Newsletter #1373

Tonight we have the results to the second and final part of the MCIVTA competition from Svenn, a match report of the Birmingham game, more opinion on Bianchi and yet another song (not for Elano this time though!).

We also have Mark’s statistical worries and some ticket requests!

Heidi’s still on her break from her editorial duties, so I shall be standing in until further notice. Please keep the articles coming to the usual address of <editor(at)>.

Next Game: Saturday 27 October 2007, 3pm, Chelsea (away)


After the brilliant football in the wins over Newcastle and Middlesbrough, City won this game without hitting those heights, but win they did against stubborn opponents who refused to lie down and will argue that they should have had a point.

There had been a doubt about Elano’s participation in this game after he had come off the bench and scored in Brazil’s World Cup Qualifier against Ecuador and only arrived back in Manchester on the Friday morning. Elano must have travelled first class, and had the most comfortable accommodation on his flight back as there was no evidence of jet lag on his part as he proved to be the difference between the two sides in another first class show from him – hoho! City were rightly unchanged after the wonderful performances in the previous two games, but this game was a totally different story, as Steve Bruce’s Birmingham closed City down, employing the niggly Mehdi Nafti as a man marker on Elano, whilst taking the game to City when they could. City’s play did not really flow and the attacks were much fewer and further between than of late.

Indeed, Birmingham pushed City back for long periods of the first half, forcing three corners and denied City the space to operate. Hart handled all these set pieces coolly and Birmingham’s attack, led by the lively Jerome and supported by the tricky Kapo, were resisted by our solid defence. Elano was again the star of the show, though, and was at the centre of City’s best moves again in this match. City’s best move of the first half was when Elano cleverly released a darting Petrov with an inch perfect ball which sliced through the visitor’s defence but the Bulgarian was thwarted by Taylor in the Brum goal.

City were not to be denied in the decisive moment of the game on the half hour though. Johnson’s persistence paid off when he won the ball wide out on the right, the impressive Corluka drove powerfully into the penalty box, squaring the ball to Elano, who shimmied to his left and drilled home a superb low left foot shot past Taylor’s outstretched left hand. Birmingham manager, John ‘Brucey’ Merrick, was not at all happy about Johnson’s challenge but replays later suggested that Urmston’s Finest got a touch on the ball and the defender slipped.

City did not really get going in the second half as a physical Birmingham side had the edge over the City in midfield where Stephen Ireland had his worst game of the season so far, uncharacteristically surrendering possession rather easily.

City’s biggest threats were coming from Petrov’s howitzer of a left foot from long range, but he didn’t quite have the accuracy to beat Taylor on this occasion. Isn’t it refreshing though to see City players prepared to shoot on sight of goal? The Bulgarian was closer on the hour after a tricking his way inside.

City were forced back by the visitors for most of the last 25 minutes with Hart being forced into a sharp save and Richards having to clear off the line from Schmitz. The impressive Corluka headed away from under his own bar from a De Ridder cross after Garrido sold himself short with a hopelessly timed lunge to rob the Dutch substitute. City failed to make the game safe in a breakaway when Samaras’s shot was blocked. We might have profited had he played in his fellow substitute Fernandes who had made a run into a better position. Thankfully this didn’t matter and there was relief all round at the final whistle as we held on. Sven knows that he must strengthen in January, and City need to be able to compete better physically if we are to sustain a run into Europe, but there is no denying the quality of the foundations that he has built here. City have delighted and dazzled more often than not this season so I suppose that we can live with the odd performance that doesn’t live up to those lofty standards! It is often quoted that good sides win when they don’t play well, so Sven is most definitely doing something right because this 6th straight home win this season represents the best start to a home campaign since 1957. The crowd of 45,688 was the biggest of the season and says a lot about how attractive a draw City are this season.

As a footnote, we headed off to Ashton New Road and noticed Thaksin Shinawatra happily staying behind for a good while before heading off to the Club shop in his Roller. It was as good to see that as it was Martin Petrov gladly do the same as Mrs Petrov chauffeured him through the traffic.

The journey back to the City centre was held up by what must have been an emotional reunion of the Guvnors and the Zulus, with a riot of Police TAU vans hurtling down Ashton New Road to the scene of the crime(s), and the cops maintaining heavy presence around Piccadilly Station. The air was filled with tension. It was like being back in the bad old days of the 80s again, except we didn’t have Jane Wiedlin’s ‘Rush Hour’ being played at half time to 26,000 and Peter Swales’ Cuban heels nervously shuffling around Maine Road. Then I remembered that instead of Tony Grealish, we now have Dietmar Hamman in our midfield. There has been progress on the pitch and in the boardroom at least.


Hart 6: Coolness personified in the first half with good distribution, made good save in the 2nd but flapped at a couple after the break.

Vedran Corluka 7: Was a close contender for man of the match, setting up Elano’s goal. Impressive defensively after a tricky start, and a skilful attacker when the opportunity arose.

Dunne 7: Solid and dependable as ever.

Richards 7: Still gets caught out of position now and again, but this fast learner has the pace to get out of trouble. Decisive clearance off the line helped secure the win.

Garrido 5: Largely solid in the first but was given a torrid time by Brum substitute De Ridder in the 2nd half.

Ireland 4: The young Irishman failed to find his range of passing and had his least effective game to date.

Hamann 7: An important cog in this team’s engine room.

Johnson 7: Composed and competitive, the winner wouldn’t have happened without his initial persistence.

Petrov 7: A threat whenever he got on the ball and like Elano, a crowd favourite.

Elano 8: A great talent who lit up a run-of-the-mill game. Worth the gate money alone.

Mpenza 6: Not his best game for City, but there’s no doubting his effort and how much his physicality contributes to the team.


Ball 6: Adequate cover at left back.

Samaras 6: Worked hard but should have done better when presented with an opportunity to play Fernandes through.

Fernandes 6: Lively and made a good run.

Phil Bannerjee <phil.bannerjee(at)>


And with the final round of the MCIVTA Quiz well over I have to admit that the questions were a notch on the hard side. In fact without going too deeply into the emails I may admit that nobody managed to find the correct answer to any of the final 3 questions.

Here is a round-up with a list of the participants and results so far:

Q4: Which (if any) players did Steve Coppell sign during his few days in charge as City manager?
A4: Eddie McGoldrick was Steve Coppell’s only permanent signing, while Simon Rodger was signed on loan.

Q5: Which former City striker scored a hat trick in a youth game for England against Holland, but never played for his country again despite experiencing great success at club level?
A5: A bucket of wrong guesses, but the correct answer is Neil Young.

Q6: Which former City favourite was first rejected by Arsenal where he received a letter stating: “hope you find a club whose standards are not as high as the Arsenal”?
A6: Who would have known? It was in fact our old maestro Colin Bell.

The winner will be announced in the next MCIVTA.

Svenn A. Hanssen <svenn(at)>


MCIVTA readers may struggle to register the fact that, if City maintain their current standard of results, (“if” being the key word, given the up-coming fixtures) they will attain the magical 43 point mark on the 29th of December, after the home fixture against Liverpool. Since the start of this Premier League season, City have averaged 2.2 points per fixture, i.e. 73.33% of the points available. No team with 43 points has ever been relegated from the Premier League; West Ham were relegated in 2003 with 42 points, and, amazingly, in 2005 West Brom avoided relegation with just 34 points!

With City being in a position to offer us this early Christmas gift, the questions I find myself asking are… How will we cope with having little to worry about for the rest of the season? What will it be like to grow finger-nails again? Should I start making plans to open a nail-bar on Oldham Road? [Correct answers:- 1) Bemusedly, 2) Strange, 3) Probably not).

If (that word again) the 73.33% record is maintained until mid-May, City will end the season with 83 points – enough to win the Premier League in two of the past seven seasons (must stop soon, as I think I need a little lie down). Keep up with the Premier League statistics throughout 2007-8, with this season’s version of my Excel spreadsheet file; “The-BIGGER-One” (all Premier League team-progress file) – now in its fifth season – ready and available as a free download at: (cell-protection issue now resolved, and with new selectable fixture-date highlighting).

Visit the website to read the full list of the file’s features; but, basically, all you need to do is type in the scores (or your predictions) and all the statistical tables and graphs are instantly revised. It is already filled in with all the provisional dates for Premier League fixtures for the season, and results up-to the 21st of October.

Also available are completed statistical versions for the last 4 seasons, which can calculate a league position for any date of the season. The website has been checked-out, and has a listing with (under the miscellaneous/statistics, listings).

If you have any problems with the file, drop me a line. If you like the sheets, please tell your mates.

[I would highly recommend Mark’s Excel spreadsheet, having downloaded it and used it myself – Mads]

Mark Vincent <vincent(at)>


Just following on from John Nisbet’s comments in MCIVTA 1372 regarding Bianchi.

I’m a little concerned about Bianchi’s discontent but really don’t know what can be done about it at the moment in all honesty. For somebody who is obviously still settling in, I really like what I’ve seen so far of him this season; not least against Aston Villa where he had two shots on target during a 5-10 minute cameo appearance. But I agree that Mpenza has been playing brilliantly, especially during and since the Fulham game. He seems to give us exactly what we need for the formation we are playing; strength, half decent aerial ability, hard graft and nice link up play. Given all that, I really can’t complain.

We’ve still got Bojinov to come back in the New Year, who I also liked the look of, which will provide more competition for a single starting place. I can’t see us changing the current formation on a permanent basis; why should we when it has been so effective? S-GE may change it when teams learn to counter it a little more effectively or if Elano is unavailable, although there is even talk of Geovanni replacing him like for like against Birmingham if he hasn’t got over the jet lag. S-GE may change it from time to time for tactical reasons but is this going to give Bianchi the number of starts that he probably expected when he made his £8.8 million dream move?

There’s talk about going in for Mark Bresciano again in January, who is a holding midfielder player. That doesn’t sound to me like we have any long term plans to change the formation. With the current formation you could potentially see Hamann making way, although he has been brilliant for us this season but who would you drop in a 4-4-2 formation to accommodate him? Johnson? Elano? I don’t think so.

If Bianchi isn’t too happy then I’m pretty sure that Anelka wouldn’t be, so I’d rather not even go there. Nor would I be too concerned about any striker in the January transfer window, unless it’s one for the future who looks a bit special or a signing that you just can’t turn down no matter who you upset. I’d prefer us to keep the money in the pocket until the summer when ‘everybody’ is available before Champions’ League begins etc. and we have had a chance to assess everything.

I just hope that we all get behind Bianchi when he does make his inevitable substitute appearances, as I’m sure we will. He’s quite entitled to be upset as he just wants to play football; I’d be worried if he wasn’t. But I’ve also got complete faith in S-GE that he’s selecting the side completely on merit and will handle the situation as well as anybody else could.

Noel Wilkes-Welles <wilkes.wells(at)>


So the Elano flower continues to bloom, but for how long? What will happen if there’s an injury?

In the meantime, a disgruntled Italian waits impatiently in the wings, champing at the bit for action. Surely the way to manage this situation is to alternate him with Mpenza – say for 45 or 30 minutes each game? That way you give each player game time but also reducing the injury risk.

Philip van Gass <philipvangass(at)>


Ello – Ali G ‘ere’.

In view of the latest rumblings from the latest illegally installed right wing military junta trying to depose our glorious leader, we notice all the “fit and proper” test stories have disappeared now – thankfully. I think Dr Frank has signed over his assets to his daughter Pinthongta and she definitely passes the test as she is “well fit and proper”.

Dedicated to the Illegal Right Wing Military Dictatorship Junta of Thailand.

To the tune of 500 miles by the Proclaimers…

Da da da da da da…

Oh you can freeze 500 million pounds.
You can freeze 500 more.
Coz Thaksin’s got another 500 million beneath his bedroom floor.

Shina watra shina watra shina watra

Da da da da da da…


Phil Lines <philipjlines(at)>


Desperately seeking ticket for Chelsea. If you can help please call 07908 738897 or email me at the address below.

Simon Hope <simonjhope(at)>


I am also desperately seeking a ticket for the Chelsea game. If anyone can help, please call me on 07707 296436 or email me at the address below.

Kevin Hogan <kevin.x1(at)>


Desperately seeking 4 tickets (3 adults and 1 child) for Bolton in the Carling Cup, they don’t have to be together but it’s preferable, especially 1 adult and child.

If by some miracle anyone (or more) have any available please contact me at the email address below.

Here’s hoping!

Keep the faith, Andrew Keller <akcity(at)>


21 October 2007

West Ham United       3 - 1  Sunderland            34,913

20 October 2007

Everton               1 - 2  Liverpool             40,049
Arsenal               2 - 0  Bolton Wanderers      59,442
Blackburn Rovers      4 - 2  Reading               19,425
Fulham                0 - 0  Derby County          22,576
Manchester City       1 - 0  Birmingham City       45,688
Middlesbrough         0 - 2  Chelsea               27,699
Wigan Athletic        0 - 2  Portsmouth            17,695
Aston Villa           1 - 4  Manchester United     42,640

League table to 21 October 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          9  6  0  0 16  4  2  1  0  5  2  8  1  0  21   6  15  25
 2 Manchester Utd  10  4  1  0  8  0  3  1  1  7  3  7  2  1  15   3  12  23
 3 Manchester City 10  6  0  0 10  2  1  1  2  5  5  7  1  2  15   7   8  22
 4 Liverpool        9  1  3  0  9  3  4  1  0  7  2  5  4  0  16   5  11  19
 5 Portsmouth      10  2  2  0 11  6  3  1  2  8  6  5  3  2  19  12   7  18
 6 Blackburn R.     9  3  1  1  8  5  2  2  0  5  3  5  3  1  13   8   5  18
 7 Chelsea         10  2  2  0  4  2  3  1  2  6  6  5  3  2  10   8   2  18
 8 Newcastle Utd    8  3  1  0  7  3  1  1  2  6  7  4  2  2  13  10   3  14
 9 Aston Villa      9  4  0  2  9  7  0  2  1  4  5  4  2  3  13  12   1  14
10 West Ham United  9  2  1  2  7  5  2  0  2  5  4  4  1  4  12   9   3  13
11 Everton         10  2  1  2  6  5  2  0  3  7  8  4  1  5  13  13   0  13
12 Reading         10  3  0  2  5  6  0  1  4  7 16  3  1  6  12  22 -10  10
13 Fulham          10  1  3  2  9 11  0  2  2  3  5  1  5  4  12  16  -4   8
14 Birmingham City 10  1  1  2  3  4  1  1  4  5  9  2  2  6   8  13  -5   8
15 Wigan Athletic  10  2  1  2  5  4  0  1  4  3 10  2  2  6   8  14  -6   8
16 Sunderland      10  2  0  2  4  5  0  2  4  7 14  2  2  6  11  19  -8   8
17 Middlesbrough   10  1  2  2  7  8  1  0  4  3 10  2  2  6  10  18  -8   8
18 Tottenham H.     9  1  1  2 10 10  0  3  2  6  8  1  4  4  16  18  -2   7
19 Derby County    10  1  2  1  5  5  0  1  5  0 17  1  3  6   5  22 -17   6
20 Bolton Wndrs    10  1  1  3  6  7  0  1  4  3  9  1  2  7   9  16  -7   5

With thanks to Football 365

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[1] MCIVTA Addresses

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[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”.

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

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

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Newsletter #1373