Newsletter #1553

News tonight from Alex on the recent South African tour and games, Taggart’s pre-season mind games and latest transfers with Toure arriving and the Lescott bid being turned down.

We have opinion on those transfers, the new kit, rising above the criticism, Taggart’s siege mentality, on-line viewing and the usual requests.

Next up, a trip over the Pennines to Barnsley.

Next Game: Barnsley, away, 3pm Saturday 1 August (pre-season)


General News

Nelson Man-City-Dela: City may be the richest club in the world, but even the most famous of players can be humbled and this week the squad took time out of their African tour this week to meet one of the world’s most famous men. Hughes was flanked by his whole squad during the meet with Nelson Mandela only days after the former President’s 91st birthday and as a late present the Citizens handed Mandela a personalized City shirt with name and number. Mandela clearly enjoyed the experience and the squad was humoured by the comments he made towards last season’s top goal scorer Robinho by asking: “You are a baby! What are you doing here?”.

I’m Your Man: No-one can accuse the City board of not being loyal to their manager and despite reports of Jose Mourinho joining the Eastlands outfit earlier in the year, Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarek has always stuck by his guns when asked about the future of his manager. Now with the arrivals of Tevez, Adebayor and Barry, critics have argued that the former Blackburn and Wales boss is not capable of handling such egos. Hughes however disagrees: “It doesn’t faze me at all. I understand it’s a big responsibility and it’s up to me to make sure we blend the team in the right manner and we get a winning team. Everybody has a view on how you deal with big players and big world stars, the likes of Carlos Tevez. But from dealing with top players the reason they are top players is because they have certain qualities and certain attributes and blend themselves to being top professionals. From my experience the top, top players are easier to handle so there’s no apprehension about it. I just view it as an outstanding opportunity for myself and my football club.”

United in Fear: The city rivalry between City and United continues to intensify as voices in Old Trafford did nothing this week but speak about Manchester City. Sir Alex Ferguson was the first to comment by expressing his anger at City for erecting the ‘Welcome to Manchester’ billboard in the city centre. Ferguson alleged that City were acting arrogantly and then went on to spend a vast proportion of his news conference discussing how City do nothing but talk about United: “It’s City isn’t it? They’re a small club with a small mentality. All they can talk about is Manchester United; they can’t get away from it. They think taking Carlos Tevez away from Manchester United is a triumph. It is poor stuff.”

Chief Executive David Gill has then warned title contenders Chelsea as well as City that they are effectively placing the future of their clubs into the hands of one mega rich supreme who could change his mind at any given moment: “We’re not in the market for 27, 28 or 29-year-olds for loads of money. It doesn’t make sense. We have our own models and targets and we are operating within those. That’s because we are operating for the medium and long term. We are not at the whim of someone pulling out and losing interest. You’d have to speak to those clubs about their plans for the medium and long term.”

And John Terry may have finally pledged his future to the Stamford Bridge side but before the Chelsea skipper had decided where his future lay, United centre back Rio Ferdinand criticized City as a club who won’t challenge for titles any time soon: “Everyone makes their own decisions in life but, if I was leaving United, I wouldn’t go to a team that I didn’t feel was capable of winning trophies. That’s just my feeling. I wouldn’t leave here to go to a team that I didn’t think would finish in the top two or three in the league and be vying for European medals. Whether that’s Manchester City or not, I don’t know. I am not sure if they’re going to be championship-winning material.”

Putting Some Spark Into the Pre-Season: Though original fixture lists had proposed that City would face Everton on August 19th, European commitments for the Merseyside club means that this fixture has had to be re-arranged. Instead, Sparky’s side will take on Catalan giants Barcelona at the Nou Camp. The club have said that: “We are delighted to announce a mouth-watering friendly against European champions Barcelona” and Mark Hughes will surely relish taking on Messi, Ibrahimovic and co.

The Future’s Blue: Dutch midfielder Nigel de Jong has impressed for the Blues since moving to Eastlands in January and believes that the revolution that City is currently undergoing has proven that he was right to leave then-German title contenders Hamburg. With Tevez, Adebayor and Santa Cruz all having joined the ranks at City, de Jong thinks that success is a matter of when, not if and City fans will soon be lording it over their City rivals: “The city is Blue already. I was amazed by that. But now also on the expectation side and performance side, it can be Blue, too. Manchester City are making a point that nothing is impossible. We can buy whoever we want and just go for the best players in the league and compete. I hope we can be the dominant team.”

For the first time in eight years, de Jong will not be participating in a European competition and the midfielder has spoken out of his frustration but also excitement of the challenges that lay ahead: “In my seven years of professional football I have played in European football and now I don’t. That frustrates me to be honest. On the other side, everybody is hungry and will be fitter for other challenges.”

Gun Them Down: Though City may have missed out on England captain John Terry, former Arsenal left back Ashley Cole has stated that Mark Hughes’ side could be an instant hit in the Premier League. Cole, whose Chelsea side were subject to a similar multi-million pound takeover when Roman Abramovic bought the club, says it would be naïve of football fans to assume that the ‘big four’ are a permanent fixture and declared that if everything goes right for the Citizens, the Gunners could struggle to hold onto their Champions’ League place: “I think the players City are buying are good, this year might be tough to break in but next year you never know with the guys they are buying. I think it is going to be hard for them but they could do (get into the top four). You never know, they may gel, click, straight away and it’s magic. I hope they do. I have friends there and I hope they do really well.”

Tottenham Hotspur boss Harry Redknapp may have spent a lot of the summer criticising City for their transfer policy but when all is said and done, Redknapp has warned Alex Ferguson that not only will City challenge for a place in the top four, but they could push their City rivals all the way to the league title in May: “Don’t write them off, they can do it. If they bring in a couple of players they could be right up there. They already have players like Shaun Wright-Phillips and Stephen Ireland who are great players. If he (Hughes) gets the right players they could be real title contenders. If they make a couple of good players in the right areas then who knows. Look at their strike force, they have players like Tevez, Adebayor, Roque Santa Cruz and Craig Bellamy. You wouldn’t swap that for too many other strike forces in the league.”

Squad News

He ‘Ad A Hard Time: City’s latest addition to their attack force has this week criticized the fans of his former club for criticizing him whenever the opportunity presented itself. Emmanuel Adebayor completed his move to CoMS only one week ago and the striker has claimed that he was treated badly by the Gunners who reacted to media speculation rather than his performances: “Every summer and December, Barça try to buy Cesc but the fans never turn on him. I’d just scored 30 goals in [the 2007-08] season, and it wasn’t my fault Milan, Barcelona or Real Madrid wanted to sign me. The fans never understood that; they never understood why those clubs wanted to buy me. I couldn’t understand why they were after me. I’d done everything, made a speech, played for three years, done my best.” When asked about what he intends to achieve now he has moved to his new club, the Togolese international explained: “They have the players, they have the squad and they have the spirit to fight for the top four, and that is why I have signed for this club. We will do our best, fight on the pitch and see what we can achieve. I think we have a chance to fight against Arsenal to be in the top four.”

Transfer News and Rumours

Coasting to Success: The Ivory Coast international Kolo Toure is the second player to leave the Emirates this season in favour of CoMS. On the same day that Nedum Onuoha signed a new five year contract, thus ending speculation of a move to Goodison Park, and in the same week that Shaleum Logan signed a new long term contract before his season long loan to Tranmere, City have spent £16 million to bolster their defensive options. Adebayor, who played alongside Toure at Arsenal, has praised the club for signing the once-dubbed “African Cannavaro” and is delighted that the defender has joined the club: “He is a very good friend of mine and he is one of the top defenders around this league. He has been playing in the league for seven or eight years, he knows it well and if they managed to get him he can do a job.”

Welsh Wonder Wheels Out: Only days after Felipe Caicedo was loaned out to Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon, Academy graduate Ched Evans transferred to Sheffield United in search of first team football. The Welshman was highly rated by the Blue faithful who always have a special affinity with one of their own but Evans claimed that at this time of his career, he needs to be a play week in, week out in order to improve his international chances: “People ask if I was tempted to stay alongside all the big names. My answer is, ‘Not at all’ I want to play games and I wouldn’t do that at City.” The transfer has been valued at £1.5 million, a fee that could rise to £3 million depending on appearances and goals.

The Young One: Aston Villa forward Ashley Young is possibly the best English player not currently a permanent fixture in Capello’s XI but certain reports this week seemed to suggest that he may be on the verge of following his former captain Gareth Barry to Eastlands. Liverpool, Chelsea and Real Madrid may all provide competition for the Blues in their pursuit for the former Watford man who has been superb since signing for the Midlands club. More importantly, Villa manager Martin O’Neill is not in the market to sell a second of his star players to City and has moved swiftly to dismiss the rumours: “There have been a lot of stories about Ashley – and that’s what they are – stories. The last time I spoke to Ashley and his agent none of this was at the forefront. I read these articles about different clubs coming in for him. No-one has come in and asked us about Ashley Young and I have got to tell you, if they did they would get short shrift.”

Turkish Delights: For Darius Vassell, leaving Manchester City on a free transfer this season may have meant the end of his career but instead he has become a cult hero without even kicking a ball. Following last month’s arrival in Turkey where Vassell was greeted by a Ronaldo-esque crowd at the local airport, the former England international has completed his free transfer to Ankaragucu. The Turkish Superlig side who only avoided relegation by one point last season will consider the swoop of City’s ex-winger to be the deal of the summer and Vassell has said his football will do the talking: “I do not want to talk too much. I want to play football. Ankaragucu is working hard for success.”

Former Santos playmaker Elano will join Vassell in Turkey this as he completed an £8 million move to Galatasary this morning. The Brazilian, who had been linked with a move to Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan, was rated as one of the world’s brightest prospects when Sven signed him from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2007, but following two inconsistent seasons of stunning goals and managerial spats, Elano is on his way out. The club have wished Ela’ well in his future endeavours: “Everyone at Manchester City would like to thank Elano for his services and wish him the very best of luck for the future with both his new club and with Brazil.”

Post-Match Reaction

I Had a Lot More Puns for a Final Against the Pirates: Despite a 1-0 victory against the same side only a few days beforehand, City were unable to get their hands on the Vodacom Challenge Trophy as the Kaizer Chiefs beat the Blues 1-0. A 42nd minute goal from Ntuka was enough for the Kaizers to overcome a stunned City side but Hughes is concentrating on the positives he can take from the South African experience: “We would have liked to have won the game, but the important thing was making sure our fitness levels have improved, and they will have done. It was difficult for the lads at times, the pitch was not great and the air is a bit thin. We had a lot of possession but did not create a great deal, they got a few behind the ball and our tempo needed to be higher. But we have really enjoyed our time in South Africa. They were three good games, it has been a real experience for everybody but we’re looking forward to getting back home, getting back on the training ground and get some quality work in.”

True Blue

City Will Never be an Oasis of Tranquillity: Solely because it was Noel Gallagher who said it, I thought it was only fair to give this quote by the Oasis singer/songwriter its own section. The Gallagher brothers, who were brought up in Burnage, have been Blue through and through for years and Noel said this week that no matter what league City are in, no matter what the financial position and no matter who the players, he’ll be Blue forever. When asked about City’s critics Noel replied: “What does it matter? I’ve supported the club since I was four and I’ll still be supporting them if they’re in the Conference. I say just enjoy it while it lasts and have a ball.”

Alex Rowen <news(at)>


This most exciting of pre-seasons has continued as City have now signed another top class player in Kolo Toure, a member of Arsenal’s great Invincibles team that went through the 2003/2004 season unbeaten. He’s very quick, strong and reads the game very well. Even a year ago, who’d have thought we’d sign two of Arsenal’s better players?

As things stand we have had an £18 million bid for Lescott turned down by Everton. It’s easy to understand why Moyes wants to keep him but Lescott may well be secured if the offer reaches £20 million and he intimates that he wants to talk to us. We haven’t had a left-footed centre back for a couple of years since Sylvain Distin was here, so he would give us a good balance, not to mention his ability at set pieces and versatility. If we can’t secure Lescott, we could always bid for Nemanja Vidic…

Fair play to John Terry for staying with Chelsea though who believes his “I am totally committed to Chelsea and always have been” statement? Oh, come on. If he was ‘totally committed’ then why didn’t he publicly commit to them earlier? As for “me leaving Chelsea was never a possibility”, don’t make me laugh! I can think of 200,000 reasons (and that’s a conservative estimate) why City was very much a ‘possibility’, not to mention the chance to work at a club that is matching Chelsea’s ambition. Anyway, as good a captain and as rock solid he is at centre half (with a little help from Carvalho), I am relieved that he hasn’t come here. He has had injury problems over the last two years including a persistent back problem. I’m much happier to see Toure. If we need a new captain there’s Barry, Nedum, Kompany, or Zabaleta.

Toure and Lescott are class players and can take us forward. Neither of them are as commanding in the air as Terry but how many players are? Nedum Onuoha is much more in that mould and I expect that he will fight his way into our team and eventually go onto to skipper the side. He is a credit to himself, his family and to Manchester City: a brilliant rôle model for any of our Academy. We must keep Nedum. I am delighted that Mark Hughes has stated that we aim to keep him and that Nedum has signed a new five year contract. We need to build a squad here and a swap deal for Lescott would not make sense.

I also hope we keep hold of Richard Dunne as he still has more to give us and we should not weaken our squad by letting him go. If we are building, then we need 4 centre halves, especially when you consider that there is also the African Cup of Nations in the early part of next year.

Even without Lescott, the squad already has much more balance. It is up to Mark Hughes now to get the balance right, and for those players to gel together and apply themselves to the task of aiming for a top four spot. Whilst the top six is still the more realistic of aims, why shouldn’t City give it a good shot of breaking the ‘big four’ monopoly this season?

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


My two cents on the new kit: total quality. My long sleeve Ireland #7 home shirt arrived today in Chicago and it’s great. Only time will tell, but I think it will unseat the 2005 Home Reebok kit as my previous favourite of the last 10 years.

Where to begin? For one, it’s simple. The material is a soft, almost fleece-like, material but not heavy. It feels old school, but not heavy like the old cotton shirts. It’s not the typical shiny, snag-prone polyester/nylon numbers most kits are made of these days. The crew neck also feels a bit throw-back and the sleeve length of the size 40 fits much better than the Reebok version referenced earlier. Also, it feels fitted, but not tight. In a word: perfect.

Thank you Umbro. Thank you MCFC. Now, hopefully my streak of purchasing a shirt of a player that departs within the season is broken. The streak started with George Weah, moved to Mark Kennedy and eventually SWP’s old 29. Luckily SWP returned and Stevie penned a new deal this Summer so fingers (and toes) crossed that my luck has changed.

CTID, Dillon Allie <dillonallie(at)>


In these exciting times, I have been disturbed over the last weeks by the general feelings emerging in some City fans. Some of it is vindictive and revengeful. On the lines of “we are going to get all you b*****ds that have been keeping us down and stuff teams like Everton, Spurs and Villa. We will just walk over you.”

Notwithstanding that it is every City fan’s duty to dish it out to the Swamp Rags and Sir Streaky, I hope City fans do not become the ugly and despised fans of the country and that we keep the good humour that we are known for.

I mean, we do not want to become petty and cheating like the English cricket captain, do we?

Steve Higginbottom, Melbourne <Steve.Higginbottom(at)>


Some inspirational signings so far. The “Welcome to Manchester” Tevez poster and signing have obviously got up old Sir Phalex’s nose because of us spoiling the top four cosy cartel.

Why doesn’t Mr Hughes put in a bid of £40 million each and double your salary for Vidic and the “delightful” Ferdinand! That should annoy the hell out of him from the small club in town! Nice party spoiling tactic.

Mike Lloyd <mikelloyd(at)>


It seems as if some of our readers are worried that ‘Bacon Face’ (as one reader called him) is worried about what’s going on at City. Sir Alex worried?! That’s a laugh, the man’s the master at playing mind games. He knows exactly what he is doing, and where United are going.

What we at City should be doing is worrying how our team will perform, how the defence will stop leaking goals, how we are going to play ten strikers at once! Until we stop worrying what Sir Alex and United are doing, then maybe we will be ‘a small club’. We need to get our house in order, perform on the park week after week and stop worrying about a certain manager and his tricks he plays.

The trouble is, the ‘Red Scum’ as my mate calls them, bleed like us, cry like us, they win and we don’t and that’s what we have to change.

Looking forward to the season; we need credibility on and off the park.

Kevin Williamson <scribbs(at)>


As Peter De Vries said ‘Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be’. But for those of us who do like a bit of nostalgia, I came across this trip down memory lane of City’s past glories on the Times website.

Pull up a chair, put on the slippers and light your pipe.

Dave Kilroy <dave.kilroy(at)>


The new Manchester City FC Facebook has got off to a flying start, and if you are not already a member I strongly suggest that you join.

It is not only a fun place, but also informative in different ways, and of course all City fans, what could be better? Don’t delay join today!

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


It’s that time of year again and I’m pleased to announce that, despite our creaking bones together with massive contributions, King Of the Kippax number 171 should be out for the friendly at Barnsley on Saturday, almost 21 years to the day and place where it was first launched, but still as fresh as a daisy (we think!).

It’s the usual start of the season special 52 A4 pages at a snip of £2.50. It includes many articles from genuine Blues including John Burfield’s Class of 08/09, Howard Hockin’s Doing it the Right Way i.e. cynical analysis of how the big four did it, Jon Contrill’s Summertime Blues, Simon Curtis’s barmy Desert Dispatch, a tribute to Stephen Hewitt from Mark Hodkinson and tons more.

If you can’t get it at the games or the outlets of Urbis and Aleef (corner of Cross Street and Market Street then pop a cheque in the post for £3.30 to King Of the Kippax, 25, Holdenbrook Close, Leigh, Lancs, WN7 2HL.

Sue Wallace <dw001e8104(at)>


Okay, so we have a new website that works really well. I was able to watch the Kaizer Chiefs play well and saw Weiss dribble until he lost the ball several times. Adebayor showed a few flashes but the only one who looked interested was Barry. It is still pre-season so it doesn’t really matter, we all tell ourselves.

My question is this. How does the website work on matchday for real games? I would have thought that they would have sent an email with an explanation as we won’t be seeing them on Setanta and ESPN will probably have the bad commentary. So what is going to happen?

Jim Heaviside <lablue69(at)>


Thanks to Jack Millington for his comments regarding City TV.

I would agree that the video quality was excellent. I subscribe to a couple of the footy video streaming sites and although their quality isn’t at all bad the quality of the web-site coverage surpassed it.

The only point I would make about a City TV is, whilst I applaud the club for not wanting to charge us for reserve and youth team games (and watching players shopping!), will they actually cover these by video on the web-site, other than brief and sporadic highlights, for those of us who are unable to get to the games live?

I think reserve fixtures particularly could be very interesting this season. There are going to be a lot of bench-warmers and players on the fringe who are trying to break into the first team. It would be interesting to see how they are performing in reserve team games.

Dave Kilroy <dave.kilroy(at)>


If any City fans are over in Costa Blanca at the end of August then you may be interested to know that the branch of the supporters’ club are holding a meeting on Saturday August 29th at which Bert Trautmann will be present.

All are welcome and details can be obtained from Colin Brinkley who can be e-mailed at <spanishcityzens(at)>. It would be appreciated if contact could be made by Wednesday next week to confirm numbers. What a way to start, or finish your holiday with chance to meet an all time City great.

Dave Wallace <dw001e8104(at)>


I hope you don’t mind me contacting you regarding the above match day car park. We initially opened it at the end of last season and it will be fully operational for the coming season 2009/2010. We are keen to attract regular clientàle and are prepared to offer discounts to supporters’ club members on a weekly basis or season ticket.

  • The standard price for match day is £5.00, discounted to £4.00 for supporters’ club members
  • A season ticket for all games including cup matches, friendlies and Thomas Cook trophy equates to £100
  • The website is as follows
  • Situated on Ashton New Road (the former Ciba Geigy site next to HSBC bank)
  • 300 metres from the ground
  • Fully secured
  • Car park fully attended prior, during and after the game
  • Season tickets available
  • Discount available for official supporters’ club
  • Run by City fans
  • Can accommodate coaches

I hope this opportunity is of interest to you and I will be more than happy to meet you at the car park to demonstrate its attributes and discuss potential terms.

Rick Davies <Rick(at)>

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Newsletter #1553