Newsletter #1202

Another poor performance on the road for City, with Number 8 proving himself yet again. When are we going to learn, when are we going to get some consistency? Colin brings us another great match report tonight, with match stats and views from Steve and John.

The standing and ticket renewal debates continue, as does contract news on our manager.

Finally, Dave is suggesting a visit to watch a player who always gave 100% in his final game at the end of this season – sounds like a fine idea to me.

Next game: Sunderland, home, 1.30pm Sunday 5 March 2006


The fixture against Liverpool is always an interesting one in the Savage household, as the delightful Mrs S is a Liverpool supporter. In truth she knows little about football (so she should really be an Everton fan) but the last words of cheery, scouse greeting as we left the house were “Come on you Reds!” Amazingly it was my first ever visit to Anfield. Don’t ask me why – I’ve been to Goodison on numerous occasions but never to Anfield. Wasn’t overly impressed – there are few grounds to beat CoMS in my opinion.

There were a couple of surprises in the City line-up: Mills was back for Richards (who was apparently carrying a slight injury) and Sibierski started up front partnering Samaras, instead of Vassell. Sinclair was back, wearing a very fetching blue face mask. The general consensus among the travelling fans was that, in the absence of Carragher, we would have been better off starting with BWP, who could at least inject some pace. If we were relying on Sibs to win an aerial battle with Hyypia then it was likely to be an unproductive afternoon.

I would normally say something like “City started…” at this point but they didn’t. They looked like startled rabbits caught in the glare of car headlights as Liverpool played with urgency right from the kick-off. Normally, if we can survive the first twenty minutes then the storm abates but this looked a forlorn hope as the minutes ticked by agonisingly slowly. Kewell had the first opportunity when Danny Mills had drifted inside but his attempt was way off. Hyypia headed wide, a few shots/crosses flashed across the area and there were some desperate clearances but James wasn’t really troubled. City just couldn’t manage anything of note and their frustration was clear when Barton clattered into Agger very late after a rare foray forward was smothered. Dermot Gallagher produced a yellow card and the thought crossed my mind that, with an hour to go, Barton might not see out the whole game. This was his tenth of the season anyway and meant a two match ban. There were signs that Liverpool were running out of steam at this point and although they retained possession, they showed no penetration and started making mistakes. The home fans were also very subdued and City certainly dominated proceedings off the pitch.

Just when it looked as though we might somehow get to half-time all square, Gerrard played a superb ball to Kewell, with Mills yet again too far away. He had all the time he needed and this time clinically picked his spot. It was inexcusable defending from an experienced international, who simply wasn’t concentrating. Liverpool then had their most dangerous spell and it looked as though we would go further behind but somehow they let us off the hook.

From the middle of the first half the City fans had lost patience with the inept Sibierski and were calling for the introduction of BWP. Just before half-time Sibs went down injured and though he struggled on for the last few minutes, it seemed as though his game was over. Sure enough, Bradley didn’t appear during the half-time subs warm-up and to the delight of the City fans came on at the start of the second half. They looked better from the start but within a few minutes Barton went for a ball with Hyypia. It looked fifty-fifty from the stands but Dermot Gallagher immediately produced a yellow card and Barton was off. I haven’t seen it on TV at the time of writing but those who did tell me it was worse than it looked to us at the time. Gallagher is not a card-happy ref like some others so he must have seen something pretty bad but he and Hyypia were not flavour of the month among the City fans for the rest of the match.

Bizarrely, City then started to play for the first time and found huge gaps in the home defence. BWP broke free first but took too long over his shot. Sinclair released a screamer that Reina did well to tip over. The ‘keeper also had to race out of his area a few times to clear through balls that had split the defence. Musampa released Samaras with a slide rule pass but, one-on-one with the wrong-footed Reina, he tried a delicate chip when tucking it into the near corner would have been an easier and deadlier option. The City fans responded and raised the noise levels, keeping a rendition of “When the blues go marching in” going for at least ten minutes at full volume. You would have thought we were winning if you’d heard the crowd but hadn’t seen the score. How many times can the Kop have heard a chorus of “Worst support we’ve ever seen” aimed at them?

Liverpool were on the back foot now and making some terrible mistakes as they desperately tried to slow the game down. Benitez was roundly booed when he took off Crouch, who’d given Dunne and Distin a real battle, instead of the laughably poor Morientes. Hyypia was lucky not to have joined Barton, after he clearly led with his elbow when jumping with Samaras. The Greek responded with a couple of unsubtle fouls on Hyypia and was predictably booked, as well as disrupting City’s momentum. The ten men ran out of steam and Liverpool held on for the three points. Yet again we’d had chances but not taken them and there was a feeling that an equaliser could easily have been followed by a winner. On the way back to the car a Liverpool supporter saw our colours, shrugged apologetically and said “A win’s a win” but if we’d played with eleven like we played with ten then he wouldn’t have been able to say that.

On the way home we were staggered by the number of Liverpool cars and coaches on the motorway, some from the Midlands and East Anglia. It seems our Salford friends are not the only club mostly followed by out-of-town glory hunters. Arrived home to a grinning Mrs S telling us the best team had won. She was probably right (she always is of course) and hopefully this will console her during her hospital stay.

James 7. Did well although rarely tested directly.
Mills 5. Back to his worst. Seemed to think he was playing at centre back.
Dunne 7. Solid performance with no howlers.
Distin 7. Determined and resolute.
Jordan 6. Much better but still some nervous moments.
Sinclair 5. Well contained and rarely a threat apart from a great strike.
Barton 4. Didn’t play well anyway and stupidly sent off. Gerrard he isn’t.
Musampa 6. Did well after sending off but struggled before that.
Riera 5. Anonymous for much of the game.
Sibierski 4. Poor decision to play him by SP was matched by a poor game.
Samaras 5. Should have scored (again) and too many silly fouls but it’s coming. Believe me.
Wright-Phillips 7. His pace and energy unsettled Liverpool. It’s time he started.
Croft 6. Did OK but nothing spectacular.
Ireland 6. Some nice touches in the short time he had.

Colin Savage <colin(at)>


What a let down. An opportunity to show the country that we can go away from home and turn in a decent performance against a Liverpool side that looked disinterested and beatable.

City found it difficult to pass to a blue shirt, preferring to give the ball back straight after winning it or even when Liverpool gave it away.

I think that there is one rôle for Sibierski and one rôle only. Standalone centre forward to knock down crosses for others to benefit. I am tired of hearing how dangerous he is in the air. When was the last time he actually scored from a header? In midfield he is a waste of a shirt, and as an out and out striker, ditto.

I’ve been singing the praises of Musampa in recent months and I stand by my words. He seemed to be the only midfielder today capable of scrapping for the ball and delivering a decent pass although even one or two of his passes went astray today.

Trevor clearly looked affected by the ‘Phantom of the Opera’ mask, so much that I honestly believe that his vision was affected, so poor was his control today.

Danny Mills returned to suicidal form in his first game back, gifting Liverpool their winning goal by being drawn out of position. It wasn’t the first or last time during the game, although he improved slightly towards the end of the game.

Joey Barton showed once again that he has yet to prove his worth. Since his transfer request, he has played pretty damn well but those games were against lowly opposition. Put him against a strong midfield and he goes AWOL, or does something stupid and gets himself sent off. I wish that the City fans at Anfield had seen his tackle on Hyypia close up. Then they may not have booed the Liverpool player each time he got the ball. Barton was sent off for a second yellow but could clearly have had a straight red for the tackle, which was reckless at best. As against Tottenham, Liverpool’s midfield just passed the ball around Joey Barton, and as for Steven Gerrard, he looked half asleep yet still controlled the middle of the park. Barton, buy some Gerrard videos. That’s how it’s done.

It’s not often I would criticise SP’s decisions, but I would have brought on Stephen Ireland when the ineffective Sibierski went off. I feel that given enough time, and support around him, he could have carved out more chances for us. Bradley looked fairly bright when he came on but I would have preferred a midfielder at that stage. Oh for his brother to be on the field; he was sat in the main stand with his dad.

So City, it seems that you can stand up to the lesser teams but when it comes to the bigger games, you all expect everyone else to do the ‘carrying’. Not much to learn here for the players. they all know what is expected of them. But for SP, lots to learn about the squad that he has.

John Nisbet <nisbet1957(at)>


FA Premiership
Liverpool 1 Manchester City 0
Sunday February 26th 2006, kick-off 12:15
Attendance: 44,121

Team Changes: Mills and Sinclair replace Richards and Vassell in the startingline-up.

Line-up: James, Mills, Dunne, Distin, Jordan, Sinclair (Ireland, 68), Barton, Musampa, Riera (Croft, 78), Samaras, Sibierski (B. Wright-Phillips, 46).
Unused subs: Weaver, Sommeil.

Goal times: (40) 0-1 Kewell.

Bookings: Barton (30 and 52), Samaras (92).
Sent off: Barton (52).
Referee: D. Gallagher.

Stats points: Incredible but true, this was Sibierski’s 100th appearance for City! The defeat was City’s 1,000th away League loss.

The club must be very worried by the comments and feelings of some “hardcore” City fans like Don Price and Tony Hulme. I broke my obsessive six year, 327 match run of games in 2004 because I felt I was being taken for granted by football (not City). I don’t blame the club for this growing move away from live football, it is the likes of the politically correct do-gooders that closed two rows of seats in the South Stand who will be held accountable when the post mortem is held to establish how football died.

The way I see it, the “authorities” are attempting to sanitise football and turn it into a family and corporate “entertainment”, with spectators being made to conform to what is deemed acceptable society behaviour, for example no swearing and no standing. What they forget is that to anybody old enough to remember standing on the Kippax, or their club’s equivalent, a football match always was a tribal gathering, where the only reason for delay getting into a ground was the sheer size of the crowd, not being treated like a suspected suicide bomber, where you could have a pint together with your friends, where you could stand together on the terracing, where you could shout for your own team with passion and without fear of arrest, where you could wind up the opponents and their fans with chants that made everyone laugh rather than causing offence, when travelling to away games was a great day out… when ticket prices weren’t a factor in deciding if you went to the match, when just being there was more important than winning or staying in the division. All this added up to create an electric atmosphere, which was the best form of live entertainment.

Now, as many contributors have said, it’s now deemed “cool” to watch the match in the pub, but let’s face it, nothing beats being at the match. As I said in a previous missive that predicted football going full circle in the next few years, football will deeply regret treating fans this way. Apart from the successful clubs, who are followed by bandwagon jumping sheep, no football club can now assume that its “core” support will turn up at the next game. City have maintained last year’s season ticket prices for adults, but because fewer fans are travelling to away games and attending Cup matches, there is less incentive to remain a season ticket holder. With the number of live games on TV, fans could pick and choose 13 games out of the 19 League games and be no worse off financially, which means the club have to work harder to get us to spend our hard-earned cash. After freezing my nuts off at the two churches called Villa Park and Anfield, I won’t be going to any more away League games this season, with the possible exception of Blackburn.

Steve Kay <steve(at)>


It has now been widely publicised that SP is/has been working as manager without a formal, written contract.

Another wise move by the Club at boardroom level? We shall see, especially during the next several months: leading up to and in the aftermath of England’s World Cup summer.

“Typical City?” Whatever, but this will likely have an interesting outcome.

(Of which, the England national team’s over-paid, foreign-born manager, should have been summarily dismissed due to his apparent involvement in the “News of The World” fiasco and his related comments at that time. The sooner the Swede exits the scene, all the better, as far as I’m concerned. He is simply a money-hungry, greedy little man).

Graham Keller <ride4311(at)>


I wish Stuart would come clean over the England manager’s job; I am getting tired of him giving conflicting statements on the subject. If he gets offered the job and he goes, well I say good luck to him but I wish he would either put up or shut up as all his statements are not good for club morale.

There is no point him griping about players who are stalling on contracts, when he announces to the world that he hasn’t got one and that any time he left he could go without City getting any money. At the moment all Stuart’s energy should be on doing well for City as we are so inconsistent it is unbelievable. I think in the future that SP has the potential to be a really good manager but at the moment he is still learning his trade, and making far too many mistakes to be considered for the England job.

After nearly 12 months in the job I was hoping we would be doing a lot better in the league than we are, so the sooner it is sorted one way or the other the better; remember Joey Barton got slaughtered by the fans for refusing to sign a new contract, Stuart should lead by example and sign one himself and say no more on the subject of the England job unless at some stage he is actually offered it.

Don Price <cathdon.price(at)>


Barton – Off Off Off

Joey, the absolute reason why – if you want out – we should get rid.

To ask for more money when you let your club down like you did on Sunday is about where you are at.

You are a disgrace. And an overpaid one at that.

Get gone mate, because if you think you’re too big for City – then go and try and get in a Liverpool/Arsenal team with muppetry like that. You won’t win anything. People will laugh at you, just as I did.

Any City fans who say it was a harsh sending off are probably the same one’s who think there’s still a place in the team for the Kinkladzes and Goaters of this world. He well deserved getting the red, and to hear his mutterings when he was off down the tunnel, just compounded the guy’s delusion. “Just two tackles?” What? Just as it was “Just two grand…”

Cheerio Joey, remember Dickson?

Bored of the Bartons, Joel Perry <j.perry(at)>


Can I suggest everybody takes a look at the extremely vicious gallery of our very own Joey ‘Give me the money’ Barton at,,1715562,00.html

I just loved the Clash cover!

Peter Carlisle <Carlisle(at)>


Following my comments last week in MCIVTA, a couple of people have kindly contacted me to confirm that I was given incorrect information about loyalty points by the ticket office. I was previously informed that if you don’t renew your seasoncard and get a city card, you lose all your loyalty points. It turns out that this is not correct, you actually lose all the points you hold from buying and renewing your seasoncard, but you keep any points you have built up from away and cup games. I still don’t think I’ll have any difficulty getting tickets for home games next season, with or without loyalty points.

Andy Chard <ajchard(at)>


This is the reply I have received today regarding my decision not to renew.

Dear Mr Redgrave

Thank you for your recent letter regarding Seasoncard renewal.

We were sorry to hear of your decision not to renew your Seasoncard for the forthcoming season. We would obviously rather not lose any supporters, especially ones as long-standing as yourself. Your letter outlines a number of reasons why you are not renewing, however it would appear that the main issue is the requirement to remain seated during the game.

There is a concerted campaign by the Government under the auspices of The Football Licensing Authority and Manchester City Council to ensure that spectators in all seater stadiums sit down for the most part of the match. It is considered to be a significant safety issue and the Club has no choice but to act. If the situation does not improve to the Council’s satisfaction they have indicated that parts of the stadium may be closed.

I hope that I have been able to explain the Club’s position on persistent standing.

Your sincerely

Doug Smith, Head of Ticketing

Mark Redgrave <Leaguecup1976(at)>


If football authorities really want us to stay sat down at football matches because of the real and present dangers of standing up for so long, why don’t they fit aircraft-type seat belts to every seat, and only give the referee permission to start the match when the stewards confirm that every fan is safely strapped in. That should solve the problem. Job’s a good ‘un.

That way I can sue Liverpool FC for the increased risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis, caused by sitting in the same position for over 2 hours (don’t forget you are supposed to be in your seat 30 minutes before kick-off), where the inadequate space between you and the row in front means anybody over 6 foot tall (like me) leaves with a pair of dints just under your kneecaps where the back edge of the plastic seat in front of you has cut off the supply of blood to your lower limbs.

Steve Kay <steve(at)>


Further to my last moan in McV on this issue, I have sent the following mail to the FLA inspector in charge of, amongst other stadia – Eastlands.

According to the FLA website he is: Jim Froggatt – tel 01244 570190, fax 01244 570190.

The link to contact him on (and please feel free to do so) is

My email to him is below (whether I get a reply is anyone’s guess).

Dear Sir,

I write as a ‘passionate’ Manchester City Seasoncard holder that like many ‘true’ supporters enjoy the atmosphere at football grounds as much, if not more than the game itself (it’s the way you get watching MCFC over the years!).

It is with regard to passive standing that I write to you. I sit adjacent to the ‘away’ support at the City of Manchester Stadium and try to help generate some sadly lacking atmosphere amongst the ‘home’ supporters.

The reason the home support has, generally, little atmosphere is simple – the away fans are allowed to stand and sing all game as and when the mood takes them but the home fans are constantly told to sit down – except for a period of excitement (action in the opponents’ penalty area or when a goal is scored). This highlights just how preposterous the whole notion is.

It is perceived ‘safe’ to jump up and down in the seated areas when a goal is scored, yet it is deemed ‘unsafe’ to passively stand during quieter periods of the match – Why?

It is perceived to be ‘safe’ to be jostled when trying to leave the stadium en-masse after the game, yet it is perceived to be ‘unsafe’ to passively stand during the game itself – Why?

It is deemed to be ‘safe‘ to stand, drink and dance at the very same seat, in the very same stadium during a rock concert – such as Oasis, yet it is perceived to be ‘unsafe’ to passively stand during a football match – Why?

Away fans are deemed ‘safe‘ to stand in seated areas, yet it is perceived to be ‘unsafe‘ for home supporters to passively stand during the game – Why?

The legislation, as I understand it, states that supporters have to watch football “from seated accommodation”. In a nutshell, this means that football supporters have to watch a game of football from within all seater stadia. Nothing in the legislation states that supporters have to be sat in the seated accommodation and nothing states that supporters cannot stand in the seated accommodation. Quite simply, supporters can choose to sit or stand within the seated accommodation – yet stewards and the police alike believe you can be ejected for standing – Why?

Furthermore, after giving your answers to each of the above 5 questions, I respectfully request that you please kindly provide me with a copy of the relevant legislation (that I cannot locate on the Internet) that shows that everything I have read is untrue and you do have to sit during a football match.

I ask for a copy of the legislation because as we all know, if it isn’t legislation through an act of Parliament then nothing can empower the police to eject people.

If, as it seems, it is widely tolerated that away fans can stand during a football match, why can it not be tolerated for home fans to stand that are in the block adjacent to, and either side of the away supporters depending on the layout of the stadium and the positioning of the supporters?

I await your response with great anticipation.

If he is kind enough to provide me with excuses (sorry, I mean answers), I will forward these on to McV.

I did think of something else to enable us to remain standing.

The stewards have generally said they will allow supporters to stand when singing (except it seems ‘stand up if you love City’), so why doesn’t everyone who wants to stand – sing all game!

We can sing all game away, even if it’s dire, so let’s sing all game at home!

Keep the faith, Andrew Keller <akcity(at)>


Well this is just the sort of atmosphere that being allowed to stand can generate. No hassle from stewards, brilliant fans, great game, nerve-wracking excellent finish. I want to go to just away games from now on. Why can’t it be like this at home!

Mark Redgrave <leaguecup1976(at)>


Jack Deam, who plays Marty in Shameless, and Antoine Sibierski, who plays for Manchester City. Are they one and the same?

Maybe that’s why Sibierski is so c**p. He’s not a footballer at all. He’s a twitching actor with Tourette’s syndrome!

John Nisbet <nisbet1957(at)>


If anyone has any doubts about whether Samaras is a good buy or a waste of money I suggest they check out:

I’d be interested to hear people’s views after they have watched these clips.

Stuart Brodkin <StuartGBrodkin(at)>


Last game of the season and last game of his career.

Shaun Goater will be playing his last game of his career against Bristol City on the last day of the season.

Myself and another Blue are hoping to get down for this in full support of our beloved Shaun Goater.

Is anyone else up for going that has access to a mini-bus (maybe a few of us could sort something out)?

Dave Ford <>


The Manchester City Centenary Supporters’ Association are holding a Gala Dinner at the Citizens Suite, City of Manchester Stadium on Saturday 6th May 2006 (the night before our last game of the season at Blackburn). Proceeds raised are in aid of City in The Community (CITC). Guest speaker will be John Gwynn, MC James H. Reeve, Comedian Wayne “Check” Allen and former players will be attending. Tickets are priced at just £30 and are available via branch secretaries.

Howard Burr <reddishblues(at)>


26 February 2006

Liverpool             1 - 0  Manchester City       44,121
Bolton Wanderers      2 - 1  Fulham                23,104
West Bromwich Albion  0 - 2  Middlesbrough         24,061

25 February 2006

Birmingham City       1 - 0  Sunderland            29,257
Blackburn Rovers      1 - 0  Arsenal               22,504
Charlton Athletic     0 - 0  Aston Villa           26,594
Chelsea               2 - 0  Portsmouth            42,254
Newcastle United      2 - 0  Everton               51,916

League table to 26 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         27 13  1  0 33  7  9  2  2 21  9 22  3  2  54  16  38  69
 2 Manchester Utd  26  8  3  1 25  8  8  3  3 27 19 16  6  4  52  27  25  54
 3 Liverpool       27 11  2  1 20  5  5  4  4 13 12 16  6  5  33  17  16  54
 4 Tottenham H.    27  8  5  1 22 10  4  5  4 15 14 12 10  5  37  24  13  46
 5 Blackburn R.    27  9  2  2 22 13  4  2  8 12 18 13  4 10  34  31   3  43
 6 Bolton Wndrs    25  7  4  1 16  6  4  5  4 16 18 11  9  5  32  24   8  42
 7 Arsenal         27  9  2  2 30  8  3  3  8  9 14 12  5 10  39  22  17  41
 8 West Ham United 26  7  1  5 22 16  5  4  4 17 18 12  5  9  39  34   5  41
 9 Wigan Athletic  27  6  2  6 17 17  6  2  5 15 17 12  4 11  32  34  -2  40
10 Manchester City 27  8  2  4 22 12  3  2  8 14 19 11  4 12  36  31   5  37
11 Newcastle Utd   27  6  5  2 14  9  4  1  9 12 20 10  6 11  26  29  -3  36
12 Everton         27  6  1  6 11 15  5  2  7  8 19 11  3 13  19  34 -15  36
13 Charlton Ath.   27  5  3  6 15 16  5  2  6 17 21 10  5 12  32  37  -5  35
14 Fulham          27  9  2  2 25 13  0  3 11 12 26  9  5 13  37  39  -2  32
15 Aston Villa     27  3  4  6 14 17  4  6  4 18 18  7 10 10  32  35  -3  31
16 Middlesbrough   26  4  5  5 20 24  4  2  6 15 20  8  7 11  35  44  -9  31
17 West Brom A.    27  6  1  7 19 17  1  4  8  5 23  7  5 15  24  40 -16  26
18 Birmingham City 26  4  2  7 15 16  2  3  8  7 21  6  5 15  22  37 -15  23
19 Portsmouth      27  2  5  6  8 16  2  1 11 10 31  4  6 17  18  47 -29  18
20 Sunderland      27  0  4 10  9 27  2  0 11  9 22  2  4 21  18  49 -31  10

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1202