Newsletter #1280

Tonight we have a match report thanks to Colin H of what, from the commentary and matchgoers’ views, sounded a fairly even game and one in which we were unlucky to come away without my favoured point. MoTD gave its usual myopic Red view, but what can we expect?

We also have views on the Richards/Wright scenario, the usual requests, news on a City calendar and a bit of perspective.

Anyone attending the midweek fixture at a newly resurgent Aston Villa who fancies doing a match report, please think on.

Next game: Aston Villa, away, 19.45 Wednesday 29 November 2006


City took a good following across the East Lancs and it just goes to show what effect a 3 o’clock kick off can have on both the attendance and the atmosphere as the City fans were in good voice all throughout the game (unlike the “famous” Kop who roll out the flags and songs 5 minutes before kick-off and 5 minutes before the end of the game!).

City’s only change from last week’s encouraging result and performance was to drop Samaras and play Corradi up front on his own, with Nedum Onouha making his first start of the season, allowing Micah “Mr Versatility” Richards to be the third central midfielder alongside Reyna and JB. To me this signalled our intentions before a ball was kicked as we went ultra defensive and came looking for a draw!

As the game kicked off it became apparent that Micah was given the unenviable job of man marking Stevie Gerrard and, although Micah is a wonderful player, SP was a little naïve to think Micah could keep one of the best midfielders in the world out of the game and in effect this reduced us to 10 men at times.

The first half went by with no real scares and I don’t think Nicky Weaver had any real save of note to make; the only real threat came when young Nedum ball-watched, allowing Garcia to have a free shot on goal from just outside the 6 yard box, which he pulled wide with a goal looking a certainty. City did have a couple of half chances, the best following good work down the right by Trabelsi, then Richards pulled the ball back to Corradi whose angled shot crept wide of the far post in front of the subdued Kop.

City started the second half kicking towards the City fans in the Anfield Road End and, with a bit more fortune, flicks by Richards and Corradi might have fallen to Vassell who was free at the back post. Liverpool then had a spell where they had a lot of possession but had no real threat up front, despite some nice touches by Kuyt. Just like the crowd, the Liverpool team were starting to get frustrated and City came more and more into the game and for a spell of around 5 minutes leading up to their goal, City starting looking like we might sneak a win as Reyna had two tame long-range efforts and a scramble in there area led to Corradi’s half volley just sneaking wide of the post.

However, just as the Blues were starting to get on top, City did what we do best. Shoot ourselves in the foot. JB, who was starting to make some really threatening runs, carelessly passed the ball back in the vicinity of our defence only for it to go to the worst player it could have gone to – Steve Gerrard, who beat Distin to the ball and after avoiding Distin’s late lunge he drilled the ball into the bottom left hand corner of the goal. I was right behind the line of the shot and, when he pulled the trigger to shoot, knew that a goal was the only outcome.

At this point you would have though SP would have thrown on another striker as our game plan was out of the window and we needed to take the game to Liverpool but this obvious tactical change didn’t happen until 10 minutes after the goal when Samaras came on for Onouha and we reverted back to 4-4-2.

The change nearly had an immediate effect as Samaras picked the ball up wide left, cut inside and as we all expected him to try his usual curly for the far corner he spotted a gap at the near post and Reina just managed to scramble it around the post for a corner. After that we huffed and puffed but never really looked like we were going to score.

On reflection we were good enough for a point but that was all as again the team looked devoid of any creativity in midfield, despite JB pushing the team on, and both Joey and the team would look a lot better with a playmaker next to him. On the day Anelka finally showed Bolton fans the quality he has, we again lacked that real quality up front that can unlock Premiership defences in tight games that can sometime mean the difference between a point and 3 points!

Weaver 7. Little to do but solid enough and had no chance with their goal.
Onouha 6. Recovered from a shaky start to perform well in the second half until he was substituted.
Distin 6. Did OK against Crouch in the air but some of his work always seems to be last ditch at times.
Dunne 8. Another monster performance; when he puts his mind to it, looks a world-beater.
Thatcher 6. Solid defensively although not much support for Vassell going forward.
Trabelsi 7. Played well and is finding his feet nicely.
Barton 8. City’s driving force in midfield and matched Gerard kick for kick despite the misplaced pass for the goal. My MOTM.
Reyna 6. Some neat touches but most of his work is either sideways or backwards.
Vassell 6. One great run in the second half although most of his work was done in defence.
Corradi 7. Worked his socks off leading the line without much support or success.
Richards 6. Kept Gerrard quite for most of the game but this meant he couldn’t impose himself on the game.
Samaras 6. One neat effort near the end but needs to do more.
Ireland n/a. Brought on to late to have any real impact.

Overall Out-of-the-seat Factor: 5. Not a classic and the ref spoiled it with some bizarre decisions, mainly against City (and Joey Barton!).

Colin Howell <colinalex4(at)>


Stuart Pearce had the right game plan versus Liverpool, but just that one mistake was enough to lose the game.

I also thought that Mr. Stiles the referee would have looked better in red, for that’s how a lot of his decisions went throughout the game.

Up until Liverpool scored their goal, City were holding the game at a stalemate, and deserved a point. The trouble was that City did not have the firepower to respond against a Liverpool defence.

As for Samaras, I have lost all faith until he cuts his b****y hair cut, or gets a hair band (just look around at other soccer stars with long hair, get wise or be left behind).

Not disappointed with the effort, just the result.

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


For the past three years or so, both myself and Fred Eyre have compiled the Manchester City Memories Calendar for a local printer/publisher. As usual around May time this year we once again set about compiling memorable dates, birthdays etc. and the photographs and captions for the 2007 edition, which was due to be in the shops in early September. Again as usual, both Fred and myself delivered the information on time and sat back awaiting a proof copy to come back for checking. This is where things began to go wrong as a variety of problems (not mine or Fred’s) began occurring that set back the publishing date. Consequently no proofs were received, stock was printed and distributed to various outlets. This I believe was approximately three weeks back.

When I first saw a finished copy, I immediately spotted an error on the January picture caption, which instantly put me on the defensive. A closer inspection revealed many, many more errors, all of which could have been rectified literally within half an hour or so had either myself or Fred ever seen a proof copy.

When I telephoned the publisher with my concerns he told me that it was too late to get a reprint arranged and that some stock had already gone out. I asked – nay pleaded – that he didn’t send any more copies out and he assured me that no more would. However, I know personally that at least two branches of Birthdays have stock but am not sure whether they are the remains of the first batch or stock sent out after my request.

Needless to say, both myself and Fred are angered with the 2007 calendar – the word embarrassed also springs to mind – as it looks bad on the pair of us when it really wasn’t our doing in the first place. At the moment we are both considering whether to be involved or not in a 2008 edition. I would ask City fans to take this on board when looking at the calendar this year and would even go so far as to suggest that they might consider not buying one at all. I apologise whole-heartedly to all Blues’ fans for what really is an amateurish effort this year.

Ian Penney <ian.penney10(at)>


The article in this week’s newsletter ‘Deal or no deal’, in relation to the inevitable departure of young Micah, has serious implications for City, if it were ever to materialise.

In general, the departure of one of our most talented youngsters would be seen by all fans as a major step in the wrong direction, even though the same fans would accept that it is hard to stop i.e. SWP’s departure. Therefore there it is crucial that if Micah is to leave, he must do so on City’s terms.

This is where the concern creeps in. Look at our recent transfer dealings and assess the negotiation skills that the board have displayed. Anelka was sold on the cheap, or bought for too much, whichever way you want to look at it. Fowler ditto but worse. Distin to follow this trend?

You actually have to look back at the SWP deal to see the big money coming City’s way, and to be honest Sweep’s talent drove the price, nothing else did. Therefore I really hope City have someone with bargaining nous on board if or when the time comes that a moneybags club comes to the table to discuss Micah.

Our position is very strong: Micah is on a new 4 year contract, any of the big four would snap him up, he is still on good terms with City and not shown a major desire to leave, he is likely to be an England regular in the near future. Scenarios of how to deal with a club are numerous and depend heavily on the club in question. However, to pick the example of Chelsea, what do City fans think of £16 million plus SWP? Rationale is simple, today SWP is a player who is out of form, has no confidence, is not playing regular club football and is 25, so what is his market value? Certainly not what Chelsea paid. Duff was displaying exactly the same traits as SWP currently is, and was sold for £5 million.

Therefore a combined total of £21 million for Micah, the same price as another certain young player was sold to Chelsea for, who was also displaying exactly the same traits as Micah currently is.

Chris White <Chris.White(at)>


Unlike others, I am not at all under the impression SWP is exactly chomping at the bit to return to City. Why on earth should he?

As I understood the situation at the time, it was Wright-Phillips who demanded to leave the club for the bright lights of London and the glitz and glamour of Chelsea. The fact that his playing-situation has, since his move to the capital, turned sour and not in his favour is his own fault – the writing was on the wall from the very outset. It was apparent to many, at the time – I guess, of course, his opportunity of monetary gain was also a motivating factor for him, in all of this. Money isn’t everything, though, so this experience should be a lesson for him.

I don’t blame the player for wanting success – but, with a return to City? Certainly, our top-flight success in the short-term can, in all reality be ruled out, it would seem; unfortunately, the club is 7th from bottom and its chances of finishing the season at the upper reaches of the Premiership are slim to none, in my view, as things currently stand. Unfortunate, but that’s the way it is.

If SWP is absolutely determined to return to the north-west (and, I do not really believe that is the case) to find the success he appparently seeks, he should definitely be headed to Old Trafford – he would be an absolutely great addition to the Reds, and, that club would be all the better for having him on their staff – at the very least, he would get regular first-team football. I fail to understand why, to my knowledge, Alex F. is missing this outstanding and obvious opportunity to sign the player.

It will be interesting to see where SWP will be playing his football, several months from now – I doubt if it will be at City, though, in all reality.

As for Micah Richards… I hope he remains with the club but the Board may be tempted to part company with the player for financial reasons. If so, then a demand for £30 million plus a player (a quality striker) in exchange should shut up all but the really serious. This, too, will be an interesting development to watch out for; all credit, though, to the Academy and to Stuart Pearce for developing the lad. Great job!

Graham Mills <ride4311(at)>


Last week I travelled by train through the Upper Silesian coalfield in southern Poland, and one of the most interesting parts of the journey for me was the halt at Zabrze, home of Gornik Zabrze, the team City beat in the 1970 European Cup Winners’ Cup Final.

The Polish word “gornik” means miner, and in the Zabrze area that really means coalminer. The Upper Silesian coalfield contains what must surely be among the most neglected housing stock in the developed world, not in terms of absolute squalor – we have plenty of that in Britain – but because it goes on for mile after mile after mile, its smudgy unloveliness stretching far back from the railway tracks. Among all these slowly rotting buildings, hardly worthy of sheltering human beings, the most deprived community as I saw it was the settlement of Ruda Slaska, a grim eyesore if ever there was one. In the last couple of days we have all learnt what happened to the 15 people, many of them lacking the appropriate experience, sent underground to bring up valuable equipment left deep down in a mine that was too dangerous to work. That mine is in Ruda Slaska.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t help thinking about the people whose lives have been ripped apart by this tragedy, but also about their fierce pride in their local team – Gornik.

Chris Sawyer <chsawyer(at)>


Reply to Alan Jackson asking when would be a good time to come over to the UK. Try June. City aren’t playing!

John Nisbet <nisbet1957(at)>


I’ll be marooned in London on December 9th. Can anyone recommend a decent boozer to watch the derby with some fellow Blues?

Dougie <julian.Douglas(at)>


I am after some help on viewing City games whilst I am away from the UK – could you ask this question for me?

Does anyone know of any bars in the Perpignan/Canet area that show live Premiership football? City’s games in particular of course.

Nick Mills <millsoni(at)>


26 November 2006

Newcastle United      1 - 0  Portsmouth            48,743
Tottenham Hotspur     3 - 1  Wigan Athletic        35,205
Manchester United     1 - 1  Chelsea               75,948

25 November 2006

Aston Villa           1 - 1  Middlesbrough         33,162
Bolton Wanderers      3 - 1  Arsenal               24,409
Charlton Athletic     1 - 1  Everton               26,435
Fulham                0 - 1  Reading               22,673
Liverpool             1 - 0  Manchester City       44,081
West Ham United       1 - 0  Sheffield United      34,454

League table to 26 November 2006 inclusive

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F   A   GD Pts
 1 Manchester Utd  14  5  1  1 14  3  6  1  0 16  4 11  2  1  30   7  23  35
 2 Chelsea         14  6  1  0 14  3  4  1  2 10  5 10  2  2  24   8  16  32
 3 Bolton Wndrs    14  4  1  2  8  6  3  2  2  7  7  7  3  4  15  13   2  24
 4 Portsmouth      14  5  1  1 12  4  2  1  4  7  8  7  2  5  19  12   7  23
 5 Aston Villa     14  4  3  0 11  4  1  5  1  5  6  5  8  1  16  10   6  23
 6 Arsenal         13  3  4  0 13  4  3  0  3  8  6  6  4  3  21  10  11  22
 7 Reading         14  4  1  2 10  9  3  0  4  6  9  7  1  6  16  18  -2  22
 8 Everton         14  4  2  1 11  5  1  4  2  7  7  5  6  3  18  12   6  21
 9 Liverpool       14  6  1  0 14  3  0  2  5  1 12  6  3  5  15  15   0  21
10 Tottenham H.    14  5  1  1 10  5  0  3  4  3 11  5  4  5  13  16  -3  19
11 Wigan Athletic  13  3  2  1 10  6  2  1  4  7 10  5  3  5  17  16   1  18
12 Fulham          14  3  1  3  5  6  1  4  2  9 14  4  5  5  14  20  -6  17
13 Middlesbrough   14  4  1  2  6  7  0  3  4  5 10  4  4  6  11  17  -6  16
14 Manchester City 14  4  3  0  7  1  0  1  6  3 15  4  4  6  10  16  -6  16
15 West Ham United 14  4  1  2  8  6  0  1  6  2 10  4  2  8  10  16  -6  14
16 Blackburn R.    13  2  2  3  8  9  1  2  3  3  8  3  4  6  11  17  -6  13
17 Newcastle Utd   14  2  2  3  6  7  1  2  4  3  8  3  4  7   9  15  -6  13
18 Sheff. United   14  1  3  3  7 10  1  1  5  1  9  2  4  8   8  19 -11  10
19 Watford         13  1  4  1  7  6  0  2  5  3 13  1  6  6  10  19  -9   9
20 Charlton Ath.   14  2  2  3  5  7  0  1  6  5 14  2  3  9  10  21 -11   9

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1280