NEWSLETTER #1973

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MAN CITY INFO VIA THE ALPS “McVittee!” (1973)

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

ISSUE DATE: 21st February 2015

NEXT GAME: Newcastle, Etihad Stadium, Saturday 21st February (17:30 GMT)
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WELCOME WILFRIED, WELCOME BACK YAYA, GET MILNER SIGNED UP!

City’s inconsistent form continues but it’s good to be back to winning form after a less than mediocre run of form.

The Hull game was a repetition of our insipid home form of previous weeks. The 4-1 win at Stoke was emphatic but not without its worrying moments. Having taken the family away to Cyprus for a week, and not even seen the whole game on TV, I cannot really write a match report on it. We were unable to find a screen with it on so my thoughts are based on following the match on Twitter as we could not find a screen with it on in our resort and what I saw in a Kebab shop (!), as well as highlights from mcfc.co.uk!

I managed to watch 20 minutes of the early stages of the game, and we weren’t that great if truth be told, but there was the small matter of City taking the lead. After I celebrated Serge’s wonderful strike with an involuntary roar of delight, the proprietor of said kebab shop offered me a firm handshake across the counter. He was rather delighted too, though in a more reserved and dignified way than I was!

Now anyone who knows me will know that I really don’t need six souvlaki (kebabs) for my less than svelte figure otherwise I’d have stayed for the whole 90 mins. In any case, with my family waiting, I settled for following the rest of the match on Twitter.

So doubtless you’ll all know that for thirty minutes City were poor and were lucky not to be down a goal and down to ten men after James Milner’s handball in the penalty box. For once we benefited from poor officiating by Lee Mason! Later Crouch had the ball in the net but was clearly offside when the initial shot. The goal that gave us the lead was Sergio Aguero at his very best. City’s second half show was very encouraging indeed. To rattle in three goals without reply at such a difficult ground was a notable triumph. The only cloud on the evening was Sergio going off, nursing a muscle, which we hope was merely cramp.

James Milner’s contract is still the subject of some discussion in this edition. Reports suggest that the sticking point is the length of contract offered, with Milner wanting four years and City offering only three. If that is the only sticking point, then what are waiting for? Four years may seem like a long contract for a 29 year old, but whilst he is not the slowest by any means, his pace isn’t his main asset, and his experience and quality would be valuable to us as City evolve. So, projecting forward to three and four years hence, given his fitness and professionalism, at 32 going on 33, one can reasonably expect him to continue offer a very decent level of performance, on a consistent basis. So, Txiki, Ferran, if the length of contract is the only significant issue, how about it? I’m not alone in saying I’d hate to see him playing for Liverpool or Arsenal next season. Get him signed up, please!

Of course, it may not be that simple. It could be, as many of us suspect, a case of Milner having made his mind up that he wants to be top dog somewhere else, starting every game, and that the issues of “game time” (not an issue this season) and length of contract are a smokescreen.

Whatever the exact situation is, the longer he doesn’t sign, the more it looks that he won’t.

Attention turns to Newcastle at home this evening (Milner is out of that one with a knee injury and is a doubt for Barcelona next week), and we will report from there. The Geordies will be buoyed by their League Cup win here, even if Alan Pardew has gone to his spiritual home at Palace. The game sees the long awaited return of Yaya Toure and the possible debut of Wilfried Bony (it has been an age since we actually signed him). Congratulations to both on their African Nations Cup triumph. The question is will Pellegrini stick with the 4-5-1 that has served us well (including our win at Stoke) or will he revert to the 4-4-2 that he seems to favour. The latter formation is a concern as it has left us outnumbered in midfield in big matches and has left players looking like square pegs in round holes in others. Maybe Bony and Aguero can make it work, particularly with the former’s ability to hold the ball and make intelligent use of it, as well as score goals.

I hope you enjoy tonight’s edition which sees opinion on current City, an enjoyable memoire of the 1970 League Cup Final, and a match report of Hull which seems like a long time ago. Thanks very much for all your articles, and thanks Phill Gatenby for spotting my not so deliberate error – we are of course playing Newcastle today!

Come on City!

Kind regards

Phil Banerjee
Editor
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‘TIS ABOUT TIME I HAD A RANT…

Almost feels like old times eh? Those glorious, victorious imposters of the last few years were obviously just figments of my warped and fevered imagination, and old City, typical City, our City is back and in fine form again. We often hear the positive spin that could be applied to us right now: “Form is temporary, class is permanent”. Well I’m more in the mood to counter that with: “Form is temporary, club DNA is permanent” because we are again in danger of becoming a laughing-stock. I mean! Home Cup exits to Newcastle and Middlesbrough, home points dropped to Burnley, to Hull (Steve bloody Bruce’s Hull!), to Stoke (even worse, Mark No Clues Hughes’ Stoke!), and even having our manager proven less tactically flexible than Arsene Wenger! What happened to that gradually built citadel that was The Etihad over five seasons or so until this one? I am not for one minute calling for the head of our manager but I remember last season, when we won the league by playing great expans!
ive football, the general public and media line alike was what a fantastic job Pellegrini was doing, not panicking but just continuing with his philosophy, and I equally well remember at the time thinking of how, just as soon as things went awry that those compliments would very quickly change to noting his lack of Plan B. It has to be said that there is certainly a case for this grumble at the moment.

And speaking of the way we are playing right now, is it just me or is anyone else seeing a parallel with two years ago? Off the back of victorious seasons of oft sumptuously played football, we go through the next campaign with all the same ball possession but so very much more ponderous, bereft of the zip and imagination of what brought us the silverware. At this point in time, I must admit to being more concerned looking over our shoulder than up at the west Londoners atop the Prem.

As I said, mind, I’m hoping that This Charming Man(ager) doesn’t suffer the axe for our failings this season, it’s not his fault that most of the team of last season are not playing as well this time around (Sergio, James and Joe being IMO the only exceptions). And though I don’t know the extent of his input into our signings – not great since his arrival – I would like a bit of continuity, esp. with someone who has proven himself beyond doubt in his first season. I fully understood why Mancini had to go – player power being what it is these days, and he clearly saved all his veneer of pleasantry for press conferences – but, as far as I’m aware, Manuel has no overtly dissenting voices to date. A likeable man with a likeable idea of how football should be played, and a VERY likeable record from last season.

Oh, and though this is irrelevant, my best mate throughout my teens/early 20s worked for British Gas and got a job in Chile. Whilst there he switched to work for a Chilean gas firm and has stayed there ever since. For many years his direct boss was Pellegrini’s wife. They’ve had dinner parties at each other’s houses many times.

Anyhow, I’m off to wash my Valium down with a spot of meths now, so I’ll bid thee my farewells…or at least au revoirs.

Cheers

Steve O’Brien
Bodsnvimto AT googlemail.com
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PELLEGRINI LAMBORGINI V DIEGO SIMEONE

Let’s face it last year in the champions league we did not win the group due to our managers lack of knowledge. Substituting a forward to protect the lead, SDFGHJKLPOIUYGTFRBNM: no I’m not over it
YES! you, me all of us would have hard time keeping our jobs on such an amazing **** up now let’s be honest, we would have been sacked on the spot for malpractice so now 12 months later in the league we end a game with Kun, Dzeko and jovetic with yes you guessed it with no supply NO wingers.

Over the years we were under the same away team style of play at the Etihad

BUT we did not have the above quality, then we had:

Corradi, Benjani, Sad(beyond)myrass, JO(ker)

YES a point against reigning champion is great for away teams, following a STOKE victory earlier in the season they are all after it.

Whilst the walls at the Etihad are being knocked down to be built bigger, the 3 point home form fortress need to be rebuilt.

Are we to become the new arsenal of the North always in the champions league without ever winning NOTHING??

Diego (sensa Marradonna) see you next season.

Finally…

Milner deserves his plaudits, he will play overseas next season, good for him. He always has the balls to play wherever with gusto.

havaniceday

Philip Telford
Telfordpnt AT hotmail.com
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LEAGUE CUP 1970

It was along time ago and I remember the event more than the play. What a day! I hsd been in London for much of the week and there had been plenty of snow, but it had melted by Friday. when I returned to Manchester. I was a bit concerned about the state of the Webley pitch after the snow and the damage caused by the Horse of the Year Show which had been held there a week earlier. It was cold and dry as I left Piccadilly Station and went home to Middleton for an early night before my son, Martin, and I would take off for the match the next day.

Out of bed early the next morning and I opened the door to put the dog out and it disappeared into twelve or more inches of snow! It was just there, unmoved, nothing had been cleared (it was still dark)and we fought our way through it to reach our coach in Fountain Street. It was not a comfortable journey as the roads had not been de-iced but the driver kept going marvellously and we reached the M6. Things were better then until Birmingham traffic (West Brom Fans) filtered in snd we slowly reached Wembley. Fortunately, the kick-off was 3.30pm and we had just about enough time to find our seats before then.

The pitch looked terrible following the earlier snow and the Horse of the Year Show. but who cared as the players were out and it was all systems go. City were just back from a Cup Winners Cup tie in Portugal and were without striker Neil Young, George Heslop (a central defender) replacing him. Glyn Pardoe was moved to a forward position with Arthur Mann taking his left-back spot. West Brom had two primary options, the first being to take the game to City from the start hoping they would be tired following their game in Portugal, and then to block out Bell, Lee and Summerbee.

They did attack from the start and our defence was kept busy but holding out very well. We were beginning to look better in attack as the forwards were learning to jump the sliding tackles then, suddenly, a cross from deep on the left was headed in by Jeff Astle (these things still happen to us in 2015!). The West Brom crowd went berserk but City stuck to their task with clever play and their desire to go forward with power, but Summerbee was in some difficulty. We were still down at half time and soon after the re-start Summerbee was replaced by the young Ian Bowyer. City continued their non-stop assault on the West Brom goal and eventually Mike Doyle got the equaliser with a longish shot. There was only one team in it now but a goal would not come despite the craft of Bell and the powerful surges of Lee, ably supported by the rest of the team. As the 90 minutes ended it was clear that West Brom were weary and our assault continued in extra time but could we get the winner?!
Osbourne was in good form in the Baggies goal, then it happened. Excellent play on the right, orchestrated by Bell provided an excellent cross which Glyn Pardoe turned in. City fans turned to the Albion fans singing “you’ve all gone quiet over there.” What a match and what a pitch City’s fitness was incredible and they pressurised to the end; Tony Book collected his third trophy in three years and there would be another one in Vienna later. We got back to the coach which fought its way to the suburbs and stopped. A coach had caught fire at Watford Gap and we were held up for ages. We eventually got home tired and very happy.

Derek Styles
deranne10@gmail.com
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SIGN MILNER

Will be brief and to the point. Manchester City needs to sign James Milner, right now. If he wants four years …give it to him.

There is no way City should risk losing him to Liverpool or Arsenal. Milner represents the heart and soul of Manchester City, he is the Colin Bell of this era. A tireless worker who can play anywhere, totally reliable and not prone to injuries. For all the money City has wasted on recent signings, it would be scandalous if we let him go. With his work rate, surely James is good for at least another three seasons – then we can send him to New York!

Keith Sharp
Toronto Canada
keith.sharp AT hotmail.com
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KING OF THE KIPPAX 222

Pleased to announce that King Of The Kippax number 222 is at the printers and should be in the Manc outlets this Friday. This issue is the usual A4, 44 pages, and is priced at £3. Colour front and back cover with Yaya holding up the ACON with the caption *How many more trophies for Yaya this season?”

It includes all the usual regulars plus articles on the new TV deal, referees, and Chappy on Keegan and Mancini.

It can also be bought directly from (cheques to) King of The Kippax, 25, Holdenbrook Close, Leigh, Lancs, WN 7 2HL for £4,50 inc P and P. The kindle version should also be out by the weekend.

Regards
Dave and Sue Wallace
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Manchester City 1 Hull City 1. HT 0-1

James Milner rescued a point for City with his fizzing stoppage time free kick, but it was after a second half siege which had looked increasingly fruitless with City way below par.

City started off at too slow a tempo to test Hull’s massed defence and our passing was far too casual at times. It was Hull who went closest in the early stages with Aluko forcing a save from inside left then Elmohamady hit the bar with his header after Brady worked space and crossed from the left.

Despite City dominating possession it was no surprise when Meyler scored for the visitors in the 34th minute after some shambolic defending. Thereafter Hull defended in depth and frustrated City. What started off the match as a back five became ten men behind the ball and it seemed like they would continue to frustrate us. Not that there is any excuse. City didn’t move the ball with enough speed or show enough guile. Chances were few and far between. Dzeko’s shot from Zabaleta’s cross was tipped over by McGregor but it was rare. The introduction of Navas at half time didn’t see enough of an impact as he couldn’t get crosses in past retreating defenders.

Silva should have been awarded a penalty when he was clearly held two-handed from behind and referee Jon Moss had no excuse not to give it. It was impossible not to sympathise with Silva when he was bafflingly subbed. More understandable was Pellegrini abandoning his predictable 4-4-2 formation. As one would expect, there was some improvement and especially with the introduction of Milner who showed good aggression and use of the ball. One has to wonder why Pellegrini didn’t start with Milner who’d been our best player at Chelsea. Why handicap ourselves? Chelsea play their best team every week, but we don’t.

The longer the game progressed, the more it cried out for something different. We needed one of our under-underemployed centre backs to step into midfield and make the extra man. We needed someone to grab the game by the scruff of the neck. We needed leadership.

Aguero who’d had a quiet game tried some individual skill with a slalom run andhit the bar from Nasri’s cross in the 90th minute and then his run drew the free kick which Milner curled around the wall to give us a point that leaves us 7 points behind Chelsea.
For too long City were laboured, pedestrian and lacking inspiration. The defensive rigour and tightness of the Mancini era is long gone and questions have to be asked about Pellegrini’s tactics in particular starting with a 4-4-2 formation that pushed our most creative players, Silva and Nasri, wide too often. Why Pellegrini moved away from the 4-5-1 formation that has served us well is anyone’s guess. More worryingly is the team spirit is not what it was, and it cannot be helped by their frustration at playing a formation that doesn’t suit them. Players being frustrated is one thing but a real concern was Kompany and Zabaleta at each other’s throats.

City are still in there fighting for the title but must quickly improve to stay that way.

Goals:
Hull: Meyler 34
City: Milner 91

Att:

Hart: His poor kick out led to the calamitous chain of events that led to Hull’s goal. Made a save in that passage of play otherwise largely unemployed: 6
Zabaleta: Nowhere near the excellent standards of recent years. Zaba isn’t getting forward as much 5
Kompany: The uncertainty continues: 5
Demichelis: Slow to react in the build up to Hull’s goal. Otherwise not tested: 5
Clichy: Quietly efficient in defence though his final ball was not always up to scratch: 6
Nasri: Tried to create but was not quite back to his best. This was evident when he took an extra touch rather than shoot just before the break when he was tackled before he could pull the trigger: 6
Fernando: A game like this leaves a defensive midfielder like Fernando with little to do, when we needed more creativity, which explains his substitution: 5
Fernandinho: His passing left enough to desired: 5
Silva: Tried as ever to create but wasn’t helped by the lack of movement or the shape of the team: 6
Dzeko: Spends far too much time out wide. Scuffed his only chance into the ground 6
Aguero: Had a quiet game until the last few minutes when he burst into life: 6

Subs:
Navas (for Fernando HT): Continues to frustrate with his lack of end product: 6
Jovetic (for Silva 74): It must hurt being left out of the Champions League squad and he can count himself very unlucky, especially given his role in the build up to the two late goals against Bayern, but his attitude was good and showed no signs of that his disappointment. One lovely lob set up Aguero late on: 6
Milner (for Dzeko 65): Made things happen in the lines between midfield and attack with his busy, intelligent style. His brilliant free kick showed a talent that is often over-shadowed by others. The more vocal elements crowd called for him to stay, and rightly so, but his consistently good performances are a measure of his professionalism as he increasingly looks more likely to leave in the Summer. 7

Best oppo: Huddlestone: Offered physicality in midfield when Hul advanced but most of all, an effective screen amongst the phalanx of bodies in black: 7
Refwatch: Jon Moss: The standard of refereeing is truly appalling and this was yet another example of it. How he could deny the penalty on Silva defies any form of logic: clear holding took place by Alex Bruce and he could hardly believe his luck as he admitted as much in an interview for Match of the Day: 2
Phil Banerjee
phil.banerjee AT orange.net

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