Newsletter #1863

A landmark weekend in the Alcock/City history timeline. Thirty-eight years since my first game! A 1-0 win over Stoke City in 1974 courtesy of Rodney Marsh’s winner. Sent us top of the league, although as a 6 year old I wasn’t awfully aware of such things!

I already felt like a veteran Blue 13 years later when Malcolm MacDonald’s Huddersfield outfit bowled up at Maine Road for a Second Division game. What happened that day 25 years ago still feels like yesterday and Phil B has captured the ‘And Finally’ slot with a wonderful recollection of our largest post-war victory.

Before you get to that there is some lively debate over recent events at the club and a call out to all Reddish Blues from Howard Burr.

Enjoy tomorrow’s game, it’s usually a lively one against Spurs!

Next Game: Tottenham Hotspur, Etihad Stadium, 11 November 2012, 13.30


A combination of illness and our daughter’s parents’ evening meant that I had to settle for the dubious privilege of watching ITV’s coverage of this game. Adrian Chiles has become perhaps the most annoying man on TV, and I am not interested in what that barbarian Roy Keane has to say about anything; on the plus side, though, there is the ever erudite Lee Dixon and Gareth Southgate.

City were robbed of victory against Ajax by some very dubious decisions by the referee. He denied City two clear penalties and controversially disallowed a goal.

Mario Balotelli was clearly tugged in the box as a free kick was delivered into the box in the dying seconds. Granted Mario had his arm up but the tug by van Rhijn was blatant and clear (how could the referee and the official behind the goal “miss” it?). Early on in the game Yaya Touré was clearly fouled in the Ajax box. Like in Munich last season, a referee denied City two clear penalties. Such penalties would be given at Old Trafford, Anfield or in the Bernabeu, so why not here?

It can be argued the disallowed goal was offside with the aid of a replay as Kolarov’s left foot is ahead of the last defender, though how the official could be so sure in real time from the far side of the pitch is worthy of question. Again, it would have been unlikely to see such a goal chalked off at Old Trafford, Bernabeu etc. Every referee makes mistakes, but City have had some very bad decisions in Europe particularly (some may say we had a fortunate penalty against Dortmund, but most referees would give a penalty against a player whose offending hand is raised).

The referee in the Ajax game may have made honest mistakes (possibly only he knows), but when you consider dodgy refereeing decisions for these Establishment clubs and dodgy refereeing decisions against the rest of us, UEFA’s so-called Financial Fair Play regulations that will protect the interests of the traditional power houses of Europe (Real Madrid, United, Bayern, Juventus etc.), City getting the toughest possible draw for the second year running, it is not unreasonable to ask serious questions as to whether there is institutionalised corruption in UEFA. We may never know how deep the corruption goes. Like FIFA, with UEFA there is no accountability.

Corruption in Football has gone mostly unchecked for years. FIFA and UEFA are either compliant or negligent. I very much suspect the former.

Both Derby County (versus Juventus in 1973) and Nottingham Forest (versus Anderlecht in 1974) were on the end of very dubious decisions by officials in European competitions. Eventually the referee in the Anderlecht versus Forest game, Emilio Guruceta Muro, was proven to have taken a £20,000 bribe. This is the only case that has been proven, but Derby weren’t so lucky, nor were Leeds (Peter Lorimer’s perfectly valid goal versus Bayern in the 1975 Champions Cup Final was disallowed).

Everton were on the wrong end of some highly dubious refereeing decisions in a 2005/6 Qualifying round – the season when, inconveniently for UEFA, five English teams were in the Champions’ League due to the rules being bent to allow holders Liverpool to play in the competition, whilst Everton were given a suspiciously tough draw against a very strong Villarreal side. Some highly dubious refereeing decisions ensured their inconvenient presence was removed from UEFA’s top competition.

Chelsea were robbed with a series of disgraceful refereeing decisions in their Semi versus Barcelona in recent years. The common thread running through here is that the clubs wronged were non-Establishment clubs.

Serious doubts persist about the fairness of match officials. Until UEFA sort out this problem with a proper inquiry, punish the perpetrators, and give us fair and competent match officials, their competitions will lack true credibility.

Of course, there was more to this match than highly dubious refereeing.

City started off at the furious pace that was needed and we should have been awarded a penalty. The returning Pablo Zabaleta, who had a superb game down the right, blazed over when played through into the inside right position.

We hampered ourselves severely with some non-existent defending. As in Amsterdam. Again we fell behind to two set pieces.

Nastasic sliced a clearance that went for a corner when it should have been cleared into touch. How many times are goals conceded from corners that should never have been? He must be more assertive in his clearances. Our central defenders failed to deal with the resulting flag kick. The highly dangerous Siem de Jong who had scored in Amsterdam was allowed to wander unchallenged into a vacant area to the left of Joe Hart’s goal where he cleverly steered Moisande’s flick on over Hart from a tight angle. No one took responsibility for the vacant zone. Surely Yaya should have followed him as no one was stationed in it?

The second goal again came from an area just to the side of the goal. Like in Napoli last year when Cavani scored, we fell to a wide angled near post header for Ajax’s de Jong. We don’t seem to have learned… on two counts. The wide area is not patrolled and that man de Jong was again given time and space to score by Yaya. It was very poor statuesque defending for the second time in a few minutes and the third time against Ajax in this campaign.

It was very disappointing to see Yaya Touré not follow his man for their two goals. If he was playing to orders (i.e. sticking to his own zone) then something is wrong with the system, because no one was in the zone either side of the goal, between the bye line and six yard box.

It is not the zonal marking that cost us but the execution of it. For both Ajax goals, no one moved to cover the areas either side of the goal. That said, the zonal marking system that won us the title is not working in Europe, especially where set pieces are concerned. If we are going to do zonal marking then every sector of the penalty box and beyond has to have allocated to a player.

Most people in England (myself included) prefer man to man marking. The drawback is that a defender can get blocked off in traffic or deliberately by an opponent, but the main thing is that each man knows exactly who he has to stop. There is no delay in passing one man over to another fellow defender. No indecision. You stick with your man. for what it’s worth, I’d like to see a return to man-to-man marking.

City eventually rallied and Yaya Touré’s finish went some way to redeeming himself with a brilliant chest trap, swivel and scissor kick volley to reduce the arrears.

City started the second half at a furious tempo and Ajax’s attacks were less frequent. They still managed to force two top drawer saves out of Joe Hart though. Whilst our football didn’t match the fluidity of Ajax, we had increased the tempo and hurried them. Eventually we scored in the 74th minute with a rare route one goal. Hart’s long kick was flicked on by Balotelli, and Agüero (who had previously slipped in two promising positions), finished coolly.

Ajax may have played better football in the first half, but the fact is that if the officials had been refereeing this game fairly then we would have won.

In future City have to take into account that officials are likely to be like this, work hard and make sure we take our chances and defend properly. If Roberto Mancini is to persist with zonal marking, then he must address the areas either side of the goal, and players must take more responsibility. Granted, we really miss David Silva, and our football is at least as skilful as Ajax’s is when he is in the side. We have to overcome losses of players and players have to take responsibility all over the pitch.

So the Champions’ League is effectively over for this season. We should concentrate our efforts into winning the Premier League, because we have the best team in our League and if we apply ourselves properly, we will win it.

Sunday is another big game, and Pablo Zabaleta is right when he says “Defensively we have to work pretty hard”. Too right, Zaba. Come on City.

Ratings and beratings:
Hart: Two great saves helped earn a draw. 7
Zabaleta: City’s best attacker on the night and a good defender too: 8
Kompany: Improving but some of his passes were sloppy: 6
Nastasic: Decent enough but his poor clearance cost us a corner. Must be more assertive: 6
Clichy: Dependable: 7
Garcia: Solid enough, but his mobility pales by comparison of Ajax’s Poulsen: 6
Barry: Battled hard. A little laboured at times: 6
Agüero: Good in the build-up play but one can’t help thinking he should be playing further up in the box rather than in a withdrawn role. Needs to wear boots that allow him to turn quickly, though. Took his goal well and the one that was wrongly disallowed. 7
Yaya Touré: He may have scored a great goal, but he needed to take responsibility and stop his man scoring those two goals: 6
Samir Nasri: Plays well in flashes but is not a dominant playmaker in the way that Silva is: 6
Tévez: Battled on without really threatening a goal. Subbed: 6
Dzeko and Kolarov: No real impact here: 5
Balotelli: Good flick on, worked hard and put himself about well: 7

Best Oppo: Siem de Jong: The Ajax captain is a very clever footballer. Great movement and execution to score his goals but he should have been challenged: 9

Ref Rasmussen (Denmark): Bent or incompetent? Delete as appropriate. An absolute disgrace and all that is wrong with refereeing. Zero, Nul points, 0

On the subject of contentious decisions, West Ham might feel aggrieved that Kevin Nolan’s strike against us last Saturday night was not allowed. However, part of his body was slightly ahead of the last defender as the ball was played in. When the action is frozen it is easy to see that the linesman correctly gave offside. It’s close, but it’s still offside. So, the papers and Talksh*** are wrong in saying a perfectly good goal was disallowed.

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


Next meeting of the Reddish branch of the Supporters’ Club is on Tuesday 27th November at Reddish Working Men’s Club, 129 Greg Street, Stockport, SK5 7LN, starting at 8.00pm and, as always, everyone is welcome.

Representatives from the Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF) will be our guests to discuss the Safe Standing campaign and the FSF organization. You will also be able to try out some of the Safe Standing / Seating models and find out how you can help with the campaign.

For more details about the FSF Safe Standing campaign:

For more details about the meeting / venue / directions please contact Branch Secretary at the address below.

Howard Burr <reddishblues(at)>


Seems to me that certain basic truths are being overlooked by your contributors, in their moans and groans about the current scenario.

First, City are going through a certain transition. New defensive coach and introduction of summer signings who’ve suffered injuries, thus prolonging the issues.

Next, opponents are more fired up just to get a result against “The Champions”. West Ham being a perfect example. In the second half they were set up like Mourinho’s Inter against Barça in that famous Champions’ League Semi-Final. Two banks of 5 and no one in the City half, including Andy Carroll.

The booing and criticism at Swansea was ridiculous. Swansea played and beat Liverpool at Anfield next game, then got a draw with Chelsea following that.

Thus, City’s result against Swansea was fantastic in the circumstances (City exhausted after Champions’ League efforts).

City are going through a period of change, both on and off the field (Ferran and Txiki appointments) and it’s part and parcel of what called “Matthew’s Principle” in management. Basically, you stay the same and you die, because your competitors can read you like a book and set out their stall accordingly.

Why do you think Fergie built so many different teams in his 3 decades, never standing still and dumping anyone and anything that stood in the way?

Always remember Fergie’s famous response to a question about the number of City managers during his spell at Old Trafford. His way of saying that Mancini is “The Real Deal”.

Forget the Champions’ League this season, get behind Mancini and the team and go for a League and FA Cup Double in the New Year.

As for the longer term, “The Future’s So Bright We’ve Got To Wear Shades”.

Pat Knowles <pjamk(at)>


Been out of commission for a while with my dad (a life-long Blue) passing away a few months ago. I have witnessed our stuttering start and have the following observations.

Why did we bother with our pre-season friendlies when Mancini tore the team apart on the transfer deadline? We didn’t need six new players. Even without the internationals on Euro duty, we still looked great in pre-season and put the boot to Chelsea in the Charity Shield. With that day’s line-up plus Silva, Barry, Milner, Hart, Lescott, Kompany Nasri and Richards coming back, we needed maybe one or two support players. But no! Mancini, having failed to land Hazard and van Persie, goes out and gets Rodwell, Sinclair, Garcia, Maicon and Nastasic.

Mancini dumps de Jong (who played great against Chelsea) for Garcia and Rodwell! What’s the thinking of that? He brings in Maicon, who plays like a carthorse, to challenge Zabaleta and Richards and replaces a current international Johnson with Sinclair who can’t even get on the Wales bench!

Toss in Nastasic to totally mess up Lescott and you have the reasons why City are stuttering!

It didn’t help that Agüero, who had been playing great in pre-season with Tévez, got injured against Southampton but still, Mancini know enough about Dzeko and Balotelli that we should still be strong in attack. With the changes in defence and midfield we are looking vulnerable.

Away against Real Madrid, we did something Mancini swore we would never do, and that is defensively park the bus, which we somehow managed to do for some 60 minutes. Then we ventured forward once, Yaya Touré finds Dzeko and we’re up 1-0!

Then Mancini parks the bus again and Madrid instantly tie the score 1-1. We venture forward again, Kolarov threads a free-kick into the net and with five minutes left and Madrid looking vulnerable at the back, we’re up 2-1. So what do we do, keep attacking to score a third! NO, we park the bus again, Madrid score twice and we lose a glorious chance to kick off our European campaign.

From that point on, our European campaign has been a joke. Terrible tactics, shocking defensive play, this from a team that has pretensions of greatness. No we are not a great team! We are a good team trying to be great – but we still have a way to go!

Not one player Mancini has bought in the off season is making any positive contribution to the team, not one! We dumped de Jong, we dumped Johnson, we’ve messed around with Lescott to the point it’s also unsettling Kompany. Mancini’s introduced some dumb tactics in the middle of the game and we’ve now lost our offensive spark.

All is not lost, go back to the team that wrapped up last season (minus de Jong and Johnson) park the new signings on the bench and refocus on the championship. The European Championship is a lost cause and we might not even qualify for the UEFA Cup. Let’s focus on winning the championship again and rethink our Euro strategy.

The trouble is, having won the FA Cup and League in successive seasons, we have set the bar so high, winning a European title is next logical target. If Mancini can’t do this soon, our Middle East owners will be looking for someone else who can!

We can bounce back against Tottenham.

Keith Sharp – Toronto, Canada <>


Since MCIVTA’s recipients are mostly overseas fans like me, I wondered if anyone else has suffered the same ‘fate’ as I have and if so, did they complain to the club?

With my kids coming to visit from the UK for Xmas I was delighted to get the email from the club offering free worldwide delivery; I could get some ‘surprises’ delivered direct, which is not always easy here.

I promptly chose my items and went to checkout… for the delivery I could only choose ‘express’ at a cost of £20.08! There was a banner message saying my order for £77.92 meant I qualified for the free delivery. I also promptly gave up on ordering and sent an email complaint to customer <services(at)>.

If anyone else has had this experience and didn’t complain then please do so, maybe MCIVTA can get some action taken by the club.

Graham Schofield <graham.schofield(at)>


I’ve had enough!

Enough of the media witch hunt against Mancini, the man who has brought us three trophies in two years, returned City to the top table after decades, and restored our club as the pride of Manchester.

Enough of the sly innuendos, which border on the xenophobic as they look to play on his imperfect English, and stereotype his tactics as Italian (even after the adventurous football last year that won us the league). Enough of the MUEN which now prints tripe in place of news stories, and merely regurgitates rumour after gossip-filled rumour.

Joe Royle, or was it Frank Clark, referred to a poison behind the scenes at Maine Road, which disappeared but has been replaced by bile-filled jealousy, rumour, innuendo and anything that can undermine Roberto in his task to lead us on to further glory.

No true City fan will ever ask for Roberto to go, because they know what he has done and what he is capable of, given time. Fergie didn’t win anything for years, Chelsea took ages to get anywhere in the CL and Arsène has never won it – so what brainless tools are questioning Mancini’s record?

All managers make mistakes on a match-by-match basis and that includes Fergie, Wenger, Mourinho, Guardiola etc. Even Cloughie made an idiot of himself on many an occasion but he had the belief in himself, and for a time so did his board to let him continue.

Leave Roberto alone to let him get on with the wonderful job he is doing and don’t moan unless in the company of other City fans or the media will be printing fabricated stories of discontent before we know it.

A moan or a grumble is fine, but get real – have you forgotten the bleak years of trophy drought already! If Guardiola came in tomorrow do you think things would change? No – because we’re threatening the ‘establishment’ of ManUre, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal… and long may it continue!

In Mancini I trust (Ernie Barrow please note!).

Stephen Burrows <stevieburrows(at)>


Funny reading Dave Ball’s bit on Mike Riley probably assigning Clattenberg for the next derby game. Would that be the same Clattenberg who was in charge of the derby at OT on 23rd October 2011?

Jack Millington <jack(at)>


“Days I’ll remember all my life…”

Twenty five years ago on 7th November 1987 there was a match that lives long in the memories of City fans of the time. Not because we won a cup or because of who we were playing. It is remembered because City scored ten goals in a match.

Manchester City 10 Huddersfield Town 1 brings back very fond memories of Mel Machin’s young City side playing football with a swagger. Several local lads who had come through the ranks like Paul Lake, Andy Hinchcliffe, Ian Brightwell and David White, allied to the experience of Kenny Clements, Neil McNab and John Gidman, were already giving us a lot of pleasure with their exciting brand of football as City looked to bounce back to the old First Division. City’s promising team had started the season well enough, and was in good form in both league and Cup, including thrashing Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest side 3-0, which was no mean feat (Forest were a good top flight side in those days). Being roughly the same age as the young lads in the team, and with a few of them being fellow Blues, this City team was extra special.

I had just started a new job in Sheffield and after a detour to the Sheffield Poly Students Union Bar, I travelled with a fellow Blue on the train on a chilly, murky grey day back to Manchester. We took our places on The Kippax, wondering what our exciting, if brittle young side would deliver. The hope was we would maintain the momentum over a struggling Huddersfield team, but no one expected what was about to unfold.

Yet the game started very unpromisingly as bottom of the table Huddersfield (managed by ex-Newcastle legend Malcolm MacDonald a.k.a. “Super Mac”) dominated the first twenty minutes. This didn’t last though and once Neil McNab cut in from the right and scored with a low shot after twenty odd minutes, the floodgates opened.

City had too much power for Huddersfield’s flimsy defence, and our midfield two of Paul Lake and Neil McNab fed our exciting forward line of Paul Simpson, Tony Adcock, Paul Stewart and David White with quick, accurate passes.

Paul Simpson was imperious down the left, creating chance after chance with some brilliant crosses, which were his forte. On the other flank David White ran defenders ragged with his sheer pace and direct running.

It was only 4-0 at half time, but as the goals flowed at a steady rate, the chant “We want ten! We want ten!” filled the air.

Swalesian Maine Road was frayed at the edges (a strip light that needed replacing flickered that afternoon) and was less than half full, but inside beat a strong Blue heart.

The game was remarkable for many reasons: Adcock, Stewart and White all bagged hat tricks clinically as City played fast, exciting football. It was a sheer thrill to watch.

Even Huddersfield’s only goal was scored by an ex-Blue, Andy May, from the penalty spot, and he did a little jig and waved to the Kippax! The Huddersfield fans did a conga in the Platt Lane End. Fair play to them! Their team eventually got relegated and City finished in mid-table (with youth came inconsistency, and our form suffered after from a subsequent duffing up from Steve Coppell’s Crystal Palace streetwise brawlers) but we reached the 6th Round of the FA Cup (going out to the great Barnes and Beardsley inspired Liverpool side). Mid-table in the Second Division we may have been, but there was no denying that it was an exciting and very pleasurable season for City fans.

The afternoon of Saturday 7th November 1987 stands out like a beacon in that season. Only 19,583 of us were there to witness it (the 80s saw a slump in attendances nationally), but it was truly unforgettable.

Our team was on Saturday 7th November 1987 was:

Nixon; Gidman, Clements, Redmond, Hinchcliffe; White, McNab, Lake, Simpson; Stewart, Adcock.

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


5 November 2012

West Bromwich Albion 2 - 0 Southampton 25,635

4 November 2012

Queens Park Rangers   1 - 1  Reading               16,797
Liverpool             1 - 1  Newcastle United      44,803

3 November 2012

Manchester United     2 - 1  Arsenal               75,492
Fulham                2 - 2  Everton               25,699
Norwich City          1 - 0  Stoke City            26,072
Sunderland            0 - 1  Aston Villa           41,515
Swansea City          1 - 1  Chelsea               20,527
Tottenham Hotspur     0 - 1  Wigan Athletic        35,534
West Ham United       0 - 0  Manchester City       35,005

League table as at 7 November 2012

                    P  GD Pts
 1 Chelsea          9  12  22
 2 Manchester Utd   9  11  21
 3 Manchester City  9   9  21
 4 Tottenham H.     9   4  17
 5 Everton          9   6  16
 6 Arsenal          9   8  15
 7 Fulham           9   5  14
 8 West Brom A.     9   2  14
 9 West Ham Utd     9   2  14
10 Newcastle Utd    9  -2  13
11 Swansea City     9   1  11
12 Liverpool        9  -2  10
13 Stoke City       9  -1   9
14 Sunderland       8  -2   9
15 Wigan Athletic   9  -6   8
16 Norwich City     9 -11   7
17 Aston Villa      9  -7   6
18 Reading          8  -6   4
19 Southampton      9 -12   4
20 QPR              9 -11   3

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v1112.01]

[1] MCIVTA Addresses

Articles (Philip Alcock)         :
News/rumour                      :
Subscriptions (Madeleine Hawkins):
Technical problems (Paul)        :
FAQ (David Warburton)            :

[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 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 to get the latest updates.

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

The official club web site can be found at and the official club Twitter page at The club also has a facebook page at

[5] What supporters’ clubs are there?

The Official Supporters’ Club and the Centenary Supporters’ Association have merged to become the Manchester City Supporters’ Club ( The club also recognise the Manchester City Disabled Supporters’ Association (

[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 (

[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

[8] Where can I find out if City are live on satellite TV? provides a listing of Premier League games being shown on UK domestic and foreign satellite channels. A useful site for North American viewers is

[9] Do we have a Usenet newsgroup?

Yes we do: is our home on usenet. If you are not familiar with Usenet, a basic explanation is available here:

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

There are a number available and direct links can be found at

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

A list of genuine player accounts is maintained at!/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

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,

Newsletter #1863