Newsletter #1437

More on the managerial change, international Blues’ action and Alex’s monthly round up.

Finally, some sad news for us here at MCIVTA as Don will be hanging up the reporter’s notepad and pen due to work commitments. We’ll sorely miss him, but he has promised to keep going until the end of July so if anyone out there fancies a go at doing the weekly news round-ups, please see the ad below.

Next Game: tbc


Having predictably lost to Liverpool at Anfield, the Blues made the journey up to Middlesbrough and the longer one back. I live in the hope that the farce that was the Boro game was some sort of protest in support of Sven yet knowing our luck it was just underperformance on our part. At 4-0 I was unimpressed and at 8-1 I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

The post-season tour didn’t go quite to plan either with two losses but of course the main story was not on the pitch happenings but the managerial frenzy off the pitch. Sven had it hard in his final weeks yet the not knowing brought out the best in the fans. 2,500 people rallied round CoMS in support of the boss but the owner felt the need for change and so Sven was shown the door only to find himself in instant demand, signing for Mexico only twenty four hours later.

He has of course left us with a little parting gift. European football for the 2008/09 season due to the good old ‘back door’ route. The aim at the beginning of the season was to find our way to the top ten and so we did but it was only fair to be given that little bonus. First we must take on a two legged qualification match and then come the group stages. With the chance to host Valencia and AC Milan in that stage of the competition I’m sure all Blue fans can’t wait for next season.

I thank Sven for being so reserved, so respectful, so good for this club and all City fans know that whatever good comes from the next decade of football will have been built on a strong Swedish foundation and it is very much appreciated.

Moment of the month: Getting the email that read “We’ve got it”, regarding next season’s UEFA Cup.

Alex Rowen <ajpr2007(at)>


Sun – The sooner he’s shipped out, the better. Story courtesy of City’s website.

“Other City players in action around the world were Jihai Sun and Elano. China were beaten 1-0 by Qatar in a 2010 World Cup qualifier, with Jihai being shown the red card while still on the subs bench for protesting over a refereeing decision. Elano played the first hour of Brazil’s surprise 2-0 defeat to Venezuela in a friendly in Boston, not the ideal preparation for their World Cup qualifiers against Paraguay and Argentina on the 15th and 18th of June.”

Meanwhile, over in Switzerland Gelson did what Gelson does. Runs round in circles, collects the ball, passes the easy pass as soon as possible (gets rid).

Never creates anything and frequently gave the ball away. When he parted with the ball, ensured, mostly, that there was no option to get it back. Sound familiar?

John Nisbet <john_nisbet(at)>


After reading the news about Richard Dunne’s imminent departure I became very despondent and was on the verge of throwing City on to my own psychological rubbish dump. But now, with the appointment of Mark Hughes as manager, my spirits have been revived. I think it is an excellent appointment and I do sincerely hope that Dunney will be persuaded to stay.

I am thankful to SGE for taking on the job and achieving a top ten finish, but in spite of this I think that Hughes has a type of personality that the players will respond to better. Consider the fact that City have consistently failed to beat Blackburn with their smaller resources and they have always finished above us in the league. If I were in his shoes though I would be feeling a bit guilty about abandoning them after what he has achieved. I hope he does not feel like this.

If it is true that the club are willing to pay Ronaldino £200,000 a week then this will not be good for the team spirit because it would be far in excess of the other players’ wages and could lead to friction if he does not live up to his reputation. But what about the possibility of enticing Shaun Wright-Phillips back to Eastlands as he was never a fan of SGE anyway?

Philip Vangass <philipvangass(at)>


I know it’s not a common opinion but I am starting to really like our good Doctor. He seems to be finally getting used to being an owner and to be honest I’m quite looking forward to having half of the team from Brazil!

Have a read and tell me he isn’t bang on the money.

“We must play with more consistency, much more urgency. In the second half of the season, the slide was too bad, too much. We lost 8-1 at Middlesbrough! The shame of that. The team stopped playing. They stopped working. I could not take this. I understand you cannot win every game. A football is round; it does not bounce along a straight line. I can accept the unpredictable, but not such a fall. We had to make a change.”

“Mark Hughes is an excellent appointment. The players need to be motivated, instead of playing like people who are not being paid any money. We need a culture of discipline at our club. I want strong leadership from the manager, motivation for young men and I want players who can cope with that. If not, they can go. I want players who work hard to make their luck, not players who are lazy.”

“Tell the fans from me that they cannot love the club more than me. We have the same goals and they will understand me now. Mark Hughes, Garry Cook, Jo, maybe Ronaldinho. They will see by the new season.”

And regarding speculation linking Micah Richards with a move away from the club: “He is our star. He will not leave.”

“I have heard of Premier League players with a garage full of sports cars and almost a girlfriend for each one. That is no way for an athlete to behave. He should be in the training ground, working. Every owner of a Premier League club has a duty to play Englishmen in his team. We won the Youth Cup this season and I am very proud of the young men and the staff there, like the Academy director Jim Cassell. There should be at least five English at the core of every team. We are the English Premier League.”

Andy Morris <andy(at)>


Last week I lost a job that I have truly loved for 10 years (organizational restructure made me supernumerate) and all I could think of, in despairing disbelief was “Mark ******* Hughes?” I am astounded that no one seems to remember what an odious, smug, arrogant pain in the rump that g*t was. Some things should not be forgiven and he went far beyond the pale. The last time we made the mistake of employing a tainted man, he hardly lasted a month before he was on his toes (pleading a heart attack, as I recall).

How on earth has Mark ****** Hughes suddenly transmogrified into the new Messiah? I am frankly less than overwhelmed that he got Blackburn to the FA Cup semi-final. Finishing above City was not exactly that great an achievement either, especially for a club that has won the Premier League (many years after our last Championship of Division 1). He won b****r all with Wales and b****r all with Blackburn, so why on earth is everyone so apparently elated?

I am also less than enamoured with the press speculation that Ronaldinho is on his way for £200,000 per week. Great for selling shirts in Asia, but I’ll be surprised if he tries much out on the pitch. We had George Weah when he was the World Footballer of the Year and didn’t he make a difference? Lots of rumours suggest that this fait d’acomplis was the key to Frank falling out of love with Sven, but Frank seems to have won through and Hughes is immediately doing his master’s bidding.

I hope I am wrong, but I cannot see a glimmer of joy from all of this sorry news. I am sick and gutted and slightly embarrassed at the moment. I cannot stand the jibes and the mockery of colleagues because I cannot see any sense in any of it. I have never, ever felt so low about being Blue!

Martin Hunt <Martin.hunt(at)>


I don’t think I am alone in saying that the thought of getting rid of Sven after one season was unthinkable.

On the whole, he’s done a good job at City, taking us onto the fringes of automatic European qualification and bringing his style, demeanour and definitely dignity on and off the pitch, which was very apparent to all those watching (many a Premiership Manager could learn from this approach). We also had two wins over United and a very good start to the season. Not every game or result was great, but the majority of City fans hoped that this was just the start of the rebuilding process.

However, there is the period after Christmas and the latter part of the season, where the decline started (albeit as a result of a lot of injuries to key players), and all the way through the post-season tour to Thailand, where we couldn’t beat an egg!

Remember we were 2-0 up against Fulham and playing one of our attacking midfielders at right back (Elano), with 2 reserve defenders on the bench in Williamson and Logan. An astute manager would have realised that Elano had done well till then, but was tiring, and should have brought on a “proper” defender, guess what we went on to lose that game, 3 points thrown away, that would have jumped us 2 places higher in the league. Sven just watched the last 20 minutes from the bench, and should have taken immediate action but he was in a semi-comatose mode! What is the point in reflecting after the game, it’s way too late then. Move on to the last game of the season, versus Middlesbrough, unthinkable that we could lose 8-1; if there were players, playing on the pitch with the mentality “we feel sorry for Sven”, or “when and where are we going on holiday?”, why didn’t he use guys like Mpenza or the youth team etc. I have never been so embarrassed, all I got at work on the Monday morning was “City should get sponsored by After Eights”.

Then we go to the Far East and lose every game, great PR! Premier League team gets humbled in the East. Why should the Thai punters go out and buy City shirts, to see a bunch of losers, when their local teams can beat us? This was highly embarrassing, and I am sure that Shinawatra saw the writing on the wall and Sven had to go. Think about it, who doesn’t want to see their team win, play attractive football and score goals… especially as you have ploughed so much money into it.

City started the season very brightly, played some attractive football and scored a few goals in the process, then what happened? Bianchi was not considered ready for a long time, and when he came on he was not the answer, and Mpenza was preferred. Then we bought Benjani, and even though he worked his socks off, he wasn’t prolific, especially playing on his own up front. Guess what, we bought another player similar to Mpenza in Caicedo for £5 million, and what has he done? We had problems creating goals, what happened to that slovakian youth team player Weiss, why didn’t he get a look in? I saw him play in the 1st leg semi at Chelsea and he was brilliant, terrorised all the defenders and scored a good goal too. We then had injuries and suspensions to our back 4, and after that we couldn’t defend for toffee. Corluka might be good player on the ball, but he is a poor defender, Dunne’s last few games were awful, Garrido is a left back who does not know how to defend, and Sun Jihai well what was he doing on the pitch? A disaster just waiting to happen, and he didn’t disappoint but Sven kept on picking him! If we the fans were miffed, how do you think the owner must have felt!

After all this, I can understand why Shinawatra stated in a newspaper interview: “I want you to know that Sven is a good man, I brought him to this club and supported him with investment (about £50 million), and we still have a good relationship. But I want this Club to advance faster, much faster. Sven is a good football general, but we need more. We must play with consistency, much more urgency. In the second half of the season, the slide was too bad, too much, we lost 8-1 to Middlesborough! The shame of that!” City fans will have known that the players seemingly had downed tools by this point, seemingly disputing the treatment of their manager. Thaksin was annoyed: <"The team stopped playing! They stopped working! I could not take this, I understand that you cannot win every game, a football is round, it does not bounce along in a straight line. I can accept the unpredictable, but not such a fall! We had to make a change! Mark Hughes is an excellent appointment. The players need to be motivated, instead of playing like people who are not being paid any money." He said “We need a culture of discipline at our club, (hinting that Sven was too weak). I want strong leadership from the manager, motivation for young men and I want players who can cope with that. I want players who can work hard to make their luck, not players who are lazy. We are not a selling club, but I want players with talent, who will exercise and improve. I want desire and commitment. That is a decision of the new manager. We will pay the best for the best, and to be the best.”

As Phil Banerjee stated: Whilst I am sorry that Sven has gone and dismayed in the way it was handled, I am delighted that Mark Hughes has been appointed Manchester City Manager. He still has a lot to prove but has done a great job at Blackburn after a great spell with Wales who punched well above their weight under him. I like the fact that his teams don’t get intimidated physically, Hughes is known for instilling steel in his teams and I welcome that at City. You have to earn the right to play and he has developed his Blackburn side from one that was at the bottom of the league to one that competed physically and were very hard to beat, into one that can play very good football. Given the resources at his disposal at City, who knows where he might take us? I hope that he is given sufficient time to do the job here and in welcoming him, I wish him all the very best. I totally endorse these statements.

All I now await is the start of some exciting new signings that will move us up into the higher echelons of the Premier League and be a force to contend with.

C’mon City!

Glyn Albuquerque <glynalbuquerque(at)>


A new manager driving in and a lot of media speculation this week about new signings and the likes of Sidwell, Ronaldinho, etc. joining the club.

I have to admit that I am concerned about the future and will remain tight-lipped until the Chairman proves his worth or not. Are we in for a meaningful challenge or is this just another warm balloon that is going to be empty come August? Putting a lot of time and effort into supporting a club that is run as a family affair is tearing one string after the other. We’ll see how this is going, but I now understand better what is happening at other clubs in similar position.

In due time our loyal supporters may have all gone and been replaced by shirt-buying moaning wannabes. To the people collecting the cash this doesn’t make a difference. And to the rest of the club it probably won’t either when enough water has passed under the bridge.

A summer to decide…

Svenn Hanssen <svenn(at)>


I have learned a little more about Sven’s departure, which given the appointment of Hughes may get a little lost now. However…

My Uncle Cliff has followed the Blues home and away for goodness knows how long. The last time was the embarrassing 8-1 drubbing at the hands of someone awful north-eastern outfit. And, after the game, whilst he was driving home with his mate Dave, they stopped off at a petrol station to refuel and grab a bite.

A guy pulled up in silver Merc to do the same. Only Geovanni got out! Not on the team bus, but still wearing his tracksuit.

They got autographs for the kids and pictures etc. – he spoke very little English only to say ‘very bad’ about the game. He wasn’t wrong. He was quite embarrassed by all accounts too. But interestingly, he had a rather large bodyguard with him, who spoke very good English (Geovanni apparently is only about 5’5″).

On being questioned by my Uncle ‘Wugger’ (don’t ask, I’m now 35) the Minder said, Sven is off, he’s going to Mexico (three days before City and Sven parted company), and this was ‘known’ as far back as April! God’s honest truth.

The guy has now made £10 million on just ‘leaving’ football clubs. When you read between the lines it’s clear he’d engineered this move too. And knowing this with hindsight, points to many answers, many questions.

Good riddance I’d say.

Joel Perry <j.perry(at)>


I am extremely sorry to hear of SGE’s departure from City. He brought a lot into the squad. He brought in good talent and settled the team down and made the Academy go. He did a lot for the club in just over a year. All this back room bull@#$% by Frank leaves a lot to be desired about what he wants from the club. I don’t think he knows that much about football.

Regardless, I will remain a City fan here in the USA.

Paul Vary <pvary(at)>


First I should like to say from the last issue of MCIVTA, I do not disagree with Andreas Larsson and Lance Thomson, they are both correct in saying that City had to win the Fair Play League, and to do this they had to play the game in the manner the manager instilled into them.

I guess I should have simply said that I feel getting into Europe by beating teams makes one feel that it is a more deserving way.

Either way it is good that City are in Europe, so thank you Sven.

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


Owing to changes in my working routine, I am giving up being News Editor of the mighty MCIVTA. This is sad for me, because I still enjoy trying to write something entertaining about City every week (mind you, there’s always plenty of material for entertainment!), but my travelling to and from work has increased significantly in recent times, and it means that I’m bowing to the inevitable. Thanks for reading my ramblings since I began in November ’01, and a big thank you to all those contributors who sent me bits and pieces over that time. And where would I have been without the able stand ins over that time, especially Sarah. I won’t be going for a few weeks though – I hope to end my tenure and hand over the reins at the end of July. Which brings me to the real purpose of this posting…

Do you spend a lot of time reading up all that City news and gossip? Want to have a legit reason for doing it? Then how would you like to be the new News Editor? If you fancy giving this City News reporting lark a go, then drop me an email. If you’re a budding newshound, why not send in a sample of your writing? If you want some guidance on what the job entails, I’m happy to answer any questions you might have, and I’m currently writing some notes on how I put the news together – it’s not a definitive set of rules of course, it just shows how I approach the weekly writing.

If you are interested, can you let me know by June 30, emails to the address below.

Don Barrie <news(at)>


Just got back from a holiday and currently wading through the post and emails. I’m deeply touched by 2 of what the postman delivered. 1 contains a very large cheque from a MCIVTA reader with a post-it attached, which simply says ‘for your Ghana appeal, seen in MCIVTA’.

The other also includes a cheque from a City supporter who is well known to many through his work on behalf of City supporters. He also includes a letter that tells of shared personal experiences that are far removed from football. These 2 cheques and the note and letter included tell me far more about City supporters than a thousand contributions to MCIVTA could ever say. They both transcend football.

Once again can I request MCIVTA readers support my appeal for our Ghana branch of MCFC Centenary Supporters’ Association who run 3 junior football teams under the name of Manchester City Babies. I suggest at least the costs of a match day programme, which is only £3.00.

Cheques should be made payable to MCCSA and forwarded to myself:

Alex Channon
‘Penalty Spot’
81 Milner Street
Manchester M27 4AS

Kind regards to all Blues, Alex Channon <alexchannon81(at)>

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Newsletter #1437