Newsletter #1682

More disappointment tonight against Lech Poznan as we go into the weekend facing the sixth placed Baggies away.

Tonight we have news from Alex on the passing of another former Blue, the rumoured behind the scenes unrest and recent results. We have opinion on the manager, the European regulations and the usual requests.

Next Game: West Bromwich Albion, away, 3pm Sunday 7 November 2010


General News

In Memory: Only a week after the club bid farewell to City legend Malcolm Allison, another former Blue has passed away. Former player and manager John Benson has died aged 67 after a short illness. Having moved to Maine Road as an apprentice back in 1961, Benson played for the club for three years before returning in 1980 to follow friend and former City boss John Bond to the club as his assistant. In 1983, Benson replaced Bond as City manager but was unfortunate to inherit a struggling side who were relegated at the end of that same season.

Squad News

Cracks Showing? If you believe the media this week then the expensive City project is on the verge of collapse. Only a fortnight ago City were second in the table, above arch-rivals Manchester United and considered genuine title contenders by some of the football world’s most prominent pundits. Two weeks on and following losses to Arsenal and Wolves, the Eastlands club are supposedly in disarray. Rumours of factions in the camp, talk of Roberto Mancini being under fire and a performance that suggested that something was seriously wrong at CoMS, a number of players have moved to quash the media speculation. Leading the City defence was former skipper Kolo Toure who acknowledged that the players must take responsibility for the situation, but has criticized those who have exaggerated the situation at the Manchester club: “We are a team and in any team there are problems. But the important thing is to try to resolve them in the dressing room and the training camp. We need to take more responsibility. When you play for one of the richest clubs in the world, you just need to deliver on the pitch.”

Bobby’s Our Manc: The performance against Wolves and the reports about a lack of discipline within the City camp had led to rumours that Italian coach Roberto Mancini had lost the dressing room. After missing out on the Champions’ League last season, Roberto Mancini was always going to be under pressure to bring success to City quickly but he nevertheless received the full backing of the club’s board at the end of the campaign. Now, only three months into the new season, if the rumours are true that the players are no longer backing the boss, Mancini’s position could seem rather tenuous. England midfielder Gareth Barry has scoffed at such reports though and asserted that the manager has the players’ full backing: “The truth is that there is a group of players working together, working hard and working for the manager, trying to do the right things. Everyone in that dressing room and that training complex wants to do their best for Manchester City Football Club. As a group of players we let the club and the fans down at Wolves. We are sorry for that but it is only one result and as a team we are now desperate to put that right. The best way of doing that is on the pitch with wins, starting on Thursday in the Europa League.”

Ade’ Enjoys Vincent’s Kompany: Talk of infighting at Eastlands was only enforced during last weekend’s trip to Molineux as Emmanuel Adebayor and Vincent Kompany rowed on the pitch. It seems to have become commonplace at City to have members of the Football Club screaming and bawling at each other to get a reaction. Last season it was revealed that Bellamy and Robinho had gone head-to-head in the dressing room and this season, manager Mancini admitted that he and Captain Carlos Tevez had shared an angry exchange of opinions post-match. Togolese striker Adebayor stated that, as in the past, this bust-up will seek to improve the club in the long term and is merely a sign of passion: “Sometimes you have to shout and bawl to try and get a reaction from your team-mates and sometimes that means getting them worked up in order to do the right thing for the team. That’s what great teams do, but it is all about passion and desire to do well and if Vincent and I are guilty of that, neither of us have a problem with it. We are really good friends and we have had a good laugh about some of the things that were written about us yesterday. It was funny because it is totally inaccurate. Vinnie and I love this club and are passionate about helping to make it successful, so if that means the odd disagreement, so be it.”

Player Behaviour is Hard to Swallow: It wasn’t just on the pitch that City were subject to much criticism and controversy this week. Ahead of the club’s Premier League tie against Wolves, video footage was released showing Joe Hart, Gareth Barry and Adam Johnson all drinking at a student union party at St Andrew’s. Although the players were ‘enjoying a day off’, Mancini is said to have warned the players against any behaviour that could put the club in a negative light and it is for this reason that he demanded apologies off all those involved: “I just don’t understand it. I told the players my opinion about getting into these situations 10 days ago. This video was on Monday, a day off, so the players can do what they want, but I don’t understand why they have chosen to do this and I am unhappy about it. We are playing every three or four days at the moment and it is difficult enough to recover without this.”

David Finds Silva Lining: City winger David Silva admits that he is finally settled in Manchester and feels like his current manager is the one who can get the very best out of him. The Blues paid upwards of £24 million for the former Valencia starlet after Mancini tipped him as an emerging talent. Following a steady settling in period, Silva caught the eye of the City faithful with a fantastic goal against Blackpool and the Spaniard has told of how happy he feels in Manchester: “Coming off the back of the World Cup, because Spain got to the final I was involved until the very last stages there so I did not have the full pre-season by any means. It has taken me a little longer than I wanted to settle in, but I do feel physically stronger day-by-day and week-by-week. I think that things are starting to work for me; I want to do my bit for the team and continue to be successful so we can all achieve our goals together. The Manager knows my qualities very well: he’s the guy that signed me. He knows the strengths of my game, which is getting close to goal, creating chances for my team mates and having a crack at goal myself.”

Balo’ to Star: Despite a disappointing result at the weekend, one positive to come out of Saturday was a long-awaited first start for Italian striker Mario Balotelli. The talented target man joined from European Champions Inter Milan during the summer but has been sidelined by injury since making his début against FC Timisoara back in August. Now the wonder kid has returned, Mancini has pleaded for fans to be patient with his secret weapon: “He (Balotelli) must get to know the Premier League because it is different from Serie A. He did good things (against Wolves), he needs time but he is a good player.”

The 20-year-old has spoken of his own ambitions: “I want to be the best player in the world. It is good to have ambition. I’ve said in the past that I don’t care what other people want or expect of me because I know what I want. I will always give everything because I want to become the best. That is my aim and I am determined to make it happen. I am here at City to play Champions’ League football, that’s the competition I want to be in and that is what all the players here want to play in.”

Rumours had circulated that suggested that Balo’ may be on his way out of the club having failed to settle, but agent Mino Raiola stamped the speculation out by claiming the striker was hungry for success at CoMS: “Balotelli has a five-year contract with Manchester City with no clause. City has never expressed a willingness to sell him, nor has Mario ever expressed the intention to leave. Come back in Italy? Mario is very well and is happy where he is. Now he must concentrate and think about just playing.”

For Club and Country: Experienced midfielder Patrick Vieira has tipped the return of forgotten man Michael Johnson to be something that should excite fans of both City and England. Having missed the best part of two seasons with a recurrent knee injury, City’s ‘next Colin Bell’ is finally on the verge of a return and Vieira believes not only will Johnson make his mark on the multi-million pound City squad but also on Capello’s second generation England team: “I have been at the club and seen him working every day, and when someone works that hard, I am sure he will be successful. I hope for him, for City and English football that he does get back to his best. He is a really good player – a talented English player – and it’s good for English football. The future looks bright for him. His determination will bring him back to his best. He is working harder than anyone else, and he is still young so he has time to come back.”

The Rumour Mill

Torres is City’s Goal: Advisors to Spanish goal machine Fernando Torres, Bahia International, this week claimed that Manchester City had made the striker their top transfer target this winter. With Santa Cruz on his way out of the club and Emmanuel Adebayor’s future also uncertain, City may be willing to splash to cash on Liverpool’s star asset once the transfer window opens in January. A Bahia International representative stated: “They are willing to pay one pound more than the best offer that comes in for Fernando. City want to prepare a new project with Torres as their main star. Next season they want to make sure they are fighting for the Premier League title from the first moment again.”

Coming Back to Haunt Us: Former City managers Mark Hughes and Sven Goran Eriksson have both been linked with Blues this week. After Mancini paved the way for Paraguayan striker Roque Santa Cruz to leave this January by saying: “Roque is a fantastic man and a good player, but he knows the situation here. I hope for him that he can go to play for another team, because he deserves this”, Fulham boss Hughes admitted that a move for his former player is by no means out of the question: “I would always be interested in players of Roque Santa Cruz’s quality.”

Another striker preparing a move away from the club is John Guidetti. The Swedish striker joined the club during Eriksson’s tenure and now the former City boss is in charge of Championship side Leicester City, Guidetti would not be adverse to a move away on loan: “I can imagine that (Eriksson) is interested, after all he was the one who got me to City in 2008. But everything is up to City, and if they want to let me go or not. It would be a damned good loan for me; they’re a good team with great players. It would be awesome.”

Best of the Rest: Henrique Ganso has alerted the attention of clubs across Europe as the promising Brazilian talent refused to sign a new contract at Santos. Team-mate of wonder kid Neymar, who City are also believed to be interested in, £12 million rated Ganso explained: “I know what Santos has offered me through my representatives but I did not consider it suitable for me as a proposal. So I ended up not accepting.” If the Blues miss out on Ganso, they may instead move for Bayern Munich’s Bastian Schweinsteiger. The German was simply brilliant during this summer’s World Cup and is said to also be a target for Rafa Benitez’s Inter Milan. The arrival of either attacking midfielder may signal the end for Shaun Wright-Phillips, who is a target for Roy Hodgson’s Liverpool. The club are also looking at a few defensive options. Blackpool goalkeeper Matt Gilks is tipped to replace Irish stopper Shay Given who is expected to leave for Celtic in January whilst the Blues are looking to spend big on Barcelona’s Brazilian full-back Dani Alves. Though a deal for Alves is not out of the question, a move for Bayer Leverkusen’s Arturo Vidal could prove a much less expensive option.

Post-Match Reaction

Torn Apart by Wolves: Just not good enough. For a team that want to be considered title challengers this season, City’s attacking, defending and general attitude were all below par during the Blues’ most timid display of the season. For twenty minutes the Blues looked like they could win the game comfortably and despite the absences of Carlos Tevez and Nigel de Jong, Emmanuel Adebayor’s penalty put the Blues in front. But it all went downhill from there. Wolves midfielder Milijas took advantage of being given far too much time just outside the area as he slotted home and in the second half a goal by Edwards secured Wolves their first win since the opening say of the season. Mancini found no excuses for his side: “Last week we played fantastic football with ten men for ninety minutes, today I am sorry for our supporters. We played very well for 15 minutes when we had four or five chances to score and then we played badly for the rest of the time. I don’t know why we stopped playing. That is not good enough. I will speak to the players to find out why. We must know where that performance came from. We have respect for all teams and Wolves deserved the three points because they ran more than us. We played too much long ball. We stopped playing after 15 minutes. Maybe the players thought it was going to be an easy game. Such a thing does not exist in football. We played really badly and I must know why. I am really disappointed and I have no explanation for this performance. We have lost ground (on the leaders) but it is a long season and we must be tough and come back more strongly starting in Poland on Thursday. We can still have a big season but we must play better than this.”

Ivorian centre back Kolo Toure expects the club to bounce back in a big way ahead of next week’s Manchester derby: “We know we have to take responsibility for our performances and rise to the challenge, but for some reason it just didn’t happen against Wolves. They were the better team on the day and they just fought harder, which is disappointing because we started really well, went ahead, but then dropped the pace. The best way we can repair the damage is by going to Poznan and winning and then beat West Brom next weekend. If we can do that, our season will be back on course and it will be the perfect way to go into the derby against Manchester United, so we need to react immediately.”

International Blues

In Search of Senior Success: England’s youngest ever defender is hoping to re-establish himself in the international set-up. In November 2006, Micah Richards was handed his first international cap as his fledgling career continued to soar, but a dip in form and a number of injuries have seen Richards make only ten more appearances in the four years since. No longer considered an option for his national side, the City full back hopes that a return to form for City and his experience with the Under 21 side will see him break his way back into Capello’s XI: “I think James Milner holds the record for Under-21 caps with 45 and Gareth Barry played a lot of games as well. That shows you can use the Under-21s as a stepping stone to the senior side. I want to push on and get in the seniors now, and there is no reason why I can’t if I’m starting in Manchester City’s team.”

City Face Argie-Bargie: In a bid to ensure his captain is in peak condition for as many games as possible this season, Roberto Mancini has pleaded with the Argentinian FA to not choose Carlos Tevez for every single international friendly. With Tevez not only a key member of the City XI but also a star on the World scene, Mancini knows that his skipper will not only be clocking up hundreds of minutes on the pitch, but also thousands of air miles. Unlike in Europe, where teams travel an hour or two for a friendly, Argentina cover the world in search of ultimately meaningless ties and Tevez’s club boss is hopeful that the South American side will only use him when they need him: “International football is a problem for Carlos. Argentina don’t play games in Europe but in South America, Japan or Australia and this makes it difficult for him. He arrived back from the last international break tired. He needs time to recover.”

Alex Rowen <news(at)>


There is only one man in charge of coaching at City and that it is Roberto Mancini. City lose to Wolves and everything is wrong at City: the press love to blow up a story and sometimes cause mischief.

If any player goes out drinking too much then he is a fool unto himself; a professional football player is well taken care of by his club so the players have to repay that by doing what the manager requests in training and on the pitch. A player should be pleased to get and keep himself fit and to improve his game.

As for Wolves beating City, let’s call it a bad day and hope that kind of game does not happen again.

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


Here’s an extract from the Europa League regulations. I suspect we might be worrying about teams ending on equal points if we lose in Poland and Juventus win.

7.05 If two or more teams are equal on points on completion of all the group matches, the following criteria are applied to determine the rankings (in descending order):

  1. higher number of points obtained in the group matches played among the teams in question;
  2. superior goal difference from the group matches played among the teams in question;
  3. higher number of goals scored away from home in the group matches played among the teams in question;
  4. superior goal difference from all group matches played;
  5. higher number of goals scored;
  6. higher number of coefficient points accumulated by the club in question, aswell as its association, over the previous five seasons (see paragraph 9.03).

7.06 The 12 group-winners and the 12 runners-up from the group stage qualify for the round of 32. The clubs that finish this stage in third and fourth position in their group are eliminated.

If we do qualify, the next round is seeded. Qualifying teams are split into two groups and the higher seeded teams get to play the second leg of the tie at home.

Round of 32

7.07 The 24 clubs qualified from the group stage will be joined by the 8 clubs that finish the group stage of the UEFA Champions’ League in third position (see paragraph 2.05(d)).

7.08 The round of 32 pairings are determined by means of a draw. This round is played under the knock-out system, on a home and away basis (two legs). The UEFA administration ensures that the following principles are respected.

  1. Clubs from the same association cannot be drawn against each other.
  2. The 12 UEFA Europa League group-winners and the 4 best third-ranked teams inthe UEFA Champions’ League group stage are drawn against the 12 UEFA EuropaLeague group runners-up and the remaining third ranked teams in the UEFAChampions League group stage.
  3. The winners and runners-up of the same group cannot be drawn against eachother.
  4. The UEFA Europa League group-winners and the four best third-ranked in theUEFA Champions League group stage play the return leg at home.

For those suffering from insomnia the whole document is at

Roger Haigh <Rogerhaigh(at)>


Am I the only pedant who is a bit puzzled by the The History Press’ press release for this book?

‘In the two years since Sheikh Mansour poured his millions into the club, Manchester City have seen success unheard of since the days of Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison’

Really? That will be a League Cup semi-final defeat and qualifying for the Europa League Play Off round then… ‘unheard of’ success – methinks not.

It doesn’t inspire me to buy the book at all when the publishers haven’t got a clue what they are talking about. Cash from Chaos.

Iain Sellers – MCFC Praha <iain.sellers(at)>


Just found out that City’s European matches can be seen in Holland not only via EredivisieLive but on UPC channel 15, UPC Live. Also costs around 6 euro.

Bob Price <bob.price(at)>


Armani from Sierra Leone arrived in the UK on Wednesday (3rd November) and to coincide with his visit a brand new Sierra Leone website has been set up.

Armani will be with us for one month and will be staying with Tony Griffiths in Reddish. He’ll be going to all of City’s games so if you see him please say hello.

Please help MCFC Sierra Leone become financially independent. Sierra Leone is one of the poorest countries in the world, with an average life expectancy of 38. With your help we can make a difference.

See how you can help at:

Howard Burr <reddishblues(at)>


1 November 2010

Blackpool             2 - 1  West Bromwich Albion

31 October 2010

Aston Villa           0 - 0  Birmingham City       40,688
Newcastle United      5 - 1  Sunderland            51,988
Bolton Wanderers      0 - 1  Liverpool             25,171

30 October 2010

Arsenal               1 - 0  West Ham United       60,086
Blackburn Rovers      1 - 2  Chelsea               25,836
Everton               1 - 0  Stoke City            35,513
Fulham                2 - 0  Wigan Athletic        25,448
Wolverhampton Wndrs   2 - 1  Manchester City       25,971
Manchester United     2 - 0  Tottenham Hotspur     75,223

League table to 03 November 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         10  5  0  0 16  0  3  1  1 11  3  8  1  1  27   3  24  25
 2 Arsenal         10  4  0  1 15  5  2  2  1  7  5  6  2  2  22  10  12  20
 3 Manchester Utd  10  4  1  0 13  4  1  4  0  9  8  5  5  0  22  12  10  20
 4 Manchester City 10  3  1  1  7  5  2  1  2  6  5  5  2  3  13  10   3  17
 5 Tottenham H.    10  2  2  1  6  4  2  1  2  5  6  4  3  3  11  10   1  15
 6 West Brom A.    10  3  2  0  8  4  1  1  3  6 13  4  3  3  14  17  -3  15
 7 Newcastle Utd   10  2  1  2 14  7  2  1  2  5  7  4  2  4  19  14   5  14
 8 Everton         10  2  2  1  7  5  1  2  2  3  3  3  4  3  10   8   2  13
 9 Blackpool       10  1  1  2  7  8  3  0  3  8 13  4  1  5  15  21  -6  13
10 Fulham          10  2  2  1  7  5  0  4  1  5  6  2  6  2  12  11   1  12
11 Bolton Wndrs    10  1  3  1  6  6  1  3  1  7  8  2  6  2  13  14  -1  12
12 Sunderland      10  2  3  0  5  3  0  3  2  4  9  2  6  2   9  12  -3  12
13 Liverpool       10  2  2  1  7  6  1  1  3  3  8  3  3  4  10  14  -4  12
14 Aston Villa     10  2  3  0  5  1  1  0  4  4 12  3  3  4   9  13  -4  12
15 Birmingham City 10  2  2  1  4  3  0  3  2  6  9  2  5  3  10  12  -2  11
16 Stoke City      10  2  1  2  6  6  1  0  4  4  8  3  1  6  10  14  -4  10
17 Wigan Athletic  10  1  2  3  4 14  1  2  1  3  4  2  4  4   7  18 -11  10
18 Blackburn R.    10  1  2  2  4  5  1  1  3  5  7  2  3  5   9  12  -3   9
19 Wolves          10  2  2  1  7  6  0  1  4  3 10  2  3  5  10  16  -6   9
20 West Ham United 10  1  1  3  5  9  0  2  3  2  9  1  3  6   7  18 -11   6

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1682