Newsletter #1514

With the first team not in action until tonight in the UEFA Cup, it’s down to the Youth Team to take the playing talk this week, Alex brings us news on their FA Youth Cup exploits, more transfer rumours and talk of a happy camp.

We have opinion on the recent form and a number of requests including a revived McV football team.

Next Game: Chelsea, away, 1.30pm Sunday 15 March 2009


General News

Anything for a Free Dinner: Executive Chairman Garry Cook hosted a meeting of the minds last Saturday ahead of the Academy Quarter Final against Norwich with representatives of all the major fan forums invited. Alongside Blue Moon, Blue Watch and The Lonesome Death of Roy Carroll, I sat on behalf of MCIVTA discussing issues the club is facing and the ways to tackle them. It all sounds very formal and I can assure you that it wasn’t with food and drink before and during the match thrown in but there was genuine talk about how things can be improved. Settling into the new stadium is issue no.1 and South Stand season ticket holders from Blue Watch are in discussions with senior members of the club about how personality can be added to CoMS, which whilst being a fantastic facility, is yet to be the ‘home’ that Maine Road was. Cook took the time to speak to all the different forums and though we didn’t get an interview, the man gave the impression that “our club” is in the right hands.

Thank You: Though for thousands of fans the UEFA Cup victory against Schalke will be remembered as City’s best away win of the season, for one fan the trip to Gelsenkirchen had tragic consequences. As regular readers will know, Carl Ramsbottom, life long City fan, made the trip to Germany to watch his beloved Blues and fell down a flight of stairs at a train station, suffering severe head injuries. Carl has been hospitalized in Germany ever since the event and the doctors alongside his family have been working hard in order to help Carl recover. From the dark though there is always a glimmer of light and this has come in the form of wonderful acts of charity from opposition fans. Only last month Schalke supporter Markus Rehse presented Carl and his family with a cheque for 2,500 euros, which will go towards caring for Carl whilst he remains in Germany. Hughes told of the club’s appreciation for the contribution: “It was fantastic to see how City and Schalke supporters stood together for Carl and I think this will forge a lasting bond between our two clubs. I would like to thank everyone so much for supporting the collection.” Even before the contribution from the German side, a club a little closer to home got involved. Ahead of the Boxing Day match between City and Hull, a Tigers’ travelling fan took a look at the official City website in order to confirm travel details to CoMS. Whilst on the website, the Hull City fan known only as ‘Tigger’ read about Carl’s situation and led a collection on the Hull City coaches in aid of Carl. The travelling fans donated more than £150.

Squad News

And the Winners Are: Pablo Zabaleta and Craig Bellamy have won the Thomas Cook Player of the Month Awards for January and February respectively. Zab’, who made a seamless transition from a competent right back to an exciting holding midfield player after the turn of the year also scored his first City goal against Wigan in January. Bellamy has been Hughes’ star signing. The man who has scored four in six since his reported £14 million move has slotted into the Citizens’ first eleven superbly, solving a problem that City have faced all season – a lack of an out and out striker. Both players are deserving winners.

Pablo Couldn’t be Zabbier: A £4 million signing from Espanyol who came in to replace the excellent Vedran Corluka, and yet the pressure hasn’t got to him once. Zabaleta started his City season as first choice right back and whilst never looking entirely convincing in that position, he has now settled into a three pronged defensive midfield alongside Vincent Kompany and Nigel De Jong. The Argentinean has huge ambitions for his future and claims that it will all stem from many successful years at City: “It’s different here from Barcelona, but I like it. It’s a great opportunity for me as a person and I will enjoy my years here. Manchester City can grow bigger and the players here can change the history of the club. I moved around the team in Spain and Argentina. I can play wherever I need to – midfield is no problem and it adds to the experience of my first season here.” And with regards to the international scene? “It is good for Argentina and the people that a great hero like him is in charge. We call him Dios – God. He won the World Cup as a player and we hope he will win it now as coach. I would love to be in his plans.”

Transfer News and Gossip

Lionel Messi: If the Kaka saga wasn’t enough for you then it looked like we were moving into £100 million bid number two this week until the club refuted reports. Dr Sulaiman Al Fahim, a broker of the deal that saw Shiekh Mansour take control of the club, was quoted as saying the club’s next big target was Barcelona’s Argentinean maestro Lionel Messi. Apparently, The Sun reported, Messi was to be the subject of a £100 million bid this summer in order to bring one of the world’s greatest players to CoMS. The club, however, moved quickly to deny reports stating that: “The story is untrue and this fact has been accepted by the newspaper in question. General comments about Lionel Messi, made by Dr Sulaiman Al Fahim, who holds no position at the Club, were mistakenly linked to Manchester City.” Consequently, the country’s most popular tabloid had to print an apology for any embarrassment caused: “The Sun now accepts that, though Dr Al Fahim helped broker the sale of Manchester City in September, he has had no further involvement with the club. His thoughts about Messi were therefore private and had nothing to do with City. We would like to apologise unreservedly for any embarrassment this has caused City and their legitimate owner, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nayhan, and his club chairman, Khaldoon Al Mubarak and Dr Sulaiman Al Fahim.”

David Villa: Cash-strapped Valencia have today admitted that they are in talks with MCFC about the sale of Euro 2008 top scorer David Villa. The Spanish striker, who has been linked with Chelsea, Real Madrid and Barcelona since the tournament last summer, is considered one of Europe’s hottest properties and may cost anything up to £40 million. It is reported that the Blues enquired about Villa and team-mate David Silva during January but backed off when quoted a total £135 million price tag. Now it seems the club are back in transfer talks and one of the world’s best strikers may be leading the line at CoMS come August. When asked about talks between the two clubs, Valencia Vice-President Fernando Gomez stated “Yes, it’s true but they didn’t make us an any offer. The president Vicente Soriano asked for a significant amount and they didn’t agree. I think they are two very important players, with a lot of quality and if we sell them, we are not going to sell them on the cheap. I would like them both to stay but we cannot discount anything and any of them [the players] could leave at the end of the season.”

Paul Marshall: Port Vale have snapped up the young midfielder on a month’s loan following a string of impressive performances for the reserve side. The 19-year-old, who recently spent time on loan at Blackpool, may extend his stay until the end of the season depending on performances for the side lying 17th in League Two.

Academy Blues

King of the Cassell: For years City’s academy has been the production line for the first team squad and even now with billions of pounds it is the likes of SWP, Stevie Ireland and Micah Richards who make names for themselves. Following last year’s FA Youth Cup win, City’s under 18s are aiming to defend their trophy in this year’s cup run, having now qualified for the semi-finals of the tournament. The man in charge, Jim Cassell, gave his view on what is fast becoming the most highly rated academy in the country: “We are perceived to be up with the best but we never believe that there is one top club. You have a flow of players coming through and everybody has a good season at some point. We’ve been fortunate enough to have a few good seasons but we have to make sure the proverbial conveyor belt keeps working. We try to keep the boys’ feet on the floor but at the same time they must have great expectations of where they are going. So we don’t want to curb their ambition, just manage it. That’s why we link personal development with player development. Our job is to support what Mark does at first-team level. But not only do we produce players for our own club, it’s important that if boys are a fraction short of the level we hope they achieve, we find them a place in the game. This club has a great future and the boys at our Academy have a great future. The question I ask them now is: Can you play with the best in the world? Because you are probably going to get the opportunity.”

FA Youth Cup Quarter Final vs. Norwich City: A solitary goal from City’s Slovakian striker Robbie Mak was enough to secure a two-legged semi-final against Arsenal after a hard-fought ninety minutes at CoMS. A 3,000 strong contingent turned up to watch the Academy Blues fight off the Canaries in a game that was based more on work ethic than style and grace. The Blues, who have gone 24 games unbeaten this season and lay top of the league, scored on twenty minutes and spent the next seventy defending excellently. Cassell admitted that though it wasn’t City’s best performance this term, it was the result that matters: “It was a difficult game for us and I’m delighted with the result but disappointed with the performance, but credit to the opposition, they were fantastic on their special day. We were seen to be favourites but it can be difficult to knock that three-foot putt in. You can’t churn out the performances as you’d like week in, week out, and sometimes you have to graft and hope for that bit of luck. We allowed Norwich too much time, we usually play a faster tempo than that, but the pitch was a bit difficult today and maybe the occasion affected a few. They are young boys after all, not seasoned professionals. But we are in the semi-finals for the third time in four years, and it will be two very good teams battling it out. Arsenal are excellent. We will have to be at our very best over two legs to beat them.”

Pre-Match: FA Youth Cup Semi-Final vs. Arsenal: The first leg of the semi-final will take place at CoMS on 18 March at 7pm and with prices ranging from £2 for concessions and £4-5 for adults, it is hoped that the boys will be superbly supported once again. Academy coach Alex Gibson has expressed his delight with City’s quarter final victory at the weekend and has issued a rallying cry ahead of the impending semi-final: “We’ll be looking to win – we think we can beat Arsenal, and we’ll plan accordingly to do that. We’ve got the game plan almost set now. We’ll aim to do well at home and then it will be a great occasion for them at The Emirates. I saw them at Aston Villa a couple of months ago and they’re as good a team as we’ll see. They have big strikers, they’re all good athletes, and they are a well-organised and structured team. They will be a real challenge for us, and we look forward to it. We’re sitting down and planning and we can hardly wait.”

Alex Rowen <news(at)>


We may not agree on Mark Hughes (what proven track record?) but I totally agree with Mal Ogg about missing the humour from the old days on the Kippax. Although I wasn’t old enough to be there in the seventies, nothing could beat the banter even in the late eighties / early nineties. I loved that time, even when a police horse fell on me as I was queuing for a pint at half-time! Songs like ‘We’ve got David White, he is f***ing fast’ and ‘We’ve got a song that’ll get on your nerves’ spring immediately to mind, along with the observation that every time we got a new manager, look-a-likes would start appearing in the crowd. Under Reid I spotted quite a few grey-haired jug-ears, and one or two Sam Ellis’s as well! At least when it was standing you had the option of moving away from anyone with ‘one-eye’ disease; when the Kippax became seated I ended up next to someone who consistently thought our best player was Ged Brannan and he would get quite agitated if you disagreed!

Still, it was a lot better than now; Eastlands always seems a bit like a temple of doom in comparison. And there are far too many people singling out players for abuse, although I remember we did use to give Nicky Summerbee a bit of a hard time now and then! Maybe the guy wanting a ‘hitman’ meant the genetically-engineered, elite assassin known only as Agent 47!

As for the Villa game, I did give City credit: you can only beat the team in front of you on the day, whether they play poorly or not, and we did well, as I have said quite a number of times now. But could you imagine the same tactics / formation working against Chelski, Arsenal or Trafford Rangers?

Glyn Albuquerque, I agree with virtually everything you say (wouldn’t necessarily get rid of Richards as he has the ability and just needs a decent manager to get him to perform). Top posting!

Jesse McClure: am willing to place a bet with you that Kompany spends more than 50% of his time in our half, and that he hasn’t suddenly turned into Steven Gerrard just ’cause he has Nigel next to him! He’s still a top player though.

Steve Burrows <stevieburrows(at)>


Steve Burrows, get a life pal. It’s about time people like you go and support the Red half, you seem to have a fascination about anything with a red shirt. You would have been good back in the 60’s and 70’s, when there was a ‘red in every cupboard’.

It’s about time we lose that idiotic feeling, that United are the enemy and should be shot on sight. Is it just jealousy on how well they have done, and I’m just talking results here? Jeez, I’m jealous, if City could do half as well as United have done over 40 odd years that I have been supporting City, then we would be able to attract players like Messi and Kaka.

Give Hughes a break: I don’t agree with everything he has done, but what is the option? Go on that spiral again, of hiring and firing? Hardly stability, hardly a good rôle model to get these superstars that everyone seems to want.

Criticise if we must, and I think it’s a fan’s right, but to criticise because he’s played for United doesn’t do much for me. Mind you, he played for Chelsea and Barcelona, but I suppose that is alright is it?!

Personally I would like to see Hughes have another season. I think he knows what he wants but certain players think they are bigger than the coach. And some results prove that he is heading in the right direction. Glad he signed Given (not bad for an ex-Red huh?); every good team has an experienced, organised ‘keeper, and Joe Hart will learn a lot from him if he doesn’t throw the toys out of the cot and leave.

Dunnie’s like a new player, Nedum’s learning fast, de Jong and Kompany (both that ex-Red’s signings) have been great, Bellamy, SWP, Ireland, Boj if he can stay injury free, and Petrov back one day, Zab – the basis is there for a decent side. Then we come to the two Brazilians and what to do about them: get what we can for them and sign Argentinian or Dutch players, they have the robustness about them that the Brazilians don’t. Great on the ball, but not up to the fight.

Kevin Williamson <scribbs(at)>


I simply cannot agree with Steve Burrows’ comment from the last issue, in that Mark Hughes is running down City. As a full-time football professional, I have no doubt whatsoever that Mark H has many other ways to better occupy his time than to devote his energy to purposefully undermining his employer and players, not to mention the fans of Manchester City. Unfortunately, Steve’s opinion is absolutely nonsensical, in my view.

To consider that as its manager, Mark Hughes would not wish Manchester City to succeed is quite beyond belief. Moreso, it is Steve who does not want Mark H to succeed.

Further, as a former player of Manchester United who has now become the manager of Manchester City, I feel Mark H should in fact be commended for taking up the challenge and for having the tenacity to oppose his former employer, knowing full well some of the resultant derisory comments that would no doubt be directed at him from various areas as a result.

Manchester City Football Club does not hate Manchester United Football Club. Equally, Manchester United Football Club does not hate Manchester City Football Club. It is all in the minds of those who support their respective team. No more, no less.

Sorry you feel the way you do, Steve. Perhaps it is time to take a step back to see the bigger picture and get fully behind the manager and his staff, for once. Simply give the manager a decent chance.

I trust Ernie Barrow will in no way be deterred from future postings to MCIVTA.

Graham Mills <gkm_5(at)>


The last City goal from a corner?

Was it as far back as Bianchi away at Spurs last season, wearing a fetching little scarf too if I remember correctly?!

Jon Reese <jonandreareese(at)>


With regard to next summer transfers. Go read about available job lot of great Valencia players and why. Machena would be that big centre back we need. Miguel as right back reserve. Jouquin would grace any team. Villa and Silva we all know about and the young lad Mata will mature into another Raul.

Looking forward to Thursday’s match and then beating Chelsea on Sunday.

Patrick Knowles <pjamk(at)>


I have a spare Chelsea ticket in the City end for anyone who can re-mortgage to buy it (£47 face value). It’s on row 19.

Please contact me by e-mail.

Struan Malcolm <struan_malcolm(at)>


Realise it’s a long shot but has anyone a spare ticket for the forthcoming Arsenal game? Since the onset of fatherhood I have not managed to get to many games, hence I am down on the loyalty points. I am meant to be going to the game with the Arsenal supporting father-in-law so if anyone has a spare I would be extremely grateful.

Khalid Ahmed <colinthe.king(at)>


My City-fan pal is over from the States and I promised him the Arsenal vs. City game only to see tickets sold out the day before I was eligible to buy them. Any kind soul out there have 2 tickets they’d like to sell me?

Gary Pritchard <garypritchard(at)>


Blue Moon, who run a charity match at Platt Lane every season in order to raise money for good causes, have invited MCIVTA to put a team into a Fans’ Forum Tournament sometime in the summer. With the purpose being for charity, the organizers will ask that all players pay about £10 per head to play and basically it will be a simple tournament between the different forums. No professionals, no huge competition, just friendly banter reffed by qualified referees and who knows, it could be played at CoMS.

I would ask anyone decent at football and who fancies the idea of a McV football team to contact me on the email address at the bottom of the newsletter and hopefully we can pull together a good team for a good cause.

[Many moons ago McV did have a successful football team, I think run by Martin Ford, which took part in a number of games and tournaments, it would be good to get one going again! – Ed]

Alex Rowen <news(at)>


21st March at 10.30, Manchester Town Hall

I’m sure a few MCIVTA regulars would be keen to know that I’m doing a talk on the history of football in Manchester on 21st March. The talk will cover the development of Manchester football from the banning of the sport in 1608 through to the growth of the game in the 1930s. I’ll be explaining how City and United combined to stop a third Manchester side from threatening United’s existence (that’s right!); how one woman’s fight against scuttling (gang warfare) led to the formation of City; how bribery and scandal led to the near destruction of the Blues while creating the first successes of the other team, plus much more.

Obviously, it’s not purely about City but I will be doing my best to make sure everyone understands the power and strength of MCFC and that our history is given the respect it deserves. For more details check out my publisher’s website Tickets are totally free but do need to be booked in advance. It would be good to see as many Blues there as possible.

On another note…

I know it’s been discussed on messageboards and so on so want to make sure I clarify that it is true that after 6 years 8 months at City I resigned from the Club a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to do everything in a proper manner and wanted to keep news of this under control until everything was formally sorted, so for those that know me, sorry for not telling you sooner.

I have enjoyed working at City and will obviously continue to support the Club and its owners (I have been fortunate enough to meet a couple of the new Abu Dhabi based leaders of the Club including Khaldoon our Chairman and I have to say that he does appear to be a very honest, respectable man and someone I would want to work for). I obviously deeply care about City and want to ensure our history is given the respect it deserves.

I will continue to research and write about the game etc. after all that’s what I’ve done since the 1980s, many years before I arrived at the Club.

I am still passionate about City; still care about the people working there; still want to make City the world leading club (while remembering its roots); still believe that the museum and City’s heritage as a whole needs promoting to ensure people understand what this Club truly is, was and can be again; and so on. I believe I still have much to offer the Club and would dearly love to play an active and fulfilling rôle in the future.

For anyone wondering, I wasn’t ‘swept out’ of the place. I haven’t left for a different rôle elsewhere, or because I’ve got other irons in the fire. I do not have any paid work/employment lined up. I would love to use my skills to help the Club become great again. However, for my own personal well-being it is essential I take a break from my current rôle for the time being.

Thanks, Gary James <info(at)>


Although the Ghana Appeal is now officially closed I have still received some donations of kit etc. from generous Blues out there since it closed. Two kind souls have simply left kit inside my porch, which I’m more than happy with. At some stage in the future I will send out all donations of City kit or any football equipment donated.

If you’ve any old City shirts etc., please forward them to me at:
Alex Channon
Penalty Spot
81 Milner Street
M27 4AS

If you don’t live a million miles away from my home address you can also do what the 2 other bods have done and leave it in my porch.

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


We have approx. 30 seats left on the Aalborg Day Trip. If you require any further information, or to book, the booking hotline number is 0161 775 7500.

Flight Details

Thursday 19th March ’09, kick off time to be confirmed
Depart Manchester 0730 hours
Arrive Aalborg 1040 hours
Friday 20th March ’09
Depart Aalborg 0030 hours
Arrive Manchester 0145 hours
We will be flying with Jet2 again from Manchester Terminal 1
Price – £175.00

Prices are per person and includes direct flights from Manchester, transfers and all airport taxes and charges.

Match tickets are not included and should be obtained from the club in the normal way.

Michael <90-minutes(at)>


Carl is the City fan who had a horrendous accident after the Schalke game in November. After being in a coma for 3 weeks, Carl has been in a rehabilitation unit in Germany ever since. Last week he had to return to hospital for another operation and is due back at the rehabilitation unit in the next day or so. To enable his family to keep a vigil at his bedside, City fans have rallied round and organised loads of fundraising events; the next one is at the Royal British Legion, Blackley on Friday 3rd April 7pm and tickets are only £5. Compere James H Reeve. Comedian Mike Lancaster. Entertainer of the year Dom Collins. Local band the Micradotts. DJ Dave plus Tommy Booth, Mark Lillis, Paul Power and Jim Cassell. Vicky from the PR team is attending along with a player who is not travelling to Arsenal. There is loads of stuff to auction and raffle including stuff from Oasis, Ricky Hatton, Thomas Cook, MCFC, England, FA, Belle Vue Dogs, Village Hotel, El Rincon, Sapporitos and much more. If you want to join us for a fabulous night out and helping a deserving cause please phone Ian 07852 826150.

Don Price <donprice(at)>


11 March 2009

Fulham                1 - 2  Blackburn Rovers      22,259

League table to 11 March 2009 inclusive

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F   A   GD Pts
 1 Manchester Utd  27 12  1  0 30  5  8  4  2 18  7 20  5  2  48  12  36 65
 2 Chelsea         28  7  5  2 23  8 10  2  2 25  8 17  7  4  48  16  32 58
 3 Liverpool       28  8  6  0 22  8  8  4  2 23 12 16 10  2  45  20  25 58
 4 Aston Villa     28  5  7  2 20 15 10  0  4 22 14 15  7  6  42  29  13 52
 5 Arsenal         28  7  5  2 18 11  6  5  3 23 15 13 10  5  41  26  15 49
 6 Everton         28  5  5  4 20 16  7  4  3 16 12 12  9  7  36  28   8 45
 7 West Ham United 28  7  1  6 19 17  4  5  5 15 17 11  6 11  34  34   0 39
 8 Manchester City 28  9  0  5 30 12  1  5  8 15 24 10  5 13  45  36   9 35
 9 Wigan Athletic  28  6  4  4 13 12  3  4  7 14 15  9  8 11  27  27   0 35
10 Fulham          28  8  3  3 22 12  0  7  7  3 13  8 10 10  25  25   0 34
11 Bolton Wndrs    28  6  2  6 14 15  4  1  9 16 25 10  3 15  30  40 -10 33
12 Tottenham H.    28  5  5  4 15  9  3  3  8 18 24  8  8 12  33  33   0 32
13 Sunderland      28  5  3  6 16 16  3  5  6 12 20  8  8 12  28  36  -8 32
14 Hull City       28  3  3  8 15 29  5  5  4 19 21  8  8 12  34  50 -16 32
15 Blackburn R.    28  3  5  6 15 21  4  4  6 17 23  7  9 12  32  44 -12 30
16 Stoke City      28  7  4  3 17 13  0  4 10 10 31  7  8 13  27  44 -17 29
17 Newcastle Utd   28  4  6  4 20 22  2  4  8 14 23  6 10 12  34  45 -11 28
18 Portsmouth      27  5  2  7 18 22  2  5  6 11 22  7  7 13  29  44 -15 28
19 Middlesbrough   28  4  6  4 12 15  2  2 10  8 25  6  8 14  20  40 -20 26
20 West Brom A.    28  5  2  7 19 27  1  2 11  6 27  6  4 18  25  54 -29 22

With thanks to Football 365

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[1] MCIVTA Addresses

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Newsletter #1514