Newsletter #1656

Finally back online!

Tonight we have news round-up on all the latest happenings play and player wise thanks to Sarah who is covering.

There are views of the games in the USA and Germany from Mike and Paul, opinion on the pre-season games and performances and a whole hatful of requests.

Next Game: Valencia, home, 7pm, Saturday 7 August 2010 (friendly)


As this is news, I have chosen to ignore the various posts by the likes of Kalou, claiming that money can’t buy success; the terms ‘Pot and Kettle’ spring to mind here Salomon!

Defeat against Dortmund: City were beaten 3-1 by Borussia Dortmund in a friendly last night, despite a first-half goal from Jo and a penalty save from Joe Hart. The Blues’ many substitutions may have had a de-stabilising effect in the second half, as it was the opposition who looked the better team. However, with the Premier League due to kick off next weekend, City still need to decide who will play where (let’s hope they win on Saturday!).

City’s US send off is not the one they’d prefer: Instead the Blues lost the final match of their American tour, with a 3-0 defeat to Inter Milan, after Patrick Vieira was sent off for an alleged elbow on Marco Materazzi, just 21 minutes into the game. From this point on Rafa Benitez’s side capitalised on their numerical advantage as Victor Obinna opened the scoring, before an own goal from Joleon Lescott doubled the lead and Cristiano Biraghi sealed matters. Striker Mario Balotelli, heavily linked with a move to Eastlands this summer, was not part of the Inter squad and City boss Roberto Mancini was absent for the friendly against his former club, having flown back to Italy to be with his sick father.

Moving swiftly on…

City Await Europa League Draw: Under Uefa’s complicated co-efficient, Mancini’s men will be ranked 21st among the 74 teams in the hat for a two-legged tie that will determine who makes it through to the 48 team (twelve groups of four) group stage. Under competition rules, City cannot draw another Premier League team. City will find out who they face tomorrow lunchtime and the play-off matches will take place on Thursday, August 19 and a week later on August 26.

Family Fun Day and Launch of New Kit: Also happening tomorrow, to celebrate the launch of City’s new home kit, the Club is hosting a family fun day. The kit goes on sale at 9am, while doors to the ground open at 1.30pm and visitors can enjoy the entertainment from the revamped family stand. Then from 3-4pm, fans can watch the players take part in a light training session ahead of Saturday’s match versus Valencia.

Joe in or out? Joe Hart has hinted that he would be keen for another loan spell away from the Club if he doesn’t become the first choice ‘keeper. The 23-year-old England international spent last season on loan at Birmingham City and could be behind Shay Given in the goalkeeping hierarchy under Roberto Mancini again this term. “All I want is to play in the Man City first team – but if I wasn’t I’d have to reconsider,” he told BBC Sport. “I’ve based my summer around getting in the first team. Shay has recovered from his shoulder injury and we are both fit and raring to go and we both want that place. It is so different playing for the reserves. I want to be in the limelight, playing for the first team and at the moment I am working hard to get into Manchester City’s first team.” However, it seems Sunderland may be keen to take Hart on loan, though whether City would be keen to let him go is another matter altogether.

Transfer news

On the way out: Roque Santa Cruz is set to follow Javier Garrido out of Manchester City, but this time on loan to Marseille. Garrido left City for Lazio on Friday in a £2.5 million deal as a replacement for Aleksandar Kolarov, who moved the other way last Saturday for £16 million.

Meanwhile, Jo is believed to be a target for Stoke, whilst Ireland could go to Villa (see below). Nedum Onuoha is another potential target, with Aston Villa and Everton also taking an interest in the defender.

On the way in: Midfielder James Milner could be on his way to City, with Ireland (and/or several others) going the other way as City and Villa look to hammer out a deal. Villa are refusing to reduce the £30 million price tag they have placed on Milner, whilst City are refusing to increase their offer (believed to be around £24 million).

Mancini has to reduce the number of over-21 players in his squad from 31 to 25 by September 1 in order to comply with new Premier League rules.

Mancini is believed to want to keep Bellamy, in spite of interest for the 31 year old forward from both Celtic and Spurs. However, it is not clear what rôle Bellamy would play as Mancini is still looking to bring in another striker, possibly Forlan, now the Balotelli deal looks unlikely.

More? Balotelli: City’s increasingly frustrating pursuit of Mario Balotelli has stalled because of outlandish wage demands, and though City believed they were closing in on deal with Inter Milan worth an initial £24 million last week, with a five-year deal on the table believed to be worth £65,000 a week, Balotelli wanted more. It is believed that the Italy Under 21 international wants £180,000 a week, plus extra for image rights!

Should he stay or will he go? Manchester City forward Robinho is ready to quit Manchester City with Inter Milan, Benfica and Santos the three frontrunners for the international’s signature. The Brazilian has expressed his desire to stay with his home town club, Santos, and has been reported saying he has no interest in returning to Manchester City. “I think I belong in Brazil more than the Premier League,” Robinho said during a press conference. The Brazilian has been very vocal about his return to England and to a club where he knows he is not wanted, making him profoundly unhappy. Now Robinho is putting his trust in officials from Santos, in the hope that a deal can be agreed, even an extended loan deal.

Ade-bye-or: Emmanuel Adebayor is also apparently unhappy and looking for a move to Juve. “I am sorry to leave the Premier League, but in Europe there are other top leagues,” he told Tuttosport. “Juventus are a great club in which I would like to play.”

Ones to watch:

  • Assulin, a former Barça midfielder, who at 19 yearsold may join City and then be loaned out as Mancini looks to build for the future.
  • Dani Alves, leaving Barça to strengthen City’s defence.

Sir Alex Regrets… as Messi backs City for the title Lionel Messi believes Sir Alex Ferguson regrets letting his Argentina team-mate Carlos Tevez move to Manchester City, who he believes are now only two world-class defenders away from winning the Premier League title. Messi explains: “It was never about money for Tevez, but about respect and needing to feel wanted. And the truth is United made him feel unwanted while City have done everything they could do to make him feel wanted. I thought it would take City years to win the title, but looking at the players they now have I think they can do it, and Carlitos’ goals can fire them above Chelsea and United. When you look at Carlitos, Yaya Toure, David Silva and all the others you need to start taking them seriously.”

Hughes Takes A Swipe At City: Meanwhile, Mark Hughes, Mancini’s predecessor feels he ‘did the best job he could in the circumstances’ at City and he feels he could have reached the Champions’ League had he remained in position. Hughes also hints that he did not always have the freedom to run the team, or choose the players he would have liked, and that the amounts of money paid for players were not under his control. Obviously he now has the chance to prove himself at Fulham!

I choose who to buy! Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has answered Hughes by rejecting suggestions that chief executive Gary Cook and football administrator Brian Marwood decide on transfer targets without consulting the manager. Mancini claims that although he works closely with both men, he is the one who decides who to buy (and presumably who to sell as well).

Sarah Longshaw <news(at)>


My family and I went to Saturday’s game in Baltimore (a 300+ mile drive up from Charlotte, NC) and had a really good time. Up until the unfair dismissal of Patrick Vieira we were competitive against a reasonably strong Inter side. The ref was conned into the red card by the play-acting of the Inter players. This wasn’t the first instance of gamesmanship by Inter who should be ashamed that their players had to resort to “simulation” to gain an advantage. After Vieira went it was only a matter of time before Inter scored; they were dictating play and deserved the goal that they got. The second goal will go down as an OG by Lescott but I don’t think it is fair to lay fault at his feet; he was unlucky that the shot deflected in off him. The third goal was a cracker, with Given totally unsighted by the press of players in the box. Once again City fielded a team of players they will most likely want to unload (with some exceptions). Zabaleta stood out in defence in the first half and did a creditable job in midfield when Barry went off. SWP really worried the Italians with two cracking shots, one of which hit the post with the ‘keeper beaten.

I want to say a word about the City supporters present. I was really surprised to see so many light blue shirts (City did a decent job of marketing merchandise in the stadium). Our fans were in good humour throughout the match and took the result in their stride. I don’t know if City achieved their goals on this tour but I think they missed a chance to promote the “City Brand” because of the relatively weak and unbalanced teams we fielded.

I have been a fan since the mid 60’s when we were in the Second Division (before Bell, Lee and Summerbee) and I only occasionally get the chance to watch them in person. I’m glad they came to the States and I hope they do it again but please City, play as if you want to win.

As an aside, the crowd was about 30,000 I think. In the corner were about 100 Arsenal fans in red shirts who had a banner proclaiming that Vieira and Toure were legends (no mention of Adebayor).

CTID, Mike Edwards <Cityfan2(at)>


I watched the game live on German TV and was at first impressed with City’s style of play, but it soon became obvious we were lethargic at most times and showed only the occasional flash of flair: more like a pub team after a pub crawl the previous day. I know we should not read too much into friendlies but we are only days away from the start and I’m worrying.

Jo scored our only goal (a soft touch in), which cancelled the silly penalty given away by Barry. Just on the stroke of half-time Kolarov conceded yet another penalty, which was poorly taken and easily saved by Hart. Despite all the stars in the team we were looking average, and even the commentator dwelt on our recent defeats. In the second half, Shay replaced Joe and RSC came on for Ade, but we never upped the tempo and Shay was soon in action. To be honest we looked unsure at the back and clueless in front of goal. Only SWP looked fairly sharp but Johnson was sluggish. Sloppy defending cost us a second goal: Barry was again caught out, although the shot was excellent. Kompany then headed over from a free kick when he could easily have netted.

Then came the much-needed substitutions: Bridge, Lescott and Ireland (the latter carrying an extra pound or two and then was carded for a clumsy challenge and always looked out-of-sorts). Bellamy finally entered the fray in the 65th minute: I was not the only one wondering why not sooner. There was a spell of nice passing moves, but it was futile as we were never going to score again. The only time I heard Kidd shout was to ask Richards if he was alright. Shots of Platt showed him, well, like I am in a deckchair. Very encouraging. Richards was dozing as the Dortmunders entered the box and there was no-one on the spot to stop the tap-in, although Shay nearly touched it. Disappointing when you think of all that talent. Neither Toure tried hard, and only SWP and Kolarov (who seemed to be everywhere including taking kicks outside the box) excelled.

For me Zab should be captain as he is influential but all-in-all we lack cohesion and understanding. As my trainer once said to us: “Pretty but ineffective”!

Let’s hope that this is the turning-point and please someone persuade me that I’m just being pessimistic.

Paul Ardern, Bavaria <Paul.Ardern(at)>


I really don’t understand why we didn’t play our strongest side and make a couple of changes. When are we going to keep a side together and build some unity?

We played like a side that had to fit too many players into a team to keep them in the shop window; a good number won’t even make the cut. Surely team build is the priority and not making money back selling players?

Steven Ford <>


Thanks to all who pointed out my mis-interpretation of the ‘home grown’ rule, either by email, or in MCIVTA 1655. It makes the situation look better regarding the squad.

It does make a bit of a mockery of ‘home grown’ though which, according to the spokesperson, is meant to help the England manager in the future. As the rule does not distinguish between English players and any other nationality I’m not sure how that helps. I can understand that with European rules on employment rights they can’t treat Europeans (including Welsh, Scottish and Irish players) differently, but all that will happen, as is already happening, is clubs will buy the best youngsters they can find, regardless of nationality. I can’t see how that benefits the England manager greatly.

What I can see it doing is creating another highly inflated transfer market for 16-18 year olds as the top clubs vie to get the best young talent in from around the world.

Dave Kilroy <dave.kilroy(at)>


It is almost impossible to second guess the game plan that the club is following this pre-season. Having said that I will admit that my fear is that our illustrious manager has convinced the owners that the players brought in by Mark Hughes and Sven must go. I also worry that he has “sold” the idea that players who have crossed him must also go. Can it be financial sense to baulk at the asking price for James Milner and Mario Balotelli and seemingly be prepared to sell players already on the books for a fraction of the price they were brought into the club? Now I know there is no evidence other than paper talk to support that idea but selling Robinho for £20 million, unloading Jo for less than his buying price, selling Adebayor and rumours that Tevez is also to go are very unsettling. This morning (Tuesday) has a report that Mark Hughes is prepared to offer £6 million for Santa Cruz (is this a cruel joke?).

Also of concern to me is that Mancini seems willing to sell Stephen Ireland, Nedum Onuoha, Joleon Lescott and any other player who crossed him in the short 6 months he has been at the club. Watching the game with Inter this weekend I had the strong impression that only a handful of players who appeared that night will still be with the club in September.

If / when Mancini leaves the club (nearly all managers face the sack), will that signal another clear out? I support the club not the manager de jour; the players who played last year provided us with the best season in decades and to jettison them is somewhat akin to ripping the heart out of the team. I do not want to see the following players leave the club:

  • Carlos Tevez
  • Emanuel Adebayor
  • SWP
  • Nigel de Jong
  • Joleon Lescott
  • Nedum Onuoha
  • Stephen Ireland
  • Michael Johnson

I do not understand why Patrick Vieira was retained. I do not think selling our youth is the way to go. I think players like Lescott and Ireland need another season at the club to prove themselves.

CTID, Mike Edwards <Cityfan2(at)>


If I may explain to Kevin Williamson, I supported Mark Hughes when he was in charge and I did say “In Sparky I trust”. And now I wish him good luck at Fulham, but not when City play Fulham.

It took me a while to say “In Roberto Mancini I trust”. I have said it because I like his policy of giving the young players a chance. On the USA tour three players stood out: Nimely, Boyata, and Cunningham.

I like his transfers, although we still have to see them play for City. I like his policy of a rotation system. I like his policy of having two very good players for every position.

So to say I trust in Mancini is because I like what he is doing for MCFC; if I did not approve I would not be saying it. It is my way of showing support for our manager. I am not showing any disrespect for Mark Hughes.

Roberto Mancini was not with the team when it played against Inter Milan as he had to go home to his father who is ill. My good wishes go out to him and his family.

In Roberto I trust. Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


Ernie, Lescott wasn’t unlucky for Inter’s second goal, he stood off his man and was too lazy to close him down.

We’re pleased to announce that heading into our 23rd fanzine season, KK one hundred and eighty should be in the outlets on Friday and be on sale at the home game with Valencia on Saturday, and at all future games in the month of August.

Front cover is a play on the Wizard Of Oz, where Dot and her mates were heading up the Yellow Brick Road to the Beautiful City, the recent shots of the sky blue Joe Mercer way reminding us of this.

This issue includes World Cup stuff, Trautmann book review, Nicky Weaver interview, Chris Sievey and tributes to two Alex’s, Bernard Halford, Platini, KK Kompetition, and all the usual cartoons, pics (great one of Shrek!) City nutters and crackpots.

It’s A4, 48 pages, costs £2.50 (no revenue from advertising) and is also available for £3.20 including P&P from 25, Holdenbrook Close. Leigh, Lancs, WN7 2HL.

We need your support.

Sue Wallace <dw001e8104(at)>


I will be in Berlin for the game against Spurs on the 14th. Are there any Berlin Blues out there who gather up at a pub (bierstube?) to watch games? Any help at all would be great; please send me an e-mail if you can help me out. Cheers.

Christian de Lange <c.delange(at)>


London Blues can confirm we shall be using The City Pride, Farringdon (

3D TV is being installed and non-UK satellite is being added so more City games will be shown, especially 3pm KO’s on Saturdays!

Tony <tony.b1(at)>


In the autumn of 2003 a member of Reddish branch of the CSA, Tony Griffiths, completed 30 years as a police officer in Manchester and retired. He then started working in Sierra Leone in West Africa, where his job was to train detectives out there to investigate child abuse. Sierra Leone has for the past several years been either last, or second to last in the world wealth league tables published every year. Average life expectancy is around 38 years and living conditions for most people are appalling. On top of all these problems the country has gone through a particularly bloody civil war that lasted 11 years and only ended in 2000.

When he arrived in Freetown, the capital City, Tony noticed the usual scattering of people wearing Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United shirts. It soon became apparent that football is massive in the country and most people follow the English Premier League. At the end of his first week he was enjoying a beer at a beach bar when a young man by the name of Armani Sheku Kamara approached him; he was selling watches, sunglasses etc. Tony noticed that he was wearing a Manchester United lapel badge. As Tony is a dyed in the wool Blue he joked with the young man that he could not buy any of his merchandise from a man wearing a Man United badge. Within a short time he agreed to throw the offending item into the Atlantic Ocean and negotiations commenced. It soon became apparent that not only did he have a good knowledge of Premier League football, he also had a good knowledge of the ups and downs of Manchester City. He assured Tony that he was only wearing the United badge because a customer had given it to him and he promised him that if I could get him a City shirt he would be a City fan for the rest of his life. Little did he known what that conversation would lead to.

In early 2004 Tony returned to Sierra Leone having spent a few weeks back in Manchester, and of course took back with him a City shirt for Armani. Within a few days of receiving the shirt, Armani told Tony that he was setting up a Man City Supporters’ Club in Freetown. When Tony next returned to UK he discussed the Sierra Leone situation, first with Howard Burr, the Secretary of the Reddish branch and then with Alex Channon, the Charity officer of the MCFC Supporters’ Club It was then that the Sierra Leone branch of the Manchester City Supporters’ Club was born.

On Tony’s next visit he was able to take back with him several dozen assorted City shirts donated by City fans over here. They proved very popular and soon were being seen all around the Freetown streets. Soon Armani had formed a Manchester City football team in Freetown as well as a junior Man City team. The problem was that they were wearing a red and white striped kit that they had to rent on a match-by-match basis. Following discussion with Lorraine Firth at Manchester City, the club kindly donated a full kit for the team out there. There was also a concerted effort by a lot of branches to collect as many shirts and boots as possible; these were also sent. Another recent development is that a Reddish branch member donated a generator for the community where Armani lives, allowing around 100 people to have electricity. The shipping of the generator was financed by MCFC Supporters’ Club funds with the blessing of its members.

Tony Griffiths last visited Sierra Leone in March 2007 and we were proud to hear of many men women and children wearing an array of City shirts around the capital and beyond. The football team formed such a short time ago is going from strength to strength and Armani is something of a local celebrity who is frequently interviewed on national radio in Sierra Leone and works extremely hard to promote Man City for no financial reward. The Phuket Branch of the MCFC Supporters Club then very kindly donated both a new home and away kit as many of the shirts donated were getting a bit past it.

On 23rd November 2008 Man City Youth team appeared in the Sierra Leone F.A. Youth Cup final and won. Not bad for a team that did not exist 4 years ago. You now can’t walk through Freetown without seeing a City shirt and hearing shouts of “City Till I Die”. Unfortunately the first team had to pull out of the main league this season as it did not have enough cash – although the league have agreed to keep their place in Division Two for next season assuming they have funds in place. The next phase was to try to help make the team financially independent by raising shed loads for a bus; this would double up as both transport to away matches, which is one of the most prohibitive costs to the team, and then, during the rest of the week it would become a revenue maker by running it as a proper bus in the capital. This would give two people a job and also raise enough cash to keep the teams running. Also it would provide enough to replace the bus every 10 years. This is not just another fund raiser – the work being done is changing lives and keeping young people off the streets and giving them a common bond; it is changing lives and even saving some.

Some of you will remember the bucket collection at the Arsenal game last season, which raised a goodly sum. We have had donations from various individuals plus we have a blog where people can donate: There have been various events run to raise monies. We have collected hundreds of City shirts, training gear, boots etc. and the effort continues…

We were contacted by the Club who thought this a great idea: we had a meeting with Garry Cooke who was really impressed and asked if the club could get involved in helping us raise the monies to make this happen. Paul Lake (yes the Paul Lake) was given the task of liaising with us and helping raise enough. As we know this started out as a CSA venture but through this appeal and talking to the OSC and the club, it was decided by a landslide to unite the two supporters’ clubs again into one. The first meeting of the new Manchester City Supporters’ Club took place on Sunday 4th July where Tony gave a talk on Sierra Leone, which was well received so this is now truly a fund-raising effort by all City fans under the new banner.

When Garry Cooke got involved he set a deadline for the delivery of the bus and I am pleased to say that we are on target for that delivery on the 26th August (I might add here that although the bus is now purchased we owe monies so need to keep collecting).

The bus is as I type on its way to Freetown, Sierra Leone. It arrived in Liverpool on 8th July and the next day in Manchester it was liveried up with all the logos including the new MCFC supporters’ club logo – and is now on its way to Sierra Leone where Tony Griffiths, Howard Burr, Alex Channon, Paul Lake, Neil Cole of Endermol (who will be filming the whole process) and I (Phil Holme) will be there to meet it and deliver it to MCFC Sierra Leone and Armani. This is the culmination of a lot of effort and hard work by so many people and it continues: Tony and Howard went to a supporters’ club meeting of the Poynton branch giving “the talk”, which was very well received and there were donations of City shirts and a collection made. Both Tony and Howard have asked me to say that they are available to give “the talk” to your supporters’ club – you will not be disappointed as it’s a great story, it really is. They have now also been to the Hazel Grove branch and were blown away with the reception and generosity on hand there. If you would like a presentation of the project at your branch meeting, contact either Howard at <reddishblues(at)> or Tony at <tony(at)>; they would only be too happy to tell this wonderful story.

We can’t thank the Club enough – in particular Garry Cooke and Paul Lake – but everyone has been fantastic. We had kit donated and the web site will follow our trip to deliver the bus. There are too many to mention but our heartfelt thanks goes to everyone who has been involved in helping or donating in anyway whatever; without you it would not have happened. However, please remember the appeal goes on: we need enough to clear the bus and taxes and insurance.

City fans still amaze me; after 49 years of following this club please take a bow all you Blues. Maybe in my 50th year we might wi… no I won’t go there.

City as a club were always fan friendly and went the extra mile for the fans and families when we were taken over. There were those who thought “Here we go, another Rags or Chelski” etc.; I am here to tell you the heart of Man City is in great shape and if anything the club is going to get even more fan friendly especially with the unification. I am proud of my football club; how many can say that in this day and age? Long may it continue. CTID and thank you Sheikh Mansour.

On 28th July the container was loaded with the bus and six pallets of kit, training gear, laptops, books, a kid’s bike, a scooter and a partridge in a pear tree (well maybe not the last one). Alex and Howard were there to lend a hand. Neil Cole was there from Endermol to film the container being loaded. The long journey began on the 29th with the container off to Felixstowe where it will be loaded aboard the ship bound for various ports but due to arrive in Freetown on 26th August. We, that is Tony, Alex, Howard, Sir Paul Lake, Neil Cole and I will be leaving on the early morning Heathrow shuttle on the 25th then out of Heathrow again heading for Freetown. We should be at the hotel about 9pm on the same day. We then go to meet the boat the following day; here’s hoping its on time (everything is crossed).

There is a very busy itinerary whilst we are there. Armani has contacted the Minister for Sport and various media outlets that want the story. We will be going to various schools. We will be attending at least two matches of MCFC SL on the Saturday. We will be handing out training gear and kit to the teams at our hotel on the Sunday; it will be the official handover of the bus outside the SL National stadium etc.

Endermol will be filming the entire trip and you will be able to see and hear this on BBC Radio Manchester and BBC North West; there may also be a video blog done for BBC NW.

So it’s all go from here guys. I reckon we may add just a little water to the docks on the 26th; can’t see there being a dry eye so to speak.

Thanks again for all your support and please remember we are still collecting.

Phil Holme <philholme(at)>


I have been receiving the newsletter for years now and haven’t contributed for a while to my shame but am now asking for a favour.

I have set up a website that is based around football and horse racing and we are running a free Premier League prediction competition, with monthly and overall cash or free bet prizes. Anyone in the world can enter and win, and if it were to be Blues it would be great!

The link to the competition is

Come on you Blues! Unfortunately as I am in the Malaga area I can only watch on the TV but I am waiting for us to play Sevilla or a Madrid team (Champions’ League the season after this one!).

Nick Mills <millsoni(at)>

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Newsletter #1656