Newsletter #1746

Finances at the fore tonight as we have a look at the stadium deal, the whingeing from certain quarters in the media and the game and the ongoing transfer sagas.

Pre-season kicks off this weekend over in the States.

Next Game: Club America, 5pm 16 July 2011 (pre-season tour)


Long time no post! I’ve been reading MCIVTA and the press (OMG, can you believe some of them are corrupt? And apparently bankers have no moral conscience, and politicians are on the make too… who knew!?) with much interest in the past week. The stadium naming furore is fascinating to me. I think it’s sad that the name will change, and IMHO Eastlands was always the right name for the place, because that’s just how stadia should’ve be named; it gives a sense of location to a club. I’m gutted about the meaning of the name too. But… one thing that hasn’t been highlighted in the press is that any other of Europe’s major clubs could have come up with a similarly literal interpretation of UEFA’s untenable Financial Fair Play rules, and been equally creative in their response. But they didn’t and City did. I’m not 100% sure how much I like Garry Cook and what he stands for but he has clearly assembled a bright, forward thinking and aggressive management team at the club. And I for one have no problem with that at all. I liked Sir Bobby Charlton’s comments yesterday that the Rags would never sell their stadium naming because it’s part of their heritage. He has a point (and I have a lot of respect for the man), but surely the point is that they are in no position to do what City have done, because their owners do not have any resources with which to bankroll the club. The point, and the question that UEFA will have to answer on their review, is whether it is better to have a massively high turnover bankrolled by an owner who can more than support the club’s spending, or a much more modest turnover supported by a man who has to leverage the club up to the hilt (i.e. Yoonited’s model). What they must not be allowed to pass judgement on is cultural or historical differences between Europe’s clubs or their owners (really good article by Stuart Brennan in the MEN:

I was fascinated to hear the Qatari World Cup bid leader on Newsnight; I felt he had a point when he said that Europeans assume there must have been corruption in order for an Arab nation to have been awarded the World Cup ahead of a European nation. He was very angry. Stop and think about it and he’s right; it’s not a question of how big a country is or what its population is, because those are reasons for an Arab state to never be allowed to host a World Cup. The corruption thing is also a side issue; it is deplorable and desperately needs to be dealt with, but for me it’s separate from everyone’s disbelief that Qatar won it, until some evidence comes to light. My point is, we’re all aghast at them getting it, because we assume that our bid was better than theirs (how could it not have been!?), and we don’t like the idea of there being some new power with more cash and wherewithal that can just roll the establishment over. Sadly, this exactly Platini’s thinking regarding the stadium naming deal. He wants to compare how much the establishment got for naming their grounds because how could anyone possibly want to pay City more? Sorry Michel, but that is an irrelevant question. It is not money laundering, because the money isn’t dirty. There is precedent involved (JJB Stadium, anyone?). The only reason they’re upset is because our generous benefactor has the cash to dwarf their generous benefactors, and because he is an Arab. Well here’s another newsflash; there is a fair bit of precedent for foreign owners buying Premier League clubs, many of them without a thousandth of the Sheikh’s credibility or financial stability. Platini doesn’t even know what he’s angry about.

I’ve been extremely impressed with the club’s dignified and reasonable response to the latest Tévez twist. I think the Corinthians deal may be a good option, but only if the cash is up front (I wouldn’t let him get near a plane to Brazil until the cheque’s cleared), and if the board feel it is enough. Otherwise, we’ll keep him, and he’ll play if his form is good enough. If he becomes disruptive, keep him away from the club, and maintain the media silence that has served us well to now. The stadium deal means that it’s not the end of the world to have him on the wage bill, because we can afford it (as much as it sickens me to say that). Ironically, we may end up using our financial muscle for some good by teaching Joorabchian and his client a lesson: if you don’t want to honour a (very generous) contract, then don’t sign it.

As for transfers, Boateng stays until Bayern offer the right cash. I wish we could find a place for Bellers (hate him as a person, love him as a player, will never forget the goal at the Swamp), but good on him for trying to take positive steps to get a move. Wrighty has always been one of my favourites, but he needs his confidence… would be very interesting to see what Coyle could do with SWeeP on the right and Petrov the left. Nasri would be an excellent signing, but will he effectively be cover for Silva, or play further forward? I guess we need bodies for the Champions’ League. Clichy is an excellent, positive signing, although I think we’ll see a better Kolarov this season. I’ve liked everything I’ve heard from Savic; he’ll learn a lot from Vinny. I have no idea if he can play, and it concerns me a bit that he was at Partizan for such a short spell, but hopefully he will be a good option. I feel that we need a striker, and Aguero would be my choice; he is world class, and will easily adapt to the Premier League in my opinion. We need more from Dzeko this season; if Mancini doesn’t think he’s up to it then we will need more support up front. We need to offload Santa Cruz (too slow and not enough quality), and I am loving Adebayor’s ranting. He played one good game for City in which his behaviour was then disgraceful, and he epitomises everything that is bad about the modern Premier League player. Let him rot and throw his career away if Real don’t want to pay for him, and no-one else wants him because of his attitude. He’s being handsomely remunerated, and he should shut up, knuckle down and fight his way back into the squad, and then the team. If he was interested, he has the ability to be a first choice striker for us. He’s reaped what he sowed.

I know this is very “cup half empty”, but is it bad I still question players’ motives when they come to us over clubs with more history of domestic or Champions’ League success? I guess I need to get over that. As I said, Cook’s stadium deal shows that we are the coming force in European football. Maybe the players are starting to get that feeling too.

Anyway, a year of MCIVTA blurb in a single post! I’ll leave you with this: Kompany is our leader because of the way he carries himself. We should give him the armband, and make it official.

CTID, Jon Marshall <jon_g_marshall(at)>


It has been quite a while since I last posted something on this newsletter, and it seemed appropriate that on the day of Mike Doyle’s funeral I take to the keyboard once again to offer a few personal thoughts. As I begin to write I have on the screen in front of me the BBC page with the write up on Mike Doyle.

For me, Mike Doyle was one of the true greats of English football on the pitch and a ‘True Blue Legend’ – and this is a term which is thrown around a lot these days. Mike was a player who commanded respect not just from his own team mates but the fans, the club and the opposition as well. Whatever happened off the pitch, the reasons why those things happened, they are not up for discussion here, this was all about the player and how he was an inspiration to a generation of youngsters like myself who followed the the club from the mid-60’s. Incidentally a few of my relatives who are long-time Reds visited me last week in a family get together, and spoke of Mike with high regard – Neil Young and all of the team from the ‘Golden days’, especially Mike, but this goes back to a very different era; the game in this time was a different animal altogether, for both Red and Blue it was about the shirt, the passion, and not a huge wage packet every week.

I thought while I’m in the writing mood, I would offer my four penn’orth on the ongoing ‘Tévez saga’, speaking of a different era and thinking.

Truth be known I couldn’t care less if he stays or goes, I was never that wild about Tévez joining in the first place. Ok so before the ‘pro-Tévez lobby’ kick off, I agree he has made a significant contribution in the time he has been at the club. However, it is really satisfying and reassuring to hear the club put out a statement, which means that no one player is bigger than the club. This also means that we have at last reached the level of assured financial stability and position as a top four club, to be able to say ‘you’re going nowhere matey, honour you contract, or if not park yourself on the bench until someone comes in with a big offer?’ and in this case £40 million plus! Rather like the Robinho situation.

Too right and about time!

The excuse that it’s about his family being far away may have some truth, then okay, go back to Argentina of South America to be closer, but moving further away to Italy? Please just stop the ‘BS’ and do us all a favour and leave right now, so the club and the Manager can get on with planning for the new campaign. For me Mancini is playing it just right; okay he has had his critics (God knows why?) but this is the best spell we have had in decades so why change it? I doubt many managers who have managed at City, with the exception of Joe Mercer, Big Mal, or Tony Book, would have taken the decision the way Mancini has (he is a very good manager, and more importantly he has a bloody good pedigree).

I can’t remember who posted on this originally but a few editions back, there was a post from someone complaining about what we had achieved or ‘not achieved’ as it turned out and once again being critical of Mancini? I wonder if he was a ‘Main Stand Ticket Holder from the 60’s, 70’s?’ God almighty are you people never satisfied? I think not, you know even when the club was winning trophies back in the day, my dad and I used to hear these people moaning on a great length week in, week out. Well we have just started to regain our place in the top competing elite in this country after what seems like an eternity in the wilderness, did you forget that? FA Cup Winners, top 3 finish and automatic Champions’ League entry, wake up!

I agree with Ernie Barrow, let Tévez go, bank the money, get someone in who’s even better, back Mancini, and go on to more glory!

Peter Godkin <peterandness(at)>


No wonder Mr Angry of Highbury is so upset that he feels the need to mouth off at our City and our new sponsorship deal.

What most of you don’t understand is that in the parallel world inhabited by Arsène Wenger (it’s a bit like Harry Potter’s world and actually runs alongside our world, it’s just that we don’t notice it) there is a big football competition called the ‘Gordon Brown Cup for Financial Prudence’ and Arsenal have won it for a record breaking sixth year! The open-topped celebration bus ride through London was missed by us Muggles, who saw only an ordinary open-topped London tourist bus, full of youngsters on a school outing.

I don’t recollect any outcry when Real Madrid cleared its debts by selling their 15-hectare training ground in the heart of Madrid to city and regional authorities for a staggering £290 million in 2001. The sale of the training ground for office buildings cleared Real Madrid’s debts and enabled the club to embark upon a spending spree that brought the big-name players to the club. It seemed the perfect deal in a booming market: in exchange for selling their assets, the club received a cash windfall plus the gift of a huge plot out of town for a new training area. The sale helped clear the club’s £177 million debt, and left enough to pay unprecedented sums for Zidane, Ronaldo, Luis Figo and Beckham.

But the European Commission suspected that the price was over-inflated and included a hidden public subsidy because the city had previously re-zoned the training grounds for development, a move which in turn increased their value, and then bought the site. The EU-commission started an investigation into whether the city overpaid for the property, considered a form of state subsidy. At the time Tilman Luder, the EU’s competition spokesman said: “We believe Madrid’s regional authorities may have overpaid.” He warned that the club might have to pay back some money if the price exceeded the market value. “We have sent a questionnaire to the Spanish government: to find out why they bought this land, at what price, and if they can prove it was at the market price. We suspect that the purchase price was influenced by the fact that this property had been reclassified, which increased its value,” Luder said. If doubts remain, the EU may launch a formal investigation.

But, surprise, surprise, the European Union dropped the competition probe. The commission concluded that no state aid for Real was involved in the transaction and no government resources were transferred to it.

So that’s alright then! Still, it’s heartening to see how concerned people are that we don’t breach the new financial rules.

CTID, Phil Peacock <philip.peacock(at)>


I welcome the stadium naming rights deal, and of course the increased sponsorship. The Etihad Stadium is a name that does us justice. Renaming it might actually give us one name to call it. Some call it Eastlands, others COMS (I still inadvertently call it Maine Road sometimes (old habits die hard)), and as grand as it is ‘The City of Manchester Stadium’ is a bit of a mouthful! We may lapse into Eastlands or COMS in match reports etc. here but Etihad Stadium it is!

The deal is not only great for City and Etihad, but it’s great for Manchester too in terms of job creation, the new facilities that will be developed and City’s continued work in the Community. This further underlines City’s commitment to the community. It is indeed a very positive move that will bring benefits for many in the locality.

It’s a real shame that there people in football who have to find negatives in this when there aren’t any.

Doubtless Platini and his hypocritical Fair Play robots will try to invent a reason why we shouldn’t have such a deal, but they will have a real challenge to make one up this time, given the scale of what the sponsorship actually covers, and City’s transparent dealings. I do hope that City’s legal team are ready to challenge Platini and his cronies, should the need arise.

The knives are out for City already in football with Arsène Wenger being the latest to whinge about City’s new sponsorship deal and stadium naming rights: “It raises the real question about the credibility of the financial fair play,” whined Wenger.

“They give us the message that they can get around it by doing what they want. The difficulty and the credibility of the financial fair play is at stake. If fair play is to have a chance, the sponsorship has to be at the market price. It cannot be doubled, tripled or quadrupled. If they bring the rules in they have to be respected.”

It’s rather hypocritical for someone who has been lucky enough to manage one of the richest clubs in the world to be talking about ‘financial fair play’. Wenger has enjoyed all the advantages of being in the Champions’ League for years while the rest of us have had our noses pressed up against a glass ceiling.

City are cooperating with UEFA so we are respecting the rules and we are hardly ‘doing what we want’. If we were ‘doing what we wanted’ to do we’d have spent more money in the transfer market than we have now.

It’s funny how Wenger wasn’t worried about the Emirates deal doubling, tripling or quadrupling and more what others had when their own deal with Emirates was struck. Did anyone else cry about it? They didn’t. Wenger certainly wasn’t bleating about so-called ‘fair play’ then.

It’s not City’s fault that Arsenal ‘only’ got £90 million for their 10-year deal for the Emirates Stadium (more money than most clubs had at the time). At the time I don’t recall anyone else in football moaning about it. When you consider must clubs get zero for naming rights because they haven’t sold naming rights, and those that do have naming rights have not even a tenth of what Arsenal have, how can Wenger complain now, when he has enjoyed such an advantage, and still does? Wenger wasn’t there putting forward the case of any smaller club, so it’s more than a bit rich for him to pipe up about our deal.

Now the very clubs who created the cartel of ‘The Big Four’ like Arsenal are feeling threatened they go bleating to UEFA about it. A whisper, here a whisper here, and Platini and his cronies comply.

Wenger went on: “He [UEFA president Michel Platini] is very strongly determined on that. He is not stupid, he knows that some clubs will try to get around that. At the moment I believe they are studying, behind closed doors, how they can really strongly check it. That is his big test.”

You can bet if Emirates airlines did the same again, doubling tripling or quadruling their current deal, Wenger would sit there in his ivory tower, say nothing about it, whilst buying useless centre halves and dodgy goalkeepers, whilst losing at least one frustrated star a season as his own little empire continues to crumble. A once great manager (or was he – that back four was George Graham’s) showing such a lack of dignity because he knows that he has been overtaken by City and is about to be overtaken by Liverpool and possibly Spuds too.

In any case, how can operating with debt (as Arsenal have been doing to fund their lavish ground) be better than working without debt, as City are doing? In Wenger’s one-eyed world of double standards, debt is the way forward.

Of course Wenger, showing his quintessential ‘Aye Deedn’t see it’ selective blindness chooses to overlook the fact that Arsenal sold the land at Highbury for inflated London prices. Surely if he’s going to castigate City then he’s got to have a look at his own club. Maybe if he did, his team might do better, and his fans would be happier.

For what it’s worth, I actually have a lot of time for Arsenal, but you find with Arsenal and far too many of their fans, they are okay as long as they are beating you (remember those days when they splashed out £10 million on Henry and splashed the cash and big money on Bergkamp, money that the rest of couldn’t afford, did we cry about it – nope).

When Arsenal aren’t beating you they are arrogant, poor losers, and the biggest cry babies on this planet, bar one, who they are beginning to resemble more and more by the day.

Learn to lose with dignity, Arsène and Arsenal.

Wenger would do well to look at his own club and its own fair play. It’s been well documented that Arsenal are ripping off their fans yet again with yet another huge hike in season tickets. If they cannot get ‘fair play’ right with their own fans, who can they get it right with? Maybe Platini and his fair play robots should investigate that in the interests of true fair play. Who, though, are Platini and Co. to lecture us or rule on ‘Fair Play’ when they charge a minimum of £176 (including £26 booking fee) for a Champions’ League Final ticket?

Fit and proper? Don’t think so…

Isn’t it strange, though, how Platini and Co. never investigated Real Madrid after their dubious ‘land deals’ that facilitated the signing of all those galacticos. Strange also that Platini and Co. are not turning the spotlight on Juventus who are splashing the cash bigger than we are, and especially as they averaged only 22,958 spectators last season. Couldn’t possibly be anything to do with the fact that he played for them and still enjoys a cosy relationship with the Agnelli family, the owners of Juventus?

City, Derby and Forest came out of the old Second and won the title back in days of yore, and all graced Europe afterwards. City and Forest won European trophies and Derby were cheated out of it by a dubious referee when they played… surprise, surprise, Juventus (ok, that’s not Platini’s fault but corruption was around then too). More recently Blackburn won the League after Jack Walker gave them the time of their lives.

I really wish that football wasn’t so dominated by money. But the fact is that it is and you either have to be an established club or have a super rich owner. We’re lucky at City that we can compete now, but it’s a shame that we have had to spend so much money to even compete to get into the Champions’ League. Isn’t it wrong that Platini’s rules will stop teams with smaller revenue streams from competing to win the League or get into the Champions’ League? They will no longer be able to get a benefactor to propel them into the highest levels, because of Platini’s hypocritical rules that serve the Establishment only.

Another hypocrite is Sir Bobby Charlton (above criticism according to some) with his comments on stadium naming rights:

“No, I don’t think it will happen with us” and “But I can only say that it’s not our policy to change the name of Old Trafford. It’s too important”.

All this piousness from the man who has sat there in silence and watched the Glazers hike ticket prices, force people to buy cup tickets and load huge debt onto his adopted club. Not a peep from the man who shares a boardroom with the Glazers. It’s not the first time that Charlton has been involved with ticket controversy is it!

Now, Sir Bobby Charlton was undoubtedly a great player (ignoring any Rag hype), but he really needs to be a lot less bumptious and holier than thou about this. In any case, can he be really sure that the Glazers won’t rename The Theatre of Debt? If there’s money to be made, they’ll do it. I can see it now… ‘Welcome to The Rupert Murdoch Stadium’ (where there will be a different kind of disgraceful ‘hacking’ to News International’s appalling practices). Whoever, they can sell the naming rights that smelly heap of Meccano to, you can guarantee it, the silence from Sir Bobby Charlton will be deafening.

Despite all the negativity from outside, it’s been a good week for City. I’m delighted that Patrick Vieira is staying with us in player development, having hung up his boots. Good luck to Pablo Zabaleta who played well for Argentina in their 3-0 win that propelled them into the next round of the Copa America: a game in which Tévez was dropped and Sergio Aguero scored a brace. Could that be a reflection of things to come at City? We shall see.


For what it’s worth I used to hate those days when Arsenal were all buddy-buddy with us after yet another hammering of the Boys in Blue. I hated being patronised by them. Many Blues were happy that by losing to Arsenal as we’d dented United’s challenge for the title. I vividly recall one saying ‘Oh, it’s okay if we lose today, ‘cos it stops United winning the title‘. Eh? It’s never okay for us to lose. What about Manchester City? We should always want to win. He made my blood boil, I can tell you.

I almost threw up as I saw a small minority of City fans cheerily waving off the Arsenal coaches (rammed full with smug Southern faces) as they turned the corner onto Claremont Road after a 0-4 home defeat to the Gunners. It made me sick. I wondered then, what would they be like if the boot were on the other foot?

What we have now is arrogance from many, though not all, Arsenal fans. Some Arsenal fans say we have ‘no history’ when we sign or are linked with their players. Obviously that’s totally ignorant. Every club has history. If these ignorami bothered to find out they’d see that we have even had a successful history in the dim and distant past. Arsenal fans are traditionally amongst the quietest, but this summer to largest noises have come from their whingeing cacophony as Wenger’s empire crumbles.

I’m not going to tar all Gunners with the same brush. Talk to some and they still quite like us and will always wish us well against the Rags because they absolutely hate them, but there seems to be a growing proportion of them who are acting like spoiled children whose toys have been taken away.

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>

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Newsletter #1746