Newsletter #1198

The viewers got their money’s worth on Sunday as City triumphed in a 5 goal thriller at CoMS. The win pushes us back up a couple of places, and once again home form is on track. We have a match report tonight thanks to Colin and a view from Dave.

Plenty of opinion on City old and new, why people are turning away and the usual requests. The number eight debate also continues.

Next game: Aston Villa, away, 6.30pm Sunday 19 February 2006 (FA Cup)


It was perhaps appropriate that two of the most schizophrenic teams in the Premiership served up a game of two halves on Sunday. The first was, barring City’s first goal, the most tedious forty-five minutes imaginable. So much so that the bloke sat next to me actually fell asleep and I confess that I was also sorely tempted. The second half, however, sparkled from the first kick and produced four superb goals. With seven of our nine Premiership meetings producing three or more goals, it’s not surprising that this fixture is clearly one of Sky’s favourites. Clearly a trip up north is not one of the Charlton fans’ favourites as there was only a sparse smattering of them in two blocks in the lower tier. Someone said they had only brought one coach.

There were three changes from the line-up that performed so dismally at Everton. Sommeil at left back was no surprise in the absence of all our other possibilities but a training ground injury to Sun meant that Micah Richards got his first Premiership start at right back. Up front, Cole was back at the expense of Samaras. City looked to impose themselves on the game from the kick-off but without a great deal of success and the game settled into a turgid pattern, with neither side able to string a decent move together. City were the busier but without much end result. This was summed up by their earliest corners; the first was obviously a rehearsed one with the players breaking to the far side of the Charlton area but the ball didn’t clear the near post defender. The next found the players heading for the near post but the ball sailed far over their heads to the far touchline. The only excitement in the first quarter was the battle between the South Stand fans and the stewards who were trying to get them to sit. Some fans were escorted out by police and on the basis of the football on show up to that point an afternoon in the cells must have had more going for it.

However, almost exactly on the halfway mark in the first half, the game came briefly to life. A corner on the right was cleared back to Barton, who swung a second attempt in. This was also cleared but only to Dunne on the left hand edge of the Charlton box. He hit it first time and it bounced awkwardly, beating Myhre at the near post. At this point I regretted not following the example of my Evertonian relation last week and putting a 40-1 bet on a defender scoring first. The excitement over, my next door neighbour could settle down for forty winks again.

There was a hint of a change at the interval as Samaras was called away from his half-time knockabout on the pitch and this proved to be the case. The change was puzzling though as Sinclair was withdrawn (due to injury it now appears). We were effectively playing 4-3-3 with Vassell on the right and this seemed to unbalance us. I didn’t understand why Croft wasn’t the one brought on. Charlton had obviously been fed some raw meat in the interval and started with a vengeance. The new City formation struggled to cope and there were a couple of warnings before they got the equaliser. A defence splitting ball from the centre back El-Karkouri just eluded Dunne and one of the Bents (Darren) got the touch to make it 1-1. This lit the blue touch-paper and sparked City into life; a few minutes later Barton fed the Greek who scored with a superb header despite the attentions of three defenders. It was a ding-dong, end-to-end game now, in contrast to the turgid first half, with chances a-plenty. A Musampa free-kick was well saved, a Samaras header went over and a couple of shots were blocked by the Charlton defence. Then Musampa played a short pass to Barton about forty yards out. Joey advanced a few paces and, with no challenge from the Charlton players unleashed a thirty-five yard piledriver just inside the post. Even those who had booed him last week were off their seats screaming with delight. Marcus Bent, having seen Danny Mills do the same in the Everton game, must have had as sense of déjà vu.

Our only thoughts now were whether we could get a double figure aggregate against the Addicks for the season and when Samaras beat the offside trap, having the goal at his mercy and Cole unmarked in the middle, number four seemed a formality. However, it was not to be, with a horrendously sliced shot the result – the look of horror on Samaras’ face said it all. Then there was a strange moment. The ball went out for a throw in and, although Dunne was contesting the ball it had clearly come off a Charlton player and the linesman signalled accordingly. The referee had other ideas though and gave the throw to Charlton. While City were still wondering what had happened, they played the ball across the pitch and, in almost a carbon-copy of the Samaras goal, Marcus Bent made it 3-2 with a quarter of the match to go. Sibierski replaced Vassell to shore up the right side of midfield. I’m not his biggest fan but he did well, putting in a good header on goal and defending stoutly at the other end. Charlton brought on three subs in one go, all of them attacking players. It was frantic stuff now and many of the City players seemed to get carried away with the excitement and lost their heads, giving the ball away far too cheaply. In an incident very similar to Dunne’s goal, James brought off a superb save and a few minutes later the whistle went on a nail-biting but exhilarating victory. There was certainly no opportunity for a bit of shut-eye in the second half.

James 6. Late save was crucial but his distribution and decision making was not the best.
Richards 7. Superb début for the youngster. Inexperience sometimes showed but barely put a foot wrong.
Dunne 7. Great goal but could be a bit wayward at times.
Distin 7. Did pretty well against two physical forwards.
Sommeil 6. He’s done well this season but a bit at sea sometimes in this game.
Sinclair 6. Typical combative performance until his injury but not as penetrative as usual.
Musampa 7. Looks more comfortable in the central rôle. Will be superb if he ups his work-rate a bit.
Barton 8. Corners and set pieces were too often wasted but involved in everything. Great assist and stunning strike.
Riera 7. Has adapted to pace well and can put in a mean cross and corner. As much of a handful on the left as Tricky Trev on the right.
Cole 6. A quiet game but Samaras should have laid a goal on for him.
Vassell 6. Worked hard without ever really imposing himself as he can.
Samaras 8. Very good half for him. Great touches and superbly taken goal. He is going to be a legend.
Sibierski 7. A very good performance from him. About time too.
Ireland 6. Did well enough and showed more idea than some of the experienced players when a calm head was needed.

Colin Savage <colin(at)>


Another 3 points – so almost safe. On balance a deserved win, but being City fans we had to endure the tension right up to a last minute super-save from David James. In the first half City were well on top without creating much in the way of chances. Micah Richards had an impressive début, keeping Charlton on the back foot with surging runs down the right wing – he was more confined in the second half – perhaps SP had threatened him with death or worse if he stepped outside his own half in the second period! So, 1-0 up at half time with a Dunne volley from just outside the area.

Very early in the second half Charlton equalised from a well worked but marginally offside movement – too close to blame the referee’s assistant but simply illustrates the folly of an “unenforceable” offside law. Three minutes and Samaras provided the proverbial “salmon leap” to put City back in front with the best headed goal I’ve seen from City this season. Barton, who had provided the crosses for City’s first two goals, then decided to score himself with a wicked shot, just inside the post, from about the same spot that Mills had scored from against Everton. But a combination of a lack of concentration from City and the referee wrongly overruling the linesman gave Charlton an opportunity to reduce the gap, which they did. So we had 20 minutes or so of anxious to-ing and fro-ing.

The good points from the game were Samaras providing an alternative type of stiker to our current ones and Richards showing that the rave reviews we’ve heard about him in the reserves look transferable to the Premier League. On the downside, let’s hope that Sinclair’s cracked cheekbone doesn’t keep him out for too long now he’s finding form.

David Lewis <dfl(at)>


Sunderland were omitted from The “Semi-Final appearances” article/list, and have appeared in 2 League Cup and 2 FA Cup semis since City in 1981. Thanks to Colin Cross for pointing this out.

Other recent match stats:

FA Premiership
Bolton Wanderers 2 Manchester City 0
Reebok Stadium
Jan 21st 2006, Kick-off 15:00
Attendance: 26,466

Team Changes: None, as Richard Dunne passes late fitness test.
Line-up: James, Sun, Dunne, Distin, Jordan, Sinclair, Barton, Ireland, Riera (Sibierski, 68), Cole (Fowler, 68), Vassell (Croft, 76).
Unused subs: Onuoha, Musampa.
Goal times: (37) 0-1 Borgetti; (41) 0-2 Nolan.
Bookings: Sun (86), Sinclair (90+3).
Sent off: None.
Referee: R. Styles.

Stat points: 950th time City have failed to score in all League matches. City lose the game following a derby win for the third time. Third consecutive defeat against Bolton, and without scoring a goal.

FA Cup 4th Round
Manchester City 1 Wigan Athletic 0
City of Manchester Stadium
Jan 28th 2006, Kick-off 15:00
Attendance: 30,811

Team Changes: 3rd game with an unchanged starting line-up. Weaver replaces De Vlieger on the bench.
Line-up: James, Sun, Dunne, Distin, Jordan, Sinclair, Barton, Ireland (Sibierski, 82), Riera (Musampa, 69), Cole, Vassell (B.Wright-Phillips, 59).
Unused subs: Weaver, Richards.
Goal times: (83) 1-0 Cole.
Bookings: None.
Sent off: None.
Referee: H. Webb.

Stat points: Richard Dunne becomes the latest Bicentennial Man, with his 200th appearance for City. 1-0 is now the most common scoreline in home FA Cup matches with 14 instances, nudging 2-0 into second place (13 times). City have won all six home encounters against Wigan without conceding a goal, winning five matches 1-0, and the other 2-0. Robbie Fowler returned to Liverpool yesterday on a free transfer, and 20 year old Greek striker Georgios Samaras looks set to replace him for £6 million from Heerenveen.

FA Preniership
Manchester City 3 Newcastle United 0
City of Manchester Stadium
Feb 1st 2006, Kick-off 19:45
Attendance: 42,413

Team Changes: Musampa replaces Ireland in the starting line-up. Samaras makes début from the bench.
Line-up: James, Sun, Dunne, Distin, Jordan, Sinclair, Barton (Richards, 78), Musampa, Riera, Cole (Samaras, 65), Vassell (Sibierski, 70).
Unused subs: B. Wright-Phillips, Ireland.
Goal times: (14) 1-0 Riera; (38) 2-0 Cole; (62) 3-0 Vassell
. Bookings: Barton (40).
Sent off: None.
Referee: C. Foy.

Stat points: Georgios Samaras becomes the 1052nd débutant after joining from Heerenveen for an initial £5.1 million, and City’s first Greek player. This win is City’s 100th Premier League win out of 340 matches.

FA Premiership
Everton 1 Manchester CIty 0
Goodison Park
Feb 4th 2006, Kick-off 15:00
Attendance: 37,827

Team Changes: Samaras starts for the first time, with Cole dropping to the bench.
Line-up: James, Sun, Dunne, Distin, Jordan, Sinclair, Barton, Musampa, Riera (Cole, 60), Samaras (Sibierski, 77), Vassell (B. Wright-Phillips, 77).
Unused subs: Weaver, Richards.
Goal times: (8) 0-1 Weir.
Bookings: Jordan (55), Barton (68), Jordan (90), Dunne (92).
Sent off: Jordan.
Referee: A. Marriner.

FA Premiership
Manchester City 3 Charlton Athletic 0
City of Manchester Stadium
Feb 12th 2006, Kick-off 16:00
Attendance: 41,347

Team Changes: Jordan and Sun out. Richards makes his first start in the Premiership at right back, with Sommeil in at left back.
Line-up: James, Richards, Dunne, Distin, Sommeil, Sinclair (Samaras, 46), Barton, Musampa, Riera, Cole (Ireland, 81), Vassell (Sibierski, 68).
Unused subs: Weaver, Croft.
Goal times: (22) 1-0 Dunne; (51) 1-1 D. Bent; (54) 2-1 Samaras; (62) 3-1 Barton; (66) 3-2 M. Bent.
Bookings: None.
Sent off: None.
Referee: M. Dean.

Stats point: Sommeil’s 50th appearance for City.

Steve Kay <steve(at)>


I’m going to see a gig by The Strokes at Blackpool Empress Ballroom this week. It’s £23 a ticket. When you compare the running costs, lengths of career at the top of footballers and musicians, football does look a very poor offering. Shorter shelf-life. A month of concerts played to around 3,000 people per night. We pay large amounts for expanded Premiership squads most of whom earn £1 million+ per year. The Strokes also have to pay their road crew and touring costs. They are performers just like footballers, and they can’t hide, and if they’re not giving their all, they get found out and someone else takes their place. This all justifies the £23 ticket price, and it makes football look increasingly poor value.

We just need the prices to come down. The idea that footballers should earn more, quite rightly championed by Jimmy Hill all those years ago, was based on the unfairness of directors taking far too large a share of receipts. However, what directors ‘earned’ out of football clubs back then would probably be, pound for pound, nothing compared to what players earn now. Nowadays, players are well and truly the tail wagging the dog and we’re gleefully subsidising it. A salary cap would help to bring ticket prices down so that we could watch our teams at a decent price, players would still do well, but if we put limits on, there’s still one bottom line: young people would still want to become footballers regardless, and talent would still come through.

I think that arguments about poorer atmosphere are a red herring. Football grounds in this country always rock when the game is amazing or highly controversial. They otherwise go quiet for large parts of games. We’re not in Brazil or Greece where there’s drumming and chanting and singing for the whole 90 minutes, win or lose. People forget that Maine Road also used to fall deathly silent quite often.

In 1994, they demolished the biggest terrace in the country and a fellow Blue (you know who you are, Bill) said MCFC as a club should have stood its ground and bolted seats into the terrace until some common sense prevailed. I’m certainly as much to blame as anyone else for apathy, but if I regret not putting up a fight at leaving Maine Road, now in 2006, I think of environmentalists, hunt protestors and animal rights people, and their way of doing things. Maybe I should have got Swampy in and me and him could have chained ourselves to the crush barriers? While terracing is not what I want to focus heavily on, I think that even though Hillsborough has made standing a taboo for nearly 20 years, if crowds dwindle, the powers that be will have to take notice. Never say never.

Maine Road had a great atmosphere, sure, and places to go all around it. Beers in great pubs and curries after the game, but yesterday, I arrived in town, I had a £4 curry in the Northern Quarter, and then a drink in Kro’s new bar in Piccadilly, another drink in the less polished surroundings of Mother Mac’s, and then a quiet walk down the canal where I fed the geese (feed the geese and we will score) and thoroughly enjoyed the game and its aftermath too. For the most part, I like Eastlands, and I say this as a South Mcr resident whose journey time to Eastlands has more than doubled.

I almost envy kids who are starting out as fans today and don’t need to compare and contrast with Maine Road like most of us. One season, or three seasons, or even five seasons aren’t enough to ‘judge’ Eastlands. This isn’t a new leather jacket that breaks in a few weeks after buying it; it’s a stadium and it’ll take over a decade before this place really starts to feel like home. We should bide our time see how we feel in 2013.

Marc Starr <marc.starr(at)>


Pre-1994. City score. The Kippax goes wild. That surge. End up 30ft from where I was standing. Calm down. Return back to where my mates and I were stood. Watch game. Safe.

1997. City score. Blokes behind me in Row N of the Kippax goes a bit mad, accidentally pushes into back of girlfriend. She starts tumbling over seat in front. I grab her. Both fall over seats in front, taking people in front down with us. My shins scraped raw. Hurt a lot. Her arm badly bruised. She never comes again.

Go figure!

Mike Sokol <msokol(at)>


Carol seemed to agree with my argument in MCIVTA 1197. It’s the agents.

It seems a shame to tar them all with the same brush, but for every good one there seems to be ten mercenaries. Percentage of all dealings means transfers are big money. Problem is their clients are too easily led.

I hate the agents for what they do, but I don’t blame them for doing it in so much as they are realising the potential that exists in the market place.

As long as there are players who “think” they are better than they are and there are clubs willing to buy them, then it will continue. Take your pick SWP (contentious, but not playing), Parker, Johnson, and a few players whose names I can’t spell, but you know who I mean and Jeffers (only joking), and loads of others who have made moves that don’t suit them. Would they have been better off where they were? It will probably be written in their soon to come autobiographies that the agents have managed to sign them up for. Can’t wait for the five episodes of Wayne Rooney’s life. The ironic thing is some sad b&^*%rds will buy it.

Anyway, the point is as long as there is a marketplace somebody will exploit it. The answer is to cut off the marketplace. Jimmy Hill come back and right your wrong.

Given the recent ruling on Sky coverage. It may be a done deal. The big money is likely to fall out of football.

Who knows, the fans may become more important than the agents?

Dave Kilroy <dave.kilroy(at)>


In response to Malcolm Clelland. Malcolm, you suggest that the requirement to boo and jeer Barton during the last home game, was unjust. Barton knew he would get booed, but this is of no matter. The guy is as thick skinned as he is deluded. To boo him for his actions are absolutely right. Booing players for having a bad game (Edghill anyone?) is wrong.

What won’t happen through booing of course, is instilling that lost sentimentality/loyalty in football. Booing Barton was justified, But of no consequence. People in football have delusions of grandeur, and unfortunately Barton has surpassed that. If I was a footballer and I did something outrageous and I subsequently got booed, would I care? Would I f***. It’s a job – nothing more and therefore pulling on the Blue shirt would hold no more significance than pulling it off again. Mrs.

Joel Perry <j.perry(at)>


Is it just me or does anyone else find the idea that Joey Barton “owes the club so much” plain absurd? We weren’t doing Barton a favour when we decided not to sack him, we were looking after our own best interests. And when his brother got in trouble, we were there (assuming we were) only because we need our key midfielder to have his head straight. Now don’t get me wrong. It’s hard to stick up for the lad when he has just slapped us with a transfer request and we can react to that however we like. But don’t say that we were doing him a favour because we liked him. We were doing him a favour because we wanted him in the team. After the cigar incident, he would’ve been shipped out sharpish if he was total bobbins.

Bernard Molyneux <bernardmolyneux(at)>


Minutes from Points of Blue meeting on 9 February.

13 present – with others stuck in traffic.


  • Benches on Joe Mercer Way
  • Toilet availability outside the ground (has anyone actually tried to use the loos at the City Social?)
  • Branding: subject to planning consent, word was that there should be two blue neon signs in place for next season.


Re the decision to remove customers from two rows in the South Stand for the Charlton game because of persistent standing: was this a serious analysis of the source of problems, or just picking on two rows “to discourage the others”?
Report of a pregnant woman getting abuse because she wouldn’t stand when people sang “Stand up if you love City”.


General approval for pegging seasoncard prices, and for differential pricing for children / under 21s.

Decision to do away with a period when seasoncard holders had priority to book their own seats for cup matches (unless signed up for Cup Tickets Direct scheme). What’s the reasoning – or is it a “cynical ploy”? [Info says “some cup matches” – PoB has previously suggested curtailing the initial period for seasoncard holders to claim their seats, so as to leave more time for open sale.]

Waiting list for seasoncard holders moving seats: is there a general trend to / from particular areas, or is it to join up with friends? [Could the waiting list be bypassed if people arranged their own swap?]

Query re finance deal – it was suggested that other clubs did interest-free loans, but that sounded unlikely. [City’s deal with Zebra Finance – not too well publicised on the website – is at 19.9% APR, giving repayments of £499.40 for a £460 seasoncard (10 monthly at £49.94). Perhaps we could start a PoB credit union).

The £10 charge for renewing by credit / debit card was again queried [club explain it’s to cover the charges made by the banks – which all retailers pay, but usually absorb for competitive reasons]. The charge for internet bookings was also queried, given the presumed saving on human intervention in processing.

Thomas Cook: adverse comment on needing to book a holiday to get seasoncard discount, rather than seasoncard entitling holder to a holiday discount. Could not both / either be offered? How much of a “special relationship” is there between sponsors/fans?

Credit card canvassers: some complaints about them not taking no for an answer.

Catering: some report improvement, but other problems persist (staff who don’t seem to know the currency, who can’t tell the black coffee pack from the white, or who serve food from the “drinks only” queue). Does the contract have performance indicators?

Smoke: pending legislation to ban smoking in public places, are all extractor systems working as they should? [Could PPV – positive pressure ventilation – help?)

A small delegation will meet club officials next Wednesday to raise these issues.

Steve Parish <bloovee(at)>


Is there anyone out there able/willing to copy my collection of City videos across to DVD? I can arrange delivery/collection (ideally in the Bristol area).

Has anyone else done this? Any comments on ease/quality etc. would be helpful.

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


Wondered if you know of anywhere I can obtain a dvd/video of City against Gillingham in the playoff final? I had it on video but its got lost somewhere down the line, be great if you could help me with this problem.

Derek Spence <Dasuk1969(at)>


You may remember we contacted you a while ago about a football blog community we are setting up, asking if you or any of your readers would be interested in writing for us?

Well, I thought I’d let you know that we launched the website on Friday with 6 football fan weblogs initially. The site is at

I’d be grateful if you could let your readers know we have launched and that we are still looking for fans to write about other teams and football topics.

We don’t have a Man City blog yet so would be keen to hear from any Man City fans who would like to write it.

David M <davidm(at)>


12 February 2006

Sunderland            1 - 1  Tottenham Hotspur     34,700
Manchester City       3 - 2  Charlton Athletic     41,347

11 February 2006

Wigan Athletic        0 - 1  Liverpool             25,023
Arsenal               1 - 1  Bolton Wanderers      38,193
Aston Villa           1 - 2  Newcastle United      37,140
Everton               1 - 0  Blackburn Rovers      35,615
Fulham                6 - 1  West Bromwich Albion  21,508
Middlesbrough         3 - 0  Chelsea               31,037
Portsmouth            1 - 3  Manchester United     20,206

League table to 12 February 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         26 12  1  0 31  7  9  2  2 21  9 21  3  2  52  16  36  66
 2 Manchester Utd  26  8  3  1 25  8  8  3  3 27 19 16  6  4  52  27  25  54
 3 Liverpool       25  9  2  1 18  5  5  4  4 13 12 14  6  5  31  17  14  48
 4 Tottenham H.    26  8  4  1 20  8  4  5  4 15 14 12  9  5  35  22  13  45
 5 Arsenal         25  9  2  2 30  8  3  3  6  9 12 12  5  8  39  20  19  41
 6 Bolton Wndrs    24  6  4  1 14  5  4  5  4 16 18 10  9  5  30  23   7  39
 7 Wigan Athletic  26  6  2  6 17 17  6  1  5 13 15 12  3 11  30  32  -2  39
 8 West Ham United 25  6  1  5 19 16  5  4  4 17 18 11  5  9  36  34   2  38
 9 Manchester City 26  8  2  4 22 12  3  2  7 14 18 11  4 11  36  30   6  37
10 Blackburn R.    25  7  2  2 19 13  4  2  8 12 18 11  4 10  31  31   0  37
11 Everton         26  6  1  6 11 15  5  2  6  8 17 11  3 12  19  32 -13  36
12 Charlton Ath.   25  5  2  6 15 16  5  1  6 17 21 10  3 12  32  37  -5  33
13 Fulham          26  9  2  2 25 13  0  3 10 11 24  9  5 12  36  37  -1  32
14 Newcastle Utd   25  5  4  2 12  9  4  1  9 12 20  9  5 11  24  29  -5  32
15 Aston Villa     26  3  4  6 14 17  4  5  4 18 18  7  9 10  32  35  -3  30
16 Middlesbrough   25  4  5  5 20 24  3  2  6 13 20  7  7 11  33  44 -11  28
17 West Brom A.    26  6  1  6 19 15  1  4  8  5 23  7  5 14  24  38 -14  26
18 Birmingham City 24  3  2  7 14 16  2  3  7  7 18  5  5 14  21  34 -13  20
19 Portsmouth      26  2  5  6  8 16  2  1 10 10 29  4  6 16  18  45 -27  18
20 Sunderland      25  0  4 10  9 27  2  0  9  9 19  2  4 19  18  46 -28  10

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1198