Newsletter #1646

News from Alex tonight on the new season fixtures, a plethora of transfer rumours and the latest from South Africa.

We have opinion on the England teams and a World Cup request.

Finally the club announced today that David Platt is to be joining the backroom staff…

Next Game: Sporting Lisbon, 8pm, Friday 23 July 2010 (friendly NYFC)


General News

Testing Opener Will Spur Tottenham On: When the new Premier League fixtures were revealed two weeks ago, the opening tie between City and Spurs caught the eye of most. Having battled for fourth position last season, much is expected of the two clubs who shocked English football last term and a good start to the season will be crucial. Croatian midfielder Luka Modric revealed this week that the challenge of a home tie against Mancini’s Blues will be good for Spurs and will set a marker for the rest of the campaign: “First of all, it’s good to play such a strong team. We’ve always done well in the big games, especially at home, and City is certainly one of those games. It will be great if we can go out and win it and that will give us such confidence for the next games, just like we did against Liverpool at the start of last season. We started so well after that. It will be an interesting game, especially as we played them in the most important game of last season right at the end of the season. It will be interesting to play them again so soon after that.”

The Italian’s Job: Former Crystal Palace forward Attilio Lombardo has joined the coaching set-up at City. Lombardo, who has coached the Swiss national side in recent years, played alongside City chief Roberto Mancini during their time at Sampdoria and the 44-year-old is keen to begin his new challenge at CoMS. The Italian coach has not only been brought in to train players but will also be a part of Mancini’s Europa League preparations. In order to put City in the best position ahead of their European clashes next season, Lombardo will be travelling to watch the opposition sides ahead of their fixtures with the Citizens: “I’m proud to work alongside Mancini. For me this is a great opportunity for professional growth – working with a coach who has won so much. We always stayed in touch then he called me recently, to say, “Attilio, do you want to come here?” I immediately said yes. I’ll help him with some work on the pitch and then I’ll go to see a few games of City’s opponents, especially those in the Europa League.”

Squad News

Calling Time: 34-year-old City midfielder Patrick Vieira has announced his retirement from international football. The former Arsenal captain joined City from Inter Milan last January, in the hope that first team football at CoMS may stand him in good stead for a place in the French World Cup side. Raymond Domenech however, chose to overlook Vieira and the 1998 World Cup winner admits he has no plans to return to the international fold, despite ’98 team-mate Laurent Blanc having taken the reigns: “No, it wouldn’t be reasonable.”

The Rumour Mill

David’s Moving Forward: Spanish forward David Silva has officially signed for City in a deal reported to be worth £26.1 million. The winger from Valencia is currently representing his country at the World Cup and is highly rated by those in the know in world football, having been chased by both Chelsea and Real Madrid in recent years. The 24-year old has joined on a four-year-deal and has admitted that joining City was just too big an opportunity to turn down: “Firstly I would like to thank Valencia as a club and all of their loyal fans, and my team mates there and staff. I have enjoyed six years at Valencia, they discovered me as a footballer and they will always be a special club for me. The time is right for me to seek a new challenge, and I am thrilled about playing in England with Manchester City. I believe the Premier League is one of the best competitions in the world and I want to bring success to City and win trophies for them. I want to say that I always hoped to come to Manchester City and I am excited about my future there. They are a club with a great future with fantastic players. I want to be an important player in Manchester City’s history.”

Silva is Mancini’s second signing of the summer, following Germany’s Jerome Boateng into Eastlands, and the Italian manager is delighted to have captured the Spanish star’s signature: “I am so pleased he is coming to us, I think he can make a big, big impact for Manchester City. In signing David, we are showing the World that we are bringing the best players here and that we hope to compete to win the Premier League. When players see what is happening at Manchester City and the ambition they are attracted to what we are building and want to be a part of it.”

Dreaming the Impossible Dream: Cardiff Director Steve Borley has once again reiterated his club’s desire to prise City winger Craig Bellamy away from CoMS. Reports throughout last season suggested that the relationship between Bellamy and Mancini was not exactly steady and the Welshman has hinted that if he were to leave Eastlands this summer, Cardiff would be his most likely destination. Borley admits that his club are in no position to buy the former Liverpool forward but has spoken about the possibility of signing the 30-year-old in a loan deal similar to that which took Robinho to Santos last January: “It is an impossible dream but sometimes in football the impossible happens. On paper it looks impossible but you never know with these things. A lot of people would have said Manchester City loaning Robinho out to Santos would be impossible but that is exactly what happened. Effectively they sent him home. It would take a very generous Manchester City and a very lucky Cardiff City if it were to happen but we know how superb it would be, particularly for our supporters. But Craig is a Manchester City player and we respect that totally.”

Carlisle Calling Clayton: Carlisle United manager Gary Abbott is also intent on luring a City player away from Eastlands this summer, hoping that Adam Clayton would be keen on returning to the League One side for another year. Clayton had a successful spell at Brunton Park last term but had ruled out a return, instead choosing to fight for his place at City. Following the purchase of David Silva however, Abbott has again opened the door to the 21-year-old in case he finds himself surplus to requirements at CoMS: “At the minute Adam is away in Mexico but I have spoken to him and his agent all summer. He has spoken in the press about fighting for his Man City place and getting into their team. If that changes we would be daft not to make him an offer. We will decide what to do based on what happens with him at Man City in pre-season.”

‘Keep-ing Them Guessing: Legendary Real Madrid ‘keeper Iker Casillas has revealed this week that both Manchester clubs have expressed an interest in signing him this summer. The 29-year-old stopper has spent his whole career at the Spanish giants and is widely considered the best goalkeeper in the world, yet the arrival of Jose Mourinho seems to have undermined his position at the club. As soon as the Portuguese manager moved to the Bernabeu he made it clear that he was chasing a world class stopper of his own. The Spaniard doesn’t seem to have taken kindly to this and has refused to rule out a move to the Premier League: “I am aware of the interest of both Manchester United and City. I’m always flattered whenever another club shows interest in my qualities as a goalkeeper. I have been at Real Madrid all my career and I still enjoy going to training every day. I enjoy meeting the fans too – but we all know how uncertain things are in football. I’m not going to say never. Right now Madrid would have to kick me out of the club before I consider a move. Who knows what will happen, though, if a big money offer comes in.”

Columbian Coming to City? According to reports in Columbia, City are on the verge of signing 17-year-old starlet Christian Bonilla. The 17-year-old goalie currently plays for Columbian club Boyaca Chico and is hotly tipped to be the ‘next big thing’ in South America. Though nothing has been confirmed by either club, reports suggest that Bonilla would initially be loaned out to a Spanish side in order to adapt to the European game but is fully expected to return to the Blues and challenge Joe Hart and Shay Given for years to come. The article that broke the story quoted Bonilla directly: “The only thing that is left to do is my medical tests and sign the contract. Besides the fact that I may be loaned to another team, this is a very important door that gets opened for my career, so I will have to start to take English lessons very soon. This is a very important step forward in my career, everything has been arranged and according to what the president, Eduardo Pimental, has said to me the transfer has been confirmed.”

Fabio Hopes Not to be Left Back: Despite the likes of Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo and Fernando Torres not quite reaching the dizzy heights expected of them at this World Cup, one played who did catch the eye was Portuguese left back Fabio Coentrao. The £20 million rated defender was a major influence on his country’s defensive heroics throughout this summer’s campaign and was only knocked out having been undone by a little Spanish magic. Now the 22-year-old is expected to leave current side Benfica with Juventus, Real Madrid and City all queuing up to capture the youngster. The player himself feels a move may be necessary in order to further his career: “I do not say many things about this subject. But if a bid is positive for the club, I will accept the exit. I am at a big club but is normal that I desire to improve like a professional.”

Best of the Rest: In the same hour that the transfer of David Silva was announced, Sky Sports News revealed that Yaya Toure’s arrival at Eastlands was also imminent. This comes in the week that Barcelona Director General Joan Oliver revealed “the club has agreed the exits of Yaya Toure and Thierry Henry, but that at the moment the final moves are in their hands” and the player’s agent stated “Yaya wants to play the important games and he knows that he will be an important player at Manchester City.” A fee of £24 million is being banded around the Spanish press though signing the Ivorian international may lead to the sale of Dutch anchorman Nigel de Jong. Other midfield arrivals could include Aston Villa’s James Milner, who is expected to hand in a transfer request should Villa reject another bid from City, whilst the American media have suggested that the Blues will battle Everton for USA captain Landon Donovan. If the Toffees were to miss out on the LA Galaxy star, David Moyes will instead seek to buy City’s Stephen Ireland for a fee of £8 million. In the chase for European star Edin Dzeko, the Bosnian’s agent revealed: “Dzeko is much closer to Manchester City”, and Wolfsburg manager Steve McClaren may ask City for Craig Bellamy in exchange. Signing Dzeko may be the perfect alternative to Barcelona’s Zlatan Ibrahmiovic after his agent backed the Swede’s position at his current club: “He does not want to leave Barcelona and the club doesn’t want to let him go.”

Again the majority of targets seem to lie in Roberto Mancini’s native Italy. Moves for Inter Milan’s Mario Balotelli and Sampdoria duo Reto Ziegler and Giampaolo Pazzini were again mooted by the Italian press, whilst Italian World Cup flop Riccardo Montolivo could be tempted to move away from Fiorentina in a bid to play Premier League football. The signing of Lazio left back Aleksandar Kolorov seems to have become a more realistic option as Real Madrid refused to up their £12 million offer and the Italian side sought a replacement (a bid for Portsmouth’s Algerian Nadir Belhadj said to be on the table). Inter Milan’s Amantino Mancini is the newest name to be linked as the Brazilian winger refused to pledge his loyalty to new boss Rafa Benitez.

International Blues

Dismal: The nation lost faith simultaneously on Sunday afternoon as Capello’s men were thrashed at the hands of great rivals Germany. A poor display of football combined with a sheer lack of passion should be enough to silence any critics who claim England would still be in the competition had it not been for a poor decision by the match officials and many pundits have called for a complete overhaul of the international set-up. Fabio Capello seems to have been handed two weeks to find a new job before his imminent sacking, whilst a number of ‘top names’ such as Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard have promised that they will remain available for their country. City new boy Jerome Boateng had little to do in a game where Wayne Rooney was once again found wanting, though one superb block on the line was enough to showcase a little of his talent. Gareth Barry seemed out of sorts himself yet over all four games, the former Aston Villa midfielder is one of few players to have left South Africa with the same credibility that he had on his way there. The performances of Aaron Lennon and Steven Gerrard and the unexplained absences of Joe Cole have led to question of Fabio Capello’s selection. Should the in-form Adam Johnson have travelled to South Africa as one of Capello’s 23? The England manager stands by his omission: “When I chose the players I had been following the players for a very long time and I decided on the best players who finished the season. If they are fresher I don’t know. Adam Johnson played a lot of games.”

Round Two: Carlos Tevez’s double against Mexico helped Argentina set-up a repeat of the 2006 quarter final against Germany. A controversial goal, in which replays on the stadium big screens proved Carlos Tevez to be offside, put Maradona’s men in front and Tevez believes all is fair in sport: “I know I was offside, I know it was selfish but as long as they say it was a goal it’s OK for me and the team.” The City forward followed that goal up with a stunning second, after Gonzalo Higuain had added to his side’s score and as a result Javier Hernandez’ goal for Mexico was ultimately nothing more than a consolation as Argentina won 3-1. Tevez believes that his performance will give him the confidence to go out and win the World Cup for his country: “I needed a match like this to show that I am fine and ready to do the job for my country whose jersey I am proud of wearing. Now we have to relax a little ahead of going up against the Germans in the quarter-finals, four years after losing to them at the last World Cup. We have to rest and be ready for that game. It is good to have won the Man of the Match award. The team is growing in every single game. In every game it is getting stronger and we can win and that is the important thing. We can win the World Cup.”

Battle of the Blues: A 3-0 win for the Brazilians over Chile and The Netherlands’ 2-1 victory over Slovakia have set up a quarter final that will pit City boys Robinho and Nigel de Jong against each other. Whilst de Jong has been his consistent self, Robinho has shown just why City dared to spend £32 million for him in the first place and if the Blues choose to keep hold of the Brazilian then the City faithful may be in for a treat on his return to CoMS. ‘Robbie’ scored his second of the tournament against Chile in the round of 16 and now hopes to push his country into the semi-finals: “I’m pleased to have got on the score sheet but I’m even happier about the victory. I’ve always done well against Chile – thankfully this was no different. Now we’ve got another decisive match ahead. There is always room for improvement, but I think we’re on the right track and we’re achieving our objectives.”

Nigel de Jong believes the fixture will be a sight to behold with both sides playing ‘total football’, but the combative midfielder believes his side has the edge because of one certain player: “Robben is our weapon – he is a super player. He can decide games, like a lot of our players, even those on the bench. You could see what he is able to do. There is not just talk about him, everybody can see what speed he has. If you’ve got so much tempo and quality, you know that you can help to win the game.”

Making History: The Paraguayan national team has made history by qualifying for their first ever World Cup quarter final. Despite a lack of goals by City striker Roque Santa Cruz, a goalless draw with New Zealand was enough to see them top a Group that included tournament holders Italy and led them to a second round tie with Japan. Again the game ended in a goalless draw and was ultimately decided by penalties. Though Santa Cruz was substituted during extra time, the former Bayern Munich target man put himself about a lot but lacked the service to make a difference. A quarter final with European Champions Spain awaits and Cruz will be hoping that his side can step up against one of the best sides in the world, one that includes latest City signing David Silva: “There is always room for improvement but I think the whole team has worked very well so far. We are now at an historic point in time. I believe it is now up to us to get to where we want to be because we have the potential. This is the best team Paraguay has ever had. We have been playing together for many years and are very experienced and mentally strong. Anything is possible. People might underestimate us, but it’s worth remembering we have beaten Argentina and Brazil, two of the best teams in the world, to get here.”

Bouncebackability: City skipper Kolo Toure believes his team has learned from this summer’s World Cup and will come back a better side in four years. The Ivorians were disqualified from the competition, despite beating North Korea 3-0, as the Brazilians and Portuguese drew 0-0 and both progressed as a result. Despite the disappointment of falling out of the ‘Group of Death’, Toure believes the experience will have benefited his young side: “We have regrets over some details. In another group we might have qualified as we gained four points. Hopefully in four years’ time we will be much better and will emulate Ghana by going as far as we can. We have some exciting talent coming through. We have done okay and will have more chances in the future.”

Ex-Blues’ News

Off to the Cottage? Former City manager Mark Hughes has rejected the opportunity to join Dubai club Al-Ahli. The Welshman has claimed that he has no plans to move away from the Premier League, suggesting that he may in fact be Roy Hodgson’s replacement at Fulham. If he is to join the Cottagers though he will have to beat another former City manager, Sven Goran Eriksson, to the post.

Alex Rowen <news(at)>


Phil Bannerjee: you are yet again bang on the money. Adam Johnson is, after the likes of Matt Le Tissier, another victim of England managers who are too scared to risk a maverick decision. A wildcard selection if he’d been taken, someone with everything to prove and, at his stage of career, little to lose. After getting that massive chance to prove himself in the form of six minutes in that friendly, a better option would have been for Capello to quietly take him to one side after that friendly and tell Johnson privately what was wrongly said in public.

If Capello felt that strongly he should have dived, why not give him a chance in the next match to see if he’d taken it on board? Hopefully, if that had happened, Johnson might have scored or released the ball for a legitimate goal, shown what he’s capable of that’s not out of the realms of possibility. Why couldn’t Capello see what I saw: six minutes to prove himself, and he created something. Instead, I recall five substitutions at half-time in that final friendly, mainly tried-and-tested players being brought on. What’s the point of even bothering with friendlies before a World Cup at all if Capello’s going to do that?

England sorely lacked a player with the pluck to just run at a defence and scare the living hell out of them, something which would also send waves of positivity through the rest of the team. I never thought anything could nark me off more than SWP being left at home for Walcott in 2006 or Gascoigne being dropped in 1998. Well this has trounced both.

Marc Starr <marc.starr(at)>


My son and I are doing a Panini World Cup Sticker Album and are looking to swap stickers with anyone else doing the same.

We have loads of swaps and are keen to complete our book before the end of the World Cup. Please contact via the email below for a full list of swaps ASAP.

Up the Blues!

Nick Phillips <nf.Phillips(at)>

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Newsletter #1646