Newsletter #1716

News from Alex tonight on the FA Cup semi-final arrangements, pre-season competition, international Blues, loan moves and an ex-Blue jailbird.

We have opinion on the FA Cup match, Zab and the usual requests.

Next Game: Sunderland, home, 4pm Sunday 3 April 2011


General News

Work in Progress: Tickets went on sale this week for City’s first FA Cup semi-final for 30 years and Roberto Mancini has promised that success will follow in the coming years. Whether or not the Blues are successful against their arch-rivals on April 16th, Mancini believes that the club are on the verge of something special but has warned that City’s project will continue to take time. The former Inter Milan boss is used to laying his hands on silverware but has explained that the job is much more difficult in Manchester as his current side don’t have the history of success that Inter had when he first moved to the San Siro: “City can win in future, but it will take time. Things are different here from Inter, as our club has not won in a very long time, while the Nerazzurri had some victories in the past. There is certainly no shortage of finances here, but there’s no prestige at City. I am still proud that I was able to bring some very important players to Manchester.” Midfielder James Milner concurs with Mancini that success is imminent and has assured fans that the Blues will only get better as the relatively newly formed squad learn to play alongside each other: “We have the biggest scope to improve out of any team in the league. It is going to take time. There have been so many changes. You have to get that bond and learn how to play with each other. No team has been on fire this season. Chelsea had a great start, then struggled. Manchester United have somehow kept winning games without playing well. We have to get that mentality.”

Double Dutch: Dutch maestro Wesley Sneijder revealed this week that though Inter Milan have a lot left to fight for during the 2010/11 campaign, he can’t quite wait for this summer’s Dublin Super Cup. Inter will compete alongside City, Celtic and Irish select XI in the inaugural pre-season tournament and the former Real Madrid star is champing at the bit to face international team-mate Nigel de Jong. Both players starred in last year’s World Cup for the Netherlands and Sneijder can’t wait to test himself against City’s no-nonsense midfielder: “I think to have an opportunity to play against the big teams that are going to be there is always nice and of course a tournament is always nice to win. It’s always good to win prizes like we did last year. We want to win it. It is always important to start directly against big teams in the summer. It is better for everybody, to improve yourself. It will be hard but it will be great to play against big teams like City and Celtic especially in pre-season. I am sure Nigel will be looking forward to it too.”

Squad News

Ending the Drought: Whilst Sneijder may already have his sights set on pre-season, de Jong can’t look past that important semi-final against United. City’s number 34 has been outstanding since returning from injury and played a crucial rôle in the club’s sixth round win over Reading. His involvement in April’s semi-final will undoubtedly give City fans hope that they will have a better chance of success than if he were absent and de Jong has admitted that he can’t wait to face United and take one step closer to ending the club’s 36-year-trophy drought: “I want to be a big part of history at Manchester City. Success has to start somewhere, and any chance of silverware is welcome. You’ve got to feed that hunger among the team. That’s why I came here – because I want to win a trophy. I want to do the best for my team. I try to get everybody involved to get the spirit going.”

Defensive Headache: Two players who are sure to miss City’s crucial FA Cup semi-final are Micah Richards and Jerome Boateng. German defender Boateng looks set to undergo surgery on a persistent knee injury and Richards suffered a hamstring strain while captaining England’s under 21 side last week. Though it had looked as though the English defender would undergo treatment in an oxygen tent and possibly stand a chance of a late recovery, Richards has been officially ruled out for six weeks and he was simply devastated upon receiving the news: “It is not what I wanted to hear at all. I felt sick when I was told. I knew from experience when I did it that it felt like a bad one but I was hoping for the best. All I can do now is concentrate on getting back as quickly as possible. I must admit I did think ‘why me?’ for a while when I heard the news. Of all the games to miss a Wembley date with United is the last one any player would choose.”

Bright Spark: Injuries to Boateng and Richards could mean a call-up to the first team for 19-year-old Reece Wabara. Wabara has appeared on the subs’ bench regularly of late and after signing a new three year contract in the week, the future looks bright for the latest Academy star. The defender has spent the season plying his trade in the club’s Elite Development Squad and could be set for a début in this Sunday’s visit of Sunderland. After pledging his future to the club, City’s new prospect revealed his delight: “I’ve been working really hard to improve all areas of my game so I’m delighted to have signed this new deal. It was a big relief to know one of the most ambitious – and soon to be biggest – clubs in the world wants me to be part of their future. The coaches have all shown great faith in me and have told me how highly they think of me, which is really nice to hear. Now I want to fulfil my potential and pay that faith back.”

Transfer News

Donal’s Deal: EDS starlet Donal McDermott has joined League One side Bournemouth on loan until the end of the season. The Cherries, who currently sit sixth in the league and are chasing promotion to the second tier of English football, are managed by former City player, Lee Bradbury. Upon signing McDermott, Bradbury revealed he was excited by the arrival of the versatile winger: “We have been aware of Donal for some time now and tracking his progress with scout Des Taylor. He can play in a number of positions and he will be a very good asset for us and it’s a positive move for the run in. He has been playing at a good level this season and has good fitness levels, but he wants to be involved in first team football and is very hungry to be part of our run in.”

Loan Ranger: Another player out on loan is Slovakian winger, Vladimir Weiss. The World Cup star claimed his first piece of senior football silverware last week in the CIS Insurance Cup final with Old Firm side Rangers and has said that he would welcome a move back to Ibrox next season. Though the tricky midfielder has assured fans that he plans to return to Eastlands when the time is right, he realises that he may be asked to go out on loan again next season. Weiss has enjoyed his time in the SPL and thinks that with Ally McCoist set to take charge, now is the right time to be playing at Rangers: “I have to speak with Manchester City about their plans. If they say I can go on loan again, and if Rangers want me, then I’d be happy to stay. We only have the league to focus on. We have no other distractions and it is a nice position to be in that if we win all our games we will win the league.”

Going Nowhere! Despite the latest controversy surrounding Mario Balotelli, Roberto Mancini has dismissed reports that the Italian striker will be sold in the summer. Throughout his time at City, AC Milan have linked themselves with a move for the former Inter star, and following his ridiculous dismissal against Kiev two weeks ago, rumours began to circulate about a possible move back to his homeland. Yet, Mancini has not given up hope on the talented striker and has called on ‘Super Mario’ to prove the doubters wrong: “The problem is that it’s written that the Rossoneri want him and that there’s an agreement, it creates confusion and tension. I personally don’t mind, but it’s unlikely that City will sell their good players. Mario was very unfortunate with his knee problems. But, if he wants, he’s in a position to change himself in games, but it depends on him.”

The Rumour Mill: Though he’s claimed that Balotelli will not be leaving for Italy in the summer, Mancini does seem to have his eye on a couple of Italian stars. Reports from Italy recently suggested that AC Milan veteran Andrea Pirlo may be planning a move away from the club and would welcome a move to CoMS. Meanwhile team-mate Zlatan Ibrahimovic has again been linked with a re-union with former Inter boss Mancini. The Swede isn’t keen on leaving the San Siro, however: “Me at Manchester City? Well, I say nothing. I still have three years left to play at AC Milan, then I see the end of my career. I don’t have the strength to change and move one more time. But, in football things can change quickly.” City may be planning a move for Fiorentina left back Juan Manuel Vargas, who is reportedly hopeful of a move to the Premier League and following the Scotland/Brazil friendly this week, the eyes of world football were firmly focussed on new Samba talent Neymar. The teenager is being tipped for a move to England and City are said to be leading the list of suitors.

International Blues

Facing on-loan striker Craig Bellamy, City’s Joe Hart and James Milner were on the winning side as England travelled to the Millennium Stadium last weekend. The Three Lions beat their neighbours 2-0 in their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign only days before facing Ghana at Wembley in an international friendly. Despite not appearing against the Welsh, Gareth Barry was chosen to captain England, in the absence of John Terry, and Joleon Lescott appeared as a second-half substitute.

Ahead of Tuesday’s friendly with Ghana, Barry spoke of what an honour it was to have been chosen to lead his country out: “I didn’t play against Wales then two days later I have been asked to captain my country. That’s how much can happen in a short space of time. There will be one or two champing at the bit to stake their claim and at some points there might be some help I can pass across.” Elsewhere, Aleksandar Kolarov’s Serbia hosted Northern Ireland in front of a near empty stadium. Following crowd trouble in previous matches, Serbian fans were banned from the Euro 2012 qualifier, but Kolarov’s side were still able to come from behind and beat Northern Ireland 2-1. Days later, Serbia were denied two points by a late Estonia goal as the game ended 1-1. Though he sat out his country’s 4-1 win over Azerbaijan on Tuesday night, Belgian centre-back Vincent Kompany helped his side to a 2-0 win over Austria at the weekend. Edin Dzeko scored the winner for Bosnia as they beat Romania 2-1 and Nigel de Jong played twice for Holland in their back-to-back meetings with Hungary. The Dutch thrashed their opponents 4-0 and 5-3 to continue their 100% record in their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign. Current holders Spain also won both their fixtures as David Silva came off the bench to see his side beat the Czech Republic 2-1 and then set up a goal in the world champions’ 3-1 win over Lithuania.

Ex-Blues’ News

Jailed: Former City striker Kelvin Etuhu has been jailed for 8 months. Following a drunken brawl, Etuhu’s victim was left with a broken jaw. After seeing his contract terminated by the club, the 22-year-old brother of former City midfielder Dickson Etuhu was jailed for his involvement in the incident.

Alex Rowen <news(at)>


I read a quote from Sir Alex in today’s paper and for the first time in a while I had to agree with him. What a farce having the semi-final at Wembley he said.

We have the recession, petrol at £6/gallon and all the City, Bolton and Stoke fans going down there. I know the United fans will have to pay the tube fare but it will not be as much as what we have to find. It’s not so bad for the older ones who have no mortgages etc., and I am pleased to be one of them, but I do feel sorry for the fans who will have to cough up more than they would probably want to. And of course when we win, it all starts again. No doubt there will be serious soul searching in many households.

The FA obviously couldn’t care less about the average fan. They know that after all these years of waiting, the fans will do all they can to get there by begging, stealing or borrowing. Let’s hope that our merry men will turn up in an attacking mode on the day and give us an entertaining game to justify the hype and expense.

Let’s hope that if the mad Italian plays, he at last justifies his existence (and lasts the whole match) and shows us why our beloved manager paid all those euros out. I for one am waiting for the day when he smiles and shows us what he is supposed to be able to do.

Chris Ryder <chrisryder62(at)>


I’d just like to say that, in common with so many, I’m delighted that Pablo Zabaleta’s father is out of danger after his appalling car accident in Argentina nearly three weeks ago. It was a very difficult time for Zaba’s family and while they are concerned for Señor Jorge Ruben Zabaleta, they must be relieved. It’s almost seems trivial to say welcome back to City, Zaba, but that is the overwhelming feeling amongst Blues for such a great pro who is revered at Manchester City. The main thing is that his dad recovers, and very best wishes go to him.

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


Am going to be in Sydney for the FA Cup semi and wondered if Sydney Blues would be meeting up anywhere to watch the game? My non-City supporting mates are concerned for my mental well-being should we end up in a pub full of Aussie Reds…

Many thanks, Tim Coffey <timcoffey(at)>


King of the Kippax number 187 is currently at the printers and should be out this weekend in time for the Sunderland game, and also in the Aleef Kiosk on the corner of Market Street and Cross Street. It is, of course, the semi-final special, and the front cover shows Paul Power scoring against Ipswich in 1981 whilst posing the question “can we rekindle the ’81 spirit?” This issue contains articles on Neil Young, Big Mal in Portugal, match previews and reviews, a cracking piece on the 1926 semi-final, a bit of a stinging review on Mancini’s reign so far, an interview with ITV’s Semi-final commentator Clive Tyldesley, and all the usual regulars, Burfield, Ged, Colin S, Uncle Ryan etc., cartoons and pics.

It can also be obtained from 25, Holdenbrook Close, Leigh, Lancs, WN7 2HL, with a cheque to King Of The Kippax for £3.40 (postage’s gone up yet again). What better way to set yourself up for the semi showdown with the Rags when we should wipe away 35 years in one fell swoop!

Dave and Sue Wallace <dw001e8104(at)>


League table to 30 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  30 14  1  0 40  9  4  8  3 24 21 18  9  3  64  30  34  63
 2 Arsenal         29 10  2  3 30 12  7  5  2 29 17 17  7  5  59  29  30  58
 3 Chelsea         29 10  2  2 28  9  6  4  5 25 15 16  6  7  53  24  29  54
 4 Manchester City 30  9  4  2 23 11  6  4  5 22 16 15  8  7  45  27  18  53
 5 Tottenham H.    29  7  6  1 19 10  6  4  5 22 24 13 10  6  41  34   7  49
 6 Liverpool       30  9  4  2 26 12  4  2  9 15 24 13  6 11  41  36   5  45
 7 Bolton Wndrs    30  8  5  2 28 19  2  5  8 14 22 10 10 10  42  41   1  40
 8 Everton         30  6  6  3 24 20  3  7  5 16 19  9 13  8  40  39   1  40
 9 Sunderland      30  6  5  4 18 16  3  6  6 15 21  9 11 10  33  37  -4  38
10 Stoke City      30  8  3  4 24 15  3  1 11 12 23 11  4 15  36  38  -2  37
11 Newcastle Utd   30  4  6  5 32 22  5  3  7 12 23  9  9 12  44  45  -1  36
12 Fulham          30  6  6  3 20 16  1  8  6 13 17  7 14  9  33  33   0  35
13 Blackburn R.    30  6  5  4 19 13  3  1 11 20 38  9  6 15  39  51 -12  33
14 Aston Villa     30  6  5  4 22 17  2  4  9 15 34  8  9 13  37  51 -14  33
15 Blackpool       30  4  3  7 23 27  5  3  8 22 33  9  6 15  45  60 -15  33
16 West Brom A.    30  5  6  4 24 25  3  3  9 17 31  8  9 13  41  56 -15  33
17 West Ham United 30  5  4  6 20 21  2  7  6 16 28  7 11 12  36  49 -13  32
18 Wolves          30  7  3  5 24 22  2  2 11 11 27  9  5 16  35  49 -14  32
19 Birmingham City 29  4  7  4 14 18  2  6  6 14 23  6 13 10  28  41 -13  31
20 Wigan Athletic  30  4  6  6 18 31  2  6  6 11 20  6 12 12  29  51 -22  30

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1716