Newsletter #1543

News tonight on the latest transfer ins and outs including Taylor, Santa Cruz, Hart and Sturridge. Blues instrumental in the European U21 tournament and ex-Blues’ news.

We have opinion on the transfers, team, players past and present and the usual requests.

Next Game: TBA


General News

Galactico City: With new Real Madrid President Floretino Perez spending huge sums of money on Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka, Real Madrid are planning their second generation of Galactico stars but British record signing Robinho believes that with a couple more big name signings, City will have their own Galacticos. Carlos Tevez has refused to speak to Liverpool and declared his intention to leave Manchester United so that now the Blues will go head to head with Roman Abramovic’s Chelsea for the Argentinean striker. Robinho has told the press that City’s top target this summer should be Barcelona forward Samuel Eto’o who is yet to commit to the European Champions and if the Cameroonian does make his way to Manchester, ‘Robbie’ expects a new era of football for City fans: “If Eto’o comes too he will add even more talent to the squad. We need four top-quality forwards because the season is so tough in England. I hope the club keep signing players with that quality. If so, we will be almost unbeatable. A player like Santa Cruz is more than welcome and I’ve heard a deal for Carlos will be sorted very soon. That would be great because Tevez is a world-class talent and I would be happy to play alongside him. It is very good to know my club is going for top-quality players like these. Now I hope we can get Eto’o as well. Is the club chasing too many strikers? No, I don’t think so – Manchester City want to be among the top teams in the Premier League and in Europe. To do that they must have at least three or maybe four top-quality strikers. The season in England, with the league and the cups, all the games we play is very demanding. But I’m not scared of the competition. If Santa Cruz and Eto’o come to City, they are talented players and I will work as always to make sure of my spot in the team. We want to make City the biggest club in Manchester and win titles, as many as possible.”

Banana Skin Blues: For long enough the Premier League has been dominated by a ‘top four’, now it seems that three or four sides are set to spoil the party. Everton and Aston Villa provided competition for the likes of Hiddink and Ferguson last season but this year Spurs and City will be added to the mix with former Liverpool legend John Aldridge fearing that City will be tough opposition for all the top sides this year: “I think Manchester City are going to be a banana skin for all the teams this season. If Mark Hughes can get the right blend of players in this summer and they click together, City could make a big impression this campaign. I’ve got a feeling they could prove to be tough opposition for all of the top teams.”

Foe Remembered: In a special moment before the Confederations Cup final next week, former Manchester City midfielder Marc Vivien Foe’s death will be commemorated. Foe died in 2003 when he collapsed during the Confederations Cup semi-final for his country Cameroon vs. Columbia and now the man who was set to sign for the Blues after the international tournament will be remembered by the Ellis Park crowd: “Just before the kick-off when the teams are assembled in the middle of the field, we will have a message to the world about what happened. It was a very sad and tragic event, but what has come out of it is that football learnt about cardiological diseases. In the meantime we have addressed the problem and although it is impossible to control the millions and millions of football players in the world, at least in FIFA competitions not only at the highest level, but also lower down, we are trying to prevent similar tragedies. One of the legacies of Marc-Vivien Foe’s unfortunate death and having the World Cup in Africa is that FIFA is providing medical care and aid where we possibly can.”

Transfer News and Rumours

Christmas Come Early: After twelve months of chasing Blackburn’s Paraguayan striker, Roque Santa Cruz finally put pen to paper on a four year contract. The 28-year-old, who played for City manager Mark Hughes during their time at Blackburn together, is reported to have cost the Citizens a fee between £15-18 million, at least £4 million less than was offered to Rovers during the winter transfer window and now the former Bayern Munich target man intends to make City one of Britain’s strongest sides: “I know the kind of football Mark Hughes wants to play and the kind of character he is – he’s a winner, he wants to make things happen and be successful. Those are always my thoughts as well, so knowing what he wants was a big factor in coming here, because I know the club is going in the right direction. I know his staff and the kind of training they will have the team doing, so everything was very attractive for me. The owners want the club to be more successful – they want to break into the top four, and the fact that the fans are so passionate about everything to do with City was also a factor. I am very motivated to play for these fans. I spoke to the Chairman and I know his ambitions are known to everybody at the club – he made sure that I know as well. It was a good conversation. He wants the best for the club and to give something back to the fans.”

Hughes described what an excellent addition he believed Santa to be and also claimed that had he brought him to CoMS in January, his side would now be preparing for a season in the Europa League: “We’re obviously delighted to get him here. It was really important that we signed him, because it’s an area of the squad that we have needed to address for some time, and the qualities Roque brings will be of great benefit. His ability in the air and his physical presence are qualities we’ve been missing, but he also has technical ability and good pace for a big man. He’s a very good player and one I know well from our time at Blackburn. We are looking to get the right players in, with the right attitude and mentality as well, and he is an ambitious guy who wants to achieve and feels that he will be able to do that at Manchester City. He is made of the right stuff, a strong-willed player of the type that we want to bring in to this club. If we could have had him in the side at the beginning of last season, his presence in certain games, against certain opponents, would very possibly have made a difference to the results that we had.”

Stuart Who? This was the question on many fans lips as former Arsenal goalkeeper Stuart Taylor signed a 12 month deal with the Blues. Taylor, who was once an England Under 21 ‘keeper, is one of those underrated goalies who seems to blend into each club he joins as the number two despite his obvious ability. Much like Newcastle’s Steve Harper, Taylor has never established himself as a club’s number one but his move to City is intended to provide competition for Shay Given, not merely back up in case of injury. Taylor explained the reasons behind the move: “I talked to Brad for some advice and he couldn’t speak highly enough of the manager and his goalkeeping coach Kevin Hitchcock. He has a high regard for Kevin as a person as well as a coach and I can’t wait to start. This is a fantastic club to be joining, a club that is going places with a great new owner and a manager I have a lot of respect for.” Following a move that has allowed Joe Hart to be loaned out to Birmingham for a season, Mark Hughes expressed his delight with his third signing of the summer: “We are delighted to be able to add a goalkeeper of Stuart’s undoubted calibre to the squad. Stuart is still a fairly young goalkeeper at 28 but he provides a wealth of experience and reliability.”

Central Figure: Following the arrival of a goalie, a midfielder and a striker, City’s next target is said to be a centre back in the form of Everton star Joleon Lescott. The former Wolves defender has established himself as a regular England squad member since his move to the Premier League three years ago and now Hughes is willing to pay £15 million for the 26-year-old who may also sign as part of an exchange deal with Brazilian striker Jo. Though Everton manager David Moyes is desperate not to sell off his key assets, the defender himself has made no effort to dismiss recent reports of a move to CoMS and it is possible that wages of £80,000 per week and the chance to link up with Robinho, Barry and Santa Cruz may be enough to prize Lescott away.

City Hartache: City goalie Joe Hart is the first player to move out of CoMS this summer having arranged a loan move to Birmingham. The England capped goalie, who was City’s number one up until the signing of Shay Given in January, had spoke of his frustration in becoming the club’s second choice and will now move to the midlands in order to boost his hopes of going to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa: “It has been tough. It’s frustrating, but there’s only one person can play in goal and Shay’s doing that at the moment. I’ve had to deal with it the best I can. It’s not been ideal, but it’s not the end of the world. That’s what he [Capello] has been saying, that you need to be playing. That’s what everyone wants to do anyway, regardless of whether it gets you in the England team or not. Everyone wants to play for their country and I’ve got more chance of playing in goal than anywhere else! So that’s the rôle I’m pushing towards. You have to do well at club level, do well when you get opportunities like this tournament and get in the eye of Mr Capello and Stuart Pearce.” Hughes empathized with the former Shrewsbury player but also claimed that the loan move will provide Hart with priceless experience: “I have always said that Joe is a really good young ‘keeper, and his talent was obvious to Kevin Hitchcock and I from the outset. His contribution to the team prior to Shay Given’s arrival was fantastic, but by loaning him to Birmingham, he will add invaluable experience to that already gained here at City. I know he will relish the prospect of regular Premier League action, which is vital at this stage in his career.”

Dan the Man for the Russian Plan: After months of speculation it has been reported this week that Chelsea are close to finalising a deal to take City academy graduate Danny Sturridge to Stamford Bridge. Sturridge, who was offered a new contract of £40,000 per week and reportedly rejected it in search of a salary worth £55,000 per week, looks set to move to London and a tribunal will have to determine a fee for the 19-year-old. As Sturridge is under 24, the Bosman free transfer rule does not apply and City will seek a development fee of around £10 million though Chelsea are only prepared to pay £3 million.

A Sporting Chance of Transfer: The signing of Santa Cruz and ‘likely’ transfer of Carlos Tevez to the Blue side of Manchester will certainly deny various strikers the chance of first team football next season and it seems that Felipe Caicedo is planning his departure from the club in search of a place in someone’s first eleven. Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon have already declared their interest in the Ecuadorian but Caicedo’s agent has claimed that Sporting are not the only interested club: “There is a huge amount of interest in Felipe across the world. There are offers on the table and we will look at all the scenarios when Felipe returns from holiday in Ecuador. At this point of his career Felipe wants to be playing regularly and he did very well when he was given the opportunity last season. Everyone knows Sporting Lisbon are ready to take Felipe, as are other clubs in the Premier League and elsewhere in Europe.”

Didi Speak to Munich? Didi Hamann is one of City’s veteran players who looks likely to leave the club this summer, with Darius Vassell attracting from Phil Brown’s Hull City, and the former Liverpool midfielder also has eyes on his moves away. The holding player would like to finish his career back in his home country and it has been suggested that German Second Division side 1860 Munich would jump at the chance of bringing the last man to ever score at the old Wembley home and Dietmar is supposedly keen on the move: “They are a great club that belongs in the top flight. I could see myself playing there. I want to carry on playing for another two years.”

International Blues

Braziliant Blues Progress: Despite struggling to overcome an underdog Egypt side only three days earlier, Robinho and Co. went on to beat now finalists USA 3-0. With many of Dunga’s first team regulars on the bench (including City playmaker Elano), questions were raised as to whether Brazil were taking the competition seriously enough but goals from Melo, Maicon and City’s Robinho ensured a convincing win for the South Americans. The Copa America Champions then took on World Champions Italy and tore them apart in eight minutes of the first half. Goals from Fabiano and Dossena overshadowed marvelous performances from Robinho and Real Madrid’s Kaka and with Spain now out of the tournament, the Brazilians will surely be favourites to win the Confederations Cup. ‘Robbie’ gave an assessment of what his team expect to achieve: “We were a little tired in our first game against Egypt and it showed in the nature of our performance. Against the United States in our second game, we played very well. We came together as a team and showed the kind of football that we are famous for. We deserved to win, and it’s a great feeling to have two wins from two games. It’s important to get better with every game in a competition like this, and I’m pleased to say I think we are doing just that. It wouldn’t be right to call ourselves favourites. There are great teams here that play really quality football, Italy and Spain to name just two. Either could be champions, but so can we and that is our goal. Our goal is simple – to play the best football we can and at the end to be parading around the pitch with the trophy as champions.”

City’s Young Guns Kill Off Opposition: Before an England Under 21 second string completed their group stage with a 1-1 draw with arch-rivals Germany, Pearce’s young lions booked their place in the semi finals with a fantastic 2-0 win over pre-tournament favourites Spain. It was City’s Nedum Onuoha, Micah Richards and Joe Hart who claimed the clean sheet that became the platform for the Under 21s’ win and goals from Frazier Campbell and James Milner were only half the story. Seven points from the ‘group of death’ is a great tribute to Pearce’s management and with Sweden in the semi-finals, England will hope to be successful in the competition. City Academy director Jim Cassell believes that whilst this Under 21 European Championship is a chance for Hart and Nedum to become a part of Capello’s future squads, Micah Richards could easily force his way back into the senior squad as a permanent fixture if he takes his current international form back onto the domestic stage: “Micah is well aware he has had setbacks, and the expectation is sometimes difficult to live with. But he is a terrific talent and a great athlete, and over at Carrington there is great belief in the young players. It can happen in football when a player progresses very quickly and gets a lot of publicity. Micah is the youngest to play for his country in that position, and we have to remember he is still only 20. Young players do have a levelling-out period, he had a couple of injuries, and he is still learning the job and maturing. He has to take on the challenge, because he has the equipment to do it and is mentally tough. Micah was coming back to his best towards the end of a season we are hoping was one of adjustment for him in the Premier League.”

Micah believes that he has come through the lows of last season and intends to remain a regular fixture in City’s starting XI next season: “This tournament shows the talent of some of the best young players in the world and it’s good to be part of that to show what I can do. You’re always trying to prove yourself and I think I’ve showed my qualities here. This is the stage to keep my form going after a season where I played some of my best football at the end. I think I’m back to my best now, having had ups and downs. My confidence is also back so I feel I’m good enough.”

Ex-Blues’ News

King Kev to Reign This Summer? Though the Newcastle hotseat is yet to be filled on a permanent basis, it seems that Kevin Keegan may be about to take the managerial position at Southampton. Matthew Le Tissier is the front runner to become Southampton’s new Chairman should the Pinnacle Group consortium complete a buy-out of the club that currently lies in administration. Though there are various stumbling blocks to overcome, if Le Tissier was named as the club’s new Chairman, his first priority would be to appoint a manager capable of helping the 2003 FA Cup finalists recover their Championship League status following relegation last season. Former Southampton player and City manager is said to be that manager.

Whitley’s World: In a revealing interview, former City midfielder Jeff Whitley who spent ten years with the Blues has told of his career of success, tribulation and joy and how playing for City was the best time of his life: “I did enjoy my time at Sunderland but I’ve been through so much at City. I’d seen a lot of stuff happening, a lot of players coming and going, not to mention managers. To go from being a ball boy and just hoping and praying that one day I might bless that grass, to going and playing on that grass and in that stadium (Maine Road) was a dream come true. Joe (Royle) and Willie Donachie were brilliant. Joe had put a bid in for me during his time as Everton manager and he came over to me at City and asked why I hadn’t moved to Everton. I simply explained that it had been a childhood dream of mine to play for Manchester City, not for Everton. Joe put up with so much rubbish from me, but he stuck by me throughout my personal problems because he knew that when I was well I would give my all to the game. Neil McNab and Donachie were both so great to me too. Neil drilled it into me that if you don’t work hard, you won’t play. It was as simple as that. All my team-mates were great friends to me. The City team that was promoted from Division Two had such a rapport; Michael Brown, Edgy (Richard Edghill), Lee Crooks, Chris Greenacre, Kevin Horlock, Shaun Goater, Nicky Weaver, Gerard Wiekens. It was incredible in the dressing room. Danny Tiatto, Mark Kennedy and Steve Howey, we hung around a lot. I still speak to Steve now. Paul Dickov was such a great man. He helped me out a lot. There was a lot of players that had a good impact on me and a lot that I respected.”

Whitley’s City career ended when then City manager Kevin Keegan thought that he was becoming a disruptive influence on the squad but Whitley understands now where he went wrong and claims that leaving City was the hardest thing he’s ever had to do: “That was due to my own doing. A lot of people at the time told me to calm down with my drinking but obviously I didn’t have a clue and I couldn’t stop. That was one of the reasons why Keegan got rid of me. He thought that I was a big influence on the players in getting them to drink. My argument was that they were grown men; if I was going for a drink then it’s up to them whether they come with me. So he got rid of me. I remember that I was in tears in the car just thinking ‘I could have stopped that from happening. I know I messed up there’. But I couldn’t stop. I was devastated knowing that I would never play for the club again. Later on in life I know the problem now. I was completely and utterly gutted. I really wish I would have had a few more seasons at City. I loved the place.”

Despite the hard times, Whitley now understands where he is in his life and knows exactly how he wants to spend the rest of his life: “It’s knowing who your true friends are and knowing that people who are helping you aren’t doing it to get something, they are doing it from their heart. I don’t want to take it for granted. I cherish my life today. I want to be able to lie on my death-bed and think that I tried to be the best person, the best dad, the best boyfriend, the best at my work. I want to treat people with utter respect and to be able to die in peace knowing that.”

Alex Rowen <news(at)>


There has been plenty written re: the flaws and merits of Richard Dunne. He has had 3 or 4 excellent seasons but last season his game was littered with huge mistakes, which either resulted in a goal conceded, or a yellow or red card. It did not help that his partner in crime Micah Richards was arguably our worst performer for many a game. Dunne plays very well for Ireland but international football is different to the rigours of the Premier League. Personally, I would only sell him on if we have a younger replacement; perhaps Kolo Toure is the target? We might get £4 million for him now, and that will be greatly reduced if we keep him on for another season. Therefore in my opinion, we should cash in on him now, and thank him for his long and loyal service to the club.

I criticised M Hughes a lot last season, for all the right reasons, but I would be more than happy for him to get us success with his “players” this season. For him to do this, we really need to clear the decks of some long overdue under-performers. We seem to be buying a lot of strikers – Santa Cruz (paid well over the top for him – even if he scores a lot for us!), and Tevez in the frame. I like him because of his tremendous work rate.

Just look how many forwards we have on the books: Robinho, Bellamy, Caicedo, Benjani, Bojinov, Petrov, Jo, Evans, Vassell, Santa Cruz, maybe Tevez? Four out of 11 means 5 to 6 players too many! In my opinion the certs are Robinho, Bellamy and maybe Caicedo, the rest are not good enough any more plus we still have Weiss to come.

I was hoping we would get Glenn Johnson, but he really wanted to go to Liverpool. My next choice was going to be Maicon (playing well for Brazil in the Confederations Cup) but it looks like Chelsea will come in for him… looks like Micah Richards might well get the nod! We need a solid and dependable right back, who reads the game and defends well where required; not sure if Richards is dependable!

We also really need another quality centre half. I saw Oguchi Onyewu for the USA, he looks a really awesome physical specimen at 6’4″ and would be a fantastic centre half if he is up to this level.

The next few weeks are going to be interesting, with all the transfer activity, and the merry go round of players.

Let’s see who else we are being linked with… this is the season we need to deliver!

Sad to see Sturridge is on his way to Chelsea (greedy git!) good luck, hope he remembers what happened to SWP!

Come On City, Glyn Albuquerque <glynalbuquerque(at)>


Well said Steve Hunt. I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments expressed by Steve in MCIVTA 1542.

We all have our own views on the wonderful world of MCFC but we are supporters so let’s do some supporting. Back the team, back the manager and as ever, look forward to better times.

CTID, Phil Taylor <Phil.Taylor(at)>


After a long struggle with Blackburn, Mark Hughes finally gets his man Roque Santa Cruz, who has already got a much shorter name with which we shall all know him by: “Rocky”. Mark Hughes will know this striker better than most, having worked with him at Blackburn.

As long as he keeps fit I think that Rocky will do a very good job for City; we know from the outset that his heart is with Sparky’s City.

Some reports coming through the media say Tevez has already made up his mind to sign for City but until I see him on TV declaring himself to be a City player, I shall not jump for joy.

I must admit that I have mixed feelings about Richard Dunne. I know that he has given the club some very good service and I have seen him play some very good games; he is very capable, but not consistent.

In some games it looked as if Dunne wanted to be sent off, there were too many reckless tackles. Dunne could help City win a game one day and the next day help to lose the game; if we are to be a genuine top four competitor can we risk Richard Dunne in our central defence?

Make no mistake I have been an admirer of Dunne and praised him in some of my comments over the years here in McV, but I question him as first choice next season. If he could play in every game as he did for Ireland (last game) there would be no problem. Credit to Dunne who did help young Nedum last season, who has turned out to be a first class player.

Should Dunne still be with City next season, I will support him, as I will any player that wears our proud sky blue, but if Dunne leaves for Sunderland it will be a fresh challenge for him, and I predict that he will do very well.

City had to walk before they could run; with the new changes, I see a trot on the horizon.

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


To get to the next level I’m sorry Dunne won’t take us there. Good defender but not great.

We need a central defender who is comfortable on the ball and can pass it out of defence, not to aim hopeless balls to our short strike force or give the ball away when pressured. The fact Sunderland are interested in Dunne tells you the level he is viewed at by other Premier League managers i.e. mid-table at best.

He’s been a great servant, let’s keep him… but on the bench.

Darren Wareing <Darren.Wareing(at)>


Dunne is a fans’ favourite at City and he has won the player of the year award at the club in four successive campaigns before Ireland took the prize last season. But last season was Dunne’s poorest at club level since he joined us nine years ago. The fact that his performance level dipped could well be tied in with the additional pressure that comes with playing for a club that became one of the wealthiest in the world and probably his age.

Dunne can be a match winner but he is prone to unforced errors, giving the ball away cheaply in dangerous positions and he doesn’t look comfortable with a passing game. To reach the top four we need better!

Michael O’Brien <Michael.O’Brien(at)>


“Has anyone else got any memories of Arthur Mann?” John Nisbet in MCIVTA 1542.

He made his début in a midweek match at a rainy Maine Road (remember those nights?). I seem to remember it was Burnley but I might be wrong, and City won 7-2 or something. Happy days John. He was very fast but never seemed to pass the ball until he ran out of breath as I remember lol.

And on another subject I totally agree with Dave Bradburn and Steve Hunt in the same issue.

Jack Millington <jack(at)>


Following John Nisbet’s posting last issue I thought back to the first time I saw Arthur. I don’t remember the opponents, or the score, but it was a reserve team match at Maine Road and I was sat in the Main Stand. I well remember Arthur had a stormer of a game and patrolled up and down the left flank at amazing speed and terrified the opposition.

A great player, unsung hero and lovely man. What a sad end though.

Joe Ramsbottom <joe(at)>


I’ve a great idea for a banner next season. Our own United ticker except this one is about their debt! I think it’d look good hung over the second tier of the East Stand!

Graham Keller <gkmcfc(at)>


I have a complete collection of the official Manchester City magazine, which I am happy to donate to anyone who is willing to come and collect it from my home in Chorlton. The official programme is now so bulky that I have to make some shelf space available! If anyone is interested, please contact me on the email below.

Steve Rigby <S.H.Rigby(at)>

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Newsletter #1543