Newsletter #1724

A win at Blackburn on Monday night consolidates our fourth place; we’ve a match report tonight and views at the run-in and top four.

We also have opinion on Mancini: some Blues are just never satisfied with what they have are they? Also the Munich chants, which are once more getting a lot of attention. Long standing readers will remember that McV was instrumental in the campaign some years back against this when we joined forces with various other fans’ organizations and the club.

We also have the usual requests and one from me!

Next up the ‘Ammers.

Next Game: West Ham United, home, 4.10pm Sunday 1 May 2011


Due to work commitments I’ll be unable to make the pre-Wembley edition so if anybody would like a go at editing our Cup Final edition of McV on 12th May please do drop me a line – full instructions provided!



This was not have been a thoroughly convincing victory, but as the cliché goes, it is the result that matters more than anything. This was a very significant win as it gave City a 4 point lead over 5th placed Tottenham, having played the same number of games as the North London side. It also brought City to 5 points behind the faltering Arsenal with a game in hand.

Roberto Mancini kept faith with the team that conquered United at Wembley and City started off brilliantly, as if we were going to completely overwhelm Blackburn in the first fifteen minutes. Driven on by the magnificent de Jong and Silva, the home side were mesmerised by City’s slick passing and movement. Silva clipped the inside of the post before 3 minutes had passed and Salgado cleared Barry’s glancing header off the line as City attacked with verve and vigour. With our full backs overlapping, our early dominance was total and the home side barely touched the ball as we moved it around quickly. Unfortunately we failed to find the killer pass or touch in the final third to convert our superiority early on, and when Blackburn started pressing us more, we lost our rhythm and our passing became sloppy, handing the initiative to the struggling hosts.

We were lucky that Blackburn didn’t get a penalty when Kompany’s out-stretched boot made contact with Roberts’ leg. The fact that Roberts was rather theatrical in his tumble probably went against him, so justice was done in a way. Put another way, if Roberts was capable of such choreography than he was likely to have been able to stay on his feet.

City didn’t find any kind of rhythm until later in the game. Thankfully Blackburn lacked the true quality to find the killer ball or finish to breach our defence, and the closest they came was Olsson’s low shot that Hart was sharp enough to tip round the post.

The City fans had borrowed Aris Salonika’s tune to chant Edin Dzeko’s name when he was warming up. It was support to make you proud. It is easy to get behind players when they are doing well, but Dzeko is still settling in here, so it must have made him feel ten feet tall when he received such magnificent backing. His introduction proved decisive, and his finish from Silva’s pass across the box was firm and true. His team mates were all clearly delighted for this popular young man. Those who question City’s spirit should see how well these City lads bond together. There is a true togetherness about them: an ability to discuss frankly our problems in a half time dressing room and solve them. City saw out the rest of the game with good, resilient defending, and superb handling by Hart. With de Jong leading the midfield, Kompany the back line and everybody mucking in, we are made of much sterner stuff these days.

We can improve further. We gave away too many free kicks at times. We must avoid doing this against Stoke in particular. It is not hard to imagine their quick wide players Etherington and Pennant playing for free kicks, and their team will be more proficient at set pieces. We must be cannier when defending and minimise rash challenges.

This was a night to celebrate though. If we’d failed to win at Ewood, a major chance to pull away from Tottenham would have been lost, thus heaping more pressure on us for that Tottenham game on May 10th. Now the pressure is on them. If they lose at Stamford Bridge on Saturday and we can beat struggling West Ham at Eastlands a day later, a seven point lead will be very hard indeed to overcome. City’s management and players can take pride in the fact that they persevered and got the required result: the mark of a team heading in the right direction.

Hart: Very good handling throughout. He came for and caught several crosses under pressure. Signs that his distribution is improving: 8
Zabaleta: A superb all round performance. Covered expertly: 8
Kompany: Not his best game, and lucky not to give a penalty away, but still authoritative in his play and captaincy: 7
Lescott: Did what he needed to do well: 7
Kolarov: Too many misplaced passes. His defending was adequate: 6
Johnson: Looked more of a threat down the left than the right: we need to see more of that: 6
de Jong: Nights like this were made for him. Relished every tackle, showed us what a skilful player he can be too: 9 (Man of the Match)
Yaya Touré: Part of a solid team: 7
Barry: A series of sloppy passes in the first half contributed to the hosts getting on top, but he rallied and improved. His ball into the box indirectly led to the winner: 6
Silva: Like de Jong, he makes City tick. Worth the admission money alone: 8
Balotelli: The obligatory booking, this time for a silly challenge, but he is doing a little better in keeping his cool. Needs to work on holding the ball better: 6
Dzeko: Superb finish to win the game. May it be the start of many: 7
Boyata: Not enough time to mark: n/a
Refwatch: Marriner:
Best Oppo: Phil Jones: a powerful runner from midfield. At 19 he plays like an experienced pro. One to consider buying: 8

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


Watching the win at Blackburn a couple of nights ago, I was struck by a few thoughts regarding both the match and much of our season so far:

In many ways it was much the opposite of the semi – in that this time we controlled the first 35 minutes and then went into our shell (the goal itself seemed to come as the culmination of far and away our best 5 minute spell of the entire second half but that period apart, I think my case stands up). De Jong was Sky MotM and he was absolutely on fire, even by his own extremely high standards, in the first 45 but his was one of many performances that tailed off alarmingly after the break, and thus I would have given the nod to the ever-dependable Kompany who hardly put a foot wrong over 90. Zabaleta is another for whom the word dependable could have been invented; left-back, right-back, midfield, he goes about his given task with model proficiency.

For most of the first half we were playing with only the one holding midfielder, and I thought that when Barry was pushing forward he was looking as good as he has done all season. It seems he has now been pigeonholed as a “defensive midfielder”, first at national level then, after moving to us, at club level also. I’ve long said that this rôle handcuffs him and that he was best playing box-to-box at Villa. Is it just coincidence that both he and Milner have been shadows of their previous best this campaign or did O’Neill employ their talents better than Mancini has done to date?

I think that even were he forgiven immediately Kolo T. would now struggle to dislodge Lescott who, apart from not getting onto the scoresheet as he did for Everton, is otherwise getting back towards that kind of form.

I’m happy for Dzeko. When I first saw him with us, I thought that yes he was a player – he wasn’t hitting the back of the net but some of his touches looked like that of the real thing. In more recent matches, mind, it seemed he couldn’t even be trusted to do the simplest of things; no doubt a confidence issue (some of Mancini’s comments didn’t seem to be helpful at times) but he was looking so bad I was starting to wonder. Hopefully, self-belief is fully restored and we’ll see more of the best of him – though even after scoring he still failed to land a couple of bog-standard 5 yard passes.

Hart is a top ‘keeper but his distribution, especially with his feet, leaves much to be desired.

Balotelli is not someone you can feel comfortable with, doubly so after he receives his ritual yellow card, but at least he’s starting to look like a more committed team member – though he’d be a lot better if his actions matched his self-congratulatory words.

I continue to marvel at Silva; the rap on the Premier League is that it’s all hustle and bustle – we in turn describe several foreign leagues as being slow, sometimes to the point of pedestrian – but in our more frantic league, just look at how much space and time he gives himself with his first and second touch: technical genius of the sort this country simply does not produce (Wilshere may prove me wrong, we’ll see).

Yaya may not have said elan either but when he gets involved high up the field it just invigorates the entire team, with his lung-bursting runs and Silva’s silky skills I think they make a cracking duo, though I find DS a tad wasted when drifting out wide.

Steve O’Brien <bodsnvimto(at)>


Now that the three points are in the bag against Blackburn, I believe it is important to note that the key game in our season wrap up is on Sunday against West Ham and not the May 10th game against Tottenham. There’s a strong chance Spurs will drop at least one and possibly all three points at Chelsea, which means a win at home on Sunday could see us up by as many as seven points with just four games to play.

Because of this, I believe Mancini should go all out on attack and give both Milner and SWP a chance to play on Sunday. I would like Roberto to use a 4-4-2 attack: Richards, Kompany, Lescott and Kolarov, back four, SWP, Barry, Milner and Silva in the middle and go with Dzeko and Balotelli up front. That gives us two attacking full backs, SWP and Silva out wide and both Barry and Milner attacking in midfield to supply Dzeko and Balotelli.

If we went all out with this attack, I think we could blitz West Ham in the first half. Failing this, we could always bring Johnson, Yaya Touré and de Jong on in the second half. Definitely believe Milner should be given a shot in Tévez’s spot and this would be a great game to give him and SWP a run-out and give Touré, de Jong and Johnson a rest.

Either way, let’s blitz West Ham and put all the pressure on Tottenham. I still believe we have a shot at third.

Keith Sharp <>


Although I welcome informed debate about the relative merits of Roberto Mancini the key word here is ‘informed’. Sam (Duxbury) – like anyone on the list you’re entitled to your opinion of Roberto Mancini and there is some merit in your reflections that his team selection and tactics do sometimes seem strange. There is some good analysis of this in Colin Savage’s article in the most recent King of the Kippax.

However, what I can’t let pass is the statement about Alex Ferguson that “winning with Aberdeen meant you had no chance of winning in England but it only took him about 13 games to get it together”. Don’t fall into the trap of most tabloid journalists; instead do some research, such as looking at WikiPedia: Ferguson was pretty close to being sacked three years after being appointed. This was despite starting his 3rd season “by paying large sums of money for midfielders Neil Webb, Mike Phelan and Paul Ince, as well as defender Gary Pallister and winger Danny Wallace.” The write-up describes quite a rollercoaster over the initial 3 years.

I’m not necessarily suggesting that Mancini will be anything like as successful as Ferguson (although I’d be happy if he was) but I do know that you need something of a balanced perspective and an appreciation of history. After years of under-achievement City are not going to suddenly transform into a team who will trample others into the ground no matter how much money we throw at things. You’re right that we need to get the right players together but remember that the early parts of Ferguson’s reign were littered with expensive flops (Neil Webb, Juan Veron, Gary Birtles, etc.) and even to this day United buy some, shall we say, questionable players (Obertan, Owen, Bebe).

The key thing is whether things are changing in key areas and I believe that there are two key areas in which things are definitely changing:

  1. We look collectively a lot more comfortable on the ball – you need to retain possession of the ball to win matches.
  2. We look capable of winning matches when it matters like the semi-final.

I know we beat United twice under Keegan and we also beat them at Old Trafford under Eriksson but none of these were when United were one game away from a trophy. That, combined with watching Adam Johnson tracking his man all the way back into our penalty area against Blackburn, is why I think we should persist with Mancini.

Andy Longshaw <andy(at)>


I’m not really interested in getting in a tit-for-tat with Sam, but one of the problems with the Mancini knockers is that they offer no alternatives. Sam mentions buying the right players, but then doesn’t suggest any. More importantly, who do you suggest should replace Mancini? At least that is the beginning of a debate.

On a couple of other points – you can’t moan about City being all pass, pass, pass, pass and then talk about how great it was under Sven when the ‘keeper played it out from the back. How exactly did we play it out from the back if it wasn’t pass, pass, pass, pass? Secondly “it only took him [Fergie] about 13 games to get it together” – do I just not get your sense of humour? 13 games? Fergie was signed in 1986. I don’t know where they were 13 games later but I know that when City beat them 5-1 in 1989 (that’s 3 years later) they were hovering above relegation.

City are on course for easily our best season within my lifetime. And yet there is still a vocal minority calling for the manager’s head. You can’t make that stuff up. If it wasn’t City I wouldn’t believe it.

James Gregson <jamespgregson(at)>


Is the media singling us out all the time, making us the villains when fans of other clubs are just as bad? Journalists should show some balls and in our case fair play, report correctly and give us balanced articles with no hidden agenda. Having said that, if this happened I would eat a newspaper because we all know that factual balanced articles do not sell ink.

I just want to point out that I too haven’t got any time for the vile Munich chants. I was born in ’76 and have only gained knowledge from family, fans and media. I do think it’s a cancer in our club that will give the media something to negative to write about. Maybe our fans should collectively boo, or even better shout “City!” to drown out the chants and support the team rather than confront or challenge individuals. I hate confrontation but love singing the Blues!

I hope we get 4th place and win at Wembley; I will be travelling down early on the 14th to soak up the atmosphere and make it as good as the semi.

Steve Ford <>


Journalists in lack of objectivity shock

Certain journalists have made a point of making an issue of the chant “Who put the ball in the Munichs’ net” that was aired at the Blackburn game, yet they have omitted making any mention of the violent and intimidating behaviour of many Manchester United fans at Wembley, or their sick chants about Hillsborough, Heysel or Arsène Wenger. Why is there a conspiracy of silence where United are concerned?

I will not condone chants (which it must be stressed were by a small minority) with references to Munich. United have continually played on Munich over the years but the chants really shouldn’t be happening and must stop.

I will, though, question what is worse: a chant with a reference to the Munich air disaster or the violence? Since when did words do more harm than violent acts? Some of those attacks by United fans were on families, not that any attack is excusable. Journalists see what they want to see and hear what they want to hear, and sweep the vile behaviour of Manchester United’s fans under the carpet. Their credibility and objectivity is compromised by their selective reporting.

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


It was heartening to read Phil Banerjee’s description of the restraint shown by City fans in the face of ugly provocation around the F.A. Cup semi-final. It was worrying to read suggestions that City fans might wish to display some kind of banner in response to the pitiful ragged one at the other place.

Do not follow their pathetic example. After all, imitation is a form of flattery. We City fans should want to be better, and distinctive, and renowned for being good tempered.

Clearly there are opposing views on how to deal with the taunts from the sad hangers on of the Stretford club.

I am dismayed to learn that some City fans have resorted to chanting something about a town in Bavaria.

City fans should in my opinion exhibit stoicism, and a positive demeanour as described by Phil B. and seek to rise above the gutter level approach and tactics of others. I’d be proud to be associated with supporters who have a reputation for good, sporting behaviour and a sunny disposition even in adversity.

I can see no point whatsoever in ever mentioning Munich. If anything, it serves to give the other set of fans an even stronger sense of identity and antipathy to the rest of the world. I suspect millions of people worldwide adopted United as the object of their support because of the plane crash.

Let’s stick to good natured banter like civilised people, and leave the junk taunts to the Neanderthals.

City to beat Stoke, 3-2. Twice.

Peter Birbeck <pjb1946(at)>


To whom it may concern;

I’m sure you are aware of the long term problem with regards to certain sections of the crowd singing unsavoury chants about the Munich air disaster. You may have also read in the papers that the club are looking into this issue following the disturbing amount of fans participating in such chants, in the recent game against Blackburn.

I’ve been discussing with a group of Blues, and we have come up with a campaign against singing these chants. We understand that the club have to investigate the issue, but we thought if the fans speak up, then the minority that think these chants are acceptable would see that the majority of Blues are completely against them. The idea is that this would have more of an impact than the club banning a handful of individuals.

I set up a facebook page on Tuesday, and in the past 48 hours over 200 members have joined up. It’s been slow, I’ve posted links to the page on City forums, blogs, and sent an email to the admin of the supporters’ group, but it’s obviously going to be hard to reach Blues everywhere.

As the admin of a City related blog/website/forum I was hoping that you would support the campaign, and repost the details of the facebook group publicly to help spread the word.

Hopefully if we speak up loud enough, the minority of supporters who think these chants are acceptable will soon realise that they are not.

Finally, apologies for the generic email, I’ve been getting in contact with as many fans of the club as possible so it’s just been easier to send a standardised message out. But please don’t hesitate to get back in touch with me to discuss the issue further.!/liveforcity

(Ben this has all been done and tried before but a certain section will never listen – McV was instrumental a few years back joining with the supporters’ clubs and club to campaign against this – Ed)

Ben Morris <benmorris91(at)>


Regarding Perth WA, it will be on in our supporters club at Joondalup Resort, The Kangaroo Arms; failing that, on the Big Screen at Burswood Casino.

Chris Nicholson <nicholson.chris(at)>


Due to low expectations (based on years of experience that you’ll all appreciate and understand) I won’t be able to go to the FA Cup final as I’ll be in Sydney over that weekend. If any Oz-based Blues are planning on meeting up to watch the match in the middle of the night anywhere near Circular Quay then please let me know!

Sharon Hargreaves <Sharon.hargreaves(at)>


Man City play Vancouver Whitecaps on July 18th 2011. Hoping to meet up with as many genuine City fans as possible for pre-match beer and banter. I went to Portland Timbers game last July. Only saw a couple of “proper” Blues.

If there are any folk out there going to the game please give me a shout. I hope we get an official allocation tickets from City and I will be singing “Blue Moon” in the Vancouver sunshine.

John Jepson <john.jepson(at)>


Will be in London for the final and need one ticket. Live in the USA but have family who are in Manchester and could pick up ticket.

Thanks, Tim Morgan <tmorgan(at)>


My name is Slavik, I am from Lviv, Ukraine. I represent NGO “Karpaty” (we work with football supporters of Western Ukraine). Our web-site: Next year we will be holding the traditional international fans’ tournament EUROFAN for the 5th consecutive year.

Here is the EUROFAN page in Wikipedia:
You can also find many photos and videos from previous events on Facebook:

The dates: 23-26 June 2011. On 23 June teams arrive in Lviv and check in hotels, the tournament lasts three days, from 24 till 26 June.

Our tournament is rather a non-competitive one. Professional or semi-professional players are not allowed. Our motto might sound like this: play some football, drink some beer, make friends, have fun!

Tournament rules: 11-a-side teams, matches played in qualifying groups will have duration of 50 minutes (2 halves, 25 minutes each), matches played in play-offs will have duration of 60 minutes (2 halves, 30 minutes each). During games we arrange live comments and music (speakers are placed around the ground, DJ and commentator work with microphones). Number of substitutes is not limited.

Regarding accommodation: Depending on a hotel, its class, location and conditions, we offer up to 50% of discount on stay (excluding breakfasts) for all members of your delegation (the number of persons is not limited). Normally cost of one night per one person in a good hotel is about 25 EUR. If you prefer to stay in a hostel, then you pay for it yourselves (cost of one one night per one person in a good hotel is about 10-12 EUR). We will offer you several options to choose from.

Also during the tournament all invited teams will be accompanied by volunteers speaking in respective languages. They will meet teams in Lviv, help in finding hotels, checking-in and be helpful in different situations. After the tournament we organize a celebration party with prizes and mementos for all tournament guests.

Also we ask all teams to send us an entrance fee in the amount of €150 from each team as a guarantee of participation.

Travelling to and from Ukraine is at your cost. Lviv is the main city in the Western Ukraine, it’s located not far from the Polish-Ukrainian border. Our city is regarded the cultural capital of Ukraine, it is very beautiful and resembles Vienna or Prague. Lviv will be one of host cities for EURO-2012 to be held in Poland and Ukraine in 2012.

Below are some links about Lviv:
Best options of travelling to Lviv are via Krakow or Rzeszow (Poland) or via Kiev (Ukraine). Herewith we officially invite a fans’ team of Manchester City to take part in “EUROFAN-2011”. The final list of participants will include 24 fans’ teams from all over Europe. In case you are interested in participation please let me know as soon as possible.

Thank you in advance.

Slavik Vyacheslav Novytskyi <novytskyi(at)>


27 April 2011

Fulham                3 - 0  Bolton Wanderers     23,222

26 April 2011

Stoke City            3 - 0  Wolverhampton Wndrs  27,030

25 April 2011

Blackburn Rovers      0 - 1  Manchester City      23,529

League table to 27 April 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  34 16  1  0 43  9  5  9  3 28 23 21 10  3  71  32  39  73
 2 Chelsea         34 13  2  2 35 10  7  5  5 29 17 20  7  7  64  27  37  67
 3 Arsenal         34 10  4  3 31 13  8  6  3 36 23 18 10  6  67  36  31  64
 4 Manchester City 33 10  4  2 28 11  7  4  6 23 19 17  8  8  51  30  21  59
 5 Tottenham H.    33  8  8  1 27 17  6  5  5 22 24 14 13  6  49  41   8  55
 6 Liverpool       34 11  4  2 34 12  4  3 10 17 27 15  7 12  51  39  12  52
 7 Everton         34  7  7  3 28 22  4  7  6 19 20 11 14  9  47  42   5  47
 8 Bolton Wndrs    34 10  5  2 33 20  2  5 10 15 27 12 10 12  48  47   1  46
 9 Fulham          34  8  6  3 26 16  1  9  7 14 20  9 15 10  40  36   4  42
10 Stoke City      34  9  4  4 28 16  3  2 12 15 27 12  6 16  43  43   0  42
11 Newcastle Utd   34  5  7  5 36 23  5  4  8 13 25 10 11 13  49  48   1  41
12 Sunderland      34  7  5  5 25 21  3  6  8 15 28 10 11 13  40  49  -9  41
13 Aston Villa     34  7  6  4 24 18  3  5  9 19 37 10 11 13  43  55 -12  41
14 West Brom A.    34  6  6  5 27 29  4  4  9 22 35 10 10 14  49  64 -15  40
15 Birmingham City 34  6  7  4 18 19  2  7  8 16 32  8 14 12  34  51 -17  38
16 Blackburn R.    34  6  6  5 20 15  3  2 12 20 40  9  8 17  40  55 -15  35
17 Blackpool       34  4  4  9 26 34  5  3  9 22 36  9  7 18  48  70 -22  34
18 Wigan Athletic  34  4  7  6 18 31  3  6  8 16 27  7 13 14  34  58 -24  34
19 Wolves          34  7  4  6 25 26  2  2 13 12 34  9  6 19  37  60 -23  33
20 West Ham United 34  5  4  8 23 27  2  7  8 16 34  7 11 16  39  61 -22  32

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1724