Newsletter #1817

My wife is a big fan of these celebrity talent shows, in particular “Dancing on Ice”. To keep household harmony I never complain and in return get free licence when the Boys in Blue are on the box. As a result, though, I get to see more of these shows than I’d like.

One thing stuck in my mind though was the little camp judge on “Dancing on Ice” who constantly referred to “Light and Shade”… well, heck, he’d love this edition of MCIVTA!

Never have I seen such a swing in opinion, mood and outlook!

Today’s issue is a fascinating read whilst we are at the eye of the storm of the season.

Being a natural optimist I’m holding to Glyn’s reminder of Wembley 1999, the pessimist in me looks at the conspiracy theory about us with UEFA’s simply astonishing fine. If you don’t know about it, then read on…

Next Game: Norwich City, 14 April 2012, 12.45pm


After today’s results, City 4 West Brom 0 and (thanks) Wigan 1 United 0, the miracle has been reduced; we still need help from another team to beat the Rags and, of course, City to beat the Evil Empire at home in the derby.

It is not over till the fat lady sings and now she has put everything on hold.

Balotelli watched the game from a box today; he has only lost three games after his red card and was lucky to escape further punishment for his tackle on Song in the Gooners game. It reminded me of Georgie Best’s tackle on Glyn Pardoe when Georgie went over the ball and broke our player’s leg. I was at the game at the Swamp and later on TV Malcolm Allison, pointing his finger at the camera, was shouting “You know what you did Georgie!”

In the Manchester Pink before the game headlines said “Pardoe, the man to stop George Best”.

Pardoe was picked that week to play for England but his career came to an abrupt stop, his injury was that bad. If I’m not mistaken George Best started drinking a lot more after that.

The way I see it can we afford the risk of playing Balotelli? This is why I have put him on my list to leave in the summer; he can be a great but then he also can become a fool, and help bring the team down with him. Just too many red cards and bad fouls, it’s just not football.

I was impressed by the play of all the City players today, which was more positive, with well taken goals!

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

CTWD, Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


City were back to their best as we cruised past West Bromwich to give ourselves an outside chance in the title race.

It was a superb team performance, albeit against mid-table Baggies, but let’s not forget that they managed to frustrate us at Christmas in a goalless draw at the Hawthorns, so credit is due to City for a very enjoyable win here.

Roberto Mancini recalled David Silva from his knee and ankle injuries and his starting position was on the right side of midfield, with Nasri on the left, in a fluid 4-4-2 that allowed them freedom to move inside. Micah Richards came back in for Pablo Zabaleta at right back and Tévez made his first start since the Birmingham League Cup tie in September, which seems a long, long time ago.

Sergio Agüero was the star of the show with two goals and as many assists, as City played the sort of sumptuous, intricate football that has made following them such a pleasure this season. The evening began with a rain shower, making the pitch perfect for quick, incisive football and City were quick to capitalise. The first goal, though, was more of an individual effort as Sergio Agüero advanced with a speedy diagonal run from left to right, past two players before unleashing an unstoppable low twenty-two yard shot that bounced under Foster and into the Baggies’ net.

Eastlands cheered, revived the Poznan and, if any backing were needed, we serenaded support for our manager: “Mancini, Woooah…”. Roberto clearly appreciated this and waved back to the whole ground.

City were playing some truly wonderful football. The pick of the moves in the first half was when Nasri played superb one-twos with Agüero, Silva and Tévez before playing in Tévez whose shot was wayward. It’s fair to wonder if a less, ahem, rotund, fitter Carlos Tévez would probably have curled that one in!

This was not lost on the Baggies’ fans who wittily chanted “He’ll eat what he wants, he’ll eat what he wants, Carlos Tévez, he’ll eat what he wants…”

Meanwhile, their team left Long up front on his own, as the rest sat deep in a compact unit that largely thwarted City in the first half.

David Silva, who was almost back to his dazzling best in this game, tested Foster with a sharp, angled drive that was pushed round the post by the Albion ‘keeper after a clever back-heel by Tévez. Silva had started this clever interplay with a pass to Agüero and it was good to see him enjoying himself again.

The best effort the visitors could manage was an Andrews drive that required only a routine save from Hart.

Tévez played a superb ball behind the Baggies’ defence that Richards touched away from Foster but his goal-bound shot was cleared off the line by Craig Dawson.

There had been rumours that Wigan had scored against United over at the DW Stadium, but this proved false and cheers were stifled.

City didn’t waste time trying to put this game to bed after the break. Nasri shaved a post with a thrilling volley after Silva tricked his way past two defenders down the right and floated over a superb cross.

City doubled their advantage when Nasri’s superb, angled, defence-splitting ball played in Agüero, who coolly stroked the ball into the right hand corner of the net. It was an exquisite finish as Agüero fooled Foster into diving the wrong way and the touch to finish the move off was perfect.

City attacked in waves, playing our trademark lovely short passing game. Nasri was just wide after another good Tévez pass but it was only a stay of execution for the West Brom defence.

Tévez again hovered with ball menacingly in front of the Baggies’ backline, then passed to Nasri, whose ball into the inside left channel was just reached by a sprinting Agüero on the bye-line. Agüero’s cut back eluded Nasri and Tévez bundled the ball in from around the penalty spot for his first goal of the season. The goal was cleared and the crowd pointedly chanted “Mancini wooah…”.

West Brom were punch drunk by this point, and City rounded off the scoring in the 64th minute. Clichy, who had been superb all night, chased a ball into the middle of the park and his pressing enabled Agüero to rob Olsson, and play a perfectly timed pass to Silva. The City midfield magician then expertly chipped Foster to score an exquisite goal to round off a pleasing performance.

Agüero nearly completed his hat-trick but his looping header from Clichy’s searching cross sailed over the bar. He left the field reluctantly but without dissent when, with Saturday and Norwich in mind, Roberto Mancini rested him for the last quarter of the game, but he clapped the City supporters when he received a richly deserved standing ovation. It had been a brilliant performance from Agüero who was deservedly awarded the official Man of the Match award.

This had been a superb performance, which proved that City have plenty of life in them. Contrary to opinion in some quarters, City can be equally effective in a 4-4-2 or a 4-3-3 formation. If the passing and movement is in synch, City can be fluid and effective, whichever formation is used. The performance also showed that the team spirit is good, no matter what lies are written by certain journalists.

Norwich, with their high-tempo pressing game, will provide a much sterner test on Saturday lunchtime and we will have to earn the right to play our brand of football. Whilst it would be good to play the same team, surely Yaya Touré’s power and physicality are a must for a very tricky must-win game.


Hart: Good saves on the rare occasions when needed, and good directed distribution: 7
Richards: A powerful presence up and down the right flank, his pace gives us an extra dimension in attack: 7
Kompany: The king of all he surveyed. Imperious, tenacious, a huge physical presence, and a driving presence going forward too. 8
Lescott: Read the game superbly yet again. It’s good to have him back: 7
Clichy: Also read the game well. Class, with pace to burn: 7
Silva: Beautiful chipped finish for his goal capped off a delightful show. Many of us are so pleased for him: 7
de Jong: Solid as ever: 7
Barry: The real power in the engine room, he started off many City attacks in this game. He was everywhere in an all-action performance: 8
Nasri: Bright, inventive and revelled in the attacking line up: 7
Tévez: Good all round game, showing his range of passing and excellent positional play, which was best illustrated with his goal. The nagging question is: would we have had the title in the bag if he had stayed in Manchester all season? He is likely to leave in the summer, which should make the signing of Ezequiel Lavezzi a priority: 7
Agüero: A brilliant performance in which he scored his 18th and 19th goal with great finishing. Works so hard to find space and close down defenders. This, allied to his skill, makes him an absolute pleasure to watch: 9 (Man of the Match)
A Johnson (for Tévez 63): One decent cross but little else: 5
Dzeko (for Agüero 74): Out of touch and looking short of confidence. No little effort though: 5
Zabaleta (for Silva 81): Some good interceptions and passes but too late to mark: n/a

Best Oppo: Shane Long: Ploughed a lone furrow but showed good work rate and set up the Baggies’ best chance: 6

Refwatch: K Friend: Largely anonymous, which is how it should be, but it was an easy game to referee. He should, however, have at very least booked Andrews for a terrible tackle on Nasri: 7

Phil Banerjee <phil.banerjee(at)>


Attendance: 46,736

It was like the old days. Trudging to the ground for a meaningless end of season game knowing that miracles never happen when you need them. The prospect was not conceding the title having led the league for months but, should results take the expected course, having to applaud United as they win the title at the Etihad and having to make the traditional guard of honour. It wouldn’t work of course because the hatred that has brewed over the last few decades would mean that sportsmanship would be the last thing on the majority of modern City supporters’ minds. Not that the graceless followers of United would mind though. A televised display of bad sportsmanship from City would be excellent for their starving egos.

Still, hope springs eternal etc. and perhaps Wigan, who have never got so much as a point from United, might squeeze a draw. Most of all we needed to play an energetic game and score like those distant days of Autumn 2011.

As usual I park early, buy fish and chips from Tony’s and eat them in the car waiting for team news. No Balotelli, obviously, but who will he play? Just one up front? The news comes that Tévez is to start and Agüero will play. So with Silva and Nasri in close attendance we have a distinctly short-arsed forward line not unlike a famous Spanish team with whom we have been embarrassingly compared.

At five minutes before kick off the stadium was more than half empty. Many comment on this but it’s just a feature of the large concourse volume and that recently City have taken to broadcasting the “entertainers” from City square on the stadium screens. These singers and would-be pop bands are all characterised by one thing: a complete lack of any discernible talent. This is usually compensated by sheer volume of performance ending with an excruciating summary by a City comère who has never heard such stunning virtuosity in his life. The concourse with its grossly overpriced food, almost cold beer and minuscule chips at ambient temperature is preferable. At kick off the stadium is full and West Brom have brought a good contingent. They have a very good away record and with our lacklustre approach must fancy their chances.

From kick-off it is clear that there is a different mood in the stadium and amongst the players. The players rush round harrying any opposition player with the ball and quickly dominate both possession and pressing play. Tévez does a certain amount of this running and harrying but not as much as in his top form days because basically he’s too fat and it’s mostly around his bum. As if to remind us, the visiting fans start to chant “Carlos Tévez: he eats what he wants”. City take the lead quickly and have plenty of chances to increase as they did in the beginning of this campaign. The fans sing the “We are not, we’re not really here”, and “We never win at home and we never win away, we lost last week and we lost today…” which are usually the self-deprecating chants reserved for old City style capitulations.

In the second half we dominate again and Agüero, Tévez and Silva score. Mancini clearly believes, not unreasonably, that the game is won and from the 65th minutes takes the important players off. Tévez, who didn’t smile when his mate Agüero scored or when he scored himself, is the first to be substituted but makes no appearance at all of enjoying his rehabilitation. He appears to be very much a man doing what he has to before he can get the hell out of here. Our inspired players are replaced first by Dzeko whose peerless imitation of an arthritic donkey reminds us that we have several potential donkeys still on the books in Bridge, Adebayor and Roque Santa-Cruz – enough to make a sanctuary even, and by Zabaleta and the chronically disappointing Adam Johnson. West Brom come more into the game and it peters out with most City fans trying to find out what the score is at the DW stadium. It’s 2-0 we hear and Rooney is off with a serious injury. We remind ourselves that the Chinese Whisperer is a permanent employee at City and none round me believe a word of it.

As we come out we begin to realise that Wigan are beating United but there’s five minutes of Fergie time. Everyone is staggered that it’s only five minutes. Soon there are cheers as loud those as those that greeted the goals. It’s 1-0 and the pundits who never seem to recognise the unpredictability of this stupid game we all follow, are wrong again.

Wiiiigan… Wiiigan and… we hate Wigan too. I swear we could almost hear the whinging from the Australopithacus Raginensis hordes but to be fair to His Royal Purpleness, he was actually very magnanimous in defeat.

And so to Norwich away on Saturday lunchtime and some pundit-type pointers, which can be disregarded before reading. Last time City played at Carrow Road we won and I was enchanted by Delia’s brandy-inspired attempt to rouse the Norfolk crowd from its stupor at half time: “Letsbeeaavingyuh” has endeared her to the footballing fraternity as much as anything and it certainly inspired the City away following, of which I was one that day, to cheer even more loudly for the away side. On the other hand our away form is currently completely rubbish. We play frightened football. On the other, other hand did you know that City are Norwich’s bogey side?

It all adds up to one thing: I haven’t a firkin’ clue but it doesn’t half make the end of season a bit more interesting and that Mr Done the bookmaker look like what he is: a bit of an idiot.

Peter Llewellyn <PeterJL(at)>


The fat lady has started singing but has not got to the final verse.

I have to admit that the Gooners deserved the win. Our goal escaped a goal a couple of times by the friendly woodwork.

Yaya was given a card by the ref for pulling on a Gooner’s arm; a few minutes later Song went into Yaya with a bad tackle, there was no card and Yaya had to leave the game half way through the first half injured, a player City missed (ED: David Pleat’s radio commentary on this incident was disgusting).

I am not going to say anything about today’s ref, but Stevie Wonder might have had a better game.

If City stay in second place, then the team will have improved on last season and made the Champions’ League, but no silverware!

I do think that the owners made Mancini take Tévez back; one cannot blame the owners for there is big money to be lost if Tévez does not get transferred for a true fee, but could it all have upset our manager, after him saying “Tévez will never play for City again”, someone went over the Manager’s head to change that.

The team were playing great football until the Tévez problem started with him going back to Argentina. That could have only been part of the problem. This is only my personal opinion. Mancini can make changes to his team, and bring in the right players for next season, whereas a new manager will have to start from scratch.

Roberto Mancini has to come back and finish the job; no new contract yet, and it will take both sides to agree a contract. Some City supporters are probably starting to line up the players for a taxi – I will just put two names on that list for the time being: Mario Balotelli and Carlos Tévez, with more to follow.

It has been a very good season until we started to fade towards the end, of course it is not over yet, but it will take a miracle now.

Come on you Blues!

CTWD, Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


Typical City!

Thrown away the title… almost in spectacular fashion.

No energy, no hunger, no desire, no rhythm, barely anything to offer. Arsenal totally deserved to win the match. They wanted it more, pressed us all over the park… we had too many passengers plus the loony maverick! Having watched another very poor display from our team, I can honestly say I have lost faith in Mancini, even though the players should take most of the blame. I was shouting at the TV on 50 minutes for him to sub Balotelli because it looked like only a matter of time before he got sent off, but who comes off first? Nasri. Guess what, our clown duly obliged.

Agüero was a passenger, Pizzaro has nice touches but is not great defensively and was unable to stem the Arsenal tide. Our left flank was so wide open, I am sure Sagna has never had an easier time as a right back.

Watching the match on TV, it was so evident that one team harried and pressed the ball every time, and the other sat back and, considering we are going for the title, we were absolutely awful. Just see how much time on the ball that all the Arsenal midfield players had… ask yourself why?

What do Mancini and his players work on in training? Our set pieces have been p**s poor for the last 2 months… from players earning £100k a week!

How many times have I said that we have an idiot in Balotelli and should get rid of him A.S.A.P.? Constantly in the headlines for the wrong reasons… but Mancini has shown total faith in him. It will be interesting to see how his fellow team mates feel now!

I am totally disappointed, I have never felt this low. Out with Mancini, bring in Mourinho… that’s how I feel right now!

If we carry on in this fashion, will we also lose 2nd place?

Glyn Albuquerque <Glynalbuquerque(at)>


“Manchester City have been fined €30,000 (€24,735) by UEFA for returning to the field late for the second half of their Europa League match against Sporting Lisbon. City returned to the field about a minute late in Lisbon for the first leg of the last 16 in March in Portugal. The fine is greater than the €20,000 Porto were fined after their fans aimed racist abuse at Manchester City players during a Europa League match in February. City cannot appeal against the fine.”

(ED: Also see ‘And Finally…’)

Robert Sleigh <robert_sleigh(at)>


To paraphrase a well-known song at Eastlands:

“Oh, Balotelli!
He’s a w**ker in a hat,
He’s a liability who tackles like a prat,
We thought he was a hero but it turns out he’s a tw*t.
Oh (no) Balotelli.”

So far I have tolerated the negative side of Mario because of the promise that his technical ability holds. However, despite various statements from him during the season, I’m coming to the conclusion that he is in fact convinced that he is Peter Pan and so believes he never has to grow up. I’m not talking now about the car crashing, escort-dating, etc. Two of the least-likeable denizens of the Swamp in recent years (Rooney and Ronaldo) have shown that you can be morally reprehensible, stupid and have a nasty temper as long as you do the business on the pitch. Mario’s problem is that he doesn’t do it on the pitch often enough to justify the baggage.

It must be incredibly frustrating for players like Kompany, Lescott, Zabaleta and Barry to put in the effort, win the ball and play the simple pass only for Balotelli to alternately hide away, wave his arms (usually after one of his atrocious passes), showboat or sulk. The cardinal sin for me is not to put the effort in, regardless of your ability. This is why I hold David Silva and Sergio Agüero in such high esteem. I know from running a junior football side how corrosive it can be when the players believe that one of them is not pulling their weight. This includes encouraging your team mates on the pitch – not arguing with them. Save the disagreements for the dressing room.

To be honest, if he is charged retrospectively for the terrible challenge on Song then I would happily see him banned for the rest of the season. I suspect that you might see an upswing in form if you stuck with Dzeko and Agüero for those last 6 matches.

Oh, and don’t sack the manager. That’s precisely what the Rag-serving press want (the Fail on Sunday was particularly disgraceful this morning in this respect). We have more points this season than last so the trend is right. Don’t let a freak season by United distort your perspective. Someone said at the start of the season that we would need to be 50% better than United to win the Premier League. I think that we were only 20% better this year so not enough to overcome a combination of the rabbit-in-headlights psychology of teams playing United together with the baying press pack and the compliant officials (step forward today’s man-of-the-match Lee Mason). We just need to take it on the chin and move on. No doubt the Kings of Comedy will resurrect the 01 banner at the Swamp but so what? We were there when “we were really sh*t” and it wasn’t that long ago so let’s take a reality check, learn the lessons and ratchet up the pressure next year.

The joy of football – death and rebirth every year! Onwards to next season 🙂

Andy Longshaw <Andy(at)>


According to the latest report emanating from ESPN Soccernet, Mario Balotelli is going to face Manchester United on the 30th April after he has completed his 3 match suspension.

I wonder if this means that he will be in the starting line up?

After City played so well on Wednesday without him, surely this would be the final nail in the proverbial coffin so far as City’s title chances are concerned. He has shown time and again that he cannot be trusted.

Is Mancini having a love affair with the man or is he just playing mind games with Ferguson?

Philip van Gass <philipvangass(at)>


Mancini… get rid of Mario, he is an idiot who does not respect our club.

If you cant see that, you are as big an idiot as he is.

Nothing more needs to be said.

Justin Arthur <jarthur(at)>


Arsenal deserved their victory against us and fair play to them. Like many Blues, I have a lot of time for Arsenal.

What I cannot stand though is the abhorrent hypocrisy displayed by some of their fans.

There were banners “Money can’t buy class” and one even phoned into BBC Radio 5Live’s 606, laughably saying we “stole” some of their players (and I thought we paid money for the likes of Kolo, Adebayor, Clichy and Nasri!). It appears that it’s ok for clubs like Arsenal when they are the ones flashing the cash about! Though in the case of Marouane Chamakh or Andrei Arshavin, it’s a case of “Arsenal cannot buy class”!

They signed Walcott from Southampton for £12 million, Oxlade-Chamberlain from the Saints for £10 million and one Samir Nasri (whom they classily now boo endlessly) for around £12 million from Marseille, though Arsenal were in one of those “undisclosed” deals (class!). Further back, they bought Thierry Henry for £11 million at a time when the rest of the clubs outside the top four couldn’t even dream of spending on players of that value. I haven’t even mentioned the serial poaching of young players from other, often smaller, clubs but, hey, let’s not get too precious.

Those Arsenal fans who bleat and castigate City for buying players are, of course, in common with several Liverpool, Chelsea and United fans, arch hypocrites.

If Robin van Persie didn’t have such a poor injury record I’d say sign him up (if only to hack them off), but I’d much rather see Oxlade-Chamberlain in sky blue. Sign him up, I say. Arsenal will sell, if the price is right.

The most appalling bit of hypocrisy came when an Arsenal fan came on the bluemoon-mcfc website and even made a point of City having “Arab cash” (not that there is anything wrong with that). He compared it to being on benefits (some people cannot help being on benefits), yet failed to mention that his own stadium and shirts are also sponsored by an airline from the United Arab Emirates!

Oh the irony!

All this from a club that charges north of £1,000 for season tickets (£1,300 for some season tickets). It would seem that no matter how much money some Arsenal fans have, they don’t have any class.

Maybe they should read a bit about Arsenal’s history. In 1919, having finished only 5th in the old second division, Arsenal were promoted to the top flight by dubious means (there was no footballing reason to promote them), but one wouldn’t expect such fans to have the class to admit this (ED: They bribed their way in at Tottenham’s expense)!

Phil Banerjee <phil.banerjee(at)>


“This is not mind games. I thought they [United] were playing tomorrow.”

“It’s still over because United are a fantastic team and I don’t think they can lose five points.”

“I will fight always, every day, and so will my team, but now it’s too late.”

The truth is that Mancini is wrong and I’m by no means optimistic. Then again if he doesn’t know he’s wrong and he really didn’t know United were playing, perhaps he’s right, we are finished.

I realise managers are obliged to give these pointless interviews immediately after games but they do have some control of the words that come out of their mouths.

If this is a mind game, it isn’t a very good one.

Chris Cobb <Cobsun(at)>


So here we are, 8 points off the lead, with six to play, needing a miracle to win our first title since 1968. It’s disappointing that we have lost the lead in the table but it’s not a disaster. It’s far better than struggling to avoid the third tier of English football or bricking it over the visit of Luton Town. We are on the up as a club and a little more patience will not do us any harm.

We have not, though, lost the title because of Mario Balotelli alone. It is a collective responsibility. The reasons why City are unlikely to win the title this year can, in my opinion, be classified as follows:


There is not a significant problem with squad morale but losing our lead in the title race clearly doesn’t help. Confidence is lower right now and that makes players under-perform. They have to remember what they have achieved and what they did well to get back to their best form.

Mario Balotelli has become an issue. Although not disliked within the squad, Mario is perceived in some quarters to get a little more leeway than most. Whether it is perception or reality, it must stop. Mario’s antics have got on the nerves of other players who are clearly fed up with his attention-seeking antics.

I say this with a heavy heart, but maybe this is the end of his time at City. His manager cannot trust him now but can he be trusted in the future? Can he learn from his mistakes, get his head down and put his talent to better use? Sadly, he may not get that chance here. His future at City is very uncertain now, but a decision about him will be taken at the end of the season, coolly and professionally by Khaldoon Al Mubarak and Roberto Mancini.

Mario is not a bad lad, though he needs to grow up fast and I only wish him the best. Whatever the future holds, I have to say, though, that the media witch hunt against Mario is really distasteful, especially when you recall how the truly vile Rooney has behaved.


Yes, some referees have undoubtedly helped United this season. We have had a number of bad decisions go against us. Silva should have had a penalty at Chelsea; Kompany should not have been sent off and suspended for four games; Sunderland’s goal was offside; Crouch fouled Barry before his wonder strike; Fulham should have had a penalty when Murphy was upended in the box; Young was offside before he dived to earn a pen on Sunday. There are other examples too which have gone for United and against City. Precious little has gone our way (not that we should need any favours), and even Adam Johnson was fouled when he went down easily against Fulham. However, we cannot lay our failure to secure the title purely down to referees.

Squad depth and quality

Injuries and suspensions have taken their toll at various points of the season and City’s loss of form away from home has been down to our lack of squad depth in key areas. Vincent Kompany, Joleon Lescott and Sergio Agüero in particular have been missing through injury at crucial points of the season and in Vinny’s case, also through an unjust suspension.

We do not have enough cover at centre back. Kolo Touré does not relish aerial challenges and Stefan Savic is nowhere near good enough for this level. Roberto would have been better playing Richards at centre back and bringing in Zabaleta to right back.

David Silva’s loss of form in the last third of the season is down to his persistent ankle injury and the fatigue related to playing with that injury. Ideally he would have been rested more during the season, but this was not possible, due to the inconsistency of Samir Nasri and Adam Johnson. Samir Nasri has been brilliant at home against Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea, and average or poor in several other games. Whilst he has learned a little defensively, Adam Johnson has not improved enough this year. He has hit a plateau. He would benefit from top class competition, and as well as a cover centre back and a new striker, City must make a quality wide man priority this summer.

Up front there were times this season when we needed a fourth striker but Tévez was AWOL. Even though the players in general like Carlos Tévez, and he has been brought to heel by City, our dressing room will be a better place without his potentially disruptive influence. We cannot take the risk of him doing another disappearing act or refusing to play again.

Dzeko needs wide service and has not had enough of that. If he is to stay then we need a quality winger to supply him, otherwise we are better off selling him and acquiring a striker with more all-round talents. Surely John Guidetti deserves a chance after his highly successful loan spell at Feyenoord?

Bad Decisions

Whilst he has done a very good job in two and a half years here, Roberto Mancini has made some bad decisions since the turn of the year.

If he really did not prepare the players properly for Everton away then there is no excuse for that. We know what we are going to face there and our record there is appalling. We must do better next time. United win at Everton regularly, and they beat Swansea away too. We have to win at those sorts of places if we are going to win the title.

In the run-in especially, we should always play our strongest team, if players are fit and free of suspension. There has been too much rotation. Playing Kolarov against a team with any amount of quality down their right/our left leaves us highly vulnerable, and Sunderland and one or two other teams exploited this. A full back should be able to defend first and Kolarov cannot do that. Gael Clichy has been excellent for City in his first year and he should always start. He is quick, defends well and is decent enough on the ball in attack. We need quality back up for him next season.

With Balotelli a red card waiting to happen at Arsenal, Mancini should have been taken off long before he was. Tévez would have upped our tempo, the ball would have stuck to him, and he may have created or scored a winning goal. To give him eight minutes was not enough and we paid for it.

The question is: can Roberto learn from his mistakes? As he is a highly intelligent man, one can reasonably expect that he will, and he deserves at least another year to prove that he can. He gets far more decisions right than he gets wrong, and I trust him to deliver the title at City, even if we have to wait at least another year for it.

So there we have it…

Yes, it hurts that we have led for so long and now look unlikely to win it, but the players have got to do all they can to win every match from now until the end of the season, and we need to give them as much support as we can.

Despite our disappointment it has been a very good season. Second place is a definite improvement and we should achieve that at the very least. Our players owe us a strong finish.

Miracles can happen, though. If we beat West Bromwich Albion and United drop points at Wigan we will either be 5 or 6 points behind them. If we beat United it will be three points and if we beat QPR and they lose to Sunderland it could be even more interesting. The players have to get on with it and finish the season strongly.

Phil Banerjee <phil.banerjee(at)>


OK. So far I’ve expressed my concern about Mancini but held back because of a misguided belief we’ll get through this. Today was the final straw for me. On paper that was probably the closest to a strongest team we could put out, and yet we were out played, out thought, out fought and out classed.

Now remind me again. How much money has Mancini spent assembling this squad? And like me did you think “Errm, how is he going to change things?” For all that money spent, the bench looked decidedly weak today. The only one who might have changed a game was given a whole 10 minutes. He was probably getting warm as the final whistle blew. Instead he brings on Aleks ‘let me take the free-kick, I can score from anywhere me’ Kolarov.

Now before everyone starts with the Mancini should be given time, we don’t want a revolving door, scenario, let’s look again at the money spent on this squad. Dzeko – do you think he’s worth that money? Mario ‘oh he’s a character’ Balotelli – genius or joke? Discuss. The aforementioned Kolarov. Nasri, Milner. I could go on but you know…

Either these players aren’t good enough, in which case the manager doesn’t know what he’s doing, or they can’t play together, in which case the manager doesn’t know what he’s doing, or they don’t know what they’re supposed to be doing, in which case the manager doesn’t know what he’s doing.

Meanwhile, the players he can’t control are ostracised. I can never condone what Tévez did but being a business improvement person I would suggest there is probably a cause and effect. Adebayor, who was either not considered good enough or was someone else the manager had a problem with, continues to perform for Spurs. Now before everybody gets on my case, which line-up would you prefer? Agüero, Tévez and Adebayor or Agüero, Dzeko and Balotelli?

If we had won the league and looked like a team destined for greatness you could say “Well done Mancini. Sorted out the trouble makers and built a strong squad with a formidable team ethic”. If you truly feel that way then I apologise and say I’m wrong. But honestly, putting aside blind faith, how many of you feel like that?

Is it any coincidence that the stellar performances, as the season has gone on, are from those pre-Mancini players who maybe care enough about the club to give that bit more? I think of Richards, Kompany, Zabaleta, Hart and de Jong (when he’s given a chance).

Enough. The season’s over and I know what I believe will make us stronger.

By the way, isn’t it ironic? A few weeks ago we were all saying “Wouldn’t it be brilliant to win the league with a win in the derby?” Hey! Guess what they’re thinking!

Oh and don’t expect a performance against West Brom or Norwich because we’ve got 3 games in a week “Eeet’s not posseeble”.

Dave Kilroy <dave.kilroy(at)>


Well it’s not been an unexpected day.

Insult to injury is the referee and linesman horrific decision at the Swamp: offside, dive and other centre back there so Derry is not last back!

Disappointing performance from City at the Emirates. Is Balotelli to blame? Of course not. Most of the team looked tired and out of sorts. Yaya also worries me because he has had an attitude and has been lucky not to get sent off before and he would have struggled today to go 90 odd minutes avoiding another yellow card. I am still annoyed big time at Mario, but getting sent off just before the end probably made no difference. However, he was the one that nearly scored twice for us and scored twice against Sunderland. Therefore the problem with him is that he is a Jekyll and Hyde player, but he has not cost us the title, the team has.

You could argue that Agüero was much more of a passenger today. We also had some luck today, let’s face it. We looked more comfortable in the middle of defence but could not hold the ball in midfield. Nasri has done very little this season and can’t take Silva’s place.

We need to be honest with ourselves and with Silva’s slump in form we have slumped. The Scum have had numerous bits of luck but if we had performed in the last 2 months we would still be top. I am not putting the white flag up yet till it is impossible to win. We need to arrest this slide and ensure 2nd place as first priority and be positioned if United slip up themselves.

Whether you like Mancini or not, I personally have had enough of the managerial merry go round. We need further stability to build on what we have achieved. A good statistic is we have the number of points we ended last season with already (however, I hope we add to that!) and as the Guardian article on the 31 March pointed out, virtually any other season we would have been about 5 points clear. We need to learn from this and the Champions’ League to build further next year. Even in our poor period we have beaten Spurs and Chelsea.

We were told you can’t buy the title. Well we are maybe proving that but hopefully also gelling into a team that will win it next year (maybe this year still… thinking of 1999 play off final). This experience and certain playing staff changes that are required in the summer will be so important. I know it is hard to take but we must make sure we don’t lose what we already have. When you look at the comparative fortune Ferguson spent all those years ago, almost got sacked and needed the FA Cup to save his bacon, I think we should take stock of what has been achieved. We will see if Mario’s suspension spurs the team on for a final push or show that we are toothless up front without him.

CTID, Mark Ballentine


Does anyone have two spare tickets in the City end for the Wolves match? Ideally, 1 adult and 1 U16, but 2 adult would work. They sold out just before my loyalty point level (3750 – looks like I’ll have to sign up for all the different schemes next season to boost this!).

Andy Longshaw <Andy(at)>


Nice to see UEFA is getting right behind the kick out racism campaign and getting its priorities right.

I see City have received a €30,000 fine for returning to the field 1 minute late for the second half of their game against Sporting Lisbon, which is €10,000 more than the €20,000 fine FC Porto received for the racist chants of their fans aimed at City’s players in our game against them.

Of course racist chants don’t threaten to disrupt the TV schedule.

Dave Kilroy <dave.kilroy(at)>


11 April 2012

Manchester City       4 - 0  West Bromwich Albion  46,746
Wigan Athletic        1 - 0  Manchester United     18,115
Wolverhampton Wndrs   0 - 3  Arsenal               25,815
Queens Park Rangers   3 - 0  Swansea City          17,557

10 April 2012

Blackburn Rovers      2 - 3  Liverpool             23,571

9 April 2012

Everton               4 - 0  Sunderland            32,249
Newcastle United      2 - 0  Bolton Wanderers      52,264
Tottenham Hotspur     1 - 2  Norwich City          36,126
Aston Villa           1 - 1  Stoke City            30,100
Fulham                1 - 1  Chelsea               25,697

8 April 2012

Manchester United     2 - 0  Queens Park Rangers   75,505
Arsenal               1 - 0  Manchester City       60,096

7 April 2012

Sunderland            0 - 0  Tottenham Hotspur     39,335
Bolton Wanderers      0 - 3  Fulham                21,939
Chelsea               2 - 1  Wigan Athletic        40,651
Liverpool             1 - 1  Aston Villa           44,321
Norwich City          2 - 2  Everton               26,554
West Bromwich Albion  3 - 0  Blackburn Rovers      23,414
Stoke City            2 - 1  Wolverhampton Wndrs   27,005

6 April 2012

Swansea City          0 - 2  Newcastle United      19,874

League table to 11 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  33 13  1  2 42 15 12  3  2 36 13 25  4  4  78  28  50  79
 2 Manchester City 33 16  1  0 51 10  7  4  5 28 16 23  5  5  79  26  53  74
 3 Arsenal         33 12  2  2 35 12  8  2  7 31 29 20  4  9  66  41  25  64
 4 Tottenham H.    33 11  3  3 35 17  6  5  5 22 21 17  8  8  57  38  19  59
 5 Newcastle Utd   33 10  5  2 26 15  7  3  6 24 27 17  8  8  50  42   8  59
 6 Chelsea         33 10  3  3 33 20  6  6  5 23 18 16  9  8  56  38  18  57
 7 Everton         33  8  3  6 21 14  5  5  6 17 20 13  8 12  38  34   4  47
 8 Liverpool       33  5  9  2 20 13  7  1  9 20 23 12 10 11  40  36   4  46
 9 Fulham          33  8  5  4 32 24  3  5  8 11 19 11 10 12  43  43   0  43
10 Norwich City    33  6  6  4 25 21  5  4  8 21 31 11 10 12  46  52  -6  43
11 Sunderland      33  7  5  4 24 14  4  4  9 18 27 11  9 13  42  41   1  42
12 Stoke City      33  7  5  4 21 16  4  4  9 11 29 11  9 13  32  45 -13  42
13 West Brom A.    33  5  2  9 18 19  6  4  7 21 28 11  6 16  39  47  -8  39
14 Swansea City    33  6  6  4 19 14  4  3 10 16 30 10  9 14  35  44  -9  39
15 Aston Villa     32  4  5  7 18 22  3  9  4 17 22  7 14 11  35  44  -9  35
16 QPR             33  5  5  7 22 25  3  2 11 16 31  8  7 18  38  56 -18  31
17 Wigan Athletic  33  3  7  7 15 25  4  3  9 16 32  7 10 16  31  57 -26  31
18 Bolton Wndrs    32  4  2 10 19 32  5  0 11 17 33  9  2 21  36  65 -29  29
19 Blackburn R.    33  5  1 11 24 32  2  6  8 21 38  7  7 19  45  70 -25  28
20 Wolves          33  3  2 12 19 41  2  5  9 15 32  5  7 21  34  73 -39  22

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1817