Newsletter #1813

A point gained or 2 dropped? Difficult to say until the end of the season but it does put that lot in the pound seats. The fact remains – win all our games and we’ll be Champions. Now though, simply no room for slip ups.

Some interesting views in today’s edition and requests for/availability of tickets for forthcoming games – including from the Lebanon!

Finally, in advance, apologies for my ‘Statto’ “And Finally” – pure self-indulgence prompted by Phill Gatenby!

Next Game: Sunderland, 31st March 2012, 3pm


Normally a point at Stoke is a decent result, given their obvious strength there, but there is no getting away from it, we lost ground in the title race last Saturday.

The disappointing thing for me is that after we scored, we weren’t the team pressing for the winner. We got pushed back and, without there being any major scares, Stoke still looked the more likely to score. We suffered from a chronic lack of width and pace down the flanks. We have some great attackers who can play clever one-twos through the middle but we have to use the flanks too, especially when the opposition defence is massed in the centre. We cannot expect the full backs to provide all the width.

It cannot be denied also, that Howard Webb allowed far too many of Stoke’s roughhouse tactics to go on. The elbow by Dean Whitehead on David Silva that cut his ear should have earned at very least a yellow card (Mario Balotelli, you will doubtless recall, was sent off for less at Anfield). Ryan Shawcross was able to literally wrestle Mario Balotelli all evening with impunity. That all said, some referees would have given Stoke a penalty for Barry’s challenge on Glen Whelan but that does not excuse a very poor performance by Mr Webb that was more akin to Mr Magoo. Crouch’s finish for his goal was a brilliant piece of technique but he pushed Barry in the build-up. Somehow (for reasons best known to himself) Webb missed this.

We have to take our chances when they come though, and this we failed to do in the first half. Zaba should have shot when well placed, but he elected to pass inside and the move broke down, and Dzeko should have done much, much better with his header from Clichy’s cross. We have to be more ruthless if we are going to win the title.

I’d like to have seen Tévez and Johnson a bit earlier than we did, but we are still in the hunt for this title. One thing is clear: we must improve our away form, whilst at the same time keep up the momentum at home. Sunderland will be no pushovers and we most definitely owe them one for that last minute (offside) goal that beat us.

The pick of our players was Micah Richards. He was colossal at centre back. Very assertive and dominant in the air and on the ground. He can be really proud of that performance and, it has to be said, he looks as good at centre back as he is at full back. Well done to Yaya Touré for his 35 yard strike that earned the goal, courtesy of a Shawcross deflection, as we have to shoot when we get a chance, because you never know.

This title race is far from over, even if young referee Michael Oliver has (surprise, surprise) just failed to give Fulham a penalty for a certain foul by Carrick on Murphy in the Rags’ penalty box. We should not feel sorry for ourselves and we have to get on with it. We can do this if we take each game as it comes and play to our full potential.

Come on City.

Phil Banerjee <phil.banerjee(at)>


I think that most of us thought that this game would be a tough game, and it was. Stoke played to disrupt any flowing play from City, and they did what they had to do on the day. The Stoke players kept pulling at Balotelli’s shirt with an effort to get him to retaliate; Mario at least managed to keep his cool but failed to show any spark up front.

The best chance for City came in the first half, a cross to Dzeko who headed over the bar. There was a big contrast in the game versus Chelsea and this game: in fact the City players looked a bit jaded and frustrated.

City always look better against teams that come out to play football!

The goal from Crouch for Stoke, although a good one for his team, was a bit lucky for Crouch when he hit the ball from a distance towards goal; he never even looked.

The City goal was also a long distance goal from Yaya, which took a last second deflection.

Tévez came on for the last twenty minutes, but no chances came his way.

During the game some City players picked up some injuries, which might not be too serious; it was that type of game.

The referee was not one of our favourites: Howard Webb. I just hope that he is not the ref for the derby game, or for any more City games this season. I am not going to blame the ref for the result today, just that he did show his colours.

Just like many other City supporters I am frustrated today. We must play a lot better than this; at least we got a point, which appeared to be against the odds.

Anything can happen to either City or United before the derby game. For example, who would have put Wigan to win at Anfield against Liverpool? The on-form team right now looks like the Gooners and we still have to go to their stadium.

Eight games to go and the pressure is now on that’s for sure.

I would just like to add that Dzeko, when he is on form, is a very good player but he is not consistent.

Keep the faith. Come on you Blues. In Mancini I trust!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


On behalf of the County Wicklow Blues we would like to express our deep sadness on the death of Frank Horrocks.

Our branch was set up in 1999 with the help of Frank and for this we will be forever grateful. He was always the perfect gentleman and he helped us with everything we might need. From the start we travelled over with large numbers and he fixed us up with Kate and Alan in St Crispin’s club; this was brilliant as we often had a lot of young fans with us and we were always made to feel welcome.

He agreed to be the life president of our branch and we were delighted when he, Tommy and Paul Booth travelled over to stay with us. We had some great times together and we will sadly miss him.

We would like to pass on our deepest sympathy to Frank’s family and hope they will take some comfort from knowing how highly thought of Frank was and that he will always be remembered fondly by everyone in the Co. Wicklow branch.

Tony MacManus, County Wicklow, Ireland <tonymacmanus1(at)>


Oh dear. In my offering ‘In Mancini I don’t trust’ I mentioned the ‘In Mancini I trust’ strap-line and attributed it to Ernie. It was meant as a statement of fact and not a slight on Ernie, as he seems to have taken it and apologies to Ernie for that.

I respect Ernie’s trust in Mancini as much as I know he’ll respect my opinion that I think he makes too many mistakes, and tends to blame everything else, for a top manager.

I agree with Ernie that changing managers is something I hope the club has put behind it. God forbid we go back to those dark days and get in the twist that Chelsea have got themselves into. My point is more that I don’t believe, with the squad he has at his disposal, that Mancini is a particularly great manager.

I love everything City. I absorb everything on the web-site. Yet I find it difficult to listen to a Mancini press conference. He always comes over as the most hard done by manager in the Premier League. I actually find his comments embarrassing. I know he is under a lot of pressure; so am I. I would happily take half his salary and twice the pressure.

I’m trying to get a new business up and running having lost funding to provide the training my previous business provided as part of the government cut-backs. I am trying to do this whilst paying my mortgage and all the other bills. I don’t have a Sheikh Mansour to help me and it’s tough.

But you know what? I don’t blame the government, or tiredness, or having to work everyday, or not having enough staff. I’ve just had a discectomy but I don’t blame injury.

So please Mr Mancini cheer me up and start appreciating how damn lucky you are to have a benefactor that has given you all the tools. After all, is it not a bad workman who blames those tools?

David Kilroy <dave.kilroy(at)>


Lunchtimes will have to be spent not reading the MUEN! For my health’s sake… MANCHESTER UNITED EVENING NEWS DISGRACE AGAIN

I wish to draw to your attention a disgraceful article in the Manchester United Evening News by Stuart Brennan, the self-confessed Rag (see his interview in King of The Kippax, if you don’t already know) who covers matches for the paper.

In it he attempts to destabilise the City squad with groundless speculation about Balotelli and Dzeko being sold in the summer, picking holes in our strikers. Brennan wrote: “Edin Dzeko has bagged one goal in his last nine away league matches, Mario Balotelli’s game has faltered just as the stakes have been raised… The goal scoring charts show that the big Bosnian has 18 goals so far, a decent return, but 13 of them came before Christmas. The same goes for Balotelli, who has netted 11 of his 15 goals in this campaign before the mid-season point.”

Well the fact is that stakes have been raised all season, haven’t they? City set a hot pace in the autumn and it’s been nip and tuck all season – not just in the Spring run-in. Mario Balotelli is an inconsistent youngster, not someone who has faded under pressure. His performance to win the game against Tottenham at the end of January proves that he can perform under pressure.

It is not just about the strikers. City as a team haven’t been quite as good away from home as we were in the autumn. We’ve still been pretty good overall, though, because we are second in one of the best leagues in Europe! Whilst Brennan makes the fair point that Dzeko would benefit from quality wide service like he did at Tottenham in August, there is no recognition of the fact in his piece that he has made a difference in games this season when coming on from the bench, which is worthy of credit. After all, being a striker is not all about scoring goals. Granted he should have done better with his header at Stoke, but isn’t actually blessed with quality wide service, as much of our play is through the middle.

When we do play Adam Johnson, he cuts in and shoots rather than crosses. That may be a more direct route to goal, and good for the team, but it doesn’t make Dzeko a failure. The management have to decide whether Dzeko fits in next season, after this season is over. Not now. In the meantime the local press should be more supportive of our players. Not distract them with made-up speculation about summer moves.

I’d love to see Edinson Cavani and Ezequeil Lavezzi in the sky blue of Manchester City rather than that of Napoli next season, but that doesn’t necessarily mean Dzeko or Balotelli going anywhere. In any case, for now can’t we just get on with supporting our players, and in the MUEN’s case, being fair to OUR players? The players of the Manchester team.

The Manchester Evening News is supposed to be a Manchester paper, not a Manchester United paper. If it can find a negative angle on City it will find it with unerring accuracy. Its lack of objectivity means that City fans like me visit its pages less and less and, like an increasing number of Blues, I rarely buy it when I am back in the Manchester area. When will they ever learn? We don’t want ridiculous, deluded, unrealistic articles and match reports on City, whether they be pro- or anti- the Blues. We just want objectivity. Not a lot to ask for is it?

Phil Banerjee <phil.banerjee(at)>


Long term MCIVTA member (since the Alan Ball days!), even longer term City fan (since 1979!). My last contribution to this excellent newsletter dates back to the days when Joe Royle was our manager (amazing how time flies!), but I’ve always been an avid reader…

Eventually, I will get myself to write a “Why Blue” and now I am starting to plan having a City supporters’ branch in Beirut, Lebanon! Blue blood duly transmitted to my three kids, but the task appears more difficult with the wife…

I will be in London with my wife on the weekend of City’s visit to the Emirates, so here is my chance of injecting Blue blood into her! I am desperate for two tickets for the game versus Arsenal, preferably in the City fans’ section. I know it is quite a long shot, but being an eternal optimist (otherwise how could I have survived supporting City for 33 years?), I keep my fingers crossed that someone somewhere may have those two priceless tickets for us.

I will be in Manchester this weekend to attend the game versus Sunderland so anyone who fancies a beer, Indian food and listening to how a 14-year-old ended up supporting City listening to the BBC World Service in war-torn Lebanon in 1979, just drop me a line!

Malek “The Beirut Blue” Tabbal <malek.tabbal(at)>


I have a spare ticket for the West Brom game on 11th April if anyone is interested please email me at the address below.


P.S. – I also have a Sunderland ticket at this rate, so you might as well put that in too ;-( thanks.

Kelly <kelly.stephenson(at)>


I fear a monster may have been born!

Young Phill Gatenby sent the following message: “Loved the stats on the ‘keepers/goals to games ratio and was just wondering, for humorous purposes, if you could let us know the ‘keeper with the least flattering statistic – my money (on the ‘keepers I’ve watched since 1970) is on Martyn Margetson…”

Well, OK Phill, you asked for it and, no, the Welsh Cat doesn’t make the ‘Worst Top 10’.

Removing the 100 appearances minimum criteria, the ‘Bottom 10’ keepers for the club are listed below and a word out to the erstwhile Gary James, your background on any of the names below would, I’m sure, be warmly received.

Jack Crompton Played 1 / Conceded 5 (Goals per Game Ratio -5)
Jack Breedon 2 / 8 (-4)
John Phillips 1 / 4 (-4)
F Wilson 1 / 4 (-4)
Doug Daniels 3 / 11 (-3.67)
Arni Arason 2 / 7 (-3.5) Though do remember his wonder saves against Spurs!
George Thompson 2 / 7 (-3.5)
William Carey 9 / 30 (-3.33)
George Hutchinson 7 / 23 (-3.29)
Frank Higgs, Simon Tracey and Frank Davies all -3

Poor Jack Crompton conceded 5 at home against, of all clubs, Tranmere Rovers! It was a wartime fixture on 30 August 1941 in a Northern Regional League game. City’s goals that day, in a 2-5 defeat, were scored by England international Jackie Bray and winger Maurice Dunkley.

In all seriousness, does anyone recall the game?

For the record…

Martyn Margetson 59 / 76 (-1.29)

That said, Martyn is the only ‘keeper I know who, having been awarded a free kick against, in his own area, handed the ball to an opposition forward (Mike Sheron) to tap it to a team mate to stroke into the empty net and effectively relegate us into the lowest division in our history!

Oh the journey we’ve travelled!

Phil Alcock <philipalcock(at)>


25 March 2012

West Bromwich Albion  1 - 3  Newcastle United      25,049

24 March 2012

Chelsea               0 - 0  Tottenham Hotspur     41,830
Arsenal               3 - 0  Aston Villa           60,108
Bolton Wanderers      2 - 1  Blackburn Rovers      26,901
Liverpool             1 - 2  Wigan Athletic        44,431
Norwich City          2 - 1  Wolverhampton Wndrs   26,752
Sunderland            3 - 1  Queens Park Rangers   37,128
Swansea City          0 - 2  Everton               20,509
Stoke City            1 - 1  Manchester City       27,535

League table to 25 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 City 30 15  0  0 44  7  7  4  4 28 15 22  4  4  72  22  50  70
 2 Manchester Utd  29 11  1  2 39 15 11  3  1 34 12 22  4  3  73  27  46  70
 3 Arsenal         30 11  2  2 34 12  7  2  6 27 27 18  4  8  61  39  22  58
 4 Tottenham H.    30 10  3  2 31 14  6  4  5 22 21 16  7  7  53  35  18  55
 5 Chelsea         30  9  3  3 31 19  5  5  5 18 15 14  8  8  49  34  15  50
 6 Newcastle Utd   30  8  5  2 22 15  6  3  6 22 27 14  8  8  44  42   2  50
 7 Liverpool       30  5  8  2 19 12  6  1  8 17 19 11  9 10  36  31   5  42
 8 Sunderland      30  7  4  4 24 14  4  3  8 15 20 11  7 12  39  34   5  40
 9 Everton         30  6  3  6 15 14  5  4  6 15 18 11  7 12  30  32  -2  40
10 Swansea City    30  6  6  3 19 12  4  3  8 15 24 10  9 11  34  36  -2  39
11 Norwich City    30  6  5  4 23 19  4  4  7 18 28 10  9 11  41  47  -6  39
12 Stoke City      30  6  5  4 19 15  4  3  8 10 26 10  8 12  29  41 -12  38
13 Fulham          29  7  4  4 29 22  2  5  7  8 18  9  9 11  37  40  -3  36
14 West Brom A.    30  4  2  9 15 19  6  4  5 21 22 10  6 14  36  41  -5  36
15 Aston Villa     29  4  4  6 15 17  3  8  4 16 21  7 12 10  31  38  -7  33
16 Blackburn R.    30  5  1  9 22 27  2  6  7 21 35  7  7 16  43  62 -19  28
17 Bolton Wndrs    29  4  2  9 19 29  4  0 10 14 29  8  2 19  33  58 -25  26
18 QPR             30  3  5  7 17 24  3  2 10 16 29  6  7 17  33  53 -20  25
19 Wigan Athletic  30  1  7  7 12 25  4  3  8 15 30  5 10 15  27  55 -28  25
20 Wolves          30  3  2 10 17 35  2  5  8 14 30  5  7 18  31  65 -34  22

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1813