Newsletter #946

A result on Sunday that a few months ago most of us would have taken as we succumbed 1-2 to Arsenal. I think most of us felt cheated out of at least a point given the sterling performance in the first half, but Arsenal certainly came back fighting and some bad defensive errors saw them take advantage. Keegan has today called for SWP not to be blamed for the errors; I am not sure where KK has heard that, but I’ve certainly not heard SWP blamed anywhere, rather Seaman, Sun, Sommeil and Distin!

Meanwhile on Friday night the most rumoured transfer of the season was confirmed as McManaman joined the Blues on a two year deal after being released from Real Madrid.

No reports of the Arsenal game tonight, but we do have some views of the TNS game last Thursday, which saw us progress easily into the first round proper where we now face Sporting Lokeren of Belgium on 24/9 and 15/10.

We also have plenty of opinion on the Arsenal performance, the new arrivals and a twist on a Why Blue.

Finally an update on the Marc Vivien Foe appeal, with details of shirt donations and an online auction.

Next game: Aston Villa, home, 2pm Sunday 14 September 2003 (TV game)


I really do object to all this corporate hospitality nonsense at football these days. That’s apart from when I get a freebie myself via a friend of a (rather distant) friend. Thus it was that I turned up at the magnificent Millennium stadium last night for the formality of our second leg UEFA Cup tie.

The roof was closed, which did give a slightly odd indoor feel but the venue and the pitch are fantastic. Decent turnout I thought – just over 10,000 with only a few hundred in the ‘home’ end (and some of them were Blues). Enough for a few reasonable renditions of ‘We are not really here’. Overall, a fairly relaxed, low key atmosphere thoughr, both on and off the pitch.

Pretty much a second string City side did enough to win with a clean sheet, which is job done as far as I’m concerned although I wouldn’t say it was pulsating, attacking football.

Brief comments on some performances:

Weaver – good to see him get a run out – one missed punch and one acrobatic diving save.
Bosvelt – probably our best player, doing the simple stuff efficiently in front of the back 4.
Flood – keen, willing runner on the wing, a little raw though.
Berko – got a warm reception, probed without really opening them up too often.
Huckerby – little impact apart from the tap in goal.
Macken – looked short of confidence, maybe because of the knock that lead to him being withdrawn.
SWP – livened things up as soon as he came on.
Negouai – where was he playing – up front, wide, central? Did he know? To be fair he did tuck away his goal nicely.

After the match, the players came back out for a warm down and those who didn’t play did a proper work out. They stayed out for ages on the pitch in front of the empty stands. Sorry if this is normal practice but I was intrigued. One other thing is the sheer presence of Pearce on the pitch with the team. Good to have him on our side.

Derek Eccleston (


Thought I’d give an opinion on the TNS game or, more accurately, the performance of our reserves. Pretty simple really, clearly hardly any of them feel like playing for the first team as they certainly didn’t set out to impress with their effort and endeavour. There are some exceptions and I know it was effectively a dead rubber but, as the guy behind me said, he was watching hundred pound a week players against thousand pound a week ones and couldn’t tell the difference. So, anyway, the players (I’m afraid apart from the guy who looked like Bobo Balde – TNSs play in green and white hoops like Celtic for those who don’t know – there weren’t really any of them that stick in my mind).

Weaver – not really tested but didn’t look comfortable when called upon. Some practice needed I’m afraid and was nearly caught out by a smart piece of thinking by a TNS midfielder trying from a long way out.

Wiekens – was as you would expect, played as he always does. No criticism meant by that. Solid.

Dunne – not the greatest of performances – could be said for most of the team, mind. Poor control often.

Bischoff – never seen him before, promising I think.

Tiatto – one of the few players who was really trying but you can’t really get going when noone’s moving for you.

Flood – again promising, he actually had a reason to play for. Having never seen our youth team I do wonder where all the tall players are. Gained in confidence as the game went on.

Negouai – no idea where he was meant to be playing – fancied himself as a centre forward, I certainly don’t. Not at all impressive.

Bosvelt – didn’t do much at all really, sat and passed (which is I guess his rôle and again, no movement for him).

Berkovic – not sure how he’ll get back into the first team on this display. Sideways or backwards only, no spark of invention.

Huckerby – lacking confidence or lacking ability? Should have done better but at least ran sometimes.

Macken – got a lot of knocks and went off injured, hadn’t really done a lot. Holds play up in both ways, I’ve never seen him come anywhere near justifying his fee or place ahead of Goater last season.

Subs were Wright-Philips who was ok, as was Barton, and Whelan didn’t do much.

So we played 3-5-2 (or maybe 3-4-2 with Negouai in a completely free rôle); why if we’ve moved to 4-4-2? Most of the game was pedestrian to say the least and there’s no way you’ll break down a 10 man defence like that. Basically there wasn’t a lot to play for except to impress the manager and push yourself forward and these guys either feel it’s not worth it or they don’t want to. At least it was nice to see that the reserves clearly don’t work on defending corners properly either. In fact I don’t think City have ever worked on it in since Reid left if the memories of hands covering face so I couldn’t see opposition corners serves me correctly. I appreciate that TNS probably worked on them as their best chance to score but still, the ones we took and the ones we defended tended to have the same result, a hooped shirt getting to it first. So that’s all really, not a good performance, certainly not as a team, but we didn’t need one to get through and I have now seen City in Europe, something that for a long time never looked very likely.

Thomas Bodey (


This is my first live match for some time and thought I would write a few comments.

  1. The stadium was great and would love to be there with a near capacitycrowd but it felt eerily empty with only 10,00 there (7 out of 8 empty).
  2. KK put out a second string to see if anyone would show they had the rightto a first team place and with being 5 goals ahead at kick off, turned thisinto a practice match atmosphere.
  3. Although his first full team appearance I thought Willo Flood had avery good game and could be a good future prospect. However, he rarelyseemed to get the ball passed to him despite I thought a good positionalawareness. He played on the right wing and was aware of his fellow players’movements and covered them well (playing total football – old term I know);as central players drifted wide he drifted in; as defenders pushed forwardhe held back and managed to play most rôles on the right hand side at somepoint in the game.

    His tackling was tenacious and would try to put a second one in if thefirst failed. He also put in some good crosses to create goal scoringopportunities.

    Given another year and a few more first team appearances, probably off thesubs’ bench, Willo Flood could be another youth team member that will becomea full team regular.
  4. Bischoff also had a relatively solid game but not as good as Flood anddeserves on this showing another year playing in the reserves to show if hecan break into the team. He did little wrong but was a bit naïve at times,but could learn a lot from having Seaman around and the regular defendersaround him.
  5. SweeP’s introduction in the second half gave us some more impetus toplay the game and the second goal was a great run by him from a good ballby Flood (I think) to allow Forest Gump an easy score.
  6. Forest Gump played a typical game for him. He ran and ran but found ithard to take his chances despite an easy opposing side – who did manage toget 10 men behind the ball in his defence.

The rest of the team didn’t deserve much of a mention and played like they were in Carrington training with the lads.

Still, I made it to the first European game in decades, so not too much to complain about. I just wish I saw more of the first team and a bit more hunger to score goals. But can you blame them playing in a near empty stadium against a team we have already won against (barring any tragedies) and the Arsenal game just 3 days away?

Mark Wilson (


I’ve just finished watching another gut wrenching City performance. OK it was Arsenal and we did take 6 points off United, but we need defenders or at least two of them. We don`t seem to win many tackles, and therefore do not gain possession, and therefore are unable to supply our creative midfield playmakers of which we seem to have an abundance.

I do forecast a good year for us and I don`t want to criticise any of the players involved in today’s game because they did give it all, but we need to tighten up at the back. Anelka is superb and does need a partner. Was that the plan in bringing Fowler, I mean was he the bait… something to think about. Looking forward to seeing the new lads next week.

Antony (


It is easy for us all to pick out a couple of incidents that lost City the game to Arsenal, but to pick out certain players and make them the scapegoats would be wrong, the “team” lost. It was a game that I felt City at least deserved a point!

Too many times we gave the ball back to Arsenal from free kicks and corners, the ball went on several occasions too close to the Arsenal goalkeeper; all he had to do was reach high and say thanks! Basic rule: keep the ball out of the goalkeeper’s reach! David Seaman with all his experience must shout out when it’s his ball.

From this game City must learn from some basic mistakes; we can only get better. Two weeks to get over this one and be ready for Villa.

Nice to see Shaun Wright-Phillips and Joey Barton get called up into the Under 21 squad for England. And Trevor Sinclair into the 24 man England squad, congrats to them.

Come on you Blues! Ernie Barrow (


It’s about time I shared a few of my personal opinions about City in this forum. What a fantastic start to the season!

Firstly, what awesome news about the signing of Macmanamanananan. Let’s put this in perspective, he’s had full international experience, played with Liverpool at the highest level, and was currently sought by various Premiership clubs. He appears to have improved and matured vastly in his time at Real Madrid and I believe will be a huge positive influence on the team in the coming season. I expected him to go to another Premiership club with pots of money and high ambitions but he has opted for City. Doesn’t that just signify how high we are aiming these days?

With regard to the signing of Reyna… not sure about that one. I haven’t seen much of him, but he appears to be fairly versatile according to KK so will reserve judgement on him.

Secondly I’d like to comment on the TNS game at the Millennium Stadium. The stadium was fantastic albeit virtually empty, but the travelling Blues made for a party atmosphere. I was particularly impressed to see the ‘star players’ attending and spending time signing autographs for the adoring youngsters before the game, and was also interested to see some youngsters featuring in the first team for the first time.

Weaver looked particularly lean and fit and may well give Seaman a run for his money this season after the Blackburn performance and depending on the old man’s fitness. Good to see him back.

Berkovic played and I’m thankful that he has decided to stay. Hopefully the differences with KK will have been settled and forgotten as he is a key player and is the only player we have on the same wavelength mentally as the Elk who can feed him the killer pass regularly. Obviously his fitness will be a feature but I’d certainly rather have him in our side than not.

Bischoff and Flood got to start the game, which was interesting to see. Flood was playing wide left and appeared so small and lightweight that he made Sweep look like a heavyweight! He has some skill but just isn’t up to the rigours of top flight football. Bischoff on the other hand has more potential I feel and has a certain presence on the ball, playing out of postion as he was on the left hand side of a back three (Dunne, Wiekens, Bischoff).

Bosvelt will be a real class act. His experience shines through and he appears a calming influence to the youngsters around him. Macken just hasn’t yet impressed. As with Fowler everybody wants to give him a chance but he couldn’t even deliver against this team of amateurs. His first touch often let him down and he became injured after any hefty challenge. I was hoping he would prove his worth and bag a couple of goals in this fixture but he showed no signs of threat. Injury prone apparently, and honest effort isn’t enough so he should be moved on. Having said that, Fowler is gaining a first team start regularly and is no more impressive. Again I wish him a goal or three to get him off the mark, but fear he could be a flop.

The TNS game was just a run out so I’m not too concerned with the effort shown on the pitch but he Blackburn game was completely opposite. A full team fielded by KK and plenty of commitment shown by all.

I have to disagree with the comments made by Jon Abel about the game though… were you watching a different game? In response, I’m a huge fan of Distin but thought he had a nightmare until the last 15 minutes. I agree though that Sommeil was immense and should have got the MOM award. Danny Mills is a mental liability and has no place in the City team. Tarnat appears to be a class signing, yet another great buy under KK. What a goal! Great times to be Blue, and the Macmanaman signing will be a huge boost, just you wait and see.

Let’s do the Gooners!

Adam Davey (


Forget the worries of what that big stadium should be called – you know the one that we ain’t won at yet…?! Nope, forget that.

We have a worry that far outweighs any architectural Christening, or car parking woe, or right back gap. Liverpoool is the problem. I will give until Everton beat Liverpool at the weekend, for Houllier to get the push.

I will then give the press a day or two to whip up a storm as to who will replace him. KK will be the only curly perm from outside Liddypool to be associated with such a post. He’s ex-England coach, won’t go back there. Newcastle wouldn’t go back there after what happened. Fulham – Pfffwrt! He will never get the Un**ed job, He probably wouldn’t want it either… But Liverpool…?

Liverpool was an enormous part of his football life. He is held in huge regard. He is the perfect age. The perfect manager. He would have far more money available than what is available at City – and that’s Anelka gone for a start.

The only saving grace, is that he’s walked out on clubs before – and to do it for a third time would be just ludicrous. We have a wonderful squad assembled by King Kev – which he may prefer to see bear fruit, rather than let someone else tear it apart – the personal challenge thing, that footballers/ex-footballers often cite. He keeps harping on about our new home – but is it enough?

I am really quite concerned about this – whereas in the past you just kinda expect it, being Blue and all. I really hope I am wrong on this – but keep a close eye on the Liverpool derby and pray Owen bags a couple…

‘Cause, one thing is for certain – Manchester City – for the last two seasons – has been all about Kevin Keegan


[I don’t think Keegan’s going anywhere Joel, he has publicly stated his commitment to City and truly believes we are on the verge of achieving things we’ve waited far too long for – Ed]

Joel Perry – Ex Kippax (


I was lucky enough to be at the Charlton game, it was marvellous to be there (albeit with the help of a Charlton friend) and hear the silence at the double remembrance of the wife of the Chairman of Charlton and Marc.

Frankly after this, the result was a victory for both sets of fans.

Peter (


Don’t know if anyone has noticed, but the Farm boys (Elk, Goat, Fowl) are now being outnumbered by the Met boys. We’ve got Sun and Cloudyo Rainer fighting for places, Flood on the fringe and some might say that we’ve got Mist Again in the forward line. Rumour has it that KK is going to open his cheque book again to sign Bo Storm from Heerenveen, Barry Hayles from Fulham, Dean Frost from Dover Athletic and Marcus Gayle from Watford and is also hoping to persuade Mark Bright to come out of retirement. Weather or not they’d all gel together as a team is the golden question!

Martin Rayner – Melbourne (


Nico a proclam