Newsletter #1179

Confounding the pundits, City bounced back with a 5-2 thrashing of Charlton. We have an excellent match report tonight thanks to our man in Norway.

There’s also opinion on City’s merchandise quality, and requests for tickets and far flung Blues to pledge the cause in a TV programme.

Finally, thanks and apologies to those who submitted further thoughts on the George Best issue. Having taken an editorial decision, it’s time to move on and concentrate on City and our biggest away win in the top flight since 1992.

Next game: West Bromwich Albion, away, 3pm Saturday 10 December 2005


I had a really bad feeling before this game. City had not shown their best form lately with three losses and only one win from their last 5 games. Still, Charlton were even worse off, with five consecutive defeats and a top-scorer (Bent) who was nowhere close to the form he showed during the opening games of the season. And that was exactly what was bugging me. City have a nasty habit of throwing away games against teams that are on a bad streak. We did it to Michael Owen and Liverpool, Alan Shearer and Newcastle, and last season we threw away 5 points to West Bromwich Albion. And when I looked at the Premiership table I saw that 3 points would keep us in contact with the group behind Chelsea, while 0 points would secure us safely into mediocrity. And always when I have looked at the table like that in the past, we have gone out and got nothing.

My only hope was that our good record against Charlton would help us get a good result even today. Charlton have become like a second Villa, you can always count on them giving it away when they play against City. Last August we beat them 4-0 at CoMS, and the year before we put in 3 goals at the Valley.

Luckily my worries were soon buried as City showed some really neat stuff during the first half. Pearce decided to let the young guns rest on the bench and let Reyna, Sinclair and Sun run the midfield together with Barton. Up front we had Cole and Vassell showing their usual coolness. I really like Vassell when he is in form. He has pace and shows commitment whenever he’s called to action. And if the referee blows against him he just walks away without making any noise. But the best part was how he tore the Charlton defence to pieces today. He and his partner Cole were absolutely magnificent throughout the game.

Vassell could have opened the score early in the first half when he was played through, but a poor first touch ensured that Charlton’s goalkeeper Kiely managed to block the shot by diving bravely in front of the sliding striker. Still, Vassell managed to create the first goal after 25 minutes. First he tip-toed Hreidarsson and Perry, advancing into the penalty box, where he left the ball to Cole to slot it past Kiely with his right foot.

City continued to threaten the Charlton back four, and especially Spector on the left, who was continuously challenged by the in-form Sinclair. Charlton looked like they had been thrown into the deep end of the pool with nothing to aid them. Their defence were out of place, and the midfield only managed to cross the ball high into the City half, and at the back our skipper Distin was one head above all the others as he cleared most of the high balls that were thrown into the City area.

Still, after 36 minutes one such high ball found its way past Distin and Dunne, who was held off expertly by the lurking Darren Bent in front of the City goal. The Charlton striker didn’t think twice before smashing the ball with his right foot past James for the equalizer. It was perhaps not all that unfair as Darren Ambrose has squandered a great chance some minutes earlier when he missed the target completely after finding himself clear on goal.

But just as the home fans were looking to find their seats after the celebration, City went on another attacking mission. This time Cole was the provider, and Sinclair outpaced Spector to the ball and found the net with a piledriver that never left the grass. Kiely could perhaps have done better, but the shot was expertly timed and from a relatively close distance. 2-1 to City and the away fans started to take over the singing again.

City totally dominated the play from then on, until the referee blew his whistle for half time.

The second half started much the same as the first had developed. City looked the sharper team, and the class of Vassell, Cole, Barton and Sinclair was becoming more and more evident. But the score remained 2-1 to the visitors and nothing was certain at this point. Joey Barton worked his way into the game. He managed to hold the ball in the centre position and his passing is getting better and better. From time to time he even managed to get himself into good shooting positions but sadly missed the target on those occasions. It may not be long before our Joey is challenging the likes of Gerrard and Lampard as the best English box-to-box player if he continues to develop at this rate.

After 69 minutes Barton finally got the chance to prove himself in front of goal. Vassell was brought down inside the box by Hreidarsson, and Barton stepped up to take the penalty. The effort was lame and straight at the ‘keeper, but luck was on our side as the ball bounced back to Barton who could slot it into the open net from close range. 3-1 and Charlton looked dead in the water.

Charlton had scored on a long ball in the first half, and it took a set piece to create their second coming. Substitute Bothroyd was fouled by Thatcher just outside the City box, and the free kick was hammered past James at the near post by the same Bothroyd. In true City fashion we had let the opponents get back into the game.

It took only 6 minutes to blow out the candles once and for all. Murphy missed with his pass and the ball found its way to Andy Cole. The striker were still seated into the City half, but turned on the spot and played a beautiful pass to the advancing Vassell. The City striker sprinted away from Perry and aimed the ball neatly behind Kiely for a comfortable 4-2 lead to the visitors.

To make things even worse, 5 minutes later Perry missed with a back-header and Cole could just walk the ball past Kiely for an easy tap-in. 5-2 and at this point the home team were truly buried.


David James (4/10) Nothing much to do besides the goals. Should have done better with Bothroyd’s shot, which he got his hand on. One nice save in the second half, but gave a bad rebound that Distin managed to clear.

David Sommeil (5/10) Played with a mask that made him look like the opposite Zorro (black man with white mask). No big mistakes, but could have done better with his passing. Supported Sinclair well, especially in the first half.

Richard Dunne (6/10) Ok match, although he should have kept Bent from scoring in the first half. Got on the wrong side of the striker and was punished by that. Still, a solid performance from a solid defender.

Sylvain Distin (7/10) Solid performance. A tower at the back, cleared the ball well, very fast on the ground. Talks and communicates with his teammates.

Ben Thatcher (5/10) “The Tractor” chased the ball well and was not easily rounded. Missed once and created the free kick that resulted in Charlton’s second goal.

Trevor Sinclair (7/10) Brilliant first half. Not so dominant in the second. Scored a good goal, and showed great class. If he stays fit and keep up his performances he’ll be competing for a place in the World Cup.

Joey Barton (8/10) Great box-to-box performance. Up there with Lampard and Gerrard. Took his chance and made a goal. Lame effort from the spot, but who cares when the ball lies in the net? I’d love to see him play for England.

Claudio Reyna (5/10) Back after a 6 weeks with injury. Needed a game under his belt and will probably look better next week. Looked knackered towards the end and almost gave Charlton a freebie but luckily James managed to save from Bent.

Sun Jihai (7/10) Gets into position on the left although he’s not a natural winger. Looks comfortable with the ball and delivers it well. Good defensive job today.

Darius Vassell (9/10) Mr. Cool himself. Showed his class on two occasions. Both of them resulted in goals. One assist, one goal, and a constant threat to the opposing defence. Another player that might make it to the Wold Cup next summer.

Andy Cole (10/10) 2 goals, 1 assist. Away ground. Pure class. What more can you expect?

Stephen Ireland, Lee Croft and Bradley Wright-Phillips got 8 minutes each and almost created a second goal for Vassell, but the shot was too weak to trouble Kiely.

Svenn A. Hanssen <Svenn.Agnar.Hanssen(at)>


Well, Charlton had the misfortune to meet City on a day when their usual conversion rate of around 12 chances per goal changed to around 4 chances per goal. That was the main difference between this game and, say the games against Bolton, West Ham or Villa. Defensively we were not at our best with neither Dunne nor James having particularly good games. Sinclair on the other hand had the best game I’ve seen him play for City and the midfield generally looked in control for most of the game. Cole showed exquisite finishing for his two goals. So we’ve steadied the ship and if we can maintain this conversion rate we should just about make a European spot.

David Lewis <dfl(at)>


Just been reading Tangled up in Blue’s excellent article in King of the Kippax this month and have to add a little moan of my own about the way us fans are treated.

Now I know this isn’t the most important thing in the world but it does illustrate a point. I have bought my daughter 2 advent calendars this year – the more expensive one being the one from City and the other from Cadbury’s. City’s is I’m afraid c**p – the chocolate is hideous, the little pictures inside each door are not only of very poor quality indeed but are also upside down. Now even my 4 year old associates City with poor quality. I wouldn’t mind but it was exactly as bad last year!

Do they really think we’ll just keep on spending our hard earned money on tat? Probably!

[The dog enjoyed mine last year, Dave! – Ed]

Dave Griffiths <daveandnicky(at)>


I am fully available as the designated replacement should the unthinkable ever happen to David James 😉

Marc Starr <marc.starr(at)>


Does anyone have one spare ticket for the game at Wigan? If so, please mail.

John Marsland <marslands(at)>


Please let myself or Melissa Sim know if anyone in the region would be interested in attending a football quiz called Kick Off! They are looking for teams of 2 to take part. Each team will fly the flag of their club and country and will be led by ‘resident’ captains, Lee Sharpe and Les Ferdinand, to answer questions on EPL. Prizes will be announced soon, but they’ll definitely be worth it!

We’re looking for Asian supporters from Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, India and Indonesia of Manchester City. We would like your help to pass the word round to fellow supporters and fans of other EPL clubs too!

The show will be recorded in Singapore next year, from 12 to 20 January. Teams have to support the same EPL club and speak English.

Email us at <kickoff(at)> with your names, age, country of residence, nationality, contact details and the club they support.

Flight and accommodation will be covered for non-Singapore residents. Singapore residents must be able to keep 12 to 20 Jan 06 free, to participate in the recordings. The exact schedule can only be worked out as the rounds progress.

Closing date: midnight, 7 Dec 05.

Stephen Burt <sjburt(at)>


4 December 2005

Charlton Athletic     2 - 5  Manchester City       25,289

3 December 2005

Liverpool             3 - 0  Wigan Athletic        44,098
Blackburn Rovers      0 - 2  Everton               22,064
Bolton Wanderers      2 - 0  Arsenal               26,792
Chelsea               1 - 0  Middlesbrough         41,666
Newcastle United      1 - 1  Aston Villa           52,267
Tottenham Hotspur     3 - 2  Sunderland            36,244
West Bromwich Albion  0 - 0  Fulham                23,144
Manchester United     3 - 0  Portsmouth            67,684

30 November 2005

Sunderland            0 - 2  Liverpool             32,697

League table to 04 December 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         15  8  0  0 22  4  5  1  1 12  3 13  1  1  34   7  27  40
 2 Manchester Utd  14  3  2  1  8  4  6  1  1 16  9  9  3  2  24  13  11  30
 3 Liverpool       14  5  1  1 11  4  3  3  1  7  4  8  4  2  18   8  10  28
 4 Tottenham H.    15  4  3  1 10  6  3  3  1  9  6  7  6  2  19  12   7  27
 5 Arsenal         14  7  0  0 16  2  1  2  4  6 10  8  2  4  22  12  10  26
 6 Bolton Wndrs    14  5  1  1  8  1  3  1  3  9 12  8  2  4  17  13   4  26
 7 Wigan Athletic  14  4  1  3  9  8  4  0  2  7  5  8  1  5  16  13   3  25
 8 Manchester City 15  4  2  2  9  5  3  1  3 11  9  7  3  5  20  14   6  24
 9 West Ham United 13  4  1  2 12  6  1  3  2  5  7  5  4  4  17  13   4  19
10 Middlesbrough   15  3  3  2 12 12  2  1  4  8  9  5  4  6  20  21  -1  19
11 Newcastle Utd   15  3  3  1  7  6  2  1  5  6  9  5  4  6  13  15  -2  19
12 Charlton Ath.   14  1  1  5  7 15  5  0  2 12  8  6  1  7  19  23  -4  19
13 Blackburn R.    15  4  1  2 10  7  1  2  5  5 13  5  3  7  15  20  -5  18
14 Fulham          15  4  1  2 10  7  0  3  5  6 13  4  4  7  16  20  -4  16
15 Aston Villa     15  2  2  3  7 10  2  2  4  8 13  4  4  7  15  23  -8  16
16 Everton         14  2  1  3  3  5  3  0  5  4 11  5  1  8   7  16  -9  16
17 West Brom A.    15  3  1  4 12 12  0  3  4  3 12  3  4  8  15  24  -9  13
18 Portsmouth      15  0  3  4  3 10  2  1  5  8 13  2  4  9  11  23 -12  10
19 Birmingham City 13  0  1  5  3 10  2  2  3  5  7  2  3  8   8  17  -9   9
20 Sunderland      16  0  2  7  7 20  1  0  6  7 13  1  2 13  14  33 -19   5

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1179