Newsletter #1815

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There were prophetic words in the last MCIVTA, that contributions go up as results go down!

A lot of comment today around Saturday’s performance and all around it. I think we are all a bit fuzzy about how we are feeling right now; let’s face it, this is new to most of us except those of a certain generation. Which brings me to the words of my father this week:

“Predicable for the Rags last night. I do think Mancini has lost the plot a little, but it’s not over till the fat lady sings. It seems to me that a lot of the ‘newer’ fans’ expectations are too high and their reaction at matches puts pressure on the team, especially when things are not going well. I do want to win the League but when you consider the gap between Arsenal, Spurs and Chelsea and us, compared to last season, we have done well. We are not yet a ‘team’ – time should make that better.”

For once in my life I can say… Dad, you are spot on!

Next Game: Arsenal, 8th April 2012, 4pm

MATCHVIEW I: CITY 3 SUNDERLAND 3

Typical City! That’s how this match can be explained… or should it be that simple? I watched this match live on TV, in a pub via satellite. I am not going to provide a match report, just a few observations.

I was very surprised to say the least at the starting line-up, considering how important a match this was and what was at stake. If I am honest, I am not really sure whether there is a little bit of complacency when selecting the starting XI when we play at home (just because of our home record). Surely we must realize that every team that comes to the Etihad is looking to end our winning streak, so why make it easy for them?

My starting XI would have been: Hart, Clichy, Kompany, Richards, Zabaleta, Barry, Touré, Kolarov, de Jong, Dzeko, Tévez.

We needed to be solid at the back and in the middle, start with a little guy, Tévez (considering Agüero’s absence) and a tall front man in Dzeko; this would give us the balance we needed. We should not play with two large front men, it does not work. We need a speedster playing all over the pitch, with plenty of movement and who can link up play; Agüero does this brilliantly. Therefore, in his absence, Tévez would seem the ideal replacement. David Silva does not merit a starting place and a good rest would probably do him and the team a world of good. I was surprised at the absence of Nasri, who has been in good form recently (Ed: see article below and Paul’s comment).

When you analyse the goals that Sunderland scored you can have an argument that all were avoidable. Our strength over the season is our organised defence, with cover being provided by the likes of Barry and de Jong, but how much space was afforded to the Sunderland midfield? It was absolutely shocking and this can be explained because de Jong was left on his own with Yaya being caught high up the pitch. Kolo does a good job when he has plenty of cover, but when isolated he is not tall enough or quick enough and Lescott’s absence is proving to be very costly indeed.

For long periods, City had the lion’s share of possession, but Sunderland had plenty of men behind the ball and, to a man, they fought like tigers and kept virtually everything out.

Surely I must not be alone in noting that City’s dead ball deliveries, both from corners and free kicks, has been woeful to say the least, with a total lack of imagination. What do they practice in training and then, do they have an agreement before the game as to who will take free kicks? Or is it left to the players? Why was Balotelli being so petulant?

I know he scored 2 goals but I have never been a fan of his and I cannot see me changing my view on him (he is like marmite!). Dzeko, too, has been awful to date and this is why we have really struggled. It has been the incredible energy, work rate and goals from Agüero that has papered over the cracks.

Mancini and his coaching staff really need to analyse this game in detail, learn from all our mistakes, and have a system in place to ensure that we cannot repeat this if we are to still be in the title race. City are faltering or even going backwards and all the teams that play us, now come with a well drilled game plan. We seem to play off the cuff.

You don’t shoot, you don’t score: look what Crouch did and that was out of nothing! City have to stop this pass, pass, pass and try to score a perfect goal from 2 yards out. Occasionally have a pop, you saw what happened yesterday: 2 shots, 2 goals, plus Touré’s effort against Stoke! They need to practice their corners, free kicks and shooting…

We need the return of Nasri and Agüero against Arsenal, to stand a chance of beating them… or the title challenge will be over!

Come on City!

Glyn Albuquerque <Glynalbuquerque(at)blueyonder.co.uk>

MATCHVIEW II: MANCHESTER CITY 3 SUNDERLAND 3

City dropped points for the first time at home this season and we lost crucial ground in the title race on a very disappointing afternoon. It was a draw that we barely deserved and Sunderland can feel justifiably aggrieved that they didn’t win this game. Save for a few sporadic attacks in the first half, Sunderland were the better side for the first 80 minutes in which City were very flat. We didn’t move the ball quickly enough, particularly in the timing of the final pass and our movement was limited, making our build up laboured. Consequently we didn’t stretch Sunderland’s defence anywhere near enough.

“Which team looks like it is challenging for the title?” enquired a knowing Blue during the first twenty minutes, as Sunderland could have been one up as Larsson and Sessegnon combined to free Gardner who shot into the side-netting when well placed. The visitors’ left winger, McClean, was granted far too much room to turn but luckily for City, he shot wide. With Kolarov strangely selected to play instead of the fleet-footed Clichy, Martin O’Neill had clearly instructed his side to exploit the Serb’s lack of pace and inability to read the game. Bendtner, the impressive Sessegnon, and the best player on the day, Sebastian Larsson, looked to exploit this with neat little triangles that repeatedly tore the left side of our defence to pieces.

We had a chance early on when Silva fed Yaya Touré, whose touch played in Dzeko who forced a sharp save from Mignolet. Kolarov had a free kick pushed out by the Sunderland ‘keeper but Sunderland were looking the more likely to score.

Sunderland took a deserved lead from a more central position. Sessegnon ran from the left across the City defence and played in Larsson who was somehow in acres of space just outside the box after he had drifted in off our left flank. Indeed, the sublime Swede was granted the freedom of the Etihad to pass the ball into the net, just inside Joe Hart’s left hand post. It was a great finish, but the marking was shockingly bad.

City tried to hit back. Another Kolarov free kick was pushed out after a quintessentially powerful Yaya run drew a foul from Gardner. We should have had two penalties for clear fouls on Balotelli, but there seems to have been a rule change this season: if your name is Mario Balotelli you can be fouled without punishment. Referee Dowd could not ignore a third valid penalty claim when Dzeko cut in from the left past two players and was tripped in the box by Gardner. The Sunderland players made a big song and dance about it but they had no grounds for complaint: a foul is a foul, and Gardner was not canny enough. Mario Balotelli did what he does best and City were level, albeit unconvincingly.

Parity didn’t last long and more City sloppiness gave the visitors a deserved lead just before the break. A quick free kick was taken, Sessegnon ran at the City defence and crossed from our left flank for Bendtner to use his extra inches to out-jump Micah Richards and head in. Too many City players were too slow to respond and they got punished.

Richards, who had already felt his calf and had a nasty, albeit accidental, clash of heads with Colback was replaced by Adam Johnson at the break, so Mancini pushed the versatile and willing Milner back to right back. That was a shame as one of the few good things about the first half was how Milner and Richards had dovetailed repeatedly down our right flank.

City were soon 3-1 down after the break after Sessegnon won the ball deep inside his own half and played a brilliant pass for Bendtner to play a measured cross from the Sunderland right/our left (again), which Larsson steered in at the far post. What seemed like a furlong back (he may as well have been two furlongs back), Kolarov again was completely outstripped for pace down our left. Surely we have to pick our strongest team for the rest of the season and that strongest team includes Gael Clichy, who has done nothing wrong. There was certainly no need to rest him here, having played our last game 7 days ago, and our next game at Arsenal being 8 days after this game.

It is of course not just down to Kolarov that we have lost ground. The whole team seems to have lost its self-belief. With David Silva struggling with a left ankle that has been kicked from pillar to post this season, his form has suffered and, as a result, City are not playing at a consistently high level like we were. Silva didn’t play badly here and always tried to make a positive contribution but he still wasn’t anywhere near his dazzling best. On came Tévez in his place and the tempo was upped.

Unfortunately, an argument broke out over a free kick. The right-footed Tévez joined the left-footed Kolarov in front of the ball and Balotelli, disputed this hotly (more in the childish style of Pike from Dad’s Army) before Vincent Kompany led him away and quite rightly, sternly admonished him at the far end of the penalty box.

We also made their feelings known furiously from all corners of the Etihad to the young striker. Will the fans’ anger and/or Roberto Mancini’s anger finally register with Mario? There can be no place for such childishness, and Kompany deserves praise for his swift and decisive captaincy. Balotelli really needs to grow up or he will be on his way. No one should be fooled, though, that our team spirit is bad, or that the team is in “meltdown”. Balotelli took his ticking off on board and went out to the left flank… and sulked for a few minutes

Tévez had a shot saved in the 79th minute, Kolarov hit another free kick over and wide, but City weren’t convincing anybody. Johnson was ineffective on the right flank and had no impact on the game. Yaya Touré was trying to find openings but the visitors were seemingly too well organised and alert for our blunt attack at that game. Indeed, Sunderland could have wrapped up the points but the erratic Bendtner was wayward in his finish.

Seeing this, Balotelli emerged from his mini-sulk, cut inside and hit a rising shot to pull a goal back for City. Hope trickled out of the driest crevice and City belatedly laid siege to the Sunderland goal. Pizzaro, who had come on for Milner, was spraying the ball around with supreme composure and played a brilliant pass out to the right into Johnson whose cross deflected off a defender and looped high in the air. After a good piece of tenacity by Dzeko and Tévez, Pizzaro played in Kolarov who drove an equaliser through a forest of bodies.

It was too little, too late from City. It is no good performing for ten minutes. Our defending had been appalling for 80 minutes and our attack was rather uninspired without Agüero, who missed this game after an adverse reaction to an anaesthetic spray that had left his foot blistered.

The title is now out of our hands, but as Mancini says, we have to maintain our belief and must put our best foot forward for the remainder of the campaign. To maintain our 100% home record almost to the end of March is a staggering achievement. It just doesn’t feel like that after a poor display like this one in the context of a season that for a long time promised a first title since 1968.

Whatever happens this season, and we will either finish 1st or 2nd, it has been a very good season where significant progress has been made from Champions’ League qualifiers to title challengers. Despite this progress, there is speculation even from top quality, non-biased journalists that Mourinho has been sounded out, but this has been denied by both Manchester City and the self-styled “Special One”.

Manchester City do not need a new manager, even if it is such a successful one as Mourinho. He would want his own players and it would most likely take two years to win the title here, whereas Mancini would have a very good chance next season with two or three quality additions to his squad. What Manchester City need is continuity. We do not need a new manager because we already have a top quality one here in Roberto Mancini, who knows these players and their strengths and weaknesses.

Every manager makes mistakes, including that horrible man over in Trafford and Roberto is no different. Roberto Mancini gets it right 99% of the time, so he should at least be given another year to win the Title. To end the speculation and end any uncertainty which might start to be affecting the players, it is time for the club to make a clear statement that Roberto Mancini is our manager and he will be here for at least another season.

Attendance: 47,007

Goals:
City: Balotelli 43 (pen), 85; Kolarov 86
Sunderland: Larsson 31, 55, Bendtner 45 (+4)

Ratings (if that’s the right word):
Hart: Couldn’t be faulted for any of the goals: 6
Richards: Was linking nicely with Milner before being subbed. 6
Kolo Touré: Some good interceptions but has lost some of his pace and it showed here: 6
Kompany: Not as sharp as normal. Some wayward passes, and should have done more to close down Larsson for Sunderland’s opener: 6
Kolarov: A liability in defence. Took his goal well: 5
Silva: The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak after a punishing season. Never hides though: 6
de Jong: Some good interceptions and tackles but might have done more to close the yawning gaps in front of our defence at times. Booked: 6
Yaya Touré: Always tried to create, but too often, his team mates were uninspired in touch and movement: 6
Milner: Worked well, wherever he was (particularly with Richards down the right) and was unfortunate to be subbed, after being switched to right back: 6
Balotelli: The match statistics will show that he scored two goals, but his immaturity may already have tried his manager’s patience once too often. Even the more tolerant City fans are growing very weary of his lack of maturity: 5

Subs:
Johnson (for Richards 46). Made too many wrong decisions and did not take enough responsibility. He needs to cut in and shoot more. Cannot complain that he is not a regular starter. He needs to do far more than he does at both ends of the pitch: 5
Tévez (for Silva 58): Upped the tempo and makes things happen around him: 6
Pizarro (for Milner 81): Brought poise and composure to our midfield, but not possible: n/a

Best oppo: Sebastian Larsson: shades the inventive Sessegnon with this brilliant display, which showed great intelligence, and a sixth sense in finding space. Took his goals superbly: 9

Refwatch: P Dowd: Inconsistent. He seems to make it up as he goes along: 5

Comment

I hope that you got to the game and were not stopped from getting there by the ridiculous government-induced panic about petrol. One has to wonder whether it affected the visiting fans, but the reasons for their lower than usual turn out are probably more complex than that. When a club like Sunderland with a good team and fantastic support like theirs cannot sell all their tickets, you know something is wrong. The new jobs that have been created at Sunderland’s Nissan factory are but a sticking plaster in a jobs market that our self-serving, job decimating, granny taxing, petrol station clogging government does little to stimulate. The problem is of course not all Sunderland’s. Our team’s challenge for the title means that our home sections are selling out because supply is outstripped by demand, but the away section regularly has gaps in it. Getting to a game is an expensive business nowadays (it’s only getting to get worse with the new “pasty tax”), and this recession is clearly having an effect on attendances at matches up and down the country.

Phil Banerjee <phil.banerjee(at)orange.net>

MATCHVIEW III: CITY 3 SUNDERLAND 3

City made Sunderland look good today with a performance that was poor to say the least.

I never did like the chant “We’ll score when we want”; it is quiet now, but wish there was a reason to chant it!

When David Silva is on form, City are on form. Ever since Silva came back from an injury he has not been the same, his form has dropped greatly. What has happened?

The type of passing that we used to see often from Silva did not happen until substitute Pizarro came on and opened up the game with his through passes; it helped get the draw, and nearly the win.

Why did City not play the whole game as they did in the last few minutes? One reason jumps out at me: Pizarro. Although not on for the whole game he gets my man of the match for he helped change the game.

Kolarov would have got man of the match from me but for his defending; two of Sunderland’s goals came from their right flank. Some of Kolarov’s crosses were there for a good striker to score but Dzeko failed, though he did fight to get the penalty.

Balotelli scored from the spot: he is amazing with his spot kicks and added to his score with a brilliant goal, with Kolarov adding to the score to make it 3-3.

Kolarov had been named the player to take the free kicks, and frustration got the best of Balotelli as he tried to grab the ball to take a kick, having to be pushed aside by captain Kompany. Balotelli great one minute, crazy the next!

De Jong, once called by me “tiger”, has not been tackling as he used to, and not always falling back fast enough to help the defence. The team were playing twice a week, and rotation was called upon, but now with an average of only one game a week, and not many more games to play, then play the very best team. It sounds easy but with injuries and suspensions it is not that easy; players who are available all wanting to play, patience has to be the word.

It’s not just the lack of scoring goals but the defending – was Kompany a bit rusty after missing some games? Wake up City, everyone can play better than this, together we are great!

The City team needs no motivation from the manager when the title is in everyone’s sights! Sunderland nearly won this game and the truth is they probably deserved it! O’Neill, although Irish, would get my nod for manager of England, but Redknapp will probably get it and he is English, his record says yes!

The title no longer is in the hands of City; we have to hope that United falter, and anything can happen, all teams are after every point.

The fat lady has not sung her first note yet but is clearing her throat!

Come on you Blues!

CTWD, Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)aol.com>

RECOMMENDATION: Good Read

Feeling a bit down about our current form/situation? Longing for the success of the fight for Champions’ League football and the Cup run last year? Then, for those of you who haven’t read this book, get yourself a copy of “Th3 5triker’s Fear of the Open Goal”, by Andy Conway. It tells the story of the back-end of last season through the eyes of Ewan Glumie, born on the day City last won a trophy. I guarantee you won’t be able to put it down.

I believe you can get it at Amazon, or here:

http://andyconway.net/articles/the-strikers-fear-of-the-open-goal.html

… and no, there’s nothing in it for me.

Michael Warren <michael.warren(at)thomsonreuters.com>

ARTICLE: FAVOURITISM

There is a perception in some quarters and possibly the dressing room that Roberto Mancini has his favourites in the squad. Without showing any dissent, James Milner was clearly unhappy to be substituted last Saturday, and it was a surprise that he was given the hook because he had been one of our better performers, even though he had been moved from midfield to right back during the game.

Mario Balotelli was lucky to stay on the pitch, given the fact that he had done very little in the 80 preceding minutes. Mancini was of course vindicated in his decision to keep him on but it is very important how the other players are managed, especially in this situation. Milner is a good, model professional and was worthy of an explanation because the change was tactical and, it is to be presumed, not a reflection on James Milner.

I do not believe that this is a case of favouritism. Roberto has been very critical of Balotelli particularly when saying that he “cannot trust him”. However, if that is the case then, surely, he needs to sell him in the summer? Maybe he is giving him one last chance, and trying him to jolt him into improving.

The players, particularly Kolarov and Yaya Touré, were clearly unhappy with Balotelli for his attitude last Saturday. It is not the first time that Yaya and Balotelli have had disagreements in public. If Balotelli is a problem in the dressing room then he should be sold for the good of the club. If his immaturity can be overcome quickly (i.e. he grows up and shows the right attitude at all times) then we should persist with him. Speaking as someone who likes Balotelli, I hope he can sort himself out but the well-being of the club must come first, always.

What cannot be allowed to happen is a perception in the squad that they are not treated equally. If this perception persists it will not foster squad unity. The unity that is needed to win titles.

Roberto Mancini has got to make it perfectly clear in his words and his actions that there is no favouritism in the squad.

Phil Banerjee <phil.banerjee(at)orange.net>

ARTICLE: KEEP THE PRESSURE ON

Well I think we have now managed to hand the title over to the Swamp Dwellers. Players arguing over a free kick, though I do have a little sympathy for Balotelli, Kolarov’s free kicks normally come to nothing!

Mind you, I don’t think City would have been 3-1 down if Kolarov hadn’t been on the pitch. He is good going forward but he is an awful defender. Give me Clichy any day and why no Nasri? He had one of his better games against Chelsea, just when Silva has hit a real blip in form, I would rest him for a couple of games and use the squad Mancini harps on about.

Let’s have a more positive formation. City need to keep the pressure up at least on those Reds from Trafford. Come on City!

Note from Paul: Nasri was injured: http://twitter.com/#!/samnasri19

Steve Alcock <SAlcock(at)picr.man.ac.uk> (Ed: No relation, though agree with your comments Steve!)

ARTICLE: THE FLANKS

Phil B made the point of how we suffered against Stoke from a lack of width and pace on the flanks.

For much of this season I’ve thought that we haven’t used the flanks enough but often for differing reasons. Let’s face it, beyond Johnson – the only natural winger we have (along, maybe, with the misplaced defender, Kolarov) – we have seen Silva, Mario, Milner, Nasri, Dzeko, Sergio all intermittently playing the wide rôle – some wider than others, some more rigidly so within the 90 minutes.

I have watched, time and time again, good runs and plenty of space out wide being wasted by the men in the centre. Sometimes this is when clear attacking avenues were available. Too often – not before Xmas when we were zipping the ball around and destroying the opposition with the speed of our passing and movement, but certainly since then – there has been a pentagon of Yaya, Barry and/or de Jong, Hart and the two centre backs of the day, simply stroking it between themselves with zero sense of urgency until time was almost up, at which point all us fans were left asking why couldn’t they act that interested earlier?

And though up until Xmas, I would have said Silva was our star amongst stars, I now think Yaya is looking at Player of the Year honours (challenged by Hart). Still, IMO this doesn’t detract from the fact that I consider him the main offender for the above-mentioned “blinkeredness”. He charges up to the high point of the opposition midfield bank, he then either passes short to a midfield partner too tightly marked or he goes 180 degrees and the ball is back with our central defenders… and soon Hart again who either puts it out wide but way back from where we were, or he lumps it hopefully connecting to one of our players who just might be lucky enough to control it from a position we were initially in, it the first place.

Yaya needs to see wider more often. Nevertheless, that’s not me slagging him off; if the season ended today, he’d get my vote this campaign for everything else he’s done for us.

Steve O’Brien <bodsnvimto(at)googlemail.com>

ARTICLE: THE REAL PROBLEM?

I will resist weighing in on the Balotelli sideshow because aside from the hugely influential Silva losing his groove, it’s City’s current sluggish style of play that’s the problem.

It would be instructive to see statistics on how many City passes are either lateral or backwards. Fifty per cent, sixty even? How many attacks fizzle out and little passes go astray because of apparent indecision and lack of communication. It’s frustrating.

It wasn’t until the introduction of Pizarro against Sunderland that the team showed any ‘oomph’ going forward. He at least tried to use refreshingly direct – and excellent – passes from midfield to the flanks and, clearly, made a difference. Give him a full game against Arsenal and see what happens.

There is still time to win this league. United are mediocre and lucky, but look like they want it more that City. But with so much at stake, for so many teams, anything can happen. Desperation can bring unexpected performances from any team.

It was a gutsy end to the Sunderland game but as Mancini has said, it should have been won in the first half. City’s defence was a stand-off shambles.

Okay, just a word about Balotelli. He’s an idiot and described as ‘eccentric’ because he’s a rich footballer. In any other walk of life he’d be called something else and it wouldn’t be ‘eccentric’. However, while he behaved badly in the dispute over the free kick, I’m not convinced he was wrong in claiming the right to take it.

Keep the faith, Chris Cobb <cobsun(at)magma.ca>

ARTICLE: DISGUSTED

I have never before been as thoroughly disgusted with our team as I was when watching the display against Sunderland.

I do not pretend to be a football tactician. I do understand that there are times when massed opposing defences need to be drawn out but I don’t understand the reasoning behind messing about with the ball in defence, with no opposing player in sight, only to pass back to the ‘keeper who then blasts it up-field with a 50/50 chance of losing possession.

I became incandescent when, being behind, players take numerous touches themselves and then roll it sideways or backwards to somebody else who does the same idiotic time-wasting (don’t tell me they are looking for openings). Openings are made by lively players running off the ball ready to receive a timely, accurate pass.

I uttered my final expletive as I switched off the T.V. following the shameful, totally embarrassing, débâcle witnessed by millions around the world, caused by the Idiot, because he wanted to take the free kick, against Sunderland. I have never before left a game early or failed to watch one to the end. This time I was too angry and ashamed.

I drove from Manchester to be at St. James’ Park, to roar on our team (yes, it was a team) in 1968. I was sure that we were going to have, at least, a similar success this year. We were, up until some weeks ago, playing with such spirit and self-belief. Now, however, I fear the worst. City have been, and will continue to be, the only club for me; supported boy and man for over 60 years. Sadly I had to give up my season ticket when I emigrated, but I have continued to watch games whenever possible and appreciate this great site, occasionally contributing.

I’ll come round in time and will be re-invigorated by the efforts of Wigan (thank goodness for managers like Martinez, a truly “class act”), Bolton and Blackburn. I am, after all, a true Lancashire lad (always providing the teams don’t play in red!).

Peter Murphy – Kanata, Canada <murphypdm(at)gmail.com>

ARTICLE: SECOND, A LET DOWN

Just watched Moneyball. The Oakland A’s were expected to lose, but broke the division record with 20 straight wins, which didn’t help Manager Billy Beane as they lost their first play-off match and didn’t win the World Series.

My point is that our situation is the same. Second will be a let-down. Rightnow, I want the glory really bad. Of course, being runners-up wouldn’tmean that we aren’t still the best club in the world and 20 wins at thefortress shows our class, but just that the fairy tale season would nothave played out. The League means everything this year. Even though theyonly have one more tough game – against us, United’s “experience of titleruns” is journalistic baloney. We can win our games, so this contest isn’tover! Come on City!

(Ed: Article submitted before Saturday!)

Paul Hunt <paul.h.a.hunt(at)gmail.com>

ARTICLE: NEDUM ONUOHA

A good Nedum article…

http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2012/mar/30/nedum-onuoha-manchester-city-qpr

Mike Kay <mike.kay(at)multipart.com>

AND FINALLY… GOALKEEPERS ETC.

I cannot claim to have been at Maine Road on 30 August 1941 to witness the defeat by Tranmere Rovers, but I was there six weeks later when I made my début as a spectator. I was 12 years old at the time and considered by some to be a bit barmy to travel from the outskirts of Rochdale to a little known place south of Manchester in wartime.

Most footballers were serving in the forces or were engaged on war work and clubs had to rely on guest players, those serving or working nearby, to turn out a team.

City suffered quite badly and it was said at the time that anyone turning up with a pair of boots had a good chance of getting a game. Jack Crompton, who let in five against Tranmere, could well been have the JC who played for United in the late forties and Breedon certainly played quite regularly for them during the war – United never had good goalies!

I believe Carey was an Aston Villa reserve and he was in goal for my first match on 4 October when we beat Wrexham 2-0, Jack Boothway scoring twice and Carey keeping a clean sheet! Boothway had netted all five the previous week in City’s first win of the season, 5-3 away at Wrexham.

I can’t remember all the teams in City’s section of the North Regional League but, in addition to Tranmere and Wrexham, we had Everton and New Brighton (Who? – yes they were a Third Division North team, close neighbours of Tranmere, who played at the Tower Ground).

Jackie Bray, who was close to the end of his career, reserve full back Gordon Clark, young amateur Peter Robinson, Maurice Dunkley (now and again) and (later) Billy Walsh were the only City players able to appear regularly and it was a rare treat to see Frank Swift and Peter Doherty when they were on leave.

I wonder how Roberto would have coped with these conditions!

Derek Styles <deranne1(at)aol.com>

RESULTS AND TABLE

1 April 2012

Newcastle United      2 - 0  Liverpool             52,363
Tottenham Hotspur     3 - 1  Swansea City          36,174

31 March 2012

Aston Villa           2 - 4  Chelsea               34,740
Everton               2 - 0  West Bromwich Albion  32,051
Fulham                2 - 1  Norwich City          25,700
Manchester City       3 - 3  Sunderland            47,007
Queens Park Rangers   2 - 1  Arsenal               18,033
Wigan Athletic        2 - 0  Stoke City            19,786
Wolverhampton Wndrs   2 - 3  Bolton Wanderers      25,215

League table to 01 April 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  30 12  1  2 40 15 11  3  1 34 12 23  4  3  74  27  47  73
 2 Manchester City 31 15  1  0 47 10  7  4  4 28 15 22  5  4  75  25  50  71
 3 Arsenal         31 11  2  2 34 12  7  2  7 28 29 18  4  9  62  41  21  58
 4 Tottenham H.    31 11  3  2 34 15  6  4  5 22 21 17  7  7  56  36  20  58
 5 Chelsea         31  9  3  3 31 19  6  5  5 22 17 15  8  8  53  36  17  53
 6 Newcastle Utd   31  9  5  2 24 15  6  3  6 22 27 15  8  8  46  42   4  53
 7 Everton         31  7  3  6 17 14  5  4  6 15 18 12  7 12  32  32   0  43
 8 Liverpool       31  5  8  2 19 12  6  1  9 17 21 11  9 11  36  33   3  42
 9 Sunderland      31  7  4  4 24 14  4  4  8 18 23 11  8 12  42  37   5  41
10 Fulham          31  8  4  4 31 23  2  5  8  8 19 10  9 12  39  42  -3  39
11 Swansea City    31  6  6  3 19 12  4  3  9 16 27 10  9 12  35  39  -4  39
12 Norwich City    31  6  5  4 23 19  4  4  8 19 30 10  9 12  42  49  -7  39
13 Stoke City      31  6  5  4 19 15  4  3  9 10 28 10  8 13  29  43 -14  38
14 West Brom A.    31  4  2  9 15 19  6  4  6 21 24 10  6 15  36  43  -7  36
15 Aston Villa     30  4  4  7 17 21  3  8  4 16 21  7 12 11  33  42  -9  33
16 Bolton Wndrs    30  4  2  9 19 29  5  0 10 17 31  9  2 19  36  60 -24  29
17 Blackburn R.    30  5  1  9 22 27  2  6  7 21 35  7  7 16  43  62 -19  28
18 QPR             31  4  5  7 19 25  3  2 10 16 29  7  7 17  35  54 -19  28
19 Wigan Athletic  31  2  7  7 14 25  4  3  8 15 30  6 10 15  29  55 -26  28
20 Wolves          31  3  2 11 19 38  2  5  8 14 30  5  7 19  33  68 -35  22

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v1112.01]

[1] MCIVTA Addresses

Articles (Philip Alcock)         : editor@mcivta.city-fan.org
News/rumour                      : news@mcivta.city-fan.org
Subscriptions (Madeleine Hawkins): subscriptions@mcivta.city-fan.org
Technical problems (Paul)        : paul@city-fan.org
FAQ (David Warburton)            : faq@mcivta.city-fan.org

[2] What are MCIVTA’s publishing deadlines?

Deadlines for issues are nominally 6pm, Monday and Thursday evenings by email. Unfortunately we cannot accept email attachments.

[3] MCIVTA Back Issues and Manchester City Supporters’ home page/Twitter

http://www.mcivta.com/ is the unofficial Manchester City Supporters’ home page. Created in 1994, it is the longest running of the Manchester City related web sites. Back issues of MCIVTA are also hosted on the site. You can also follow on www.twitter.com/mcivta to get the latest updates.

[4] What is the club’s official web site?

The official club web site can be found at http://www.mcfc.co.uk/ and the official club Twitter page at www.twitter.com/mcfc. The club also has a facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/mcfcofficial

[5] What supporters’ clubs are there?

The Official Supporters’ Club and the Centenary Supporters’ Association have merged to become the Manchester City Supporters’ Club (http://www.mcfcsupportersclub.com/). The club also recognise the Manchester City Disabled Supporters’ Association (http://www.mcdsa.co.uk/).

[6] Where can I find out about Points of Blue?

The committee operates as an interface between supporters and the club. Points of Blue appears on the club website under the “Fans” heading (http://www.mcfc.co.uk/Fans).

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

Live match commentary can be found on the club website. The Radio Manchester pre- and post-match phone-in is available on the web at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/england/manchester/.

[8] Where can I find out if City are live on satellite TV?

http://www.satfootball.com/ provides a listing of Premier League games being shown on UK domestic and foreign satellite channels. A useful site for North American viewers is http://msn.foxsports.com/.

[9] Do we have a Usenet newsgroup?

Yes we do: uk.sport.football.clubs.man-city is our home on usenet. If you are not familiar with Usenet, a basic explanation is available here: http://searchnetworking.techtarget.com/definition/Usenet

[10] Do any squad members have their own web pages?

There are a number available and direct links can be found at http://www.mcivta.com/players/

[11] Do any squad members have their own Twitter accounts?

A list of genuine player accounts is maintained at http://twitter.com/#!/MCFC/players

[12] Where can I find match statistics?

Statistics for the current season are available from the club site, but for a more in-depth historical analysis try http://www.mcfcstats.com/.


DISCLAIMER
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.


[Valid3.2]Philip Alcock, editor@mcivta.city-fan.org

Newsletter #1815

2012/04/04

Editor:


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