Newsletter #1472

I can’t remember when the President of FIFA (no less) made reference to MCFC, but it happened this week. Sepp Blatter expressed his concern at the influx of foreign owners into the English Premier League, and guess which club he referred to? “There is always a danger that these people will just one day leave,” he says. “We have one Prime Minister for Thailand going back to his country and he sells his club like you would sell a shirt. Something is very wrong here and I don’t know how it can be stopped.” Mind you these wise words come from a man who thinks that women’s football can be improved by the players wearing skimpy shorts, so he’s clearly a man to be taken seriously. There’s more about this buffoon’s thoughts in Alex’s News Summary this week, along with word on which fake-Dutch ex-England Manager’s team City will be facing in the UEFA Group Stage.

That’s my stint in the Editor’s chair over – I’ve fumigated it, given it a quick bit of Mr. Sheen and left it pristine for Maddie to use next week. Keep sending your contributions to <editor(at)>, and Maddie will be happy to publish your pieces.

Next Game: Newcastle United, away, 8pm Monday 20 October 2008


General News

You’ve Got to be Kidding Me: On Friday City fans got the laugh of the season as the sport headlines ran that Tottenham Hotspur are preparing a 5 year contract worth £20 million for Manchester City manager Mark Hughes. This is the same Tottenham who are bottom of the Premier League, without a win in eight and who spent their summer selling of the likes of Robbie Keane and Dimitar Berbatov. In contrast Mark Hughes is currently undertaking the challenge of his career searching for some long awaited success with unlimited funds at his disposal. I think it’s only right that twenty four hours later, Spurs stated: “This story is completely untrue and without foundation.” A source close to the City manager confirmed: “Mark is very happy at City; it is nonsense to suggest he is looking to move elsewhere. There has been no contact with anyone at Tottenham.”

Wright Back Where He Belongs: His return to CoMS as the prodigal son couldn’t have gone more to plan and whilst both the man himself and all City fans are loving having the pacey winger back where he belongs, it seems Mr. Capello has also been paying close attention to SWP’s revival. Hughes has gone on the record to say he never doubted that Shauny would soon make his way make into the international fold: “I am not surprised because he has been outstanding since he came back to the club. The benefit from playing with a smile on his face and playing regularly is there for everyone to see.”

City to Host ‘Wally With the Brolly’: Having just about made the UEFA Cup group stages, City will now take on some of the better teams in the competition. Trips to last year’s Champions’ League quarter finalists Schalke and Spanish side Racing Santander are to come. The Blues will also host Paris St Germain but first comes the challenge of FC Twente who are of course managed by former United assistant, former England manager and former umbrella salesman Steve McLaren. The man who looked on shell shocked with nothing to do but protect himself from a possible cold as he managed his nation out of Euro 2008 qualification will come to face City in the second round of games. Chief Operating Officer Paul Aldridge has told the media: “There were some big names in this draw and every group was a tough one but we’re up against good teams from Spain, France, Germany and Holland. Mark (Hughes) will know a fair bit about all of the teams we’re up against already, and that’s a big plus for us, but they’ll all be tough games.” City will get a free week in the first round of games and that is just enough time to write a letter to the new Owner and ask if he will possibly fund 48,000 umbrellas for the fans to use during the Twente game. Who needs rain? Imagine the sight as the two teams walk out and 48,000 umbrellas rise to greet the former England manager. Wonderful idea I think. McLaren declared: “I’ve just come back to England to catch up on football here, and the signings City have made are massive and they are expected to do very well. It should be a fantastic occasion for us.”

Blatter Not So Keen: Surprising how Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool, Aston Villa and West Ham can all have multi-million pound takeovers and yet when it happens to City all of a sudden, foreign investment in football becomes dangerous. The ever media friendly FIFA President Sepp Blatter stated: “There’s danger. These people arrive, buy the clubs but they can leave at any moment. That creates a risk of instability for these teams and the competition as a whole. Ideally a way should be found for clubs to be financed by local investors.”

December Daze: As if the December wasn’t confusing enough with the several hundred fixtures teams face within the space of a month, City’s has just become even harder to follow as two of their games have been re-arranged. The trip to the Hawthorns, originally scheduled for December 20th has been moved back to a 1.30 kick off on Sunday 21st December. Sunday 28th December is the day when Sparky returns to Ewood Park and though the fixture remains on the same day, kick off has been postponed to 4.15pm.

Rafa Rubbishes City’s Chances: In the pre-match mind games Rafa Benitez spoke of how it is impossible for City to mount any sort of challenge on the top four and that it will take much more than money to become genuine contenders in the coming years given the sheer quality of the sides around them: “It’s not easy to improve a squad. Chelsea were spending money for years before they could win the title. You also have to take into consideration the level of the other teams. Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal have all been spending big money on players for a long time.”

Squad News

End of the Road? Chester City have taken promising Manchester City talent Sam Williamson on trial. The twenty year old Academy graduate made his début last season in City’s makeshift defence, which included Elano at right back. Despite signing a two year professional contract during the summer, Williamson looks set to move on having watched Hughes’ bottomless pockets effectively end his chances of breaking into a squad that could soon boast the world’s most expensive players. Chester City manager Simon Davies has pounced on an opportunity and claimed: “Sam has come over to have a look at us and we are looking at him. He can play as a central defender and could give us an option on the left hand side, so we will just have to see what happens.”

Once a Blue: Danny Sturridge told the MEN this week that he intends to be Blue for life. In a week when Sturridge was linked with a move to Chelsea, the eighteen year old Academy graduate stated that City are the team who have made it all happen for him and that his position in the City squad is not something he will be giving up lightly. Some fans were worried that the lure of a move to Stamford Bridge would be too much for the England under 18 star but the nephew of former Derby County striker Dean Sturridge told the MEN: “I never want to leave Manchester City. I’m very happy here and I hope I will be here for many more years to come. Of course, I want to score a lot of goals, but if I’m not playing a part, then I will make sure that I train hard and try to get involved next week.”

Transfer News and Gossip

Esteban Cambiasso: Argentinean midfielder Esteban Cambiasso is looking for a move to the Premier League and Italian papers claim that City are in pole position to sign the experienced defensive midfielder. Having signed Cambiasso on a free transfer from Real Madrid four years ago, Jose Mourinho’s Italian Champions are set to make a huge profit of approximately £20 million.

Sergio Ramos: The world of money is a wonderful place to be having spent years on the outside looking in and the most recent rumour is that of a possible move for Sergio Ramos to Manchester. No, not the Red side, the Blue side, though City will face stiff competition for the £40-million rated centre back who has been labelled the ‘next Hierro’. Though AC Milan and Stretford are long term admirers, it may be that joining up with old friend Robinho would be too much for the Spanish star to turn down.

Stephen Gerrard: With Stevie Ireland on top form, Michael Johnson still to come back from injury and the likes of Elano, Kompany and Gelson Fernandes around him, it’s hard to see why City would need a central midfielder but then again it is Stephen Gerrard. You can say what you want about his international form and his attitude towards decisions going against him but you can’t deny that he is a world class player. Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez was quick to quash any rumours and tell the world that he will keep hold of the heart of his side: “The key is that he wants to stay here. That is the most important thing. It is not a question of money.”

Post-Match Reaction

Versus Omonia: Having just about overcome AC Omonia in Cyprus, City hosted the Cypriot league leaders, just about managing a 2-1 victory. Though not the most convincing of victories, City will consider the battle of the qualification as job done and now it is time to concentrate on a real challenge, the group stages. Hughes spoke of City’s failure to set a reasonable tempo in the first half and how it took a serious half time team talk to grind out the required result: “I felt the tempo of our play wasn’t quite at the right level in the first half to shift them around. We talked before the game about spreading the play quickly and creating space to get our good players in key positions. We didn’t really do that to any great extent in the first half. Second half though I felt we were a lot better in that respect and we fed the full backs and created more space for the likes of Robinho and Shaun Wright-Phillips to get on the ball and cause problems for them.”

Versus Liverpool: The most common word used to describe the British people? Fun. The most commonly used word to describe Manchester City? Typical. Why are things never easy? Two nil up against the five times European Champions and looking comfortable, until the second half kicks off and City make a very concerted effort to collapse. Torres was sublime as ever and in fairness to Liverpool they came out fighting but quite how City fell apart is unbelievable. What was Zab’ doing when he recklessly fouled Alonso? Why did Hughes bring on Fernandes to play right back when he could have brought on Ben Haim or even rotated the eleven to move Richards to full back and let Kompany slip into defence as Fernandes or even the experienced Hamaan could have sweeped across the front line of the back four? Madness. Sparky declared: “We’re disappointed obviously. It’s a harsh lesson. We expected a response but unfortunately we allowed them back into the game. Our situation was compounded by Pablo’s sending off. We needed to be strong and try and see the game out.”

Alex Rowen <news(at)>


So… new owners, a new manger, new players but still ‘Typical City’? Unfortunately, I have to say it is starting to look a little worrying for Mr Hughes… Out fought and out muscled at Wigan – with a manger who built his reputation with a team that out fought and out muscled other teams! Out of the Carling cup before it has really begun to 3rd division team, scrappy (very scrappy) wins against totally unknown teams in Europe and a – let’s be honest – shocking second half performance against the Scousers to hand them the 3 points on a plate! If Sven was still in the chair the fans would be calling for his head, Shinawatra would be having a ‘review’ and the press would be having a field day! Not so with Mr Hughes, he is still on his honeymoon – but only just! He is a ‘young’ manager – read a naïve manager that’s for sure! I found it amazing he didn’t make any changes at half-time on Sunday! It was obvious there would be a response and we needed to shore up the midfield to make sure we would not be overrun and that’s exactly what happened! For what it’s worth, we need 7 points from the next 12 (more than possible) or Mr Hughes’ jacket will be hanging on a shaky nail.

Also, I think we have to start being honest about our squad: Joe Hart – good young ‘keeper, but not up to it at the very top of the Premier League. The second goal against Liverpool was clearly his fault – flapping like a penguin! A top class ‘keeper is required. As is a quality left back – again a no brainer. Also, a true midfield playmaker. Elano is OK but just OK. His corners and free kicks very often don’t beat the first man and he loses possession far, far too easily. And it pains me to say it but the Dunney Monster is coming to end of his reign. We need a Vidic type player, a commanding centre back to take control. The good news is that I feel Jo looks a class player. When the ball goes up to him it sticks! He lays it off well, he times his runs perfectly and is rarely caught offside for a front man. I think we will really see the best of him next season. As I have said previously, I believe the new owners will want a superstar manager to manage the superstar players and will want to make yet another ‘statement’. It’s all going belly up for Mourhino in Italy – place your bets for next season!

Ray Bardsley <rbardsley(at)>


I believe a few people have been having trouble working out ways to get to Santander for cheap. Well, anyone who is free from Tues-Sat can fly Liverpool to Barcelona (Reus) and then Barcelona (Reus) to Santander – and then the same route back – for about £60 all-in. For the record, I’m actually based in Valencia nowadays covering Spanish football for the English media.

I watched Racing at Villarreal the other week and I didn’t think much of them to be honest. They seriously over-achieved last season and it was almost completely down to Marcelino (the manager) but he walked out on the club over the summer saying he’d taken them as far as he could, preferring instead to drop down a division and take the job at Zaragoza. I also think it’s a bonus to play them last in the group because they are bound to be fired up for their first ever European campaign when it all gets going. Hopefully, the adrenaline will wear off by the time they face us.

Mike Holden <mike(at)>


T’would appear that our foes in the group stages all have English versions of their websites all except for Twente, for sure, for sure:





John Nisbet, Dukinfield <nisbet1957(at)>


I meant to send something in the other week about the Portsmouth 6-0 landmark and then I saw the message from Christopher Ryder about 6 separate goalscorers.

I wrote an article for the last City programme on record scores and the like, but as part of that I pointed out that the Portsmouth game was a landmark because it was the first time in the top tier of English football that 6 separate City goalscorers scored for the Blues. If anyone missed the article here’s some of the key points.

We have had six separate goalscorers in only one earlier League game, but that was in Division Two on 9th March 1895 when we beat Notts County 7-1. We’ve also had six separate goalscorers in cup competition with the most recent being 24/01/1981 when John Bond’s Blues defeated his old side Norwich City 6-0 in a memorable FA Cup tie (scorers: Bennett, Gow, McDonald, Mackenzie, Power, and Reeves).

Six separate City players also scored in the game when we achieved our all-time record of 11-3 (vs. Lincoln in 1895). However, on that day only five scored for City as our sixth, Jack Walker, netted an own goal in Lincoln’s favour.

Other significant records made vs. Portsmouth are:

  • It equalled our highest score in the Premier League
  • It is our record winning margin in the Premier League
  • Shaun Wright-Phillips scored City’s 500th Premier League goal. Who scoredour first? David White (vs. Crystal Palace, 18/08/92).

On the question whether this is a record for the Premier League, I’m not certain. I’ve been trying to work that out. But I do know it is definitely not a record for the top tier – in September 1989 Liverpool had eight of their players score in the 9-0 defeat of Crystal Palace. The Palace ‘keeper was our former goalie Perry Suckling. I’m not convinced this is the record for the top flight either, but it’s the best from memory.

Another landmark which I’m frantically checking at the moment is that Garrido was probably our 500th separate goalscorer in league football when he scored vs. Liverpool. A fellow statto (who will obviously get all the credit) has presented the evidence to me and I’m wading through it at the moment. It’ll take some time to verify as there are many debatable goals over the years and often separate newspaper reports differ (plus of course there are mistakes in official Football League records and in more or less everything ever produced on the Club including my own books). We may need to refer to original source material to prove every single goal, but if it is true it is a very significant landmark.

Finally, if anyone’s interested, my book “Manchester A Football History” has received some excellent reviews and can be ordered via: or bought from the City Store/bookshops.

Gary James <Info(at)>


If you haven’t had a chance to read the Guardian recently it may be worthwhile looking at this article:

Andy Morris <Andy(at)>


I’m about to move out to live in Madrid. Are any City fans out there interested in meeting up to watch games?

Gary Lloyd <gr.lloyd(at)>


Next meeting of Points of Blue, provisionally booked for 6.30 p.m. on Tuesday 28 October. The intention is that rather than a two-stage affair (evening meeting then delegate meeting with officials), the club will be represented at the meeting (probably by Pete Bradshaw, Head of Community & Social Responsibility). Eastlands Crescent is to be renamed Kippax Crescent… (and the East Stand to be semi-officially known as the Kippax). Given the new format, it would be a courtesy to know of any particular issues that could be researched before the meeting rather than sprung on the club representative(s) on the evening.

Steve Parish – PoB Co-ordinator <Bloovee(at)>


League table to 05 October 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          7  2  2  0  8  2  3  0  0  6  1  5  2  0  14   3  11  17
 2 Liverpool        7  2  1  0  4  2  3  1  0  6  2  5  2  0  10   4   6  17
 3 Hull City        7  1  1  1  4  8  3  1  0  6  3  4  2  1  10  11  -1  14
 4 Arsenal          7  2  0  1  5  2  2  1  1  8  3  4  1  2  13   5   8  13
 5 Aston Villa      7  2  1  0  6  3  2  0  2  6  7  4  1  2  12  10   2  13
 6 West Ham United  7  3  0  1 10  6  1  0  2  4  7  4  0  3  14  13   1  12
 7 Portsmouth       7  3  0  1  6  3  1  0  2  3 10  4  0  3   9  13  -4  12
 8 Manchester Utd   6  1  1  0  3  1  2  1  1  5  3  3  2  1   8   4   4  11
 9 West Brom A.     7  2  0  2  6  6  1  1  1  1  1  3  1  3   7   7   0  10
10 Blackburn R.     7  1  1  2  2  7  2  0  1  6  7  3  1  3   8  14  -6  10
11 Manchester City  7  2  0  2 12  6  1  0  2  6  6  3  0  4  18  12   6   9
12 Middlesbrough    7  2  0  1  4  3  1  0  3  3  6  3  0  4   7   9  -2   9
13 Wigan Athletic   7  1  1  2  3  4  1  1  1  6  2  2  2  3   9   6   3   8
14 Sunderland       7  1  1  2  3  5  1  1  1  4  4  2  2  3   7   9  -2   8
15 Everton          7  0  1  3  4 10  2  1  0  7  5  2  2  3  11  15  -4   8
16 Bolton Wndrs     7  1  1  1  4  4  1  0  3  4  6  2  1  4   8  10  -2   7
17 Fulham           6  2  0  1  4  3  0  0  3  1  4  2  0  4   5   7  -2   6
18 Newcastle Utd    7  1  0  2  3  4  0  2  2  4  9  1  2  4   7  13  -6   5
19 Stoke City       7  1  0  2  5  7  0  1  3  3  7  1  1  5   8  14  -6   4
20 Tottenham H.     7  0  1  3  2  5  0  1  2  2  5  0  2  5   4  10  -6   2

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1472