Newsletter #1705

Our FA Cup replay against Notts County saw us progress through to a tie against Villa after a 5 goal thriller, which saw some great team ethics and goals from Vieira, Tevez, Dzeko and Richards.

Tonight we have opinion on our winning ways and expectations, SweeP’s future and more on those fixture changes together with the usual requests.

Next up, more cup action as we face the home leg against Aris.

Next Game: Aris FC, home, 8.05pm Thursday 24 February 2011 (Europa)


City absolutely don’t need to win anything this season.

The plan is a long term one for establishing the first team and the club in the higher echelons of European football and it is inevitable that some combinations of players will work and others won’t as the manager tries to find the right chemistry. Currently it looks as though most of Hughes’ signings are not required, which will probably mean another couple, say a playmaker and a left-footed left back who can actually defend, may arrive in summer 2011. If that does happen it will probably mean no really sustained challenge for the Premier League until the season after next (unless the other challengers are as below par in 2011/2012 as this).

There is clear evidence of glory-hunting impatience at Eastlands now. Some spectators are seen with their heads in their hands when a simple goal opportunity is missed but we are already winning. If we are losing at half time there is booing and jeering to be heard. Of course it’s been a long time since our last trophy but even that smacks of the arrogance we’ve come to expect from the supporters of United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea. Most teams win nothing at all. Some long established teams like Stoke, Coventry and Middlesbrough have won one trophy in their entire history and most lower league teams have won nothing but the occasional promotion to the next tier. City are entitled to absolutely nothing and putting pressure of expectation on the club, the players and other fans too soon is very likely to be counter-productive.

That pressure is expected from our hypocritical press who said at the beginning of the season that “we couldn’t buy trophies” changing the mantra to “the fans expect something for all that money” now that we’ve been near the top of the Premier League all season. Like any other City fan, I would like City to be successful but that journey is nearly always slow and starts with building a good defence (almost there?) and then looking for that elusive combination of a strike force with a midfield capable of dominance. We’re not there yet and are surely only in the top three because of the indifferent form of all the others. It can’t have escaped people’s notice that David Silva apart, our best and most consistent players were not bought in the 2010 summer binge. I’m not the only one who would have Kompany, de Jong and Tevez as first names on the team sheet. It takes time.

The good things we have seen are that we can occasionally play a superb passing game, we can defend well on most occasions and have been able to shut out a good team against all the odds. Old City could never do that. All matches are now winnable. The disappointing thing about last week was that we played as well as United and if “deserve” has any place in football we deserved at least a point. There was a time not so long ago that a visit to Old Trafford was accompanied by the unspoken hope that we wouldn’t witness another 5-0 thrashing. Those times have gone. Look at the way they celebrate when United win. They know we are much better that in the recent past and that a home defeat at the Theatre of Screams is always now a possibility. Incidentally if you didn’t actually go to the match at OT last week you perhaps won’t know about the excruciating self adulation that seeps from their PA system before a match. It’s as though they need to bolster their confidence.

The impatience of some City fans could be the undoing of our club which, to appease them seeks instant success or worse, lays itself open to ridicule by announcing impending success (are you listening Garry Cook), which may not arrive for a few years. I must declare an interest though. I’ve been watching City since 1954 and have seen us win six trophies so the hunger can’t be as strong for me as for the 30 to 40 years olds who have seen nothing but relative failure. During that time the relationship with United fans has changed too. They have become the intolerably arrogant know-nothings with whom we are all too familiar (Giggs: the greatest United footballer ever!). It has not always been the case; there was a time when a TV interview with a United supporter at Old Trafford would lead to a Salford or Manchester accent being heard. Now a Midlands, London or even more likely Irish accent is commonest. I was there when we beat them five times in succession at Old Trafford so those memories can sustain me in a way that that a long suffering City fan can’t experience. I concede that his or her hunger for trophies is stronger than mine.

But we all want the same thing. Sustained success for City and please, please good football. Above all good football, which really does bring rewards but only in the medium to long term. We may not qualify for the Champions’ League this season but equally we may actually be in the top three and not have the banana skin of a qualifying round. In any case the qualification seems to have become an end in itself without regard to the consequences. The Champions’ League is usually only any good at the knock-out stages. Rarely does the league format produce anything worthy of more than a yawn. So pardon me if I give one cheer for the prospect more Euro dullness. I’ll go to the matches if we qualify of course but I’ll take a book too. War and Peace should do it.

For me the ultimate achievement is not Champions’ League participation but to win the Premier League in style like we did in 1968. Not just winning the trophy but with a great match that will stay forever in the memories of those who were there.

We will get there. But in the meantime please savour the journey. This season has been pretty good already.

Peter Llewellyn <peterjl(at)>


City don’t worry, about a thing, ’cause every little thing’s, gonna be alright!

We’re still in a fantastic position on 3 fronts. I thought we were great at Old Trafford, particularly the excellent Silva who for me, United had no answer.

It will be tight but I believe we have the quality to achieve our goal of a top 4 finish. Come on, get your half full glasses out!

Graham Keller <gkmcfc(at)>


SWP Exit Might Be Inevitable But We Need Him Now

Shaun Wright-Phillips has confessed this week that his departure from Eastlands is practically assured at the end of this season, but can he still rediscover his form? Ironically, in this correspondent’s Blue eyes, City need Shaunie more than ever right now.

The Blues are playing too narrowly in my opinion at this stage of a potentially gripping season and beginning to look wearily one dimensional. We aren’t breaking out of midfield anywhere quickly enough nor pushing up enough to press opponents back when required.

Despite repeated statistically high rates of possession, the team are choosing to generally take the ball up to a packed defence then pass around the houses in search of one killer pass to be run on to for a shot at goal.

This key picking strategy sounds great in theory and it almost worked in the 4th minute of the Manchester derby, but The Citizens are not getting in behind full backs enough with rapidity and it’s that lack of width and pace that threatens to de-rail a campaign that still harbours rich promise.

The loss through injury of the very often scintillatingly unpredictable Adam Johnson and the options he gives Roberto Mancini’s squad was the hammer blow that led to Mancio stopping Wrighty’s loan move to Fulham last month.

There simply was not enough time left in the January transfer window to research and bring in a player offering similar capability and if anything, Wrighty, hopelessly out of the picture, saw his City career dragged back from the brink. The chance to fully resurrect it remains for the 29 year old England international.

It’s clear from Mancio’s what were in my view, harsh post-match comments on Shaun’s Europa League performance at Aris that the winger, severely out of match practice, will not have the benefit of time on his side to deliver. And deliver he must if not only he is to realise a career transformation but if Manchester City are to achieve long craved for success this season.

And to do that, Shaun the potential provider must be provided for in turn.

Too often of late, the likes of Gareth Barry and Yaya Touré have faded badly in the latter stages of a game to the extent where Edin Dzeko and Carlos Tevez have had to drop ridiculously deep to recover the ball and continually strive to go through the middle aided by David Silva.

Gary Owen remarked last year that when a side drop back with a packed defence and play narrowly across the back as many of our opponents have done this season, then central midfielders can be made to look like world beaters by spraying long balls into space towards the corner flags for wide men to charge on to behind the defence. Too often in the last campaign, City were victims of precisely that defensive approach themselves.

Shaun Wright-Phillips can be the man to get on the end of those balls and can deliver. Without AJ or Rangers’ Vladimir Weiss there is nobody else in the senior squad with that potential ammunition. Okay, he struggled for form badly prior to his transfer request related squad excommunication towards the end of last year. There are many Blues who feel that Chelsea bench warming ruined him but when Mark Hughes brought him back he played like a man possessed.

Nothing would please Planet Blue more than to see City’s most celebrated Academy graduate being there to play a big part in City winning a trophy or sealing Champions’ League football this May.

Clearly short of confidence but full of running, if Shaunie can get a goal or help make something special happen, we could yet see the boy who came back earn the medal and the trophy that his past efforts for the Man City cause deserve.

This article was originally published at:

“If It’s Football, It’s Vital”

Johnny Baguette <baguette.vitalmancity(at)>


When I had a season ticket for 10-11 years or so in the 90’s and 00’s I could never understand people moaning at late changes to fixtures; after all I lived in Alty and watched City regardless of when the date was, my life was geared around the fixtures and everything else was moved around it. People who complained about date changes were basically moaning gits. Then came kids and a move to the Highlands to open some self-catering cottages (shameless plug here – Blues get a very warm welcome, as a few MCIVTA subscribers already know!).

Therefore I only get down about 3 or 4 times a year when I tie in visits to the office in Lymm. I managed Wigan away in September, which was great. Then in January I was due to fly down on the Wednesday afternoon and gloriously the Leicester replay was put on the Wednesday night. Tickets were bought, and then three hours later they moved the date to the Tuesday, before I was flying down (very late in the day they switched our game with the Arsenal vs. Leeds replay for some reason).

The same thing has just happened, but under even more annoying circumstances. Planning another trip down, I could have come for the Aris game next Thursday, or the Fulham home game a week on Monday. I chose Fulham (it was live on Sky at 8pm so surely couldn’t get moved), and secured a couple of season tickets from a mate. Can’t wait. And then they inexplicably move it to Sunday at 3pm due to (I assume) the potential FA Cup game vs. Villa on the Wednesday if we beat Notts County in the replay. Therefore I miss this game as well, as my flight is on the Sunday. Even more annoyingly, I fly back to Inverness on the Tuesday, therefore missing the Villa game as well.

Surely more thought can go into late changes such as this? I know our fixture calendar is lengthy due to us having the Europa League and actually not getting knocked out of everything after 1 game these days, but it is extremely frustrating for the exiled fan who does their level best to get to a few games here and there, when they change things late on.

It’s enough to make me defect to Caley Thistle (but not quite!).

Richard Ellor <info(at)>


I’m finally getting to travel from the US to watch the Aris and Fulham matches next week. are there any things I must do to enhance my matchday experience?

Thanks, Gary Ghiotto <countgary(at)>


I’ll be in Hamburg for the Wigan game on the 5th of March. Does anyone out there know if there is a Blue following in Hamburg and a pub where they meet up to watch the games on telly?

Or if there simply is a pub guaranteed to show the English Premier League on TV? If so, please e-mail me.

Thanks a lot!

Christian de Lange <christian.delange(at)>


20 February 2011

West Bromwich Albion  1 - 1  Wolverhampton Wndrs  26,170

League table to 20 February 2011 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  26 13  1  0 39  9  3  8  1 18 16 16  9  1  57  25  32  57
 2 Arsenal         26  9  1  3 29 12  7  4  2 27 15 16  5  5  56  27  29  53
 3 Manchester City 27  8  3  2 21 10  6  4  4 22 14 14  7  6  43  24  19  49
 4 Tottenham H.    26  7  5  1 19 10  6  3  4 18 18 13  8  5  37  28   9  47
 5 Chelsea         26  8  2  2 24  8  5  4  5 22 14 13  6  7  46  22  24  45
 6 Liverpool       27  8  4  2 23 11  3  2  8 12 21 11  6 10  35  32   3  39
 7 Sunderland      27  6  5  3 18 14  3  5  5 15 19  9 10  8  33  33   0  37
 8 Bolton Wndrs    27  7  5  2 25 17  2  4  7 13 20  9  9  9  38  37   1  36
 9 Newcastle Utd   27  4  5  4 30 19  5  3  6 12 19  9  8 10  42  38   4  35
10 Stoke City      26  7  2  4 19 14  3  1  9 12 19 10  3 13  31  33  -2  33
11 Blackburn R.    27  6  4  4 17 11  3  1  9 17 31  9  5 13  34  42  -8  32
12 Fulham          27  5  6  3 17 14  1  7  5 11 14  6 13  8  28  28   0  31
13 Everton         26  4  5  3 19 18  2  7  5 14 18  6 12  8  33  36  -3  30
14 Birmingham City 26  4  7  3 13 15  2  5  5 12 20  6 12  8  25  35 -10  30
15 Aston Villa     27  5  5  3 18 15  2  4  8 13 31  7  9 11  31  46 -15  30
16 Blackpool       26  3  3  6 19 23  5  2  7 20 27  8  5 13  39  50 -11  29
17 West Brom A.    27  5  5  4 22 23  2  2  9 13 29  7  7 13  35  52 -17  28
18 Wigan Athletic  27  3  6  5 16 26  2  6  5 11 19  5 12 10  27  45 -18  27
19 West Ham United 27  3  4  6 14 20  2  6  6 16 28  5 10 12  30  48 -18  25
20 Wolves          27  6  2  5 17 19  1  2 11 10 27  7  4 16  27  46 -19  25

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1705