Newsletter #1239

We bid farewell and good luck to Bradley who joins the Saints, and are still awaiting news on the Sidwell and Hamann deals that were strongly reported. All this and more in Don’s news round-up. And if you get to the end of it without humming some 80’s themes, well done!

Plenty of opinion on the WC, and a request for Blues in Belize.

Next game: Wrexham, away (Friendly), 7.45pm 19 July 2006


General News

The Final Countdown: The club have announced that the City of Manchester Stadium is on the shortlist to host the 2008 UEFA Cup Final. Hamburg’s AOL Arena, the Ramat-Gan Stadium in Tel Aviv and Fenerbahce’s Sukru Saracoglu Stadium are also on the list. “What we have and what we and Manchester are very proud of, is as well as the stadium there is the infrastructure around it,” says City’s Head of Operations Sara Billington. “The car parking, the proximity of the airport, the bus links, the safe walk route back into the city centre, all make it very spectator-friendly. The stadium is fantastic, but the infrastructure is almost more important than the stadium itself. UEFA have been here frequently, firstly for the stadium to be put onto the UEFA approved list, then when we were in the UEFA Cup, and finally for the UEFA Women’s Championship. Every time they have been here, they have had nothing but positive things to say.”

Don’t Leave Me This Way: Do you get the feeling that Sky might be looking at City as cannon fodder for the top and the new Premiership clubs? I only ask because Premiership champions Chelsea have had their opening match against City pushed back to Sunday August 20, with a 4pm kick-off, which will be televised. Newly promoted Reading’s first televised Premiership match will be an 8pm kick-off on September 11 against City at the Madejski Stadium. There are hundreds of other changes to City’s fixture list (well it seems like that anyway); the full list is available on the club website.

Transfer News and Gossip

Beep Off – It’s Saint Bradley: Here’s a move that caught most of us out. On Wednesday, Bradley Wright-Phillips signed for Southampton. The fee for the transfer remained undisclosed, but it was reported that various sell-on and appearance clauses meant that the Blues could eventually scoop £1 million for the 21-year-old. BWP was effectively the fifth choice striker at the club, with Georgios Samaras, Andy Cole, Darius Vassell and Paul Dickov ahead of him. The rise of Daniel Sturridge and Kelvin Etuhu through the youth ranks also gives the Blues plenty of competition in the forward department. SP said: “Commercially, this is a good deal for the club but also for Bradley at this stage in his career. Like his brother, he was a popular member of the squad and an extremely likeable lad. As with Shaun, he will always be welcome back at this club.” Bradley had some mixed feelings about the move, but says: “It was a wrench to leave City but it’s an exciting challenge. I spoke to my Dad and he told me all about Southampton, and about George Burley, and what to expect so I am happy to be here. It’s a great club with great facilities. It’s a big step for me. Southampton have got the players here to get back up to the Premiership and players I can learn from. It’s just like being at a Premiership club and I hope I can help them get back there.”

Too Much Too Young: There’s a couple of clubs willing to take troublesome midfielder Joey Barton off City’s hands, if reports are to be believed. First Middlesbrough have supposedly launched a new £3 million bid for Barton. Boro wanted to sign him in January when then boss Steve McClaren offered £3.5 million but City rejected the bid despite Barton causing a furore by demanding a transfer after contract talks broke down. Next, Celtic were linked with Barton, with Stilian Petrov being offered as part of a deal. The Celtic midfielder is stalling on signing a new contract with the Glasgow club, and is thought to be keen to play in the English Premiership. Celtic Chief Executive Peter Lawwell has rubbished this tale however, claiming that “Accusations in today’s press suggesting that Celtic had contacted Manchester City offering Stilian Petrov are completely false. We wish Stilian Petrov to remain at the club and this story is totally inaccurate. We have had no call at Celtic Park from any newspaper to check the validity of this story.”

‘Young’ Gun Goes For It: There’s still no sign of Quentin “I Belong Tae Glasgae” Fortune penning a deal with City, but another midfielder has been strongly linked with a move to the Blues – Dietmar Hamann could be set for a move to the COMS, apparently. The 32-year-old former German international has been told he can leave Liverpool this summer and has held talks over a move to Bolton Wanderers. But that move seems set to collapse and now City have enquired about the German. Stuart Pearce is set to offer Hamann a two year deal. However, there are obstacles for City to overcome if the move is to go ahead. Hamann will have to agree to a substantial drop in wages and Bolton could take action to prevent Hamann joining another Premiership club after he reneged on a deal to join them. City though are prepared to offer him the two-year deal he wants in order to get the former Newcastle man to join them in preference to a move to the Reebok Stadium.

Andreas: I Should be so Lucky: City are reportedly lining up a move for Andreas Isaksson. The Swedish goalkeeper was rated by some as the best shot-stopper at the World Cup Finals this summer, despite their second round elimination to hosts Germany. Currently in France with Rennes, SP supposedly believes the 24-year-old could provide the long-term replacement for David James who is in the last year of his contract. “I haven’t spoken to anyone at Manchester City about Andreas,” said the player’s agent Roger Ljung. “He has one year to run on his contract at Rennes and they are offering him an extension and he is weighing things up. He would be interested in a move to the Premiership, but it all depends on the club and the situation.”

Dreaming is Free: Danny Mills is understood to have set his heart on a move to Aston Villa. The former England international has been told he has no future at City, with manager Stuart Pearce ready to allow him to move on for a nominal fee. So far there has been little interest in the 29-year-old, although some quarters claim Villa boss David O’Leary is considering adding him to his squad for the forthcoming season. Mills enjoyed the best football of his career under the Irishman at Leeds United, and is believed to be pushing for a reunion in the Midlands with his former boss.

Squad News

A Good Hart is Hard to Find: City’s newest ‘keeper, Joe Hart, is a little bit star struck at his new surroundings, following his recent move from Shrewsbury Town. “It still hasn’t really hit me what has happened and in such a short space of time. The whole set up at City has just blown me away. It is a different world to life down the divisions. The Premiership seems light years away from the middle of the Second Division. Getting a game pre-season would be wonderful especially as it would help me get to know the lads in a playing sense as well as a social sense.”

He’s Hungry Like the Wolf: Stephen Ireland has been declared clear of a persistent calf injury and is fit to start pre-season training. The 19-year-old had his season curtailed last term after a training ground injury in mid-April, which then flared up again as he tried to make a comeback in the reserves. But with City players set to report back in a little over a week, medical staff have confirmed that Ireland is fit to start full training once again. His recovery was aided by several weeks of additional training at the club’s Carrington facility, after the rest of the squad left for the summer. Ireland made 28 first team appearances last season and will be expected to reclaim his place in the squad for the Blues’ pre-season fixtures, starting at Wrexham on July 19.

Don Barrie <news(at)>


For those who haven’t checked yet, these are the City games so far affected by Sky coverage:

Sun 20/8   4.00pm Sky Sports A vs. Chelsea
Sat 26/8   5.15pm Prem Plus  H vs. Arsenal
Mon 11/9   8.00pm Sky Sports A vs. Reading
Sat 21/10 12.45pm Prem Plus  A vs. Wigan
Mon 30/10  8.00pm Sky Sports H vs. Middlesbrough
Sat 18/11 12.45pm Prem Plus  H vs. Fulham
Sat  9/12 12.45pm Prem Plus  A vs. Rags
Sat 16/12  5.15pm Prem Plus  H vs. Tottenham

Dave Kilroy <dave.kilroy(at)>


I think compared to some that we’ve had, the new kits look pretty decent.

The only thing that matters though, which I think some of you are forgetting, is: it doesn’t matter what the hell they look like, providing they stick the ball in the back of the net. Come the end of the season, if City manage to win a cup, get a respectable league position and have a few decent players, you’ll all be saying “it was an inspired kit, well done MCFC”.

Attached is a link to the kits we’ve had in the past – my opinion is that the best one we’ve had is the 2002/03 season (white with black and red stripe slashed across it), but we didn’t exactly set the world alight with that kit, did we?

David Ford <>


The move of Bradley Wright-Phillips to Southampton should be good for both MCFC and the player. I think that BWP put too much pressure on himself because of his brother Shaun and his success. I wish BWP good luck!

We read in the media that Joey Barton was to be a straight swap for Stilian Petrov (Bulgarian) who is unsettled at Celtic. But the Celtic website has denied it; pity, for Stilian Petrov is a decent player, and could have been the missing piece in Stuart Pearce’s jigsaw puzzle. My feelings are if City are not going to pay Joey Barton what he demands per week, then which club will? Wake up Joey, either way JB has made the road ahead a tough one for himself.

Last comments on England and the World Cup. Remember when there were five forwards in the game of football, then along come England with just one forward. Colin Bell made the comment: “England were not brave enough to win.” How true. The game is won by the team that scores the most goals, not the team that stops the most goals!

Now it’s countdown to the first City friendly.

Come on City!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


A few thoughts on the latest failure to win the World Cup, which as usual is mystifying the assembled brain cells of Her Majesty’s press.

Despite all of the discussion and general hypocrisy about formations (the press were calling for 4-5-1 a few months back and then slaughtered the manager when he played it, admittedly with half the squad out of position), the reason we are out of the World Cup is that once again we were useless at penalties. However well or badly you play at the World Cup, most eventual winners have to get through a penalty shoot out at some stage. England still seem to dither along thinking it is all down to luck but is it really? Whilst the old codgers at the FA gather around the pink gin before ceremonially sticking their heads in the fire bucket, they might be better served expending their energy on the issue of spot kicks. Since 1986 in Mexico, England have only lost 1 knockout match in normal play, but have lost 5 shoot outs. Germany have won every shoot out in the same period. In fact, Germany have now won 15 out of 16 shoot outs over nearly 40 years, missing just 2 penalties in the whole of that time. That is 1 less than England managed in a single shoot out. Can that really be luck or even just a national trait?

Watching the body language of not just England, but also the Portuguese and the Argentinians in the recent shoot outs was very educational. Generally the players looked like they hoped not to miss. The Germans by contrast strode to the spot and smashed the ball home with relish, every penalty unstoppable. It looked to me like the difference you see in a golf tournament when a player has a 20ft must-make putt. Someone like Darren Clarke hopes it will go in. Tiger, a true champion, knows it is going in and that is the difference. This all got me wondering about how teams prepare for penalties. I would wager good money that the Germans have a mental coach involved – the players all seemed to have golf-like pre-shot routines and were all “in the zone” when they took their turn. The other nations were often all over the place. England looked terrified.

The other angle here relates to the goalkeepers. Ricardo and Lehmann seemed to expect that they would be a hero, Robinson did not look so convinced.

So here’s what the FA should do before the next tournament:

  1. Find the best penalty psychologist in Germany, pay him a fortune and gethim working with at least 10 or more England penalty takers on an ongoingbasis.
  2. Find the best goalkeeping coach, with a record of winning shoot outs, and hire him.
  3. Get the players working with these 2 gurus for a dedicated session everytime they meet between now and the 2008 European Championships.
  4. Employ a decent manager. On the whole I think anyone would be better thanSven became, but I suspect the FA have managed to find someone worse.

Hopefully I’m wrong, but never mind you can’t have everything! Has anyone else spotted that Russia are in our group, managed by a certain Mr Hiddink who the FA invited to “send in a CV”? Who else thinks Russia are about to hit a steep improvement curve? There may be trouble ahead!

Finally, here’s some food for thought. If we had employed German penalty taking skills, our record since 1990 would be:

  • 1990 Winners or runners up
  • 1992 Graham Taylor…
  • 1994 Ditto
  • 1996 Winners or runners up
  • 1998 Quarter Finals or better
  • 2000 Phil Neville and his penalty leg
  • 2002 Quarter Finals
  • 2004 Semi Finals or better
  • 2006 Semi Finals or better

Suddenly that bears comparison with most other top nations.

Of course what will really happen is that the FA will adopt their usual plan:

  1. Appoint an unsuitable manager
  2. Return to their fire buckets and continue to stick their heads in the sand
  3. Er, that’s about it – pass the gin!

Andy Clarke <andy(at)>


We now know why the FA had SP in mind for the manager’s job, he already works with players who have the ability to let you down. Let’s hope that the likes of Terry, Lampard, Cole, and the Rags’ players all turn up to play us in their England shirts. Why? Because they are crap. Why are they crap? Might be because the officials don’t show them any favouritism when they play on the international scene. I’m sure I saw Graham Poll issue them all with 3 yellow cards each when they played against us last season.

Sam Duxbury <member(at)>


Well I was going to call a news conference but decided against it in respect to the former England Captain. Anyhow it is with great regret that I announce my retirement from international football supporting. I find that I have reached an age where I can no longer endure the great stress of disappointment from both country and club. From this point on all my stress and misery will be 100% City.

CTID, Jon Sedgwick <Jsedgwick(at)IMGWORLD.COM>


Just a little request: are there any Belizean Blues out there on the roster of this fine E-Zine? It would be interesting to know as I’ll be heading that way shortly for what could be a permanent move. If not, it looks I’ll be the first missionary to spread the gospel that is Man City to that little corner of Central America.

Thanks, Gareth Croke <garethcroke(at)>

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Newsletter #1239