Newsletter #1865

Another important game today to help us keep pace at the top despite the general consensus that we haven’t been playing awfully well. Which either augurs well, or badly, dependent how you look at it.

A lively issue today with some responses from the last issue, some welcome input from Hong Kong and an interesting ‘And Finally’ concerning a post-match experience of ‘the other’ Simon Curtis.

Enjoy the game if you are going, I’ve got to dash as heading there myself.

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


Last Sunday’s game was another typical fist in the air experience that we, the luckiest set of supporters in the world, can indulge in and I can expect many more to come.

Nonetheless, last weekend was finished with a sting in my heart; the reason being the round of boos at the half time whistle. Fair enough, it was truly a dis-spirited performance in the first half (even Bobby Manc was caught on camera deflated in his seat), but the opponents were Spurs and it was not as if we were totally out-played and I was slightly shocked that the crowd would boo our home team.

Although I do not live in Manchester, yet to visit Eastlands, and am merely a remote armchair supporter for the past 15 years, I have been proud of the loyalty and passion of supporting City, which makes us unique. I don’t get how people would boo their own team save for the odd circumstances of truly abysmal performance.

Maybe this is only sections of crowds booing and maybe that happens at all football grounds in UK, I don’t know, but from TV reception the boo sounded a bit surround sound. I think City fans are top and proper and we have the coolest and most creative chants, but boo-ing?

I haven’t heard much throughout the past years and I just think it would be a vicious cycle as it would just further put down the fire and spirit of the players (luckily each of them must have been slapped in da face by Bob at half time last week).

It has been a romantic affair with City thus far and I hope we won’t be too ahead of ourselves and turned into numb and plastic supporters of certain ‘large scale corporate’ teams. I have already seen an increasing number of City shirts around the city of Hong Kong in the past year, of course it would be dwarfed by the manure empire which has long been rooted here, but still fun to see those Balotelli shirts floating around the city.

It’s been increasingly difficult and mentally stressing to support City as I have to take sh*t from friends on every bad result we have, and those congratulatory remarks about our poor Champs’ League form. People say we sold our soul but for myself I think I am enjoying what I deserve from all those years of blind support. And we did it with style!

On a side note, I am astonished how some of us still back Mancini. I mean I simply can’t convince myself any more, even after winning the League; all he does is sign prudent, big or proven names. Our signings lately are jokes, £12 million for Rodwell when that lot paid the same for Kagawa, and we also have signed Garcia who plays almost the same position. Honestly I would like to see some exciting signing of new blood or undiscovered scoutings, otherwise we would be pretty messed up when the Financial Fair Play thing kicks in (I can’t imagine us swapping Falcao for Mario). Luckily Maicon is actually good after his performance on Sunday; seems his football intelligence is better than Micah and Zab – of course three of them are of different styles.

I am guessing with Maicon in form, he wants to increasingly adopt three at the back formation with Maicon, Micah, Clichy and Pablo as full on attacking full backs. I am also annoyed at his bias towards Kolarov; what does he see in him? Yes, probably one of the best dead ball takers in the League, but that’s it, what else does he do on the pitch? Why is he always in the team?

Okay, enough moaning and whingeing I guess nowadays there’s many complicated politics in the back-room anyway and let’s hope the new technical guy from Barça (how do you pronounce the name?!) can scout some cool and exciting players in. Lastly, let’s hope our momentum will pick up from last Sunday.

City forever, Calvin Chan, Hong Kong <calvinc(at)>


Perhaps it’s in the very nature of the ardent fan that s/he sees only the incidents from one point of view and with little or no objectivity. I’m certainly like that. At the match I’m very quick to be on my feet shouting for a penalty almost to the embarrassment of the equally fanatical City supporters around me.

As for offsides I’m an expert not to be challenged during the match itself. However, I know from many experiences of thinking about what I shouted compared with what the reviews on MoTD show, that I mostly get it wrong. Not a bit wrong but mostly wrong. I really am rubbish at refereeing decisions yet on the day I would be shouting the same as all the critics of referees whose whinges can be read in MCIVTA.

What really astounds me is how much our referees get right and even when they are wrong it’s often marginal because the split second decision has taken place when there was very little between the positive and the negative decision. Ball to hand or hand to ball? – in many cases it’s just not obvious what the correct decision should have been, even after seeing a slow motion replay, which referees don’t have.

In other words I enjoy the sheer dumb prejudice of being a fan on the day and I promise to continue in that vein but I do realise I’m no good at making real time refereeing decisions.

I notice that there is a difference of course between English and European referees who, when faced with a marginal decision, tend to wave play on rather than make a decision. Both are valid ways of refereeing a game and in the absence of new technology it will continue that way. It really isn’t new.

The purpose of my writing this defence is because of the increasing tendency I detect for some City fans to blame the referee for not seeing the game through sky blue tinted glasses. When a referee makes two or more “bad” decisions the inference is that City are more badly treated than the opposition but from my perspective we now get much more latitude than we did as a struggling mid-table side.

You can’t help but admire Phil Banerjee’s blind devotion to the City cause but really his writings have become a caricature of what goes on at City games. Refs are not out to get us. We don’t have a worse deal than any other teams – probably a better one really. And our biggest problem this season has been an inability to find the team form that we enjoyed so often last season, not to mention the increased petulance from rather too many of our regular first team players.

So there you have it. I go to the same games as those who are having a go at referees and although I shout the same as they do during the game, I know from many years’ experience that my perception that a referee is incompetent is virtually always wrong.

The genuine supporter is expected and perhaps entitled to be totally biased on the day of the match but should perhaps be a little more circumspect after the final whistle.

Poor refereeing occasionally happens but is almost always in the eye of the beholder. So please Phil leave it out – you clearly know as much about refereeing as I do: approximately nowt.

Peter Llewellyn <PeterJL(at)>


I agree with Phil Banerjee about many things but especially his point about the “Belsen” chants in the Spurs game. Singing that is well out of order and on Remembrance Sunday of all days.

Also I would like to express my support for Roberto Mancini. He has done a magnificent job for City and long may he continue as our manager.

CTID, Phil Taylor <mariaphiltaylor(at)>


I agree very much with Jeremy Poynton in MCIVTA 1864 about the unfairness of the CL seeding system. I’m sure that if anyone tried to penalise City under Financial Fair Play, part of the legal arguments would be to challenge why it’s fair to reward clubs for past glories by giving them a better chance of making money out of the competition.

However, he did also perpetuate the myth that “Offside now requires ‘daylight’ between attacker and defender – Agüero’s wonderful goal should have stood”.

A senior referee was once asked about close decisions and said it would be obvious if you could see daylight between the players, and the TV “experts” translated that to a supposed requirement.

Then and now the rule is the same: if you’re level with the second last defender, you’re onside. A big toe (or any part of the body with which you can play the ball) ahead of the defender and you’re in an offside position (as Kolarov was – at least at the moment when TV froze the action, though some have queried whether that was the moment when the ball was played).

Steve Parish <bloovee(at)>


Just read an article where Mino Raiola (Mario’s agent) says Mario Balotelli does not want to leave City, that he wants to see out his contract.

If Mario Balotelli gives 100% to City on and off the field, then it could become good news.

On the other hand maybe Inter Milan or AC Milan just are not going to make an attractive offer to City, so Mario has not got a choice in the matter?

I think that the game that will appeal to Mario more than any other is on Dec 9th when City play United at the Etihad; if Mario plays and scores goals he will bring back fans to his side.

So good luck Mario, just maybe he has been trying too hard, needs his confidence back, and a good attitude.

In Mancini I trust.

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


Have to admit I was a bit gob-smacked when I received the last posting and read how Stephen Burrows and Adrian Kenny had taken offence at my comments.

Normally it would be water off a duck’s back but on this occasion, I feel I have to respond.

Nowhere in my comments did I state Mancini should be fired!

What I did do was state the obvious. A group of players not called Hazard or van Persie were brought into the team on the transfer deadline, after an amazingly successful pre-season schedule, and disrupted our starting line-up.

If anyone out there in Cityland truly believe that Garcia and Rodwell are an improvement over de Jong, that Sinclair is an improvement over Johnson, that Maicon is a better full back than Zabaleta or Richards and that Nastasic has not unsettled Lescott, then you are entitled to your opinion. Personally, I don’t see an improvement over last year’s team… but still early days.

Also if Mr Burrows and Kenny were not disturbed by how City tossed the game away against Real Madrid, then again that’s their prerogative, but I do stand by my point that as City evolve, more is expected of them. Yes Mancini has led us to an FA Cup and a Premier League Championship and good on him! So what now!

If he wins the League again… great! At the same time… yawn! Our Middle East owners want us to be the best, but we are not there yet.

Our form against Ajax was a let-down and we need to be able to get results against these teams. Still a way to go, but, there is no way I am down on this team.

I want them to strive to be World Champions so that all those dense British TV pundits will finally shut up and admit that we are the best.

Not asking for much!

Keith Sharp, Toronto <>


I would like to respond to Martin Hunt’s remarks about me in MCIVTA 1864.

First of all I did for a very short period of time, stop saying “In Mancini I trust”, but it was made as I had said at the time until I see more from Mancini; well he has produced since then and I had returned to saying “In Mancini I trust” well before you made your remarks.

As of Mark Hughes, yes at the time I did say “In Sparky I trust” and, at the time, MCFC had never seen such players come to sign and play for City!

And here are some of his signings: Carlos Tévez, Vincent Kompany, Gareth Barry, Kolo Touré, Pablo Zabaleta, Joleon Lescott, all who are still with the club.

Other players signed by Mark Hughes but have since left City: Nigel de Jong, Craig Bellamy, and yes there were some flops such as Adebayor, Santa Cruz, Robinho, Wayne Bridge, and Jo.

In the end too many draws got Mark Hughes fired.

Today, like many other fans I am very happy with Roberto Mancini, his games in Europe have not got results, but as I have remarked before, “City just have not had the rub of the green in Europe”.

I always try to be positive, but I don’t always wear tinted glasses. I also try and stick to the truth, for I am just like most City fans!

In Mancini I trust! Come on you Blues!

P.S.: I would just like to add that the time at when I said I was not going to use “In Mancini I trust” was just after City had got a poor result, and the players played terrible football, then Roberto Mancini came out saying that he had not prepared the team for the game; this I never liked!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


Some thoughts on City’s performance against Spurs and the continuing discussions about tactics and formations.

First, Silva’s return so important. Fascinating stats on City’s website yesterday that sums up his positive involvement.

Team spirit, again, as good as it gets.

The moaners and groaners will have to get used to 3-5-2, not necessarily from the start, but as per the Spurs game. That means seeing Maicon, coming on to do his specialist job, if the situation requires it.

The City defenders will be drilled and drilled, at Carrington, until they get it, concerning 3-5-2. They showed last season, that when closing out games (the May 1st derby a good example), that they could easily adopt 3 centre backs with the two full backs making a back five.

Micah loved it and shone. Now he and the rest of them have just got to get their heads around the system as an attacking formation.

Rest assured that Mancini, the stubborn guy that he is, won’t rest until he gets his way. That’s why he brought in the new Italian defence coach.

Speaking of Maicon and specialist jobs: Dzeko has been with us for two years next month. He’s had his opportunities to prove his worth as the forward to lead the line from the start, but every time he blows it.

However, equally, he’s proved that coming on for the last ten minutes, when the opposition is exhausted, he scores for fun.

Kolarov sums it up well in this morning’s press. Dzeko has to accept the situation.

The talk in Spain today is that City will sign, in January, Falcao and either Isco (Malaga) or Benat (Betis). You will know all about Falcao but the other two are the next from the same production line that produced Xavi, Iniesta, Silva, Mata and Cazorla.

They are the real deal and either will do.

Pat Knowles <pjamk(at)>


Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a wonderful footballer but having watched that fourth, much-lauded goal against Joe Hart I have to say it was six of one and half a dozen of the other: Meaning that Joe’s goalkeeping was horrendous – absolutely awful – and Ibrahimovic knew he was in a win-win situation. He was shooting at an open goal. Joe was so hopelessly out of position and clearly Ibrahimovic knew it. If he’d have missed everybody would have said ‘great try’ and forgotten about it.

A footballer of his skill knew he had a pretty good chance of hitting the (unguarded) target and, obviously, he did and it looked most impressive, but by no means as great a goal as the pundits would have us believe. Joe did much of the work for him.

More to the point, Hart’s last few performances have been peppered with an uncharacteristic number of errors. Any theories as to why? Is he just going through a rough patch?

Chris Cobb <Cobsun(at)>


I was fortunate to be invited to one of 6 focus group meetings after the match against Spuds on Sunday. There were 3 meetings prior to the game and 3 after (mine was the 5th). There were about 20 fans in attendance and we crammed into a long but narrow conference room round a table.

The group was hosted by a guy called Justice from MCFC Sales and Marketing team but the actual meeting was run by 2 Americans (Bill and Damon) from a company called CSL (don’t they make sofas?). These guys looked very much like ex-American football players and were wearing nearly identical sports jackets so I nicknamed them Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee.

We were given refreshments whilst we went round the table talking about what we would like to see happen with the Etihad in the future. We talked about such things as the atmosphere, the greyness of the stadium, the awful Wifi coverage.

One of the most talked about subjects was the food and service in the ground and how that had to improve to tempt us to buy more from the club when we are at the match (both prior to and post in City Square). This led onto the concept these guys were talking about and that was about creating a sports bar area within Level 2 in the East and West stands. They showed us mock ups of seating areas and of banks of TV screens showing different sports, with a premium food and drink experience.

However, there then came the crunch question! How much more per game were we prepared to pay for this type of facility?

They proposed an answer of £70 per game! Now that does not include food and drink it just includes getting into the area were you could then spend more money. So upshot of it is that it’s talking about creating a have and have not set of fans. This didn’t go down too well as you can imagine but some fans said they might consider it. The general opinion was don’t force us to go down a certain road, put the basics right and give us options that we can buy into.

They also talked about payment plans for future season cards for both the above option of the sports bar and the normal season card and were talking about a 12 month interest free payment plan and that went down well with everyone.

They also mentioned about potential expansion of the North and South Stands to 3 tiers and of better seats but this may well be a lot later – it did raise the question after the meeting between fans in that are the club looking to purchase the stadium before doing these improvements?

So the meeting ended after 1.5 hours and we each got £40 for our troubles (tbh the meeting allowed the traffic to die down). We were told that we would be getting a survey sent out and that the whole exercise would complete in another couple of months and they would then report back to the club with their proposals and recommendations.

There you go, thought I would let you know what has been going on and will let you know what I hear next.

Great job of editing by the way – keep it up you are doing a great job! (ED – Thank you!)

The other Simon Curtis <scurtis4(at)>


League table as at 16 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

MCIVTA FAQ [v1112.01]

[1] MCIVTA Addresses

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Newsletter #1865