Newsletter #1319

Another home game, another 0-0 draw but important a point against Liverpool. In a game which, for me, bore a resemblance to the one two seasons ago that marked our first home win in a long period, Pearce’s first win as manager, and a late goal from a player struggling to make his mark on the team, the only real shot came from DMB late in the second half. Meanwhile, those on the East Stand should be issued with free Factor 25 if this global warming keeps up.

Tonight we have match reports and views, another look at the atmosphere and dearth of decent songs, investment, ticket requests and finally the Goater book review.

City pay their first visit to the big smoke this week as the delayed Arsenal away fixture is played on Tuesday night. With three points already secured from the Gooners this season, what will our away form bring?

Next game: Arsenal, away, 7.45pm Tuesday 17 April 2007


It was a wonderful, sunny afternoon and there was, for once, a near-capacity crowd. But considering we hadn’t managed to score against such galacticos as Charlton, Reading, Bolton and Wigan, how would we fare against a team that had just secured their place in the Champions’ League semi-finals? We had now reached the magical 40 points so would we go for it against a team for whom the Premiership was hardly a priority?

Well it didn’t look like it, as City lined up in the now familiar 4-1-4-1 formation. Sun was the man protecting the back four, with Barton and Johnson in the centre of midfield, flanked by Vassell on the right and Beasley on the left. Mpenza was the lone striker again. The game started well for City, with Beasley wriggling his way through near the goal-line but no one could get on the end of the ball.

City dominated an open, flowing but largely insipid first half. Both defences were well on top and the best chance of the half fell to Liverpool. A corner from the left wasn’t cleared and ran through to Finnan, who was in the clear. Fortunately, his shot went into the side-netting when he seemed to have the goal at his mercy.

It was twenty five minutes into the game when City had their first real effort when Beasley blazed over from a corner. Five minutes later, Mpenza headed just wide.

The first half ended predictably goal-less and although the football hadn’t been sparkling, we had done well enough and could feel the happier of the two sides. You knew Liverpool wouldn’t play quite as soporifically in the second half and sure enough they came out showing a bit more guile and purpose. However, there was no improvement in the excitement level and neither goalkeeper could claim to be overworked.

There were a couple of booking for Liverpool players, who were starting to show a “they shall not pass” mentality and these bracketed a City substitution. Mpenza seemed to be struggling with an injury and Ireland came on, with Vassell moving up front. Given that we were relatively safe, it would have been nice to have seen City go 4-4-2 for the last thirty minutes but they doggedly stuck to the rigid defensive formation. On the rare occasion the ball did get forward, the midfield players weren’t exactly quick to get up in support.

On 70 minutes, Liverpool had a chance but the whistle blew as Gerrard went close with a header. The game livened up a bit and Vassell seemed to time his run well but was flagged offside. It was a close call from the assistant, who’d missed two glaring offside decisions (one for each side) up to then.

With 15 minutes remaining, City got a corner on the right. The ball seemed too close to the ‘keeper but Reina flapped at it a bit and the ball fell to Beasley, just inside the left hand corner of the box. He cleverly turned inside and put the ball onto his right foot, unleashing a dipping shot that hit the top of the crossbar.

Despite the fact that the game looked there for the taking, the City management still played it safe, particularly when Corradi replaced Vassell. Even in the last few seconds, when they had a late corner, Distin stayed back in the City half.

The whistle went and you had to be pleased, in one sense, with a point against Liverpool. However, it had been another turgid, goal-less performance and for me, having missed the New Year’s Day game against Everton, it was five months since a home Premiership win and four months since a goal.

When Blackburn were in similar trouble a few seasons ago, Hughes made it his priority not to lose and they played a similar style of football. That was needed to avoid relegation and they duly survived and built a more potent attacking team on that foundation. Clearly we’ve taken the same approach so far and it seems to have paid off. But to settle for a draw in a winnable home game, against a lacklustre team who had their minds on other things, does beg one or two questions. So far they can be answered with “The end justifies the means” but we have two home games left, against teams where we have traditionally played for a win. I really hope we’ve seen the last of this turgid dross for both the rest of this season and, more importantly, the next one and beyond.

Isaksson 6. Didn’t have to make a proper save.
Onuoha 7. The usually dangerous Riise wasn’t a factor.
Dunne 7. One great tackle and otherwise solid.
Distin 7. Never gave the Liverpool attack a sniff all afternoon.
Ball 6. Quiet but effective.
Sun 6. Did his job.
Vassell 5. Becoming Sinclair Mark 2. Hard-working but no impact.
Barton 6. Solid in midfield but rarely ventured forward where he can be a danger.
Johnson 6. Difficult test for him and wasn’t overawed.
Beasley 7. Looked our most effective player.
Mpenza 6. Not given any room by the well-organised Liverpool defence.
Ireland 5. It was a strange substitution anyway but rarely in the game.
Corradi 6. Did what he does and held the ball up but had no support.

Overall Out-of-the-seat Factor 3. Game flowed but little to get excited about.

Colin Savage <colin(at)>


Match 39
FA Premiership
Manchester City 0 Liverpool 0
City of Manchester Stadium
Sat 14th Apr 2007 – Kick-off 15:00
Attendance: 45,883
League Position: 12th.

Team Changes: None.

Line-up: Isaksson, Onuoha, Dunne, Distin, Ball, Sun, Barton, Beasley, Johnson, Vassell (Corradi, 83), Mpenza (Ireland, 62).
Unused subs: Weaver, Samaras, Trabelsi.

Goal times: None.
Bookings: Barton (69).
Sent off: None.
Referee: U. Rennie.

Comment: Another point, another good performance, another clean sheet. Alastair Mackintosh’s game of Russian roulette (minimum spend whilst staying in the Premier League) has only just come off. Sylvain Distin, a class defender and superb partner to Richard Dunne has said he will only consider staying at the club if it is made clear to him that this club shares his ambition to win things. That will manifest itself in the form of quality summer signings, instead of the “tat” that has been bought in (not brought in) over the last couple of seasons (Cole, Vassell, Ball, Isaksson and Mpenza excepted). The other signings read as follows: Hussein, Riera, Samaras, Matthew Mills and Hart (both “for the future”, though we now have more ‘keepers than Chester Zoo), Dabo, Hamann, Corradi, Dickov, Trabelsi, Beasley, and Abdoun. This website supports Sylvain wholeheartedly in this view, and he should be held in high esteem by the fans, because despite being stripped of the captaincy and being demoted from the No 5 shirt to 15 (?), he has remained loyal when other “stars” have jumped ship for “more ambitious clubs” (Anelka, James, Cole, Fowler and, dare I say, Shaun Wright-Phillips). Distin’s reasons are the reasons why many thousands of fans like me have not yet renewed for next season. The club are keeping quiet on how many of us have signed up for next season but I, like Sylvain Distin, am watching things very closely before I sign my new contract with City for next season.

Stats: Increased the Premiership record of clean sheets in a season to 14, but it is now three and a half months since City fans have enjoyed a home league goal – the 72nd minute against Everton on New Year’s Day (558 minutes). City need to double their current tally and score ten goals in the last two home matches if they are to avoid their worst ever season when it comes to scoring home league goals. That was 20, in the 2000-01 season, when the club were last relegated.

Steve Kay <steve(at)> –


The City team played with a game plan by Stuart Pearce and his coaches that frustrated the Liverpool team, and gained City a well earned point. In fact City nearly won it when my man of the match DaMarcus Beasley hit the crossbar, it was so close.

The City defence held firm with all players playing their part in keeping the Liverpool attack at bay. I would ask Sun to concentrate on where he passes the ball, too many were going astray. He put a lot of energy into his game, and I don’t want to be too critical of him.

It was not exactly an exciting game to watch, but nevertheless I was very happy to draw with the Liverpool team who are in the semi finals of the Champions’ League in Europe.

We have five games left to play before the end of the season, and although City look fairly safe in the Premiership, to me it’s never safe until it’s mathematically impossible to be relegated, and right now it does not work out that way. So City must continue the good fight with their current form, and get every point they can earn until the end of the season. Come on City, get up the table for the bonus money, we can still end the season on a high note.

It’s the Gooners next on Tuesday in their new stadium , in a game that has changed dates a couple of times because Arsenal were still in cup competitions.

The Gooners just beat Bolton and will be playing with a new-found zest fighting for that Champions’ League spot, but City’s away form recently has been very good, so we should not fear them in any way.

Come on you Blues, up the table we go.

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


Having had my rant a couple of weeks ago about why I am not renewing, I have been reading and listening to other people’s thoughts. It would seem that there is a lot of disenchantment out there to put it mildly.

In my business life and private life I am a very positive person. The only negative thing in my life is City and there’s not a lot I can do about that except choose not to go. I have tried getting the people around me to sing, believe me.

Like Mike Holden, I believe in the power of words and the effect that support can have on a team. P****d off though I am, I sing at every game, often alone. What I cannot put my finger on is why so many people do not join in. Are they embarrassed? Are they not bothered? We’ve always had a section of fans who turn up, watch, clap and go home. They used to sit in the middle of the main stand at Maine Road mainly. We always managed to get the whole ground singing together during games at some point though. These days it is so rare for the whole ground to join in anything.

A couple of ideas. Controversially I think that Blue Moon has had its day maybe. It is hard to keep it going for ages and these days dribbles out after about 2 choruses. Some old school ‘Stuart Pearce’s Blue and White Army’, is easy to keep going. I think that 1 minute of full on ‘CITY, CITY’ is more intimidating to opposition than BlueMoon. ‘We’re not really here’ is also easier to keep going, but not that intimidating.

I’m still not renewing, but I will be going. I’m going to convert to a match card and go to games on a Saturday or games that I fancy. I think it will change, it has to. If the same 4 teams win everything for the next 5 years maybe they’ll get bored and sod off to their European Super League?

I do think that without the chain of a season ticket I will actually enjoy the games that I do attend more. I’ll probably rope a few mates in and we can sit together for once. A bit more like the old days when we stood together.

Here’s to p****g on United’s chips, unbeaten until the end of the season and a happy summer for fellow Blues everywhere.

City ’til I Die, Mike Strahand <bluedoctor(at)>


If SP wants to keep his job, he must absolutely say so and say it privately. He must be simple, direct, and unequivocal. Do not start negotiating in public. It may make no difference, but sitting silently like a bump on a log won’t cut any ice. It will not be taken as polite reserve, it will not be understood as deference, but as total indifference.

Given that the investors themselves are not indifferent to the amount of money they are about to lay out, a wise man who wanted to stay ought not to be indifferent or ho-hum. Say you want it Stuart (privately!), then knuckle down and say no more. I repeat, just getting on with the job is never enough, that is expected anyway, Americans always want to know intent. Then, after making that clear, you can let your work speak for you.

Having only 15 years experience of living among Yanks I have absolutely no idea what I am talking about, obviously. Now if only I watched US TV, the BBC and fried for 2 weeks in Orlando. If we ever get to the point where City fans can actually talk to any new investor-bosses about things like standing up and the ridiculous points mean prizes ticket system it would be a good idea to rope in the likes of Mr. Barrow on how best to talk to them. I expect this advice to fall on deaf ears.

I hope some Americans do take over, perhaps then we can (ironically enough) have a little more attention paid to tradition and continuity.

Stand up.

Jack Buckley <Jack10000days(at)>


To the tune of “Brown Girl In The Ring”:

Emile Mpenza na na na na na
Emile Mpenza na na na na na na na
Emile Mpenza na na na na na
He puts it away just like the Goat – feed him!

Marc Starr <marc.starr(at)>


Title:          Feed The Goat
Author:         Shaun Goater with David Clayton
Publisher:      Sutton Publishing
ISBN:           0-7509-4502-8
Price:          £17.99
Format:         Hardback, 204 pages

Where do you start with the legend that is Shaun Goater? From his very humble beginnings back in the ghettos of Bermuda (it’s not all luxury yachts and sandy beaches), little wonder that Shaun has managed to keep his feet firmly on the ground and in touch with reality. Brought up in an extended family and obsessed with football from an early age, Shaun fought his way through the ranks of schoolboy, amateur and semi-pro in a backwater of international football before eventually being given a trial in Stretford. His tale of the first encounter with City fans is hilarious, and the realisation of that passion for all things Blue, hatred for all things Red, stuck with him. Equally, the insult of Steve Bruce demanding that the Goat clean his boots for him – now there’s a new chant if Birmingham get promotion.

Realising that life in England, although following the career he dreamed of, was not all it promised to be as he was soon shipped out to Rotherham for a few seasons, then onto Bristol City where he really started to make his mark. It wasn’t long before Joe Royle, the man Shaun credits as the best manager he played under for getting the most out of his teams and encouragement, decided that the Goat was required to help City’s cause back in those dark days of Division Two. A less than auspicious start for City, but Shaun showed his determination and eventually won over the fans to such an extent that he’s now mobbed wherever he goes – including by Chelsea supporters in a pub on a recent trip to England! – his effort, goalscoring, demeanour and professionalism became legendary amongst the City faithful. Then the mythical man manager that is Keegan arrived, and the tales from the dressing room really do give an insight into how managers try to get the best out of their squad (or favourites). Shaun was deemed surplus to requirements and sent to Reading. Things didn’t go too well there once our old friend Coppell arrived, and after a season in the wilderness Shaun’s career was revived for a final promotion achievement at Southend. We get an insight into just what the players of the City team of the late 90s thought of the fans, and vice versa. Unfortunately that camaraderie is long since gone with the sterile environment that now surrounds City and the Premiership.

A career that brought Wembley appearances, promotion medals, a superb goal tally, but above all the respect of fellow professionals and supporters, the Goat is now managing a semi-pro Bermudian team that will participate in MLS. A man who deserves every success and who’s certainly one of a kind. Well worth the read for some real behind the scenes tales, emotional moments and triumph over adversity.

[We have a signed copy of Feed The Goat, kindly donated by Sutton Publishing, to give away in a forthcoming competition – so keep your eyes peeled! – Ed]

Heidi <editor(at)>


I have a spare ticket for the City away game at Watford on April 21. You have to sit next to me, but I’m alright me, I promise.

We can meet in central Manchester (e.g. at Manchester Piccadilly in the morning before the match) or in London, and I’m asking £26.50 for the ticket, which is the cover price plus the booking fee I paid.

Harry Stopes


I am trying to get a ticket for the Watford game. Please call 07707 296 346 or email me at the address shown.

Thanks, Kevin Hogan <kevin.x1(at)>


15 April 2007

Everton               2 - 1  Charlton Athletic     34,028
Wigan Athletic        3 - 3  Tottenham Hotspur     16,506

14 April 2007

Arsenal               2 - 1  Bolton Wanderers      60,101
Manchester City       0 - 0  Liverpool             45,883
Middlesbrough         1 - 3  Aston Villa           26,959
Portsmouth            2 - 1  Newcastle United      20,165
Reading               1 - 0  Fulham                24,082
Sheffield United      3 - 0  West Ham United       31,593

League table to 15 April 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  32 14  1  1 43 10 11  2  3 32 13 25  3  4  75  23  52  78
 2 Chelsea         32 12  4  0 34  8 11  2  3 22 11 23  6  3  56  19  37  75
 3 Liverpool       33 12  3  1 33  5  6  4  7 17 17 18  7  8  50  22  28  61
 4 Arsenal         33 10  5  1 36 13  7  3  7 18 17 17  8  8  54  30  24  59
 5 Everton         34 10  4  3 28 13  4  8  5 18 17 14 12  8  46  30  16  54
 6 Bolton Wndrs    34  9  4  4 23 15  7  2  8 18 27 16  6 12  41  42  -1  54
 7 Portsmouth      34 10  4  3 26 14  3  6  8 17 24 13 10 11  43  38   5  49
 8 Tottenham H.    33 11  1  4 29 18  3  6  8 18 30 14  7 12  47  48  -1  49
 9 Reading         34 10  2  5 28 18  4  4  9 17 23 14  6 14  45  41   4  48
10 Aston Villa     34  6  7  4 17 14  3  8  6 19 25  9 15 10  36  39  -3  42
11 Newcastle Utd   34  7  6  4 23 18  4  2 11 14 25 11  8 15  37  43  -6  41
12 Manchester City 33  5  6  6 10 13  6  2  8 16 22 11  8 14  26  35  -9  41
13 Blackburn R.    32  7  2  7 21 20  5  2  9 17 27 12  4 16  38  47  -9  40
14 Middlesbrough   33  9  3  5 26 20  1  6  9 11 22 10  9 14  37  42  -5  39
15 Wigan Athletic  34  5  4  8 18 26  4  4  9 17 26  9  8 17  35  52 -17  35
16 Fulham          34  6  6  5 16 17  1  8  8 18 36  7 14 13  34  53 -19  35
17 Sheff. United   33  6  6  5 22 19  3  1 12  7 28  9  7 17  29  47 -18  34
18 Charlton Ath.   34  7  4  6 18 17  1  4 12 12 34  8  8 18  30  51 -21  32
19 West Ham United 33  6  2  8 19 21  2  3 12  7 33  8  5 20  26  54 -28  29
20 Watford         33  3  7  7 17 23  1  4 11  7 30  4 11 18  24  53 -29  23

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1319