Newsletter #1864

Now this could be a bit self-congratulatory – nothing worse than us all slapping each other on the thigh like a scene out of Blackadder.

Nevertheless, the quality of input in recent editions has been amongst the highest I can recall. Certainly during my tenure as Editor.

I think it reflects a number of things.

One, our own growing maturity and understanding of football at the highest level. Two, the fact we have not lost where we have come from and, whilst that manifests itself sometimes in insecurity (never the most attractive of traits), it has also shown itself as a humbleness – we have not been gloating Champions – even winning is a uniquely Blue experience!

The themes continue in this edition, with light and shade in opinion and a balance of them both.

Proud to be Blue.

Next Game: Aston Villa, Etihad Stadium, 17 November 2012, 15.00


City showed some determination and character to come from a goal down to beat Spurs.

Pablo Zabaleta was bleeding from a hit to the face, but it was blue blood!

In an exciting game, City had most of the football and created so many chances from some beautiful football. The goal to equalize the game was a well-crafted goal from Kun Agüero.

Nice to see David Silva the Spanish Magician back, who had a very good game.

Maicon came on as a sub. and played some great football going forward, but the City super-sub has to be Edin Dzeko, who came on to score a superb goal to win the game.

Man of the Match, I’m going to give it to the team!

In Mancini I trust!

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


Edin Dzeko came off the bench yet again to score a crucial goal and win a match for Manchester City.

Edin may hate the super-sub tag, but he has become adept at coming on to win matches. It was a goal of beauty and it could not have been better timed. Nobody does it better.

It was a deserved victory in which City which showed great strength of character to come back from behind against Tottenham and overcome some appalling officiating.

Up against the poorest Tottenham side for many years, City were awful in the first half. Despite the returning David Silva, our passing was rather laboured and our defending at set pieces was suspect. We had a warning fired across our bows when a throw-in from our right bounced over the defence and Hart was forced to grab the ball desperately with Adebayor sprawling.

Soon after, we fell behind to another set piece goal. Lennon won a free kick down our left, much to our annoyance. Any contact looked minimal to say the least. Huddlestone’s free kick arced into the box, up went a gaggle of bodies and Caulker headed in under challenge from Nastasic and one other defender. At first it looked like Joe might have stopped it but the power on the header proved too much. Granted, our defenders had challenged for the high cross, but the goal was too easily conceded. We lacked aerial power. Roberto Mancini in his post-match interview said that we lack the strength to play a man-to-man marking game, but where can we get that strength? Hopefully Matija Nastasic will learn and become stronger as he gets older. The injured Joleon Lescott has strength but has he got the mobility? Surely we are still better using a man-to-man system, (making more use of Yaya Touré’s and Vincent Kompany’s height to pick up taller players) because that encourages responsibility, rather than having the grey areas of zonal marking that have found us out in Europe?

It could have been 2-0 to Tottenham when Kompany dived in on the half way line and Adebayor was free to run at our defence. He was challenged in the box and some strikers would have gone down. To his credit, he stayed on his feet and back heeled to Huddlestone who fired just wide. That said, there were other times when Adebayor, like some of his colleagues, indulged in diving. It was interesting to see the Togolese striker trying his very best. All too often we didn’t see such levels of effort in City colours.

The standard of football in the first half was well below that of the corresponding game last season, but as poor as Tottenham were in the first half, our general play was poorer still. It was largely laboured and uninspired. That said, we still managed to fashion three good chances. Yaya Touré played in a pass to Agüero down the right, and his clever touch played in Kolarov who hooked his left foot shot wide.

Tévez really should have scored with our best chance of the half. Yaya played a beautiful defence splitting pass to Silva down the inside right channel and he deftly cut the ball back for Tévez who hit the ball straight at a grateful Brad Friedel. It was “Frustration City”.

Clever interplay between Agüero and Silva freed the advancing Zabaleta in the box but his left foot shot was saved low by Friedel.

We should have had two penalties in the first half. First the ball hit Gallas’ arm twice, and then Zabaleta was body checked in the box. Whilst the first one was less obvious, the second was as clear as the light of day. Young referee Michael Oliver and his officials did not cover themselves in glory. Without wishing to be paranoid, it was like they were doing all they could to stop City from winning this game.

Agüero blasted a half chance wildly high and wide; other than that either Tottenham read our passes or we fell into their offside trap repeatedly. Sometimes the calls from the linesman were dubious to say the least. He may as well have been a Wichita linesman. This theme continued in the early stages of the second half, much to our annoyance.

City totally dominated the second half, and a Kolarov corner was headed over by Kompany as City applied sustained pressure on the Tottenham goal. The visitors uncharacteristically sat deep, getting everyone behind the ball. Very un-Tottenham like.

Sensing he might need to try something different to break down the massed ranks of Tottenham defenders, Mancini brought on Maicon for Nastasic, reverting to a 3-5-2 formation (from 4-4-2) with more than half an hour to go. Previously our width had been provided mainly by Pablo Zabaleta’s marauding runs down the right, and he had done very well in this role. Now he was switched onto the right hand side of a back three, with Clichy to the left of Kompany.

Maicon was played much further up the pitch than Zabaleta, and Kolarov was moved from left midfield to play a similar wing back rôle, but on the left flank.

Many of us (myself included) have had reservations about Maicon giving his lack of defensive prowess and the fact that he cannot have many more miles on the clock. In this game he showed exactly why Mancini signed him. He lit up the right flank, playing some lovely passes, and one occasion did a good defensive job to go back and retrieve the ball when he had lost it.

City’s movement and quick passing put enormous pressure on the Tottenham defence and with better balance Agüero he would have take Yaya’s brilliant lofted pass, and at very least tested Friedel. Then, just after the hour, City drew level. Silva, who was conducting in midfield, played a pass on the run to Yaya but it was intercepted into the path of Agüero in the inside right position. Agüero still had plenty of work to do, and he cut inside Caulker onto his left foot and stroked a delightful low left footed shot into the net at the far post. “Sergio! Sergio!” It was a super finish with a velvet touch.

City were in the ascendency but with Bale having a bit more space with Zabaleta’s withdrawal into a back three, he came into he game more, firing wide. Then, capitalising on uncharacteristic hesitancy between Yaya and Zabaleta, he forced a full length save from Joe Hart. The Etihad blew a collective sigh of relief.

Adebayor, who seemed to be having a personal battle with Zabaleta was lucky only to receive a booking when he flattened our number 5 with a forearm smash.

Maicon was revelling playing almost as an out and out winger and his perfect low cross deserved a finish.

Mancini brought on Dzeko for Tévez. Tottenham’s four goal nemesis, and our lucky talisman, was around to create havoc, and he soon went close with a header from Silva’s text book corner.

Defoe, who had scored a hat trick in Europe was brought on for Adebayor, who left to boos of derision.

City turned the screw further when Agüero played in Silva, who wriggled clear in the box and was just wide of the post in the 82nd minute. A minute later Dzeko back heeled cleverly and Agüero forced another save out of Friedel as Tottenham came under more pressure. Tottenham’s threat came in rare breakaways and the outstanding Clichy made a vital interception to clear a searching Bale cross.

Then in the 88th minute came the decisive moment. Maicon lofted a perfectly weighted ball down the right, which Dzeko collected. The Bosnian striker cut inside and found Silva who lofted an intelligent pass that the advancing Dzeko volleyed high into the net with his left foot, sending City fans into raptures. It was an absolutely top drawer finish and a beautiful goal.

“Campeones, Campeones, ole, ole, ole!” rang round the stadium.

We still had to endure 5 minutes of stoppage time as City kicked the ball as far into the corners as possible but Tottenham created nothing of note in this time as City held firm.

This was a good result, especially bearing in mind Tottenham won at Old Trafford a few weeks ago, but the visitors are much the poorer for losing the sublime talents of Luka Modric. They do not play the flowing football that one would expect from them, and their passing was wayward in the second half particularly.

I lost of the number of passes that were misdirected straight into touch. We may not like Tottenham but generally they have been one of the fairer teams, and they have tried to play football in the past. On this occasion too many of their players focused less on playing and more on diving and stopping us play. Given their demand for attractive football, I cannot imagine their fans tolerating that for very long. But that’s their problem. City’s victory was well earned, and eventually it was the stuff of Champions.

We imposed our quality on Tottenham for long, sustained periods in the second half. Patience and persistence paid dividends. To be below par for half the game (and still create three good chances) and still win speaks volumes for the quality and character of the side. Doubts about our spirit or whether Roberto Mancini commands respect in the dressing room were well and truly swept away with this performance and result.

Tactically he got this game right, even if 3-5-2 represented a gamble. The back three worked fine in an attacking sense, but as well as the back three played, every time an aerial ball came across our box, we were at a height disadvantage. AVB (Aliens Versus Bredator), though had no answer to Mancini’s switch and his side could not get into enough dangerous situations to trouble us.

The good thing about this side is that even in adversity there is a hope that they will turn things round. The Championship race is well and truly on.

This game was played on Remembrance Sunday and we paid our respects to those who lost their lives in our name. We owe so much to them and this report is dedicated to them and to our current service men and women.

0-1: Caulker (20)
1-1: Agüero (65)
2-1: Dzeko (88)
Att: 47,208

Hart: can be forgiven for the Tottenham goal, because it was so powerfully headed at close range. Good save to deny Bale: 7
Zabaleta: He gets better and better. Was performing brilliantly at right back both as a defender and as an attacker. He had Bale in his pocket, (nicking the ball off him before he got there), which is no mean feat. He might have done better when presented with a shooting chance in the first half. Made the switch to centre back pretty seamlessly, showing customary tenacity. The only blot in this position being a moment’s hesitation with Yaya presenting Bale with his only chance of the match. What is absolutely clear is that he is a top class right back: 8
Kompany: Made some important interceptions. Still diving in and not always getting the ball: 6
Nastasic: Beaten in the air for their goal, but looked good on the ball and read the game well. He has a lot of potential: 6
Clichy: An excellent full back’s performance and did very well at left sided centre back in the second half. They must be practising 3-5-2 more! 8 (Man of the match)
Silva: It was really good to have David Silva back and he was involved in many of our best moves. His intelligence is something that we have really lacked in Europe this season. He set up three really good chances, one of which won us the game: 8
Yaya: One uncharacteristically hesitant moment part, he brought authority again to our midfield. His best moment was a beautifully threaded ball for Silva: 7
Barry: Industrious as ever, and like his partner he was a key player in our midfield dominance: 7
Kolarov: Worked hard, and might have scored in the first half: 6
Tévez: Worked hard but you could tell that it wasn’t his day when he shot straight at Friedel when he should have scored: 6
Agüero: His goal was a sublime pleasure, and his build up play was very good too. He worked and worked all afternoon for an opening and he is prepared to work hard defensively. Not sure about his footwear though!: 8
Maicon (for Nastasic 56): Three lovely passes and one David White style push and run stood out, he looked a real class player down the right: 7
Dzeko (for Tévez 73): So impressive in his touch and movement, particularly in his interplay and intelligent run into space that led up to his goal.
Garcia (for Agüero 91): n/a

Best Oppo:
Sandro: Worked hard to plug gaps in midfield: 7

Refwatch: Michael Oliver: “You’re not fit to referee” summed it up. This was a truly pathetic showing: 1

Tottenham are never going to be one of our favourite other teams. They have too many gobby fans with a sense of entitlement for me.

That does not excuse the sick, racist chants about “Belsen” that I heard from a small moronic minority of so-called City fans as we walked away from the Stadium (I thought those appalling chants had been left in the 1980s). It was even worse for the fact that this game was played on Remembrance Sunday. These cretins are a disgrace, and they clearly have no regard for our own supporters, let alone Tottenham’s. I would hope that they would be thrown out of our club if they were caught chanting such racist filth in our stadium. (ED – If we can identify where around the ground these chants were being made I’m sure we’d all support an investigation)

It just serves as a reminder that unfortunately every club has its fair share of unpleasant people and our club is no different.

I hate the fact that many Rangers and Celtic fans bring religious bigotry into sport. More benignly, many Tottenham fans chant “Yiddo” whether they are Jewish or not, but I don’t care for that either. Why bring religion into sport at all? It is not relevant.

Like most City fans, I see other City fans as just that, i.e. Blues, not what their religious or racial background is. Similarly I see Tottenham, Arsenal fans, etc., as being fans of their respective club, not thinking of them as belonging to a religious or racial group. Hardly ground breaking, I concede, but isn’t that how it should be?

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


Hats off to you Stephen Burrows… spotted on in your article in MCIVTA 1863. Perhaps you could breathe some sense into Keith Sharp in the same edition of MCIVTA?

To all those who think booing helps (Swansea game), you are so wrong. Ihave never seen this side fail to commit, but I accept we have fallenshort of the standard on occasions. They need support to improve, not beingheckled. Let the Manager sort out the game and offer our support to liftthe players when things are not going well.

Kompany has not reached the standards of last season yet, but do think he needs to be heckled?

Wake up.

Adrian Kenny <lookwest(at)>


Jack Millington asks “Would that be the same Clattenberg who was in charge of the Derby at OT on 23rd October 2011?”

Yes. The same Clattenberg who should have given us a penalty when Anderson clearly brought Micah down in the box. Some things he can’t legislate against (such as us ripping a new la-di-da in United’s ***) but he still did what he could to mess us up. That was a clear penalty.

My heart sinks whenever I see that we have Clattenberg.

His performance in the Chelsea game should have had him relegated to non-League football for life. Not that I have anything against non-League football, quite the contrary in fact – but…

Jeremy Poynton <j.poynton(at)>


No matter how bad the referee and 1 of his assistants were, they did not give Ajax a 2 goal start, only overpaid under-working City players did that. Ajax quicker to every ball, closed down City at every opportunity, defended much quicker and in numbers, attacked much quicker. City won the first ball but allowed Ajax to easily pick up the loose ball.

There is a lot wrong and it’s easy to see!

Sam Duxbury <sammi459(at)>


Phil made some very good points that have also troubled me. The standard of officialdom in the CL is dreadful; no other word for it. As matters stand, we have had four nailed on penalties ignored in 10 CL games – that’s nearly every other game.

Offside now requires “daylight” between attacker and defender – Agüero’s wonderful goal should have stood, and as Phil noted, had it been one of the Cartel, it would have stood.

Speaking of the Cartel, it was Bunga Bunga Man who a few years back said that the clubs with a great European record should automatically be in the CL regardless. As it is, the seeding system makes sure that the Cartel have by far the best chance of proceeding. Why, I ask, are not the champions seeded, not those who have been progressing for years because they get a bye in the cash cow league stage most years?

As the seeding stands, it perpetuates Platini’s Cartel. Which I guess is what the Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey wants. I am damn sure United will lose to either Real or Dortmund should they meet them.

Regarding the defence – I don’t like zonal marking either, but it clearly worked fine for us in the League last season. I don’t know what’s up with us this season, but it can and will be fixed I am sure. Hopefully, assuming we do get knocked out of the CL, we come 4th and hence avoid the Europa League; I enjoyed it last season, but I think it would be best if we just have the League and the FA Cup to deal with this season.

Jeremy Poynton <j.poynton(at)>


We are second in the Premier League.
We are undefeated in that same League.
We have had the same manager for more than two seasons.
We have won two trophies in two years.

We are doing badly in the top European club competition, but losing in the last minutes against Real in Madrid is not that bad. We managed a draw against Dortmund who got a win and a draw against Real.

We should have won the home match against Ajax who were helped by the ref. Ajax love Europe, their fans demand that they win every domestic match, they are very Rag-like, but in Europe they can play the underdog and are under no pressure.

The Dutch commentators were very relieved after the game in Manchester and admitted that had the decisions gone the same way but affecting Ajax instead of City that Ajax would have been thoroughly pissed off.

Maybe Ajax having three Danish players and a couple of other Scandinavians who could chat to the ref in his own language helped them?

Get real everyone! We are doing better than in decades and you can’t build a top club in a year or two.

If we were so brilliant last season why did we only get to be champions in extra time of the last match? There are always things to criticize and that is our right as supporters but let’s not help the army of Red lovers who have already turned City into a mini-Barça and sacked Mancini for Guardiola.

Everyone is saying that City are only money and egos but matches like the Spurs match show that this isn’t true.

We can fight as a team and win and Mancini is doing a good job at keeping all those big names reasonably happy.

Blue since 63, Ian Nixon.<i.nixon(at)>


Well said Stephen Burrows (article in MCIVTA 1863) about Roberto Mancini.

I think that Mancini has been a great manager/coach of City and I echo Stephen’s remarks.

However, whoever was responsible for bringing in all the players on transfer deadline day, I have never agreed with it. City came away from last season as Champions and only needed to add a couple of players to fine tune a very good side.

We needed quality and not quantity.

I certainly do not want to predict what might happen in the winter transfer window.

It’s a long season ahead, it is a marathon and not a sprint for the title and there is still the FA Cup!

In Mancini I trust, long may he be with City!

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


Just wanted to add to this post…

I had exactly the same experience with the retail shop as Graham Schofield. I live in Northern Ireland, which the last time I checked is very much part of the UK. I saw the “Offer” email and promptly went online and ordered a basket full of stuff for myself and my young nephew.

When I checked out, the delivery option was defaulting to ‘Express’ with no other option available. The amount was £7 or £8 or thereabouts. The next morning I rang the retail store, mentioned the offer and my dilemma and the lady said that some areas were exempt and that it was because of where I lived.

I very quickly reminded her that the advert stated ‘Worldwide Delivery’“So if I lived in Australia you would send me these items for free but because I live in the UK I have to pay”, I asked? She couldn’t answer me and as a “goodwill” gesture she processed the transaction over the phone with no charge for postage!

Sort it out retail dept!

CTID, Gareth Leslie <gareth_leslie(at)>


Great issue last time. The views of Pat Knowles and Stephen Burrows clashing directly with those of Keith Sharp plus Phil B’s reminiscing of happy days (I was there too, Phil).

All of the recent anger against Mancini has me troubled. I recall the previous time we won the League and Cup in consecutive years. The following year we won the Cup Winners’ Cup and the League Cup and the following year we sacked the manager. The year after the title, we “boosted” the squad with the solitary purchase of Bobby Owen from Bury (were they expecting a second Colin Bell?). We didn’t play as well as the previous season, but still managed to win the FA Cup. I don’t recall the fans baying for Mercer to be replaced (in fact most were so disgusted when that did happen, it cost the club a lot of loyal fans).

If the press are half right, it seems we want to save ourselves a couple of years and ditch our Championship winners straight away. Even Ernie has teetered in where to place his trust. I recall how long he trusted Mark Hughes and if he can have that much blind faith then losing confidence in Roberto so soon is really troubling.

The media are indeed eager to stir it up. This Guardiola nonsense is outrageous. Does anyone really believe he would have instant replication of his Barça success? A change of manager would be disastrous. We have replaced managers routinely (and badly) for decades and now we have a winner, it seems we can’t wait to get him out.

I too am troubled by the lack of sublime confidence we showed last year, by the lack of goals and of clean-sheets and especially the flair. However, I note the stream of key players who have had injuries/surgery, which has kept the team unsettled. Even so, we remain undefeated in the League, right on the Scum’s backs and very well positioned. We all know what will happen once the pieces fall into place. Silva looked good on his come-back and that was central to our amazing start last year. If he keeps that form, we are on the way to having sorted ourselves out.

It is good to be anxious and passionate, but for pity’s sake stop looking for instant solutions to everything and stop turning against our most successful manager since the mighty Joe Mercer (which reminds me, our next most successful manager, Mr Book was serially shafted by the club; it seems we never learn).

Martin Hunt <Martinhuntctid(at)>


In response to the where were you when City beat Huddersfield 10-1 posting.

Day of the match I was in Sydney Australia, on assignment for Music Express magazine, covering David Bowie’s Glass Spider tour. My first reaction was, typo! Did City draw 1-1 or lose 0-1?

Of course this being before the Internet and me being on the other side of the planet, it took me a week to return to Canada and find that yes! City had indeed won 10-1!

A game of the week was telecast on Toronto TV at that time (ex-Fulham great Graham Leggat was the host) and because of a bunch of postponements of key First Division games, City’s game was aired instead.

A friend of mine at the station taped the match so I got to watch the massacre a week later.

As was mentioned, Huddersfield were actually on top for the first 20 minutes before City started scoring. I do vividly remember Huddersfield’s horrible yellow and black striped shirts, with that black diamond motif and the fact that the ref gave them a totally undeserved penalty out of charity to make it 9-1 right at the final minute.

As City kicked off from the penalty, the crowd were screaming for 10 and City obliged with a clinical final move, which saw David White nail the 10th goal.

Bit off topic, but would encourage all City fans to hoist a toast to the great Bill Tarmey aka Jack Duckworth. I know he lived in Oldham, not sure if he was a City fan, but a great bloke, whom I had the pleasure to interview for Music Express. Told me a funny story about going shopping with his wife, and being accosted in the street and being accused of cheating on Vera with that strange woman!

Good one for City on Sunday, got to keep his starting line up consistent. Just wait until Silva gets more match shape. As for Europe – In the immortal words of Monty Python – “Not dead yet!”

Keith Sharp, Toronto <>


11 November 2012

Manchester City       2 - 1  Tottenham Hotspur     47,208
Newcastle United      0 - 1  West Ham United       51,855
Chelsea               1 - 1  Liverpool             41,627

10 November 2012

Arsenal               3 - 3  Fulham                60,093
Everton               2 - 1  Sunderland            35,999
Reading               0 - 0  Norwich City          24,080
Southampton           1 - 1  Swansea City          30,501
Stoke City            1 - 0  Queens Park Rangers   27,529
Wigan Athletic        1 - 2  West Bromwich Albion  17,812
Aston Villa           2 - 3  Manchester United     40,538

League table as at 7 November 2012

                    P  GD Pts
 1 Manchester Utd  11  13  27
 2 Manchester City 11  10  25
 1 Chelsea         11  12  24
 4 Everton         11   7  20
 5 West Brom A.    11   5  20
 6 West Ham Utd    11   3  18
 7 Tottenham H.    11   2  17
 8 Arsenal         11   7  16
 9 Fulham          11   5  16
10 Newcastle Utd   11  -3  14
11 Swansea City    11   1  13
12 Stoke City      11  -1  12
13 Liverpool       11  -2  12
14 Wigan Athletic  11  -6  11
15 Norwich City    11 -10  11
16 Sunderland      10  -4   9
17 Aston Villa     11  -7   9
18 Reading         10  -6   6
19 Southampton     11 -14   5
20 QPR             11 -12   4

With thanks to Football 365

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[1] MCIVTA Addresses

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Newsletter #1864