Newsletter #1749

My apologies for the delay in getting tonight’s edition out: software upgrades and my technical phobia are not a productive combination!

We do have a busy issue tonight with match reports and views of the pre-season tournament from our roving reporters over in the USA so a big thanks to Neil, Malcolm, Gino, Andy and Ernie. The general consensus seems to be: just how do you solve a problem like Mario?

We also have a little more on the stadium deal and Dave has set up the MCIVTA fantasy football league again so you can all get registering and dealing!

Next Game: Irish XI, away, 2pm 30 July 2011 (pre-season)


How long is Mancini going to persevere with Balotelli? Clearly the Italian has athletic talent. But if he is not focused on the team, it is pointless giving him a jersey. He started well in the Galaxy game, comfortably scoring a penalty after fifteen minutes. He then tried a strange back heel in the box, when it seemed easier to shoot, and Mancini took him off after thirty minutes. Fair enough too. What is wrong with him? I want Balotelli to succeed because Mancini sees talent. However, I’m starting to think he is taking the p**s. And City pay him how much per week? This makes my blood boil. If he does not sort himself soon then send him back to Serie A, or to play with the reserves at Ewen Fields.

It was the usual pre-season dross on the pitch. No-one stood-out for City. The injury scares to Clichy and Richards were run-off during the game. Dzeko was ineffective again, unfortunately, and Johnson, Milner and SWP provided little to excite up front. Weiss and Guidetti made little impact during their late appearances. Overall the football was disappointing. The highlight of the afternoon was seeing Hart save a penalty during the sudden death shoot-out and then score the following spot-kick to ‘win’ the match. The experience may be valuable during the Champions’ League. Apart from that there’s not much to report from the match. No-one picked up an injury as far as I am aware, and no-one had a ‘you must pick me’ performance. The pitch could not be faulted, unlike in Vancouver. It was warm, but not excessively so. Still, three matches on the West coast, and three victories, although none were convincing. It could be a season of grinding out victories.

Thanks to the City fans who met up at ‘On The Rocks’ in Redondo Beach before the match. There were a few Blues from the Bay Area, a smattering from Greater Manchester, a couple from Vancouver Island, and the majority from the LA suburbs. Tim did a great job arranging the coach, and the City fans who brought beer along made the trip much more entertaining. Good on ya! I met a pair of brothers from Gorton with a mutual friend who I have not heard from for nearly twenty years, so that was the big plus for me. It is a small world. It was a long day, with two three-hour flights down and up the West coast from/to Vancouver, but all-in-all, it was a fine day out.

For the anoraks, of which I am one, there was a programme. It was a large, glossy multiple-page production, costing a silly $10, and had zero on the match. The only reference to the match is the front cover. It must be the standard Herbalife production for the tournament.

See you at Wembley!

Neil Adshead <neil.adshead(at)>


As a Vancouver resident and Whitecaps season ticket holder, and also a Mancunian and a City seasoncard holder, it was a dream come true when the pre-season friendly was announced. It was officially my cheapest ever away game: it cost two pounds on the bus and the match ticket and programme were free. Next time City visit Vancouver the venue will be the impressive BC Place, in the heart of the city, so I’ll be able to save the bus fare. City will be welcome back next year if the club wants to build a fan-base in western Canada. The Galaxy may not top the >24,000 attendance for the Vancouver match (not bad for a Monday night) and there was only 11,500 at the SF game.

I dragged along a few friends, who half-heartedly support various Premier League teams, and we had a good laugh singing with the cluster of Blues in the north-west corner of the ground (kitty corner to the Southsiders, for the Vancouver-based Blues reading this). You can see us on the video clips attempting a Poznan after SWP’s screamer. What a great goal! There were over 500 City fans dotted around the ground but the City singing only came from our little gathering. It was a fun night. All credit to the Whitecaps and City for putting on a show. City brought the FA Cup along so that fans of both sides could have their photograph taken with the old trophy, and the Whitecaps worked long hours to make the pitch as playable as possible. Normally the Whitecaps play on astroturf and the organizers of the tournament requested that grass be laid. The Whitecaps complied, at a cost of over C$200,000, ahead of an MLS home game planned for the prior Saturday. Unfortunately though, and it is not uncommon in Vancouver, the heavens opened on Friday night and the newly-laid grass pitch was saturated. This led to the Whitecaps having to call off their MLS match only three hours before kick-off, which p****d off 20,000 fans and the Utah team. Ground staff did the best they could to drain the water and thankfully it did not rain again. True, the pitch was terrible, but the game went ahead and apart from the tweak to Yaya Touré’s ankle, no-one was seriously injured.

The video highlights on City’s website, Youtube, etc., negate the need for a match report, and most readers will have watched the video clips. My takeaway views echo those made in MCIVTA 1748: Dzeko should have scored the simple tap-in, Weiss looks good after his season at Rangers and I hope in the coming season he gets at least as many starts as Jo got last season, and Balotelli has not lost the attitude. He was on the receiving end of a tackle towards the end and stormed after the Whitecaps player. Weiss looked good picking the ball up deep in midfield after a Whitecaps attack broke down and quickly turning the play into a City attack. His best position may be as an attacking inside left. SWP is City through and through but he reminds me a little of Walcott. He can have a brilliant moment and then fluff three simple crosses in a row. He was the same at Chelsea. He needs to be more consistent – his confidence comes and goes. He does not come across as a confident person in the post-match interview. No-one has mentioned Adam Johnson for a while. He is a skilful player that can change a game but again, as with SWP, he does not do it often enough for me, and can ‘disappear’ for long periods during a match. Both are probably most effective as subs with half-an-hour to go in matches that need a spark to break the deadlock. The spine of Hart, Kompany, de Jong and Yaya Touré is fantastic. Yaya Touré showed his class at Wembley twice; he is a big match player who will be a key component in the CL rounds. There are many quality players that can fill the peripheral rôles in defence and midfield: Richards, Kolo Touré if fit, Lescott, Savic, Clichy, Zabaleta, Milner, Barry, Weiss. I know I am forgetting a few first XI players.

For the programme collectors, a two-page, A5-sized, folded brochure-style programme was produced. Price = zero, as usual for the Whitecaps. It is disappointing compared to a typical Whitecaps production for MLS matches.

Neil Adshead <neil.adshead(at)>


Manchester City needed a good win in the last game of the North American tour against LA Galaxy; instead it will be remembered for City having a fool in their team: Balotelli. After all the things that Balotelli has done at the club, and most being negative, can City continue being ridiculed by this fool?

I without hesitation stand behind Roberto Mancini but this is one signing I wish he had not made.

Watching City on tour for the best part has been good but the game that had more people watching was the game versus LA Galaxy. City had the opportunity to impress but came away not in the best of ways to the neutral fan.

This game might have been a friendly but it was also to sell the MCFC image. MCFC can learn yet again. Balotelli wants to sell his own image. not MCFC; now what will the future hold?

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)>


As luck (and a good boss) would have it, I was in Vancouver for the game. Taking advice from the postings on MCIVTA (that’s still a mouthful), I made my way to Oscar’s for a pre-match beer and a bite to eat. It was in full swing and both sets of supporters in full voice. All very good humoured although our City songs tended to be somewhat courser than theirs.

Interestingly enough they distributed flyers in the pub with the Whitecaps’ songs, tunes, and when to sing them in the pub, along with the story of how they came to be the Whitecaps’ chants. I didn’t, however, pick up on any of them during the game.

I was impressed with the selection of beers and, having quaffed a few, made my way to the ground. A temporary stadium (it should be sponsored by a scaffolding company), and any thoughts that the Empire Field was modelled on the Empire Stadium were quickly dispelled. A decent crowd of 24,075 filled it to around 90% of capacity, to the enjoyment of all.

Good to see they have their own share of idiots, but at least confine themselves to verbals, although the content was not very original and lifted from American TV sitcoms. I did comment to the Blackpool supporter next to me (a nouveau-Canadian) that it was nice how they let them out for the day. The memorable chant being the West side of the ground shouting “Whiiiiiite” while the East side filled in the “Caps”. There were more “Whiiiiite”s than “Caps” though, giving it a lopsided feel. The idiot-in-chief demonstrated his passion and knowledge of the Caps by shouting once every 5 minutes “pass it to the new guy”. Thank goodness he was unaware of a previous drubbing “five to oh” that an older and wiser Caps supporter pointed out to me.

As for the game the Caps played crisp football and the game was played in good spirits. City looked a bit sluggish on a pudding of a pitch that looked like it had been laid by a bad carpet fitter, rumpled everywhere, while the ball had the bounce of a dead cat. I feared for a bad injury.

Vlad the Lad was impressive and de Jong immense. Without him we don’t tick at all. Savic looks a good buy but I couldn’t understand why he came in for racist abuse when he touched the ball.

Of the young ‘uns ,they will be getting Carling Cup games for sure and we might give the likes of Lincoln, Brentford, Shrewsbury, Halifax, Brighton (get it yet?) a run for their money this season.

I am as nervous this season as I have been for all the 50 seasons I have been going to City or following from afar depending on where work takes me, but these days it’s not the fear of relegation that does it – yeah, yeah but I can’t help it.

Malcolm Plaiter – Caribbean Blue <mplaiter(at)>


The City vs. Club America match was a great occasion for our local supporters’ club! We became ‘official’ the evening before at Maggie McGarry’s in San Francisco’s North Beach Section. Of course, we celebrated appropriately. Our Club preparations for match day were documented by the City Video team who are a professional lot! The video can be seen at:

The attendance at the match was dismal. Locally, we attribute this to the dismal communication of the promoters. As a San Francisco resident, I would not have known about the match if it wasn’t for the Club. There was no advertising anywhere. Terrible. I was also surprised by the lack of support from the Club America fans. Two years ago, Club America drew with Barcelona at a match in San Francisco and there were probably 30,000 Club America fans there. Quite frankly, we were expecting to be a drop in the bucket compared to their turnout.

As I said, Club America drew with Barcelona at a previous friendly, doing great work to break down their defence and come back from a goal down. The City defence allowed no such work this time, keeping Club America to a couple of chances in the second half.

We went to see City play the Portland Timbers last year and quite frankly, City looked like they were warming up the entire match, with the exception of Bellamy who spent his time on the pitch chewing the ear of the referee. Not this year. The team looked sharp and focused. The play was first rate.

For me, the man of the match was SWP! The touch he had on the ball was magnificent, particularly in the box. His goal was amazing, drilled right between two defenders into the far, bottom corner. Simply unstoppable. He has great hustle winning balls, intercepting passes and making his name on the field. I hope the boss was paying attention!

I continue to worry about Dzeko. He looks ponderous and is constantly out hustled to the ball and being stripped of it. Unlike Amy Wombach, who always found a way to use her size to get her head on the ball by proper timing, deceptive lines, and great hustle, he never seems to be near a ball in the air. His shots seem to always be at the ‘keeper or off target, not at the goal. I really think he could use the services of a ‘visualization’ coach who could help him mentally see himself scoring instead of screwing up. We’ll see. But if we are going to do well without Tévez, someone will have to pick up the slack.

One further comment on something that have not seen other comments on: the departure of Jo. In the works of fellow SF Blue Tony: ‘Jo’ must be Portuguese for ‘crap’. Frankly, I’d rather have a loaf of bread on the pitch than Jo, because you know the loaf of bread won’t make passes directly to the defence time and time again. I would have traded him for a box of used soccer balls. With leaks. Am I getting my point across?

Thanks for all the good work you do with MCIVTA!

Gino Fortunato <ginof(at)>


So we left Alameda on the ferry over to San Francisco. 1:30. A gang of Dzeko fans with wives and kids took the same boat over. All decked out in the blue of City and the Bosnia colours. If you go to you can see an interview with those self same fellas. I’ve actually played indoor against the bloke in the City shirt and he has the Dzeko silky skills like they all seem to have. Over to Red Bar for a few pitchers of fine sierra Nevada pale ale and a double cheese burger with fries at a very reasonable price. I think it was $7.50 for a meal on the Embarcadero at San Francisco. Amazing deal and greasy as you like. Some good natured back and forth with a few latinos in the general area. America are the Rags of Mexico and not liked by the real people. The chefs attested to this. The “City” of Mexico is Chivas. Real team, real fans. So a few brews later and we are in the ground. And I met Mr. Doyle and the chair of the City Florida fan club with his shirt signed by Buzzer. The ground is great by the way. We took our seats, sort of GG upper close to the goal line with tons of room to spare. They said 11 thousand tickets sold. Maybe. We guessed closer to 8 thousand. I’m glad we didn’t drop any more $ on same as you could sit pretty much anywhere. The America fans were in fine voice with the obligatory drums and those daft horns from the World Cup. Game started and we bossed it. Considering America are supposed to be the best in Mexico we have nothing to fear if we ever get to play them competitively. The size difference was considerable. SWP won headers! And physically we just brushed them aside. It was good to see City playing a slick, passing game that the latino leagues are famous for as we took them apart. Weiss was superb, as was SWP. Dzeko has some great skills, collecting the ball, great chest traps, turns etc., it’s just the final product that was lacking. SWP’s goal was vintage SWP. First half I think they had 1 shot. Straight at Hart. Second half was more of the same. Richards came on and romped down the right. Yaya also romped through. Weiss was classy again and very powerful. Kolorov had pace to spare and a young Mancini was seen mixing it up and getting some good challenges in. We bossed the second half. Milner should have had a crack when he chose to pass. We hit the post. They had a corner, free header… that was about it. So, job done. Back to the bar, quick couple then ferry home. A grand day out. Also the game made the local press. Great shot of a Club America fan launching his beer at a Blue. At $9.25 for a plastic cup he must have been mad.

Andy Johnson <Fastandyj(at)>


Thank you Etihad. It could have been considerably worse. I’ve just returned from a very pleasant holiday in Tampa Bay (where, in St Petersburg, you will find Tropicana Field and Progress Energy Field) and driving back to Orlando Airport, on the outskirts of Tampa right next to the I-4 Interstate, is the wonderfully named 1-800-ASK-GARY Ampitheatre, sponsored by a local legal firm.

It was previously known as the Ford Ampitheatre and according to Wikipedia: “The name change has not been well received. In an online poll accompanying an article on the subject in the St. Petersburg Times, 96% of people responded with either ‘I hate it’ or ‘I think it’s pretty lame’.”

Like I said, thank you Etihad!

John Caley <john(at)>


To simplify things, from now on, I’ve decided to call our stadium “The E”.


Marc Starr <marc.starr(at)>


If you’ve got a few minutes to spare, switch off the phone, make a cup of tea and have a look at this:

It’s a well-balanced analysis of the Etihad deal, very welcome given all the screaming headlines and the bleating of certain rival clubs.

Daniel Marcus <danielmarcus67(at)>


I have re-registered the ‘MCIVTA Fans’ league on

If you took part last season then you will automatically join the league once you have re-registered. If any other readers want to enter a team then register at the above website. Select the ‘LEAGUES’ tab at the top of the home page and then select ‘Join a league’ and enter the league code, which is 98976-35122.

I have also registered a ‘Head To Head’ league called ‘MCIVTA HeadToHead’. For some reason I think even if you took part last season you will have to enter this league as above. The code for this league is 98976-35188.

When you have registered follow the online instructions. Once you have entered a team the same team is used for each league so there is no extra selecting to do regardless of how many leagues you are in.

You can make as many free transfers into and out of your team as you like up to 11.30am on 13th August. Thereafter there are restrictions on weekly transfers as displayed on the website. For those new to it, the classic league is based on your points score against everyone else in the league. The head to head league is based on your points score against one other team in your league based on a weekly fixture list. I’d like to ban United players from squads but I haven’t got the time to administer it so once again I leave it to your own conscience.

Good luck.

Dave Kilroy <dave.kilroy(at)>

MCIVTA FAQ [v1011.01]

[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?

The Official Supporters’ Club and the Centenary Supporters’ Association have merged to become the Manchester City Supporters’ Club ( The club also recognise the Manchester City Disabled Supporters’ Association (

[6] Where can I find out about Points of Blue?

The committee operates as an interface between supporters and the club. Points of Blue appears on the club website under the “Fans” heading (

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

Live match commentary can be found on the club website. The Radio Manchester pre- and post-match phone-in is available on the web at

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

[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 #1749