Newsletter #1643

Another abysmal performance by England against Algeria and after the game former team captain Terry was giving one of the strangest interviews ever where he seemed to give little credit to the plans of his manager Fabio Capello. Well, within a couple of hours the three lions are about to face the writing on the wall. It’s either a win or ‘good golly miss molly’.

Just to point out the fine line between success and failure. Another draw and the England team are going home in shame, and our three boys with them. A competent performance and a win against Slovenia may result in a good run towards the quarter/semi-finals and accolades all over the world. I for one believe that the atmosphere with the cold weather, vuvuzelas, short grass, and magic ball are doing the English no favours. It’s more of a Latin American game, and Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil and Chile seem to manage the fluid dynamics a lot better.

As for City news it’s mostly WC and transfer stuff. Yaya Toure looks certain to sign by now, and a deal for David Silva also looks imminent. Across town Sir Red Nose has cast his eyes on our own Micah. Maybe a £12 million deal will be agreed during the summer? Martin Petrov has joined Bolton – who could have believed that a couple of seasons ago? Some great and perhaps provocative thoughts on the ongoing WC, transfers and the state of the union (flag) so to speak.

Oh and City open the new league season against Spurs and Liverpool. See the full fixture list here:

Next Game: July 23rd, Sporting Lisbon (New York/US Tour)


I’m not sure about England but in Australia on ‘sbs’ not only did we have to watch an insipid display by England but had to listen to the dulcet tones of Ally McCoist as the second commentator. I’m not anti-Scottish as I’m married to a Scot but what is that about? No Englishman available!

There are many reasons to compare England with City; at times they can frustrate the hell out of you regardless of the fact that they contain some top class players, they don’t always turn up psychologically and that is the responsibility of the coach. As in typical City terms, we can look forward to winning our next match 3-0 and going on a good run to the semi-finals where we will lose in the 95th minute via a Wayne Rooney own goal!

Tony Higginson <Tony.Higginson(at)>


Just watched an awful performance by a poor England side, and came to this conclusion… there just aren’t enough decent English players plying their trade in the Premier League.

It’s all very well getting the best names in world football to come, but what effect does it have on English football?

City and Spurs finishing 5th and 4th I think bears out the theory I have that the Premier League is getting weaker. At times Spurs and City were awful, and if they are the best we have behind the usual three suspects, then I think English football is in trouble. And I don’t have an axe to grind, being a New Zealander, and played enough 1st team football here and in Australia to know a little about football, and the way it is played.

The English quota can’t come quick enough if English football needs to survive. Nobody is worth £160-200 grand a week.

Now all I need is New Zealand to get something against Italy tomorrow morning! (nailed one there [ED])

That’ll p**s a few more Australians off!

Kevin Williamson <scribbs(at)>


A bit puzzled by some of our off-season transfer targets.

I understand, as I write this (Sunday) that we are about to sign Yaya Toure – who is a holding midfielder. I thought Gareth Barry played that position?

I assume we also have Boateng who is predominantly a left back, so where does that leave Wayne Bridge?

We are also going after Joe Cole to replace Craig Bellamy, which I think is a huge mistake. Cole will never settle in the North and Bellamy has already proven his loyalty and ability. I’d rather keep Bellamy.

The City team that finished fifth only needs a couple of additions. A creative midfielder and a dependable striker. Just hate the idea of wasting more petrol pounds for players who will not add anything to the current line-up.

Here’s hoping on Wednesday.

Keith Sharp, Toronto Canada <keith(at)ACCESSMAG.COM>


Before the silly season gets fully into gear when all the players suddenly become ‘available’ again after the World Cup, I just wondered what on earth our apparent transfer policy is? While some of the links will be nothing more than speculation/ the dragging up and recycling of old rumours/ the linking of every possible available player by agents, there can’t be no fire in all of them. So, my concern is that all the most consistent incoming transfer targets do not suitably address the team’s main problem positions. I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that City could do with 2 new full backs (with current first choices as first reserves) and, if they were available, some truly top class midfield creativity and strike power. So why are we allegedly looking to buy:

Yaya Toure – an overpriced principally destructive midfielder.

James Milner – horrendously overpriced and doesn’t look like he can play on the left; who is he going to replace in the centre or on the right?

David Silva – surely if he was truly world class in the creative department, Real Madrid or Barcelona would have taken him off Valencia’s hands several years ago as it’s not like their debt is a new problem. Also doesn’t strike me as a player who would quickly adapt to the Premier League. Think Özil would be a much better player to bid for.

And don’t even start me on some of the other suggestions (Gerrard, Kjaer) several of which sound like someone playing Championship Manager and buying people just ’cause they can or to stop others. I just hope the real targets are being quietly and efficiently pursued, actually address the principle problem areas, and appear with the minimum of pre-announcement speculation.

Thomas Bodey <t.w.bodey(at)>


City looking for a decent centre-back? Is there a better one going around now than Ryan Nelson, Blackburn and New Zealand’s captain? But then Big Sam would probably add 20 million to his price tag!

Still in awe of New Zealand’s performance, rates up there with USA beating England all those years back (yes I can just remember it!). One thing the Kiwis have is ‘heart’ and plenty of it, something England and to a lesser extent City could do with. Well the sun is shining, New Zealand are on top of the world, and England have John Terry… oh happy days.

Kevin Williamson <scribbs(at)>


England’s roads, and in particular, dual carriageways are littered with St George’s flags that have fallen off cars. It’s very symbolic: when the pace quickens and higher performance levels are expected of the England team, they are found wanting and are falling.

Fabio Capello and his failing England players heaped more brickbats and boos on themselves with another display against Algeria that lacked intelligence, inspiration and skill. Credit to Algeria who played fairly well and would have won if they had believed in themselves, because, it was the worst England performance in years (and there have been some terrible ones, and that includes every England performance under Steve McLaren). Also, unforgivably, the England players lacked passion. They should feel honoured to wear that shirt, yet they skulked around ineffectually like a mob of petulant, sulking teenagers. Also totally inexcusable was Rooney’s sarcastic reaction on camera to supporters who had paid thousands of pounds to travel to watch England. Too right that he apologised to the fans for his petulant outburst. He should also say sorry for his own pathetic performance that saw him pull out of at least one challenge. He showed complete ineptitude in his attempts to control the ball and his link up play was almost non-existent. Indeed, his poor form continued from the USA game, yet for some reason Fabio Capello chose not to substitute him. So much for Capello only selecting players in form. Rooney looks overweight and unfit: in fact he looks like Humpty Dumpty in a white kit. There’s no two ways about this: Rooney should be dropped.

The England players as a whole need to take a long, hard look at themselves. They were out-passed by an Algerian side who gave England a lesson in ball retention. It was our good fortune that the North African side lacked the quality in the final third of the pitch to really hurt England. England’s passing was sloppy and movement lacked conviction. Where was the inspiration? Steven Gerrard was very poor, and as Lee Dixon pointed out in his analysis, he kept drifting inside, which left Ashley Cole to contend with two men. Hardly the work of a captain taking residence. At least he accepted that England had been poor, unlike Wayne Rooney. In his defence, Steven Gerrard has never been a left winger in his life and shouldn’t be asked to play there. Just because it worked in the qualifiers against Andorran Farmer’s Cooperative Second Eleven Reserves, doesn’t mean it is going to work against better opposition. If Gerrard is to be selected, he has to be played in his best position, otherwise there’s no point him being on the pitch.

Only Gareth Barry, who saved England with some important interceptions (yet his game got worse as his fitness faded), Jamie Carragher and David James can really say they performed at anything like an acceptable level.

There is talk of players playing ‘with fear’, because of the rod of iron with which Capello is perceived to rule. What are they: men or mice? They should take a note out of England’s Italia ’90 players, who went to Bobby Robson and suggested a change of formation, and the rest is history. Maybe these players don’t care enough? It is also possible that they don’t have the intelligence of the likes of Lineker, Butcher, Waddle and Co. They should at least try to get the stubborn and inflexible Capello to change. At least dear Bobby Robson listened back in 1990. It takes a wise man to listen. Only a fool closes his ears.

Fabio Capello: is he a fool or can he change? He must change either the formation or some of his personnel. Why has a player with the exceptional goal-scoring record of Peter Crouch not been selected? Joe Cole shone in the last World Cup and did well at the back end of last season after a long lay-off and would be ideal to play on the left. Why has he been ignored?

It’s time to think the unthinkable and drop both Rooney and Gerrard. Neither have performed to anything like what is required. If Lampard doesn’t buck his ideas up in the first 20 minutes stick Milner alongside Barry and you’ll get far more energy from him than both Lampard and Gerrard put together.

Having failed to beat the USA and Algeria, the Slovenia game is clearly a ‘must win’ game. Both games were must win if England wanted to win the group. How can England win the game?

Bring in fresh players who want to win and give the players room to try something new. Allow the players more freedom to interchange positions rather than straight-jacket them into a stifling 4-4-2. That formation does not have to be so rigid as Capello’s so far. What happened to ‘Express yourself, it’s one on one…’?

Peter Crouch’s goalscoring record at international level is very good (21 goals in 40 games) so partner him with the hungry Defoe. Bring Joe Cole in on the left to add a bit of creativity. I’d like to see a team of:

James; Johnson, Dawson, Terry, A Cole; Lennon, Barry, Lampard, J Cole; Crouch, Defoe.

We can have Gerrard and Rooney on the bench with something to prove. It needs a shake up. Question is: is Fabio Capello capable of it? We shall see.

The spotlight is not only on the players but also on Capello’s poor performance in this World Cup. His stock has fallen ever since his ridiculous Capello Index idea found the light of day (did he seriously think that he would maintain our respect with such a crass idea?). People are now talking about Capello’s future within the FA, and rightly so after one average performance and one unspeakably bad performance against moderate opposition at the World Cup. When things have gone wrong, he has not been able to make changes that would have a positive impact on the game. Instead he has gone for like-for-like substitutions (e.g. SWP for Lennon) when a different approach was needed, and surprise, surprise, we have failed to get results. We are entitled to expect more from a man on £5m a year. If Capello fails to get out of a relatively easy group then he can have no complaints if he is sacked. In fact, reaching the quarter finals is the benchmark as to whether he should remain in post. The trouble is, our totally inept FA panicked before the World Cup and have removed the clause from his contract that allowed a parting of the ways without compensation. Another FA own goal.

England customarily start badly in tournaments, but there is a toxicity to the atmosphere surrounding this one and a worrying lack of unity in the camp. Whatever John Terry might say (and I’m not inclined to believe him) the players don’t like Capello’s methods and there is a widening chasm between players and coaching staff. David James’ articulate veiled criticism of Capello after the Algeria game betrayed this. What may have worked in the qualifiers when players can go back to their clubs after a few days is clearly not working when players are corralled together in a strict regime for four or five weeks. Whilst there was a need for these England to have some discipline after more previously lax regimes and poor performances, Capello has taken his macho man management too far. Forcing players to rest to stay in their rooms for 5 hours at a time, banning mobile phones, preventing them from seeing their wives/girlfriends, making everyone leave the dinner table at the same time is all unnecessary, destructive stuff. They may be overpaid, feckless and pampered prima donnas, but they are human (even Wayne Rooney). Most of them miss their families (ok, Terry might feel differently) and need contact with loved ones. Treat them like adults and maybe they will act like adults.

We need an adult performance on Wednesday. And that includes the manager.

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


Sorry, but Phil Lines is a jingoistic t****r.

As someone who was born in Scotland, of English parents, brought up in Manchester, has a Welsh grandfather, an Italian grandmother and possesses residence qualifications (25 years) for Ireland I’d be happy if devotees of The Great British Vampire stuck their ‘union flag’ where the sun don’t shine and got out their crosses of St.George. In this way they could celebrate ‘Englishness’ rather than a bogus ‘Britishness’ (sorry guys, but it doesn’t exist in the heart of any but a far right few) and so the Scots/Welsh/Irish and this ‘mongrel’ could be happy and wave WTF we wanted without being stigmatised by people who should know better.

Remember, guys, England was but the first colony of The British Empire!

Ernie Whalley <bluevalentine(at)>


Don’t sign any of your dirty, cheating, diving compatriots to wear the blue of Man City – I couldn’t bear to see my team including such poor rôle models and wimps on over-inflated wages with little substance. Imagine what an Alan Shearer would have done to Chiellini, De Rossi, Cannavaro in a shoulder to shoulder or aerial challenge: sad (and almost as pathetic as the French) to try to beat NZ part-timers by resorting to Ronaldoism. Didn’t see Weiss diving all over the place a week ago did we, good lad. Oh and forget all these European centre backs, just sign Ryan Nelsen and make him captain, a quarter of the price and salary of some of the money grabbers around Europe and proven in the Premier League and now the World Cup as a leader, organiser and dependable defender – just ask Marcello Lippi!

P.S. – Nelsen versus Santa Cruz will be an interesting battle of ex-team mates – City signed the wrong guy!

Chris Loveridge <hawkeye11(at)>


May I through your columns thank all the supporter branches and individual groups of City fans who took part in last Saturday’s Charitable 5-a-side in aid of the MCFC supported Sierra Leone Appeal.

Through the entrance fees we raised £750, which will be doubled by the club giving us a magnificent £1,500 towards the Appeal.

I must also thank all the City supporting referees who gave their services completely free of charge saving us £200 in fees and taking the club’s contribution into account that actually amounts to £400. Some of those referees contacted me following the appeal on MCIVTA. So it’s also a big thank you to MCIVTA.

I must also thank the club for covering the hire cost of the pitches and also a thanks to City Legend Paul Lake who presented trophies to the successful teams.

In the not too distant future we are expecting to transport a vehicle to Sierra Leone packed with equipment for the two Manchester City football teams there. Some of the football equipment will also go to Manchester City Babies in Ghana. More news on the transport of the vehicle will be given once details are finalised.

Not for the first time I’m appealing to MCIVTA readers to donate football equipment for the Sierra Leone Appeal. City kit of any kind is particularly welcome, as is all City stuff. The football teams in Sierra Leone and Ghana welcome all donations of any kind that could be used in training, it doesn’t have to be City stuff.

Financial donations of any size are also appreciated. Cheques payable to MCCSA and all kit etc can be sent to me:

Alex Channon <alexchannon81(at)>


A man has tickets for the 2010 World Cup final. After he has been sitting in his seat for a few minutes, the man in the seat behind him taps him on the shoulder and asks if anyone is sitting in the seat next to him. “No,” he says, “the seat is empty.”

“Absolutely incredible!” said the man. “Who in their right mind would have a seat like this for the World Cup Final, one of the great sporting events, and not use it?”

“Well actually,” he says, “the seat belonged to my wife. She was supposed to come with me but she passed away. This is the first World Cup final we haven’t been to together since we got married.”

“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that,” replies the man. “That’s terrible. But couldn’t you find someone else to take the seat? A friend or relative, or even a neighbour?”

The man shakes his head and says, “No, they’re all at the funeral.”


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Newsletter #1643