Newsletter #1753

Disappointment ultimately in the Community Shield as we snatched defeat from the jaws of victory after being 2-0 up at half time. We have a match report and views on the game and performances tonight.

There’s also a look at our noisy neighbours, an interview with Paul Lake and the McV Fantasy Football League.

Season proper starts for the Premier League this weekend and thanks to the TV fixtures we kick-off on Monday night with a visit from new boys Swansea.

Next Game: Swansea City, home, 8pm Monday 15 August 2011


City somehow managed to throw away a two goal lead and fall to yet another stoppage time derby defeat. This may only have been the Community Shield but City can and have to do much better than this to even have a sniff of the top four, let alone challenge for the title, which should be our aim this season.

City were not alone here in looking some way off being ready for the new season. That said, we were the slowest to start, ceding possession far too easily to United and it was they who dominated the early stages. When City did attack, the final ball was lacking and Kolarov’s delivery at set pieces was very poor. One over-hit Kolarov corner ended up with us on the defensive and a poor touch by Lescott put us under pressure. Thankfully, United were ring rusty themselves.

That City managed to repel what United could throw at us in the first half and take a lead underlines the quality we possess. Silva’s set piece delivery from the right was top drawer, and his curling diagonal free kick was in an area that goalkeepers don’t like, especially a young goalkeeper with no experience of British football. Lescott’s flick header was unstoppable and we were in raptures, if not a little shock! City hadn’t played very well up to this point but five minutes later we doubled our lead when Dzeko turned quickly in midfield and unleashed a howitzer of a shot that bounced low past De Gea into United’s net. De Gea should have done better but there was no denying the quality of Dzeko’s strike. The Bosnian was one of the few bright spots for City in this game and hopefully he will take confidence from this.

After the break it was a completely different story. Ferguson does not take defeat well and he made three changes, taking off his two senior centre backs and the useless Carrick, who was replaced by Cleverley. Suddenly United were tearing into City, looking more mobile and, I am sorry to say, more determined, as City seemed to have fallen into the slumbering siesta.

City needed to keep United quiet and maintain possession, but barely raised a kick in those first few minutes of the second half. Smalling was allowed the freedom of the six yard box to volley in a free kick and then Cleverly, Rooney and Nani combined to run rings round our defence in a sharp one-touch move, culminating in the Portuguese winger lifting the ball over Hart for their equaliser.

City in truth looked a little punch drunk as the light summer rain fell on North West London, but we gradually fought our way back into the game. Mancini made changes with Johnson coming on for Milner and Barry on for Balotelli. Barry peppered up our midfield and, inspired by the sublime Silva, we started to mount attacks again without creating many real chances as United defended stoutly and made use of the odd sly nudge here and there. Johnson forced a fingertip save from De Gea late on and for a few minutes we were in the offensive, pushing for the winner, when a long ball was cleared by United. It bounced once, Kompany advanced onto it, and instead of trying to find row Z, he tried to nick it away from Nani, who intercepted and was clean through. Hart had no chance and we were mugged again in stoppage time when really the game should have gone to penalties (no extra time was scheduled in this game).

Rooney escaped punishment as he gestured provocatively at the City support. Surprise, surprise, Rio Ferdinand did not come off the bench to make any point about ‘respect’ like he did in the Cup Semi! Thankfully our players are sporting enough to accept defeat in a dignified manner, not that we should become accepting of defeat during a game.

The importance of the Charity/Community Shield is debatable but a few important points came out of this game.

Firstly, while we can console ourselves that we beat United at Wembley when it really mattered, we don’t want to make a habit of being runners-up like we were here. When will City learn not tighten up and not concede last minute goals, particularly against United? Secondly, this game might represent a psychological blow to us, and boost to United, and we need to get over it and get over it quickly.

Surely we need to be more advanced in fitness and match sharpness than we were here? This did not look like a team that was 8 days away from its first game. Wouldn’t it have been a good idea for City to have played a pre-season friendly against a Football League side like Rochdale or Oldham in the lead-up to this game in order to build up sharpness? Football League teams start a week earlier than we do so that would be a good way to prepare.

One thing is for sure: we will have to be much, much sharper to win our first game of the league season against an enthusiastic and skilful Swansea side that will be fuelled by the optimism of promotion.

Hart: Should have got closer for United’s first goal, kicking still needs work: 6
Richards: Lucky to stay on pitch after a desperate rather than nasty two footed challenge, and one of those who was bamboozled for United’s 2nd. Some important interceptions in this game though, especially early on: 6
Kompany: Blotted his copy book with an error that he wouldn’t normally make: 6
Lescott: took his goal well but there is room for improvement defensively: 6
Kolarov: Outpaced defensively. His set piece delivery was poor: 4
de Jong: Well off the pace in the first half and took an hour to get into the game: 5
Yaya: Out of touch and never at the races: 4
Milner: Tenacious and more up to speed than many of his team mates. Probably brought off to give his rusty team mates more game time: 7
Silva: Tried to make it happen in midfield but let down badly by a lack of support in midfield: 7
Balotelli: Too many wrong decisions taken and generally ineffective, so rightly given the hook: 3
Dzeko: Won a fair share of balls in the air and lead the line pretty well despite the lack of support. Took his goal brilliantly: 7
Barry (for Balotelli): Improved midfield with his introduction: 7
Johnson (for Milner): Gave his full back a hard time and had a very decent effort in the 2nd half:
Clichy (for Kolarov): Looked more lively in attack than Kolarov: 6

Refwatch: P Dowd: Lenient to both sides but still managed 7 bookings (5 for us, 2 for them and it should have been as many for United) in a niggly game. Allowed a few United nudges to go unpunished, not that we can complain too much as Micah could have walked for his two footed tackle in the first half: 5
Best Oppo: Rooney: made them tick: 7

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


As much as I love City, without doubt, the better team won. United kept and passed the ball much quicker, were a yard faster to the ball, seemed fresher, and gave 100%. In contrast, City were lethargic and many a player had an awful match. How we were 2-0 up at half time was just staggering, and then to go on and lose 3-2 – Mancini has a lot to answer for! Why could City not have come out all fired up, really get at United and force them back into their half by raising the tempo of the game? Fergie on the other hand, made changes, and his team came out in the second half and penned us in; we appeared like a team that was just happy to hold on.

To say I am disappointed is an understatement, and Kompany’s howler at the end just showed how poor we were today. Chris Smalling was a massive thorn on our right side; compare Richards to him. And Ashley Young terrorized us on the other side. Nani, who can thrill and disappoint in equal measures, scored two goals to kill us off. United played a pressing game; why can’t we do the same? If this is what we can expect, well forget about winning the Premier League trophy. Balotelli and Touré were probably the worst 2 players on the pitch, with Touré looking leaden-footed at times, yet he was kept on for 90 minutes. De Jong too had a poor game in the middle of the park. Why did we not start the second half with Johnson on one wing and Silva on the other, with Barry coming on for Touré? Then compare the ability and work rates of Balotelli to Welbeck? Balotelli must be the biggest waste of money, and seems to be in the limelight for all of the wrong reasons, and yet he is selected ahead of Johnson and SWP. Aguero must be wondering if he signed for the right club.

City were so negative, they did not deserve to win. Our defence were on the back foot for so long, it was inevitable that United scored. We desperately need a quality attacking midfielder, and why SWP did not come on is just amazing; at least he works his socks off. United spent £18 million on Young: compare him to Balotelli – there is no comparison. Young makes things happen and is always in the game. The sooner we can offload Balotelli back to Italy the better, hopefully getting Eto’o in exchange. When you consider we have guys in our club with great ability and far more desire than Balotelli, but are considered “not required” in Bellamy & SWP, what is Mancini doing?

There are times we need to play 4-4-2, and not 4-3-3, and today United’s extra man in midfield meant they bossed it for long periods.

I would not have minded losing 3-2 if we were 2-0 down, but to lose a game we were two up in, and the manner in which we lost, is what upsets me the most. One team spent half their time tackling (hence the yellow cards), and the other passing, and attacking! I hope Mancini sees this as the wake up call.

Come on City!

Glyn Albuquerque <glynalbuquerque(at)>


Sunday was the Community Shield and a chance to get first blood in what was never going to be a friendly match. It turned out that way and I’m actually surprised it finished with a full complement of players.

What is to be said about the game? In all honesty City didn’t deserve to win, didn’t really deserve the couple of goals and frankly were terrible to watch. Mancici did his pre-job defence bit of saying the players were not fully fit. The usual excuses in case they lost. Well they were a joke. United did similar pre-season events and tournaments and looked very fit. They ran City off the Wembley pitch and made them look half rate. City couldn’t pass, couldn’t effectively get forward and certainly couldn’t defend. I was so incensed following Nani’s winning goal, inevitably in injury time, that I went straight to the MCFC web page to find a contact point to send a tirade of disgust. It is a good job for them that I couldn’t find a link.

City were less than a team and at times weren’t even a collection of individuals. They were made to look like a Championship side, not 3rd place Premier League players. The indiscipline reminds me of Rangers or the Dutch World Cup squad. Without exception the team that played all played together last year. Have they such short memories of how each others’ play that they need half a season to learn? Are they so over-paid (oh they are!) that they feel they can go out and just turn up? Every Premier League manager watching the game got two wake up calls: United will never change, even with retirements (they were excellent with great young players) and City are the primadonnas who believe they can buy the rights. City will be easy to beat this year based on this performance. Simply attack fast, pass quickly and their heads will spin. That was the basis of play for 70 minutes at Wembley. Dzeko’s goal was good, but less nerves from de Gea would have kept that out. Certainly Petr Cech, Kirkland, Rob Green, Given (oops) would have stopped that with their experience.

The game wasn’t even a contest. City have a week to shake hands, introduce each other and learn to keep the ball, pass, tackle and attack. Don’t buy any more expensive players with big names and fat cheque books. Learn to do the basics with the multi-million pound players or fear the usual. Fighting for a Europa League place at best, making excuses about tiredness, fixture congestion, injuries and then eventually working with a new manager around Christmas just to start the process again.

Chris Marland <Chris.Marland(at)>


It is very frustrating to see City lose in the dying seconds in so many games versus United. Two brilliant goals in the first half for City to be up 2-0 at half time had us all feeling great but not for long.

In the second half our midfield players were overrun, and de Jong for a rare appearance was not at his best, but he was not the only one that let this game slip away. The City team let the Rags get back into this game from the kick off of the second half; blame most of the team.

Last season some might remember me saying that the most dangerous United player is Nani, but that hopefully de Jong who was not playing on that day, will when he returns keep him quiet; in this game it never happened.

Nani, who has pace and accuracy, did the damage yet again. Sure, Kompany made a rare mistake that helped Nani take advantage for the winner. The bottom line is that this game should have gone to a penalty shoot out, with City having the best goalkeeper in Joe Hart.

At the end of the game United had known that they had been in a tough game, and Sir Fergie had chewed a lot more chewing gum today; he had better order a lot more for next season.

OK that is enough from me and this was just a one time game for mistakes to be taken note of.

The season starts next week end, with a new campaign and we must not falter against any team, especially the lower league clubs who are going to fight for survival from day one.

Sergio has yet to make an appearance, so we City fans have a lot to look forward to; it is going to be an exciting season, forget today and let’s get on with it!

We are yet to play for the first point!

Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)>


I enjoyed Paul’s piece in MCIVTA 1752 and was amused by his suggestion of subtitles for Alex Ferguson (Kenny Dalglish could do with a translator too). I agree that Mancini’s approach towards the other top sides whining about City should be met with politeness (we don’t need to give them ammunition), though there may come a time when he needs to fight his corner, so to speak.

I wouldn’t deny that the Rags have had some top quality players such as Scholes, Vidic, Schmeichel, Giggs to name but a few, but I fundamentally disagree with Paul’s view in MCIVTA that they “have deserved their success as much as any other side who won trophies”. United have kicked and intimidated their way to that success and betrayed an attitude of believing they are above the rules. Their manager has systematically character assassinated referees and intimidated them into giving them decisions and extra “Fergie time”. Their players have chased after officials in an equally intimidating manner, and the club as a whole are completely incapable of showing grace, whatever the result. Furthermore, they do not give anyone else any credit. Can you imagine the Stretford End clapping off another team that have become Champions, like City did for Burnley, or Liverpool did for Blackburn in the 90s and Leeds (way back in the 60s). No. It just isn’t going to happen at Old Trafford. If United don’t give any respect to anyone else, how can they expect any in return?

There was a time when Liverpool ruled British and European football, and they were not despised to such an extent. They had their own hatchet men like Tommy Smith, Graeme Souness and Steve McMahon, but there was a dignity about how those teams, in general, carried themselves. The same can be said for Wenger’s ‘Invincibles’, despite Wenger’s selective memory. Neither team was detested up and down the country like our neighbours are. The point is that they, by and large, behaved like champions.

It’s not just a case of United merely attracting a few annoying fans: it’s a case of their club being arrogant, obnoxious and being totally unwilling to play the game in a good spirit. The club fosters an arrogant and intimidating attitude, and this is reflected in many of their fans’ behaviour.

Many of United’s fans behave like they believe that they are above the law. “We’re Man United, we’ll do what we want” goes their chant, and a large minority of them act this out by behaving in a violent, intimidating way. So whilst I have no desire to “get physical” (to quote Olivia Newton John) with any of their fans, I have to say that I will not be turning the other cheek when it comes to challenging their cheating and their lies about City. I accept that’s not to everyone’s taste, but I gave up trying to please everybody a long time ago, and besides, I’m not alone in loving a good rant!

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


I have to take issue with Phil Banerjee’s comments (which I always enjoy reading) in MCIVTA 1752, regarding a section of United fans’ “aggressive and intimidating behaviour” at the FA Cup semi- final at Wembley. Phil then goes on to refer to United supporters in general throughout the piece as “Rags”, and even “Rag Vermin”. Surely this sort of talk itself is aggressive and intimidating, and you are just lowering yourself to the mindless ones’ level.

Every club has its element of morons; maybe United has more than most. Agreed, it’s not pleasant if you come across them but that’s life unfortunately.

I don’t think I’m being too controversial by saying that rivalry in football is fine, it’s necessary, but there’s little call for hatred really. It’s only a game after all.

Iain Keir <iainkeir(at)>


I am not going to Wembley for the Shield on Sunday for exactly the reasons stated in the last issue. I am prepared to put up with the tirade of abuse and bottle throwing that occurred at the semi-final because it was a semi. The whole thing was a tense and uncomfortable atmosphere and I am not willing to go through that for a friendly (or not). I remember the Manchesterunited Evening News reporting what little trouble there was! I will miss the scum leaving the stadium at lightening speed at the end though, when we win!

Good luck boys!

Gordon Hindle <ghindle(at)>


Thought this might be good for sharing via MCIVTA. This interview with Paul Lake on Talksport appeared online on Thursday night; hopefully it’s something that overseas City fans can listen to?

I guess it links to his upcoming book. It’s a great interview.



Just a reminder that the fantasy league has been set up. At last count there were 38 teams registered for the ‘classic’ league and 19 for the ‘head to head’ league. If you’ve registered for one you may as well register for the other as there is no further work involved. If you haven’t registered yet but want to have a go, follow the instructions below.

Good luck for the season for your fantasy team and of course for our ‘real’ team. Come on you Blues.

The ‘MCIVTA Fans’ league can be found at 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 for the ‘classic’ league.

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 [v1112.01]

[1] MCIVTA Addresses

Articles (Heidi Pickup)          :
News/rumour                      :
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/Twitter 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. A useful site for North American viewers is

[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:

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

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

[11] Do any squad members have their own Twitter accounts?

A list of genuine player accounts is maintained at!/MCFC/players

[12] Where can I find match statistics?

Statistics for the current season are available from the club site, but for a more in-depth historical 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 #1753