Newsletter #1747

As City emerge victorious in their first game of the pre-season tournament against Club America, we have a look tonight at the financial wranglings and fall out from the stadium naming, transfers, and days gone by.

Next Game: Vancouver Whitecaps, 7pm Monday 18 July 2011 (pre-season)


From all accounts in the local Bavarian media, FC Bayern paid thirteen-and-half million euros for Boateng and consider it a bargain. Most of the fans I know (and that’s quite a few) cannot understand why City let him go. They seem to forget his recent national performances, which were drab, and think their new number 17 is the ideal centre back. Maybe we missed something then.

As for Bayern itself, I agree with previous write-ins that they are very similar to Old Trafford and are scorned by the majority of folk outside of Munich. But they regularly get home gates of 69,000 and play in a fantastic stadium (Allianz Arena) that they share with their poor neighbours (1860) who Bayern have bailed out more than once. Personally, I admit to liking them (no I’m not a closet MUFC fan as 50 years of City prove) but do enjoy the “schadenfreude” of Bayern having to qualify for the Champions’ League. This transfer has been good publicity for City as I have never heard them mentioned so much. Bring on Bayern.

Paul Ardern <Paul.ardern(at)>


Finally it looks like Carlos Tévez is leaving us. We don’t know the exact fee as things stand. Personally, and for what it’s worth, I believe he is worth £60 million minimum at today’s market value, but if our club were holding out for £50 million, hopefully we got that, whether it be all from Corinthians or if Carlos stumped up the difference between their offer and City’s valuation.

Tévez’s attitude off the pitch has been hugely disappointing and he has destabilized the club at times during his stay. He has selfishly made a habit of raining on our parade with his moaning and putting in transfer requests at times when we were celebrating or enjoying good news. None of this is surprising, though, as he has a history of moving every two years, and Corinthians can expect the same pattern of behaviour, no matter how close he is to his family (where after Sao Paolo: Boca Juniors in 2013, or will it be one last foray in Spanish football, but who really cares?). He has left under a bit of a cloud, but his stay here shouldn’t be defined by that, because there is no doubting that he has been brilliant on the pitch for City to the point where he has been one of the key players in winning our first trophy for 35 years and achieving Champions’ League football. He commitment on the pitch was total and I am grateful for that.

It will be a relief when he has gone and has been replaced adequately. Sergio Aguero or another player with the same or better ability level to Tévez must be signed now. This is absolutely imperative.

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


The really big clubs in world football don’t have corporate stadium names. San Siro. Bernabeu. Camp Nou. And yes, Stamford Bridge and Old Trafford.

By going to a corporate name, we are assuring we will always be labelled as a wannabe, a johnny come lately, a child of corporate investment. It diminishes not only our connection to the people and city of Manchester, but our standing as a world football giant.

And look at what has happened to Arsenal since they moved to their corporate stadium. Bad karma.

Regarding Tévez. Time to let him go. His life is complicated, and while he is complicit in that complication, City need to find him a graceful exit, and do it in a way that does not spoil or take the gloss off of last season’s success. Tévez can leave right now and have his head held high as a City legend for life. I hope the Corinthians deal can be made to work. I’m pleased to read today Aguero is open to coming to us. He would be the best possible replacement. His little boy can play too (check YouTube for details).

I do not understand the club’s treatment of Adebayor, consigning him to training with the reserves. If the object is to get full market value for him, surely having him train and score goals with the first team in pre-season is the best way to show him off? He played quite well for Real Madrid on loan. He certainly is talented enough to be a useful player for us. If the reason we don’t want him on tour is attitude or some personal conflict with Mancini, we shouldn’t also be demanding full price for him in the transfer market. Instead, we should be trying to offload. Same with Bellamy. The policy of keeping around Hughes’s unwanted buys 18 months after he got the sack in vain hopes of not taking a loss on the deal is absurd. Clear out all the unwanted players, at any price.

I watched Felipe Caicedo play three matches for Ecuador in Copa America. He is a solid player. Every time I’ve seen him play, in Spain on loan or for Ecuador, he looks good. He is powerful, quick, has a nice touch, and real power on his shot. He scored two goals against Brazil the other night, and the second one was pure class – a 20 yard blast hard on the ground after making space for himself with one deft touch. For the first, the ‘keeper was largely at fault, but it was the power in the shot and the quickness of the release that created a problem. He would be a good alternative or possibly complement to Dzeko leading the line.

Thad Williamson <twillia9(at)>


Have seen confirmation of the new home strip today. I don’t like it much. Blue shorts remind me of Kevin Bond and DaMarcus Beasley. And sound waves integrated into the design? Eh? No matter, no-one’s forcing me to buy it (I won’t), and I don’t have children pestering me for it either.

However, lots of people do have children pestering them, and while they can always be told ‘no’, I am sure a few years ago there was an ‘unwritten agreement’ from the club that the strips would only be changed every two years for this very reason? Anyone else remember this? It seems to have been conveniently forgotten about; there is now a new home and away strip every year without fail.

Ian Keir <iainkeir(at)>


I had the pleasure of Mike’s company at a Sportsman’s Charity Dinner at The City Of Manchester Stadium a couple of years ago. He was a boyhood hero of mine from the 70’s. I can still remember the way he use to wind the Rags up every week before derby day. When you look at his derby record it was exceptional. Mike was telling me he use to get the bus from Ashton to Maine Road and have some banter with the fans on the way. He said to me “Can you imagine Robinho doing that?” I replied “Not a chance”. He was very humorous, witty and a great bloke to have a chat with. I really enjoyed his company for half an hour or so. He was a pure gentlemen and the experience will remain with me long after his passing. They just don’t make men like Mike Doyle any more.

Phil Hitchen <phil(at)>


Imagine the surprise for Melbourne based City fans when they heard that our Blues were relocating and playing every other Saturday down at our Docklands: Seems our benefactors have been in the stadium naming rights game for a few years at least.

Sebastian Harvey <harveybrand(at)>


Is it just me, but does anyone else think the naming rights deals is a little deal to get under the Fair Play rules… robbing Peter to pay Paul?

I wonder if the Boss with a few billion could rebuild Christchurch! I’m with Bobby Charlton on the naming rights. We had a stadium in Christchurch (until it was wrecked in the earthquake) called Lancaster Park. It went under a couple of name changes, but for a lot of us it was still Lancaster Park. Imagine Maine Road being called anything but Maine Road?!

A bit of history is a good thing.

Kevin Williamson <scribbs(at)>


Never has football been so riddled with self-interest and hypocrisy as it is today. There is nothing wrong with clubs acting in their own interests, and no club board is doing its job properly if it isn’t. However, where that self-interest reaches an unhealthy level to the point where it seeks to make a sport less competitive, there is a serious problem.

Last week there was Arsène Wenger, in the middle of another lucrative tour to the Far East, doubtless worried that City are going to get even further ahead of Arsenal, questioning our new Etihad sponsorship deal in relation to Platini’s so-called ‘Fair Play’ regulations (which, as you know, are being made up as they go).

Liverpool’s managing director Ian Ayre followed this up with comments: “Is Etihad, Manchester City and Sheikh Mansour a related party? If they are it’s up to UEFA to rule on them. When I spoke at Soccerex earlier this year, I was on a panel about financial fair play. The guys from UEFA who are managing it said there would be a robust and proper process about related-party transactions.”

In answer to that, whilst Etihad is state-owned, it is a separate entity to Sheikh Mansour, with its own corporate governance. Whilst two members of the Abu Dhabi Royal Family are on its board, the board also consists of 7 independent non-executive members. It has two sub-committees: an Audit Committee and Executive Committee, both of which have their own chairman. Etihad’s Chief Executive Officer is James Hogan, who is Australian.

Ayre continued: “It hasn’t happened anywhere in Europe where a football club has renamed its existing stadium and it’s had real value. It was called The City of Manchester Stadium or Eastlands and now it’s going to be called something else and someone has attached a huge amount of value to that. I find that odd because there is no benchmark in football that says you can rename your stadium and generate that amount of value. Mike Ashley tried it at Newcastle. But nobody calls it that and it doesn’t have that kind of value.”

Surely if there is no ‘benchmark’, then how can anyone credibly say it is ‘odd’, because there is no deal of this type to compare it with (City’s Etihad agreement being far more than a stadium deal)? Pioneers break new ground. Are we saying that Christopher Columbus’ discovery of America was ‘odd’? Are we saying that the formation of the Premier League is odd because there was no benchmark for a breakaway League? By the same token, are we saying the formation of The Champions’ League was ‘odd’ because there was no ‘benchmark’ (don’t you just love these business buzzwords) for that?

Ayre’s comments are, of course, born of self-interest. The Etihad deal is only ‘odd’ because it threatens Liverpool FC’s bid to regain a top four spot and indeed threatens all the other establishment clubs who have enjoyed and continue to enjoy a financial advantage over everybody for years.

Ayre then shot himself in the foot with a boast: “I believe quite strongly that there are only two brands that are truly global. Liverpool and another team from down the M62. You can see the scale of what we do in Asia compared to other clubs. That is not to say people will never catch us but it is a hard thing to do. It’s not just about winning trophies, it is about building a year-on-year legacy.”

So for Mr Ayre, it’s okay for Liverpool and United to enjoy such an advantage, but not for City or anyone else who is a threat to the established order to try to compete. Not really ‘fair play’ in any sane person’s thinking. Either Ayre is guilty of hypocritical double standards (isn’t it ‘odd’ that only two clubs – ‘brands’ in Ayre’s world – should enjoy the lion’s share of the global market) or he is not really very self-aware, or both?

Don’t you just hate the word ‘brand’? We support a football club at City, and long may it stay that way.

In any case, when I last checked, City had caught and overtaken Liverpool two seasons ago. Off the pitch, clearly we have to sell a lot more shirts and merchandise, but hey, little acorns, and all that. Talk about smugness and reflected glories (other people’s reflected glories: Paisley, Shankly, Dalglish, Rush, Hansen etc.). How many trophies in round figures have Liverpool won since Ian Ayre was appointed in 2007? Clearly not a football man.

Not that Ayres should be too smug or self-satisfied as Liverpool declared £20 million pre-tax losses this year – hardly on target to make the so-called ‘fair play’ target of a £45 million loss over three years. Maybe if Ayre stuck to his own club’s business, he might perform better.

Ayre’s perhaps most hypocritical and self-incriminating comment was: “If you look, we haven’t lost a sponsor for many years. When Carlsberg were no longer our shirt sponsors, they remained with us as a key partner. I think that has more consistency and more longevity than just going out and signing loads of people. That is the way we focus on our business and not the way people do theirs.”

So did Ayre comment in some detail about City and Etihad’s deal, or did we just imagine that? And, of course, Liverpool never ‘sign loads of people’ do they? Like I said, hypocritical, and born of self-interest.

Proof that Ayre made these comments and wasn’t totally ‘focused’ on his own business (sorry, ‘brand’) can be found on: or or even the good old Liverpool Daily Post:

Isn’t it ‘odd’ that three clubs who have commented on City’s Etihad deal have been Arsenal, Liverpool and the Rags (Bobby Charlton)? The three clubs that are feeling most threatened by City (Chelsea’s Abramovich, or is Abramovich’s Chelsea – has already had a hypocritical whisper in Platini’s ear about City). No other club outside the establishment so-called ‘top 4’ has weighed in thus far. How strange!

Arsenal and Liverpool were once great clubs. It’s a pity that they aren’t acting like that now.

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>

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Newsletter #1747