Newsletter #1291

After what could be termed a “typical City” away cup performance against the Owls – match report thanks to Colin – City earned the right to a replay, which features on Sky next Tuesday 16th January at CoMS. Tickets are £15 for adults, and a bargain £5 for concessions. Unlike Bolton, where a number of fans are planning a boycott given their ridiculous £35 charge.

We also have opinion on City finances, news of Reyna possibly returning to the USA, the usual requests and a submission from one of the first McVers.

Next game: Bolton Wanderers, away, 3pm Saturday 13 January 2007


Another year, another potential Cup disaster, particularly knowing that the referee was our great favourite Graham Poll. There was a contingent of around 6,000 Blues in the West Stand (what used to be the infamous Leppings Lane end) and they were in good voice.

The starting line-up was Weaver, Onuoha, Distin, Dunne, Jordan, Trabelsi, Dabo, Richards, Beasley, Samaras, and Vassell.

The first few minutes were pretty well what you’d expect from a cup-tie, with lots of energy but little skill and it was nearly 15 minutes before City managed a decent string of passes to set up a half chance. Five minutes later they had the ball in the net but, surprise, surprise, it was disallowed by Poll. It was probably something to do with Samaras’ hair being too long. Neither side really imposed themselves in a very dull first forty-five minutes but Wednesday could have gone ahead if one of their players hadn’t had a Soccer AM moment when falling over as he was about to shoot. The City defence looked somewhat shaky at times, with Dunne and Distin committing at least one howler each and Jordan never looking as though he had a clue what he should be doing. Up front, Vassell was caught offside a few times when in good positions and at least one of those decisions looked a bit dubious. Seconds before the end of the half, there was an odd moment as Sinclair was introduced for Trabelsi. Presumably he was injured but could he not have hung on for 30 more seconds?

The second half started in an entirely different vein, with both teams much more focused. There was action aplenty form the kick off as Weaver did really well to tip over a miscued defensive clearance from Distin. From the corner Samaras had to clear off the line and then was involved in City’s best attacking move as he played a great pass from deep to Vassell. Vassell outpaced the defence and was one-on-one with the Wednesday ‘keeper, Mark Crossley, who saved well.

Wednesday looked the sharper and, once again, it was lack of composure in front of goal that stopped them from taking a deserved lead. They played short, neat passes and their movement off the ball was good. The City midfield was largely non-existent and we were relying mainly on long balls to Vassell and Samaras for our threat. But most of the action was at the other end. Samaras got a good shot away from a tight turn and Vassell then had a second one on one but pushed the ball too far, allowing Crossley to gather at his feet.

Most of the City fans would have happily settled for the draw with 15 minutes left, as Wednesday had a penalty appeal turned down. Then City came down the other end and Richards burst into the box but was brought down by a double pincer from two Wednesday defenders. Graham Poll seemed to think about it for ages but presumably realised that there was no alternative but to point to the spot and duly did. The City fans then burst into a chorus of “One Graham Poll, there’s only one Graham Poll…” Without Barton, Samaras stepped up and coolly dispatched the spot kick to give us a wholly undeserved lead with just over 10 minutes left.

However, before 60 seconds were up we were back level again. Another excellent Wednesday move went totally unchallenged around the City box and MacLean slotted the ball home from an angle. A frantic last ten minutes then followed when either side could have wrapped the game up but Wednesday looked the more likely to do so.

With seconds of extra time remaining, one of the most bizarre incidents I have ever seen on a football field occurred. A Wednesday player put in a good tackle on an attacking City player just outside the area and the ball flew away towards the corner. It hit the corner flag, breaking it in two. Instead of just carrying on for the last seconds with half a corner flag, the pedantic Poll insisted on a replacement, which Wednesday took some time to produce (and then it didn’t have a flag on it). Cue more singing from the City fans “Three flags, you’ve only got three flags…” The whistle did go finally and it was a replay at CoMS to look forward to. I think most City fans were relieved to get that, to be honest. At least we’re still in the draw but we could have just as easily been on the wrong end of a Cup shock. Yet again.

Weaver – 7. Looked very solid, even if the biggest test was from his own player.
Onuoha – 6. Wednesday got little joy down his flank.
Dunne – 5. Didn’t think it was one of his better games for us.
Distin – 5. As per Dunne.
Jordan – 3. Was he part of a five man midfield or a four man defence? Don’t think he knew plus he really needs to get the hang of this “marking” business.
Trabelsi – 5. Not really effective in the half he played.
Richards – 6. Battled as ever but is he really a midfielder?
Dabo – 4. Too many poor passes and decisions.
Beasley – 5. One or two flashes but that’s not enough.
Vassell – 7. Chased everything but should have put away at least one of his chances.
Samaras – 6. Good penalty, goal-line clearance and one or two other good moments but needs to work harder and impose himself more.
Sinclair – 6. Looked lively but not enough end-product.
Miller – 5. Never figured.
Dickov – 4. Only contribution was a yellow card.

Overall Out-Of-The-Seat Factor: 5. Far more for the home fans to get excited about.

Colin Savage <colin(at)>


Well in last week’s MCIVTA I sent out my usual polemic urging people to back Stuart Pearce all the way. Now, just to be awkward I’m going to reverse the message by asking you to … er, … not back Stuart Pearce all the way! Well by this I mean, as much as we all love to follow and support City, especially at away matches, and even though I’m sure the players genuinely appreciate our support on their travels, my latest message is:

Please boycott the Bolton FC away game!

To charge us £36 for this fixture is nothing short of an insult and a complete rip-off, and Bolton FC really must think we are mugs. And sadly, to some extent, for putting up with this kind of thing so far, we probably are. We really must start voting with our feet as much as possible, and the more we can concentrate on a few key ‘rip-off’ fixtures (Birmingham FC away anyone?) the better: I’m not advocating that we totally desert from supporting City, far from it, but we have to make a stand sometime. So, if there are a few thousand at the Reebok next week then unfortunately that sends the signals that City fans aren’t bothered about supporting their team. However, only a few hundred or preferably no-one at all attending the game, sends an entirely different message altogether. That message is this: Loyal = Yes. Mugs = No.

I’m currently reduced to one or two away games per season now, and I know that many MCIVTA readers are even questioning the value of renewing their season tickets at COMS, and given that I think Stuart Pearce and John Wardle are top blokes, this for me is a real shame. But fair’s fair, today’s footballers are so incredibly greedy in their demands, is it really any wonder that it has now reached the stage where we fans have a duty to ourselves (and families) to pick and choose exactly where and what we throw our money at?

As I said in a previous missive, the cost of the majority of football matches should actually be reduced to £15, certainly for the away supporters, and whilst it seemed a bit crazy at the time, it’s interesting that some clubs like Blackburn and Wigan are now starting to recognise this. We now need Bolton and the rest of the Premiership to wake up and do the same. After all, the players do not actually need to earn ‘that’ much money anymore, all they are interested in is playing the status game of being the top-earner at the club. If the top earner at City was on £20,000 a week, then Barton would want to be on £19,000, if the top earner was on £80,000 a week, he would want £75,000: this is all that this issue is really all about. Pay someone like Danny Mills £35,000 a week and it’s no wonder that a better player (Barton) knocks on the door and says “me too”. I’m amazed that the people running football have not cottoned on to this yet, and put a stop to it: idiots.

Accordingly, I’m looking forward to being part of a massive turnout (6,000+) at Sheffield Wednesday this weekend, and I’m looking forward to a miniscule turnout at Bolton the week after!

P.S.: As the above was written before the Sheffield Wednesday game, can I now urge you all to back the club 100% by going to the replay – adult tickets priced at £15 is fantastic news, and maybe shows the club do read MCIVTA after all! Let’s all enjoy another classic Man City FA Cup tie – yesterday’s game was quite engrossing and another tremendous turnout by the supporters.

Neil Haigh <city(at)>


Been meaning to post for a while. However, Jon Marshall (MCIVTA 1290) said it all for me. Keep SWP, Anelka, bought van Buyten for the £2 million when he wanted to sign for us (has he not recently gone to Bayern from Hamburg for £8 million?) and add quality. We would have been easily Champions’ League, more importantly still have had the pride we lost when SWP was sold. I can understand Anelka leaving, given our ambition to be a top 8 club!

Financial Rant

Why do we need new investment, when the ground was valued in 2004 at £150 million? Surely we could have, still can, mortgage 50% of that? I’m not interested in whether we are in debt or not. As long as the debt is manageable, and given our revenue stream options – potential gate receipts to you and me – we could manage more than £75 million if we were competing for the league and Europe. It’s no coincidence that crowds are down 10,000 and more importantly long term life and soul Blues are picking and choosing (missed two home and away this season) games. The day we decided 8th place would be an acceptable finish was a sad day in the life of a long term Blue who still holds dreams of us competing at the top level like we once did.

A second option the board could do tomorrow to raise funds. We could change our accounting policies and borrow against greater fixed assets on the balance sheet. Our players our listed as current assets at £11 million in the latest set of accounts. Surely we could change the policy to raise a further £100 million on paper? I know any potential outside investor will consider this practice to maximize the potential borrowing power of the club.

The reason I suggest two ‘wild’ financial solutions is that I would rather watch quality every week of my life after being starved of it in decent quantities for so long. I am not bothered what the numbers look like in a bank account. It’s all manageable given a more creative approach. At all costs we should have kept the aim of winning every competition we enter alive, including the league. I was embarrassed when we could not afford DvB after showing so much ambition in our earlier spending. The value of the ground is not secret and the accounting policies are used by other clubs. I’m sure our financial directors know these options, having written the valuation in this year’s statement and highlighted it in the press comments. I would do this tomorrow, we might then build on the small nucleus of quality we have kept. This might even avoid an average unproven player (admittedly with potential) enlisting agents to find new clubs if they don’t get a pay rise.

Happy to be on the board of any consortium if anyone has the balls?

Whatever you do, stay Blue.

Dave Clinton <dave_Clinton(at)>


Reports today indicate Claudio Reyna shall be leaving the club without delay.

Definitely not before time, as far as I’m concerned – a player who, on those occasions when actually deemed physically fit enough to play has, for the most part, been largely ineffective; in my view he never should have been signed and brought into the club in the first place. He has his followers although, I’ve never been one of them.

With his departure, it should free up more money for Stuart P to widen his options, somewhat, during the transfer window. I can only hope that the club is actively seeking a competent striker.

Any developing news on prospective new-investment to the club, anyone?

Graham Mills – USA <ride4311(at)>


I live in upstate NY in the States, and have just noticed that Chelsea have signed a deal with Sirius satellite radio to broadcast all Chelsea FC games live in the USA. Does anyone know if City would consider such a move? And who to contact to raise the idea?

Matt Dye – Rochester, NY (subscriber since issue 3!) <englishmatt(at)>

[Blimey Matt, that goes back some! Any more early doors subscribers still out there? – Ed]


Flying over from Stockholm to see the Arsenal game at their new stadium. I was a bit late and today I realised that the game is now sold out. Therefore I am now desperately seeking a ticket, possibly two, preferably in the City end. Can meet outside stadium or in London on the day of the game. Contact me on e-mail or on phone 0046-708283374. There’s a pint or four to anyone who can help me.

Thanks in advance, Patrik Scheele <patrik.scheele(at)>


I’m looking for tickets to the Arsenal game, preferably a pair but I’ll take whatever is going.

Please e-mail me at address below.

Struan Malcolm <struan_Malcolm(at)>


Our next meeting is Tuesday 9th January, 8pm at Morley Cricket Club when our special guest will be Colin Savage of MCFC Supporters’ Trust. All Blues welcome.

Ian Barton <ian(at)>


League table to 07 January 2007 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  22  9  1  1 26  7  8  2  1 23  8 17  3  2  49  15  34  54
 2 Chelsea         22  7  4  0 20  8  7  2  2 17  9 14  6  2  37  17  20  48
 3 Liverpool       22  9  2  0 23  3  3  2  6  9 13 12  4  6  32  16  16  40
 4 Arsenal         22  6  5  0 28  8  5  1  5 13 11 11  6  5  41  19  22  39
 5 Bolton Wndrs    22  7  1  3 17 10  5  2  4 10 11 12  3  7  27  21   6  39
 6 Portsmouth      22  7  3  1 20  8  3  3  5 13 14 10  6  6  33  22  11  36
 7 Tottenham H.    22  8  1  2 19  9  1  4  6  7 19  9  5  8  26  28  -2  32
 8 Everton         22  6  3  2 18  8  2  4  5 10 14  8  7  7  28  22   6  31
 9 Reading         22  6  1  4 18 13  3  2  6 12 17  9  3 10  30  30   0  30
10 Manchester City 22  5  4  2 10  6  3  1  7  9 19  8  5  9  19  25  -6  29
11 Blackburn R.    21  5  2  4 14 13  3  2  5 10 16  8  4  9  24  29  -5  28
12 Fulham          22  5  3  3  9  8  1  6  4 13 24  6  9  7  22  32 -10  27
13 Aston Villa     22  4  4  3 12 11  1  7  3 11 14  5 11  6  23  25  -2  26
14 Newcastle Utd   22  5  3  3 16 13  2  2  7  7 15  7  5 10  23  28  -5  26
15 Middlesbrough   22  6  2  3 13 11  0  4  7  8 16  6  6 10  21  27  -6  24
16 Sheff. United   22  3  4  4 12 14  3  1  7  5 15  6  5 11  17  29 -12  23
17 Wigan Athletic  21  3  2  6 12 18  3  2  5 11 14  6  4 11  23  32  -9  22
18 West Ham United 22  5  1  5 10 11  0  2  9  2 22  5  3 14  12  33 -21  18
19 Charlton Ath.   22  4  3  4 10 13  0  1 10  7 27  4  4 14  17  40 -23  16
20 Watford         20  1  5  3  8  9  0  4  7  4 17  1  9 10  12  26 -14  12

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1291