Newsletter #1301

A hard-fought game on Saturday down at the worst of all grounds, Fratton Park. City were unfortunate to not come out of this performance with a point, but once again our game against Pompey is marked by controversy in a challenge on Mendes.

We have match reports/views tonight, opinion on where we go now, news from Signor Corradi and the usual requests.

Next game: Preston North End, away, 1.10pm Sunday 18 February 2007 (FA Cup)


Benjamin Franklin said “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”. He’d obviously never seen City play Portsmouth or he would have added “… and Mendes will score a screamer against City and then get stretchered off.” Portsmouth had been having a poor 2007 but Dr Pearce usually manages to find a cure for the opposition team’s ills.

It was the much-derided 5-3-2 again, with Isaksson making his first Premiership start, Ball in for Beasley on the left and Sun Jihai for Trabelsi on the right. The two forwards this week were Vassell and Corradi. In the Portsmouth team were City “old boys” David James and Andrew Cole.

The game started well for City, with Corradi through on goal but flagged offside (probably wrongly) and then Vassell through, with James having come out but got nowhere near it. Vassell was clear on the left but put a poor ball into the danger area when James was struggling to get back. This all took place in the first couple of minutes and augured well for an exciting game. Pompey then played their part when Lua Lua wriggled through and Dunne had to put out the ball for a corner. From the corner, Isaksson punched well clear and the ball fell to Mendes, 25 yards out. He dodged a fairly half-hearted attempt by Dabo to block him and let fly a screamer that flew into the net.

For the rest of the first third it was largely Portsmouth on the attack and Isaksson was in action on a number of occasions. We also had a lucky escape when a lofted ball over the defence found Cole in the clear but he was flagged offside (again wrongly). The ex-City man also received the first yellow card after blatantly backing into Micah Richards. The free kick was played long over to the far side of the Pompey area but Dunne just failed to get a foot to it. Then Dabo followed him into the referee’s book with a robust “ball and man” challenge from behind.

Down the other end it could have been 2-0 as a Portsmouth corner came in but wasn’t cleared by the City defence, allowing it to be played back wide to a Portsmouth player. The ball was whipped in to the near post and flew off Richards’ leg, fortunately going the right side of the post.

This seemed to act as a wake up call to City and they started pulling themselves back into the match. They should have been level when a corner was played in towards Distin but his marker, Traore, clearly used his hand to bat it away. Well at least it was clear to everyone but referee Mike Dean and yet another cast iron penalty had been denied to us (I make that at least four obvious ones this season). To their credit, City didn’t let this bother them and Corradi found space on the right edge of the Portsmouth area and unleashed a strong shot that unfortunately went into the side netting rather than the goal. Then Vassell found space on that side, after a great ball from Barton but his shot was deflected off a defender for a corner.

Then, on 39 minutes, there was the most controversial moment of the game. Barton was chasing Mendes, who had the ball, and seemed to stamp on the back of his ankle. Mendes went down in agony and the stretcher was called on. We know all about his acting abilities, following that innocuous collision with Ben Thatcher but off he went to be substituted. Barton was possibly very lucky to escape with a yellow card. In injury time, Richards crossed the ball superbly to Corradi, whose header was saved a point blank range by James.

The second half started in a frantic but scrappy manner but City were the first to find their rhythm and a long ball over to the far side of the Portsmouth area was cut out by Corradi when Barton was better placed behind him. Then Barton played a delightful ball inside the Portsmouth full back to Vassell. He fed it back for Sun Jihai, who did well to squeeze through to the touchline where he gained a corner.

On 61 minutes, Beasley replaced Ireland, who’d been pretty anonymous and City reverted to 4-4-2, with Ball and Richards occupying the full back slots and Sun Jihai playing on the right of midfield. This paid immediate dividends when Sun did well to win the ball on the half-way line and played it straight down the field to Barton. He played another straight ball down to Vassell, whose inch-perfect cross was headed past James by Corradi to bring us level.

Isaksson then had to be at his very best to keep things that way, making a stunning close range save after the defence failed to deal with a hopeful ball being played in.

Sun, who had really come to life in the second half, then created another opportunity when playing the ball in to Corradi in the area. He pulled in back for Beasley but his shot was just off target. On 71 minutes Cole was replaced by Kanu and I suspect most City fans breathed a sigh of relief that he couldn’t now score against us.

A few minutes later, Miller came on to replace the injured Vassell. Two minutes after that Portsmouth had a throw on the City left. There should have been no danger but Miller let the Portsmouth player have far too much room and Kanu was left unmarked on the edge of the six-yard box. His toe-poke slid agonisingly past the City defence and ‘keeper and we were 2-1 down.

Five minutes later, the scorer was booked for a blatant dive and then Corradi got in on the act as well. Samaras replaced Sun for the last 3 minutes. Miller then had a powerful run that gave us a corner. Just when we needed a good delivery into the box, the idiots decided to take it short and wasted it. Miller then carried on the theme after Samaras had played him a great ball down the touchline. Then in the dying minutes, Corradi was played in, in the Portsmouth box and yet again a defender seemed to handle it but yet again there was no penalty. That was the last significant action and we had lost again when the whistle went. We were fortunate that West Ham had already lost to Watford and that Wigan were at Arsenal on Sunday. Otherwise our 16 position could have looked even more precarious that it already was.

Isaksson 7. Debatable whether he had any chance with either goal but otherwise a pretty sound effort.
Richards 6. Just wasn’t as effective as he usually is.
Dunne 7. Tough game for the defenders and he wasn’t found wanting.
Distin 6. Thought he had one or two shaky moments.
Ball 6. Solid if unspectacular début.
Sun 7. Quiet first half but one of our main threats in the second. A good return to match action.

Colin Savage <colin(at)>


Thoroughly enjoyed the game and a shame that we lost. Nice to see that we didn’t shut up shop once we equalised and tried to win the game. Could have gone either way but on the balance of chances and saves by ‘keepers I have to admit that Portsmouth probably deserved it.

Sun had a good game as did Corradi (shock horror), Vassell and Dunne. Barton certainly came into it after Mendes had departed. Yes Mendes was running the show and no I don’t think the foul was intentional.

Barton certainly has got what it takes. He took 50 minutes+ abuse and some of this was pretty bad stuff concerning his brother. He not only was the last player on the pitch applauding the fans but he turned up in the hospitality area to talk with fans. This area was pretty much full of Portsmouth fans who had been pretty riled by him but there he was calm as you like and not hiding. He has gone up in my estimation.

If anyone was making the situation worse at the time it was Joe Jordan with his touchline remonstration with Joey. I must admit, if it had been me, I might have done a Keith Gillespie on him. Jordan’s not as scary as he used to be as he has teeth in now and wears glasses.

Ireland was very disappointing (which is a shame as I really like him) and seemed to be a bit lightweight for a hard tackling physical game played on a fast, slippery pitch.

If we play like this against Preston we should go through.

Simon Clarke <simbadiow(at)>


The evening was off to a great start when Judas Andy Cole flicked the ‘V’ sign at the travelling City support – what a thoroughly self centred mercenary he turned out to be. I think there’s a lesson for City what with Cole, Kanchelskis, Fowler, McManaman, Hamann etc. – don’t buy sullied goods from the Reds and the scousers.

Anyway, back to events at Fratton Park. We didn’t deserve to lose, Mike Dean denied us two penalties from handball incidents and we played so much better in the second half. Two questions though – why do we seem to play so poorly in the first half of the majority of our matches (Villa away and Fulham home being the exceptions that spring to mind) and why do we employ Ousmane Dabo? Like many City fans, I was led to believe that Dabo was going to be a class act, a ‘Patrick Viera’ type of player, who would make a world of difference in the front of the back 3 or 4 and linking play with the forward line. The man is a disaster. He loafs around, gives the ball away about 75% of the time, invariably passes backwards when he is successful in finding a team mate, is unbelievably slow, always getting to the action just after the fact and overall is a lazy good-for-nothing waste of space. A disgrace who just about every City fan would never put on the team sheet again. Get rid of the idle, useless so-and-so asap along with that other overpaid, over-the hill Pearce signing Hamann.

Glad for Corradi with his goal – it shows that he can and will score but the supply lines from City are chronic. Also delighted to see Isaksson in the team; I think he will hold that place now and will be a massive bonus at the back. One final comment – Pearce out now, why the hell do people keep praising him? The television experts keep putting him on that pedestal as a man you want in your trench when the chips are down etc. What utter garbage; it’s down to his poor judgment of players e.g. Dabo, Hamann, Samaras etc. and his totally inept approach to tactical play that we’re in this downward spiral. He just keeps arse-licking with the FA week in and week out and I for one can’t wait for the ‘call of his country’ – pretentious patriotic prat – to become so strong that he hops it and goes to manage the U-21s on a full time basis.

Question, possibly for Colin, can he just outline the likely TV revenues for City in 2007/08, assuming we stay up(!), and how much extra income we will derive compared to the present agreement?

Rant over.

David Walker <davidjwalker1(at)>


If there was ever a game when City deserved a point at least, it was the game versus Portsmouth. Seeing the City line up, it looked as if City had gone to Fratton Park to play a defensive game, and with the hope of a fast break with Vassell and his speed up front.

It all started at a slow pace until Mendes scored a goal that looked familiar to the goal he scored against City at Portsmouth last season, a bullet from about 30 yards out, after just 5 minutes play. It was now very obvious that City would have to change tactics, being a goal down. After about 30 minutes City raised the tempo of the game and Corradi was desperately unlucky not to score with a couple of fine efforts.

City had reason to be upset that the ref did not see Traore take the ball away from Distin’s head with his hand in the penalty area from a corner kick. If Traore had not touched the ball, Distin was in a perfect place to have scored, never mind the penalty call.

If any player deserved a goal in the Premier League, never mind just the City side, it is Corradi for all his hard work and many fine efforts, Corradi put an end to his goal draught with a well taken goal from a Michael Ball cross in the 62nd minute to square up the game. 1-1.

City continued to enjoy much of the possession, but then the wise old fox Harry Redknapp made his substitutions, Kanu coming on for Andy Cole, who had had a quiet game against his old club. And it was Kanu who got the winner for Pompey to make it Portsmouth 2 City 1.

I feel sure that City left Fratton Park feeling that a point at least was justly deserved. City did put on a brave effort, but every game is a tough game in the Premiership, and there are going to be tougher ones ahead. There have been games when we have got a point and never played as hard as the players did today, but that’s football.

No more comments from me about Samaras’ hair. If he wants to be unprofessional that’s up to him, but I find it sad that the manager does not feel this way, when on the pitch every advantage should be taken care of. But after all who am I? Just another City fan that cares. I do withdraw my comments about Samaras being lazy, maybe he just needs some encouragement from Stuart Pearce and the coaching staff, so as to get his confidence back.

Samaras proved to me that he does have the talent in the way he scored his first three goals for City, he has just got to have that burning desire to succeed. He has been struggling for a while now. I wish him luck!

Come on you Blues, fight for every ball, you can do it!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


Ernie Barrow, give it a rest. You are beginning to sound like my old man (deceased 1974!) when it comes long hair.

Georgie Best, Rodney Marsh, Frank Worthington, Robbie Savage come to that, never seemed inhibited from performing by the lack of a ‘short back and sides’.

Nothing is to be gained by giving Georgios a barnet job that will turn him into a Hellenic version of Jaap Stamm. If cosmetics are an issue I’d suggest you start at the other end, treat him to a ‘toe job’. No, not the Duchess of York kind, I mean get his toenails done and maybe his corns treated. It’s his feet that are the problem.

Personally I believe Samaras is actually a central midfielder, something that has yet to dawn on SP.

Ernie Whalley <bluevalentine(at)>


On a recent flight to Zurich, on 28th January after the Southampton game, I met Mr Corradi, also travelling to Zurich. I initially thought he might be travelling to see another club to discuss terms and have a medical but when asked he said no. I did however get to have a little chat with him; his English was excellent and he was a gent. This is what he said.

I informed him that most fans were of the understanding that he hadn’t quite settled in the UK and that it was only a matter of time before he returned to Italy for another club. I specifically mentioned that apparently a few smaller Italian clubs were supposed to be interested in him and was any of it true? He said he has had no contact with any Italian clubs and that he would not choose to leave City but he said the decision would lie in SP hands and that he didn’t think SP was his biggest fan any more? He said if things didn’t work out then he’d like to try another Premiership club as he liked the place and wanted to give it a real go before going back to Italy.

I asked him about the signing of future strikers; he said we need to sign Superman, which made me laugh. He went on to explain that when he signed SP had said we had excellent wingers and that he’d get lots of crosses supplied. He said you need to be superman because you get the ball 50 yards from goal and have to beat 5 players before scoring! Though the supply chain has hardly been great he has had plenty of corners, which are a little closer to goal! He went on to mention how he counts how many chances he has on goal during a match and how upset it makes him when he doesn’t have any, he said that’s happened a few times in a blue shirt! At the time he thought Mido would be signing and I explained I didn’t think they were that different players and neither were going to score 20+ goals a season; he just grunted.

On training … He thought training wasn’t up to the standard on the continent and that he’d often train alone at Carrington on a Wednesday and that no one was around?

After we left the plane and was heading for the terminal I received a text about SP and the under 21 job. I mentioned the fact that he might have a new manager because SP wanted to be under 21 coach and at the time City weren’t having it. He said sarcastically that would be a shame 8) He went on to say that he thought that he wouldn’t make a good manager for the under 21’s as he wasn’t that great with the kids and his coaching was more just defensive combative style. I asked him about any rumours I should know and this one is more interesting. He said Micah is off to AC Milan in the summer?

Patrick O’Sullivan <Patrick(at)>


What happened to the drive and spirit of Stuart Pearce? At the beginning, he breathed fresh air in to the team and fell a Robbie Fowler penalty shot miss short of qualifying for Europe.

But for the past two seasons he has been operating in a fog. SWP, Andy Cole, Antoine Sibierski and Robbie Fowler have not been replaced. Corradi and Samaras are anaemic, Dickov has done nothing, Vassell looks lost and worst of all, despite knowing his offensive deficiencies, Pearce did nothing to rectify his pop-gun forward line at the transfer deadline. Having watched City succumb to both Reading and Portsmouth, all Pearce has to do is look at the other bench to see teams that are doing things right. No one would disagree that City are not bigger than Reading or Portsmouth but in consecutive weeks they beat the pants off us.

What’s the point of residing in one of the best stadiums in the country, supported by one of the most loyal groups of supporters (whose loyalty is being severely tested) if we continue to produce such pathetic displays?

If the City board of directors can’t see they have a problem, the shocking reality will hit home when they are relegated to the Championship, lose the lucrative TV cash and see a massive departure of talent. A few more performances like today’s against Portsmouth and this will be a reality.

Staying Blue but feeling very blue!

Keith Sharp – Toronto, Canada <keith(at)>


In response to Peter Birbeck; We may have had 34 points after 25 games last season, but on a substitution basis – i.e. comparing matches played this year with their comparatives last year – we are exactly the same.

Played 25 Points 30

The telling difference is the change in City’s focus. At this point last year we had scored 29 goals but conceded 32, this year it’s 19 for and 30 against. It quite obvious where our problems lie.

I like Samaras and think he may turn out to be a brilliant striker, though I completely agree with Ernie. He needs his head shaved and a good kick up the arse. Still don’t like Vassell and probably never will. Corradi, I don’t understand how he doesn’t score more as he seems to do nearly everything right and poor Dickov should have stayed well clear and left his legend intact.

More work on the training ground methinks.

Seén Cassidy <Sean.Cassidy(at)>


Thanks to all those subscribers who have responded so far to my mini-survey. There is much interesting views, which I am compiling. Please keep the responses coming! The questions are listed again for those who missed them.

I would like to canvass opinion from the other City fans who read MCIVTA (and their family, friends and colleagues). Whatever your intention for next season, I would like to hear from you at the email given below. Please feel free to paste this article onto an email, and send to all your City mates. The more responses I get, so much the better. I will compile all replies into one document (no email addresses included), and send it to all the email respondents, along with some facts and figures that I will also publish on MCIVTA at the end of February.

So, drop me a short email, pasting the answers to the following questions onto a new email:

  1. Your name
  2. Your age and gender
  3. Where you live
  4. Are you a season ticket holder and if so, for how long?
  5. Where you usually sit in the stadium
  6. What you intend to do next year; put either “RENEWING SEASON TICKET”, “GIVING UP SEASON TICKET”, “NEW SEASON TICKET APPLICANT”, or detail anything else
  7. Tell me briefly why you are taking this course of action next season
  8. Finally, what do you think is wrong with football at the moment (please be concise!)?

Steve Kay <info(at)>


Due to circumstances beyond my son’s control. I have a spare U18 ticket for the Preston Cup game. So if you have a ticket and fancy taking your son (or daughter) then drop me a line. Can meet at the ground to deliver.

Ian Reeves <MCFC(at)>


I know this is a long shot but does anyone have 2 spare tickets for Preston? I’ve got the 3,000 loyalty points, just wasn’t sorted enough to phone on the right day! A mess of my own making, I know, but if anyone can get me out of it, please could you e-mail me.

Andy Carver <andy.carver(at)>


I’m visiting London from the United States and I’ll be there the week City is at Fulham and was thinking of getting tickets and checking out the match. Is anyone else going? How is that part of town? WIll it be safe to wear my sky blue on the tube?

Any assistance is appreciated.

Gary Ghiotto <countgary(at)>


Can anybody help me with some away ground information for a number of City games from yesteryear? The games in question are:

Fleetwood Rangers (Sept 1892), New Brompton (Feb 1908), Southport Central (WW1 & WW2), Southport Vulcan (WW1), The Corinthians (Jan 1926) and West Manchester (Oct 1893).

Steve Kay <info(at)>


11 February 2007

Arsenal               2 - 1  Wigan Athletic        60,049
Bolton Wanderers      2 - 1  Fulham                24,919

10 February 2007

Chelsea               3 - 0  Middlesbrough         41,699
Everton               1 - 0  Blackburn Rovers      35,593
Manchester United     2 - 0  Charlton Athletic     75,883
Newcastle United      2 - 1  Liverpool             52,305
Portsmouth            2 - 1  Manchester City       19,344
Reading               2 - 0  Aston Villa           24,122
Sheffield United      2 - 1  Tottenham Hotspur     32,144
West Ham United       0 - 1  Watford               34,625

League table to 11 February 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  27 12  1  1 35  8  9  2  2 28 10 21  3  3  63  18  45  66
 2 Chelsea         27 10  4  0 30  8  8  2  3 18 11 18  6  3  48  19  29  60
 3 Liverpool       27 10  3  0 25  3  5  2  7 15 16 15  5  7  40  19  21  50
 4 Arsenal         26  8  5  0 32 10  6  2  5 16 12 14  7  5  48  22  26  49
 5 Bolton Wndrs    27  8  3  3 20 12  6  2  5 12 16 14  5  8  32  28   4  47
 6 Reading         27  9  1  4 26 16  4  3  6 15 18 13  4 10  41  34   7  43
 7 Portsmouth      27  8  4  2 22 10  3  4  6 14 16 11  8  8  36  26  10  41
 8 Everton         26  7  4  2 20  9  3  5  5 12 14 10  9  7  32  23   9  39
 9 Newcastle Utd   27  7  4  3 23 17  3  2  8 11 19 10  6 11  34  36  -2  36
10 Blackburn R.    27  6  2  5 16 16  4  2  8 14 22 10  4 13  30  38  -8  34
11 Tottenham H.    26  8  1  4 21 16  1  5  7  9 22  9  6 11  30  38  -8  33
12 Middlesbrough   27  7  3  3 19 13  1  5  8 11 20  8  8 11  30  33  -3  32
13 Aston Villa     27  6  4  3 15 11  1  7  6 13 22  7 11  9  28  33  -5  32
14 Fulham          27  6  4  3 12 10  1  7  6 17 31  7 11  9  29  41 -12  32
15 Sheff. United   27  5  5  4 17 16  3  1  9  7 20  8  6 13  24  36 -12  30
16 Manchester City 26  5  4  4 10 11  3  2  8 10 21  8  6 12  20  32 -12  30
17 Wigan Athletic  26  4  2  7 13 20  3  2  8 14 23  7  4 15  27  43 -16  25
18 West Ham United 27  5  2  7 14 17  0  3 10  4 25  5  5 17  18  42 -24  20
19 Charlton Ath.   27  4  3  6 11 17  1  2 11  9 30  5  5 17  20  47 -27  20
20 Watford         26  2  5  5 10 14  1  4  9  5 23  3  9 14  15  37 -22  18

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1301