Newsletter #1603

Disappointment ultimately in injury time on Wednesday night as the Rags won the second semi-final tie and by three goals to one, which ended our hopes of a trip to Wembley in February. We still have the FA Cup to look forward to.

We have views tonight on the game, opinion on off pitch comments, finances in football and a host of requests for Blues meeting up including a great player evening at Reddish, and details of Gary’s forthcoming book.

As one PC is redeemed, we now have Alex struggling with his to get the news done so no news round-up tonight folks.

Next up, back to business in the league as Pompey visit CoMS on Sunday.

Next Game: Portsmouth, home, 1.30pm Sunday 31st January 2010

MATCHVIEW: MUFC 3 MCFC 1 (4-3 on aggregate)

I don’t really have the words to describe the feeling after such a crushing, late disappointment like that. It’s something between shattered and gutted, but defiant…

Without hitting the heights, City didn’t play badly at Owed Trafford, but we could have played better. We more than matched them in the first half, with Tevez having the best chance with his header that was saved by van der Sar. We should have had a penalty when Ferdinand brought Tevez down. Before that Ferdinand (who was already appealing against a violent conduct charge) should have at very least see yellow after his swinging arm caught Tevez. How did Howard Webb miss that?

As for the second half, we allowed United to have too much time on the ball, which was reminiscent of the League game there this season. We must learn to impose ourselves on them better than we have. We need to play with greater intensity.

We lost our concentration (which is forgivable) after Craig Bellamy was hit by at least one object and that cost us dear. Our shape was also affected by that incident as Barry had to take that the corner instead of the recovering Bellers, thus disrupting how we are set up. It was no coincidence that United scored straight after that. The offending Rag cretin in the stands may have been caught, and may well be rightly prosecuted and get a ban, but that doesn’t help City on the pitch. The game should have been stopped to allow Bellamy to feel ready to take the corner and so that City were not disadvantaged in any way.

Richards, Boyata and Kompany did well last night but our weakness was down the left, where Garrido struggles at the highest level. Wayne Bridge will be returning soon but he will need to be at his very best: surely left back is a priority area for strengthening?

Tevez’s brilliant goal, where he just beat Ferdinand to skilfully flick past van der Sar was top drawer and should have been the platform to us going on. It wasn’t to be.

We were eventually undone by a moment of poor defending, which allowed Rooney to capitalise at the end. We cannot allow a player of that quality so much room. It was a real shame because we were looking dangerous in those last few minutes and with Bellamy and Tevez, we always have the ability to hurt United.

In the wreckage of such a crushing disappointment, we have to maintain our perspective. We have much to thank Sheikh Mansour for allowing us the opportunity to compete for trophies. For that we are truly grateful.

What can we learn from such an encounter? Firstly, we have to be more positive, especially at home. The real disappointment is that we really did not get at United enough in the first leg: we should have got in their faces earlier than we did. The over-arching point is that we need to develop a winning mentality. Not the cheating, elbowing, sly, nasty win-at-all-costs mentality of Manchester United, but a hard-nosed, ruthless approach, which sees us put our opponents away. We cannot afford to switch off like we did in stoppage time in the 2nd leg. We need to keep going until the very last: that is what makes the likes of Chelsea, and what made the great Liverpool sides of the 70s and 80s successful.

One request: will someone, please, please, please gag Garry Cook. Talk about an inverse Midas Touch when it comes to PR. I am sorry to say that he’s become a real embarrassment to us. I prefer the more studied, measured tones of Khaldoon Al Mubarak. Abu Dhabi are building something here, and we do not need to motivate our rivals with unnecessary boasts about world domination.

Arguably our best chance of a trophy this season has gone, but we have to pick ourselves up, and show character again. The dream is not over. It never will be. Indeed, there is a light that never goes out! We cannot afford a hangover, and we must beat Portsmouth on Sunday to maintain our challenge in the League. Tottenham have won this week and we must keep up with them.

Given: Forced into some terrific saves 8
Richards: Good positioning and tenacity: his career is back on track 8
Boyata: A very assured performance from the young man with some vital interceptions: distributed the ball calmly and accurately 8
Kompany: Assertive: his best game at centre half to date 8
Garrido: Really struggled here 6
Barry & De Jong: Tenacious but they didn’t take the initiative and dominate midfield for long enough 7
Zabaleta: Battled gamely 6
SWP: Worked hard, but not his night 6
Bellamy: Always a threat and always committed: superb cross for the goal 8
Tevez: Tenacity, close control skill: his 18th goal of the season was out of the top drawer 8

Subs: Adebayor: Made a nuisance of himself to United 6
Ireland: Got stuck in and tried to stem the flow 7
Refwatch: Howard Webb: Missed key decisions, which marred his display 5
Best oppo: Rooney again 8

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


Disappointing to see City go out in extra time to United. The reality is though that we are not quite good enough to beat United over a two-game aggregate. But we are getting close and I still think our best chance of winning at Wembley is the FA Cup.

A couple of things that do bother me. Which can’t Ferguson have the decency to note that City did play well rather than his “We could have beaten them by six or seven” remark? It’s one thing to be a bad loser but to stick it in when you win is just not on. The way things are going with the Glazers, we will have our revenge in the not too distant future.

Another thing that bothers me is the continued bad press City continue to generate. All this stuff about City being bad for football? Tell me what City have done wrong? Yes we spent some money to make City top-four contenders, which has made this year’s battle at the top a lot more interesting. Yet we get slagged for this? But neither Hughes nor Mancini are arrogant, the players are generally well behaved and we have the best fans in the country. Lot of envious people out there. The response is to keep winning games or showing class when we lose, like on Wednesday.

One thing I have to agree on is that Garry Cook is a liability and should be turfed. Shooting his mouth off in the press just gives them ammunition to throw back at us. And he must have had some input into the signings of Jo, Robinho, Lescott and RSC? We need a real football brain to push City forward. I would contact Peter Kenyon.

Finally, it seems that Mancini has sorted out his team. Going to be interesting to see what he does with Bridge and Lescott. Imagine the money City could have saved if Mancini had been the new owner’s first choice.

I fear for Portsmouth on Sunday!

Keith Sharp <keith(at)>


I’m proud of the City team for the very good effort the players made in the Carling Cup semi final versus the Evil Empire (which financially is crumbling fast).

I never have been a lover of Carling beer, so let’s move on. We have got to stay positive for we have the FA Cup, and a top four finish to play for.

On April 17, City can have their revenge at home by beating the Rags and help stop them winning the Premier League, not that other top teams need any help.

Take heart that City are improving, and have, unlike United, the resources to continue building the City squad.

Come on you Blues!

(Come to think about it I no longer dislike United with a passion, but hate them!)

Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)>


I probably shouldn’t write anything about last night’s game until I can be a bit more objective about it. The cold light of morning (and it is sub-zero out here in Prague) hasn’t made the realisation that we won’t be at Wembley at the end of February any easier to take.

I can’t even think of any positives to take out of last night’s game. What did we learn last night?

  1. Tevez and Bellamy will run all day (and night).
  2. Our defence when put under pressure is a shambles no matter how wellindividuals play (Kompany was immense last night, Boyata had his best game sofar and Richards is getting back to the player from 2/3 years ago).
  3. We need a left back.
  4. Barry should not be allowed anywhere near corner taking.
  5. Rag fans are scum.
  6. We have a massive squad but no-one who can change a game when we arebehind.
  7. Given is world class.

Some might say that we should take comfort from some of the above but we knew all that at the beginning of the season. We haven’t progressed at all since September/October. We still have the same strengths and weaknesses and that is frustrating. We have come a long way since last season but I see no visible signs of us improving as the season goes on.

Hopefully I’ll have got over last night by Sunday. I’d have much rather won the League Cup than finish 4th so that we can join the Rags and their mates in that mutual back slapping farce called the Champions’ League.

Dare I dream of Wembley in May? If we avoid Chelsea then why not?

Iain Sellers <iain.sellers(at)>


This is not a match report but more a reflection of the strength of our squad.

We only played well in the first half, and in the 2nd half it was nearly all Man U; they created so many chances, it was inevitable they were going to score, whether it was through our errors, luck or good play by the opposition. Nani, who has been pathetic to date for Man U, was a constant thorn on their right flank, and this really highlighted how poor Garrido is at left back (imagine being replaced by a right back?).

The second very noticeable weakness is our lack of creativity in our midfield. Barry, Zabaleta and de Jong all play like holding midfielders; I feel sorry for our attack as they only get passes from the wingers. Why was Petrov not brought on? He creates so much, especially down the left wing. Giggs and Nanni really worked our full backs, and Fletcher and Scholes bossed the midfield but none of our midfield wanted to move up, giving so much space and time to their opposite numbers.

We need to buy a decent left back, and a quality attacking midfielder if we are to move on, someone in the mould of Fabregas (is there anyone in our team that plays like him – not even Ireland does that any more?).

I was annoyed because we were destroyed down the wings. Why was no one picking up Rooney at the very death, it did not make sense at all. Had it not been for Given and some poor finishing from Man U, we could easily have lost more heavily.

Having watched the match with 2 Man U fans, I was absolutely gutted at the end, especially as we were so close to going into extra time. But if the truth be told, we did not deserve to win, they created far more chances than us, and really bossed the game in the 2nd half. Against Scunthorpe, when Silvinho moved into midfield, he had a great game, and I reckon he would have done far better than de Jong in the second half, as he is comfortable on the ball, and is willing to go forward.

It’s been a long time since we have had anyone to compare with Benarbia and Berkovic, and they were not the quickest players in the middle of the park, but they possessed skill, vision and creativity, which some of our current guys lack.

We now only have the FA Cup and the League to go for, and 4 days left in the transfer market… so come on Mancini get a grip!

Come on you Blues!

Glyn Albuquerque <glynalbuquerque(at)>


At 2-0 down Tevez got us back into this game but ultimately we didn’t win because we didn’t set out to win, we set out to contain. Even when it was 2-1, we looked as though we’d settled for extra time. To be fair to Mancini, the team selection was really forced on him to a degree but without Ireland in midfield we look short of creativity. The threat we carry is largely due to Tevez’s dogged energy and Bellamy and Wright Phillips’ pace and skill. Perhaps I’m missing something but what does Barry actually do for us? I haven’t seen him produce creatively for us once over the last few months. There are shortcomings with the team and Mancini will need time to put his stamp on things. What I hope he does is send out teams to win games rather than sending out teams not to lose and hope we can hit them on the break. A few years ago, given our resources, this would have been acceptable, now it is not. Against Scunthorpe, I lost count of the amount of times we got done by short corners and the same happened tonight for their winning goal and there’s no excuse for that. Once again City let you down but I suspect a lot of fans half expected this. The important thing to do is to take the positives and move forward.

Arthur Magee <arthurmagee(at)>


A great article from Colin Savage that clearly shows the fiscal troubles that Man Ure find themselves in. However, I would have thought that an additional line about the Faux Pas that occurred at the bond launch was worth a mention.

For those that do not know, Sheikh Mansour has an investment company that carries out all his investments in such companies as AMD and Ferrari. This company is called Mubadala, and is the parent company that owns the ADUG (Abu Dhabi United Group) which bought our beloved club.

Now at the bond Launch as all the investors were entering the presentation there was a mannequin on display that had a Man Ure shirt on with the Mubadala logo on it. So in an ironic way they were showing their investors that they were being sponsored by the owners of Man City.

Steve Cheeseborough <steve.cheeseborough(at)>


In response to comments in the last MCIVTA, I think we would all be well advised to laugh at United’s financial woes at our peril.

Everything in City’s garden may smell of roses at the moment but nothing is guaranteed in this life.

I just hope it doesn’t end in tears and that the money from the Middle East doesn’t disappear as quickly as it came.

The one thing we can be certain about in this life is that nothing is certain! A little modesty might just be in order.

Robert Sleigh <robert_sleigh(at)>


Memo to Gary ‘I’m no boot-licker’ Cook: the old saying “Pride comes before a fall” comes to mind.

Instead of ruling the world Gary, maybe we should just rule Manchester first? For all United’s problems, they can still put one over us. Seems to happen fairly often doesn’t it!

Still, life goes on, ruling the world might take a little longer!

Kevin Williamson <scribbs(at)>


Who’s that crying at the cash point
Who’s that begging in the bank
It’s the Glazer’s and their clan
Working on their masterplan
Thank f**k we got the Sheikh and not the Yank

Who’s that standing by the turnstiles
Who’s that banging on the door
It’s the bailiffs and his boys
Making all the f***king noise
Coz the Glazer’s cannot borrow any more

Phill Gatenby <safestanding(at)>


Lifelong Blue just moved to Singapore desperately looking to hook up with other City fans to enjoy the next chapter of our great journey “City the glory years”.

There must be some of you out there… just let me know where and when.

Richard Denton <dickiect(at)>


London Blues will be meeting again on Sunday to watch the Pompey game:

The City Pride, Farringdon Lane, Clerkenwell EC1R 3AN.

You can find more details about the London Blues on the OSC website here:

We had a great turnout for the derby game and look forward to welcoming more London based Blues.

Tony Brett <tony.b1(at)>


The next meeting of the Reddish Branch of the Centenary Supporters’ Association is on Wednesday 3rd February at Reddish Working Men’s Club, Greg Street, South Reddish, Stockport starting at 7.00pm (doors 6.30pm).

Our confirmed guests for the evening are Shaun Wright-Phillips and Javier Garrido plus officials from the Club.

The meeting is open to everyone and entrance is free to branch members, £2 for adult non-members, £1 for junior non-members and includes a free raffle. So please bring along your family and friends and let’s have fantastic Blue night out.

You’re advised to get there early as we’re expecting a full house.

More details at

Howard Burr <reddishblues(at)>


Joe Mercer, OBE: Football With A Smile

A short message to let all MCIVTA subscribers know that the deadline for pre-ordering my next book ends on 31st January. Anyone ordering “Joe Mercer, OBE: Football With A Smile” before that date will be able to buy the book at the discounted price of £15 (RRP £19.95); have their name printed in the subscriber section at the back of the book; and select their favourite Mercer Match for inclusion in the list. The Mercer Match can be any game Joe was involved with.

This is the only authorised biography of Joe’s entire life and includes a great deal of City content. I originally brought the book out in 1993 but this version has been revised and updated. There are many different photos and stories, and the book will include a colour section as well as b/w photos throughout.

It will also have a different cover to the original.

Further details can be found at or on the publisher’s facebook page (search on “James Ward Publishing” and become a fan).

Gary James <info(at)>


27 January 2010

Aston Villa           0 - 0  Arsenal               39,601
Chelsea               3 - 0  Birmingham City       41,293
Blackburn Rovers      2 - 1  Wigan Athletic        22,190
Everton               2 - 0  Sunderland            32,163

26 January 2010

Portsmouth            1 - 1  West Ham United       18,322
Wolverhampton Wndrs   0 - 0  Liverpool             28,763
Bolton Wanderers      1 - 0  Burnley               23,986
Tottenham Hotspur     2 - 0  Fulham                35,467

League table to 27 January 2010 inclusive

                            HOME           AWAY         OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L   F   A  GD Pts
 1 Chelsea         22 11  1  0 37  8  5  2  3 18 10 16  3  3  55  18  37  51
 2 Manchester Utd  23 10  1  1 31  8  6  1  4 22 11 16  2  5  53  19  34  50
 3 Arsenal         23  9  1  1 34 11  6  3  3 25 14 15  4  4  59  25  34  49
 4 Tottenham H.    23  8  1  3 28  8  4  4  3 16 16 12  5  6  44  24  20  41
 5 Liverpool       23  7  2  2 28 11  4  3  5 12 15 11  5  7  40  26  14  38
 6 Manchester City 21  7  3  0 26 14  3  5  3 16 16 10  8  3  42  30  12  38
 7 Aston Villa     22  6  4  2 17  7  4  3  3 12 11 10  7  5  29  18  11  37
 8 Birmingham City 22  5  4  2  9  6  4  2  5 12 16  9  6  7  21  22  -1  33
 9 Everton         22  5  5  2 18 15  2  3  5 14 19  7  8  7  32  34  -2  29
10 Fulham          22  6  2  2 15  6  1  4  7 11 20  7  6  9  26  26   0  27
11 Blackburn R.    23  6  4  2 17 12  1  2  8  8 28  7  6 10  25  40 -15  27
12 Stoke City      21  5  3  3 15 13  1  4  5  4 13  6  7  8  19  26  -7  25
13 Sunderland      22  5  3  2 18 13  1  2  9 12 27  6  5 11  30  40 -10  23
14 Wigan Athletic  21  3  3  3 10 13  3  1  8 14 33  6  4 11  24  46 -22  22
15 Bolton Wndrs    21  3  4  5 17 23  2  2  5 12 19  5  6 10  29  42 -13  21
16 West Ham United 22  3  3  4 18 20  1  5  6 11 18  4  8 10  29  38  -9  20
17 Wolves          22  3  3  6  9 17  2  2  6  8 21  5  5 12  17  38 -21  20
18 Burnley         22  5  4  1 14  9  0  1 11  8 35  5  5 12  22  44 -22  20
19 Hull City       22  4  3  3 13 16  0  4  8  7 30  4  7 11  20  46 -26  19
20 Portsmouth      21  3  1  7 14 17  1  2  7  5 16  4  3 14  19  33 -14  15

With thanks to Football 365

[Valid3.2]Heidi Pickup,

Newsletter #1603