Newsletter #1590

A convincing performance against Chelsea at the weekend and all is right with the Blue world. More of the same please!

We have opinion and views on the game tonight, reaction to recent opinion and the usual requests.

Next Game: Bolton Wanderers, away, 3pm Saturday 12 December


What a truly great result and absolutely awesome performance from City. To dominate Chelsea, who are perhaps the best team in the land, and in the top four in Europe, was no mean feat. I haven’t seen us beat Chelsea so convincingly for a long, long time. A good sign was how rattled Chelsea were, though Wayne Bridge who damaged his knee ligaments and several others may not agree that getting Chelsea angry is a good idea. Hopefully our walking wounded will be back soon. When did the likes of Terry, Ballack, Lampard, Drogba and Co. in this high achieving Chelsea side last get so wound up? A further good sign was that Chelsea actually played well, as recognised by Carlo Ancelotti, so we didn’t beat a team out of form. Yes, they had chances to level but everyone needs a slice of luck sometimes, and City deserved the win, so good was the performance.

We had strength in midfield in the immense Nigel de Jong and the powerful Barry, surely a match for any team in the division for power. We always look better pressing the opposition all over the pitch. On the right Shaun Wright-Phillips has rediscovered his form in recent weeks, and how. He gave Ashley Cole so many problems, and there aren’t too many wingers who get the better of him these days. What a thrill it is to see SWP and Tevez in particular running with the ball. Adebayor showed a striker’s instinct in scoring his goal, and what a delight it was to see Tevez score the winner with that free kick.

Chelsea have no valid complaints about the ref’s decisions: they were lucky to get the corner for their first goal (it clearly hit Cole last); Micah Richards was trying to get his hands out of the way of SWP’s shot before Adebayor’s goal; and we most certainly merited the free kick after Carvalho kicked Tevez in the back. At least Carlo Ancelotti had the grace to give us credit, not to mention shake hands with Mark Hughes.

Is there a better goalkeeper than Shay Given? What a great signing he is proving to be. In front of him it is great to see Lescott and Toure combining to produce solid performances against top class opposition. Micah Richards and Wayne Bridge have upped their games too, and look like defenders again. Indeed, every player can look back on a job well done. Hopefully the whole squad can continue in the same vein, i.e. defending for their lives when they need to, and attacking with verve and vigour.

There have been some home truths spoken in the dressing room and sparks flying but positive sparks, which is healthy. Good players with high standards should put each other right. They have to be mature enough and ambitious enough to improve. Let’s face it, they needed to after some of those draws, Burnley and Hull in particular. Talking of Hull, I do hope that Jimmy Bullard’s latest injury is not a serious one. He’s a superb midfield player who has been a thorn in our side on several occasions. I enjoy watching him play (well, when he’s not playing against us) and he’s certainly a character that lights up the game: a fact not lost on the Villa Park crowd who gave him a warm ovation as he was helped off the pitch in agony. He deserves much better luck with injures than he has had.

There have been some very well argued pieces from those who think Mark Hughes is not the man for the job, especially in the light of those 7 draws, but I don’t agree with them at all. Hughes has been given the target of the top six this season, and we are very much in contention for that, so surely he should get the whole season to achieve that? There is also a reasonable chance that we can get into the top four.

Some other fans just moan for the sake of moaning without making a constructive point. ‘Twas ever thus and that is not unique to Manchester City! Maybe message boards and forums like these have a therapeutic effect. Then there are also those who will never accept Hughes because of who he used to play for. Surely what is best for Manchester City is more important than pandering to a few petty prejudices?

I firmly believe that we should stick with Hughes. The team plays attractive football and he has introduced a much needed element of steel to the squad. I also like his quiet determination and cool demeanour, not to mention his management style. He has assembled some very good players with the right attitude, and there are promising signs that they will get it right, especially now they are getting used to each other. I hope people will see that this manager is good for City and enjoy this exciting period in our beloved club’s history. All managers make mistakes but Hughes makes far more good decisions than bad ones. He has now shown that he can win the big games, and his tactics were spot on against Arsenal and Chelsea. Now we need to show consistency and beat the lesser teams, starting with Bolton next Saturday.

C’mon City!

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


Believe it or not, I actually predicted that City would beat Chelsea on Saturday. I had a long discussion with a work colleague who happens to be a Chelsea supporter, and I ended up by saying, regardless of Chelsea’s strength in depth and their form in the league, I just had an inkling, that after our good win versus Arsenal in the Carling Cup, that we got back the missing “belief”, that has been lacking to date. Even though we were a goal down (very unfortunate), we were playing a lot better than we ever have against Chelsea, and also more importantly, we were stopping the “mighty” Chelsea from playing the ruthless football that has seen them trample over many teams. I am not going to offer a match report, just a few observations.

Given was brilliant (one of our best buys), a fantastic penalty save that ensured us 3 points; what a guy to have behind your defence. Micah Richards has been getting a lot of “deserved” stick lately but on Saturday he rolled up his sleeves and put in a great performance. He is nowhere near the finished article as a right back but hopefully he will learn fast. Lescott and Toure performed excellently too at the heart of our defence, whilst Bridge was also putting on one of his better performances. Barry and de Jong were magnificent in central midfield and I now can see why de Jong was signed. SWP was brilliant too, and if he maintains this form, he should be on the plane to the World Cup. Robinho did enough, but is a long way off being the “wing wizard” that his profile in the world has us believe.

Adebayor worked incredibly hard up front and was rewarded with a goal, and hopefully the confidence, which is sorely needed, is coming back. Tevez, what can I say, Man Of The Match, this guy really puts in the shift, he never stops running for the team (Man Ure’s loss). I can see why all the fans love him, he is like a Duracell battery, and now he is scoring goals too. Onuoha was way off the pace, and his extremely clumsy tackle on Drogba nearly ruined the day for all of us.

Having watched Drogba’s performance (can’t stand his theatrics!), I can honestly say, he has to be the best striker in the world. Our defence just about stopped him scoring but on another day he could have had a hat trick. What a handful he is, in the air, on the ground, could have snatched an equaliser at the end. It was a pity that both Richards and Bridge were injured as they were performing really well, and hopefully their injuries are not too serious, as we really need our full backs performing at their best.

It looks like we might have 3 injury worries, with Barry also carrying a groin strain; we really need Ireland to come to the party, and hope that Johnson can step up to the plate. It’s going to be interesting if we will be strong enough up front once Adebayor heads for the African’s Cup of Nations in January, as I do not think Santa Cruz is good enough (what a waste of £17 million), whilst another wasted £19 million signing, just about gets a game for Everton, that’s £36 million wasted!! I see Daniel Sturridge is not getting much pitch time at Chelsea; maybe that will bring him down to earth. Perhaps we can take him on loan in January (that would make me smile!)?

I just hope that we maintain this new good form, right up to Xmas and beyond.

Come on City!

Glyn Albuquerque <glynalbuquerque(at)>


In my last article against the Gooners I gave 9 out of 10 with room to improve. Today we saw that improvement, 10 out of 10.

My man of the match goes to Nigel “Tiger” de Jong; he closed down every Chelsea player that dared to venture before him, just brilliant, brilliant!

The team played just some amazing football, what can I say, I’m still out of breath, and I was only watching the game.

Nice to see the situations from set plays, first Tevez to de Jong who only missed goal by inches, then Tevez scores with Lescott jumping back out of the line to let the ball through – great stuff.

Maybe Robinho is still rusty after being off so long but I feel Bellamy would have done a better job.

Forgive me if I say this again but I am so excited by the whole team’s performance – “In Sparky I trust”.

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)>


At last a sensible perspective on the club. Well said Mal Ogg. I am nearly 100% in agreement with the points you made. There were one or two other articles this week where it seems like supporters realise stability is the key.

Change at a club like ours is going to take years and we’re only a couple of seasons along the way. Consistency in the management team is the key. When we stop changing managers and their back room staff like I would change my underpants, then we may be challenging for honours soon.

I would rather have another season of mediocrity (and a couple more derby wins) than go back to the management revolving door. The signs are there, progress is being made.

Anthony Ward <Anthony.Ward(at)>


I can’t wait for MCIVTA this week to read what the gloom and doom anti-Hughes merchants are going to say this week. “Hughes has spent 250 million quid, the defence looks dodgy, Lescott was over-priced… erm that’s about it.”

Played 18 competitive games and lost 1 (in the 7th minute of added time) with a team that will only get better as it plays together more. A game in hand, win it and we go 4th. One of the strongest squads in the Premier league (Chelsea definitely stronger and possibly the Rags). First semi-final in 28 years. To me that is progress and I defy anyone to argue that it isn’t.

I have been howling with laughter when people have questioned his man management skills. How do they know what his man management skills are like? Personally I think he has managed the players very well considering he has some well known colourful characters in his squad.

People have questioned his tactics. Personally (and yes I am allowed to have an opinion that is different to others) I have always liked Hughes’ tactics. At Blackburn he played with 2 wingers and 2 strong and quick centre forwards. He usually played a midfield hard man with a creative player (Tugay was class) and tried to have two strong centre halves. Nowt wrong with that for me. I also get goosebumps when I see our team at the moment with 4 or 5 attacking and skilful players usually starting. Stick de Jong (or Kompany) in as a midfield hard man and I think we have balance and an attacking flair that only Chelsea can match.

I had to hold my ribs last week as they were in danger of splitting when a contributor stated (and I am paraphrasing here) that City’s ideal manager should also speak Spanish or French (?). What on earth has being able to speak Spanish or French got to do with being a good football manager? The most successful manager in English football history struggles to speak English, never mind bl**dy French.

And can the Guus Hiddink brigade also give it a rest? He was successful with PSV no question but the Dutch league is hardly a pace setter amongst Europe’s elite. If being successful in the Dutch league is a barometer may I suggest Walter Smith as he has been very successful in the Scottish League, which is akin to the Dutch one. Russia got knocked out of the World Cup by a nation that is 20 places below them in the FIFA rankings, which is similar to getting knocked out of the FA Cup by an old Third Division side.

So please can we have some common sense and get off Hughes’ back? I also was very frustrated with the draws against Burnley, Fulham and Hull. This team will take time to gel and let’s look where we are at the end of the season and not before. The priority was European qualification and we are on track for that. With Liverpool faltering we also have a real chance of top 4 but I didn’t expect it when the season started and I still don’t no matter how much I would love it.

Hughes will never be accepted by some City (ahem) fans as he played for the Rags; let’s be honest, that is the real reason behind the venom.

CTID, Iain Sellers <iain.sellers(at)>


I was pleasantly surprised by the results and style against both Arsenal and Chelsea. If only we could play like that against lesser teams! If Hughes can finally win a derby or two, I’ll be well on my way to conversion (but I do not have high hopes- I just don’t see that he has it in him to be a winning manager). Fingers crossed, it’s all part of the ride.

Great to see Colin Savage back, I had wondered about his long absence. I was also really impressed with the measured calm of Ged Wilson and the piece by Peter Llewellyn. I don’t think we are quite bad enough to be tarred with that foul epithet yet, but I always had the same worry. It is a salutary warning from Peter and we need to take a step back and recognise the dangerous path we are on. If we lose our sense of humour and stoicism, we have loss the essence of being Blue and Colin Bell forbid that anyone starts thinking that winning is our right! Thanks to Peter for that reality check!

Martin Hunt <martin.hunt(at)>


Typical that I should dump on Mark Hughes just before the Blues reel off wins against Arsenal and Chelsea. It still bothers me that he was making up excuses why City could only draw against Hull.

Still, vast improvement against Arsenal and Chelsea. What I liked about our Arsenal win is that all facets of the team – defence, midfield and forwards – all linked together cohesively regardless of the strength of our opposition. And yes I thought Lescott and Toure both played well and that SWP, Bellamy and Tevez were exceptional.

And then carry this forward against Chelsea with Bellamy and Ireland both out but impressively replaced by de Jong and Robinho.

To see Robinho actually pedal back and play defence was a revelation. I do believe he now understands that the team does not centre around him and that he is actually trying to be a team player.

Again SWP is playing like he is determined to lay claim to an England shirt and Tevez and Adebayour could still link up into a formidable partnership. Sparky just has to keep the guts of this team together, let them develop, make the odd substitution but play his A team consistently. Good to see Hughes make some intelligent substitutions. Especially Weiss coming on against Arsenal.

Can’t finish without praising Given on his penalty stop. If Shay hasn’t earned City’s player of the month award for November, he’s been robbed.

Now let’s go to Bolton and stuff them.

Keith Sharp <keith(at)>


Desperately seeking 2 tickets for Spurs. Please call on 0790 873 8897 or email if you can help – even if you only have 1 ticket spare. Many thanks.

Simon Hope <simonjhope(at)>


Can you help me? Many years ago I got sacked by my boss because of Man City. Let me explain. My name is Rob Booth. At the time, approximately 1968, I worked on the old Smithfield Market in Manchester up Tibb Street. I worked for a chap who was called (and his stalls were called) Harry Thirkettle. I was only a young kid then (done everything and seen everything) but to cut a long story short, on Friday morning (we started work at 4:30 am) I told Harry I wasn’t feeling very well and said I need to go home; he began to be very suspicious and asked if I was going to watch City play Newcastle at Newcastle tomorrow, with the outcome that if City won they would win the league. That was out of order that was and I told him so, and as a rebuff he said if I go home and he finds out I’ve been to the match he would sack me. So off home I went with my boss realising how wrong he was, what with my droopy eyelids, constantly holding my head and mumbling it’s killing me. Well 2 hours later my mate Barney Jeffrey of Jeffrey’s Taxis in Wythenshawe and I were hitch hiking to Newcastle.

Trying not to go too long with this escapade, as history explains we won 4-3. I was stood on the steps outside with Malcom Allison; he had a massive cigar in his gob and I had my bell (which later became more famous than some City players courtesy of Big Helen but that’s another story). Anyway, back home on Monday I was back working on the market when a porter called Ernie was passing and shouted out to me “Great photo in the paper Bobby!” Unfortunately my boss, T-pot as he was affectionately known, was stood next to me and asked “What does he mean?” I said “Take no notice, he’s probably still drunk from last night” but Harry went straight to the paper shop. Alas, there it was, I wasn’t at death’s door, I was at Newcastle with the team I loved. Suffice to say I was told to put my coat on and go. This became like a last walk through death row; everybody went quiet and watched me with hunched shoulders and tears in my eyes walk down the avenue where Harry had his three stalls; even the likes of Smithfield Market heroes – or at least they were to me – the likes of Eddie Berrington, Jimmy Kirby (R.I.P.), Billy Drummond and Jacko didn’t mutter a word and just before I got out of view Harry shouted “Where the fffffff ………… kkkkkkkk are you going?” – it was like that ’cause he stuttered very badly – “Get back here, take your coat off and get back to work!” Well all the lads had a great laugh and so did my boss. Me, I shed a few tears but to be honest not as many as when my team won the league.

So that was when City nearly got me sacked. My help message? Well I’d love to get a copy of that photo. It’s out there somewhere but I’ve spent years trying. God bless, hope I haven’t bored you too much. If this gets to you would you please let me know so I know another search has gone out?

Many thanks, Bob Booth <bobbooth2004(at)>


6 December 2009

Fulham                1 - 0  Sunderland            23,168Everton               2 - 2  Tottenham Hotspur     34,003

5 December 2009

Portsmouth            2 - 0  Burnley               17,822Arsenal               2 - 0  Stoke City            60,041Aston Villa           3 - 0  Hull City             39,748Blackburn Rovers      0 - 0  Liverpool             29,660West Ham United       0 - 4  Manchester United     34,980Wigan Athletic        2 - 3  Birmingham City       18,797Wolverhampton Wndrs   2 - 1  Bolton Wanderers      27,362Manchester City       2 - 1  Chelsea               47,348

League table to 06 December 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         15  7  0  0 20  1  5  0  3 17  9 12  0  3  37  10  27  36 2 Manchester Utd  15  6  1  0 16  7  5  0  3 18  6 11  1  3  34  13  21  34 3 Arsenal         14  6  0  1 22  7  3  1  3 16 11  9  1  4  38  18  20  28 4 Tottenham H.    15  5  0  2 21  7  3  3  2 14 14  8  3  4  35  21  14  27 5 Aston Villa     15  5  2  1 16  6  2  3  2  9  8  7  5  3  25  14  11  26 6 Manchester City 14  4  3  0 16 10  2  4  1 10  8  6  7  1  26  18   8  25 7 Liverpool       15  4  2  1 21  8  3  1  4 10 12  7  3  5  31  20  11  24 8 Fulham          15  5  1  2 12  6  1  3  3  7 10  6  4  5  19  16   3  22 9 Birmingham City 15  3  2  2  5  4  3  1  4 10 12  6  3  6  15  16  -1  2110 Sunderland      15  5  1  1 16  9  1  1  6  5 12  6  2  7  21  21   0  2011 Stoke City      15  4  1  2  9  7  1  4  3  4 10  5  5  5  13  17  -4  2012 Blackburn R.    15  4  3  1 11  7  1  0  6  5 21  5  3  7  16  28 -12  1813 Burnley         15  5  1  1 11  6  0  1  7  8 27  5  2  8  19  33 -14  1714 Wigan Athletic  15  3  2  3  9 12  2  0  5  8 22  5  2  8  17  34 -17  1715 Everton         15  2  4  2 11 14  2  0  5  8 13  4  4  7  19  27  -8  1616 Hull City       16  4  2  2 12 13  0  2  6  5 21  4  4  8  17  34 -17  1617 West Ham United 15  2  2  4 15 19  1  3  3  9 11  3  5  7  24  30  -6  1418 Wolves          15  2  2  4  7 12  1  2  4  7 16  3  4  8  14  28 -14  1319 Bolton Wndrs    14  1  2  4  8 15  2  1  4  9 14  3  3  8  17  29 -12  1220 Portsmouth      15  2  0  6 10 12  1  1  5  3 11  3  1 11  13  23 -10  10
With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1590