Newsletter #1694

News tonight from Alex on the Europa League draw, derby day, Tevez, transfer rumours as the window approaches and David Bernstein’s appointment to Chair the FA. Let’s hope his calm and measured approach will sort out this institution.

We have a match report tonight on the Everton disappointment thanks to Phil, a view on the game from Ernie, a bit of humour and the latest King of the Kippax.

Next up a visit to the north east on Boxing Day so with no further ado a happy and peaceful Christmas to all our readers.

Next Game: Newcastle United, away, 3pm Sunday 26 December 2010


General News

Get Them to the Greek: City have drawn Greek side Aris Salonika in the Europa League first stage knock-out round. Having topped Group A ahead of Polish side Lech Poznan, the Blues were drawn against Aris who finished as runners up to German club Bayer Leverkusen. Aris did, however, beat reigning Champions Atletico Madrid twice in order to set-up a tie with the Blues and City Head of Administration Brian Marwood is very wary of the threat that the little known Greek side pose: “We’re quite pleased, they may be sixth in the Greek Super League but the fact that they have qualified for the last 32 for the first time says a lot about them and their ambitions. They have an extremely experienced coach in Hector Cuper, he did a good job at Valencia and Inter Milan, so these will be two games we will be taking extremely seriously. Beating the current holders twice in the group stages is no mean feat, and we will not be underestimating them.”

Derby Delay: As a result of City’s progress into the Europa League knock-out stages, the club’s away trip to Old Trafford has been put back by a day. Originally pencilled in for February 12th, the Manchester derby will now take place on February 13th at 12.45.

Title Talk: By the time that derby comes round, United winger Nani believes City will be well out of the title race. There’s currently only two points between the two sides (though United do have two games in hand) and a run of inconsistent performances from the top sides have blown the title race wide open. Despite this, the Portuguese international can only see United and Chelsea competing for the top spot come May: “I no longer see anybody winning the Premier League this season outside of Manchester United or Chelsea.”

Squad News

Change of Heart: Like the Rooney saga before it, Tevez-gate has come to a swift end, though in this case it is the player who has lost face rather than the club. Prior to the club’s disappointing result against Everton on Monday night, club officials met with the Argentine striker in order to discuss his future at the club. As a result, Tevez has officially withdrawn his transfer request and the club are now fully focussed on moving on from the situation: “Manchester City can confirm to its fans that “clear the air” talks have been held with Carlos Tevez. During the meeting Carlos expressed his absolute commitment to the Club and formally withdrew his transfer request. Carlos’ contract remains unchanged and both Carlos and the Football Club are keen to focus on the opportunities that lie ahead.” Roberto Mancini had such faith in his top goal scorer that the Italian allowed Tevez to hold on to the captain’s armband for Monday evening’s tie and the manager hopes to ensure Tevez remains an integral part of the club’s plans: “Carlos is a world class player whose contribution since he joined the Club has been invaluable. I am pleased that we are now able to focus on pure football matters and to be able to look forward to Carlos continuing to play a significant role in the Club’s progress.”

Though many will question Mancini’s decision to keep Tevez as captain, there’s no doubt that the former Inter Milan boss has stamped his authority on his squad. Questions had been asked of the manager’s ability to handle big egos, but unlike United before them, the club did not have to succumb to their player’s demands and instead Mancini has set down a marker.

Micah Richards believes that Carlos Tevez will prove his worth to the City faithful and will act as a catalyst for any future success: “He’s a big part of our team. I think they will get it sorted out and the sooner, the better. Carlos is our Special One and we need him in our team. We all know that. We need him if we want to achieve what we want to achieve.”

World’s Greatest: City striker Mario Balotelli was declared the world’s second best player this week …by himself. Upon winning Fifa’s prestigious World’s Best Youngster Award, the controversial Balotelli claimed it was “my turn” and went on to state that only Messi could boast to be a better player than himself: “There’s only one that is a little stronger than me: Messi. All the others behind me. I am delighted to receive the award, but who else would have won if not me? Two years ago I finished sixth and then fourth in 2009. Now it’s my turn, no?” The Italian’s youngster’s abilities are beyond doubt but it his attitude that curbs the striker’s potential, something Mancini has demanded that his player work on: “Only if you play well in every match can you say these things. You need to smile to play football. If he thinks what he says [that he can make as big an impact on football as Barcelona’s world player of the year Lionel Messi] he must show it in every game. It is good when a player has confidence in himself. Mario Balotelli has everything you need to be one of the best players in the world. But he must improve and he must show it. It depends on him.”

Onuoha: A Super Eagle? The Nigerian Football Federation have come calling on Nedum Onuoha once again. Despite being rebuffed when they approached the young defender to play for them at this summer’s World Cup, Nigeria are intent on adding the African born centre back to their ranks. With a new manager in charge, the Super Eagles are even more hopeful of attracting the City academy graduate to declare for their international side. Nigeria boss Samson Siasa explained: “I intend to discuss with Nedum Onuoha and see what is possible. I believe he will commit to Nigeria.”

MJ Hopes to Help Whites Take The Leed: City midfielder Michael Johnson has revealed that he would love to move out on loan to boyhood club Leeds United in a bid to regain his match fitness. The England Under 21 international has spent the best part of two years out with a recurring knee injury and in the hope of returning to the Blues’ first XI in the near future, Johnson has admitted he would jump at the opportunity to move to Elland Road and help Leeds push for promotion to the Premier League. Currently sitting second in the Championship, Leeds have every hope of achieving back to back promotions and there’s no doubting that Johnson would be a massive boost to their promotion: “You can’t pick or choose but I’ve always been a Leeds fan. I’d love to play for them and a loan deal would be an ideal scenario.”

Transfer Talk

Toffees Sweet on Strike Duo: David Moyes is said to be interested in signing either Emmanuel Adebayor on loan or making a permanent move for former Bayern Munich striker Roque Santa Cruz. Both players are currently out of favour at Eastlands and with the likes of Saha, Yakubu and Beckford hardly setting the world alight with their goal scoring prowess this season, it would seem that Moyes is hoping to add to his current crop of forwards. Everton may face stiff competition for the Togolese target man’s signature however, as the former Arsenal striker was also linked with West Ham United and Real Madrid.

Money Won’t Buy You Everything: Barcelona star Andres Iniesta has said that he will never leave his beloved Barcelona, no matter what the price. It had been reported in recent weeks that City may be preparing a £60 million bid for the Spanish World Cup winner, but the player shortlisted for 2010’s Ballon D’Or award remains loyal to his club: “This is not about money; this is about my desire to remain at Barcelona. Barcelona have done everything for me and my family. My ambition is to always stay at this club. But my future will depend on my performances in the next few years.”

Best of the Rest: Last week he was tipped to replace Carlos Tevez as Manchester City captain, this week Vincent Kompany has been linked with a move away from the club to AC Milan. Milan currently sit top of the Serie A but would like to re-unite Kompany with former team-mate Robinho in a bid to bolster their defensive options. Nedum Onuoha may follow the Belgian out of the door by joining Sunderland on a permanent deal. The England Under 21 international has spent all season on loan at The Stadium of Light and now looks set to complete a full transfer to Wearside. If Steve Bruce has his way, fellow academy graduate Michael Johnson may also join The Black Cats. There is also reported interest in City’s Joleon Lescott, though former club Wolves have admitted that they couldn’t meet his wage demands and interested party Arsenal have revealed they would have to sell before they could buy.

In the same week that City misfit Jo was linked with a move away to Hamburg, long time target Edin Dzeko has revealed that a move to City may not be as inevitable as was first thought: “That is up to Wolfsburg. But at the moment it looks like I am staying. I don’t want anyone to get the wrong impression: I very much enjoy playing for Wolfsburg.” Should a bid for the Bosnian international fail, City may instead move for Porto’s Hulk or, some papers have even suggested, Blackpool’s Charlie Adam. Football agent Juri Venglos revealed this week that any hopes City have of signing Slovakian midfielder Marek Hamsik are dead in the water: “Manchester City have a chance of signing Hamsik? No, no chance. Marek has no intention to leave Napoli.” A more likely signing may be Bolton Wanderers’ goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi who is currently impressing on loan at Wigan and may act as a perfect replacement for the outgoing Shay Given.

Post-Match Reaction

Old Lady’s Condition Fast Deteriorating: Juventus completed their impressive record of drawing every one of their six Europa League group games with a 1-1 draw against Mancini’s Blues last week. A mere 8,000 home fans turned up in Turin to watch the hosts turn out against City and were almost matched man for man by City’s 5,000 strong travelling support. Ultimately, both had to accept that a draw was a fair result in the end though Juve fans will be left wondering how their club has crumbled so much in such a short space of time. When Gianetti’s opener put the Italian side in front during the first half, the ‘old lady’ would have hoped to at least exit the competition on a high note, but Jo’s equaliser was enough to earn the Blues a point and leave them perched top of the table. Mancini, who led his boys out in his homeland for the first time since joining twelve months ago, revealed he was happy to finish top of what had been a competitive group: “I am delighted, because that was what we wanted before the game. I am happy with the result, but especially I am happy for the players with the way they played. We should have scored in the first half rather than find ourselves behind, but that’s football. We deserved the draw, and I am pleased for Jo. He has played well, and took his chance to score when we needed it.”

City Come Unstuck Against Toffees: With the Tevez dispute settled and City having the opportunity to be top of the first tier at Christmas for the first time since 1929, all eyes were on CoMS for Monday night’s tie with Everton. Unfortunately, a rare, sloppy display by City’s defence allowed Tim Cahill and Leighton Baines to put The Toffees 2-0 up after only twenty minutes and it was an uphill struggle from there. Victor Anichebe’s dismissal on the hour mark gave City hope and when Yaya Toure’s deflected effort found the net, the Blues needed only one more to gain a point. That goal would never come and when Mario Balotelli’s lob hit the post, City fans knew it wouldn’t be their night. After three points dropped and a blow to the Blues’ title aspirations, stopper Joe Hart spoke of the importance of ‘bouncing back’: “We had a lot of chances but their goalie played well and they got what they came for. For their first goal I thought the lad did well to get the cross in because Tim Cahill can find space in the smallest of areas and he took his chance well. It’s a big opportunity missed because we could have been sat at the top of the table now but we need to dust ourselves down and pick ourselves up because we’re all obviously gutted to have lost this game. We need to go to Newcastle and get three points and then look to beat Aston Villa and Blackpool because if we do that, we won’t be far off the top and we can go into the New Year with our tails up.”

Ex-Blues’ News

Bern-ing Ambition:Former City Chairman David Bernstein has been appointed as the new Chairman ofthe FA. Replacing Lord Triesman, who left the post earlier in the year,Bernstein fought off competition from Arsenal Vice-Chairman and favourite DavidDein to the job. Bernstein’s focus will now be on developing the NationalFootball Centre in Burton, seeking out a long term replacement for national bossFabio Capello and eventually creating the foundations for a successful Englandside. Described by Appointment Director Phil Gartside as “the outstandingcandidate”, there is no doubting Bernstein’s acumen but it is his gentlemanlymanner that will no doubt serve him well as he seeks to reform certain sectionsof the Association: “I am honoured to be asked to take on the rôle as chairmanof The FA. It is a tremendous challenge but I look forward to working with theboard, the staff at the FA and everyone in football from local playing fields toWembley and the international stage.”Acting Chairman Roger Burden revealed that he believes Bernstein will be theperfect man to move the FA forward: “The board was united in its view that Davidwould make an excellent choice as chairman of the organisation. I have workedwith David for some years and have always been impressed by his professionalismand integrity. We look forward to working with David to take the FA forward inthe best interests of football at all levels across the country.”

Alex Rowen <news(at)>


City paid the price for a slow start and squandered the opportunity to go top at Christmas for the first time since 1929. All this on a day that Carlos Tevez retracted his transfer request after talks with the City board, who were led by Khaldoon Al Mubarak. The good news that we will have Tevez until the summer at least was marred on the pitch, as sadly yet again, it was a case of (groan) ‘typical City’, yet again. You know the drill: get into a good position, then blow it.

Everton were allowed to set the tempo early on and were first to the ball for at least half an hour. Very frustratingly, lessons from previous encounters with Everton were not learned and City paid dearly. Only 3 minutes had passed when Cahill was allowed to walk a couple of paces to the side by Kolo Toure and nod in a close range free header from Coleman’s corner for the opener. It was a very soft goal to concede. When are we going to learn that such an expert goal poacher who is good in the air like Cahill cannot be left free in the box, let alone given a free header? It’s not as if we haven’t conceded enough goals to him.

A grim feeling that we’d all been here before gripped a freezing Eastlands crowd that had wrapped up against the minus 10 degrees Winter chill. As if to emphasise this Everton started their usual time wasting antics: the worst being Howard followed by the younger Neville (you know the one: his face resembles a baboon’s rear end).

City tried to respond and Silva was just wide with a sharp effort from the inside left position but it was to be a false dawn. Cahill managed to catch Zabaleta with a flailing arm and this proved crucial as Zaba was off the pitch for 8 minutes. Everton capitalised on this in the 19th minute as Milner struggled physically to cope with being a makeshift right back: the muscular Anichebe ran down our right at the defence and fed Cahill who played in Baines to shoot right footed past Hart’s outstretched arm to double the visitors’ lead.

City’s normally reliable centre back pairing of Kolo Toure and Vincent Kompany were having a rare off night and our defending as a whole was sloppy in those first 20 minutes.

It was only after this that City got into the game, laying siege to the Everton goal for almost the entire remainder of the match. Everton got men behind the ball in depth and defended like their lives depended on it: the highly impressive Distin and Jagielka were awesome at the back for the visitors. Distin never gets a cheer when he comes back here but the fact remains that we wouldn’t have stayed in the Premier League without the likes of him Dunney, James, and, I hate to say it, Barton. Unfortunately the rest of their colleagues spent the remaining 70 minutes wasting time and cheating blatantly. The younger gargoyle brother, Cahill and the Howard being the worst offenders: Howard repeating his behaviour last year which saw him changing his mind as to which side to take goal kicks from and other delaying tactics.

If Arsenal are the dirtiest team we have seen this season, David Moyes’ Everton are not far behind and referee Walton should have sent off Fellaini for an X-rated challenge on Tevez, and Anichebe could have gone sooner than he did. Cahill was a lucky boy too with his earlier antics. Furthermore, David Moyes’ team are perhaps the most cynical cheats when it comes to time wasting (it started the moment that they took lead). School of Science? School of Cheating more like.

City should have had four penalties. Neville twice (one of which was absolutely blatant) and Hibbert were the biggest transgressors in a handball fest, and Howard hauled Balotelli down after he’d missed the best chance of the match. It will be no surprise to you that the referee was Peter Walton. Is he blind? Or is he incompetent? Or is he biased?

Handballs aside, City struggled to penetrate the massed defensive wall. Part of the problem was that the movement was not good enough, particularly from Balotelli who really fell well short of the effort levels required. It is a recurring theme that our movement is not intelligent enough against massed defences. We must work harder to find space to capitalise on the industry and artistry of the likes of Silva and Tevez.

City’s closest effort in the first half was Kolarov’s thirty yard howitzer of a free kick, which was saved by Howard. After the break City improved with the introduction of Adam Johnson who gave us trickery down the right to complement that of Silva and Tevez. Intelligent interplay between the latter pair played in Kolarov but he fired just wide.

Walton finally acted against Everton’s tactics when he handed Anichebe two yellow cards in quick succession: one for a late ‘challenge’ on Hart and the other a reckless challenge on Zabaleta. This galvanised City further. Hope arrived when Yaya Toure steered home Silva’s clever flick, with the ball taking a huge deflection off Jagielka. There was no celebration of the goal on the pitch. Just a desire to get on with it. The noise in the stands suddenly developed into a roar and City built up a head of steam.

Tevez went on a mazy run and his powerful drive was deflected over. Everton made multiple time wasting substitutions and tried to retain possession but City still dominated completely. Unfortunately that dominance could not be turned into a goal and the best chance was squandered by Balotelli. Clean through after Yaya Toure’s incisive through ball, the young Italian hit the post, and was hauled down by Howard as he went for the rebound. Tevez responded but his shot was smothered by Howard. Balotelli really should have scored and Walton really should have given a penalty. Then Silva’s goalbound drive was handled by Hibbert yet referee Walton didn’t give a penalty. One has to ask how one referee can get so many decisions badly wrong?

Tevez forced a terrific save from Howard but the frustration continued. To add insult to injury Kolo Toure picked up a couple of deserved bookings for rash challenges in stoppage time and the game was over. We trudged away into the freezing night, with a feeling that this disappointment was nothing new, but that this is a positive situation that we find our club in, and that with careful moulding and one or two additions, this squad can challenge for the highest honours.

Some harsh truths have been spelled out within City’s inner sanctum. Roberto Mancini will already have demanded that his defenders return to their solid best and seek to rectify what happened here. Such uncharacteristic sloppiness must not be repeated if we are to get to where we want to be.

We cannot rely on the unreliable talent of Balotelli. For all his great ability, he does not work hard enough and there is scant evidence that he is a team player. For now at least, his rôle should be a cameo rôle coming from the bench. At least one striker is a must in January window, and Dzeko is the name on everyone’s lips right now. He would give us aerial ability amongst his other skills. If he wants to come, we need to make this happen if we are to challenge for a Champions’ League spot, let alone the title, which surely, an average United side cannot be allowed to win by default?

Hart: Had nothing to do and had no chance with the goals so difficult to mark: 6
Zabaleta: Always a driving presence and badly missed when he’d been taken out of the game by Cahill: 7
Kolo Toure: Lost Cahill in the box for their first and turned his back on Baines’ shot. Can’t complain about his yellow cards: 5
Kompany: Not great positioning for their opener and one wayward pass might have made the scoreline worse: 5
Kolarov: Went close with a long range shot but looks a little cumbersome. Afforded Coleman too much room to cross for Cahill’s goal: 5
Silva: Tenacious, hard working, inventive and at the heart of City’s best work, but Tevez, and later Johnson apart, his colleagues’ movement was not good enough to exploit his creativity: 7
Milner: Always giving maximum effort but struggling to shine: 5
Barry: A powerhouse in the holding rôle, using his strength to win the ball and drive City on: 7
Yaya Toure: Instrumental in our goal and set up Balotelli for a gilt edged chance but we need to see more than this in his general play: 6
Tevez: He loves the games so much, so there was never a danger that he would not give his all. Often crowded out but always probing for an opening. Only thwarted at the end by a brilliant save: 7
Balotelli: Nowhere near enough effort and squandered the best chance of the match: 3
Johnson: Gave City thrust down the right. City might have been better served with him in the team rather than the disinterested Balotelli: 7
Jo: too late to mark: n/a
Best Oppo: Distin: Showed us the class and strength that we became well accustomed to when he was here: 9
Peter Walton: Equally the worst referee in the Premiership with Clattenburg: 0

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


First let me say ‘Good job’ to the groundsmen who got the ground ready for this game, only for City to lose the game. The game was a very difficult game knowing that Everton have been a jinx team for City at home.

The City defence went to sleep as Everton scored their first goal in under four minutes; from that point on it was uphill all the way especially after Everton added their second goal inside twenty minutes.

City lost the chance to move to the top of the league; we know that other teams would still have had a game in hand on us, but it would have made a good Christmas box and it would have been inspiring.

I make Zab the man of the match for City, he gave everything for the cause including his blood. The Everton defence threw themselves to block shot after shot from the City team, and Tim Howard in goal had a very good game.

It was silly of frustrated Kolo Toure to have two yellow cards inside five minutes, I guess it was that kind of night, but we can’t take away Everton’s deserved win.

Let me find something positive: Carlos Tevez has withdrawn his transfer request, and remains captain, although to be very honest I wanted to see Kompany made captain.

Hats off to the supporters who braved the cold weather to watch this game in the stadium. City live to play again, it’s a long way to go until the end of the season, we have a good squad, with the possibility of new players coming in to strengthen it from January transfer window.

To all the players, staff and management at MCFC, to all the supporters in Manchester and worldwide , a merry Christmas and happy holidays to all.

Forget tonight’s set back, we must shake it off, and remain positive.

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)>


For those of you who are a little depressed about our defeat by Everton (when will we ever learn to mark Cahill?), just remember how far we have come in the past couple of years. To help jog your memory, below is an adaptation of the Twelve Days of Christmas to be sung as if it is the last time and you are doing the whole lot from 12 down to 1 and don’t forget the gusto for the “Five Gold Rings” line.

On the twelfth day of Christmas my Blue love sent to me
No Kaka coming
Blue stalwarts griping
Sven coyly peeping
Vas pulled his hamstring
Hate games at Eastlands
Mansfield are winning
All fans are praying…
Psycho unhinged!
Four-call up front
Three at the back
Two goals down
And a left-back we got on a free!

[References: Kaka’s decision not to take our money 18 months ago; Sven’s tendency to look over his glasses at the TV interviewer; Vas Darius Vassell very fast when he was fit; Mansfield that dreaded Freight Rover Trophy night; Four-call up front just try saying it quickly (like “Norfolk and Good”); left back on a free step forward Michael Tarnat!]

Happy Christmas!

Andy Longshaw <andy(at)>


King of the Kippax fanzine number 184 should be on sale at tonight’s and future games. It’s A4, 48 pages, £2.50 or £3.20 including P&P from (cheques to) King Of the Kippax, 25 Holdenbrook Close, Leigh, Lancs, WN7 2HL.

Front cover could have been a boring ‘Tevez what next’ but we opted for a cartoon showing a kiddie with his Xmas day Tevez shirt present with his mum wanting to take it back but dad saying not yet. Well you never know?

This issue includes stuff on the World Cup farce, Neil Young, Trevor Francis (who got us to top spot in Christmas 1981), loan report, manager merry go round, Worthy’s book, 91/92 season review, Villa fan’s view and loads more including the usual cartoons and pics.Weather permitting it should also be in the Urbis and Aleef outlets tomorrow.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all at MCIVTA.

Sue Wallace <dw001e8104(at)>


20 December 2010

Manchester City       1 - 2  Everton              45,028

18 December 2010

Sunderland            1 - 0  Bolton Wanderers     35,101
Blackburn Rovers      1 - 1  West Ham United      21,934

League table to 20 December 2010 inclusive

                            HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L   F   A  GD Pts
 1 Manchester Utd  16  8  1  0 25  6  1  6  0 11 10  9  7  0  36  16  20  34
 2 Arsenal         17  5  0  3 19 10  5  2  2 15  9 10  2  5  34  19  15  32
 3 Manchester City 18  4  3  2  9  7  5  2  2 16  8  9  5  4  25  15  10  32
 4 Chelsea         17  6  1  1 18  4  3  3  3 13  8  9  4  4  31  12  19  31
 5 Tottenham H.    17  4  4  1 14  9  3  2  3 11 13  7  6  4  25  22   3  27
 6 Sunderland      18  5  4  0 11  5  1  5  3 10 13  6  9  3  21  18   3  27
 7 Bolton Wndrs    18  4  4  1 19 12  2  4  3 11 13  6  8  4  30  25   5  26
 8 Newcastle Utd   17  3  3  3 19 11  3  1  4  8 15  6  4  7  27  26   1  22
 9 Liverpool       17  5  2  1 15  6  1  2  6  6 16  6  4  7  21  22  -1  22
10 Blackpool       16  2  2  2 11 11  4  2  4 13 18  6  4  6  24  29  -5  22
11 West Brom A.    17  4  2  2 11 10  2  2  5 13 19  6  4  7  24  29  -5  22
12 Blackburn R.    18  4  3  2 12  7  2  1  6 11 21  6  4  8  23  28  -5  22
13 Stoke City      17  4  2  3 12 10  2  1  5  9 12  6  3  8  21  22  -1  21
14 Everton         18  2  4  3 10 12  2  5  2 10  9  4  9  5  20  21  -1  21
15 Aston Villa     17  4  4  1 14 10  1  1  6  5 18  5  5  7  19  28  -9  20
16 Birmingham City 17  3  4  1  8  6  0  5  4  9 14  3  9  5  17  20  -3  18
17 Fulham          17  2  5  2 10 11  0  5  3  6  9  2 10  5  16  20  -4  16
18 Wigan Athletic  17  2  4  3  8 17  1  3  4  5 11  3  7  7  13  28 -15  16
19 Wolves          17  4  2  3 13 13  0  1  7  5 17  4  3 10  18  30 -12  15
20 West Ham United 18  2  3  4 11 15  0  4  5  5 16  2  7  9  16  31 -15  13

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1694