Newsletter #1093

An excellent game on Sunday when we held Chelsea to a 0-0 draw, thus ensuring 4 points from them this season. Not many will be able to claim that come season end from the champions elect.

Tonight we have plenty of opinion on players, coaches, the state of the game and the fans, and the usual requests as we approach the derby game.

Next game: Manchester United, home, 1pm Sunday 13 February 2005 (TV)


Even though City are in 10th place, and I should be grateful, I can’t help feeling that I am not alone in noticing that we have a few players who are under-performing to such an extent that I would be surprised if any other Premiership Club would play them in their starting eleven.

This is my view on the players so far, and not helped by the mediocrity served up on Wednesday night.

James: Generally I think he has been a good signing, still makes a lot of mistakes, he should watch Petr Cech. Rating 6
Jordan: Prior to his injury, was coming along brilliantly; sadly he has gone off the boil. Rating 6
Distin: Another player who has some brilliant games, and looks good enough to merit a place in the French squad, and then he goes on to have a few poor games, and I put this down to poor positioning. Rating 7
Dunne: Overall, I think he has played really well, but yet again is prone to howlers, again because he is not in the right position – cannot afford to get caught too high up the pitch. Rating 7 [A definite contender for Player of the Year – Ed]
Mills: Absolute tosh, gives the ball away too cheaply, and for a right back, he gets caught out too often. Keegan for some strange reason keeps playing him. Give Sommeil a chance, I am sure he is no worse than Mills, and possibly could be a hell of a lot better. Rating 2
Thatcher: Another has been, who gets caught out too often, what a calamity on Wednesday (he’s meant to be a defender, and Shearer gets in behind him?). Keegan needs to get rid of him soon. To think we got rid of Jensen and Tarnat for this plonker. Rating 3
Onuoha: Promising, and Keegan should give him an extended run in the team, rather than some of his “big name” players who are not delivering. Rating 7
Bosvelt: Again a player who always seems to be trying, and at times he has been a great anchor in midfield. Not the most creative, but rarely has a really poor game. Rating 7
Barton: At times I think what a find, and then there the times when I think “can’t he see we play in Blue?”, as he gives away the ball so often. Is maturing and can get better, and has youth on his side; added to this he is home grown and cost us nothing. Rating 6
Sibierski: As much as I like him, does not score enough, especially considering he is so good in the air; needs to have far more of an influence in midfield but maybe he has been played out of position too long. Rating 5
McManaman: Past the sell-by date, and is just a passenger in the squad, very rarely starts, which tells you his value. Never does enough to impress and cannot see him playing regularly next season. Rating 3
S.Wright-Phillips: All action guy, I think Keegan has found a player to pin all his hopes on, and perhaps the only player who looks likely to score. A delight to watch, but too much is expected of him, and sensible teams can snuff him out and that in essence subdues our whole team. As much as I would hate to see him go, I have a feeling he will be playing for another club next season. Just hope we get a lot of money plus a good player in return. Rating 8
Anelka: I am delighted to se the back of this player, who once he felt he did not want to be at the club, made up an injury so he would not have to play. How lucky City were to get £7 million for a player who could not score any more, and lacked any appetite or desire. How he thought he was good enough for France lately is beyond me, he has so called pace but how often did we see this used to great effect? Can he compare himself to Henry, Yakubu, Boa Morte, Bellamy or any other speedster? It’s a fact City play better without Anelka, and generally have better results too. Rating 5
Flood: Showed early promise, and maybe his injuries stopped him having an extended run in the team. I still think Keegan does not use him enough, as he can only get better, and probably has great desire. Rating 6
Fowler: Seems to be getting better, and playing with more consistency, perhaps Anelka not being involved has given him the onus of being the No.1 striker. This added responsibility has been a good thing for him, but would still love it if he could score more regularly. Rating 6
Macken: How we persevere with Macken is beyond me, he has about the same skills as Mills, and is not much quicker. To me, he is no more than a 1st Division player and an awful waste of £5 million, must be one of the poorest forwards in the Premiership. Rating 5
B. Wright-Phillips: One for the future, but considering how poor our attacking options are, I would start all the matches with him. From the little I have seen of him, he seems to have good control, and far more trickery than Macken could hope to have, and will improve in the same manner as his older brother. Come on Keegan, take a chance on him, especially as we failed to get in a decent striker in the transfer window. Rating 6 [Agree there Glyn – Ed]
Not missing too much: Sinclair, Reyna and come back soon Sun Jihai.

Keegan should persevere with the youngsters, and certainly drop Mills and Thatcher more often. Every third game he should drop a few of the senior players to the bench and play the youngsters, the reason being, every third game we just do not appear to turn up. I love Keegan, but he must use his substitutes better than he does currently, and I am sure fresh legs and new personnel give the opposition something new to think about.

When Keegan leaves, we should go in for Dowie, whom I think will get the best out of some of our under-performers.

Players Keegan could have gone in for: Camara from Portsmouth: every time I have seen him he looks quick and lively, and would not cost much. Stead from Blackburn on loan, a change will do him good. Quincy Owusu Abeye on loan from Arsenal. Konchesky for Charlton for Mills.

Come on City – Glyn Albuquerque <glynalbuquerque(at)>


According to an exceptionally well placed source from within Highbury, SWP is on his way to the Goooners in the summer. He has been house hunting in Hampstead (in North London) in the past two weeks. All this from a club crying foul over Cole talking to Chelski!

We all knew this was going to happen and that he would end up in North London eventually, I just hope that we get enough for him, and that he continues to play fabulous football (except against us!).

I really hope this is just yet more unfounded gossip, but given where it comes from, I think not.

We can still hope the attractions of the Arndale Centre, the best Indian food in Rusholme and the delights of the Lowry can keep him from heading south, but I doubt it.

Miles Webber <miles.webber(at)>


Here’s an article on SWP if you haven’t seen it already from the Observer Sport Monthly:,6903,1404058,00.html

CTID! Hsien Min <hsienmin(at)>andMatt Thomas <Matthew.Thomas(at)>


I tend to blow hot and cold over Kevin and his capabilities. I come out of some games completely frustrated by some of the inept team and individual performances on the pitch. I can’t understand how we can play so badly one half and then so well the next.

That’s when I think we must get rid.

I then read some of the comments plotting our steady progress, and I have to say that I think, “yes we are indeed better of than we have been for quite some time”. We have a good group of youngsters coming through and they are being blooded and encouraged slowly and steadily. Things start to look better.

That’s when I think that we will miss Kev when he eventually goes off to “spend more time with his family”.

Anyway I have now been completely swung by a non-football related issue. I will certainly miss Kev and I think he is probably irreplaceable as a total package. I am fortunate enough to sit in the West Stand about 10 rows back from where Kev and “the bench” sit. It has always been a pre-game tradition for the younger supporters to gather around the fence next to the tunnel to await the players coming off from the warm-up. They try to get an autograph or quick word with the players as they come off the pitch. In the past couple of months the stewards in this area have refused to let any of the youngsters anywhere near the area, claiming that it is a breach of the security rules etc. [That does appear somewhat over-zealous and “jobsworthy”, Paul – Ed]

Personally, having been brought up as a City fan from the days when David Shawcross was our part time school football coach, this backwards step had completely dismayed me. These youngsters are our future supporters and (dare I say it) revenue stream. If we can’t give the kids in the crowd some level of access to the players then I think the total concept of our game has completely changed. In fact I was seriously considering whether I wanted to be involved any more.

The spectacle of the Arsenal-Rags match on Tuesday night did nothing to lift my mood. I don’t think any event that can include that much nastiness should be for consumption by innocent viewers. It was publicised gang warfare, with the occasional bit of good football on the side. Heaven knows what impact that sort of thing has on playground football games. Do they still play football in school playgrounds?

Anyway, On Wednesday night Kevin waved away the security guards from around the tunnel and spent 10 minutes signing autographs for the kids and chatting with the various people in the tunnel area. For me he still retains the enthusiasm for his environment and also the (possibly misguided) view that he owes something to his supporters and community. I think he is right and I will be renewing my season ticket next year for this reason. I hope his eventual replacement has a similar attitude. Unfortunately it is unlikely.

Paul Kent <paulskent(at)>


May I congratulate Andy Clarke (MCIVTA 1092) on his brilliant appraisal of the current City situation, which is endorsed by several other articles in this and previous issues.

Bearing in mind the talent we have available and depth of our squad, we should be proud of the league position that we have achieved and be able to look forward to improvements as younger players develop and funds become available.

My concern, which I have expressed before, is with the “fans”, both within and outside the stadium, who seem to be hell bent on destroying the confidence of the players and morale of the club. Having succeeded in forcing Anelka to look elsewhere and making it almost impossible for the unfortunate McManaman to have a good game, they now turn on new victims to satisfy their cause.

Their behaviour, this past Wednesday, was inexcusable. Danny Mills had had a nightmare of a first half but after he did the decent thing of kicking the ball out when a Newcastle player was injured (he didn’t notice that he was outside the field of play) these morons greeted him with boos every time he touched the ball for the next 15 minutes. It is a tribute to Danny’s character that he didn’t let this get him down and, in fact, he was vastly improved in the second half when his experience and reading of the game allowed him to make a last ditch clearance that prevented Newcastle taking home all the points.

I really don’t know how we can tackle this problem but if it escalates we will lose the few good players that we have and the future will be bleak.

[Agreed Fred, it seems to be a perennial City problem, some sections of the crowd are not happy unless they have one of their own players to barrack – Ed]

Fred Rosenfeld <fred(at)>


There was a good deal of rumour regarding the possible arrival of manager Paul Le Guen from Olympique Lyonnais on the BBC 606 messageboard the other day.

The rumours intimated that PLG would be replacing KK in the managerial hotseat at the end of the season, with Keggers being offered either a move ‘upstairs’ or shown the door. I’ve seen no reports anywhere else about this (Skysports, Teamtalk etc.) so perhaps it should be treated with a large dollop of caution, but unusually it wasn’t a link to one of the usual suspects (O’Neill, Allardyce, Strachan, etc.) so perhaps there is an atom of truth to it?

Any other reports of this from elsewhere?

Matt Thomas <Matthew.Thomas(at)>


While I’ll be eternally grateful for what Kevin has done for this club, I think that this summer is the time for him to step aside – whether that means resigning, being released from his contract or being made “Director of Football”, I don’t really mind. The main point is that he has run out of ideas and run the club out of money (and the two are highly correlated).

We’re in a reasonable mid-table position, which flatters us somewhat. The Premiership is really 3 leagues, with the elite few at the top, a large group of mediocre and inconsistent teams in the mass-middle, where a run of 2 or 3 wins can move you up and give you the false impression that you’re going somewhere. Then of course there are the also-rans at the bottom (thank goodness for them!).

So I ask myself who the new manager should be. Stuart Pearce has put himself forward, and I admire his honesty and motivational skills. He is however part of the existing set-up, schooled under KK, and I fear that he would bring more of the same. He’d be better off building his experience in The Championship rather than diving in at the deep end at a big and complex club like City (maybe we could loan him out?). There are the “usual suspect” candidates, but they don’t really appeal (too old, too old-school, past failings etc.). Unless we sell SWeeP, whoever comes in is unlikely to have much if any money to play with, so we’re looking for a great footballing brain, a motivator and some willing and able to work with a small budget – a big challenge in an aging team. Gordon Strachan could be OK, but my vote would go to Martin O’Neill. The question is will he come from a comfortable guaranteed top-2 position and European football? He has a great track record and reputation, but is he willing to put it on the line where so many others have failed? Perhaps he’d prefer to wait for that bloke with the big red nose to finally retire instead?

Russell Higginbotham <russell_Higginbotham(at)>


I have read with interest the recent debate over Keegan and must concede I am guilty of cursing Keegan when things go wrong and do seldom praise him for his tactical brilliance when we beat Chelsea etc. There are three issues about City and Keegan that frustrate and annoy me.

Firstly is the inconsistency of beating Chelsea and drawing with Rags only to follow this up with a draw against Norwich, or performing so well at Highbury and then losing to WBA. I, like many contributors, blame this on Keegan, but is this really very fair? Can anyone remember a time when City were remotely consistent? I’ve been a season ticket holder for 15 years and I can’t. While he cannot be totally exonerated, the only constant over that time is the fans and maybe our predictions are made true from our nervousness. Which of us reading this didn’t know Oldham and West Brom would beat us just as we all know we would be the first team to lose to Wolves last year? The inconsistency is a massive part of what we all love and hate about City.

The second issue is substitutions. He refuses to make a change until it’s too late and then often makes the wrong ones. A particularly frustrating example of this was against Liverpool earlier when having miraculously made it to half time a goal up, he made none of the necessary changes and we went on to lose the game after leading. It also means that the young players are not getting any extra time in the first team. And while I’m on the subject of the youth team, why hasn’t he been playing Onouha and Flood?

The final point is his transfer activity… (deep breath).

The net money spent quoted in last issue at £32 million. Over three years that is not excessive for the results, assuming we remain where we are. However, take the squad for the Newcastle game. James £2.5 million; Mills free; Dunne already there; Distin £3.5 million; Thatcher £100,000 – midfield no cost except Bosvelt £100,000; strikers £11.5 million in total. Bench £700,000 for Sibierski, rest homegrown. Overall total £18.4 million, of which over half has been spent on strikers. Of the injured players, who would be in the squad? I’d say £7 million on Sun, Reyna and Sinclair although the last two are useless. So a total of £25.4 million worth of talent, £16.3 million on strikers and midfielders.

Now ask yourself what position we most need to buy players in. I appreciate that Fowler has improved but he will never be worth what we paid for him and he’s only going to get slower each year. Macken is a worker and I think he may have lost half a yard or so from his knee injury, which may make his buy forgivable but the frustration for me isn’t the poor buys – I’m used to that – it’s the timing. He spent £6.5 million on Fowler, we then qualified for Europe and spent net about £1.5 million on dross. Then Defoe went to Spurs for around £6-7 million when we were still in Europe and they had spent the previous season struggling. It’s the fact that there has been a lost opportunity to progress and as a result instead of SWP pushing us to Europe and the young players taking us on to the level above, we are relying on the same to stay afloat.

So it seems to me that the poor transfers are what’s to blame but just think: if we would have beaten WBA and Newcastle like we should have, we’d be 6th, a European place. So I guess it comes down to the inconsistency, which I’m afraid is as much a part of City as Maine Road once was – unfortunately I’m not convinced we can leave it behind.

To finish, I have to say that for all the negatives there are some things I will always hold him in high esteem for. Firstly, the magnificent football of the promotion season and secondly (note how long I’ve been a season ticket holder for) for showing me what it’s like when City beat United. By the way my birthday is 9th November.

Adam Gardner <Adam.Gardner(at)>


Stoodley, spot on mate, so I thought I’d pen (?) a reply before the Keeganistas shot you down for speaking the truth. Was looking back at some of the ’97 articles where people were saying get rid of Kinky – get real people. Anelka was/is class, Keegan’s supposed to be good at man management. End of last season I was really excited at the prospect of Wanchope and Anelka up front. It’s now February and now we have Fowler and Macken! Look at what we lost on Anelka and Wanchope, look at what we’ve spent on Fowler and Macken, I despair! We should stay up (but, hey, this is City, so we could still f*ck up – let’s face it, we’ve done it plenty of times before), but who’s excited about next season?

Wasn’t convinced by Keegan when he took over, then he won me over, now I can’t wait for him to go. Where is the creative midfielder? Where is the pace he said a Premiership striker needed when he signed Anelka? I want to be positive, but how?

Martin Preston <martingpreston(at)>


I agree with Tony Ward on this one; it is very much a rip off. Unfortunately I also happen to have inside knowledge (I can’t and won’t reveal how) and believe that the new away shirt will arrive in April/May. I have seen a picture of it and it does look nice.

Stephen Cox <stephen_cox(at)>


The editor inserted her own headline to my contribution (Rip Off City, MCIVTA 1091), which is her prerogative, but it may have slightly altered the tone of the piece.

The white away shirts are a dreadfully limp design of little thought and moderate quality, and if the intention was to wear them for just one season then they are, indeed, a rip off.

My concern was more the arrogant contempt that lies behind the comments as reported at the Fans’ Committee delegation meeting with the club (MCIVTA 1079).

I don’t get too wound up about the shirts we wear, but there is a greater issue at stake here.

So since you, dear reader, are now viewed not as a supporter but merely a wallet or purse to be rifled, might I suggest that you play the game by their rules: if it’s rubbish, don’t buy it. Ignore the hype and emotional blackmail of modern marketing techniques, keep your money in your pocket and see how soon their commercial acumen returns to outweigh their conceit.

David Butler <ervadale(at)>


What’s wrong with supporting Rangers and MCFC? I have done so since 1979. It has been a sort of tradition for many years with many City fans.

Man Ure and Celtic is also known as a traditional alliance, so why shouldn’t we support their arch rivals? Just to wind them up if nothing else.

We are the Billy boys!

Mark Redgrave <Leaguecup1976(at)>


On the eve of the derby it may be worth visiting the link below, just toremind ourselves of just what a nice man Keano is and how hard Garry theman with the tash Nevel is. Just make sure our lads don’t see it as I knowI’m soooooooo scared!

Tony Hulme <tttduk(at)>


Thanks to all that voted on my last poll. I use a free site to host my poll and due to my workload (stop crying out there), I’ve not had chance to check the poll for a while.

Well, cutting a long story short they’ve lost it. When I last checked the result was Joe Mercer way out in front with Brian Horton second.

The new poll is “When should KK go?” Please vote at and while you are there please use the link at the top of my page to vote for my site.

I hereby promise to check it each week and to post the result on the first of March.

Tony the Tattooed Donkey <tttduk(at)>


I’m desperately trying to obtain a ticket for the derby game for a friend coming over from Sweden. Any offers of help greatly appreciated.

Alex Channon <channons(at)>


I have one East Stand Level 3 ticket for Sunday’s derby. I don’t fancy driving up on my own so I can do one of two things:

Sell the ticket or car share with someone who lives in the Thames Valley area who already has a ticket.

Can anyone help please?

Kal Ahmed <k.ahmed(at)>


The next meeting of the Swinton branch is on Thursday 10th February, 8pm at the Swinton Conservative Club, Swinton Precinct.

Our confirmed guests are Brian Horton, Ian Brightwell and Paul Moulden. All Blues welcome. For further details please contact myself on 0161 281 7517.

Alex Channon <channons(at)>


I note that our next few games are on Sky. Usually, I watch these at the health club to which I belong. Occasionally a mate of mine joins me but usually we are outnumbered. I wonder if any other Blues’ fans are going to watch the games against United and Norwich at a pub in Bristol? If so, please could you contact me via email?

Alternatively, you can join me at the gym where one can (unbelievably) obtain quite unhealthy lunches!

Ian Burgess <i.burgess(at)>


Things haven’t been quite the same in this hotbed of Rags since John Riley went back to Manchester, but let’s get something going for the derby… Any Sing Blues in town and hoping to catch the match, do email me and we can fix something up.

Meanwhile, here’s an article on SWP if you haven’t seen it already:,6903,1404058,00.html

CTID! Hsien Min <hsienmin(at)>


With my sons, instead of being on Level 3 of the Colin Bell stand on derby day, I shall find myself in a hotel in Fort Lauderdale.

Bearing in mind the kick off is at 08:00 local time, can anyone advise me where we may be able to watch the match on TV?

Stephen Epstein <Stephen.Epstein(at)>


6 February 2005

Southampton           2 - 2  Everton               31,509
Chelsea               0 - 0  Manchester City       42,093

5 February 2005

Crystal Palace        0 - 1  Bolton Wanderers      23,163
Liverpool             3 - 1  Fulham                43,534
Manchester United     2 - 0  Birmingham City       67,838
Middlesbrough         1 - 0  Blackburn Rovers      30,564
Newcastle United      1 - 1  Charlton Athletic     51,114
Norwich City          3 - 2  West Bromwich Albion  24,292
Tottenham Hotspur     3 - 1  Portsmouth            36,105
Aston Villa           1 - 3  Arsenal               42,593

League table to 06 February 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         26 10  3  0 25  3 10  2  1 24  5 20  5  1  49   8  41  65
 2 Manchester Utd  26  9  4  0 24  6  7  4  2 19 10 16  8  2  43  16  27  56
 3 Arsenal         26  7  5  1 31 16  9  1  3 27 14 16  6  4  58  30  28  54
 4 Everton         26  9  1  3 16 12  5  5  3 15 15 14  6  6  31  27   4  48
 5 Liverpool       26  9  1  3 23 10  4  3  6 18 17 13  4  9  41  27  14  43
 6 Middlesbrough   26  7  4  2 20 12  4  3  6 21 23 11  7  8  41  35   6  40
 7 Bolton Wndrs    26  6  3  4 17 12  5  3  5 18 20 11  6  9  35  32   3  39
 8 Charlton Ath.   26  7  2  4 21 15  4  3  6  9 21 11  5 10  30  36  -6  38
 9 Tottenham H.    26  5  3  5 25 19  5  3  5  8 11 10  6 10  33  30   3  36
10 Manchester City 26  5  5  3 17 10  3  4  6 14 17  8  9  9  31  27   4  33
11 Aston Villa     26  7  3  3 20 10  1  5  7  9 23  8  8 10  29  33  -4  32
12 Newcastle Utd   26  5  4  4 21 20  2  6  5 16 23  7 10  9  37  43  -6  31
13 Portsmouth      26  6  2  5 18 17  2  4  7 11 21  8  6 12  29  38  -9  30
14 Birmingham City 26  4  4  5 15 12  3  4  6 14 21  7  8 11  29  33  -4  29
15 Fulham          26  5  2  6 16 21  3  3  7 17 23  8  5 13  33  44 -11  29
16 Blackburn R.    26  2  7  4 13 18  3  3  7  8 18  5 10 11  21  36 -15  25
17 Crystal Palace  26  4  2  7 13 13  1  5  7 16 27  5  7 14  29  40 -11  22
18 Norwich City    26  3  5  5 20 25  0  6  7  6 24  3 11 12  26  49 -23  20
19 Southampton     26  3  8  2 20 18  0  2 11  8 25  3 10 13  28  43 -15  19
20 West Brom A.    26  2  6  5 11 21  0  5  8 12 28  2 11 13  23  49 -26  17

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1093