Newsletter #1662

News tonight of the latest squad moves, the City pledge, reaction to the Liverpool game and the Europa action.

We have match views tonight from the Liverpool victory, some worrying news on car parking arrangements at CoMS, more on reporting bias and the Weiss move.

Next Game: Sunderland, away, 3pm, Sunday 29 August 2010


General News

Promises, Promises: In a bid to ensure that fans continue to enjoy their experiences with Manchester City, the club has introduced five promises that all their staff have agreed to follow in the course of their day-to-day jobs. With the Blues being based not only at Eastlands but also at Platt Lane and Carrington, the hierarchy is keen that the club’s warm atmosphere should extend to all areas of the club. As such the club has promised both a warm welcome on arrival and that supporters’ safety is their number one priority. Fans have also been promised that all three bases will take pride in their individual space and surroundings whilst staff will be sure to go the extra mile to help with any problem you may have. Most importantly however, MCFC promises to ensure that you have the best possible experience during your time at the club and have told fans not to hesitate in sending the club feedback, be it positive or negative.

Back the Bid: Eastlands played host, this week, to a number of FIFA delegates who will determine where the 2018 World Cup is held this December. Led around the 48,000 seater stadium by CEO Garry Cook and World Cup Final referee Howard Webb, the football body’s representatives seemed suitably impressed with one of the league’s most modern stadiums. Old Trafford was also paid a visit in a day that was concluded by a VIP dinner in the Manchester Town Hall at Albert Square.

Squad News

Captain Carlos: Last season’s top scorer Carlos Tevez has been handed the captain’s armband for the “foreseeable future”. The Argentine striker is your classic “lead by example” skipper and it’s his passionate work ethic and “never say die” attitude that have led the City chief to take such a big decision. If nothing else, the move is sure to add a little extra spice to the next Manchester derby following Tevez’s crossing of the Manchester divide last summer. The former Inter Milan manager has admitted that it was a difficult decision to take but feels Carlos is perfect for the rôle: “We have Carlos, Kolo and Gareth Barry who would all make good captains of the side, and there were other choices too. I think that being captain will allow Carlos to show his personality more. It will encourage him to express himself more and I think it can improve the team. He leads by example on the pitch but also in the training ground every day. I understand what importance is placed on the captain in England because it is the same in Italy.”

Former skipper Kolo Toure knew there was a fair chance that he would be asked to surrender the armband following the arrival of Mancini last December, but the Italian coach had a few words of praise for the Ivorian centre-back who remains crucial to his first-team plans: “Kolo is a good man, a fantastic man and I have spoken to him. For him the only thing that is important is the squad and that the team plays well and wins something this season. He is disappointed but he understands.”

Captain Carlos revealed his was honoured to succeed Kolo: “I thank the manager for the opportunity. I am looking forward to a big season and we should get better and better as we get to know one another.”

Super Mario to Outdo Torres: Another of Mancini’s strikers set to make an impression this season is newly-signed Mario Balotelli. The 20-year-old left European Champions Inter Milan for CoMS this summer and made an instant impression by scoring on his début against Romanian outfit FC Timisoara. Ahead of the Blues’ 3-0 thrashing of Liverpool on Monday night, the City boss compared ‘Super Mario’ to one of Europe’s top strikers, Fernando Torres: “I think that Balotelli could be as good as Torres and even better than him. That’s because Torres can only play as a striker. Balotelli can play as a striker and as a winger. In my view there are eight or nine fantastic strikers. Torres and Balotelli are two of them. Then there’s Ibrahimovic, Ronaldo, Tevez, Messi. Trying to sign players like that is difficult but we’ve managed to get another one.”

Milner in the Middle: City’s latest arrival, James Milner, has been speaking this week of the competition he will face to get into the club’s first XI this week. Mancini explained that the reason the former Aston Villa midfielder was added to the City ranks was because of his versatility and though the England midfielder admits he prefers to play a central rôle, Milner is happy to play anywhere for his new club if it means getting into the side: “Wherever the manager wants me to play, I’ll do it to the best of my ability. But I enjoy playing in the middle – that’s probably my best position and where I’ve shown by best form over the past 18 months. I’ve been most creative and scored goals from there and I’ve enjoyed it immensely. I think that’s where the boss has signed me to play, but if he asks me to play anywhere else I’ll do what is best for the team. As long as we’re winning football matches, that’s all that counts.”

Fellow Blue Gareth Barry worked with Milner during his time at Villa and the England stalwart asserted that he was unsurprised with Milner’s impressive début against ‘top four’ rivals Liverpool: “James gave everything I was expecting from him – his work-rate was top class from start to finish, he gets forward to create chances, and he created my goal. At the end of the season you’ll see that he will be right up there in terms of assists, and he’s bound to chip in with a few goals himself as well.”

Right Back in Form: Milner is not the only player who understands the difficulties players will face to break into the City XI, as Micah Richards revealed the pressure of playing for the world’s richest club. After a fantastic start to his career, Richards’ form hasn’t been as consistent over the last couple of seasons and the signing of Hamburg’s Jerome Boateng this summer had seemed to push the Academy graduate even further down the pecking order at Eastlands. Following an injury to the German defender however, Micah has been handed a life-line to prove himself as quality right back: “I’m not going to lie, the pressure is high. When you are not picked you are a bit down. When you are picked, you have to play at 100 per cent to keep your shirt. It’s hard, but it’s also good for the team. The club has changed ridiculously, I’m just glad to be a part of it. The manager has come in and bought all these players but I am still in the starting line-up. I just hope to keep playing well and stay in the team, because there are some outstanding players here now.”

Plane Unlucky: Boateng’s injury came courtesy of an unfortunate piece of luck whilst on international duty. On the flight back from representing his country in Germany’s friendly with Denmark, Boateng was hit by a cabin crew food trolley and is reported to have torn a tendon in his left knee. The defender, who is expected to be out for approximately four weeks, cursed his luck: “I imagined my start at City to be quite different, of course. Even in my first game with City against Valencia (in a friendly), I had problems with the knee from the match in Copenhagen.”

In City’s Defence: The Blues are yet to concede the goal this season following three excellent displays from the club’s back-line. Replacing goalkeeper Shay Given with England’s Joe Hart was expected to create a number of difficulties for Mancini’s side, as the defence had to settle into a brand new routine with a new stopper behind them, but clean sheets against Spurs, Timisoara and Liverpool have defied the critics. Belgian defender Vincent Kompany claimed he was always confident in his team-mates’ abilities at the back: “I have always been confident that we have very good defenders here; it just takes some time to gel and three games without conceding a goal tells us we are on the right road in that respect. You have to give credit to the guys in front of us too. You defend as a team and we have been doing that very well. I think everyone saw the commitment from us in the Liverpool game we were determined to make it hard for them and when they had their ten minutes on top in the second half, we were brave and resolute in our own penalty area. Whenever we needed a last ditch challenge we found it.”

Kompany’s words came only days after Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon warned City that a lack of world class defensive talent could hinder the Manchester club’s ambitions: “Carlos Tevez, David Silva, Yaya Toure and a few others would make it into any squad in the world. But they don’t have one defender that would even get near the Juventus, Real Madrid, Barcelona or Manchester United team. Great teams are always built from the back and I am really surprised they are not trying to do that, considering their coach is an Italian. If they don’t sign at least two world-class defenders before the transfer window shuts, I am not sure they will even make a top four finish, let alone win the Premier League. They have so much quality there now that, if they sign these defenders, I think they can make a real impact.”

Keen to ‘Keep His Place: Now the club’s established number one, Joe Hart has refused to rest on his laurels and will be competing with Shay Given every week in training to ensure he is on the team-sheet come the weekend. Hart was a shock inclusion in last week’s Europa League clash in Romania, with Given expected to be chosen to represent the Blues against ‘inferior’ opposition. But Mancini stuck by his 23-year-old stopper and Hart knows what it takes to keep hold of the number one jersey:

“It’s nice to be playing and I’m enjoying it at the moment. I’m aware that could change so I’m just doing my best. It’s not difficult – not that I don’t respect Shay – but I know that I just have to concentrate on my own game and keep trying to improve. I know for a fact that if I don’t he’ll take it (number one spot). It’s a difficult situation but I’m enjoying it at the moment.”

For Given, the future seems unclear. The 34-year-old admitted before the Spurs game last week that he would find it difficult to remain at Eastlands if he wasn’t the club’s number one and with Fulham and Arsenal both hovering, a move away from the club seems ever more likely. One goalie who knows the benefits of leaving CoMS in search of first-team action is Leeds ‘keeper Kasper Schemeichel. He has pleaded with Given not to waste the final years of his career on the Blues’ bench: “I hope for Shay’s sake that he leaves, because he is too good to be sitting on someone’s bench. It is horrible (being on the bench). I experienced it a lot during my time at City and there’s absolutely nothing you can do. Goalkeeper is such a specialized position and managers tend to keep it the same all the way through the season so it’s very demoralising and disheartening (for the No 2).”

The Rumour Mill

The Price is Weiss: As David Silva, James Milner and Mario Balotelli moved to Manchester this summer, it was clear that at least one of the Blues’ wide men would make the move away from CoMS this season and 20-year-old Vladimir Weiss is the lad to make way. Slovakian World Cup starlet Weiss is certainly part of Mancini’s long term plans, but the Italian coach felt that a move to Glasgow giants Rangers would do the midfielder some good. It’s reported that Weiss turned down a move to Glasgow rivals Celtic in order to play Champions’ League football for Walter Smith’s side.

Will He? Won’t He? England’s most expensive player seems almost certain to leave the club before the transfer deadline arrives, though Robinho has ruled out a move to Turkey. City are believed to have accepted an offer of £26 million from Turkish giants Besiktas in their bid to beat their rivals Fenerbache to the Brazilian’s signature. Robinho, who spent six months of last season on loan in his homeland with boyhood club Santos, explained that he hopes to remain in Europe: “With all due respect to Turkish football, I’m not going to play there right now. Fenerbahce have sent me an official proposal, but I already decided that I will not take it up. There are other conversations going on and a week gives me a lot of time yet. The only thing I can say for certain is that I will continue in Europe, either in Italy or Spain.”

Shop Shut: Roberto Mancini brought an end to City’s spending spree for this transfer window by stating that the club has no more transfer targets and no plans to make any further moves for players. Yaya Toure, Mario Balotelli and Aleksandar Kolarov are just three of City’s big money arrivals and Mancini believes his squad is sufficient to see out the season. This hasn’t stopped the media linking the Blues with moves for Real Madrid’s Fernando Gago, Barcelona’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Benfica’s David Luiz this week.

Shown the Door? Reports this week suggested that former Everton centre-back Joleon Lescott was being offered to a number of club’s in the Premier League whilst Roque Santa Cruz is expected to be subject to a £6 million bid from Italian side Lazio in the coming week.

Meanwhile, Emmanuel Adebayor again seemed to open the door to an exit after he claimed there is a chance he could leave the club. Having been left out of the first XI for both of City’s Premier League ties so far, ‘Manu’ explained that though he will fight for his place, there is a chance he could leave and rumours of Real Madrid’s interest may in time come to fruition: “I had a chat with the manager after the Spurs game, which was good. But managers can change. Today they love you and then you think you are going to be moving. I don’t want to look too far into the future. Who knows? By January maybe the manager will tell me to leave – or maybe I will ask to leave. What is important for me is to have clear focus on playing for City and fighting for my place in the team and that is what I intend to do.”

Post-Match Reaction

Dream Début: Not a game for the football purist as City struggled to find their feet in their Europa League bow. An unsettled first half against Romanian side FC Timisoara emphasized the difficulties City may face this season as their big money signings struggled to gel. It wasn’t until Mario Balotelli stepped out on to the pitch for City that the game livened up a little. A spark of passion and skill, tempered with an attitude to match, Balotelli scored his first for the club on his début and the Blues set themselves up for a comfortable return leg at Eastlands. 1-0 up, with a home tie to come, anything other than qualification for the competition’s group stages will be a major disappointment. The one disappointment of the game was a cartilage injury suffered by the Italian youngster but he fully enjoyed his first appearance for the Citizens: “I feel good; this is the kind of début I dreamed of. I was not expecting to play from the start; the important thing was to play a bit because I have not played at all in the pre-season.”

Mancini praised his £24 million starlet: “He is young and eager and has a lot of talent. He did well when he came on but that is not a surprise. I thought Gareth Barry and David Silva did well too before they came off. The players who were at the World Cup still need time.”

Mansour Will Never Walk Alone: Two years the City faithful have waited to give owner Sheikh Mansour the roar he deserves and on Monday night, the Blues were granted their wish. A surprise appearance from the Sheikh got the atmosphere pumping as the Blues took on rivals Liverpool, in what could already be an influential fixture in the race for fourth. Mansour watched on as his boys dominated vast periods of the home tie against the 2005 Champions’ League winners. A goal from man-of-the match Gareth Barry and a brace from club Captain Carlos Tevez (though whether the slight flick on his first goal should constitute taking it from Micah Richards, who took the original shot, is debatable) was enough to demolish a disappointing Liverpool as critics were silenced and City were truly taken notice of for the first time in decades.

Mancini, who wasn’t aware that Sheikh Mansour was even coming to Eastlands, was very proud of his boys and hopes the club’s owner enjoyed his first trip to Eastlands: “I wasn’t surprised, because I thought we could play a good game tonight. If we go out on the pitch with a good mentality then we can beat any team. It’s hard to score three goals against a team like Liverpool. We needed this win to believe in ourselves. He (Mansour) was very happy because it was his first time and he saw us beat Liverpool. So it was a good night. I hope he will come every week but I don’t think that is possible. We don’t have time to celebrate and I’m very tired tonight! We must prepare for the next game now in only two days.”

A smiling Micah Richards warned Carlos Tevez that he will fight tooth and nail to claim the goal that his captain has claimed: “It’s my goal – he’s going to get 20 this season and he got the penalty, so I’m claiming it. I’ll be ringing the dubious goals panel in the morning!”

World Cup finalist Nigel de Jong was chuffed with the scale of the victory and believes his side have laid down a marker: “Monday’s performance was one that should set the tone for the season. It is not often that anyone beats Liverpool 3-0. I think you could tell we were all so determined. The game was a lot of fun to play in and I am sure it was great to watch too because the second half was up and down and we managed to score at just the right times. We are a happy team at the moment. We were always in control of the game and we felt that from the time we scored a well-worked first goal. We want to win this league. That’s the ambition but to do that we have to hit these standards every week.”

One time Liverpool target Gareth Barry thinks that Mancini’s man management skills will be enough to overcome the new boys’ difficulty to gel: “There were times last season where you could see it was taking time to come together, and there will be spells this season where things won’t go to plan like they did against Liverpool. The manager had us nicely organized, everyone knew their jobs, and we stuck together. But we know it won’t happen overnight, you have to build up gradually. Liverpool showed a bit of what we have to be doing week in, week out.”

Ex-Blues’ News

Superman’s Swipe: City Academy graduate Stephen Ireland has taken a final swipe at the Eastlands club, having completed his move to Aston Villa. The midfielder, who reportedly held up the James Milner exchange deal in search of a £2 million pay-off from the club, has criticized the Blues for losing its roots and stated that he believes that he is as good a player as Champions’ League winner Yaya Toure or World Cup medal holder David Silva: “I don’t think loyalty is much in anyone’s mind at Manchester City. I felt like I would be next (to leave). A lot of players felt like that as well – the homegrown guys. I can honestly say Manchester City have tried to replace me for the last three or four seasons and it’s never happened. I can easily say I’ve got, if not more ability, as much ability as any player they have signed this year.”

Alex Rowen <news(at)>


A rather different match report to most…

Travelling down from the Fylde, I left in good time looking forward to the game. Liverpool has always been a big fixture as they were the team we struggled against in the 70s and 80s, so I was expecting this to be a good measure of our progress.

About an hour before kick-off we ran into traffic a couple of miles north of car park 1, where we have always parked since the move the Eastlands. No bother, I thought, this is the usual pre-match traffic and we should be there in good time.

Well, how wrong can you be? Total gridlock. Eventually, just after 8:00 pm (or kick-off, as we sometimes know it), we reached the entrance to the car park, to be greeted by a steward telling us that it was full. This car park has never been full since the move to Eastlands. When I asked where the alternatives were, I was told that it was his first day here and he couldn’t help me. I then tried one of the roads off Alan Turing Way, couldn’t find anywhere, got lost in Newton Heath, made it back to the City centre for 8:15 and thought ‘sod it, I’m off home to see if I can catch the end of the game on telly’.

What’s going on with the parking? I wasn’t the only one trying to get parked in car park 1 judging by the queues both ways at the entrance; judging by the amount of horn beeping going on I was one of the calmer drivers. And I was not a happy bunny to say the least.

Net result is one wasted evening and about £60 when petrol and ticket costs are taken into account. And one very unhappy 10-year old in the car with me.

I have written to Garry Cook about this because if they have changed the parking arrangements and not communicated them it is a disgrace. So much for treating fans (25 years a season ticket holder) with respect for their loyalty. I await his response with interest.

I would be interested in knowing whether I was the only fan caught up in this who missed significant parts of the game.

I have no idea where I will be able to park for future games. Can any MCIVTA readers recommend suitable parking to the north of the stadium, preferably easily accessible from Alan Turing Way? Or does anyone know of coach transport for City fans from the Lytham area?

So, what should have been a great night was totally ruined, and I’m still feeling angry at this point.

Alastair Hayes <hayesa1(at)>


In this game City give a warning to other rivals their intent with a brilliant display of football. At first I was disappointed that Mario was not able to play due to injury, but I soon forgot that by some great football that tore Liverpool apart.

The whole team played together as if they had been playing together for months. Milner had a great game after joining the club just days before. The MoM award was a tough one, but Adam Johnson just gets it, from a fantastic team performance. Well done Roberto!

After seeing remarks made by Stephen Ireland after his departure from MCFC, I have to make mine. When we the supporters voted Ireland player of the year and we called him Superman, we created a Prima Donna; his attitude at the club changed, and his efforts on the pitch went downhill. He refused to play for his country just because the Irish manager Giovanni Trapattoni accepted phone calls during his interview.

Since he never made it into the 25 at City he became frustrated, hence his remarks that make him look a fool. After his TV interview he played his first game for Villa – they lost to Newcastle 6-0.

Richard Dunne on the other hand has not been making bad remarks about MCFC, goes about his business in a way to be admired and he is proud to represent his country Ireland and treats it as an honour. A true gentleman.

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)>


A couple of fans have written in about Jonathan Northcroft’s scurrilous article after the Spurs game, in which he wrote that Kolarov couldn’t face coming out for the second half. Not the sort of quality reporting one would expect in a quality newspaper. I believe his unpleasant attitude can be explained to some extent if you know that he has strong links to Gary Neville. After the derby when Neville was sent off for diving in the penalty area and then threatening to head butt McManaman, the Times published a half-page article under Neville’s name, which was one of the most nauseating whinges I’ve ever read. I’m guessing that Mr. Northcroft approved publication even if he didn’t actually pen it.

Has there been an apology? If there has, it’s not been in the Scottish edition of the paper.

On a more pleasant note, I watched a Scottish league match on TV for the first time in years. I was hoping to see young Vladimir Weiss playing for Rangers. I had to wait until 25 minutes from end before he appeared, but boy did he make an impact! His very first touch started him off on a line between two defenders, leaving them both for dead. An inviting cross wasn’t converted. He then moved to the other wing to torment the right back and sent over a pin-point cross that a team mate headed over the bar. He continued to drive defenders dizzy, and in one lovely interchange of passes set up the second goal. Everything he did was at breakneck speed, but he was in control of the ball at all times. Before Weiss came on, the result was still in doubt. Once he appeared, it was clear which team would win.

I only hope that Mancini, Kidd and Platt (or do I mean Marwood and Cook?) realise what a treasure we have in this young lad. He’ll get clattered a few times in the Scottish league, but he’s so resilient and eager to shine on the big stage that he’ll survive that. Next season I can see him coming on for City as a substitute and running rings round tired defenders.

David Buxton <dbb26(at)>


No doubt there have been similar requests such as this, but I’ll be moving to New York for a year in a couple of weeks, and wondered if there were any gatherings of Blues, to watch the matches etc.?

Jon Abel <jonabel(at)>


23 August 2010

Manchester City       3 - 0  Liverpool             47,087

League table to 25 August 2010 inclusive

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F   A   GD Pts
 1 Chelsea          2  1  0  0  6  0  1  0  0  6  0  2  0  0  12   0  12   6
 2 Arsenal          2  1  0  0  6  0  0  1  0  1  1  1  1  0   7   1   6   4
 3 Manchester Utd   2  1  0  0  3  0  0  1  0  2  2  1  1  0   5   2   3   4
 4 Manchester City  2  1  0  0  3  0  0  1  0  0  0  1  1  0   3   0   3   4
 5 Bolton Wndrs     2  0  1  0  0  0  1  0  0  3  1  1  1  0   3   1   2   4
 6 Birmingham City  2  1  0  0  2  1  0  1  0  2  2  1  1  0   4   3   1   4
 7 Wolves           2  1  0  0  2  1  0  1  0  1  1  1  1  0   3   2   1   4
 8 Tottenham H.     2  0  1  0  0  0  1  0  0  2  1  1  1  0   2   1   1   4
 9 Newcastle Utd    2  1  0  0  6  0  0  0  1  0  3  1  0  1   6   3   3   3
10 Blackburn R.     2  1  0  0  1  0  0  0  1  1  2  1  0  1   2   2   0   3
11 Blackpool        2  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  1  4  6  1  0  1   4   6  -2   3
12 Aston Villa      2  1  0  0  3  0  0  0  1  0  6  1  0  1   3   6  -3   3
13 West Brom A.     2  1  0  0  1  0  0  0  1  0  6  1  0  1   1   6  -5   3
14 Fulham           2  0  1  0  2  2  0  1  0  0  0  0  2  0   2   2   0   2
15 Sunderland       2  0  1  0  2  2  0  0  1  0  1  0  1  1   2   3  -1   1
16 Everton          2  0  1  0  1  1  0  0  1  0  1  0  1  1   1   2  -1   1
17 Liverpool        2  0  1  0  1  1  0  0  1  0  3  0  1  1   1   4  -3   1
18 Stoke City       2  0  0  1  1  2  0  0  1  1  2  0  0  2   2   4  -2   0
19 West Ham United  2  0  0  1  1  3  0  0  1  0  3  0  0  2   1   6  -5   0
20 Wigan Athletic   2  0  0  2  0 10  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  2   0  10 -10   0

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1662