Newsletter #1635

News tonight on the plans for the future, the inevitable transfer rumours, a look at the USA tour and International Blues as the World Cup approaches.

There’s opinion on what needs to happen next season and a Blue looking for a lift.

Next Game: TBA


General News

Super City: Roberto Mancini’s men may have narrowly missed out on finishing fourth this season but the Italian boss has great ambitions for the current squad. With the full backing of mega-rich owner Sheikh Mansour, the City chief knows expectations will be high over the coming years and wants his side to be ahead of the game. Whilst most fans will be hoping for the Blues to push on and break into the Champions’ League next season, Mancini has revealed he hopes to challenge for the league title: “I think the most important thing I try to instil in my players is that they must always believe that they can win – we need a winning mentality at this club because eventually, it pays off. It doesn’t happen overnight and can take maybe six or eight months to really be absorbed, but if you are prepared to work hard every game, you will always have a chance of being successful. It’s a simple observation, but very true – you can’t win anything without working hard. I want to win a lot of trophies with this club. We did OK this season, but next season I want us to aim to win the Premier League.”

Despite admitting that he feels the English Premier League is the most competitive in world football, Mancini believes the Blues must improve significantly if they hope to win the league next term and feels that turning disappointing results against their nearest rivals into wins will be crucial to achieving this: “Next season, we want to improve. Next year, when we play Tottenham, United, Everton and Liverpool, we want to win. This year, we were very unlucky. But we must improve if we want to win these games. I must say that I like the Premier League. I like City. I like the stadium and I like the supporters. I think our fans are incredible and they have been wonderfully supportive to me since I first arrived. It makes me more determined than ever to bring them success – when we win our first trophy it will be a very good moment for everyone, I think. We have a fantastic club. And this has helped me to improve, because I didn’t know the Premier League. But when you work in it every day, you get to know all the players. You learn that every game is difficult. We lost at Hull – who got relegated this year. It showed me that every game is very, very hard.”

Fergie’s Fears: In an interview that City fans have wished for for many years, United manager Alex Ferguson finally admitted that he will be looking over his shoulder for United’s ‘noisy neighbours’. Even when Sheikh Mansour bought the club, even when Carlos Tevez made the move across the city, Ferguson stood by his stance that City were no threat to his side’s domination. Now, twelve months down the line, the Premier League’s longest serving manager admits that he may have to take the Blues more seriously than ever before: “They will be a lot stronger this time. With the experience of last year behind them they’ll be better equipped to go for the title because they will spend big money again. Winning the title is going to be more difficult for anybody. This time it’s been ourselves and Chelsea and Arsenal for a period, but I think we can all hear the horses’ hooves galloping closer. In addition to City, I’m expecting Tottenham to be in the mix as well. I suppose the neutrals will welcome a situation where the competition is spread further as being good for the game.”

Boys on Tour: The schedule for the club’s summer tour of the USA has finally taken shape as Roberto Mancini explained that the Blues will begin their preparations at the Nike Campus in Portland, Oregon. With links to Nike arising through the club’s sponsorship by sister-company Umbro and that of Executive Chairman Garry Cook, Mancini feels it is the perfect place for City to begin their pre-season campaign on July 13th: “It is vital that we begin our pre-season preparations in the right way and so we’re very excited about kicking off our tour at Nike’s Campus. Not only is Nike’s excellence in sport, research and product development world renowned, but in their Portland campus they have some of the finest training facilities in America. It is a real privilege to have been invited there and our whole club will benefit from the experience. We are looking forward to playing the Timbers as the first of our pre-season matches and we are delighted to be calling Portland our home for the week.”

Following their participation in the New York Challenge, which could see the club come up against league rivals Tottenham Hotspur or Portuguese giants Sporting Lisbon, the Blues will take on Mexican side Club America. The 71,000 seater Georgia Dome Stadium, in Atlanta, will play host to this pre-season exhibition match on the 28th May and Mancini has expressed his delight with the fixture: “I think this will be a very good challenge for us. Our pre-season tour is going to be very important for our preparations for the new season. We have the games in New York against Sporting Lisbon and New York Red Bulls, and now Club America. This will be a very exciting match, and we are looking forward to playing against them. Their style of football is very different to the English Premier League, and it will be a good experience for our players. Coming to Atlanta will be great for us too – it is a famous city with an important sporting reputation, being the host city of the 1996 Olympic Games. And I know we lost a game in Atlanta the last time we went there in the 1960s, so this is a good chance for us to get a win there.”

Returning Hero: Paul Lake has made a much-welcomed return to his boyhood club as a City in the Community Ambassador. Lake became a City legend after playing over one hundred appearances for the Citizens before being forced to retire early due to injury and was appointed after seeking out help from his former club in raising money for charitable causes. After a meeting with Garry Cook, the Blues’ Executive Chairman spotted an opportunity and Lake is now chuffed to be ‘returning home’ to do a job he knows will make a difference: “I came to see Garry Cook to try to get some shirts and other memorabilia signed to help raise money for Jump Space, one of the charities I’m involved with, which deals with disabilities such as autism. My youngest son Edward has autism and while I was speaking with Garry, he mentioned there might be a position opening up at City to help with the fund-raising side of City in the Community and would I be interested? I’d been working as a physiotherapist and my knee had been letting me down on a regular basis so I was hoping at some stage to change my profession, so the timing of this opportunity couldn’t have been better. It killed two birds with one stone – firstly it allowed me to ‘come home’ – I know that sounds corny but for me it’s true – and secondly it allowed me to work for charities on a full-time basis.”

“As a former patron of a charity, I know how important the work done to raise money is and the positive effect it can have, whereby it can literally change people’s lives. This gives me a chance to do something worthwhile and also work under the umbrella of my old club. It’s been absolutely fantastic and I’m enjoying every minute of it. I’m working with some great people at CITC. We are the community club and we’re keen to give something back to the people of Manchester who perhaps need it the most. The rôle also means I’m able to come along on match days again, so I’m back working for my old team and not working on Saturdays any more. I can honestly say it’s the most content I’ve been since I was 17 playing football for City. I couldn’t be in a happier place and I’m absolutely loving it.”

Squad News

Long Way Back: City starlet Michael Johnson has dampened speculation that he is to return within a matter of weeks, instead claiming that he should be fit and ready to go in September. Some reports this week had suggested that ‘Johnno’ would be fit for the club’s tour of the USA but following surgery on his cruciate ligaments, the England under-21 international has admitted that he still faces a spell on the sidelines: “I won’t be ready for the start of season, but everything is going well and we’re looking at probably September time. I’m working hard and my knee feels good, it feels normal again. It’s about building fitness now and not doing anything too quickly. One mistake and you’re back to square one or worse. Lately it’s been going so well I’ve been running a bit too fast – well, I have been out for five months! But I’m being told ‘slow down’, and I have to put the reins on and hold back. I’ve been back to the surgeon three times for check-ups and he’s given the all-clear each time. You have to return after six months, so I’ll see him in another month or so. These things make you mentally tougher. I had to stop and my studs got stuck in the turf; it wasn’t just the cruciate, but I don’t want anyone feeling sorry for me. I was out the year before, so when you find out you’re going to have 12 months off again it’s gutting, but you have been through it before – you know you can get through it again.”

The 22-year-old understands that competition for a place in the first XI will be more intense than ever when he eventually does return, but, like any other City fan, ‘Johnno’ is simply looking forward to watching the stars of world football walk through the gates at Eastlands: “Now that it’s summer and you hear of the players we’re being linked with, it is exciting – especially for our fans. It’s only a few seasons ago, when I made my début under Stuart Pearce, that we were fighting relegation. We had to win games, Newcastle away and Fulham away, and if we didn’t… that’s where we’ve come from, so to be linked with all these massive names must be great for our fans. Me as well – I can’t wait for them to get here!”

Super Eagles Calling: Nigeria legend Jay Jay Okocha has warned Nedum Onuoha that he may regret not choosing to play for the African side at this summer’s World Cup. The 23-year-old defender has struggled to force his way into City’s new-look defence this season but has looked outstanding whenever called upon, the home fixture against Birmingham being the epitome of this. Despite having been overlooked by England manager Fabio Capello, Onuoha has admitted that he has had talks with Nigeria manager Lars Lagerbacker but felt it more important to be a regular for his club before committing to either country: “I’d rather be first choice at my team first before I start an international career. I said to the manager of Nigeria it wasn’t the right time for me but from there there’s been all sorts of outrage in Nigeria and, before that, people saying I’m turning my back on England. But I am trying to get it to a point where I play enough games and play well enough for me to have the option to be selected by either. So I’d rather get to that position first before I start making a decision.”

Former Bolton playmaker Okocha feels that it would be foolish of Onouha to spend his career waiting on an England call-up when the Super Eagles are knocking on his door now: “If I were him I would jump at the chance of playing for Nigeria rather than beg for an England shirt.”

Wright on the Money: Despite contract talks between club and player having stalled, Shaun Wright Phillips has announced that he is fully committed to the City cause, even if it means fighting for his place. It is common knowledge that Roberto Mancini has a huge pot of money to spend this summer in order to make the Blues a major force in English football but SWP is prepared to compete for his place in order to remain at the club he loves. When Adam Johnson joined in January, many thought that the former ‘Boro lad would spend his first few months at the club as an impact sub yet after making an instant impression, Johnson found himself ahead of SWP in the pecking order. There had been whispers that this would cause SWP to walk away from CoMS but he has no plans to do so and unlike rumours last month that suggested that a couple of players had issues with the way Mancini ran the team, the former Chelsea player has showered praise on the Italian and backed him to help the club bounce back from a disappointing end to the season: “Roberto Mancini has obviously come in from Italy where there’s more focus on the tactical preparations, whereas Mark Hughes had spent a long time in the Premier League and we’d work a lot more on our counter-attacking football. Personally, I enjoy training, so it isn’t an issue. We’ve always been an ambitious club, and I’ve personally been an ambitious player since I was young, but the difference is that now we’re in a better position to achieve that. Everyone was disappointed to miss out on fourth place, but that’s football. There are highs and lows and when you get a low you have to be ready and willing to bounce back, and that’s what we’ll be looking to do next season.”

Influx of Interest: The rise of Somali-born Abdi Ibrahim has brought a brand new fan base to the club as groups of local and international Somalis make City their first love. Ibrahim is one of a four players to graduate from the Academy under Mancini’s short five month tenure and Darren Bowman, Head of City’s Junior Academy has revealed how much interest has been generated from Ibrahim’s inclusion in first team affairs: “There has been an incredible response to Abdi’s rise into the first team squad from Somalis, not just in the immediate area near to the Academy but from all over the country and beyond. Through Abdi’s father we made contact with Somalis locally and further afield, and found there to be huge enthusiasm for football amongst the youngsters. A number play for the Whitworth Park club, which is almost on our doorstep, so it was nice to see them amongst the hundreds who had such a good time at the Academy. That the event was covered by a Somali TV crew shows the level of interest there is right now, and as a club we’re delighted to help with that. Abdi is a great rôle model to have, and he has undoubtedly helped to raise awareness with Somalis about what the City Academy does. It was a highly successful day that everybody enjoyed, and we are looking to host similar events with many diverse community groups this year.”

The Rumour Mill

And So It Begins: The club’s first transfer battle of the summer started last night as the Blues made a £20 million bid for Aston Villa midfielder James Milner. In a deal that some media outlets have suggested could reflect the ‘Lescott saga’ of last year, Aston Villa promptly rejected the offer, though an improved bid is expected within days. The PFA Young Player of the Year has been in scintillating form this season and has led to calls by England legend Geoff Hurst, and others, for the 24-year-old to be included in the England first XI this summer. Milner, a Leeds United Academy graduate, has two years left on his current deal at Villa Park and any deal is likely to depend on the player’s own personal preference. In the same week that City were linked with a £45 million double swoop for Milner’s club team-mates Gabriel Agbonlahor and Ashley Young, Aston Villa have refuted any suggestion that Milner is on his way out of the club: “We have received an offer from Manchester City for James Milner and this has been firmly rejected,” said a Villa spokesman. “We plan to sit down with James and his representative after the World Cup to agree a new long-term deal and this remains our position.”

Blues on Strike: If media reports are to be believed this week, a world class striker is top of Mancini’s wish-list. There had been rumours that a mega offer was on the table as Emmanuel Adebayor, Stevie Ireland and £40 million were to be offered to Liverpool in a double deal for Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard, whilst the signing of David Villa by Barcelona has suggested that Zlatan Ibrahimovic may be available to join Mancini at City, the manager he played under at Inter Milan.

Sevilla striker Luis Fabiano has also put his name in the hat after stating that he believes he will be sold this summer with only a year remaining on his contract. The Brazilian striker was Sevilla’s top scorer this season with fifteen goals in twenty three league games but has often expressed his desire to move to the Premier League. He may now be on his way after claiming Sevilla will search for a fee for the player rather than allow him to leave on a free transfer next season: “My departure is very likely; my contract will expire next year and I’m not going to renew. I think that Sevilla will try to sell me this summer.”

Amongst the younger goal-scoring talent who are fast making names for themselves across Europe, Youann Gourcuff’s name has been mentioned again and a deal for the Frenchman has been made all the more likely after it was announced that his manager Laurent Blanc will leave Bordeaux this summer in order to become French national coach. £22 million is the fee being banded about, though the Blues may instead pursue £18 million rated Villareal starlet Giuseppe Rossi. Rossi, who spent the earlier part of his career across the city at Manchester United, has become a fantastic player whilst competing in La Liga and is hotly tipped to be ‘one to watch’ in this summer’s World Cup. Though there is a huge amount of interest from clubs in Italy, Rossi’s agent has acknowledged that a return to England may be more beneficial for his client and some of the Premier League’s top clubs have been watching the Italian of late: “I feel that the player can leave Villarreal because this is a period of downsizing for the club. Juventus and Roma are important clubs, also Napoli and Fiorentina, but there are no real negotiations yet. I’m not sure whether Rossi will certainly come back to Italy, in recent weeks he was also viewed by several English clubs such as Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester City.”

Outward Bound: Zimbabwean striker Benjani is expected to be released by the club this summer after manager Roberto Mancini decided against offering the striker a new deal. Benjani, who cost the club £4 million from Portsmouth only two and a half years ago, had looked set to join Steve Bruce’s Sunderland having spent the latter part of last season at the Stadium of Light but Bruce has dismissed such speculation: “Benjani was a good signing for us at the time because we needed cover in case of injuries. In the end, he didn’t play many games, but the extra competition for places brought the best out of the other lads.”

And the Rest: In a section that may get bigger and bigger as the summer goes on, I’ll try to bring the ‘best of the rest’ of the media speculation. A double deal for Everton pair Phil Jagielka and Jack Rodwell may also be on the cards as negotiations with Benfica’s David Luiz and Barcelona’s Yaya Toure seem to have fallen through. It may cost £32 million to bring the English talent to the club but following the £20 million bid for James Milner, this hardly seems an issue for the Blues. Winger Martin Petrov may be used as a make-weight in the deal, as David Moyes hopes to bolster his midfield options and the Scottish manager has also been linked with a move for Micah Richards. That deal won’t go through if Harry Redknapp’s Tottenham Hotspur have anything to do with it as Redknapp also wants City’s Academy graduate to improve his defensive options ahead of their Champions’ League campaign. Another Spurs target may be about to make a more sensational move though, as Craig Bellamy was linked with a move to Cardiff City. The Welsh winger, who made a shock return to the international fold this week before pulling out with a calf strain, had been expected to join Spurs ahead of the next campaign but it’s rumoured that Cardiff City’s Dave Jones will make a move for the former Liverpool player if his side are promoted this weekend.

International Blues

Winging Their Way to the World Cup: The battle is on between Shaun Wright Phillips and Adam Johnson to win a place in the England 23 this summer. With Lennon, Walcott and Joe Cole also in the squad, reports suggest that it is likely to be SWP or ‘Johnno’ who fail to make the cut and so both players will no doubt be giving their all during England’s training camp in Austria this week. In an ideal situation, both Blues would be on the plane to South Africa come June but with SWP’s international experience going up against Johnson’s superb end of season form, the choice could be incredibly difficult for Fabio Capello. Wright Phillips has explained that he must focus on his own game if he is to make the cut and not focus on his nearest rivals: “I don’t observe other players like that. I just concentrate on my own game. Whichever players do well while we’re away on the training camp will deserve to go to South Africa in my eyes. I’ll just take that mentality there and try to stay positive.”

Of club team-mate and international rival Adam Johnson, SWP had much praise: “He’s a textbook winger – he’s brilliant at creating the opportunities for other players to score goals, and he’s left-footed, which could work in his favour as there aren’t too many left-footed players in the squad. But you never know who’ll get picked. That decision will ultimately lie with Fabio Capello.”

Roque Road: After a season of injury and inconsistency for City’s Paraguayan striker, Roque Santa Cruz is hoping for a successful World Cup campaign to make amends. Having scored the winning goal in Paraguay’s 1-0 win over North Korea this week, there’s no doubt Santa will be a crucial member of the South American’s squad and the former Blackburn target man believes that performing well for his country will help him settle back into club life next season: “Fitness-wise I feel very good, and it’s good for me to have 90 minutes behind me (against North Korea). Paraguay have never been involved in the quarter-finals, that is what we want to achieve and see if we can go on from there. It would be a good World Cup if we could do that. It’s a miracle, it’s something Paraguay has been blessed with and we are very proud, coming from such a small country, to be involved in such a great tournament. It’s probably because we are so down-to-earth. The football is not the best, we don’t have a lot of resources, we have don’t infrastructure or stadiums like other countries have.”

‘Johnno’ is ‘Razor’ Sharp: The season could not have panned out any better for Adam Johnson and in addition to praise from his club and international managers; ‘Magic’ Johnson has been tipped by one of the City greats to follow in his path. Mike Summerbee, forever a legend amongst the City faithful, has asserted that the young left winger, who started the season at Championship side Middlesbrough, should be taken to South Africa as part of England’s 23-man World Cup squad. Summerbee sees a little of himself in the 22-year-old and believes the versatile midfielder would be a great asset to Capello this summer: “I hope Adam gets a chance to shine in the World Cup. He is two-footed and it is a great opportunity for him. He is an exceptional player who is making substantial progress. Adam is so direct like some people say I was and the way the manager is playing him – on the right so he cuts in even though he is naturally left-sided – gives him an even better chance when the squad is announced because it shows he can be a highly versatile player.”

Alex Rowen <news(at)>


It’s been a couple of weeks since our last match, and I have thought long about what was missing from our team, which led to us missing out on 4th place. Firstly, Mancini needs to stop this defensive approach to most games; apart from being boring we only invite pressure on ourselves. On too many occasions last season, we set our stall not to lose first; compare that to the teams with a “winning mentality”. The game against Liverpool, then Man U at home, the away game at Arsenal – we were totally negative. Why play 3 holding midfielders? What does that tell you? Vieira probably only had a couple of decent displays, does that justify his £100,000+ a week?

They say Chelsea are an ageing team, led by an Italian (yet he gets his team to play attractive attacking football), but just look at the number of goals they score, look how many their attacking midfielder Lampard scores, and every season. How many goals has our midfield scored between them? That in itself tells a story.

If we are to copy the blueprint of Chelsea’s success, than we need to firstly get rid of the “average” players in the squad, and replace them with either “established” internationals, or upcoming younger talent. In my humble opinion, I would look to release or sell the following players: Garrido, Petrov, Robinho, Caicedo, Benjani, Jo, Vieira, Santa Cruz, Etuhu, Richards, Ireland, Zabaleta, Sylvinho, Bridge.

We really lack a decent left and right back, and this has been our weakness for a couple of seasons now. I just do not rate Bridge at all; compare him to Evra, Cole or even Gibbs or Clichy. I would have a look at Belhadj from Portsmouth. De Jong and Barry are ok as holding players but we really miss a goal scoring attacking midfielder, or someone to play those defence splitting passes to our front three. I would love us to go after Steven Gerrard, he would be great for us. Tevez works his socks off upfront, but needs another quality striker to play alongside him.

Between now and the World Cup, we will be linked to every player possible, so it’s going to be mighty interesting to see who we will buy.

I just hope we play in an attacking vein next season.

Come on you Blues!

Glyn Albuquerque <glynalbuquerque(at)>


I have just moved house to Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire and need to know whether there is a coach or minibus that runs from the area, or anyone interested in car share to matches?

Many thanks and kind regards, Bob Wilson <Sueharrop1310(at)>

MCIVTA FAQ [v0910.01]

[1] MCIVTA Addresses

Articles (Heidi Pickup)          :
News/rumour (Alex Rowen)         :
Subscriptions (Madeleine Hawkins):
Technical problems (Paul)        :
FAQ (David Warburton)            :

[2] What are MCIVTA’s publishing deadlines?

Deadlines for issues are nominally 6pm, Monday and Thursday evenings by email. Unfortunately we cannot accept email attachments.

[3] MCIVTA Back Issues and Manchester City Supporters’ home page is the unofficial Manchester City Supporters’ home page. Created in 1994, it is the longest running of the Manchester City related web sites. Back issues of MCIVTA are also hosted on the site. You can also follow on to get the latest updates.

[4] What is the club’s official web site?

The official club web site can be found at and the official club Twitter page at The club also has a facebook page at

[5] What supporters’ clubs are there?

Manchester City FC recognises three supporters’ clubs: The “Official Supporters Club” (; the “Centenary Supporters’ Association” ( and “The International Supporters’ Club”.

[6] Where can I find out about Points of Blue (formerly the Fans’ Committee)?

The committee operates as an interface between supporters and the club. Points of Blue appears on the club website as a minor entry under “Fans Zone”.

[7] What match day broadcasts are available on the web?

The Radio Manchester (née GMR) pre and post match phone-in is available on the web at

Live match commentaries and archives of games, reports and interviews can be found at

[8] Where can I find out if City are live on satellite TV? provides a listing of Premiership games being shown on UK domestic and foreign satellite channels. Useful sites for North American viewers are,, and

[9] Do we have a Usenet newsgroup?

Yes we do: is our home on usenet. If you are not familiar with usenet, a basic explanation is available here:,289893,sid9_gci213262,00.html

[10] Do any squad members have their own web pages?

There are a number available and direct links can be found at

[11] Where can I find match statistics?

Statistics for the current season are available from the club site, but for a more in-depth analysis try

The views expressed in MCIVTA are entirely those of the subscribersand there is no intention to represent these opinions as being thoseof Manchester City Football Club, nor of any of the companies anduniversities by whom the subscribers are employed. It is not inany way whatsoever connected to the club or any other relatedorganisation and is simply a group of supporters using this mediumas a means of disseminating news and exchanging opinions.

[Valid3.2]Heidi Pickup,

Newsletter #1635