Newsletter #1684

A point apiece in Wednesday’s derby, in a match that was a bit of a dirge. We’re still in the top four though and with 17th placed Birmingham the visitors on Saturday, will hopefully consolidate this.

No news tonight as Alex is having technical problems, but we do have opinion on the derby, the big name players, our ruling body and the usual requests.

Next Game: Birmingham City, home, 3pm Saturday 13 November 2010


The plan of having two top players for every position is fine in principal, but does it actually work in practice?

I believe that top players need to be playing in most of the games during the season just to maintain form and match fitness. After watching previous season reviews, particularly the 2004-2005 season, I feel that Shaun is a classic case. He was scoring fantastic goals with brilliant attacking play, so much so that Chelsea “snapped him up” for £21 million. Unfortunately he joined a big squad of “stars” and spent most of his time on the bench, so eventually his value was halved when he returned to City. Now he finds himself in a big squad of stars again and it looks as though he is being squeezed out. A real shame because we know what he is capable of given a good run in the team – not just half a game now and again.

For years all of the top teams in the Premier League have been playing in Europe and domestic competitions with great success, so the idea of playing twice a week is nothing new. How can players be “tired” after three months of the season unless they are being over-trained?

No one can doubt the quality of RM’s signings (although one or two were overpriced) but I just feel that we have too many stars, which is detrimental to the balance of the squad.

Gary Osman <gary.osman(at)>


The famous Hamlet quote of “something is rotten in the state of Denmark” seems to apply to our own FA. In February I believe that Rio Ferdinand was dismissed against Hull on Saturday 23rd but his appeal wasn’t heard until after the Carling cup semi-final second leg on Wednesday the 27th, hence he could play in that fixture. Mario Balotelli was dismissed on Sunday 7th of November and his appeal was dismissed on Tuesday the 9th. How convenient that the FA have streamlined their processes to such a degree that the same rules do not apply to City 9 months after United bent them to their own purpose. I hope that someone with a good factual analysis can explain why there are differences in the two cases (come on Phil B). However, if it is as cut and dried as it seems on the outside then it doesn’t just stink – it’s simply corrupt in a way that would make even the president of a banana republic blush.

Andy Longshaw <Andy(at)>


Sorry but the only positive thing about the football played by City was that the defence was world class. The midfield desperately needs a very good creative player; we have three holding players playing in midfield. Yaya was a holding player whilst playing for Barça, tonight he tried to go forward but never had any speed, he was always stopped.

Captain Tevez was well marked as we fully expected, and as much as Silva tried to break loose, it just never really happened. Both defences played well and it looked very much that it was going to be a stalemate unless someone made a mistake, but none ever came.

I truly think that Mancini had Mario in his team until he was banned; it completely changed his plans, and we saw no exciting attacking football, it was the old style of Italian defensive football. Let’s face it Mancini had no striker to come on and I am including Adebayor when I say that.

Even when City moved forward it never looked positive, it never was exciting, and it never looked like City were going to score. We can say we never got beat but to me that was not good enough, we needed a win so badly against the Rags. The Evil Empire will be the team who will be the happiest with a point playing away.

Adebayor came on for the last 30 seconds; was that just for the supporters to cheer Tevez as he went off? But even Tevez did not have his usually very good game, he was tied down for most of the game.

For City to go up the table, bring in a world class creative player and get Mario to cool it; he is a very good striker who will go for goal, then we can advance – we certainly could have used Mario tonight.

Some players have already been earmarked for departure, making room for new faces in the 25 player squad. OK the defence looks good, now get the attack and creative football going and we shall be happy. We are close to having that very good team, but not quite yet.

Stay Blue, come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)>


Just like to say the ref was s***e and West Brom are a cheating dirty bunch of dirty so-and-so’s. The ref fell right into their cheating traps. Never liked them. Even less now.

Andrew Johnson <fastandyj(at)>


Milton Keynes branch will be having their next meeting on November 18th starting at 7.30pm. Paul Lake will be the special guest, plus we are also hoping our President, Susan Bookbinder, will be able to attend.

The venue will be Great Brickhill Cricket Club. Please contact me if you would like directions to the venue, or any other information about the meeting.

Steve Maclean <secretary(at)>


I will be holidaying in New York for the games on 28/12 (Villa), 1/1 (Blackpool), and Orlando 5/1 (Arsenal), 15/1 (Wolves).

Not quite sure how the time differences work but would like to watch the games with some City fans if possible.

Would appreciate it if you would let me know of any pubs etc. where City fans gather to watch the games in New York / Orlando?

Many thanks, Graham Hine – Perth, Western Australia <taverners(at)>


In desperate need for two tickets for the Juventus away game on December 16th. I only have 4,500 points, and at least 5,500 is required. If you have the points and have no plans to attend, I would jump at the chance of getting a pair; happy to pay full price thanks!

Miles Webber <miles.webber(at)>


Minutes of Meeting 6 October 2010

Club represented by Vicky Kloss, Chief Communications Officer, Danny Wilson, Head of Supporter Experience, Peter Fletcher, Head of Safety & Security, Steven Robinson, Ticket Sales Manager, Neil Worcester, Head of Catering Operations and Simon Pile, General Catering Manager Lindley.


Ticket purchase/information on the website is very poor. Ticket section of the site does not adequately show tickets on sale for away games. When will online selling start for away matches so that we can avoid the premium rate phone line and the booking charges (per ticket)?
Club Response: We accept that there are a number of issues with the existing ticketing site and that it is lacking certain functionality. We have undertaken an extensive review of our current and future needs and a new ticketing website, with improved functionality, will be launched in April/May. The 0870 number will be phased out over the coming months and replaced with an 0161 number. This will be far cheaper for supporters to call and will be accessible to supporters overseas. There are no plans to remove booking fees for tickets purchased over the telephone at this stage. Online purchases do not incur a booking fee.

Cup Games Direct scheme poorly advertised/managed, multiple phone calls needed to secure home tickets.
Club Response: Over 5,500 Seasoncard holders have signed up to the scheme, more than last season. The plan was to enable Seasoncard holders to sign up to the scheme online during the renewal process and also to be asked when renewing at the Ticket Office or over the phone. However, we experienced last-minute technical issues with the website and this service was not available online. Online sign-up will be incorporated into the new site, both at the time of renewal and at any subsequent time prior to the opening match in the respective competition.

Why was the ticket office telling fans that they couldn’t buy tickets for empty Seasoncard seats in East Level 2 for the Timisoara game? They might want to create a better atmosphere by filling the lower tier first, but fans who wanted to sit with friends in EL2 were told it was “sold out”.
Club Response: This should not have been the case. Whilst we always aim to fill Level 1 first, where a supporter wants to sit with friends on Level 2 or 3 and seats are available, we will allocate the seats. On matchday, in order to speed up service at the Ticket Office, we invariably sell pre-printed tickets on a best available basis. We always try to encourage supporters to buy tickets in advance.

Why does it cost a Seasoncard holder extra money to bring a friend to games as you have to sell back your seat for 1/19 of a Seasoncard, and then buy another that costs more money?
Club Response: This seems to be a case of wrong advice. We will follow up with relevant staff. Moving Seasoncard holders from their usual seat to sit with others should not be a problem and the Seasoncard holder should not incur additional cost for their new seat.

You still start selling tickets for some away games without telling us about it.
Club Response: A ticket news story is always posted on the website before tickets for the respective match go on sale. However, if the links from the ‘Fixtures’ page are not updated and if it’s a busy news day, it can be difficult to locate the information. We’ll look into this in more detail. We’ll also investigate the potential introduction of SMS and/or email ticketing alerts.

Why couldn’t the loyalty point bands for Blackpool tickets have been narrower? People with higher points missed out to those with fewer.
Club Response: To a certain extent, we are in a no win situation. Some supporters want us to drop the points quickly to ensure that they benefit from cheaper travel whilst others think that we should drop very slowly. We do have to make a judgement call about how many points to start with, how many to reduce by and when. We don’t know which band will be the one when tickets sell out. Those supporters in the opening band are always guaranteed a ticket if they buy in their respective exclusive window. We look at historic and current sales data but it’s not always possible to predict demand. Those supporters in the higher bands have only accrued such points by attending a lot of matches but different supporters miss different matches for different reasons.

Charging Seasoncard holders for reserve matches at Hyde.
Club Response: We are fully committed to providing the best possible platform to attract and develop young players. Over the last 18 months, considerable investment has been made in the Academy facilities, coaching team and supporting infrastructure. The creation of the Elite Development Squad (EDS) earlier this year, the announcement of our partnership with Hyde FC and the subsequent improvements to facilities at Ewen Fields (the regular home for EDS matches) for supporters, players and officials alike reinforces this commitment. The club’s decision to charge supporters (including Seasoncard holders) to attend EDS matches comes on the back of this investment, our commitment to an improved on-pitch product and the associated increase in operating costs when compared to the Regional Athletics Arena. Whilst we didn’t include free admission to EDS games in the list of Seasoncard benefits in this year’s renewal pack, we should have communicated the change in policy through the website and match programme. This is now the case.


Can the fixture list on the website link to Mac and PC calendars and more importantly update with fixture changes? Arsenal’s does.
Club Response: There is a function on the ‘Fixtures’ page of the website ‘Add to calendar’, which adds the latest fixtures to any calendar that supports iCal. However, this does not currently update automatically when fixtures are rearranged. We are looking to develop the application to provide such updates.

Are the club looking into the recent issues of the website not recognising supporters’ ‘log in’ details?
Club Response: We are aware of a number of supporters who have experienced issues when attempting to log in to either the ticketing or merchandise sites. This is primarily due to technical issues with the transfer and validation of data between the ‘front end’ of the website (which is seen by supporters) and the ‘back end’ database. The integration of the new merchandise sales site, managed by Kitbag, has also resulted in log in issues for some supporters. We are confident that these issues have now been resolved. However, the introduction of the new ticketing system in the spring will eliminate these issues.


Food pricing increases, fleecing a captive audience, not good for ‘customer relations’. Still some issues with outlets and queues.
Club Response: We are aware of these issues and we are working hard with our catering partner Lindley to improve service levels, product offering and speed of sale. We held two sampling evenings (total of 90 supporters attending) in July and received very positive feedback on the range of food to be offered. Pricing is matched against other entertainment venues rather than supermarkets and local outlets, who do not have the problems of selling a lot of product in a short space of time on a few occasions. We’ve introduced a fast lane for beer and containers to carry four and six pints. We are also trialling two-pint pots in certain parts of the stadium to ease congestion at the bars. The new dispensers installed this summer (which are now fully operational across the stadium) can “pull” a pint in three seconds; pre-pouring will speed up queues but some supporters are resistant to this. Staff are being given coloured T-shirts to distinguish (for example) between those dispensing beer and those taking money. Alcohol outlets must shut after half-time but food outlets can stay open, but it may just be one kiosk in each section. In the future, we’ll be offering more meal deals and “specials” at particular matches; these have already proved popular in City Square. Ideally, we would like to redesign how all 48 outlets work, however there are a number of physical constraints. This might involve a pre-pay card system linked to the Seasoncard.


Why can’t we have team lists on the video screen instead of the score? We know the score.
Club Response: We are looking into ways of displaying the teams on the screens during the match. However, the screens are not big enough to display both teams at the same time. Scrolling text at the foot of the screen, similar to Sky Sports News, is being considered.

Any idea as to what ADUG actually have in their minds for the Stadium?
Club Response: Through the ongoing feasibility study, we have looked at different ways of increasing capacity. The owners clearly want to grow the supporter base, and having the capacity to match, but nothing will happen overnight. Any arrangements to vary the lease may have to remain confidential.

Can we have a roof that covers the majority of fans?
Club Response: The roof line covers all supporters, but to keep the rain off all supporters in all conditions would entail alterations that are currently too complex.

Although the North Stand relocation undoubtedly annoyed a lot of adults, the changes they’ve made down that end are excellent in my opinion and all the kids down there seem to love running about the place at half time. The younger, friendlier-looking stewards are a nice touch! Are there plans to keep things fresh by changing the installations on a regular basis?
Club Response: We consider the new Family Stand to be a great success. We’ve received a lot of positive feedback from supporters (located inside and outside the Family Stand). We are aware of the need to keep it fresh. Some of the features will be updated from time to time and we are always looking to have different activities on the concourse face painters, magicians, football freestylers etc. We appreciate the problems for those who had to move, but are grateful for the general support for the concept, which is unique (on this scale) in the Premier League.

Will there be any consultation over the so-called premium package for East and Colin Bell Stand Level 2 next season, or will it just be imposed?
Club Response: The exact nature of the changes are yet to be confirmed. We will be communicating with all impacted Seasoncard holders in due course.

City Square: This is a useful addition for spring and summer or even a crisp autumn / winter day, but it’s too much like a sheep pen at the moment. And any progress with replacement room for the Supporters Club for matchdays?
Club Response: The license limits the capacity of the bar area, so this has to be monitored. We hope, if it’s managed well, the authority may relax the limit in the future and we can move the barriers outwards. We consider City Square to have been a great success to date, even though we’ve had some terrible weather! We are in continuous dialogue with senior officials from the Supporters’ Club in relation to a matchday facility. At present, an alternative location has yet to be found.

Smoking (and other misdemeanours).
Club Response: This is the biggest single issue that we face on match day, with between 15 and 20 supporters ejected at each game for smoking. These supporters each receive at least a three-game ban. Some supporters complain to the local authority, who are satisfied that we are doing all we can to prevent smoking (e.g. in toilets) consistent with public safety. Smoking in the toilets and on the concourse is against the law. On the towers it is against both the Club policy and the Council policy.

Benches on Joe Mercer Way now removed – buggy for disabled fans from North Car Park was not working at the Newcastle match.
Club Response: All of the benches on Joe Mercer Way were lifted to paint the floor. During this process, two of the benches fell apart and were deemed unusable. There are a number of benches at the north end of Joe Mercer Way and plenty in and around City Square. We had technical issues with the buggy on the day of the Newcastle match for which we apologise. The service will resume at the Lech Poznan match and we are also looking to commence a post-match operation.

Traffic and Transport

Why is traffic stopped from exiting the North Car Park until almost every fan has gone?
Club Response: We’re not aware of a change of policy but we will check with the Police.

Not enough special buses back to town – lots of people left after initial departures, waiting for traffic to move again so inbound service buses along Ashton New Road can get there.
Club Response: We are in discussion with the bus operator Stagecoach about bus provision to and from the stadium. Ultimately, it is Stagecoach’s commercial choice about how many buses to provide. We will forward this feedback to Stagecoach.


The stuff that we sell is good but I don’t think we have enough variety (citing merchandise available at an American baseball team from golf equipment to a gas barbecue cover). There is a lack of larger clothing sizes for men in a number of the ranges, and the sizes of ladies garments don’t correlate with the respective sizes at other retailers.
Club Response: Kitbag, our retail partner, are happy with the current range of clothing. The Umbro replica and training kit is arguably the best around. Sizes are fixed by Umbro, and different sizes may have limited demand and be subject to significant minimum order quantities. Kitbag offer a far wider range of accessories and non-clothing products at other clubs and they will be introducing new lines over the coming months.


Matchday programmes – where can we buy these from?
Club Response: There are a significant number of programme sales kiosks inside and outside the stadium. Programmes are also available from the store. There is currently no outlet for programmes from previous matches.

Credit card sized fixture lists: could the club do a PDF version that fans can print?
Club Response: In previous seasons, we have printed and distributed credit card size fixture lists. However, we had a lot of negative feedback from supporters that within days of receipt, a number of the fixtures had changed. We prefer to direct supporters to the website for the up to date list. We will explore the potential provision of a printable download, although communication via mobile phone applications/calendar applications would be more likely.

Fixtures: why are we away first and last games again? Why is the derby midweek? Why is the O/T derby in Munich week again? Does the club not challenge the fixtures?
Club Response: Each season, the Premier League asks each club about which club should be away when you’re at home and vice versa, who do you not want to play on public holidays, and any other requirements. We’ve not had a derby (League) allocated to an evening for decades, and hadn’t included it in things to avoid. Only in exceptional circumstances will such requests be considered. Ultimately, the system creates the fixtures and there’s not a lot that we can do to change it.

It’s galling to see empty seats in the executive areas; do the club really want to drive fans out of level 2 and be replaced with empty seats?
Club Response: Level 2 of the East Stand has been full for most matches this season and the ‘Executive Seats’ on Level 2 of the Colin Bell Stand are almost sold to capacity on a seasonal basis. There is a high level of demand for these lower priced packages. The high value Boardroom Suite and Mancunian Suite packages have not been sold out for all matches and this, combined with visiting club officials not taking their full allocation of seats in the Directors Box, has resulted in a number of empty seats on Level 2 of the Colin Bell Stand. For Europa League matches, UEFA rules state that we have got to offer 200 of the ‘Executive Seats’ on Colin Bell Stand Level 2 to the visiting club. Neither FC Timisoara nor Juventus took their full allocation for the respective match.

Any update on a museum?
Club Response: We are looking for a lasting and central location. It is very much still high on the agenda.
PoB query about memorabilia being auctioned at the stadium.
Club Response: It’s a private sale, but the club will look at whether we want to acquire any particular items.

To conclude, Vicky Kloss outlined the club’s response to the manufactured furore over Nigel de Jong’s tackle on Ben Arfa in the Newcastle game. Banning journalists (or newspapers or other media) is not our normal response, especially as it is usually disagreeable but not defamatory comment. We expect journalists to contact us for confirmation of stories, but the main aim is part of the long-term project to change attitudes, including contact with London-based journalists as we are now of “national” interest.

The next meeting of Points of Blue will be early in 2011.

Steve Parish <bloovee(at)>


10 November 2010

Aston Villa           3 - 2  Blackpool             34,330
Chelsea               1 - 0  Fulham                41,593
Newcastle United      1 - 2  Blackburn Rovers      41,053
West Ham United       2 - 2  West Bromwich Albion
Wigan Athletic        1 - 1  Liverpool             16,754
Everton               1 - 1  Bolton Wanderers      31,808
Manchester City       0 - 0  Manchester United
Wolverhampton Wndrs   0 - 2  Arsenal               27,329

9 November 2010

Stoke City            3 - 2  Birmingham City       26,381
Tottenham Hotspur     1 - 1  Sunderland            35,843

League table to 10 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         12  6  0  0 17  0  3  1  2 11  5  9  1  2  28   5  23  28
 2 Manchester Utd  12  5  1  0 15  5  1  5  0  9  8  6  6  0  24  13  11  24
 3 Arsenal         12  4  0  2 15  6  3  2  1  9  5  7  2  3  24  11  13  23
 4 Manchester City 12  3  2  1  7  5  3  1  2  8  5  6  3  3  15  10   5  21
 5 Newcastle Utd   12  2  1  3 15  9  3  1  2  6  7  5  2  5  21  16   5  17
 6 Bolton Wndrs    12  2  3  1 10  8  1  4  1  8  9  3  7  2  18  17   1  16
 7 Tottenham H.    12  2  3  1  7  5  2  1  3  7 10  4  4  4  14  15  -1  16
 8 Sunderland      12  3  3  0  7  3  0  4  2  5 10  3  7  2  12  13  -1  16
 9 Liverpool       12  3  2  1  9  6  1  2  3  4  9  4  4  4  13  15  -2  16
10 Aston Villa     12  3  3  0  8  3  1  1  4  5 13  4  4  4  13  16  -3  16
11 West Brom A.    12  3  2  1  8  6  1  2  3  8 15  4  4  4  16  21  -5  16
12 Everton         12  2  3  1  8  6  1  3  2  5  5  3  6  3  13  11   2  15
13 Blackburn R.    12  2  2  2  6  6  2  1  3  7  8  4  3  5  13  14  -1  15
14 Blackpool       12  1  2  2  9 10  3  0  4 10 16  4  2  6  19  26  -7  14
15 Fulham          12  2  3  1  8  6  0  4  2  5  7  2  7  3  13  13   0  13
16 Stoke City      12  3  1  2  9  8  1  0  5  4 10  4  1  7  13  18  -5  13
17 Birmingham City 12  2  3  1  6  5  0  3  3  8 12  2  6  4  14  17  -3  12
18 Wigan Athletic  12  1  3  3  5 15  1  2  2  4  6  2  5  5   9  21 -12  11
19 Wolves          12  2  2  2  7  8  0  1  5  4 12  2  3  7  11  20  -9   9
20 West Ham United 12  1  2  3  7 11  0  3  3  4 11  1  5  6  11  22 -11   8

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1684