Newsletter #1871

All of the above?!

That’s Derby Day for you and it’s just around the corner. An interesting game it should be too as, despite our lofty League positions, it’s widely accepted that neither side has reached the heights of last season.

With all that happened last season, one thing we can be sure of, is that

it should be a fiery affair that may be decided by one team keeping all 11 players on the pitch. Rarely have these games had this kind of edge.

Last season both matches proved absolutely pivotal. The 1-6 provided the goals we needed to clinch the title on goal difference. The 1-0 at home put the title back in our own hands. There is little doubt both games this season will be of equal importance.

Let’s put the CL exit behind us, get behind our boys and get the season back on track.

Next Game: Manchester United, Etihad Stadium, 9 December 2012, 13.30


Well it is now official, City are out of Europe.

First of all let me just say this: I am one who has never agreed that a team who is knocked out of the European Champions’ League should have another chance in the Europa Cup.

One or the other: if you qualify for Champions’ League, that is it and if you qualify for the Europa Cup then you deserve to play for it, and no team that fails in the Champions’ League.

I know that the City team who played versus Dortmund (who had a lot of reserve team players in this game), will not be the same team that plays versus the Rags on Sunday (or Heaven help us).

I know that Yaya will be able to play, after his suspension in Europe, I am praying that Silva will be fit to play, and most of all I am wanting City to play with a great ambition of wanting to win; show that team spirit, it is that morale that helps wins games!

We know that the City Fans at the Etihad on Sunday will not let the team down!

Come on you Blues!

In Mancini I trust!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


This has been a miserable European campaign and there is no getting away from that. Last season we could point to inexperience as a collective, and getting 10 points but this year we have played worse and gone backwards.

Joe Hart is right when he says “we’ve let ourselves down” in this competition. Even though it is a tough group, we have underperformed badly. Given the playing talent we have, we should at least have beaten Ajax home and away.

We have a lot to be grateful to Roberto Mancini for. He has brought us our first trophy in 35 years and our first league title in 44 years. That should never be forgotten. He is a legend here and we should be forever thankful to him for that.

No one is above criticism, though, and we should look to learn from our mistakes and look positively to the future.

Roberto has made mistakes and his over-use of rotation and his experimentation with 3-5-2 has backfired in Europe. Our lack of preparation and practice with 3-5-2 was by Roberto’s admission, a failing. Sorry to sound like a stuck record, but if we are going to use 3-5-2 then must practice, practice and practice again.

It is a flawed system, though, as it is very prone to being outnumbered in wide areas, i.e. one wing back up against an opposing winger and a full back, especially when we are playing two strikers. If 3-6-1 is employed at least there are two men on each side of the pitch.

Defensively we don’t seem to have learned from our last campaign in Europe. We were beaten by headers from wide positions in the six yard box by Cavani for Napoli last year and by Siem de Jong (Ajax) in the latest campaign. De Jong also scored with his foot from an un-policed wide area at the Etihad. Either the zonal marking is not working or its execution has been poor, because both men had free headers.

Both wide areas should have been covered.

Furthermore, these goals could have been stopped by having men on each post for set pieces. Whether it is Joe Hart’s choice or Roberto Mancini’s, our lack of men in these positions is a problem.

With zonal marking there are too many grey areas. Do our players know where their zone starts and ends? Sometimes it does not look like it, especially in the rarefied atmosphere of Europe. If we employed a man to man system then each man would know who he is following. The drawback is that a defender can get blocked off when following his man, sometimes by accident and sometimes deliberately by an opponent. Stoke City are masters of this and, even though it was a foul, they scored a goal against West Ham at Upton Park a few weeks ago by blocking off a man-to-man marker.

Whilst I prefer man-to-man marking (both zonal and man-to-man system have their pros and cons), we won the title with zonal marking. If we are going to continue to use zonal marking, though, we have to execute it much better.

Our best players should play as often as possible, whatever the competition, League Cup excepted. If they are under-performing due to fatigue or loss of form, then we should make changes, rather than tie one arm behind our backs by not fielding our best side.

Our best front two is Agüero and Tévez and they should play together as often as possible. Granted there will be games when Dzeko’s height is important to us, but sometimes we have to gamble. Imagine if we had pressed Everton from the start last Saturday with Tévez and Agüero running around closing down their defenders and denying them time and space. Which bring us to our tactics.

We must impose ourselves more as a team by using a pressing game when we don’t have the ball, then playing our football when we have it. Dortmund were masters of this in our group and Barcelona have used these tactics to their continued success over recent years. They deny their opponents space and as a result are better defensively and enjoy more possession. The pressing is the unglamorous side game of the game but Dortmund and Barcelona show the beauty of their football when they have earned their right to possession. Pep Guardiola gave his Barça team six seconds to win the ball back, and look what success that brought!

City play beautiful football when we have the ball, but we don’t press often enough, even though we do have the players to do it.

One of the worrying things is that we have not taken our League form into Europe. Granted, all the teams in our group are good teams, but are Ajax really better than Manure? We doubled Manure last season and couldn’t beat Ajax in two games this season. It seems like we are trying to do something different. The question has to be asked: is Roberto making too many changes when we go into Europe? Surely we should play our natural game?

We have to improve in Europe next year. It is reasonable to expect that, when we get another tough draw in the Champions’ League next season, (assuming we qualify, we’ll probably get Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Paris St Germain knowing our luck), we have to at least perform to our potential in Europe.

Whilst we wanted to do better than we have in Europe this season, the League should always have been the number one priority. Mercifully we are not in the Europa League, and we can now concentrate on the League, with the FA Cup a secondary but important competition. Some might say that Roberto Mancini has to win the League to keep his job (it has even been said that if we lose on Sunday he could be gone, which would be very disappointing). It could be that Sheikh Mansour will make a change at the end of this season if we don’t win the title. Given our abject showing in Europe this term, it is not beyond the realms of possibility that he could even make a change, even if we win the title. It depends how important European success is to Sheikh Mansour, and perhaps more pertinently, how quickly he would like City to be challenging for the Champions’ League. With Pep Guardiola, and Mourinho available in the summer, if not sooner, a change of manager may happen whether or not we win the League.

It feels almost sacrilegious to be talking about a possible successor to Roberto, but if Sheikh Mansour does make a change then I hope the man he brings in is Pep Guardiola, whose record with Barcelona speaks for itself. He is also much more likely to stick around than Mourinho, he has a rapport with Soriano, and Begiristain, and his brand of football has been the best to watch. If Guardiola was not available then Jürgen Klopp, the Dortmund coach is the next candidate most suited to City. His Dortmund side are very well managed and coached and their football is beautiful and very effective too.

If our next manager is Mourinho, and I am not sure that his behaviour goes down well in Abu Dhabi or with Soriano and Begiristain, I expect he would get a far more reasonable and fair reception than Rafa Benitez has had at Stamford Bridge. Without wishing to be too sanctimonious, I expect that we would behave with more class at City than those Chelsea lowlifes, whether we like Mourinho or not.

Whether we do have a change of manager is all speculation, much of it from a press who should be showing Roberto Mancini far more respect. Two trophies (three if you count the Charity/Community Shield) and the winning mentality that he has instilled deserve that respect. I really do hope that Roberto Mancini does get another opportunity next season to win the League and do better in the Champions’ League. Given what he has done for us thus far, he deserves that chance.

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


Pleased, as usual, to announce that King Of The Kippax number 202 should be out on Friday afternoon in the outlets at Aleef (corner of Cross Street/ Market Street) and the National Football Museum, plus all future games.

This issue celebrates the wonderful year we’ve had, winning the Premier League and the Community Shield, which the full A4 colour front cover shows in all its glory.

Hopefully it’ll cheer us all up after our woeful summer transactions and last night’s pitiful performance against Dortmund’s reserves. It’s a 52 page bumper issue and, further to the demise of the Manc magazine (though most of their articles are now regurgitated in the programme) is the only production of this type now left for reading on the Lav.

This issue includes contributor questionnaires, monthly diary, match reviews and previews, Europe, Joe Hart, media scrutiny, rule changes, Jewish power in Europe, 80’s reflection, Mark E Smith songs, Eike Immel update and, of course, the usual regulars and manu exposure.

It sells for £3 and can also be purchased from (cheques to) King of the Kippax, 25, Holdenbrook Close, Leigh, Lancs, WN7 2HL for £4.50 including P&P. Also, if you’re looking for a Chrissy present for yourself or a loved one you can’t do better than the Us and Them book on every team City have played. It’s hidden away in the bowels of the City store or can be purchased direct from the above address for £15 including P&P.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all MCIVTA readers.

Dave and Sue Wallace <dw001e8104(at)>


Ernie – as noted, Dzeko was correctly kept on against Everton to combat their aerial menace. As seemed obvious to me at the time.

Mike Cooke – some of our players, Silva for example, have not had a real break since the beginning of last season. I am not surprised the squad is looking a little jaded, and that we are just three points behind the other lot, and still unbeaten, is a testament to their will and Roberto M (Whom God preserve, as Beachcomber used to write. Older members may remember Beachcomber).

Me. Why not really annoy Moyes and buy Fellaini in January. He’d make an excellent fill-in/backup/alternative to Yaya, especially if he does join the African National Congress in January (that’s right, isn’t it? ANC?). He’s a real presence and a nuisance. Buy him!

Onwards and upwards. These are great times for us Sky Blues and they are only just beginning. Enjoy them and support them with all your heart.

Jeremy Poynton <j.poynton(at)>


Mercifully we are not in the Europa League. Why should a team that has failed in the Chimps gravy train be allowed to play in another European competition? Ah, money! Silly me.

With their introduction of the Europa League, UEFA have ruined the UEFA Cup and have brought us a competition that many clubs don’t want because there are too many games, all in the name of “maximising revenue”. No offence to Maritimo, whom I have a soft spot for, but how is Newcastle vs. Maritimo going to make any money for Newcastle on a Thursday night? With their players not having enough recovery time for a Sunday game, their League campaign is suffering and a fine Newcastle side now languishes in the lower half of the table rather than in the top six. Whatever money they make in TV revenue for the Europa League will be lost in Premier League prize money, and potential Premier League TV money in the 2nd half of the season.

You may have noticed that UEFA has hoardings that face the pitch and the stands with their logo and the single word “RESPECT”. They also have a TV ad with the same slogan.

It’s a bit rich that they should preach to us about respect when they show no respect to the fans.

So who are UEFA to talk about respect when UEFA introduce so-called “Fair Play” regulations that will make football less competitive and serve to protect the Establishment clubs like ManUre, Real Madrid etc. by preventing other clubs from spending to even compete with them?

A by-product of the so-called Fair Play regulations will be to drive match ticket prices up further as clubs strive to compete, by maximising their revenue streams.

UEFA skew the Champions’ League with their nefarious and dodgy Champions’ League group draws, which protect the European Establishment (Real Madrid, Bayern, Manure etc.), which give the likes of City perennially hard draws and Manure easy draws. It is a total nonsense that the English Champions are seeded lower than the team that we beat to the League.

UEFA take away the first few rows of seating for their oversized advertising hoardings in Champions’ League games. UEFA are the cause of less fans getting to see the game.

Impose 5pm and 5.30pm European kick-offs.

UEFA ruined three really good European competitions. UEFA have turned the exciting two-leg knock-out Champions’ Cup into a tournament with too many teams who are not Champions in it (Platini is crazily thinking of doubling its size from 32 teams to 64), and leaving the final round of games with mostly dead rubbers. They have changed the exciting two-leg knock-out UEFA Cup into the boring, interminable Europa League with so many dead rubber matches, and abolished the Cup Winners’ Cup.

With Platini’s penchant for meddling, UEFA are going to dilute the quality of the European Nations Cup by having even more teams in it: 24 as opposed to the 16 that has worked so well since 1996.

UEFA’s Thursday night Europa league games, which disrupt the weekend calendar more.

UEFA do little or nothing to combat racism. UEFA fine footballers more for taking their shirts off that show slogans than they fine countries with fans chanting racist filth. UEFA fine teams who come out a few seconds late for a second half of a game more than they do fine countries with fans chanting racist filth.

UEFA? Guardians of the game? Don’t make me laugh. UEFA are a blight on our game.

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


Whether we like it or not, we must stand by Roberto until the owner decides to get rid! We won the League and have not strengthened the team; is that because the owner felt that he didn’t want to give money to Roberto in case they had to give it to someone else either in January or July?!

In Mancini I don’t trust and nor do a lot of others! Some players included no doubt.

Sam Duxbury <sammi459(at)>


I can’t go to the two games over the Xmas break, so have two tickets available for each – Reading on 22nd December, and Stoke on 1st January. Tickets are for one adult and one junior (16-17), and are in Block 107, near the front, and near the away fans. £50 for both for each game (or if you need to upgrade the junior one to adult, can do that – costs £15).

Thanks, John Edwards <jbmc30(at)>


Derby day is almost upon us. I normally don’t relish Derby Day until the final whistle signals a City win or we are at least three goals in front. Chucking that two goal lead away in 1990/1991 after Colin Hendry had put us 3-1 up, has had a bearing, but ever since we threw away a 3-0 at home to Bournemouth at the end of 1888/89, we’ve never been able to say with any confidence that a game is won until we are 5-1 or 6-1 up!

We don’t really want to fall too far behind the Rags in terms of points, so I suspect we are in for a tight encounter. That said, we have pulled back an 8 point margin before haven’t we!

I’d like to see Matija Nastasic alongside Vincent Kompany, perhaps because he is quicker than Joleon Lescott, but Joleon would not let us down if selected in his number 6 jersey. I rather like the number 6, don’t you? It could be, though, that Nastasic deputises at left back if Gael Clichy (ankle) is not ruled fit enough to start.

Hopefully David Silva will make it, and his hamstring injury is just something minor or Roberto being a bit canny. I’d feel more confident with Silva pulling the strings. James Milner may struggle to make the starting line up with his own hamstring injury, which is a shame because his tireless work underpinned that 6-1 at Owed Trafford last season.

Much will depend on how strong and how fair Martin Atkinson is in this game. It was he, remember, who added all that unnecessary extra time that led to Owen’s winner at Owed Trafford. We all saw how Chris Foy was harangued by Rooney and co in the FA Cup tie last year, especially in the incident that saw Vincent Kompany get unfairly sent off. Rooney got Kompany booked with his play-acting on April 30th and will try again to get in the referee’s face. Hopefully Atkinson will be strong and fair.

We can’t lose focus of our game, though. Hopefully we will start off at a quicker tempo and impose our game on them. Even if we don’t start quickly (we don’t have a habit of doing that), hopefully we will defend well. I expect that we eventually will impose our class on them. If we can get at their creaking defence then we can really hurt them.

Even though I don’t live in the North West any more, I still feel the tension. That knot in my stomach and nauseous feeling is about to return.

Come on City. 1-0 will do. Do the business, and win!

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


2 December 2012

Newcastle             3 - 1  Wigan Athletic        43,858

2 December 2012

Norwich City          2 - 1  Sunderland            26,228

1 December 2012

West Ham United       3 - 1  Chelsea               35,005
Arsenal               0 - 2  Swansea City          60,098
Fulham                0 - 3  Tottenham Hotspur     25,426
Liverpool             1 - 0  Southampton           44,525
Manchester City       1 - 1  Everton               47,386
Queens Park Rangers   1 - 1  Aston Villa           17,387
West Bromwich Albion  0 - 1  Stoke City            24,739
Reading               3 - 4  Manchester United     24,095

League table as at 2 December 2012

                    P  GD Pts
 1 Manchester Utd  15  16  36
 2 Manchester City 15  17  33
 3 Chelsea         15   9  26
 4 Tottenham H.    15   5  26
 5 West Brom A.    15   5  26
 6 Everton         15   6  23
 7 Swansea City    15   6  23
 8 West Ham Utd    15   2  22
 9 Stoke City      15   2  22
10 Arsenal         15   8  21
11 Liverpool       15   1  19
12 Norwich City    15  -8  19
13 Fulham          15  -1  17
14 Newcastle Utd   15  -4  17
15 Aston Villa     14 -11  14
16 Wigan Athletic  15 -13  14
17 Sunderland      14  -5  13
18 Southampton     15 -11  12
19 Reading         14  -8   9
20 QPR             15 -16   6

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1871