Newsletter #1710

Disappointment in the Europa competition away leg at Kiev and opinion tonight on Mario’s problems.

We have news from Alex with top four views for City from Mancini, Keegan and Redknapp. There’s injury and drug news, snoodgate and the latest rumoured ins and out.

Next up FA Cup action as we host Reading for the quarter final.

Next Game: Reading, home, 4.45pm Sunday 13 March 2011 (FA Cup)


General News

City in the Community: Executive Chairman Garry Cook revealed that the partnership between the club and local council has stepped up a notch this week. If you’re local to Manchester then you’ll have undoubtedly seen the construction work surrounding Eastlands. Having signed an agreement with the Manchester City Council to develop the area, Cook assured fans that the project was on track and would promise a new, regenerated East Manchester. The Super Casino may have fallen through, but if City have their way, the area will look very different in a few years. A new training ground, community pitches and club offices are set to be built and Cook has explained that the development is crucial to the club’s rôle in the community: “Manchester City is a club at the heart of the city and at the heart of its community. It is therefore wholly appropriate to strengthen our links with the City Council, whilst at the same time reaching out to those in the community around us and establishing ways in which we can best serve them.”

Up for the Cups: City’s season is culminating in an exciting period where two trophies are on the table and a place in the top four is theirs to lose. But with these opportunities comes a packed schedule. Last week, Mancini admitted that the number of games City are playing in such a short space of time is taking its toll on the squad and again the Italian has emphasised how important it is for the system to be reformed. Whilst he admits that it is a sign of progress that his side are involved in at least two games a week, his players are continuously picking up injuries on the way. No matter what the state of his squad though, Mancini has assured fans that the Blues have their sights set on both the FA Cup and Europa League this season: “The problem is that we are playing every three or four days. We go to Kyiv and play, fly back in the night, it is very difficult. But this is how it is for a top team. The players want to win every game, but sometimes it’s not possible. We haven’t the players available. But the situation is good because we have two cup games now that it’s important to get a good result in.”

Here We Go Again: Spurs’ manager Harry Redknapp has warned his closest rivals that his side’s Champions’ League campaign will bolster the London club and help them push for a top four place again this season. Redknapp’s side currently sit fifth in the Premier League with Chelsea and City currently hovering above them. Though he admits that City have come a long way in the space of 12 months, the Spurs boss believes it will be Chelsea who consolidate third place and leave the Blues and Spurs battling it out for a second consecutive season: “I don’t see Chelsea not being in the top four. They are a very strong outfit. I still think Tottenham can be in the top four, and I think it’s between ourselves and Man City now.”

FIFA Change Snood Mood: Only hours before City kicked off against Wigan, Fifa assembled to outlaw the snood. Increasingly popular, having been worn by City stars Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli, the snood has now been deemed a danger to the safety of players and, as such, will no longer appear on football pitches. Blues will be hoping that the snood wasn’t the secret behind Tevez’s fantastic goal-scoring record this season!

Squad News

Kolo Ban: News broke last week that Kolo Touré had been banned by the Club after testing positive for an ‘A-sample’ drug. Following a routine FA drugs test after February’s Manchester derby, the results came back ahead of last week’s tie against Aston Villa and as a result, Touré has been suspended until the legal matters of the case have been dealt with. Reports suggest that drugs involved were in fact diet pills and not drugs of any performing enhancing nature, but either way, Touré could face a two year ban. Arsène Wenger, Touré’s former manager, revealed this week that he had spoken to the Ivorian and he believed wholeheartedly that the matter was the result of an honest mistake: “I think it is a mistake. He was not cautious enough. I don’t think there’s a desire there to do something wrong and hide it. He is a boy who has a clean life. He’s very honest living, always at home, a family man, and I don’t suspect him at all to have taken drugs to enhance his performances. I just think it is a mistake by forgetting to ask, ‘Can I take that?'” Gareth Barry lent the squad’s support to the suspended Touré: “Something like this doesn’t happen too often. We’re all behind Kolo and supporting him, we’re backing him 100%.”

Proved Right: City right-back Micah Richards has been named Etihad Player of the Month for February. The defender claimed at the end of last year that he is still capable of playing in City’s first XI and he would fight tooth and nail to reclaim his spot. Well it seems he was right as the Academy graduate looked every bit an England international throughout February. Even impressive displays from the brilliant David Silva and Vincent Kompany couldn’t out-do Richards as he claimed 33% of the votes.

David is Silva but Tévez is Gold: Only weeks ago, Captain Carlos Tévez tipped David Silva for great things and claimed that the Spaniard was City’s best signing this season – Silva has now repaid the favour. The World Cup winner told press this week that Tévez is a major part of the City squad and is crucial to any future success they may achieve. The Argentine’s bull dog spirit and goal-scoring form have won him the acclaim of the tricky winger and Silva admitted this week that playing alongside the former West Ham striker is something he revels in: “You have to realise Carlos is a fantastic player first and foremost and it’s easy to slot in with him, and create an understanding with him. I am happy to have done my little bit to help him be so high in the goal-scoring charts, and if I can help him get a few more that’s great, so he can be up there with the leading scorers.” Silva also believes that the Blues are getting increasingly better with every passing game: “There is a lot more to come. It is difficult because it has been a lot of people’s first season here. It is hard to gel and come together as a unit in that short space of time. But we have proved we are becoming more of a proper side and the more we play together the better we will become.”

Hart of the Team: With Shay Given out injured for what seems likely to be the rest of the season, Joe Hart is set to play every one of the remaining games of the season – something the England number one is relishing. The former Shrewsbury ‘keeper has been superb for the Blues this season but with such a packed schedule ahead, many had expected Given to make an appearance or two. Now, having suffered a shoulder injury, Given will play no part for Mancini’s side and Hart is likely to be relied upon in all three competitions: “I’m not really interested in having a break, I love playing. It’s great to play in all these games, and I’m happy to do it. Losing Shay is a massive blow. It’s a shame, it must have been a difficult season for him, and I’m gutted for him. The injury was quite innocuous when it happened. It’s not like he was rolling around in pain. But the physios had to tell him that he wasn’t allowed to carry on, and that he needed to get an op. Apparently, the op has gone successfully, and I hope he gets back fit and well like he did last time.”

Still Waiting: Shaun Wright-Phillips has recovered from a back injury in time to travel to Ukraine for the UEFA Cup second round against Dinamo Kyiv this week, but Dutch midfielder Nigel de Jong remains side-lined by an ankle injury. The City talisman has strained ligaments in his ankle and has missed a number of crucial fixtures over the past six weeks. Mancini is obviously eager for de Jong to return to the fold but is intent on not rushing the player back for fear of further injury: “Nigel is not ready. He needs more time. I hope he can work for two days before Kiev, because he needs to work.”

Rumour Mill: Shaun Wright Phillips was again linked with a move away from the club this week – though this time to a less likely destination. The England winger has reportedly caught the eye of French side Paris Saint Germain who would be willing to pay £5 million for SWP. Some reports also suggested that a move away is not off the cards for City skipper Carlos Tévez after Italian champions Inter Milan expressed an interest in Captain Fantastic. One player who won’t be moving on is Mario Balotelli. Despite talk of a move to either AC Milan or Napoli, Balo’s agent stated that the Italian was keen to remain at Eastlands and is feeling more and more a crucial part of the City set-up. If rumours are to be believed then the Blues could be set to make a move for former United target Douglas Costas. The Brazilian midfielder is currently shining for Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk and could command a fee of up to £15 million. Mancini is also said to be keen on Borussia Dortmund’s Neven Subotic. The centre-back was also linked to City in the summer of 2010 but a move never materialised. Almost 12 months down the line, a move may be revived but Mancini could face competition from Chelsea and Real Madrid.

Post-Match Reaction

Three Points is Three Points: Mancini’s side continued to push for a Champions’ League place next season as a win over Wigan continued their good form. A single goal was enough for the Blues as David Silva’s shot somehow crawled through the legs of Wigan ‘keeper Ali Al-Habsi. With Chelsea and Spurs both leading the chasing pack, results like this are crucial to City’s season, even if the performance wasn’t all that glamorous: “In the first half we played well and had three or four chances. The second half was very hard. We were very tired. The difficulty was that the players played three days ago. It was important that we won the game after we lost two points against Fulham. I have a team that for 28 games was either top or second. But when you have only 14 or 15 players fit it is very difficult.” The Italian also felt it important to dedicate the win to former captain Kolo Touré: “This victory is for Kolo. It is a bad moment for him but we love him like a man, like a player.” Silva’s goal proved the difference but even the Spaniard admitted that he owed the goal to a timely piece of luck: “I had a bit of luck. It might have had a slight deflection – I couldn’t see it as it was going towards the ‘keeper because the defender was quite close to me and blocked my view. Sometimes they hit the post, go wide, or the ‘keeper saves them, so it was nice to get that bit of luck. I can’t remember a luckier goal, but I am sure I must have scored one!” Silva said.

Ex-Blues’ News

I’d Just Love It: Ex-City manager Kevin Keegan has revealed he would ‘just love it’ if City won some silverware this season. The now-football pundit has claimed that he is happy to see his former side progressing so far in the FA Cup and Europa League and believes it is only a matter of time before the Blues end their 35 year trophy drought. Keegan asserts that though City still have a long way to go, one trophy could lead to the floodgates opening at CoMS: “I think they will win something this year, it might be the FA Cup, it might be the Europa League. The sooner you get a trophy, the quicker the pressure comes off. A lot of money is being spent, so you must win things. I am delighted for them. Of course you are going to get people who are envious and don’t like the fact that a lot of money is being paid out. But that is the way Chelsea did it.”

Alex Rowen <news(at)>


So tonight we were treated to the spectacle of Mario Balotelli delaying the start of the second half of the game. I imagine that Roberto must be feeling more and more embarrassed by the behaviour of his young protégé as he has picked up either a yellow or red card in every game he has played in. There are conflicting reports of the reason.

First the commentator talked about a missing contact lens, and then on the Internet I read about him having an allergy to certain types of grass? Unfortunately I have now formed an opinion that his mental state of mind is not sound or is he deliberately trying to engineer an early exit from Manchester City Football Club? I wonder how many other readers are also suspecting this?

I was also surprised that Nigel de Jong did not play as I thought that his combative and fearless style would be the right antidote for a club having the likes of Andrij Shevchenko and having scored 8 goals in their previous 2 games.

Philip van Gass <philivangass(at)>


Umbro are producing a TV advert for the release of next year’s Man City shirts. They want to show how diverse the fan base is around the world. The different places people watch the game, the people they get together with.

We are looking for large groups of fans who get together to watch the matches on television. The more interesting the location the better, but even if you just watch it in your local hotel bar or at someone’s house, the important thing is that you are getting together with your friends to support Manchester City. It’s the atmosphere that we want to capture.

The advert will be shown worldwide on the Internet and on domestic TV Channels. Show the world how good the City fans are.

If you would like to get involved in this and you think you can show us the special way you support the Blues, please contact me on this email address.

Thanks, Joe Thornber <joe(at)>


I know this is unlikely to be possible but does anybody have two spare tickets for the Chelsea game? I have my hotel and train booked but no tickets!

Tony Farrar <salfordblue(at)>


9 March 2011

Everton              1 - 1  Birmingham City

7 March 2011

Blackpool            1 - 3  Chelsea              15,584

League table to 09 March 2011 inclusive

                            HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L   F   A  GD Pts
 1 Manchester Utd  29 13  1  0 39  9  4  8  3 24 21 17  9  3  63  30  33  60
 2 Arsenal         28 10  2  3 30 12  7  4  2 27 15 17  6  5  57  27  30  57
 3 Manchester City 29  9  4  2 23 11  6  4  4 22 14 15  8  6  45  25  20  53
 4 Chelsea         28  9  2  2 26  9  6  4  5 25 15 15  6  7  51  24  27  51
 5 Tottenham H.    28  7  5  1 19 10  6  4  5 22 24 13  9  6  41  34   7  48
 6 Liverpool       29  9  4  2 26 12  3  2  9 13 24 12  6 11  39  36   3  42
 7 Bolton Wndrs    29  8  5  2 28 19  2  5  7 14 21 10 10  9  42  40   2  40
 8 Sunderland      29  6  5  3 18 14  3  6  6 15 21  9 11  9  33  35  -2  38
 9 Everton         29  5  6  3 22 19  3  7  5 16 19  8 13  8  38  38   0  37
10 Newcastle Utd   29  4  6  5 32 22  5  3  6 12 19  9  9 11  44  41   3  36
11 Fulham          29  6  6  3 20 16  1  8  5 12 15  7 14  8  32  31   1  35
12 Stoke City      29  7  3  4 20 15  3  1 11 12 23 10  4 15  32  38  -6  34
13 Aston Villa     29  6  5  3 22 16  2  4  9 15 34  8  9 12  37  50 -13  33
14 Blackburn R.    29  6  4  4 17 11  3  1 11 20 38  9  5 15  37  49 -12  32
15 Blackpool       29  4  3  7 23 27  5  2  8 20 31  9  5 15  43  58 -15  32
16 West Brom A.    29  5  5  4 22 23  3  3  9 17 31  8  8 13  39  54 -15  32
17 Birmingham City 28  4  7  4 14 18  2  6  5 13 21  6 13  9  27  39 -12  31
18 West Ham United 29  5  4  6 20 21  2  6  6 16 28  7 10 12  36  49 -13  31
19 Wolves          29  7  3  5 24 22  1  2 11 10 27  8  5 16  34  49 -15  29
20 Wigan Athletic  29  3  6  6 16 30  2  6  6 11 20  5 12 12  27  50 -23  27

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1710