Newsletter #1083

A win against struggling Southampton on Saturday sees us regain the two places lost over the festive period and enter the New Year in 10th spot and 27 points. This time last year we were in 13th on 21 points.

We have a match report tonight thanks to Rich, and plenty of opinion on transfers in and out, the real City and the Blues’ psyche.

All the very best to everyone for 2005.

Next games: Arsenal, away, 7.45pm Tuesday 4 January 2005


Would the real Manchester City please stand up? After the débâcle of the WBA performance a few days early, today was another chance to see whether we could put another team currently struggling to the sword. Under Harry Redknapp, Southampton have yet to win a game, so surely this was going to be a bad omen that City usually cannot resist to be the cannon-fodder for whenever a striker is in a need for a goal or a team is desperate for a first win. Thatcher was in for the injured Jordan (whom I think has been excellent in Thatcher’s absence), also McManaman was on the bench at the expense of BWP – you’d have to hope this was Macca’s ability to potentially play on the left midfield, however I do hope this wasn’t KK simply reverting to the old guard! Prior to the game, Colin Bell was presented to the crowd in celebration of his MBE, for which he was warmly received by both City and Southampton supporters (credit to Southampton fans – what a horrible drive on New Year’s Day!).

The game was played in atrocious conditions – the rain at times belted down and the wind within the stadium was swirling, which must have made the playing difficult. The first half was the sort of stuff we were missing from the WBA game, City not only controlled possession but there was an urgency to get forward quickly and commit players – this was largely down to two factors: Barton and particularly Bosvelt completely bossing midfield and Southampton failing to do what a lot of teams have done this year, which was putting two players on SWP. With the added space SWP was seeing a lot of the ball and was a constant threat. Prior to the goal City had a couple of half chances but failed to select the right ball for the final ball. The first goal finally came after a corner (following another SWP drive forward) was headed goalbound from Richard Dunne, which found an unmarked Bosvelt who headed in from two yards (we never score off corners, never mind the Bosvelt headed goal shocker!). Anelka should have put City 2-0 up minutes later went excellently put through by Fowler but he simply scuffed his shot. City continued to carve out great chances – Niemi saving well from SWP and Fowler having a header cleared off the line, however as with the WBA game the 1-0 lead is always slender unless you put away your chances. Southampton nearly made us pay when Mills failed to attack and clear a ball, which James saved excellently as the Southampton player was put clean through; the rebound fell to Phillips who was squeezed out of slotting into an unguarded net, but he should have gone down for a woeful tackle by Mills that surely would have been a penalty.

The second goal was another SWP classic; on a greasy pitch, SWP picked up the ball just outside the centre circle, he ran into 10 yards towards the goal, cut inside and let rip with a daisy cutter shot that went in off the foot of Niemi’s post – class goal and at last breathing space! City went in 2-0 at half-time but it could have been easily 3 or 4!

In the second-half Southampton changed tactics – they brought on the gangly Crouch and completely bypassed the midfield. This took a lot of the City drive away; concerned with Crouch’s height, we started to defend deep and the City midfield had much less influence on the game. With City defending deeper, the game became scrappy but we still made a couple of decent chances – Fowler with a good curling shot, Dunne going painfully close at the far post (à la Gazza against Germany in Euro 96), and Macken having a couple of chances that he should have done better with.

We were left to bite our fingernails a bit in the final stages, James making a superb instinctive save from a Crouch volley, also a Kevin Phillips “goal” was ruled out for offside, and then a ludicrous decision for a penalty was given against Distin for a very innocuous challenge against Crouch. Phillips scored the resultant penalty but we played out time for a very well deserved victory.

Player Ratings:
James (6/10) – Seemed to flap a bit today but I think you’d have to give him the benefit of the doubt with appalling conditions (Niemi also seemed to flap a bit). Class saves when 1 on 1 in the first half and the instinctive save in the second half.
Thatcher (6/10) – Came back from injury well – put in a good, solid performance, competition between him and Jordan can only be good for the club.
Distin (7/10) – Excellent game – commanding in the air except when marking the basketball player, excellent distribution.
Dunne (7/10) – Not affected by the goal against WBA, some class defending and seemed to push forward quite a lot today (unlucky not to score on a couple of occasions and credited with an assist for Bosvelt’s goal).
Mills (4/10) – Typical Mills performance – out of position and crazy tackle on Phillips in the first half, which would have been a penalty cert had Phillips gone down – on the positive side he did overlap with SWP well and put in a couple of very decent crosses to the near post but he really does need to improve on his defensive positioning and tackling. At this rate he’s no more effective defensively than the defensively ever-slated Jihai Sun (Sun is far more effective going forward though).
Sibierski (6/10) – Had a good game – played some nice passes and ever a threat in the air.
Bosvelt (7/10) – Great first half performance along with Barton but got bypassed a little in the second half by the long ball tactics; lovely bit of skill in the first half when he flicked the ball down the wing under a strong challenge.
Barton (6/10) – Same as Bosvelt, albeit with the obligatory quota of wayward Barton passes.
SWP (8/10) – Looked up for it after a few quiet performances of recent weeks. Was given lots of space. Great goal and could have had a couple if he had the rub of the green on a number of occasions.
Fowler (8/10) – Looks threatening every time he gets the ball, great running off the ball and passing and vision is just superb. Just needs to start scoring a few more (just looked at the match programme – since the Chelsea game Fowler has outscored Anelka 4:1!).
Anelka (3/10) – Awful today – had that disinterested look about him, passing was off and shooting was equally as bad.
Macken (5/10) – Came on for Anelka (well done KK for not subbing Fowler), worked himself into a couple of great positions but very poor finishing. Confidence seemed to go after the second miss.
Onuoha – No score as only played last 10 minutes – as with WBA looked efficient defensively and very composed going forward on the overlap on a couple of occasions.
McManaman – too late to offer a rating but why on earth boo him when he comes on, I agree and hope we don’t give him another contract but get behind him when he’s on the pitch for City – pointless (no pun intended).

All in all a frustrating Christmas – we could have easily have taken 7 out of 9 points, but we have been let down with inconsistency. As the January sales start I hope we can keep Distin, Dunne, and SWP at the club. The Distin/Dunne partnership is a foundation of a strong defence and although we have cover I certainly hope we can keep the pairing intact. Whether any bids come in for SWP/Anelka remains to be seen, you would certainly hope that they would be substantial before we see either leave. Coming in it sounds from KK’s comments we are looking at loans and frees again. You’d have to say a left winger or a creative midfielder is a top priority – based on the fact that every team in the Premiership is looking for a creative midfielder and that they are not exactly two a penny, we’d be looking at a left sided winger; as someone else has mentioned previously we won’t go far wrong looking towards Quincy Owusu Abeyie from Arsenal on loan. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see us go after a right back on loan for cover for Mills.

Hopefully the win and performance today will be the new and improved City for 2005, we can but hope – all the best to everyone for the New Year.

Rich Fenton <rich(at)>


Kevin Keegan and his players made up for the two Christmas games, to give the City supporters a Happy New Year’s Day with a very convincing win over the Saints. In torrential rain, City started the New Year in a game that could have easily been double the score. The first City goal came from a Fowler corner, which was headed on by Dunne to the unmarked Bosvelt who headed home from close range.

The 2nd goal was a special SWP individual goal; he picked up the ball on the half way mark, beat a couple of players and let fly from 30 yards out, another scorcher, which should be an early contender for “Goal of the Month”. Southampton were lucky to be awarded a penalty late in the game when the referee claimed Distin had tripped up Saints’ player Crouch. Kevin Phillips scored from the spot.

This was a game when Shaun Wright-Phillips came back on form; he has been quiet in the last couple of games, sometimes from been double marked. Robbie Fowler has now got his growl back and is almost to his old self again, I think most of us knew Growler is a special player.

The score City 2 Saints 1 flattered Southampton in a game in which City put on a much better show.

This is a great start to the New Year, just what everyone at City and the supporters needed to give us all that lift, after the last couple of games.

The transfer window has opened, and KK has stated he does not want any players to leave, but wants to add to his squad. I can understand this because when the transfer window closes, that’s it; if City get more major injuries it could hurt the team’s efforts. This of course being the real reason for KK wanting more players. How KK can get new players without cash? It has got to be one of two ways: first, sell a City player or two, the players rumoured to have clubs after them are Distin by Newcastle who have admitted their interest. Anelka by Liverpool who have had several major injuries to their strikers, and they are still in the Europe. It looks like Liverpool might now find it difficult to get Morientes from Real Madrid who now have a new manager, so might return their sights on Anelka. Another paper reports Birmingham to have an interest in Joey Barton, but it would not surprise me to see Liverpool show more interest in Joey, after Xabi Alonso broke a bone in his foot playing against Chelsea. On the other hand KK can look in Europe for players he can get on loan.

If Anelka, Distin, and Barton leave, then I would like to see Henchoz (who is unhappy at Liverpool) replace Distin in central defence. KK would have some money to get Andy Reid from Forest to play left midfield. And get Mido on loan as another striker. Ahhhhh! But what do I really know? We all have our opinions. As long as KK makes some good changes we shall all be happy.

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)>


Been thinking overnight. City to buy: Andy Reid, Matty Holland and DvB. Cost £10 million.

Sell has-beens or never will be’s: Macca, Macken, Sinclair, Bischoff, Reyna, Sibierski, Negouai and Bosvelt, but none of the stars. Raise 50p. Raise further cash from more borrowing. How different would we be from Liverpool, Newcastle or Everton with that team? Debt at £70 million, of which £45 million long term secured. We still need to gamble to reach Europe and move forward as our previous gamble has not come off. Thus reducing the debt by playing competitively in Europe.

If people want our star players it needs to be Anelka £15 million, SWP £30 million, Joey B £15 million, Distin & Dunne £10 million each and any of the other kids £8 million. That might stop the supposed interest and let us compete at the top end, otherwise we are stagnating. It would cost similar to replace these lads who are all contracted to City for at least the next two years and longer. We need to be reaching for the stars whilst we have these players on board in the hope of keeping them there and watching some good football. The last lot of imports have not worked, and we need to make some serious changes.

Don’t get me going on the Birminghams, Tottenhams, Blackburns and Middlesbroughs. They think they are something until it comes to the actual game where we turn up to be met with their happy clappers and they play for a draw. But we are still ending up behind them in the purchase pecking order. It doesn’t make sense to me.

Come on City directors, have some balls! Don’t sell to any of our competitors and don’t sell under the true value of us replacing our best players. Borrow a bit more and get us on back on track.

Bring on Arsenal. Whatever you do, stay Blue!

Dave Clinton <daveclinton(at)>


Well, tt can only happen to City. I was listening on and watching the play on (which cleverly shows shots on goal) and I could see only shots on goal for City, none for WBA and yet the scoreline read 1-1!

I thought I would look at the freak goal on but it would not show me. It says my license has expired! Finally my belief in Robbie Fowler pays off and nobody else plays well! I think Robbie is finally fit and brim full of confidence and if we can stop Joey Barton from smoking expensive Cuban Cohibas we can start to recover.

We do still need a creative midfielder and Juninho is available while Captain America is still injured (again). There are not that many others around and he could be the right price.

My annual Thanks again to all who contribute and keep us ex-pats in touch with the misery and ecstasy of being a City fan.

J Heavis <JHeavis502(at)>


I couldn’t agree more with Fred Rosenfeld’s sentiments in MCIVTA 1082, being a supporter for a similar length of time. I have commented before about the same subject. I live in Spain but I am still a season ticket holder and I attended my first game for several weeks against WBA. The performance was poor to say the least but the idiot behind me (in North Stand level 1) was screaming abuse at Danny Mills even before the kick off! The last time I attended it was McManaman and Sinclair, nothing changes.

You don’t need to be a genius to understand the basics of Man Motivation; if you are constantly criticised while you are doing your job, you are not going to feel good about yourself and consequently won’t perform well. Footballers, I think, are the same; they need encouragement and that’s where the fans play their part by getting behind their team.

The atmosphere at the Southampton game was non-existent; you could hear a pin drop at times, it must have been like playing in Wythenshawe Park.

The radio phone ins are just a joke, presenters like Jimmy Wagg on GMR just encourage the caller who wants to sack everyone. I used to take the phone ins seriously but they appear to attract a particular breed of person (I won’t call them fans) who haven’t a clue about football but want their fifteen minutes of infamy.

And Andrew Ranson… why!

Dave Sterrett <blueds(at)>


I have been trying to put together and send in an article with my opinion on our recent performances and results but at the moment here on the island of Sumatra, football and my beloved Manchester City pale into insignificance.

John Taylor <taylor(at)>


Talksport (1089am on the radio and on-line) have announced that (starting in the new year) all City’s matches will be broadcast live on their radio station in the north-west.

Best wishes for Christmas and the new year to Blues everywhere and especially to Heidi and all the team at McV.

Jack Millington <jackblue(at)>


I need two tickets for the Arsenal Game 4th January. Please give me a call if you can help on 07970-070372. Apologies, I gave the wrong number in the previous request.

Many thanks, St. John Cox <COXST(at)>


Does anybody know of a venue where the derby match will be televised live in Fort Lauderdale – 08:00 local time Sunday 13th February?

Stephen Epstein <stephen.Epstein(at)>


1 January 2005

Aston Villa           1 - 0  Blackburn Rovers      34,265
Bolton Wanderers      1 - 1  West Bromwich Albion  25,205
Charlton Athletic     1 - 3  Arsenal               26,711
Fulham                3 - 1  Crystal Palace        18,680
Liverpool             0 - 1  Chelsea               43,886
Manchester City       2 - 1  Southampton           42,895
Middlesbrough         0 - 2  Manchester United     34,199
Newcastle United      2 - 1  Birmingham City       52,222
Portsmouth            1 - 1  Norwich City          20,015
Tottenham Hotspur     5 - 2  Everton               36,102

League table to 01 January 2005 inclusive

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F   A   GD Pts
 1 Chelsea         21  8  2  0 20  3  8  2  1 21  5 16  4  1  41   8  33  52
 2 Arsenal         21  6  4  0 27 11  8  1  2 24 12 14  5  2  51  23  28  47
 3 Manchester Utd  21  7  3  0 19  5  5  4  2 14  8 12  7  2  33  13  20  43
 4 Everton         21  7  1  2 13 10  5  3  3 12 12 12  4  5  25  22   3  40
 5 Middlesbrough   21  6  3  2 18 11  4  2  4 16 15 10  5  6  34  26   8  35
 6 Liverpool       21  8  1  2 20  8  2  3  5 14 13 10  4  7  34  21  13  34
 7 Tottenham H.    21  4  3  4 22 16  5  2  3  7  5  9  5  7  29  21   8  32
 8 Charlton Ath.   21  6  2  3 17 12  3  2  5  7 19  9  4  8  24  31  -7  31
 9 Aston Villa     21  6  3  2 16  7  1  4  5  7 17  7  7  7  23  24  -1  28
10 Manchester City 21  4  4  3 13  8  3  2  5 13 14  7  6  8  26  22   4  27
11 Portsmouth      21  5  2  4 16 15  2  4  4  9 13  7  6  8  25  28  -3  27
12 Birmingham City 21  3  4  3 11  7  3  4  4 13 16  6  8  7  24  23   1  26
13 Newcastle Utd   21  4  3  4 18 18  2  4  4 15 21  6  7  8  33  39  -6  25
14 Bolton Wndrs    21  4  3  4 13 11  2  3  5 14 19  6  6  9  27  30  -3  24
15 Fulham          21  4  1  6 14 20  2  2  6 11 16  6  3 12  25  36 -11  21
16 Blackburn R.    21  1  7  2 12 16  2  3  6  7 17  3 10  8  19  33 -14  19
17 Norwich City    21  2  4  4 12 17  0  6  5  6 20  2 10  9  18  37 -19  16
18 Crystal Palace  21  2  2  6  8 12  1  4  6 13 22  3  6 12  21  34 -13  15
19 Southampton     21  2  6  2 13 13  0  2  9  6 21  2  8 11  19  34 -15  14
20 West Brom A.    21  1  4  5  7 19  0  5  6 10 24  1  9 11  17  43 -26  12

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1083