Newsletter #1652

News tonight on pre-season friendlies, new signings and the rumour mill continues apace.

We have opinion on the US games, and the usual requests.

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


General News

Rest is Best: City chief Roberto Mancini has warned his players that they face being rotated as a squad this season. With participation in the League, domestic cups and also the Europa League, the Italian coach believes that the club’s strength in depth will be key to success this season. Having signed four players already this summer and with many other targets still on the horizon, Mancini believes some of his star players will have to get used to sitting it out on the bench every now and again: “We want to make progress in as many competitions as possible and that will mean playing a lot on a Thursday night. You cannot play in the Premier League on a Saturday, then in Europe on a Thursday before coming back on Friday and be properly ready in two days for a Sunday game. That is why it is important to have an experienced squad with many good players in it. Of course every player wants to start every match, that is natural and I was the same, but it is not possible. Some players may have to change their mentality. They will have to accept that and understand that sometimes it is best to rest.”

City midfielder Patrick Vieira is used to Mancini’s rotation techniques, having worked with the Italian boss at Inter Milan, and the Frenchman believes this rotation policy will have the whole squad hungry for a place in the first XI: “No one will accept being on the bench from the start of a game. If you find such a player he will not be a big player or have a big career I will fight every day in every training session to show to the manager that I want to play and after that he will make the choice. I have to make it really hard for him to make a choice. It is crowded in that that midfield area but that is really exciting for the club. We have top class players and that shows where we want to go. Our target is to qualify for the Champions’ League and maybe with the Premier League – you never know.”

Attilio the Chum: Ex-Crystal Palace manager Attilio Lombardo has joined City as part of Mancini’s new-look back-room staff. The former Sampdoria player has been recruited mainly to scout the club’s opposition ahead of time and Mancini is glad to have appointed the 44-year-old: “It is great that Attilio has come to join us. He was a top class player and he will bring lots of experience and a winning mentality to the group. I know he is excited at being at Manchester City and I know that he loves the English game from his time in London.”

City are All Hart: Following the weekend’s friendly between Hyde FC and City’s reserve side, Hyde Chairman Stephen Hartley has thanked City for rescuing his club. Reports suggested last year that Hyde were on the verge of going bust, now, having climbed out of that mess themselves, City have funded a full scale renovation of the non-league club’s Ewan Fields ground. The game itself ended 2-0 to City’s second string, though Hyde have hinted that they would love to play the Blues’ first team in a 125th anniversary match. Hartley revealed how delighted he was with the changes: “It was a beautiful day – a good game with good football, a good atmosphere and a good, appreciative crowd. We’ve a contract for three years but we would like to see it going a long way beyond that. I hope that all the people who came from City enjoyed it as much as we did. We’ve seen a real transformation in the facilities here – our ground is now absolutely superb and full credit to Manchester City Football Club for what they have done.”

Squad News

Silva Told City are Golden Chance: City World Cup winner David Silva has revealed that he spoke to friend Javier Garrido before joining the Manchester club this summer. The Spanish winger is believed to have joined the club for a fee of around £24 million and much is expected of Silva after he impressed so much for La Liga side Valencia. Silva admits that the lure of the Premier League was too much to deny, though he did seek the advice of City left back Garrido, before making the move: “He and I played together in Spain’s Under-21 side so we have a good relationship, so I called Javi to ask him about City and how things are here in Manchester. I’ve only placed twice in England and yes, I scored on both occasions! I’m going to try and score a lot of goals this season.”

Garrido explained that it was easy to sell the club to Silva: “We know each other really well, and he called me before he signed to ask about the team and this club. I told him that everything here is good, and my opinion is that this will be a great move for him because there is already a great squad here, which I’m sure he will fit into. He may not look big or strong, but he is a very clever player who reads a game well. He’s a great passer of the ball and he’s dangerous near the box. He is versatile as well – he can play in the middle or wide on the left, I’m certain he can do well in England.”

Winging His Way Back to City: Having experienced the trials and tribulations of England’s World Cup failure this summer, Shaun Wright Phillips admits that he is happy to have re-joined his City team-mates for pre-season training. The City winger was one of few players to come out of England’s summer campaign with some credibility, though despite having done nothing to warrant being dropped by Capello, SWP will be working as hard as ever for his club in order to retain his place in the international fold: “It was disappointing what happened in the summer at the World Cup but now it is time to get the head down, pull on the boots and get on with it again. My only focus is to get on the pitch and do my thing. I am delighted to be back with the lads and straight into the crack and the banter. At the end of the day playing football is all about enjoying yourself and if you cannot do that you will never be happy.”

Youth Better Believe It: The club’s pre-season tour of the US isn’t only a time for the Blues’ established players to settle back into a familiar routine, but it is also a chance for the team’s youngsters to prove that they are worthy of a place in the manager’s first team plans this season. Experienced City midfielder, Patrick Vieira, has praised the crop of youngsters that Mancini has taken to America and stated that training alongside Tevez and co. will be a major learning curve for all involved: “It shows the quality of the young players that the manager has brought them all this way. Being around top class players is really important for them, they will be learning a lot from the experience for the future. They have all been accepted quickly into the group and tours like this one are good for everyone to get to know one another and that is vital because it will help further down the line as the season progresses. I think that the spirit in the camp is good the young players all feel comfortable and have all impressed in training.”

Abdi-lutely Unbelievable: 19-year-old midfielder Abdi Ibrahim is one such youngster and the Norwegian simply can’t believe the players he is lining up with in training. With the arrivals of World Cup stars Jerome Boateng, David Silva and Yaya Toure imminent, Ibrahim expressed his intention to learn from the club’s newly signed Ivorian midfielder: “I’m loving it at the moment! I’m really excited about meeting up with and training with people like Yaya Toure and David Silva so I can learn from them and keep improving. I think that Yaya will be the one that I’ll look to learn the most from. He’s played on the biggest stages for Barcelona and in the World Cup; I can’t wait to train with him. It’s fantastic for young players like me that the club can bring players of his quality here.”

Alexander the Great? Reserve striker Alex Nimely has already appeared in the Premier League for City, having come on as a substitute during City’s 7-1 demolition of Burnley last season, but the 19-year-old Liberian believes this tour will provide him with the opportunity to prove that he is good enough to play for the Blues on a more consistent basis next season: “The tour is a great experience for me and I am really grateful that the management chose me to come along. Training with such great players is a privilege and I am enjoying it so much. I’m not intimidated by the kinds of players we have, it’s all part of the learning process for me. The older guys are very encouraging to all the younger players, and we all enjoy it even more because of that.”

Kieran’s Tripp’ing on Big Names: City defender Kieran Trippier is keen to impress this season and though he understands that opportunities will be limited this season, the youngster has faith that Mancini will trust in the club’s youngsters: “It’s so good to see the level of player that we have coming in now, it’s exciting for me just to meet them but training with players as good as Stevie, Adam and Lescott is a dream come true for me. Training alongside them every day like this in pre-season is great and I’m learning from them all the time. I’m learning the most from Craig Bellamy. He’s fast, he’s clever, he’s very experienced and there’s so much I can take from training with and against him.”

Of the new imports, Trippier commented: “Seeing them in the World Cup and the Champions’ League is one thing, and it will be great to see them here. I would never have thought it could happen here, or that I would even meet the sort of players we have here now. I’ve been here over 10 years now and it’s a fantastic thing for Manchester City that the club can bring such good players in.”

All About Mee: For FA Youth Cup winning captain Ben Mee, the tour is about much more than playing alongside World Class players. The defender is in the last year of contract and is well aware that if he doesn’t prove that he is capable of playing for the Blues this year, he could be on his way out in the summer: “I have just twelve months left on my contract so this is a huge season for me. Nothing seemed to go right last year so hopefully I will have better luck this time around. I want to make a mark and see where I can get to. Obviously with Jerome Boateng added to a long list of top class defenders it will not be easy but as a player you have to set yourself high goals and that is what I am doing. If that means going out on loan and learning more about the game that way then I would be happy to do that but my main aim is to de well enough this season to stay at City and progress.”

The Rumour Mill

Ball Flies the Nest: 20-year-old David Ball has moved on loan to Swindon Town on a six month deal. Robins’ manager Danny Wilson had been chasing the youngster for some time and admitted, upon signing Ball, that: “David is somebody who we think could help us.” The striker, who spent most of last season on the sidelines with a serious foot injury, will now be hoping that he can prove himself worthy of place in City’s squad whilst out at The County Ground.

Gunnar Get Some Experience: League One side Tranmere Rovers have snapped up City ‘keeper Gunnar Nielsen on a five month loan deal. The Faroelese goalie has only ever played twelve minutes of football for his parent club, but the 24-year-old became a figure of controversy when Shay Given suffered a dislocated shoulder at Arsenal last season. Though Nielsen replaced Given on the day, Mancini felt the need to make the emergency loan signing of Marton Fulop from Sunderland, which subsequently caused waves amongst other English clubs. With Given, Hart and newly re-signed Stuart Taylor providing adequate cover in the goalkeeping position, Nielsen’s move will offer the stopper a rare chance to play consistent first team football. This move came in the same week that Nielsen signed a new contract extension with the Blues.

Double Swoop? Rumours circulated last Friday that City had completed the double swoops of Aleksandr Kolarov and Mario Balotelli, though it would soon be made clear that no deals were done. Kolarov’s club, Lazio, claimed last Thursday that the Serbia left back would be available if any club made a respectable bid and it was reported that City had had a £17 million offer accepted: “Those who want Kolarov should make an offer. If the offer is good and respects both Lazio’s and the player’s interests then we will take it into consideration.” The on/off Balotelli saga had also looked set to end as it was claimed that City representatives had remained in Italy to discuss a £35 million deal for the controversial Inter Milan youngster. But again, such talk was dismissed and Inter Chairman Massimo Morratti claimed no agreement had been reached with either City or Manchester rivals United: “I believe they are both serious clubs that will evaluate what the right transfer market value is for them. It will be up to us then to decide if that value is the same also for us. For the time being, we are far away from this situation. It would be very sad but we have to also take into account figures.”

Deal for Donovan? City chief Roberto Mancini revealed this week that USA skipper Landon Donovan may be his next target. The 28-year-old was one of a number of stars to impress at this summer’s World Cup and whilst it is believed that Everton manager David Moyes is still keen to be re-united with the player who spent six months of last season on loan at Goodison Park, it is expected that the LA Galaxy forward would relish a move to Eastlands. Mancini was coy on the link but didn’t rule anything out: “The market is open until the end of August. It could be, because Donovan is a good player.”

Didi or Not? According the Didier Drogba’s agent, Chelsea’s Ivorian striker is set for a move to Eastlands. Earlier this week, the 32-year-old’s agent stated that a move for Drogba could be on the cards, but only City are interested at the moment: “The only direct contact I have had was with Manchester City. But getting Drogba out of Chelsea is not an easy task because he has all the conditions he needs to flourish there. At his age I can no longer hide the financial aspect. The club that want Didier will have to meet the price.” But the club were quick to refute these claims and City fans were left asking the question, did Drogba’s agent really have contact with City or did he not: “There has been absolutely no contact. We have not spoken to him and there is no foundation to this.”

Best of the Rest: Talk of City exits this week have again revolved around the Citizens’ home-grown talent. Steve Bruce is supposedly set to offer Stephen Ireland the Sunderland captain’s armband in a bid to lure the midfielder away from CoMS, whilst ex-City striker Paul Dickov is keen to take Ryan McGivern on loan to Oldham Athletic. McGivern spent last season away at Leicester City and is believed to be keen to work with someone as well known as newly installed Latics manager, Dickov. One player who won’t be leaving however, is versatile defender Micah Richards who fumed: “I’m getting sick of reading rumours about myself now.” Meanwhile, Shakhtar Donetsk are the latest club to be linked with Brazilian winger Robinho and Craig Bellamy is believed to have rejected a move to German side Wolfsburg. City’s Vladimir Weiss seems to have caught the eye of Mancini’s former club Sampdoria, though if the Italians hope to loan the Slovakian winger, they will face tough competition from newly promoted Newcastle United.

The arrival of Joe Cole at Anfield seems to have also secured the future of Steven Gerrard and so City may instead focus on Everton’s Mikel Arteta or Werder Bremen’s Mesut Özil, who is in the last year of his contract with the German club.

Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic seems to have ruled out a move away from Barcelona this summer: “I want to congratulate everybody that has used my name, because it’s fun to have been at Chelsea, at Manchester City, without having been there. I was a Barça player when I left (to go on holiday) and I’ll be a Barça player when I go back.” With Ibrahimovic keen to remain at the Nou Camp, Mancini’s attention may turn to Ibra’s Barcelona team-mate Pedro or Santos’ Brazilian wonder kid Neymar.

Post-Match Reaction

City Set Timbers Alight: The Blues opened their pre-season last Saturday night with a 3-0 win over American side Portland Timbers. The two sides played out a typical pre-season run-out on Oregon’s Merlo Field, as Mancini used twenty-four players in the first match of their tour of the US. The returning Joe Hart took his place in goal but was one of ten players to be replaced at half time – only Greg Cunningham remaining on the field. Before the break however, the Blues had scored two quick-fire goals. Adam Johnson set up both as Stevie Ireland and Emmanuel Adebayor put the Blues in a comfortable position. Having replaced Adebayor at half time, Brazilian striker Jo missed an easy goal scoring chance before completing the Blues’ scoring in the 68th minute.

Roberto Mancini was both delighted with the result and relieved not to have suffered any unnecessary injuries: “The main thing is that we came through without any serious injuries and that is important. I am sure the players were glad to get into action after two weeks of hard work and I thought we did well against a side that is progressing in the United States and which was well prepared and fought hard all night. It was good for the young players to show what they could do. We used the defensive ones in the first half and the midfielders and strikers in the second half. This was only a first step but a big one on the way to the start of the Premier League season.”

Alex Rowen <news(at)>


I thought I’d send the location of the match report from the opponents’ view.

As noted before, this was a huge game for a Football League division 1 or 2 equivalent. This was the midpoint of their current season as all the pro US leagues are run Spring to Autumn. Except for Joe Hart, no World Cup participants were in the squad. We played our strongest goalkeeper, midfield and forwards in the 1st half and the reverse in the 2nd.

Again as noted previously, there was no real recognition of the travelling fans by the team; Hart and Adebayor did stay and sign some autographs after the game. The next day I headed back home to Seattle and watched Celtic play their 2nd exhibition game of the season against the Sounders. Georgios Samaras had a good game and also scored the 1st goal from a penalty kick.

Tim Hamblin <tim.hamblin(at)>


Inter Milan game July 31.

A great place for City fans to meet before the game: This site will show you menus, prices etc.

I would like to thank Brice for getting our tickets right above the press box (a gift from my old next door neighbour who is a big City fan – thank you).

I look forward to seeing any old friends.

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


Secure Parking for the Season Bargain Price of £100

Just to let you know if you would like to park your car with us at Mandata for the coming season it is £100 all in, which if we have a good home run in the FA, Carling and Europa that should be close on 25 home games, which represents a bargain price to keep your car safe from the scallies and hoodies who patrol the mean streets of Greater Openshaw and Beswick looking to nick motors and iPods and sat navs.

And the friendly next month is also included so that’s a minimum of 20 games for £100 plus all the cup games to boot. This could be as much as 30 home games this season, which works out at less than a pint at the ground per match.

Let me know and I will issue you with a season ticket in time for the 1st game against Valencia (I think on the 14th August).

The parking area is behind 8 foot fences with barbed wire, there is 24/7 security, the gates are locked during the game and there is no cash on the premises.

We are but a mere 7 minute walk from Mary D’s just off the Ashton Old Road.

Safe as houses!

Phil Lines <phil.lines(at)>


My name is Thomas Cooper and I work for the creative agency Bruce Dunlop & Associates. We are currently in the process of developing ESPN’s new promotional campaign for the upcoming Premier League season.

As with last season it will be involving fans of each Premier League side, however this year we are especially looking to film them in their work environments. If you’re not familiar with the previous promos the following link has a video which will give you an idea of what I’m talking about: Integrated Campaign/

Our budget this year is limiting us to film as much as possible in and around London. I’m writing as I’m wondering if you could help us in tracking down fans of a few clubs we are still looking for and who may be members of your group. We are still looking for supporters of Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, Man City, Newcastle United, Stoke City, Wigan Athletic, and Wolves.

Filming is scheduled to take place on the week beginning Monday 2 August and should take no longer than a couple of hours. If you know anybody who might be interested I’d appreciate your help.

Many thanks, Thomas Cooper <Thomas.Cooper(at)>

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Newsletter #1652