Newsletter #1187

Pathetic, abject, embarrassing, lacklustre, gutless – a selection of the adjectives used to describe last night’s encounter with Spurs. It wasn’t a match, and it wasn’t a game. You could be forgiven for thinking Mad Kev was back in charge. How are the fans rewarded? In what could be viewed as a cynical marketing ploy, season ticket holders received an invitation this week to book a holiday with Thomas Cook to receive a few quid discount off season tickets. Even our sponsors appreciate our magnificent support 😉

We’ve some very good opinion on last night, and naturally a lot of questions are being asked about just what is going on (or wrong) at City.

Don brings us reaction to the Spurs débâcle, a worrying tale of fraud involving ex-City players, our new signing, and some good news on the Munich chants.

It’s a big issue tonight, so get the kettle on, sit back and take a break.

Next game: Scunthorpe United, home, 3pm Saturday 7 January 2006 (FA Cup)


General News

No More “Munich”: The debate in MCV in recent months over the anti-United “Munich” chants has led to some firm action from City fans. Here’s the report from the BBC’s news website: “Fans of Manchester City are being urged to stop using ‘appalling’ chants about the Munich air disaster. The Official Supporters’ Club and other groups have written an open letter to fans urging them to support their team rather than goad Manchester United. Twenty-three people, including eight members of the Busby Babes, died in the crash near Kirchtrudering in 1958. The letter, titled ‘”We are City, let’s be proud to be Blue’, called those who use the chants ‘an embarrassment’. Authors include the Centenary Supporters’ Association, MCIVTA newsletter and the official Manchester City Supporters’ Club. The open letter appeared in the programme for Manchester City’s match against Chelsea and will be republished for the next game against Tottenham. The next Manchester derby is at the City of Manchester stadium on 14 January” (thanks Ray).

Sting at the Co-Op: There’s been some rum goings-on in the courts this week. Two bank workers have admitted stealing almost £300,000 from the accounts of three former City players. They secretly diverted funds from the accounts of Djamel Belmadi, Daniel van Buyten and Vicente Vuoso shortly after each of the players left the club. The thieves persuaded two friends to let them use their bank accounts to launder the stolen cash. The three victims had no idea their accounts were being looted by the pair. Argentinian Vuoso joined the club in the summer of 2002 before leaving the following year to play for Santos Laguna in Mexico. Belmadi, an Algerian midfielder, moved to Manchester City in January 2003 but departed later in the year, leaving more than £230,000 in his bank account. Belgian centre back van Buyten joined City in January 2004 but left in May that year when he moved to Hamburg. The prosecution said that the pair had specifically targeted the players because they stayed at the club for only a short time and did not use the accounts regularly [thanks Peter Birbeck].

Motivation In Toto: A nice piece of psychology by the gaffer this week – SP has warned his squad that it could be a busy summer: if City fail to qualify for the UEFA Cup, then the InterToto Cup may beckon. “If it came to the end of the season and we’ve not automatically qualified for Europe and the InterToto Cup comes up, I can’t say we won’t enter the competition,” said Pearce. “If I feel it’s right for the club and after speaking to the chairman and chief executive, we feel that it could get us into Europe, that’s what we’ll do. That’s no problem, that’s the nature of the game. I get paid all year round. My wages don’t stop in the summer nor do the players’ wages.” It’s not a prospect relished by David James, for one. “We are trying to finish in a position that would ensure European qualification,” he said. “With all due respect, having played in the Intertoto Cup, it can have a detrimental effect if your squad is not deep enough. There are a lot of games for few players – and at the end of the season, if you haven’t qualified for Europe, then that can be very problematic. We want to do it first time, the right way, the direct way, league-wise or winning the FA Cup.”

Transfer News and Gossip

Albert Arrives: City’s first deal of the year has gone though, as Spanish left winger Albert Riera today signed on loan with the Blues till the end of the season. If all goes well, Riera could join permanently in the summer for £3 million. SP said: “We tracked him when he was at Bordeaux and last summer he moved to Espanyol. We saw the opportunity when things hadn’t worked out there to bring him here and he’s on-loan until the summer. If things work out well for him here we might well keep him on beyond that. Albert’s a naturally left-sided player and gives a natural balance on that side. It’s another new face into the side and he’s of a good age at 23-years-old. We’re hoping he’ll do well for us. When you get players on-loan you don’t really want to give them a month or two to settle in. Only his ability will dictate that and how quickly and well he settles in. Albert’s got a grasp of the English language, and we’ll try to pick up on that as much as possible while filtering him into the side.” Riera, who has made just eight league appearances for Espanyol, said: “Not to be playing in December is already a blow. It’s because you feel kind of low and you can go a year without playing. This team doesn’t play very offensive football and as a result, I don’t get to play much. Manchester City will give me the opportunity to play more, even though I know you have to earn your place in the team. It is a great opportunity. What I want is to play and I think it would be the best thing for me and for Espanyol.” First news of the deal was leaked by Espanyol on Monday. On Tuesday SP was still being rather coy. Asked if Riera was on his way to the COMS, Pearce told Sky Sports: “I certainly wouldn’t tell you that if he was.” Informed that the player himself believed he was heading to Manchester, Pearce jokingly added: “Well let’s hope he turns up then!” He then added: “Until I sign a player there’s no point on me speculating on anybody that I might sign. All that does is alert other teams in my position to good players, if he is a good player.”

How the Mighty Have Fallen… I’ve lost count of the Championship clubs Robbie Fowler’s been linked with in the last few weeks, but I’m sure Ipswich, Norwich, Millwall, and Southampton have all been mentioned – so let’s add Hull City to the list, shall we? The News of the World and The People both claimed that Fowler had had preliminary talks with the Tigers’ management and was due to speak to them again, with a view to signing on a loan deal till the end of the season, and with the Blues paying a portion of his wages for the duration. Hull’s boss soon quashed that tale, revealing instead that he’s moving for that other household name, err, Darryl Duffy of Falkirk.

Blues to Take Hart? SP has reportedly made a £100,000 bid for talented Shrewsbury goalkeeper Joe Hart. While no-one at City would confirm the move, it is understood a formal offer has been made for the England Under-19 international. The move is no surprise given the number of times SP has dispatched goalkeeping coach Tim Flowers to watch the highly-rated 18-year-old. One gathers that Shrewsbury manager Gary Peters was none too impressed with that bid – see what you think… “I’ve fielded questions from people asking if Man City have bid £100,000 for Joe Hart and I’ve said to those reporters that they must be as stupid as the person who put that on the line. I’ve a lot more respect for [City manager] Stuart Pearce than to think that he would even table a bid for something like that. It’s a ridiculous amount and no one ever bid that. I wouldn’t start talking to anyone about Joe unless they get above the million mark.”

Any Other People? There’s a lot of transfer gossip swirling around this buying and selling time, so here’s a round up of some of the City-related snippets; the People reckon that SP is considering a bid for Sheffield Wednesday’s Chris Brunt. The Mirror, meanwhile, states that Danny Murphy is ready to quit Charlton, with City and Newcastle battling for his £3 million signature. And that well-known source of near-hysterical footie headlines,, reports this week that Stuart Pearce is thought to be considering a move for out of favour Real Madrid midfielder Thomas Gravesen. A loan offer could be made until the end of the season with a view to a permanent summer switch for the Dane. Surprisingly, no other website or newspaper has picked up on this morsel.

Ex-Blues’ News

Black Kat Kev: Blinking ink! Not another Kevin Keegan story, surely! According to the Sunday Express, City’s former manager is being lined up to replace an ex-City captain, Mick McCarthy, as manager of the Premiership’s bottom club, Sunderland. The Black Cats, who are in an apparently hopeless position some 13 points from safety, see KK as the man to spark an unlikely revival on Wearside. All this was being denied by Monday, as the Sunderland Echo was saying KK had turned down this less-than-appetising job. The story claimed that Keegan was worried about his reception in both Sunderland and Newcastle, due to his godlike status on Tyneside. So it’s nothing to do with having no money to spend then, eh Kev?

Sweep the Sub: Two thoughts spring to mind when reading this tale from the Daily Mirror – “Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has told winger Shaun Wright-Phillips that he can’t go on loan in search of first team football” – 1) Shaun, we could have told you that sitting on Chelsea’s bench isn’t good when chasing a World Cup squad place. 2) Any wishful thinking about SWP returning to City on loan can stop forthwith.

Reactions and Comments

Grafting Generates a Goal-Free Game: City’s slow burning holiday campaign (almost) spluttered into life at Middlesbrough on Saturday. Both sides picked up their first point of the festive period after a hard-fought draw at the Riverside. Middlesbrough had the best early chances, with Yakubu bringing a good save out of David James and James Morrison firing over the bar. City went close after the break when Mark Schwarzer saved Andy Cole’s instinctive near-post shot, then almost snatched a late victory when Schwarzer brilliantly kept out Joey Barton’s diving header. Home manager Steve McLaren was somewhat upbeat about the whole affair, despite his side sinking to fifth from bottom in the table. “It was important to stop the rot. I asked for a clean sheet and a battling performance and I certainly got that. It was important for the confidence of the team. We have not scored in our last three games but with the quality we have up front we know we will score soon.” Boro claimed a penalty when Mark Viduka fell under the challenge of Sylvain Distin – “It was a stonewall penalty,” insisted McLaren, in a whinge worthy of his mentor at OT. “I don’t know what you have to do to get a penalty here. It was so blatant it was ridiculous and we just didn’t get the breaks, but they will come if we keep playing like this.”

Rot Stopped: Stopping the rot was obviously on Psycho’s mind as well. “A draw was probably a fair result,” Pearce told Sky Sports News. “I thought we created the better chances, but they were few and far between if I am being honest. We have played three matches in a short space of time, Middlesbrough had a day off in the week, and I am very proud of the effort we put in. I was very proud of them in that respect. I think it showed a lot of character. We gave away four cheap goals at Wigan and then the Champions came to our place and we conceded a late goal. So I think it shows character to come to a place like Middlesbrough and scrap out a result. The players have responded to all I have asked of them and I am pleased with their effort. We did not want to get beaten today, and in all honesty a clean sheet, away from home – you would take that every week. I thought we could have been a touch more confident in what we were trying to do and passing the ball a touch better. It was not a fantastic game today, on a bobbly pitch, but the main thing I would take would be the endeavour that they put in today. If we had passed the ball like we did at Charlton we would have won the game comfortably. Sometimes you have got to say that you will take that today, because the players have grafted a hell of a lot for me this week.” City fans will remember Mark Schwarzer from last season’s barnstorming game at the COMS, when the Aussie ‘keeper saved an injury time penalty from Robbie Fowler. SP certainly does – “Schwarzer did really well. I’m surprised Joey got so much on the header, but give the ‘keeper credit. Last season he cost us a place in Europe. He’s a good professional and one of the better performers in the Premiership.”

Clever Trevor: My Sunday newspaper made Trevor Sinclair the Man of the Match, and Sinc was satisfied with the team performance, if not with the result: “The lads are disappointed, we created quite a few chances but their ‘keeper’s pulled off a few good saves. I think we had the better run of the ball, we had a lot of possession and created a few good chances, but we didn’t let them create too many. All in all we are pleased with the performance.”

Sacre Bleu, Sylvain! A dreadful error by Sylvain Distin set Tottenham on the way to victory over lacklustre City on Wednesday night. Distin tried to let Paul Stalteri’s pass run out of play but instead Aaron Lennon skipped past him and fed Mido who slotted home with ease. Robbie Keane added a second goal late on when he latched on to Mido’s flick and hammered his shot past David James. City were second-best throughout and did not force Tottenham goalkeeper Paul Robinson to make a single save. Victorious manager Martin Jol was pleased enough with his side’s hard work. “It was a team effort. In the first half we played well, second half we did not kill them off and had to score a second – which is exactly what we did,” he said. “We want to do well. If we have 40 points in the first week of January it is a dream. This must be the first time in a decade we have 40 points in January and I am delighted. To have 40 points means you do not have problems and a lot of teams would love to have 40 points. We want to play European football and if we go on like this we have a big chance.”

Fear and Loathing in the CoMS: SP couldn’t understand why City were so timid during the game. “The main thing I said to the players at half time and afterwards is that we seem to be playing with a little bit of apprehension and fear,” he said. “That’s a problem I’m going to have to solve, and very quickly. I think there was an element of fear and trepidation in one or two of us – well, more than one or two probably. Players have to be strong enough to say, ‘I want that ball for 90 minutes and do as the manager’s said in our team shape’. I’ve told them to sit down and talk about the football, how it went and the problems that we gave ourselves. We’ll talk with them on Friday morning; I’ll have to solve the problem, that’s what I get paid for. We’ll be the first to say that tonight was not good enough, and it wasn’t.” Spurs appeared to control the game from early on, and Pearce thought that City did not get near the standards they have succeeded with at home this season. “We sat off in midfield and at the back and allowed them to set a tempo to the game, where what has been successful for us at home has been pushing on to teams. The more they set the tempo, the more they pushed us back and the more individuals became a bit nervous.”

No Shrinking Violet: Some journals reckoned that SP’s honeymoon period was over, what with (a) City picking up just one point from their four festive fixtures (b) City being booed off after the game and (c) jeers being heard as Nedum Onuoha and Stephen Ireland were substituted during the second half. Pearce is convinced City will emerge stronger as a result. “You only learn lessons about yourself and those around you when things are going badly,” he said. “At the moment we are having a tough time but it is important everyone at this club rolls their sleeves up and does something about it. The booing was as much to do with me as with the players. I am the figurehead. It is funny how things change. Fifteen games ago I was going to be the next England manager. When things are going well, people get swept along with it. Now the situation is different. That is not a problem for me. I have never been the kind of person who would panic. Last night was not a good one for the club. The fans’ frustration is mirrored in mine and the players’. I would have been unhappy if I had paid to see that. It is important we get the players together, sit down and have a chat about how we can put things right,” he continued. “The main worry for me is that we don’t look as though we want to receive the ball. I know we have one or two youngsters in the side but I am talking about the seniors as well. It is not so much the effort, more a nervousness in terms of what we are trying to achieve. But I am not a shrinking violet. I will not run away and hide. I need to get the players behind me and tell them what we are going to do about it. We are the only ones who can put this situation right.”

“Worst Tackle Ever”: Martin Jol later accused David Sommeil of making ‘one of the worst tackles ever’ on Lee Young-Pyo. Referee Alan Wiley missed Sommeil’s studs-first challenge, which came immediately after ex-Blue Michael Brown had felled Joey Barton. Lee was stretchered off with a knee injury which could rule him out for a fortnight. “Lee said it was the worst tackle ever – and I believe him,” said Jol. “It looked a bit horrific. I can understand why the referee missed it because he was focused on the first tackle. My only problem is that Lee has bad bruising on his knee and will probably be out for a couple of weeks.” SP said, “I only saw it once in real time and didn’t have a good view. But if it was a poor tackle I will have a chat with the player and tell him it is unacceptable.”

Squad News

Joey for England? Pearce has paid tribute to the form of Joey Barton. He said of the 23-year-old: “Things have been tough for him this year, certainly since the summer, but he’s been sensational. Joey’s working hard, he epitomises everything that’s good about Manchester City at the moment, we’re full of drive and effort and he’s working towards the team.” Many, including the Manager himself, have noted Barton’s increasing influence on the City side this season, coupled with the successful partnership with Claudio Reyna. “The fact we have Sun Jihai or Claudio Reyna sat in there allows Joey to push on. He’s got to couple that with what the team needs and that’s what he’s got to learn. It’s not a case of running all over the place, it’s got to be a case of, ‘yes I’m going to do it but it’s got to benefit the team.’ He’s learning those messages that we are giving him and he’s improving as a footballer. Now he’s got to keep improving and learning the lessons that myself and the other coaches put into him and there’s a few good senior pro’s around him that can teach him lessons as well. Whilst he keeps looking, listening and learning and working hard at his trade, he can only bet better and better.” But SP played down suggestions that in-form midfielder Joey Barton could be set to gatecrash England’s World Cup squad. “He has got to keep his feet on the floor, keep working hard every day, and keep thinking to himself, ‘Hey, I’m not the finished article’,” said Pearce. “I’m not sure whether Joey is disciplined enough at the moment to fill the holding rôle because he has a bit too much energy to use up. It could stifle him in some ways. But he has got a bit of everything – he is happy to tackle, happy to run forward and has scored more goals this season than he ever has. But you have got to remember he doesn’t have that much experience. I think he wants to learn, he’s keen, he’s had the odd wake-up call in his life and I think it has benefited him.”

Learning the Trade: Nedum Onuoha is enjoying his run in the first team. Since coming in for the injured Danny Mills, Nedum has started the last five games. “It makes no difference to me whether I play at right-back or in the middle, I just want to be involved,” said Onuoha, “I have been working as hard as I can to get into the squad and when I do get my chance, I know I must perform at my very best to keep it. I am very happy at City. I am learning my trade here and feel very much part of the club.”

Danish Blues Work for David: David James is determined to win back his England jersey after revealing the criticism that followed his poor performance against Denmark was the “kick up the backside” he needed. Yet his international future appeared over when he was dropped after his display in August, followed by his admission that he had not prepared adequately for his rôle as a substitute. He now appears to be England’s second choice, given that Chris Kirkland cannot win his place back after injury at West Brom. James said: “In a lot of respects the situation in the aftermath of the game against Denmark was a kick up the backside I needed. I didn’t think I needed one at the time – it was afterwards I thought differently. There was the issue of preparation… but I don’t need to go down that road again. The aftermath wasn’t nice, but getting back in the squad for the Argentina game was a big step for me. It has given me the encouragement and the confidence to push on for the next one. All I can do is push and push. Given the opportunity this time, I have to be ready.” James is pleased with his own form and the backing he gets from goalkeeper coach Tim Flowers. “I am happy with the way things are going,” he said. “I hope if things work out right for City it will mean I am good enough for England as well. That’s the plan. I am working well with Tim Flowers. The work I need to do to make myself right is going okay.”

Don Barrie <news(at)>


For many years now, certainly since our ignominious relegation from the Premiership under Joe Royle, I’ve refrained from extreme negativity about Manchester City Football Club. After all, following the Ball, Coppell, Neal, Clark and Royle fiasco years, the Kevin Keegan era, by comparison, was like sleeping with Sandra Bullock following an affair with Geoff Horsfield. Chalk and cheese.

Sure, I moaned a tad about our under-achievement during the 2003-2004 season. And by the summer of 2004 I was calling for KK to be replaced but I like to think that overall I’ve been a reasonably positive supporter during the past 4 and a half seasons.

But last night’s shambles was rubbish.

Indeed, shambles and rubbish still don’t accurately convey how bad it was last night. It was humiliating, it was insulting, it was lacklustre, it was inept, it was incompetent and it was totally and utterly unacceptable.

Yes, of course, the poor loves had played 4 games in 10 days, and I accept that they were understandably jaded, but Spurs had played just as many games and they clearly weren’t jaded.

Stuart Pearce remarked last night that the poor darlings have lost confidence and even fear receiving the ball. Well, forgive my lack of empathy, but if that is the case why the $*&£ then are these players earning more in a week than I earn in a year? Gutless!

And the manager didn’t help last night either. Indeed, he was part of the problem. The programme last night was running some sort of effeminate competition, the kind of dopey gimmick you come to expect at this level, where you can win a lunch date with Mr Pearce. Well I for one would have loved a dinner date with Mr Pearce after last night’s débâcle and before the media darling could get a word in edgeways I’d be demanding answers to the following questions:-

  • As good a player as he is, what on earthpossessed you to select a seriously out of formBen Thatcher ahead of Stephen Jordan, a playerwho has never, ever, let us down? Thatcher madeAaron Lennon, a scarcely above averagePremiership player, look on a par withRonaldinho. The only positive to come out of lastnight was Thatcher’s booking, which means thathe’s suspended for the derby game in 9 days’ time.
  • Do you truly and honestly stand by your wordsof praise for Sun Jihai in your programme noteslast night when you described him as a `dreampro’? If so, you want your head testing. He’s anice lad who will always give 100% and he doesindeed have the occasional good game but he’s ajack-of-all-trades and master-of-none footballerand he’s not good enough. Even the mostilliterate and ugly resident of Newton Heathknows this to be true so why are you so in thrallto a player with so little to offer? Sun’sperformance last night with the ball at his feet was pathetic.
  • Why in the name of God himself (Eyal Berkovic)did you replace our best player on the night,Nedum Onuoha, with a fellow defender, DavidSommeil? What were you hoping to achieve and whatdid Nedum do wrong to justify such an action? Oram I correct in thinking that young kids likeNedum and Stephen Ireland are easy prey and fareasier to replace than the senior pro’s who youadmitted are equally as scared of possession right now?
  • With so little time to prepare between theMiddlesbrough game and the Spurs match, why onearth did you hand Stephen Ireland a rôlecompletely alien to him? When in possession lastnight, as is now customary, he looked our bestcreative player but he was clearly lost at sea asto what his overall rôle required, particularlydefensively, but instead of switching him towhere he should have been in the centre ofmidfield you stood idly by and then took the easyoption of substituting him. How crass.
  • It was immediately apparent that Lennon wasmaking Thatcher look like a doughnut. It wasequally obvious that Sun Jihai was playing like adoughnut. Just a thought this, Stuart, butwouldn’t it have been a good idea to double Sunand Thatcher up on the left and snuff out thethreat from Paul Saltieri and Lennon down theright? I know I’m just another thick mucker whopays a grand a season for his season tickets,travels over 100 miles [round trip] to watch thegame and doesn’t get to bed before 1am beforegetting up at 7am for work the morning after thenight before in the reassuring knowledge that theuseless b*****ds who failed to entertain me thenight before have a day off, but do you not think I might have a point?
  • Or failing that, if Nedum wasn’t providing theattacking thrust down the right that you wanted(And Thatcher was? And Sommeil did? Yeah, right!)then why not switch Sun to the only rôle he isvaguely competent in, namely right back?
  • Neither striker was delivering the goods lastnight. Why not introduce Robbie Fowler andBradley Wright-Phillips? Or are you scared as towhat Coley’s reaction might be?
  • Why do you persist in standing in yourtechnical area throughout the game? Who benefitsfrom this apart from you in raising your mediaprofile? If I was playing within the proximity ofthe touchline I’d feel inhibited by some madcockney shouting gibberish in my generaldirection. I can understand a manager issuingoccasional instructions – after all this was oneaspect that nearly every City fan felt that KKfell short on – and I can see a case for thedefence needing to be given regular promptingsand instructions, but what on earth can you saythat will aid the efforts of attacking players inthe last 3rd of the pitch? It is my view that youand the team would benefit from you taking a moredetached view so ensuring that your occasionalforays into the technical area served a purposeand made more of an impact. As it is, I reckonthat while you are no doubt becoming a mediadarling and entering the “future England manager”stakes you are aiding not one of your players and are certainly p***ing me off.
  • Why is Kiki Musampa out of the frame? Youextended his contract so why the exclusion zone?

Of course, it is not all Stuart’s fault and, despite the invective above, I still back him 100%. My reaction is partly borne out of frustration and impatience and as manager he is an easy target. Perhaps the people we should be hounding are the board of directors? In particular, chairman John Wardle and his inept Chief Executive Alistair Mackintosh. My questions for them are as follows:

  • What is your vision for our club? Where do you see us in 5 years?
  • How can Portsmouth attract inward investmentbut we can’t? What efforts are being made to attract investment?
  • Loyal supporters like myself tolerated the saleof SWP in the belief that although part of themoney would placate our creditors, we would at thesame time have at least £12 million of that cashavailable for investment on the team. That hasn’tbeen the case. Instead, we get a striker fromAston Villa on the cheap who is scared of his ownshadow, a striker who used to play for the Ragswho is just 7 years younger than I am and who,while one of our best players this season, ishardly the stuff of which dreams are made and isunlikely to lead us far beyond mid-table and now,the coup de grace, delivers an injury prone leftsided midfielder who in a recent interview cameacross as so gaga he thinks he’s injury jinxed,talks to God as though the great one is in thesame room as him and who can’t get a game withEspanyol. Words fail me. Show some ambition or,alternatively, be honest with us and say it likeit is; namely, that we’ve given up and simply want to break even financially.

Spurs are a good side. They have invested in their team and made a conscious effort to stock their side with talented and athletic young British talent.

But, last night, we made them look like Barcelona. And that saddens and angers me in equal measure.

To be honest I even fear Scunthorpe now. As for Manchester United, I daren’t even contemplate that.

I said after the Chelsea game that we had to eradicate the stupid errors. Well, last night, Sylvain Distin made the most ludicrous unforced error I’ve seen all season. That mistake sums us up. We’ve failed to score in 6 out of 11 home games and we systematically gift goals to the opposition. Form your own conclusions as to where we are headed.

For 4 and a half years I’ve remained largely positive and attempted to banish my worst fears and most urgent frustrations, but as I sat miserably on the coach at 11.30pm last night the fury unleashed itself and today I don’t know what to think. The faces change yet everything stays the same. Is that to be our eternal destiny?

One final issue; David Sommeil’s tackle last night was a total disgrace. He should be banned by the FA for 3 games and City should fine him 2 weeks’ wages. That kind of barbarianism has no place in football.

My ratings:


James 6 – Should have chinned Distin when the latter tried to blame James for the 1st goal.
Onouha 7 – His only crime was to be our best performer on the night so no wonder he was subbed.
Thatcher 4 – Excruciating to watch last night.
Dunne 5 – Playing like a pub player.
Distin 4 – Concentrate you con.
Barton 6 – Not much left in the tank but one of the few to at least show some pride and a morsel of passion.
Ireland 5 – Good in possession but looked as lost as Cliff Richard in a brothel.
Sinclair 6 – Worked hard and did his best.
Sun 4 – Embarrassingly poor.
Cole 5 – Struggled to make an impact and blazed our best chance over the bar. Should have been subbed but then he does have a fearsome scowl.
Vassell 4 – Tom would have battered this poor imitation of Jerry. Subs: BWP 6 [one good effort on goal]; Croft 5 [why bring him on to play on the left?]; Sommeil 4 [ban him].


Robinson 6 – Might as well have sat next to me in the seat vacated by my sensible wife who stayed at home. Didn’t have a single save to make.
Saltieri 7 – Impressive.
The Korean lad who got injured: 6 – Get well soon.
Dawson 9 – Awesome display.
Gardiner 7 – Solid.
Brown 8 – Who says he isn’t good enough for the Premiership now?
Carrick 8 – Outstanding.
Lennon 8 – Superb.
Jenas 7 – Athletic.
Mido 7 – Distin’s main achievement of the night was to made him look good. Scored one and then outjumped a hopeless Distin to flick the ball on for Keane’s goal.
Keane 7 – Maturing all the time.

Fleetwood Blue


One of the most unsatisfactory performances in recent times. For the first 25 minutes or so it seemed as though City were under instruction not to challenge for the ball until play was within 30 metres of the City goal – perhaps this was intended to counter Spurs’ anticipated tactics of sitting back and hitting City on the break.

Then, just as we seemed to have overcome this approach and had started to show some sort of threat, a horrible misjudgement by Distin gifted Spurs the lead. Whilst on the balance of play they deserved this, they hadn’t really created much for themselves despite City’s backing off approach.

The second half started more evenly but we had the strange substitution of Sommeil for Onuoha. Spurs were causing some problems on both flanks but Onuoha had been no more troubled than Thatcher and the real problem seemed to be a failure to create opportunities from midfield. To me, changing one of the back four for another defender simply restricted our options – if Onuoha had been replaced by Croft with City playing three at the back I could have understood it. However, it made little difference to City but Sommeil did make a horror tackle on Y-P Lee that was reminiscent of Keane on Haaland or Buchan on Bell where the player was caught knee high on the standing leg – let’s hope that not too much damage was caused. I don’t think that Sommeil is the sort of player to make that sort of tackle maliciously but it was certainly negligent of Lee’s safety.

City then failed to defend a goal kick taken straight down the middle of the field and Keane scored his customary goal against us to round off a miserable night. The only bright spot was BW-P who produced more in the 20 minutes he was on the pitch than most other City players did in 90. City failed to take control in midfield and consequently created little. In fairness Spurs were not much better but did mange two accurate shots and that in the end was the difference.

A word for the referee – I’m not a fan of Alan Wiley but he had quite a good match apart from missing the Sommeil tackle.

David Lewis <dfl(at)>


This was probably the worst performance by the team since Pearce took over. We have collected 1 point out of the last 12, which is relegation form, however unlikely that may seem.

It was technically inept and highlighted a particular problem with Distin, who seems to be suffering an internal crisis at the moment, and who was needlessly responsible for Spurs’ first goal.

Looked at one way (the cost of players), City have perhaps been over-performing until now, and Pearce has done well in introducing young players to the first team. However, it’s now gone badly wrong. The midfield in particular looks weak (with the exception of Barton). Sun is not a convincing midfield player, he just does not have the control, his passing is at best Championship quality and he has the vision of Stevie Wonder. However implausible it may seem, we were clearly missing Sibby as well as the perpetually-injured Reyna. Surely Musampa would have been a better option than Sun?

The basic fact was we did not have a single shot on target in this game because the midfield were incapable of passing to Cole or Vassell. When Ireland was replaced by Croft there was no benefit.

In defence, Onuoha was needlessly substituted for Sommeil. If Pearce was going to change the defence round he should have brought Sommeil on for Distin, and played Onuoha at centre half. Having said that, there was a drastic tackle by Sommeil on Lee Young-Pyo which might easily have resulted in a red card, so perhaps no change would have been better.

There were no positive aspects that I could see.

We’ve got Scunthorpe next in the Cup; I’ll bet they’re up for it! Then the Rags. Like an avocado bathroom suite in a seventies Barratt house in Bolton, there’s something disturbing about this.

James 6, Onuoha 7 (Sommeil 54 4), Dunne 6, Distin 4, Thatcher 4, Sinclair 6, Barton 7, Jihai 3, Ireland 4 (Croft 70 3), Cole 4, Vassell 4 (Wright-Phillips 70 5).

Richard Haydon <swankehaydon(at)>


What on earth went wrong with the Blues against Spurs? To say all the players were pathetic would be an understatement.

Thank goodness I chose to stay at home and watch it on the box; it looks like me and seven thousand other stay-aways made the right decision. Her indoors took along my niece in my place; needless to say I ain’t her favourite uncle any more. She was not only bored stiff but frozen as well.

With so many games on over Christmas and the Cup game on Saturday, you would have thought the marketing men at MCFC would have been working overtime to shift the tickets by offering discounts for them or in fact just give them away to everyone who bought a ticket for the Chelsea game, but they either haven’t got a clue or they just couldn’t care less. Instead they came up with a half baked plan called the super seven; there is nowt super about the scheme at all.

Anyway, enough of the gloom, 6 goals against Scunthorpe and three points off our Red neighbours, and will all be smiling again.

Up the Blues.

Don Price <cathdon.price(at)>


Since we are eight hours ahead of the UK in time, this morning I got up at 0330, in preparation for the kick-off at 0400 of City vs. Spurs. Of course, I ended up wishing that I had never set the alarm and had slept on!

I do not wish to comment on the game in any detail. However, there were certain aspects of it that I found difficult to understand.

First, although always a supporter of SP, for the life of me I could not understand why Nedum Onouha (whom I thought was our best player) should be substituted by David Sommeil (a much slower and less talented footballer). We were, at that stage, a goal down. Surely SP did not expect Sommeil to score us a goal? We had not experienced any real danger from Spurs’ left flank. In fact, quite the reverse. Aaron Lennon was giving the cumbersome Ben Thatcher the run-around on the other side. Yet the limited Thatcher remained on the field for the whole game!

I experienced my usual gloom at the final whistle, yet there was Richard Dunne with his arm around Robbie Keane, laughing and joking! A home defeat obviously did not mean a great deal to him. What a contrast to the recent game between Bolton and Liverpool. The Liverpool players, to a man, worked their socks off to get level. Wednesday night was surely Robinson’s easiest game of the season.

Barry Anderton – Hong Kong <PBAnderton(at)>


Martin Jol got it right in his pre-match interview. He referred to us as “Mansheshter Sh**ty”.

Michael Seitler <Michael(at)>


It all started (again) here in MCIVTA 1170 back in October 2005 when Phil wrote in expressing his exasperation at the ongoing distasteful Munich songs. This led to a lively exchange of opinion and, more importantly, widespread condemnation of the sickening songs that some of our fellow fans think is essential to generate matchday atmosphere and support the team. When Andrew Cole was visibly disturbed by the chants in the recent Charlton game, it hit home that maybe the team and players didn’t find it quite as encouraging as some sections of support seem to think.

What then happened was, for the first time we can remember, representatives of thousands of City fans – MCIVTA, the OSC, the CSA and Points of Blue – got together in agreement that it was time for the fans to join up and try to rise above this. The outcome was a full page in the City programmes for Chelsea and Spurs, which is reprinted here:

We are City – Let’s be Proud to be Blue
An open letter from our fans to our fans

In 1958 English football suffered a terrible loss. Twenty-three men, many of them young footballers yet to reach their prime, perished on the runway of Munich airport on board a plane bound for Manchester. Amongst the dead was journalist and former City player Frank Swift, one of the greatest goalkeepers ever to grace the blue shirt. What happened that day transcends football. It transcends rivalry. Death is not a joke; loss is not a way to goad your rivals. Those that sing songs about Manchester United’s plane crash in Munich are an embarrassment to our Club and to our real fans. We fans should be supporting our team, should be encouraging our players and singing songs to inspire them to greater heights on the pitch. Chanting about Munich has no place in our game, on our terraces, from our fans. We help to kick out racism. We don’t tolerate discrimination. Let’s stamp out these appalling chants. We are City… the best fans in the land… in all the world. Let’s prove it.

We are City

Signed Centenary Supporters’ Association, MCIVTA, Points of Blue, Official Supporters’ Club.

We are pleased that MCIVTA has been instrumental in this initiative, showing just how important it is for fans to group together and address issues which affect our Club. We hope that the Club will give its backing to an excellent fans’ iniatitive and, more importantly, we hope that in future fans will be singing more about City and not denegrating a tragic loss to football.

Heidi <editor(at)>and the MCIVTA Editorial Team: Don Barrie,Madeleine Hawkins, Svenn Hanssen, Paul Howarth, David Warburton


Having witnessed the abject display against Spurs I will leave it to someone else to describe the gory details. However, I saw an article by Graham Taylor in the Daily Telegraph the next day that I thought was appropriate. I have paraphrased some of it, for reasons that will become obvious but the gist of it was as follows:

“I witnessed his team’s 2-0 defeat to Tottenham and the overall performance of his team was very poor. There seemed to be little team shape, or pattern, and some of the positional play of their defenders made you wince. The body language of a number of the players indicated to me that the game was lost well before the final whistle. I mentioned in my previous article the problem that former great players sometimes have managing players who are nowhere near as good as they were. Against Spurs, there were clearly a number of players who required some good, open coaching sessions on basic playing matters. My judgement was that some of them do not know the game and certainly they have nowhere near the knowledge of their manager.”

You could easily be forgiven for thinking that he is talking about Manchester City but in fact he is referring to Newcastle.

This brings me to the main point. My major criticism of the Keegan era was the obviously poor quality of the coaching. Too many players were unable to do simple, stock-in-trade things and there was little cohesion as a team. There was often no Plan A, let alone a Plan B. There seemed to be little tactical awareness or attention to detail and this view seems to have been confirmed by a number of players following KK’s departure. The bright start to the Pearce regime seemed to indicate to us that this was behind us but recent displays have highlighted the same old problems coming back to haunt us.

A good manager does not necessarily need to be a good coach (Keegan undoubtedly wasn’t) but like any senior executive he does need to understand clearly what he wants. He then needs to be able to communicate that to his employees and, most importantly, to get the people around him who can translate the vision into reality. I am pretty sure that Stuart Pearce does know what he wants but then I suspect that Messrs Souness, Bruce, Coleman, McClaren, and Curbishley do as well and where has that got them? On the other hand Sam Allardyce has made Bolton a force by building a strong and effective coaching team even though he’s not spent much on players. How many times do you see them surrender meekly as we did against Spurs? They have good technique, are tactically sound, play to the strengths of the players they have and are well motivated. Sam Allardyce knows a good coach when he sees one and snapping up Sammy Lee was a masterstroke.

Derek Fazackerley, like Pearce, was an uncompromising, honest and solid defender but, with the greatest respect, you have to question his coaching abilities when you see performances like the one last night. Players unable to control or pass a ball, whose application and positioning is poor and who don’t understand that quick, short passes and good movement are far more effective than a hoof up the field. There is nothing in his record to suggest that he can make things happen although he initially did well with KK at Newcastle. He came to us from Barnsley, sacked with Nigel Spackman, when they were 23rd in Division 1 (The Championship), which was not a great recommendation. He may well have a part to play in the coaching set-up but I believe that Pearce needs a shrewd right-hand man who is experienced in the Premiership or an equivalent continental league.

Bolton have Sammy Lee, Liverpool had Fagan, Moran, Paisley and Phil Thompson, United had Murphy, Kidd and McClaren and Mercer had Allison. Not all of these were capable of making the transition to manager but they were all outstanding coaches who knew how to translate theory into practice. Thompson and Kidd are probably still available and I believe would be well worth the money. If not them, then why not a mentor, like Arthur Cox was to Keegan, or a director of football? David Pleat, Graham Taylor or Bobby Robson all have their faults but they do have vast experience of the game. I was never a fan of Graham Taylor but at least, as he shows above, he knows a problem when he sees one.

What do the rest of you think?

Colin Savage <colin(at)>


Firstly, I would like to wish all at MCIVTA a happy New Year! I would also like thank you for the fantastic job in making all overseas fans feel part of the Manchester City community.

Now I know that following City is like a rollercoaster ride and we know that every upturn will soon be followed by a sudden downturn, but having watched the game against Spurs, I must admit that I haven’t been so full of despair after a City performance for a while (at least not since SP took over the reins). I imagine that this is what prompted me to put pen to paper (or more accurately fingers to keyboard), I suppose.

Why such despair? After all we were playing a team that we never seem to beat at home, a team who are fourth in the Premiership and David James didn’t have a save to make. But, having said that, there were some very disturbing signs in this game. Remember, we have topped the Premiership earlier this season – the last time we did that, we ended up being relegated. Not that I really think it will happen this time, but a 15 game run without a win could have us in trouble – and we already have a run of 4.

City kicked off showing none of the high tempo that SP continually advocates. Spurs were allowed to totally dictate the pace of the game. Most worryingly, though, some of the decisions taken during this game appeared “Keeganesque” in nature. Stephen Ireland was started wide on the left and it was obvious from early on that he was not suited to that unfamiliar position. Sun Jihai, who has filled in on the left on occasions was, I presume filling the “holding rôle” in the centre. Sun Jihai chased all over the place (so much for “holding”) and his distribution was poor. Even after going behind, to a belated Christmas present from our normally reliable skipper, City allowed their best and most creative passer of the ball to stay wide left where the game generally bypassed him. I felt confident that these two would swap rôles at half time and that SP would whip up the players to perform at the tempo that he demands of them – but neither happened.

Then, with City a goal down and chasing the game, a change would surely have to be made to give us a better chance of levelling matters? What happens? SP, decides to replace a pacey, fully committed right back with a much slower version, and this after Spurs had switched the speedy Lennon to that side. How was this likely to help? Even Nedum looked bewildered when he went to sit on the bench. As I suggested earlier, a decision reminiscent of the Keegan tactical genius.

But wait, where is my confidence in our great leader gone? Why should one, who up to Christmas, has been positive and astute in his decisions, suddenly appear to lose it? Why sudden mention of the Intertoto Cup? Maybe there is a cunning plan! Maybe there’s a logical explanation after all! Has SP has engineered this set of bad performances so that the Board will relax the purse strings and allow him to sign the players he needs to make a serious challenge for a “real” European spot? I hope John Wardle doesn’t read MCIVTA or I might have blown SP’s master plan (or at least I hope that’s what it is).

CTID, Mick Murphy <mick.Murphy(at)>


If it wasn’t bad enough that it has been raining for 2 weeks we also had the Wigan, Chelsea and Spurs games on here.

I am very dispirited at the moment. The sense of possibilities of early fall has given way to a familiar resignation. In the three games we had on in the last few days we have shown we can’t pass, defend a lead or, after the Wigan game, even begin to score. My deep concern is that this is not a blip but a steady decline. We have a good, young manager, some good, young players but overall the squad is very, very thin indeed in quality. We’ve gone through this before but it is disappointing to hear, again, that there is almost no money to bring needed players in during January.

The news reports have us focusing on another goalkeeper but not on what is so clearly needed – a central midfielder and another forward. I understand we have signed another left sided midfield player. Does this mean Musampa is now out of favour?

I have followed with interest recent reports about the financial situation, but I am afraid that I am losing faith in the current approach. Will money only be available when we are fighting relegation or are we content with 10-12th position? Will nobody invest in City? A few months I was joining in the mirth at the huge debt United now had: but I see they seem to have money to spend during this transfer period.

Isn’t this a terrible approach to the New Year and the rest of the season? Maybe I am just too old to go through all this again: the sense of promise and then the reality of not quite good enough. The Cup game this week is now important to restore some confidence. I noticed Fergie was at the game today: what on earth for? The only thing he would have picked up is that if he stations Rooney midway between the City goal and the halfway line, City players will pass him the ball with remarkable frequency.

I look forward to an explanation about the substitutions, they were very strange and among the first things I have ever felt Pearce has got wrong (well, also wasting time talking about the Intertoto Cup in December). But that is a minor cavil compared to the need for some very quick recovery. And I won’t comment on individual performances: it doesn’t make me feel any better about things.

And to think I am planning a trip over for the Sunderland game.

Happy New Year though to everyone and perhaps we should plan on City playing in the first Cup final in the new Wembley in May.

John Pearson <john.pearson(at)>


I think the honeymoon is definitely over for Stuart Pearce. I am not going to start ranting about changing managers, far from it. I think we have a fantastic manager in the making and long may he reign.

However, I keep hearing that Psycho doesn’t exist any more in the ‘Manager’s’ rôle. It’s calm, controlled, and constructive. And this comes from the players. I think that they have become too comfortable. He’s let them off lightly. I think it’s time for Psycho to show his real self.

Well, the enthusiasm of our manager has brought us this far but I’m afraid that it has run out. There is now no motivation in the players to go out and fight.

This was typified tonight when Distin, one of our ‘senior’ players, committed what I consider to be a ‘shooting’ offence. You couldn’t publish the next comment so I won’t make it!

Come on Stuart, we’ve seen you get results with ‘Mr Nice Guy’, let’s see some of that ‘temperament’ come out. Let’s see if these players who have taken you/us this far really have the ‘bottle’ to get it back.

We’ve taken teams apart (Charlton, Villa, Brum) and have been unlucky against the top four teams. How then, can we perform so poorly against the lesser teams like West Brom etc.?

Tottenham, to be fair, are a much improved team and I admire Martin Jol as a manager. He’s quietly gone about his business and turned a joke side into a fairly decent outfit that try to play decent football and perform for the manager. He’s dignified in victory (not gloating like that red nosed joker from just outside Manchester) and gracious in defeat. A model manager. A bit like our manager but, unfortunately, his players (SP’s) are letting him down.

Come on Stuart, get that left boot going again right up someone’s a**e!

I have complete faith in you and you are the best thing that’s happened to City in years. But you need to get tough now.

P.S. The Sky commentary team tonight said that when a Tottenham player went down injured with a head injury following Joey Barton’s shot, that City shouldn’t have given the ball back to Tottenham because Tottenham kicked the ball out. Well I’m sorry but City, as far as I am concerned, are a ‘Sporting’ team and should behave accordingly. Well done City and round sphericals to anyone who thinks differently. United, I’m sure, would have gone right on the offensive but then, that’s why they are so despised. City were s**t tonight but we kept the principles of sportsmanship.

John Nisbet <nisbet1957(at)>


In typical Manchester City fashion, we are again in the midst of a winter of discontent. We have been woefully poor at times, and the early season spark seems to have been replaced with a sad predictability. Seeing the twisted, sour-faced, whiskey-nosed man from Salford at last night’s game only compounded the feeling of misery within me. Spurs showed what a little ambition at board level, and the right manager and scouting network, can do for a club.

Which brings me to the reason I’m writing in. Another transfer window is upon us, and I am curious to see how exactly our board of directors are going to ‘back’ their manager. We have spent absolutely no money in the last three years – that is a fact. We have brought in mediocre players on the cheap, whilst selling our quality players for vast sums. This trend will eventually lead to relegation – make no mistakes about that. When you look at our current squad we are comfortably four or five players short of challenging for a UEFA Cup spot. Pearce must have been in cloud cuckoo land in the last few weeks because all his talk about his team being capable of challenging for a European spot was way off the mark. We have absolutely no depth to the playing squad. When Reyna’s out, we seem to be incapable of playing. With Musampa relegated to the bargain bins, we again have no natural width on the left. People aren’t going to like this, but neither Stephen Jordan nor Ben Thatcher are Premiership quality. At present we have Sibierski and Reyna out, and last night we looked absolutely atrocious. Imagine what an injury to Joey Barton would do to the midfield. We need to be careful we don’t quietly become relegation fodder (just ask Steve Bruce or David Moyes – there’s a fine line between success and failure in this league).

A club the size of Manchester City deserves to be run with a little ambition. The people at the top need to begin to show the supporters that they are trying to move the club forward… and frankly, the odd loan signing from Spain isn’t going to do that. Personally, I have heard far too much talk about prudence, about trimming debts, and about finding the right players at the right price. Why would any player want to join a club that is continually crying poor? In the last few seasons whilst we’ve signed utter garbage, Spurs have signed Defoe, Carrick, Lennon, Mido, Routledge, Dawson, Jenas, Brown et al. All quality. All young. All ambitious. All hungry. That’s how you build a team.

Anyway. I await with interest the outcome of this transfer window. The board should be very careful though – fans are already voting with their feet, and this trend will continue to get worse if things don’t improve. They were warned when they sold Anelka. They were warned when they sold SWP. Maybe they just don’t care, or maybe they just haven’t got the stomach to run a Premiership club anymore. Who knows? I certainly don’t.

CTID, Ahsan Naeem <AhsanN(at)>


Continuing on with the theme in my earlier emails about ‘is this the best start to a Premier season’ and ‘how well really are we doing’, here’s an update after 17 rounds of games.

With the 27 points we have after 17 games, we’d be 6th and 2 points behind Boro in 5th at this stage in 2004/05, we’d be 4th and 12 points behind Chelsea in 3rd and 1 point ahead of Brum and then Soton who’d be 5th and 6th respectively at this stage in 2003/04. So it would seem that we are doing reasonably well but in a season that is closer than the previous 2 seasons at the top.

Points           8  9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 38
Arsenal         13 16 17 20 23 26 26 26 26 29  ?
Aston Villa      6  9  9  9  9 12 15 16 17 17  ?
Birmingham       6  6  6  6  6  9  9 12 12 12  ?
Blackburn       11 11 14 14 17 18 18 18 21 21  ?
Bolton          14 14 17 20 23 23 26 27 30 31  ?
Charlton        16 19 19 19 19 19 19 22 22 22  ?
Chelsea         24 27 28 31 31 34 37 40 43 46  ?
Everton          3  4  7 10 10 13 16 17 17 17  ?
Fulham           5  6  9  9 12 12 15 16 16 19  ?
Liverpool       10 13 16 19 22 25 28 31 34 37  ?
Man City        14 17 17 20 20 21 21 24 24 27  ?
Man Utd         17 18 18 21 24 27 30 31 34 37  ?
Middlesbro      11 12 12 15 15 18 19 19 19 20  ?
Newcastle        9  9 12 15 18 18 18 19 22 25  ?
Portsmouth       6  7  7 10 10 10 10 10 10 13  ?
Sunderland       5  5  5  5  5  5  5  5  5  5  ?
Tottenham       15 18 19 20 20 21 24 27 30 31  ?
West Brom        5  8  8  8  8 11 12 13 16 16  ?
West Ham        12 15 15 18 19 19 22 22 25 25  ?
Wigan           16 19 22 25 25 25 25 25 25 28  ?

City             8  9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 38
05-06           14 17 17 20 20 21 21 24 24 27  ?
04-05            8 11 11 12 13 14 17 20 20 20 52
03-04           12 15 15 18 18 18 18 19 19 20 41
02-03            -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  - 51

Posiiton         8  9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 38
Arsenal          8  7  6  4  4  3  4  5  6  6  ?
Aston Villa     16 14 15 17 17 16 16 15 14 15  ?
Birmingham      15 18 19 19 19 19 19 19 18 19  ?
Blackburn       10 12 11 13 12 11 13 13 12 12  ?
Bolton           6  9  8  7  5  6  5  6  5  5  ?
Charlton         3  2  4  9 10 10 11 12 11 11  ?
Chelsea          1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  ?
Everton         20 20 18 15 16 14 14 16 15 16  ?
Fulham          18 17 14 16 14 15 15 14 16 14  ?
Liverpool       12 10  9  8  6  4  3  3  3  3  ?
Man City         7  6  7  6  8  8  9  8  9  8  ?
Man Utd          2  4  5  3  3  2  2  2  2  2  ?
Middlesbro      11 11 13 12 13 12 10 10 13 13  ?
Newcastle       13 13 12 11 11 13 12 11 10 10  ?
Portsmouth      14 16 17 14 15 18 18 18 19 18  ?
Sunderland      17 19 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20  ?
Tottenham        5  5  3  5  7  7  7  4  4  4  ?
West Brom       19 15 16 18 18 17 17 17 17 17  ?
West Ham         9  8 10 10  9  9  8  9  7  9  ?
Wigan            4  3  2  2  2  5  6  7  8  7  ?

City             8  9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 38
05-06            7  6  7  6  8  8  9  8  9  8  ?
04-05           12 11 13 12 13 12 11  9 11 13  8
03-04            6  6  7  5  6  8  9 10 12 11 16
02-03           15 16 17 16 14 12 12 15 12 12  9

Peter Carlisle <Peter(at)>


I’ve seen more effort from my dad. Turnin’ in his grave. FFS, we’d have lost to a Southern Cemetery 3rd XI. At least we didn’t upset any referees. Or goalkeepers. Or anyone except City fans who had probably just gone back to work after the break. Unlike some.

Garry Higgins <balrog(at)>


Came across a very interesting webpage by Hewlett Packard (very long but worth a read) on City’s “Intelligent Stadium (I-Stadium) solution”; below is the first paragraph with the estimate of our fanbase that I’ve never seen quoted elsewhere:

Manchester City kicks off innovative smart-card services and sponsorships with wireless, RF-enabled Intelligent Stadium. Manchester City Football Club is one of the UK’s oldest soccer clubs. In the UK Premier League for the last two seasons, the club has a large and loyal following. But even when the club was not in the top tier, fans still packed its matches. Today, Manchester City counts 400,000 fans nationwide and, with supporters’ clubs in more than 25 countries, estimates that its total fan base exceeds two million…

Peter Carlisle <Peter(at)>


Psycho was seen travelling on the London Underground to the Arsenal vs. Rags match on Tuesday evening.

Main topics of conversation were: will Sweep play in the World Cup? Pearcey thought that he would be a main player and will play well. On a jokier note he was telling his friend that during his international career if there was an important match comment to be made by a player after a game, Gareth Southgate was the player always chosen. Supposedly he was the most intelligent.

Well, 2 hours to kick-off so let’s get 3 points from the Spurs game.

Michael Riley <michael.riley(at)>


My dearest Mancunian friends,

a new Blue year is just beginning and, from my personal point of view, we all must be happier than one year ago.

In fact SP is making a wonderful job with all our brave players and I believe our actual 8th side in the Premier is correct. I saw recently some City games on TV because of the new good planning from Italian Sky.

There was a negative difference in our performances sibce Kiki Musampa hasn’t been playing. He was understanding very well his rôle on our left midfield, giving to Cole and Vassell a lot of assists. I don’t know the reason he cannot play now.

Maybe is he so long injured or haven’t we decided yet with Athletico Madrid his position in the future? My best wishes to all of you and let’s hope to meet ourselves in the next spring another time at the COMS!

CTID, Renato Tubere <r.tubere(at)>


Having put all my videos onto DVD, I’m looking to clear some space in readiness for a new arrival.

I have 24 City videos and 4 DVDs to go and you can have them for a more than reasonable £25.

They are all the available season reviews from 1988-2004, the 1974 and 1976 League Cup Finals (former on DVD), Match of the Day, Match of the Seventies, Maine Road to Glory, 200 Great Goals, Lee Bell Summerbee, Greatest FA Cup Games, 1981 FA Cup Final and a few others.

The snag is you’ll have to collect them – in between Preston, Lancaster and Blackpool – or pay the courier fee (no idea), although I will probably get to the reserves at Morecambe in February.

Over 40 hours of City. Are you strong enough…

David Butler <ervadale(at)>


Some time ago somebody gave the settings to put into Sky to pick up Granada (Frequency etc.) out of region. I’ve lost these since transferring to Sky plus. Does anyone still have them?

Thanks, Dave Kilroy <dave.kilroy(at)>


4 January 2006

Manchester City       0 - 2  Tottenham Hotspur

3 January 2006

Arsenal               0 - 0  Manchester United     38,313

2 January 2006

West Bromwich Albion  1 - 2  Aston Villa           27,073
West Ham United       1 - 3  Chelsea               34,758
Birmingham City       2 - 0  Wigan Athletic        29,189
Blackburn Rovers      2 - 1  Portsmouth            19,521
Bolton Wanderers      2 - 2  Liverpool             27,604
Everton               3 - 1  Charlton Athletic     34,333
Fulham                2 - 1  Sunderland            19,372
Newcastle United      2 - 2  Middlesbrough         52,302

31 December 2005

Aston Villa           0 - 0  Arsenal               37,114
Charlton Athletic     2 - 0  West Ham United       25,952
Chelsea               2 - 0  Birmingham City       40,652
Tottenham Hotspur     2 - 0  Newcastle United      36,246
Liverpool             1 - 0  West Bromwich Albion  44,192
Manchester United     4 - 1  Bolton Wanderers      67,858
Middlesbrough         0 - 0  Manchester City       28,022
Portsmouth            1 - 0  Fulham                19,101
Sunderland            0 - 1  Everton               30,576
Wigan Athletic        0 - 3  Blackburn Rovers      20,639

League table to 04 January 2006 inclusive

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F   A   GD Pts
 1 Chelsea         21 11  0  0 28  6  8  1  1 18  4 19  1  1  46  10  36  58
 2 Manchester Utd  21  6  3  1 20  6  7  3  1 20 11 13  6  2  40  17  23  45
 3 Liverpool       19  8  1  1 16  4  4  4  1 12  7 12  5  2  28  11  17  41
 4 Tottenham H.    21  7  3  1 17  7  4  4  2 14 11 11  7  3  31  18  13  40
 5 Arsenal         20  8  1  1 20  4  2  3  5  7 11 10  4  6  27  15  12  34
 6 Wigan Athletic  21  6  1  4 16 14  5  0  5  9 12 11  1  9  25  26  -1  34
 7 Bolton Wndrs    19  5  3  1 11  4  4  2  4 14 16  9  5  5  25  20   5  32
 8 Blackburn R.    20  6  1  2 15 10  3  2  6 11 15  9  3  8  26  25   1  30
 9 Manchester City 21  5  2  4 13  9  3  2  5 14 15  8  4  9  27  24   3  28
10 West Ham United 21  4  1  5 15 15  3  4  4 12 15  7  5  9  27  30  -3  26
11 Newcastle Utd   20  4  4  1 10  8  3  1  7 10 15  7  5  8  20  23  -3  26
12 Aston Villa     21  3  3  4 11 12  3  4  4 14 18  6  7  8  25  30  -5  25
13 Charlton Ath.   19  3  1  6 11 16  5  0  4 13 14  8  1 10  24  30  -6  25
14 Fulham          21  6  2  2 17 12  0  3  8  8 18  6  5 10  25  30  -5  23
15 Everton         21  3  1  6  8 15  4  1  6  6 16  7  2 12  14  31 -17  23
16 Middlesbrough   20  3  5  3 15 17  2  2  5 10 13  5  7  8  25  30  -5  22
17 West Brom A.    21  5  1  5 17 14  0  3  7  3 17  5  4 12  20  31 -11  19
18 Portsmouth      21  2  4  4 6  11  2  1  8 10 22  4  5 12  16  33 -17  17
19 Birmingham City 20  2  2  6  9 14  2  2  6  6 15  4  4 12  15  29 -14  16
20 Sunderland      20  0  3  8  7 21  1  0  8  8 17  1  3 16  15  38 -23   6

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v0506.02]

[1] MCIVTA Addresses

Articles (Heidi Pickup)          :
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Subscriptions (Madeleine Hawkins):
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[2] What are MCIVTA’s publishing deadlines?

Deadlines for issues are nominally 6pm, Monday and Thursday evenings bu email. Unfortunately we cannot accept email attachments.

[3] MCIVTA Back Issues and Manchester City Supporters’ home page is the unofficial Manchester City Supporters’ home page. Created in 1994, it is the longest running of the Manchester City related web sites. Back issues of MCIVTA are also hosted on the site.

[4] What is the club’s official web site?

The official club web site can be found at

[5] What supporters’ clubs are there?

Manchester City FC recognises three supporters’ clubs: The “Official Supporters Club” (; the “Centenary Supporters’ Association” ( and “The International Supporters’ Club”.

[6] Where can I find out about the fans’ committee?

The Fans’ Committee operates as an interface between supporters and the club. The Fans’ Committee has been relaunched as “Points of Blue”. It has appeared on the club website as a minor entry under “Fans Zone”.

[7] What match day broadcasts are available on the web?

The GMR pre and post match phone-in is available on the web at

Live match commentaries and archives of games, reports and interviews can be found at

[8] Where can I find out if City are live on satellite TV? provides a listing of Premiership games being shown on UK domestic and foreign satellite channels. Useful sites for North American viewers are,, and

[9] Do we have a Usenet newsgroup?

Yes we do: is our home on usenet. If you are not familiar with usenet, a basic explanation is available here:,289893,sid9_gci213262,00.html

[10] Do any squad members have their own web pages?

There are a number available and direct links can be found at

[11] Can I buy shares in the club?

Yes you can: Shares in Manchester City PLC are traded on OFEX. The latest prices can be on found the OFEX web site (registration required) or in the business section of the Manchester Evening News.

[12] Where can I find match statistics?

Statistics for the current season are available from the club site, but for a more in-depth analysis try

[13] Where can I find a list of City-related websites?

Try Wookie’s Lair:

The views expressed in MCIVTA are entirely those of the subscribersand there is no intention to represent these opinions as being thoseof Manchester City Football Club, nor of any of the companies anduniversities by whom the subscribers are employed. It is not inany way whatsoever connected to the club or any other relatedorganisation and is simply a group of supporters using this mediumas a means of disseminating news and exchanging opinions.

[Valid3.2]Heidi Pickup,

Newsletter #1187