Newsletter #1384

News from Don tonight on international links for the Blues, transfer gossip, reaction to the Reading game and more unfortunate injuries.

We also have a player rumour, opinion on the ticketing problems and mind games.

Next Game: Saturday 1 December 2007, 3pm, Wigan Athletic (away)


General News

The Thais That Bind: There’s no new tales of global alliances and suchlike this week – however, I do have news of the ever strengthening links between Thailand’s footballers and City. Reuters have reported that Thailand’s squad will be brought over to train with City’s players for a couple of weeks, in a bid to boost the Thai’s attempts to qualify for the 2010 World Cup. The trip is being paid for by (you’ll never guess) Dr Thaksin. “If we want to go to the World Cup, this is what we have to do,” Thailand’s football president Worawi Makudi told Reuters. “Manchester City are keen to help us, they signed some of our players and they are happy to pay for our preparation.” Thailand, who have never reached the World Cup finals, have been drawn with Japan, Oman and Bahrain in the third round of Asian qualifiers.

Sven for England! Following England’s elimination from the Euros last week, the English press have spent a lot of time wringing their hands and bemoaning the lack of quality of English qualified players. Part of this, the thinking went, was due to the Premiership clubs not fielding enough English players. Sven doesn’t agree with that reasoning. “The Premier League does have enough good English players in it to make a successful team,” he said. “When you talk about foreigners, it is the same in Italy and Spain. Look at Inter and AC Milan, there are not too many Italians in those teams. I do not think it is a problem. I don’t think it is a problem and I never said it was even when I had the England job. The good players like Wayne Rooney and Micah Richards will always come through.” SGE was also asked if he fancied being England coach again. It produced the Eriksson equivalent of uproarious laughter. “There is no need to rule myself out,” he chuckled. “The FA have not asked me – and they will not. I am happy where I am.”

It’s Official: City are Bigger than United: Sun Jihai has been reporting back on his visit to his homeland the other week, and get this – he thinks City are bigger than United back home. “I went back home with the Chairman and the manager and I was delighted to do it and to help City in any way I can,” Sun told City’s website. “The chairman told me that I could be an ambassador for the club and I would be happy to do that. I know China and I know the football in my country. I have been in England six years and I know the club pretty well. Fans want to know how I am doing, how City is getting on and reporters from my homeland continually contact me. Manchester United is popular in the world but City in China, I believe, is now a bigger club.”

Reserves Rumbled: City’s Reserves had to deal with a bit of a sickener on Tuesday in their home game against Liverpool. Having equalised twice, City were hit by a late Liverpool winner with just four minutes to go. Nemeth had given the visitors the lead after a couple of minutes, but David Ball equalised for the Blues on 41 minutes. But the Scouse Reds retook the lead before half time, thanks to that man Nemeth again. And it was that man Ball who hit the second equaliser, before Liverpool’s Jordy Brouwer struck the winner on 86.
Team: Mentel, Vidal (Obeng 18), Williamson, Mee, Breen (McDonald 75), Clayton (Daly 55), Etuhu, Grimes, Ball, Marshall, Moore. Subs: Hartley, Mouritsen.

Transfer News and Gossip

Budget Statement: SGE is being constantly quizzed over his plans for the January transfer season, but you’d expect he’s giving nothing away. So how big’s your budget Sven? “I have heard rumours about how much money I will have to spend but I don’t believe it will be £150 million,” he said. “That would be impossible. But whatever the figure is, we are not just going to go out and buy someone purely because we have money. We will only buy players if they would improve the team and to do that they must be top quality.” He admits that he’d love to sign top English talent – but they’re too expensive. “It’s very simple,” he said. “There are enough good English players in the Premiership to make a good England team. I can get English players, but they cost too much. If I want to buy a player like Elano or Petrov, where can I go to find the English versions of them?” He does concede that signings will be made. Hopefully. “I hope to have a bigger and better squad after January so I don’t want to say what we can achieve until then,” said Eriksson in the Daily Mail. “I am not talking about winning the league. Certainly we are not favourites. But it is good that the fans have all that expectation. Why shouldn’t they dream and be happy over what we are doing?” And the manager is pleased with the way the man with the money has responded to his January wish list. A striker remains the priority but the Swede insists he is only interested in good quality. “Dr Thaksin has a very long list, but I’ve told him it will be shorter and shorter,” Eriksson told the club’s website. “He knows what we are thinking about and what we are talking about. He didn’t seem to be too shocked – so that was good. He’s been informed about everything we are thinking about maybe doing. It’s both names and positions, Dr Thaksin has a combination of that.”

‘Keeper Conundrums: There was plenty of speculation this week over possible comings and goings in the goalkeeping department. Liverpool were said to be keeping a close watch on Joe Hart – the Merseysiders are expected to sell England ‘keeper Scott Carson to Aston Villa for £10 million, but see 20-year-old Hart as an ideal back-up for Jose Reina. Sven warned Liverpool though that they will have to dig deep to prise Joe Hart away from Eastlands. “The money would have to be extremely high to buy Joe Hart,” he said. “He is one of the most talented goalkeepers in this country and he will stay here.” Eriksson also dismissed interest from Galatasaray in Andreas Isaksson. Reports in the Turkish media have emerged claiming Isaksson, who has struggled to overcome a succession of injuries since his arrival from Rennes for £2 million 15 months ago, will leave Eastlands for £1.3million when the transfer window opens in January. “The sales usually start after Christmas, not before,” Eriksson said. “Andreas is worth much more than £1.3million. I understand Andreas wants first-team football. He is looking at Euro 2008 next summer and of course, he is afraid to miss it. My problem is that I have three very good goalkeepers, who all want to play.” It was suggested that City are ready to pounce for Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann. The Mirror says City are set to move for the 38 year-old Germany international as Gunners’ boss Arsene Wenger plans to bring in a new ‘keeper when the market reopens in January. All well and good, but that doesn’t tally with Sven’s policy last summer in buying younger players. Sven stressed that he is not on the hunt for a new number one. “I’m quite happy with the goalkeepers we have here. Absolutely,” he told the club website. “We are not looking for another goalkeeper at this moment. If something should happen that we lose a goalkeeper for one reason or another in January, yes then we have to be prepared to, but if we stay as we are with the goalkeepers here then we are not looking for any others.”

Listen to the Mand: City are ready, we are lead to believe, to dip into the Croatian transfer market again for Mario Mandzukic. After the success of Vedran Corluka, Sven is now lining up a January deal for his former Dinamo Zagreb teammate Mandzukic. Striker Mandzukic only moved to Dinamo this year and has struck five goals in seven games. Meanwhile, Everton and City are among Premiership clubs monitoring AC Milan defender Dario Simic. The Croatia international wants to leave Milan in January and Tuttosport says he is interesting several Premiership clubs, including the Blues of Manchester and Merseyside.

Should He Stay or Should He Go? This indecision’s bugging me, as a great man once said – the saga of Rolando Bianchi future at City continues to drone on. Bianchi’s agent Tullio Tinti has denied rumours of a transfer. “Bianchi is happy where he is,” Tinti said. “There’s no truth in what certain newspapers are reporting, regarding a possible move to Napoli or any other team. Rolando Bianchi wants to remain in Manchester for a long time, he wants to grow as a player in this team.” And Napoli’s sports Chief Pierpaolo Marino has ruled out a move for the striker Bianchi. “He’d be a good signing for Napoli,” said Marino. “But I think he wants to prove himself in England.”

Flattery Gets You Everywhere: An even more tedious saga took another turn over the weekend, as United joined City in chasing the services of Nicolas Anelka. OT boss Sir Alex admitted before the Reds played Bolton on Saturday that he has pursued the controversial French striker on many occasions. “We have thought about signing him several times because he is a very talented player,” said Ferguson. Anelka seemed duly impressed by the red faced one’s comments. “I was extremely flattered, he’s a great football personality,” commented Anelka. “It is always an honour to be encouraged by a person such as him.” When asked about his future, Anelka was suitably non-committal. “No offer has been made yet. When this happens, I will talk publicly, but for the moment, I can confirm that there is nothing at all.”

Ex-Blues’ News

Az the Way Kiki Likes It: Kiki Musampa has joined Holland’s AZ Alkmaar until the end of the season. Having left Turkish side Trabzonspor in the summer, the 30-year-old has been looking for a club to take him on, and AZ have decided to give the player a contract after he impressed in training. “AZ signed me because several players on the left side are injured,” said Musampa. AZ boss Louis van Gaal gave Musampa his professional début at Ajax in the 1994-95 season, and the player expressed the coach’s importance in his decision. “Van Gaal has been very important for my career as a football player. He has taught me a lot and I can still learn a lot from him now.” Van Gaal said: “He does not exactly fit our profile for a left midfielder. I also told Kiki this. However, as Rogier Molhoek, Maarten Martens and Stijn Schaars are not available, I do not have enough left-footed players in the squad.” Hardly a ringing endorsement for Kiki, but presumably he’s pleased to get the chance to prove himself to his former gaffer.

After-Match Reactions and Comments

Ireland Strikes, Hunt Bites: At the COMS last Saturday, Stephen Ireland smashed home a stunning injury-time volley to give City their first ever Premier League win over Reading, and to maintain City’s 100% league record at home this season. City dominated the opening half and Martin Petrov fired the Blues ahead after a goalmouth mêlée saw Elano hit the post. But Reading equalised before the break with their first shot on target, James Harper curling in after a neat move. City toiled in the second half, and when Geovanni wasted a glorious late chance it seemed that City would have to settle for a point. Ireland had other ideas, however. Earlier, Reading’s Stephen Hunt was lucky to stay on the pitch for a nasty, studs-up lunge on substitute Gelson Fernandes. “To win in this way is fantastic, to lose in this way for Steve Coppell and Reading is awful,” Sven mused later. “It was a great goal from Stephen. He is playing better and better, which is fantastic. Samaras played his part as did Geovanni. I did not expect it, especially as Geovanni had missed a great chance just a minute earlier. He was like a second striker near the end. Maybe that is his best position. Stephen is young, talented and has a long career in front of him.” Eriksson revealed that Stephen Hunt apologised to Gelson Fernandes for a rash tackle that saw the Reading midfielder booked. The crowd were incensed but the City boss tried to play down the incident. Eriksson said: “It was not a nice tackle but to be fair to Hunt he came into the dressing room after the game. He told Gelson ‘I’m sorry’ and you have to say well done to him for doing that.”

Copp for That, Steve: Reading boss Steve Coppell was understandably downcast after his side conceded that late stunner. “We have to feel robbed,” Coppell said. “We had a game plan that worked effectively. We were far more competitive than we have been in many of our away matches. We might have got something more on the break in the second half but our concentration was far more about protection than advancement. We went a goal down but knew that we would get a chance to get back into the match and when we equalised felt we’d get at least a point. The ironic thing was that all the delightful football they play they got the winner with a long ball.”

Shorts Stay Up: City’s goalscoring hero for the second successive home game, Stephen Ireland, was modest in his assessment of his goal, and thankfully rather modest with his after-goal scoring celebration. “It was alright, I’m just happy to score,” the midfielder said afterwards. “As I said after the Sunderland game I’m after Michael Johnson now and I just want to keep scoring.” So as he minded to do his superman stunt again? “I had it in the back of my mind, but I’ll keep it for probably a better occasion, something like the FA Cup Final hopefully. [Let’s hope he’s joking]. I’m happy playing at the moment and thankfully when the ball dropped I just finished it.” As for the game itself, City’s number seven added: “In the first half we played a bit of football and the second half was a battle, but we battled through it, created as much as we could and luckily I took my chance. Geovanni had a great chance and I thought that was it and we weren’t going to get a sniff after that.”

Squad News

Hungry Young Man: Valeri Bojinov’s recovery from his cruciate injury continues to go well. You may recall that after a couple of substitute appearances, Bojinov came a nasty cropper a few minutes into his full début against the Stretfordonians. Sven recalled this as he gave update on the Bulgarian striker. “When he came here, he was not fully fit, so he had to train a lot. When we put him on from the start he got injured straight away and that was very unlucky. That happens in football, but he will come back, and probably quicker than we thought. On Wednesday it was three months since he was operated on and it’s remarkable how well he’s doing,” the Manager said. “He’s not training with us yet but he is kicking balls, running, jumping a little bit and the medical team are very happy with what they’ve seen. They told me that sometimes they have to slow him down, he wants to do too much and he’s a young man, a young hungry man. He wants to show that he is a great footballer; his attitude is fantastic, so that’s good.”

Cro at England, Why Don’t You? Vedran Corluka has revealed it was a ‘pleasure’ to prevent England from qualifying for Euro 2008. Corluka played a key rôle in Croatia’s 3-2 victory at Wembley on Wednesday, a result that allowed Russia to move above England and clinch second spot in Group E. The right-back feels England paid the price for overconfidence and not giving enough respect to their opponents. “England got exactly what they deserved because they were unbelievably arrogant to us,” he told The Sun. “Their behaviour was a disgrace. We arrived at Wembley as the group leaders but England never recognised our ability or our quality. But on the night we showed that we are a better team than them. It has been a special pleasure to kick England out of the European Championship.”

Ish Bad Newsh: Ishmael Miller’s found out this week that football can be a cruel game. He has been ruled out of action for up to six weeks through injury. The striker’s been in great form during his loan spell at West Brom, and has already hit nine goals in an impressive spell at The Hawthorns. He was forced off in Sunday’s goalless draw at home to Wolves with lateral knee-ligament damage and is not expected back until the New Year. It’s a particularly bad time for Miller to suffer this injury, considering he broke into England’s under-21 squad last week. Miller joins a growing Baggies injury list with strike partner Kevin Phillips, defender Martin Albrechtsen and James Morrison all sidelined with their own knee problems. But Baggies’ manager Tony Mowbray is remaining upbeat and told the club’s official website: “We have to get on with what we have got. It’s no good sitting here moaning. We have two very tough games coming up on the road this week. Goals haven’t been a problem to us, we have still scored the most goals in the league. Let’s see how we do without the boys who have been scoring the goals.”

Vassell Hassle and No Elano: The squad is beginning to suffer with injuries, so presumably the transfer window can’t come soon enough for City’s boss. Sven suffered injury heartache before, during and after the Reading game, which will undoubtedly stretch his playing resources. Darius Vassell was nowhere to be seen on Saturday for instance. “Vassell was out with an injury,” said SGE. “We sent him home after training on Friday. He had a scan that day and he has a knee problem, which I don’t think is a serious one, but I think he’s out for a couple of weeks.” And three players had to be replaced during the game, all due to injuries. “Emile came off at half time, with a thigh problem, we had a lot of problems on Saturday,” confirmed the boss. “Vedran Corluka had two very heavy games on very heavy pitches, so that’s a risk too, but they came off the pitch early enough so not to do any further damage. I talked to the doctor and physios before I’m talking to you and they think that maybe all will be available next weekend, but they are not sure of course at this stage. Elano has had to do a lot of travelling again to get back and it’s always a risk when you are a little bit tired and not 100 per cent match fit.” On Thursday came news that City’s Brazil playmaker Elano had been ruled out of the match at Wigan on Saturday because of a hamstring injury. Eriksson said: “He is having a scan and we do not know at the moment how long he will be out for.” However, Vedran Corluka and Emile Mpenza are both fit after taking knocks in the victory against Reading last weekend.

Don Barrie <news(at)>


Apparently, Elano is out, injured, for the game against Wigan. I’m not so sure of the timing of Sven’s notice of withdrawal, however.

Surely, this information would have served us much better, tactically, if it had not been leaked to the press fully two days prior to the game? As a result, Wigan now have more time to prepare, knowing Elano shall not be facing them.

The time for Wigan to have found this out is when the team sheet is handed to the referee, before the start of the game.

Hope this mistake does not come to haunt us, this weekend.

Graham Mills <gkm_5(at)>


While browsing the City books on I found this synopsis. Spot the mistakes!

“The DVD Book of Manchester Citys” is written by David Clayton and contains the DVD of the 1969 FA Cup Final, the only time the club has won this trophy! Written in an informative A-Z format, this DVD Book contains profiles of the great icons of Manchester City including managers and players. Despite mixed fortunes of recent years Manchester City remains one of the giants of Premiership football and having turned round the season Stuart Pearce will look forward to 2008 with great optimism.

John Caley <john(at)>


I have just spent nearly 45 minutes trying to buy tickets for the Liverpool game and the Spurs game.

I was on hold on a 0870 number for over 30 minutes for which I have to pay and then had a row with the ticket seller who says it’s the fans’ fault ’cause we all want to buy tickets!

If City want a sell out at the stadium they should try making it easier to buy tickets and stop with the rip off 0870 numbers.

CTID, Michael Seitler <Michael(at)>


I was working on Elano’s house in Cheshire recently, although Elano was not there. A Brazilian friend of his showed me around the house and exactly what work needed doing. Upon completion of the job, I asked this lad if City were signing any more Brazilians; he said Adriano is definitely coming as well as two more Brazilians who were very good players. He could have been speculating but he seemed to me quite genuine. Roll on January!

James Flaherty <james.Flaherty(at)>


I haven’t contributed for a while, being happily contented. I must admit to a major worry though.

At this rate we will be safe from relegation by Christmas, and I will have nothing to keep me awake at night in the long winter nights.

Jack Millington <jack.Millington(at)>


Isn’t it nice, given the ongoing debate about future England managers, not to have ours mentioned as a possibility?

Leon Black <L.Black(at)>


In reply to Paul Muschamp’s concerns (MCIVTA 1383), the simple answer is… turn up early!

We missed the first 5 minutes against Reading after a trek from Dublin via Swansea (for a rugby match). If the tickets don’t work go to ticket booths 7 or 8 (I think).

Joe O’Doherty <joeodoherty(at)>


It’s been a while since I told this story, so I am going to tell it again.

There was this Manchester United family that decided to go to the mall Christmas shopping. Whilst in the mall they saw a sports shop and decided to go in.

Inside they all split up; the young boy soon found a Manchester City shirt and decided right away this is what he wanted for Christmas.

So he first went to his older sister and said, showing her the City shirt: “This is what I want for Christmas, I want to be a City supporter.” His sister immediately gave him a smack across his head, saying “We are Rag supporters, you cannot be a City supporter, go to see your mother.”

The young boy, still determined to be a City supporter, went to his mother showing her the City shirt, and said “Mum I want this City shirt for Christmas, and I want to be a City supporter.” His mother gave the boy a smack across the back of his head saying “We are a Rag family, you cannot be a City supporter, go to see your father.”

The young boy,still determined to be a City supporter, went to his father showing him the City shirt, saying “Dad, this is the shirt I would like for Christmas, I want to be a City supporter.” His father, fuming with rage, gave the young boy a smack across the back of his head, saying “No son of mine is going to wear that shirt, we are a Rag family.”

After a while the family left the mall, and were driving on their way home, when the father said to the boy, “Son, did you learn anything today?”

The young boy answered “Yes, all Manchester United supporters are b@st@rds.”

A Merry Christmas to all Manchester City supporters in Manchester and across the world.

Come on Blue Santa, give us the results over Christmas.

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


28 November 2007

Blackburn Rovers 0 – 4 Aston Villa 20,776

League table to 28 November 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         13  7  1  0 20  6  3  2  0  9  4 10  3  0  29  10  19  33
 2 Manchester Utd  14  6  1  0 14  1  3  2  2  9  6  9  3  2  23   7  16  30
 3 Manchester City 14  8  0  0 13  3  1  2  3  5 11  9  2  3  18  14   4  29
 4 Chelsea         14  3  3  0 11  3  5  1  2 10  6  8  4  2  21   9  12  28
 5 Liverpool       13  2  4  0 12  4  5  2  0 10  2  7  6  0  22   6  16  27
 6 Aston Villa     14  5  0  2 11  7  3  3  1 14  7  8  3  3  25  14  11  27
 7 Portsmouth      14  2  4  0 11  6  5  1  2 14  7  7  5  2  25  13  12  26
 8 Everton         14  4  1  2 16  7  3  1  3 10  9  7  2  5  26  16  10  23
 9 Blackburn R.    14  3  2  2  8  9  3  3  1  9  8  6  5  3  17  17   0  23
10 West Ham United 13  2  3  2  9  7  3  1  2 10  4  5  4  4  19  11   8  19
11 Newcastle Utd   13  4  1  2 11 11  1  2  3  8 10  5  3  5  19  21  -2  18
12 Fulham          14  2  4  2 14 14  0  3  3  4  8  2  7  5  18  22  -4  13
13 Reading         14  4  0  3  8 10  0  1  6  9 21  4  1  9  17  31 -14  13
14 Tottenham H.    14  2  1  3 15 12  0  5  3  9 13  2  6  6  24  25  -1  12
15 Bolton Wndrs    14  2  3  3  8  8  0  2  4  4 10  2  5  7  12  18  -6  11
16 Birmingham City 14  2  1  4  7 10  1  1  5  6 12  3  2  9  13  22  -9  11
17 Middlesbrough   14  1  3  3  8 12  1  1  5  4 14  2  4  8  12  26 -14  10
18 Sunderland      14  2  2  2  6  7  0  2  6  8 22  2  4  8  14  29 -15  10
19 Wigan Athletic  14  2  1  3  5  6  0  1  7  5 19  2  2 10  10  25 -15   8
20 Derby County    14  1  2  4  5 14  0  1  6  0 19  1  3 10   5  33 -28   6

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1384