Newsletter #1464

News tonight from Alex on the continuing reaction to the new investment and the supposed transfer targets keep on coming. Meanwhile things weren’t going so well for former Blues boss Keegan.

We have continued opinion tonight on the Abu Dhabi investment, the club past, present and future and a hatful of requests.

No action this last week due to international games, and we can now focus on the small matter of Chelsea visiting on Saturday.

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


General News

Benitez’s Big Five: After the week that left us pinching ourselves just to make sure it actually happened, most the country is waiting for City to finally break the much accustomed ‘big four’. Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and that other team have made up the English hierarchy for years now but the time may have come where a side can genuinely challenge all four of them. Whilst some of the neutrals are claiming all of a sudden that foreign investment is bad for English football (including one or two Chelsea fans on certain sports message boards around the country!), the vast majority are just pleased that this investment has not been put in the hands of Arsenal who have after all been waiting years to receive the same sort of investment that Chelsea, Liverpool and Stretford Reds have had in recent years. Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez even went as far to say that is Hughes spends well, City could achieve more than is expected: “If we are talking about spending money then maybe Manchester City will win the title this year. If we are talking now, maybe they (City) need time but if we talk in January maybe they will buy five players then you never know.”

Ferguson Unfazed: Ferguson on the other hand tried to put a brave face on it. Three of the top four have all acknowledged that City may impress in the league this year but when questioned what City’s investment meant to Stretford’s position in the league, Ferguson stated: “We have a good set-up ourselves. We have been working for years to build the team we have got. There’s always challenges in football. Some years ago it was Chelsea, some years ago it was Arsenal. Wherever the challenges come you just have to accept it.” Though the media would have been appeased by such a ‘collected’ response, Blue fans know that having lost two derbies last year, Ferguson may spend the end of his management career just looking over his shoulder for an army of Blues making their way to major finals and working their way up the league.

Cautious Optimism: With talk of Fabregas, Torres, Villa and of course that £135 million bid for Ronaldo, it’s fair to say that City fans may have got a little over-excited on deadline day last week. Whilst good times surely lie ahead, it is important to properly consider City’s position in January. Will many big-name players want to leave their clubs in January? Probably not. And will many big-name clubs want to give them up in January? Probably not. So whilst it is time to celebrate, City fans must take stock of the fact that a team worth £500 million is unlikely to walk through the door this winter; next summer possibly but this winter it’s unlikely. Manager Mark Hughes claimed: “Everybody is excited with what’s happened to the club and I include myself in that. We’re at the stage where we can kick on and the resources are there where we can get the quality of players we need to be successful.” Yet he too pointed out the need for caution: “It might be more difficult in January than people think. We’ll look at targets that we think we can realistically get. I think the fans are right to be optimistic, but it takes time to build a team and as I have said before we have to make sure that the balance of the squad is right. That’s my job, but we’ll get there as quickly as we can.”

We’re Not Newcastle: In a time where foreign owners are all the rage, a more continental style of football has entered the fray. In countries like Spain, the manager is appointed to run first team affairs and match day selection. However, Spanish clubs also have the equivalent to our director of football whose job it is to buy and sell players. Director of football is becoming a more and more common position in England and the recent departures of Alan Curbishley and Kevin Keegan from their respective clubs has been based on this transition. With City’s new trillionaire owners, it is fair to say they will want a huge say on how the club is run but will Mark Hughes be allowed to run the club? It would seem that if not, he will walk just like Keegan and Curbs. Yet Chief Executive Chairman Garry Cook has assured fans that Sparky will remain boss for some time to come: “He has made it quite clear to everybody outside the club that he runs the football side of the business, and he is anticipating nothing changing from that. There is no reason for that to change; he is far more knowledgeable about football than all of us!”

Perfect Mix: Rumours haven’t stopped for a fortnight now regarding City’s bids for European stars and the targets that are to come but some questions have been raised as to where the Academy lies now in the club’s future plans. Having won the FA Youth Cup last season and rolled out 25 first team players, City’s Academy is one of the best in the world but with money comes spending and therefore the under 18 stars will find it harder than ever to break through. Cook believes that in fact Hughes will continue to bring through the talent from the youth side, not for sentimental reasons though and only if they are of Premier League standard: “Maybe we have taken our eye off the ball a little bit; don’t forget that we have one of, if not the, best youth team in the country at Manchester City. Mark’s coaching team are committed to that model, we talk about superstar talent but you should never take away from the fabric of the club, and that is developing the youth players.”

Squad News

Jet Set Lifestyle: The media reported that Hughes has sent a private jet to pick up his South American stars from their World Cup qualifiers yesterday but they were not the only players representing the club on the international scene. Whilst Robinho scored and Jo and Elano appeared for Brazil in their 3-1 victory over Chile, Zabaleta had to sit it out on the bench as his Argentina side struggled to overcome a resilient Paraguay side who forced a 1-1 draw. Caicedo was also on the score sheet for his country as Ecuador beat Bolivia in a 3-1 thriller and yet despite being tipped to gain his first full cap for Wales, Ched Evans has to settle for coming on as a second half substitute in Wales’s hard fought 1-0 win over Azerbaijan. Though Gelson wasn’t used in his country’s 2-2 draw with Israel, Ben Haim played a crucial rôle in the heart of the Israeli defence. Skipper Richard Dunne was as solid as ever in Ireland’s impressive 2-1 win over Georgia and Vincent Kompany again proved that he is one of the brightest things in European football with his performance for Belgium against Estonia. Belgium ran out of the game 3-2 winners.

Sell Out City: 48,000 fans will walk through the doors of Eastlands on Saturday to watch the homecoming of SWP and the introduction of Brazilian star Robinho. A huge influx in ticket sales followed the deadline day dealings and now it is a matter of who plays. It is taking Micah Richards some time to shake off a shoulder injury he picked up last week but Hughes thinks the thought of playing Chelsea in such a big game will pull him through: “A bit of adrenalin can get you through, but the size of this game is a big attraction and there are a huge number of guys here that do not want to miss out.” Martin Petrov is yet to recover from the knee injury he picked up against Midjytlland in the UEFA Cup and therefore is certain to miss the game: “Unfortunately the likelihood is that Martin will miss out. Chelsea is probably a week too soon for him but we are hopeful that he will be back for Portsmouth.” It is thought Robinho may come in to play on the left hand side of a three man pronged attack with SWP on the right and Jo in the middle. The only other question is whether Michael Johnson will recover quickly enough from his groin strain: “Michael has a bit of discomfort and we will take a look at him towards the end of the week. I know about the groin problems he had last year, but this seems to be coming more from his back.”

Golden Sheen: As all the attention has been focused around a certain Brazilian this week, Hughes took the time out to also mention his replacement for Vedran Corluka who is held in high esteem across Europe: “Pablo is acknowledged as one of the bright young talents in European football who has also been pushing to get into the full Argentinean squad. He’s an Olympic gold medal winner, which is a great bonus for him. I saw him a few times when he was at Espanyol and I wanted to nick him at what I thought would be a decent price on a few occasions. I’m delighted that we brought him here, people are going to see that he’s a high-energy player, he has a real desire to win and he’s very dynamic.”

Transfer News and Gossip

World Round Rumours: Firstly the rumours were that if AC Milan couldn’t quite qualify for the European Champions’ League this year then possibly City may be in the running for his signature. His agent is very aware of the money that City can offer and it is now a possibility that Kaka would be very interested in a move to the Premier League if Milan can’t find their form of old. His agent stated: “Maybe next season they (City) can get into that competition – they have the prospects to be good enough. What they need to have is a big project to win the Premier League and the Champions’ League. It’s not just about Kaka, they will only get the very best players if they attain this level.” However, a few days later Kaka was quick to state his loyalty to the club and to shake off the rumours that constantly follow him: “Before it was Real Madrid, now it’s England that is in fashion,” said Kaka to Gazzetta dello Sport. “The market is like that, just as Milan make offers, other clubs make offers to Milan. But I will never ask to leave.”

Ronaldo: After the new man in charge of City spoke of bringing Cristiano Ronaldo to the ‘best club in the world’, David Gill was very quick to laugh off rumours of a £135 million bid: “That’s a fantastic amount of money and would turn the industry upside down so I can’t believe he’s serious at those sorts of levels. Ultimately we’d discuss any offer with Alex and the owners, as that sort of money is very large for one person. But we aren’t in the market to sell our best players.” Clearly Gill hadn’t read of the new boys on the block or the fact that £135 million would be a mere drop in the ocean for a man with 5-10 times the wealth of Roman Abramovic. And whilst Gill claimed that United are not in the market to sell their best players, he based his argument on the fact that that offer wouldn’t come in as the new City owner is not serious about it. What would happen if that bid did go in? You feel that for £135 million, United would have to seriously look at the numbers. I’m certainly willing to pay £135 million just to watch Ronaldo sit it out on the bench as he watches Robinho play real football.

Buffon: Joe Hart has got his head down and worked hard since picking up the number one shirt for City last year but even he must have been made aware of the reported £61 million bid for Italian ‘keeper Gianluca Buffon. The man regarded as the greatest ‘keeper in the world has stated that his heart is at Juventus though if the bid came in, anything could happen: “It’s a journalist’s fantasy. If an offer like that one arrived, I believe Juve would look at the numbers. But I doubt it would ever arrive.”

Van Nistelrooy: Former Stretford Reds’ goal scorer Ruud Van Nistlerooy was supposedly subject to a bid from the Blues on deadline day and may even be a target for City come January. Nistelrooy, however, shot the whole story down as pure rumour and was quick to state that he is hopeful of a long stay at Real: “For me it’s not very important because I prefer to be at this club, I feel good here. I’ve read it, but nothing’s been said to me. In England things like this come out. Players think of other things as well as money.” That’s an interesting thing to hear from a player who reportedly gained a £30,000 weekly salary increase when he moved from Stretford to Real.

Fabregas: One of the brightest stars in Europe, Cesc Fabregas has quickly and quite harshly put cold water all over the rumour that claimed he would move form Arsenal to City if City could leapfrog Arsenal in the table this season. The man who has turned down Barcelona and Real Madrid in the past because he much prefers the Gunners’ free flowing, quick style of football told the press that ‘with respect to City’ “It would be suicidal for my career at 21 years of age to move to City, it would make no sense.”

Podolski: Having missed out on a move to Tottenham Hotspur in the summer transfer window it seems that Russian striker Andrei Arshavin could be on his way to Germany. This would mean that German striker Lukas Podolski may find his place on the bench under threat. The 23-year-old forward has never quite settled in the Bayern side despite scoring 30 goals in 56 appearances for the club. The constant competition Miroslav Klose and Luca Toni has been too much for Podolski and therefore a move to the Premier League may be a possibility. The player himself claimed: “I would be a bad footballer if I contented myself by sitting on the bench. I could tolerate it if it was a case of two or three weeks, but there comes a point when one has to draw the line and say: ‘This is too much! I’m not making any progress here’.”

Ched Evans: Cardiff are attempting to take advantage of City’s recent cash influx by making a move for Welsh striker Ched Evans. Having made a real name for himself in the Championship last year with Norwich, Evans finds himself subject to a bid from the club that he supported as a youngster growing up in Wales. Whether it be a loan move or a permanent transfer, Dave Jones is keen to bring in one of City’s Academy graduates who has recently been capped by his national side.

Ex-Blues’ News

Keegan: It seems the interference of Wise, Ashley and Co. was just too much for former City manager Kevin Keegan to take at Newcastle United as he walked out last week. The 12 game suspension (six suspended) of Joey Barton whom Keegan had supported all the way through these troubling times can’t have helped his cause but now it is over and that may also be true of Keegan’s management career; he only seemed to return to football in the first place because it was Newcastle who came calling.

Alex Rowen<news(at)>


I have mixed feelings. Being the age I am (61) and the accumulated experiences, my City soul will remain intact, but I feel that the glorious Schadenfreude of being a City fan will be lost.

It’s good that Micah Richards and Michael Johnson will not be pinched by Chelsea and Liverpool, but will they get a game in a year’s time? Will we sell them to Chelsea and Liverpool then?

What will happen to the Academy and youth team if players like Sturridge and Evans are blocked in their way to the first team by multi-million pound bought players?

It’s good that City fans will be seeing top quality football at Eastlands.

The new owners have made their point by buying Robinho and saying that City will become No. 1 in 3 years’ time. Will they realise that being flashy, boasting and big noting themselves is not the City way? They should now remain quiet and let Mark Hughes do his job. I am happy with Hughes and see him as the key to this season’s (and hopefully future seasons’) success. The talking should now be done by him and the team. He should also direct who should be bought and sold. Even though Hughes is an ex. United player, I do not want City to buy Ronaldo nor any other player from United.

It’s good that the cosy top 4 “CLAMU” club in the Premier League is likely to be broken. If we can get Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and another rich bloke to take over Ipswich, Torquay and Yeovil, then the CLAMU club could be replaced by the MANCITY club.

Maybe there will be more big money takeovers in the Premier League, which could pose a problem for the English game, and the England team in particular, if very few Englishmen are playing in the domestic league. There is some merit in the FIFA 6-5 player proposal i.e. 6 home country players and 5 foreign players, although dealing with squad injuries and substitutions would need to be sorted out.

Why are the commentators only now saying that the Abu Dhabi takeover is bad for the game in England? Where was the criticism of the previous rich monopolies the 4 in England, the 3 in Italy, 2 in Spain, one in Germany?

Not being in Manchester, I do not get the nuts and bolts media coverage of City or the Premier League in general. Fox Sports pay TV covers the Premier League here in Australia and all teams are covered well, with informed opinions, in fact the anchor man, Simon Hill, is a big City fan. What will the poor blokes from ESPN do now? The only time another team gets a mention outside the CLAMU club is when they are playing a CLAMU club. Watching ESPN, you would think that there are only 10 “Lion” teams in Europe and the rest are “Slave” teams, there to feed to the Lions.

In conclusion, I wonder whether the Abu Dhabi group know what they have let themselves in for joining up with City? Expect a massive war in the Middle East next year with all the oil rich countries being completely devastated. Things could then go back to normal for the Blues.

Steve Higginbottom <Steve.Higginbottom(at)>


Haven’t posted to the group for a few years now but after almost 30 years in the Gulf just thought I would drop a line as I have followed MCIVTA almost since its inception many years back.

I believe a note of caution is in order as these locals who now own the club will not settle for second best. Nor, given my experience here in the Middle East, will they behave in the (usually) accepted business-like manner of allowing the Manager to manage; particularly if their expectations are not met immediately. Mark Hughes, who I loved and admired as a player, certainly drank from a poisoned chalice when he took up with the disgraced Thaksin.

Now he has the twin barrels of super rich arabs on one side and on the other, a conceited, interfering Chief Executive who loves to see his name in print and has already taken a few pot-shots at the manager in public. I believe that as always, there will be fun and games at Manchester City and as always, not particularly in the best interests of the club or the fans.

Good luck and hope you enjoy the rollercoaster ride I foresee.

Leo Fewtrell – Wythenshawe Exile <leo50(at)>


Here’s a nice, well balanced piece from UAE side. It may also calm the nerves of those wanting Sparky to stay and the Academy to prosper.

Andy Morris <andy(at)>


What a wonderful “Reality Check” contribution from Paul Robinson. I felt that I knew the whole letter even before I could read the next line, it so stated my own feelings (only far better penned than I ever could manage).

I have been a City fan for more than 60 years, from the moment my dad took me to see the great Frank Swift, through playing truant from school to watch the newly signed Bobby Johnstone, a never to be forgotten car ride (through torrential rain) to glory at St. James’ Park (where I was roundly berated by Magpie fans for bawling at Neil Young to “Get stuck in!” – I was told “Shut up for F***s sake; the guy’s murdering us!”, cheering “Buzzer” as he enjoyed himself taking the mickey out of opposing defenders along the right touchline, watching the glorious Colin Bell drag in a pass and lean into his searing run devastating defences, to my final year before emigrating to Canada and being scandalized at having to pay £15 for my last season ticket (having graduated some years previously from my usual Kippax position)!

Earlier memories of watching “Goslings” play at Newton Heath Loco sustained by a cup of hot Oxo; my dad was a “closet” United supporter. Later, when not able to travel to away games, watching the City youngsters (was it the old “B” Team?) in Cheadle. Ah, such memories.

No Paul you’re not on your own. Real City fans are properly named “fans” because we have been through the fire; been tempered and made stronger by having things done “the City way”. We don’t hurl abuse at other teams’ supporters; any moron can do that (taking the mickey is fun, acceptable and to be encouraged, providing you can accept it yourself). We appreciate a similar passion for their team by opposing fans.

My fear is that our game is increasingly being hijacked by business. It’s entertainment, not a sporting contest. I know I’m an old fogey but the problem exists throughout what used to be sport, be it Formula One Racing (improving the breed used to be the watchword there) or football. Obscene salaries, prima donna attitudes pandered to and as in the case of the recent travesty in Beijing, political agendas.

Peter Murphy – older but happily no wiser <pdmurphy(at)>


It seems a far cry from the old days when I used to catch the number 41 bus from Sale to Moss Side, a quick slash against the wall down Number 2 Passage, 25p for a programme, an oasis view of lush green turf under a slate grey sky, a huge Trumanns for Steel advertising hording dominated the roof of the leaking Platt Lane stand, a hot Vimto at half time that had a temperature that would burn the skin off a rhino with its centre of the sun searing heat, a Football Pink on the way home with a picture of a topless Miss Pink straddling a football sporting only a bikini bottom and a wide mancunian smile there to cheer you up if your team lost (and she often had to) and a Waggon Wheel to munch on the top deck of the orange corporation bus as it swished over the inky puddles on the Princess Parkway and then choking on a Players Number 6 as we received a ticking off from the bus conductor stating not unreasonably that you can’t expect to pay child fare and then smoke.

Gerald Sinstadt on the Sunday kick off match trying to remind us that the match at Turf Moor Burnley was just as an important as City beating Newcastle at home 4-0 with Colin Bell making a second half appearance after months of absence, an occasion that made grown men cry.

Instead of one time TV repair man and low tech stereo and hifi rental shop owner Captain Combover Peter Swales swiftly followed by the “bog roll” king Franny Lee, we now have Dr Al Fahim the CEO of a property company that builds 5 star luxury hotels in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Mexico City and heir to a fortune of an Arab royal family.

Funny old game…

Phil Lines <philipjlines(at)>


As a long term City fan I know that there will be highs and lows and the trick is to enjoy the highs and keep breathing through the lows. So in my teens a low was a mid-week return from Gay Meadow after losing to Shrewsbury; that was followed at high at twenty-one by a trip to Wembley to see us beat Leicester. And so it goes on.

I’ve spoken of my dad before, now ninety six, and we haven’t laughed so much on the ‘phone for ages as we did following the drama of transfer deadline day. Enjoy the moment.

The other comment is that of Noel Gallagher, not someone I normally quote but his sentiment that every time a United fan buys a gallon of petrol he is contributing to City’s cause has great appeal.

David Lewis <dfl(at)>


As a long standing season ticket holder and fan of 40+ years, I welcome the ‘new money’, though as with most of us, with just a tad of concern.

The fact being that there is now a realistic chance of watching City win a trophy before I die. Before the ‘new money’ this simply would not be a possibility.

It will of course mean getting used to the media hype, the Sunday and Monday kick off times due to the TV games etc. I also have a hunch: it will, next season mean a new Manager. The new owners clearly want a bunch of superstars wearing blue shirts (and why not!) and this will mean a superstar manager to attract them. Enter Jose Mourhino.

What are the odds on the ‘Special One’ being at the ‘richest club in the world’ next season? Personally, I feel there is a very good chance.

We need to start getting acquainted with the limelight. Interesting time ahead!

Ray Barsley <rbardsley(at)>


To Paul Mooney (MCIVTA 1463) – you hit the nail right on the head!

Come on you Blues, let’s enjoy our time. We deserve it.

Steve Kersh <Rudy502(at)>


I agree with most of John Nisbet’s comments. I don’t think we need Ronaldo, or his Portuguese namesake. Although if we get an ex-Red who scores a back-heeled goal that would relegate the Salford scallies, I would be content.

Keep the faith, and let’s not talk ourselves into depression.

The future is bright, the future’s Blue.

Mark Jones <Mark.Jones(at)>


As a Coventry based Blue, I was wondering if there were any supporters in Coventry area who travel up to Eastlands on match days to share travel with?

Richard Lamont <richardlamont38(at)>


I’m going on holiday to Malta later this week and wonder if there is a local radio station that might at least carry news of the Blues? I’m not expecting to see us on telly but I’d at least like to keep in touch.

CTID, Brian Fleming <trotsky90(at)>


I have recently moved to Hong Kong from the US and whilst in NY I was able to meet up with lots of City fans through the supporters’ club there.

Have been trying to find something similar here in HK but no luck so far. I can find tons of bars where I can watch our games as well as at home but it’s always good to be with other Blues and have a few beers!

Does anyone know of any other City fans in this part of the world who meet up for games?

Graham Schofield <grahamschofield(at)>


My son is now living in Sydney and has been trying to find fellow Blues supporters there, do you know of any that I could put him in touch with?

Milton Jee <mjee(at)>


I am moving over to Toronto and wondering if there are any fellow Blues out there who meet up for games, or places to go to watch the games?

Oliver Horton <Oliver.Horton(at)>


League table to 07 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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Newsletter #1464