Newsletter #1788

Well it looks like the Premier League thingy might not be quite the stroll in the park we were making it look!

A shocker of a refereeing performance allied to an in-form old-boy proved our undoing in a fairly heated encounter. That said, we really should have had it wrapped up by half-time so hopefully this proves a blip rather than a downturn.

It also marked our first league defeat since I took on the editor role here at MCIVTA (sob!)! Still, not a bad ‘honeymoon period’ in my book!

A big edition tonight, which includes the latest “Points of Blue” minutesas the “and finally…”, an interesting read thanks to Steve Parish.

Next Game: Arsenal, Home, 4pm, 18 December 2011


City suffered a first League defeat of the season against a Chelsea side who always were going to be tough opponents, no matter what state of transition they are in.

City started with the skill and speed of Sebastian Vettel on the grid. Chelsea tried to press but they got too close to City’s quick thinking forwards and paid for it in the second minute as Sergio Agüero strolled round John Terry like he was talking a walk round the block.

The City striker then played a superb defence-splitting pass for Balotelli to run onto. His run was checked by Ivanovic’s lunging boot, but to his credit Balotelli stayed on his feet, rounding Cech to score from the angle. Had Balotelli gone down it would surely have been a red card (if Clattenburg had shown the guts to give it).

Balotelli returned the compliment for his strike partner but Agüero dragged his shot wide under pressure from flailing Chelsea boots. City were rampant for twenty odd minutes, with our short passing game causing Chelsea no end of problems.

City should have had a penalty when Silva was caught in the box by Boswinga but Clattenburg, who had a perfect view, for some reason best known to himself refused to give a penalty and told Silva to get up. Clattenburg bottled it.

Surely, if he thought Silva had dived (and he would have been totally wrong) then he would have been obliged by the rules to have booked him. Like the Bayern away game, City were to pay heavily because of cowardly refereeing.

We would, however, be fooling ourselves if we laid the reasons for this defeat down to Clattenburg’s complete lack of backbone. Chelsea changed tactics, dropping deeper so there was less space for us to run into, whilst still managing to press City. We didn’t seem to handle this well, playing too many long and at times uncharacteristically panicky balls up the field to no one in particular. Our movement needed to be cleverer and our passing and decision making required more poise.

Chelsea sensed the game had changed and Sturridge started to run at Clichy down our left. Still City looked comfortable in defence as Chelsea hadn’t asked a real question of our defence.

This all changed when Terry swung a high ball out to Sturridge who ran at Clichy, cleverly found space (Clichy was watching the man rather than focusing on that spherical object) and crossed for an unmarked Meireles (Yaya Touré had let him get free) to fire home an equaliser that Chelsea scarcely deserved.

Meireles could have been sent off both before and after this goal for rather dangerous high tackles which could have resulted in serious injury (Zabaleta was particularly lucky with one where Meireles’ studs caught him on the knee) but Clattenburg in typically cowardly fashion, failed to issue a red. Where was the courage (rare for him) that he’d shown at Owed Trafford?

We never really regained control of the game after the first twenty minutes as Sturridge tormented Clichy, who had already been booked for tugging the ex-City youngster back. It was inevitable that he’d find his way into the book again.

The second time he was late with a lunge, Clattenburg had no option but to issue a second yellow. It was always going to be an uphill struggle for us from then but we reorganised and still looked pretty solid.

De Jong came on for Silva and Kolo Touré for Agüero as Mancini battened down the hatches. It wasn’t to be though and Sturridge wriggled away from Zaba (who’d been moved across to left back) and fired a shot that hit Lescott on the arm. Whilst Lescott was trying to get out of the way, his raised arms gave Clattenburg an excuse to give a penalty (which he gave almost gleefully). Lampard fired down the middle of the goal as Hart dived to his left. Thereafter, one chance for Balotelli apart, Chelsea just wasted time expertly and kept the ball well as City’s ten men ran out of steam.

We should not be too down on this defeat. City played brilliantly for 25 minutes and should have been at least 2 goals up. How we bounce back from this will be very important. We need to dust ourselves down and put it behind us. If we show strength of character and play our super brand of football to win our next match we will be well on the way. If we show strength of character for the rest of the season we will deserve to win this league, because we have the quality.

Hart: Good handling. No chance for either goal: 7
Zabaleta: Stood up well on a difficult night. Might he have got a little closer to Sturridge in the penalty incident: 6
Kompany: Made several good challenges and headers to clear our lines. Curiously started launching the ball when we needed to show more poise: 7
Lescott: Stamford Bridge historically is not a happy hunting ground for him. Did well except for the penalty (will he finally learn not to put his hands up in he box? Jolene, Jolene, we’re begging you to keep your hands down, Jolene…): 6
Clichy: Spooked by Sturridge all the time he was on. Rather rash in his challenge for his second yellow and couldn’t complain: 5
Yaya Touré: Easily his poorest game for City this season, and he was lucky not to get sent off in his clashes with Mata. Sloppy distribution at times too and he must track his runner: 5
Barry: Strove manfully. Let no one down: 7
Milner: Battled hard, wherever he played, ending up at right back: 7
Silva: Bright and inventive but lacked service when the ball started going over his head instead of to him: 7
Agüero: His clever invention set up the first goal. Might have been closer with his own chance: 7
Balotelli: Took his goal very well, held the ball up well: 7 (City’s Man of the Match)
Kolo Touré (for Agüero 64): Adequate, though why he went charging up the field on one occasion, leaving us exposed, is anyone’s guess: 6
de Jong (for Silva 75): Solid: 6
Dzeko (for Lescott 86): n/a
Refwatch: Clattenburg: An invertebrate’s performance: 1
Best Oppo: The one that got away: Daniel Sturridge: a constant menace. Pacy and inventive down the right. An international career awaits: 8


The commentary from ex-Chelsea captain and coach Ray Wilkins is the most blatantly biased I have ever heard. We may as well have been listening to Chelsea TV. He was so biased that he was told to apologise by the programme editor. Why do Sky insist on getting pundits with a vested interest to be summarisers when their team is playing? Sky’s objectivity and credibility is compromised by employing such biased fools. One other thing that the pundits missed: City started playing it long because Chelsea compressed the space and we lost our poise and weren’t inventive enough in our movement (Ed – I was going to comment on this in my editorial, Wilkins’ commentary was just shocking).

Phil Banerjee


My opinion in simple terms vs. Chelsea:

First twenty minutes – City Good.
The rest of the time – City Poor.

Paul Walsh was part of the commentary team I listen to and there was one comment he made I did not agree with and that was about the penalty; Paul said he had his hands in the air and it was inviting a penalty but in my mind he did not move his hands at the ball as the ball to me came at the hands as Lescott was falling backwards with his feet off the ground and as a consequence had no control over the happening!

There was another comment made by Paul and here I agree with him and that was that referees have got the “card system” all wrong as not every tackle is a yellow card offence and the referees are not being consistent; the result was this match referee was not consistent as maybe Kompany should have got a 2nd yellow card before Clichy!

The more I watch the football matches in the UK, the more convinced I become that the referees are told they have a quota of cards to be given in a period of time. Like Paul Walsh’s sentiments on this matter, I think it is getting ridiculous; the commentators mentioned that Chelsea have the worse yellow and red card experience of the season so far and yet they seemed no worse than City in their tackling!

If it is not a quota system the referees have to meet, then they are trying to stop tackling altogether! The result so far to my mind, one way or the other, is that the referees are spoiling the game.

At least there is one good result this week and that is the Black Caps won against Australia.

Trevor Bevan <mate.bevan(at)>


So we lost and we shouldn’t have done. It isn’t the end of the world.

My only worry is the centre halves. How on earth can we ignore Onouha when we have an ever-flaky Lescott (an eternal threat of game-turning calamity) an out of sorts Touré, an untested Savic and a very, very long season?

We have weak enough cover as it is without dumping our prize Academy lads at bargain rates. Although it seems that there is no way Mancini is going to use our home-grown talent, we simply cannot afford the ransom fee and wages of another world-beater. I think Nedum could still prove our saviour. He may never be the best in the world, but he has never let us down.

Apart from that concern, we are playing great, looking great and doing great. Losing the unbeaten record just heightens the need to focus and keep cool.

No bother!

Martin Hunt <martinhuntctid(at)>


If my memory serves me correctly the last time City won the First Division, we played West Brom on Boxing Day as we do this year. I remember the coach ride with Liverpool fans on the A6, on their way to Coventry I think. At the time they were competitors close to the top and we swapped ‘friendly’ signals as we headed south.

We lost 3-2 and the match finished late because as we laid siege at the end when a Neil Young shot hit the woodwork and the goal collapsed and had to be rebuilt.

All from memory but I think I’m right.

Phil Walker <Phil.Walker(at)>


Went to the Munich game. My seat is below the top tier where the away supporters were parked. I am about 15 yards forward of the edge of the tier. When they all started jumping up and down in unison, it was quite frightening to see the concrete ledge flexing with the rhythm of the movement made by the fans. It was a very visible movement and not just a couple of inches. For a time, there was a look of panic on many City fans’ faces.

If anyone from the Club reads this, or if there are any MCIVTA professional structural engineers out there, maybe someone could assure us that this is engineered into the design and not anything to worry about?

I know that aircraft wings are made to go up and down during flight but I have never seen anything like that before and it was actually quite scary.

On another issue, does anyone want to join my “ban the drums” at football matches group?!

Chris Ryder <chrisryder(at)>


After watching this game that had continuous pace throughout the game, with two goals that were class from Silva and Yaya, the build up was beautiful to watch, hence the name “The Beautiful Game”.

I would describe this game by saying City looked like Barcelona on this day, great team work – more to come please!

Come on City!

Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)>


Xmas activities mean my daughter and I can’t go to the Arsenal and Stoke matches (Sunday 18th and Wednesday 21st December). We have got season tickets in East Stand level 1 block 107 – one adult and one junior (age below 16). So if you want to give your kid an early Xmas treat, let me know.

Both tickets for both games for £90 (to cover cost of tickets and special delivery postage – and please send them back special delivery).

John Edwards <jbmc30(at)>


Hi there, I have one spare ticket for both the Stoke game on the 21st Dec and Liverpool game on the 3rd Jan.

Bargain price £25 each.

Nat <natg_1(at)>


Club approved minutes attached.

Someone asked me about access to the archive of previous minutes – happy to oblige but I couldn’t remember who asked…

Steve Parish <bloovee(at)>

Minutes of Meeting – 9 November 2011

Club represented by Steve Sayer, Operations Director, Danny Wilson, Head of Sales & Service, Peter Fletcher, Head of Safety & Security.
Invited panelist: Mark Logan, Company Director – Showsec.

Persistent standing

The club was invited to state policy on standing.
CLUB RESPONSE: Persistent standing is tolerated in sections of the South Stand, with additional safety precautions (more stewards, more medical staff). A few people who didn’t want to stand have been relocated. Banter with away fans seems part of the attraction, and most grounds tolerate some standing by away fans, though sometimes allocations are reduced, or (e.g. in upper tiers) front rows of seats are netted off. At City the singing section was introduced, not originally intended to extend the area where standing was tolerated. There is a limit as to how far the practice can extend without risking attention from the licensing authorities, and the number of complaints from people in 109 who want to sit, and do not see why they should have to move seats, led to the decision to make this the demarcation line, and that there might have to be physical intervention to maintain the policy. At the Aston Villa game, one man point blank refused to sit down, and it was decided to eject him. The club has met with him, with the Football Supporters’ Federation involved, and it has been resolved amicably. Fewer than ten people have been ejected from 109 for persistent standing, and because of the problems with forceful ejection, fans who refuse to comply will be written to and their Seasoncard disabled. The policy of maintaining 109 as non-standing is approved at the highest level of the club.

Were people buying Seasoncards told they would be able to stand in 109?
CLUB RESPONSE: That has never been the policy. We have no evidence, but it’s possible that some people were given wrong information. Letters have been sent to all Seasoncard holders in 109 to reiterate that it is not an area where standing is tolerated, and we will try to relocate people who wish to stand into the South Stand.

Some supporters said that some stewards were generally rude and that they targeted vulnerable people for ejection. Others gave accounts of the incident at the Aston Villa game, including safeguarding issues because of the incident being upsetting for children; some supporters said they’d seen punches thrown by stewards.
CLUB RESPONSE: Alleged assaults (by stewards or anyone else) should be reported to the police. No reports had been made, and no assaults by stewards were seen on the CCTV, with cameras concentrated on the immediate incident. One family had been relocated to the Family Stand after the incident. Instructions and training (for MCFC and Showsec stewards) clearly do not allow for disproportionate force, and the aim is to ensure people’s safety and enjoyment (which must include those who don’t want to stand, and those who can’t, with some areas for wheelchairs being behind back seats in a section). The manager of Showsec said that the company’s credibility relies on the actions of its staff (and after the meeting he met with individual supporters to hear their accounts in detail).

What about the video of the incident posted on the Internet?
CLUB RESPONSE: There’s no evidence of punches being thrown by stewards on the video. There’s a steward shown who wasn’t there.

How many stewards are on duty at a typical home match?
CLUB RESPONSE: 350 MCFC stewards, 200 Showsec stewards and others from G4S and IOS for particular tasks (e.g. corporate and disabled supporters). All stewards are expected to work to the same standards, and uphold the City Promise.

Moving the away fans

The club was asked to explain why away fans had been put in EL3 at the Villarreal match and would be again at the Bayern Munich match.
CLUB RESPONSE: Meetings with supporter groups in recent years had emphasised the difficulties of moving away fans from the south-east corner to any other part of the stadium, e.g. having to move existing City fans from their long-standing seat, segregation during and after games, and it had been generally accepted that nothing could realistically be done without some remodelling of the stadium. However, due to continued feedback from supporters in all parts of the stadium about improving the atmosphere, the club decided to conduct a trial at two Champions’ League games. At the same time supporters will be widely consulted via two surveys after each trial match and focus groups with supporters who will be directly impacted by the trials. For Villarreal, with very few away fans, the trial was made, placing them in EL3, and there were complaints from many City supporters who had to move. There were problems with access as one spiral entrance was not available to City fans on levels 2 and 3. The experiment will be repeated for the visit of Bayern Munich who will bring more fans. The aim is to improve atmosphere by uniting the more vocal sections of home support; there were mixed views as to whether the atmosphere was better against Villarreal, but their early goal didn’t help the atmosphere.

The idea comes from supporters who would not have to move seats if this became a permanent arrangement. Should the club give more attention to the views of those displaced?
CLUB RESPONSE: Atmosphere is the single most important part of the match day experience when you talk to supporters, regardless of their age profile or where they sit in the stadium. At the current time atmosphere is rated as less than good and scores well behind most other Premier League grounds. The idea to relocate away fans to level 3 does not relate to a single group of supporters, rather it reflects the only feasible option at the current time, based on the current stadium configuration. The views of potentially displaced supporters are not underestimated at all, and clearly their opinions carry a great deal of weight. The surveys can identify views from different parts of the stadium for this purpose. There is no commitment to making this permanent, and the status quo is certainly one option. Any permanent arrangement would be costly in terms of extra turnstiles, toilets, and safety aspects. The present arrangement is probably the safest in the Premier League, and any alternative would not be as safe. Before any decision is reached all the relevant authorities must be satisfied that the operation and infrastructure meet the highest safety standards. The supporters at the meeting generally agreed with the principle that the current arrangement is not perfect, but it’s not broken either.

Other stadium issues

Why do some people have to move seats for European games, then find City fans have used them?
CLUB RESPONSE: UEFA and UEFA Champions’ League Partners have an option to purchase an allocation of tickets on East Stand Level 2 for all Champions’ League matches. The size of this allocation increases as the competition progresses. Seats are also taken on Level 3 of the Colin Bell Stand and East Stand for an expanded commentary area and camera position respectively and we lose the front two rows of seats on Level 1 of the Family, East and South Stand due to the increased height of the perimeter advertising boards. Supporters on the Champions’ League Cup Scheme who are impacted by these requirements are relocated to alternative seats before tickets go on sale to non Cup Scheme members. Seats which are not purchased or used by UEFA are placed on sale to our supporters as soon as notification is received from UEFA, which has been as late as 4 days prior to the match in some areas.

Are Level 2 prices decided for next season? The padded seats are nice, but these and the other perks do not justify the extra charge.
CLUB RESPONSE: We’ve not confirmed prices in any area of the stadium for the 2012/13 season.

Is smoking allowed in City Square, especially at the food tables?
CLUB RESPONSE: The area is not part of the stadium but comes generally under the City Council’s ban on smoking on all their premises. Enforcement may be difficult, but we’ll look at putting no smoking signs on tables. Supporter comment: Thanks to the club for free parking for the derby game screenings at City Square.


Can we choose seats from a plan for away games?
CLUB RESPONSE: Tickets for away matches are sold on a ‘best available’ basis across all three sales channels (online, in person and telephone) in line with the order of sale instructed by the opposing club. If a supporter has a specific requirement eg. an aisle seat, we will do our best to assist but this cannot be guaranteed. Since the service was launched at the start of the season, the number of supporters purchasing tickets for away matches online has increased significantly and we’ve received a lot of positive feedback on the ease of purchasing in this way. Subject to loyalty point qualification criteria and availability, the online sales channel is open 24 hours a day.

Can we still book seats for friends?
CLUB RESPONSE: Yes, tickets can be purchased online for supporters who are connected through ‘Friends and Family’. If you wish to purchase tickets for friends, who are existing members, over the telephone or in person, you will need to be in possession of the respective names and supporter numbers and be prepared to answer certain security questions including date of birth and full postal address.

Is it right that someone with fewer loyalty points but on a Cup Scheme gets priority over someone with more points not on the scheme?
CLUB RESPONSE: This was clearly communicated in the membership renewal pack. Attendances at home Cup matches have been lower than hoped in recent seasons. A price cap on tickets for domestic Cup matches, up to but not including the Quarter Final, was also introduced to incentivise sign up to the Cup Scheme and in turn encourage better attendances. Sign up to all three schemes has increased significantly on the back of these changes.

Can we not buy tickets for disabled people online?
CLUB RESPONSE: We are looking to introduce a solution. The challenge is how to confirm and validate the proof of disability.

Why can students get cheaper one-off tickets than student Seasoncard holders?
CLUB RESPONSE: Whilst a small allocation of tickets is made available to students via local universities and colleges, there is no guarantee that this will happen for every home match. These seats are located in areas of the stadium that are the last to sell (e.g. back of Level 3) and a choice of location is not provided. From time to time, the tickets are discounted though this is not always the case.


Customer services – response times have been awful, especially when the matter needs an urgent reply. This was particularly frustrating around the time of the Napoli match in September.
CLUB RESPONSE: We accept that call waiting and email response times increased significantly earlier in the season. Cup Scheme issues, delays in the mailing of Blue Membership cards and ticket sales restrictions for the Napoli match all impacted on service standards. Most days, call waiting times are minimal and email responses are sent within hours of receipt (during regular office hours). We are also investing in a more detailed FAQ section on the website to reduce the need for telephone or email contact.

Are catering prices creeping up, or portions getting smaller?
CLUB RESPONSE: Beer prices have come down, some food has gone up. We’re not aware of any changes to portion sizes.

The next meeting of Points of Blue will be early in the New Year.


11 December 2011

Sunderland            2 - 1  Blackburn Rovers      39,863
Stoke City            2 - 1  Tottenham Hotspur     27,529

10 December 2011

Arsenal               1 - 0  Everton               60,062
Bolton Wanderers      1 - 2  Aston Villa           20,285
Liverpool             1 - 0  Queens Park Rangers   45,016
Manchester United     4 - 1  Wolverhampton Wndrs   75,627
Norwich City          4 - 2  Newcastle United      26,816
Swansea City          2 - 0  Fulham                19,296
West Bromwich Albion  1 - 2  Wigan Athletic        25,446

League table to 11 December 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 City 14  7  0  0 24  4  5  2  0 24  9 12  2  0  48  13  35  38
 2 Manchester Utd  15  6  1  1 23 11  5  2  0 12  3 11  3  1  35  14  21  36
 3 Tottenham H.    14  5  0  1 15  7  5  1  2 15 11 10  1  3  30  18  12  31
 4 Arsenal         15  6  1  1 14  5  3  1  3 17 18  9  2  4  31  23   8  29
 5 Chelsea         14  5  0  2 19 11  4  1  2 12  6  9  1  4  31  17  14  28
 6 Liverpool       15  3  5  0 10  6  4  0  3  8  7  7  5  3  18  13   5  26
 7 Newcastle Utd   15  4  2  1 10  8  3  3  2 11 11  7  5  3  21  19   2  26
 8 Stoke City      15  4  2  2 12  9  2  1  4  4 15  6  3  6  16  24  -8  21
 9 Aston Villa     15  3  2  2 10  7  1  5  2  8 12  4  7  4  18  19  -1  19
10 Norwich City    15  4  2  2 16 12  1  2  4  8 16  5  4  6  24  28  -4  19
11 Swansea City    15  4  3  1 10  2  0  2  5  6 18  4  5  6  16  20  -4  17
12 Everton         14  2  1  4  7  9  3  0  4  8  9  5  1  8  15  18  -3  16
13 QPR             15  1  4  2  6 10  3  0  5  9 16  4  4  7  15  26 -11  16
14 Fulham          15  2  3  2 12  9  1  3  4  4  9  3  6  6  16  18  -2  15
15 West Brom A.    15  2  1  5  7 11  2  2  3  7 12  4  3  8  14  23  -9  15
16 Sunderland      15  2  3  3 12 10  1  2  4  6  8  3  5  7  18  18   0  14
17 Wolves          15  3  1  3 10 11  1  1  6  6 17  4  2  9  16  28 -12  14
18 Wigan Athletic  15  1  2  4  8 15  2  1  5  6 14  3  3  9  14  29 -15  12
19 Blackburn R.    15  2  0  5 10 15  0  4  4 12 19  2  4  9  22  34 -12  10
20 Bolton Wndrs    15  1  0  7 10 21  2  0  5 10 15  3  0 12  20  36 -16   9

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v1112.01]

[1] MCIVTA Addresses

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[5] What supporters’ clubs are there?

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[7] What match day broadcasts are available on the web?

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[12] Where can I find match statistics?

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The views expressed in MCIVTA are entirely those of the subscribersand there is no intention to represent these opinions as being thoseof Manchester City Football Club, nor of any of the companies anduniversities by whom the subscribers are employed. It is not inany way whatsoever connected to the club or any other relatedorganisation and is simply a group of supporters using this mediumas a means of disseminating news and exchanging opinions.

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Newsletter #1788