Newsletter #1310

A much better performance on Wednesday night, as the fans got behind the team and the team actually looked up for the fight against Chelsea. More of the same please from now on in.

We have reaction to the game, match views, news and views on just what is wrong at City now, yet the managerial speculation is allowed to continue.

Next game: Middlesbrough, away, 3pm Saturday 17 March 2007


The Slippery Slope

A Family at War: Sunday’s papers were full of Richard Dunne who, depending on your point of view, was either trying to rally his team-mates, or was criticising the foreign players in the squad. “We are not scoring enough goals and two or three players are going missing when things go against us,” said the skipper. “At home, in particular, we seem to go into our shells, or at least some of us do. That’s the disappointing thing. We are not a good enough team to win games with just seven or eight players; we need everyone to pull together. We can’t afford to have players hiding. I feel let down by certain people and I’m sure the manager does too, but it’s not his fault. The squad is not big enough for everyone to be pushed and when that happens you get people operating in a comfort zone. When a manager only has limited funds to spend on new players, the ones he does bring in need to hit the ground running, and that hasn’t happened either. Foreign signings are always going to need time to adapt, but at this stage of the season you need to be giving 100 per cent. It should be a matter of personal pride. We go to Blackburn as underdogs and we are away from home so to some extent the pressure is off, but in the league we have got a really hard run-in. We are not going to be able to survive just by picking up points from bad teams; we are going to have to beat some good teams. We’ve got to improve.” Two days after the Blackburn defeat his manager described these comments as “not helpful”, although immediately after the game he said: “I do think people in the squad are pulling their weight, but Richard is the most honest player I’ve worked with and those comments came from the heart. What he said was borne out of frustration. Everybody at the Club is frustrated, players, staff and supporters. It may have put us under the microscope a touch in this game, but I will back my skipper and always have done.” But Dunnie must be thrilled that Danny “Rent-a-Quote” Mills is on the skipper’s side. “He just thought enough is enough,” said the former England defender. “There is a little bit of frustration creeping in. He is the club captain and rightly so. He has every right to criticise people. He has done it publicly and sometimes people have to stand up and be counted. I do not think he was wrong in what he said. One or two people are unhappy about what he said but they have to respond in the correct way.”

The Big “I Am”: But it wasn’t just the skipper who was putting his colleagues down. Joey Barton claimed that half of his City team-mates do not share his ambition. “I want to win trophies, I want to play in the UEFA Champions’ League and I want to play in the European cups,” Barton told Sky Sports News. “I want to play at the highest level and I want to test myself and I don’t think anyone can have any qualms with you for wanting that. Whether it’s this season or next season we all have to strive at this football club to achieve it, every single one of us. There’s no point me wanting to achieve it and ten others not, and I don’t think that’s the case. I think at the minute it’s a case of five or six wanting it and five or six not. I think as soon as we get the playing field level and eight, nine or ten wanting it then we’ll start achieving things.” With comments like these floating around the ether pre-match, was it any wonder on Sunday that Barton was bickering out on the pitch with Bernardo Corradi?

Jewell in the Crown? And prior to the Blackburn game, we even had the first whisper on the worldwide web of a possible replacement for SP, should the Blues succumb at Ewood. It was suggested that Wigan Athletic’s manager Paul Jewell was a leading contender for the job at the COMS. Wigan Chairman Dave Whelan has in the past confirmed that he would not stand in Jewell’s way should a ‘bigger club’ come in for his services – although whether City fit that bill is a matter of severe doubt, methinks.

Hey Mokoena: Blackburn Rovers duly took advantage of City’s alarming slump in form with a 2-0 win on Sunday in the Quarter Finals of the FA Cup. Aaron Mokoena was the unlikely hero with a first goal for the club in the first half, although the South African was later dismissed for a second yellow card. Matt Derbyshire added a second for the home side in stoppage time to seal the win and send Blackburn in to the last four for the second time in three years. City rarely threatened and did not bring a meaningful save out of Blackburn ‘keeper Brad Friedel. SP had to endure the City supporters turn on the team – cries of “you’re not fit to wear the shirt” were aimed at the City players as they went to salute fans at the end of the game. Pearce was confronted by an angry fan on the pitch in time added on, with 7,500 others chanting ‘Pearce Out’, prompting SP to say: “I’ve seen the film ‘The Alamo’ and I feel like I’ve got Davy Crockett standing behind me. We all feel the frustration, from top to bottom. I’m as frustrated as that fan is, the players are. But it’s my job to lift them for Chelsea on Wednesday. We’ve still got a hard slog to make sure this club stays up.” What of the match, Stuart? “Scoring goals has definitely been our Achilles heel this season,” Pearce added. “I don’t think there was too much in the first half, even though they passed the ball reasonably well at the back. I thought we started the game reasonably comfortably and then obviously a couple of deflections and it’s fallen to someone in the box and they’ve scored. Really, the run we’re in at the moment, I think the confidence drains a touch. You have to have efforts at goal. We got in reasonable positions. It’s frustrating for us at the moment. The dressing room is bitterly disappointed. We felt as though we had a good opportunity to progress, but we weren’t good enough. We didn’t really know how to keep constant pressure on the opposition’s goal when they went down to 10 men.”

Happy Camp: SP was soon back answering questions about the pressure he is now under. He said: “If we win on Wednesday we go into fourteenth in the league and since I’ve been in charge we’ve got through to two FA Cup quarter finals. However, I know results have not been good enough recently. If you lose you know you’re under pressure. That applies anywhere. But if you win, all the cares in the world are off for a day. If any flak comes my way, fine.” He added: “Everyone looks to the figurehead of the club to come out with a smile on his face even if he doesn’t feel that way. But you have to make sure as players you’re up for the next game and we’re playing the champions on Wednesday. I don’t think there are splits in the camp, I just think that everyone is frustrated. Spirit-wise, the camp is pretty good. The only way to turn around the negativity among fans is to win the next game.” Whilst SP is sure he’ll still be in a job this time next week, the bookies weren’t so sure – they had him as the 11-10 favourite to be the next Premiership manager to lose his job.

Next Please! Monday’s Sun was convinced that SP was now a dead man walking, whatever happens to City in the rest of the season. And that man Jewell got a mention again, along with Bolton’s Sam Allardyce. Here’s the Sun’s story in full: “CITY TO BOOT PEARCE OUT – STUART PEARCE is finished as Manchester City boss even if he turns their season around. The board have already identified the top two candidates to replace him – Sam Allardyce and Paul Jewell. They could even axe Psycho as early as Thursday if City are hammered at home by champions Chelsea tomorrow. Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final surrender to 10-man Blackburn was the final straw for the board and fans also turned on the City chief, shouting ‘Pearce out’ while one even tried to confront him at the dugout. Chairman John Wardle had already grown frustrated with his manager. This was clear to new reserve team boss Kenny Jackett, who was only given a contract until the end of season after joining the club last week. Wardle made £13 million available to Pearce despite the club being heavily in debt but the money has been wasted. Pearce took charge two years ago. After an encouraging start, he has lost 22 of their last 37 league games and they have been sucked into the relegation battle. Bolton boss Allardyce is top choice to replace him but City believe Wigan Chief Jewell is a more realistic target. Pearce said: ‘I don’t feel any more pressure now than I did the day I took the job.'”

No Laughing Matter: As if that wasn’t enough, the Daily Mail says that SP has (to use classic football-speak), lost the dressing room. The Mail says Pearce’s words, impassioned as they ever were for Nottingham Forest, England, appear to have lost their potency for players who have contrived to lose their last four Premiership matches, plus an FA Cup tie. One senior player, it alleged, has privately gone as far as to brand training under Pearce as “an absolute joke”.

City Stars ‘At War’: Stuart Pearce is fighting to save his job while half his Manchester City squad are reportedly at war. According to The Daily Mirror, the Blues went into battle with Chelsea with skipper Richard Dunne and troubled team-mate Joey Barton being blanked by a group led by strikers Georgios Samaras and Bernardo Corradi and defender Sylvain Distin. Apparently caught in the middle are youngsters Micah Richards, Nedum Onouha and Stephen Ireland. The simmering tensions between the factions were publicly displayed during the FA Cup defeat at Blackburn, when Corradi was seen mouthing a swear word at Barton. A City source told the tabloid: “You could cut the atmosphere with a knife before the game and it’s just the youngsters you feel sorry for because they have been put in a difficult position. They don’t want to be seen to get involved so they are just trying to keep the peace.”

From “Two Jobs” to “No Jobs”? If the Soaraway Sun is to be believed, Psycho could be on the verge of losing not one, but two jobs. In the Wednesday morning edition of the time, the Sun claimed that the FA were keen to sound out Watford manager Aidy Boothroyd for the post of England’s Under 21 coach. Although SP will take charge of the young Lions for the European Championship finals in Holland this summer, it’s alleged that FA are still looking at other candidates and England boss Steve McClaren is a fan of Boothroyd. Following the Chelsea match, the most worrying rumour of the day was a potential return to the City hot seat for Peter Reid, in a caretaker capacity. Maybe the Daily Mirror got the idea from seeing Reid on Sky TV’s coverage of the game, where he was a pundit at the COMS.

General News

Arresting Development: After all that gloom and misery, can we find some ray of sunshine? Not yet we can’t – Joey Barton had been arrested and bailed on suspicion of assault and criminal damage, media reports said on Tuesday. Barton, 24, was arrested over an incident involving a taxi driver in Liverpool in the early hours of March 4, the reports said. “I can confirm a 24-year-old man, from Cronton, Cheshire, was arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage and assault,” a Merseyside police spokeswoman said. The club said in a statement it had no comment on the reports.

Fly Like an Eagle: SP has urged defender Nedum Onuoha to snub Nigeria and target a full call-up to the England squad. Pearce thinks that Nigeria-born, Harpurhey-raised Onuoha should stick with the Three Lions rather than the Super Eagles. Pearce said: “I’d much prefer him to play for England. I know he’s already played for England Under-21s, so I don’t know if he’s eligible to play for Nigeria. I’ll have to look into that one. He’s a very good talent but he struggled a bit for consistency because of injuries. He showed a nice vein of form over Christmas, but then went down with a knee problem. He’s got a bright future in the game. How high he will go, it depends.”

Oh My God! They Thrilled Kenny! Kenny Jackett’s reign as Reserves Supremo began well. City beat Everton 2-1, thanks to goals from Ashley Grimes and Ched Evans. The new boss was suitably impressed. The former Swansea manager said on the club website: “I thought it was a terrific game and we fully deserved our win and there are some young players here with terrific potential. I saw some of them last week in a Pontin’s game, where a very young side got a good draw at Preston, and I was quite impressed. It’s now about them fulfilling that potential and my job is to make sure that they work hard enough to do that. There were a couple of 21-year-old’s out there for us, but a lot of the lads are teenagers and that certainly bodes well for the future, but promise is one thing that they have to turn that into the real deal now. They’re capable that and they’ll do that with concentration, application and hard work.”
Team: Hart, Logan, Williamson, D’Laryea, Breen, Laird, Abdoun, Johnson, Sturridge, Evans, Grimes. Unused subs: Williams, Matthewson, Obeng, Clayton, Marshall.

Transfer News and Gossip

They All Rave About Dave: Believe it or not, City have joined Everton and Glasgow Rangers in the hunt for £6 million-rated Preston striker David Nugent. SP went to the KC Stadium on Saturday to watch the striker play for 31 minutes in North End’s 2-0 defeat to Hull before being taken off injured. And Pearce is thought to be preparing a summer raid for the hitman, who has scored 13 goals for Preston this season and has just 15 months left on his current deal. Rangers’ manager Walter Smith also went to see Preston play against Southampton last Monday, but later denied he was there specifically to watch Nugent. However, Everton remain in pole position to land the England Under-21 forward after Nugent admitted it would be a “dream” to play for the Toffees.

Nicholls Not So Dandy: There are two clubs who, it might be said, are in a worse mess than the mighty MCFC at this juncture. They are West Ham United and Leeds United. The White Rose Club is in particularly bad shape, sitting at the bottom of the Championship. Now City are being linked with a shock move for Leeds’ midfielder Kevin Nicholls. The Leeds club captain recently stunned boss Dennis Wise by handing in a transfer request. Wise stripped Nicholls of the armband and reportedly told Nicholls he would never play for the club again. The midfield dynamo has been linked with a return to former employers Luton but could be offered a shock deal at City. A fee of £500,000 has been mentioned. And speaking of West Yorkshire’s finest – Danny Mills was being linked with a loan move back to Elland Road. The former England international right-back is not in the picture at City and spent time on loan at Hull earlier in the campaign. SP ruled this out, however. “Unfortunately, Danny is not fit at the moment,” said Pearce. “He has still to get over the stress fracture of his shin. Until we get him fully fit, we can’t make any decision about him. Danny is happy with that and understands the situation.”

Smash and Grab: The papers are enjoying a bit of pre-relegation speculation at the moment, deciding who will desert the sinking ship should the worst happen come May time. The Daily Mail says that Sylvain Distin, out of contract in June, is disaffected and will leave the COMS at the end of this season – even if they beat relegation. And Joey Barton is believed to be a summer transfer target for Arsenal, Liverpool and Newcastle United.

Reactions and Comments

Sandwich Man: There was an improvement in performance on Wednesday, although City lost their fifth straight league game, 1-0 to Chelsea. Despite the improvement, City failed to muster a shot on target for the second match running. Shaun Wright-Phillips almost had a return to remember – coming on as a seventy-fifth minute substitute, his first touch saw him smash a twenty yard effort against Andreas Isaksson’s crossbar. Mr. P. was quite chipper in defeat: “There is talk of rifts in the camp, but you can’t put on a performance like that against one of the best teams in the world if you have rifts in your camp – it just doesn’t happen. I’ve got a fantastic job at a fantastic football club. I’m just looking forward to winning the game at Middlesbrough if possible. Do I have the chairman’s full support? Well I don’t walk past him every day and ask him if I’ve got his full support. The other night he bought me a sandwich at the reserve game and that’s a real show of affection from our chairman.” Pearce continued: “We’re disappointed to have been beaten tonight, because we feel as though we had a go at Chelsea. The reaction of the fans probably echoed that a little bit, and I have got to draw the positives out of the performance. I feel that if we put on 10 performances like that, we can get positive results from maybe the vast majority of the remaining matches.” The City Supremo had no complaints with the penalty award after Micah Richards tripped Salomon Kalou inside the box.

Number Two Speaks: Jose Mourinho didn’t grace the aftermatch press conference, preferring instead to send his assistant Steve Clarke. “Manchester City made it very difficult for us. They are fighting for their lives in the division and we knew it would be a tough game. They huffed and puffed but I do not think they had a shot on target.” Cruel but accurate, Mr. Clarke. “It closes the gap [on the Rags] to six points and that was the objective before the game. Now let’s see what happens at the weekend. We are happy even if it is not always possible to get to the levels you want to achieve.” Clarke hailed Frank Lampard’s “immense” contribution to Chelsea’s cause after his 20th goal of the season. “Frank’s goal-scoring contribution is immense. To score 20 goals at this stage of the season for a midfielder is a marvellous achievement.”

Squad News

Wife and Kids to Feed: Stephen Ireland is eager to sort out differences over his new City contract as soon as possible. The midfielder was offered an extension to his two-year contract last month but negotiations have reached a stand-off. Ireland insists he is keen to stay at City for his entire career but is concerned about the terms of the deal he has been offered. “I hope we can get talks resolved as soon as possible,” said Ireland. “I’ve been with City six years and would love to settle here for the rest of my career. But I’ve got a young family to feed and want to make sure they are secure.”

Quelle Mauvais Chance: Ousmane Dabo feels he has been restricted in his first season in English football by bad luck. Not that’s he’s c**p, or anything… “From when I started here, I have not been very lucky, with the surgery on my meniscus that prevented me playing for two months. I came back in December, and little by little I began playing in the first team.”

Don Barrie <news(at)>


A defeat versus Chelsea last night but, at last, much-needed welcome and positive signs in terms of endeavour and commitment from the City players. It seems they actually wanted to win this game – perhaps the club threatened to withhold their wages until next month?

Isaksson has never failed to impress me, and makes his presence felt around his goal area – in him and Nicky Weaver I do not see problems, here. Very healthy competition for the ‘keeper’s spot. To be fair, Stuart Pearce made a very good signing, in Isaksson, job well done; we need to keep hold of him. I would play him at the weekend.

Ball, too, seems to be a healthy addition to the squad. Time will tell with Mpenza but, if given sufficient playing opportunities, I feel he could score/make several goals for us. Unfortunately I wish the same could be said for Corradi and Samaras. These last two players, along with Sinclair, should be allowed to leave the club, in my opinion. Put the Samaras £6 million price tag out of the equation, and simply move on. Lesson learned by Stuart, not to be repeated. Play Sturridge, we have nothing to lose, and the player would gain valuable experience.

Top marks for effort and commitment last night but this alone obviously will not be sufficient. We’re still woefully, woefully lacking in the attacking, final third of the pitch. We need quality not quantity strikers, and this is the area where Stuart failed the club during the recent transfer window. Once again: lesson learned by Stuart.

“Huff & Puff” by itself will not get the club where it needs to be but, with continuing along with the endeavour as shown last night, I feel one or two goals shall eventually come our way. That, in itself, will allow the players to have more confidence in themselves and, hopefully, more goals, and points, will follow.

We have talent at the club but unfortunately, in short supply at this time, especially in striking distance of the opponents’ goal.

I also have no problem with Richard Dunne’s recent comments about certain players’ questionable commitment levels, as on recent display. Good man, Richard, like us, his heart is in the right place with regard to Manchester City, for sure.

Looking forward to the next game!

Graham Mills <gkm_5(at)>


Having taken my wife to Glasgow on Sunday, thereby missing the Blackburn game and not having the stomach to watch the recording I’d made, I wasn’t really looking forward to seeing us play Chelsea. Well the plus side is that you couldn’t fault City for effort, but that is about it. It was depressing to see so little creativity. For once it wasn’t really a striking problem because there were so few opportunities created. Barton is basically OK, a Premiership (though perhaps not quite England class) midfielder, tries hard and without him we would have no midfield, but when did anything materialise from a corner or attacking free kick that he has taken? Sun Jihai, for all his faults, is a reasonable taker of dead ball kicks, Barton is more likely to pick up a loose ball from a free kick so why not let Jihai take corners and wide free kicks, at least some of the time?

Chelsea didn’t look good enough to catch the Rags, but credit to them they very effectively smothered any attacking intent from City.

Defensively OK, still can’t choose between Weaver and Isaksson – both average Premiership ‘keepers. Penalty – looked right in real time but slowed down it was clear that Kalou went down before any contact and dragged his foot to make contact, shades of Corradi but done better! Still, Richards will hopefully learn not to give that sort of opportunity again.

Failed to understand Dabo replacing Hamaan – Dickov seemed a more obvious choice, even if just for annoyance value. Sad to see Samaras booed as he came on – I don’t think that improves anyone’s performance.

Pearce? Stick with him but find a “mentor”; preferably someone who understands attacking football (but not Dennis Tueart).

David Lewis <dfl(at)>


It was great to see a City team who gave a very good fighting effort against one of the top teams in the Premiership. The captain Richard Dunne to me was the man of the match, just beating out Joey Barton and Micah Richards who also played their hearts out.

From the kick off City went all out for it, and were a little unlucky to concede a penalty in which Frank Lampard made no mistake in scoring the only goal of the game. When Chelsea get ahead they are probably the best team to hold onto a 1-0 lead.

It was tougher to score against the Chelsea defence and there are not many clubs that will be any easier on the rest of our fixture list; the home game versus Charlton is going to be very, very important the way things are going.

The Manchester City board might have been shy as to have given Stuart Pearce the money to get another striker after seeing the failure of Samaras, who in fairness did show some potential when he first came to City, then all of a sudden, just after his injury against Wigan last season, appeared to lose his confidence, but what gets at me there is no honest, hard-working effort from him to try to overcome whatever has changed this player.

City found Mpenza, a player who had no club to play for; why do I think what I do about him if he couldn’t find a club to play for until Stuart Pearce, in desperation to find a striker came along? Stu had no choice as the transfer window had closed.

Mpenza puts in a fighting effort but struggles, the Premiership pace is new to him, plus it takes time to be truly match fit. I’m not saying he does not train hard, so with little choice in strikers I can only wish Mpenza good luck!

I don’t think that anyone else can do more for City than Stuart Pearce is doing at present. And who could there be to replace him if it came down to that?

Fight and play like the City players did against Chelsea and the results must come; we are in the driving seat to survive, so there is no reason for City to go down.

Although City lost to Chelsea, it must have been a morale booster to the players.

Keep supporting the Blues and never give up!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


Well where do we go to from here? A better performance, and a dodgy penalty (if the back view on Sky is correct, with minimal contact at best), but still the dire need for a top class (or even a good) striker.

Dunne was a tower of strength, Michael Ball looks a better bet than Jordan and Thatcher, Richards, Barton, Ireland, keep Vassell and I’d persevere with Samaras. The rest, flick ’em on. The change of ‘keepers didn’t really work. For a ‘keeper 12 foot 6, he doesn’t like coming for the high ball and his kicking wasn’t much better than Weaver’s.

I’m starting to feel for young Samaras. Okay some of his work is suspect, but how many 20 year olds are playing in the Premiership and the £6 million price tag didn’t help either; at that age the confidence is quite easy to lose, believe me.

So what have we left, 7 players, plus a ‘keeper. The rest need to get another vocation. The makings of a half decent side, another six or seven half decent players, a half decent manager and we’re away laughing. Wish it was that easy!

Stay Blue, Kevin Williamson <scribbs(at)>


So John Clancy reckons I’m wrong to highlight the negativity of the City fans as a major contributory factor in another disappointing season.

He mentions that we haven’t won a trophy for 31 years but fails to appreciate that the single common denominator that’s remained with the club throughout the course of those three decades is the supporters.

We’ve had four different regimes at the top, 18 different managers and about 700-800 different players – and none of them have even managed to bring any kind of fleeting success since 1981.

Blimey, we really must be unlucky to have so many complete clowns come and go through one football club – or maybe some of them (just some of them) weren’t complete clowns at all, they just weren’t allowed to do the job to the best of their ability because the fans were a lot quicker to dish out the criticism than they were the plaudits.

At what stage do we dare to question ourselves and the rôle that our negative attitude has played throughout this barren spell? 40 years? 50 years? Maybe we should wait 100 years before we try to change the culture?

The scenes that greeted the final whistle at Blackburn were an absolute embarrassment, far more embarrassing than another woeful performance on the pitch.

John mockingly suggests that the City fans would pay for sports psychologists, if they could only afford it. But maybe it’s too late for basic therapy because if those scenes at Ewood Park weren’t the image of a support on the verge of nervous breakdown, then I don’t know what is.

We’re so out of touch with reality it’s mind-boggling. I’m not sure there’s a shrink in this world who would be willing to take us on.

My darkest fear now is that we’re going to hound Stuart Pearce out of the club because we haven’t learned the lessons of the past.

Think back to December 1998 and how far down we had plummeted then, you’d have thought we’d learn the lessons about the damaging long-terms effects that can result from continued instability. But, here we are, less than 10 years later, making exactly the same mistakes again.

Why can’t we just place our trust in someone and let them get on with the job? What’s the worst that can happen? Do you honestly think Pearce would drag the club back down to 12th in the Second Division again if we awarded him our unconditional support?

We were all full of promises when he was appointed two years ago. Finally, it seemed we had a man with high morals, a level of passion unrivalled anywhere in the game and he had his entire managerial career in front of him. Of course, he was going to make mistakes, but we’d stick by him because we wanted a club built in the image of Stuart Pearce.

Now we’re going back on our word because things are getting a little bit hairy and our patience is being tested by some lacklustre performances. That’s not unconditional, that’s the behaviour of fans who don’t deserve long-term success.

Would you turf your wife or husband out on the street after a few weeks of marriage because you realise their food is really bland whenever they try to cook you a meal? Or would you encourage them and give them time to improve and perfect their recipes?

Performances on the pitch are just one facet of football management. That’s the only facet that Stuart Pearce is getting wrong at the moment but there are many, many positives to take from the job he has done so far.

And the beauty of it all is that he knows where the problem lies (we all do) and, rest assured, he will do something to address that problem in the summer.

What happens if we sack Pearce?

Joey Barton walks out in the summer because he knows he can do better for himself and there’s no point sticking around to find out if he gets on with the new manager now that the one he really respected has been hounded out. He’s soon followed by Sylvain Distin and Micah Richards, who might otherwise stay because of their respect for Pearce.

Richard Dunne, who I imagine would pledge his allegiance to City whatever happens, might only be half the player next season because the new boss doesn’t rate him half as much as Pearce and he’s no longer in the environment to thrive on the responsibility being pinned on his shoulders at the moment.

Would everyone be happy then? Yeah, maybe we should just knock down everything we’ve built up in the last few years and go back to the drawing board because we’re bound to stumble across a manager who gets it all perfect straight away, even if none of the previous 18 have managed it.

Mike Holden <mike(at)>


I write before the Chelsea game. At the game tomorrow I will be ‘investing’ at the Ladbroke’s counter a sizeable sum of money on Schevenko or some other long overdue Chelsea striker to score first. It’s a given. It’s easy money.

However, that’s not why I write. I am season ticket holder of 35+ years and like most of you I thought I had seen it all. Just how wrong can you be? Let’s be clear about this: the situation is critical. Why?

Regardless of if we stay up or go down (and I genuinely do think we will go down), any player of any reasonable ability will be leaving the club at the end of the season. Distin is as good as gone – we all know that. Barton will go too – guaranteed. Micah Richards will depart and almost unbelievably so will Dunne, Why?

Well the answer is why shouldn’t they? The club has no ambition, no money, is very poorly managed at all levels and the chances of winning any sort of trophy whatsoever are nil. Would you wish to work for a business or employer like that? No! And neither do they and you can’t blame them. Our crop of talented youngsters will also be cherry picked by other Premiership clubs and who can blame them for moving on either?

Here is the doomsday but highly likely scenario… we simply don’t have the talent or guts / fight to overcome a relegation battle. Every team who arrives at the CoMS know they can beat us. I see a maximum of 6 points between now and the end of the season – simply not enough I’m afraid – we are as good as gone. Relegated (again!), United will win the Championship.

We are in the old 1st Division with no Premiership standard players. No money to buy them, no youth to come through the ranks and circa £50 million in debt. It gets worse…

Season ticket sales and attendances will collapse – and they will. After 35+ years I am currently 80% certain I will not renew – even if we do stay up. I simply do not enjoy going to the game any more. I can’t remember the last game I really looked forward to watching and I can’t remember the last game I came away from feeling good about it. The cost / money is a big factor but the total lack of entertainment is the real crux of the matter. Enough is enough. I know I am not alone.

I had an opportunity to go to the Blackburn game. I live 20 minutes away from Blackburn up the M6. I didn’t even make an attempt to purchase a ticket. Why? I knew what the outcome would be. I was correct. That’s not because I am smart or clever, it’s because it was simply so predictable.

The club has nobody to blame except themselves. I was never a great fan of Keegan – however, I have to say if he had stayed we wouldn’t be this bad and we wouldn’t be in the position we are in now. Even Siberski looks a half decent player at Newcastle! Why? Half decent coaching, a manager who is tactically aware and a team that creates goal scoring opportunities. I rest my case.

A bad senior management team running the club, a poor, inexperienced manager running the team and a team of players who are just not up to Premiership standard. The result is inevitable. The Game’s up. And we may never recover.

MCFC RIP 2007.

Ray Bardsley <ray.bardsley(at)>


We are in the mire but we have options.

We are not scoring, our fastest player gets through to a one on one and has a hamlet moment I don’t understand why Darius Vassell hasn’t been coached to attack. As Franny Lee used to say, the odds are in the strikers’ favour 2-1, he goes round or he gets brought down for a penalty or he gets tackled. Has DV been hypnotised so that when he sees the whites of the goalie’s eyes he impersonates a startled rabbit in the headlights? Surely an afternoon’s coaching with a coach and a ‘keeper would improve his performance 200%.

Is Vassell coached individually? Can someone from the club let us know?

Pearce says he sees the players every day – well why are our strike force so ineffective? Why are they so bad? Why? Why? Is it the coaching? Is it the motivation? Is it lack of teamwork? Why are we bottom of the league? Who does the scouting? Can we have Colin Bell back as a scout? Joe Corrigan is desperate to come in as a goalie coach.

The board have backed Pearce and have provided enough cash for us to be top six, Pearce has no right to dismiss the position as lack of investment. It is his abysmal signings that have caused the problem.

If Pearce does go then Allardyce or fans’ favourite Keane who still lives in Halebarns are my favourites (remember Matt Busby was one of our greatest players ’til he went to Stretford Red Socks.

Simon Moorehead <simonmoorehead(at)>


Why oh why does Pearce keep asking Samaras to play on the wing? His confidence is already shot, he was bought as a centre forward, bad player or not, how on earth are this team to progress if the manager can not get the basics right?

Play to your strengths however bad they may be at the moment; Samaras is not a winger.

Gary Sullivan <Gary(at)>


So the Daily Mirror reports that Peter Reid is being lined up to replace SP. Well, all I can say is that SP – all is forgiven. Yes, selling SWP [erm that wasn’t SP, but the board! – Ed], “forgetting” to buy any wingers for the season, “remembering” the need for lots of box to box midfielders who couldn’t walk, let alone run from one end of a cardboard box to another (stand up Messrs Dabo, Haman, Reyna), not buying a goalscorer but getting rid of Andy Cole just before deadline day and worst of all, spending 6 million pounds on an unknown player plying his trade in a country known more for flowers than budding football giants.

I can overlook all that but please not Peter Reid. The man who brought long ball to Maine Road, got rid of quality promising players (Trevor Lightburn, Michael Hughes amongst others) and has brought nothing but heartache to any club he has laid a finger on since. If that is the extent of the club’s ambition (and even if it’s just tabloid rubbish, you wouldn’t see any other self-respecting Premiership club linked with him) then it’s a very sad day for City fans.

Avi Barr <avi.barr(at)>


Whilst I don’t want to jump on the “Get rid of Pearce” bandwagon (because who would replace him at this stage of the season?), I would like to see Stuart get a lot tougher with his players, match officials etc.

In my opinion he is currently too nice, and needs to be more aggressive, in response to poor performances. He said after the Wigan fiasco, “We played well for the last 70 minutes, I was pleased with our performance”; Stuart, we play for 90 minutes. The game was lost in the first 20, and not won in the last 70 minutes. Too many of our overpaid “stars” are under performing, and need a few short sharp words. Comments like “We played well for part of the game” etc. don’t inspire me, and I’m hearing it too often lately.

It probably doesn’t worry the under performers, if that’s all that happens after a lost match, and I’m sure they know who they are. At their rate of pay, it’s not too much to expect them to run, chase, hassle, work, work, and work for 90 minutes. They are professional athletes after all. Too many are going missing during a match and leaving it to others to carry the can. Dunnie and Joey are spot on with their recent comments. The Blackburn match was another where they were there for the taking, but did we take, no.

Can you imagine a tennis player going missing for 20 minutes? He/she has no one else to rely on, for them it’s ‘Game over’. They can’t stop for a second. At least in our game it’s not continual action, a football player works in short bursts, but needs to be there when called upon. Is it too much to ask?

Some of our players need to look at themselves before a match and be prepared to graft. I’m not happy when we lose, but if we go down fighting and showing commitment, it eases the pain. No wonder fans are turning. I might not agree with their actions, but I can relate to their frustrations.

Get a grip Stuart, b*ll*ck the under performers more, make sure they earn their corn, or better still, get the kids in. It’s time the likes of Sturridge etc., get more of a run in the first team, and not for the last 10 minutes when it’s too late. There’s one thing you can be sure of, the youngsters will ‘play for the shirt’ and graft till they drop, and maybe, just maybe, their enthusiasm will rub off!

Keep the faith, here’s hoping for 3 points from Chelski (now there’s a laugh). Premiership next season anyone?

P.S. I’ve stopped taking my grandson to matches in case I get reported to the NSPCC

Pete Marshall <marshallsystems(at)>


Rarely do I feel the need to send the mighty MCIVTA an email, but today’s performance really does take the biscuit. How can we possibly be as impotent in front of goal as we were today? An industrial dose of viagra wouldn’t help. Not a single meaningful chance was created… I am feeling a nasty dose of Championship football coming on, and I hate to say it but we need to think long and hard about SP as manager. Nice guy, but maybe not a Premiership boss.

Mark <transome(at)>


In times of adversity, here are some motivational City clips:,

Steve Kay <steve(at)>


Interesting article from David Conn at the Guardian here about the state of our club:

CTID, Patrick Eden <Patrick(at)>


Idea for the new kit(s?) next season. Give the new makers a picture of the 1968 League Champions, and say “copy that”, a proper City kit. It will also celebrate the 40th anniversary of this great team.

Kevan Jones <kev20971(at)>


No doubt I won’t be the only subscriber to this forum who has something to say in the wake of our submission to Blackburn. I paid £15 for my ticket; bargain price Blackburn – and next season that will be the cost to get into Ewood – they deserve to fill Ewood for that price.

Massive faux pas on City’s part. Like Blackburn, we too could have reduced prices for paying adults as a carrot to an increasingly apathetic City support. If the club continues to ignore fans’ views and take them for granted then they can look forward to much lower attendances next season.

For Steve Kay’s benefit I was a “don’t know” when asked was I going to renew my season ticket. Well myself and my wife are almost certainly not going to renew for next season. A protest? Partly, but the games ceases to be a sport when you have no chance of winning silverware – maybe we’d be better off in the lower leagues!

As for the game, a reasonable opening 20 minutes was followed by an inept performance by the team who in too many games have failed to even make the opposition goalkeeper make a meaningful save. We failed to even hit the target and to be honest didn’t really have any decent shots that missed the target either. Our inability to maintain possession is also a concern because so many of our attacks break down because of it.

With over £10 million of so called striking talent playing and/or on the bench – can we reach a conclusion that the manager has bought well in the transfer market? Perhaps or perhaps not. Maybe it runs deeper, after all our negative tactical approach to games is there for everyone to see. The team are ineffective going forward and do not attack in numbers. I see too many City players lagging behind our strikers when we form an attack.

Personally I feel Pearce’s position is fast becoming untenable. I hate to see the team and manager barracked like they were after the game on Sunday but I can’t blame fans for their depth of feeling recent results have been unacceptable.

Graham Keller <gkmcfc(at)>


I wish it didn’t matter. I wish I could ignore. I can’t and I’m sure most of your subscribers can’t either. I had so much hope for the quarter-final. The will to live deserted me shortly after.

There has been much comment on the “You’re not fit to wear the shirt” utterances. On a cynical note I would urge us to at least know what shirt we are wearing and kick it near one the same as you wear. Oh, and keep it inside those white lines boys otherwise man in black goes peep.

Disappointment is an understatement. Embarrassment is a fact. Nil shots on target. “Play to your strengths” is an oft uttered phrase. It’s difficult to identify ours.

Time for the whole club to enter rehab. Surely that’s as rock-bottom as we want. Query: Can we bounce or do we self-destruct?

CTID… hope it’s soon – Garry Higgins <balrog(at)>


Has anyone got a spare for Saturday, please? We’re one short. Can meet anywhere in and around Manchester or up in the smog of the great unwashed? Got room for two if anyone needs a lift.

Mobile: 07812 065005

Whatever you do, Stay Blue!

Dave Clinton <dave_Clinton(at)>


Manchester City Supporters’ Club, Thames Valley Branch are holding a race night in aid of raising funds for the City Academy on the 17 March 2007.

All welcome, free entrance being held at Fairmile Sports and Social Club on Ferry Road (off the Reading Road), Cholsey near Wallingford, Oxon.

For more details, contact me by email (below) or 01344 429315.

Nik Jones <nikj.40(at)>


Given the now-rescheduled game on Tuesday 17 April, does anyone fancy hooking up to get a mini-bus and driver; or have room on a coach? Five of us going down from Manchester. Train is £125 over a month in advance, buses and planes do not come back in time!

Dave Clinton <dave_clinton(at)>


14 March 2007

Aston Villa           0 - 1  Arsenal               39,968
Manchester City       0 - 1  Chelsea               39,429

League table to 14 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         29 10  4  0 30  8 10  2  3 21 11 20  6  3  51  19  32  66
 3 Arsenal         28  9  5  0 34 11  7  2  5 17 12 16  7  5  51  23  28  55
 4 Liverpool       29 11  3  1 29  4  5  2  7 15 16 16  5  8  44  20  24  53
 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     29  6  4  4 15 12  1  8  6 14 23  7 12 10  29  35  -6  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 28  5  4  6 10 13  3  2  8 10 21  8  6 14  20  34 -14  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 #1310