Newsletter #1902

An intellectual edition this evening full interesting reflection and challenging thought.

Guess it reflects a contemplative mood following the departure (let’s hope temporarily) of our Champions status and the impending opportunity of some further silverware. I think our yin and yang are trying to re-align!

Enjoy the articles and do feel free to share your own view of the Blue world.

Next Game: Swansea City, Liberty Stadium, 4 May 2013, 15.00


City returned to winning ways with this deserved win over West Ham to reaffirm our grip on 2nd place. City’s goals were of the very highest quality and delighted a City crowd on a lovely spring day. It was, though, a win that City achieved without hitting very top form, and the points were only secured with Yaya Touré’s spectacular strike in the 84th minute.

It was good to see Sergio Agüero and Silva back from their injuries, and Joleon Lescott came in for Matija Nastasic.

City dominated possession for most of this game and it was not long before chances fell our way. Nasri teed up Tévez but his effort was saved by Jaaskaleinen. David Silva fired a diagonal shot just wide of the right hand post. Then after 21 minutes, Silva’s ball that was intended for Tévez was luckily deflected by a West Ham defender to Agüero but his scuffed shot hit the left hand post.

At the other end, Diame’s rasping low drive was gathered by Hart at the second attempt in the middle of the 23rd minute, a minute that was marked by applause from fans in all sections of the ground for Marc-Vivien Foe who played for both clubs and donned the number 23 shirt before his tragic, premature death during an international game 10 years ago. We have much to be grateful to Marc-Vivien for. His 9 League goals and strength in our midfield helped establish Kevin Keegan’s side in our first season back in the top flight and whilst he was not guaranteed to stay with us, we really missed him in the season after.

In this game our main attacking inspiration came from Samir Nasri, who was our best player on the day, and he was the prime mover in our brilliant opening goal. One touch passing from the back started it off before the ball reached the final third. Nasri exchanged one touch passes with Yaya Touré, then with Silva before delivering a low, left foot cross that Sergio Agüero stroked into the net. It was as good a goal as any in the world. A move that spanned the length of the pitch. It was lovely, crisp, intelligent one touch passing topped off with a clinical finish: team work at its very best.

We nearly doubled our lead when Nasri forced Jaaskaleinen to make a save and Zabaleta couldn’t quite lift the rebound over the West Ham ‘keeper, who made another fine save. “Do-do-do, Pablo Zabaleta!”

There was still time in the first half for Jarvis to cross for Carroll to shoot but Lescott was on hand to get a block in. It was proving to be a very good return for the England defender, who’d earlier made an excellent interception to classily cut out an incisive pass from Diame.

City started the second half slowly, but our defence did well to cut out crosses from both flanks, Vaz Te and O’Neill from the right flank and Reid from the left. Lescott and Kompany did well to get clearing headers in before Carroll could use his aerial prowess and Zabaleta smartly nipped in ahead of Jarvis to get a vital touch to deny the Hammers winger a scoring chance at the far post.

For a while, we were playing on the break and with our quality, this always made us a great threat. In one such breakaway, Tévez carried the ball excitingly forward, and he played in Silva but the City magician’s goal-bound shot was deflected behind for a corner.

Class told and, gradually, City got a grip of the game again.

Barry and Yaya linked up to feed Nasri who played a delightfully intelligent chip for Tévez but Winston Reid got in a block. Then Nasri and Tévez combined again in a slick one-two, Tévez playing a lovely reverse pass and Jaaskaleinen made an excellent save to stop Nasri’s angled close range shot.

Silva then played a highly intelligent diagonal through ball through a forest of bodies for Agüero down the inside left channel and his cross fed Tévez, who again was thwarted by a defender’s block. Another smart move saw Agüero pass to Tévez who crossed invitingly from the right but Nasri tried to finish with his right when he should have used his left. The finish lacked any conviction and the crowd gasped in frustration. Still City hadn’t put the game to bed, and the big concern was that we would succumb to a set piece or deep cross. This concern was well founded and West Ham should have levelled after winning a free kick but James Collins fired wide when well placed.

It was a huge relief when Yaya Touré scored another goal of the very highestquality to clinch the match in the 83rd minute. Substitute Milner and Nasrilinked up down the right and bided their time before the ball was played toYaya Touré, who burst into space and hit a terrific, powerful left footedshot that fizzed into the top left hand corner of the net. Again it wasworld class finishing and there were gasps of admiration all round. Itwas a truly exhilarating goal that lifted us out of our seats.

“Yaya, Yaya-Yaya…”

West Ham were not done and a searching O’Neill cross presented a chance for Carroll but Hart made a fine instinctive save to deny him. Hart was soon worryingly on the ground in pain but was able to resume. The visitors were like a typical Allardyce team, playing for free kicks and corners, and most of their attacks in open play came from crosses in wide positions. Whilst they didn’t play like a long ball team, and they have stabilised back in the top flight, it wasn’t classic, stylish West Ham football (for some reason good footballers like Mark Noble and Joe Cole were on the bench), and one wonders how long they will tolerate Ferguson’s biggest sycophant.

At the North Stand end a beach ball made an appearance to cheers. Here comes the summer! Well, almost. Not that the players on either side had their flip flops on, as there is still work to be done, and Agüero emphasised this by chasing down West Ham defenders to win the ball and feed Zabaleta, whose shot was saved. The ever-energetic Agüero ran in again to seize on the rebound but his finish was just pushed past the post by a blocking challenge.

Carroll deserved his goal at the very end, but Hart uncharacteristically let his shot go through his legs: probably struggling to get down to it after hurting his back. It was a shame that City did not keep a clean sheet as the application and organisation had been very good all afternoon, and our defence had worked very hard to deal with Carroll’s threat. Indeed, City defended well after the bruising defeat at Tottenham. We now have to keep going and maintain our form to keep the winning sequence going.

This game again further underlined the need to bring in at least one top class striker and playmaker to bolster competition, and we should already be making moves to this end. Our finishing lacked last season’s ruthlessness. That will need to be regained from August onwards if we are to regain the title that we deservedly won last May.

City: Agüero 28, Yaya Touré 83;
West Ham: Carroll 94.

Att: 47,189

Hart: Hasn’t been at his most confident for a little while now and it showed in his handling, fumbling Diame’s attempt before the break. Worryingly twisted a muscle in his back at the end and this contributed to him dropping a cross and then conceding the goal. Before that he made a fine instinctive save to deny Carroll at 2-0: 6
Zabaleta: A warrior again, whilst he couldn’t cut out every cross from the tricky Jarvis he dealt well to read the danger, and always looked to get forward deep into West Ham’s penalty area, the perfect example being when he was free by Milner’s perfect pass to deliver an inch perfect cross: 8
Kompany: An important, assertive performance: 8
Lescott: Some superb defending in the air and on the ground, including a neat interception and turn to cut out a defence-splitting pass from Diame and start another City move. Hopefully he will stay for at least another season as he has plenty to offer us: 8
Clichy: Stood up well despite a tough test down the left: 7
Nasri: He made the first goal and was the chief creator. He is enjoying a real purple patch in recent games. Could it be something to with Roberto Mancini’s blunt comments about his effort levels? A few weeks ago, it looked like he was on his way out. If he can consistently produce this level of performance he is definitely worth keeping, but would he do this week in, week out, on the cold, dark winter afternoons? Maybe some competition in the form of another playmaker or a winger is what he needs to keep him on his toes, but it may already be too late. City have a decision to make with regards his future: 8 (Man of the match)
Silva: Feeling his way back after hamstring and ankle injuries. Without being back at his best, he still delighted with some lovely passing: his highlight was a superb, defence-splitting diagonal pass in the 2nd half: 7
Yaya: Really good link up play for the first goal and what a great finish for the second. He is so key to our intricate short passing game: 8
Tévez: Some lovely touches and, as ever, great work ethic: 7
Agüero: Took his goal well but could have had more. Excellent work rate from him too: 8
Milner (for Silva 79): Slotted in very well, both in attack and defence. Combined to set up the second goal. The model pro, he shows a defensive awareness to drop into space to cover Pablo Zabaleta’s forward runs: 7
Garcia (for Tévez 84): n/a
Kolo Touré (for Nasri 87): Serenaded with “Kolo, Kolo-Kolo…” as he warmed up in front of us. It’s a shame that he is leaving at the end of the season but it is understandable for a 32-year-old of his quality especially to want to play regular football: n/a

Best Oppo: Andy Carroll had been a handful all afternoon. Physical, powerful in the air and showed good touch and technique on the ground too: 8

Refwatch: Howard Webb: Allowed some fierce tackles that were clear fouls from West Ham, and Silva in particular was lucky that he wasn’t injured. It was if Webb had had a phone call from Baconface instructing him to allow such injurious tackles. He recently got demoted from the Premier (why should Football League clubs be punished with his refereeing?) for another poor performance, and it doesn’t look like he has learned much since, prompting chants of “You don’t know what you’re doing”, which he was very conscious of. So much so that he went a shade pink! He may be the most senior referee but he is far from the best: 2

Us and West’Aiiim

It was a game that was played in a convivial atmosphere, reflecting the good relations between City and West Ham fans. A love-in it might have been but there were funny moments too. After we appealed for a handball early on, the West Ham fans responded with mock “Hend bawww” appeals at every touch of the ball, and later on when they appealed when there was no case for handball against Zaba, we reciprocated with our own “Handball” appeals. If you can’t talk proper…

Many Blues have a liking and healthy respect for West Ham and their fans. Much of this is down to the last match of the season in 1986/1987 when City lost the final match at West Ham confirming relegation (it would have needed a seismic goal swing and a City win to stay up that day). I wasn’t there personally but it has been well documented that West Ham and City fans went onto the pitch afterwards, and instead of there being any nastiness (whilst most football fans aren’t interested in aggro, those were the days of West Ham’s notorious Inter City Firm or ICF) the supporters of both clubs swapped scarves and the West Ham fans chanted “You’ll be back…”. That gesture and their conciliatory behaviour has never been forgotten by many of us. Their behaviour is in direct contrast to the Ipswich fans who brought “You’re the weakest link… Goodbye” banners to the match and really rubbed it in when they relegated City at Portman Road in 2000/2001 (with all respect to Mick McCarthy, I have to confess that even though I don’t look out for their results, I’ve always enjoyed Ipswich defeats since then).

Many people have a soft spot for West Ham because they usually play good football. They certainly have a genuinely loyal fan base, and they really cannot stand Manure, something that has a lot to do with Paul Ince’s departure to the Swamp, as well as our neighbours’ quintessentially obnoxious behaviour.

Personally I have generally got on with West Ham fans and had good footy chat with them (I love the name of one of their forums: “Knees up Mother Brown” (KUMB)!). Whilst like many other fans, they may have a little envy for City’s wealth, my experience is that City are generally well liked in Hammers circles. It certainly appears that the feeling is mutual.

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>

KOTK 206

Pleased to announce that King of the Kippax number 206, the Cup Final/summer special is at the printers and should be in the outlets at Aleef (corner of Cross Street/Market Street), National Football Museum and the two BHA1J1 shops on Mersey Way Stockport, where I’m told repeatedly, by Rags, there are one or two Blues in residence in the area.

This issue has a colour front and back cover showing the cup-winning goalscorers from Meredith to Yaya and is a massive 56 pages, ridiculously non-cost-effective but what the heck, we’re in the Cup final after all and it has to last all summer!

This issue includes the semi-final, the Derby (2-1 win), Cup Final preview, daily diary, Mrs T and football, Romance of the Cup, Train of Shame, City in the 80’s, the many faces of Phil Jones (obviously not to be seen by the kids) and the usual regulars.

It’s priced at £3 and is the one and only City fanzine/magazine left that can be bought on the street and in the outlets. It can also be bought direct from (cheques to) King Of The Kippax, 25, Holdenbrook Close, Leigh, Lancs, WN7 2HL, for £4.50 including P&P.

Dave and Sue Wallace <dw001e8104(at)>


I type this with a foot encased in an ice filled plastic bag after tripping over a tree root while out on a dinner time run. If I’ve broken my ankle it’s academic but, if I haven’t, are there any other City fans in and around the Newport area planning on watching the game in a pub and if so where?

I watched our triumph two years ago in the local Wetherspoons with a City fan from North Wales and as good company as he was it would be nice to meet up with a few others.

Ian Macrory <ian.macrory(at)>


BBC World TV broadcasts “Final Score” 6:30PM (CET) every Saturday (same format, studio, guests etc., as BBC broadcasts from 2:30pm on its red button/BBC1 in UK).

Garth Crooks and Robbie Savage are tired and frankly at each other’s throats as I watch their take on the results, tables and interviews after last Saturday’s games. Gabby Logan asks their predictions for the remaining two Champions’ League places. Garth is obviously for Spurs but Robbie tells him “No Way” and it will be Chelsea and Arsenal.

This leads to what will happen to Gareth Bale if Spurs finish fifth?

Garth isn’t sure, but Robbie states the following: “I have it on good authority that he’ll be a Man City player next season”. They then have a go at each other and finally agree that a deal could result around a figure of 80 million quid.

I do not know if Robbie was being serious or “winding up” Garth, but could it be true that Roberto has told him something during their meet ups? Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we did get him this summer?

Pat Knowles <pjamk(at)>


Defeat to Tottenham was very disappointing, especially after being the best side for 70 minutes. We didn’t handle Tottenham’s changes well, and our defending was way short of its best. Vincent Kompany should have done better for the first two goals, especially allowing Defoe to cut in too easily – most unlike Vinny – and Clichy lost concentration and let Bale get away from him.

Perhaps more disappointing was that once we conceded, we looked like a beaten side. We didn’t capitalise on our superiority when we were on top. For all Tévez’s brilliant endeavour there wasn’t enough ruthlessness. Nasri played well but should have made it 2-0. Dzeko wandered round like he has done for a while like a player who is on the plane to Germany. He has scored some important goals for us and goes down in history, but it is probably right to say thanks and best of luck at the end of the season, especially if we can get at least £20 million for him. Add that to the £20 million for Mario Balotelli and we should be well on the way to affording Edinson Cavani of Napoli or Radamel Falcao of Atletico Madrid. Cavani would give us height whereas Falcao is perhaps the hottest goal scorer in Europe. Doubtless we’d face competition for Falcao from the likes of Real Madrid and Chelsea who would be keen to swap Torres, but we should be going for the very best.

Hopefully last weekend’s events will convince City not to buy the vile, buck-toothed racist in Liverpool. Suarez would be a stain on our club and wouldn’t be good for Abu Dhabi either, no matter how many goals he has scored. Liverpool are predictably, and pathetically backing him after his lenient 10 game ban – it should have been 12 at the very least. Brendan Rodgers said “He has not let me down one little bit”. Hasn’t he missed an “e” off the end of that statement? Liverpool were a great club once (emphasis on the word ‘once’).

There are worrying reports that City target Edinson Cavani is heading to Paris this summer. Whilst we have no problem with someone else having plenty of money to spend, how is it that Michel Platini always targets Manchester City, and doesn’t mention PSG? Nothing to do with being French is it? Elsewhere the brilliant Mario Gotze is going to Bayern, which is a shame, but predictable. Bayern, particularly Uli Hoeness, who having been whingeing about City spending money and being one of the prime movers along with United, Liverpool and Arsenal of the so-called Financial “Fair Play” restrictions, normally hoover up the best talent from other clubs in Germany. In their rule book (and United, Liverpool and Arsenal etc.) it’s ok for big spending as long as it is them doing the spending. Anyone who threatens their cosy cartel has to be stopped. Hopefully Dortmund will give Bayern a good seeing to in the Chimps League final.

And guess who is in more than a little hot wasser in Germany. None other than arch-City hater Uli Hoeness. He has allegedly not been paying his taxes. All this from the man who has self righteously castigated our spending, more than any other. I wonder if any of our other critics have any flies heading their way?

Talking of our critics, there is a lot of talk in the media (with no attributable quotes) about our Roberto Mancini’s future and it is ridiculous. The critics in a pro-United media have a vested interest in City failing. The success of United and the rest of the cosy cartel sells newspapers and Sky subscriptions, and City represent a threat to that. They’d love nothing more than there to be a new manager at City, with the disruption of him settling in and changing the team. Why would we sack a manager who brought our first trophy in 35 years and our first League Championship in 44? If you can call 2nd place and being in an FA Cup Final (which we have a good chance of winning) a disappointment then it’s one we can definitely live with. Head to head this season, we are a better team than United and the way we outplayed them at Old Trafford proved that. However, United were more consistent, picked up more wins than we did even when they weren’t playing well. At times we haven’t turned up this season (Everton, Southampton away) and we failed to beat the likes of QPR and Sunderland away. With the exception of Nastastic, our Title winning squad was not strengthened. In fact the departure of de Jong and Adam Johnson weakened our squad as their replacements, Garcia and Sinclair are nowhere near their performance levels.

Talking of Nigel de Jong, it was good to see the video of him with Micah Richards back at our club for the Wigan game. If you haven’t seen it, here it is:

Our Nige is clearly very popular, humorous and was a good influence both on the pitch and in the dressing room. Whilst I can understand the club wanting to reduce the wage bill, it is such a shame that he was allowed to leave because we miss the presence of the best defensive midfield player in the league. Without wishing to tempt fate, I suspect he may be back here one day before the end of his career. Once a Blue…

Roberto Mancini has had almost one year of the five year deal he signed last season. Whilst all sorts of clauses will have built into it by all parties involved, it was a show of faith. Roberto Mancini has more than earned the right to have at least one year more at City at the very least. Whilst the Champions’ League is important, let’s be masters domestically as a first priority.

Now we have to redouble our efforts to retain that title and do better in Europe. If we are going to buy we need to get our business done early so that any new players can arrive soon and be ready for pre-season training and hopefully Txiki Begiristain is already working on targets and talking to their clubs.

It’s going to be an exciting summer. Come on City.

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


This season has been a comedown from the excitement, tension, and triumph of last year – that’s a given. And yet, City are still odds-on favourite to lift the FA Cup for the 2nd time in 3 years, and on track for the club’s 2nd highest ever point total in the Premier League, as well as 2nd highest ever finish. The club have fallen short of the very high standards set but we should not forget that it was Mancini’s prior successes that created those standards. The club had won nothing since 1976 and despite the influx of resources was not on pace to win anything under Mark Hughes. The money has certainly made it possible to put together a squad beyond the wildest dream of any City fan a decade ago, but money alone doesn’t win you titles: you need effective management and good tactical sense; and you need a manager who can establish and sustain a winning culture.

Remember that prior to Mancini’s arrival the leading public face of the club was not Hughes but our former CEO Mr. Cook, with a habit of putting foot in mouth. Mancini has made himself the most important person at the club other than the owner, and that is step one to sustaining a culture of success. Step two is that the manager must have a relentless competitive drive, which means not only winning, but learning from and bouncing back from the inevitable failures. Fergie at United is the example par excellence of this. Whenever they finish 2nd, they bounce back and win next time around. It strikes me that Mancini has the same ruthless competitive streak Fergie has. So let’s give him the chance to bounce back from the (relative) disappointment of this year and see if he can convert his rage at being so far off the pace this year into a more serious challenge for the title next campaign. To me that’s a much better bet (and also financially more prudent) than bringing in someone new, who inevitably will want to alter the squad, tactics, etc. Indeed, the board and ownership should give Mancini a strong show of support as soon as the season is over to leave no doubt who is in charge.

To date the ownership has been remarkably far-sighted in development of “the project”, understanding that the goal is not to win any particular title but to be a club that is always up there, year after year, in the hunt for every trophy. We’ve made giant strides in the last 3 years to achieving that under Mancini, and I think in another 3 years on his watch there would be more silverware and a real solidifying of the winning culture. So I hope he stays at least that long.

As to this season, to me there were two moments that turned the tide against us: the last 10 minutes at Real Madrid in the Champions’ League opener, which burst our bubble, and then the deflected van Persie goal in stoppage time at the first derby. The first knocked wind out of our sails – if we had held on to win that, we surely would have been on our way to qualify out of an insanely tough group (featuring two semi-finalists). The second put us six points behind in the league and again I believe damaged our belief. Yes there were a number of other poor results, but those are the two moments that did us in this season. But winning the FA Cup on May 11 would go a long way to restoring some pride and belief that we can achieve success on all fronts next year under Mancini – and also would be pretty exciting in itself!

Thad Williamson <twillia9(at)>


Ex-City midfielder Tony Grealish sadly passed away on Tuesday at the age of just 56. He had been suffering from cancer.

Tony joined City in 1986/87, having already earned 45 caps for the Republic of Ireland and given sterling service to Orient, Luton, Brighton (captaining them in the 1983 FA Cup Final) and West Brom. He made a highly memorable début in the Maine Road derby, thundering into tackles fearlessly and winning many of them, ensuring that City were very competitive in midfield (the other most memorable thing of that day was Mick McCarthy’s thumping header that earned us a 1-1 draw)! The word “battler” was invented for Tony Grealish, and he was unmistakeable with his greying beard and tough tackling style.

Whilst he only made 11 appearances for City as we struggled unsuccessfully to stave off relegation from the top flight, as with all the clubs he represented, he always gave his all, was a model professional and a good example to the emerging youngsters at that time. One of those youngsters, Paul Lake describes him as “a popular member of the dressing room and a warrior on the pitch”. After City, Tony went on to serve Rotherham, Walsall and Bromsgrove before retiring in 1995, a true football man.

Sincere condolences to his family. Rest in peace.

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


Reddish Blues’ Nick Crowhurst and Shaun Sefton are cycling to Wembley in aid of Reddish Blues’ chosen charity for this season, Jump Space.

You can follow Nick and Shaun’s journey on Facebook at

If you so wish, you can make a donation at

Howard Burr <reddishblues(at)>


29 April 2013

Aston Villa           6 - 1  Sunderland            37,428

28 April 2013

Reading               0 - 0  Queens Park Rangers   23,388
Chelsea               2 - 0  Swansea City          41,780
Arsenal               1 - 1  Manchester United     60,112

27 April 2013

Manchester City       2 - 1  West Ham United       47,189
Everton               1 - 0  Fulham                34,563
Southampton           0 - 3  West Bromwich Albion  31,946
Stoke City            1 - 0  Norwich City          27,488
Wigan Athletic        2 - 2  Tottenham Hotspur     22,326
Newcastle United      0 - 6  Liverpool

League table as at 1 May 2013

                        P / GD / Pts
 1 Manchester Utd      35 / 43 / 85
 2 Manchester City     34 / 30 / 71
 3 Chelsea             34 / 33 / 65
 4 Arsenal             35 / 30 / 64
 5 Tottenham Hotspur   34 / 17 / 62
 6 Everton             35 / 14 / 59
 7 Liverpool           35 / 25 / 54
 8 West Bromwich Alb   34 /  2 / 48
 9 Swansea City        34 / -2 / 42
10 West Ham Utd        35 / -8 / 42
11 Fulham              35 / -9 / 40
12 Stoke City          35 /-10 / 40
13 Southampton         35 /-10 / 39
14 Norwich City        35 /-21 / 38
15 Sunderland          35 /-12 / 37
16 Aston Villa         35 /-22 / 37
17 Newcastle Utd       35 /-23 / 37
18 Wigan Athletic      34 /-23 / 32
19 QPR                 35 /-27 / 25 R
20 Reading             35 /-28 / 25 R

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1902