NEWSLETTER #1972

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MAN CITY INFO VIA THE ALPS “McVittee!” (1972)

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

ISSUE DATE: Friday 6th February 2015

NEXT GAME: Hull City, Etihad Stadium, Saturday 7th February (15:00 GMT)

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CITY CAN DO IT

City’s draw at Chelsea has been a source of some optimism after a difficult few weeks as City had Chelsea on the back foot for most of the game. Chelsea’s lack of attacking thrust without injured Fabregas and the suspended Costa exposed a vulnerability in our title rivals’ armoury. City must now be consistent and take advantage of any slip ups. The only way to retain our title will be to be professional and put our best foot forward in every game. As Middlesbrough and Newcastle have shown this season, no one can be taken lightly. With proper application, City can do it. If City finish the season like we did in 2012 and 2014, we will do it.

Vincent Kompany’s form is the subject of some debate in this issue. He is finding his way back after injury and is some way from his best, but that does not change the fact that he is a defender of the highest class. As Martin Hunt points out in this edition (yes, Martin and I actually agree on some things!), Sir Vince has had too many good games for our club to be judged unforgivingly. He enjoys the support of City fans as one of the most well-loved and most able players ever to pull on a light blue shirt, and it isn’t unrealistic to expect that he will soon be back to his best.

Tonight we also have reflection on form, transfer dealings, Yaya and Manuel Pellegrini, plus a match view on the Chelsea game. Thanks to Neil Adshead, we also have a review of a new book, Pride In Travel. On the subject of travel, there is a recommendation of a City-friendly bar in Phuket, Thailand.

This week saw the sad passing of Roy Little, one of the last two surviving members of the 1956 FA Cup winning side. The remaining member being Bill Leivers. Tonight’s issue contains a short tribute to Roy.

Please note that there will be no issue of the newsletter next week, but it will resume the week after. Please keep your contributions coming. There will be a report of the Hull game on the mcivta.com website this weekend.

Kind regards,

Phil Banerjee
Editor

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ROY LITTLE (1931-2015)

Tuesday saw the passing of Roy Little, who played for City in the famous 1956 FA Cup-winning side and finished a highly creditable 4th in the old First Division. That final is, of course, remembered chiefly for Bert Trautmann playing on in great pain (unbeknown to anyone) with a broken neck. Had City’s famous keeper not been able to continue, Roy Little was under consideration by captain Roy Paul to take over in goal. Manchester-born, he served City from 1949 until 1958, and was a doughty left back in an era when full backs didn’t cross the half way line. He also played in the Cup Final the year earlier when Newcastle defeated City 3-1 and after leaving in 1958, he also served Brighton, Crystal Palace, Dover and Christchurch City. Roy had a spell as player-manager as Dover for two years in the early 60s but returned home to work at Manchester University’s sports centre for 25 years, and a trophy was named after him. Roy had been ill for several years. Thoughts with his!
family. Rest in peace.

Phil Banerjee
phil.banerjee AT orange.net

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MUNICH REMEMBERED

February 6th is the anniversary of the Munich Air Disaster, and we remember all those people who died in that tragedy.

Phil Banerjee
phil.banerjee AT orange.net

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CHELSEA 1 MANCHESTER CITY 1 (HT 1-1)

So, it was honours even at Stamford Bridge. Despite the five point gap, a draw looked like a good result before Kick Off, but it’s disappointing that we didn’t win because City were clearly the better side in this game.

City had the better of a tight, cagey game before Chelsea took the lead. Navas stung Courtois’s gloves with a rising shot and Fernandinho should have done better early with his cross-shot and David Silva was left frustrated at the far post. Great tenacity from Milner paved the way for Aguero to work space for himself and he forced a good save with his angled drive from ten yards.

Kompany mis-controlled a lofted pass and Remy took advantage to square to Oscar who forced a regulation save from Hart.

Then a rare misjudgment of a long ball by the veteran Terry presented Sergio Aguero with a great chance in the inside left position, but he dragged it wide of the left hand post. It was a chance that he would have buried before his injury.

City dominated possession despite the fact that David Silva was man-marked in his number 10 position, just behind Aguero. Every time he tried to turn with the ball, either Matic, or to a lesser extent Ramires, was there stopping him. That City did dominate was down to a good team performance, with the industry of Fernandinho and Milner outstanding in midfield. Despite having a starting position on the left, Milner was very influential in this game, and was City’s best performer on the night.

Chelsea’s goal was a result of Wilian shoulder charging Clichy off the ball, a great cross field pass by Ivanovic, a sublime touch across goal by Hazard and a crisp finish by Remy. Kompany might have been able to cut out the cross before it got to the Chelsea striker but he may have feared scoring an own goal and he seemed to pull out of it.

It seemed like we had conceded at a terrible time, but City were quickly level due to some excellent pressing and sharp, one-touch passing. Silva lost Ramires, prompted Sagna to feed Navas who crossed from the right Courtois flapped and Aguero gathered the ball and fired across goal and Silva steered in the equaliser. It was a crucial touch by Merlin as Aguero’s shot was going wide and indeed, a sharp poacher’s finish: his 7th goal of the season.

It looked like Courtois made a bad error in not at least punching the ball away, but James Milner can take some credit for running across and jumping in front of him to create a distraction and possibly block his view.

Chelsea weakly complained that the ball was incorrectly ruled out some way further back in the play, but can hardly complain as they had possession of the ball after that and Matic, their best player on the evening, gave it away cheaply.

Silva managed to find a little more space in the second half, despite getting kicked through the back of the legs painfully particularly by Matic, as City pinned Chelsea back in their own half for long periods. Referee Clattenburg didn’t book him yet he cautioned Fernando for a far less City’s play was far more cohesive and fluid than it has been in recent weeks with Silva, Fernandinho, Silva and Aguero in particular combining to free Navas down the right. The Spanish winger’s service was better than in previous weeks and he went more for aerial crosses. City were on top, but still chances were rare. Courtois was worked by Fernandinho’s miscued header from Navas’s cross after another clever Silva pass, but Joe Hart had nothing to do other than the odd clearance.

Great tenacity from Milner created two chances for us: firstly he chased Ramires as the Chelsea midfielder tried to run out of defence, and cleanly won the ball to feed Fernandinho who didn’t really test Courtois with his low long range shot; then Milner showed great tenacity to battle on the edge of Chelsea’s box to regain position and take Silva’s delightful pass and feed a delicious ball across the box, which just needed steering in for a winner. Sadly there was no one there, with sub Dzeko at least ten yards away.

Milner ended up in central midfield as Fernando was subbed, and Silva moved out on the left, with Lampard coming on to mainly applause, but a minority of boos. Whilst it must be galling for Chelsea fans watching Lampard playing for another Premier League rival (painful I know, but imagine Sergio Aguero playing for Chelsea – not nice), how can any fan give a legend stick when he has done so much for them and been instrumental in winning every honour in club football?

Chelsea’s back ten dropped deeper and deeper, and Mourinho was so concerned that he ended up sending on an extra central defender in Cahill for Remy.

It seemed strange that Pellegrini took Silva off with us trying to win the game, and there wasn’t much time for Stevan Jovetic to make an impression. Equally strange was why Navas was taking short corners deep into stoppage time when we needed to get the ball into the box.

So the draw means the five point gap remains. It was an opportunity missed given City’s dominance of this game, but it has to be remembered that Chelsea are experts at soaking up pressure over many years, and not breaching their defence in the second half is no disgrace. After all, they won a European Champions Cup against Bayern Munich on the Bavarian’s home ground with an admirable backs-to-the-wall performance.

Both teams lacked key players: Chelsea missed Fabregas and Costa; City continued to be without Yaya and Nasri, so there can be no excuses. Chelsea may have felt tired and leggy after playing 120 minutes against Liverpool in midweek, but that doesn’t wash. They have had 72 hours to recuperate and if young men cannot play Wednesday then Saturday, they are in the wrong job. In any case Chelsea have the wealth to build a stellar squad to cope. The great Brian Clough would have said, “You’re paid to play football, get on with the game.”

Chelsea’s team are not the invincibles that several mug journalists were touting them to be: far from it. Even with Fabregas and Costa, they are not as good as the Cech/Terry/Lampard/Drogba side of ten years ago. However they are a good side, and like most Mourinho sides they are very good at getting results, even when they are not playing well. They will, though, drop points before the end of the season. City have to drop six less than Chelsea, and the title stays in Manchester.

No way should City feel any inferiority to Chelsea, and can take heart from a very creditable performance in West London. One advantage that City have over them is that for all Chelsea’s attacking talent and defensive organisation, Mourinho’s tendency to revert to negative, defensive tactics at times can breed negative thoughts, whereas Pellegrini’s teams go out to attack. Chelsea and indeed Mourinho are already a rattled, and as leaders, the pressure is on them. We have chased down leads before, and as our chant goes, we’ll fight to the end.

Ratings:

Hart: Had no saves to make, and one dodgy kick out apart, his distribution was good enough: 6
Sagna: Very solid, read the game well and had a good game up against the dangerous Hazard, though he should have got closer to the Belgian winger in the build up to the Chelsea goal: 7
Kompany: A slight improvement on his previous game but some way from his best. His error allowed Remy to advance down the left in a dangerous attack, and he should have taken the risk in an attempt to prevent Hazard’s cross set up Chelsea’s goal: 6
Demichelis: One loose pass was not punished and Demichelis could and even if he could not have intercepted before Remy, he should have been closer for Chelsea’s goal. Otherwise, read the game well: 6
Clichy: A good, solid show from our first choice left back. In this form he should play every game until the end of the season: 7
Navas: His delivery improved and was a danger in this game, and a livewire in the second half particularly. He could have done more to help Sagna in the build up to the Chelsea goal: 7
Fernando: Aggressive, industrious, tackled and covered well, but his touch was a little heavy at times: 6
Fernandinho: All-action show from the Brazilian whose aggression was important in City dominating midfield. Should have done better with Navas’s cross in the second half when he miscued and headed the ball into the ground but Courtois still had to tip over: 8
Milner: His aggression, persistence, tenacity and quality passing were a big factor in City being dominant in this game, and he played a crucial part in our goal without touching the ball. Deserved an assist for his hard work and craft: 9 **Man of the Match**
Silva: Shackled by Matic and Ramires for long periods in the first half but eventually found space to conduct proceedings and sharply finish off Aguero’s shot across goal: a real poacher’s finish. His 7th goal in the League equalled his highest tally, and double figures is looking very possible. Instigated some lovely moves in the second half and worked well to release Navas whenever possible: 8
Aguero: Getting fitter and sharper but some way to go yet. He would have scored the chance in the first half nine times out of ten at his best. He worked as hard ever and it is only a matter of time before he is scoring again: 7

Sub:
Lampard (for Fernando 77): n/a
Jovetic (for Silva 90): n/a
Dzeko (for Aguero 84): Not match sharp, and it showed when he ws ten yards away from Milner’s inviting cross: n/a
Best Oppo: Zouma: Solid young central defender who worked hard to keep us out: 8
Refwatch: Clattenburg: This was not that difficult a game to referee, yet he still failed to deliver even-handedness. He was quick to book Fernando yet Matic painfully kicked Silva through the back of the legs and escaped a caution. Not good enough: 5

Phil Banerjee
phil.banerjee AT orange.net

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BOOK REVIEW

Pride in Travel, A title-winning season exploring the world of Manchester
City by Darryl Webster
Published by ‘Pitch Publishing’ in 2014 (www.pitchpublishing.co.uk)
ISBN 978-1-90962-698-0

Dedication: ‘For the Supporters’

I received ‘Pride in Travel’ as a surprise Christmas present from a fellow
Canada-based Blue, Gavin McMahon in Toronto, who I first met in Mary D’s
ahead of the title-winning match against West Ham last season. Thanks
pal! The theme of the book is a thirty-something non-Mancunian City fan
from a far flung outpost (Greater Toronto Area) visits several City
Supporters’ Club branches around the world, retelling stories of
alcohol-fuelled social gatherings, travel-related adventure, City-inspired
camaraderie and unwavering hospitality. It’s essentially a blog that has
been polished up and expanded into a City-related travel book, focusing on
the strong bond between football fans from all walks of life, rather than
what happened on the pitch or in the stands. I enjoyed the easy-to-read
book because of the City theme, the Canada association, the stories of
trust and hospitality with no strings attached and references to a few top
Blues I have met on my travels – Mark Wood, Ross Simnor, Victoria Gregory
and Howard Burr. There is even reference to the new, small but growing
Vancouver branch of the City Supporters’ Club, which was officially
recognized (branch #154) at a Supporter’s Club HQ meeting in Manchester
attended by the author, and of which I am one of the initial members. The
Vancouver branch is the second in Canada, after Toronto, and the two
branches are positioned next to one another on the spiral walkways at The
Etihad Stadium. According to the City Supporters’ Club website there is
now a branch in Mississauga and a new one coming in Montreal.

I’ll not repeat the stories from Darryl’s visits to the branches otherwise
they’ll be no need for you to buy or read the book! The bottom line is
that City fans are a highly sociable bunch and any Blue will be made to
feel welcome at any branch around the world, as Darryl recounts from his
time in Toronto, Washington DC, New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles,
Dallas, Isle of Wight, Hong Kong, Alkrington, Reddish, Gibraltar, Reykjavik
and Abu Dhabi. Maybe his next adventure will be to visit another dozen
branches. With more than 150 branches he could write a dozen books. He
will be welcomed at The Blackbird on Dunsmuir Street, in downtown
Vancouver, if his next tour takes him to British Columbia, as I have been
every time I have dropped into Opera Bob’s, the pub on Dundas Street West
in Toronto, to celebrate or commiserate events on the pitch with a core
group of twenty to thirty Blues. Any Blues visiting Canada should pop into
the local branch. I’m off to The Blackbird now ahead of the Chelsea match
for some Tim Horton’s donuts, coffee, and possibly a pre-noon pint or two
if the second-half is tense ….

And finally, look out for the sky blue Canada flag in Plaça Real, ahead of
the Champions League tie in Barcelona, and come over and say hello.

Neil Adshead
neil.adshead AT gmail.com

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TRANSFERS AND STUFF

Interesting view from Phil B about YaYa. I confess to having doubts.
Absolutely no doubt about how good he can be, nor about his massive
contributions.

One doubt is about the African Nations Cup. No other major competition
takes players away from the League for so long. Losing Yaya for a month
(minimum) cost us the League two years ago and looks likely to do so again.
For this we pay him £200,000 per week and then he continues to be very
uncommitted to the club. He gets nigh on a million for costing us the
League and then moans about not being sure where his future lies,

Cake gate was a press thing. He was certainly upset at the time by his
brother’s death and (reputably) by City’s less than fulsome support. This
time, there is nowhere to hide. If not Yaya, then certainly his agent is
too greedy to stomach. I think it is time to say sod off. If he isn’t
committed at that money, let him bugger off. It is too greedy to stomach.
If, he accepts the he wants to be here and buckles down, then I would love
to see him finish his career at City. Sadly, I am not holding my breath.

Unlike Phil, I pay little notice to this annual farce. If City aren’t
involved, I really don’t care. The hype and expense is a farce and I prefer
to ignore it all. However, it is telling where City are involved. Nastasic
has gone. Why? What crime has he committed that makes him untenable? Why is
he on loan when he hasn’t been fit to play? There is far more to this sorry
tale than I know about, so the questions are genuine.

Gudietti is another worry. We are way short of goals this season and have
been without strikers. Despite this, we offload another academy lad who had
been consistent in showing his promise and consistent in being overlooked
by the first team.

Sinclair is a relief from a shameful embarrassment. Who amongst us was not
appalled at Chelsea’s cynical abuse of Shaun Wright-Phillips? How can
anyone justify City doing the same to another bright prospect? This (and
Rodwell, to a far lesser degree) shows us in the light of the money machine
rather than a Football club. It does not sit well with me. Success at any
cost does not really interest me. I want City to be better than the others.
I certainly don’t want us sinking to their odious level.

Martin Hunt
martinhuntctid AT gmail.com

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OPINION

I watched City play Arsenal last sunday and lose 2-0, now while everyone reckons Arsenal were brilliant and City poor…..well I disagree, and I will explain why.

City had approx 65% possession to Arsenal’s 35%, 42 crosses to Arsenals 5, 16 corners to Arsenal’s 3. So on stats alone, this proves that we were the dominant team…we were constantly on the front foot, constantly trying to attack. If you want to praise Arsenal, then praise them for defending well! As for the penalty, I did not agree with it, a defender is allowed to stand his ground, and Monreal, just could not get around Kompany (who sadly feels it necessary to over use his physical prowess …… he did it rashly, too many times!).

City are always prone to the counter–attack, remember Stoke, and other games…we defend with 2 players and that makes it easier for the opposition who just play on the counter. When Arsenal did win possession, they broke at pace, and use direct running, we try to play small triangular football all over the park, allowing the opposition time to organise their 2 banks of 4. With the absence of Toure and Nasri, we lacked a cutting edge, and with a massed rank of defenders, Aguero is not going to win much in the air. Worst case scenario when a team defends with 10, is that we get a 0-0 draw, but City concede way too many goals of late.

When it comes to corners, I really don’t know what they do in training, we are so inept, it’s laughable!! Not one City player knows how to deliver an in-swinging or out-swinging delivery at pace…..the same applies for our set pieces…..seriously what do they do in training apart from 5-a-side football. They also want to score the perfect goal via a tap in (the old Arsenal way), can’t any of these guys shoot??

The match against Middlesborough was another travesty, if you don’t win it at least ensure a draw….(9 times out of 10…this is the Chelsea philosophy…..absolutely delighted they lost on saturday…cheered me up immensely (4 trophies…huh!!)

The goal City conceded on saturday was laughable, not one City player wanted to really win the ball, or break the play with a foul….just pathetic. In my humble opinion, I just do not rate Boyata, and cannot understand why we did not get rid of him and keep hold of Nastasic, who is a far better footballer. Boyata is absolutely rubbish!!

Kompany has hardly covered himself in glory, he makes too many blunders and is always injured (on his day he can be immense…….but I have not seen an outstanding performance from him for ages….compare him to John Terry!). Then we paid £32M for Mangala who is just as error prone…..for that amount of money, he should be the finished article!! Demichelis is getting on….so why keep faith with Boyata???

We need a player like Raheem Sterling, someone who can run a defences and create something out of nothing, too often we play tippy tappy football, and are not as direct as we should be. We are in a bad moment of late, and with big matches ahead, it’s time we started to get our act together from back to front. I am so glad we bought Bony, who in my opinion is just what we need….far better than that lumbering Dzeko (we need to get rid of him in the summer). I think Jovetic has something about him, and we should keep hold of him, he makes things happen.

Well there you have it, it feels good to get my frustrations out in the open!!!

Come on City…get back to winning ways!

Glyn Albuquerque
glyna1705 AT gmail.com

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PELLEGRINI

I confess that losing Yaya had ended the short spell of sublime football.
We don’t look like champions and we are far too unreliable. I am not going
to get at Sir Vince about his disappointing return. He has been too good
for too long to be unforgiving after a couple of poorish performances.
However, he does need to get his cool back as he is uncharacteristically
flakey in his temperament at the moment.

The rest of the defence is consistently flakier. No one in defence is
without blemish this season! It is worrying to see Costa playing for
Sunderland in comparison to Caballero! I do not understand why on earth we
signed Sagna. Mangala has shown how much he has to learn before he starts
to justify his price tag.

However, part of this is being hit on the break so often. We tend to
dominate all the games we lose. At the start of the season, Yaya was
missing and we paid. Once he got his act together, we looked so much
better, His ability to score from outside the box is a clue to what is
happening. Most clubs, Chelsea being the latest have learned to “park the
bus”. Kill the game, stop the flair forwards getting a shot in and hit us
on the break. It is worrying how often this has worked.

More worrying is that Pellegrini` seems to have no plan B. If Yaya is not
there to open up with either a piercing run or a long range strike, we
can’t seem to score. Opponents are happy yo park the bus, kill the game and
are especially encouraged to wait for breaks, because our defence has shown
it cannot cope with them.

I love Pellegrini’s attack-minded approach. It makes football a joy to
watch. However, the other sides are not prepared to play that way, so we
have three choices. Either we find a way to sustain the attack with flair
and goals, or we find a plan B that works (a plan C wouldn’t go amiss
either, otherwise, we will need a new manager.

I desperately don’t want City to go down that road again. I want us to be
different and to be better. I fear I am in a minority with Pep waiting in
the wings. It is not looking good at the moment.

Martin Hunt
martinhuntctid AT gmail.com

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CITY BAR IN PATONG

Having just returned from an excellent holiday in Patong, Phuket, Thailand I thought that I would advise fellow blues of a bar that welcomes City supporters in Patong. It is called the Balcony Hotel and the owner is a City fan, he produced a Championship winning banner to display during the recent Arsenal match. It is a small bar, but I watched the game in there without any problems and even the bad result could not spoil my holiday, although trust City to try!

If any blues find themselves on holiday in Patong and are looking for a bar to see a game this is one that I would strongly recommend. Here is the link to website, giving the location and other details:-

http://www.hostelworld.com/hosteldetails.php/Balcony-Hostel-Patong/Phuket/74328?

Peter Jeffery
peejay2c AT yahoo.co.uk

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

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