10 Stoke City      37  7  6  6 24 21  4  8  6 10 23 11 14 12  34  44 -10  47
11 Blackburn R.    37 10  6  3 28 18  2  5 11 12 37 12 11 14  40  55 -15  47
12 Fulham          37 11  3  5 27 15  1  7 10 12 27 12 10 15  39  42  -3  46
13 Sunderland      37  9  7  3 32 19  2  4 12 15 35 11 11 15  47  54  -7  44
14 Bolton Wndrs    37  5  6  7 24 30  4  3 12 16 36  9  9 19  40  66 -26  36
15 Wigan Athletic  37  6  7  6 19 24  3  2 13 18 47  9  9 19  37  71 -34  36
16 Wolves          37  4  6  8 11 21  4  5 10 19 34  8 11 18  30  55 -25  35
17 West Ham United 37  7  4  7 29 28  1  6 12 17 37  8 10 19  46  65 -19  34
18 Hull City       37  6  5  7 22 29  0  6 13 12 46  6 11 20  34  75 -41  29
19 Burnley         37  6  5  7 21 28  1  1 17 17 52  7  6 24  38  80 -42  27
20 Portsmouth      37  5  3 11 24 32  2  4 12 10 33  7  7 23  34  65 -31  19

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v0910.01]

[1] MCIVTA Addresses

Articles (Heidi Pickup)          :
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[2] What are MCIVTA’s publishing deadlines?

Deadlines for issues are nominally 6pm, Monday and Thursday evenings by email. Unfortunately we cannot accept email attachments.

[3] MCIVTA Back Issues and Manchester City Supporters’ home page is the unofficial Manchester City Supporters’ home page. Created in 1994, it is the longest running of the Manchester City related web sites. Back issues of MCIVTA are also hosted on the site. You can also follow on to get the latest updates.

[4] What is the club’s official web site?

The official club web site can be found at and the official club Twitter page at The club also has a facebook page at

[5] What supporters’ clubs are there?

Manchester City FC recognises three supporters’ clubs: The “Official Supporters Club” (; the “Centenary Supporters’ Association” ( and “The International Supporters’ Club”.

[6] Where can I find out about Points of Blue (formerly the Fans’ Committee)?

The committee operates as an interface between supporters and the club. Points of Blue appears on the club website as a minor entry under “Fans Zone”.

[7] What match day broadcasts are available on the web?

The Radio Manchester (née GMR) pre and post match phone-in is available on the web at

Live match commentaries and archives of games, reports and interviews can be found at

[8] Where can I find out if City are live on satellite TV? provides a listing of Premiership games being shown on UK domestic and foreign satellite channels. Useful sites for North American viewers are,, and

[9] Do we have a Usenet newsgroup?

Yes we do: is our home on usenet. If you are not familiar with usenet, a basic explanation is available here:,289893,sid9_gci213262,00.html

[10] Do any squad members have their own web pages?

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

[11] Where can I find match statistics?

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

The views expressed in MCIVTA are entirely those of the subscribersand there is no intention to represent these opinions as being thoseof Manchester City Football Club, nor of any of the companies anduniversities by whom the subscribers are employed. It is not inany way whatsoever connected to the club or any other relatedorganisation and is simply a group of supporters using this mediumas a means of disseminating news and exchanging opinions.

[Valid3.2]Heidi Pickup,

Newsletter #1631