Newsletter #1823

Pinch yourself… yup, we won!

Not only that, but won with a towering performance against what has recently been an irresistible force.

The scenes on the terraces for the goals and at the end, will live long in the memory of everyone, whether present or watching on TV. Genuine ecstasy.

Football better than sex? The cigarettes were being passed around when the final whistle blew!

For those of you who were there, so thrilled for you, on what I hope will be a lifelong memory.

Some wonderful accounts and views of the game in tonight’s edition anda remarkably global ‘Requests’ section – Blues fans wanting to unite nomatter where they are.

Next Game: Queens Park Rangers, 13 May 2012, 3.00pm


We are almost there. Almost… I’m still pinching myself, given the journey that we have been on. It’s still hard to believe how far we have come in just a few short years. But we better believe it, because City passed a test of quality and character to win a very difficult away game at Newcastle and leave us needing to beat relegation threatened QPR at the Etihad Stadium next Sunday to clinch our first title in 44 years. Calmness and patience won the day at St James’s Park, but it was difficult to feel calm until this game was put beyond the Geordies’ reach.

City were unchanged from the previous games. Newcastle, fresh from their win with Papiss Cisse’s two wonder goals at Chelsea, were also unchanged.

A City goal looked inevitable for half an hour as City almost made a monopoly of possession – the first ten minutes yielded a staggering 77% in our favour as Chief Conductor Silva prompted and probed with his band of brothers in sky blue. The football again was a sheer delight to watch, as it has been for the vast majority of this momentous season in Manchester City’s history. Silva was back to his very best, carrying the ball as prompter in chief, always releasing it at the right moment, finding acute angles that make him such a special player.

Whilst we had the ball, Newcastle, and the spectacular Papiss Cisse in particular, could not hurt us, and this was how it went for half an hour. Our finishing wasn’t clinical enough to give us the lead, with Nasri and Silva both failing to test Tim Krul in the Newcastle goal. Sergio Agüero was having one of those days when it wasn’t going for him in front of goal, and he shot weakly to Krul’s left after Silva’s incisive ball, leaving the Dutch ‘keeper with a regulation save.

Newcastle though are a very good team, and they enjoyed a good spell in the last fifteen minutes of the first half. Ben Arfa robbed Clichy inside Newcastle’s half and found Demba Ba who shot a foot over the bar from long range. Then a rare poor touch from Zabaleta lost possession and caused us problems: Clichy was forced to block a goal-bound shot then Ben Arfa’s rebound forced a very smart save from Hart at his left hand post.

It is much to City’s credit that this was to be the nearest that the Geordies would get to scoring. Barry had a double chance to grab the lead for City after a Silva cut-back, but Coloccini and then Santon on the goal line thwarted him with great blocks. If anyone deserves another goal this season it is the ever industrious Gareth Barry.

We should have had a penalty in the second half when Williamson yanked Silva’s arm in the box but Howard Webb was strangely reluctant to give it. It was looking like a breakthrough was not coming for City, despite enjoying the lion’s share of possession after half time, so Roberto Mancini made a change. On came Nigel de Jong for Samir Nasri, and Yaya Touré was free to pay a more advanced rôle Behind Sergio Agüero and Carlos Tévez. Within four minutes, Mancini’s move paid dividends.

Cometh the hour (or should that be cometh the hour and ten minutes?), cometh the man. The history books already show that the gigantic, powerful and elegant Yaya Touré is the man who has already scored FA Cup Final and semi-final winners. He and his team mates rewrote history again here when he gave City a decisive breakthrough. Taking Nigel de Jong’s pass in a central position, Yaya exchanged passes with Agüero before curling a 25 yard shot well out of the reach of Krul’s flailing left hand. It was a truly exquisite finish.

Agüero really should have put the game to bed when put through by a brilliant lofted Silva pass but he was just wide with his shot. Daaaargh! Some things never change at City – those boys in blue still test the strength of your heart! At the other end Papiss headed a chance wide. Then Yaya could have scored a second with a header that flashed wide of the left hand post, and then he slipped in the box at a crucial moment when bearing down on goal after Agüero played him in. From his position on the ground, Yaya still managed to work the ball to Agüero whose shot was deflected over by a defender. Oh, Lord! City what are you doing to us!

Roberto stiffened the right hand side by bringing on Micah Richards for Silva, pushing Zaba forward and again this paid dividends when Richards had to make a brilliant block to deny sub Shola Ameobi. City were having to defend resolutely and another thumping Kompany clearance started off the attack that sealed the game for City. Agüero gained possession after Cabaye couldn’t control the clearance, advanced down the right at speed and fed de Jong who was in attack (again!). The popular Dutchman played the ball wide to the advancing Clichy who nutmegged a Newcastle defender with a cute pass to Yaya who dinked a superb left foot finish over Krul for 2-0, and a huge sigh of relief from Blues everywhere. It was a special finish because it was with his supposedly weaker foot and because he sent the Newcastle goalkeeper the wrong way.

Again Roberto Mancini’s move to pushed Yaya forward had paid rich dividends (it has only just dawned on the less initiated journalists and pundits that bringing on Nigel de Jong for a striker and giving Yaya more freedom is actually an attacking move).

The whole team can take credit for their slick passing game. There is such a good understanding and togetherness about this team. This was a deserved win against a good Newcastle side who thoroughly merit being where they are. They clearly have a very good manager in Alan Pardew and canny chief scout Graham Carr (father of comedian Alan Carr). To most accounts their fans were very sporting and friendly in defeat. Good luck to them in grabbing that 3rd or 4th position.

This day was about City taking a decisive step to put us in the best position to win it on the last day. It was an emotional day but I am glad that my wife was there to remind me that the job isn’t done yet.

Of course it isn’t won yet. We won’t be able to truly relax until we are certain of victory against QPR next Sunday, because we expect that United will go on to the end. Mark Hughes will want to make sure his team get something to stay up and he may misguidedly feel that he has a score to settle with Roberto Mancini here. QPR have a poor away record but Roberto and his players are professionals to the last and will not take them lightly. City have to be vigilant and relaxed at the same time, but clinically ruthless to ensure that we win and win well.

Come on City. We can do this.

Can I just say happy 75th birthday to my mum! (Ed – of course you can!)


Hart: Again he showed his real class in making a crucial first half save after a long period of inactivity, and another from Ba at the very end: 8
Zabaleta: Skinned once by young substitute Ferguson later on, but had previously kept his countryman Guttierez quiet for the majority of the game. Save for one poor touch he had a good game: 7
Kompany: As ever the star of the defence. Assertive as ever in the air and on the ground. Showed great skill in attack when the occasion allowed: 9
Lescott: Another fine performance in a terrific season. He’s top of the League you know! 8
Clichy: His assist set up the clincher to cap yet another Rolls Royce of a performance at left back: 8
Nasri: Not quite his day, but still showed plenty of bright, inventive touches: 6
Barry: Solid foundations again from a key player: 8
Yaya Touré: A big match winner again. Very good at playing the deeper rôle, but he really shines in an advanced position: 9 (Man of the Match)
Silva: Back to his very best here, demonstrating his full range of passes: 9
Agüero: It may not have been his day in front of goal, but there is no doubting his intelligent build up play and work rate: 7
Tévez: Strong as ever but wasn’t as prominent as usual and didn’t really find his shooting range here: 6
de Jong (for Nasri 66): Not only did he help shore up midfield, he was a driving force in the build-up to our two goals: 7
Dzeko (for Tévez 70): Kept the Newcastle rearguard busy without threatening a goal: 6
Richards (for Silva 86): great block preserved the lead, but too late to mark: n/a

Best Oppo: Ben Arfa: Tricky opponent. Good pace and skill just shades it from the impressive Coliccini and the all-round talents of Santon: 8

Refwatch: Did pretty well, but should have awarded City a penalty: 7

Dedicated to the memory of Teresa Henshaw (mother of a dear friend of mine) who passed away recently. She was a truly lovely, kind lady, who always gave us a friendly welcome on visits to their house in Merseyside. It was always a pleasure to meet her. May she rest in peace.

Phil Banerjee <phil.banerjee(at)>


Attendance 52,389

Arriving too early as usual in a sunny Newcastle I remembered the mistake I’d made all those years ago in 1968. Because City only sold programmes inside the ground at Maine Road in those days I’d naively thought all clubs did the same. So ignoring the programme sellers outside the ground I paid my 5 shillings (25p) at the turnstile and went in to find no programmes on sale inside the ground. This time I went well before kick-off to get a programme and retired to a nearby pub to read a bit. The City and Newcastle fans in the Black Bull mixed with no bother just as they had done in 1968 when they had come up after the game to congratulate us on winning the title and having such a great forward line in Lee, Young and Summerbee.

Up the fourteen flights of stairs to the Sir John Hall stand, which was about three degrees cooler than at sea level with a cold mountain top breeze blowing. To my eyes most City fans look like normal people but today on my row there was a bloke with a giant green Mohican, two people in high fashion straight from an Italian catwalk who arrived 25 minutes after kick-off and left 15 minutes before the end and the strange young man next to me who had brought what looked like a rubber duck on a large inflatable ring. He explained that he’d taken it to the 4-0 West Brom home game and it immediately gained lucky charm status so he was obviously obliged to bring to every game from now on.

City were unchanged from the previous game and both teams started nervously with passes going astray and the home side adopting a fairly defensive approach. Newcastle also use more long ball than Stoke City, which to me was a surprise. The long balls were aimed at Cissé but a man called Kompany kept getting there first. Soon City’s fast, short passing game started to work and we got through and behind their defence without really threatening. After 30 minutes Joe Hart had his first shot to save, such was the dominance of our defence over their attack.

Nil-nil at half time but we had surely shown much more penetration than Newcastle. The second half tends to be our time for goals but as it wore on the same first half patterns were being repeated so the prospect of a 0-0 draw, useless to both sides, loomed. Mancini doesn’t yet allow Tévez to play a full game and so after about 65 minutes he did what we all expected. He took Tévez off and brought on de Jong, to a chorus of boos and hisses (his was the tackle had broken Hatem Ben Arfa’s leg), which allowed Yaya Touré to go forward more. That change was the clincher and Yaya scored with a superb low curling shot.

Shortly after, we missed two “certs” by Yaya and Agüero because Newcastle had changed tactics after the first goal and pressed very strongly for an equaliser, leaving gaps at the back that we exploited. Finally the second goal went in on 89 minutes. Yaya specialises in crucial goals at crucial times it seems. Newcastle kept pressing but finally City successfully played possession football and Howard Webb blew for time.

That was the game we needed to win. It was the really tough one but as I quickly got back to the car it occurred to me that United might now just throw caution to the wind and go for a massive score against Swansea to reduce the goal difference, which was now 10. So after a nerve-wracking 90 minutes at the Sports Direct Arena(!), I listened to the United-Swansea game while driving back. A high score seemed possible just before half time when they scored a second but the game seemed to peter out in the second half – as though they no longer believed. The most annoying thing about this radio commentary is usually Alan Green but this time it was Danny Mills who kept droning on about the QPR team, Mark Hughes or Joey Barton “doing a job” for United next week at the Etihad. Alan Green asked if he wanted a bet on that, which shut him up for a few seconds.

And so to the last games. City do need to keep their concentration but really, mind games and nervousness apart, they have a good enough side to be able to complete the task next week. But as I write this I feel it necessary to remind all over-confident City supporters who after the game were dancing outside the Black Bull singing:

We’re going to win the League We’re going to win, win, win, win the League

and a new one to me:

Fergie are you listenin’
Keep that trophy glistenin’
We’re comin’ in May,
To take it away
Walkin’ in City wonderland

of that saying about there being many a slip twixt cup and lip. If we do slip up I expect even more schadenfreude than normal because quite a few Newcastle supporters were filming those premature celebrations.

Youtube can be very cruel.

Peter Llewellyn <PeterJL(at)>


I really, nay really, don’t want to get ahead of myself but after this afternoon’s match I can almost sniff it now (and I’m not just talking about the fumes from my backside, after all my guts have suffered of late).

I’ve got myself a corporate hospitality box invitation for next Sunday. Just got to dress up a bit posher than usual for a match (I’ll have one of my City shirts underneath) but this is more than offset by the offer of a reserved parking space (which I won’t take up, as I intend to get off me twig if things go right), and being wined and dined from noon ’til half six. It’s going to be one of the best or worst days of my life – not even a glimpse of middle-ground possible.

As for today and the match: I’m sure folks around here are getting tired of my constant belabouring of how nervous I’ve been throughout the entire season but, surely, I wasn’t the only one who woke up with a proverbial brick in the stomach this morning, one which merely got bigger as the day went on?

By kick-off I was feeling physically sick. Indeed, I struggled to eat or drink a snack and a cuppa I’d got myself. Surprisingly, mind, the entire first-half didn’t ramp up the worries any, as we were so very much in control. It would have been nice to put that domination into goals but with our record for scoring in the 2nd half combined with our performance and the Toon’s lack thereof, I was starting to believe.

I still think we looked good after the break – this being away at Newcastle, after all, no easy task – but things started looking like they just might not click at the vital moment. Up steps Yaya (both metaphorically in performance and literally in position) to turn the match. First goal was, for me, no more than a semi-celebration – relief and joy but immediately making me think we hadn’t come close to doing enough yet.

After that it was just one glorious opportunity missed after another. Yes I – and I guess again that I’m not alone around here – convinced myself that these would come back to bite us but no, a second Yaya goal eased, if not totally assuaged, the nerves, given that the Toon then had a couple of very close chances with still enough time on the clock had one of them gone in. The goal itself seemed to be in slow motion with Touré in too much time and space to be true. In fact I immediately looked at Howard Webb to see his reaction, thinking maybe he must have blown his whistle and I’d missed it.

So who played well for us and who didn’t?

I’ll start with the latter as this is easier to answer. Indeed I can do it with just one word: No one. This was another fantastic all-round showing. To go up to St. James’ (by any other name) and dominate like that is a special performance.

Hart was rarely called upon but apart from one very dodgy moment of distribution, he was immense in the vital moments he was needed.

The entire back line was superb. When the likes of Cisse and Cabaye are utterly neutralised, and Ba is reduced to a couple of chances that are more hopeful than expectant, then you know they’ve done their job. That bloke whose name I can’t spell but who looks like Dick Dastardly seemed to be their only creative threat.

In the midfield, Yaya and Barry were imperious. The defence started here and they were snapping at ankles and first to loose balls constantly. When Nigel came on and Touré advanced, de Jong was hardly a wallflower back there, the boos seemingly revving him up; indeed he was instrumental in our settler.

I thought Silva was looking silky again and Nasri was IMO unfairly decried by Niall Quinn as having “an off game”. Forward of them, Tévez looked industrious and Agüero encapsulated so very much of what he’s been like for us all season – massively opportunistic with a wonderful work-rate, a magician regarding balance and strength at speed on the ball, fantastic at playing on the shoulder, but not putting away the odd sitter.

Good hold-up/positional play from Dzeko also. His involvement in the safety-valve goal should not go unnoticed.

Oh yeah, and let’s not forget that apart from being a tad card-happy (albeit in both directions, admittedly), Fergie’s player of the season, Howard Webb, had both a good and a fair match.

So here we are, just one potential banana skin away from a glorious summer. We’d have taken that position a few weeks back, eh?

Cheers to all.

P.S. Oh yeah, I also forgot to mention that I almost lost my voice yesterday and I’m still croaking today due to the amount of shouting and screaming I did at the telly yesterday afternoon. Did my yelling help the lads up in Newcastle? Doubtful, but we’ll never know…

Steve O’Brien <bodsnvimto(at)>


One hand on the trophy, and champagne on ice, but we cannot celebrate yet, we must not put a curse on it!

But it’s OK to celebrate a great win in Newcastle.

The first half saw the Newcastle defence defend with desperation and keep City from scoring.

Then in the second half came a repeat of the technical skill of Mancini that was played against United, as he took a midfield forward off, this time Samir Nasri, and bring on a holding midfield player Nigel de Jong (Tiger), which released Yaya to move forward. It worked with two magnificent goals from Yaya to win this game.

News that Tévez wants to stay at City next season: as long as he means it, I think that a very great majority of City fans will forgive him and welcome him back to City.

Our strikers always seem to steal the headlines, and rightly so, but the non-stop running of Barry needs a special mention. As does the defence and ‘keeper who kept a clean sheet.

Great to see David Silva back on form, non-stop running from Sergio and Tévez. The whole team deserves praise for a fantastic team effort in this win!

I like Mancini’s way of going into the last game, by keeping the City players’ feet on the ground and not to get carried away, QPR will be fighting for their Premier League life, and Mark Hughes will be seeking his revenge for being sacked, It is my feeling that QPR will come to Etihad to defend and try to get a point that they desperately need for survival.

Come on City, win the final game to get that well deserved trophy, Champions of the English Premier League!

In Mancini I trust, come on you Blues!

CTWD, Ernie Barrow <Bitcityblure(at)>


I have to say a big thank you to you and all your contributors for the recent issue following the win over the Unmentionables.

I was away on holiday on a barge in Holland and not only was the Internet on my phone not working, the only TV station was CNN, which had only limited football coverage and for most of the trip there was no signal.

So the only way I could a report of the match was via the emails on my phone.

Once again, thanks for keeping me in the picture.

I am old enough to have been at the Newcastle game when we clinched the First Division in ’68 but haven’t got a ticket for the QPR game. I know it’s a long shot but I am wondering whether anyone has a spare? I live in London and would be willing to drive anyone there and back for free and pay for the ticket!

Stuart Brodkin <stuart.brodkin(at)>


Like every other Blue Mancunian, I am greatly anticipating our last match at QPR this weekend. I suspect it might be a little more awkward than we would normally expect – we’ve effectively fired a significant number of their players (and management!) in recent seasons, and I’m not 100% sure they won’t want to ruin our party out of spite – but all things considered, we should just about squeak it home.

For the first closing day of the season in my life however, I won’t be anywhere near Manchester or away at a game. I’ll be away on business in Geneva.

This might be a good thing. Last year during the FA Cup Final I was in MRI awaiting surgery, and was wheeled down and knocked out just as the clock hit the 20th minute of the game. Superstition says I should be glad I won’t be able to easily access the game, but I would really like to try and at least join in the post-match celebration. This time with a beer, and not in the High-Dependency Unit (don’t ask!).

Afraid that I’ll end up in some bar full of United fans or watching the glum events unfold from Sunderland, I wanted to find out if there are any Blues who find themselves either by accident or design in Switzerland and watching the game in Geneva next week? Even just a good tip on a Blues-friendly bar would be most welcome.

I would love to join in the celebrations/screams of anguish (delete as appropriate), preferably quite near Palexpo, although I’ll consider anywhere I can get to easily with my relatively poor French – and some would argue, even worse English!

Bonus points if like me you are in Geneva with 15,000 others of our aviation-loving ilk for the same show, and will be hiding from your boss on press day to watch the game too.

Paul Robinson <paul(at)>


Are there any Blues (other than me!) living in Bali? If so please get in touch by email or you can join the new Facebook group “Bali Manchester City Blues”!/groups/423054864379023/

If you join and see a few members already, most are mates from HK giving me moral support in looking to set up another Blues branch.

I moved here from Hong Kong where I was involved in setting up the HK branch of the supporters club and Facebook Group, which now has almost 70 members… and it ALL started with a request like this on MCIVTA! My replacement as Chair of the branch, Mike Hill, is now a star of BBC Radio 5!

As I travel around Bali, as I have told my friends in HK, I see more blue shirts here than those dreadful red things so our name is growing internationally here… I cannot be alone! If you are in Bali and wondering where I live, I am in Lovina in the north.

CTID, Graham Schofield <graham.schofield(at)>


Will be in States – Boston MA for work, instead of the Etihad this Sunday. Are there any fellow Blues over there that will be watching?

If so, let me know where and when? Would love to share the experience, rather than suffer on my own in a hotel room!

Am I going mental – why are QPR turning into Barcelona in my head?

Mark <mark.ash(at)>


We have now got a great crowd that join us for games, and what a night after the Newcastle game!

Imperial Hotel, corner of Spring and Bourke Streets, Melbourne, Australia.

Now, as I do not wish to speak too soon, we have plans to head down to our own Etihad Stadium. Hope this is not too late.

Tim Berry <timberry(at)>


I’m going to be stuck in London on Sunday; does anyone know any pubs that are likely to be full of Blues to watch the match and hopefully celebrate a big day?!

The nerves are kicking in already, could be a long week…

Chris Spicer <chris.spicer(at)>


A lovely interview with Joleon (Top of the League) Lescott in today’s press in which he shares a calming few words for us all, saying to take it easy this week as we have yet to win a thing. Wise words indeed.

With this in mind, if anyone knows the idiot who was on Sky Sports News wearing a “Champions 2012” last night, either:

  1. Politely tell him to desist from wearing said item until Sunday evening if it’s merited
  2. Rip it off his back and tell him not to behave like a Rag
  3. Lynch him
  4. Send us his name and address so we can all lynch him
  5. All of the above

Thank you!

Phil Alcock <philipalcock(at)>


6 May 2012

Newcastle United      0 - 2  Manchester City       52,389
Aston Villa           1 - 1  Tottenham Hotspur     36,008
Bolton Wanderers      2 - 2  West Bromwich Albion  25,662
Fulham                2 - 1  Sunderland            25,683
Queens Park Rangers   1 - 0  Stoke City            17,319
Wolverhampton Wndrs   0 - 0  Everton               25,466
Manchester United     2 - 0  Swansea City          75,496

5 May 2012

Arsenal               3 - 3  Norwich City          60,092

League table to 06 May 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 37 17  1  0 52 10 10  4  5 38 17 27  5  5  90  27  63  86
 2 Manchester Utd  37 15  2  2 52 19 12  3  3 36 14 27  5  5  88  33  55  86
 3 Arsenal         37 12  4  3 39 17  8  3  7 32 30 20  7 10  71  47  24  67
 4 Tottenham H.    37 12  3  3 37 17  7  6  6 27 24 19  9  9  64  41  23  66
 5 Newcastle Utd   37 11  5  3 29 17  8  3  7 26 31 19  8 10  55  48   7  65
 6 Chelsea         36 11  3  4 39 23  6  7  5 23 18 17 10  9  62  41  21  61
 7 Everton         37  9  3  6 25 14  5  8  6 22 25 14 11 12  47  39   8  53
 8 Fulham          37 10  5  4 36 26  4  5  9 12 23 14 10 13  48  49  -1  52
 9 Liverpool       36  5  9  4 20 15  8  1  9 23 23 13 10 13  43  38   5  49
10 West Brom A.    37  6  3  9 19 19  7  5  7 24 30 13  8 16  43  49  -6  47
11 Sunderland      37  7  7  4 26 16  4  5 10 19 29 11 12 14  45  45   0  45
12 Swansea City    37  7  7  4 26 18  4  4 11 17 33 11 11 15  43  51  -8  44
13 Norwich City    37  6  6  6 26 30  5  5  9 24 36 11 11 15  50  66 -16  44
14 Stoke City      37  7  7  4 23 18  4  4 11 11 33 11 11 15  34  51 -17  44
15 Aston Villa     37  4  7  8 20 25  3 10  5 17 26  7 17 13  37  51 -14  38
16 QPR             37  7  5  7 24 25  3  2 13 17 38 10  7 20  41  63 -22  37
17 Wigan Athletic  36  4  7  7 19 25  5  3 10 19 35  9 10 17  38  60 -22  37
18 Bolton Wndrs    37  4  4 11 23 39  6  1 11 21 36 10  5 22  44  75 -31  35
19 Blackburn R.    36  6  1 11 26 32  2  6 10 21 43  8  7 21  47  75 -28  31
20 Wolves          37  3  3 13 19 43  2  7  9 19 36  5 10 22  38  79 -41  25

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1823