Newsletter #1879

Ok I’ll admit it, I remember our last away League at Arsenal! I wasn’t there (I was 7!) but I do remember it. As I recall we played in black shorts (Gary J, perhaps you can confirm?!).

A great performance and a result that did not depend on the sending off… either of them. And a result that will have resonated across town.

With Chelsea slipping up at home this evening, the table at the end of this issue suggests it’s a two-horse race for the title. Let’s keep on to the finishing line.

A bumper issue tonight with thoughts aplenty on Arsenal, ticket prices, fair play, Berlusconi. One issue not covered, however, has been the sad news about the end of Michael Johnson’s career (at least temporarily). A couple of moving articles in this evening’s Manchester Evening News.

His skill will be missed, he really was a majestic young player and we all here are just hoping that a sad story does not become a tragic one. Good luck Michael.

Next Game: Fulham, Etihad Stadium, 19 January 2013, 15.00

MATCHVIEW: Arsenal 0 Manchester City 2

The Champions showed true quality to win our first League game at Arsenal since 1975. Under severe pressure to stay in the title race, staring at the possibility of a ten point deficit, City delivered an emphatic response to United’s win earlier in the day and keep us within sight of the top spot.

We were the better side from the very start, imposing our game on the home side. Our football was fluid, intelligent and very pleasing on the eye. Our passing was sharp and accurate and we pressed Arsenal into giving the ball away, even when they had eleven men. Silva had a shot defected behind for a corner, then in another attack Dzeko was going to beat Koscielny and Szczesny to a high ball, but was rugby tackled to the ground. It was a clear penalty and red card. A goal scoring opportunity was denied, and it is no good Arsenal fans or anyone bleating that the game had been ruined early. The same rules apply from the first minute to the ninety-nth minute, and there were no Arsenal fans or so-called neutrals whining when Dedryck Boyata was dismissed early on (dubiously, it has to be said) two and half years ago.

Our opening goal was excellent. Garcia had tried to play on after being fouled but as there was no advantage we gained a free kick. Barry showed presence of mind to find Silva who squared the ball to Tévez and he played a sweet, inch-perfect through ball to the advancing Milner whose powerful finish off the inside of the left hand post was worthy of winning any game of football. It was a well-deserved goal for a terrific, popular player who was everywhere in this match. His work rate and general play was phenomenal.

We were first to the ball and strong in the tackle, and this was best illustrated with our second goal. Garcia was quick to intercept on the right hand touch line, Zabaleta was very strong to win a tackle with Gibbs that he was second favourite for and he helped the ball on to Milner. The Yorkshireman crossed low and hard, Tévez’s touch was well stopped by Szczesny but Dzeko was on hand to tap in our second goal. It was well worked and Dzeko showed true striker’s instincts to pounce and score.

We would have had another goal had Wilshere not blocked Garcia’s goal-bound header. It was a very good first half performance from City. The second half was less impressive as Arsenal improved but we were decent enough and could have doubled our advantage: Tévez really should have scored when put clean through by Dzeko; and Dzeko headed over an excellent Milner cross from the right. The only criticism that could be made, and that would be rather churlish on a day like this, was that City did not ruthlessly exploit the man advantage and score more goals.

The Gunners had a Walcott shot cleared off the line by Lescott late on and a free header over the bar, but that was about it. City always had a two goal cushion and never looked like getting anything less than a victory.

Vincent Kompany was very unfortunate to be sent off for a brilliant tackle. It wasn’t even a foul and Mike Dean made an honest mistake in issuing a red, even by modern standards. There was no excessive force, recklessness and Vinny got the ball, so City are right to appeal. Whether that appeal will be successful or not is another matter.

Vinny’s unjust sending off cannot detract from a very good performance. There were so many positives. The cohesion of our maturing team is there for all to see. City are indeed a team in the truest sense now that everything has settled down. Our squad has depth in most areas, and this was highlighted in central midfield with the absence of Yaya Touré. It was very encouraging to see Javi Garcia give a good account of himself in central midfield, and he showed no little skill in his reversed side footed pass that found Zaba at the start of the move for the first goal. Granted, we only played against ten men for most of the game but our defence is back to what it was last season and looks like a well-drilled unit. In fact everyone knew their jobs, and we played some lovely stuff again.

This was a great day for Manchester City. Thirty-seven years is a long time by any standards. In that time we have watched some very poor football indeed, we’ve been relegated out of the top flight four times, and sunk to the third division for (hopefully) the only time in our history. It’s been quite a bumpy journey with only fleeting moments of success, particularly under Messrs Kendall, Reid and Keegan. Let’s not leave it too long for the next one, eh, boys?

Goals: Milner (20), Dzeko (31)

Att: 60,107

Roll of honour:
Hart: Has developed a habit of punching the ball downwards straight into the danger area. Please stop it, Joseph! Otherwise he handled ok. 6
Zabaleta: The best right back in the Premier League (and not far off the best left back) showed great tenacity to win the ball for our second goal. His pressing far up the pitch was important in our dominance: 8
Kompany: A leader and a solid presence. Very unfortunate to be sent off again: 8
Nastasic: Good passing and read the game very well. Gave away a couple of free kicks in dangerous areas though: 7
Clichy: Absolutely superb in defence and decent in attack. His crossing needs some work though to improve its accuracy: 7
Milner: So much hard work and industry and our pressing is so much better with him in the side. His goal was superbly taken: he found space and timed his run to perfection and his shot was unstoppable. What a superb, model professional this highly impressive young man is: 9 (Man of the Match)
Barry: Mr Reliable did the job yet again, being a crucial part of our pressing game, which gave us the initiative: 7
Garcia: His best game for City so far. He also pressed well and read the game superbly, like his partner Barry doing a lot of simple things well: 8
Silva: Ran the game, and lit it up with some superb short passing. What a joy he is to watch. He also fought hard too in defence and made a towering clearance that a centre half would have been proud of late on: 9
Dzeko: Started off like he was going to have a nightmare with a poor penalty and an even poorer wild shot, but stuck to the task and deserved his goal for his expert positional and link play: 7
Tévez: Played a beautiful pass for Milner to score. Was industrious and intelligent throughout and pressed from the front. Should have opened his account against Arsenal though when clear: 8
Lescott (for Tévez 76): Crucial clearance to maintain our two goal lead
Balotelli (for Dzeko 88): n/a
Kolarov (for Silva 92): n/a

Best Oppo: Szczesny: some top drawer saves: 7

Mike Dean: Had a good game except that Kompany’s sending off was a mistake, and if he’d seen Podolski’s forearm go into on Zabaleta’s face, he might have brandished another red: 7


I am proud of our supporters for not taking up the full allocation and making a stand on the rip-off £62 tickets. I am also proud of the support given from those fans who did attend The Emirates. They did us and the team proud with their vocal support and made their point about the rip off ticket prices well.

Apparently the linesman who told Joleon Lescott to go and applaud the fans because they’d paid £62 at the end has been axed from the FA Cup matches coming up. How ridiculous. Granted, he didn’t need to tell our players to do that, because most of them remember to go to the fans, but why shouldn’t he mention the ridiculous prices that fans have to pay? Are the authorities scared that that the truth about rip-off prices reflect badly on them? Indeed they should.

Anyway, where is their sense of humour? Such asinine decisions, though, are only to be expected from people like Mike Riley who is head of the referees.

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


I personally think that it is good news that Pep Guardiola has agreed to join Bayern as their manager.

After so much attention to Pep by the media and some even saying he was about to join City, this would have meant Roberto Mancini losing his job, I started to look at our manager more closely, and I got concerned about the Mancini-Balotelli relationship; could this be the reason for Mancini to lose for Pep to move in I thought?

To give more weight to this is the fact that two important people are at MCFC from Barcelona in Ferran Soriano, who is now Chief Executive officer in Gary Cook’s old job, and Txiki Bergiristain, who has become Sports Director, taking over from Brian Marwood.

Now the pressure of Pep coming to City is off, and that is good news so that Mancini can get on with his job, not that Mancini ever said publicly that he was concerned, but I must admit that I was.

The pressure of being a manager in the English Premier League or any other league for that matter is never safe, and just because Pep Guardiola had such a great record as coach of Barcelona, does not guarantee it with his next club.

Roberto Mancini still has to perform as the best Manager/Coach for City; nothing is a guarantee despite contracts.

I will echo my thoughts, in Roberto Mancini we have a very good Manager/Coach and In Mancini I trust!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


Some observations from last night: why oh why do teams not have a go at United more often? If Liverpool showed anything like ambition in the first half they would not have left Trafford empty-handed. They are shaky bunch at the back, especially if someone with pace is up against them!

To City: handed an advantage of sorts we seldom see away from home! Was I alone in thinking we would cock it up the old City way?! Well we did not, and three valuable points gained. However, if Vincent’s sending-off would have resulted in losing the three points, it would have been ‘Typical City’. He knew that the referee would be looking to even things up so why give him the excuse to do just that? He needs to learn that going into a tackle in such a way is going to result in giving the referee opportunity to make amends.

Why did ‘deck chair’ take the penalty? He was cumbersome in taking it and Tévez was there stood by the side of him. To be honest he has been a little better of late and his touch is better but he still gives the ball away far too easily at times.

Well the way it works next weekend is City win at home and United have one or three points taken off them at Spurs! Here’s hoping!

Tony Higginson <Tony.Higginson(at)>


There have been 19 managers since Tony Book’s side beat Arsenal at Highbury on 4th October 1975:

Malcolm Allison, John Bond, John Benson, Billy McNeill, Jimmy Frizzell, Mel Machin, Howard Kendall, Peter Reid, Brian Horton, Alan Ball, Asa Hartford, Steve Coppell, Phil Neal, Frank Clark, Joe Royle, Kevin Keegan, Stuart Pearce, Sven Goran Eriksson and Mark Hughes and 14 of them couldn’t get that elusive League win at Arsenal (Asa Hartford, Steve Coppell, Phil Neal, Frank Clark didn’t manage in the top flight and Howard Kendall sadly didn’t hang around long enough).

The team that won at Highbury on October 1975 was: Corrigan, Clements Donachie, Doyle, Watson, Oakes, Hartford, Bell, Royle, Marsh and Tueart (sub: Power) with Hartford, Marsh and Royle scoring the goals (thanks to Gary James and Ric Turner for the bluemoon-mcfc history section for those details: It’s a life time away for many of us. On a personal note I was 10 years old, and my first visit to Maine Road was not to come for another 5 years!

If anyone was going to win at Highbury it was Roberto Mancini’s team, which is clearly our best since 1975, and we of course won there in the League Cup under his tenure.

Well done Roberto, his staff and the Boys in Blue for a job well done. You did us proud!

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


A couple of City-related news issues this last week have had me scratching my head somewhat.

One was Silvio Berlusconi’s comments about a certain Mario Balotelli. The headline-grabber is his description of said enigmatic (my diplomatic euphemism for sulky) striker as a “rotten apple”. Now there may be something to that, indeed he simply cannot aid team harmony, but just look at the second part of this quote:

“The name of Balotelli never came into my thoughts, he is a rotten apple and could infect every group where he goes, even Milan. I’m sorry to say this, but in Milan is very important to the human aspect. A rotten apple in the locker room can infect all the others.”

I’m sorry but who on earth is Berlusconi to talk about “the human aspect”? This renowned standard-bearer of morality, this paragon of virtue, this beacon of light (my diplomatic not-quite-euphemism for creepy old perv and megalomaniac)? I can only guess that he doesn’t get to look in the mirror too often!

Well done Mario (something I don’t say too often) for showing commendable maturity (something I’ve never said before) by refusing to get into a war of words.

The other issue on which the mind boggles is Arsenal’s decision to rip our travelling fans off to the tune of sixty-two and a half quid.

Yes, as a club we have spent big over the past few years, and our players are extremely well rewarded, but what’s this got to do with the price of tickets – or, indeed, fish? Now maybe I’m missing something central here, some subtle yet salient point that has eluded me, but what on earth has the wealth of the club itself got to do with the fans? Can the powers-that-be at The Emirates not distinguish between the two? That we all have an oil well in our own back yards? Or do they think that Sheikh Mansour himself pays for all our tickets? Or that perhaps Yaya, Carlos and Sergio club together their spare change and Tesco points on our behalf?

If someone could be so good as to point out their undoubted wisdom and logic that the contents within my thick skull fail to comprehend…

Cheers and a Happy New Year to all.

P.S. The rest was written well before the match. A quick snapshot in the immediate afterglow – I thought we put in a top showing today, and I thought we were more comfortable in the second-half than the pundits suggested. We created time aplenty for ourselves, and mostly gave them very little of said precious commodity.

Steve O’Brien <bodsnvimto(at)>


The Arsenal fans are a classy bunch aren’t they? They booed Clichy’s every touch. Why? He didn’t leave under a cloud like say Adebayor did. He left on good terms to win things and better himself, and he has certainly done that. As he left the field at the end of the match he was booed again but he just pointed to his Premier League winners badge. There’s no real answer to that. Arsenal fans may chant “We love you Arsenal, we do” (it makes a change from the usual silence), but what do they love? If they can’t treat a good servant like Clichy well, who has never said a word to upset them, then their words seem shallow and should be changed to “We love you Arsenal, but we’ll hate and berate you when you leave”. Doesn’t really scan does it, but it’s more accurate. Compare the reception Clichy got to what Shaun Wright-Phillips got when he returned with Chelsea. Both players left on good terms, and our huge disappointment dwarfed those in North London, yet our man was only treated with respect, applause, and the odd “Shaunny Wright-Wright-Wright” chant. There’s a huge difference in class of support.

Many Arsenal fans booed Pablo Zabaleta, who had every cause to get angry after Podolski’s forearm smash, which should have earned a red card. As well as that Messrs Nasri and one of their own players Chamakh, who were given appalling stick as they went to the ground to watch. Too many Arsenal fans have become the most bitter, obnoxious specimens that ever attended a football ground.

I’m loath to generalise too much about groups of people, however, too many Arsenal fans come across as spoiled brats. Seven years without a trophy? They should try going 35 years without one. Like United and some Liverpool fans, they have a misplaced sense of entitlement. They seem to think, as one City fan beautifully put it, that they are football royalty.

We’ve yet to hear one Arsenal fan be sporting enough to recognise that they were beaten by the better team on Sunday. They hypocritically bleat on about their club being “self sustaining” and they repeat Wenger’s words to describe our spending as “financial doping” and yet don’t admit that they got into their cosy “top to four” cartel by a huge £50 million investment by their director Danny Fizsman in the mid 90s, which allowed the likes of Dennis Bergkamp and later Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry to sign for them for huge transfer fees at that time. Double standards. The hypocrisy of these Arsenal fans is laughable. It was ok for them to have £50 million that they didn’t earn but not anyone who threatens their cosy existence.

There were no Arsenal fans worrying about other clubs being “self sustaining” when they were carrying all before them, nor were they worried about “financial doping” when Fizsman was investing £50 million in their team.

I don’t speak as someone who hates Arsenal. I quite liked them up till about a couple of years ago, and loved watching their Invincibles team, except when they were taking us apart. Further back from that my first memory of a Cup Final was Charlie George scoring the winner in 1971 so I look back on that with some fondness. I’d even go so far as to say that as a five year old they were the first team that I liked (Dad did not brainwash me into supporting City, and it was to be another ten years before I visited Maine Road for the first time!).

They had their days in the sun when we applauded their great team after they spanked us 4-0 (Arsenal fans liked us back then because they could beat us regularly and we were no threat to their place at the top table), now they don’t have either the grace or class to acknowledge our good team. Instead, all we hear is bitterness about our having the temerity to challenge their cosy “top to four” cartel. Well they now have the club that they deserve. An Arsenal where their owners trouser a profit and allow their team to get worse year on year while Tottenham and Everton get closer and closer to grabbing that last, prized 4th spot. Meanwhile, we can enjoy our team getting better.

If the Arsenal owners can’t protect their investment on the pitch they will try to do so by regulation.

As I and others have pointed out before, the owners of Arsenal, Liverpool and “Manchester” United want to further restrict our spending with their so-called fair play rules, on top of Platini’s corrupt so-called fair play regulations. Apparently it’s not “fair” to them because they are not the biggest spenders so they are trying to legislate to maintain their position, all in the name “fair play”! Having the biggest revenue streams and profits, these clubs would be able to spend the most by theirs and Platini’s proposed so-called “fair play” regulations and their tighter own English Premier League version of it. It stinks and is corrupt. I just hope that the other clubs see this as a restraint of trade and a the creation of a stronger glass ceiling than is already in place.

The same so-called “fair play” regulations that give excuses for clubs like Arsenal, the Rags and Liverpool to drive up ticket prices to levels like the ridiculous £62.

Arsenal’s and the Rags owners take money out of football whilst Sheikh Mansour and Roman Abramovich put money into football and yet Arsenal and the Rags bleat on about “fair play”. Oh the irony!

You’ve probably guess that I have had my fill of Arsenal and co. I won’t, though, spend every Saturday, Sunday or whatever day looking for Arsenal to lose but forgive me if you can hear me laughing as Arsenal fail to qualify for the Chimps league. Maybe it’s time for more deserving supporters to see top class European football.

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


Hi. Just a quick note to say keep up the good work to all at MCIVTA.

My son is doing the “Swimathon” soon. Click on the link as his photo does have a City theme.

Any donations appreciated.

P.S. my son is on the left.

Alan Coates <alanjcoates(at)>


Does anyone have a spare ticket for the QPR match? If so please contact me <st.john.cox(at)>.

St. John Cox <stjohn.cox(at)>


I am visiting UK and will be in London on the 29th. Love to see the QPR game with my son Matthew.

Anyone have two tickets to sell? Please get back ASAP.

Pat Knowles <pjamk(at)>


I am interested in starting up an East of England City Supporters’ Club branch in the Great Yarmouth area; please contact me if you would like to join (currently the closest branch is Kings Lynn – 65 miles away!).

Paul Bond <Bondie(at)>


As a lifelong Manchester City fan, have you ever met or spoken to any Manchester City players? I’m glad you asked. Manchester born and bred, to the best of my recollection in my 55 years I’ve had the pleasure of speaking personally to Man City players on four separate occasions.

First, my uncle George Smith. I remember as a nipper Uncle George would come round to our house with his family during various holidays. My brother and I would corner him and ask him to do some football tricks for us, like balancing a football on his head, or juggling a ball. Somewhat reluctantly, and to our delight, he obliged. Now aged 92, George is currently the oldest living former Man City player, having been a prolific scorer for City during, and just after, World War II.

Second, I may have got some details wrong here, but as I recall it was a game at Maine Road against Hull around 1967. I was about ten years old, and had gone to the game with my older brother, Peter. Kippax Street was standing room only back then, and my brother and I went there to stake out our claim at the front wall, by the pitch’s edge, for the best view possible.

During the game, the ball skidded off the pitch, over the wall and wasexpertly caught by yours truly. George Heslop ran up to take the throwin, and as I passed the ball to him he said “Thanks”. I wonder if GeorgeHeslop would remember the moment?

Third, age 14 or so now. Me and my six mates – all Reds – were hanging out by the corner store in my home town of Simister, Prestwich. Lo and behold, who should walk by but Tommy Booth? “Tommy Booth?” asks I in amazement.

“Are you Tommy Booth?” I asked again. “Yes, I am” he replied. And so we chatted about the why’s and wherefore’s of life in Simister and his recent move there, but mainly – of course – Manchester City.

Fourth, and hopefully not the last, Colin Bell opened a restaurant in Prestwich with his business partner and former Bury player, Colin Waldron. Aged 18 or so, I went to the Bell-Waldron restaurant for dinner with my girlfriend. Colin Bell was greeting customers. “What happened on Saturday?” I asked, referring to City’s recent weekend loss. “Just one of those things” he replied. My girlfriend was well-impressed, and later asked me if I knew Colin Bell personally. “Good friends”, I lied. A man can dream.

Four times in 55 years. I wonder what the next 55 will bring?

Then there’s Coronation Street…

David Smith <dsmith(at)>


16 January 2013

Chelsea               2 - 2  Southampton           38,484

13 January 2013

Manchester United     2 - 1  Liverpool             75,501
Arsenal               0 - 2  Manchester City       60,107

12 January 2013

Queens Park Rangers   0 - 0  Tottenham Hotspur     18,018
Aston Villa           0 - 1  Southampton           32,500
Everton               0 - 0  Swansea City          35,782
Fulham                1 - 1  Wigan Athletic        25,442
Norwich City          0 - 0  Newcastle United      26,752
Reading               3 - 2  West Bromwich Albion  23,495
Stoke City            0 - 4  Chelsea               27,348
Sunderland            3 - 0  West Ham United       39,918

League table as at 17 January 2013

                    P  GD Pts
 1 Manchester Utd  22  27  55
 2 Manchester City 22  24  48
 3 Chelsea         22  24  42
 4 Tottenham H.    22  12  40
 5 Everton         22   9  37
 6 Arsenal         21  16  34
 7 West Brom A.    22   1  33
 8 Liverpool       22   7  31
 9 Swansea City    22   5  30
10 Stoke City      22  -3  29
11 West Ham Utd    21  -3  26
12 Norwich City    22 -10  26
13 Fulham          22  -5  25
14 Sunderland      22  -5  25
15 Southampton     22 -10  22
16 Newcastle Utd   22 -12  21
17 Wigan Athletic  22 -17  19
18 Aston Villa     22 -25  19
19 Reading         22 -16  16
20 QPR             22 -19  14

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1879