Newsletter #1804

Officially the “Welcome Back From Holiday Phil Banerjee Edition”! After a refresh in the States, Phil is back with some typically forthright opinion and it would be interesting to hear other views on some of the subjects he touches on.

Wednesday saw us (reasonably) comfortably through to a last 16 Europa League tie against Sporting Lisbon. The scoreline suggested a walk-over though Porto had some good possession and a couple of half decent chances. Sergio clear man of the match though.

Blackburn next, never easy despite their position. Hopefully Yaya can put his African Nations Cup Final disappointment behind him with a barn-stormer!

Next Game: Blackburn Rovers, home, 5.30pm Saturday 25 February 2012


I go away for a few days and so much happens! City win at Villa (thankfully), Redknapp is acquitted, Capello resigns (good), Psycho replaces him temporarily (good luck Stuart) and a few hours after I arrive back at Ringway from holiday, Tévez scuttles back into Manchester.

My wife and I didn’t make the Fulham game. Snowy conditions and treacherous roads stopped us in our tracks literally when our car was struck (no one got hurt thankfully) in a minor accident.

We couldn’t even watch the game live on TV, as my mum (who babysits our kids when we go to watch City) doesn’t have ESPN so I settled for good old Match of the Day for me later on, and it was good to see the Boys In Blue return to winning ways with a comfortable 3-0 win in the snow. Is my memory failing me, or is that the snowiest City home game in living memory? I certainly don’t recall Maine road or The Etihad being covered in snow like that for many years – Birmingham (h) in 85/86 being the last time I recall significant snow/slush on our pitch.

Yes, Adam Johnson’s penalty was a bit soft and he went down rather easily (tut tut!), but Baird deliberately stuck a leg out in a sweeping motion so can’t have any complaints. In any case, we should have had another penalty when Silva was tripped in the box.

Judging by some of the gaps on the seating, we weren’t the only ones who didn’t make it to The Etihad. Doubtless that would have brought a few jibes from our ever so delightful “neighbours” but there again, our support has always been more about quality than quantity (even if we did average over 28,000 in the Third Division).

All in all, though, City’s quality was too much for Fulham, who are habitually poor on the road. What a wonderful bit of skill that was by Agüero, with his slalom run (literally), setting up Edin Dzeko for his goal. It was a good, professional job, well done.

We finally flew away on holiday having got our battered car to Ringway, and a wonderful time was had by all, in Florida. I wouldn’t normally bore you with the details, and I’ll try not to here, but there was something of relevance to City.

We were walking round the Disney EPCOT theme park (which is a park in the shape of a figure of 8, divided into a “Techie” section and another where there is an area representing various different countries). In the British “street” there was a sports shop, and I noticed in prime place (i.e. at eye level) merchandise on sale for Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and the Rags. There was even a section for Celtic.

Then I noticed on a lower profile rail, this season’s City home shirt, a T-shirt with the Blue Moon wave pattern and a City track suit with a red and black checked collar. It was good to at least see City items on sale, but the shop was like many sports shops back home in Blighty. Clearly City have some work to do the raise our profile, and increase our revenue streams (blimey, I’m talking business speak!) even further than the £28.1 million increase in revenues in the last financial year (thanks Phil the Ed for the stats and his piece in MCIVTA 1801).

The point is, though, that with Platini’s regulations that are designed to help the establishment clubs reassert their dominance (because they have the biggest revenue streams), we have to bridge the gap with those clubs in our revenue. We have to, in order to be able to compete financially.

Hopefully with more success for City (the title would be very nice indeed for the glory alone) and the continued decline of Chelsea, Arsenal and possibly Liverpool, we can do better. Yes, that means glory hunters buying our merchandise and coming to The Etihad. Bring it on, I say. We will always have our loyal fans, who’ve been through thin and thinner.

Anyway, talking about people buying our merchandise, the next day I saw a lad wearing last season’s smart navy blue away shirt (this season’s third shirt) walking in the opposite direction to us, and naturally I greeted him with a “Hey, City! Nice shirt”. He was either that rare beast (the unfriendly Mancunian) or he had no idea where Manchester was and just liked the shirt, because he showed no emotion and continued on his way (probably wondering who the Donald Duck (geddit!) the strange nutter was and thinking that ignoring the nutter was the best policy).

I was bricking it on the last full day of my holiday, and that is all City’s fault. Even when we have a good side like this one, City just play with your nerves don’t they? I was told that we toyed with Villa for 88 minutes and then dear old City give us a terrible fright (great save by Joe Hart by the way)! I have to thank my mate Steve Ford and my mum for providing me with text updates with the final score from the Villa game on the last full day of my holiday, and ending my suspense. Well done Joleon Lescott, in particular. He has played really well this season, and grew in stature when Vinny was unfairly suspended. Cometh the hour…

Thanks to you all at McV for your reports on the Villa game and other pieces to bring us up to date. We have such a biased media (I only truly trust a handful of national print journalists to be objective about us in all truth (Sam Wallace [Independent, the best football journo in my opinion], Ian Herbert, Tim Rich [both Indy too], Henry Winter [Torygraph], Martin Samuel [Mail]), Patrick Barclay [Sunday Times]), that I find myself only being interested in what the above mentioned, City’s Official site or other City fans produce for a match report.

Sadly, where the MUEN in concerned, I don’t think the reporting has been the same since Chris Bailey left to join City. Too often it takes a negative rather than objective slant on City, when it’s supposed to be our local paper/website. One can’t help but wonder what their agenda is. The editing has not been too clever either – too many spelling mistakes (I saw a headline mentioning a team called “Manchestert City” – who?) that you wonder if anyone checks their work nowadays (yes, I know we have the odd typo here, but I check my own work (though, mistakes do happen, no matter how many times you spell check and read your work) and our esteemed Ed at McV definitely checks what we write, and we aren’t even pros!

So why can’t the MUEN do better?

The Porto away win was a brilliant result. To beat the Europa League holders, who are far more experienced in Europe than City, on their own patch, was a magnificent achievement. For City to win the 2nd leg 4-0 underlines our class, and shows that we are learning how to win in Europe.

Make no mistake, Porto are a decent side (and probably didn’t deserve to lose 4-0 in all fairness) and being the holders, would have been one of the favourites for the competition, which has a strong line up. I’d like to have gone to the 2nd leg (and I am in the Cup scheme) but unfortunately for me, the 5pm kick-off made it impossible for me to get there (like most, I only have a certain amount of annual leave in a year).

How many other Blues couldn’t attend because of the anti-social kick-off time? Judging by the number of empty seats dotted around the Etihad, I’m sure I was not the only non-attendee who was included in the 39,538 official “attendance” figure. What is the point of football if people cannot attend?

This was all caused by a combination of the game not being allowed to clash with a televised Champions’ League game in nearby… Marseille… and the Rags also being drawn at home (they got the more convenient Thursday 7.45pm kick-off). As ever, UEFA are obsessed with TV revenue and have no regard for the fans. Hardly “fair play” is it Mr Platini? Disgraceful.

As for Mr Tévez returning and finally apologising, I’m proud of how the club have dealt with him thus far. Docking him in the region of £10 million in wages for not turning up to training for 3 months was absolutely spot on.

Tévez’s apology smacks of expediency on his part. His reputation damaged, he needs to prove he can turn up for work and make himself available so that he can get the move that he wants. Nobody is going to pay him anywhere near £198,000 a week (£250,000 with bonuses) if he goes absent without leave for 3 months (and therefore does not make himself available for selection), and refuses to warm up and play when asked to. An apology it is nevertheless.

Even though Tévez has apologised to Roberto Mancini, his team mates, and the fans, can he be trusted? Is he a gamble worth taking? Can we risk a potentially disruptive influence in the dressing room? Can we afford to put our trust in such shaky foundations?

For all his brilliance last season, I would not trust Tévez myself, but these are all questions that Roberto Mancini has to ponder on. Roberto’s position has only been strengthened by his superb handling of this difficult situation, and I’d back his judgement. The outcome of this has been a victory for decency and a complete vindication of Roberto Mancini and indeed Manchester City Football Club.

The lads who are going out there and doing the business have done a brilliant job thus far. They have served us very, very well so far this season. The City players can take great credit for maintaining a lead at the top of the table in a very difficult spell where we have missed the highly influential Yaya Touré.

They have shown their strength of character to bounce back from Everton to register back-to-back wins. Now that Yaya Touré is back, he will give us an extra dimension in attack with his powerful running and his physical presence in midfield (as shown in the Porto game, with his assist for the 2nd goal being particularly brilliant) amongst other qualities, but we cannot afford to relax and become complacent. It will be tough with or without Yaya.

We just have to (cliché alert) take every game as it comes and keep winning.

Phil Banerjee <phil.banerjee(at)>


We are pleased to announce that King Of The Kippax fanzine number 195 should hit the outlet at Aleef (corner of Cross Street/Market Street) this Friday February 24th and the selling points around the grounds at the Blackburn and subsequent games.

It’s a 48 page, A4 issue with a colour front cover showing City fans enjoying the day in Porto with a caption – CHAMPIONS’ LEAGUE – WE’RE HAVIN’ A LAUGH (so much for the recent Arsenal and Chelsea taunts).

This issue includes a Stuart Brennan interview, stuff on the press and media, Tévez, referees, racism, rich list, Mourinho, Capello, Redknapp, travelling to the match, Us and Them book advert, and all the usual regulars.

It sells at just £2.50 and can also be purchased for £3.50 from King Of The Kippax, 25, Holdenbrook Close, Leigh, Lancs, WN7 2HL.

Sue Wallace <dw001e8104(at)>


Thankfully, Fabio Capello has gone from the England job. He had to go once he contradicted the FA over John Terry, proclaiming that the Chelsea man was still his captain. The FA are absolutely right to stand Terry down until after his trial.

In any other walk of life, if you or I were facing such a charge, we would be suspended from work, so why should a footballer be any different?

Why Terry was reappointed by Capello is a disgrace in itself. How can a man who behaves like he has (e.g. the Bridge affair, the parking in disabled parking spots amongst several other examples of bad behaviour) command respect in a dressing room? The answer is that he doesn’t.

England have had some great footballers and truly honourable men who have captained their country: Bobby Moore, Billy Wright, Terry Butcher, etc. In contrast, it has been sickening to see Terry wear the armband. I can’t tell you how relieved I am that City didn’t eventually sign him as a player.

As for Capello, the 2010 World Cup was the most embarrassing and shameful World Cup campaign in England’s history and he presided over it, not that the England players can be absolved from responsibility either. Capello may have an impressive CV when it comes to club football, but when it comes to top level International football (he can get teams to qualify with relative ease), he and his team were found seriously wanting.

Capello’s inflexible, unimaginative tactics, selections and formations, as well as his selection prejudices were much to England’s detriment. Why for instance was Peter Crouch discarded when he has clearly got the best goal record (22 goals in 42 appearances)? Micah Richards is by popular consensus (not just City fans), England’s best right back, yet Capello almost totally ignored him, selecting Glen Johnson (who doesn’t defend) and the far less experienced but promising Kyle Walker ahead of him.

Stuart Pearce has the job for one friendly match, and the very best of luck to him. Psycho, as we know is a thoroughly decent bloke, and whilst he lacked on the tactical side in his time at City, he certainly related to his players and they worked hard for him.

Hopefully he has learned and developed his tactical side. It would be great if he did well and kept the job. Indeed I’d love it, love it, if Psycho got the job! There are too many people, particularly in the hugely presumptuous Southern media, who can’t wait for their darling ‘Arry to get the job. Yes, Redknapp is a very good manager, but so is Alan Pardew, and so is Mourinho amongst others. Stuart Pearce has done well with Under 21s so far. Let’s appoint the best man for the job rather what the media think every time. Does he have to be English? No, of course not.

Micah Richards should get a fair chance under Pearce, having been given his début by him, not that he should expect any favours or favouritism. The vastly underestimated Crouch should also be restored to the squad.

As for people raking up an incident when Pearce addressed Paul Ince in racial terms back in 1994, he apologised to Ince at the time and learned from it. They were less enlightened times (nowadays he would rightly be looking at a suspension or indeed charges), but Pearce saw that he’d made a mistake and apologised and became a better man. It is a good example of how people can learn.

Phil Banerjee <phil.banerjee(at)>


Carlos Tévez says sorry; after such a long wait it seems more like an apology of convenience.

I have read that Tévez is only six pounds overweight; his golf in Argentina has helped keep him fit to a certain degree.

It is going to be a tough comeback if he is selected to play. If selected, an away game it will probably be a better place to start.

Tévez’s apology will only really be accepted by the City supporters and fans if he shows his willingness to fight for City and by scoring goals.

A hat trick (a difficult mission) against the Evil Empire would certainly help him.

I think that what is important here is how the rest of the City squad take to Tévez and of course Roberto Mancini will have the last word.

The City squad have come so far this season without Tévez and deserve all the praise, but to win the League with the help of Tévez might be an option everyone will accept?

It is far easier to forgive than to hold a grudge but this is a special case with a lot to forgive!

Come on you Blues! In Mancini I trust!

P.S. When Carlos Tévez returns to the Etihad Stadium we need NO boos, we must cheer Tévez to encourage him, as we will do for every other City player. Manchester City is our team as selected by the best manager – Roberto Mancini!

CTWD, Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


It’s a pity that Kenny Dalglish and Liverpool Football Club haven’t moved on from the Suarez racism case. On Suarez’s return from his deserved 8 match ban you’d expect them move on and get on with it. Not Liverpool Football Club.

Suarez pathetically refused to shake Evra’s hand, the Liverpool fans boo him repeatedly (for reporting the incident), then Dalglish says “He should never have been out in the first place”. Have Liverpool no regard for authority?

As you know, I hold no candle for Evra or indeed United (can’t stand them both), but Liverpool’s behaviour has been pathetic, small-minded and childish in the extreme. How the mighty have fallen. A once truly great club has rightly been pilloried and ridiculed for its appalling behaviour this season.

The reported racist abuse from certain members in the crowd at Anfield (or is it Klanfield?) and reportedly at away games are the result of a club that does not send a clear message over racism. The racists in their crowd gain encouragement from their club’s ambiguous stance on racism. On one hand Liverpool FC display “kick it out” slogans on their hoardings and yet they refuse to accept Suarez’s punishment, when he admitted using racist terms. How hypocritical.

The hypocrisy that stems from Anfield right now is staggering.

You may remember their owner John Henry questioning “what was the losing bid?” when City announced the latest Etihad sponsorship deal in 2011.

Well, Liverpool have recently ditched Adidas for Boston (Massachussetts) based Warrior Sports who have the New Balance brand in a deal that is worth close to £25 million a year. The previous Liverpool deal with Adidas was just under £13 million a year. When you consider that a club of a similar size, though bigger ground, Arsenal, have a deal worth £13 million, £25 million a year dies seem rather inflated.

So, what was the losing bid Mr Henry?

Adidas certainly weren’t going to offer anything like £25 million.

Adidas, who are not given to complaining in public, are certainly not happy with the way Liverpool have handled this. “The gap between their performance on the field and what the number should be is not in balance,” said Herbert Hainer, Adidas’ chief executive officer.

If Michel Platini is looking to be consistent in his so-called “Fair Play” regulations, then he should be looking at Liverpool’s inflated deal with Warrior/New Balance. It certainly doesn’t meet the “market rates”.

There again, he could just scrap these unfair regulations, because, as anyone can see, these so-called “Fair Play” regulations are all about maintaining the establishment clubs like the Rags, Liverpool, Real Madrid etc. in their positions and preventing other clubs from competing. In short, Platini’s regulations are unfair and anti-competitive.

Another fishy thing about the Liverpool/Warrior/New Balance deal is that New Balance Sponsor the Boston Red Sox, who like Liverpool are owned by the Fenway Sports Group. Hmmm. Could be a case of a favour for a favour could it? A bit like the Fair Play League where the established clubs stay in Platini’s Champions’ League rather than (politically damagingly for Platini) breaking away, in return for a little of what they call “Fair play” (but really means protecting their interests).

Phil Banerjee <phil.banerjee(at)>


The CIES Football Observatory’s team is pleased to announce that the online database has been updated. It is now possible to consult six demographic indicators for the last five seasons in the five major European leagues, depicting them according to a number of sorting criteria:

Thanks to our collaboration with Opta, these statistical indicators and many others can from now on also be produced on line.

Henceforth, no prior registration is required to access the online database. Our 3,080 subscribers will shortly receive an email asking if they wish to continue to receive our regular updates. From March on, they will be sent on a weekly basis.

People who receive our information without having provided an electronic address and who also want to be informed on a weekly basis are requested to register using the specific form on the left of the home page of our website ( Thank you for spreading the word to anyone who may be interested!

Phil Alcock <philipalcock(at)>


League table to 22 February 2012 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 25 12  0  0 37  6  7  3  3 27 13 19  3  3  64  19  45  60
 2 Manchester Utd  25 10  1  2 37 15  8  3  1 24 10 18  4  3  61  25  36  58
 3 Tottenham H.    25 10  2  1 29 10  6  3  3 20 15 16  5  4  49  25  24  53
 4 Arsenal         25  8  2  2 24  9  5  2  6 24 26 13  4  8  48  35  13  43
 5 Chelsea         25  7  2  3 27 19  5  5  3 17 12 12  7  6  44  31  13  43
 6 Newcastle Utd   25  7  3  2 18 12  5  3  5 18 24 12  6  7  36  36   0  42
 7 Liverpool       25  4  8  0 14  8  6  1  6 15 15 10  9  6  29  23   6  39
 8 Norwich City    25  5  4  3 19 15  4  4  5 18 26  9  8  8  37  41  -4  35
 9 Sunderland      25  5  4  4 20 13  4  2  6 14 13  9  6 10  34  26   8  33
10 Everton         25  5  3  5 14 13  4  3  5 12 14  9  6 10  26  27  -1  33
11 Swansea City    25  5  6  2 18 10  2  3  7 10 22  7  9  9  28  32  -4  30
12 Fulham          25  6  4  3 24 19  1  5  6  7 17  7  9  9  31  36  -5  30
13 Stoke City      25  4  4  4 15 14  4  2  7  9 24  8  6 11  24  38 -14  30
14 West Brom A.    25  2  2  8  9 16  6  3  4 20 19  8  5 12  29  35  -6  29
15 Aston Villa     25  3  4  6 14 17  3  6  3 15 17  6 10  9  29  34  -5  28
16 QPR             25  2  4  6 13 20  3  2  8 14 24  5  6 14  27  44 -17  21
17 Blackburn R.    25  4  0  9 19 26  1  6  5 18 30  5  6 14  37  56 -19  21
18 Wolves          25  3  2  8 17 28  2  4  6 11 21  5  6 14  28  49 -21  21
19 Bolton Wndrs    25  2  2  9 15 27  4  0  8 14 24  6  2 17  29  51 -22  20
20 Wigan Athletic  25  1  5  6 11 22  3  2  8 12 28  4  7 14  23  50 -27  19

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1804