Newsletter #1650

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News tonight on happenings and developments behind the scenes, the rumour mill in full flight.

There’s opinion on urban myths, Saturday football, the US games and Dave’s fantasy football league.

Finally the sad news of Ken Barnes’ death on Wednesday this week. Ken was a real character as well as a great player in his day and servant to the club, it’s been a pleasure to meet him on a number of occasions. RIP Ken.

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

NEWS SUMMARY

General News

Signed, sealed, Delivered: Having signed three star players since the summer transfer window opened and having sealed the arrival of David Platt to his back room staff, all that’s left is to deliver success. For Roberto Mancini, the time for players to “settle in” and “get to know each other” has passed and the Blues must now focus on bringing trophies to Eastlands. With approximately £65 million spent on players and a former friend joining his back room staff, Mancini feels City will never be in a better position to make their mark: “Excited? Yes I am, even before I see where we finish in the transfer market and which players come here, I think it will be a good season for us. I think we have a squad for success, and our supporters deserve this. Last year we did have a good season – we didn’t get to the Champions’ League, but we still had a good season. Now it is time that some trophies came to this club. We need to have the players if we want to reduce the gap with the other teams. We need to bring in players with good quality. If we want to start to win trophies, if we want to start a new era at City, then it is important to improve the team and to improve the staff.”

States Will Suit ‘US’: The Blues made their way to America this week as Mancini’s men settled into the swing of their pre-season preparations. Not only will the Blues take part in a number of expansive training camps but their involvement in the New York Football Challenge will provide them with the opportunity to prove that they are capable of competing with the best. Matches against Sporting Lisbon and hosts New York Red Bulls will provide interesting opposition for the Citizens, before a tie against European Champions Inter Milan will test how far Mancini’s side has come: “The matches, the training, everything in the USA will be important for us. We must prepare very well this month, for sure. Inter is a good game for me, because I will meet a team where I worked for four years and won many trophies. But it will be important because I want to see how we play against the team that won the Champions’ League.”

In the Bag: Steve Sayer, the club’s Chief Commercial Officer, revealed this week that the club has reached an agreement with online sports giant KitBag. The company has been brought in as City’s new official retail partner and will operate and develop the club’s retail services across the board: “Due to the success last season, both on the pitch with the team’s performance, and the developments off it across our entire retail proposition – such as the Citystores, replica kits, product catalogues and the Club website – City is fast becoming an internationally recognised brand. Kitbag has proven expertise in maximizing online sales for a number of major football Clubs and sports federations. The fact they are not only a market leader, but also a Manchester-based business that shares our values and proud local roots, makes them an ideal partner.”

Ray Evans, Managing Director of the online retail outlet, expressed his delight with the deal: “This is an extremely exciting partnership for Kitbag. Our team is passionate about football and we are looking forward to delivering an innovative retail offering for Manchester City. We believe that there is great potential to expand and develop the Club’s retail business and drive profitable growth. The Club’s ambition and hunger for growth and success mirrors our own, which will enable us to explore lots of different possibilities and provide an unrivalled football club retail offering.”

No Need to Hyde at Ewan Fields: Having officially re-united with local side Hyde United last month, City have been quick to prove their dedication to their less well-off neighbours by refurbishing Ewan Fields. In June, Executive Chairman Garry Cook announced that the Blues’ reserve side would once again stage their home games at Hyde United’s home ground, and in order for both clubs to get the very best out of the non-league ground, the Blues have funded a much needed facelift. Ahead of Saturday’s friendly contest between Hyde and City’s Elite Under 21 squad, Tigers’ secretary Tony Beard has revealed that his club is eternally grateful to their mega-rich partners: “We are benefiting not just from being linked to a club of such high standing but also from our infrastructure being renovated or improved, and that’s a big plus. The ground needed painting, for instance, and we would never have got around to it because we couldn’t have afforded it. It’s been a great opportunity for the club to raise our standards. City have made improvements to the ground that were all on the wish list but we just couldn’t do them. It’s a godsend from our perspective, and it means that we can be proud of having what we believe is now one of the best non-league grounds in Britain.”

In Memory: On Wednesday, the club announced with great sadness that City legend Ken Barnes has died at the age of 81. Barnes, who spent eleven long years as City as an attacking wing half/midfielder, is considered one of the greatest players of his age not to win an England cap and his commitment to City went far beyond his playing days. After hanging up his boots, Barnes took up a number of posts behind the scenes. As a coach, an assistant manager and the club’s chief scout, his dedication to the Manchester club was clear for all to see and Life President Bernard Halford led the tributes: “Ken was a true Manchester City man in every sense and his passing is a dreadful loss to the Club and to all those who had the pleasure of knowing him. Few have ever, or will ever, show such commitment and dedication to this Club as Ken did and there are a great many City players over the years who owe their career or development to his skills as a scout and a coach. From a personal point of view, Ken was a great friend of mine for almost 50 years. He was a fantastic player, a wonderful character and his influence over this club over the years cannot be underestimated.”

Squad News

Forever Young: Roberto Mancini has dismissed reports this week that the club’s youth system is now ‘outdated’ and has promised to give Platt Lane’s top prospects the opportunity to break into the first team. During his first six months at the club, the Italian manager has offered débuts to five of the club’s promising youngsters and the former Inter Milan manager has declared that he will continue this practice for as long as he is City boss. Despite an influx in spending, Mancini is dedicated to helping young talent flourish as can be proved by the number of ‘unproven’ youngsters who have travelled with the first team on the club’s tour of the USA: “In my first half season at the club Cunningham, Nimley, Nielsen, Ibrahim and Boyata were all given a début. That didn’t happen at many clubs. That will continue where possible this season too. We are absolutely committed to the Academy and to bringing through and developing our own talent. They are training with the first team and it is great experience for them. They have great enthusiasm and they will learn much from the trip. It is important that they know that there is a path to the first team there for them.”

Swede Dreams: One such youngster desperate to prove his worth to Mancini this summer is 18-year-old John Guidetti. The Swedish teenager is widely tipped to be a rising talent amongst the Academy’s many young stars and a loan spell back in his native Sweden last year will have done nothing to knock his chances of improving. Guidetti, who spent April and May back at IF Brommapojkarna last season, has had to adapt quickly since joining up with the City senior squad in America this week and the youngster admits that sometimes he can’t believe who he is training alongside: “The lads are taking great care of those of us that came over from the Academy, but of course this is a great opportunity. All you have to do is look around you when are eating, there are some huge stars sat right next to you at the table and it’s fantastic to be part of it. I’ve had to pinch myself a few times, but I’m really happy.”

A Tale of One City: Patrick Vieira has revealed that he believes this year will be a stepping stone for Manchester City to become the greatest team in the world. After suffering the heartache of ‘Spurs-gate’ last season, Vieira believes his team-mates are more intent than ever on proving that they can achieve at the very highest level and believes that Manchester City may soon be a name as popular and successful as that of Real Madrid or Barcelona: “It was a disappointing game we had against Spurs in May, which meant not going to the Champions’ League. We were so close. But I think there are so many positives to take from last season, and it’s going to be really exciting this time. I feel like we will be stronger than last year, and we will be strong enough to challenge all the top four. What is important is the team improving. It will give belief to the team that we can achieve our target with the new signings – it will be really exciting.”

How the Fixtures Fall: Former Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor has joined his team-mate Patrick Vieira in talking up City’s chances during the 2010/11 campaign. Many Blues had been critical of the club’s opening fixtures, with City first travelling to Tottenham Hotspur before then hosting Liverpool, but Togolese striker ‘Manu’ considers the club’s opening games as a means of ‘making their mark’. For Adebayor, this season is one in which the club can challenge for the title, and if the Blues were to win both of their openers, Ade believes that the club’s rivals would soon take note: “It is a difficult start to the season but it is good for us in the sense that we can send a message out. The start to the season is very important in many ways. If we go to Tottenham and get a good result and then do the same against Liverpool it will be great for the confidence and show the guys that we are title contenders. Fifth place last season was ok but we want to do better than that this time and we are looking for the top three. If we are going to win the title we should not be concerned about how the fixtures fall.”

AJ for England: Adam Johnson has spoken this week of his World Cup disappointment and of his hopes for his international future. As England’s ‘golden generation’ failed miserably in their summer campaign, AJ was forced to sit at home and watch the nation’s hopes unravel with every other England fan. Despite Capello’s boast that he would only take the country’s in-form players, Johnson was left at home, much to the 23-year-old’s disappointment. England wingers across the board never really got going during the tournament and the former Middlesbrough winger hopes to now be included in the pre-season friendly against Hungary: “I would hope for a call to be involved. My next step will be to try to establish myself with the England set-up. A lot of people are talking about changes, and hopefully I can be part of that. A cap for my country would be a nice way to start the season. First of all I’ve got to establish my place in the City team like I did towards the end of last season. That’s the main aim, and if I play well, hopefully England will follow.”

Given his Progress: Roberto Mancini is set to be spoilt for choice in the goalkeeping department this season, as Shay Given revealed that he expects to be fighting fit for the season opener. The Irish stopper, who dislocated his shoulder during the last month of last term, had originally been told that may miss the beginning of the new campaign, but after intensive physiotherapy, the 34-year-old believes he may be ready to compete during the club’s tour of the US. With Given, Hart, Taylor and Nielsen all to choose from, Mancini has more options than ever before and Given has explained how relieved he is to be in contention earlier than expected: “Early doors after the injury it was all a bit mind-boggling, but the work has paid off and I feel great. I saw the specialist last week, he was delighted with it and he told me to kick on with the rehab work. If it keeps progressing the way it is then I am hoping to be playing before we leave America. By the second last game or the last game I should be in with a shout of playing, and I’m definitely looking to be ready for the start of the new season.”

Loan Ranger: 19-year-old academy starlet Andrew Tutte has signed a new one year contract with the club. Tutte, who admits that a loan deal may be the perfect move for him this season, has put pen to paper on a brand new deal and the talented midfielder is delighted to remain at the club he loves: “I was hoping to sort out a new deal so I’m really pleased to have everything in place ahead of the new season. I’m going to need to get some first team experience this year so hopefully I can get out on loan and then come back and see what happens. A good side in League One or the Championship would be perfect, but obviously I’ll be trying to impress the gaffer during pre-season, too. It’s going to be tough to force my way into the team because we have so many great players at the club so going out on loan is probably a logical step forward for me.”

Arrested: 22-year-old forward Kelvin Etuhu was charged this week for assault after a fracas outside a Manchester casino. With confirmed details currently sparse, it would be wrong to speculate, though what has been confirmed is that the Academy graduate, who spent last season on loan at Championship side Cardiff City, will be expected in court next week to answer bail.

The Rumour Mill

Taylor Made: 29-year-old goalkeeper Stuart Taylor has re-signed for the club, only weeks after being released. In June, it was reported that Taylor had left the club after his last contract expired but now the club have announced that he will return as the club’s back-up goalkeeper. Having made only one appearance for the club last season, away to Scunthorpe in the FA Cup, Taylor won’t be expecting to make too many appearances this season, but after the injury crisis towards the end of last season, you never know.

City Fail to ‘Keep’ Mentel: One goalkeeper who has left the club is young Slovak Filip Mentel. It is rumoured that Mancini was keen to keep hold of the 20-year-old prospect, but given that he couldn’t promise the youngster first team football, the club have allowed him to move to Dundee United. The Scottish side’s manager Peter Houston has praised Mentel’s potential: “Filip is a highly promising young ‘keeper. That he’s been at Manchester City for the last few seasons confirms his credentials. Obviously he’s found it difficult to break through there given their presence in the transfer market these days.”

Torres Will Spur City On: Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp seemed to know something that everyone else didn’t as he suggested that City were in talks with Fernando Torres. The Liverpool striker is expected to leave Anfield this season after they failed to qualify for the Champions’ League and Harry Redknapp claims he won’t waste his time making a bid due to City’s interest: “Manchester City could quite easily win the Premier League. If they get the players in now, they’ve already got the nucleus of a good team. They’re in for Torres – and if they end up getting him and one or two others then they can do anything. It’s going to make it even harder to make the top four again next season, that’s for definite.” Torres’ international team-mate David Villa, however, believes Torres will only move to either Chelsea or Barcelona: “He isn’t money-focused so he would never join Manchester City.”

And So It Continues: One of the longest running transfer sagas of the summer continued this week as Roberto Mancini admitted he was keen to sign the Bosnian forward: “Certainly Dzeko is more than just an interest.” City’s cause was helped by the striker’s own thoughts after he stated: “I want to clarify that it is not a matter of money, but of ambition. I feel I have to take a leap in quality and land in a big club.” Yet the club may find opposition in the form of Italian giants Juventus, after they revealed that if they were: “Forced to choose between Krasic and Dzeko, due to the limits on non-EU players, we’ll focus on the striker.”

Jo on the Go? Spanish side Real Sociedad claimed this week that they were chasing City’s Brazilian striker Jo. The former CSKA target man has been expected to leave the club all summer, after falling down the pecking order at CoMS and Sociedad may be the perfect option for the 23-year-old: “He is a great player, but he belongs to Manchester City and we have talked by fax. In other words, it is much less than what has been said in the press.”

Best of the Rest: City strikers Roque Santa Cruz and Carlos Tevez were both linked with moves away from the club this week as Santa was rumoured to be on his way to Turkish giants Fenerbache and Tevez possibly to Inter Milan. Price seemed to be a stumbling block in both cases however. Fenerbache are said to be willing to spend only £3.5 million on the City’s £9 million rated Paraguayan target-man whilst Inter were said to have baulked at the Blues’ £30 million price-tag for last season’s top goal scorer. A deal for Inter Milan’s Mario Balotelli seemed to be back on the cards this week, as his agent revealed both City and United had declared an interest and Roberto Mancini stated that “if Inter decide to sell (Balotelli), we will be there.”

If a move for Balotelli falls through, Mancini may instead move for another of his former players, Zlatan Ibrahimovic. It was reported this week that the Catalan giants would want either Nigel de Jong or Robinho in exchange. The exit of Robinho may not be desired by City’s manager however who is said to have rejected a £17 million bid from Besiktas this week. Hoffenheim defender Isaac Vorsah was the newest name linked with a move to Eastlands this summer whilst Porto’s Bruno Alves paved the way for a move to the Premier League after claiming that he hopes to move to England. Meanwhile, Mancini is keen to add to his attacking options with Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez, Chelsea’s Didier Drogba and Wolfsburg’s Edin Dzeko all potential targets.

International Blues

Silva Wins Gold as a Golden Dutch Claim Silver: For a final that was expected to be dubbed a victory for ‘Total Football’, Spain and Holland produced a memorable finale of other sorts as the two sides proceeded to give each other a good kicking. With City winger David Silva on the bench, Barcelona duo Andres Iniesta and Xavi provided the magic for the 2010 show-piece but with 15 cards shown and a Dutch media intent on blaming the English officials for their own failings, Spain versus Holland didn’t quite live up to the hype. City’s Nigel de Jong couldn’t quite cope with the spark and creativity of the Spanish attack and was perhaps lucky to remain on the pitch, a feat fellow team-mate Johnny Heitinga couldn’t match. The Dutchman’s reckless yet unintentional challenge on the Spaniards’ Xabi Alonso causing millions of faces to wince worldwide. Spain were to win 1-0, an Iniesta goal with four minutes of extra time remaining to decide it, but after expectations were raised and talk of both side’s loyalty to ‘total football’ boasted, even Dutch legend Johan Cruyff was left feeling deflated at a very unfamiliar display by his country.

Ex-Blues’ News

For the Family: Former City goalkeeper Carlo Nash has joined Stoke City, only weeks after being released by Premier League rivals Everton. Nash, who was a part of the City Championship winning side of 2002, is now 36, and despite wanting to play on until he is well into his 40s, Nash admits that financial stability is the deciding factor in his life: “Obviously I want to be playing. But when you’ve got a young family and are getting towards the end of your career, it’s more about paying the bills. It’s a difficult decision – whether to go for something like this or for a No.1 spot somewhere else. But when there’s a deal on the table, you’ve got to do what’s best for the family.”

Alex Rowen <news(at)mcivta.city-fan.org>

OPINION: KEN BARNES R.I.P.

Ken Barnes sadly passed away this week. It is clear from the many tributes to him that have been written that he was a true gentlemen who had time for fans and was loved and respected by all.

He played well before my time, winning the FA Cup in that historic 1956 final, and he was dubbed the best wing-half never to play for England. Ken served as assistant to Johnny Hart and Ken was Chief Scout for two decades and I was lucky enough to see the Ken Barnes inspired City Youth team that included Paul Lake, David White, Steve Redmond, Ian Brightwell and Andy Hinchcliffe win the FA Youth Cup in 1985/86. Indeed, Paul Lake has said that Ken Barnes “had a knack of making you feel ten feet tall”. That team and the emergence of those youngsters gave so much pleasure, especially to someone like me who was of a similar age. I could relate to that team more than any, not only because of their age, but as so many of them were City fans. For that team we can thank Ken Barnes and his scouting team.

Ken Barnes served our club for 46 years that we can all be eternally grateful for.

Rest in peace, Ken Barnes, true gentleman and City great.

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)tiscali.co.uk>

OPINION: SATURDAY FOOTBALL

I really cannot understand why people get upset with the demise of Saturday football.

The traditional Saturday slot emerged as a result of the society at the time. It fitted in with Saturday morning work but was mainly the result of religious intolerance by the Lords Day Observance Society, who exercised enormous influence and decreed that no form of paid entertainment should take place on a Sunday. On continental Europe, the Catholic religion, which dominated, had a different attitude in that, provided its members attended Mass in the morning, they were free to enjoy what they wanted for the rest of the day. Hence there, Sunday became the traditional time for the football match.

Times have changed and it is a false presumption that the majority wish to stick to Saturday. My daughter, an avid City supporter, works in the retail trade in a store that chooses not to open on Sunday. She is now able to attend many more games and is delighted!

The “beautiful” game is vastly different than the product offered when I went to my first match 65 years ago. Personally, I welcome the change and have never looked forward more to a new season than I do now.

Fred Rosenfeld <fred(at)busybus.co.uk>

OPINION: URBAN MYTHS

Just like to correct an error That Jeremy Poynton made in MCIVTA 1649, in which he said:

“One is reminded of the fact that NASA spent $2 million on inventing a biro that worked in space whilst the Russians sent their cosmonauts up with pencils.”

This is an old urban myth, one of many anti-NASA myths. The fact is both NASA and the Russians tried pencils but both discovered that it would be extremely dangerous in space to have bits of graphite floating around the space capsule when the ends broke off as they inevitably would.

My thanks to Mr Fry on a recent QI programme for this golden nugget. LOL.

Jack Millington <jack(at)millingtons.net>

REQUEST: FANTASY LEAGUE

As our club enters the realms of fantasy football I have set up a couple of leagues for subscribers to MCIVTA on the official Premier League Fantasy Football site at http://fantasy.premierleague.com/

One is a ‘classic’ league based on your players’ weekly scores. The other is a head to head league where each week your team plays one of the other teams in the league (I actually find this format more fun). It is no extra work to join both leagues as the same team is used for both.

It’s free to join and just for fun (although there are prizes for the best overall on the site). If you want to join in go to the link above and follow the on-screen instructions to register. Then to join the classic league (called MCIVTA Fans) enter the league code 83894-26717 and to join the head2head league (called MCIVTA Head2Head) enter the code 83894-26769.

I would like to exclude any Yoonited players from squads but as this is impossible to administer I’ll leave it to your own conscience.

You can select a maximum of 3 players from any one team so choose your City players wisely. It is a bit unreal because you get £100 million to select your squad with and that would only buy a couple of City players in the real world, given our spending pattern.

It adds another dimension to what is hopefully going to be an exciting and rewarding season for us long suffering fans.

Dave Kilroy <dave.kilroy(at)ntlworld.com>

REQUEST: BLUES IN PORTLAND GAME

If any Blues are in Portland for the game against the Timbers on Saturday there is a great bar on NW Glison and 21st called the ‘Blue Moon Tavern and Grill’, great atmosphere and they also serve the very tasty Blue Moon beer.

It has to be the go to destination for all City fans before and after the game!

See you there!

Simon Ash <Simon.Ash(at)drmartens.com>

MCIVTA FAQ [v1011.01]

[1] MCIVTA Addresses

Articles (Heidi Pickup)          : editor@mcivta.city-fan.org
News/rumour (Alex Rowen)         : news@mcivta.city-fan.org
Subscriptions (Madeleine Hawkins): subscriptions@mcivta.city-fan.org
Technical problems (Paul)        : paul@city-fan.org
FAQ (David Warburton)            : faq@mcivta.city-fan.org

[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

http://www.mcivta.com/ 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 www.twitter.com/mcivta to get the latest updates.

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

The official club web site can be found at http://www.mcfc.co.uk/ and the official club Twitter page at www.twitter.com/mcfc. The club also has a facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/mcfcofficial

[5] What supporters’ clubs are there?

The Official Supporters’ Club and the Centenary Supporters’ Association have merged to become the Manchester City Supporters’ Club (http://www.mcfcsupportersclub.com/). The club also recognise the Manchester City Disabled Supporters’ Association (http://www.mcdsa.co.uk/).

[6] Where can I find out about Points of Blue?

The committee operates as an interface between supporters and the club. Points of Blue appears on the club website under the “Fans” heading (http://www.mcfc.co.uk/Fans).

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

Live match commentary can be found on the club website. The Radio Manchester pre- and post-match phone-in is available on the web at http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/manchester/hi/tv_and_radio/.

[8] Where can I find out if City are live on satellite TV?

http://www.satfootball.com/pl.html provides a listing of Premier League games being shown on UK domestic and foreign satellite channels. Useful sites for North American viewers are http://msn.foxsports.com/, http://www.soccertv.com/.

[9] Do we have a Usenet newsgroup?

Yes we do: uk.sport.football.clubs.man-city is our home on usenet. If you are not familiar with usenet, a basic explanation is available here: http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/0,289893,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 http://www.mcivta.com/players/

[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 http://www.mcfcstats.com/.


DISCLAIMER
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, editor@mcivta.city-fan.org

Newsletter #1650

2010/07/16

Editor:


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