Newsletter #1398

Main news this week, covered by Don and plenty of media outlets during the past couple of days, has been reaction to the applause-v-silence debate surrounding the derby. We have opinion on that as well tonight but, just in case anyone’s still in doubt over which is the right way to go, try this link for an interview with Steve Fleet this week: Let’s hope respect prevails, if a minority of Blues can’t do it because of the United association, then do it for Frank Swift. Of course the wider debate remains around whether United exploit the situation and their treatment of the families involved.

We also have news on the transfer situation, or rather lack of it. With a week to go, the only concrete news is that Bianchi is off, although rumours still abound on incoming players. It does seem like Ernie’s favourite Samaras is staying though.

We’ve also got Svnn’s reaction to the lacklustre performances, our defensive duo looking for more money and Sturridge back on the scene.

Meanwhile, more opinion on the quality gulf, transfer targets, a friendly pub for Sheffield and Colin Bell selling off his memorabilia.

Next Game: Sunday 27 January 2008, 4pm, Sheffield United (away), F.A. Cup 4th Round


General News

Applause or Silence? There’s been plenty of front page coverage of the plans to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Munich air disaster. This is due to take place at the OT derby on February 10, just a few days after the anniversary. The potential reaction of the City fans became national news when City’s official Supporters’ Club wrote to United urging them to abandon plans for a minute’s silence to commemorate the anniversary. The appeal came after chants of “We’re all going to the golden jubilee”, sung to the tune of Yellow Submarine, were heard at a recent City match. Kevin Parker, the general secretary of City’s OSC, wrote to express concern that “some supporters will show a complete lack of respect”. The letter said: “We plead with Manchester United to change from the proposed minute’s silence to a minute’s applause to allow all true football fans a chance to show their respects. In this way any idiots who do not share these views will be drowned out rather than highlighted. We think it is obvious that if there is a minute’s silence some fool will interrupt it and this will reflect very badly not only on Manchester City but on Manchester and football supporters in general.” This idea was given short shrift. United’s communications director Phil Townsend told the club’s official website: “Manchester United have given great thought to the best way of remembering those who died at Munich. We feel a minute’s silence is the most appropriate way of paying tribute. We do not feel that applause is appropriate given that 23 people died.” And now the Government has urged City fans not to ruin the minute’s silence. Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe said he “hoped the minute’s silence will be dealt with in an appropriate way”.

Am I Bovvered? Is that the sound of expectations being lowered? Sven insists all is not lost if City don’t crack the Champions’ League places this season. “It would be wrong to say that fourth place is our target and everything else is bad,” he said. “It can’t be like that because I think we’ve been doing very well so far. We should be very happy if we play in Europe next season. Of course we’re going to try and take the fourth place but if we don’t we shouldn’t be too depressed.” This came hot on the heels of a Daily Mail report suggesting that all was not rosy between Chairman and Manager. The paper suggested that the honeymoon could end if Thaksin Shinawatra does not make good promises of putting a multi-million transfer budget at his manager’s disposal. According to sources close to the Swede, he is growing impatient. “Sven is doing a brilliant job at City but knows he can only do so much with what he has at his disposal at the moment,” said these mysterious sources. Sven refuted this claim, and said that he and Thaksin are working together in this month’s transfer market. “We are working hard to make things better,” said Eriksson. “I think we have a good opportunity to do it and I know that the owner would like to do it as well.”

Here Comes the Son (1): Sven’s lad visited his dad this week. Johann Eriksson works as a coach at South African club Royal Thanda Zulu FC. It was recently announced that Thanda had become one of City’s global partners, and this week a delegation from that club arrived at City to check out how the Blues operate. Thanda team manager Roger Palmgren said: “We are trying to establish the best soccer academy in Africa, and we are co-operating with Manchester City, who are obviously one of the best academies in Europe. We are looking at everything at City, right down to the structure, even things like how many people you have working in the offices, to the number of coaches and, most importantly for us, how many scouts you have. The facilities here are fantastic, this week could not have been better – apart from the weather!” Eriksson Junior was also impressed by his dad’s operation, saying, “We’ve learnt so many things here, the staff have been so friendly and welcoming to us. They have taken time out of their schedules to answer our questions, it has been a great learning experience for us. Everything from goalkeeping coaching, to fitness work, to the training programmes has been discussed with us. It’s been a fantastic couple of days for us, everyone has been so willing to share their information and we are very, very grateful.”

If I Ruled the World: The Evening News reports that City will be appointing an Executive Chairman. According to the article, the recipient of this grand title will be responsible for building up the global brand of MCFC, leaving Alistair Mackintosh to run the home front, and Dr. Thaksin to spend more time in the Far East ahead of a possible return to Thailand should military rule end in his homeland. Spokesman Paul Tyrrell said: “We have not made an appointment yet. With Dr Thaksin increasingly spending more time overseas, it should be within the next few weeks.”

Sturr-ing Stuff in the Youth Cup: Daniel Sturridge announced himself back in business in the best way possible last night – he fired a hat-trick as City beat Reading 3-1 in the F.A. Youth Cup Fourth Round. City fell a goal behind on 24 minutes, but Sturridge restored parity with a penalty 6 minutes later. He gave City the lead on 57 minutes with a tap in, before completing his hat-trick with an excellent finish. “The lads showed great character to come from a goal behind when they could have crumbled,” commented Academy chief Jim Cassell. “We spent a lot of time studying their system and it paid off for us. We were the better side after the break and created most of the chances and I don’t think anyone could argue that we deserved our win.” In the Fifth Round, City will travel to Bristol City. Team: Hartley, Trippier, McGivern, Boyata, Mee (c), Kay, Tsiaklis (Ibrahim 57), Weiss, McDermott, Ball, Sturridge. Unused subs: Nimely-Tchuimeni, Clegg, Tutte, Mak.

Transfer News and Gossip

Sky Blue Bianchi: So he didn’t like English food! By the time this august newsletter drops into your Inbox, Rolando Bianchi should be being paraded round in his team’s sky blue Shirt. That team would be Lazio, then. It was reported on Wednesday that the deal had been agreed after a series of meetings in Rome. Lazio have agreed a loan deal, with a permanent transfer to take place in the summer. A fee of around £10 million in three annual instalments will be paid – a nice profit for half a season’s service, methinks. Torino were thought to be the first team in line for the 24-year-old, after Toro coach Walter Novellino admitted they were chasing the striker. “Clearly we have problems in attack,” said Novellino, “and the president is working incredibly hard to bring a great striker like Rolando Bianchi to Toro.” But in the end, all roads lead to Rome. “I want to thank all the City fans as they welcomed me with such great affection and immediately made me feel like one of them,” Bianchi said in a statement. “I will always take their passion with me and will never forget the great song – ‘Rolando Bianchi, he comes from Italy, he plays for Man City’. I would also like to thank the President, his family and everyone at the club who made it able for me to experience the Premier League.”

Sam Stays:

It appeared that Georgios Samaras was about to join Birmingham City this week -but then he wasn’t. The Midlands club were understood to have been close toagreeing a fee – believed to be in the region of £2.5 million – for the Greekinternational who’s hardly featured since the arrival of Sven-Goran Eriksson.But Brum boss Alex McLeish pulled out at the last minute (as it were). “Icannot do that deal just now,” Big Eck told the Birmingham Mail. “We have alot of strikers at the club and I have to concentrate on another couple ofpositions. Time has just run on with the Samaras one. I had identified the bigguy as a target five or six weeks ago and if I could have done it then, itwould have been different. But things have dragged on and other people becameavailable. McFadden became available, Zarate was an unexpected opportunity,therefore it created a problem with the Samaras one. So it’s unlikely.”

Geo Stationary (At the Moment): And here’s news of another nearly-leaving-City player. Geovanni is set to seal a move to Deportivo La Coruna, his agent claimed this week. The Spaniards have lined up a move for the Brazilian forward and have offered him a one-and-a-half year contract. However, the deal is dependent on City agreeing to release the player on a free transfer – despite the fact he is contracted to the summer. “There is already an agreement for a year-and-a-half,” Roberto Assuncao – Geovanni’s step-father and representative – told AS. “The player is very happy with the interest of Deportivo and hopes everything can move forward. Now everything depends on the release of Geovanni, over the past few days we have advanced a little and we hope for another meeting on Monday in the hope that we can get his direct release as a Manchester City player.” And if the Deportivo deal drops off, Geovanni might not have very far to move, if one report’s to be believed. It claimed that his move to Deportivo La Coruna has stalled, which could open the door to Bolton Wanderers snapping up the midfielder this month. Surely the player’s a tad too skilful for a team managed by Gary “Son of Sam” Megson?

Sign at all Costs: So if all these strikers are scurrying towards the exit at the COMS, or at least trying to, who is coming the opposite way? Lukas Podolski, perhaps? Bayern Munich have ruled out a permanent move away from the Allianz Arena for their 22-year-old striker, but may agree to a loan spell. Bayern general manager Uli Hoeness said: “We have got to talk about what we are going to do. I am torn.” He added: “I want to help him to make it to the European Championships. And if we loan him out and everything goes well, we have done everything right. Then we have got him games and he comes back on July 1.” Didi Hamann’s certainly keen for his compatriot to jump aboard the Sven Express: “Sven asked me what I thought of Lukas,” Hamann is quoted as saying on “I told him that Podolski is quick, skilful and dangerous in front of goal. Lukas is the striker at the top of Erikkson’s wish list. He wants to sign him at all costs.”

Eidur Down on Sven’s List: City are willing to pay £7 million for Barcelona’s Eidur Gudjohnsen, apparently. Sven would like Gudjohnsen to return to the North West of England where he starred for Bolton Wanderers. The player has oft expressed his desire to prove himself at the Nou Camp, but Eriksson will lodge an offer of £7 million to first of all tempt Barça to sell, and then he will use the guarantee of regular first team football to try and lure the forward to Manchester.

Crouch Vouches for Anfield Future: So could City be making a move for Liverpool striker Peter Crouch, an oft-quoted rumour? Crouch insists that the speculation linking him with a move away from Anfield are just media nonsense. “Everyone talks about me talking to clubs,” mused England’s tallest striker. “Maybe it’s because I’m not playing every game. But at a club like Liverpool you’re not going to play every game. I’ve come to realise that this is the case at a club like this, whereas at somewhere else maybe you would play every game. But here we are competing for things and I certainly want to be a part of winning trophies.” When asked about interest from other clubs, Peter said: “I’ve not heard anything. No- one’s approached the club and no-one’s approached me. There’s a lot of speculation and, like I’ve said, that probably comes down to the fact that I’m not playing every game. But hopefully if I get a good run of games towards the end of the season then those rumours will go away.”

Djibril Bill Will be £5 Million: And here’s a fourth striker allegedly interesting Sven. City are ready to make a fresh bid to sign Marseille striker Djibril Cisse. The former Liverpool forward, who scored twice in the weekend victory over Valenciennes, has vowed to stay with the French side until the end of the season. But Eriksson is believed to be a huge fan of the £5 million-rated striker and is ready to test Marseille’s resolve with a second offer in the January transfer window. So says the Daily Mirror. Premier League rivals Bolton side have also been linked with Cisse.

You AIn’t Going Nowhere: S-GE has rubbished claims that Richard Dunne, Nedum Onuoha and Stephen Ireland could all be on the move. Captain Dunne has been in the back pages recently with reports claiming he could well move to Celtic after contract talks stalled, but Eriksson has denied that is the case and expects the Irishman to sign on. Eriksson has also laughed off reports linking Nedum Onuoha and Stephen Ireland with Aston Villa and Liverpool respectively. “You don’t sell your captain! I know that talks are going on, and I hope that it will be sorted out soon,” said Sven on the club’s official website. Of Ireland, he said: “There’s not a chance that he moves from here. He’s a very good player, came from our academy and he’s a big part of things here. I had never heard anything about that. He’s another that we don’t want to let go, like with Onuoha he’s another young, talented player from our academy and I don’t want them to go. Nedum has done well when he has played, and Stephen has been involved in almost every game.” And just to complete the attempts to decimate City’s defence – according to the Daily Mail, KK would just luv it if Micah Richards were to become an honorary member of the Geordie nation. The Toon are ready to offer Micah a huge cash incentive to move to Tyneside – £70,000 a week, apparently. You don’t think some of these stories might help our centre halves earn better deals at City do you? But more of that later.

Gut Feeling: The Independent are reporting that City have lodged a £7 million bid for Real Mallorca winger Jonas Gutierrez. The newspaper stated that City are one of three clubs to have made a bid for the Argentine winger. Mallorca are holding out for as much money as possible as the player’s former club, Newell Old Boys, have a clause in his contract that sees them net 50% of any transfer fee received. Elsewhere in Spain – Real Madrid attacking midfielder Julio Baptista remains a potential City target, if you believe what you read in the News of the World. Baptista has revived his Real career this season under Coach Bernd Schuster and insists he is happy in Madrid. But that won’t put off City and Aston Villa, says the News of the Screws, with both Premiership clubs keen to bring the ex-Arsenal man back to England.

Hassan Hassle: Swedish club IF Elfsborg have revealed they have turned down an offer from City for goalkeeper Abbas Hassan. Hassan had a trial with City earlier this month and impressed goalkeeping coach Eric Steele. S-GE decided to make a bid, but Elfsborg are not prepared to let him go without a fight. “We have rejected their offer.” confirmed sports director Stefan Andreasson to Expressen. “We are not trying to sell our ‘keeper, it’s all up to the buyer if they want to change the offer.” Hassan is still optimistic that an agreement will be reached. “I believe and hope that the clubs will solve this,” he stated. Another goalkeeper mentioned as a potential City target was Arsenal’s Jens Lehman. But Lehmann believes he won’t play for another English club. “It is highly unlikely I would join another club in England,” said Lehmann. “It troubles me greatly I’m not getting games, but that is the only thing I disagree about with Arsene Wenger. There is a 50 per cent chance I could retire soon. It depends what offers I receive.”

After-Match Reactions and Comments

Offside Rule Hammered: Darius Vassell cancelled out Carlton Cole’s spectacular opener to extend City’s unbeaten league record at the COMS this season. West Ham had taken the lead when Richard Dunne gave the ball away and Fredrik Ljungberg crossed for Cole to score with a superb acrobatic finish. Amid West Ham claims that our goalscorer was offside, City levelled when Vassell prodded home Martin Petrov’s vicious low cross. The Hammers went on to dominate after the break but Joe Hart saved well from Mark Noble and Cole as City held out. Sven acknowledged that his team were fortunate to take a point. Of greater concern to the Boss is the lack of attacking options as he looks to revitalise City’s hopes of Champions’ League qualification. He lost Vassell after he was hurt by Luis Boa Morte’s scissor tackle. The Portuguese forward was booked and suffered the indignity of being substituted for the second time in five days to save him from being sent off after a final warning from referee Phil Dowd for tangling with Dietmar Hamann. Eriksson is keen to make a signing before the end of the transfer window. “We’re working to see if something more will happen,” he said. “I should like to do it and so would the owner. Attacking-wise we weren’t very good today.” At least Joe Hart was able to prove his worth. “He played very well yet again. He has a great future and is a fantastic goalkeeper for his age,” said S-GE. “He is rather big, he is good on crosses and he is very brave. The only thing that is missing is experience. You cannot buy that – you have to stand there between the posts and let it happen over the years.” West Ham boss Alan Curbishley grumbled about City’s equaliser. “We’ve been hurt there obviously,” said the West Ham boss. “We asked the linesman. He said that Vassell wasn’t active and then suddenly became active. All letters go to FIFA and whoever deals with these things.” He was satisfied with his team’s performance, however. “I’m a little bit disappointed but it’s great credit to the players that they deserved to be the first team to win here this season. We have had to chop and change all season but the players have done fantastically well. And, if we can carry on being as committed as we are, we’d still like to finish in the top eight. I wish we’d hung on for a little longer,” he added. “It would have been interesting to see how City would have coped as they’ve gone ahead in most of their games.”

Vass the Way to Do It: Despite limping off after Luis Boa Morte’s two-footed tackle, Darius Vassell says he doesn’t bear a grudge against his opponent. Vassell told City’s website: “I’ve had a look at it on video and it looked pretty bad, but at the same time I’ve spoken to the player and he could not apologise enough. He thought I was going in with the same sort of challenge and he was trying to protect himself. I know that sounds dodgy, but I sometimes think that way myself, if you go into a 50-50 challenge full pelt you have to make sure you don’t get injured. It’s a funny area in football, but I did not get hurt, that’s the main thing and I think we should move on and forget about it. My ankles have been stiff anyway recently, but we have a couple of days off now and I should be fine by midweek.” On his goal, Vassell added: “It’s always nice to get a goal. There’s been a bit of controversy about it, but I think it’s a grey area. It’s one that you’ll always take if you score, but if it’s against you you’ll always raise the question. I don’t think there is much the referee or linesman can do at the time, it’s about how they see it when it happens, I’m just pleased it was given.”

Squad News

Castillo Cast Out for Six Weeks: Nery Castillo has been ruled out for up to six weeks after fracturing a bone on his shoulder. Castillo, on loan from Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk, suffered the setback in the F.A. Cup victory against West Ham in midweek. S-GE said: “He has a fracture of a bone in his shoulder. The good thing is that he doesn’t need surgery and it will take five, six weeks. He’s been seeing our doctors, had a scan and seen the specialist, so that’s what they say. It’s unlucky for him because he’s just started playing for us. He’s very hungry to play football for us and perform so it is unlucky.”

Dynamic Duo’s Dosh Dilemma: As we’ve already seen, there’s been a shed load of speculation concerning the future of our twin defensive lynchpins, Richard Dunne and Micah Richards. Coincidentally, both are locked in negotiations with the club over their futures. Captain Dunnie seems to be the more straightforward deal. He’s set to become one of the club’s top earners. The News of the World says the Republic of Ireland defender, 28, wants to put his signature to a £45,000-a-week four-year contract. That will tie him to City for the remainder of his career – and earn him a lucrative testimonial. And as we know, you don’t sell your captain! Micah’s situation is a little more complex. First we heard that he was about to sign a new deal at last, with a salary not too dissimilar to Dunnie’s dosh being mentioned. But City have stated that, while they have been in negotiations with Richards’ advisers about a new deal, an agreement is not close to completion. Indeed it is claimed that talks will resume next month, while Richards still has two-and-a-half years left on his current agreement with City not willing to let their prize asset leave without a fight.

New Mills? Hardly… Danny Mills may be back with City sooner than anyone realised, because he could be facing a long spell on the sidelines after visiting a specialist for further checks on his knee injury. Having joined Derby County on loan, the former England full-back has made just three appearances for the Rams. The ex-England international limped out of the defeat to Portsmouth at the weekend and early reports suggest the defender could be sidelined for several weeks. You just can’t get rid of some people, can you…

Here Comes the Son (2): City have taken the son of Inter Milan coach Roberto Mancini on trial. Sven is an old mate of Mancini senior, having been his manager at Sampdoria and Lazio in Italy during the 90’s. Filippo Mancini, 17, is set for a two-week trial at City after only making his senior Inter début last week, says Gazzetta dello Sport. Mancini Jr is an attacking midfielder like his dad and admits (what’s this?) Cristiano Ronaldo is his idol. Let’s hope he gets that knocked out of him!

Bojinov Blues: It seems that all the optimism about a swift return for Valeri Bojinov may have been misplaced. Hans Backe has admitted that the Bulgarian striker may not be ready for competitive play till next season. “Valeri had his first session on Wednesday and I don’t know if I am being a little pessimistic or not but with the kind of injury he has had I am inclined to think that he will not be fully fit until the summer,” he reported. “If we are lucky he may be ready more quickly but we don’t want to push it and experience says that with that kind of injury it takes some months to come back to games even after returning to training. It will be a big boost for us when he is back because you can see how hungry he is in each session that he takes part in,” declared Sven’s number two. “He was like that in the gym and with reserves and now with us for the first time this week. He is very lively and his injury was a shame.”

Don Barrie <news(at)>


The Manchester City Official Supporters’ Club should be lauded for their constructive suggestion to hold a minute’s applause for those who died in the Munich air disaster at the next Manchester derby, which takes place just after its 50th anniversary. Unfortunately their idea has been dismissed by certain sanctimonious sections of the media and Manchester United as ‘not appropriate’ for the occasion.

It is understandable that United still want to hold a minute’s silence and I have no doubt that the vast majority of Blues will observe that. Unfortunately there are those (and it’s a reflection of society as a whole) who have no respect and will disrupt the minute’s silence. Personal experience down the year has shown that these imbeciles can’t even respect their fellow City fans, let alone the people who died at Munich. Having watched football at different clubs as well as our beloved City over many years, I can tell you that we at City are no better or no worse than any other club. Standards of behaviour in society have declined for many years now. There’s no excuse for it but the vast majority of us who consider ourselves to be decent have to strive against it, and that’s what MCOSC have done in this instance.

Whilst we must go along with United’s wishes on February 10th, I beg to differ with the theory that the applause is not appropriate. A minute’s applause is used on other occasions when people have died and is seen as a positive way of celebrating those who died across the world. Don’t Liverpool use it for Hillsborough, thus drowning out anyone’s attempts to disrespect the 96 who died there? Shouldn’t the lives of Duncan Edwards, Eddie Colman, Roger Byrne, Frank Swift and all the other poor souls who died at Munich be celebrated? They certainly achieved much in their lives and why not observe their sad passing by remembering that their stars burned brightly while they lived? Wouldn’t it be great to have a full ground – City and United together – applauding them?

In dismissing MCOSC’s constructive and pro-active approach United have missed an opportunity here, and like many I fear that the tribute will be spoiled by a few imbeciles. Obviously any decent minded person hopes not. Equally one would hope that instead of being dismissive, United will try to prevent their own unsavoury elements from singing equally abhorrent songs about Hillsborough, Shankly and Russian submarines.

I do hope though that City are not blown off course in getting that overdue win at Old Trafford on February 10. The occasion must not be allowed to distract City from the goal, so I’ll say an extra special come on City that day.

Phil Banerjee <phil.banerjee(at)>


So David Gill’s rejected City supporters’ club pleas to have a minute’s applause at the derby, thus hyping up the situation as we all anticipated Man United were intent on doing when the fixtures first came out.

Don’t anyone try and tell me that they don’t exploit the Munich situation as this is now quite open and blatant.

As both clubs have failed to get the fixture changed (?!) and by February 10th media hype will be up to fever pitch, as if there isn’t enough tension at derbies, I would suggest that the only solution is for a minute’s silence to be held at 4pm on the day of the game and those who wish to respect it, can do so.

Dave Wallace <dw001e8104(at)>


Manchester United are using the Munich air disaster to further exploit their image. By refusing the sensible request from City for the now fairly common minute of applause, it looks like they can paint themselves yet again as the poor put upon club made good, instead of the monstrous corporate giant they actually are. They can pretty much guarantee that one or two of the expected 3,000 City fans will be stupid enough to not honour the silence, and it will only take one or two to make their point.

I have stood on the Kippax with some people, who throughout a match have screamed and shouted obscenities about the Irish while having quite polite conversations with me (and I am quite obviously Irish) and singing the praises of Niall Quinn, Terry Phelan et al, so even if only one of the geniuses shows up we can guarantee the silence to be broken.

Manchester United continuing to trade off events of half a century ago to engender sympathy and lend them a human face is sickening enough, but for their moves to try to install it as a day of national mourning, thankfully rejected, is disgraceful. While Heysel, Hillsborough and Bradford have all made us take stock, and reflection is necessary for us to learn lessons, there are no lessons to be learnt from the tragic accident.

Mark the anniversary, rename the tunnel and move on.

Sean Cassidy <Sean.Cassidy(at)>


I tend to agree with Graham Mills regarding the vitriolic nonsense from Steve Gerrard’s rant in MCIVTA 1396.

Whilst I accept that doom and gloom is quite misplaced because of our unexpected position. I think it is perfectly legitimate to suggest that we are bloody lucky to be there because we haven’t played well for months.

Even Sven said how woeful we were at Everton, the West Ham games were bloody awful, especially when you consider that they (West Ham) were there to be hammered. Playing Vassell as a lone striker more than mystified me. For all the lad’s heart and enthusiasm and pace, he is never, ever going to get by as a lone striker. I was amazed that he managed a rare goal until I realised that the Hammers were wearing Villa colours.

The Liverpool match was absolutely abysmal. We had no intention of trying to win and I cannot fathom the perceived glory of a home point by simply avoiding defeat at any cost (the cost being entertainment, enjoyment, excitement etc.).

As for the next two home games, Castillo was so far off the pace, needing far too many touches for a Premier League player, that it was a relief to see him spared the need to return too quickly. He needs a lot of time to get ready for Premier League football.

More bizarre than his untimely selection was the decision to play Elano in goal (well, as good as). Surely Johnson isn’t so good that we have to sacrifice our best playmaker to compensate for his absence? Both games were excruciatingly dull, as have been most of our matches through December and January. Yet anyone who observes that all is less than wonderful gets roundly berated as being “negative”, a moaner, a miserable sod who is not worthy of being a fan.

I think it is legitimate for fans who pay the obscene wages of these heroes to complain when they are not being rewarded with their best efforts. When footie was a sport, the argument that a loyal fan should get behind his team no matter what was laudable and legitimate. Now it is a cynical, ruthless business, those who berate the paying customer for expressing dissatisfaction deserve the same response that Gerald Ratner got.

When are football fans going to wake up to that fact? You do not count. You do not matter. You are being ripped off, exploited and treated with abject contempt. Surely you are entitled to moan when the end product is less than palatable?

Okay, I am City till I die. I cannot help it, but I do reserve the right to express concern about poor performances and especially about boring matches. We’ve done well. We won’t go down. I am very happy with that, but I will defend the right of anyone to point out that all is not as it could be.

Martin Hunt <Martin.Hunt(at)Wales.GSI.Gov.UK>


Graham Mills is the voice of reason! Keep your hats on boys the truth must be dawning on you, we aren’t exactly top four yet as the last three games must have surely proved even to the most biased amongst us. I hear so many fans banging on about the exciting football on show but for me three games where there weren’t enough shots on goal to be counted on more than one hand ain’t exciting as far as I’m concerned. This doesn’t make me a moaner or lessen the passion I have for our club, it’s just a fact. Shots make goals, the more you shoot, the more you get on target, the more chance they will hit the net especially if you have an eight and a half million pound striker. Micah Richards for me is what City are all about, academy raised, heart of a lion and brave beyond belief. He was only a Mohican away from getting his head in the way of Carlton Cole’s excellent overhead kick on Sunday but he can’t do everything.

We need that bravery throughout the team to replace the creeping tendency of certain players who hit the deck at the merest touch and look bewildered when the referee ignores them; embarrassing, strictly for the Ladyboy at OT. For me though the biggest failure of our team at the moment is our inability to move and pass the ball at pace to our own players. Add to that wasted corners and set pieces that cry out for anything that resembles a training ground plan.

Colin Savage referred to the visionary coach Malcolm Allison in his top 50 City moments, and it was our great coach at his peak who introduced a bagful of innovative set piece tactics that brought us so much success all those years ago. Now that was exciting to watch and no way would we or Big Mal have settled for one shot on goal at home.

Looking on the bright side, it’s off to Bramall Lane on Sunday and our best chance of a well overdue trophy and a European place if the real City turn up. I feel this one is there for the taking but City being City it probably won’t be all plain sailing – but would we expect anything else?

Respect the Munich anniversary – the world is watching.

Malc Hough <malcolm.hough(at)>


I know it’s mostly press speculation, but why do we keep reading that City are considering buying goalkeepers? Surely this is the least of our problems and how the hell would young Joe and Kasper feel if we were to go in for Robinson? Hopefully the speculation will not become a reality.

We need goals and shots on goals. Every week the statistics speak for themselves. One shot on target, two shots on target, no shots on target in one game (was it Liverpool?) To my simple mind, we will not win a great deal with this type of total. I know they are in a different league unfortunately, but one team regularly has 10 to 18 shots on target. Stands to reason they are going to get a percentage in the bag.

Christopher Ryder <christopherryd(at)>


I’d like to see us sign Carew from Villa (remember how he left Dunne for dead and casually strolled towards our penalty area, giving Dunne more than one opportunity to tackle him, then casually pick his spot?).

I’d like to sign Hunt from Reading. He’d give Petrov and Vassell a run for their money in the sprint stakes and has a bit of an edge to him.

And I would sign Ferdinand from West Ham. Far superior to his Camel Gobbed big brother (then Dunne can watch from the bench and see how you actually mark a man). Goalside Dunney!

John Nisbet <john_nisbet(at)>


We have ten more days left in the transfer window as I write this.

Today I watched Liverpool versus Villa on TV, and it looks very much like Liverpool are struggling to be the fourth team in the Premier League, not to say that they will still not make it, for they have depth and quality in their squad. If Liverpool do not take that fourth spot in the Premier League then who could it be?

On form are Everton who could be stopped by City on Feb 25 at home, Spurs are contenders who also could be stopped on March 15th at home, Portsmouth are contenders who also could be stopped on April 19 at home; the other contender could be Villa. It all makes it for a better Premier League for the fans of all the clubs to see some healthy competition.

But can City be real contenders? of course we can, but not with the present form; when Elano is off form so it appears are City. We just cannot depend on Elano in every game. Sure, we have many other very good players in the team, but it is glaring that we lack something up front.

After hearing so much in the media and press about players that City are involved with trying to sign, and the players that Sven wants to leave and are not leaving, to us supporters and fans it at times gets a little frustrating reading all this stuff, but hold on, just think how frustrating it must be for Sven?

Maybe we as supporters and fans should be a little more patient for there is still time for something to happen in the transfer window. If we cannot sign a player now who cannot better the squad, then it is better to wait until the summer.

As I have said before, clubs do not want to let their best players go in the middle of the season, and most certainly we do not want to see City lose our best players, on the other hand I’m sure that there are some volunteers who will gladly get some City players a taxi to go down the road (not to mention the players).

Because of the very good start our team has produced, we should not get carried away, there is a long way to go, and up to now we should all be very pleased with the change that our proud club has undertaken. Let’s just say that we are heading in the right direction, and who knows we can still be a team into Europe next season?

Keep on shouting “Come on you Blues!” and we will have a good shot at it.

I did watch the two West Ham games but I make no comments, I don’t think that they are needed, and thanks to Phil and Colin for their input on the games.

Come on you Blues, beat Sheffield United; I watched the Blades get beat by Sheffield Wednesday but never underestimate any team in the F.A. Cup.

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


Thirty-one of Colin Bell’s City shirts, England caps and shirts together with 19 lots of his other personal football items will be auctioned this month. It’s obviously his decision but I think it’s sad when a sporting hero’s hard earned achievements are sold off and not retained together as part of his personal collection.

Graham Aldred <graham.nina(at)>


Daniel Sturridge returned from his injury with a vengeance, scoring a hat trick in the 3-1 win over Reading in the F.A. Youth Cup. Maybe this will be our answer to the striker problem?

Bye bye Bianchi, gone back to Italy, did not like the spaghetti in Lancashire?

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


I have written this story today about Man City’s latest results.

Crain’s Manchester Business is the new weekly business paper for Greater Manchester.

James Chapelard <jchapelard(at)>


I am the Landlord of a small pub about 5-10 minutes walk from Bramall Lane, The Devonshire Arms, Ecclesall Road. A lot of you came last year on Boxing Day so you may remember where we are!

We are one of the few pubs around the ground that allow away fans. I am writing to see if you have any groups or individuals that may want to use the pub before the match. We generally open at 11.30 but can open earlier if you plan on arriving before. We also have free parking for up to 25 cars. S11 8JB is my postcode should you need it for your sat nav or you can google map it.

We welcome all well behaved fans, we also have a lot of SUFC supporters that use the pub, mostly older and family groups. It is not a strictly ‘away’ pub!

We also serve food and will be serving Sunday lunch for £4.95 till 2pm and then hot sandwiches, chip butties etc. Though it should be noted we currently don’t have Sky due to a block of flats being built blocking my dish – I can only access freeview Sky Sports News.

I arrange any advance groups as early as possible as we co-operate fully with South Yorkshire Football Police and inform them of any groups being at the pub both for your safety and that of my other customers.

Thanks, James <jamesogt(at)>


Due to work commitments and fixture changes I have two spare Derby County tickets. Face value. Give me a call on: 07812 065005 or email.

Whatever you do, stay Blue!

Dave Clinton <daveclinton(at)>


Has anyone got a West Ham (FA Cup replay) programme that they want to sell, as I was unable to go to the game but collect programmes.

Please email me at the address below.

Many thanks.

Darren Milnes <darren(at)>


21 January 2008

Liverpool             2 - 2  Aston Villa           42,590

League table to 07 December 2008 inclusive

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F   A   GD  Pts
 1 Manchester Utd  23 11  1  0 29  3  6  2  3 17  8 17  3  3  46  11  35  54
 2 Arsenal         23 10  2  0 26  8  6  4  1 20  9 16  6  1  46  17  29  54
 3 Chelsea         23  7  4  0 22  8  8  1  3 14  8 15  5  3  36  16  20  50
 4 Everton         23  7  1  3 23 11  6  2  4 17 12 13  3  7  40  23  17  42
 5 Liverpool       22  4  6  1 23  9  6  4  1 14  7 10 10  2  37  16  21  40
 6 Aston Villa     23  7  1  4 19 15  4  6  1 23 15 11  7  5  42  30  12  40
 7 Manchester City 23  9  3  0 20  8  2  4  5 10 16 11  7  5  30  24   6  40
 8 Portsmouth      23  3  6  2 14  9  7  1  4 20 14 10  7  6  34  23  11  37
 9 Blackburn R.    23  5  3  4 13 13  5  4  2 18 17 10  7  6  31  30   1  37
10 West Ham United 22  4  4  3 14 12  5  2  4 14  9  9  6  7  28  21   7  33
11 Tottenham H.    23  6  1  4 32 21  1  5  6 12 19  7  6 10  44  40   4  27
12 Newcastle Utd   23  5  4  3 16 17  2  2  7 11 22  7  6 10  27  39 -12  27
13 Middlesbrough   23  2  4  5 12 18  3  3  6  8 19  5  7 11  20  37 -17  22
14 Reading         23  6  1  5 14 17  0  3  8 16 32  6  4 13  30  49 -19  22
15 Bolton Wndrs    23  5  3  4 17 11  0  3  8  7 23  5  6 12  24  34 -10  21
16 Birmingham City 23  3  3  5 12 13  2  2  8 11 21  5  5 13  23  34 -11  20
17 Wigan Athletic  23  4  2  5 14 14  1  3  8  9 25  5  5 13  23  39 -16  20
18 Sunderland      23  5  3  3 13 13  0  2 10  9 29  5  5 13  22  42 -20  20
19 Fulham          23  2  5  5 16 21  0  4  7  7 21  2  9 12  23  42 -19  15
20 Derby County    23  1  2  8  7 20  0  2 10  4 30  1  4 18  11  50 -39   7

With thanks to Football 365

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