Newsletter #1072

A resounding win, and great team performance, at Pompey on Saturday nudges us up into 11th place. Of course we have to capitalise on this by winning next Saturday, but in the meantime we have match reports and views thanks to Derek, Mike and Ian.

There is also a report on the second string’s 4-1 victory over Leeds thanks to Gav, opinion on past players, KK and a few requests.

Next game: Aston Villa, home, 5.15pm Saturday 27 November 2004 (TV)


I wasn’t much looking forward to this – silly kick-off time, opponents with a strong home record and miserable weather compounded by the fact that the 1970s away end at Fratton Park is roofless. Then I heard Barton was playing and Macken’s return meant that SWP was back in his midfield berth, plus we were due one, as we were robbed in this fixture last year so I thought, who knows?

We only had about half the allocation we had last year but those who turned out made double the noise of last season, despite the cold and rain, as we were treated to a top drawer all round performance.

City were immediately on top, with more purpose and lots of movement up front. SWP got a wonderful reception and, after the nonsense in Spain, it was great to see him score the first goal. There was a ball down the inside left channel, defender slipped, SWP pounced, there was a blur of twists, turns and quick feet and the ball is in the back of the net. Classic.

I didn’t have time to reflect ‘1-0 us always ends up 1 apiece’ when Pompey equalized. Flashing cross from the left, Pompey forward left his marker (Sibi) rooted to the spot as he stole in, to direct the ball into the top corner. Distin was furious but that was to be the only blip in an otherwise flawless performance at the back.

Pompey took heart from this and for a short time played some football. However, I can’t remember much of a threat on our goal and gradually City reasserted themselves. Anelka got clobbered and went off with a limp but I still felt we had enough to win as long as we kept playing.

Half time came and I sought respite from the driving rain and the cold via a trip to the Gents. Trouble is, everyone else had the same idea judging by the scrummage in there.

Second half was basically one of ever increasing dominance for City. The best thing about it for me was that we were manifestly better yet still stuck at 1-1 for a long period. Despite this we kept going and showed a great determination to win it rather than settle for an away point. I remember one occasion near us in the away end when three City players crowded out a Pompey attacker on a rare break and snuffed out the danger. Another time, in the first half, Distin raced back the length of the field from our corner to deny the onrushing Pompey forward.

There was a string of corners as we turned the screw, Fowler did his party piece – blistering first time left-foot volley that the ‘keeper somehow managed to flap over the bar, Jordan had a pop yet no goal came. The breakthrough came after some neat work on the touchline (or thereabouts anyway J) by Fowler was followed by a neat chip to the far post where Sibi bobbled it into the corner. From then on it was all City, SWP deserved a goal with yet another dribble through the Pompey defence, yet his shot was saved by the ‘keeper only for Bos to follow up and tap in.

James – 7 What little he had to do he did well. No chance with the goal.
Onouha – 8 A revelation, defended well and was a threat going forward. I’d rate him higher but he got caught a couple of times in the second half playing it out of defence.
Jordan – 8 It’s been a very long time since I saw 2 full back performances like this and from 2 youngsters too. Very encouraging.
Distin – 9 Absolutely massive. I’d give him a ’10’ if he had just been more threatening at all the corners we won.
Dunne – 8 Excellent again but not as dominant at Distin.
SWP – 9 KK said it all on Match of the Day. A true Blue hero.
Bos – 8 Made a thorough nuisance of himself all afternoon.
Barton – 9 Bossed the midfield and was the key to our all round dominance.
Sibi – 6 Lacked confidence but hopefully the goal will help.
Macken – 6 Kept trying and did turn his man a few times but he wasn’t in the same class as the rest.
Fowler – 7 One great volley, set up the second goal.

Derek Eccleston <Deccleston(at)>


It is probably not right for me to give a matchview from a match I have not attended. But I was, again, very encouraged by several aspects of the Saturday tea-time triumph at Fratton, so I thought I would type some sort of summary of my thoughts.

I had been looking forward to a great footballing spectacle for several days. The huge build up, the adverts on Sky, the prospects of so many great talents all on display at the same time. I watched Jeff Stelling and the boys during the afternoon, the anticipation of the big match heightening as kick off approached. 8.30 pm, UK time. The Camp Nou was in fervour – Barca versus Real Madrid, the big match.

But first, Portsmouth vs. Manchester City.

Well, what a comparison! I ask you. I nervously hoped we could avoid defeat. I hoped for a good performance, important given the injury list and inconsistencies that we showed some backbone. I predicted a 1-1 or 2-2 draw. SWP was thankfully restored to the right flank so hopefully we could open the opposition up and create chances. The home support seemed, from my small pile of beanbags in York, to be vociferously in favour of Harry and not Milan.

City started so brightly, brilliant early goal, then pegged back due to a sleeping defence. To be fair, not a criticism we can use so much this season. But that was a horrible moment. After that, marvellous. Joey Barton was utterly magnificent and, much as I have admired him and enjoyed his (frustratingly mercurial) skills over the years, I can see no way back for Macca after Saturday. I know there are those who bemoan Bosvelt but I have championed his cause all year, and I have been soothed by his displays alongside Joey and, at the very end of last term, Claudio Reyna. Barton was fantastic on Saturday and although SWP played well, the champers should have gone the other way. In my opinion!

The two young full backs looked increasingly comfortable. With Dunne in the middle, the England number 1 at the back, and Mills and Distin not ancient, the future, in defensive terms, looks bright. Dunne is really now looking a class act. Powerful, tigerish in the tackle, good in the air, yet also very cultured and possibly two-footed with the ball at his feet. I imagine if he had to do a drugs test he would remember to turn up, so he must – looking at the qualities of other local players in that position – be worth over £30 million!

I was gutted when Anelka went off. I love watching him play football, he is sheer class. I still pinch myself to think he is at City, despite the frustrations that accompany him. And us! But on came Fowler. Cold, wet night, heavy pitch. Now what? Well, I thought he was great. Appetite, heart, desire were all there to see. Witness from the camera behind the goal the determination in his face at the scoring of the Bosvelt goal. Something else: many of his first time touches, lay offs and flicks were entirely indicative of a player of class. He has tried them but not always succeeded. I sincerely hope his confidence is returning along with his fitness. What a volley! What a save!

In the end the home team were lucky to escape at 3-1; City were pretty awesome in the way, despite a generally young team, that we controlled the whole affair. SWP had acres of Pompey turf to himself as the game closed. He really must not play up front, where his creativity will have less effect. you could hear the Blue Moon chorus 300 miles away!

Marvellous result, quality 3 points. Can we carry this into the next few matches? Villa are good this year, so we should raise our game. Then Boro, Spurs, Bolton and into Christmas, the sort of matches I suggested a few weeks ago were the real test of where we stand.

Barça / Madrid was ok, too.

Mike Bains <mikebains(at)>


Managed to watch this game in a pub in deepest Oxfordshire after seeing Abingdon United get thrashed by Highworth United 4-0 (Hellenic League, don’t ask!).

First let me say that I am pleased to have to eat my words. Keegan did not use the 4-5-1 formation but included Jon Macken to play up front with Anelka. Great performances by Joey Barton and Paul Bosvelt in the midfield – have we missed Joey. He was all over the place. I must admit that there was a collective sigh of disappointment from the 4 City fans (me and 3 others who just happened to be there – 2 with very southern accents) when Anelka went off and Fowler came on. But to his credit Fowler played really well and, more importantly, combined well with Jon Macken. Reminded me of last year’s CoMS game against United when Fowler and Macken ran the United rearguard ragged.

I was also pleased to see that Keegan did not select Sommeil (an error prone player if ever I saw one) but gave Onouha a chance – OK, he made a few mistakes but he combined well with SWP. I hope everyone noticed how much Distin was rallying the troops – how different from last year; is this from Stuart Pearce? I know lots of people made SWP man of the match but for me Joey Barton just shaded it – he and Bossie look really good in the midfield. Now will Keegan have the bottle to leave Fowler and Macken up front for the Villa game? Neither deserve to get dropped. It was also good to see Berkovic again (I’ve always rated him as a player) – some beautiful slide rule passes. Overall, a very slick and professional display by City – oh for a left sided midfield player; but the future looks bright for City. Our juniors are doing us proud – the guys at the Academy deserve all the praise – incidentally, who was responsible for the establishment of the Academy?

Ian Burgess <i.burgess(at)>


City Trounce Tykes

A wet and blustery night at the Athletics arena saw City return to the top of the table and condemn their opponents to stay rooted to the bottom. A hat-trick of goals from Bradley Wright-Phillips and another from his strike partner Christian Negouai. Leeds’ early second half goal from Julian Joachim was a mere consolation.

Leeds started brightly and indeed could have taken an early lead when their captain, Frazer Richardson, cut in from the right and hit a good strike on target but Kasper Schmeichel gathered well in the City goal. Three minutes later Leeds’ leading goalscorer from last season, Simon Johnson, had a good shot on target, but again Kasper was able to gather the ball.

With the difficult conditions, the game became quite tight and neither team opened up enough for the opposition to create any clear openings, so it was not until the twentieth minute that city finally won their first corner. The ball was not fully cleared from the corner and Negouai had a good shot on target that was well saved by William Coyles in the Leeds goal.

A minute later though City broke the deadlock when good work from Stephen Ireland down the left lifted the ball over the defence and Negouai headed it on for Bradley to clinically finish into the far corner. Three minutes later, Bradley had a chance to double the lead when Danny Warrender made a strong run down the right and pulled the ball back beautifully for Bradley to strike, but the ball went agonisingly wide.

We did not have to wait that long for him to make amends for that shot off target when on the twenty eighth minute Joey Barton, returning from knee surgery, made a surging run and played the ball up to Bradley who turned his defender with ease, ran into the box and smashed the ball into the top right corner of the goal. This second goal seemed to relax both teams’ players as neither side then created any real chances before the end of the first half.

A minute after the restart, Leeds drew a goal back when David Sommeil failed to clear a ball that fell to his feet and Joachim pounced to knock it past Kasper in goal. Leeds then put City under more pressure for ten minutes or so, but failed to create any clear openings. On 59 minutes, City won a free kick on the right of Leeds’ penalty area, near to the by-line, when Negouai was impeded. Paul Collins sent a deep ball in towards the far post but before it could reach a player, the referee blew his whistle for a penalty as Rob Constable was holding down Nedum Onuoha. Bradley stepped up to convert the penalty and hit his hat-trick but he kept his head down and he smashed the ball against the bar and it rebounded to safety.

Five minutes later Ireland played a lovely reverse pass out to Warrender who crossed well, Constable was able to head the ball out to the box but Bradley had dropped off his marker to anticipate the clearance and half volleyed the ball off the ground and into the far corner to complete his hat-trick. We then saw the moment of the match as Johnson was left free from 25 yards out and hit a great strike towards the top corner but somehow Kasper got up to it to push it around the post for a corner.

Ten minutes from the end saw an attack that took Ireland to Leeds’ by-line, and he waited patiently till he could run back to an onside position. As soon as he did, he dispossessed Jamie McMaster and turned and fed a neat ball to Negouai. He looked up and saw a gap at the far post and curled a delightful ball into the far corner of the goal. That was his fourth of the season and Bradley and his fourteenth from eight starts as a pairing up front.

Four minutes later saw Ireland play an inch perfect pass that cut through Leeds’ defence for Marc Laird to run onto, but Coyles saved well with his legs. Leeds then wasted a gilt-edged chance to bring some respectability back to the scoreline when McMaster played a great cross to the unmarked Michael Ricketts but he proceeded to try to hit one of David Beckham’s penalty balls in outer space.

City’s next game sees them travel to Leyland next Monday to face local rivals Bolton at Lancashire FA’s headquarters. Hopefully City’s coaching staff will continue to use the right balance in the side as they continue to maintain their challenge for the title.

Schmeichel: Commanded his area well and made a great save. 9
Sommeil: Much better than last week, but still at fault for the goal. 5
Collins: Steady game for Paul, could have done better with the dead balls. 6
Barton (46): All action man was back with a bang, will be needed at Pompey. 7
Onuoha (capt): Should get the shout for Mills’ place on Saturday. Sheer class again. 9
Warrender: Got stuck in and got forward well. 8
J D’Laryea: Didn’t impose himself as much as he can. 7
Ireland: Was at the heart of everything in the midfield, this lad has great vision. 9
Negouai: Held the ball up well and after an early wobble played well with a top goal. 8
Wright-Phillips: Was a constant threat up front, needs a loan to a Championship club. MOM 9
Laird (or Twiggy as Ed calls him!): Imposed himself much more than last week, but still too lightweight. 6
Bennett (46): Did really well when he came on, got stuck in with some good balls. 7
Not Used: Matthewson, Lee-Matthews, Bermingham, Miller.

Leeds: Coyles, Edwards, McDaid, McMaster, Constable, Kilgallon, Richardson (capt), Woods (Keogh 76), Joachim (Winter 76), Ricketts, Johnson.
Not Used: Wilberforce, Jones, Singh.

Att: 747

Gavin Cooper <blueboy(at)>


Let’s get it straight – I’m no advocate for Steve McManaman – indeed I was one who didn’t want him to come to City. Nevertheless, I’ve read somewhere that Macca has been suffering with an Achilles tendon problem for some time. Perhaps even when he came to us. As far as I know this type of problem takes time to recover and if it’s still there it’s likely to inhibit one’s playing ability. I see Henry has the same problem and that seems to have affected his va va voom – or so he is reported as saying.

This strengthens my own view that we should pay Macca up and let him go – he’s just never going to be fit. I would also like to question the ability of the medical staff who assess players before we part with the bank’s hard earned cash. Surely with their injury records City should have insisted on scans for both Sinclair and Reyna – especially the latter. I’m also amazed that KK wanted Fowler when he wasn’t in Leeds’ first team and he knew about his injury record.

To get back to the original point, maybe those of us who criticize Macca should be more aware of his injury problems – perhaps it’s just too much for him to play week in, week out. We’ll see how we get on against Pompey – I think a draw will be a good achievement and I hope that Jon Macken is fit to play. My bet is that Keegan will select the same side that drew at United – he’s superstitious. Wrong move, get SWP out wide right and get Macken up there either on his own or partnering Anelka. Flood should be rested or on the bench.

Ian Burgess <i.burgess(at)>


The win at Portsmouth was a game won by a team who played more with the Kevin Keegan flair for attacking football. I’m one of the old ones who believes that the best form of defence is attack.

And I guess this is why I for the best part always defend KK, but will be a critic mainly because he is going to leave us at the end of his contract, not otherwise; I want him to stay. Against Portsmouth Shaun Wright-Phillips led the way with so much confidence and a brilliant opening goal, only to see Pompey come back with a well taken goal straight after. The 2nd half saw City put on so much pressure you just knew a goal was going to come.

It was great to see Fowler come back, I was getting used to being disappointed by his absence, he really deserved a goal, and probably would have got one if only Sibierski had crossed the ball back to him. Fowler not quite back with a growl but he sure showed he is on track to getting his growl.

This was a great team performance, every player playing for each other with a passion.

Well done City, now do the same next game.

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)>


Dear Kevin,

Yesterday I was checking out all the City news, searching for a plenty of comments about our beautiful win at Fratton Park and reading an article I saw a photo in which you were, I’d say, in a pensive mood. I don’t know if the picture was taken Saturday at Portsmouth but I think it defines very well your moment at this club. I saw no enthusiasm.

I was thinking then at the article I’ve written for the MCIVTA edition number 1071 and maybe I was pondering about the fact it was too harsh to you as a person.

Believe me, after a long suffering period as an exiled City fan, I thought you were the New Messiah indeed, the man that would have allowed City to reach the glory at long last. Everything you did in the first two seasons in charge was almost entirely right. The team played in a beautiful way … in few words I fell in love with the way you led the club. I was wandering around Italy for work and all the times I was saying at people ‘Manchester City have got the BEST manager and they are ready to win again’!

Unfortunately last season was not so successful and it seems this one isn’t different. Probably I’m not able to recognise how difficult it is to change the things in a long, struggling situation as the City one, to turn around things to produce a squad able to bring home some trophies after so many ‘ups and downs’.

Obviously you made mistakes, as anyone, and maybe I would have loved you admit them. I’ve not changed ideas about your mistakes but I do want to let you know how much I respect you as a person, as a former player and also as a manager for all the things you’ve done in the past, not only with the Blues.

I didn’t like the way you told you wouldn’t continue as City manager at the end of your contract. I think it caused a loss in terms of long-time project.

It would be marvellous if you come back with your decision, admitting your mistakes in buying all those useless players, regaining enthusiasm for this Club and returning to act as in the first two years, also shaping a squad with many youngsters from the Academy and giving us again a hope to become a major force in English football in a reasonable space of time.

With much respect anyway,

Yours sincerely,

Dario Gigante

P.S. Thanks to Helen Hardman for her note about her selling an apartment to Kevin.

Dario Gigante <ghigas1972(at)>


I would not care less if Paul Dickov did 3 laps of honour after scoring against us, he would be entitled to and would deserve it. On his second lap perhaps he could issue a nice big cheesy grin at the pillock who let him go for nothing and who has in turn invested the type of sums that are likely to financially cripple us on a host of overpaid, past-it money grabbers.

On another subject, I went to a sportsman’s do recently where White, Brightwell and Lake were the speakers. One of the questions was asked to all three: how do they feel about some of the wages knocking around these days? All three answered in the same vein – when they got any of their Man City contracts there was virtually no such thing as an agent – they were honoured to play for the club they supported and signed on the dotted line in Peter Swales’ office without a moment’s hesitation or consideration. Compare that to some of the jokers who turn out for us now, my heart bleeds – only a few players play for the club (needn’t mention who), the rest play for themselves. The frightening thing is that if you watch a City end of season DVD from even 2 years ago, the team seemed to care more.

Whilst City fans can’t sleep on a Saturday night thinking about that last minute chance that somehow went wide, do you think players like Fowler will be thinking the same? Or will they be sat in the East Wing of their £1.5 million house with a nice glass of Chianti and a big tub of Haagen Daaz ice cream thinking about which bit of property to buy next?

On yet another subject, my blood boils every time I hear Keegan whinge about how he has no players or no money. He should be done for fraud, the amount of money he has wasted on mediocre players could pay off the national debt of Mexico. The ‘we have no left sided players at the club’ was a beauty – errrr, why did you give Tiatto (now Leicester captain) away for nothing and let Tarnat go then eh Kev?

Rant over.

Richard Ellor <r.ellor(at)>


I have to say that I don’t give a t**s about Paul Dickov.

He played for us when we were almost down and out. He scored a couple of important goals for us, but so did other players. He then went to Leicester, who were relegated and he’s now at Blackburn, who will almost certainly be relegated this season.

Dickov is not a City fan. Don’t fool yourselves. Dickov is a Dickov fan. If Dickov cared about Manchester City he wouldn’t have won a penalty against us for two different clubs in successive seasons – nor converted them both. Obviously his whole-hearted competitive streak is why City fans like him, but to suggest he cares about us is b****cks.

Roberto Baggio – a Fiorentina legend, left la Viola to join their hated rivals la Juve. In his first game against his old team he wore a Fiorentina Ultras scarf in place of his captains armband, and when Juve were awarded the inevitable penalty that comes with being Italy’s most favoured club, he refused to take it. That’s a player who cares.

Paul Dickov is entitled to play as he sees fit. I don’t expect any favours from him. But stop fooling yourselves. If Dickov was playing for us we would probably be in the bottom three.

City fans seem to revel in championing mediocrity. Be grateful that we got rid of him and Huckerby (who also finds it hard to score at the top level).

Celebrate the fact that we have one of the best strikers in Europe now and that we’ve moved on from the days of Tony Grant, Paul Dickov and Lee bl**dy Bradbury.

Kevin Cummins <kevincummins(at)>


I have 3 spare tickets next to each other for the Villa home game in the South stand. 2 Adult and 1 Junior. The Junior ticket I can upgrade if required.

If interested please email.

Ian Hawthorne <magsian(at)>


I don’t know if anyone is interested but I was in Buffalo N.Y. this last weekend and I found 3 or 4 bars selling Blue Moon on draught. Apparently it’s a Belgian weiss style beer but it’s made by Coors. Needless to say we had quite a few and it went down right well.

Paul Stewart – currently Toronto, originally Miles Platting <paul.v.stewart(at)>


I’ve read at that is available on order the “City Annual 2005”. It’s worth £6.99 but if I buy it on line via the Club I have to spend £ 10 for the package [more than the annual itself!]

If I send someone the money and if you tell me how much would it cost the package, could you please send it to me; I really think that I would save some money. The Club packaging cost is always too expensive. Let me know if you can, I’d be grateful.

Ciao, Dario Gigante <ghigas1972(at)>


We at ZOO, the UK’s leading weekly men’s magazine, have teamed up with The Football Fans Census (the independent, football research organisation run by fans for fans) to produce the biggest, independent football fans’ survey ever: millions of fans will communicate their views on the beautiful game at

We want to know what you really think of the game, not the media, the governing bodies or their official sponsors! We want your thoughts on the real issues – the National Team, hooliganism, stadium grub. How well does your club treat you? Are sex and drugs really damaging the game?

It’s difficult for the average fan to voice their opinion in an effective way; little attempt is made by organisations involved in the game to engage us and all too often our opinions are neglected by those who run and profit from the game. However, without fans there would be no crowd, no TV audience, no readership and no customers; ultimately it is fan money and passion that underwrites the game.

This census is a megaphone for the voice of the individual football fan.

So, whoever you support and wherever you’re from, your opinions matter. Have your say right now at – the survey closes on the 17th December and’ll take no more than 5 minutes – 5 minutes to tell the world what’s right and wrong with the beautiful game, 5 minutes to become part of football history.

David Plant <davidplant50(at)>


21 November 2004

Blackburn Rovers      3 - 3  Birmingham City       20,290

20 November 2004

Manchester United     2 - 0  Charlton Athletic     67,704
Arsenal               1 - 1  West Bromwich Albion  38,109
Chelsea               2 - 2  Bolton Wanderers      42,203
Crystal Palace        0 - 2  Newcastle United      22,937
Everton               1 - 0  Fulham                34,763
Middlesbrough         2 - 0  Liverpool             34,751
Norwich City          2 - 1  Southampton           23,706
Portsmouth            1 - 3  Manchester City       20,101

League table to 21 November 2004 inclusive

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F   A   GD Pts
 1 Chelsea         14  5  2  0 11  3  5  1  1 12  3 10  3  1  23   6  17  33
 2 Arsenal         14  4  3  0 20  9  5  1  1 18  9  9  4  1  38  18  20  31
 3 Everton         14  4  1  2  7  7  5  1  1  9  4  9  2  3  16  11   5  29
 4 Middlesbrough   14  3  3  1 10  7  4  1  2 14  9  7  4  3  24  16   8  25
 5 Manchester Utd  14  4  3  0  9  3  2  3  2  7  7  6  6  2  16  10   6  24
 6 Bolton Wndrs    14  4  2  1 12  7  2  3  2 10 11  6  5  3  22  18   4  23
 7 Aston Villa     13  4  2  0 12  3  1  4  2  7 11  5  6  2  19  14   5  21
 8 Liverpool       13  5  0  1 13  4  1  2  4  8 11  6  2  5  21  15   6  20
 9 Newcastle Utd   14  3  1  3 14 14  2  3  2 12 12  5  4  5  26  26   0  19
10 Charlton Ath.   14  4  2  1 12  4  1  1  5  5 19  5  3  6  17  23  -6  18
11 Manchester City 14  2  3  2  8  5  2  2  3  9  9  4  5  5  17  14   3  17
12 Portsmouth      13  4  1  2 12  9  0  2  4  5 11  4  3  6  17  20  -3  15
13 Fulham          14  3  0  4  8 13  1  2  4  9 12  4  2  8  17  25  -8  14
14 Birmingham City 14  1  3  3  4  6  1  4  2  7  8  2  7  5  11  14  -3  13
15 Tottenham H.    13  1  2  4  9 12  2  2  2  3  4  3  4  6  12  16  -4  13
16 Crystal Palace  14  2  1  4  8 10  1  2  4  7 11  3  3  8  15  21  -6  12
17 Southampton     14  2  3  2  9  9  0  2  5  4 10  2  5  7  13  19  -6  11
18 Norwich City    14  1  4  2  9 12  0  4  3  4 12  1  8  5  13  24 -11  11
19 West Brom A.    14  1  4  2  7 10  0  3  4  6 15  1  7  6  13  25 -12  10
20 Blackburn R.    14  1  5  1 10 13  0  2  5  4 16  1  7  6  14  29 -15  10

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1072