Newsletter #1364

News and reaction to the past week’s happenings, the win against Villa and being second. Ireland is in the news again, the Thai trialists have returned home and the boy wonder Johnson is attracting the plaudits.

We have opinion on the derby game, fixtures, chavs and all. Next up, Craven Cottage.

Next Game: Saturday 22 September 2007, 5.15pm, Fulham (away)


General News

Twin Awards: City’s good start in August has been recognised with two awards to individuals. Sven-Goran has been named as the Barclays Premier League Manager of the Month, while Micah Richards scooped the Player of the Month Award. Sven said, “I’m honoured to get this award. We had a good start, but after receiving an award like this it’s a must to thank the staff around me, the players, the club and the new owner. There’s a lot of work gone behind the scenes here, but it’s an honour and I’m very happy about it. As I have said before, this is the best league in the world and if you want to compete with other managers then you have to do so here.” Of Micah’s bauble, S-GE commented: “I think he deserves his award more than mine, because he has been absolutely fantastic. I don’t think anyone could argue with his award over the way he has played for us, 19 years old and playing so well for both City and England has been a great effort by him.” A delighted Micah said: “It’s really nice to win this award; I thought I had played well this month but it’s been a great team effort here at City as well. I did well when I went away with England, but this is very special for me. Whether I play at right back or centre half does not really matter to me, I’ll always give 100% for the team.”

Preston Pan for Wardle Gold: The Daily Mirror said that Preston North End have sounding out John Wardle about taking over their club. North End Chairman Derek Shaw is looking for a buyer and has sounded out Wardle to see if he is interested in plunging his cash from the sale of City to Thaksin Shinawatra into the Championship strugglers. But Shaw then denied any approach. He told the Evening Post on Monday morning: “I don’t know anything whatsoever about this. There has not been any approach at all. I’m sure, as we have said before, if somebody of John Wardle’s status was interested in doing something at Preston North End then he would sit down with the major shareholders and discuss something. There is no problem at all with that. But as far as I know this is just newspaper talk.”

Ireland Apologises After Republic Lie: Here’s a bit of a morality tale. Never tell lies, no matter how justified you feel the reasons are – things can get out of control before you know it. Stephen Ireland was forced to issue an apology through the club after admitting lying to the Republic of Ireland about his grandmother dying so he return home to comfort his girlfriend Jessica, who had suffered a miscarriage. He left the national squad after the Euro 2008 qualifier in Slovakia at the weekend and skipped the match in the Czech Republic. Ireland claimed he panicked and lied first of all about his maternal grandmother dying and then his paternal grandmother passing away. He was found out when the Football Association of Ireland traced both women and realised they were still alive. Ireland said: “The miscarriage that Jessica suffered last Saturday has caused both of us a lot of heartache and had caused us both to panic. It was wrong and I sincerely apologise, particularly as I caused a lot of problems for many people. I have learnt a valuable lesson from this mess and hope those I have hurt by my actions will forgive me.” Sven must have felt that Ireland was not ready for football matters, as he was left out of Sunday’s squad for the Villa match.

Backe Goes Back: Hans Backe has returned to Sweden after just six weeks, due to personal reasons. The newspapers reported that the Assistant Manager left before Sunday’s 1-0 win over Aston Villa and admits he may not return. He said: “I am forced to quit because of illness in my family. I am now in Sweden and I cannot say at the moment when I can return to Manchester. This is hard to handle. But I don’t want to say anything more.” Eriksson, who has known Backe for 20 years, said: “As the situation is today, it could stay like this for a while, Hans is temporarily out,” Sven revealed this afternoon. “He’s back in Sweden because of an illness in the family, which I’m sorry about, but that is a fact.” Eriksson added: “At the moment Kenny Jackett from the reserves is coming up with us and Ian Miller will take the reserves. That will be the solution for the moment. It’s a temporary thing and we all hope – and I think strongly – that Hans is back with us again soon.”

Transfer News and Gossip

Big Men Have Wide Appeal: Liverpool face a fight to keep Peter Crouch, with Manchester City and Italian giants Juventus both ready to make a move for the England striker in January. Two big men were being linked with moves to City – one big in height, the other big in width (if the reports are to be believed). Liverpool’s beanpole striker Peter Crouch, according to the Sunday Express, is looking to move on in January, having become fourth choice striker at Anfield. S-GE, who gave Crouch his international début, wants another striker to replace the injured Valeri Bojinov, while Juventus, managed by former Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri, are also eyeing Crouch’s situation. And once again, Brazilian Adriano is being mentioned in the same breath as City. The player is left out of the Inter Milan’s Champions’ League squad and rumours are that Chelsea, City and United are keen to get Adriano.

Thai Trials are Over: Thai trio Suree Sukha, Teerasil Dangda and Kiatprawut Saiwaew have ended their trial with City, claiming the language barrier was a problem. Despite admitting the stint at City was a useful eye-opener, striker Teerasil admitted that their poor English did not help them to settle. He told the Bangkok Post: “Apart from obtaining a work permit, another problem for us is language. We are not very good in English and sometimes we did not understand what Sven wanted us to do.” It is claimed Suree could yet become a City player if the club successfully manage to overturn the Home Office’s decision to reject their work permit application in next month’s appeal.

Ex-Blues’ News

Ali’s Buddy Joins the Buddies: St Mirren have handed a trial to former City man Karim Kerkar, a friend of Ali Benarbia if memory serves. The Algerian international is a free agent after leaving United Arab Emirates side Al-Wahda. Kerkar featured in a friendly game for St Mirren against Derby earlier this week and he is believed to have impressed the club’s coaching staff. Buddies’ boss Gus MacPherson confirmed Kerkar will spend the next few days training with the squad so that he can cast an eye over him. “Karim is still here training with us and we’ll continue to have a look at him over the next few days,” MacPherson told the club’s official website.

After-Match Reactions and Comments

Magic Johnson: “One nil, to the City boys” could become a common chant at the COMS this term, as Sunday saw City secure their third successive home victory by that margin, this time against Aston Villa. And City moved up to second in the Premier League thanks to Michael Johnson’s terrific run and shot. Johnson lit up a somewhat lacklustre encounter when he drove through the Villa defence and slotted a low drive under goalkeeper Scott Carson. The visitors had enough chances to level with John Carew wasting a close-range header and Martin Laursen doing likewise from two corners. “Michael Johnson is the all-round midfielder. He can pass, run, shoot, tackle, he has it all. He was excellent. I see him as a future captain. We have a lot of young players so it is good for now and for the future. He is a very good football player and of course he will be better than that. It’s been a long time since our last win and you start to think how good are we? This was the perfect answer.” Johnson said: “I don’t really want to say what target I have set myself but it’s fair to say that I started the season telling myself I needed to score some goals. I’m just delighted that I have got two already.” The Boss was also impressed by the way his players returned after the international break to end a two-match losing run. “It was a good football match, it was very tight,” he added. “I think we deserved to win. I am very happy. We lost against Blackburn two weeks ago and then we don’t see half the team for two weeks. It was a very good answer today. We are not scoring a lot of goals but as long as we win 1-0 I am very happy.” Eriksson refused to contemplate breaking the domination of the ‘Big Four’ clubs at the top of the League. “It is too long a way to go to start to speak about that,” he told Sky Sports. “We have to go on match after match and try to do as good as possible. If you look at their squads I think they will be the four best still.” Johnson’s midfield partner Didi Hamann was similarly realistic. “It will not be easy to stay up near the top,” said the experienced Didi Hamann. “But if we can do well at home then we have a chance.”

No Excuses: Aston Villa’s manager Marin O’Neill bemoaned his team’s lack of a cutting edge. “The truth of the matter is we didn’t do enough. We should be able to create more with the players we have,” he said. “We started off reasonably brightly and looked as though we might cause them problems. We were doing okay in the game without being real bright sparks. The goal against us, I thought would be the signal for us to go for the game, which we tried to do. But we didn’t create enough. The international break is no excuse, it’s the same for every side. After Chelsea game I wish we had a game the following week, but the big sides can cope with it. We should do better.”

Squad News

Hart Ache: Joe Hart got a rare first team start recently, in the Carling Cup at Bristol City, and it’s whet his appetite for first team football. So he’s ready to go out on loan. “At City Kasper is playing, it could have been me if it hadn’t been for my finger, but I’m not going to look at it like that. Kasper has done well, I’ll just have to keep waiting for my chance and I did get to play in the Carling Cup,” Hart said on the club’s website. “I may have to go out on loan at some point but I’ve done that before at Tranmere and Blackpool and it was a good experience. Only one ‘keeper can ever play, but I’ve always got on with the other ‘keepers at Shrewsbury, Manchester City and with England.”

Danny Done Again: Mr. Eriksson has been praising young ‘uns Kelvin Etuhu and Daniel Sturridge – but no sooner had the words left his lips, than one of the starlets got crocked again. Of Etuhu, the boss said: “I know he’s been out for eight or nine months with a bad injury, but he looks very good. We’ve had him training with the first team sometimes but having seen the reserve game against Manchester United he did really well.” He added: “I have heard about Sturridge, but I’ve never seen him play, I’ve heard about his pace and that he’s a big talent so I’ll wait for him and look forward to having him involved.” Next day came news that Sturridge had been ruled out of action until the New Year following a hip operation. “I have spoken to Daniel,” Eriksson told the M.E.N. “He has had very bad luck and the medical team has told me that he will not be back until after Christmas.”

Dunnie Tribute: Prior to the Villa game, S-GE paid tribute to skipper Richard Dunne who missed the game though suspension. Dunnie didn’t miss a minute of last season’s action, but Sven admitted he wasn’t thrilled by his first view of the big Irishman. He said: “He is a tough guy who is approaching the top of his game. If I compare him now with the player I first saw four or five years ago, he is for me a much, much better player. Back then I didn’t like him as a player but now I like him very much. I would agree that Richard is in the very top bracket of central defenders playing in the Premier League,” he said. “He can do everything. Richard is a good header of the ball, he is strong, he is a rather good passer when on the ball and is quick, quicker than you think. He has a lot of experience now at the top level. It would be nice to see what would happen if he was English though perhaps you should not say that to an Irishman! I think he would be a challenge to all the other central defenders.”

Shin-A-Watra! I’m beginning to think that my younger brother has nothing better to do that collect amusing City related quotes from the Internet. And do you know what? I’ve got nothing better to do than pass them on to you. So this week: Chant of the season so far, from Man City fans to the tune of The Proclaimers’ “500 miles”. Genius. (Denis, Germany): “Oh you can freeze 500 million, and you can freeze 500 more, ‘Cause Thaksin’s got another billion underneath his bedroom floor, SHIN-A-WATRA! SHIN-A-WATRA!”

Don Barrie <news(at)>


Great to see the Blues scramble another three points. But from watching the match on television here in Toronto Canada, a couple of things still disturb me. One obvious problem is the empty expanses in the stadium. Your report is full of people begging for tickets yet there’s huge empty spaces in the stadium. Surely City’s marketing people can do a better job of making tickets available on the day of the match?

Secondly, defensively City are playing brilliantly but, up front, and at home against Villa, why are we only playing with one striker? It’s no wonder we are only scoring one or two goals a game. I understand the need to shape the team to be defensive away from home, but our lack of ambition at home is going to backfire. We were extremely lucky against United and we were not that convincing against Derby. Come on Sven, get a little adventurous. We have the talent to put the ball in the net, let’s open up the attack and score a few.

By the way, any City fans in the Scarborough, Pickering and Whitby areas of Toronto (no not Yorkshire) want to get together to watch the lads on the weekend, please get in touch so we can find a convenient pub to watch the matches. I know there are other City fans out here.

Come on you Blues.

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


I’ve been a true Blue for 55 years (having been born and bred in Dukinfield) and in self-imposed exile in western Canada for the past 27. Consequently, I’ve been starved of one of my other favourite sports, rugby. Am enjoying the Rugby World Cup games through Setanta.

Personally, I would be delighted if the FA followed suit with respect to the sin bin for a yellow card and also if it allowed quick free kicks at the discretion of the takers.

Wonderful to see our lads 2nd in the table. Johnson reminds me at times of a young Colin Bell, particularly the way he ghosted into the box for his strike versus Villa. I know results are going our way right now so you can’t really argue with Sven and his staff, but it puzzles me why Bianchi isn’t playing a lot more.

CTID, Clive Spechko <bluemoon(at)>


Just spent a rough couple of minutes travelling about daddy dick’s little digital photo montage of Chavland, as he sees it. That’s some pink hat he parks on his gelled-down baldy thatch. Please don’t tempt me with any more stuff like this, as I prefer to keep my mind free of this clobber when getting revved up watching the Blues.

The next time he makes a cobblers of a simple pass, I don’t know what tricky thoughts are going to infest my mind now. Sweet Jaysus, what a prat.

Simon Curtis <np27ao(at)>


The new regime’s PR charm offensive continues apace. Check this season’s cards. We are no longer customers but – yes! – supporters. Now, can we have a few more goals please?

Stuart Jones <stuartjones_9(at)>


Many of us older supporters who saw Colin Bell play on a regular basis see the resemblance of Colin Bell in Michael Johnson. Same height (roughly), flopping blonde hair, flair for going forward with pace, and keeps going like Nijinsky (famous horse that Colin was nicknamed after).

Sven says that we should not compare Michael Johnson to another player; maybe he is right, but to be compared to one of the best players ever to wear the blue shirt of City is an honour indeed, and it should keep Michael Johnson playing to improve and maybe one day be a legend, and that will only come with hard work.

But of course Michael Johnson has to do things his way, and take notice of what Sven and the coaches say. Michael is no Colin Bell yet, but let’s just say he is on his way, but there is a long way to go yet, for it takes a lot to be in the class of King Colin.

Keep at it Michael, maybe one day you will have a stand named after you!

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


I was born exactly 4 months after Munich. My parents and those before them were CTID. My dad was a rabid anti-Red but he had wistful eyes when he spoke of Duncan Edwards and what he might have achieved. Let us, as City fans, old and young, not forget the grief that was felt throughout all Manchester in February 1958, regardless of colour or creed, when the Munich air crash happened. This was a city united in grief and the disaster should be remembered as such. Big Frank was only one of those who perished. It would sully the memories of not only the seven United players who died but also those others from the back-room and newspapers who were taken, should we not join together in remembrance.

We should also remember the survivors. We would diminish ourselves if we could not join together for their sakes, again to remember their loss and suffering.

I’m not suggesting that rivalry should be put aside. Oh no.

Let us remember a great set of folk, some of whom played in red, who perished on a cold night in Munich. We can and must join together in communal grief.

Then may the best team win.

CTID, Garry Higgins <balrog(at)>


In response to Jeff Roycroft’s comment on the timing of the derby at OT ‘While we’re at it let’s hope the mindless idiots at the FA plan the fixtures a little better in future…’

I felt Jeff’s comments on the FA were a little harsh. I attended a meeting held by the Fixtures Working Party on how fixtures are planned. Clubs can request when they want or when they do not want to play games (the Welsh clubs don’t like to play at home when the Rugby Union internationals are held in Cardiff, Chester when the races are on and Brighton when the gay pride is on) and Manchester United request to play at home on the nearest weekend to 6th February. Similarly, clubs can request who not to play at certain times e.g. clubs on the coast do not want to play certain clubs with potentially ‘troublesome fans’ on Bank Holidays. So on that basis, United could have insisted to play on the weekend, but not to play against City (or Liverpool).

Even after the fixtures have been given to clubs, there is a two week period for clubs to request changes where necessary before they are released to the media and public. So the fact that neither United or City did not flag this issue up can only lead to the conclusion that the fixture was purposely arranged by both clubs in advance or certainly arranged with their approval.

My own feelings on the issue is that United should invite relatives of all of those who died in the tragedy, players, staff and journalists. Surely the sight of relatives of Frank Swift on the pitch, stood in front of City fans during any tribute would silence anyone wanting to disrupt the tribute?

Phill Gatenby <safestanding(at)>


Just had to smile at Renato’s contribution in MCIVTA 1363. Renato, I’ve said it before, and I repeat it again … you are an absolute star. I’ve just read his blog at I am a linguistic philistine but fortunately google language tools ( did a passable translation for me.

Well done Renato.

CTID, Jack Millington <jack.Millington(at)>


Due to unforeseen circumstances I am now unable to go to Saturday’s game at Fulham. If anyone needs a ticket email or call 07774 927555. The ticket is currently in Brighton but friends will be going so you can collect the ticket from the ground on the day.

Sefton Owens <so(at)>


17 September 2007

Derby County          1 - 0  Newcastle United      33,016

League table to 19 September 2007 inclusive

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F   A   GD  Pts
 1 Arsenal          5  3  0  0  6  2  1  1  0  4  2  4  1  0  10   4   6  13
 2 Manchester City  6  3  0  0  3  0  1  0  2  2  2  4  0  2   5   2   3  12
 3 Liverpool        5  1  1  0  7  1  2  1  0  4  1  3  2  0  11   2   9  11
 4 Manchester Utd   6  2  1  0  2  0  1  1  1  2  2  3  2  1   4   2   2  11
 5 Chelsea          6  2  1  0  4  2  1  1  1  3  4  3  2  1   7   6   1  11
 6 West Ham United  5  1  1  1  4  3  2  0  0  4  0  3  1  1   8   3   5  10
 7 Everton          6  1  1  1  3  3  2  0  1  5  3  3  1  2   8   6   2  10
 8 Blackburn R.     5  1  1  0  2  1  1  2  0  3  2  2  3  0   5   3   2   9
 9 Wigan Athletic   6  2  1  0  5  1  0  1  2  2  4  2  2  2   7   5   2   8
10 Newcastle Utd    5  1  1  0  1  0  1  1  1  5  4  2  2  1   6   4   2   8
11 Aston Villa      5  2  0  1  5  3  0  1  1  0  1  2  1  2   5   4   1   7
12 Birmingham City  6  1  1  1  3  3  1  0  2  4  6  2  1  3   7   9  -2   7
13 Middlesbrough    6  1  1  1  5  4  1  0  2  2  5  2  1  3   7   9  -2   7
14 Sunderland       6  2  0  1  3  3  0  1  2  2  6  2  1  3   5   9  -4   7
15 Portsmouth       6  1  2  0  4  2  0  1  2  3  6  1  3  2   7   8  -1   6
16 Fulham           6  1  1  1  6  6  0  1  2  3  5  1  2  3   9  11  -2   5
17 Tottenham H.     6  1  0  2  6  6  0  1  2  3  5  1  1  4   9  11  -2   4
18 Reading          6  1  0  2  2  5  0  1  2  1  5  1  1  4   3  10  -7   4
19 Derby County     6  1  1  1  4  4  0  0  3  0 11  1  1  4   4  15 -11   4
20 Bolton Wndrs     6  1  0  2  5  5  0  0  3  2  6  1  0  5   7  11  -4   3

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1364