Newsletter #1678

News from Alex tonight on the passing of Malcolm Allison, fixture changes, player news and the Rooney rumours. We of course have opinion on that story, the luxury of second and the usual requests.

European action tonight followed by a visit from the third placed Gooners at the weekend.


Next Game: Arsenal, home, 4pm Sunday 24 October 2010


General News

Death of a Legend: City legend Malcolm Allison sadly passed away this week at the age of 83. The former City manager will forever be remembered by the faithful as one half of City’s greatest ever management team, when he lined up as Joe Mercer’s assistant back in 1965. A man who helped create giants of City both on the domestic and European front, Allison will be sadly missed by all involved with the club. A fans’ memorial service will be held at City Square on Sunday October 25th in Big Mal’s memory. It is due to begin at 1.45pm. Club Ambassador Mike Summerbee, who played under Allison, will present one of the readings and had a few kind words for the great man: “Malcolm changed football by making us train like athletes; in that respect he was ahead of his time and he was a great tactician as well. He was also one of the lads – in effect he was the twelfth player from the sidelines but he knew how to crack the whip and we respected him.”

Life President Bernard Halford emphasised just how special Allison was: “We will never see the likes of him ever again, and he did so much for the club. The signing of Tony Book was a master-stroke, but he enhanced the careers of so many other players and they worshipped him. You knew he was in a room with you; not many people have that kind of presence but Malcolm did, and he transferred the confidence he had in himself to the team. He felt we could beat anybody and he wanted the players to think that way too.”

That Must Have Hurt: In a week where United let slip a two goal lead to draw with West Brom at home and City overcame a battling Blackpool side at Bloomfield Road, the Blues sit comfortably in second place in the Premier League table. It’s been a great couple of weeks for City fans as they enjoy finding themselves above their arch rivals United and they were treated even further when enemy number one, Gary Neville, finally conceded that the Blues were genuine title rivals. Neville, who has been very vocal about City in the past, admitted that City’s squad is capable of matching United and Chelsea’s all the way this season and as a result, they must be considered a genuine threat: “Last weekend’s results mean we are now behind Manchester City in the league, which hasn’t happened too often in the past 20 years. There is no doubt that we have to see City as major challengers this season along with Chelsea.”

Singing the Blues: With Mario Balotelli injured and Emmanuel Adebayor out of form, City are struggling to find an ideal partner for Carlos Tevez this season but this month’s ManC magazine seems to have found the answer… Noel Gallagher. The former Oasis star and life long Blue revealed this week that he is a massive fan of Tevez’s attitude on and off the pitch and joked that he would love to team up with him in a musical way whenever the Argentine playmaker is free: “Yeah, I’d have a little jam with him. He can’t speak English, though – I’ve met him! But I love that he doesn’t care and just goes out and does his thing. If he ever wants to bust the guitar out and do a bit, I’m always available!”

Fixture Changes: A couple of rescheduled fixtures for the Christmas period as the home tie against Everton will now be played on Monday December 20th at 8pm and City will now visit Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium on January 5th, 7.45 kick off.

Squad News

Classy Kompany: The ever consistent Vincent Kompany has been awarded the club’s Etihad Player of the Month award for September. The Belgian pulled in a massive 65% of the vote, with Tevez (18%) and Adam Johnson (10%) second and third respectively. Although he continues to remain one of the most underrated talents in world football, Kompany has been in outstanding form for City since his move from Hamburg in 2008 and fellow defender Joleon Lescott believes he may just prove the difference between success and failure for the Blues: “We’ve been so tight at the back, and Vincent and Kolo are playing exceptionally well. Vinny has been the stand-out player so far this season, not just for City but in the whole Premier League. He’s been immense in every game – some of his performances have been out of this world. Sometimes he doesn’t get enough credit for what he’s done in a match; he just goes about his job and makes it look so easy. Fans and pundits might look more towards the goal scorers, but the pros and the people who know look at players like Vince, Nigel de Jong and Gareth Barry for the work they do off the ball that is vital to the team.”

Taylor Made: City seemed a thing of the past for Stuart Taylor after his contract was allowed to expire and the player allowed to leave during the summer, but four months on and the former Arsenal stopper is glad to have been given a second chance by the club. The return of Joe Hart saw Taylor fall down the pecking order as the club’s third choice ‘keeper, but Taylor explained this week that he is loving his time with the Blues and even turned down other offers in order to come back to Eastlands during the summer transfer window: “West Ham had showed interest during the summer and I thought I might be heading back to London at one stage, which from a family point-of-view wouldn’t have been a bad thing. But it’s a short career and I enjoyed being with City last year so it made sense to stay here. I get along really well with Shay and Joe and there’s a good spirit within the squad. We’ve made a good start to the campaign and I hope I’ll be able to play a part at some part. In the meantime I’ll be training hard and if I’m needed, I’ll be ready.”

Kolo’s Climb: As a skipper, City fans will feel the club never quite got the best out of former Arsenal centre back Kolo Toure but without that extra responsibility, and under the guidance of Italian coach Roberto Mancini, Toure has been a very different prospect this season. The combination of Toure and Kompany has created sturdy competition for any opposition striker and playing in front of an in-form Joe Hart can only help to boost the club’s defensive capabilities. Toure, who was joined at the club by brother Yaya in a £24 million deal this summer, admits he feels much more settled in Manchester this year and hopes to help City achieve great things this season: “I feel so much fitter now than I did last season. I have been happy with my form but there is more to come. I am settled in Manchester, I know everyone at the club; I know how it all works and feel very happy and comfortable with the way things are going. We have to be pleased with what we have done so far. But we know we will get better as the season progresses, as we get to know one another and as the injured players begin to come back. I came here to win trophies and play Champions’ League football and that is what we are all working hard to achieve. I have played in one great team and I want to be part of another one. I think I still have five or six years to play at the top level and I want to make the most of them. I look forward to coming into work every single day and seeing this City side keep improving.”

Richards’ Return: Another component of City’s excellent defensive record this season is the recently rejuvenated Micah Richards. Great things were expected of Richards after an amazing start to his club career, which saw him tipped to replace Gary Neville as England’s established right back and led to rumours of an £18 million move to Chelsea. Richards’ form grew inconsistent though and all his aspirations seem to come crashing down very quickly. Given his chance by Roberto Mancini and hoping to find a regular berth in the City XI, Richards has renewed hopes for the future and having finally returned from a niggling hamstring injury, the athletic right back will hope to push on this season: “I’m training more or less 100 per cent now and it feels like I’ll be in contention again for Sunday. It was important I didn’t rush it because you can’t afford to take chances with hamstrings. But it feels a lot better now and hopefully I can get straight back into the form that I started the season in. Maybe this three-week rest without a game will be of benefit later on. It’s a long, hard season, and you have to be fully fit to be able to finish it properly.”

Winter Wonderland: Yaya Toure has spoken this week of how important the winter months will be if City hope to achieve anything this season. In the past, some of City’s most in-form players, for example Elano and Robinho, have all tailed off when it got cold during the English winter time but City can’t afford their current crop of stars to get complacent if they have title aspirations this season. Not used to playing over Christmas, having experienced the Spanish winter break, Toure asserts there will be no excuses for this City team: “I am here now at Manchester City and that is my only focus. I want to help City win trophies now. People can talk about the weather, but I’m enjoying being in Manchester. I’ve been at a lot of clubs, and I know the weather is not so good here. There’s not so much sun, but it’s OK. Ukraine was a lot colder! I don’t know how much time it will take, and we definitely want to win something this season, but it is important to me and the team that we win a trophy, and then another.”

Full Support: The bemusing furore over tackling continued this week as a number of Premier League players and managers criticised each other and reacted to claims about each other all over the issue of tackling. All this in the wake of that Nigel de Jong tackle that broke the leg of Newcastle’s Hatem Ben Arfa. The Dutch midfielder is still being used as this image of “all that is wrong with football” and club manager Roberto Mancini is disappointed that his player is victimized in this way. Not only that, but the Italian admits he doesn’t understand why de Jong was dropped by the Dutch national squad. Speaking on behalf of his player, Mancini said: “I think that he is disappointed, because he is a Holland player who always works 100 per cent for the team. He’s an honest player and a good player. He is a hard player but in the Premier League there are a lot of players like Nigel who play 100 per cent for the team who can sometimes do one or two fouls. He’s very sorry for Ben Arfa but that is football. It is important that he continues to play calmly. He is an important player for Holland, but it depends on the Holland manager.”

Swansong? City’s other defensive midfielder, Patrick Vieira, has been making headlines for other reasons as he hinted that he may be set to retire. The Frenchman who enjoyed a glittering career with Arsenal, Juventus and Inter Milan, has in truth only served to wind down his career at Eastlands, but the Premier League winner has said that he would love to go out with a bang if he were to step down from the playing side of the game: “I have a great chance to finish here at Manchester City this season or next.”

Given the Chance: Options limited during the summer and opportunities limited during the season, Nedum Onuoha’s decision to join Sunderland on loan this term has never seemed more justified. Now acting as a first team starter for the Black Cats, Onuoha is proving exactly what he is capable of down on Wearside. The City Academy graduate is a big favourite amongst the fans and yet has never been a first XI starter for the Blues. If Joe Hart’s loan spell at Birmingham last season is anything to go by, then City players have nothing to lose by leaving the club temporarily and if he can remain consistent for Steve Bruce’s side, Onuoha may force himself into Mancini’s thinking for his own side next season: “It’s been good to play in every league game I’ve been available for. That’s not something I’ve been used to at Manchester City. But I don’t take that for granted – I really don’t. If I wasn’t playing well and wasn’t doing the right things, I wouldn’t expect to play.”

The Rumour Mill

Blue Roo? Well we’re not quite sure where this one has come from. The weekend’s papers were first to the story claiming that Rooney was ready to leave United having grown weary of his time at Old Trafford. But the speculation was instantly dismissed and football fans simply viewed it as tabloid sensationalism. Yet Rooney, despite declaring himself fit, was left to start on the bench for Saturday’s 2-2 draw with West Brom and never looked like making an impact when he came on. Rumours continued to circulate and then on Tuesday, during his European Champions’ League pre-match press conference, Alex Ferguson dropped a bombshell: “We don’t understand it. The player (Rooney) says he is adamant. He says he wants to leave. We have to deal with the next part in terms of his request. I can do no more than we’ve done. We still have the door open, but who knows.”

And the footballing world was rocked. Within hours there were stories that City, Madrid, Barcelona and Inter Milan were all lining up bids for the England striker and even Tottenham’s Harry Redknapp admitted he would be interested in taking the 24-year-old to White Hart Lane. Realistically, only City and Madrid could afford the player but with Madrid boss Jose Mourinho unusually coy on the subject and Mancini saying only: “I have respect for him, for Ferguson, for United. I want to speak only about my players”, Rooney’s future remains unclear.

Most City fans wouldn’t even want him. They believe that Rooney isn’t the player that everyone has made him out to be and that City have already stolen United’s star striker from under their noses. However, with Emmanuel Adebayor seemingly on his way to Italy, Lazio the latest club to be linked to the former Togo skipper, and City’s love of making ‘marquee’ signings, the club’s hierarchy may find it very hard not to move for the former Everton front man.

No matter what, the next few weeks are set to be some of the most interesting in City’s transfer history and the question is this: if the Blues are going to buy only one other world-renowned name this season, would fans rather it be Rooney and enjoy stealing yet another of United’s prize assets during a great period of instability at Old Trafford, or would Spain’s Fernando Torres make a much more effective purchase from the struggling Liverpool?

Thanks but No Thanks: One striker who says he certainly won’t be joining City any time soon is Brazilian maestro Alex Pato. Rumours circulated this week that City were preparing a mega money offer for the AC Milan forward but ‘The Duck’, as he is affectionately known in Italy, has stated that he would only ever consider leaving Milan for Spanish giants Barcelona: “If one day I leave Milan then I would like to play for Barcelona. I am honoured by City’s offer, but I am a Milan player and I am fine here.”

Targeting the Home Ground: After signing Aleksandar Kolarov from Lazio back in the summer, it would seem that Roberto Mancini is set to return to the Italian club with an offer for one of their other up and coming stars. Romanian defender Stefan Radu is making quite the name for himself over in Serie A and with Real Madrid and Inter Milan banded as potential suitors, City may have to move quick to get their man. Radu is highly rated by the Italian side and it is believed he would attract a fee in the region of £16 million. Radu’s agent explained this week that the player is more than ready to leave for greater things: “Stefan has another two years on his contract with Lazio but there is a valid offer from Manchester City. Coach Roberto Mancini knows the Italian championship and Radu. In my opinion he is definitely ready for a big club.”

Hartle-Poole: City youngster James Poole has joined Hartlepool on a one-month loan deal. The FA Youth Cup winner is a promising young striker and will be hoping to gain some valuable experience down in League Two.

Post-Match Reaction

By the Seaside: A trip to the seaside was never going to be as easy going and relaxed as it sounded with Blackpool having made such an impression on the Premier League, but the Blues came away with all three points nonetheless as The Tangerines were left still searching for a first home league win since promotion. The first half was a drab affair with Emmanuel Adebayor coming in for a lot of criticism following a particularly lacklustre display though that would all change after the break.

Manu was replaced by World Cup winner David Silva on the hour mark and the Spaniard turned the game on its head. The former Valencia winger laid Tevez off for his first of the game with a tricky flick before Marlon Harewood came off the bench to equalize for the hosts. Only seconds after the restart, City were back in front through yet another Tevez goal before Silva scored the goal of the game. Feigning two defenders before calmly, but superbly, slotting the ball past ‘keeper Matt Gilks, Silva had City fans thinking back to the days of Kinkladze. Blackpool did strike again with Taylor-Fletcher scoring in the final minute but it was all too late and City climbed back up to second in the table.

Manager Mancini accepted that the Blues had a long way to go before being able to say they were playing to the best of their potential: “We must improve, but sometimes it is good to win games even though you are not playing your best. We knew it would be a difficult game because Blackpool have been playing very well and play good football and they made it very hard for us today. We played very well at Sunderland but lost that game when we should have won, so I’m happy that we have beaten a good side without being at our best. It is good that we are second but we must aim higher and always try to be the best. If the season ended now, I wouldn’t be happy because we have a very good team and great players and we must only think of being the best, not second.”

Defensive rock Vincent Kompany explained that points will always be more important than performances: “In the end the result was a really good one for us. I thought that for a big part of the game Blackpool were the better team, but then again it was not difficult to keep them out at the back. We found it hard to create chances, but there was a moment when we scored that we thought we could get the second and maybe more if it had gone on longer. Fair play to Blackpool, they came back at us and made it difficult for us right to the end. We respected Blackpool before the game and that’s why it’s a good win. The way it is going now, there’s no reason why we should rule ourselves out, and we are two points behind Chelsea, three clear of the rest so we’ll see. The game against Arsenal is definitely a benchmark game. The team, fans and myself, we’re all looking forward to that one!”

Ex-Blues’ News

Wily Old Foxes: 30-year-old Darius Vassell has moved to Leicester City this week to re-unite with former City manager Sven Goran Eriksson. The two former Blues masterminded City’s first win at Old Trafford for thirty eight years during their time at Eastlands and will have to be at their very best all over again as they seek to take Leicester City from the Championship relegation zone to the Premier League. Vassell has moved to the Walkers’ Stadium on a free transfer having been without a club since his contract with Turkish club Ankaragucu was terminated and is the third of Sven’s signings since joining The Foxes.

Alex Rowen <news(at)>


I must admit I read Glyn Albuquerque’s critique of the Blackpool vs. Man City game with a wry smile… “If I as an ordinary fan can see this, what is Mancini and his band of coaches watching?” he implored.

Now of course we all fancy ourselves as closet coaches, and City, probably in common with most clubs, have their fair share of fans who appear know better than the Manager. But after 40 years of watching City, which in the parlance of these perilous economic times might be described as a U-shape period, where the success I enjoyed in the late 60’s and early 70’s as a fledgling Blue now promises to return 4 decades later, I can honestly say that I don’t care what goes on in the middle of the pitch, just at either end.

Players can have time and space, can fling balls around like quarter backs, whatever they want to do, as long as we are able to keep our shape and prevent people getting between us. For most of the season we have achieved this. We are now second in the league. We won our last 4 Premier League games. Now I might be a glass half full sort of chap compared to Glyn’s half empty, but the time to kick your Manager is when your team is losing is it not, or am I missing something?

It is clear that Mancini prefers his football dull and effective. Can’t say that excites me a great deal but Chelsea got 2 titles from this approach before discovering free flowing football (after going through another 3 managers). Me? I’m loving it. Bore me stupid and win 1-0. Send me to sleep and sneak over the line. Serve me up a yawn fest and get criticised when you win by the Glyn Albuqerques of this world. I’ll take it every week if it’s a stepping stone to winning something. OK, I will concede to Glyn that we are playing rubbish. But after all that’s gone before I’ll take winning playing rubbish every day!

Mal Ogg <Mal.Ogg(at)>


I hope we don’t buy Rooney.

Firstly, I just don’t like him. But in any case, he’s not very good. Not at the moment anyway, and who knows how deep and how long this slump will be? Leave him at the Swamp. His being a problem there is to our advantage here and doesn’t cost us a penny. And unless there is some gaping loophole in the coming Platini regulations, we shouldn’t be looking to add such an expensive signing at this time anyway.

Bernard Molyneux <molyneux(at)>


So the odious philanderer Rooney wants to jump ship because we have more dosh. I can see immediate pluses: It would make the even more odious Bacon-face even more apoplectic, which has to be worth the money alone; it would wrankle deep with the afflicted and wipe the smug, arrogant gleams off their faces to have the truth revealed about the effects of their debt; it would deprive the Scum of their only potent force (and our competitors too); it would be really funny.

Then on the darker side, we would be paying a fortune to the ultimate mercenary who has proven time and again that he has no concept of loyalty. It could mess up a good side by giving preference to such an arrogant mercenary (remember how we lost the league just to sign Rodney, not that he was a mercenary, nor at all odious). It would take an awful lot of goals and serious personality change for Rooney to redeem himself and I doubt there is enough time.

So I hope we put in a bid and let Real outbid us. We can upset the Scum and have a laugh and wind up Bacon-face, but I truly hope we measure it as we did with Berbatov. Rub salt in the wound, take the p**s, push up the price, but for God’s sake don’t actually sign him.

Martin Hunt <martinhunt1908(at)>


I take no exception to my response to James’s “Own Worst Enemy” post being described as “petulant” by Alyson… I probably have to hold my hands up and say it was!

After witnessing the boo-boys against Adebayor on Sunday as he was leaving the pitch, I’m going to do a hand-brake turn and agree with the both of them. That was just embarrassing, cringeworthy stuff from a section of our so-called support.

Pete Rodda <pete(at)>


On the 29th of October, Blues in Business will meet for lunch, 12 till 2pm at Don Geovanni restaurant in Manchester city centre, Oxford Street.

Mike Summerbee will tell stories of his days with his best mate George Best and there will be business and football networking opportunities.

Tickets just £20. Call 07747 000992 to book your place(s).

David Djordjevic <david.djordjevic(at)>


Hoping to gather some supporters in the Boston USA area for the game this weekend. If anyone is interested, or has a better suggestion for location, I was going to watch the game at Phoenix Landing in Central Sq Cambridge. It is the home of the Liverpool fans but they’ve recently gotten a bit quiet. Anyone interested feel free to contact.

Marc Anderson <manderson999(at)>


18 October 2010

Blackburn Rovers      0 - 0  Sunderland            21,894

17 October 2010

Everton               2 - 0  Liverpool             39,673
Blackpool             2 - 3  Manchester City       16,116

16 October 2010

Arsenal               2 - 1  Birmingham City       60,070
Bolton Wanderers      2 - 1  Stoke City            22,975
Fulham                1 - 2  Tottenham Hotspur     25,615
Manchester United     2 - 2  West Bromwich Albion  75,272
Newcastle United      2 - 2  Wigan Athletic        44,415
Wolverhampton Wndrs   1 - 1  West Ham United       28,582
Aston Villa           0 - 0  Chelsea               40,122

League table to 20 October 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          8  4  0  0 14  0  2  1  1  9  2  6  1  1  23   2  21  19
 2 Manchester City  8  3  1  0  7  2  2  1  1  5  3  5  2  1  12   5   7  17
 3 Arsenal          8  3  0  1 14  5  1  2  1  4  5  4  2  2  18  10   8  14
 4 Manchester Utd   8  3  1  0 11  4  0  4  0  7  7  3  5  0  18  11   7  14
 5 Tottenham H.     8  2  1  1  5  3  2  1  1  5  4  4  2  2  10   7   3  14
 6 West Brom A.     8  2  2  0  6  3  1  1  2  5 11  3  3  2  11  14  -3  12
 7 Bolton Wndrs     8  1  3  0  6  5  1  2  1  6  7  2  5  1  12  12   0  11
 8 Aston Villa      8  2  2  0  5  1  1  0  3  4 11  3  2  3   9  12  -3  11
 9 Stoke City       8  2  1  1  5  4  1  0  3  4  7  3  1  4   9  11  -2  10
10 Blackpool        8  0  1  2  5  7  3  0  2  8 11  3  1  4  13  18  -5  10
11 Everton          8  1  2  1  6  5  1  1  2  2  2  2  3  3   8   7   1   9
12 Fulham           8  1  2  1  5  5  0  4  0  4  4  1  6  1   9   9   0   9
13 Sunderland       8  1  3  0  4  3  0  3  1  3  4  1  6  1   7   7   0   9
14 Blackburn R.     8  1  2  1  3  3  1  1  2  4  5  2  3  3   7   8  -1   9
15 Wigan Athletic   8  1  1  3  3 13  1  2  0  3  2  2  3  3   6  15  -9   9
16 Newcastle Utd    8  1  1  2  9  6  1  1  2  3  6  2  2  4  12  12   0   8
17 Birmingham City  8  1  2  1  2  3  0  2  2  6  9  1  4  3   8  12  -4   7
18 Wolves           8  1  2  1  5  5  0  1  3  3  8  1  3  4   8  13  -5   6
19 Liverpool        8  1  2  1  5  5  0  1  3  2  8  1  3  4   7  13  -6   6
20 West Ham United  8  1  1  2  4  7  0  2  2  2  8  1  3  4   6  15  -9   6

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1678