Newsletter #1462

Have you all calmed down yet? In a week where City are catapulted into the realms of fantasy football, the news has been a tad difficult to keep up with. Alex summarises the goings on here tonight with reaction to the takeover, the transfer moves, recent games and plans ahead. Mind you, even Hughes looks a tad shell shocked in the publicity picture with Robinho featuring on the official site right now.

We have plenty of opinion on this week’s events, including concern over what the implications are for the Academy and a certain new signing.

As to be expected, a bumper issue, so settle down and enjoy. Is it just me, or is there some sort of cosmic irony with our next game being against Chelsea?

Next Game: Chelsea, home, 5.30pm Saturday 13 September 2008


General News

Incredible: No, there’s no pun to go with this story; just one word to sum up the whole week. On the most exciting deadline day ever, City experienced the biggest day in the club’s history. September the first was the day when the Abu Dhabi United Group for Development and Investment bought Manchester City football club from Dr. Thaksin Shinawatra. After an unsettling month of financial strain due to the charges brought against the former owner, City now have the potential to be the richest club in the world. The club purchase was in the region of £200-300 million, which is said to have covered the investment of the now Thai Honorary President. Dr. Al Fahim, the lead negotiator in all talks, has claimed that City will aim to challenge the top clubs in the world by spending money in a Chelsea-esque way (rumours have begun regarding Fabregas, Kaka and a £135 million bid for C. Ronaldo to be made in January). He warned the footballing world: “Our goal is very simple; to make Manchester City the biggest club in the Premier League, and to begin with, to finish in the top four this season.” Thanks must go to Dr. Thaksin who went out of his way to find a new prospective owner who would keep the interests of the club at the forefront, and thanks also to John Wardle who made this week’s events possible when we needed him most. Though the takeover is not officially confirmed, a period of ‘due diligence’ has now been entered and the club is expected to be ‘officially bought’ by the end of the month.

Glad I Missed It: Despite enjoying a peaceful holiday with no phone ringing and no doorbell going, I can’t deny that I missed being able to keep up with all the football and City news. However, having watched England struggle time after time on penalty shoot outs and painfully watched United win the Champions’ League on penalties last season, I was more than happy to know that not only had City progressed in Europe but that I hadn’t had to sit through the nerve shredding fear of spot kicks. With Evans’ 90th minute equalizer taking the game to extra time, it was time for Hart to make a name for himself and Corluka to leave the club with a great parting gift. Though City will have to step up to the plate much more if they are going to be successful in Europe this season, progression was essential no matter how ugly.

Cypriot Challenge: The struggle to overcome the Danish side has been rewarded with a trip to Cyprus. AC Omonia are the opponents for the Blues and all of a sudden the traveling masses have smiles on their faces. Denmark is hardly the sun-shine capital and the Faroes is… well the journey there is fun, but a day in the sun awaits. Though on the face of it the tie looks rather (dare I say it) easy, it must be remembered that Omonia caused a shock in the previous round by defeating Greek side AEK Athens 3-2 on aggregate, so the ties on September 19th and October 2nd will be ones that Sparky should be wary of.

Fixture Fun: This week the date was finally released for City’s second round Carling Cup tie. September 24th is the day that City shall travel to Brighton and Hove Albion for the opportunity to host down-on-their-luck Derby County in the third round. Almost all the second round ties have already been played but it was the UEFA Cup qualifying rounds that have delayed City’s participation. The date has now been set and City fans will be interested to see how Hughes approaches the more ‘minor’ tournaments in terms of squad selection.

Post-Match Reaction

Midtjylland: Beating West Ham was a much needed kick-start to the week that just seemed to get better as it went on. But it was the tie against Midtjylland that almost put a downer on the week. However, all was well in the end and Hughes gave his opinion on how the match unfolded: “We got back on level terms, showed character to do that and dominated in extra time but did not get the breaks. We showed great character and real resolve to win the shoot-out. We deserved to win in the end. It’s a difficult competition; there are some excellent sides in the latter stages if we can get that far. We’ve made a start, overcome a tough situation here and that will help us at home and abroad.” Hart’s heroics were enough to put City through and when asked about the whole atmosphere of European football he couldn’t hide his excitement: “I love all of that! Their fans were brilliant; they had a conductor on a megaphone getting them going all the way through. It was very exciting to be involved in. Our fans were excellent too, we can’t thank them enough especially with the travelling they did to get to both the Faroes and Denmark.”

Sunderland: Travelling to the North East now has a little extra spice with Roy Keane in charge of the Black Cats but the script couldn’t have been written quite as well as the game played out. A win, three goals and clean sheet aren’t that bad away from home and the return of SWP made it a dream come true for everyone proud to wear the blue shirt. The manager was clearly proud of the hard work that went into the game: “I thought we were excellent from start to finish, we have had a really difficult week with extra time in Europe on Thursday and having to travel over here for this game. We accomplished it very effectively.” With regards to SWP, Hughes stated: “Shaun wrote his own story today, it was a fantastic day for him and I am very pleased for him. He worked really hard for the team today as well, especially as he has not had a great deal of football recently. The goals topped off a great performance for him and his team-mates.”

Transfer News and Gossip

Is it all Real? Real Madrid have made all the headlines this summer with their pursuit of Cristiano Ronaldo and their sparring session with the big wigs at that other Manchester club. But it was their final action of the summer that made City a real contender in European football. Brazilian striker Robinho was the spectacular move of the transfer deadline day as he signed a four year contract with the club after a British record of £32.5 million was agreed with the La Liga champions. On a day when City were linked with Euro 2008 top scorer David Villa, German player of the year Mario Gomez, and reportedly made a bid of £50 million for Fernando Torres, there was even time to unsettle Stretford Reds’ bid for Dimitar Berbatov. But it was the move for Robinho that was quite spectacular as a club outbid Chelsea for the first time in five years. Hughes, who spent deadline day on the golf course, told the media: “I am absolutely delighted to get the opportunity to work with such an incredible talent like Robinho. I have said that in order to compete with the best teams in the Premier League we have to be in the market for players of this calibre, and Robinho is undoubtedly one of the best players in the world. This is a real statement of intent as to the ambitions of Manchester City Football Club.” Despite coming in for criticism from senior officials at Real and also from Brazilian legend Pele, 24 year old Robinho claimed: “I knew that Manchester City is a very big club, there’s a great team there already and this is an exciting project. I want to help the Manager and the team to win the Premier League, that’s my ambition here.”

Where’s That Fatted Calf? “A week is a long time in football”; never was a truer word spoken. The return of the prodigal son Shaun Wright Philips from Chelsea was only completed one week ago and yet it seems like months. Though Robinho will be the centre of media attention for a while to come, it must not be forgot that Sparky has brought back one of the club’s most favoured sons. Three years ago, SWP was sold to Chelsea for £21 million and on Thursday of last week he was brought back to the club for a mere £9 million, a shrewd piece of business in anyone’s book. Now, with SWP on one wing and Petrov on the other, the future looks bright. The Manager was clearly ecstatic about bringing in such an important transfer: “To actually secure the deal and bring Shaun back home is a fantastic coup for us and I’m sure the supporters will be just as excited as we are to have him back at Manchester City.” The man himself told of how simple his choice was: “The fans and the Club itself make it an easy decision, but Mark Hughes was fantastic when I spoke to him. Obviously I’ve seen him do what he did at his previous club it was hard for me to turn him down. I’ll be giving nothing less than 110%.”

Corluka’s Crisis of Conscience: Vedran Corluka’s £8.75million departure to Tottenham Hotspur was possibly the only grey cloud in a blue sky this week for City. Two weeks ago Juande Ramos made a bid for the City right back but it was knocked back as Hughes did not feel he had an adequate replacement. By deadline day that was no longer the case and Corluka was allowed to move on to Spurs. Corluka spoke of his love for City as a club and its fans but found the opportunity to join up with best friend Luka Modric too hard to turn down. Vedran will be sorely missed at City. Despite only spending one year at the club, his passion and talent were much appreciated by the Citizens and he soon became a fans’ favourite. In all fairness to the lad, he took the time out at the end of the game to come across to those fans at the Sunderland match and throw his shirt in for the crowd. Though he will be missed, his departure was an amicable one and I’m sure he’ll get a cheer on his return to CoMS. In a week when United’s new ‘star’ plain out refused to give 100% for Spurs due to his impending move away from the club, it was brilliant to see Corluka playing for City the day before he left, even if it would be his last appearance in our colours.

Golden Boy: Olympic gold medal winner Pablo Zabaleta is the man to replace the Croatian right back. The Argentinean wing back joined City from Spanish side Espanyol on a five year contract for an undisclosed fee. The player was clearly chuffed to be a part of the new revolution: “I am very happy to come here and play in the Premier League. Playing in England has been a lifelong dream which has finally come true by moving to City. I’m very confident of helping the first team to achieve their goals for the season and after walking around the Stadium I can’t wait to play in front of the City fans there. It is very impressive.” Hughes was more than happy to confirm the former Liverpool target’s credentials: “He’s young and a winner, with an Olympic gold medal to prove that, but more so he will provide us with great balance in the side. I’m very happy to bring him here and hopefully we can get a good result at Sunderland to round off what has been a very satisfactory week indeed for us.”

Samba City: On the same day as Zabaleta walked through the door, yet another defender was signed, Glauber Berti of German side Nuremberg. Though the defence has been considered City’s greatest strength over the difficult times in the last few years, the manager was keen to strengthen all areas with a European campaign to compete with as well as the usual domestic battle to fight. The 25 year old Brazilian centre back, who also has Italian citizenship, signed a one year contract after an ‘undisclosed fee’ was agreed though the contract does also include an option of further year. Former Brazil striker Ronaldo has also been linked with the club in the last couple of days. The former World Player of the Year is out of contract since he left AC Milan this summer and therefore City could bring him to the club despite the fact that the transfer window has closed. Though nothing has been made official, Ronaldo claims that there has been definite interest from the Blues but that he is keen to regain full fitness before looking at signing for any club.

Ecuadorian Exit? Hertha Berlin have admitted to German media that they considered a move for Ecuadorian Striker Felipe Caicedo during the transfer window before loaning Liverpool’s Andrei Voronin on deadline day. Hertha had been in the market for a striker all summer and the club were keen to inject some strength into the squad. Though Caicedo was originally a target, the German side went on to sign Ukrainian Voronin who had an on the whole unimpressive first season at Anfield last year.

Karl Moore: Former reserve manager Kenny Jackett has used his remaining connections at the club to take 19 year old Karl Moore to Millwall on loan. Initially the youngster will move for three months but it is claimed that there is an option to extend the loan. Moore’s move will see him join up with former City Academy stars Marc Laird and Ashley Grimes.

Javan Vidal: Another of City’s talented Academy stars has left the club temporarily in search of first team football. Vidal looks set to follow in the footsteps of Shaleum Logan who enjoyed a very successful spell at League Two side Grimsby Town last season. For now the versatile right sided player will spend only a month at the club but this contract may be extended depending on how much Vidal impresses.

Ex-Blues’ News

Riera Returns: Former City loanee Albert Riera looks set to add some much needed width to the Liverpool side having signed for the Anfield outfit for £9 million from Espanyol. Three years ago the Spanish left winger was brought to the club by Stuart Pearce and spent a season with City. Though his stint with the Blues was not the most successful, Riera’s name has gone on to be mentioned with regards to the Spanish squad selection and also with moves to Premier League clubs ever since.

Kev’s Kingdom Crumbles? In a week of joy and huge money signings for City, things are not so rosy up in Newcastle. Despite having a billionaire owner in tow, their summer spending reaches a mere £20 million (£15 million of which was recouped in sales). Where exactly is the money that Mike Ashley promised King Kev when he took over at the North East club? Well that’s the question that Keegan wants answering and he has not been seen at training for two days and some serious talks must be going on behind the scenes. Quite whether or not Keegan will still be manager this time is anyone’s guess but things aren’t looking so rosy at St James’ Park and we can only assume that if Keegan goes, Ashley will soon follow.

Sommeil Should be Safe: City fans will be pleased to know that former centre back David Sommeil has regained consciousness having suffered a cardiac arrest during a training session with now club Valenciennes a fortnight ago. His doctor stated: “His eyes are open, he’s looking around him but he’s not talking. He smiles from time to time, which could be interpreted as the start of communication. The cerebral activity is normal and there was no haematoma nor oedema in the brain.” In plain English it means that David is still being watched carefully by the hospital but if all goes to plan, he should be out of the danger zone.

Cleared: Bradley Wright Philips’ charge of burglary has been thrown out of court due to a lack of evidence. Portsmouth’s Magistrates court claimed that there was no evidence to neither prove nor suggest that Bradley was involved in any burglary that may have taken place at a club in Southampton a few months ago and therefore he has been found not guilty of any offence.

Alex Rowen<news(at)>


Well, I thought I’d pen a piece as I sit here yawning after a late night watching Sky Sports on a “school night”. I’m not sure if I’ve been drinking or if I’m awake, I’m in a sort of daze following yesterday’s lightening events.

We’ve had new owners for less than 24 hours, broken the British transfer record, have made United pay an extra £4 million, have beaten Chelsea to their number one summer transfer and now have four Brazilians playing for City … am I dreaming? We also have a counter attacking potential to rival United’s pace, I mean have you considered the collective speed of Robinho, Petrov and SWP?

Let’s rewind just a few weeks to say that our recent signings have suggested that more was going on behind the scenes than the press were reporting. There was no way that we had gone from having to sell Corluka to pay the wages, to suddenly being able to shell out best part of £20 million in seven days.

Hughes nevertheless has I think and hope spent very well, all you have to do is compare some of the ins and outs (let’s leave Robinho to the side for now):

Out: Bianchi, Samaras, M Mills, Dickov, Corluka
Ins: Jo, Ben Haim, Kompany, Zabaleta, SWP

I think we’d all be agreed that the only one of the out list that we may be a bit disappointed about is Corluka, but hey, at least we’d signed the replacement before consenting to the transfer and he’d played an important part in keeping us in our (so far very disappointing) European campaign.

I think the signing of Vincent Kompany may prove to be one of the most important. Providing he stays free of injuries, he has the ability to play in the defensive midfield position for years to come.

I have two hopes:

  1. That the new investment does not prevent our youth team making itsimpression. I think fundamentally that may be one of the most importantthings; they have kept this club afloat over the past few years and have theability to provide superstars of our own making, not the transfer market.
  2. That Mark Hughes remains our manager even if we do not make the Champions’League this year. Let’s not get carried away just yet, we still have a “similar”squad to last year, just stronger in most positions but it’s still unlikely tohave gelled or be consistent enough to get us into the top 3/4 of the League.Also, I’d feel far more like it was City if we had a few youngsters in the teamI’d still feel like I could connect to the team, if that makes sense?

Anyway, back round to the main point… have we really signed Robinho?

Ed Bodey <edbodey(at)>


Well the rollercoaster is bigger and better than ever. I was away for two weeks and therefore read the last 4 MCIVTA issues yesterday morning. I recommend it to remind yourselves of what a bizarre month it has been. The Berbatov bid was genius. Thank God the petulant Prima Dona didn’t come, but forcing the “principled” Ferguson to pay over the odds when he smugly thought he was the master of mind games was pure poetry.

As for the euphoria of being able to out-bid Chelski, take a few minutes to reflect. The very sight of a shirt with “Abu Dhabi United” on it has a dreadfully sobering effect. We don’t just detest the Scum because they are local “rivals”, it is mainly because they sold their soul. They destroyed the sport of football by sheer unadulterated greed. Money consumed them and they were the first to use money to win at all costs. They hated it when Chelsea (and Blackburn Rovers before them) beat them at their own game. Their rivalry with Real Madrid is purely about who has the most wonga.

The smug arrogance of Loadsamoney mentality is odious and that is what City now look like. At present, we have Micah, Ned, SWP, Johnson, Ireland, Evans, Sturridge and Etuhu prominent in the first team squad. If we can sustain the backbone of the club through the Academy, we will retain a semblance of being Manchester City, but if we are simply going to buy our success, we have already become Abu Dhabi United.

Martin Hunt <Martin.hunt(at)>


Well, well. I reckon MCIVTA 1462 might be something of a bumper issue!

Easily the most entertaining transfer deadline day I’ve lived through. The club forced Sir “not a farthing more than £27 million” Aboutfaceuson to dip into the burger account for another £4 million, and left “2nd biggest kid in the playground” Abramovich with a really rather eggy face indeed.

We’ve ended the summer with what looks like a very, very strong squad. The boys managed to grind out a pretty ugly UEFA result, that gives us a clean slate in that competition. And the prodigal son returned with a perfect performance to thump Roy Keane’s team away from home.

For me, in the long run, SWeeP will prove to be the best of the signings. I’m chuffed to bits that we got Robinho. I’ve been in work for 2 hours this morning (day after the deadline closed) and I still can’t believe he’s going to be in a City shirt. But in all honesty, I can’t see a bad signing. Zabaletta is class, and as good a replacement for Corluka as we could have hoped for (what must he be thinking this morning, by the way, joining a seller’s club on the day we buy Robinho!), Kompany (who I can’t pretend I’d ever heard of) looks young, hungry and fits into a hole that we needed to fill, and while I know nothing of Berti, he is clearly Hughes’s one “flyer”, in the sense that he has sensibly put him on a single year deal, and he will be a squad player.

While it’s been made very easy for Hughes to attract class in the last 24 hours, he’s shown before that point that he is as sharp as they come in the transfer market.

I can’t keep the smile off my face.

But let’s try… not 100% sure how sharp blowing £35 million before due diligence is completed is. Not 100% sure how much better being owned by an Abu Dhabi corporation is than being owned by a Thai Prime Minister or a US burger chain. Not 100% I want us to become the new Chelsea.

But I definitely want us to play good football. And I love the fact that Hughes went for SWeeP. You get the impression that he is capable of understanding the fans and focusing on football rather than hype, in spite of whatever is going on above him in the boardroom.

As for Frank, I’d hope that his biggest concerns are with the Thai people on both sides of their political divide at the moment. As for his effect on the club, yes, he did bail us out last year. And one gets the impression that he has been instrumental in attracting new investment, to bail him out now. But surely his legacy, whether you like him or not, will have been in first attracting SGE, and then Hughes. And in the long run, his ruthless approach with the manager may well have been the right call. But from now on, let’s give the manager the stability he needs to do the job. It’s a good barometer of success at a football club if the manager is still there in 10 years.

CTID, Jon Marshall <jon_g_marshall(at)>


Things are moving at breakneck speed at Eastlands. It feels as though I’m anticipating new developments each time I log into the City website.

I reckon that the Berbatov thing was just a smokescreen, to throw people off track. Who would you rather have? Berbatov (age 28) @ £30 million or Robinho (age 24 and Brazilian) @ £32.5 million?

I am glad that the Bulgarian whinger has gone to join Baconface and all the other prima-donnas at the Swamp and I’m ecstatic at missing out on Ronaldinho.

A quick sum-up of what we’ve got, and no apologies for missing the odd talent out:

  • 4 Brazilians
  • 1 key regular of the Argentinian National and Olympic Gold team

Added to the following young English talent:

  • Hart
  • Richards
  • Onuoha
  • Johnson
  • Sturridge
  • Wright-Philips (at 26 not so young anymore but low-mileage).

What of the odd assorted nationalities among the group?

  • Petrov
  • Dunne
  • Evans
  • Ireland

Already, the Thaksin worries are far behind me and I’m overjoyed and thrilled at the recent developments.

In Blue Heaven, David Lyons <David.Lyons(at)>


So the greatest of all fears is for City to become the next Chelski, but isn’t this the only way to bring glory into football nowadays? On a practical light, we shall be more then thrilled, on a sentimental light, I’ve been telling myself to stay optimistic about this episode. Chelsea used to be a cool club with strong tradition and unique band of fans.

These were also the exact reasons why I supported City in the first place. Being a foreigner, I’ve witnessed how Chelsea been corporatized in the ‘EPL-crazed’ Hong Kong in recent years. The most important issue is for us, the fans, to maintain MCFC as much a ‘football club’ as we possibly can and prevent the inevitable corporatization on a best effort basis. Damn, now we have to prepare ourselves with loads of come back lines on being a rich club and get ready for the glory hunters from around the world.

Stay Blue, Calvin Chan <mcfc(at)>


Dream Team and Random Thoughts

Hmmm, no place for Shaleum Logan and Sam Williamson I bet? Can’t see Ben Mee making it. This will be the downside, only having a token homegrown player in. Let’s hope we can still keep some youth players like Johnson, Ireland, Richards and even Hart!

Let’s hope our rich benefactor doesn’t put the prices up. I think he’s in it for the Chinese TV rights and the profile having seen his Pamela Anderson and me picture. Maybe we should be charging him as we appear as extras on the Chinese TV rights show?

Whaddyasay, free season ticket for all next season to existing ticket holders to reward 30 years of no trophies? It would cost him nothing but would make him an instant hit provided he didn’t double the charges the year after. I can feel ground expansion and lots of foreigners from Japan appearing. Notice Frank has retained 10%, whicht may keep the whole of Thailand on board. I can foresee an “Arab sons of the desert” blue headgear becoming de rigeur à la Cossack hats at Chelski.

Maybe we could get a deal on cheap oil from UAE as a season ticket benefit? Now is the time to think laterally as we are not going to know what has hit us.

So can we have a fans’ poll on who we should buy? First nominations then a vote and send it to the club? Ed, can we do this as it’s sweetie shop time and we all have a view?

My nominations:

  • Ronaldo (not the one with the gap tooth but the twinkletoed stocking wearer)
  • Drogba
  • Arseshavin’
  • Moorehead (that’s me, I could do with the wages!)

Maybe we could get Wenger as Manager for FA and League Cup and Manchester Senior Cup team. I think we are buying two teams?

Simon Moorehead <simonmoorehead(at)>


Sheik ya money maker.

Dear Jim, dear Jim, after 37 years of pain and gallows humour, please can you fix it for me to see:

  1. City have the deepest pockets in Europe.
  2. Outbid the state thieving Russian gypsy and the Trafford black sox, for the world’s best striker.
  3. Be managed by the best young manager in England.
  4. Have the most productive youth academy, delivering half of the playing staff for most games.
  5. Bring back Wrighty to deliver an all out attack.
  6. Have a fantastic stadium and training facilities.
  7. Now as we’re minted, buy back our great club badge from the Swales’ estate.
  8. Get a decent kit manufacturer – proper sky blue old school Adidas or Nike please.
  9. Hear the crowds at the Maracana sing, “it’s just like watching City”.
  10. Sign Ronaldoshowpony from the Swamp for another British record fee, andmake him work in the ticket office windows/ club shop, wearing a Madrid shirt,never to play again.
  11. The Glazers’ debt structure violently collapse in the credit squeeze,bringing forth the “Michael Knighton keepy uppy” rescue package.

Rubbing my eyes in disbelief, at least half of them have happened! Oh happy days fellow Blues… do I win a fiver?

Carlos Fandango and his super blue wheels a.k.a. Huw Thomas <huwthomas(at)>


Seismic Shocks Far from California

Monday, in the US, was Labor Day so no work. Spent the entire day on various websites as the news sunk in that once again City are off on an adventure. I’d like only to say the following to the new owners:

  1. Don’t forget the fans. Think about ticket prices and encouraging a newgeneration of fans who will stick with the club long after the superstars haveleft.
  2. Stick with Hughes. Impressive display against Sunderland.
  3. Don’t be impatient – ten years ago we were about to begin life in the old Division 3.
  4. Please, please do not ignore the Academy and youth set up and giving theseplayers a chance. I would love to see a successful first team that had 4/5home grown players.
  5. Don’t be impatient – again!
  6. Keep in mind Little Richard’s song “He got what he wanted, but he lost whathe had.”
  • I know we say it all the time but following this club is never dull is it?
  • John Pearson <pearsonj(at)>


    As wild as Monday’s developments were with the new Arab investment and the shock signing of Robinho, I do hope that cooler heads will prevail.

  • All this talk of massive signings and world domination is great but I hope thenew ownership doesn’t lose sight of the phenomenal job City’s Academy has doneand that we currently have a great young team that just needs a few top notchplayers.
  • Let’s not forget that the team beat Sunderland 3-0 on Sunday, and yes having Robinho line up with Jo and SWP is going to be amazing, but we do need to encourage Hart, Richards, Evans, Sturridge, Ireland and Johnson that there will be a place at City for them. My fear is that City will go on a mad spending spree, load up on superstars, but neglect developing their own youngsters.

    What we don’t want is another Chelski.

    But I am confident that Sparky will keep the right perspective on things and that we can have the best of both worlds.

    Seems too good to be true.

    Keith Sharp <keith(at)>


    Dr Sulaiman Al Fahim says he likes a challenge. I hope so. I hope he accepts the challenge of building a Premiership-winning team around the products of our Academy, supplementing rather than replacing the whole thing with galacticos.

    I don’t think buying a team of superstars would be a challenge for him and his family, so I hope he goes the other route.

    Bernard Molyneux <molyneux(at)>


    At 11.33 pm, on September 1st, Man City made it official that they have signed Robinho for £32.5 million.

    I can’t believe it!

    This is a record signing and with all the speculation about Berbatov, I much preferred Robinho. This is a new beginning for City. Bring on the Premiership!

    George Kearney <george_kearney(at)>


    It’s official, we have signed Robhino and well worth staying up until midnight on transfer deadline day.

    I can’t believe it plus we managed to upstage the Rags and take the headlines. The future is very exciting and I’m looking forward to more signings in the future but I hope we don’t forget our great Academy prospects such as Sturridge and Evans. I want success like all Blues but let’s not trip ourselves up and try to get there too quickly.

    It’s difficult to stay calm right now and I doubt I’m going to sleep much but what a day to remember!

    CTID, Darren Wareing <darren.wareing(at)>


    This morning I had to go to all the websites to read everyone of them to make sure I had not been dreaming.

    Yes it’s true this is the Manchester City we have all been longing for, now we can compete with any team.

    It’s true God is a City fan, that’s why the sky is blue!

    Come on you Blues! In Sparky we trust. In the new owners we trust.

    Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


    I couldn’t help thinking: why was it that not so long ago, City fans were forced to sell their shares for less than they bought them, and the Directors had to lose part of their investment (if that is to be believed) just to get a buyer for the club? Now we find that the buyer who paid £80 million, has sold a “majority” for £200 million just over a year later. But it does beg the question: did it really need to be sold so cheaply first time around?

    Anyway, I’m sure those who lost their money won’t be complaining once we are the most successful club in the world. I know I won’t be.

    Stuart Booth <stuwbooth(at)>


    Last year when Thaksin bought up the club, I wrote to MCIVTA urging caution. I suggested that large amounts of investment could potentially do more damage than good in the dressing room.

    I got some unjustified insults hurled my way, but I concede that the full extent of my concerns did not come to pass. There was no huge pot of cash just hurled in, and instead there was steady investment, pursuit of realistic goals and the resulting club is one that I feel proud of.

    Last week, watching the UEFA match, it was all too typically City, but in my mildly drunken haze (weekday afternoons in the Lass O’Gowrie really are too tempting), I felt the day summarised what City was about: bringing back an Academy lad who loves the club and wants to play great football, whilst on the pitch we resort to penalties to see off a bunch of Danish postmen and take another small step forward in our fight for silverware.

    Last night at about 6pm before Robinho was even on the rumour mill, I was in another nearby pub (the Retro bar, if you must know), where the discussion moved to “the new Chelsea” that is Manchester City.

    “£500 billion assets they say.”

    “Maybe by the morning when the transfer window is closed we’ll have a completely different squad.”

    “What about Hughes? Wouldn’t it be ironic if Mourinho’s name started getting mentioned soon?”

    Visions emerged of our near future that consisted of over-priced pony-tailed players who hail from the Anelka “I’d really like to play for a proper club one day” school of club loyalty. For some reason, I could start to taste prawn sandwiches when thinking of my next trip to Eastlands. I wondered what was going to happen to the Academy and the ability to bring young players up into first team football, players like SWP.

    Don’t get me wrong, we’ve been waiting for this day. A long time. We deserve investment, we deserve to be the biggest and greatest club on the planet. We as fans need to feel the aspiration as being real and tangible, to sense impending silverware. It’s payoff for the years of struggling and tolerance. The Football Gods love us today. Everybody loves us today.

    I had just hoped we’d do all this another way, somehow. I’d hoped we’d do it the City way: the hard way that involved incrementally fighting our way to glory. In my career helping start-up tech firms we call it “organic growth”. You eschew investment, you dig in, you inspire, you fight, you win.

    I don’t mind a bunch of players being parachuted in, dazed and confused as to how they will get their FIFA Player of the Year nomination whilst at Eastlands, but am I the only one who has concern about a strategy that is so money-focused? Or even doubts about signing a player who just a few weeks ago made it clear the only club he had eyes for was Chelsea?

    When owners talk about a plan involving Champions’ League glory inside of four years, make quotes to the BBC like “I don’t want to say we’re going to invest £100 million because we might need more than that”, and before due diligence is complete are giving the manager their “full support”, is nobody else just a tiny bit, well, you know, concerned?

    Yes, Thaksin needed to step aside. His new honorary rôle will be much like Alex Ferguson’s honorary degree (meaningless, but pleasantly ceremonial in a very English way) and now City’s fortunes are no longer locked up with the politics of a military junta on the other side of the planet trying to make justice stick.

    But when fans say – as one was quoted in the MEN – “I’m so excited. We have always been in the shadow of United but we won’t be in their shadow anymore. My son’s only eight and hopefully won’t have to go through the ups and downs I’ve gone through. There’s a real positive vibe about the place”, am I really being so silly if I say that it was the ups and downs that made us? That being in the shadow of a money-machine was no bad thing?

    Am I mad when I say that games like the FA Cup game at Spurs a few years back when we were 3-0 down and down to 10 men at half-time, that when we dug in and came back to win 4-3, it was in some way beautiful, and noble, and hard, but ultimately what made us, well, us? That playing it the hard way is more “us” than a £500 billion property group hoping to see ROI no matter what?

    Am I being churlish to say I’ll miss the old days? Probably.

    Yes, the future is going to be amazing. Manchester will now become known for both its football teams, and our club is about to enter a golden era of silverware and astonishing results. Deep down I’m excited too.

    But I’m also grateful for what the golden era we’re leaving gave us as a club, as fans, as a city. That era saw hard work pay off, and a long, slow struggle to where we are today. I’ll miss it. For some reason I can hear a bell ringing in the corner of a stand when I think about that past. I know, I know…

    I feel like I’m the only one who thinks all this, but I had to say it.

    Please don’t insult me and call me a moron. I’m pleased like you. I’m just a romantic who loves this club because it’s not United or Chelsea. And anyway, I like prawn sandwiches. I just wish we’d got there in a way that made me a tiny bit prouder.

    Here’s to the future! Here’s to the past! May each allow us to appreciate the other more!

    Paul Robinson <paul(at)>


    Some Final Words About What Happened This Week, from a Thaksin Sceptic

    Dear MCIVTA readers: some of you know I’ve been keeping a blog discussing Thaksin’s takeover and the issues related to it since last year. For obvious reasons, I’m shutting the blog down now; attached is my final commentary, that you might find interesting.

    Thaksin Shinawatra’s tenure as majority owner of Manchester City ended with a bang on Monday to cap an increasingly dramatic, absolutely incredible five days in the life of the club. As late as Thursday, City were a side struggling to win an UEFA Cup qualifier against Danish opposition. By Tuesday morning, City fans woke up to find their club being described as the richest in the world. In between came a penalty kick shootout victory, the return of Shaun Wright-Phillips, two goals for the prodigal son on his return against Sunderland, and then the sale of Vedran Corluka to Tottenham.

    But the biggest news came Monday when rumours that Thaksin might sell the club to Arab investors came to fruition. Thaksin sold his majority stake in the club to the Abu Dhabi United Group for Investment and Development, a group said to represent the royal family of Abu Dhabi (of the United Arab Emirates). Thaksin will remain as a minority shareholder and “honorary board member”, but control of the club has shifted to a group with seemingly limitless resources and ambition.

    It didn’t take long for the owners to send a statement of intent to world football; in perhaps the most stunning transfer deal of all time, City sealed a deal for Real Madrid’s Brazilian striker Robinho for 32.5 million pounds. The club also made a late, unsuccessful bid for Dmitar Berbatov, who instead made the move to Manchester United.

    Instantly, City have become one of the favourites in this year’s UEFA Cup, and more importantly the pressure will be on for manager Mark Hughes to deliver a Champions’ League place to City on his first attempt.

    And so, the Thaksin Shinawatra story at Manchester City has come to an end that has satisfied the vast majority of the club’s supporters, including both Thaksin’s fans and his detractors. Thaksin fans say, “look, he’s left the club better off than he found it.” Thaksin detractors (including myself) are saying, “phew, he doesn’t own the club anymore and now we’ll be spared the circus and controversy he engendered.” Both sides are right. That Thaksin successfully brokered a business deal that benefits both himself and City’s footballing ambitions, and that he was willing to step aside for the good of the club (and his pocketbook) is cause for commendation.

    But the fact that it ended well doesn’t disguise the many bumps along the way. Moreover, the delight that City fans have at recent developments confirm the judgment of those who doubted Thaksin’s fitness as a long-term owner for Manchester City.

    At the heart of those doubts lay ethical concerns about the propriety of a still-active politician accused of corruption and human rights charges owning a Premier League club, and worries about the conflicts of interest that might engender. If Thaksin had continued to own the club, City would indeed have been mired this autumn in the muck of uncertainty and controversy as events in Thailand continued to unfold. All that has been put to rest, at least from City’s point of view.

    Most City fans are very happy with recent events, but two serious issues remain.

    First, there is the situation in Thailand itself, for those who actually care and have become interested (as I have) in Thai politics for its own sake. The ruling PPP government has declared a state of emergency to run through November 30 in response to a week of increasingly violent demonstrations aimed at the government and at Thaksin. The situation is ugly, and prospects of another military intervention or toppling of the government remain high. Thaksin remains in the centre of all this, though the oppositional PAD is certainly no more committed to democracy than Thaksin ever was. The overreach of the PAD may actually increase Thaksin’s prospects for getting asylum and being let off the legal hook. Thaksin may have brokered the deal that transformed City into a powerhouse, but he remains the flashpoint of a political struggle that threatens to engulf his home country.

    The second concern has to do with the nature of the new owners. Thaksin Shinawatra, for all his flaws, at least had democratic pretensions and some democratic credentials; the Abu Dhabi group are feudal overlords of a vast oil empire. City’s future success thus is to be bankrolled by the monopolistic control of a scarce natural resource by a patriarchal elite who have little interest in democracy.

    That fact perhaps raises a new set of ethical concerns. Unlike the case in Thailand however, no one can think that whether or not this group owns a football club is going to tangibly affect political developments in the UAE, or vice-versa. Politics and football will not be so blatantly entangled as in the recent past.

    Even so, part of the scepticism Thaksin faced carries over in spades to the new ownership group: worries by City supporters about whether the character of the club will change once it has become the property of an Abramovich-style billionaire. Right now few City fans are too worried about that, such is their hunger for some measure of success, but it’s an issue for the long term. Even more so, it’s an issue for the Premier League, which must accept that its top clubs are now increasingly playthings for the world’s billionaire set, not “clubs” organically connected to particular communities and particular fans.

    Both of those issues are on my mind as the new era at Manchester City begins. But the saga of Thaksin Shinawatra at Manchester City has run its course, and so too has the purpose of this blog. The goal here has been to think critically about the implications of Thaksin running City and to explore the complex connections between Thai politics, ethics, football, and fan loyalty that his regime brought to the fore. Thanks to both occasional and regular readers for your comments, encouragement, and criticism. I’m especially appreciative to Thai readers for their insights, and wish all those truly committed to human rights and democracy in Thailand the very best of luck in this extremely difficult time.

    Perhaps I’ll have more to say about City and future developments at some point later down the line, but barring something truly extraordinary this will be the final post on this blog. I’m more pleased than not that Thaksin has relinquished control of the team, and while City won’t be the same club so many of us fell in love with going forward, I still to intend to follow the club closely as a supporter. Thaksin has come and gone, oil money (and its own moral ambiguities) has come in, and a whole new universe seems to have opened up. But at the end of the day, once the whistle blows “the crowd will still be roaring, and the shirts will still be blue.”

    Thad Williamson <twillia9(at)>


    We must thank Thaksin for all he did for the club, without him we might have fallen by the wayside once again. All I hope for now is that all City fans live long enough to see the silverware.

    Sam Duxbury <sammy459(at)>


    Well I still can’t catch my breath. What a 24 hours. I have to say that Thaksin promised he would take the club forward and he certainly has done that.

    My sincere thanks go to the good Doctor. Hang on to your hats lads, the MCFC rollercoaster is on the up and ready to crush Rags.

    David Sterrett <blueds(at)>


    I’m going to have great pleasure reminding Reds that every time they fill their car it helps pay for another player.

    Dave Kilroy <dave.kilroy(at)>


    I’ll be in Boston (not the one in Lincs) on the evening of the Chelsea game. My seat (front row top tier East Stand) is on SeatExchange should anyone want to buy it. Are there any American Blues in Boston who can recommend a venue to watch the game?

    What a time to be away! I thought SWP was as good as it was going to get, but yesterday’s takeover and the signing of Robinho is a mind blower.

    Roger Haigh <rogerhaigh(at)>


    It’s been a while since I last wrote into this fine place, but I come with a small puzzle. Having spent the last few years away from the Manchester area and then gone on some travels, the last time I went to a match at City was back at the old girl herself Mrs Maine Road. But things have changed a lot since then with our new stadium etc. and it also seems the ticketing has also changed somewhat (ee, the good old days of paper). I’m in the position now that I might be able to go and see a match or two once a season, but here is where the problem lies. How does this new system actually work for the casual visitor?

    Having spent quite a while on the City site trying to fathom it out, it seems that there are 3 options altogether, a Season Card, a City Card and an Access Card. Now the Season Card seems self explanatory, but then there is the City Card and the Access Card. From what I can gather the City Card lasts for a season and costs a healthy 30 notes, then there is this Access Card thing which I can’t find any information about anywhere. Is this a temporary card like a train ticket that has a magnetic strip on it (as I gather the Season and City Cards have a magnetic strip on) or what, as the City site helpful isn’t helpful? Does this cost any extra on top of the ticket, if you still get tickets these days and how does it all work?

    Any help on this would be nice, as one of the matches I wouldn’t mind going to is the Euro match against Omonia in October, and I don’t know if this is covered by any special requirements.

    Also in something unrelated, it’s good to hear about the takeover, with the shocker of Robinho and the gasping for breath deadline day, it’s going to make January a very interesting month.

    In the words of Malcom Allison, “We’ll Terrorize Europe”.

    Gareth Croke <garethcroke(at)>


    It’s a shame this will be out of date by Thursday but I did enjoy the one on Talksport today when they were doing all the latest transfer rumours.

    Breaking news. Following his performance yesterday Chelsea have put in an offer of £21 million for Shaun Wright Phillips.

    Dave Kilroy <dave.kilroy(at)>


    I would like to do a piece of shameless self publicity if that’s ok with McV-scribers. I write a blog for an online football ezine called Catflap – ‘It’s not about cats its about football!’ That’s their tag line, not mine. I am the MCFC editor.

    You won’t find any breaking news and if you read MCIVTA already then you won’t find anything you don’t already know but hopefully you will smile, grin or even snigger. The address is and go to the top of the page and click on the City shirt, there are other blogs too, but none of them as funny as mine.

    Barry Tench <btench27(at)>


    League table to 03 September 2008 inclusive

                                 HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                        P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L   F   A   GD Pts
     1 Chelsea          3  1  1  0  5  1  1  0  0  1  0  2  1  0   6   1   5   7
     2 Liverpool        3  1  0  0  2  1  1  1  0  1  0  2  1  0   3   1   2   7
     3 Manchester City  3  1  0  0  3  0  1  0  1  5  4  2  0  1   8   4   4   6
     4 Arsenal          3  2  0  0  4  0  0  0  1  0  1  2  0  1   4   1   3   6
     5 West Ham United  3  2  0  0  6  2  0  0  1  0  3  2  0  1   6   5   1   6
     6 Middlesbrough    3  2  0  0  4  2  0  0  1  1  2  2  0  1   5   4   1   6
     7 Aston Villa      3  1  1  0  4  2  0  0  1  2  3  1  1  1   6   5   1   4
     8 Bolton Wndrs     3  1  1  0  3  1  0  0  1  0  1  1  1  1   3   2   1   4
     9 Manchester Utd   2  0  1  0  1  1  1  0  0  1  0  1  1  0   2   1   1   4
    10 Blackburn R.     3  0  1  0  1  1  1  0  1  4  6  1  1  1   5   7  -2   4
    11 Newcastle Utd    3  1  0  0  1  0  0  1  1  1  4  1  1  1   2   4  -2   4
    12 Hull City        3  1  0  1  2  6  0  1  0  1  1  1  1  1   3   7  -4   4
    13 Wigan Athletic   3  0  0  1  0  1  1  0  1  6  2  1  0  2   6   3   3   3
    14 Fulham           2  1  0  0  1  0  0  0  1  1  2  1  0  1   2   2   0   3
    15 Stoke City       3  1  0  0  3  2  0  0  2  2  5  1  0  2   5   7  -2   3
    16 Portsmouth       3  0  0  1  0  1  1  0  1  3  4  1  0  2   3   5  -2   3
    17 Everton          3  0  0  2  2  6  1  0  0  2  1  1  0  2   4   7  -3   3
    18 Sunderland       3  0  0  2  0  4  1  0  0  2  1  1  0  2   2   5  -3   3
    19 Tottenham H.     3  0  0  1  1  2  0  1  1  2  3  0  1  2   3   5  -2   1
    20 West Brom A.     3  0  0  1  1  2  0  1  1  0  1  0  1  2   1   3  -2   1

    With thanks to Football 365

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