Newsletter #1346

News tonight of more new signings, a lengthy target list, and success in Sweden.

We also have opinion on the new owner, the new players and bad boy Barton, together with the usual requests.

Next game: Saturday 20 July, 4pm, Karlstad Utd, Sweden (away) friendly


General News

Sven Hands it to Hans: This week Hans Backe was confirmed as City’s new Assistant Manager. The 55-year-old Swede has managed in both his home country and in Denmark, where he guided FC Copenhagen to three Danish titles. Eriksson said: “I’ve known Hans for a very long time, and I offered him this job but because he has been a manager I didn’t know if he would accept. He’s won three titles with FC Copenhagen, managed in Austria and Turkey, but he accepted the offer and I’m very happy. He has a lot of experience, he knows a lot of players from around the world and he’s a very good coach.” Backe said that “I accepted immediately. It’s a fantastic opportunity to come to England and get a taste of the Premier League, which I feel is the best league in the world. I hope to add some structure and organisation to the side.” After working with the players for a few days, Hans was asked for his opinion on his new charges. “The players here are very lively and very focused, I suppose they have to be given that a new manager has taken over but I have been very pleased with them. You can see straight away that they like to train and that they have good habits and discipline. There is great intensity in the work that they do. English and Swedish mentalities are not too different when it comes to football. I will work on the pitch all the time. Sven will ultimately make the decisions about the way we play and the way we train but I will have my input.” Also, City’s coaching staff has been bolstered by the arrival of Tord Grip, who was part of the England set-up when Eriksson managed the national side. “Tord will link between the seniors, youth, the Academy, scouting, he’ll be my right hand man – a little bit of everything,” SGE concluded.

Belgium Bound: City’s tour of the Continent has been extended. After the pair of games in Sweden, the Blues will travel to Belgium, and will play Charleroi S.C. on Saturday, July 28th. Maybe this is a revenge mission for them flogging us Christian Negouai back in 2001, who knows? City then return to Blighty for a pair of games – Shrewsbury Town’s New Meadow Stadium on August 1st, before Valencia are the visitors for the Thomas Cook Trophy match at the City of Manchester Stadium on August 4th.

Transfer News and Gossip

Buying British – 1: “SVEN AIMING TO BUY BRITISH”, announced the Sky Sports website. They’d asked the new Boss whether he’d be basing his squad on homegrown talent. “That would be very good,” Eriksson told Sky Sports News. “It is not easy to find good British players but we are trying. We are trying and if we have a little bit of patience we will see it soon. Everybody knows that we need some more faces here.” And it’s a relief to report some proper, actual signings this week. So how’s Sven’s search for British talent going?

Buying British – 2: Italian striker Rolando Bianchi became Sven Goran Eriksson’s first City signing, when the 24-year-old moved to the Blues in an £8.8 million deal from Serie A side Reggina. He has been given the number 10 shirt. “He scored nearly 20 goals last season in Serie A, which is a lot of goals in such a difficult league,” said his new boss. “He’s young, and I think it’s a very important signing because he should have a great future. He’s a good footballer as well as a good goal scorer, which is what we need. He’s very hard working, very strong and he can score – if you can score nearly 20 goals in Serie A and you are not with one of the top clubs like Milan or Juve then you must be talented. It’s a good record, and let’s hope he continues with it. The signing’s good because the club has been working very hard, and there will be some more to come in for sure. I hope that the fans will be happy with this first signing and the rest as well. Then it’s up to the player, but I’m very optimistic about Rolando.” Bianchi is keen to get involved in the action. “It is going to be a demanding challenge,” he told the club’s website. “It is a new style to me but I think I will adapt very soon. I have always been good at heading the ball but I have become stronger and fitter over the last few years as well and feel I am a more complete player now. I am looking forward to this new adventure and I want to play as soon as possible.”

Buying British – 3: Swiss midfielder Gelson Fernandes became Sven Goran Eriksson’s second City signing this week. The 20-year-old moved from FC Sion for an undisclosed fee (some papers have guessed it’s £2.5 million) and he flew out to Sweden for City’s pre-season tour along with Rolando Bianchi and the rest of the squad on Sunday. Fernandes made 32 starts for the Swiss Super League club last season and he is captain of Switzerland’s Under 21 side. He had recently attracted the interest of a number of Premier League sides, including Bolton Wanderers and Newcastle United. Sven profiled his new player. “He’s a defensive midfielder, he’s the captain of the Swiss Under 21 side and he’s one of the biggest talents in Switzerland. He’s young, and he looks like he has a great future. It’s good if we can take on players like him, which we have done here, and I hope everyone will be happy with him. I’m not sure how much he will play this season, or how much he will start, but it’s good for the future of you can find these sort of players.” Speaking to the newspaper Le Matin, Fernandes said: “I have always worked for a moment like this; I have signed at a famous club. We all know the level of football in the Premier League. Everything has happened so quickly. I am struggling to believe it. My new coach has been successful wherever he has been and I hope to enjoy success with him. I want to impose myself and then get into the senior national team. I am hungry and motivated. I want to share this happiness with my family and then my friends.”

Buying British – 4: Brazilian midfielder Geovanni – full name Geovanni Deiderson Mauricio Gomez – became Sven Goran Eriksson’s third City signing this week. He signed on a one-year deal, on a free transfer. The versatile attacking midfielder has been on trial at Portsmouth this month and scored for Harry Redknapp’s side in their pre-season friendly against Yeovil on Saturday. He had been expected to make a permanent switch to Fratton Park but City have come through to win the race for his signature. The 27-year-old passed a medical at City earlier on Monday and a deal has now been finalised after he agreed personal terms. “It’s been a dream for me to play in England, and this is a dream as well to come to a club like Manchester City,” said Geovanni. “It’s great to be here after playing in Europe for a few years already, and I can’t wait to get started. Playing in England has been an ambition of mine, I watched a lot of Premier League games when I was at Benfica and now that I’m here I just want to start playing.” City fans may remember that the player scored for Portuguese side Benfica against the Stretford Reds in 2005 – a goal that contributed to the Red Devils’ Champions’ League exit. “That was a special night for me and for Benfica, and I’m hoping to get more goals like that now that I’m here at City,” Geovanni adds. Five seasons playing in Spain and Portugal have given Geovanni what he feels are the right tools to make the grade. “I think I’ve got some good experience having played at Barcelona and Benfica, and having played for a few years in Europe I think I’m ready to play in the Premier League.”

“Wrong” Said Fred: It seems that two targets won’t be joining the Sven revolution. Freddie Ljungberg’s agent has played down reports he could join City by admitting it is unlikely he will stay in the Premier League. Despite still being under contract at Arsenal, Ljungberg is expected to leave the Emirates Stadium and has been linked with a move to the COMS. However, his representative Claes Elefalk told Swedish news agency TT: “He has earlier said that due to his respect for the Arsenal fans he can’t play for another English club.” This would appear to leave the field open to Italian side Fiorentina, who are also said to be interested. Next we heard that SGE was planning a double raid on Barcelona to bring Ludovic Giuly and Thiago Motta to City. The alleged interest in Giuly was particularly welcome, as the creative midfielder had been a key part of Monaco’s run to the Champions’ Final in 2004. Alas, the Frenchman repelled the advances of the Swedish Love Machine and chose instead to sign for AS Roma. The France international has cost the Giallorossi £2.15 million with add-ons subject to the club qualifying for the Champions’ League. “I am happy to be at Roma,” Giuly said. “I have so many important memories with Barcelona but now I am here to win.”

Begging Bernardo: Bernardo Corradi scored a corker of a goal at Doncaster last Saturday, but has begged Lazio to bring him home. “My objective is to return to Italy and Lazio would be at the top of my list,” commented the centre-forward. “I know the club is on the look-out for a new striker and that would be absolutely brilliant for me.” But on Wednesday, SGE was at pains to point out that all his current players had a chance to prove themselves, and mentioned Corradi in particular. “We have not had any discussions so far on any players to leave the club, and Bernardo has not come to me and said that he wants to leave, neither have I spoken to him,” said Eriksson. “We have to do it the other way around, we’ll see who comes in and perhaps who may go out. Everybody starts here this season with an equal chance, it doesn’t matter how long they have been at the Club, doesn’t matter what their age is or their earnings, there is no problem as everyone has the same opportunity. All the players here will have a chance and I will try to give them as many games as possible in pre-season.” Meanwhile, the M.E.N. reckons that Sven is on the look out for some players to give the team some width in midfield – and was so unimpressed with Saturday’s wide boys at Doncaster that he substituted both Darius Vassell and Ishmael Miller, and that he’s decided both players can leave the club. This is a bit at odds with Sven’s comments re: Corradi, but maybe they know something we don’t. On Wednesday the club website announced that Turkish club Besiktas had made a bid for Vassell, but that City had turned the offer down.

Mucho Lucho: Time for a quick skate through the rest of the transfer speculation and tittle tattle. So brace yourselves. City, Spurs and West Ham are all on the trail of midfielder Lucho Gonzalez. But Spanish side Valencia are in pole position after making a £12 million bid for Porto’s Argentinian skipper. SGE is lining up Anthony Gardner for a £3 million move to City – the Swede is in talks with the Spurs defender and wants him to fill the gap caused by Sylvain Distin’s move to Portsmouth. Eriksson gave Gardner an England cap three years ago but a series of injuries restricted his chances at Spurs. The Daily Star reckons that Middlesbrough are bracing themselves for a £10 million bid from City for striker Yakubu. Sven has been doing a lot of eyeing up this week (no change there, you might say), and he’s very keen on eyeing up more strikers. He would like to make a move for Peter Crouch. Eriksson is a big fan of the 6ft 7in England star, having handed him his international début. And his mam’s from a big City-supporting family, so it’s a done deal surely? Or, SGE is after Inter Milan’s Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Or, Eriksson is chasing Bayern Munich forward Roque Santa Cruz, who is also a target for West Ham. The rumours concerning City’s interest in Martin Petrov have continued this week – but the M.E.N. says no bid’s been made for the Bulgarian international. Still following this? Good… City have allegedly made contact with French club Nancy for defender Pape Diakhate. The 23 year-old Senegal international centre-half is close to sealing a move to Dynamo Kiev but negotiations stalled on Sunday after fresh contact was made by City. And ever busy in the pursuit of new talent, City have made a move for Olympiakos star Nery Alberto Castillo, according to reports in Greece. Castillo is contracted to Olympiakos until 2010, but they are ready to offer him a double-your-money contract in order to fend off big interest from around Europe. The 23-year-old, who agreed to join Them in Trafford as a 16-year-old before a work-permit wrangle ruled out the move, is now the subject of immense interest. Greek sources claim both Shakhtar Donetsk and City have lodged offers for the player – but Olympiakos are ready to fight hard to keep Castillo. Australian midfielder Mark Bresciano of Palermo is (you’ll never guess) yet another target for City. SGE knows all about Bresciano from his time managing in Italy, with the 27-year-old having plied his trade in Serie A since 1999. Bresciano has been a consistent performer in Serie A and he helped Palermo finish in fifth spot last season. I’ll give your eyes a break, and will be back in a minute with some goalkeeping news.

Caught by the Goalies: There are reports that Thai goalkeeper Kosin Hathairattanakool could be on the move to the Blues, making him the first fellow countryman of the new owner to make the jump to the Premiership. Kosin was downplaying these reports though. “When I heard about these reports, I thought it was a joke,” he said. “But it’s a nice feeling to be linked with a big English team. I still have to improve. I don’t think I’m ready for that yet, but if it happened, it would be like a dream,” added the 25-year-old. Jumping continents now. Jose Alberti has revealed that City, Real Zaragoza and some other club have tried to sign River Plate goalkeeper Juan Pablo Carrizo. Alberti took Diego Maradona to Napoli and said: “We’re talking about a complete, skilful goalkeeper with his feet, someone who can command his defence and make the difference. At this moment, the player is wanted by Manchester United, Manchester City and Real Zaragoza. The Spanish club have offered £6 million.”

Ex-Blues’ News

This Charming Man: As we’ve learned over the years, Joey Barton was never the most gracious of people – and he’s begun his Newcastle career in a similar manner. Considering the public support his former manager gave him over the last few trying seasons, Stuart Pearce must have been shaking his head in disbelief when he read Barton’s comments in Wednesday’s Sun. Barton claims he’s still bitter about the treatment he received during his final days at City. “I didn’t speak to Pearce about Newcastle because we had a relationship breakdown in the end,” Barton said. “He came out and said certain things which he shouldn’t have said, whether he felt them or not. There’s a lot of things I feel about him but I’ve not come out and said them and I don’t plan on doing so. When you have a working relationship with someone, there are a lot of things that should be kept in-house. Stuart thinks differently and he is entitled to his opinion.”

Back (Nearer) Home for Full Backs: Let’s bring you news of two former City full-backs. Stephen Jordan has got himself fixed up with a new club – Championship side Burnley have snapped up the 25-year-old left back, who’s signed a three-year deal with the Clarets. Burnley manager Steve Cotterill said: “We are delighted to have Stephen on board. He was one of the first players that I spoke to in the summer and it has taken a long time to land him due to there being a fair bit of interest from the Premiership.” And Richard Edghill’s back in the North West, and has joined up with a former City teammate. He’s signed for Macclesfield Town, managed by Ian Brightwell. Edghill played more than 200 games in all competitions for City including many Premier League appearances. Edghill was also a member of the City squad who played against the Silkmen in the Second Division, and scored in the penalty shootout that earned City promotion to the First Division. He also wore the captain’s armband as City were promoted again into the Premiership. He left City the following season after a loan spell at Birmingham and moved on to Wigan, then Sheffield United and on to QPR. He helped QPR finish second in League One, and remained a regular in the Championship as recently as 2005. He signed for Bradford City in the summer of 2005, where he spent two years playing in League One before his release this summer. Brightwell said: “I am delighted to capture the signature of a player like Richard. I played alongside him when he first arrived on the scene at Man City. It was clear from an early stage that he had what it took to make it in the game; he’s naturally fit and a great trainer. It was no surprise to me that he has gone on to make over 250 games during his career. He’s still got a lot to offer and I see him as a key signing and someone I know will make a big impression at the Moss Rose this season.”

After-Match Reactions and Comments

City Do Donny: The Sven era got off to a winning start at Doncaster’s Keepmoat Stadium on Saturday. The Blue won 3-1, but found themselves a goal down at the break – due to Sean McDaid’s 16th-minute strike for Rovers. Substitute Bernardo Corradi equalised in the 48th minute with a well struck and powerful drive, then Micah Richards (62) and Emile Mpenza (64) added to the tally to complete a satisfying afternoon for the former England manager. Sven said: “I’ll learn a lot from watching them play, even in friendlies, because I didn’t know them before but today was very good for me, and for them as well. We were much better organised in the second half today, got into better positions and controlled the game until we had scored the third goal. Then we took it easy, but that was OK. I’m happy with it, and to be sitting on the bench again – it’s been a long time.” For a pre-season friendly there was a healthy turn out by the world’s media, but he was quite happy with the attention, saying: “It doesn’t distract me, it’s good if there’s a lot of media around the team because it means we are interesting people. Let’s hope they come back, and that the fans carry on singing through the season.” Summing up his first day back on the touchline, Sven denied he had been nervous beforehand. “I wasn’t nervous, I have been looking forward to it. It was good to be back with a football team again, we had good weather, a beautiful stadium and a good pitch. It was perfect – especially with the win!”
Team: Isaksson (Hart h-t), Richards (M Mills 69), Ball, Onuoha (M Mills 69), Dunne, Ireland, Dabo (Hamann h-t), Miller (Johnson h-t), Vassell (Corradi h-t), Samaras, Mpenza (Dickov 69)

Goal Orgy at Orgyte: Rolando Bianchi scored on his début on Wednesday evening, as City began their mini-tour of Sweden with a 4-1 win over Örgryte IS. The other goals came from Bernardo Corradi (what’s got into him – two goals in two games?), Georgios Samaras and Shaleum Logan. Bianchi opened the scoring on 18 minutes, when a one-two with Mpenza left the débutant with a tap-in. City created further chances, but were surprisingly pegged back by a home equaliser on 37 minutes. The Blues made their superiority pay in the second half though – Logan’s shot hit the post but Corradi pounced to knock the ball home. Hamann and Samaras combined to set up Logan just after the hour mark, who scored City’s fourth with a low drive. SGE was pleased with the performance of Bianchi and fellow new boy Gelson Fernandes, although he reserved special praise for youngster Shaleum Logan after an impressive showing. “Logan, the young boy did very well as a right midfielder,” Eriksson said on Sky. “It was the first time we saw Bianchi and Fernandes and I think both did very well so that’s good. I have seen enough [of Logan] for the last ten days; he looks very sharp and I have seen him here in Sweden in the practice sessions. I like him very much and I think in the future he will be a good player. He can play at right back and left back as well so he is very useful.” It must have been pleasing for Sven to see three of his strikers hit the back of the net. “Yes I know it is good for confidence but when the Premier League starts it will be much more difficult than it was today but anyhow scoring goals for any striker gives them confidence. I am very happy, very pleased for the boys.”
Team: Isaksson, Richards, Dunne (M Mills 66) (c), Onuoha (D Mills 56), Ball (Laird 79), Logan (Miller 66), Fernandes (Dabo 66), Johnson (Hamann 56), Ireland (Vassell 56 [Dickov 69]), Mpenza (Corradi h-t), Bianchi (Samaras 56).

Not Stale at Stalybridge: Last Saturday the Reserves made a winning start to their pre-season with a 2-1 victory at Stalybridge Celtic. Ched Evans opened the scoring just after half time before the hosts levelled, but Karl Moore hit an 88th minute winner for Kenny Jackett’s team.
Team: Schmeichel, Logan, Williamson, Breen, MacDonald, Laird, Clayton, Marshall, Evans, Grimes, Mouritsen. Subs: Obeng, Mentel, Moore, Vidal, D Ball, McDermott.

Squad News

Isak Says… Goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson believes the new manager can lead the side to glory. The 25-year-old is confident that the Blues can secure a UEFA Cup spot in Eriksson’s first year in charge. “Sven is a big name and it’s great that we could tempt him to join us,” Isaksson told Sportbladet. “With his experience from big clubs, he knows what matters and what is required. I believe he can straighten things up. We need to get a couple of new players and the side to work, we can fight at the top. We can take a UEFA Cup spot. It will be tough, but it is possible. It’s a tight league.” Well, he’s not likely to say “Sven’s a pile of poop”, is he?

Don Barrie <news(at)>


Three new signings by Sven, so it will be interesting to see how the players work for the club during the coming weeks and months ahead.

I am certainly impressed with the way the new manager is conducting business at Manchester City, with no over-the-top or outrageous behaviour, and no over-the-hill incoming player-signings.

Extremely professional presence and behaviour from Sven – as such, very reminiscent of The great Joe Mercer. Praise, indeed.

Graham Mills <gkm_5(at)>


I have been reading all the developments on Man City of late with more interest than ever. I have been a Blue since I was five, but three years ago moved out to Thailand. Being here has given me a real insight to our new owner.

All the press in England concentrates on Sven and all the press out here concentrates on Thaksin. Before the rumours of takeover, Man City were in the press maybe once a season. Now, Man City, or more realistically, Thaksin and his club virtually have their own column.

To the point, the big news a few days ago was that City were on the verge of signing the Thai ‘keeper.

But what really of Thaksin?

OK, he is clearly a fantastic businessman. After all (as quoted in the Bangkok Post) his frozen assets (money) stacked high, would become the second highest mountain in the world, only after Everest. So what of the money he and his family still have?

Well, according to sources, “it’s clean”.

However, knowing his background and political stance, all of his money has been to the laundrette several times (in my opinion).

He is also wanted for 2,500 cases of inhumanity to man, countless acts of laundering money and is also the sole reason for the recent military coup in Thailand. There is also a warrant for his arrest.

So, is he good for my club? Probably.

If you want to find out anything on Thaksin and other relevant City news in Thailand, simply let me know and I will keep you posted.

Dennis Farrell <dennis.Farrell(at)>


Some people in the media have sought to besmirch the name of our Frank over his alleged Human Rights record.

Apparently he ordered the death of 3,000 people on a whim. Which is a bit off for any President, democratically elected or not.

Are you angry at this act? Yes.

This is the headline to get your attention to hate him and mock City in the papers.

Dig a little deeper and we find it’s 3,000 prisoners serving jail time. That reduces the anger a little but not much.

Then we find it’s 3,000 drug dealers.

This reduces the anger a bit more perhaps but still no excuse, he is still in the drinking circle of Pol Pot, Saddam and Bad Bob Mugabe.

Apparently the chosen 3,000 sold heroin to children. Let’s assume the cost is £20,000 p.a. to keep them alive in prison, fed, housed, and entertained.

Frank was elected on a ticket to get rid of drug dealers and assuming the 3,000 stayed alive for 20 years the cost of 3,000 bullets saves Thai tax payers in all £1,200 million. You can build a fair few hospitals and schools with £1.2 billion.

You decide: 3,000 bullets in the heads of heroin dealers or £1.2 billion keeping the monsters / human beings alive. Are you still angry?

To the Guardian reading, mung bean salad eating, open towed sandal wearing, tree hugging, vegetarian liberal minded of you. It’s no excuse and the human rights record is violated and puts him in the same camp as Hitler.

If your a Sun reading, pie and chips eating, white van man, talk sport regular listener, his actions are to be applauded and copied by the prison service in this country.

So are you Guardian or Sun? Is he a Murderer or Child Saviour? I wish life were this simple and black/white but it makes for a good straw poll tho’

Philip Lines <philipjlines(at)>


Who is Geovanni? Let me help or at least, let help:

Another on August 19th would be nice!

Joe O’Doherty <joeodoherty(at)>


It really riles when I read in the press about Barton mouthing off about Pearce. I suppose I’m giving him more credence than he deserves by writing about him here.

But Joey, wind your neck in would you? End it. What you did was inexcusable. It’s the cheapest swipe when you’ve got to have a go at a now ex-manager. Pointless, childish and achieves precisely nothing. He goes on about being ‘part of a team’ – as if he was!

If he doesn’t wind up in trouble in Newcastle I’ll eat my hat; sadly he’s just that way built. Anyhow, it’s the cheapest swipe to have a go at an ex-player blah blah. Going now!

P.S. In the week that Sven took over he’s signed three players, with more on the way, and although they are yet unproven in the Premiership, most people’s hearts must’ve stopped beating at that alarming rate by now surely?

Joel Perry <j.perry(at)>


Is there going to be a new away shirt this season? If so, when is it out and does anyone know what it looks like, as there is no away kit on the website?

I can’t imagine the new manufacturers wanting to show Reebok stuff, but thought they might produce their own version.

I also heard that the sizes this year are different from last year i.e. If you were ‘XL’ you’re now ‘L’ or the other way round. Can anyone confirm whether I should be looking for a size up or down from last year?

Stuart Wells <kipp(at)>


The Evening News website now has a link to show a few minutes of City action from Channel M. So you can see the goals from the Doncaster game on:

The screen the highlights are shown in is a bit small, but it’s better than no highlights at all!

Tim Roundwood <mcfc1981(at)>

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Newsletter #1346