Newsletter #1169

A 3-1 win over Villa thanks to their rejected striker Vassell’s brace and MotM performance (although Distin pipped that accolade for me) and one from Cole. An excellent first half performance from City, but can’t help thinking we fell apart second half after Sommeil went off. We’re now up to fourth in the table.

Opinion tonight on the Villa game, set pieces, Wardle’s comments and news from the Points of Blue meeting.

Next game: Fulham, away, 3pm Saturday 5 October 2005


I think it is rare in recent times to see a partnership as displayed by Cole and Vassell. I remember Tueart and Hartford in a League Cup semi doing the same thing. Good job it’s a bit back given my advancing years (short term memory loss).

What a jolly good club we seem to be just now. I’m sure my heart grows bigger every time we achieve something that we should. And my lungs scream at some of the injustices I still feel.

One thought, who remembers a certain F H Lee being the final nail in the Mercer/Allison jigsaw?

Stevie Gerrard. The hammer that knocks the nail in. Think big enough to get big enough.

Garry Higgins <balrog(at)>


Here’s something to think about.

I know from bitter experience down the years of all the ‘Might have beens’, but cop for this.

Had Coley’s shot against United gone in, and had just one of the 5 shots against the woodwork gone in against Bolton (I’m sure they wouldn’t have scored after that), then we would now be 7 points ahead of the scabs.

Add to that 3 points at Fulham this Saturday, please, anyone who is listening, and that would be stretched to 10 points, assuming that Chelsea do the business this Sunday coming (yes, I know, we still need to win at Fulham but we have a score to settle from last year when we were robbed).

On tonight’s game against Villa, I think SP will learn more from watching the video of this game than any so far during his reign. City were streets apart from our funny accented friends from down the M6 until the second half when they somehow got back into a game that was already done and dusted. How? That’s the intriguing part.

Vassell played like a man possessed. Unbelievably focused but not to the point where it became an obsession.

Coley had an ‘Off Night’ yet still contributed to a wonderful goal by Vassell, and then one of his own at the end. Not bad for an ‘Off Night’ Andy, have another ‘Off Day’ on Saturday and stick a couple past Fulham eh?

Stephen Ireland had another good game with a delightful flick but drifted out of the game at times (it will happen, he’s still a very young player). This was more than made up for by Joey Barton winning just about everything that he went for.

And Musampa had another superb performance. What an awkward player he is to oppose. He seems so ungamely yet he is so hard to shake off the ball and delivers some fantastic passes although his crossing needs a little attention. I’d sign him permanently if money permits. He’s brilliant and I would hate to have to play against him.

I think that is the measure of a player. Ask yourself, would you like to play against him? Well, d’ya feel lucky, punk?

The versatility of the squad was further demonstrated when Sommeil was drafted in again to cover for Dunney, and was taken off injured. Sun came on and Millsey went into the centre and there seemed to be no disruption to the defence but this seemed to be the catalyst for Villa to begin attacking down the wings and it almost paid off for them. Maybe they saw Sun as the weak link. I don’t know because Sun had a decent second half going forward but most definitely got caught out when Villa raided down his side.

Just one more point, City started with 4 Academy players in the team and at times, the youth players were really running the show. Fantastic. Long may it continue. It wasn’t sustained and that is why we mustn’t get too carried away. These players are the future of the club and we mustn’t expect too much responsibility too soon. Well done lads though.

Chuffed as mint balls tonight (blue ones of course).

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


I have read one or two interesting articles in the British press recently, which I would like to share with City fans.

First, The Times had an item that implied that Sir Clive Woodward, now at Southampton, has appointed Simon Clifford to his coaching team. Blues’ fans might remember that Clifford is the man who founded over five hundred football academies in Brazil and Europe. More recently he took over Garforth Town, the Yorkshire non-league team, and enticed the aged and corpulent Socrates to make a brief appearance for them one freezing cold winter’s afternoon. Clifford is obviously a student of the wonderful game and gave an interview in which he talked about “sprinting to take corners”. He stated, “The idea is to rush and get the ball into play in under 15 seconds, before the defending side can get organised. Most teams take between 26 and 34 seconds, so that the advantage is with the defence.” An interesting thought!

How many times have we seen City wait at corners until Barton or Musampa (Anelka in the past) made their slow way across field to the corner flag on the opposite flank? How many goals have we then scored? One further point struck me. If we are a fitter team than our opponents, why do we give them breathers? Even if we only have six corners in a game and take them all quickly, we force the opposition to play “active” football for a further minute and a half. Project this for throw-in’s and free kicks and we might have them playing for the best part of a further five minutes, which, if we are fitter will benefit us.

Secondly, the Daily Telegraph runs an item called “Coaching Corner”. A recent contributor was Graham Taylor. He stated that, “Of all the goals scored in the Premiership, one third of them come from re-starts: corners; free-kicks; long throws and penalties.” From this fact he advocates placing a man in the ‘clearance zone’ in order to make a second attempt on goal when the ball is partially or poorly cleared, as is often the case.

The two articles make interesting reading, particularly when taken together. They lead me to reach the conclusion that City should strive to be better organised in taking quick re-starts when on the offensive; and, when on defence, to give away fewer free kicks, corners and throw-ins in our own half, as a way of reducing our opponents’ scoring opportunities.

I do not have stats on who gives away most free kicks awarded against us; however, I would guess that the main culprits are Mills, Barton, Jordan and Dunne. Sometimes they concede free kicks when there is no danger and the opponent is being forced away from goal or has his back to our goal. Of course, we do not want to blunt enthusiastic and “tigerish” tacklers, only bring an element of cool headedness and intelligence to their play.

What do Blues’ fans think?

Barry Anderton – Hong Kong <PBAnderton(at)>


It’s not often I’m moved to put finger to keyboard over football issues. I’ve just read John Wardle’s comments regarding SWP’s departure and how he changed his mind on the day of the Macc match etc.

Well, Mr Wardle, if Chelsea came knocking at your door I don’t think you would even think twice. SWP gave us some of our best moments at Maine Road and the City of Manchester over the past few seasons. He now has the opportunity to make his name at potentially the biggest football club in the world and we start throwing our toys out of the pram. Let’s just be grateful that he had the decency to initially spurn the Chelski advances so that we could up the price for a few extra roubles.

The bottom line is, bad mouthing the guy now could well come back to haunt us if (or maybe when) things don’t work out at Chelsea. I just hope that if he does come on the pitch for Chelsea when they play us at CoMS that SWP gets the applause and appreciation that he deserves.

Avi Barr <Abarr(at)>


All that fuss about how Pires took the penalty, City complaining about it and Arsenal saying they got it from Cruyff. But wasn’t it Malcolm Allison who did it first?

When he was coaching at Plymouth they practised it in training and scored from it (against City!) and Allison jumped off the bench and punched the air. Allison got them to do it right – Pires wasn’t being disrespectful, just inept.

KC <kc(at)>


Is it me just getting old? or are other people getting fed up with the “matchday experience”?

This season has everything going for it, a great manager, a good squad, a new ground, fantastic fans, brilliant chairman and Stuart has money in the bank to spend. Why is it then that instead of being over the moon with the way things are going, I couldn’t care less? I am now only going to go to Saturday games and along with the lads that I sit with am not renewing my season ticket for next year. My love affair with City started in the late 60s and apart from a brief affair with Bury when as a schoolkid I got tickets for 10d I have remained faithful ever since, so, why is it that after all these years that I am losing the buzz and the enjoyment?

I was an advocate for the new stadium, but so much of it is cold and uninspiring. The atmosphere is the pits and the club refuse to take seriously the fans’ concerns. Little things also get on my nerves such as the fact if you have not got a season ticket you are charged £20 for a matchday card; Sunderland got a full house against Arsenal by letting their fans in for peanuts but last year City charged a fortune when it was live on Sky. Anyway City have been a massive part of my life for 40 years and will continue to be so. But from now on I will go on my terms and not be held to ransom. I will never stop loving City but from now on it will be from a distance.

Once a Blue, always a Blue.

Don Price <cathdon.price(at)>


Notes from Points of Blue delegate meeting with club officials (to be linked to minutes of meeting on 11 October).

Sara Billington present throughout; Alistair Mackintosh and Paul Tyrrell for most items.

City branding at the stadium – Club now to negotiate with Sport England, and real hopes that proper Manchester City branding may be in place next season.

Piped chanting – club has been asked to do something about atmosphere for years. The suggestion had come from supporters (but certainly not PoB). It was said Arsenal were doing it last Saturday. It’s not against Premier League rules, and the club would not entirely rule out trying it again, but there are no plans for a repeat.

Away kit at last home match of last season – not entirely a marketing ploy: players liked the kit (“makes them feel big”) and it was judged to be worth trying.

Ticketing – clarification that you can get a ticket for games without paying £20 for a Citycard (which does give a privilege booking period, and vouchers). PoB, fanzines and fans’ websites were asked to help make it clear.

Loyalty points – a useful discussion; PoB stance was that a scheme which had been generally regarded as fair should not be allowed to lose that reputation, and extra points for some games risked that. Club seemed to take that on board.

Odd kick-off times – not much choice, clubs are prisoners of the TV deal, and it was very lucrative.

Catering – no, they shouldn’t have run out of coffee at the Everton game. They were trying to weed out poor staff, but recruitment is a problem. Fans asked to continue reporting specific instances of poor service. Some improvements had been made – beer vendors serving Fosters from a portable barrel, and some bars staying open after the match (with fans allowed to move between different levels to join friends).

Supporters’ clubs, players’ visits – the manager is happy for players to attend meetings at the stadium, and the club will lay on transport to the stadium (and keep drinks prices down), and the Forum this week has had 600 people expressing an interest in attending.

Friendlies on free weekends – no desire for this from the playing side (thin squad, break gives time to recuperate from injuries).

Stewarding – Showsec stewards were asked to do a different job (and enforcing seating is because of pressure by the licensing authority – but they seem to accept that enforcing seating in away areas is too difficult). Effect on atmosphere (people too busy with stewarding issues to concentrate on the game) – inevitably led to discussion on standing areas, but City are one of the few clubs in the Prem to want to consider it, and in the end it’s a political decision and fans need to lobby MPs.

Other matters raised:

Left turn from Ashton New Road: remedial work on B of the Bang for anything up to a year; Asda complaining too; arbitrary police choice whether to allow left turn at lights (i.e. 90 degree turn, not the slip road) on safety grounds.

Club would look at possibility of some benches on Joe Mercer Way (for disabled supporters particularly) but it’s a route for emergency vehicles.

City Social and the Regional Athletics Arena toilets are available before matches.

“This is our City” poster campaign. Felt to be a success (London agency but involving a City fan working for them), and five complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority, all rejected.

Steve Parish <bloovee(at)>


Desperately seeking 2 tickets for Fulham. If you can help please call 0790 873 8897 (m) or 020 7483 4413 (h) or email.

Many thanks, Simon Hope <simonjhope(at)>


Check out these websites that have appeared in response to the recent Manchester City ad campaign: (to see the Reds’ counter ad campaign)


Dougie <mufctourist(at)>


30 October 2005

West Bromwich Albion  0 - 3  Newcastle United      26,216

29 October 2005

Wigan Athletic        1 - 0  Fulham                17,266
Tottenham Hotspur     1 - 1  Arsenal               36,154
Birmingham City       0 - 1  Everton               26,554
Charlton Athletic     0 - 1  Bolton Wanderers      26,175
Chelsea               4 - 2  Blackburn Rovers      41,553
Liverpool             2 - 0  West Ham United       44,537
Sunderland            1 - 4  Portsmouth            34,926
Middlesbrough         4 - 1  Manchester United     30,579

League table to 30 October 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         11  6  0  0 18  4  4  1  0 10  2 10  1  0  28   6  22  31
 2 Wigan Athletic  10  4  1  1  6  3  3  0  1  5  2  7  1  2  11   5   6  22
 3 Tottenham H.    11  3  2  1  6  3  2  3  0  7  4  5  5  1  13   7   6  20
 4 Bolton Wndrs    11  3  1  1  5  1  3  1  2  8 10  6  2  3  13  11   2  20
 5 Charlton Ath.   10  1  1  3  4  7  5  0  0 11  3  6  1  3  15  10   5  19
 6 Manchester Utd  10  1  2  1  4  4  4  1  1 11  7  5  3  2  15  11   4  18
 7 Arsenal         10  5  0  0 10  1  0  2  3  3  6  5  2  3  13   7   6  17
 8 Manchester City 10  3  1  1  6  3  2  1  2  5  5  5  2  3  11   8   3  17
 9 West Ham United 10  3  1  1 10  4  1  2  2  4  6  4  3  3  14  10   4  15
10 Newcastle Utd   11  2  2  1  5  5  2  1  3  6  5  4  3  4  11  10   1  15
11 Middlesbrough   11  2  2  2  7  8  2  1  2  8  7  4  3  4  15  15   0  15
12 Blackburn R.    11  3  1  1  6  4  1  1  4  5 10  4  2  5  11  14  -3  14
13 Liverpool        9  3  1  1  5  4  0  3  1  2  4  3  4  2   7   8  -1  13
14 Portsmouth      11  0  3  2  3  6  2  1  3  8  7  2  4  5  11  13  -2  10
15 Fulham          11  2  1  2  6  5  0  2  4  4 10  2  3  6  10  15  -5   9
16 Aston Villa     10  1  2  2  6  8  1  1  3  3  8  2  3  5   9  16  -7   9
17 West Brom A.    11  2  0  4  8 12  0  2  3  1  9  2  2  7   9  21 -12   8
18 Everton         10  0  1  3  1  5  2  0  4  2  7  2  1  7   3  12  -9   7
19 Birmingham City 11  0  1  5  3 10  1  2  2  4  6  1  3  7   7  16  -9   6
20 Sunderland      11  0  2  4  6 14  1  0  4  4  7  1  2  8  10  21 -11   5

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1169