Newsletter #1520

News tonight from Alex on the international Blues’ action, the Hamburg tie sell-out and yet more fixture changes.

We have opinion on the Brazilian duo, London travel and plenty of requests as you can imagine for the Hamburg games.

Next Game: Arsenal, away, 3pm Saturday 4 April 2009


General News

Sell Out:Following previous European attendances of around 25,000 a game, the Club’soffer of a ‘kid for a quid’ and ‘five pounds for five days’ has opened thefloodgates to a full house. After queues around the stadium and a system melt-down,the 48,000 tickets have been sold and Hughes believes that the capacitycrowd can cheer the Blues on to victory in their second leg against Hamburg SV:“It’s been a fantastic response to a big thank you from the club to our fans.We really appreciate their marvellous support, and in the current financialclimate a lot of fans have to pick and choose their games. Now they have anopportunity to bring friends and family and all enjoy a special occasion. Theteam will also benefit because hopefully we’ll get a full house for the gameand that could make the difference in going through to the semis. We have ahuge support and they need to be our 12th man that night.”

Head of the Club’s Supporter Experience Danny Wilson expressed his delight with the sell out crowd: “We are obviously delighted by the unprecedented interest and demand for tickets. We wanted to get the stadium full and rocking for the team. Hamburg will sell out their allocation of just under 3,000. They wanted 6,000 but they didn’t get them. The Box Office staff were just fantastic. The phone lines were melting and the Internet service almost ground to a halt first thing in the morning, but we soon got that rectified and then we were motoring.”

Success for City: Throughout the season, Hughes has been subject to questions in the media as to whether he is the man to take the club forward and at Christmas, with City lying in the relegation zone, it took a vote of confidence from the board to end speculation that the Welshman was soon for the chop. Now the manager has told of his desire to be successful and ensure that the club has some silverware to fill the trophy cabinet as soon as he can: “I said from Day One that I’m a professional football manager – my experience as a player and manager is there, it will always shape what you try to be in the future. But people should understand what I am about. My focus is totally on making Manchester City a success in the future. I work all the hours that God gives us to make sure that happens. If everything comes together as we feel it will do, then we will be successful. It would give me enormous pleasure to be successful here. I could very easily have shied away from this rôle, but I wasn’t prepared to do that because I knew what could happen here if I could get it going. I’m very impressed by how much progress has already been made throughout the club. It’s been a huge year for everybody at the club. There have been brave changes when we could have pottered around and remained as we were. But in the end, we wouldn’t have been able to sustain any success we had. The way the club is now, the structure and the people in key positions, the club can only get better. It is being driven with pace. I’ve been very impressed by what I’ve been hearing, and the plans in place for the future will ensure that when success comes – and it will – it will be here for a long time. “

Summer Shuffle: With millions of pounds at his disposal, Mark Hughes is preparing for a summer spending spree come July. However, he has stated that whilst there will inevitably be players joining and players leaving the club, the Academy stars will still be given the chance to graduate into the senior side: “Squad planning still goes on, because after a transfer window has closed you look at what you feel are the strengths and weaknesses of the squad as it now stands, and then you plan accordingly. It’s not an exact science. Sometimes the players you feel will help the cause are not available; some players already at the club will be coming to the end of their contracts, and you have to make a decision on them. But it’s also about what talent is coming up through the ranks. You have to make sure that the progress of your younger players is in place, so there are a lot of factors to throw into the mix when planning. We haven’t shed that many players. The numbers are edging up, but the young players are coming through that we want to see progress to the first team. The process has started but it’s by no means completed yet.”

Kick-Off Change: Again, due to the reasons undisclosed by the powers that be, a City home fixture has been put back on the schedule, though bizarrely by only ten minutes. The Easter Sunday fixture against Fulham will now begin at 4.10pm rather than the planned 4pm start.

Squad News

SWP-ly the Best: Ever since the return of the club’s prodigal son, the CoMS crowd waits with bated breath each time SWP gains possession of the ball and his return has had the effect that everyone expected. The winger, who moved to Chelsea for £21 million before returning to Manchester following a tough spell in London, looks like he’s never been gone and Hughes has spoken of how good it is for the club to have him back: “He just loves football, I think that’s the top and bottom of it, and it’s plain for everybody to see. There are times when he plays when maybe he shouldn’t. But even then, he puts in performances that have an impact on the game. We’re delighted that he’s back. Him being here again has been great for everybody at the club. A lot of people know him from his years coming up through the ranks, and they all have a great deal of time and affection for Shaun. He’s come back to the club as a better player as well, which makes it even better. Of all the deals that I’ve done, Shaun is up there with the best.”

Bulgarian Express On Track: It was Martin Petrov’s goal way back in July in the Faroe Islands that set the Blues off on their so-far successful European campaign and now it seems that the Bulgarian winger is only weeks away from return. Having suffered severe knee ligament damage and combative surgery, the man whose pace and skill set CoMS alight last season will hopefully play again before the end of the season. Sparky explained: “He’s on track now. There was a bit of concern a couple of weeks ago about the knee but the specialist found it was just the stitching inside the knee. Maybe it was irritating the ligament. But he had an injection popped into it and that cleared it up. Now it’s just a case of getting games into him. He’s a fit guy and not the type to put too much weight on. Hopefully he’ll be an option very soon. Sometimes in a long, hard season there’s a dip, and you’ll see that in certain players. If you’ve got the option just to take them out of the firing line, that’s great to have. We’ve got players who are itching to get back into the side and that’s going to be a real boost.”

Zab’ Snub Mad! Diego Maradona visited England only two months back to visit his new captain Javier Mascherano of Liverpool and Argentinean star Carlos Tevez at Manchester United, and yet his blatant omission was that of City’s most impressive performer of recent months, Pablo Zabaleta. Zab’, who has been Hughes’ most versatile player this season, having performed well at right back and right wing before settling in a defensive midfield rôle, was missed out of Maradona’s 23-man Argentina squad and clearly he was dearly missed as the South American side were hammered 6-1 at the hands of Bolivia. Zabaleta’s club manager was completely bemused by the oversight: “I’m surprised, given the season that he has had. He’s been outstanding ever since he’s come here from Spain. He’s also shown his versatility for us, something that I feel is a real asset in a player. He’s able to adapt to a variety of positions. So sometimes you can change formation without having to make substitutions if you have a player of Zaby’s flexibility on the pitch. That’s a good trait to have, and Pablo is a great help in that respect. His performances levels in midfield this season have been excellent, while his performance at full back goes without saying. I think Maradona is aware of him. It’s his decision. As managers we stand or fall by our decisions, and so will he.”

Transfer News and Gossip

Ryan McGivern: Young full back McGivern looked set to join Hartlepool until the end of this season this week until the move fell apart when it was revealed that he would be needed in case of serious injury to Wayne Bridge. The Northern Irish international, who was a key member of that FA Youth Cup winning side last season, has been told that following Bridge’s recent ‘niggles’, he may be drafted into the senior squad and will therefore remain at CoMS. McGivern spoke of what he thought of the transfer collapse: “I am a little bit disappointed as I would be getting first team games. But the good thing is that the manager wants to keep me involved and training with the first-team squad. I will try and make the most of it. You can only learn from people like Robinho and Stephen Ireland, who has been our best player this season. Robinho is exactly the same in training as he is on the pitch – full of tricks. He has the quickest feet I’ve ever seen.”

The City boss gave his reasoning behind the decision: “Ryan is progressing really well and I’m delighted we’ve signed him. The initial idea was that he would go on loan before the end of the season or we’d possibly get him out there next year. But it’s better now to keep him closer to the first-team squad until the end of the season and see how he does. There may be more of an opportunity for him than he thinks, because he’s a promising player who’s doing really well. Next year we’ll be looking to get him a decent loan period with a good club, but for now we’ll keep him close.”

International Blues

International Round-Up: Whilst Zabaleta was omitted from the Argentinean squad, many of the club’s other stars went on their travels with their respective countries and made impressions in one way or another. Though it looked as if SWP’s injury would keep him out for a few weeks to come, Shaun did miss England’s 4-0 trouncing of Slovakia but did come on in the latter stages of the Ukraine victory but Vincent Kompany’s fitness problems allowed him only very minimal involvement for the Belgium national side. Bellamy’s Wales squad lost at home to Finland, which led him to claim that the country’s journey to the World Cup had ended in failure despite the various games ahead. Bellamy then missed the Germany game through injury. Shay Given and Richard Dunne had a mixed week, with a draw against Bulgaria for the Republic of Ireland – in which club skipper Dunne headed his side into the lead – and a last minute goal earned ROI a point against World Champions Italy. The battle of the South Americans ended with Felipe Caicedo’s Ecuador far outclassing a Brazil side consisting of Elano and Robinho but only coming away with a point to show for it.

All Hart: City’s second ‘keeper Joe Hart has told of his joy of playing for his country, even if only at Under 21 level, and of his intention to end the summer with a trophy. Hart, who will most likely to sit it out on the bench should City’s European adventure end in Istanbul, has been a common fixture in Stuart Pearce’s young Lions squad and aims to be successful in the Under 21 European Championships this year: “It’s good to be in this squad, I love seeing the boys. I still class myself as an Under-21s player and I’m looking forward to getting ready for the summer. It’s given me a massive confidence boost to be involved with the senior team. I haven’t had a chance to play this season, but to watch how the team go about what they do, representing their country and the pressure that comes with it, has really given me an insight. I think the team we have now would hold their own in the Premier League. Most of the lads have first-team experience and we’re really strong in every position. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to play and bring home the trophy in the summer.”

Academy Blues

The Road to Dallas: City’s under 18 squad have flown out to the USA this week in order to compete in the prestigious Dallas Cup competition. The Blues, who received their invitation based on last season’s FA Youth Cup victory, will face some of the world’s best young sides whilst being officiated by some of the world’s up and coming young refs. Jim Cassell’s side will face a show stopping fixture against Italian Youth Champions AC Milan on Sunday and will go on to play at least four other fixtures against the tournament’s quality sides. Academy Manager Cassell told of his pride: “It’s an honour for us to be invited to such a prestigious tournament. The age group is Under-19 but we’ll take a younger squad to give them experience. It will help to educate the younger ones about playing against foreign opposition.”

Alex Rowen <news(at)>


I just wanted to throw this into the Robinho saga. We all know how much we paid for him, and what is he worth now?

How much did we pay for Stephen Ireland? We all know how much, and what is he worth now?

Which player would we miss the most? I don’t think it takes much to work that out.

Are there any more Blues in LA; if so please give me a shout, I’ve been here 10 years, haven’t met one.

CTID, Neale Sinclair <nealejohn(at)>


Hamburgers are becoming a favourite food for City fans building up to next week’s UEFA Cup game in Hamburg.

Robhino limped off in the Brazilian game twenty minutes from time, no reports as I write this, just hope that he will be fit for the cup game in Hamburg. His team mate Elano came through OK and set up Brazil’s second goal in their 3-0 victory.

Sparky will be anxious to get all his international players back from across the world; he will not be able to name a team for the Arsenal game until they all report back and are fit.

For Robinho to miss the Arsenal game, one could say he does not play well away from home in the Premier League but he is such a great player you never know what he will do next, he can come up with that magic touch and change a game.

Come on you Blues! In Sparky I trust.

Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)>


Re. Eurocarparks public information notice about the re-opened Bayswater Road Coach park.

“The coach park is only a 12 minuet drive to Chelsea, 15 minuets to Fulham and only 9 minuets to QPR.”

As a native west Londoner I should warn you that this lady’s geography and sense of time is as shaky as her spelling, so don’t make any plans based on her estimates. You’d make it to the named grounds in those timings if you had a jetpack, but then I guess you wouldn’t be looking for coach parking anyway…

Roly Allen <twobelts(at)>


Thank you for brightening up my day with the information about London Coach Parking: “The coach park is only a 12 minuet drive to Chelsea, 15 minuets to Fulham and only 9 minuets to QPR.”

I had a great mental image of all the football fans delicately dancing their way to the games. To quote Wikipedia:

“A minuet, sometimes spelled menuet, is a social dance of French origin for two persons, usually in 3/4 time. The word was adapted from Italian minuetto and French menuet, meaning small, pretty, delicate …”


T.R.Rhodes <T.Rhodes(at)>


Not posted for a bit but noticed a guy selling his parking spaces in the Bayswater area for games at Chelsea, Fulham and QPR.

Well let’s hope that we don’t have to go to QPR unless they come up but can you imagine playing Chelsea or Fulham away on the day that Millwall go to QPR or some other Neanderthal bunch of supporters?

I’ve heard of segregation in football grounds but I wonder if they have segregation in the parking lots!

On another subject, Darren Wareing you are spot on with Hughes and Robinho. Hughsie must be given time and Robinho can ship out now for me. Even Elano is outperforming him and that’s saying something!

Final point, I still don’t understand why it costs £1.75 to book a ticket online yet it costs nothing to queue up and pay at the window, which must cost more in staff? Isn’t the Internet supposed to cut down on costs, which therefore could be passed on?

P.S. Does anyone know Howard Jones (City fan, of course) who used to live in Dukinfield in the 70’s?

John Nisbet <nisbet1957(at)>


Hi, we’ve just been let down on 1 ticket for Arsenal game? If anybody has one going spare would be greatly appreciated. You can contact me on 02072978154 or email. Thanks.

Paul Warburton <paulw(at)>


Hello, I am looking for two tickets for the home leg vs. Hamburg in two weeks’ time. I am a seasoncard holder but was away on holiday when tickets were released and my seat was sold by the time I returned!

Require two tickets but would buy a single. Thanks very much!

Matthew Moxey <matthewmaxey(at)>


Does anyone have a spare ticket for the home tie against Hamburg? Colin Bell stand lower tier would be a dream!

If you can help please drop me a line. Thanks in advance.

Ray Bardsley <rbardsley(at)>


Looking for anyone with points to get Hamburg away tickets (if there are any left on Friday). I have enough for one but need tickets for my wife and daughter (yes, accommodation/travel booked).

Anyone who can help it would be greatly appreciated.

Gary King <gary.king(at)>


I have flights and hotel booked for Hamburg, but no ticket. I’m looking for one ticket, can anyone help? Please mail or call on 07771 680641.

Pete Hamblett <Peter.Hamblett(at)>


If your fans still need beds for the 9th of April we have still beds available from €19,50 plus one-off charge €2,00 for bedlinen (and of course we’ll serve cold beer and are just 10 minutes away from Reeperbahn).

Kind regards from Hamburg St. Pauli.

Tanja Bahr – Hostelmanager, Backpackers St. Pauli <info(at)>


On Wednesday April 1st, about 5 months after suffering a horrific injury after watching City at Schalke, Carl finally returned to the UK. Carl was actually in a coma for over 3 weeks and it was an agonising time for his family and friends. Carl’s twin brother Andrew played an important rôle and maintained a vigil by his bedside. Other family members and friends kept making visits to Germany to visit him and aid in his recovery. Manchester City fans in particular and football fans in general rallied round and organised fundraising events and collections to help alleviate the financial hardship and to help Andrew stay put in Germany. Hull City fans donated £70. Schalke fans raised over £2,500. Schalke’s President donated £1,000. MCFC’s Garry Cook made a substantial private donation. Liverpool and Everton fans raised over £3,500. The Heywood supporters’ branch raised over £1,200. Supporters’ branches up and down the country as well as Ireland sent in cheques. A City fan based in Dubahi sent in £200. A Collection at the ground raised £1,800 while one in 4 pubs near the ground raised £1,200. A collection outside the Fernhurst Pub at Blackburn raised £600. Bluemoon and Bluewatch websites played a football game and raised about £350. and raised about £350 as well. Tony from Low Cost Fights and Spike from Flight Options also made large donations.

The magnificent thing about the fundraising was there was no organisation behind it. People were doing things without being asked or told; they knew money had to be raised and just got out there and did it. I felt City were a bit slow at first to get involved but once they did they were brilliant and individual players did their bit as well: we got a signed shirt from Robinho, Wayne Bridge and Stephen Ireland. Shay Given also donated a pair of signed gloves and Mark Hughes sent in a training top. Anne from the Football Supporters’ Association set up a Carl Ramsbottom blog spot and Facebook site. A Cabaret Night was held on April 3rd and it was a sell out weeks beforehand. Ricky Hatton and Oassis also sent in prizes as did a load of local restaurants. It just shows even in these hard financial times that ordinary working class people are quick to rally round in times of need. A special note of thanks has to go to Mark Crump from liverpool (Carl now lives there) who visited Carl in Germany several times and organised the private plane to bring Carl home. The plane alone cost about £5,000 to hire. Many thanks to everyone else for their support, especially Vicky from MCFC. All the websites, fanzines, blogspots and supporters’ branches. You all did Carl and his family proud and let us hope it is not too long till he can thank you himself at the stadium. Best wishes everyone.

Don Price <donprice(at)>


League table to 01 April 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  29 12  1  1 31  9  8  4  3 18  9 20  5  4  49  18  31 65
 2 Liverpool       30  9  6  0 27  8  9  4  2 27 13 18 10  2  54  21  33 64
 3 Chelsea         30  8  5  2 24  8 10  2  3 25  9 18  7  5  49  17  32 61
 4 Arsenal         30  8  5  2 22 11  7  5  3 26 16 15 10  5  48  27  21 55
 5 Aston Villa     30  5  7  3 21 17 10  0  5 22 19 15  7  8  43  36   7 52
 6 Everton         30  6  5  4 23 17  7  4  4 17 14 13  9  8  40  31   9 48
 7 Wigan Athletic  30  7  4  4 14 12  4  4  7 16 16 11  8 11  30  28   2 41
 8 West Ham United 30  7  2  6 19 17  4  6  5 16 18 11  8 11  35  35   0 41
 9 Fulham          30  9  3  3 24 12  1  7  7  6 14 10 10 10  30  26   4 40
10 Manchester City 30 10  0  5 31 12  1  5  9 15 25 11  5 14  46  37   9 38
11 Tottenham H.    30  6  5  4 16  9  4  3  8 20 25 10  8 12  36  34   2 38
12 Bolton Wndrs    30  6  2  7 15 18  4  2  9 17 26 10  4 16  32  44 -12 34
13 Hull City       30  3  4  8 16 30  5  5  5 19 22  8  9 13  35  52 -17 33
14 Sunderland      30  5  3  7 17 18  3  5  7 12 21  8  8 14  29  39 -10 32
15 Portsmouth      29  6  2  7 20 23  2  6  6 12 23  8  8 13  32  46 -14 32
16 Stoke City      30  8  4  3 18 13  0  4 11 11 34  8  8 14  29  47 -18 32
17 Blackburn R.    30  3  6  6 16 22  4  4  7 17 27  7 10 13  33  49 -16 31
18 Newcastle Utd   30  4  6  5 21 25  2  5  8 15 24  6 11 13  36  49 -13 29
19 Middlesbrough   30  4  7  4 13 16  2  2 11  8 26  6  9 15  21  42 -21 27
20 West Brom A.    30  5  3  7 20 28  1  3 11  6 27  6  6 18  26  55 -29 24

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1520