Newsletter #1534

Another season over as we finish with a home win and mid-table on 50 points, one place and 5 points lower than last season.

Tonight we have opinion on what next, where are we now and a look back at last season together with the usual requests.

As the 10th anniversary of our Wembley visit fast approaches, congratulations to the three teams victorious in the play-off finals over the weekend: Gillingham, Scunthorpe and Burnley.

Next Game: TBA


A few observations about some of the opinions expressed in the last issue of MCIVTA. I will try my best to keep this brief:

  1. I understand the excitement about having such rich owners, but let’s try toavoid getting too carried away about who we would and wouldn’t like to see in aCity shirt. It’s not our decision, it never will be and nor should it be. Sofar, Hughes has personally been responsible for the arrivals of Zabaleta,Kompany, de Jong, Given, Bridge and Bellamy as far as I can make out. I didn’tknow a great deal about half of those players beforehand but they’re allclearly very strong, hard-working men with a good team ethic (and I use theword ‘men’ very carefully in football nowadays). They don’t have much previouswith other English clubs (Bellamy and Given aside, of course), so they lookready to immerse themselves in the club and dedicate the best years of theircareers to City. Therefore, I’m perfectly happy with our progress on that frontand I think we should expect and embrace more of the same over the summer,without indulging in any wild speculation about players who clearly don’t fitthe same profile. So ignore the speculation in the papers, and stop speculatingyourselves, just chill out and enjoy the ride.
  2. If the owners wish to break this strategy to increase the club’s profilewith another trophy signing like Robinho, they are perfectly entitled to do so.My personal opinion is that the manager is happy to accommodate someone ofRobinho’s talent, so long as he eventually gets to manage him his own way byisolating the player from any potential negative influences. Soon enough, thestandards of professionalism being set by some of the new faces will become thenorm, and the culture will start to rub off on young Robson de Souza. Only thenmight we begin to see some consistency from a player who is quite right tobelieve he can be the best in the world. If Elano (or whoever) is shown thedoor this summer, try to understand why. This isn’t a game of ChampionshipManager, you don’t just assemble the 11 most talented players you can find andmould them into an effective unit overnight. Players in this day and age havetoo much power, so you have to get the right personalities into the dressingroom if you wish to have some control over the standards being set. It’s aprocess that takes time.
  3. I’ve heard quite a lot of criticism flying around that Hughes is tacticallyinept but you can level this accusation at any manager when results aren’tgoing particularly well. The time to start judging him in this respect is threeor four years down the line. Look at Ferguson, he has infuriated United fanswith some of his decisions down the years. Nobody had the foggiest idea what hewas trying to do with Ronaldo and Rooney at first. And Giggs in centre midfieldwhat was that all about? Then suddenly they start winning trophies again and itall transpires to be part of some cunning master plan. There’s nothingparticularly wrong with playing players out of position, so long as the managerhas his reasons and the problems correct themselves over time. Besides, someplayers prefer to be tested in different rôles because it allows them tounderstand other aspects of the game and makes them better players in the longrun. Unfortunately, to appreciate this, you have to appreciate that successfulteams are built over a period of time, not just thrown together overnight.
  4. Some attention has been given to the number of injuries we have suffered andhow this reflects badly on the manager’s backroom team and training methods. Onthis matter, I will simply express my belief that most injuries are the resultof psychological-based factors such as stress and anxiety. Clubs regularly pickup more injuries during a period of transition following the appointment of anew manager because players are often unsettled by the arrival of new faces andthe change in dressing room dynamic. They want to play at their peak in orderto justify themselves but often break down as a result of being too tense andputting themselves under too much pressure. This isn’t happening because of anyshortcomings in the training regime and I’m staggered to think some peopleactually believe this to be the case in this day and age. Personally, I thinkthe problems we’ve experienced with injuries this season will ease up overtime, once we establish a settled squad and the players who remain becomereassured by their rôles within that squad.

I should point out that I make all of these observations with a level of detachment that I’ve never experienced before. I moved out to Spain last summer, so for the first time in over 20 years I speak as somebody who no longer has to fork out £30 every week to watch the team play and I appreciate that, in times of financial crisis, people are probably demanding a bit more for their money on a Saturday/Sunday afternoon.

Nonetheless, I’ve actually been rather taken aback by how unwilling some fans are to look at the bigger picture. Personally, I couldn’t be more calm about the situation because, for once, we’re actually being run by people who seem to know exactly what they’re doing and I’m willing to wait another few years if that’s how long it takes to get everything just right in the pursuit of sustained success.

Hell, we’ve waited this long, so what’s the rush?

Mike Holden <mike(at)>


I note with interest and dare I say renewed enthusiasm the comments made by the chairman and the owner of their desire to see Mark Hughes remain as manager for next season. When they are presented in the cold light of day we have had 10 managers in 15 seasons. That is a terrible statistic and one that shouldn’t be expanded upon. One only has to think logically and suggest that it takes time to forge a relationship with players and management. It takes time to develop an understanding of players’ (people’s?) expectations, abilities and attitude. It also takes time for a series of players to become a team and work to a collective aim. Looking at other successful teams such as United, Arsenal and Liverpool shows success. Would I trade Liverpool’s lack of Premier League titles but their ability to challenge in all competitions for our lack of success? Of course. Same applied to Arsenal and Chelsea. They are contenders, although Chelsea are probably a rare exception. We need consistency to succeed and develop. Far too often managers are fired without being given half a chance.

Another statistic to suggest we are growing can be found on MCFC website. Look at our goal scoring stats for this season in all competitions: Robinho with 15, Ireland with 13. Last season our highest goal scorer had 10, the next was 6. For those that have criticized Robinho then perhaps this might make them think a little. With another decent striker we could have done much better. Even 3 more goals away would have given us 3 to 9 points more and a European place. The margins this season, as ever, are tight.

It is true that we do need to strengthen the squad in all areas and we are going to be big spenders. With enough support from the moneymen and influence we can improve to a top 6 spot next season. Elano has started to come back into form. This is probably due to him playing more games, but could it also be due to settling into the new management ideas, training, tactics etc.

I think MH will work a lot in the closed season on new players but also on his own tactics and management style. Next season could and should be much better. On the face of it we won’t be higher up the table than at the end of the 2007/08 season but by digging deeper into the results, players and management may suggest more stability and therefore greater development and success going forward.

I’m not 100% convinced yet about MH but I’m willing to support his efforts and the club’s next season. With greater positive fan support the feelings may spread to the players and you would hope give them the confidence to play more consistently?

Chris Marland <Chris.Marland(at)>


Tenth. Can’t say I’m over the moon. But I’m not devastated either. The jury is still out on Hughes but I am optimistic. The Hughes bashers will no doubt say we’re going backwards, since we finished 9th last season. But then of course that’s not the whole story. We were a team on the slide when Sven was ousted, having lost 8-1 to a Middlesbrough side that got relegated this season.

Eight-One. To Middlesbrough. Whenever the love-Sven, hate-Hughes brigade talk about the “tactically inept”, “insipid displays” of Hughes, criticizing his “inability to motivate” etc. just remember those two numbers. Eight. One. Nothing like that happened this season.

Sven didn’t do badly, though, with respect to “drubbings”. If you count a drubbing as a win by a three goal difference or more, we were only drubbed twice in the Premier League under Sven, by Chelsea and by Middlesbrough. We did not dish out any drubbings under Sven though.

Under Hughes, we dished out 5 drubbings, including a 3-0 defeat of Arsenal. We didn’t receive any in the Premier League (though we received one at the hands of lowly Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup).

However, we are one place down from last season. And we scored 5 more points under Sven. That said, we finished with a goal difference of -8 last season, compared to +8 this season. So we scored 16 more goals than we conceded compared to last year.

We scored 45 goals last season. This season, we scored 40 just at home, with an additional 18 away. Last year, we conceded 53 goals. This year only 50.

If I’ve added up right, then in the first half of Sven’s reign, we clocked up 35 points. Projected over the whole season, that would have been 70 points and would have put us 5th. The first half of life under Sven was, as everyone knows, great.

If I’ve added up right, then in the second half of Sven’s reign, we clocked up 20 points. Projected over the whole season, that would have been 40 points and would have put us 14th or 15th and in a relegation dogfight towards the end, which, to Sven’s credit, we would have survived.

The perhaps uncharitable lesson is that players thrown together play better than when they have been coached by Sven for 6 months. I don’t know why that would be. Maybe Sven’s training sessions were too laid back, and the players were fitter when they had just come from Pearce’s regime and from other clubs. Who knows? In any case, despite a bright start, we appeared to be going backwards over Sven’s time as a whole. Though one season is I think too little to judge anyone.

If I’ve added up right, then in the first half of Hughes’ reign, we clocked up 21 points. One point better than in the second half under Sven. Projected over the whole season, that would have been 42 points and we would have finished somewhere around 13th, with something of a dogfight. So after Sven left, we continued to be bad under Hughes, but ever-so-slightly better than in the latter half of Sven’s reign.

But if I’ve added up right, then in the second half of Hughes’ season we clocked up 29 points. Projected over the whole season, that would put us on 58 points and clearly in 7th. So the team as a whole improved by 6 places between the first and second halves of Hughes season. Meaning, it would seem, that the team is getting steadily better under Hughes. However, we did not end as good as we were in the first half of Sven’s reign, for whatever that’s worth.

I might have added up wrong. I just did it by hand.

All in all, then, I’m optimistic. If we continue to improve at the rate of 6 places per half season (which we won’t) then, given that we were 7th best in the last half, we will just be edging the top of the Premier League by Christmas and we will have run away with it by the end of the season. That’s not going to happen, obviously, but we should be optimistic about a top 6 finish next year.

Bernard Molyneux <molyneux(at)>


When City had sponsors EIDOS, it didn’t take the vermin (United supporters) long to come up with Eleven Idiots Dreaming Of Success.

So it was a relief when we got a new sponsor, Thomas Cook. A reputable company and even them s**theads at Old Nafford couldn’t make up something from that.

So what do they go and do? Sign up a new deal with Etihad Airlines. Firstly, I’ve never heard of them although I suppose it doesn’t matter if they’ve got the wonga.

But look at the name! Beginning with E then T Eleven T***ers! It won’t take them long to figure out the rest of it.

Only City could shoot themselves in the foot!

John Nisbet <nisbet1957(at)>


There are still plenty of places available for teams to enter the 5-a-side competition to be held at the Platt Lane Complex on Saturday 13th June, 10am start.

Entrance is £25 per team with all the money going to Carl’s family to help them through a difficult time. Closing date for entry is Saturday 30th May.

Cheques made payable to MCCSA should be forwarded to to me:
Alex Channon
‘Penalty Spot’
81 Milner Street
M27 4AS

All enquiries regarding the 5-a-side should be directed to me before Friday 29th May.

Referees Wanted

I’m still desperate to get hold of referees who will officiate for free in order that all money goes to Carl’s family. If the referees out there in MCIVTA-land would contact me to offer your services I’d be more than grateful. Or if any subscriber could put a referee in touch with me I’d be equally grateful.

Alex Channon <alexchannon81(at)>


24 May 2009

Arsenal               4 - 1  Stoke City            60,082
Aston Villa           1 - 0  Newcastle United      42,585
Blackburn Rovers      0 - 0  West Bromwich Albion  28,389
Fulham                0 - 2  Everton               25,497
Hull City             0 - 1  Manchester United     24,945
Liverpool             3 - 1  Tottenham Hotspur     43,937
Manchester City       1 - 0  Bolton Wanderers      47,202
Sunderland            2 - 3  Chelsea               42,468
West Ham United       2 - 1  Middlesbrough         34,007
Wigan Athletic        1 - 0  Portsmouth            17,696

League table to 24 May 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  38 16  2  1 43 13 12  4  3 25 11 28  6  4  68  24  44 90
 2 Liverpool       38 12  7  0 41 13 13  4  2 36 14 25 11  2  77  27  50 86
 3 Chelsea         38 11  6  2 33 12 14  2  3 35 12 25  8  5  68  24  44 83
 4 Arsenal         38 11  5  3 31 16  9  7  3 37 21 20 12  6  68  37  31 72
 5 Everton         38  8  6  5 31 20  9  6  4 24 17 17 12  9  55  37  18 63
 6 Aston Villa     38  7  9  3 27 21 10  2  7 27 27 17 11 10  54  48   6 62
 7 Fulham          38 11  3  5 28 16  3  8  8 11 18 14 11 13  39  34   5 53
 8 Tottenham H.    38 10  5  4 21 10  4  4 11 24 35 14  9 15  45  45   0 51
 9 West Ham United 38  9  2  8 23 22  5  7  7 19 23 14  9 15  42  45  -3 51
10 Manchester City 38 13  0  6 40 18  2  5 12 18 32 15  5 18  58  50   8 50
11 Wigan Athletic  38  8  5  6 17 18  4  4 11 17 27 12  9 17  34  45 -11 45
12 Stoke City      38 10  5  4 22 15  2  4 13 16 40 12  9 17  38  55 -17 45
13 Bolton Wndrs    38  7  5  7 21 21  4  3 12 20 32 11  8 19  41  53 -12 41
14 Portsmouth      38  8  3  8 26 29  2  8  9 12 28 10 11 17  38  57 -19 41
15 Blackburn R.    38  6  7  6 22 23  4  4 11 18 37 10 11 17  40  60 -20 41
16 Sunderland      38  6  3 10 21 25  3  6 10 13 29  9  9 20  34  54 -20 36
17 Hull City       38  3  5 11 18 36  5  6  8 21 28  8 11 19  39  64 -25 35
18 Newcastle Utd   38  5  7  7 24 29  2  6 11 16 30  7 13 18  40  59 -19 34
19 Middlesbrough   38  5  9  5 17 20  2  2 15 11 37  7 11 20  28  57 -29 32
20 West Brom A.    38  7  3  9 26 33  1  5 13 10 34  8  8 22  36  67 -31 32

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1534