Newsletter #1935

Well what an incredible week it’s been. Genuinely, I’m really struggling to think of a comparative week. Do feel free to offer your thoughts.

To cap it off, a simply dream tie against the biggest team in the world bar none, with a player who many argue is the best to have ever played.

Can you honestly believe it?

Remember York City just 15 years ago. 12th in the old-money Third Division!

Did you ever believe us reaching a major cup semi-final is almost a footnote?!

To top it all off, we have the return of the recovering Phil Banerjee. Fantastic!

Next Game: 21 December, Fulham, Craven Cottage, 15:00 GMT


I am touched and blown away by the very kind, appreciative comments that I have received in MCIVTA and personally. They have certainly helped me as I recover from illness, so a big thank you to all concerned. It means a heck of a lot. My recovery has taken longer than initially thought, but I hope to be back writing in full (!) early in the New Year. I have certainly missed it! As ever, it has been great to receive MCIVTA and read your thoughts about matters City. Thanks to Phil Alcock and the McV team and to you all for your writing (by the way, it was definitely the 2-1 Maine Road win over Tottenham in 85/86 when we had to change into our red and black away strip as the visitors for some reason turned up with white shirts and sky blue shorts!).

What can I say about City? Who’d have thought that we’d have Bayern taking the corner flag to waste time as we tried to top the group? What a great performance that was from what was not our first choice team. James Milner excelled, heading back across goal for the first, winning the penalty for the second then winning the match with a top class finish. All in all, it was a brilliant performance. Manuel Pellegrini can take credit for setting them up right after those first 15 minutes when we were all over the place and feared we’d lose by a horrendous score line, and the Boys in Blue showed great character to come from 0-2 down and beat the current European Champions and best team in the world. Pellegrini and all his back up staff should have known that a 4-2 win would have taken us through, though, and this should have been relayed to the players. But let’s not dwell too much on that. It was a great night – one of the greatest European nights in our history.

What a classic game and a great victory that was over top of the table Arsenal. We had to win it and City played some great football in a terrific, thrilling game. Fernandinho excelled with two well-taken goals, and dominated midfield with his tireless industry. Nasri and Kompany excelled too. Our defence of course looks much better, having Vinny’s assertive, skilful presence. Samir Nasri and Sergio Agüero have been the stand out players this autumn amongst many very high standard performers, and it is great to see Samir overcoming depression, fulfilling his potential with us, and playing with a smile on his face. Long may it continue.

City seem to be addressing the poor away form that threatened to derail our chances of regaining the title. We have the strongest squad and should do better away. It is a concern that we are too open, especially away from home. Our full backs are pushed too far up at times, and this leaves gaps, which might be filled better by a defensive midfield player – someone like de Jong or Barry! Sometimes our 4-4-2 sees us outnumbered in central midfield.

Furthermore, there has been too much rotation for some of the bread and butter league games. Granted it’s a long season, but let’s see our strongest team out there as often as possible. Sergio Agüero is expected to be out for a month with his calf injury, and hopefully he will be back soon and we will have no more injuries. We have the best squad in this League and should win it. It is up to the players to prove it and it is encouraging to hear Vincent Kompany saying that the Fulham game would mean more than beating Arsenal. Have a very happy Christmas and I hope you have a happy, healthy and successful 2014. Thank you again.

Come on City.

Phil Banerjee <phil.banerjee(at)>


Are we just unlucky or do we need to look at training methods? Jovetic, Kompany, Silva and now Agüero have all been sidelined this season with calf injuries. That’s quite a spate of the same injury.

Dave Kilroy <dave.kilroy(at)>


I watched the UEFA draw of 16 yesterday and greeted City’s opponents with a groan, but like MP says: “To be the best you must beat the best”. God only knows what the injury situation will be like when the games come around in February, but what I would like to know is UEFA’s reasoning for not allowing teams from the same country to be drawn against one another (to be drawn to play United or Chelsea would have been preferable to Barça) and how far into the competition does this ruling apply?

If any of your readers can answer this question I would appreciate it.

Philip van Gass <philipvangass(at)>


Well at least The Engineer won’t ever get the sack for being negative. I’ve not contributed in many a season, but felt it’s about time I redressed that.

What a couple of games we’ve just seen. The great escape against Bayern and the systematic destruction of table-topping Arsenal (although don’t forget, we are just like Southampton and/or Everton and the referee made 5 or 6 bad decisions and… and… it’s just everyone else’s fault!). The whole team seems to have become uplifted and filled with confidence. Even the defence looks a lot more solid especially now Captain Fantastique is back in the line-up (hopefully injury-free for the rest of the season). Nasri is the player we all hoped he was. Jesus is a revelation (ouch), The Beast has hit the ground thundering (we’re going to need him in the coming weeks) and Fernandinho is playing himself back into the Brazil team. All without mentioning the truly world-class trio of Yaya, Agüero and Silva. Pinch me!

Couple of teeny issues for me though.

Why blood Micah against Bayern in the home game when he was just coming back from injury and had had virtually no first team experience this year? Then all but hide him away again, until the return leg. It was a saving grace that he got injured, Zabaleta came on and kept Ribery and Co. in his pocket for the remainder of the game (he is such an intelligent reader of the game).

Should that Bayern starting eleven +Pablo be our committed “away team” from now on? Even Lescott looked fine after the opening 20 minutes!

Milner is getting very limited game time and this worries me. He will most surely be off if we continue to play him in such a haphazard manner. His game style needs match time, which he doesn’t seem to get. Maybe the African Cup of Nations will give him some opportunities.

Pantilimon really, really worries me. I don’t know if it’s because of his limited Premier League exposure, but shot-stopping aside, he continues to perform shakily. Unless he has somehow inspired the back four to play better, because they can’t rely on a Hart-type behind them and thus remove any complacency or arrogance in the defence (in which case that is a Pellegrini master stroke) I cannot help but feel the need for even a 60 or 80% worth of Hart back between the posts now.

Manuel’s maths skills. Must do better.

Those negatives though are just a minor irritation and I really shouldn’t let them get out of perspective (dons misty-glazed specs). These past few seasons – even with their ups and downs; I cannot remember a better time to be Blue. We are playing the beautiful game (and becoming quite good at it). Comparisons with Keggy’s Toon team are unfounded in my mind; we have steel. All in all, it’s too easy to forget 1981 was the beginning of the end. I remember staring at “Teletext” in 1998 and seeing the words “City Down” and my heart sank with them into the 3rd Division. “Swales Out”, the Bogroll King and the Joe Royle / Frank Clark era. What a difference a, err, decade or so makes. Since our tour of the lower leagues, I “converted” my nephew to be a Blue and gave him the most ecstatic moment in Premier League history: May 13th 2012. Surely my place in Blue Heaven has gone up a couple of rungs for that?

Bring on Barça! But first beat Fulham and the league is ours for the taking (am I actually typing that?).

Andy Gascoigne <andy.gascoigne(at)>


To the Chorus of Abba’s “Fernando”:

“There is something in the air tonight, In blue and white, Fernandinho.”

“He is playing there for you and me, And Man City, Fernandinho.”

Will organise a City fans’ reception point, March 12th in Barcelona, to congregate and have a “reet good time”. We did a good job back in August 2008 with discounted drinks and food. I’m sure all who attended then (about 300) will confirm it worked very well. All will remember the Adebayor “Look-a-like” I arranged and the City fans singing that song repeatedly.

I was mobbed by a whole bunch of City fans who remembered me from that Barça ’08 get together, when I visited that City pub (with the woman’s name), across the road from the Etihad, 2 hours before kick-off, on the derby evening of April 30th 2011. All expressing we should repeat when City next play at the Nou Camp.

Milner to play right back on Saturday at Fulham. Can either Dzeko or Negredo play in that deeper rôle of Kun’s, if Jovetic is still unavailable? It’s getting really exciting, what with so many league games and now the League Cup coming to fruition, with a likely final against the Reds.

Come on you Blues.

Pat Knowles <patricknowles(at)>


After reading the emails for the past few years and continually seeing “Hey all I’m going to be in (American City) on (date) and was wondering if there was anywhere to get together with a few Blues to watch the match” and then nearly sending you a similar email myself (I’m going to be in Charlotte NC for the Liverpool fixture and can’t seem to find any Blue presence in that town), I was wondering if it would be feasible to put together a stateside directory for City supporters’ pubs or even just generic football pubs?

If I could be of any help with this I will gladly volunteer myself. At the very least I can let you know the following places:

Dorchester MA (just south of Boston MA) – The Banshee
New Haven CT – Anna Liffey’s
New York City – The Mad Hatter (this should be the USA headquarters)
Frisco TX (just north of Dallas) – The Londoner
Atlanta GA – Fado
Chicago IL – The Globe

Thanks (and keep up the good work, I very much look forward to the newsletters).

Chris Ryan <mhouse123(at)>

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Newsletter #1935