Newsletter #1309

Another bumper issue, following our defeat to Blackburn and some disturbing scenes of “fan” behaviour at the end of the game. Sometimes you’re just not proud to be a Blue.

We have match views, match reports, views on what is going on behind the scenes at City, and what should change.

Next game: Chelsea, home, 8pm Wednesday 14 March 2007


I thought that subscribers may want to share our experiences last weekend prior to the Cup match, and I have some comments on support for the team.

Our family are long serving (and long suffering) City fans/season ticket holders/shareholders covering 4 generations going back to before the 1934 Stoke max-capacity match at Maine Road. My son had arranged his wedding day on Saturday 10 March in Preston (his fiancé’s home town) with the reception afterwards at the Marriott Hotel, Broughton. Imagine our surprise when the team and coaching staff arrived at the same hotel on Saturday evening, prior to the match at Blackburn on Sunday. Needless to say there was lots of autograph hunting and the hotel manager kindly arranged for my son and his new wife to be introduced to SP and a few of the players.

A couple of observations are worth passing on.

Firstly, on Sunday morning while we were having a leisurely breakfast and recovering from our hangovers, we saw many of the players and coaching staff gathering together for a leisurely walk prior to their lunch and again afterwards. There was not a smiling face among them (except perhaps Nicky Weaver), and the whole atmosphere appeared to be doom and gloom in anticipation of the task ahead that afternoon. I know that SP doesn’t smile very much, but perhaps a bit of upbeat confidence would have helped in preparation for later on.

Secondly, my wife asked Sylvain Distin for his autograph and managed to get a few words with him. She said he was very charming and happy to talk to her. She wished him good luck and told him we were going to the match later, to which he replied that they would do their best, but “please do not boo, it is not good and does not help us”. Now, he was preaching to the converted here as we are all absolutely opposed to the negative, so-called support of many City fans. She explained this to Sylvain and he thanked her.

I wish that I could get this story to those brainless idiots who were part of the crowd around us at Ewood. In the first half the support and singing was great – the usual away match positive “We’re Not Really Here/Blue Moon/We Love You City/La la la, lala la la, City/etc.” stuff but eventually degenerated into boos and “You’re not fit to wear the shirt”. I do not wonder that the team can’t raise a smile when they hear this kind of thing.

On a final note, perhaps nothing to do with the match but a reflection of our society in general and the aforementioned brainless idiots. I went to the gents at half time and was disgusted by the personal habits of many of my fellow fans. The floor was awash and the washbasins were being used as urinals. Why do I have to be a part of this?

Only the Cream.

Pete Kay <pknw29683(at)>


The excitement had been building all week. We were all sure we could get something from this. I had predicted a draw but secretly, deep down, thought we could snatch it first time. The day arrived and I couldn’t wait to get up to Blackburn. The Fernhurst was packed with City fans and we arrived in time to see the second half of the Chelsea vs. Spurs tie, with a thrilling finish. The City team coach went past and was cheered mightily. Would our game be a feast of thrilling, attacking football like that? Well no, as it turned out.

There were three changes from the Wigan game, with Sun in at right wing-back, Hamann in central midfield, and Vassell partnering Corradi up front. So the same 3-5-2 that Blackburn had so effortlessly brushed aside a few games ago at CoMS. Contrast that with Martin Jol’s tactical innovation of playing Lennon behind the front two. Looking at the City bench, there was Trabelsi, Beasley, Mpenza, and Samaras, as well as Isaksson. We have often moaned about strength in depth in recent seasons but surely no one could say that about those five.

The 7,000 City fans in the Darwen End were in great voice and seemed to inspire the team to a great start. It was all City for the first quarter of the match and the omens looked good. However, they failed to capitalise on their dominance (not like us, that) and ominously, Rovers started to get a toe-hold in the game. They were passing the ball about confidently, if not terribly adventurously and there was a warning on 25 minutes as Derbyshire headed just over.

Then came a body blow as an innocuous cross into the area wasn’t dealt with by the central defenders and Mokoena got a weak shot in. It wouldn’t have caused problems, all things being equal, but it hit Ireland and fell back into Mokoena’s path. This time he made no mistake and we were one down. Still, there was a long way to go and we left it late at Villa last season so there was no reason to get downhearted. However, the City team didn’t respond and the rest of the half followed a predictable pattern of plenty of City possession but little end-product. Richards was particularly uncertain, with one near-suicidal back pass to Weaver and a couple of other “What should I do with this?” moments.

Sun had been one of the brighter players of the first half, showing a bit of intelligence and the ability to get in a good cross. However, I always thought he was at his most effective over-lapping with SWP and the 5-3-2 doesn’t give him the opportunity to do this. Beasley didn’t appear for the half-time kick about so it looked like changes were afoot but the same eleven came out for the second half. This was somewhat surprising as certainly Corradi hadn’t made any impact anyway and the formation had been completely neutralised by Blackburn.

The second half started the same way the first ended with lots of huffing and puffing but no real threat. On 57 minutes, Beasley did come on and Sun went off, the team reverting to 4-4-2. However, surely it would have been better to take Hamann off as we had little need for a defensive midfielder and he hadn’t been particularly effective either. Another strange SP substitution; we can see it so why can’t he? We clearly needed a different option up front, as Corradi seemed to be completely disinterested but there was no sign of Mpenza. With twenty minutes on the clock, the scorer pulled down Corradi and received a second yellow. We were now playing against ten men.

It was a good few minutes before there was any further sign of a change, when Mpenza and Samaras came to warm up, to cheers from the City fans. They were both signalled back to the dugout so it looked like a double substitution was on the cards but only Samaras came on, replacing Hamann. Again, very puzzling. Taking off Hamann was correct but why not also take off Corradi, with only 15 minutes left? Even worse, Samaras was obviously told to stick to the right touchline and not move infield. Why was our 6’2″ forward not in the middle? Finally, with ten minutes left, Mpenza replaced Corradi, to loud cheers. However, nothing improved and the mood among the fans started to turn ugly. Friedel had not had to make one single save, despite the fact we had three strikers on the pitch. There was one incident where we had the ball in a good position but no-one was in the box.

As the seconds ticked away, things got worse. Blackburn broke up field and the defence were all over the place as Derbyshire came from deep and slotted home unmarked. It was game over for City and the fans knew it. “We’re s**t and we’re sick of it”, “You’re not fit to wear the shirt” and “F*** off Pearce” rang out. Call me naïve but I was horrified at this. At the final whistle, most of the players clapped the fans from the safety of the halfway line but Barton came over to give his shirt. There was allegedly some abuse directed at him but more cheered him. You couldn’t fault his commitment and his bottle in doing this. However, Samaras then started to come over but was met by a volley of abuse and he turned away bemused.

It was an ugly end to what had been a poor performance but one that was no worse than any over the last few games. Did we really believe it was our year? Coming out, for the first time I believed that we are staring relegation in the face. Please, please, please, let me be wrong.

Weaver 5. Not really tested but distribution was woeful.
Richards 5. The pressure is clearly getting to him and he needs to come out of the firing line.
Distin 3. May be here in body but his mind is clearly at another club.
Dunne 6. Never found wanting but as uncertain as the rest.
Sun 6. Looked the one bright spark in the first half. So off he came.
Ireland 5. Rarely in the game.
Hamann 4. Used to a different game at Liverpool. It’s called football.
Barton 5. Sweats blood for the cause but not a decent set piece all day.
Ball 6. Best of a bad bunch.
Vassell 6. What a player he could be if we had a striking coach and a plan.
Corradi 2. Battled for the cause for at least – ooh – 5 minutes.
Beasley 2. Was he on? Says so on Sky so he must have been.
Samaras 2. You have to feel so sorry for the lad. He’s going nowhere under SP.
Mpenza 5. Why on earth did he only get 10 minutes?

Overall Out-of-the-Seat Factor 2. The only time people got up was to shout abuse at the end.

Colin Savage <colin(at)>


I went to the Blackburn game in the faint hope that we might just sneak a result; at least a draw. I left four hours later feeling totally humiliated.

I arrived a good two hours before the game, and though the atmosphere in the pubs I saw was brilliant (was it the Fernhurst near the ground?), there were a lot of City fans getting very drunk. I don’t know how so many of them were allowed into the ground really, but this was a major contributing factor to the vitriolic, bitter, malicious chanting that erupted towards the end of the game.

I watched the body language as the players and staff got off the team bus (what were they all watching on TV that made them stay onboard for 5 to 10 minutes?), and it wasn’t promising. I watched them warm up, and it still didn’t look promising. I watched the players, especially Sylvain Distin, gee each other up and do the team hug just before the kick-off, and that did look promising.

As the game began and progressed I soon realised it was the same old City. No width, no penetration down the wings, no balls into the danger area for the strikers to attack, no harmony between midfield and attack, no confidence. Nothing. Dunne and Barton were right; these foreigners just don’t know what these types of games mean to the fans. Why did Hamann start? Why was Beasley brought on? The ones who put the effort in were Weaver, Richards, Dunne, Ball, Barton and Vassell. The ones who didn’t care were Distin (surprisingly, but still our only proven class player), Ireland (sadly), Sun (his family haven’t settled after 5 years?), Hamann, Corradi, Beasley and Samaras. Now let’s see, what is the common thread? Could it be lack of empathy with the English game? It would be unfair to judge Mpenza who was given a ridiculous eight minutes to shine, but he has yet to have the spirit sucked out of him. Stuart Pearce must rue the day he accepted the England U21 job, as I think that was the day a lot of fans’ support for him disintegrated. It was misguided and naïve at the very least.

But it all went horribly wrong in the 69th minute when Mokoena was sent off. A few minutes later I witnessed the type of alcohol-fuelled mass vocal onslaught against the manager (“What the f*ck is going on”) and players (“You’re not fit to wear the shirt”) that actually shocked me. I didn’t join in then; I didn’t join in this time. I don’t see the point. I hadn’t witnessed anything quite like it as a City supporter since Stockport away in 1997, with us 3-0 down at half-time, and the players being pelted with pies and the like.

Pearce took an interminable seven minutes to dawdle into bringing on another attack minded player (well sort of, it was Samaras on for Hamann), but we still played a four man defence. Eventually Mpenza came on for Corradi, but soon there were thousands of City fans chanting “Pearce out”.

At one point, Micah Richards was stood closest to the City end, and took the full brunt of another venomous, hateful line of “You’re not fit to wear the shirt”. The poor lad was like a rabbit facing the oncoming headlights, and looked like he had taken it personally. He was one who could actually hold his head high. The really sad thing was that this Blackburn team scored with their only two chances on goal, and like West Ham last season, were there for the taking.

Two “clowns” ran onto the pitch near the end to protest (one dressed like a clown in an all white outfit), and I saw at least three supporters remove their replica shirts and throw them over the hoardings onto the pitchside.

As the final whistle blew, the torrent of booing and verbal abuse get even worse, so much so that only Barton, Weaver and Samaras dared venture towards the fans. It was a bad move on the part of Samaras, who took both barrels, and this will surely have permanently scarred him. With yet another chorus of “You’re not fit to wear the shirt”, Barton removed his, and threw it purposely towards a group of City fans, as if to say “if I’m not fit to wear it, you can have it”. Outside there were lots of angry voices, and heated debates.

As for the repercussions, well I think Stuart Pearce’s position is untenable, and may not be here at the end of the season (just promise me that bl**dy Wigley isn’t installed as caretaker). Pearce described himself as being “cold”; not what we want to hear Stuart. By the start of next season, don’t be surprised if Weaver, Dunne, Ball and Vassell are the ones forming the backbone of the squad.

The weekend press apparently mentioned season ticket sales of just 10,000 so far, and many of those are probably at £95 if the feedback from the club is to be believed.

The ball is in your court Mr Mackintosh.

Steve Kay <steve(at)>


Well I am writing this immediately after the Blackburn game and of course I am disappointed with the result, but not the performance this time around. We did play better than I have seen for some time now with a few notable exceptions. The catalyst for the improvement, I think, came with the return from injury of Vassell and the introduction in the centre of the park of Hamman.

At this point in time if we didn’t have any bad luck we wouldn’t have any at all. For the entire game there was nothing between the two teams other than belief in Blackburn’s case because everything is going right for them right now. They can be c**p and still get a slutchy goal (last round, both games against Arsenal). This game was no different. A lucky bounce straight to their player. At least the effort was there from City, and if we can maintain that effort and get back to defending properly again, then it’s game on.

We need to stop conceding goals, period. A couple of 0-0 draws will start us off again. Nicky Weaver’s kicking was very poor all day, and there were a couple of times when he was very slow getting the ball out of his feet and almost got closed down. This does not send confidence surging through the team. Secondly, Dunnie monster is trying way too hard. Maybe as captain he feels he has to do more, but all that really happens is he ends up running around too much, lashing the ball away, back to the opposition and back at us again. SP needs to pull him aside and calm him down for the good of the team. Maybe if they are going to continue with the three at the back then Micah should come inside and shift Dunnie to his right so that he has more of a channel to play in and less opportunity to run around.

Finally, near the end of the game I thought I heard our fans singing “you’re not fit to wear the shirt”. If that was the case then that was terrible! All the players put in a good effort today and to sing that (if it was true) was disgusting. Maybe someone at the game could confirm this? Or was it directed at one player? Who? If that did happen then who can blame the likes of a Distin if he does decide to leave. Our away fans have always been the very, very best. What happened?

Come on City (and fans), after Wigan I was depressed but after today I’m fired up again. We can do this together.

CTID, Bob Simnor <bobs5455(at)>


A strong effort from the kick off but in truth we just were not good enough. It appeared that the tactics were to hit the ball up front and hope that Vassell with all his speed would latch onto the ball, and then something would happen.

I think every City player put in a decent effort but we just do not have the strikers to finish the job. The honest truth is that we do not have the quality needed, end of story.

Even when Samaras came on he played wide right and not really as a striker, what he was signed on to be, so nothing to be gained by that move.

OK so now we are out of the F.A. Cup, time to fully focus on the Premier League, which is far more important, although it would have been nice to be one of the first teams in the new Wembley.

So now until the end of the season, we have got to stay above the bottom three, Our usual excitement till the end of a season, escape relegation. But this season more important than any other seasons, because of the T.V. investments. A lot of potential money might be lost.

Although we lost to Blackburn, I do think that we saw a lot more effort than against Wigan.

Come on City. Survival? Disappointed like every City fan,

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


To all those fans who sang “You’re not fit to wear the shirt” at Blackburn, shame on you for that. You are not fit to support the club.

I am first to say that the team are not performing but at the end of the day you are supposed to support your team, not jump on the media bandwagon to get the manager sacked.

Yes, we are struggling and yes the signings have been poor but who will replace him and with no money what are they going to do?

Gordon Hindle <ghindle(at)>


What is going on at City? We see the press officer in the tunnel prior to the Blackburn game “high fiving” the players and saying “good luck lads”. Is he probably giving the teamtalks as well? This is absolutely inadmissible for a football club to have their publicist there; the only people who should be in a tunnel and helping, not hindering, the players’ concentration on a matchday are the coaching staff.

I’m sick of hearing what is happening, from people who work at, or work with, those at City. It is not a happy camp. I have several friends who are involved with the media, and the way they are now controlled by City is unbelievable. My firm belief, and most of theirs, is that the stories this weekend from Dunne and Barton were planted by the City hierarchy. The journalists these days cannot get near a player without prior authorisation, so why on earth would the club captain have an off the cuff interview without the agreement of somebody at the club? I don’t believe it’s the manager using his players as Ferguson does (did) at that other team.

Take the Player of the Year do, which is sponsored by and organised by the Supporters’ Club. Over the past three seasons that has been turned into a farce, a mass signing session where fans are not allowed to interact with the players (do the players want to?). I remember those where we’d all be together for hours, chatting, photos, drinks together and all having a good time. Building bridges between players and fans, keeping relationships there. Now it’s so stage managed, no wonder less than 100 fans bothered to go last year.

We also hear of fans being threatened for speaking their mind in fanzines; it’s all going wrong and some people must have too much power.

I think back to just a few seasons ago, when City was such a happier place. The current regime are killing this club, and the fans’ spirits with them. The sooner either a takeover or clearout happens, the better for me.

As for Blackburn, I was disgusted at the drunken behaviour and vitriolic outburst by those fans shown abusing the players; we have been far far worse than this, maybe they do not remember. It was sad to see people behaving like that, pushing others out of the way to scream and hurl abuse. No doubt they are proud of themselves for “speaking their mind”.

P.S. Thanks for printing my last rant, the email address I gave was slightly wrong so apologies!

George E <>


If I could just respond to Mike Holden’s comments in MCIVTA 1308

I totally agree with just about every single thing Mike suggests as a means to improve the atmosphere in the stadium and as a means of generating some much-needed passion back into the club.

But if I could be a little “negative” (just this once!) then I think you may be unaware that the Fans’ Committee/Points of Blue have been hammering away at most of these issues for the past 3 years! While you mention the triangle of trust, and that each corner has their part to play, if the management of this club simply refuse to acknowledge any of your suggestions (and previously arising from Points of Blue meetings) then I’m not sure what else the supporters can do.

You ask as to why it is so bad at the present time, yet we have had worse teams/ players/ managers in the past? It’s quite simple… never before have we all felt so excluded. I assume that you have not attended Fans’ Committee/ Points of Blue meetings, as you are apparently unaware that almost everything you suggest has already been suggested! Like I say, Mike, I agree totally with what you say. The problem is trying to convince those in charge that these issues are worth pursuing.

Believe it or not, but City fans don’t want to be miserable, it’s a much voiced myth. You watch the Rags when they lose two on the bounce… they’re all out demanding the manager’s head! We’re a very loyal support and, if anything, a bit too understanding and forgiving. But always remember that the fish stinks from the head, and if you genuinely want to see things improve at City then that is where it has to start.

I know of Bluewatch trying their best to improve the atmosphere (and having to suffer the snide comments and superior attitudes from those who should know better!), and the club hasn’t supported them.

The Points of Blue meetings are legendary for the sham they really are. We are run by people who have no idea of what being a City fan really means, and until that changes then all we will see is a slow, lingering demise.

Mike, I hope your comments are read by those in power, and acted upon. But history tells me that all they understand is money. Don’t let the boogers grind you down!

Tom <tomcitytilicry(at)>


I read every word of Steve’s compilation (MCIVTA 1308) in detail and with determined interest. I could not disagree with a single word that was written in around 39 out of what 40 paragraphs (one near the end, but not a major issue). If the club want feedback, they should scrap Points of Blue for the next 12 months, analyse, then take on board the comments of passionate, lifelong Blues.

Writing ahead of the quarter final, clearly all the fans are up for the Cup; whilst the pricing has played its part, there’s no doubt City are as big a draw as they ever were when there is something to play for – and even when not if the fare on offer is up to scratch, and even when that’s not on many occasions. Let’s hope the team are at least up for this one.

Come on you Blues!

Whatever you do, stay Blue!

Dave Clinton <dave_Clinton(at)>


I am somewhat bemused by the apparent contradictions consistent throughout the angst-ridden contributions in virtually every issue. First there is the nonsense of the phrase much bandied throughout the pages of “playing for the shirt”. There is an implication somehow that the shirt is special and yet the club has devalued it (as every other club has devalued their shirts) by selling it so cheaply to companies whose only interest is shifting high volumes. This entails changing the shirt as often as possible, with no regard whatsoever for the passions and pride that were once embodied in this sacred garment.

Even the badge had to be destroyed so club and manufacturer could ruthlessly and cynically exploit the passions and pride of their loyal customers. The badge that City ended up with is cheap and gaudy. How can true fans retain their pride and passion when the club regards the shirt as readily disposable? Pride in the shirt used to come because only the best would ever get to wear it. Through commercial greed it is now impossible to value the shirt highly because the stark truth about the shirt is that absolutely any t**ser can buy one (please note that does not equate to anyone who buys one is a t**ser).

Another reason for the loss of value of the shirt is the tendency to recruit journeymen who are little better than mercenaries. They do not believe in the cause, they only fight as long as they are paid. They will instantly trade allegiance if the enemy offers more. This obscenity is almost directly attributable to the plague of the game known as agents, whose financial interest is to undermine any qualities in a player such as devotion, loyalty, commitment or passion.

All of this cynical greed has rendered what we keep referring to as “pride in the shirt”, as archaic nonsense. The root cause of this demise is, of course, the obscene amount of money flooding into the higher echelons of the professional game (i.e. the top 4 of the Premiership). Why then are the majority of readers obsessed with the belief that City must at all costs emulate the very worst excesses of the Premiership elite?

Wouldn’t it be better to enjoy the football again, rather than sell the club to people whose only interest is fiscal and who have no understanding or passion for the game of football, let alone for Manchester City FC? Have we really lost sight of what being a Blue is truly about? The desperation to compete with those who sold their soul to the devil is bizarre. Wouldn’t it be better just to walk away from this madness and go back to enjoying football as a game that is worth being passionate about? What is the point of moaning endlessly about match prices if you’re determined that money is the sole governing factor in supporting a club?

You can’t have it both ways. I agree that the only way City can compete on equal terms with the elite would be to sell its soul, but I cannot agree that the result would be worth the cost. However, if that is what happens, the fans who supported it and pleaded for it in the deluded hope that a magical revival will result must accept the inevitable consequence that they will be expected to pay more and more for less and less.

Martin Hunt <MartinHunt(at)>


“There is not a great deal wrong” according to a quote from Stuart Pearce, today (Sunday). Well, there certainly is not a great deal right, that’s for sure.

We’re now out of the FA Cup, sinking like a stone towards the depths of the Premiership and into a likely relegation fight – no problem, though: “There’s not a great deal wrong”. Is this man completely delusional?

I stated a few weeks ago it’s time for Stuart to go – today’s performance and result is yet more confirmation, very sad to say. He’s a good guy but, in all reality, he does not appear to be managerial material at the Premiership level. Certainly, not for a club the size of ours, it would seem, judging by results. I’d be more than happy to see him remain at the club, but, as a coach, only. Specifically, working with the defenders on a daily basis.

His signings of Corradi and Samaras are deplorable, a wasted £6 million on the Greek is tantamount to negligence and shows Stuart’s lack of awareness at the managerial level [Vuoso so easily forgotten! – Ed].

Corradi and Samaras, today – Mpenza and Sturridge more likely. At least Mpenza took to the field – albeit with just 15 minutes to go before the end of the game, for goodness sake – whatever he is, I’m fairly sure he’s no miracle worker.

As for Distain: he wants to grab even more money on a weekly basis? Someone needs to tell him this isn’t pantomime season just yet. Let him take his greed and ego to pastures anew, the sooner the better.

Sadly, our plight is becoming so very serious – I believe so, even if Stuart P does not. He is being paid a lot of money and the club is becoming so messed up. This scenario is just not good enough. Joe Mercer, our greatest-ever manager, must be turning in his grave right about now; Matt Busby, our greatest-ever adversary, must be having a right good chuckle again! I’m just about sick of this entire mess.

Changes at the top levels need to be made. I don’t know who would be willing to take charge at City, we need that person, though, and soon.

If we’re going to go down then I’d like to see the youngsters drafted inat least we’d go down with some fight!

In our predicament, and at this stage, I’d like to see the fans more-forcibly demonstrate their anger towards those in charge of the club – simply, just stay away from the remaining games until the players get a grip on reality. A 15,000 crowd against Chelsea just may do the trick I feel this may make the board of directors take note.

Sad days for City, once again.

Graham Mills <gkm_5(at)>


So I had to go away for the weekend and miss the Wigan game. Gave the season tickets to my daughter and asked her to keep me in touch by text with the anticipated easy win. After all, we had not had a game for ages, had been “training” in Dubai, so would really be up for the contest.

We all know what happened, and I have just finished reading the depressing comments of all those unfortunate to have been there. So, that’s it, I can’t take any more, so as they say on Dragon’s den “I’m out”.

So that’s 2 more season tickets not being renewed, and after 50 odd years of loyal support, you know what a decision that is. This season has just destroyed me. I can’t remember a game that excited me.

Time for some serious reflection about whether or not to carry on next year.

Christopher Ryder <christopherryd(at)>


What can be said that hasn’t already been said? No team, no tactics, no talent, can’t pass, don’t know what colour we’re actually playing in, can’t catch a cold.

That was the sorry excuse that was Manchester City. I pity the fans who for generations have supported this great club. We’ve had some pretty awful sides at times, but this one takes all the prizes. I counted up to 37, the number of times we passed to or gave the ball away, and I wondered if they’d actually been taught how to play this great game. I’ve seen better at the kids’ games on a Saturday morning.

So where do we go to from here? Who knows, I’m just thankful there are three teams worse off than us, for now any rate. Stuart Pearce has got to take a lot of the blame, he has bought most of the dud players and his tactics seem non-existent at times.

But is sacking him really the answer? Who do you replace him with? Tear up some players’ contracts? A complete restructure club-wise? An American investor? The nightmare that is following Manchester City goes on!

Hope Ryan Nelson’s fit for the next game, showed City how to play football. Didn’t do much, but everything he did was class, and he could pass the ball as well. So look out Manchester, Dave Lamb’s coming home!

Kevin Williamson <scribbs(at)>


There was a grim inevitability about today’s result (I even considered putting a sizeable bet on us losing – 10/11 having been quoted in today’s Observer – and hoping against hope to lose my stake). For that reason alone, change is clearly necessary at the club. Can our manager accept this undeniable conclusion? The apparent complacency of his post-match comments suggests not.

Option 1 – Change the team personnel. Both Sturridge and Abdoun are two that should definitely be given a run in my book. Be brave. Forget about playing players who have impressed in training if they are not reproducing that form consistently in the first team. I came away from the Southampton game full of hope that Abdoun could improve both the team and the entertainment level, and my gut instinct is that Sturridge would be like the proverbial duck to water if the manager showed him some confidence, rather than giving him the BWP treatment.

Option 2 – Change the tactics – in particular the emphasis on every player (including our strikers) concentrating on their defensive duties. Get players forward. Take a look at how Reading have over-achieved without big name players, going forward in numbers, “hunting in packs”.

Option 3 – Change the coaching set-up (an opportunity has been missed here in recent days). I may be wrong, but Wigley in particular does not fill me with confidence. Poach Brian Kidd from Sheffield United (lowly Coventry did it to us with Frankie Bunn). Give him responsibility for improving our set pieces and goals per game ratio.

Option 4 – Change the management of the club. Only a sensible option if a candidate with a track record of success on a limited budget can be lined up as a replacement. Preferably one who has encouraged attacking, entertaining football. Probably unlikely on both counts at this stage of the season.

Options 1 and 2 are the easier options, if SP can bite the bullet. Unfortunately I can’t see us going for those options unless we first go for Options 3 or 4. The stakes are high, stumbling along as we’re doing now is definitely not an option.

Keith Kendall <keithk_email(at)>


So Mike Holden (MCIVTA 1307 & 1308) reckons it’s all gone wrong because of the fans. Only 31 years without winning anything; only ten goals at home this season. Yeah, we really ought to get our act together. Maybe they should have sports psychologists for the fans then we’d stop moaning. Or maybe we couldn’t afford to pay for them because we’d forked out £400+ for a season ticket year after year and spent a fortune travelling up and down motorways for the pleasure of forking out even more to watch away games.

Still, it’s tough for the players, too, having to spend a whole week earning as much as we do in a year. And anyway they, like the managers and owners, come and go because they’ve got more sense. We just have this nauseating addiction. You read all these people saying they’re jacking in their season tickets but they’ll be back at the next false dawn (in fact they’ll still renew before the end of May having had a little go and got it off their chests). But apparently we only have to keep the faith and shout ‘Come on you chaps’ and everything will turn out rosy just like against Stoke at Christmas 1998.

Except it wasn’t like that. We were one down at half-time and City were booed off. Even genial Joe Royle had had enough and lost it with the players at half-time. They got stuck in to a few tackles from the word go in the second half, the crowd got behind them and we won 2-1. If the players show commitment and we lose then nobody complains. We’ve had our money’s worth and a good sing. What we really need now is another Andy Morrison not some self-styled fans’ favourite who’d clear off if he didn’t get £30,000 a week.

John Clancy <Johnny(at)>


The Sunday Times has just about hit the nail on the head here with all our underperformers – just think if Pearce had selected just three who had performed to a higher standard and we would be sitting comfortably in the top 8.

Sunday Times 11 March 2007:

The sense that Manchester City are a club under strain has deepened with Richard Dunne, their captain, condemning foreign teammates for “hiding” and “lack of effort” during the disastrous run of defeats that has seen City drawn into the relegation fight at the bottom of the Premiership. Dunne issued his comments ahead of today’s FA Cup quarter-final against Blackburn Rovers in desperate hope of galvanising his stricken side. Having taken just one point since New Year’s Day, City have tumbled from 10th to 17th in the table and were booed at home by their supporters after losing to Wigan last week.

“It’s obvious we’re not playing 100% in every game with every single player,” Dunne said. “That’s proven by our league position.” Having been at City since 2000, Dunne is their longest-serving first-team player and he suggested that the attitude of recent signings is causing his club’s malaise. Since January 2006 Stuart Pearce, City’s manager, has spent about £10 million on foreigners such as Georgios Samaras, Bernardo Corradi, Hatem Trabelsi, Dietmar Hamann, Andreas Isaksson and Ousmane Dabo, none of whom has been successful.

“When players come from abroad you always give them that settling-in period, but it’s March and we’ve still not clicked. They need to look at themselves and say, ‘we’re not pulling our weight here’,” Dunne said. “Managers live by their transfer deals. I’m sure the manager feels let down but it’s not his fault if the personal pride in a player is not there.” While declining to condemn colleagues by name for fear of causing a dressing-room divide at a club where relations are already rumoured to have cooled between the boardroom and its manager, Dunne was willing to exonerate Joey Barton, Micah Richards and Sylvain Distin from criticism.

His greatest unhappiness appears to be with Corradi and Samaras, strikers who have scored just seven league goals between them in 2006-07. “I don’t think we’re scoring enough goals,” Dunne said. “I think there are a couple of people going missing during games. And we’re not a good enough team to have just six or seven players turn up every weekend. We need 11, 14 players putting effort in. If your skill isn’t holding up the least you can do is put the effort in. There’s the likes of Joey Barton who you know you can rely on to be there fighting every week, but there’s others who go into their shells. It’s a lack of self pride and they need to understand in their own minds what they’re doing. They’re hiding from the rest of the team.”

Some people simply project straightness and Dunne has wide, almost sad, eyes that swim with honesty. He voices concern with no agenda other than the well-being of City and his words, in a sense, mean more because it is not some Peter Perfect speaking but someone who learnt the value of his profession. Dunne’s fondness for late nights and aversion to responsibility saw Kevin Keegan consider sacking him four seasons ago. It took being banished from City’s training ground after he turned up smelling of alcohol for the penny to drop. Dunne exercised eight hours a day, six days a week, shed his old life-style, picked up wisdom, turned himself round. “I could easily be back in Ireland, out of football, and living with my Ma and Da,” he told me then. “It’s about being a man.” The latter is all that this proud footballer asks of teammates. Whether some of his current ones are being men, he would question. He talks of certain colleagues being a “let-down” to supporters, their manager, and their dressing room – especially City’s younger players. He speaks of “the comfort zone”.

“The one thing we have to do is stick together and there’s no point the players holding inquests because those can easily turn into finger-pointing at people. It’s for the manager to do that,” he says. “The players can’t go and tell someone, ‘you’re crap’ and expect them to play for us two days later. The manager’s strong enough to pull people up and point out what they’re doing wrong.” It is suggested that a usual band of players are seen putting in the bulk of the labour whenever City play and Dunne replies, “I suppose it’s myself, Joey, Sylvain (Distin), Micah (Richards). Joey and Micah are players who’ve worked really hard to get into the first team. I’m sure they feel, like I do, let down by certain people. The players we’ve signed are coming in and taking a young player’s position, and that youngster needs to see what it takes to be in the first team. It doesn’t just take having a transfer fee or a big name. The young players at this club are well respected and some of them are internationals who’ve got there through hard work. It’s them who are setting the standards, which is the wrong way around.”

It was easy to forget, hearing Dunne’s sorrows, that here was a man about to take his side into an FA Cup quarter-final. City went out at the same stage last season when they were beaten by West Ham in a home game they were expected to win, and Dunne suggests that Blackburn might suffer from carrying a similar favourites’ burden today. It is the only time he allows clouds to lift. Surely a cup game is just what City need to forget their league worries? “Yeah, I think so,” he says doubtfully. “But it’s hard to say definitely yeah because last season I don’t think we won a game after being knocked out…”

David Walker <davidjwalker1(at)>


The situation we find ourselves in started on the day we dismissed the services of one Mr David Bernstein, a man with the vision and knowledge to build up the club and put it on a firm footing.

He was the one man who understood the right and wrong way to run a business, and what happened to him?

Turfed out, in order that Kevin Keegan could be kept happy in his pursuit of Robbie Fowler, all this after David Bernstein told him only to buy players who are better than what we already have.

I wrote this piece a few months back but feel the need to highlight the problems that could see the club playing First Division football next season, mainly due to management incompetence.

Let’s forget all the money the present board have thrown at Stuart Pearce, the facts remain that had David Bernstein remained, he would have either installed a proven manager, or installed an experienced man alongside Stuart Pearce in order to guide him whilst he was learning the ropes.

The present board have given Stuart Pearce licence to buy players with very average ability, appoint coaches with very average ability, who seem to lack the basic knowledge on motivating players and demonstrating the skills required to become good players and overall a good team.

I have only played at pub level in the Gorton league and coached at junior league and managed at pub league level but I honestly could do a better job, with players who have no desire, no vision, no drive and no chance of survival if they don’t shape up.

The damage has already been done, and for me there is no way back unless Stuart Pearce sorts out his coaching methods, which I truly believe are professionally inept.

The players are now in free-fall, the Chairman has thrown his money away to a manager who has been thrown in at the deep end without experienced support alongside him.

All this begs the question, who is to blame? The answer is the board, because every good business starts at the top, and because you do not appoint a manager with limited management experience and give him money to buy deadlegs and employ c**p coaches if you are the Chairman of Manchester City FC.

P.S. Anyone know David Bernstein’s phone number? Quick, before time runs out.

Gary Sullivan <gary(at)>


I am starting a bring back Bernstein campaign. The damage Wardle has brought to our club is incomprehensible. Are you with me?

And in the interim, those who want the head of Pearce on a spike – just remember who will be looking after first team games in his absence. Wigley. It is getting worse.

Joel Perry <j.perry(at)>


It’s Saturday morning, I’ve got the kit ready for Droylsden juniors under nines, as always. I’m the kitman you see. Anyway, meet at the club house 9.15 am on Lewis Rd, Droylsden, get the kids ready (my son Jake is one of them), we are away to Queensgate from Woodford, Stockport whose home ground is Woodford cricket ground. Off we go, satnavs at the ready, some of us in convoy, the poor people follow behind the satnav cars, so we find the ground, and one of the dads – Craig, who’s a Rag – says to me Dave says will you and me look after the A team who both our sons play for while he takes the B because Karl the manager of the A has to work, so anyway as me and Craig are talking about who’s sub and what tactics we are going to tell the team, there is this chap in the middle of the pitch casually dressed in jeans like a crombie type coat and walking boots. So we stood there and I said to Craig tell you what, that bloke there doesn’t half look like Mike Summerbee, so as he turns round he looks straight as us and I says it’s you! Hiya what you doing here (he was watching his grandson)? He comes over, shakes our hands and says they’ve asked me to ref the game, so anyway parents and players start to come over and I says to the kids you know who this is don’t you, and I say it’s City legend Mike Summerbee. Then the kids start asking questions, so I just want to say what a nice bloke he is, and a fair referee. We beat them 0-2, what a cracking game it was and the Bs won 0-4. Oh and he wasn’t too complimentary about the present City team but I won’t quote what he actually said.

Stephen Wagstaff <steve.wagstaff348(at)>


Following the open meeting on 4 March 2007, and unanimous decision to go ahead with the creation of the Supporters’ Trust, we have compiled a FAQ, which we hope people will find useful. This addresses many of the questions posed via the blog, and at the meeting. Please feel free to contact us with any further questions, which we will address.

The MCFC Supporters’ Trust website can be found here:

Ollie Goddard <mcfcsupporters(at)>


In 2002 AFC Wimbledon were set up by the true supporters of Wimbledon FC after their beloved team decided to relocate to Milton Keynes, over 70 miles away from their spiritual home. Since then they have steadily moved up the non-league pyramid and were on the verge of the Conference South when the FA spotted a clerical error in a player’s registration, breaching Ryman League Rule 6.1 in that Jermaine Darlington played eleven games for the club before an International Registration Certificate was obtained. Because the club was found guilty of breaching Rule 6.1, the Committee also considered Rule 6.8 which deals with playing an ineligible player. The Committee has also found AFC Wimbledon guilty of breaching Rule 6.8.

As a result of these decisions, the Appeals Committee has deducted the eighteen points earned by AFC Wimbledon in the games in which Jermaine Darlington played whilst ineligible. The Committee has also fined the club £400 and the costs of the hearing. An appeal to the FA is allowed and must be lodged within 14 days.

The board of AFC Wimbledon is very disappointed with this outcome and intends to consider the options available to it. AFC Wimbledon have lodged an appeal.

I admire the Dons’ fans greatly in their attempt to reinstate their club into the Football League one day and would ask fellow City fans to support their e-petition, launched by fan Russell Smith, which has already broken into the top 50 petitions on the Number 10 website with over 4,000 signatures in the first three days.

So come on folks, just a few clicks could be a big help, just go to: and show your support.

P.S. I am too gutted to comment on our present predicament, need to count to ten a few times. Surely this is not our City…

Malc <Malcinblue(at)>


League table to 11 March 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  29 12  1  1 35  8 11  2  2 31 11 23  3  3  66  19  47 72
 2 Chelsea         28 10  4  0 30  8  9  2  3 20 11 19  6  3  50  19  31 63
 3 Liverpool       29 11  3  1 29  4  5  2  7 15 16 16  5  8  44  20  24 53
 4 Arsenal         27  9  5  0 34 11  6  2  5 16 12 15  7  5  50  23  27 52
 5 Bolton Wndrs    29  8  3  4 21 14  6  2  6 13 20 14  5 10  34  34   0 47
 6 Everton         29  7  4  3 21 11  4  6  5 16 15 11 10  8  37  26  11 43
 7 Reading         29  9  1  4 26 16  4  3  8 17 22 13  4 12  43  38   5 43
 8 Tottenham H.    29  9  1  4 25 17  3  5  7 15 26 12  6 11  40  43  -3 42
 9 Portsmouth      29  8  4  3 22 12  3  4  7 14 19 11  8 10  36  31   5 41
10 Blackburn R.    29  7  2  5 19 16  5  2  8 16 23 12  4 13  35  39  -4 40
11 Newcastle Utd   29  7  5  3 23 17  3  2  9 11 20 10  7 12  34  37  -3 37
12 Middlesbrough   29  8  3  3 21 14  1  6  8 11 20  9  9 11  32  34  -2 36
13 Aston Villa     28  6  4  3 15 11  1  8  6 14 23  7 12  9  29  34  -5 33
14 Fulham          29  6  5  4 14 13  1  7  6 17 31  7 12 10  31  44 -13 33
15 Wigan Athletic  29  5  2  7 14 20  4  3  8 16 24  9  5 15  30  44 -14 32
16 Sheff. United   29  5  6  4 18 17  3  1 10  7 24  8  7 14  25  41 -16 31
17 Manchester City 27  5  4  5 10 12  3  2  8 10 21  8  6 13  20  33 -13 30
18 Charlton Ath.   29  5  3  6 15 17  1  3 11 11 32  6  6 17  26  49 -23 24
19 Watford         29  2  7  6 13 20  1  4  9  5 23  3 11 15  18  43 -25 20
20 West Ham United 29  5  2  8 17 21  0  3 11  4 29  5  5 19  21  50 -29 20

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v0607.01]

[1] MCIVTA Addresses

Articles (Heidi Pickup)          :
News/rumour (Don Barrie)         :
Subscriptions (Madeleine Hawkins):
Technical problems (Paul)        :
FAQ (David Warburton)            :

[2] What are MCIVTA’s publishing deadlines?

Deadlines for issues are nominally 6pm, Monday and Thursday evenings bu email. Unfortunately we cannot accept email attachments.

[3] MCIVTA Back Issues and Manchester City Supporters’ home page is the unofficial Manchester City Supporters’ home page. Created in 1994, it is the longest running of the Manchester City related web sites. Back issues of MCIVTA are also hosted on the site.

[4] What is the club’s official web site?

The official club web site can be found at

[5] What supporters’ clubs are there?

Manchester City FC recognises three supporters’ clubs: The “Official Supporters Club” (; the “Centenary Supporters’ Association” ( and “The International Supporters’ Club”.

[6] Where can I find out about the fans’ committee?

The Fans’ Committee operates as an interface between supporters and the club. The Fans’ Committee has been relaunched as “Points of Blue”. It has appeared on the club website as a minor entry under “Fans Zone”.

[7] What match day broadcasts are available on the web?

The Radio Manchester (née GMR) pre and post match phone-in is available on the web at

Live match commentaries and archives of games, reports and interviews can be found at

[8] Where can I find out if City are live on satellite TV? provides a listing of Premiership games being shown on UK domestic and foreign satellite channels. Useful sites for North American viewers are,, and

[9] Do we have a Usenet newsgroup?

Yes we do: is our home on usenet. If you are not familiar with usenet, a basic explanation is available here:,289893,sid9_gci213262,00.html

[10] Do any squad members have their own web pages?

There are a number available and direct links can be found at

[11] Can I buy shares in the club?

Yes you can: Shares in Manchester City PLC are traded on OFEX. The latest prices can be on found the Plus Markets Group web site or in the business section of the Manchester Evening News.

[12] Where can I find match statistics?

Statistics for the current season are available from the club site, but for a more in-depth analysis try

[13] I hear there is a TV programme specifically about City?

InsideMCFC is broadcasted by ChannelM. It is available on the SkyDigital (ch.203) and NTL (ch.26) platforms as well as being transmittedtraditionally within the Manchester area (ch.39). In addition, theprogramme is available to watch via the web. More details and schedule:

The views expressed in MCIVTA are entirely those of the subscribersand there is no intention to represent these opinions as being thoseof Manchester City Football Club, nor of any of the companies anduniversities by whom the subscribers are employed. It is not inany way whatsoever connected to the club or any other relatedorganisation and is simply a group of supporters using this mediumas a means of disseminating news and exchanging opinions.

[Valid3.2]Heidi Pickup,

Newsletter #1309