Newsletter #1466

News and reaction from Alex tonight to the Chelsea match, and the mind games going on at the top of the table, too.

We have opinion on the new signing, the club’s new ticket exchange scheme and usual requests.

Next Game: Portsmouth, home, 3pm Sunday 21 September 2008


General News

Pride in Battle: With a new owner and a new era in tow, even the stadium is getting a revamp. The club has taken the time to wrap banners around the spiral walkways that lead to the upper levels. The blue banners, with the MCFC slogan “Pride in Battle” emblazoned upon them, are also made up of the names of all those fans who loyally bought their seasoncards before the 25th August. Having not only added a bit of much needed colour, the club has simultaneously thanked all those fans who were sticking by City no matter what. Executive Chairman Garry Cook explained: “As the seasons at the City of Manchester Stadium go by, we want the supporters to feel more and more at home here, and hopefully the addition of the banners will continue to grow that feeling. We wanted to give a visual thanks, a roll-call almost, of those fans who signed up for Seasoncards for this year’s campaign.”

City Consider the Children: The New Children’s Hospital Appeal has been chosen as the new charity that the club will back this season, joining the City in the Community project. The charity, which specializes in raising money for advanced equipment, life-saving treatment and parental accommodation, has already raised fifteen of its twenty million pound target but City have offered to help the charity achieve their goal by raising a further £20 million. City’s main objective is to raise funds for a ‘super’ play area so that the children have a way to relax and simply act like children in the few times when they are not receiving treatment for their illness. Garry Cook told of how partnership came into place: “Manchester City has always been renowned as a community club and this partnership is another example of how much we value our local community. This is a great partnership for all concerned and any way in which the Club, its staff and its fans can support this great cause will help develop what will be a world class facility for the people of Manchester and the North West.”

Big Mistake? Following a fortnight of whirlwind goings on at the club, this week’s back pages were full of stories about those who snubbed the Citizens in the summer in order to get on with their own projects. Whether that will prove to be a sensible decision for any of those involved is yet to be seen but no doubt the Blues’ new found wealth will contribute hugely to the success of the years to come. Chelsea manager Phil Scolari used his famed mind-games with Mark Hughes by revealing, only two days before the game against Chelsea, that he snubbed the club. However, he did claim that he had a certain amount of faith in the soon-to-be richest club in the world: “They came to Portugal to discuss it and talked to me about what they wanted to do in the next three or four years. City had proposed a big project with great ideas. If they follow it, maybe it’s sure they’ll arrive as one of the 10 biggest clubs in the world.”

New Stretford Reds’ signing Dimitar Berbatov was keen to let City know that they simply didn’t match his ambitions (of losing at Anfield and drawing at home to Villareal): “My ambitions and goals are big and I want to fulfil them at the biggest club in the world. That was my only goal – and I achieved it. I would not even have thought about Manchester City. My only goal was to come to United.”

More shockingly was the revelation that Slaven Bilic had reportedly been offered the job after Scolari turned it down. Talking of the summer just gone and the future to come, the Croatia manager stated: “It is true that I had great offers from big European clubs, like HSV Hamburg. There were also offers from Manchester City, when Eriksson left, while everyone knows about West Ham.”

All these snubs took place during the summer transfer window yet on the last day the impossible occurred and City became a name in world football. Will all these people regret turning down the opportunity for the City challenge? We’ll answer that when City win a domestic trophy and steadily climb up the league.

Is it all so absurd Alex? I’m unsure as to what it is that Sir Alex Ferguson finds so absurd about a club with an owner who is 55 times richer than Chelsea owner Roman Abramovic becoming successful. Though I’m not one of the few who believes that Fabregas, Cannavaro and that Portuguese winger will walk through the door at CoMS this January, steady building over the next three years could genuinely build a Champions’ League club who can challenge for the Premier League. Ferguson seems to claim that despite having money to spend, Chelsea have not been a real challenger to Stretford’s ‘crown’. This is hardly true when the Russian Billionaire has two Premier League titles, a Champions’ League final place and beat Stretford in the first New Wembley FA Cup final. Ferguson claimed: “There’s plenty of talk from them but I disregard it really because it is all talk. We’ve seen it before and it will happen again. There’s been a lot of talk at City but when it comes down to getting players they may find it difficult. They have talked about getting Cristiano Ronaldo, which is absolutely absurd.”

In The Club’s Best Interests: Heroes in City’s past include the great Colin Bell, Rodney Marsh, John Wardle but now we can add yet another. Thaksin Shinawatra, the man who not only bought the Club in a way that has completely turned the tables on how City fans perceive football but was also humble enough to sell the club to ensure we had the best future and despite the fact that he retains no place on the board. I don’t care what people say about him, this man is a City fan and should be revered as such. The deal that has just gone through has stripped Thaksin of any official rôle at the club and therefore not only has the former Thai PM led the Club to bigger and better things, he has also taken five steps back in order to let the club progress. The now Honourary President explained his decision to sell the club: “I need someone that can really move the club forward. It is very difficult for me by myself to push the club forward because the competition is getting fiercer and fiercer and the players are getting more expensive so we need deeper and deeper pockets, an owner that really loves football and would like to push the club forward.”

Squad News

Rotation, Rotation, Rotation: With three games coming up in six days, Hughes has made it clear that rotation will take place in the squad if needs be. Tonight we take on Cypriot Champions Omonia in the UEFA Cup only to run out on Sunday for a big game against Portsmouth in the Premier League. The following Wednesday provides a trip to the seaside as City travel to Brighton for the Carling Cup second round. With a third round home tie against out of sorts Derby County, beating Brighton could mean an automatic ticket to the fourth round so how will Sparky approach the ‘minor’ domestic competition? The Premier League and UEFA Cup are obviously the main focus of attention but Blues’ fans deserve some silverware and if that means a trip to Wembley to lift the Carling Cup, I would be more than happy to accept. The manager stated: “We will have to use the squad, because it’s a big ask going into European games, Carling Cup games and some very difficult Premier League games. If we have to use all of the squad then we will do, but that is what being a Premier League footballer is all about. You have to keep raising your level and make sure that you are ready to go every time there’s a game.”

Johnno is a Blue: Michael Johnson has ended months of speculation by becoming the latest Academy product to sign a new contract since the introduction of Mark Hughes as manager. Arsenal, Liverpool and Everton were all linked with an £8 million move for the English midfielder who has impressed since given his first chance under Stuart Pearce and at times under the Eriksson Era was labeled ‘the next Colin Bell’. The contract, which will last until 2013, is yet another statement of intent by the Club that despite the hundreds of millions of pounds available to the club, the hierarchy will continue to protect the Club’s identity and as such its youth system.

International Blues

Many of City’s Academy graduates could be involved in a battle of Britain as England will face Wales in the Under 21 European Championship Qualifier play-off. The ties, which will take place on October 10/11 and October 14/15, could include Michael Johnson, Micah Richards, Nedum Onuoha and ‘keeper Joe Hart in Pearce’s squad whilst Ched Evans could find his way into the Welsh under 21 squad despite having recently made a name for himself in the senior squad. The senior England squad will face World Cup Qualifiers at the same time and therefore Hart and Richards’ involvement could be based on whether or not Capello feels it is right to call up two of England’s brightest young talents. Elsewhere in the same under 21 draw, Kasper Schmeichel’s Denmark will take on Serbia to qualify for the finals, which take place in Sweden next summer.

Transfer News and Gossip

Donal McDermott: Irish winger Donal McDermott has joined League One side MK Dons on a one month loan deal. The Irish youngster, who played his part in the FA Youth Cup success last season, is keen to play first team football and improve his talent before returning to City: “I’m delighted to be here and I’m looking forward to helping the team continue their good start to the season. This is a good opportunity for me to play some competitive football with a team and under a manager that like to play the game in the right way.” Recently installed MK Dons manager Roberto Di Matteo claimed: “We need to be patient with him because he is only 18, but he is an exciting player with a good background, and I’m hopeful we can make the loan long-term.”

Ronaldo: The former Real, Inter and AC Milan striker who has been forever subject to injury was supposedly preparing to sign for City this week before a City spokesman came out to deny all the rumours. The Brazilian had claimed that he had been offered a contract and was preparing to create a 60-goals-a-season strike partnership with Robinho: “It’s the best offer I’ve received and it will be interesting to play with Robinho.” However, as press reports leaked throughout the media, City strenuously denied that any move would be completed. Though they did admit to having discussed terms and even completed a medical on the Brazilian, City were not keen on completing any deal: “We had shown a past interest in bringing the player to the football club in the right circumstances and spoke to him and his representatives. However, we have chosen not to pursue the matter.”

Post-Match Reaction

Clash of the Cash: The much hyped induction for the newly wealthy City side didn’t quite go to plan. Robinho’s goal provided an opportunity for some much needed jubilation at CoMS and I’m always fond of waving an opponent from the pitch as they receive a red card. Chelsea were simply too good but the positives to take are that it’s taken four years for that Chelsea side to become the side they are, so just think of the team we will have in the same time frame. Hughes assessed the long awaited match: “We stuck at it and showed a desire to affect the game, but we need to nip things in the bud better than we did today. I think you sensed that they had to be at their best today and fair play to them because I thought they were excellent on the day. We’ll be better for the experience, we had a couple of guys making their débuts and as the season progresses we will get better and they will get integrated better into the team. There was a fantastic atmosphere, and we were unable to sustain the momentum that we had; when the goal went in the roof came off. We want more of that on more occasions, we’ll keep working hard then there will be more days like that.”

Ex-Blues’ News

Just a quick quote from City’s favourite Greek who had in the past claimed that selling him will be City’s loss. Georgios Samaras’ latest revelation states “Celtic are a bigger club than City. You can’t imagine how many supporters we have around the world. If you play against Aalborg, Manchester United, Villarreal or Motherwell, Celtic have a full house of 60,000 people. Celtic are more than a club and I am really happy here.” The poor lad seems to be under the impression that beating Falkirk is as great a success as winning a Manchester derby and though things went quite sour between the club and player, I for one wouldn’t mind a bit of appreciation from Samaras who was only given his chance in Premier League football and therefore his move to Celtic and opportunity in the Champions’ League from City. Nice to see his goal scoring prowess really come into effect as Celtic stumbled to a 0-0 home draw with Danish minnows Aalborg!

Alex Rowen<news(at)>


Manchester City have heard many top quality players’ names read out before kick off: Elano, Richards, Jo etc. But no-one ever considered hearing Robinho announced.

It has been 2 weeks since Manchester City were taken over by Abu-Dhabi Enterprises and also made bids for Berbatov, Villa, Gomez, and Torres. Then out of nowhere, the “richest owner in the Premier League” put forward a £32.5 million bid for the Real Madrid superstar Robinho and they somehow got his signature, despite him being desperate to join Chelsea and apparently even crying about it. Already at City, Robinho is “all the rage”. He has one of the biggest merchandise lines in Europe, and possibly in the World. However, I don’t think a contract of £160,000 a week is too much to sob about. This brought a lot of hype and expectation to Eastlands and a new era at Manchester City had now been created.

With the extraordinary few weeks out of the way, it was time for City to get back to business and continue with their next Premier League campaign match, ironically against Chelsea. With a record attendance at the City of Manchester stadium, the pressure and attention was all on Robinho, who unexpectedly started on his début having arrived from South America the day before. This made no difference to Robinho as after 15 minutes, from a spectacular free kick, he scored his first goal for City. It was written in the script that he would score on his début and he did. With City leading, the atmosphere roared and everyone was chanting Robinho’s name. Within 3 minutes, the atmosphere lay dead, as Chelsea had equalised due to extremely poor defensive errors from new right back Zabeleta.

Things got worse for City then on, as they failed to keep possession and gave the ball away to Chelsea. At half time, City were fairly lucky to not be 2 or 3-1 down.

Neither team was changed at the beginning of the second half and by the 53rd minute, Chelsea were now 2-1 up after a goal by Frank Lampard. Mark Hughes now had his work cut out. With the Chelsea defence keeping strong, it would be hard to get a ball through for Jo or Robinho from the City midfield. Ex-City player Anelka enjoyed sweet joy against his club by sealing Chelsea’s 3rd goal.

Having began with the dream start of leading 1-0, which in addition was scored by new signing Robinho, it was Chelsea who came out on top. Already journalists have said “Did Robinho make the right choice?” and “Robinho: Should I have been scoring the other way?” Already people will be onto Robinho about joining City, some saying “What a joke!” Once Robinho has a chance to really prove himself, these critics will leave and let him focus on the game he loves, with the club he has committed to.

George Kearney <george_kearney(at)>


As I was on holiday for the Chelsea match, I thought I would try this new Seat Exchange system the club are using. Normally, I’d offer my seasoncard locally but I was curious as to how it worked. After some teething troubles, I got the ticket logged, and it appeared on their website with a ‘fixed price’ of £35.

On my return from holiday, I had an email to congratulate me for selling my seat and promising a cheque for £23.13 in due course. This figure was arrived at by dividing my season ticket price by the number of home games to get £26 or so then deducting a handling fee of 10% + VAT. The explanation was that this method of calculating the ticket price was to ensure that I didn’t make a profit out of the sale.

But, if they sold it on at £26 plus a 15% handling fee, the buyer would be getting a £35 ticket for £30, so saving on the face value. And if they sold it on at £35 plus a handling fee, they would be getting over £40 for it, meaning a margin to them of £17!

The whole deal looks extremely shady to me and I am interested in other views. I’ll be reverting to my usual practice in future and would advise others to the same.

Graeme Nicholson <bensongarth(at)>


Ronaldo made up his mind too late to come to City; he was a great player, no doubt about it, but now he is 32 years old and injury prone, a big risk.

During the summer before MCFC was taken over by the new owners The Abu Dhabi group. City made efforts to sign Ronaldo but he dragged his feet about a move to City.

Now that Ronaldo has seen his fellow countryman Robinho playing for City he has decided he wants to join City.

MCFC suddenly had the money and got Robinho instead: too late Ronaldo.

Come on you Blues! In Sparky we trust.

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


I was talking to ex-City ‘keeper from the early 70s Ron Healey last night, Monday 15/09/08. He runs a ‘keeper academy just4keepers throughout the Greater Manchester area with his son Scott, and I’d just like to say they do a brilliant job and my Jake (10) loves it, he attends the Monday night session at Medlock Sports Centre in Droylsden.

After suffering a heart attack only just a few weeks ago, he says he had a nice get well letter from Sven. He’s now back coaching the kids but he made us laugh saying they’ve been having a laugh with the kids who are United fans, saying yeah we’ll take Ronaldo but only to take sponge on to pitch because it will get there quicker, and we’ll take Rooney as well but only as a sub.

Ron you’re a star mate, and you’re great with the kids, keep it up.

Stephen Wagstaff <steve.wagstaff348(at)>


Can any MCIVTA readers suggest any bars in Cancun that show (or may show) live games that are on Sky?

Andrew Keller <akcity(at)>


Can I thank all MCIVTA subscribers who have so far contributed to the ‘Ghana Appeal’ either by financial donations or sending items of kit to me. To date the appeal has raised approximately £1,000, which is half of the target figure. Also many items of City kit have been delivered to me.

The appeal ends on 30th September 2008.

Can I remind all what the ‘Ghana Appeal’ is about? A trainee teacher, Peter K Amoabil has set up a junior football club in his part of Ghana under the name of Manchester City Babies. Peter and his coaches currently run 4 junior football teams in the age range of 7 to 14. They desperately need proper playing kit and training equipment. To date I have sent them £100 of your money to allow Peter to but some training equipment for the teams. One of the aims of the Ghana Appeal is for me to raise sufficient money for me to buy 4 full football kits for the teams to play in. The kits will then by shipped out along with the items piled up in my spare room to Ghana.

The Appeal supports a most worthwhile cause and further promotes the name of Manchester City in that part of the world.

This is my last request to MCIVTA subscribers to support the appeal. If you feel you can support the Appeal either financially or by sending items of City kit to me then please, please do so.

Cheques should be made payable to MCCSA. Cheques and items of kit etc. can be forwarded to me:

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

After the kit has been shipped out and received in Ghana, I will update all on the progress of Manchester City Babies in Ghana.

In anticipation can I thank all for your support of the Ghana Appeal.

Alex Channon <alexchannon81(at)>


15 September 2008

Tottenham Hotspur     1 - 2  Aston Villa           36,075

League table to 17 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          4  1  1  0  5  1  2  0  0  4  1  3  1  0   9   2   7  10
 2 Liverpool        4  2  0  0  4  2  1  1  0  1  0  3  1  0   5   2   3  10
 3 Arsenal          4  2  0  0  4  0  1  0  1  4  1  3  0  1   8   1   7   9
 4 Aston Villa      4  1  1  0  4  2  1  0  1  4  4  2  1  1   8   6   2   7
 5 Hull City        4  1  0  1  2  6  1  1  0  3  2  2  1  1   5   8  -3   7
 6 Manchester City  4  1  0  1  4  3  1  0  1  5  4  2  0  2   9   7   2   6
 7 Fulham           3  2  0  0  3  1  0  0  1  1  2  2  0  1   4   3   1   6
 8 West Ham United  4  2  0  0  6  2  0  0  2  2  6  2  0  2   8   8   0   6
 9 Middlesbrough    4  2  0  0  4  2  0  0  2  2  4  2  0  2   6   6   0   6
10 Portsmouth       4  1  0  1  2  2  1  0  1  3  4  2  0  2   5   6  -1   6
11 Everton          4  0  0  2  2  6  2  0  0  5  3  2  0  2   7   9  -2   6
12 Wigan Athletic   4  0  1  1  1  2  1  0  1  6  2  1  1  2   7   4   3   4
13 Bolton Wndrs     4  1  1  0  3  1  0  0  2  1  3  1  1  2   4   4   0   4
14 Manchester Utd   3  0  1  0  1  1  1  0  1  2  2  1  1  1   3   3   0   4
15 West Brom A.     4  1  0  1  4  4  0  1  1  0  1  1  1  2   4   5  -1   4
16 Newcastle Utd    4  1  0  1  2  2  0  1  1  1  4  1  1  2   3   6  -3   4
17 Sunderland       4  0  0  2  0  4  1  1  0  3  2  1  1  2   3   6  -3   4
18 Blackburn R.     4  0  1  1  1  5  1  0  1  4  6  1  1  2   5  11  -6   4
19 Stoke City       4  1  0  1  5  5  0  0  2  2  5  1  0  3   7  10  -3   3
20 Tottenham H.     4  0  0  2  2  4  0  1  1  2  3  0  1  3   4   7  -3   1

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1466