Newsletter #1634

We have opinion tonight on the season just gone, a look ahead at deals to be done over the summer, and England’s World Cup bid, together with MK Blues’ end of season bash.

Next Game: TBA


A disappointing end to what has been a good season, a vast improvement compared with the last decade. The reason why we didn’t get the all-important chance to play in a tricky qualifier for the Champions’ League isn’t the results against Burnley and Hull, but those against the teams 4th to 8th:

Spurs     L3-0, L1-0
Villa     D1-1, W3-1
Liverpool D2-2, D0-0
Everton   L2-0, L2-0

A total of W1, D3, L4 and failed to score in 5 of these games. If we can turn this round next season then not only will we be in the Champions’ League but possibly also not needing to go through a qualifier first.

Personally, I’d still sooner have a trophy than Champions’ League football. And I think that the Europa League is a poison on our season and we should treat it in the same way that top teams treat the League Cup i.e. reserves/kids only. How can you have a serious competition when Champions’ League failures get a second chance in it? It destroys the whole ethos of the competition. If they really need somewhere else to enhance their revenue streams, why not have a ‘Champions’ Plate’ competition?

Still, that’s it until August, though I will be cheering Blackpool on at Wembley next week. Well, it seems like a good chance to get into the habit of going to Wembley…

Alastair Hayes <hayesa1(at)>


Well, what a season eh? One of further inconsistency, which ensures that we don’t actually achieve anything apart from qualifying for the European mickey mouse league thingy.

A season in which we lose only 7 games (bettered only by Chelsea) and yet draw 13 games (worse only by Stoke at 14 draws).

A season in which we do the double over the Champions yet allow Neverton to do the double over us, we fail to turn up at Dull and struggle at home to them. We take the Dingles apart at Turf Moor yet struggle at home to allow the 3-3 draw; the only point that they get outside of Turf Moor until they beat a very poor Dull City.

We contrived to lose 3 games against Yoonited in injury time.

We played far too defensively in too many games. We lost the Carling Cup tie against Yoonited when we took off Tevez in the home leg instead of pressing a poor Yoonited team into submission. We played too defensively home and away against the very poor red Dippers.

People say “that’s Mancini’s way, the Italian way”, well, Ancelotti seems to have managed to play the English way in a successful ‘double’ season; that’s the type of football that I would like to see at Eastlands. He wouldn’t have played with the ‘let’s not lose’ mentality against Spuds, and neither would Mourinho. That was a game that we should have played with a ‘let’s go and win it’ mentality.

Finishing 5th is a fantastic achievement (even though 4th was ours to lose) but it merely papers over a lot of cracks. A lot more surgery needs doing over the summer in all areas of the club and then maybe we will be better equipped all round to mount a better bid for Champions’ League football and dare I say it (or dream it) the Premier League?!

Ah well, another 2 weeks to go before I can renew my seasoncard for the South Stand for another roller coaster season being a City fan. Bring it on!

Keep the faith.

Andrew Keller <akcity(at)>


When I was a lad, my dad told me all about the time that he went with my Granddad to watch a World Cup match at Hillsborough back in 1966. He regaled me with tales of West Germany (Franz Beckenbauer, Helmut Haller et al) thrashing Uruguay 4-0. Like many other people in our country, I was rather hoping that I’d be able to take my wife and children to the World Cup in a few years time. Now I have serious doubts that it is going to happen, and all because The Mail On Sunday has wired up someone to tape and publish the private conversations of the then Chairman of the FA, Lord Triesman, who has now resigned.

Triesman may have been indiscreet in his views but that is his only mistake. He is only thinking what a lot of us already believe, i.e. that World Cup and Olympic bids are often riddled with bribery and corruption. What is wrong with thinking that or talking about it privately? He had every right to expect that those views would be kept private, especially from someone whom he considered a friend. Of course it is impossible for Triesman to continue as leader of the 2018 England World Cup bid now that his views about the Spanish and Russian bids have been made public, but The FA and Bid have lost a good leader (one who had the interests of the game as a whole at heart), and the bid has possibly suffered a serious blow from which it may never recover, all because of the narrow self interests of The Mail on Sunday.

Indeed the 2018 World Cup Bid has been dealt a serious blow by a newspaper that selfishly put its own profits first to get a “good” story (“bad story” might be more appropriate). The Mail could of course be pursuing another agenda at the same time: a political agenda. The Mail on Sunday and the Daily Mail are well known for their strident right wing stances. Lord Triesman is a Labour Peer who has served in Government.

I very rarely buy the Mail on Sunday or the Daily Mail and I have only bought either when there has been an interesting story about City (I certainly don’t buy them for their narrow, skewed view of world politics). I will never buy either paper, ever again, and I would urge all football fans to do the same due to the damage that they have done to English Football.

Phil Banerjee <Philban65(at)>


Dear Reader,

Please accept my apologies with regards ‘That was the season that was’ piece that I submitted last week; it was brought to my attention that after a couple of last minute cut and pastes (after I’d wrote it and proof-read it) that this piece didn’t quite read as it should have done! D’oh! So, I’ll resubmit it hopefully sans errors and a couple of extra points.

Best wishes, Phil Banerjee

We can look back on a good season. Our 5th place was indeed our best placing since Peter Reid’s tenure.

Of course it depends on your perspective as to how successful you think City were. Even with the £200 million plus investment, it was not realistic for us to expect Champions’ League qualification this year. Hope, yes, but expect, no.

So from that perspective, whilst it is very disappointing to just miss out on a Champions’ League spot, having got so close, 5th place represents a successful season for City. It takes time to build a team and Tottenham have been building theirs for a few years now (it’s not that long ago that Martin Jol steered them to 5th place). Indeed, their current manager has been in situ for 18 months, whilst in contrast, Roberto Mancini has had 5 months.

Wearing the best City kits in years (well done the MCFC and Umbro), we enjoyed a blinding start under Mark Hughes and the win over Arsenal was a memorable occasion. Forget the Arsenal fans and their inability to take Adebayor’s celebration after giving him appalling stick, it was a classic game of football. Unfortunately, in the autumn, we became mired with a succession of draws, and in particular, our failure to beat Burnley and Hull at Eastlands ultimately led to Hughes being under pressure, despite a thrilling 2-1 win over Chelsea and reaching the League Cup Semi Final with a brilliant win over Arsenal.

Writing as someone who did not want Hughes sacked, December 19th, the date of the Sunderland home game was a very sad day. Many of us expected him to be given the whole season at least to prove that he could make a top six spot. Many other Blues took a different view and thought that Hughes should have been aiming higher, that he was not the man to lead City into the top 4 this season.

Carlos Tevez had been pleading for the owners to give Hughes more time, but it wasn’t to be. Even though we won 4-3 that day, despite chaotic defending, and we were in 6th place, we were walking out of the game to widespread talk that Hughes had already been sacked and that Roberto Mancini was to come in until the end of the season. So it proved to be, and the club issued a statement to that Hughes had been sacked that evening. The press conference heralding the arrival of the Italian a couple of days later was a Public Relations disaster (though not Mancini’s fault), and hopefully the club (in particular Garry Cook) will learn from this. We will never know how well Mark Hughes would have done. Could he have delivered a first trophy to City after 35 years? Would he have maintained such a strong challenge for 4th place? It is all academic now.

Whatever our views on the Hughes sacking, the owners have put a lot of money into the club, so it is their choice as to how they spend their money. They want success like we do, so we move on. They have reinvigorated Manchester City to the point where it is now, i.e. on the threshold of challenging for future honours, and for that we are truly grateful. They have chosen well in Roberto Mancini who has done a very good job thus far in his time here. He has worked the players harder and whilst more work needs to be done to improve, he has tightened up the City defence. The silly goals are not being conceded, we defend better as a team, the central defence looks more solid and our full backs are much more alert to cover their centre backs. Vincent Kompany has been the mainstay of the rearguard in the second half of the season and hopefully he can form a successful partnership with Jerome Boateng or Joleon Lescott next term.

The players should not be complaining about double training sessions. They are well paid to do a job (a job that many of us would love to do) and they should be focusing on improving, and that goes for every City player, even the best.

In any case Mancini has only had four of these sessions in five months. His focus on tactics has paid dividends and City are harder to beat now than they were in the first half of the season. That is down to Mancini’s attention to detail and it is encouraging that he intends to work even harder next season.

Mancini kept the team in the hunt for 4th place until that fateful last home game with Tottenham and deserves much credit for that. We weren’t quite good enough to overhaul Tottenham at the end of the day, but that is no disgrace. We are definitely making significant progress.

We have some high class players at this club (Given, Hart, Kompany, de Jong, Barry, Tevez, Bellamy and Johnson), and several decent players to support them and we should be adding to this squad rather than making wholesale changes. Mehmet Ozil of Werder Bremen and Germany may give us even more ability to unlock defences with his play-making ability and eye for a pass. We’ll have to be quick, though, if we want him as he’s bound to spotted at the World Cup, and in any case, Bayern Munich have a tendency to hoover up Deutschland’s best talent. If we can get another World Class player that would be great, though more difficult now that we are not in the Champions’ League. Any “marquee name” would only help to keep Tevez from the clutches of Real Madrid, who will surely buy another big name, but any big name has to be hungry for success. We don’t need another Robinho. We must do all we reasonably can to keep Tevez and Bellamy (if they are happy to stay) and bring in a top class striker to support them, as well as another winger. If Adebayor is to stay, he needs top class competition to keep him sharp, as there were times when he just didn’t look interested. Ivica Olic would be a very good signing, given his intelligence, eye for a goal and workrate. Hopefully SWP’s contract issue will be resolved but he cannot expect the top wage here, given his inconsistency. He certainly has a big part to play, especially with what he hope will be a long, successful Europa league campaign and the fact that his presence provides competition for places. For a similar reason and also because of Shay Given’s bad injury to his shoulder, surely Joe Hart must return to City for next season when we will two high quality ‘keepers. Indeed, our squad will be tested to the full but there already are good foundations in place. The attitude of players like Pablo Zabaleta is admirable and any successful club will be built on durable players like him. The weaker squad members (e.g. Santa Cruz, Garrido) and players who don’t have a winning mentality (i.e. Robinho, Petrov) should find new clubs, though that might be difficult given the wages that we pay and the transfer fees paid. It is better for the club not to have any disruptive influences.

I am really pleased that our chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak has confirmed that Roberto Mancini will stay on as manager. It puts to bed any speculation about a new manager coming in, and allows the manager to prepare for next season. He can have a run at the transfer market, bring in his own players (it will be harder though) and use his time to work on tactics and fitness work with his players.

We have the continuity that the club needs. We need stability and to build on what we have. We have a good squad here, and we need to make it even better so that we can challenge for honours and get into the Champions’ League.

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


I am pleased that the usual furore about changing the manager seems to have died down although if Mourinho became available, then that might be a different matter.

I have followed City since I went to Maine Road just after the War, WW2 that is. We beat Leicester City one nil in the old Second Division. It was a holiday weekend and we had gone to Maine Road the day before to watch the Rags playing Bolton Wanderers in the old First; we were allowing “Salford United” to use our ground; can you imagine what would have happened if our rôles had been reversed, although United were a different outfit then to what they are now.

Although United were the first team I ever saw, when I watched City it was no contest. Though City contained my idol, Frank Swift, the greatest goalkeeper ever! I can remember most of the team that day: Sproston and Westwood at full backs, Les McDowall captain and centre half, and Jimmy Constantine at centre forward and the goal scorer that day.

I still miss Maine Road, and although I live in Norfolk I do try to get to one or two games a season; the last couple of games I have travelled from Yarmouth as I still have friends and relatives in the area.

I really look forward to receiving MCIVTA.

Keep the faith.

Brian Rawling <brian.rawling(at)>


It’s not just City fans looking to scan a rhyme that will be heading for Lansdowne Road (we are coming).

UEFA don’t allow sponsored names for stadia, so for the Europa League final, it is Lansdowne Road, not the Aviva stadium.

Steve Parish <bloovee(at)>


Milton Keynes OSC will be holding its “end of season” event on Thursday May 20th at the Caldecotte Arms, Bletchley. Special guests at the event will be Steve Sayer (Chief Commercial Officer) and Danny Wilson (Head of Supporter Experience) plus also our Branch President, Susan Bookbinder.

There will also be a prize quiz. The event starts at 8pm. There is no formal entry fee but there will be a collection for branch funds.

The link below gives details of the venue but if you’d like any more information please contact me.

If you would like to come along to the meeting then please let me know as there will be a password required for entry on the night … !

Steve Maclean – Secretary, MCFC Supporters’ Club, Milton Keynes <secretary(at)>

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Newsletter #1634