Newsletter #1157

Frustration all round on Sunday as the woodwork confounded our chances and Bolton nicked the points with a last minute penalty. Even more frustration from the bizarre decision to pipe in crowd noises through the tannoy.

We have a match report and stats tonight on the game, as well as plenty of opinion. There’s a look at ticket sales, strengthening the squad and the usual requests.

Finally, the reserves beat Newcastle reserves tonight 1-0 and remain top of the table.

Next game: Newcastle United, away, 3pm Saturday 24 September 2005


I felt today as if watching live football took a real turn for the worse. It had nothing to do with City’s performance, which was excellent and exciting. We dominated throughout this game against a poor Bolton side, but two things really bothered me today: the negative tactics of Bolton, which seems to be endemic of football nowadays, and more worryingly, the stadium management’s decision to supplement the crowd noise over the PA system.

This happened three times and to my amazement got progressively more embarrassing. Just prior to the kick-off, Andrew Flintoff was introduced to the crowd and once again someone thought it would be a great idea to play patriotic music over the PA; personally I would rather have the 40,000 present show their gratitude (we’ve drowned out the applause before when introducing City legends to the crowd so I wasn’t really surprised by this). The next level of embarrassment came when Pearce collected his Manager of the Month award; this time we weren’t treated to music but samples of “Stuart Pearce’s Blue White Army chant” from the PA (does the club really think we need help to show our appreciation to our manager winning a thoroughly deserved award?). If things couldn’t get any worse, to cap it off they elected to do it again during (yes! during) the game with pre-recorded chants coming over the PA to try to stir up the support.

I have to applaud the club trying to do something to improve the atmosphere (designate an area, non-allocating seating etc.), but playing recordings is frankly embarrassing. Ironically enough the team display had everyone out of their seats and singing.

If the evidence from Bolton’s display today is the sum total of Sam Allardyce’s thoughts on playing football then I’m so glad that we didn’t entertain the thought of Big Sam for the Keegan job and long may Svenn reign for England. That maybe harsh as Bolton, like most teams today, go away from home looking for a draw and see if they can nick a win but the negative of his side was unbelievable. On one break when they had a promising position the ball actually went all the way back to Jaaskelainen, who then proceeded to time waste (something they did from the first 10 minutes).

The whole game plan was to simply harass and out muscle to win the ball and then look to win free-kicks in the opponents’ half so they could punt the ball into the area from the resultant free-kick: zero football. With such performances, is it a wonder why crowd attendances are down? You could argue that City did a similar spoiling tactic to United at the Swamp last week but to me that was a defensive display; the Bolton display today was far and away more negative: tackle, kick, free-kick, punt… awful to watch.

Throughout the game, City had numerous chances, we hit the bar six times (I’m hoping that we’ll probably feature on Soccer AM Hit the Crossbar Challenge next week). The first half Sibierski had two cannon off the bar, one from a diving header that he took very well (on both occasions Jaaskelainen looked beaten), Sibby also had a glorious chance to open the scoring in the early minutes but hit his shot straight at the ‘keeper. In the second half the chances rained in as City dominated, Barton hit the post, Musampa hit the bar, Sun hit the bar in a effort that would have been a goal of the season candidate had it gone it, Reyna had a shot scooped wide, we also had great chances from Vassell and Musampa but the goal just wouldn’t come, in addition to a couple of fine saves from Jaaskalien. Nobody would have complained had we been 3 or 4-0 up. What was most encouraging was the ease at which we carved out chances against a side that lined up to defend deep and in numbers.

Two things I noticed: both managers’ substitutions in the second half were excellent – at a time when City had Bolton well and truly under the cosh and a goal looked inevitable, Sam Allardyce made two quick substitutions and Bolton completely disrupted City’s momentum (they even threatened at one point to have a shot), at this point City seemed to run out of ideas and accept that the luck was against them. Pearce then brought on Stephen Ireland who immediately changed the complexion of the game once again, giving City back the ascendancy and edge with some lovely passes and vision going forward, which for a short cameo rôle had us all commenting on what an exciting prospect he looked, but alas when it seemed like our luck was out and the game heading for a 0-0 draw, a very rare Bolton break had Dunne covering in no apparent danger and suddenly the ball was cut across him and he was adjudged to have handballed it. Given the ref’s position and Dunne’s reaction you could tell it was handball. Speed dispatched the penalty and 40,000 City fans rang 999 to report a robbery.

* indicates number of times each player hit the woodwork

James (7/10) No chance with the penalty, commanded his area extremely well with all the high balls that Bolton played into him.
Thatcher (5/10) Poor game, distribution was poor and was caught in possession on a few occasions.
Dunne (7/10) Penalty aside he was class, won most things in the air and was calm and composed. No idea what he was thinking for the penalty other that he got caught diving in/wrongfooted, as he was anxious to dispossess the Bolton attacker to get the ball back so we could have one more attempt on breaking Bolton in the dying seconds.
Distin (7/10) We look much more stable at the back with Distin and Dunne, again won everything against a very physical Bolton side.
Mills (7/10) Another good performance – personally I think he’s having a good start to the season but still was criticised by elements of the crowd. Tackled well and supported Sun going forward, providing some quality crosses.
Reyna (8/10) A joy to watch, looks class and seems to have loads of time on the ball.
Barton * (8/10) Immense performance, broke up play, drove forward, played some lovely passes and should have scored. Unfortunately taken off due to injury from a rash Davies challenge, which looked a bit X-rated. MotM.
Musampa * (6/10) Got better as the game wore on – disappointing first half and then seem reluctant to shoot. When he did he fizzed one agonisingly wide and then hit bar.
Sinclair (5/10) Seemed a bit out of sorts – injured early in the second half I think due to a clash of heads.
Sibierski *** (7/10) Good performance, could have had a hat-trick on another day and proved to be an effective target man.
Vassell (6/10) Excellent workrate, constantly menacing and lurking – just wish he’d use his speed in some of those 1 against 1 situations.
Sun * (7/10) Good performance, had some poor moments with bad distribution but as ever the good outweighed the bad for me.
Ireland (8/10) Only got a cameo rôole but from what we saw he looked very impressive, excellent vision and also unlucky not to score in a goalmouth scramble.

Rich Fenton <rich(at)>


FA Premieship
Manchester City 0 Bolton Wanderers 1
City of Manchester Stadium
Sun Sep 18th 2005, Kick-off 16:00
Attendance: 43,137
Weather: Dry and Dull.

Team Changes: Sibierski replaces injured Cole in starting line-up. Stephen Ireland on the bench.

Line-up: James, Mills, Dunne, Distin, Thatcher, Sinclair (Sun, 26), Barton (Ireland, 81), Reyna, Musampa, Sibierski, Vassell. Unused subs: De Vlieger, Onuoha, Fowler.

Goal times: (90) 0-1 Speed (pen).

Bookings: Dunne (90). Sent off: None. Referee: M. Dean (8). Not one of City’s luckiest referees.

Stat points: Stephen Ireland becomes the 1048th débutant for City and Ardwick. He is only the 6th player to play for City whose surname begins with an “I”. Can you name the others? See the Players section on the website for the answers. He is also the first City player whose surname is a country!

Steve Kay <steve(at)>


A youthful City side, essentially last year’s U18 squad with a couple of older players, lined up against Newcastle United at MiniCOMS tonight in a bid to extend their unbeaten run. Line-ups below, which give a hint of who will be in the team for Wednesday night. Only a brief summary of the game because I want to get this issue out tonight.

Unlike last week, not an enthralling game to watch as the youngsters struggled to break through a defensive Newcastle. However, we similarly did not allow Newcastle to attack and I think they managed about one shot all game, which is testament to the hard working City midfield and defence. This was an opportunity for young Miller to prove his worth out of the shadow of BWP, and he rose to the challenge admirably. With Croft providing his usual service down the right wing, and Hussain down the left, we were without the creative Ireland in central midfield and relying more on a defensive midfield – which worked.

The chances fell to City early in the first half as Miller had a shot saved for a corner and then made a run himself down the left only to lob the ball over the ‘keeper and the goal. On 25 minutes his perseverance paid off as he headed a super goal past Harper to make it 1-0.

Warrender and Richards were solid in the City defence, thwarting Newcastle at every opportunity. Newcastle seem to have been playing the same reserve side for the past few years, but the normally speedy and threatening O’Brien could do nothing tonight. Another 3 points for City and a good performance from the young guns sees us safely top of the table.

MotM: Warrender.

City: Schmeichel, Warrender, Jordan (Collins), J D’Laryea, Richards, N D’Laryea, Croft, Laird, Miller, Bennett (Sturridge), Hussain (Etuhu).

Newcastle: Harper, Shanks, Farman, Elliott, Edgar, Gate, Atkin, Bazter, O’Brien, Brittain, Cave.

Heidi <editor(at)>


I am not sure what to think. Yes I know it is a funny old game but this was quite ridiculous. With ten minutes to go I was beginning to come up with all the positives of a home draw and then… and then… along came Dunne (for those of you who remember old Coasters records from the late 1950s).

I had lots of thoughts at the end. It is all very well hitting the woodwork 5 times but oh for Cole on such a day. Sinclair’s injury didn’t help as Sun had one of his poorer games until the last few minutes. I also kept thinking that this is either 3 or 5 dropped home points already (depending on whether you feel we should beat Bolton at home) and that the manager will have to lift heads for the next few games.

Yet – they played very well for periods of the game and they had as many clear cut chances as I have seen from City in some time. And young Ireland was impressive in his brief time on the field: had one good shot and one excellent pass inside the full back. And this is not the same as the 1-0 home losses last year, not least the last one against Bolton. Finally this is now 2 games where James has had very little to do.

I also think we have a team now that can learn from this and keep moving onwards. There is a long way to go with this season yet, but it was a very depressing Sunday morning and afternoon out here on the west coast.

Best wishes to all, John Pearson <john.pearson(at)>


Never have I seen a game we should have won but didn’t, and Bolton were awful. But really that’s City isn’t it?

Got up at 3am to watch the match, put the video in, in case I went back to sleep and waited for the expectant win. Times have changed haven’t they when ‘we expect to win’! As it turned out we didn’t, but in a way it’s taken a little pressure off us, the unbeaten streak is over and we can start doing it all over again.

As the game progressed I had that sinking feeling I had last year, we’re going to lose this. Although we hit the woodwork more times than I care to remember we badly missed Andy Cole. Just about everyone had a good game, and I liked the look of Stephen Ireland when he came on!

Still, life goes on, a disappointing result, but a long season ahead, still reckon we’ll have a very good season.

If possible could someone send me Dave Clinton’s background with the draw on, as I seem to have misplaced it.

Kevin Williamson <scribbs(at)>


You should end up winning 4-0 but I have never seen such a game. Hang on a minute, maybe I have, maybe this is why we love this game so much.

After watching Man City on television I feel we can say we are second to Chelsea, maybe to Arsenal and then? United? Come off it.

Can you please tell me why the City of Manchester Stadium is:

  • Half empty before half time
  • Almost empty when the second half kicks off
  • Half empty again before the final whistle (that is when the players need their fans most)?

I don’t see the same going on in other grounds.

I’d like to congratulate the City players on their performance against Bolton. It was “one of those days”, but honestly I can’t remember such a confident, strong and quality side. I always stuck with Keegan but hey, what a change (with the very same players that KK brought in, credit to him on this, especially for Reyna) under Pearce.

Let’s not think about the result, let’s think about the performance. City just destroyed Bolton (and Pearce taught Allardyce a football lesson).

P.S.: Dunne… why?

Vanes Marzaroli <vanes.marzaroli(at)>


It’s easy to say Bolton never deserved to win this game after City had hit the woodwork several times. City on the day were mugged.

Throughout the game City were just plain sloppy, giving the ball back to Bolton as a gift over and over again. Sinclair was having a good game until he went off injured, then on came Sun, it was the worst game that I have seen him play; he did have one great effort that hit the crossbar but other than that a sorry performance. Where was Croft to have come on to the right side? He was not even on the bench.

I was not impressed by SP bringing on Sun into that position, his first black mark from me, but of course he will get my continued support. Sun should not be made a scapegoat for losing this game, the team lost as a team.

King Cole never started the game because of an injury and was replaced by Sibierski, who put up a gallant effort and came close to scoring on a couple of occasions.

City should have won this game by a few goals and were very unlucky, but it will always stay in my mind how many times that City were sloppy (I hope MCFC watch the replay of the game to see this).

Stephen Ireland came on for Joey Barton just a few minutes from time, he showed some nice touches, and I can see why he is going to be a top player for City in the future.

Claudio Reyna was my man of the match, he split the Bolton defence several times only for opportunities to be wasted, yes today we missed King Cole.

With only seconds left to play Richard Dunne was sloppy in putting his hand up to the ball, it was so unnecessary, and it gave Bolton the win in injury time, when Gary Speed scored from the penalty spot, sending David James the wrong way.

This was a very disappointing result at home, our first defeat in 14 games, but how we lost is the most disappointing.

Today I saw how we are so weak in depth, this is something I feared when we failed to sign any key players before the transfer window closed.

Next game at Newcastle is the fixture I feared most, not today’s game versus Bolton. Newcastle, who won at Blackburn today 3-0, now have Michael Owen in their line-up: he has always been a thorn in City’s side whilst playing for Liverpool, also Shearer has had his goals versus City.

To get a result at St James’ Park, City have got to concentrate a lot more, no more sloppy play or City will get punished big time.

City must not say let’s forget this game; instead learn from some of the play today. Of course, City were also very unlucky today, but a game should never be decided on luck or bad luck.

Stuart Pearce has a major job getting what players he has sorted for next week’s encounter versus Newcastle.

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)>


Leaving aside the painful end to the game versus Bolton, did anyone else get a strange feeling that something wasn’t quite right yesterday at the CoMS?

The mysterious absence of Andrew Cole, the inept pronunciation of City’s eventual line-up and worst of all the downright crass recording of crowd songs played through the North Stand tannoys early on in the first half. I’m sure I won’t be the only person to have raised this, just what the hell was someone’s thinking behind it?

When the South Stand (‘live’ this time I’m pretty sure) struck up ‘Stand up if you love City’ I half expected an electric charge to pass through our seats and force us to our feet! Was this a targeting of the North Stand or am I just being paranoid?

Great to see St Freddie parading in Blue to a great reception, how we missed his finishing of this summer over the next 90 minutes.

CTID, Mark Barratt <Mark.Barratt(at)>


I have just arrived home after the Bolton mugging and I have to say I have never been embarrassed to be a City fan – until now.

What the f*ck was the idea of the piped “chants” both before and at the start of the game today? OK we’re not the most vocal at the new place, but I dearly hope that whoever thought of this, and the goon that approved the idea, are both down at the job centre on Monday morning.

Thankfully they either saw sense early on, or the tape ran out because the “chants” soon stopped. But they should never have started.

The Bolton fans will love repeating their “Turn your tannoy up” chants.

I’m going for a lie down now.

Ian Dockry <ID313(at)>


Just got back off holiday on Saturday (missed the ‘ridiculous’ game and the bl**dy test) and sat down at the computer on Sunday morning to try to get a ticket for the Bolton game. No joy, ‘Sold Out’ it said.

When I looked at the attendance in the papers it said 43,000+. Were all the missing numbers season ticket holders who couldn’t turn up or is the booking system as c**p as it appears to be?

By the way, why were they playing on Sunday at 4pm if it wasn’t on telly?

Patrick <DoyPatri(at)>


SP is doing a tremendous job so far, and long may it continue, however I feel Musampa on the left flank has one good game in 3, and we need decent cover in this area.

I hope SP looks at unhappy quality players at other Clubs, or surplus to requirement “quality players” – a bit like Andy Cole!

Personally, if we could afford him, I would go for Joe Cole as he would benefit from working with SP and would thrive on the responsibility of being one of our key players and being a regular week in, week out.

Whilst I appreciate the team ethic that SP is trying to drill into the players, I would love us to have our own “star” players, who would walk into any Premiership team. I also like Cole as he “makes things happen” and that’s exactly what we need.

Come on the Blues!

Glyn Albuquerque <glynalbuquerque(at)>


By Stuart Pearce winning August’s manager of the month award, and by my taking 5 minutes on the Premier league website, I noted that he is still behind Kevin Keegan’s 4 awards (that’s a pretty cluttered mantle-piece). However, whereas SP first won the award in January 1997, he has now won it twice as Manchester City’s manager (in May and in August) too. KK, however, hasn’t won the award since September 1995. To put that in context, Man City won the award 2 months later with Alan Ball!

Joe O’Doherty <joeodoherty(at)>


I would like to disagree with the statement made in the last MCIVTA that Keegan’s appearance at the Sports Management conference in Newcastle was his first public appearance. This is indeed wrong.

I and about a dozen others witnessed the Lesser Spotted Keegan (LSK) in the Barinda curry house in Hale (near Altrincham) in about May. He was with his wife, and they spent the evening discussing family matters (I wasn’t eavesdropping, you understand). At one stage he dropped his naan bread on the floor and had to ask for a replacement. The silver-haired one also chided the waiter for running out of his favourite wine.

Has anyone else spotted the LSK? Perhaps in its natural habitat on a golf course?

Good luck to him anyway, although we seem to have come out on top – Pearce is making it look easy, this management lark.

Richard Ellor <r.ellor(at)>


Desperately seeking ticket for Newcastle if anyone has a spare to sell please? 01430 879600 (am). 07903229111 (voicemail if at work).

Mick B <koolfurmick(at)>


I have a spare ticket for Newcastle. I can be contacted on my mobile 07798 527774.

I can meet at Bolton, Doncaster, Newcastle or can send by post.

Gary Johnston <Gary.Johnston(at)>


We’ve arranged a Points of Blue meeting at the stadium for Tuesday 11 October at 6:30.p.m.

The club have asked if we can revert to the delegate meeting being at lunchtimes – it may cut down the attendance, but it was never intended that everyone at the original meeting should attend the second, as effectively that just duplicates the debates at the first meeting. The club would like representatives from each stand, but we doubt that’s realistic (and reps from different levels makes as much sense). We’re still sorting out a date for that meeting, but it may not be until a couple of weeks after.

Can you let Steve know <bloovee(at)> of any agenda items? Also can you let him know if you’ve raised anything with the club direct or via <pob(at)> as we think that not all messages to that e-mail address have got through to us.

Dave Miller <dave(at)>


My first question is: ‘Is there a Blues Bar in Tenerife where I can watch the Everton game?’

Nick Mannion <nmannion(at)>


In recent years the use of ‘Citeh’ for Manchester City has taken universal usage, but where did it originate?

Obviously I’m aware as a City supporter from Manchester that we do pronounce it “Citeh”, but where did the media take it from?

Peter Carlisle <Carlisle(at)>


18 September 2005

Liverpool             0 - 0  Manchester United     44,917
Blackburn Rovers      0 - 3  Newcastle United      20,725
Wigan Athletic        1 - 1  Middlesbrough         16,641
Manchester City       0 - 1  Bolton Wanderers      43,137

17 September 2005

Charlton Athletic     0 - 2  Chelsea               27,111
Fulham                1 - 2  West Ham United       21,907
Portsmouth            1 - 1  Birmingham City       19,319
Sunderland            1 - 1  West Bromwich Albion  31,657
Aston Villa           1 - 1  Tottenham Hotspur     33,686

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

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1157