Newsletter #1809

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise.

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools.

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

I just thought this might provide some timely perspective for these weeks ahead.

Next Game: Sporting Lisbon, home, 15 March 2012, 8.05pm


It was bitterly disappointing to lose at Swansea and surrender the lead to the Rags, and yes it may prove to be decisive in the destination of the title. The Rags have a much easier run-in than us.

However, it is not all over by any means. No matter what the Rags do, if we win all our remaining games, we will definitely win the title. A tall order, certainly, but by no means impossible for this highly talented group of players, especially if they rediscover their “mojo” as Austin Powers (a.k.a. Mike Myers) once put it. Besides, we may not need to win 10 League games this season, because as easy as United’s run in appears, they too are capable of off days, as their Blackburn home game showed.

The Swansea trip was always going to be hard for us, as they are a decent side and it was harder still with the loss of Vincent Kompany and Joleon Lescott. It can only be hoped that they are both fit soon, because Kolo Touré and Savic is a weak partnership. Kolo is fine alongside Vinny or Joleon, but he does not like heading a ball and should at least have made a challenge for the header that won the game for Swansea. Savic is nowhere near good enough for this level and his nerves showed when he gave the ball away that led to Swansea’s winner. But it is not all about the defence being poorer.

We have not been at our best in away games of late and some of our players are below par. Barry has looked jaded and off the pace in recent games and David Silva has gone off the boil in the last couple of matches. Agüero looked jaded in Lisbon, so that’s why he didn’t start in South Wales. Hopefully they will all rally and return to form as soon as possible.

Fair play to Swansea, they out-passed us for 30 minutes and, not for the first time this season, played some very good football. They took their chance, we didn’t. It is no surprise that City approached their Brendan Rogers to be Roberto’s assistant. He politely turned it down, wanting to be a manager himself, which is fair enough and who is to say that he won’t manage us one day?

With better finishing we might have won the game but we played a lot of football in front of the home side without really hurting them. Too often in games where we have lost (especially Everton and Swansea), we have lacked width. We need to see Adam Johnson on the pitch for longer, especially with Silva not firing and Nasri’s form being inconsistent. Johnno’s best, it has to be said, is more of a threat than Nasri’s at the moment. Whilst Nasri is more defensively aware than Johnno, the latter is improving and it is worth taking that chance on him, as his unpredictability gives us more of a chance of opening up defences.

What we cannot do is feel sorry for ourselves. We have to dust ourselves down and, as Roberto said, “be strong” and go again into the next games positively. We cannot panic and we must stick together. The next three games (Sporting Lisbon (h), Chelsea (h) and Stoke (a)) will tell us a lot about the character of these players.

There has been paper talk for a couple of months now that suggests that if we don’t win the title, Roberto Mancini will be gone. I expect that this is total nonsense. Roberto Mancini has been instrumental in our progression from sixth place (where we were when he took over) to serious title challengers, as well as winning our first silverware in 35 years.

To dismantle the current set up would be folly. Continuity with a brilliant manager like him is the key to our success. We will continue to improve under Roberto. It has long been my view that he will win the title for City, whether it is this season or next, and as fans and as a club, we just need to keep our nerve.

Phil Banerjee <phil.banerjee(at)>


Being a City fan from the 60’s, I am sick / frustrated / irritated / annoyed / angry / exasperated / cantankerous after just watching the Swansea City game!

I cannot find the exact words!

Just 2 points I want to mention.

  • We had Boyata last season, now we have Savic, who are costing City points!
  • When we play away, we have to play only one of either Silvia or Nasri!

All I can say – Roberto Mancini I hope you are right and your team selections bring us the title!

From one very upset fan in New Zealand.

John W Lim <johncity(at)>


Call me a pessimist, but I cannot say I am entirely surprised at losing to Swansea, as the awful performance against Sporting on Thursday should have set the alarm bells ringing.

We seem to be playing with less cohesion and at times a real lack of desire. Once Kompany went off injured and Lescott was a doubt, I just knew we were going to be short of quality in the centre of our defence.

Just look at how often Hart has been called to make “match winning” saves; why? Because our defence has been caught out once more. Kolo Touré looks short of pace and there is no one else that you can really rely on to take over from Kompany and Lescott. We had enough defenders at the back and yet no one picked up Luke Moore, who scored, unchallenged. Unthinkable… no leadership!

Having observed City this season, these are my observations:

Dzeko should not start any European matches. For whatever reason, he always seems to have a stinker. He seems to be a better player coming off the bench. Johnson does not get used enough, especially when we need to open up teams and when he starts, he too seems to play in fits and starts; I can see why Mancini does not have 100% faith in him.

Silva has been a shadow of the player before Christmas; maybe tiredness, I really don’t know.

Other than Agüero, we don’t possess real pace in the team and, at times, try to pass the death out of teams, with passing for the sake of passing. We need another speed merchant in the team – look what Arjen Robben did to England.

Savic may be a player for the future and, regardless of how well he plays in a match, he always contrives to make one “major mistake” per game and this usually ends up in a goal being conceded… yet with no cover who else can City turn to?

I suggested in January that City should have bought Cahill from Bolton, an England international that is comfortable on the ball and would be a great asset for us. He would not have had to up sticks too far, but no, they let him go to Chelsea for peanuts.

We have been at the top of the tree for nearly all of the season but just look at our away record recently – very poor indeed. We are reputed to have one of the best squads in Europe so, whether it’s home or away, we should be able to cope. In my humble opinion, if you are a good team, then regardless of where you play, you should be able to impose your authority on the match. Your “good players” should be better than all the rest, especially the lower and mid-table teams, yet at Swansea, we played one up front, and never pressed the ball!

Watch Barcelona play: they never give the opposition time on the ball, yet City want to play like it’s an international match, conceding ground and allowing the opposition so much time on the ball they can start their attack. This really infuriates me, as we should be setting the tempo.

I really fear City are throwing away all the good work they produced up till Christmas and this will give United all the impetus to rob us of the Premier League crown. We will not win the title if all we depend upon is winning at home. There needs to be a radical change to our approach. We should go all out to win games from the first minute to the last. We now know we cannot trust our reserve central defenders, so how we overcome this, I really do not know.

All I know is that I am really worried, especially with all the injuries and loss of form from key players.

I am just keeping my fingers crossed.

Come on City.

Glyn Albuquerque <glyn.albuquerque(at)>


After just six minutes, Joe Hart saved a penalty. Was this a warning to City of what was to come? We can’t take away the win from Swansea for they played a very good game at home. It was a frustrating game for the City players who had chances to score, but it never happened.

Towards the end Micah had the ball in the back of the net, only to be ruled slightly offside by the fourth official who happened to be a girl with too sharp an eye!

Now is it time for Tévez to come in and help us win that title?

Twelve games to go and City are still in the driver’s seat despite the Rags winning at home.

Providing City win their remaining games including the home game against the Rags, no team can stop City, it is in their own hands!

Of course it is a big challenge ahead, it will not be easy, but it is not impossible.

In Mancini and the City squad I trust!

Come on you Blues!

CTWD, Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


I can imagine the outbreak of hysteria that has broken out following us losing top spot for the first time since October, but I don’t think we really need to panic as there are just a few issues that need addressing.

The Europa League – we really should have sent a mixture of fringe first teamers + reserve players to Portugal and hoped for the best; as it was we lost both our first choice centre backs for important Premier games. Frankly I couldn’t care less about this competition if it means losing the title to win it (ED – completely of the same mind).

Samir Nasri – we really need to define his rôle in the team as I can’t really see what exactly he is being asked to do and more importantly he doesn’t seem comfortable with his rôle himself.

Tempo – this for me is the most important. Why we have decided that playing the game at walking pace is the way forward I don’t know? Knocking the ball about for 30 passes is great at 3-0 up but away from home at 0-0?

Not only that but when there is no end product, which there invariably isn’t lately, then it seems a waste of time. All of our opponents when winning the ball off us look to move down the pitch quickly and hit us on the break. Every attack we have now and there are always 9 players in the opposition box for us to get past. We need to be more direct and move the ball quicker.

Rotation – there are only 10 games left in the season so provided we forget the Europa League there is no need for any rotation – we should be playing our strongest team every game.

So there it is, simple!

Mike Cooke <mikecooke321(at)>


Is it just me or was it not strange to see the extra-time digital board being passed to Alex Ferguson in the Bilbao game, who promptly dropped it on his foot – so Fergie-time is true after all – when you play at the Swamp he gets to decide how much extra-time. Wasn’t he there when we lost at Sunderland?

Chris Loveridge – Napier NZ <hawkeye11(at)>


Read Kipling’s IF … again … and take a deep breath!


11 March 2012

Manchester United     2 - 0  West Bromwich Albion  75,598
Swansea City          1 - 0  Manchester City       20,510
Norwich City          1 - 1  Wigan Athletic        26,653

10 March 2012

Bolton Wanderers      2 - 1  Queens Park Rangers   21,551
Aston Villa           1 - 0  Fulham                32,372
Chelsea               1 - 0  Stoke City            40,945
Sunderland            1 - 0  Lincoln City          41,661
Wolverhampton Wndrs   0 - 2  Blackburn Rovers      26,121
Everton               1 - 0  Tottenham Hotspur     34,992

League table to 11 March 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 Utd  28 11  1  2 39 15 10  3  1 29 12 21  4  3  68  27  41  67
 2 Manchester City 28 14  0  0 42  6  7  3  4 27 14 21  3  4  69  20  49  66
 3 Tottenham H.    28 10  2  2 30 13  6  3  5 22 21 16  5  7  52  34  18  53
 4 Arsenal         27  9  2  2 29 11  6  2  6 26 27 15  4  8  55  38  17  49
 5 Chelsea         28  9  2  3 31 19  5  5  4 17 13 14  7  7  48  32  16  49
 6 Newcastle Utd   27  7  5  2 21 15  5  3  5 18 24 12  8  7  39  39   0  44
 7 Liverpool       26  4  8  1 15 10  6  1  6 15 15 10  9  7  30  25   5  39
 8 Sunderland      28  6  4  4 21 13  4  3  7 15 18 10  7 11  36  31   5  37
 9 Everton         27  6  3  5 15 13  4  4  5 13 15 10  7 10  28  28   0  37
10 Fulham          28  7  4  3 29 19  2  5  7  8 18  9  9 10  37  37   0  36
11 Swansea City    28  6  6  2 19 10  3  3  8 12 24  9  9 10  31  34  -3  36
12 Norwich City    28  5  5  4 21 18  4  4  6 18 27  9  9 10  39  45  -6  36
13 Stoke City      28  6  4  4 18 14  4  2  8  9 25 10  6 12  27  39 -12  36
14 West Brom A.    28  4  2  8 14 16  6  3  5 20 21 10  5 13  34  37  -3  35
15 Aston Villa     28  4  4  6 15 17  3  8  3 16 18  7 12  9  31  35  -4  33
16 Blackburn R.    28  4  1  9 20 27  2  6  6 20 33  6  7 15  40  60 -20  25
17 Bolton Wndrs    28  3  2  9 17 28  4  0 10 14 29  7  2 19  31  57 -26  23
18 QPR             28  2  5  7 14 22  3  2  9 15 26  5  7 16  29  48 -19  22
19 Wolves          28  3  2  9 17 30  2  5  7 13 28  5  7 16  30  58 -28  22
20 Wigan Athletic  28  1  6  7 11 24  3  3  8 13 29  4  9 15  24  53 -29  21

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1809