Newsletter #1585

News tonight from Alex on plans for the Blues both home and overseas, the recent charity game and international action.

We have a preview of the return to domestic football and the Liverpool game from Phil, together with opinion on most of the squad. There’s also the usual requests.

Next up is that trip to Anfield.

Next Game: Liverpool, away, 12.45pm Saturday 21 November


General News

Cooking Up Success: Five draws in five games may have taken the sheen off City’s excellent start to this season’s Premier League campaign but Executive Chairman Garry Cook is enjoying the moment. Originally appointed to lead the Thaksin Shinawatra era, Cook kept hold of his post last year when Sheikh Mansour bought the club and is happy to say that his love of the job has only increased with time. The Executive Chairman, whose job it was to place the name ‘Manchester City’ on the grand stage of world football, is attributed with the signings of Robinho and Tevez and was said to be the main player in the club’s chase to sign Real Madrid’s Kaka and England skipper John Terry. Despite having missed out on two of the world’s best players, Cook can see the club progressing in front of his eyes and hopes the Blues will soon be competing for silverware: “There is definite momentum in terms of everything we are doing. We are selling out the City of Manchester Stadium for games, there is general commercial uplift and that is great because we have gone through a lot of change in the past twelve months. We have started to see the green shoots in many areas of the club after a lot of hard work in the past year. We are not disappointed with what we have done on the pitch so far this season. It is not a great start but it is not a bad start – Mark Hughes has said that himself – we are right on target for where we want to be. It is an open league this season and there are opportunities to be seized by somebody. We hope it is us. It’s all about the fans, everyone is desperate for something to happen in terms of success on the pitch and we have put ourselves in a good position. We are sixth in the table with a home Carling Cup quarter final tie to come. We have set higher expectations in a short space of time and Mark Hughes and I talk about this a lot. I was talking to one of the fans at the Emirates Palace and he was telling me how he used to look at the table and try to figure out when we would get to 40 points. We don’t think that way any more.”

King of the Cassell: Former Academy director Jim Cassell may have left the hub of Manchester in order to head a new project in Abu Dhabi at the start of this season, but the man who led City’s young Blues to FA Youth Cup success two years ago is thriving in his new challenge. With City’s senior stars in the Emirates last week, Under 18s Coach Alex Gibson joined City’s International Academy director in talks with various U.A.E. clubs that Cassell hopes have been successful: “This is a new chapter in the club’s future and we are privileged to be part of the development. We don’t consider being in second place at anything but there is a natural twitchiness at the moment because of being used to being on the move all the time whereas there is a thinking process that has to be done. It is a case of thinking business rather than thinking coach. Most people at my age are not venturing into a new career but there is the chance with this project for us as a team to create something unique. It is a question of watching this space and see how we develop. Everybody knows it is really early days and we are fact finding. We have been to three clubs whilst we have been here. It has been quite interesting. There is a little bit of difference in the way they approach the job.”

“We are still in the early stage of formulating a plan for this part of the world that fits in with the overall plan of how the international Academy is going to pan out. It is a new venture and a blank sheet of paper. We want to put something constructive together that will help City develop worldwide. As a club we do not want to follow trends but create our own identity though that is not going to be easy because we might do something that we think is magnificent but doesn’t suit the needs of the job here.”

The Trautmann Trophy: The Regional Athletics Arena played host to The Bert Trautmann Trophy this week as the German ‘keeper’s former club, St Helen’s, beat a team of City stars 6-5. To mark the 60th anniversary of Trautmann’s move to City, the two sides went head to head in the name of charity and a last gasp winner capped an excellent match. With proceeds going to the Bert Trautmann foundation, it was a day well spent for the devoted spectators and all those involved with the fixture as club secretary Bernard Halford exclaimed: “It was a smashing game played in good spirit and with some nice football touches – you could see the quality is there still!”

Squad News

All Hands on Deck: Gareth Barry was one of four City players in the England XI last weekend when Capello’s men came unstuck against Brazil, but with the international fixtures for the year now over, the former Aston Villa captain has promised fans that the club’s international stars will be solely focused on City for the coming months. City boss Hughes has made his opinion on mid-season international friendlies very clear but with the next round of international fixtures not due until March, £12 million signing Barry hopes that the next time he dons an England shirt, his club will be flying high in the league: “The first part of the season is always tough if you have international football as well. I’ve played in a few games for England plus all the games for City, so in a way it feels like Christmas should be just around the corner. But now there’s no international games until March, and I’m looking forward to getting a few months of solid work in with the lads here. This is a very important period of the season coming up where we need to make things happen. The manager would probably say himself that there’s nothing worse than 10 or 12 players coming back in on a Friday morning having played two tough games. It’s to our benefit that there has been a few of us in all week preparing for Liverpool. Hopefully the lads that have stayed away longer come back injury-free. We look at blocks of fixtures in team meetings and maybe set targets, but in training we just look at it one game at a time. All everyone is thinking about now is the Liverpool game and taking it from there if we can get a good result.”

Although there had been doubts as to whether or not Barry would be fit to take on struggling Liverpool at the weekend, Hughes has given the England midfielder the green light but did suggest that the return of Michael Johnson could give Barry the opportunity to be rested when needed: “Gareth came back from his international with a little bit of soreness. We’ll have to manage that, and it’s important that we do because there will be certain games where Gareth will be rested. It’s a long season, and a lot of the distance that team travels lands at Gareth’s feet. He’s more than capable of coping with that, but there are going to be times where we’ll have to protect him. He has a slight problem with his groin but it should not be a problem for the weekend, but looking ahead there will be times when we will look to protect him. We’re mindful of the fact that Gareth has played so much for us and for England already this season. Luckily we have the squad and the players where we can do that, and we want to keep him fresh and well for key games.”

Have a Little Patience: The arrival of £40 million duo Kolo Toure and Joleon Lescott has seen Nedum Onuoha fall down the pecking order this season when it comes to Mark Hughes’ defensive options but the 23-year-old is adamant his chance will come. The versatile defender has spent the last couple of months on the sidelines having strained his thigh only weeks after signing a new five year deal with the club and though Nedum understands that he faces stiff competition from the likes of Vincent Kompany, Micah Richards and Pablo Zabaleta for the right back slot this season, the Englishman is confident of breaking his way back into City’s first XI: “I know I am going to have to be patient because changing a side just on a whim doesn’t always help and the players that are in there capable of clean sheets. Having said that, if the manager puts me in the side I will be more than happy. I didn’t want last season to end because it was probably my best run of form in the side. I have just got to work hard now and give myself every chance. There are always lots of injuries, suspensions and absences during a season and the key is to make sure that when you get into the side make sure you keep the shirt.”

The manager took time out this week to talk up Onuoha and explained that as long as he is fit, the defender will always be in contention for a first team place: “Nedum’s doing very well. He had about 30 minutes for the reserves just prior to the trip away, and then he backed that up with the full game last week in Abu Dhabi. Time on the training ground and time out on the pitch is exactly what he needs now to get him up to the level he was at the back end of last season, because he was playing exceptionally well until then. He’s fit now, but the key thing is to maintain that level of fitness and strength. Last season he was able to maintain his fitness and he got a longer run of games than he had been able to before, and he looked all the better for it. We’ve got to get him back to that level, back to a point where he can sustain the intensity of his training and cope with games at the same time.”

Staying? That’s a Given: City may be leaking goals at the back this season but not one City fan would lay the blame at Shay Given’s door. The Irish ‘keeper has made a huge impact since signing from Newcastle United last January for a measly £5 million and has asserted that he hopes to stay at the club until he hangs up his gloves. With billionaire owner Sheikh Mansour reinvigorating City’s ambition for the coming years, 33-year-old Given is now desperate to bring some silverware to the club and hopes to be a part of the most exciting period in this club’s history: “I’d love to finish my career here. I haven’t been here long, but I already feel at home and love the club. I grew up a Celtic supporter and they have a big place in my heart, but I really hope I can finish my career here. You can never say never, but I’d like to think I will. It’s a great period to be at City. There’s such excitement in the dressing room. There’s a real feeling of optimism and we believe we’re going places. It’s been a great adventure for me and I couldn’t be happier. We’d like to win something. If it doesn’t happen this season, it’ll happen next. But hopefully we’ll be able to do it (this campaign). We’re in the Carling Cup quarter-finals, we’ve got the FA Cup to come and we’re up near the top of the league. If we win our game in hand we’ll only be a couple of points behind United. We need to keep going and winning away games, which will be crucial.”

“We have a fantastic team and a strong squad, but it will be tough because there are some great sides in this league. Manchester United and Chelsea will be the teams to beat. They also have experience of challenging for the title – they’ve both been there and done it. But we believe in ourselves. It’s a long winter and a long, hard season – there’ll be a lot of twists and turns between now and the end of the season. I don’t have a crystal ball, but I hope we can be one of the best sides in Europe. It will be difficult but we have fantastic owners, passionate supporters and a number of excellent players. We’ve got a lot of potential but we’ve got to keep working hard.”

So Knee-ar and Yet So Far: City’s in form Martin Petrov is facing a spell on the sidelines having picked up an injury whilst on international duty for Bulgaria last week. The club’s Player of the Month for October has faced a battle to break into the first team all season and having just about made it, the 30-year-old will now have to sit it out for two weeks with a sprained knee ligament. Petrov’s absence may make it easier for Robinho to break back into the first XI at Anfield this weekend however, with the Brazilian expected to return following two months out.

Ex-Blues’ News

A New Era: Yet another former Blue hyped up City’s chances of success this season as Andrew Cole told fans to keep the faith despite the club’s frustrating run of form. Cole, who scored nine goals in his one season at City before moving on to Portsmouth, believes the difference between the side he played in and the current side is massive and with the quality that Tevez, Adebayor and Robinho bring to the club, the Blues will soon be looking towards a Premier League challenge: “The step up from where City have been placed in recent years is massive. The top four is such a hard group of teams to break into yet they have already beaten Arsenal, the team playing the best football in England at the moment. And while City have dropped points by drawing, they have only lost one of their 11 league games this season. City are sixth in the table, with a game in hand on most of the teams above them. They were 13th this time last season. The club have undergone a big change and there have been a lot of player movements, but City are moving forward in the right direction. I see that every week when I watch my son play for City’s Under 15s. The club’s new resources are not just being lavished on first-team players, but on the infrastructure. There were bound to be some growing pains, because City have gone from a club who went for the second tier of players and now they go for the first. When I played there, the big signing was the Greek striker Georgios Samaras for £6 million (Dh30 million). With respect to him, now City sign world-class players. Those murmuring about the form of the team in general should be far more patient – for me it is only a matter of time before City start to gel. Adebayor is one of the best centre forwards in the world when he’s on form, he just has to reach that form more consistently. I think Robinho can make the same impact that he made last season. People say that he hasn’t settled in England but he looked very settled in his first season for City and scored lots of goals. Given that he had never played in England before, that was some quick adaptation after playing in Spain, where the football is completely different.”

Transfer Speculation

Winter Splash: With the January transfer window fast approaching, Mark Hughes may be planning to splash out some more of Sheikh Mansour’s cash on fresh talent. As the future of winger Robinho remains unclear, media speculation this week suggested that City were in contract talks with Benfica starlet Angel De Maria having had a £36 million bid accepted by the Portuguese club. Though the 21-year-old has also been linked with a move to Chelsea or United, it would seem that only City could afford the huge fee being asked for and the Argentine is said to be excited about the possible transfer.

Borussia Dortmund’s Neven Subotnic is another name on the lips of the journalists this week after reports emerged that the Serbian defender was in Hughes’ sights but the £15 million rated 20-year-old was quick to pledge his loyalty to his current club: “Of course it is very flattering to hear that a big team such as Manchester City are interested in securing my services. They are so rich that they could probably buy whoever they want. However, I recently extended my contract at Borussia Dortmund until 2014 and I’m not planning to leave the club already. I feel very well in Dortmund, both on and off the pitch. Additionally, I have the ambition to achieve something with the club. Head coach Juergen Klopp brought me here from Mainz and I owe it to him to stay at Borussia for now.”

Post-Match Reaction

Abu-Dhabi Do: The Blues succumbed to a tame defeat on their tour of the Emirates last week as they went head to head with the owner’s national side. In a game where City gave the next generation the chance to shine, it was goalie Stuart Taylor’s error that allowed the hosts’ Mohamed Al Shihi to convert from the spot and score the only goal of the game. Kieran Trippier, Ben Mee and Alex Nimely were just of few of the club’s up and coming stars on show whilst Nedum Onuoha returned from injury. City chief Hughes admitted that he was disappointed to leave the Emirates without a result but stated that the purpose of the trip was not the result but the relationships created: “It was good experience for the younger players in our squad but I was disappointed in the way we lost and that we didn’t create much in the game in terms of chances. The week here though has been a great success. New relationships have been built and present ones made stronger so from that point of view we are delighted with what has happened. The game itself was a little bit flat at times, perhaps as a consequence of the make-up of our team, but as I said the younger ones will have furthered their education.”

International Blues

Henry Hands It To France: Shay Given was left reeling last night as the Republic of Ireland were knocked out of the World Cup Play Offs by a fortunate France side. A solitary goal from Robbie Keane was enough to pull the Irish level having fallen a goal behind at Croke Park at the weekend. The game in Paris went to extra time and with seven minutes left on the clock, Thierry Henry set Arsenal’s William Gallas up for a tap in from two yards that sent Giovanni Trappatoni’s men crashing out. City goalie Shay Given went charging towards the referee explaining that Henry had used his arm and hand to control the ball before the French goal and upon watching the reply, it was fair to say Given was correct. Ultimately, the result is that one of the world’s best ‘keepers will not be in South Africa next summer and one of the world’s best strikers, who has been touted for a move to CoMS this January, may have tarnished his name forever.

Other action at the weekend saw four City players in the England XI take on former Blue Elano as Capello’s England side lost 1-0 to Brazil in Doha. Lescott, Bridge, Barry and Wright Phillips all lined up in a makeshift England side for the warm-weather friendly but none were able to make a good enough impression to earn media plaudits on Sunday morning. Elsewhere, Emmanuel Adebayor captained his Togo side to a 1-0 win over Gabon but the Togolese will not be in South Africa next summer having failed to make the grade. Micah Richards also took up his nation’s armband but for the Under 21 side as a single Matthew Rose goal gave Stuart Pearce’s men victory over Portugal. Nigel de Jong had a quiet game in Holland’s goaless draw with world champions Italy and Carlos Tevez could do nothing to help his Argentina side as they suffered a 2-1 loss at the hands of European Champions Spain.

Alex Rowen <news(at)>


So we come to one of the most important fixtures of the season: away to the once mighty Liverpool. It has been well documented that Liverpool are having a bad time. They are owned by two men who have saddled them with much debt, and their team is run by a manager who has bought a lot of mediocrity and who never seems to make the English Championship a priority. Gerrard is not fully fit, but may well feature against us, and there is doubt over whether Torres will make it. Whoever turns out in all red, the Scousers are the proverbial wounded animal, but that doesn’t make them a pushover this weekend, and our stuttering City side will still need to perform well to get something from the game.

I’d like to see the following City team at Anfield:
Given (goalkeeper)
Zabaleta (right back)
Toure and Onuoha (centre backs)
Lescott (left back)
SWP (right wing)
Barry, Ireland and de Jong (central midfielders)
Bellamy (left wing)
Adebayor (Striker)

What’s the chances of that coming to fruition!? I’m hoping that Mark Hughes makes the changes in defence to stop us from shipping ridiculous goals by including defenders who follow their job description. If Ned’s not quite fit to play, then Vincent Kompany can operate alongside Toure. The bottom line is that we must become more solid defensively.

Anyway, on the face of it that 4-5-1 might look defensive, but with fluid movement and pace on the flanks in the shape of Wright-Phillips and Bellamy we would have the springboard to quickly turn defence into attack. With Liverpool’s Glen Johnson and Insua having a tendency to leave gaping holes in their defence, our wide men should be able to exploit these gaps faster than you can say ‘Va va, handball, handball again, Voom!’ Barry and de Jong should give us plenty of muscle in midfield, and they should be able to win their fair share of tackles. They do need to avoid sitting too deep, though, because that invites trouble. Ireland’s intelligence and vision can be used to greater effect with more licence to get forward to support Adebayor, and slide in clever, defence splitting passes. Furthermore, with Bellamy and his striker’s instincts and Wright-Phillips coming off the flanks to make runs into the box, Adebayor would not be isolated as a front man.

That would leave a formidable bench that would include Tevez and Robinho (if fit). Not bad if things are not going our way. Sadly, Martin Petrov has a knee problem that will keep him out for a couple of weeks, but this might be a chance for young Vladimir Weiss to step up. It’s all very well, me, Algernon Ponsonby-Smythe, or whoever spouting whatever rubbish on here. The theory is fine. Now the players need to execute it.

Carlos Tevez has stressed that he is jaded with football, and is missing life back in Buenos Aires. He’s even talked about retiring if Argentina win the next World Cup, but is that likely with El Fruitcake in charge? I know this might not engender sympathy amongst some, with Tevez having just joined us on a lucrative 5 year contract, but he is (stating the obvious alert) human after all. He works very hard but his shooting in recent games has betrayed his mental tiredness. Hughes’s challenge is to carefully man-manage this player to get the best out of him and keep him fresh.

Every manager makes mistakes, even the best. I want Mark Hughes to succeed here. He has done a lot of good work and signed some very good players. To change manager now would be madness, not to mention disruptive. Hughes is a good manager and he should be given time to do his job.

Come on City!

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


The press is full of the story that Santa Cruz says that Robinho wants to leave City and play for Barça, that the dressing room are joking and laughing about it. This story has persistently come up throughout the season, with Mark Hughes and Garry Cook saying Robinho is staying.

If Robinho does not want to stay at City, how can you get the best out of him? I have suggested earlier in one of my articles that Robinho has had problems of depression.

Real Madrid had problems with Robinho, and were very much in a hurry to offload him to any club that would take him after they saw that Chelsea were dragging their feet to take him, and City, looking for a big name player, were very eager to get a top name player such as Robinho.

No one can blame City for getting Robinho, we have all seen that he is a great footballer, but if Robinho wants to go; let him go: he is never going to be happy at City. Barça want a loan deal until the end of the season; they are well aware of the troubles Real Madrid had with this player, and don’t want to fall into the same trap – can you blame them?

I think that City have got to bite the bullet and let Robinho go. Only players that are eager to wear the proud sky blue should be the players playing for City; we have Bellamy and Petrov who have shown that desire.

You build a team from players that want to play for you, and fit into your jigsaw; Robinho is not part of that team.

Robinho has got to get out there and play his best for City to show Barça that he still has got his footballing skills. Besides, he owes it to City, he gets paid top wages for doing nothing.

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


Well, a lot of talk about the defence and so forth, here’s some more:

There’s a lot to be said about the defence, but the midfield needs a creative player who can make the game go upwards from the central midfield; I think that was the idea behind playing Ireland in the Burnley game. It did not quite work though. For this place you would need a solid performer. While Wright-Phillips did well, Barry unfortunately this time not, and this led to the second goal. All and all those who are in form should be on the field, not big “names”.

All in all I would not hang the defence totally out to dry because I think the problem lies in the way the whole team plays together; when the midfield is mixed up it can be seen elsewhere too. I also think we don’t need any more super-expensive wingers, we have two very good ones in Wrighty and Petrov (why doesn’t he start regularly?). I would play Bellamy with Adebayor and Wrighty, missing midfielder de Jong/Kompany-Petrov.

In the defence I can see a problem in a situation when Toure and Lescott for example are in a 2-2 situation defending against two forwards. When Lescott tries to intercept the cross to be made, Toure does regularly follow the ball with his eyes, but not the incoming other forward, who knows to change his position before the cross and is not where Toure thinks he is. This is something that has to be corrected. However, in their defence, they have not been playing together for very long.

Well, I think the manager has his hands full with all these big names but it does not happen overnight. Let’s hope the next league game goes with a brighter tone.

Pertti Soini <pertti.soini(at)>


After reading all the comments in MCIVTA for the last few weeks, I don’t think that there is one of us City supporters and fans that are happy in the way the defence have been playing.

And yet Lescott and Bridge get picked for England versus Brazil; if the manager of England sees something in these players by the way they have played in recent weeks, and unless these two players start playing in the rôles that they have been picked to do for City, then I fear for the chances of England winning the World Cup!

This is a wake up call for the defence to start playing as professionals. They should all know each other by now, and know when it is a man to man coverage, or zone coverage when defending. I would love to know what Shay Given’s thoughts are as he see his defence in front of him make mistake after mistake.

The next game versus Liverpool is a game when the whole team can earn our cheers, and respect. From now until Christmas is a very crucial time of the season, a time to be in a position to go for that European place next season.

Come on you Blues! I have faith that the team can do it.

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


Well not one decent write up here so what’s going on? Keith Sharp says about Hughes taking his best team; how would that work because he doesn’t know his best team? Hopefully the powers that be are already searching for his replacement.

Sam Duxbury <sammy459(at)>


First of all may I wish my good friend and top bloke of many years (mid 70’s glass factory project in Irvine Scotland), Richard was in charge of bottle handing, me raw materials handling and recently projects at M/C airport. Good luck in his quest to find Rob in Australia. KOTK will be also putting out feelers for him.

King Of The Kippax 174 (The Winter Draws On special) is now out, and is available in Urbis and Aleef, corner of Cross Street and Market Street. It can also be obtained for £3.20 including P&P from 25, Holdenbrook Close Leigh, Lancs, WN7 2HL.

This issue is A4, 48 pages and includes stuff on MOTD, M/C Compendium book, Eric Alexander’s book, Lescott, Owen, Rangers, Players, takeovers, World Cup, best fans, Munich, the manager and Uncle Ryan is back with little gems like a Mr N.Griffin asking why he’s the most hated man in Britain? Response is Are you a United fan?

Look out for it at Liverpool on Saturday, if it’s not raining too hard and at future games including the reserves vs. Blackburn at Leigh on Monday night.

Dave & Sue Wallace <dw001e8104(at)>


Please see the attached link for our Christmas singing competition, we look forward to seeing your entries!

Chris Nield <Chris.Nield(at)>


League table to 18 November 2009 inclusive

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F   A   GD Pts
 1 Chelsea         12  6  0  0 16  1  4  0  2 13  7 10  0  2  29   8  21  30
 2 Arsenal         11  5  0  0 20  4  3  1  2 16 10  8  1  2  36  14  22  25
 3 Manchester Utd  12  5  1  0 13  7  3  0  3 10  5  8  1  3  23  12  11  25
 4 Tottenham H.    12  4  0  2 12  6  3  1  2 11 11  7  1  4  23  17   6  22
 5 Aston Villa     12  4  1  1 12  5  2  2  2  8  7  6  3  3  20  12   8  21
 6 Manchester City 11  3  2  0 13  8  2  3  1  8  6  5  5  1  21  14   7  20
 7 Liverpool       12  4  1  1 19  6  2  0  4  8 12  6  1  5  27  18   9  19
 8 Sunderland      12  4  1  1 15  9  1  1  4  5 10  5  2  5  20  19   1  17
 9 Stoke City      12  3  1  2  8  7  1  3  2  4  8  4  4  4  12  15  -3  16
10 Burnley         12  5  0  1 10  5  0  1  5  5 20  5  1  6  15  25 -10  16
11 Fulham          11  3  0  2  7  5  1  3  2  7  9  4  3  4  14  14   0  15
12 Everton         11  2  3  1  9 10  2  0  3  6  7  4  3  4  15  17  -2  15
13 Wigan Athletic  12  2  2  2  6  9  2  0  4  7 13  4  2  6  13  22  -9  14
14 Blackburn R.    11  4  1  1 11  7  0  0  5  3 18  4  1  6  14  25 -11  13
15 Birmingham City 12  2  2  2  4  4  1  1  4  6 10  3  3  6  10  14  -4  12
16 Bolton Wndrs    11  1  2  3  8 13  2  0  3  7 11  3  2  6  15  24  -9  11
17 Hull City       12  3  1  2  6  8  0  1  5  4 17  3  2  7  10  25 -15  11
18 West Ham United 12  1  2  3 10 12  1  2  3  6  8  2  4  6  16  20  -4  10
19 Wolves          12  1  2  3  5 10  1  2  3  7 12  2  4  6  12  22 -10  10
20 Portsmouth      12  1  0  5  7  8  1  1  4  3 10  2  1  9  10  18  -8   7

With thanks to Football 365

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[Valid3.2]Heidi Pickup,

Newsletter #1585