Newsletter #1151

City extended their unbeaten run on Saturday with a 2-1 victory over Portsmouth, the goals coming from Reyna and Cole. Match report tonight thanks to Rich, and an update of match statistics thus far from Steve.

We have plenty of opinion on the newly resurgent City team, and a hatful of requests.

Next up is the derby, with some confusion over kick-off time, which is reportedly put back to 3pm. This was hidden in an article on the official site and no announcement made on Saturday, so nobody seems to be sure!

Next game: Manchester United, away, tbc Saturday 10 September 2005


I always get nervous when there is an air of expectancy around the ground, an unbeaten run, the team playing well, visitors struggling to register points or needing that elusive first win. Usually it means we get outplayed and lose to gift the opposing side their urgently needed points or first win of the season – how many times have City succumbed to such temptations? I always look to see what is new at the ground after pre-season (nothing to report after the West Brom game); however, today I was amazed that it took me nearly five minutes to notice the new scoreboard in the corner of the Colin Bell and North Stand (facing the current scoreboard). Unfortunately I can’t report that it’s a state of the art spangly TV one, it’s actually two lines, shows the score and the time remaining – but it stops me getting a sore neck from looking at the existing one so happy days (thank you Timpsons)!

The game started with Pompey playing 4-5-1, Lua Lua the lone striker. City playing the conventional 4-4-2 with the only change from Sunderland being Onuoha coming in for Jordan – you’d assume for his pace. City started very brightly and only after two minutes were unlucky not to be in front when a ball whipped in from the right was overhead kicked by Andy Cole and saved well by Westerweld. City had two or three other chances, the closest of which saw a Musampa header glance off the bar and the best being Vassell who raced clear on goal only to find the side netting. Pompey’s main threat was Lua Lua who was extremely quick and very tricky, but he was well marshalled by Onuoha and was offered plenty of support from his team mates in coverage (City obviously had picked him out as being the main threat and seemed to always have covering defenders around him when he received the ball). Pompey’s best chance of the half came when Robert exposed a space left by an absent Danny Mills and crossed well for Lua Lua, who just failed to connect at the far post.

The second half saw Jihai Sun replace Danny Mills. Sun’s contribution was not only to defend well but also those great overlapping runs, and a couple of those “behind the left full back” passes that were a trademark of when Sun and SWeeP used to play so well together (his performance made me realise that Sun was a significant factor in SWeeP’s initial success). However, I’m sure people will criticise Sun for a couple of misplaced passes and the free-kick that led to the Pompey goal (from where we sit it didn’t look a free-kick to me but if it was it was clumsy play by Sun). The resultant free kick was crossed to the near post by Robert and a glancing header from Viafara put the ball past James, cue goal celebrations and a very premature Soccer AM “Easy Easy” chant by all the Pompey fans.

At this point you had to credit Pearce and the team, no rash substitutions were made (although we had Sibierski, BWP, Croft on the bench), we just stuck to the same game plan and I think the team and crowd sensed we’d get back into this game. It wasn’t long in coming: Sun broke up a Pompey raid and then distributed a great ball to Reyna, who then fed Barton on the right. Barton’s cross, although it was good, should have been easy for Westerveld, who inexplicably flapped and fumbled the ball, allowing a late arriving Reyna to neatly smash it into the net. A couple of minutes later our self-belief was fully justified when a wayward cross was quickly volleyed back into the area from Sinclair. Cole received the ball with his back to goal, controlling impeccably, he then made a yard of space and snapped the ball into the bottom right corner. The ensuing goal celebrations showed a lot of the club spirit at the moment, all players running to Stuart Pearce in jubilation. After that Pompey’s and noticeably Lua Lua’s head went down (who had been Pompey’s only threat) and from that point it was clear that there would be only one winner, Cole going close again from a Vassell cross.

Match Ratings:
James 6/10 – Didn’t have a huge amount to do but what he did he did very effectively.
Thatcher 6/10 – Pretty solid display defensively, plenty of running and always looked to provide an outlet.
Onuoha 6/10 – Generally a good, solid performance, man marked Lua Lua in the first half and did a very good job. Also bettered Lua Lua for speed. Almost ruined his display with a dodgy back pass that let the Portsmouth striker in but James saved the day.
Dunne 7/10 – Solid and commanding, guided Onuoha well and even threatened to score on a couple of occasions from corners.
Mills 6/10 – Generally I felt Mills has been improving this season, anyone who read my reports from last season would know I’m not a great Danny Mills fan but I thought he was reasonably solid today (he got caught out in no-man’s land a couple of occasions) but it was a genuine surprise to see him subbed at half time (returning home in the car, Mark Lillis on GMR speculated that he may have had words with Pearce after one occasion Danny was AWOL).
Reyna 7/10 – Looks great since returning from injury. Plays the simple, effective balls, can tackle back and mix it and arrived late to poach a goal from Westerweld’s fumble.
Barton 7/10 – Having a fit Reyna at his side is bringing the best out of Barton. Striking a great partnership with Reyna. Joey’s not always looking for that killer pass any more. Huge credit for the way he is playing after such a bad pre-season off the pitch – hopefully this is another Richard Dunne-esque turnaround.
Musampa 4/10 – Generally very poor today, didn’t seem to offer much or get involved.
Sinclair 6/10 – Thought Sinclair was great in places today but at other times looked a bit lost (he has a habit of hugging the touchline and drifting completely out of the game for long spells). Great first time ball back in to set up Cole’s goal.
Cole 8/10 – I was very sceptical when we signed Cole, but what a buy this guy has been (can you buy something that was given for free?), non-stop running, superb close control and deadly in the box. Terrorises defenders when he receives the ball in the box. Very glad he is proving my doubts very wrong…
Vassell 6/10 – Not as effective as Cole yet but you can see they are forming a good partnership and he’s constantly lurking in and around the flicks and short passes that Cole provides.
Sun 7/10 – In a nutshell Sun’s arrival I think changed this game. Tackled well in defence and offered lots going forward. Yes, he did misplace a couple of passes but the sum total of Sun is his contribution far outweighed anything he gave away. Great substitution from Pearce.
Ref A Wiley – we constantly b!tch and moan about ref’s but Alan Wiley today I thought had a really good game – intelligently reffed the game and made a couple of decisions for both sides that helped with the flow of the game.
Crowd: Just over 41,000, which is the lowest in the Premiership at CoMS. However, looking at the majority of fixtures many of the home teams were significantly lower than last season’s average. Having said that (and I’d like to hear other people’s views), I thought the atmosphere was much improved (maybe it was the boo boys staying away now we are playing well!?).

So plenty to be cheerful today – we are in second place and we all know we won’t retain that until the end of the season. However, this City side is so much different under Stuart Pearce. This game with KK in charge would have been a draw or even a 0-1 defeat; that’s not said to knock Keegan, but the team under Pearce has a desire to win and shows a bite in the tackle (the team is playing like Pearce used to play the game). For me this is most noticeable in the way every player is hounding the opposition when we don’t have the ball and we are hunting the opposition in pairs, if the first tackle is missed then usually there’s a covering player who’s going to make a challenge.

The side is showing some invention (we have to as we can’t just give it to Shaun any more) but the neat, quick passes are proving to be effective. Yes, we could do with a playmaker but so could 13 other teams in the Premiership.

We also have Reyna/Barton forming a great partnership in the middle and the Cole/Vassell partnership looking that it might be the most effective partnership since Goater/Dickov. We still have Distin to return to provide even more stability at the back. Of course we shouldn’t get carried away as the true test is when we are in a losing streak as opposed to a winning streak but for now I’m happy that we have 10 points out of 12 and looking to be a pretty useful side.

CTID, Rich Fenton <rich(at)>


FA Premiership
Manchester City 2 Portsmouth 1
City of Manchester Stadium
Sat Aug 27th 2005, Kick-off 15:00
Attendance: 41,022
Weather: Dry and mild.

Team Changes: Onuoha replaces Jordan in starting line-up.

Line-up: James, Mills (Sun 46), Dunne, Onuoha, Thatcher, Sinclair, Barton, Reyna, Musampa, Cole, Vassell.
Unused subs: De Vlieger, Jordan, Sibierski, B. Wright-Phillips.

Goal times: (52) 0-1 Viafara; (66) 1-1 Reyna; (70) 2-1 Cole.

Bookings: Sinclair (16).
Sent off: None.
Referee: A. Wiley (7).

Stat points: 12th League game unbeaten. City extend their longest unbeaten run in the Premiership. First time City have strung together 3 league wins since October/November 2002, when they beat Birmingham 2-0, West Brom 2-1, and Man Utd 3-1. City have won three league games by the same scoreline on 9 occasions now. The last time was in November 1995, with a 1-0 scoreline against Wimbledon, Aston Villa and Leeds Utd. Three consecutive 2-1 league wins was last achieved in September 1983 against Leeds, Grimsby and Swansea.

FA Premiership
Sunderland 1 Manchester City 3
Stadium of Light
Tue Aug 23rd 2005 – Kick-off 19:45
Attendance: 33,357
Weather: Cloudy and dry.

Team Changes: Unchanged line-up.

Line-up: James, Mills, Dunne, Jordan (Onuoha 75), Thatcher, Sinclair, Barton, Reyna, Musampa (Sun 80), Cole, Vassell.
Unused subs: De Vlieger, Onuoha.

Goal times: (10) 1-0 Vassell; (35) 2-0 Sinclair; (41) 2-1 Le Tallec.

Bookings: Cole (67), Mills (69).
Sent off: None.
Referee: P. Walton (8).

Stat points: 11th League game unbeaten – City’s longest unbeaten run in the Premiership.

FA Premiership
Birmingham City 1 Manchester City 2
St Andrews
Sat Aug 20th 2005, Kick-off 17:15
Attendance: 26,366
Weather: Warm and dry.

Team Changes: Dunne replaces Sommeil. De Vlieger gets his first place on teamsheet.

Line-up: James, Mills, Dunne, Jordan, Thatcher, Sinclair, Barton, Reyna (Sun, 72), Musampa, Cole (Sibierski, 87), Vassell (B. Wright-Phillips, 90).
Unused subs: De Vlieger, Onuoha.

Goal times: (7) 0-1 Butt; (20) 1-1 Barton; (47) 2-1 Cole.

Bookings: Musampa (79).
Sent off: None.
Referee: M. Clattenburg (9) – Not swayed by the home crowd.

Stat points: 10th game League unbeaten. City’s longest unbeaten run in the Premiership. City’s 100th 2-1 away win in the League. De Vlieger’s first appearance on a City teamsheet.

FA Premiership
Manchester City 0 West Bromwich Albion 0
City of Manchester Stadium
Sat Aug 13th 2005, Kick-off 15:00
Attendance: 42,983
Weather: Warm with showers.

Team Changes: Cole and Vassell make their débuts in injury ravaged side. Dunne, Distin, Onuoha all fail to start.

Line-up: James, Mills, Sommeil, Jordan, Thatcher, Sinclair (Croft 85), Barton, Reyna, Musampa (Sibierski 90), Cole, Vassell (B. Wright-Phillips 70).
Unused subs: Onuoha, Sun.

Goal times: None.

Bookings: Vassell (24), Mills (89).
Sent off: None.
Referee: C. Foy (4) – overfussy, didn’t let the game flow.

City Draw Doncaster in League Cup

City have been drawn away against Doncaster in a Cup competition for the first time ever. The League Cup tie will be played week commencing September 19th. The teams have played 5 previous matches, four in the league and once during the War. The last meeting was on February 24th 1951, when a Division 2 tie at Maine Road ended 3-3, with City’s goals coming from Westcott (2) and Oakes.

Steve Kay <steve(at)>


Flicking through the channels of ESPN STAR the other night on the local cable provider out here, I spotted that MUTV was showing highlights of the recent City vs. Utd Reserves game in the Senior Cup so I was able to see our second half performance. We seemed to be under the cosh for the most part but what was eye-catching was Kasper Schmeichel. I have never seen him in action before and I was very impressed. He’s got an excellent physique for a goalie, big but very agile, either he’s been coached by dad or it’s in the genes as many parts of his game are so similar, particularly the way he spread-eagles himself when forwards are through one on one. At least 4 times that I saw he kept us in the game with some great saves. He really looks an excellent prospect, seems a bit of a character, and he’s ours. The other player that easily caught the eye was “Yosser” Hussein; lightweight, very comfortable with the ball but have you seen his legs? Based on my knowledge of football, derived from too many youthful years reading ‘Roy of the Rovers’, Scorcher’, etc., anybody with bandy legs like that, has got to be a winger, hasn’t he?

Peter Carlisle <Peter(at)>


No game in the Premier League is an easy game, it’s just that some are harder than others. City, along with other clubs, have a rest period before the next EPL fixtures due to the World Cup qualifying games. The rest will do the City players good after a couple of hard fought victories. Nice to see City in the top bracket of the table, it’s a great start.

The next game at the Swamp will be a real test as to how good the City team is. On this occasion every player tries to raise their game, knowing how important to win this game is to the supporters.

Rumours are rife about transfers, but I have got to the point I don’t believe any of them, and will stay that way until I read that we have signed a player. August 31st is the deadline. Speculation will be done with and we will just have what players are on MCFC’s books come what may. Will Stuart Pearce be allowed to put his boots back on if needed (would be nice, but of course not)?

Have a good rest City players and come back fighting fit at the Swamp against those Buccaneers.

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)>


I wrote a few issues ago after two friendlies that Andy Cole had played in, P2 G2. If he maintains half of that record to the end of the season, I’ll be more than happy.

Well, after 4 Premiership matches, not friendlies, it reads, P4 G2. Well I don’t know about anyone else but I’m happy with that, especially with contributions from other departments.

I don’t care if he has played for United. He’s sticking the ball away for us and that’s all that matters. Look at his reaction after the goal against Portsmouth. I don’t recall ever seeing Andy Cole smile before, never mind charge towards Stuart Pearce with a big gaping grin on his face. You’d have thought he’d just scored the winner in a final.

COC. Carry on Cole. You’re doing great.

I like the headline in the Daily Mirror this morning on the City Match report: ‘Psycho Therapy’. It’s not often the papers write anything complimentary about City but I though this was great.

And so on to United. Whatever the result, it’s a great start to the season. And for the pessimists who say we’ve not played anyone yet, well the first four games were games that we would have drawn or lost last season. Especially the two where we have been behind in the game.

Keep going City. Here’s one City fan that likes what’s happening at the ComStad.

P.S. Message to Stuart Pearce. Next time you slide in on Bryan Robson, keep your studs up!

[For those who missed it, the pic’s here: scroll through – Ed]

John Nisbet – People’s Republic of Hyde <nisbet1957(at)>


I have been rather puzzled by Lee Croft’s absence from the bench in City’s last few games. The results we have had speak for themselves but Croft is the kind of player that can make things happen and it’s useful to have someone like that on the bench (rather than say someone like Sibierski).

What worries me is that Croft is only on a one year contract. I’d hate to see him go because he doesn’t get a chance. Does anyone know why he seems to have been sent back to the reserves?

Ian Burgess <i.burgess1(at)>


For what it’s worth, I do think MCFC.CO.UK is one of the better team websites. I do not like Sunderland’s site (I have an aversion to red) and couldn’t access Birmingham’s site unless I registered first.

Websites are a matter of taste, much like anything. If you don’t like it, pass on constructive criticism to those responsible by all means, but don’t ruin it for those of us who quite like it!

Twelve months ago I rebuilt the intranet at work. 2,500 hated the new site. I took it offline yesterday and put the old one back. 2,500 people wanted to strangle me because they’d lost all that functionality they’d grown to love.

People hate change; fortunately we can force it upon them. If we didn’t we’d all still be using Archie and Gopher, then you’d having something to complain about, we’d still have a full back named Frontzeck! A manager called Ball or perhaps one called Coppell. You could actually throw in a Neal, a Hartford and a Clark too for that matter. ’96 was a good year for me. But even I’m up to date now!

Dave Lees <dave(at)>


In part answer to Dot Keller in the MCIVTA 1150 about wallpaper.

The first week that the new website started I wrote to the site to ask will we have wallpapers and screensavers? I had an answer the very next day assuring me that they would have them in a couple of weeks. Of course that is more than two weeks ago.

The old website was run by Sky Sports; at least they did have a very good wallpaper last season with all of MCFC fixtures including the TV games.

I have a photo of the stadium at night taken from the air, I saw it some place during my surfing, it’s impressive, but would prefer the fixture list just like last season.

Good luck Dot.

Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)>


Does anybody know of pubs in the Congleton or Scholar Green areas of South Cheshire that are City friendly i.e. show City’s away games and preferably have other City fans in there watching?

Geoff Pettengell <Geofpet(at)>


I will answer my own question as to my post to MCIVTA 1150. Due to extreme and unforeseen circumstances (illness of my other half) we never actually got to watch the Pompey game this weekend in sunny Florida, and hence thank you in anticipation to anyone who was going to answer my question; alas, the North Stand as usual it was.

Anyone who has got the PPLive setup now on their PC, just a note to say it’s a bit of a nuisance to get on some channels sometimes, especially as you will get a little warning message in your taskbar, in Chinese, that you don’t understand. It will say “this channel has left, please try again”, meaning they’ve moved the links for streaming, which is a bit of a pain but do persevere.

However, some fantastic FAQ’s are answered on this site: You have to register but that’s it, all the info you need is there. They will also tell you which channels to look out for your chosen games.

Oh and the English translation of the streaming is here:

It’s not at all illegal as far as I know and well worth a go if you can’t get to see the games anywhere else without forking out for absolutely rubbish quality MCFCTV, it’s all completely buckshee as we say round here!

Helen Hardman <hellsbells_mcfc2003(at)>


Following Helen’s request, see if this link works for you, just type in your zip code:

In case the link didn’t transfer, go to then follow the appropriate links.

Good Luck!

Mike Sayward <mancty(at)>


I am a recently emigrated City fan, now living in Adelaide, South Australia.

Does anyone know of anywhere in the Adelaide or South Australia area that will be showing the derby match? We are obviously desperate to watch it. What the hell are Sky thinking of?

Leigh <belinda.spry(at)>


I will be Dubrovnik, Croatia when City give the Rags a roasting on derby day. Does anyone know if the match is likely to be viewable anywhere over there?

Dan Bowen <daniel.bowen(at)>


A PhD research project is currently being undertaken by Chris Porter at the Manchester Institute for Popular Culture, Manchester Metropolitan University, which aims to survey football supporters from around the world. The research, which will focus on the football clubs of Manchester and their supporters in various locations, aims to tackle notions such as globalisation, identity and authenticity in relation to the city and football culture. Naturally therefore, it is hoped that readers of MCIVTA will provide some interesting and valuable contributions.

Should you wish to take part in the survey, please visit the following link:

Chris Porter – Manchester Institute for Popular Culture <C.Porter(at)>


28 August 2005

Middlesbrough         0 - 3  Charlton Athletic     26,206
Newcastle United      0 - 2  Manchester United     52,327

27 August 2005

West Bromwich Albion  2 - 3  Birmingham City       23,993
Aston Villa           1 - 0  Blackburn Rovers      31,010
Fulham                1 - 0  Everton               17,169
Manchester City       2 - 1  Portsmouth            41,022
Tottenham Hotspur     0 - 2  Chelsea               36,077
West Ham United       1 - 2  Bolton Wanderers      31,629
Wigan Athletic        1 - 0  Sunderland            17,223

24 August 2005

Arsenal               4 - 1  Fulham                37,867
Chelsea               4 - 0  West Bromwich Albion  41,201
Blackburn Rovers      0 - 0  Tottenham Hotspur     22,375
Bolton Wanderers      2 - 0  Newcastle United      29,504

League table to 28 August 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          4  2  0  0  5  0  2  0  0  3  0  4  0  0   8   0   8  12
 2 Manchester City  4  1  1  0  2  1  2  0  0  4  2  3  1  0   6   3   3  10
 3 Charlton Ath.    3  1  0  0  1  0  2  0  0  6  1  3  0  0   7   1   6   9
 4 Manchester Utd   3  1  0  0  1  0  2  0  0  4  0  3  0  0   5   0   5   9
 5 Bolton Wndrs     4  1  0  1  2  1  1  1  0  4  3  2  1  1   6   4   2   7
 6 Tottenham H.     4  1  0  1  2  2  1  1  0  2  0  2  1  1   4   2   2   7
 7 Arsenal          3  2  0  0  6  1  0  0  1  0  1  2  0  1   6   2   4   6
 8 Aston Villa      4  1  1  0  3  2  0  1  1  1  2  1  2  1   4   4   0   5
 9 West Ham United  3  1  0  1  4  3  0  1  0  0  0  1  1  1   4   3   1   4
10 Liverpool        2  1  0  0  1  0  0  1  0  0  0  1  1  0   1   0   1   4
11 Blackburn R.     4  1  1  0  2  1  0  0  2  1  4  1  1  2   3   5  -2   4
12 Middlesbrough    4  0  1  1  0  3  1  0  1  3  2  1  1  2   3   5  -2   4
13 Birmingham City  4  0  0  2  1  5  1  1  0  3  2  1  1  2   4   7  -3   4
14 Fulham           4  1  1  0  1  0  0  0  2  2  6  1  1  2   3   6  -3   4
15 West Brom A.     4  1  0  1  4  4  0  1  1  0  4  1  1  2   4   8  -4   4
16 Wigan Athletic   3  1  0  1  1  1  0  0  1  0  1  1  0  2   1   2  -1   3
17 Everton          3  0  0  1  0  2  1  0  1  1  1  1  0  2   1   3  -2   3
18 Portsmouth       4  0  1  1  1  3  0  0  2  2  4  0  1  3   3   7  -4   1
19 Newcastle Utd    4  0  1  1  0  2  0  0  2  0  4  0  1  3   0   6  -6   1
20 Sunderland       4  0  0  2  2  5  0  0  2  0  2  0  0  4   2   7  -5   0

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1151