Newsletter #1390

Disappointment on Tuesday night in the Carling Cup quarter final against Spurs. A poor game from City, was it down to a typical City vs. Spurs encounter, or a typical Sven quarter final as some suggest? We have match reports and views tonight thanks to Phil, Graham, John, and Ernie.

Don’s news round-up brings us reaction to the game, news on youth action, Castillo finally arriving, the transfer rumours ramping up in the approach to January, and City old boys.

Meanwhile, we have plenty of opinion on the Munich debate. We’ll continue to debate it because we always have on McV with reasoned debate for and against. We also have views on our weakest links and ticket bookings.

Next up Villa, can we turn around our away form with our usual good performance there?

Finally, all that remains is to wish all our contributors and subscribers a very Happy Christmas, we will be back on 27th December with our next edition.

Next Game: Saturday 22 December 2007, 3pm, Aston Villa (away)


General News

Good Career Move! City’s Reserves did the decent thing last Sunday and lost 2-0 to the Thailand national team. The Blues sent out a strong looking team (until half-time at least), with 7 of the starting 11 having first team experience. Thailand grabbed a goal in each half, and included recent City signing Suree Sukha. Coach Ian Miller stated afterwards: “Technically Thailand were very good, and they asked questions of our young defenders that they have probably not been asked in a long time. The lesson for us today is that when you have chances, you have to take them against decent sides, Thailand certainly are a decent side and an international one at that, so it was a good education for us.” City: Mentel (Hartley 15), Vidal, Logan, Onuoha (Breen h-t), McDonald (Mouritsen 80), Jihai (Marshall h-t), Schwarz (Obeng 67), Geovanni (Moore h-t), Samaras, Dabo (Daly 59), Mpenza (Clayton h-t).

Top Marks: Last week the Young Blues beat Millwall 5-1 in the Third Round of the FA Youth Cup. The game began badly for City, as Millwall took the lead on 25 minutes. David Ball equalised 5 minutes later, and City should really have been ahead by half time as Ian Daley missed a penalty. The second half was a much happier tale for the Blues – Kieran Tripper gave City the lead, then Donal McDermott soon added a third. Daley duly scored with his second penalty of the game, and Ball completed the scoring with 15 minutes left. Later Jim Cassell said: “We knew that if we stayed composed, didn’t panic and let our football do the talking, we’d been okay. The score was 5-1, but could have been better. But after half an hour when we were 1-0 down we are very happy to get a 5-1 victory. So top marks to the boys for the way they played.” The watching Sven- Goran Eriksson also gave his opinion. “It was a marvellous victory, and they played very good football,” he said. “Millwall were the better team for 20 minutes and went ahead. Then suddenly everything changed, and we scored five beautiful goals. The Academy is working very well. There are players in that team who will train at Carrington soon and then progress to the first team. The quality we have is very good.”
City: Mentel, Trippier, Ramsey, Mee (C), McGivern, Weiss (Poole 79), Kay, Tsiaklis (Ibrahim 76), Ball, I.Daly (Mak 67), McDermott. Unused subs: Hartley (GK), Boyata.

Transfer News and Gossip

Cast Aside Castillo Casts Up at City: City have got their striker, having agreed to sign Mexico striker Nery Castillo on a year-long loan from Shakhtar Donetsk. Castillo only moved to the Ukraine in the summer in a £15 million move from Greek side Olympiacos but he has failed to hold down a starting place. The first word of the deal came courtesy of Castillo’s agent. Jose Luis Padilla told the Daily Mail: “There has been an agreement with Manchester City so that Nery can be with the club for one year on loan so he can prove himself and play active football.” He added: “Nery just wanted to play and that was not happening at Shakhtar. He is in England to iron out the final details of his contract.” Padilla added City would have an option to buy Castillo once his loan period expires. Over the weekend, there appeared to be a slight doubt over the deal, despite the highly rated striker being seen in the stands at the COMS last Saturday. Sven was being his usual cagey self. “If and when it is 100 percent I will tell you,” he said, then the Shatkar President weighed in with an attempt to up the money his club was getting for the player. Rinat Akhmetov said on the club’s official website: “A one-year loan – five million euros and there will be no options, meaning a right to buy (Castillo). We will see in a year whether to bring him back to Shakhtar or if we sell him. The price could be 20, 30, 40 or 50 million euros.” Clearly that negotiating stance didn’t last too long, as City announced the capture of the player, and paraded him on the pitch before the Tottenham Cup game. Alistair Mackintosh, City’s Chief Executive, said: “Nery Castillo’s desire to make this deal happen has been extraordinary. He has made a significant financial contribution in order to complete this move by paying most of the loan fee himself. This proves how much he wants to play for Manchester City in the Premier League. We are excited and delighted that another young established international has joined the football club.” Freed of his shackles, Sven was (by his standards) quite chatty when asked about his new forward. He said: “I have never heard of a player taking this action before. I have not been involved in the details but that says everything about how keen he is to come here. It is a very good gesture and very much appreciated by me and everyone in the club. I am glad Castillo is joining us as he is a very good player. He can play striker, second striker and out wide.” The Mexican international officially joins Sven’s Blue and White Army on January 1.

The City Rejects: As City have their striker, it came as no surprise to read that them at the Swamp had emerged as Nico Anelka’s preferred destination in January. Sir Alex was said to be launching an £8 million bid for Anelka, although the Trotters want nearer £12 million. Another long time fixture in these pages, Michael Owen, is also said to be off Sven’s radar now. The Newcastle striker’s dodgy injury record in recent years has, it was suggested, put his former England manager off making a bid for the 27-year-old. And just to strike another alleged City target from the list – Inter Milan’s Adriano is to spend the second half of the season back in Brazil on loan at Sao Paulo. The troubled 25-year-old has been receiving physical and psychological treatment in his homeland as he looks to recapture his best form. But Adriano’s agent Gilmar Rinaldi has revealed an agreement is in place for his boy to join Sao Paulo on a six-month deal. “I have just finished a meeting with the Italian officials and everything has been arranged between Inter and Adriano,” Rinaldi told Terra Brazil. “I will be travelling back to Brazil on Saturday to finish some details with Sao Paulo, but what I can say for sure is that Adriano will play at Sao Paulo until June 2008.”

England’s Number One? City have been linked with a January raid for Tottenham goalkeeper Paul Robinson. The People claims Sven wants a top-class goalkeeper and rates Robinson, who was his first choice when the Swede was in charge of England. New Spurs boss Juande Ramos has praised Robinson in recent weeks but it is believed he wants to bring in competition for his first-choice shot-stopper with Celtic’s Artur Boruc topping his list.

Gud Story, but No Truth In It: The Sun reckoned that City, Newcastle, and West Ham are in a three-way battle to sign Barcelona’s ex-Chelsea striker Eidur Gudjohnsen. The striker himself says he’s going nowhere. He’s adamant he is happy in Spain despite reported Premier League interest. “Now I am in my best days with Barcelona,” Gudjohnsen told El Periodico Barcelona. “I am good physically and have a lot of interest in helping the team. The coach has confidence in me and this is very important. I thought in September if things did not change I would leave Barça, but now this is impossible. I discard my exit because I want to triumph in the Barça shirt. I know the club and the people and it is not possible to improve this situation at another club. If I receive a call from another club my answer will be negative.”

Gissa Job, Says Yasser: City are set to offer a trial to Asian Player of the Year and Saudi Arabia captain Yasser Al Qahtani a trial. The 25-year-old Al Hilal striker has travelled to the Manchester with his club president Prince Mohammed Bin Faisal. And Al Qahtani is hoping to impress Eriksson as he eyes a possible move to the Premier League when the January transfer window opens. “I’m now in England after I got an invitation letter from Manchester City,” said Al Qahtani. “I’m here with Al Hilal president Prince Mohammed bin Faisal and my agent Turki Al Mukairin. I’m glad to train with such a good club in England and I will try my best to prove that Saudi players are good players.”

Ex-Blues’ News

Ray of Light for the Sky Blues: You may remember that in the pre-Thaksin days, a consortium called SISU tried to buy the club. They were fronted by former City full back Ray Ranson, and, after being rebuffed by his old club, Ranson took his big bag of gold and tried to buy Aston Villa, then Southampton, before turning is attention to Coventry City. The Championship club were in dire financial straits, and were due to go into administration at 4.00pm last Friday. At 3.25pm, an agreement was struck for Ranson and his company to take over the club who have debts of about £37 million, so avoiding a 10-point penalty to the club. And guess who the new Chairman of Coventry is? Stand up, Ray Ranson. So he is now in charge of a club called City playing in Sky Blue. The first game of the Ranson era saw Coventry at home to (ironically) Southampton, but there was no winning start. The game finished 1-1, with Bradley Wright Phillips striking the equaliser for the Saints.

After-Match Reactions and Comments

City Go Fourth: City came from behind to beat Bolton Wanderers 4-2 on Saturday to keep up the 100 per cent home record and to go fourth in the Premier League. City, the only club in the top flight to have won all nine of their home league games this season, went ahead through Rolando Bianchi’s seventh minute tap-in. El Hadji Diouf equalised with a left-footed shot in the 31st and Kevin Nolan made it 2-1 to Bolton five minutes before half time. A Lubomir Michalik own-goal put Sven- Goran Eriksson’s side back into the game three minutes after the break and Darius Vassell slotted in a third in the 77th before Kelvin Etuhu grabbed the fourth in stoppage time. S-GE said afterwards: “I think we started the game very well and played some good football. After going 1-0 up we should have been on top of them and controlled the game a little bit better. We more or less gave it away by not being aggressive and standing watching them.” More than one of the Sunday journals commented on how Sven turned the team around for a second half comeback. One report couldn’t help referring to Gareth Southgate’s withering comment about being in the England dressing room against Brazil in 2002. Of Sven’s half time team talk, Southgate said “We needed to hear from Winston Churchill, instead we got Iain Duncan-Smith.” Well it appears that Sir Winston was in the City dressing room on Saturday. “I saw my players sitting in the dressing room at half-time with their heads in their hands. I told them they looked like a losing team and if they looked like losers, they would lose,” said Eriksson. “We didn’t play well in the last part of the first half. But we talked at half-time and they were much more aggressive after that. We had to be to compete against Bolton. I have to give my team credit for their spirit. Vassell was fantastic. This is the first time he has been 100 per cent fit since I’ve been here.”

So Good They Named Him Twice: Crestfallen Bolton boss Gary Megson decided to tell his players some home truths. “We lost because we didn’t defend properly at important times. We’ve beat ourselves. They haven’t had to work hard enough for their goals. We can’t get anywhere doing that. We’ve let in eight goals in our last two away games. That’s an absolute nonsense at the level we are at and if we don’t put it right we will go down.” While City re-entered the top four, Bolton now face a gruelling relegation battle this winter. “We chucked away four goals,” said their manager, Gary Megson. “City didn’t do anything to beat us, we did it to ourselves.” And in a warning to his defenders – minus the injured Andy O’Brien – he added: “Andy O’Brien is not Bobby Moore or Franz Beckenbauer but we certainly miss him. And if we miss him that much, someone either needs to step up to the plate or we need to bring someone in from outside.” One interesting footnote – talk about great minds thinking alike, the Observer always quotes a fan’s view of their team’s showing. Here’s what one Shaun O’Gara, of Bolton’s Official Supporters’ Club was quoted as saying in the paper: “We have to defend far better. Andy O’Brien is no Bobby Moore, but we’ve missed him in the last two games, conceding eight.” Spooky, eh?

Song of Roland: So who else in City’s team impressed the gaffer? Well Rolando Bianchi for one, who scored his second goal in as many games. “Rolando has behaved extremely well,” Sven said. “He has not played many games for us but he has always worked hard in training and does what he is supposed to do. He always has a smile on his face and today he scored an important goal.” Eriksson believes the new boy has found it hard to adapt to life in England, although there are clear signs his settling-in period is at an end. “It is more difficult for strikers coming into the Premier League,” he said. “They are not used to the pace or the strength of the central defenders. But I think we can see now Rolando is coming on very well.” Bianchi later said: “It was wonderful to share the goal with City fans who have backed me all the time I have been here and when I have been a bit down have been so instrumental in lifting me again. I think they love me and I love then back, they are fantastic.” He added: “Getting into the side and staying there is a challenge for me and I want to win that challenge.” Bianchi also brushed aside questions about the January transfer window and his future at the Club, saying: “I am very happy at City, I do not want to leave, I see a future for me here. I speak with the manager regularly but not about leaving. It was important for my confidence that I was able to come on at Spurs and score and then start the game against Bolton. Now I hope that goal against Bolton will be the start of many. I have worked hard and aim to make the most of my chance.” The second half introduction of Kelvin Etuhu was also a catalyst for the improvement, culminating in his first ever first team goal. “He did two excellent things and then he scored a goal,” Eriksson said. “He’s not ready yet, but he’s got pace and he’s a talent.”

The Crying Game: Oh dear oh Lor’, there goes the 100% record. City crashed out of the Carling Cup on Tuesday and lost their winning home record against 10-man Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday. Jermain Defoe – who scored against City in the league earlier this month – put Spurs ahead early on but City were given hope when Didier Zokora was red-carded after 20 minutes. In truth City never truly made their extra man count, but controversially, Steed Malbranque stayed on the pitch for a similar challenge, the Frenchman then went on to bag the clinching goal late on. Referee Steve Bennett waved away City’s claims for a penalty when Richard Dune was hauled down in the second half. Speaking afterwards Sven said: “We’re all disappointed, this match was a great opportunity to get to the semi final. Spurs started well and had a few good chances, we were not really there and Berbatov was very special. Then we had a golden opportunity playing against 10 men for 70 minutes. Tactically we were better in the second half, we pushed up and created some very good chances. I thought the red card was a little bit harsh, but Malbranque’s tackle was a bad one – that is a red card. Those kinds of tackles can easily cause injuries, and they should not happen in football. We’ve been a little bit unlucky with the referee’s decisions when we have played Tottenham this season, there were a couple to discuss at White Hart Lane, but tonight that was a penalty. However the referee did not see it like that. It’s up to all of us now to pick ourselves up and get together for Aston Villa on Saturday. We can’t keep crying about tonight.”

Ramming It Home: Tottenham boss Juande Ramos saluted his players after their victory. Speaking through an interpreter, Ramos said: “It is a positive result. Given the circumstances, it has to be the best performance since I took charge. We were away from home against a team who are high in the league and on a good run of form at home. Not only that, we were a man down from the 20th minute yet still got through.” Ramos disagreed with Zokora’s sending off for a lunge at Elano and played down striker Jermain Defoe’s reaction at being substituted when Spurs reorganised. “It wasn’t a sending-off, not in a game like this,” Ramos said. “A cup tie generates a heated atmosphere, and the referee has to be a bit more flexible. It was unfair. But Jermain understands the change was tactical. He knows we had to bring on an extra defender.” Assistant manager Guy Poyet felt Spurs’ quick start was the key behind the success. “We started well. Getting off to a good start is important in these kind of games,” Poyet told Sky Sports. “We passed the ball around, we created chances, we scored, we nearly scored a second one. Then the game changed through a decision, but we’re very happy with the players. Everyone is the dressing room is happy. Many things were important today, being in the semi-finals, the clean sheet and also to keep believing despite having 10 men.”

What Can We Do? Let’s not hang around this rather limp City display for too long, save to ask Richard Dunne whether he thought he should have won a penalty in the second half. Dunne was denied what appeared to be a blatant penalty when his run into the area ended with Pascal Chimbonda hauling the Blues skipper down. Dunne told City’s website: “It was one of those that if it had been me I would have thought I would have given away a penalty. Nine times out of ten it should have been given, the referee has missed it and it has probably cost us in the end. What can we do? It was a penalty, but the referee has not seen it, he said I ran straight into him. We’ve seen all the incidents afterwards on the laptop, and they all seem wrong. There are bookings when there should not have been and red cards when they should have been bookings, it was one of those nights for everybody I suppose. We did not have a good night and neither did the referee really.”

Squad News

Big Brother Will Get Back to You: Sven would like to give Richard Dunne a big fat pay rise. Dunnie still has two years left on his current deal, but S-GE wants to reward his skipper. Not that he was always impressed by the big Irishman, mind. Eriksson said: “I hope Richard will sign a new contract for us very soon. He is our captain and a very good one at that. He is very important for us. He is a like a ‘big brother’ to the young players. When I saw him four or five years ago, I was not that impressed. Looking at him recently, he has been fantastic. Today, he is one of the best in the country in his position.”

No Vacillation by Vassell: Darius Vassell insists he has no plans to leave as the transfer window approaches. The former England striker has retained his place in the side after injuries severely curtailed his City career. Vassell said: “There is competition for places here, and everyone is fighting for their place. That’s the way it should be. The team is playing well. We are working hard together in an attempt to push ourselves up the table. We have started well, but it is important to build on that in the coming weeks. I love it at City and want to do well here. That has always been my objective. This is where I want to be, because it is where I will become a better player.”

Ten-Year Stretch: There’s been a few reports this suggesting that top European clubs are sniffing around City’s Brazilian star Elano, but the maestro has pledged his long-term future to City. He’s been linked with Inter Milan and Chelsea amongst others, but told City’s website: “It’s very difficult to talk about myself but I believe I can give even more than I have so far but I like to do my talking on the pitch – that’s where I can show the City fans what I can do. I’ve only been in England for six months but I am already talking about staying here for 10 years or so. When I finish my career, I will return to Brazil to live but I am enjoying being here in Manchester.”

Mills Thrills the Addicks: Charlton manager Alan Pardew will attempt to extend Danny Mills’ loan spell at the Valley until the end of the season. The 30-year-old full back has been one of the Addicks’ most consistent performers since rejoining the club in August on loan from City. Mills’ initial spell is due expire at the turn of the year, but Pardew will open talks with City in a bid to keep hold of the salty old pro. “We are trying to keep Danny Mills for the rest of the year,” said Pardew. And do you hear anyone at the COMS objecting to such a proposal? I don’t!

Don Barrie <news(at)>


Yet again City were knocked out of a cup at the Quarter final stage and the 26 year wait to get to the lofty heights of a semi final continues. The reality is that we could not beat a team with a normally brittle defence and dodgy goalkeeper who were reduced to 10 men for 70 minutes. It’s even more galling that we made that rag-tag Cockney collection of goal-guarders look good.

Spurs were quickly out of the blocks and Corluka was forced to cover across and clear early on with the defence stretched. Garrido and Richards were looking stretched on the left with Lennon in full flight and they were getting scant support from Petrov. Then the worst thing happened. Lennon broke down the right, skinned Garrido and with Richards poorly positioned, the England winger played a cross that saw Berbatov and Defoe queuing up to score, which the latter duly did. It was a poor goal to concede.

Hope sprung eternal after Zokora’s two-footed lunge at Elano. Tottenham may have thought it was harsh but referee Bennett had no choice. You just can’t make dangerous two-footed tackles like Zokora did. They should have been down to 9 men, as Malbranque’s brutal challenge on Corluka was even worse than Zokora’s, but Steve Bennett probably thought ‘Oh, I can’t send another Tottenham player off’. People rightly ask where the consistency is in refereeing.

With a clearly disgruntled Defoe subbed, Tottenham managed to frustrate City by keeping possession well, leaving Berbatov up front on his own, using all his considerable strength and skill to hold the ball; and they funnelled back into the middle, protecting their lead when we attacked. City failed to get round the back of the heavily manned Tottenham rearguard with Petrov, in particular, curiously drifting inside into traffic instead of wide.

City went for it in the second half but clear chances were still few and far between as, with Elano looking rusty, we weren’t really canny enough to break down an eight man defence. Sven therefore became more attacking and Hamann was replaced by Geovanni with Elano reverting to an unfamiliar deep rôle in front of the back four where he strove to find a pass through a forest of bodies. In truth our movement wasn’t good enough or varied enough and options were at a premium. Dunne tried to get us going with driving runs from defence, one of which was terminated in the penalty box by a blatant body check (it looked like a headbutt) by Chimbonda. It was a clear penalty, but again referee Bennett got it wrong, much to Dunney’s and our disappointment. We still could and should have equalised, though. Vassell’s header from Corluka’s pinpoint cross was well saved by Robinson, but it was a save that you’d expect most ‘keepers at this level to make. Bianchi’s header was parried by Robinson and was cleared off the line by Kaboul. For all our huff puff, we couldn’t find a way through after that. With City pushed up in search of the elusive equaliser, the killer blow came when young Spurs sub, O’Hara, caught the City defence out with a defence splitting ball from the left. Malbranque, who shouldn’t have been on the pitch, ran across Dunne and coolly slotted home.

So there we have it. Out of the Cup that represented our best chance of winning something. What’s more, it’s another defeat by Tottenham, and their charmless, arrogant, smug fans: and what have they got to be arrogant about? A gobby set of fans and a pretentious club that treated its previous manager, Martin Jol (who’d done a great job) appallingly. You can wear a flashy ‘The North Face’ coat, but it doesn’t mean that you’ve climbed the Eiger. Their greatest ascent is more likely to be the escalators in Selfridges. ‘The North Face’, pah!

It pains to say it, but City didn’t deserve to go through. We didn’t show enough guile, got sucked into the middle and didn’t get the ball wide enough. Sven tried to change things but on this occasion it didn’t work. He is too bright a coach not to see where our deficiencies lie. Maybe he will try switching Micah Richards and Vedran Corluka over. Corluka certainly seems to read the game better than Micah and may be better suited to a centre back rôle, freeing Micah to use his pace in attack. The argument against that of course, is that Corluka is a very good all round full back, in both defence and attack, and that Micah is still learning about playing centre back. More pressingly, on the left we have looked very vulnerable all season with the combination of Petrov and Garrido. Petrov is an exciting, if inconsistent, talent and has goals in him, but if he does not choose to defend in the same vein that he has, then Ball is perhaps the better option at left back than Garrido, given his superior pace and greater reading of the game. Alternatively to that, Ball and Garrido combine very well indeed, Vassell and the newly signed Nery Castillo (who was paraded before the kick off, and who, commendably, has paid a big chunk of his loan fee to City) can play out on the left wing.

All in all it’s not been a bad start to the season, and it is certainly no time to panic, so we shouldn’t be too downhearted. One does hope, though, that Uncle Thaksin doesn’t lose interest in City if his party get re-elected back in Thailand.

Hart: Could not be faulted for either goal. Solid handling on the rare occasions that he was required 6
Corluka: Covered well for his team mates when required as well as doing his own job well. Used the ball intelligently and his superb cross created City’s best chance 7
Dunne: Had a very tough opponent in Berbatov but stuck to his task. Played a captain’s rôle in trying to get the team going in an attacking sense and should have had a penalty when brought down: 6
Richards: Badly out of position for Tottenham’s opener. Must improve his positional sense. 5
Garrido: Tormented by the pace of Lennon, but who wouldn’t be? Distribution not up to his normal standard. 5
Vassell: Might have done better with City’s best chance of the match, but as ever gave his all 6
Hamann: Worked hard as ever and was subbed tactically as we chased the game: 6
Johnson: A class act, and was at the heart of much of City’s best work 7
Petrov: Not his night. Little impact despite having plenty of the ball. Only helps his defence out when he feels like it: 5
Elano: Not fully fit and therefore not at his creative best, but played with intelligence when dropped into a deeper, schemer’s rôle 6
Bianchi: Worked hard, and his snap header was well saved. Starved of intelligent service 6
Geovanni: Tried to create and worked hard without quite making the killer ball 6
Ball: Little time to make an impact, but deserves a run at left back 6
Mpenza: Starved of quality service but worked as hard as ever for the time he was on 6

Phil Banerjee <phil.banerjee(at)>


A strong performance by a determined Spurs side put the skids under City and when sucker-punched near the end to concede the second goal, we were down and out.

To restate the obvious, we’re still nowhere near clinical enough where it matters, in front of the opposition’s goal. I like the look of Bianchi but he could do a lot worse than to spend a great deal of time studying the likes of Ruud van Nistelrooy and the way he plays, just to soak up as much as he can from this very effective goalscorer. Some of what he does may just rub off on Bianchi and we should all benefit from that.

We should have done much better tonight, and now the club has to pay the price. This was a competition that was well within our grasp – unfortunately, we have let it slip through our fingers. A learning experience for all the players involved. Just not good enough, I ‘m afraid.

Graham Mills <gkm_5(at)>


Our amazing run of failure continues when it gets to the tight stage.

Equally amazing is our double act of Garrido and Dunne. Garrido lets them through the left while Dunne allows anyone and everyone (Richard, you have to mark your opponents, that means being near to them) a free reign to roam about our penalty area to stroke home at will. How many more goals do we have to concede before people see Dunne for what he is – a liability?

Tottenham sussed us out but even they must have been flabbergasted at how early they could break through.

Garrido is so easily beaten. The whole league will have seen that now, just watch how many teams hit us down our left. I can’t believe he’s a Spanish International.

Tottenham’s game plan must have been to contain us and catch us on the break. How could they ever have known how crap our defence is?

Forget a striker, well actually we need a good one of those too but, we need a couple of good defenders plus, a replacement for Hamann. I wish I had a quid for every time that Hamann passes to an opposition player.

Can’t think of anything good to say about this performance. Tottenham work their B***ocks off and deserved to win. Maybe we should take note.

Let’s hope that our hoodoo over Villa continues.

John Nisbet, Principality of Dukinfield <nisbet1957(at)>


Ahh well I never have cared much for Carling beer, sounds like we deserved to have been well beaten?

We always have the F.A. Cup to look forward to, and maybe with a strengthened squad to continue our push in the Premier League.

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


In response to Alex Channon’s thoughts and the ‘Memorial’ generally, I remember suggesting some years ago that time dilutes the memory somewhat as in any loss of life scenario. Alex makes almost the same point and is absolutely correct.

It isn’t right to chant what can be deemed ‘obscenities’ in the aftermath of death or disaster yet, sadly, invariably it will happen. Especially in the cauldron of tension that is a football match compounded further by the fact it’s a derby.

City fans thankfully have been pretty respectful over recent years such has been the furore in recent times and I will say hand on heart that we’ll all probably be good boys and girls come derby day in Feb.

However, and no we shouldn’t stoop to their level, and no doubt won’t, but that lot from over the road are categorically the worst offenders.

I remember a few years back City fans being lambasted on MoTD when aeroplane gestures were being made. It was actually the United fans doing this yet we got the blame, the ‘sick’ headlines and the constant tag of being horrible football fans. Can anyone else corroborate this? I remember feeling vehemently angry that some thickheaded football pundit could make such an ill informed mistake at the expense of my football club, who really couldn’t give a s** about United, their history, their future, nor their very existence…

That lot, are b****y awful when it comes to chants. Remember those two Leeds fans getting stabbed (“Always look out for Turks, carrying knives”, chant), Hillsborough, City going down like a Russian sub etc. etc. blah blah…

Fact is, if the shoe were on the other foot, letters of acknowledgement and requests for sympathy etc from us would fall on deaf ears. That is the nature of the beast I am afraid.

Don’t sing Munich at the derby kids, Just stand proud in knowledge you are cut from better cloth. Blue cloth.

Just as an aside, as much as it pained me, I asked ‘nited if we could put a full page advert in their programme promoting next year’s Versus Cancer gig. (shameful plug). They didn’t even bother getting back in touch. City? Yeah, they gave us three games worth free of charge!

Up the Blues.

Joel Perry <J.perry(at)>


Just a few lines to say that the message that Alex Channon sent in was the most adult and well thought out posting I’ve read in many a long time and sums up the way I and a lot of others feel about this day. Well done!

Tony Hulme <mcfc4tony(at)>


Munich – a cynical view of cynical exploitation

Why does this disaster, unlike Bradford, Heysel etc. (exclude Hillsborough), Torino etc. get the most attention? Every year Bobby Charlton gets wheeled out and MUFC make more money from it.

Call me a cynic but are United once again exploiting Munich like they have always done? Funnily enough with a shirt that no doubt will be on sale (I hope City don’t follow).

I wouldn’t have an issue with this but it is well documented that the wives and relatives have never been given a penny from this exploitation and false sentiment from MUFC plc (have United trademarked Munich yet?).

Consequently, I have no problem calling United fans Munichs (I don’t sing the song though; it was a tragedy) as they have exploited the event for 50 years, it is not an insult to the dead but a response to the cynical exploitation of the event by the club, which is the only reason they have their international fan base. No mention of Frank Swift ever except in the minute’s silence at City.

Just watch out for he complete lack of donation to the relatives once again this year.

How very dare they.

Simon Moorehead <simonmoorehead(at)>


Having read the comments regarding the Munich air disaster in 1958, I am slightly worried that the whole occasion will be geared in order for the home team to take the maximum 3 points. Yes, even more than usual.

How would it look to the rest of the world if we were to have a shot, score a goal, take a point or even sneak a win? Does anybody think the clubs will be agreeing that the result must go in the home side’s favour, as marking the anniversary with nothing more would be an absolute travesty for the game of football.

Is there a list of songs that City fans can sing at the game or is anything deemed to be anti Man United banned?

Have a great Christmas.

Andy Webb <charlesalexhols(at)>


Last week, I stated that Garrido was a weak link and seemed to be out of his depth.

This week, Sven drops him and puts in my suggestion, Michael Ball. Does Sven read this column?

Anyway, this week, I reckon that our weakness in defence is down to Richards, Dunne and Corluka.

Dunne continues to worry me, allowing Diouf (or is it daft) to glide in unchecked to equalise Bianchi’s opener.

For the second goal from Nolan, Dunne merely steps out of the way of the shot, allowing it to pass into the far corner.

Richards, since he’s been playing for England, looks like a passenger. What’s going on?

And Corluka. How many times will he leave his man to drift away and cause danger or even worse, a goal? We get away with it week in week out until we meet someone like Chelsea who expose our weaknesses. It’s not happened until the Bolton game because the opposition have been poor.

Sorry folks, our defence is c**p.

Strange thing is, Garrido looked good going forward and pretty dangerous. Maybe he’s a midfielder in disguise. Well he certainly isn’t a defender. Defenders ‘defend’. That means, mark your man, stay goal side, and never let him drift past you. Take note Dunne and Corluka. Wise up or you’ll be gone.

Dead chuffed for Bianchi. Two games, two goals. Speaks for itself although I like Mpenza. I also think that Vassell is one of our most important squad members. He’s experienced, never lets you down, and is the fastest player in the league. Hands up anyone fancy marking him down the wing? Thought not. We need more Vassells.

Finally, Johnson looked to be going stale just before his injury. Now he’s back, he looks better than before. Such an old head on young shoulders, holding the ball up for players to take the positions before delivery quality, not always spectacular, passes. And his positional awareness for Bianchi’s goal was that of a veteran. Keep it up Johno. You’re doing great.

John Nisbet, Principality of Dukinfield <nisbet1957(at)>


I’m not sure if you have covered this, but it seems that tickets for East Stand level 3 can be bought via Ticketmaster for the majority of home games.

Though there are obvious advantages to buying an access card or Citycard (discounted prices, club shop discount, free entry to reserve games), people who go only once a season might be tempted to use this method.


Ian Buckley <iebuckley(at)>


I have one ticket available (possibly two if somebody is driving down from Manchester), for Villa this Saturday. Please call me on +44 783 394 5140 or email the address below if interested.

Sarah Rooke <sarahnm40(at)>


I am after 2 tickets for match versus Villa this weekend. If anybody has any going spare, I can pick up on the day at Villa Park.

Thanks in advance.

Alan Frost <alan.frost(at)>


If anyone has a last minute single spare ticket for the away game at Villa this Saturday please get in touch with me on the email below or call me on 1606 882 876.

I’d also like to say a big thank you to everyone who wrote to me while I was still at home in the USA last month, and especially to Fred, Peter, and Viv who I’ve been very fortunate to meet and travel with to two of December’s matches already. Thank you everyone.

I cannot count myself any luckier than to follow such a great club with such fantastic supporters. I know I’ve said it in the past, but I really appreciate all the work that goes in to producing MCIVTA and I’m always happy to have it to read in my inbox – often before I start any work, and am grateful for all the wonderful people and opportunities to see City play that it has provided.

Here’s wishing everyone involved and all readers of this publication a very merry festive season and prosperous start to the new year!

P.S. Please don’t forget the extra Villa ticket if you have one! ;o)

Simon <AlienUK(at)>


I recently emigrated from the UK to Christchurch, New Zealand. I’ve found a few fellow Blues and we would like to start a supporters’ club or something out here.

If there are any other Blues in New Zealand who would like to meet or join up, no matter where you’re based, please get in touch and we can see what the best way forward is.

Up the Blues.

Sean Mortell <Sean.Mortell(at)>


16 December 2007

Liverpool             0 - 1  Manchester United     44,459
Arsenal               1 - 0  Chelsea               60,139

League table to 19 December 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         17  8  1  0 21  6  4  3  1 13  8 12  4  1  34  14  20  40
 2 Manchester Utd  17  8  1  0 20  2  4  2  2 10  6 12  3  2  30   8  22  39
 3 Chelsea         17  5  3  0 14  3  5  1  3 10  7 10  4  3  24  10  14  34
 4 Manchester City 17  9  0  0 17  5  1  3  4  7 14 10  3  4  24  19   5  33
 5 Liverpool       16  3  4  1 16  5  5  2  1 11  5  8  6  2  27  10  17  30
 6 Everton         17  5  1  2 19  7  4  2  3 12  9  9  3  5  31  16  15  30
 7 Portsmouth      17  2  5  1 11  7  6  1  2 17  8  8  6  3  28  15  13  30
 8 Aston Villa     17  5  0  4 13 12  3  4  1 15  8  8  4  5  28  20   8  28
 9 Blackburn R.    17  4  2  3 11 11  3  3  2 12 13  7  5  5  23  24  -1  26
10 Newcastle Utd   17  5  2  2 14 13  2  2  4 10 13  7  4  6  24  26  -2  25
11 West Ham United 16  2  3  3  9  9  4  1  3 11  5  6  4  6  20  14   6  22
12 Tottenham H.    17  3  1  4 19 16  1  5  3 10 13  4  6  7  29  29   0  18
13 Reading         17  5  1  3 12 12  0  2  6 10 22  5  3  9  22  34 -12  18
14 Middlesbrough   17  2  3  3 10 13  2  2  5  6 15  4  5  8  16  28 -12  17
15 Birmingham City 17  2  2  4  8 11  2  1  6 10 16  4  3 10  18  27  -9  15
16 Bolton Wndrs    17  3  3  3 12  9  0  2  6  6 18  3  5  9  18  27  -9  14
17 Sunderland      17  3  3  2  8  8  0  2  7  8 24  3  5  9  16  32 -16  14
18 Fulham          17  2  4  3 14 15  0  3  5  4 13  2  7  8  18  28 -10  13
19 Wigan Athletic  17  3  2  3 11 10  0  1  8  6 23  3  3 11  17  33 -16  12
20 Derby County    17  1  2  5  5 15  0  1  8  1 24  1  3 13   6  39 -33   6

With thanks to Football 365

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