NEWSLETTER #1966

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MAN CITY INFO VIA THE ALPS “McVittee!” (1966)

Created in 1994, MCIVTA is the longest running unofficial Manchester City related web site and e-newsletter in existence.

ISSUE DATE: 20 December 2014

NEXT GAME: Crystal Palace, Etihad Stadium, Saturday 20 December (15:00 GMT)
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STRIKER LIGHT…CITY IN EURO DRAW NON-SHOCK…

Another win for City, this time at rock bottom Leicester keeps us in the hunt, breathing down Chelsea’s neck. With no fit experienced strikers, winning is a feat in itself, no matter what position our opponents may be in. Hopefully City will keep the winning run going during the busy holiday period.

There are no real surprises in getting Barcelona in the Champions League Round of 16, given the difficult draws we have had so far in UEFA’s flagship competition over the last four years. It’s looking less and less like a coincidence that we get such draws. They were never going to give us Porto or struggling Dortmund were they! Still, it might not actually be a bad draw. Barcelona, for all their much vaunted front three of Messi, Neymar and Suarez, are vulnerable in defence, and City have a chance of defeating them if we play our game without fear and can dominate midfield. Hopefully we can cut off service to them and fingers crossed that Pellegrini has learned that possession is key and that we shouldn’t play two out and out strikers in Europe (if, of course, we can actually find two fit strikers!), if we want to avoid being outnumbered in midfield. Press, press, press, City…

Incidentally, Barcelona are charging a minimum of 99 Euros (£77-46 approximately), to their own fans so it isn’t going to be any cheaper for City fans. Financial Fair Play? One would think not. The so-called Guardians of the Game like UEFA President Platini fail us yet again. They administer the game but repeatedly fail to regulate on true fair play. No surprises there, though. It was rather interesting to read Platini’s comments with regard to Michael Garcia’s resignation from Chairman of FIFA’s so-called ethics community this week. Platini said “FIFA’s ethics committee was created to increase transparency at the organisation, that’s what we wanted, but in the end it has just caused more confusion. Mr. Garcia’s resignation is a new failure for FIFA.” Oh, the irony. People in glass houses…

Is UEFA really any less corrupt than FIFA? All this from the man who presides over a corrupt organisation that, under his watch, has managed to either devalue or destroy all UEFA competitions. The Champions League is not actually league for Champions. Rather a league for a cosy cartel to self-perpetuate and monopolise the gravy train. The UEFA Cup has been turned from a brilliant, prestigious prize into a tedious, bloated, fixture-clogging Thursday night inconvenience. The Cup Winners’ Cup (that City won in 1970) is sadly no more, and the European Nations Cup is being changed from a superbly tight 16 international team tournament without weak team to a bloated 24 team finals competition which has rendered the qualifying process a borefest. Less is more doesn’t register in the Platini phraseology. Platini and indeed UEFA are so out of touch and they fail to deal with racism effectively: the CSKA Moscow debacle being a prime example, with their fans getting into the home games!
as “corporate clients”, or “sponsors”, when the game was supposed to be behind closed doors, due to CSKA fans’ racist chanting. To compound this, UEFA failed to meet with Bayern or City fans, let alone compensate them for their travel expenses.

So, really, Platini should not by rights be pronouncing on FIFA, given UEFA’s own issues. Not that those issues will stop him…

So it’s the League all the way with the usual busy Christmas and New Year period (two home games with the trip to West Brom sandwiched in between) until we meet Sheffield Wednesday again on Sunday 4th January – they need another visit to The Etihad like they need season tickets at Bramall Lane after their 7-0 pasting prompted a further ten games without a win for them. Not that we should be complacent about that game like we were against Wigan last season.

With Aguero, Dzeko and Jovetic all injured until the New Year, young Jose Pozo could continue against Palace. Asking an inexperienced 18 year old to play up front alone is a lot to ask, but an interchangeable, fluid, rotating front three of Silva, Pozo and Nasri may well be a potent mix. Yaya can of course step forward into an advanced role, and is probably the better choice with Fernando, Fernandinho and Milner behind. Pellegrini certainly isn’t without options.

In this latest issue, we have a thought provoking account of a trip to Rome, a view on the win at Leicester, notice of a new edition of the evergreen King of the Kippax, and a request for tickets for West Brom.

We’ll report on the Festive games in our next issues and there will be updates on our social media sites and the MCIVTA website: mcivta.com.

Have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Come on City!

Kind regards,

Phil Banerjee

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MATCH VIEW: Leicester City 0 Manchester City 1

This was another match I watched on the steam radio. This time though it was a nail biter. We started with that most glorious of professional footballing incompetences, the injury during warm-up. Let us at this point remind ourselves that one of the main objectives of a warm-up in any physical activity is to get the muscles in a state of readiness for action. You do a warm-up to prevent injury. Footballers do warm-ups, athletes do warm ups, ballerinas do warm ups and musicians do warm ups (at least the serious ones do). Even a decrepit old goat like me does warm ups before playing anything tricky on the piano. But you do also have to follow some rules about relaxation and not striving too much or you can easily do more harm than good. Dzeko managed to injure himself in the warm up. Brilliant.

So with a few minutes to go our three main strikers, because unsurprisingly the fragile Jovetic was also injured, were all unavailable for selection and City yet again had to put our talented but as yet lightweight youngster Pozo into the fray from the start. Zabaleta then replaced Pozo on the bench.

City seemed to have overall control which we expected but Leicester were undaunted and through Vardy they gave our defence a good work-out. Eventually Nasri found himself able to put a cross in for Lampard standing about two metres from goal in the six yard box. Judging by the lack of Leicester players willing to mark him or even stand anywhere near him, Frank must have suffered a sudden attack of leprosy. So untroubled by defenders Lampard deftly guided the ball into the net for 0-1. Lampard a mid-field player never known for his speed, has now equalled the scoring exploits of 175 goals in the Premier League by Arsenal’s incredibly quick and superbly talented Thierry Henry. That’s ridiculous isn’t it? Perhaps not. It means that quickness of thought trumps fleetness of foot.

There’s no point in discussing any of the further action because this was one of those largely dull games where Leicester demonstrated the usual critical weakness of clubs who find themselves near the bottom of any league: they can’t take advantage of the scoring positions they create. Leicester currently just don’t know how to score against a reasonable defence but otherwise put up a good show against the Premier League Champions. The last time Leicester scored more than two goals was when they played the Red Lion at home and won 5-3. I did say “reasonable defence” though. City saw the game out and although the City fans could be heard singing throughout the game, I have no doubt they too were relieved to hear the final whistle.
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So what to do about our lack of strikers? The pundits say they would be flabbergasted If City didn’t buy a striker in the January window but before that opens we have several games close together. For what it’s worth here’s my solution:

We clearly need a physical presence up front. We need someone we don’t necessarily rely upon to track back much but has the strength to repel the bullying advances of the average premier league centre back. Ideally someone with good skills but built by that man who specialised in the construction of the famous brick out-house. That person does need to have a reasonable scoring record too otherwise we’d fall into the reputation trap which so beset Chelsea last year when their forwards (like Torres) who ought to have been able to score twenty or thirty a season but just couldn’t.

We have such a person on our books: Ya Ya Touré.

I would play him right up front, Pozo just behind (which is his best position anyway) with Fernando and Fernandinho in the defensive midfield positions as they did so successfully against Roma. Defensively, the injury to Kompany isn’t as much of a problem as we’ve been managing without him for some time anyway. I’d choose between the Nasri/Silva and Nasri/Navas paring at different stages of the game while Silva finds his top form and bring in the reliable Frank Lampard when necessary.

Overall though I’m not too bothered. We have the talent and enough in-form players to have a good run over the Christmas period when Chelsea have to play Stoke, Southampton and Spurs away from Stamford Bridge.

Who knows? – it might be City who are on top of the table at the turn of the year and just as significantly some of the airheads masquerading as knowledgeable football T.V. pundits might begin to recognise that we aren’t and have never been a one-man team.

Peter Llewellyn

PeterJL AT foxfield.plus.com

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OPINION: OBSERVATIONS FROM ROME

What a fabulous night to be a City fan in the Stadio Olimpico and to see City confound the critics with an assured performance to advance out of the Champions League group.  That’s now two successive seasons and with a favourable draw (please, not Real Madrid …) we could make our furthest foray in the world’s premier club competition.

You’ve all seen the match, and the majority saw it on TV which is better viewing than in the stand, so I’ll stick mostly to comments on the match day.  First up, thanks to Paul from Crewe, a true Blue and a stalwart of the Supporters’ Club, who helped with match ticket transfer logistics.  I first met Paul in Kuala Lumpur ahead of a preseason friendly and we had a few pints in The Mad Hatter in NYC before the Liverpool friendly at the Yankee Stadium last summer.  Without Paul’s help my tickets would probably have arrived in Vancouver after I’d landed in Rome due to the Italian authorities’ need for personal information before the City ticket office would release them.

In Rome, ahead of the 8.45 PM local time kick-off, we were advised by City’s ‘liaison officer’, via a multi-page document, to gather at a crossroads in a park in the Villa Bourghese suburb for an escorted coach ride to the stadium.  There was a strong recommendation in the document not to make your own way to the stadium due to the ‘ultras’ ambushing fans on a bridge over the Tiber River.  We arrived at the chilly and dark rendezvous spot at about 5.30 PM to find a few hundred City fans kicking a beach-ball around, drinking take-outs and watched by uniformed and plain-clothed Italian police.  The tiny nearby bar was closed and we had to wait around twiddling our thumbs for close to an hour.  We were searched and herded onto coaches, without drinks of any kind, driven for 100 meters and then the coaches parked up … for another hour!  We had been tricked and in essence we were in police custody, without food or drink (even water), ahead of the kick-off to allow people t!
o sober up a little and preclude any mischief-making in Roman bars.  Sneaky but smart on behalf of the police.  Never again!!  Finally, at about 7.30 PM, we set off for the stadium with a police escort that would not have been out of place if Silvio Berlusconi or the football-loving Argentine Pope were in the away contingent.  The drive to the stadium took about fifteen minutes and we were deposited inside a heavily guarded area next to our dedicated entrance.  There was no choice but to go into the stadium, where we passed through five searches and a passport check (it was a joke that names were written on the back of tickets in pencil …).  It was very Italian and comical, with every security organization involved in the occasion having to conduct their own search.  The searches were about five meters apart.  Finally, we were in, with about 45 minutes to go until kick-off.

There was no booze for sale in the stadium and all that was on offer were finely shredded sphincter and pig ear hot dogs, peanuts and soft drinks.  The Roma fans made some noise, including a stadium-wide rendition of what must be their equivalent to ‘Blue Moon’, and behind one goal there was a smoke/flare display just before the match started and lots of flag-waiving.  The flag-waiving continued for the next two-and-a-half hours.  There must be many muscular Roma fans in that section and a few pissed off ultras who only saw glimpses of the match.  The segregation for City fans involved high Perspex shields, a bank of empty seats on either side that was tens of meters across, and hundreds of police and stewards.  Ridiculous really.  It spoke volumes for the past behaviour of our hosts.  The City section was not full but there was a decent turnout for a European away match just before Christmas.  We made some noise under the roof, unlike being in the open air on the fi!
fth level at Barcelona in March.  The biggest put-down we could come up with for the Roma fans was “where were you in World War Two” and the few Blues in cardinal hats were adhering to the ‘when in Rome…’ proverb.  A personal observation, and I’m not trying to make a point, is the overwhelming whiteness of the City crowd.  I’m a white Anglo/Pom immigrant living in multi-cultural Vancouver and it struck me that there were no black faces in the crowd, unlike there used to be in the early 1980s when I watched City home and away week-in, week-out.  Is this due to moving away from Moss Side, or is there something more sinister going on?  There was one lad of east Asian ethnicity on his own and that’s the only non-white person in the crowd I saw all night.  Again, I’m not trying to make a point, simply I found it odd and had not noticed it before (I get to only a few City matches a season).  I’m interested to hear if anyone else has had the same observation. [Ed: if anyt!
hing there would appear to be a more multicultural mix in the !
City crowd nowadays, not that we have any statistics – we’re all Blues aren’t we!]

The performance on the pitch was highly effective, despite the occasional wobbly moment when Roma attacked quickly, and from my viewpoint and biases I give special credit to Hart and Fernandino.  The defence and defensive midfield players snuffed out most attacks and City were comfortable on the ball for long periods, despite the hostile atmosphere and need to score.  Dzeko rarely puts in a full shift for me and Jovetic was much more effective after coming on.  Silva was influential for the brief time on the pitch and it’s a big bonus to have him back ahead of the Christmas programme.  After the final whistle we celebrated with a rendition of “we’re Man City, we’ll fight to the end” and the City players who showed the most interest in appreciating the pitch-to-roof sliver of very happy but cold City fans were Hart and Zabaleta.  Pablo is a City legend and deserves a pay rise!

We were kept in the stadium for just over an hour and were finally released from temporary custody by the five varieties of Italian security/law enforcement at 11.40 PM.  It was cold and by the end of the waiting there were a few pissed off Blues.  We were herded onto standard Roman public transit buses and eventually deposited at Termini, the main train station in central Rome, at around 12.30 AM, more than seven hours after setting off for the stadium that is only twenty minutes by taxi from our hotel.  We celebrated City’s famous victory with a pizza and beer in a warm cafe on the walk back to our hotel.  The outbound police escort was again overkill, although I bet the overtime was welcome.  If we ever visit Rome again to watch City, and the match day experience was nowhere near as enjoyable as Madrid, Munich or Barcelona (besides the importance of what happened on the pitch), we will ignore the scaremongering and make our own way to the stadium.

Rome was fantastic for sightseeing if you are interested in multiple layers of history spanning millenia.  After a few days though I was tired of being approached by an Indian vendor every minute at the main tourist sights offering a pole with clamp designed to improve your ability to take a selfie.  I thought of buying one and attaching a ‘piss off, I’ve got one’ sign on the end.  Our final Italian experience was the taxi ride to Rome’s Fiumicino airport.  Our taxi driver, a proud Roman who spoke good English and is a Roma fan (I was wearing my City tartan scarf), provided us with gratis commentary on some of the historic sights as we navigated the clogged streets of central Rome (there was a strike for some reason, which delayed our flight out by a few hours).  Then I lit the touch paper by asking about the Italian economy.  He exploded, criticizing the Euro and the Germans for all of Italy’s problems, concluding by saying that Angela Merkel should be shot.  Hmmm ..!
. so Italians are only victims in their economic plight and the early pensions, long summer vacations, widespread corruption and low tax take is nothing to do with you.  That’s what I wanted to say, but did not fancy being knifed in the a**e cheek.  Next up he said that at least tourism is a saviour for the Italian economy, but he does not like the growing number of Asians because [Ed: in the taxi driver’s opinion] they are smelly and do not spend enough money.  The taxi driver provided a snapshot of Italy that we have heard about but not personally experienced: racist, entitled and their collective woes are the fault of others (former allies or not) [Ed: Surely there are tolerant, more balanced people in Italy like there are anywhere else?].  It was shocking to hear after experiencing very few racist comments living in Canada for the last 14 years.  Despite the Roman-era attitudes of some residents, Italy is an enjoyable place to visit … especially to see our Manc!
hester City finally come of age in one of Europe’s premier sta!
ges for club football.  The result and performance made me proud, once again, to be a Blue.

Arrivederci Roma!!

Finally, if City fans ever find themselves in Vancouver, a small but keen and growing group of  Blues gather to watch every match live, or slightly delayed, upstairs at the hospitable ‘Blackbird’ pub on Dunsmuir Street in the downtown area.  The cross street is Hornby.  Timing information for showing every match is posted on the Facebook page of the City Supporters’ Club in Vancouver.  All are welcome, even non-Blues.

Neil Adshead
neil.adshead at gmail.com

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OPINION: THE EUROPEAN ROUND OF 16

Dear Editor,

So history has repeated itself yet again with City being drawn against Barcelona. This ought to be regarded as a good thing because now the manager, staff and players can get their heads together and plan their tactics based on an understanding from last year of how Barca play and what our mistakes were.

By the time the games are played Aguero should be back to full fitness again, but I hope that MP makes an effort to protect our star striker by not playing him in every league and cup game in between, just enough to get him back to full fitness, bearing in mind that he is injury prone. The same applies to Silva who in my view should not have been played in the Capital One cup game.

With regard to the upcoming congested Christmas/New Year period and all three main strikers being injured, I think MP should try out a 4-3-3 formation, with the front 3 comprising Nasri, Silva, Navas and the middle 3 from Toure, Fernandino, Milner and Fernando; the back 4 same as before. There ought not to be a lack of goals as Nasri, Silva, Navas and Toure have shown themselves well capable of scoring.

I always get annoyed when the African Nations Cup comes around at this time and Yaya has to leave us again. Why can’t they play the damn thing to coincide with the European Nations Cup in June/July every 4 years. The climate in Central Africa is the same the year round and in South Africa it is winter time then.

Philip Van Gass
philipvangass AT yahoo.co.uk

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NEW KING OF THE KIPPAX ISSUE (220)

Hi.

Good to have you back old buddy.

Pleased to announce that King of the Kippax number 220, A4 44 pages, colour front cover with gladiators Samir and Pab with the caption : We came, we scored, we conquered, is in the Manc outlets, and will be on sale for £3 at the Palace and subsequent games.

This issue covers the matches from Swansea to Leicester, every one a winner, plus Chimps league, City’s greatest team, finances, half term squad report, media, Whelan, Evans, Mario, and all the regulars.
It can also be bought from (cheques to ) King of the Kippax, 25, Holdenbrook Close, Leigh, Lancs, WN 7 2 HL, for £4.50 inc P and P.

Cheers, and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all at McIVTA.

Sue Wallace
dw001e8104 AT blueyonder.co.uk

AND FINALLY…

WEST BROM TICKET(S) PLEASE?

I fly to England, from Vancouver, for Christmas and would love to get hold of a ticket for West Brom away on Boxing Day. I know it is a long shot, but if anyone has any spares please let me know, I would really appreciate it – the Hawthorns is one of the few old famous grounds I haven’t seen Man City play at.
Martin Alldred
martinblue75 AT hotmail.com

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MCIVTA ADDRESSES

Articles (Phil Banerjee): editor@mcivta.com
Subscriptions (Madeleine Hawkins): subscriptions@mcivta.City-fan.org
Technical problems (Paul Howarth): paul@City-fan.org

Publishing deadlines are, nominally, 6pm Monday and Thursday evenings by email. Unfortunately we cannot accept email attachments.

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DISCLAIMER

Any offers to buy, sell or exchange tickets are made at the risk of the parties involved. MCIVTA has no commercial or insurable interest in any offer and plays no part in any transaction or arrangement.

Offers are detailed purely for the convenience of our subscribers only.
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USEFUL LINKS

MCIVTA Back Issues and unofficial Manchester City supporters’ home page (http://www.mcivta.com) or Twitter (www.twitter.com/mcivta)

Official Club website (http://www.mcfc.co.uk), Twitter (www.twitter.com/mcfc) or Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/mcfcofficial)

Official Manchester City Supporters Club (http://www.mcfcsupportersclub.com)

Manchester City Disabled Supporters Association (http://www.mcdsa.co.uk)

“Points of Blue” committee (http://www.mcfc.co.uk/Fans)

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