Newsletter #1539

Tonight we have a news summary from Alex, a few rumblings about the double standards on show in reaction to the Ronaldo deal, and a few more thoughts on players.

Heidi is due back next week, and normal service will be resumed. Until next time…

Next Game: TBA


General News

Wenger’s Warning: A slow week due to international fixtures was suddenly brought alive when Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admitted that he fears for his side’s place in the top four should City spend the sort of money that is currently being reported. With big money already spent on the likes of Robinho, Jo and Gareth Barry, Wenger acknowledged that Arsenal simply don’t have the same financial clout as the Citizens and that this may prove telling in the Premier League this season: “If Man City has a successful period in buying in the transfer market, they could fight with the top four. If they complete all the signings they announce, like Aston Villa they’ll get a bit closer. Then you have teams like Tottenham, who are on the fringe always of the top four, who maybe have an opportunity as well.”

Squad News

Micah Plans to be Right Back in the Fold: Despite not being called up to the England squad since the arrival of Fabio Capello, City right back Micah Richards believes that the Under 21’s European Championship will provide him with the perfect platform to showcase his talents to the England coach. Micah’s fledgling career took a knock this season with various uncharacteristic performances, something that Capello has taken note of and having watched United skipper Gary Neville called up ahead of him, Richards knows that he has a lot of work to do to force his way back into the international fold: “The Under-21 Championship is a great stage to test yourself against the best up-and-coming players, so there’s a lot to look forward to. We feel that we have a really good chance of doing well. I’m really looking forward to the tournament – I believe we have a squad strong enough to win it. The standard is really high and gives us a chance to play against some of the best young players in Europe. That can only help my own game and development.”

Hero or Villain? New £12 million signing Gareth Barry has put a very big smile on the faces of a lot of City fans this week and capped his own week with a goal for the English national side against Kazakhstan. Despite becoming Aston Villa’s number one hate figure this week, the new Blue Boy is expected to be the first of many great signings this summer and has summed up his week in an interview with the press: “That (goal for England) was a special moment, I don’t get many headers so I was delighted to see that one creep in. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t distracted earlier on in the week because I had other things on my mind. But as soon as it was all signed I had a chat with the manager and he just said, ‘concentrate on the game and focus’. It’s going to be my biggest season with a World Cup next summer, and that was something had to think about – I was playing regularly for Aston Villa. But the boss was very complimentary about me when we spoke and he sees me at the centre of his midfield. I’m here to help make City a major force in the Premier League and hopefully challenge for trophies. And with a World Cup at the end of it, I’m looking forward to a big season that gets me on that plane to South Africa. Once I found out I was joining City I was very excited. It’s not really sunk in yet because I’ve been on England duty, but it was a really big moment walking into the stadium this morning and knowing I’m a City player. I’ve left one big club to join another. It was a big decision for me to leave Villa after 12 years but I know I’m joining the right club at the right stage of my career and I’m really looking forward to it.”

Ireland for Ireland? With fellow City team mates Shay Given and Richard Dunne leading the way in top performances for the Irish national side of late, questions have once again arose as to whether in-form Stevie Ireland will end his two year international exile. Stevie hasn’t played for Ireland since 2007 having withdrawn from Steve Staunton’s squad due to ‘Nana-gate’. Though Stevie has never stated his intentions to return to the international fold, Giovanni Trappatoni still believes that he is the man to coax Ireland back: “We have to know if he wishes to come back or not. I saw two or three City games and I like him, and I will try all possible ways to get him to come back. I want to know what he is thinking and Mark Hughes is not sure. He said it is up to him, but we do not know.”

Valiant Valeri: Having come through two serious injuries that kept him out for the best part of two seasons, Valeri Bojinov is now seeking assurances about his future at the club. With the club being linked with ever player ever to have put the ball in the back of the net, Boji’ is fearful that his place in the starting eleven may be under threat and plans to meet with the City hierarchy in order to discuss where he stands in their plans: “I enjoy being here, and I’m very happy with City because they stood by me through injury. I would like to stay, and if I can I will, but you can’t guarantee you will play and next season is very important for me. As they say, anything is possible. I don’t think any player stays at one club forever. I respect the team but I have questions I will have to ask the gaffer. That was a big injury, but I’m better now. You want to play more games but that depends on the boss. I played 11 games and I enjoyed them, but I need to stay clear of injury, and I need a very good pre-season. Getting the goal at Tottenham was important to me. It was very difficult not to be training and not to be with the team. Every striker loves to score, so I was happy with the goal but not the result. I thought I’d get the winner.”

Booking his Flight: The Netherlands are the first European side to have booked their place in the 2010 World Cup and City midfielder Nigel de Jong is hoping that he will be a crucial part of the squad that travels to South Africa. De Jong found the back of the net for his country in the 2-1 win over Iceland and the former Hamburg man believes that his nation will be one of the favourites in next summer’s competition following six out of six wins in their qualifying group. Coach van Marwijk complimented de Jong and set out his aims for the tournament: “We have proven ourselves as a real team. Everyone said it was an easy group, but when you win six in a row that deserves a big compliment. I like the fact that we’ve qualified already, we now have lots of time to prepare for next year.”

Elano Exit? The arrival of Gareth Barry seems to have signalled the end to Elano’s reign at City and the Brazilian midfielder ha told the club that he intends to move to Inter Milan if they don’t promise him first team football. Last week Elano told of plans to meet with the club’s hierarchy and having done that the playmaker has left them with an ultimatum. Pay up or let me leave: “I had a meeting with the club’s management and I asked them if – with all the players that they plan to buy – do they value me too? I only asked that they be straight with me. If they offer me a new contract now, I stay. If not, I intend to leave, to find another club. There are some things happening, but it is not the moment of speaking of that, I am here in the national team.”

Transfer News and Rumours

Richard Dunne: Sunderland, Tottenham Hotspur and Stoke City will all go head to head this summer in a fight to secure the services of City skipper Richard Dunne. Dunne very nearly moved to Portsmouth last summer before being assured by manager Mark Hughes that he was an integral part of his coming plans but with millions of pounds in the bank to spend and a season of inconsistent performances past for Dunne, there is a belief that a bid of £5 million may just be enough to steal away the Irishman.

Gelson Fernandes: The former Swiss under-21 captain Gelson Fernandes is set to leave the club this summer as the mega bucks threaten his place in the City squad. Genoa, Bolton Wanderers and Portsmouth are all prepared to pay four million pounds for the midfielder whilst Celtic have also expressed an interest.

Edin Dzeko: Rumours continue to circulate that the Blues are close to the £12 million signing of Roque Santa Cruz or are even ready to snatch Carlos Tevez from underneath the noses of their Manchester rivals but it is the lesser known name of Edin Dzeko that has been added to the shopping list of many major European clubs this summer. Both AC Milan and Arsenal have revealed an interest in the Bosnian striker who scored 30 goals in 33 appearances for German side Wolfsburg last season. The 23-year-old was voted Germany’s footballer of the year last season and for £9 million, the player may become one of the singings of the summer.

John Carew: Dzeko isn’t the only striker on the City radar as the Blues are reported to be interested in re-uniting Gareth Barry with Villa striker John Carew. Carew, however, has denied any talk with the Blues and believes that he will be at Villa for a long time to come: “I am not thinking too much about this. There is always speculation. I would take it as a compliment if they are interested, but I am not spending much time thinking about it. For me, it is just speculation and I never respond to speculation. Even if I had heard anything I wouldn’t speak about it!”

Ze Roberto: A bottomless pit of money has led to media reports that the club is ready to sign any player that has ever kicked a ball but Paraguayan winger Ze Roberto is probably the first player to openly offer his service to the Blues without a word of interest from the club. The 34-year-old is out of contract at Bayern Munich this summer and claims that to end his career at City would be the perfect way to go out: “Manchester City is quite high up on the list. They want to play internationally and I should help them achieve that goal. I am leaving with a lot of pride. I am proud of the achievements, especially my return to Bayern after a year at Santos was extremely special. I am leaving the club through the front door and there will always be something of me with this club. Bayern is a club of my heart.”

Danny Sturridge: Contract talks with the club’s Young Player of the Season seem to have collapsed and the 19-year-old is now expected to leave in the summer. But there is a twist in the tale. Despite the label of a ‘free transfer’, should Danny Sturridge move to Chelsea, as expected, or anywhere else in fact, the club would seek to be paid a £10 million development fee. Such a fee would take into account the work that City have done to bring Sturridge through the ranks. Though the club refuse to accept that a deal cannot be reached, it seems that the £55,000 a week wage demands are a huge stumbling block and the club do not intend to be held to ransom by anyone, especially not one of their own.

Alex Rowen <news(at)>


So the arrogant, preening, cheating Ronaldo is on his way for £80 million… I sit back and wait for the Tsunami of indignant press and media reports about how this is ‘obscene’, how this is ‘ruining football’, of how it is an ‘abuse of wealth’ and all of the other drivel that got thrown at us when we dared to attempt to buy Kaka. I wait for the spiteful comments from Mark Lawrenson at every conceivable opportunity… I know I will wait and wait and wait…

Somehow this will be ‘a great piece of business’, another ‘masterstroke’ by the shrewd football genius Mr Ferguson. Another ‘piece of the jigsaw’ by Real Madrid. How the footballing world will fall to its knees and acclaim this historic transfer between two footballing giants…

I am bitter – you bet! And how can it be any other way? However, our day will come. Oh yes it will. It really will…

Ray Bardsley <rbardsley(at)>


Now that Real Madrid have money to spend, where, oh where is that French t*** Platini?

Very quiet isn’t he, or was it just that Manchester City p****d him off with our new found wealth. Talk about double standards.

Since our new owners took over, there has been a real anti-City theme in a lot of the media. Even in New Zealand, United is shown almost every week on Sky, but not City. A lot of the news on the media is very much against City’s new found wealth, but a point that is conststently overlooked is that we are not the world’s richest club, it’s our owner that has the money, the wealth. I think we are in quite good hands, unlike under the previous owner, ‘Smiling Frank’. Actually looking forward to the new season.

Kevin Williamson <scribbs(at)>


I’m compelled to place a lone and rather humble voice amidst the clamour. I don’t care much for Gareth Barry. Also, I’m questioning whether Hughes would have had any interest in him if we had a budget. The green-eyed monster in me is elated to see the over-achieving Villains knocked down a peg, but try as I might I can’t get over the fact that Bazza’s never managed to hold the status of a top class player, and for us, he only fits the requirement of being a recognised “box to box” midfielder. We want top internationals, and that ain’t Barry. Until Cappello started experimenting Bazza has been second or third rate behind a list of more talented players – to list, Gerrard; Lampard; Scholes and even Hargreaves and Carrick(!). In the England set-up he’s on the same level as Emile Heskey, being the only man to fit a technical rôle in a tactical attempt to unleash England’s superstars who we can only dream of signing. He has never been anywhere near the level of quality that I’d hoped we’d be looking towards. It reminds me horribly of one Wayne Bridge who was second string for years, until we blew a fortune signing him at which point he suddenly became advertised as a world class star, which has proven to be a load of bullhooks – he’s as lost-at-sea as all our full backs have been all year, although you could call that bad defensive tactics/ training? Will Barry be part of a different way of playing, dictating the possesion for us? Or is he just going to be another name on our list of bodge-a-job, injury plagued midfielders who Hughes can’t even pick his favourite five from, never mind the usual four?

This leads to my second worry, where will he play?

I hope the management will have had the foresight to build a system this summer and that Barry was signed because his style of play fits integrally into these planned tactics. Barry is more similar to a typical V8 all-purpose engine-room player than any player under Hughes, since Johnson started having trouble, but Hughes has seemed happy to play with two ‘tractors’ in holding midfield and hoping the nifty ‘racing cars’ up front can create something from nothing. It’ll be interesting to see who gets dropped to fit Baz in the team, one of the frail but exciting trinity (SWP, Rob, Stevie), or one of his precious but offensively limited mini-Makalele’s (NDJ or Komp). City this year have often seemed spread thin, with difficulty moving the play from the between defence and attack. Too many of our goals have come from Robinho getting bored and smacking it in or Ireland’s length of the pitch runs/passes, rather than fluid movement into dangerous areas. Is Bazza going to stop up that deficiency? Since he stepped up from full back to playmaker (back when Villa were rubbish), Barry has made a name for himself by getting an athletic and energetic team to go forward with simple play and leadership. We have much better players than the Villa who have all spent a proportion of the year chasing a game with little effect. I really can’t see Barry avoiding falling into the same trap of being sometimes solid, but often lost and covering back. I think what we desperatley need is a player who’d get the team back up for a game when we concede. Barry might have that in him. We can only wait for the soon-to-be-renamed Thomas Cook trophy to see how Hughes will mean to go on.

To be more positive, at least the manager has another midfield option apart from Gelson. Oh wait, we’ve just introduced the sublime Vlad Weiss, with Petrov and Johnson due back. Oh well, it’s off to Accrington on loan for you, Vlad. If a youngster of that calibre was at the Scum or even Villa or Everton he would be in game-plans and we’d have a long term strategy to build him into the team. Sturridge also. As I brought up a couple of weeks ago, there doesn’t seem to be room to find your feet in Hughes’ City. So many players have gone backwards and the shining light Stevie rose above through perseverence as Hughes played him out of position half the year. Tactics are inflexible and the culture is patronising and Machiavellian.

Ooh, sorry! I forgot that I can’t say that Hughes has huge flaws and isn’t the best manager we could have because some persons may think that I’m saying Hughes should be sacked and they will get cross. However, I am happy to state that I think Hughes is a beligerent, cocky and gumption-less git who is selling us out. But having umpteen managers a year is always a step back, and I force myself to remember that a team we’re routinely slating for flaws that are glaring – and therefore eventually fixable – were still of such quality that we ended only a few points off Europe (no valid excuses why we shouldn’t have been 7th or higher but I’m saying that it’s not like we were totally embarrassed). Also, it’s a big relief that Hughes’n’Co. can’t run the club into the ground because we’re financially secure. That should put a bit of a smile on your faces, even if we go down we’re not reliant on Sky money.

Paul Hunt <paul.h.a.hunt(at)>


Keep the Dunnie Monster!

After watching the Republic of Ireland playing away to Bulgaria in the World Cup Qualifier last Saturday night, I can honestly say that Hughes would be mad to get rid of Richard Dunne. Not only did he score the Republic’s only goal with a fantastic header from a corner, he also received man of the match for a vintage Dunne performance. Solid in defence, he earned Ireland a valuable away point with the match ending 1-1 but it was his defensive display that kept the Bulgarians out. Agreed, he may not have had a great season but to judge him on that alone would be harsh – if this was the benchmark then surely dumping Richards, Bridge etc. would follow. It was a delight to see Petrov back and play an important rôle for the Bulgarians but Bojinov was a worry and found himself substituted.

In Dunnie I trust!

John Coen <john.coen(at)>


Had to reply to a couple of things in MCIVTA 1538.

Firstly, Ray Bardsley – Hughes “inherited a far better team than Sven did”. On the face of it this is true, as is the spending of £100 million (although not sure you can count Jo in that, as he was already signed before Sven went, and as the papers keep telling us he had absolutely no say in signing Robinho! J), but what Hughes and the board are trying to achieve is long term success, not a one season quick-fix. This will take time, and everything I have seen and heard from the chairman, Hughes and others suggests that they understand this and are setting their goals accordingly. I’d rather see us challenging for the title and cups season after next, and then sustaining that, than having a “flash in the pan” season followed by backwards progress (seen in miniature during Sven’s reign, with the superb start followed by the awful second half of the season). As for Dunne – he wasn’t solely responsible for the 8-1 and whilst having a bad season, who else was Hughes supposed to pick? A large part of the problem we have is a lack of quality in reserve (do you really want to see Vassell and Benjani starting up front consistently?). Also, we had a pretty good European run as well this year, which undoubtedly took its toll on the squad.

Secondly, Stuart Booth – are you on a wind-up there? I doubt that Hughes will pick the new club doctor and physio on his own – in fact, I think we can be certain he’ll be getting advice. And as for knowing how many backroom staff have been sacked/replaced since Hughes came in, why is that an issue? It is normal for a new manager to bring in his own staff where he feels that they can work better together and happens at pretty much every club where a manager is changed – do you think the backroom team at, say, Sunderland will remain the same when Steve Bruce takes charge?

Thirdly, Matthew Howden is correct with his point about Guardiola – he inherited a pretty established and impressive squad, as opposed to Hughes who inherited a squad with some decent players and a whole lot of dross behind it (well, dross if you want to achieve success).

Finally, let’s just hope Gareth Barry is the first of a number of top-class players to come in this summer and help us move on to the next level.

Now let’s all get behind the team and enjoy a (hopefully) even more successful season to come…

Gareth Smith <gareth(at)>


Is this site becoming an anti Hughes site?

The fact of the matter is that he is the coach, boss, gaffer, whatever we want to call him.

Move on people. Get a life.

It’s becoming very boring and makes me wonder why these people actually support City. I’ve supported City since the late sixties and believe me we have had some real ‘turkeys’ managing this great club. Personally I would have liked Pearce given another year; he’s doing well with the under 21’s, and that leads me into the next point. Maybe the Under 21’s want to learn, whereas with City’s side, egos played a big part in our up and down season.

I believe most of the blame for our season falls on several ‘foreign’ players of exceptional ability, but wherever they go, trouble follows them. Gareth Barry is a great buy, a class player with a decent left foot, and can take a penalty or two.

So let Hughes coach, and get off his back. Better still, support another club! We have to show others that we are looking for stability, not hiring and firing every year.

Kevin Williamson <scribbs(at)>


On Sat 13th June a group of City fans are meeting at a recording studio at the Abraham Moss Centre, Cheetham Hill at 12-45pm to record a CD. All profits will go to the Carl Ramsbottom Appeal. The CD will be a mixture of songs, City songs and chants and a bit of comedy. All welcome so are any ideas and help will be needed to sell the CD.

Don Price <donprice(at)>

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Newsletter #1539