Newsletter #1214

The muppets are out in force and phoning in the radio with their valued opinions (you know the type, sit at home listening to GMR or are actually Rags) criticising the manager and anything else they can think of. Do people have such short memories? Is it Pearce’s fault that we have had so many injuries and a bunch of useless players signed on mad contracts by the previous incumbent? For what it’s worth, we’re behind you Pearce and hope the board are too and slacken the purse-strings. Failing that, the rumours of a Dickov return look true.

We have opinion tonight on the Spurs game, reaction to Andy’s excellent article last week and a look at the points tally and safety. I think we can get 7 from the run-in. I hope so, given my last game thanks to the ridiculous Arsenal move (if they can’t stand the heat, they shouldn’t be in Europe – refund anyone?) was Middlesbore.

Oh well, thank goodness for the reserves and youth team. The reserves won 1-0 against Leeds last night, are up at Newcastle on Wednesday and it’s the first leg of the FA Youth Cup on Thursday night. No rest for the wicked!

Next game: West Ham United, away, 3pm Saturday 15 April 2006


Well no lack of effort but just not enough quality. Although overall Spurs edged the game, and were given the opportunity to score a hatful (heaven help us against Arsenal!). In the end the difference came down to a dubious first goal after Lennon “made a back” for Thatcher to lead to a misplaced header allowing Keane an opportunity that James could only parry. Having said that, City clearly have some issues to face. It’s true that our back four made the game exciting and James joined in with a mixture of eccentricity and brilliance – but this wasn’t the solid unit that we had at the end of last season. I can only see two points between now and the end of the season and a likely finish fifth from bottom would mean that we have gone backwards this year. Next season will show whether Stuart Pearce is the genuine article or not. Good points from the Spurs game were Richards and Musampa who were all over midfield and if Musampa shows this commitment then I would have him on the “retained” list. As for the rest:

James – about Premiership average overall so would keep, at least until we are seriously challenging for a top six position.
Mills/Thatcher/Sommeil borderline Premiership/Championship – could keep one of them as cover/support for youngsters.
Distin – OK but not the end of the world if he leaves.
Dunne – basis of the back four.
Jordan, Richards, Onuoha, Mills (M) – do all we can to keep as the basis for the future.
Jihai – keep as versatile substitute, as with David Connor of old.
Barton – need someone to play his rôle but they are not unique and he could be replaced.
Reyna/Sinclair – OK when fit but injuries make them a liability.
Riera – doesn’t look at home in the Premiership to me.
Flood, Ireland, Croft – keep but review after another season.
Sibierski – not enough penetration, replace.
B W-P – not enough commitment, put out on loan and then see.
Miller – give some time as a substitute for rest of season.
Cole – keep if fit.
Vassell – works best with Cole; hopefully with a bit more support from midfield we will see something much better next season.
Samaras – the nearest thing to Shaun Goater we’ve had!
Weaver – difficult to tell since we haven’t seen much of him lately, probably keep ahead of de Vlieger, just.
Schmeichel – keep.

So I’d see six or seven going out and a need to rebuild midfield. Can Richards play the “Barton” rôle? He’s more skilful and certainly has the character. We’re still missing the Benarbia/Berkovic creative midfielder and until Croft/Ireland/Flood show that they can do this then we need to bring someone in. If Distin leaves we need an experienced back four player but otherwise the priority has to an extra striker to give a bit more variety.

David Lewis <dfl(at)>


Very little you can add to what Andy Clarke says, he is right in every aspect. If Reyna could stay fit alongside Barton and Musampa plays as well as he has recently and if Riera stays to cross to Samaras if he improves and if Cole returns and if Vassell finds any scoring ability at all and if Distin stays and all of these stay fit we may finish in the top 6 next year. That is a lot of ifs, but without more money it is what it is.

Jim Heaviside <JHeavis502(at)>


Thanks to Andy Clarke for a well thought out article, which for the most part I agree with. I think his kind of realism would do a lot of City fans some good.

I disagree with a couple of points though.

Firstly, Arsenal are not a big-spending club. I would guess that Chelsea, Man Utd, Liverpool, Newcastle, Spurs and maybe a couple of others (incl. City) have spent considerably more than the Arse over the last few seasons. They are where they are because of Wenger, who in my mind is the best manager in the Premiership by a country mile. His eye for talent is second to none and I think he proves that you can be successful without spending shed loads.

Secondly, while I agree that the same teams will probably make up 7-14 each year, I think it is more likely that City will find themselves in a relegation battle than challenging for Europe next season (like Andy I would be happy with another season of mid-table anonymity and a decent cup run). At the beginning of the season I would have put Birmingham in the scrappers bracket, but a couple of injuries to key players and look at them now.

My worry for City is that we have a very thin squad and an injury to Distin/Dunne, Barton or Samaras will leave us overly dependent on youngsters. I think we need to spend in the summer. The problem is that proven Premiership players are expensive and those outside the Premiership are risky; if they do eventually do well it may still take them a season to settle as Andy points out. For this reason I think we are actually worse off than we were last season as I think our squad is weaker. I think where we finish next season will in large measure be a result of who SP brings in during the summer, and while I rate Pearce he is still unproven in that area of management. Nevertheless, I’m still dreaming of a bright future under a good, young manager.

James Gregson <jpg37(at)>


Gee I’m glad we’ve got forty points! But that may not be enough. Midnight comes and we’re still nil-all, the eyes are very leaden but I force myself to watch, one day we might win one. Silly boy, I should have joined the wife in bed. If it weren’t for David James we would have been far worse off.

I really don’t know what’s going on at City, but there’s more that just the playing side that seems to need a good overhaul. Two years ago we were calling for Kevin Keegan’s head, but at least players came to City to play under him (if that’s the right word). Now we have few players of genuine class, no money, no chance of buying decent players to complete against the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal etc., no chance of Europe, no chance.

That may seem all doom and gloom, maybe it is, but I really don’t know the answer, and that’s the problem City have got, they have no answer. I’ve followed City’s exploits for over forty years, down in the old Division Two, our trips up and down the leagues, the mid-table obscurity that seems to be a disease at this club, the players’ egos, demands, the great years of Bell, Doyle and Corrigan, the ones under a constant stream of managers, and now Sunday morning I’m lost for answers.

Why is it when a club with one of the best stadiums and a really big fan base, can’t or won’t be successful? Is it enough to say “oh at least we’re in the Premiership”? I don’t know. Still, the sun’s shining, and in a perfect world City would be sitting atop the Premiership!! At least I can enjoy Arsenal in Europe!

Stay Blue, Kevin Williamson <scribbs(at)>


Here is the only reply I have had so far; from The FA, and a link to an article today from Brian Barwick.

Dear Steve,

Thank you for your email and for sharing your views with us, please rest assured that they have been noted. The issue of refereeing standards is a constant source of debate to anyone with an interest in football, fans will always have an opinion on the apparent injustice of decisions involving their teams, and rightly so, football is a game full of opinion. Our stance will always be that Referees and their decisions have to be respected for the game to remain workable.

They are arguably the most consistently professional people in the game making split second decisions that will be analysed repeatedly by slow motion cameras and panels of football experts. Ninety five percent of the time these decisions will be correct, when they are wrong it is unfortunate but because of human error unavoidable. They make their decision based on years of training and experience and what they see at that moment in time.

The referee can only act on what they see, assisted by the other match officials and naturally not everyone will agree with the decisions they take, especially when a supporter’s own team is involved. Referee’s performances, however, are evaluated by assessors.

Bias is an issue that is constantly raised, The Football Association receives many letters from fans of clubs complaining about what they see as favourable treatment. Our concern is to be even handed across the board. Referees try to uphold the laws to the best of their abilities and we are confident that no bias is shown towards any player or club.

At the beginning of this season, Professional Game Match Officials (PGMO) chief Keith Hackett, on behalf of the Football Association, Premier League and Football League outlined match officials’ approach.

After a series of positive meetings between Hackett and the League Managers Association (LMA) and the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), the season kicked off with a consensus that players and managers are all aware of their vital roles in maintaining a positive image of football and that player behaviour and respect towards match officials are integral to the image of the game.

It should be pointed out, however, that in the modern TV age, players’ language and behaviour are now subject to more scrutiny and comment than ever before. While generally player behaviour is good, there are occasions when it is not, and this is damaging to the game.

The media do tend to pick up on negative aspects of players behaviour, whilst ignoring the positive aspects like fairplay, and the number of initiatives high profile players are involved in that encourages social inclusion, a healthier lifestyle etc. Whilst Footballers have a role to play and are well aware that children look up to them, they are not the sole guardians of good behaviour in society.

Players seeking direct confrontations with referees using abusive, insulting or threatening language will be sent off but it is important to maintain a sense of perspective and recognize that football is full of passion and emotion. That is why referees have been instructed to distinguish between spontaneous reactions and direct confrontations, and, whilst referees were encouraged to clamp down on swearing and other ill-discipline at the start of the season, ultimately it is up to them to make the decision.

I realise this might not be what you wanted to hear, but perhaps it has at least answered some of your questions. I would also like to direct you to the article that has just appeared on the FA’s website that addresses some of these issues.

Kind regards

Tracey Bates, Customer Relations

Steve Kay <steve(at)>


It seems to me that the solution to our problems is easy to solve: if our away form was as good as our home form we would be looking at a European spot for sure, of that there is no doubt.

So it’s easy: get rid of that yellow away kit. Have we ever won in that thing? I don`t think so. What happened to the lovely red and black stripes? Now that’s a kit. All I can say is that next season the yellow of City will be a thing of the past, let’s get back to the winning ways of the red and black.

[We can drop the ridiculous white goalkeeper’s kit they have recently been re-wearing as well -Ed]

Antony <finkcity(at)>


Man United’s top home attendances of all time:

  1. 82,771 at Maine Road on 29th Jan 1949 in FA Cup 4th Round vs. Bradford PA (1-1)
  2. 81,962 at Maine Road on 17th Jan 1948 in FL Division 1 vs. Arsenal (1-1)
  3. 81,565 at Maine Road on 12th Feb 1949 in FA Cup 5th Round vs. Yeovil (8-2)
  4. 75,598 at Maine Road on 17th Oct 1956 in European Cup 1st Rnd 1st Leg vs. Borussia Dortmund (3-2)
  5. 74,213 at Maine Road on 28th Feb 1948 in FA Cup 6th Round vs. Preston North End (4-2)

Notice a common thread? In fact, 7 out of United’s top 8 attendances, 8 of the top 10, and 10 of the top 13 have all been at Maine Road! And one of the others was at Goodison Park.

By the way, where are those FC United fans who were so bitterly opposed to the Glazers? I can’t hear many complaints about the new sponsorship deal, can you?

Steve Kay <steve(at)>


As I write for help, I don’t know how any of you out there cope if you have an other half who shows an interest in the wrong side of Manchester. My plea for help is as follows.

My wife does not follow football and does not understand how I can sit and watch football updates on a Saturday on Sky [you’ll understand if like me you may not have access to hear City live]. She thinks I’m weird. I have 2 children, twins in fact, both 1 year old, Sasha and her brother Lucas. As I no longer live in Manchester (just outside Reading to be exact) I am challenged with the additional task of bringing them up to be City fans. On the positive side my father is a Blue so one granddad is a help (actually from Manchester and still lives there). The problem lies with the other granddad. Lovely man, don’t get me wrong, but yes you’ve probably already guessed, a Red. Gets worse as he one of those Reds that has only been to the Swamp once (begrudgingly as his 60th birthday present) and if he didn’t read a paper wouldn’t know who they were even playing! When the twins were born, a present from him to Lucas was a United top (that he’d been given by a work colleague on his building site). My wife doing the grateful thing (and not really understanding) then takes a photo of Lucas in this top to make granddad a ‘Thank You‘ card. Without wanting to get divorced, my best effort is to doctor the photo (thanks to great computer software) on the copy that was also taken for the photo album, with the lines ‘I may be wearing this but that’s only because Mummy dresses me…I’m really a City fan!’

Where am I going with this story? I get home today and my wife has now taken more photos of both twins in ‘this top’, now with a ball at their feet. Apparently would make a nice grandfather’s day card! The help I need is please can anyone out there lend me a City top that would fit 12-18 months babies so I can take some photos to save their photo albums. Once I have taken the photos I will gratefully return the top and reimburse any postage used to send to me. Appreciate this may be a cheeky request but please help save our next generation!

Many thanks in advance.

Andy Bird <abird(at)>


Well done to the OSC on last week’s Annual Supporters’ Club Dinner, a great evening and the club received £8,000 for the Academy, Reserve Team travel (perhaps they could sponsor me!), FPA and CITC.

Heidi <editor(at)>


I am in the USA but over in the UK for the end of April and beginning of May.

I’m looking for a ticket for Villa (away) and also Blackburn (away). I’ll have a car, but would be happy to share transport, yours or mine, if possible too. Anyone with extra ‘loyalty’ points who could help me secure tickets for these games would be my new best friend!

Thanks everyone.

Simon <AlienUK(at)>


The next Points of Blue meeting will be at the stadium on Tuesday 2 May, at 6.30p.m.

The delegate meeting is yet to be arranged.

Steve Parish <bloovee(at)>


9 April 2006

Aston Villa           0 - 0  West Bromwich Albion  33,303
Chelsea               4 - 1  West Ham United       41,919
Liverpool             1 - 0  Bolton Wanderers      44,194
Middlesbrough         1 - 2  Newcastle United      31,202
Manchester United     2 - 0  Arsenal               70,908

8 April 2006

Tottenham Hotspur     2 - 1  Manchester City       36,167
Charlton Athletic     0 - 0  Everton               26,954
Portsmouth            2 - 2  Blackburn Rovers      20,048
Wigan Athletic        1 - 1  Birmingham City       18,669

League table to 09 April 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         33 16  1  0 41  9 10  3  3 23 11 26  4  3  64  20  44  82
 2 Manchester Utd  33 12  3  1 33  8 11  3  3 33 22 23  6  4  66  30  36  75
 3 Liverpool       34 14  3  1 29  7  7  4  5 19 15 21  7  6  48  22  26  70
 4 Tottenham H.    33 11  5  1 29 14  5  5  6 19 19 16 10  7  48  33  15  58
 5 Blackburn R.    33 11  3  2 28 16  5  3  9 17 23 16  6 11  45  39   6  54
 6 Arsenal         32 12  2  2 40  9  4  3  9 13 16 16  5 11  53  25  28  53
 7 Bolton Wndrs    32  9  4  2 23  9  4  5  8 20 27 13  9 10  43  36   7  48
 8 Wigan Athletic  33  6  3  8 20 22  8  3  5 18 18 14  6 13  38  40  -2  48
 9 West Ham United 33  7  3  6 26 22  6  4  7 21 28 13  7 13  47  50  -3  46
10 Newcastle Utd   33  8  5  3 21 14  5  1 11 15 26 13  6 14  36  40  -4  45
11 Everton         33  8  2  6 20 19  5  4  8 11 24 13  6 14  31  43 -12  45
12 Charlton Ath.   33  7  4  6 20 18  5  4  7 17 24 12  8 13  37  42  -5  44
13 Manchester City 33  9  2  6 24 15  3  2 11 16 25 12  4 17  40  40   0  40
14 Middlesbrough   32  6  5  6 26 29  5  2  8 19 25 11  7 14  45  54  -9  40
15 Fulham          34 10  2  4 27 20  1  4 13 15 34 11  6 17  42  54 -12  39
16 Aston Villa     33  4  6  6 15 17  4  6  7 19 29  8 12 13  34  46 -12  36
17 Birmingham City 33  5  4  8 17 19  2  4 10  8 26  7  8 18  25  45 -20  29
18 West Brom A.    33  6  1 10 21 23  1  6  9  7 26  7  7 19  28  49 -21  28
19 Portsmouth      32  3  6  6 12 19  4  1 12 17 35  7  7 18  29  54 -25  28
20 Sunderland      33  0  4 13  9 30  2  1 13 12 28  2  5 26  21  58 -37  11

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1214