Newsletter #1218

This edition includes opinions on cheating, Joey Barton, Stuart Pearce, the run in and the Youth Cup Final. There’s a request for shared travel to Villa tomorrow night and also a couple of Arsenal tickets are going begging.

Today is Stuart Pearce’s 44th birthday. I’m sure we all wish him a happy birthday and hope that he gets everything he wishes for (which hopefully will include a few new players in the summer!).

Thursday’s edition will not be out until Friday as I will be in Manchester for the Player of the Year Awards. It will also be the last edition that I put together before I hand over to Svenn.

Here’s hoping for three points against Villa tomorrow night!

Next game: Aston Villa, away, 7.45pm Tuesday 25 April 2006


In response to Ian Hawthorne’s article on cheating in the last edition, I thought I’d add my simple idea. This is 100% guaranteed to work and is equally 100% guaranteed not to be adopted. The solution?

A fifth official watching the TV coverage. Every game in the Premiership is covered by Sky now, so all they have to do is to make sure that each game has a consistent level of coverage, which is made available to the 5th official sitting in a box. He has a radio link to the referee and anyone caught diving on review is immediately booked. Penalty decisions can be reviewed in this way as well. The instant this came in, the diving would stop.

Imagine the scene. We are 10 minutes into the derby next year at the Swamp and Von Nettletop goes down having got a whiff of Sylvain’s after shave. Normally Riley would point to the spot, book Distin and smile for the camera, but wait, a little voice in his ear says VN has dived, so out comes a card. Thirty seconds later it happens again and he’s off. Taggart turns purple and the Dutchman slopes off. The net result? No more diving – they might be able to fool one of the half wit officials but not the video replay.

The opponents of this say it disrupts the game and what if the player were to score before the official has stopped reviewing the incidents. The answer is very simple. Whilst many of the players are a bit dim (and that’s being kind in some cases), they are just not going to risk it. So why won’t it be implemented? Simple answer is debate. The media and Sky make too much money out of programmes, phone-ins, papers etc., debating questionable decisions to clean the game up. The only hope lies with dear old FIFA and I live in hope that they’ll do it before the World Cup, but don’t hold your breath…

Andy Clarke <andy(at)>


I can hold my rage no more! Having read MCIVTA 1217 in which Ian Burgess gives Stuart Pearce both barrels, suggesting that he’s not the right man for the job, I feel I must come to the defence of Psycho.

Stuart Pearce has attained all his coaching badges. He has the UEFA coaching award and has undertaken just about every coaching course there is going. He has been in the game all his life, and has played at the highest levels for about twenty years.

So to suggest he’s not the right man for the job is surely missing the point. Could I ask Ian Burgess if he has any coaching badges? Or has experience at the highest levels in football? No, of course he hasn’t. So his opinion is totally compromised and cannot be taken seriously. It’s embarrassing that a football fan should think that they know better then the manager. They have neither the qualifications nor the experience to dare to challenge what Stuart Pearce is doing, so they should refrain from talking such opinionated nonsense.

If Stuart Pearce believes that Sibierski, Reyna, Mills, Thatcher, et al, are the players he wants to pick for his team, then who are we to argue? We don’t have his qualifications or experience, so Ian Burgess’s views are meaningless.

I don’t want to seem over-critical of Ian Burgess, he might very well have played at a junior level, or coached under 5 teams, or something similar, but his knowledge of the game in no way compares to that of Stuart Pearce. So maybe he and his like should keep their opinions to themselves.

This view that qualifications and experience are the most important thing when it comes to football is also extended to other areas such as refereeing and managing the club.

Unless you are a fully qualified referee, who has experience of Premiership games, then you shouldn’t come on here moaning about decisions. Unless you are qualified to speak on the subject, you don’t know what you are talking about. And the same goes for being a Chairman of the Football Club. Alistair Mackintosh is a qualified accountant, and John Wardle is a self-made millionaire, both with substantial experience of running big businesses, so they know what is best for the club, and not some ill-informed supporter who may not even have an O’Level in book-keeping or even ever been in charge of a paper round.

I’m tired of all these armchair experts coming on and criticising those in charge of the club. If you could do better, then do it. If you could manage the players, or the finances, better than the present incumbents, then prove it. If not, then shut up and let them get on with it.

How dare some people criticise the club’s decisions when they couldn’t do any better. If they were that knowledgeable about football, they’d already be managing in the Premiership, and if they’re not, then doesn’t that tell them something!

And for those who criticise the board, could I suggest you spend the next ten years getting properly qualified in Company Law and Finance, get a job dealing with a Premiership club, and then come on and give your opinions. Because until then you won’t be taken seriously.

I’m sorry that I’ve had to take this stance, but I feel your web-site is full of people who are less enlightened about football than I am.

Tom Ritchie <tom.ritchie(at)>


Following Ernie’s rumoured ‘disappearance’ and the prospect of a Dickov return, I know which one I’d rather have back. Here’s a clue: He didn’t score at Wembley (as far as I know!).

Pete McNally a.k.a GalileeBlue <mcnally(at)>


How was everyone’s weekend? Good one I hope. It was good for me because City didn’t lose for a change. There’s something to be said for not playing.

Well now the chasing pack are a mere 7 points behind, and I reckon that one or two of the bottom clubs are capable of closing that gap.

City, on the other hand will be reliant on others losing rather than City winning.

I mentioned in the last issue that City will only get 1 point (vs. Fulham) before the end of the season and we may be lucky to get that.

Next up Villa. Dead cert win? Don’t you believe it.

City could do worse than give Danny Sturridge a run out before the end of the season. Young Logan at left back might be worth a whirl too along with Karl Moore. Three of a number of bright sparks from the defeated Youth team. I’d like to see the whole team play in the first team to show what guts and endeavour really are. Hard luck to the youth team but you did leave yourselves with a mountain to climb after the first half at Anfield.

One thing I’m not having though is that Liverpool dominated the whole of the Anfield leg. Rubbish. City were easily the better side in the second half on Merseyside.

John Nisbet <nisbet1957(at)>


Seems West Ham ground out a 1-0 semi-final victory, which just shows that there had been the best chance City had to get to the FA Cup final for many years (and many to come I suspect). West Ham get up via the play offs and now Cup finalists with a reasonable chance to win it as underdogs.

Which takes me to our beloved City. I was pleased the Arsenal game was moved even though it left me like a loose end on the Monday! I dreaded to think what the result would be with the way City have been playing of late. Villa is a big game as both sides are in poor form and should we not win it then it’s hard to see us getting more than a possible point against Fulham. All rather depressing after the end of season form shown last time round. I take no pleasure in predicting that we over achieved then and that we would be 12- 14th this time round (we may yet finish 16th).

We have too many journeymen who do not give a fig apart from seemingly that they have been paid. Worrying if some of these losers are on big contracts, e.g. Mills (Danny) and Thatcher. We have undoubted talent in the youth ranks but whether they will make the leap to the Premiership is another matter. I am not sure about SP’s tactical nouse but then hey even the Special One got it wrong against Liverpool as did Arsene Whinger against Spurs!

We simply have a lack of true quality and/or underachievers. James has kept some of the recent defeats to respectable scores when we did not deserve it. So my thoughts:

James – Keep but SP should try out Weaver or de Vlieger in these last games.
Mills – Get rid please if we can afford to and replace with Onouha when fit.
Dunne – Needs to look at his game and is prone to mistakes. I just hope we do not give him a big contract like the others.
Distin – Clearly wants out and will use the lack of European football as the excuse. Richards is the obvious replacement.
Thatcher – Dump and SP please try to knock Jordan in to shape.
Sinclair – Tries hard, prone to injuries but never really seems to quite get there and doesn’t have the true pace we had with SWP, etc.
Reyna – Too injury prone, slow and lumbering.
Barton – Say no more.
Sibierski – Have never liked this guy. Flatters to deceive, no end product. Falls over to easily and too many fouls. Why oh why does SP persist and give him a new contract?
Vassell – Quick but again misses too many or takes too many steps/much time. May work better if Cole was fit.
BWP – Hasn’t lived up to the promise so far. Next season make or break. Suspect we have been patient because of SWP.
Cole – Getting on and maybe had his best days but perhaps one last season, hopefully fully fit.
Ireland/Croft/Flood – Maybe but seem lightweight; bit parts next season?

So where does this leave us? I fear for next season and the thought of more of what we have endured since Christmas. We claim to be/have the best fans but the ground is never full and even derby day struggled to sell out and the atmosphere is rarely there. Stewarding may be to blame and I just hope the club sense this and do something before it gets worse with all the empty seats.

David Arthur <darthur945(at)>


I went to the second leg at the COMS and was very impressed with the football played by the youth team. As someone walking out commented, they’ll be getting 30,000 next season while the first team will be getting a couple of hundred. They passed the ball well and played the game in the right spirit. Micah fitted in well and didn’t try to boss the game. They were very unlucky not to win. It looked like City will get more players out of their team than Liverpool will.

At least the future is looking bright.

Mark Bailey <uproar13(at)>


I moved offices over the weekend and, taking down my yellowing Shaun Goater 3-1 poster from the City magazine, I came across the following two statements on the back showing pictures of the development of the ground when the North end was still open.

“To the North of the stadium a luxury hotel is to be built.”

“To the east of the stadium, a leisure complex is to be built including a TGI Friday concept restaurant, cinema screens and bowling alley.”

Now the TGI Friday brand of hollow hedonism is not to my taste but development of the area is key to the development of our stadium, which precipitated the following dream:

The weekend? Yeah it was fine. I booked my room at the HolidayInn of the 7th Happiness (TM) in advance on the interweb, rolled out ofbed, had a supersuperhappy-guaranteed-all-english-full-english-breakfast(TM)experience in TGI Furballs, caught the travelator over to the multiplexto enjoy Tom Cruise (TM) in Mission Impossible 30 (TM) (irony deletedinternal Ed), swapped my complimentary Holiday Inn of the 7th Happiness(TM) slippers for a pair of shoes recently vacated by someone whoseattitude to foot hygiene was as casual as David James’ to back passes,before whiling away luncheon hoping for strikes with a greater passionthan Thatcher in 1979, before returning to the Holiday Inn of the 7thHappiness (TM) to have a swim and a massage before retrieving my scarffrom the trouser-press, checking out, buying all manner of gifts andlocal produce from the superstore before taking my seat for the match,only to find I had been put in the top right hand corner of the uppertier because the whole row where my ticket should have been had beenclosed because in November someone made the whole row stand up as hewent to the gents, in clear contravention of section 5 of the publicorder act, before realising I had spent seven hundred and fifty quid andnot seen a ball kicked yet…

After waking in a cold sweat I thought I should ring the club and find out when we can book in:

Ring ring, ring ring click
“Manchester City Football Club can I help you?”

“A hotel Sir? Bowling? No Sir. TGI? Aren’t they a French team?”

“Not that I know of sir, it’s mainly just used as a car park.”

“Yes a car park for the football sir… or Asda if they are busier than we are”

“Is there anything else I can help you with today?”

“No? Thank you for calling Manchester City Football club (TM)”

Michael Maynard <michael.maynard(at)>


I think that it would be in the best interest of Joey Barton and City, if both parties can agree on terms for a new contract within sensible terms. If Joey Barton wants to commit to staying at City he has to do it now so as to play in the final game of the season at home versus Fulham.

By doing this Joey will have put behind him most of the controversy and when the new season opens, it will be a fresh start.

There is no question in my mind that the team has missed Joey Barton these last few weeks, his drive to go forward has been missing.

It’s my opinion that MCFC will not get the best price for Barton, and it will cost more to replace him. If Joey goes so be it, but if he stays we have to forgive him once more, and get on with it.

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)>


I am usually out in the USA but will have gotten myself a ticket (thanks KOK) and a car for the Villa match, and am interested in anyone who wishes to travel down with me – who either would like to offer me a lift or share transportation to this game.

Anyone interested should email me ASAP on <AlienUK(at)>, thanks!

Simon <alienUK(at)>


I have 2 tickets for the home game against Arsenal on Thursday 4 May – kick off 7.45pm.

The seats are in the East Stand 3rd tier, near to the scoreboard with a magnificent view of the ground.

Due to work commitments, we are unable to go and can let these seats go at face value. Please e-mail if you want them.

Chris Deary <chrisdeary1967(at)>


22 April 2006

Arsenal               1 - 1  Tottenham Hotspur     38,326
Bolton Wanderers      4 - 1  Charlton Athletic     24,713
Everton               0 - 0  Birmingham City       35,420
Newcastle United      3 - 0  West Bromwich Albion  52,272
Portsmouth            2 - 1  Sunderland            20,078

19 April 2006

Birmingham City       2 - 1  Blackburn Rovers      25,287

League table to 23 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         35 17  1  0 44  9 11  3  3 25 11 28  4  3  69  20  49  88
 2 Manchester Utd  35 12  4  1 33  8 12  3  3 35 23 24  7  4  68  31  37  79
 3 Liverpool       35 14  3  1 29  7  8  4  5 20 15 22  7  6  49  22  27  73
 4 Tottenham H.    36 11  5  2 30 16  6  6  6 21 20 17 11  8  51  36  15  62
 5 Arsenal         35 13  3  2 44 11  4  4  9 14 17 17  7 11  58  28  30  58
 6 Blackburn R.    35 11  3  3 28 17  5  3 10 18 25 16  6 13  46  42   4  54
 7 Newcastle Utd   36 10  5  3 27 15  6  1 11 19 27 16  6 14  46  42   4  54
 8 Bolton Wndrs    35 10  4  3 27 12  4  6  8 20 27 14 10 11  47  39   8  52
 9 Wigan Athletic  35  7  3  8 23 24  8  3  6 19 21 15  6 14  42  45  -3  51
10 West Ham United 35  8  3  6 27 22  6  4  8 21 30 14  7 14  48  52  -4  49
11 Charlton Ath.   36  8  4  6 22 19  5  4  9 19 30 13  8 15  41  49  -8  47
12 Everton         36  8  3  7 20 20  5  4  9 11 27 13  7 16  31  47 -16  46
13 Middlesbrough   34  7  5  6 28 29  5  2  9 19 26 12  7 15  47  55  -8  43
14 Manchester City 34  9  2  6 24 15  3  2 12 16 26 12  4 18  40  41  -1  40
15 Aston Villa     35  5  6  6 18 18  4  6  8 21 32  9 12 14  39  50 -11  39
16 Fulham          34 11  2  4 29 21  0  4 13 14 34 11  6 17  43  55 -12  39
17 Portsmouth      36  5  7  6 16 21  4  1 13 18 37  9  8 19  34  58 -24  35
18 Birmingham City 36  6  4  8 19 20  2  5 11  9 29  8  9 19  28  49 -21  33
19 West Brom A.    36  6  2 10 21 23  1  6 11  8 32  7  8 21  29  55 -26  29
20 Sunderland      35  0  4 13 10 33  2  2 14 13 30  2  6 27  23  63 -40  12

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1218