Newsletter #1792

Welcome to 2012 to you all!

Despite the inauspicious start it will, whatever happens, be a memorable one for Blues fans. All we don’t know is will that be good or bad memorable?!

Despite the Sunderland result, the glass should still be at least half full. So much to play for but just don’t expect us to run away with anything. This will be an almighty scrap to the last kick of the season, mark my words.

Some reflective pieces in this issue ahead of tonight’s Liverpool game and a great ‘And Finally…’ from Adam Davey.

All the best and Happy New Year, Phil.

Next Game: Liverpool, home, 8pm Tuesday 3 January 2012


Some of my thoughts have already been expressed by other readers but I shall use my own words anyway.

After watching the West Brom game and noting the two 5-0 victories by the Rags recently, I am becoming increasingly concerned about our chances of pulling off first place in the Premier League.

As I watched the first half I became frustrated by the way City kept possession but made little progress. If I compare them to Barça their build-up is very pedestrian. I don’t know if Mancini instructs them that way but I think that they need to show more speed and urgency in the first half and try harder for an early goal.

I fear that a lot of clubs are going to use the West Brom tactics as a rôle model in how to play the game against City. On the plus side, I am happy about the way Mario Balotelli has been playing. He has improved beyond recognition by working harder and he looks like a real threat anywhere near the goal. Another player who should get more time on the pitch is Adam Johnson who looks capable of penetrating packed defences with his long range shooting skill.

The month of January is going to be an extremely difficult one indeed but this how I think it should be approached. We are only two games away from another Wembley appearance for the Carling Cup and although I don’t rank that trophy as highly as the FA Cup, it might be realistic to prioritise that in terms of winning silverware by fielding our strongest team for the semi-final ties against Liverpool and playing our reserves against the Rags in the 3rd round of the FA Cup. If we go out of the FA Cup early on it might improve our chances of clinching the Premier League by relieving the pressure on us in terms of the number of games played and increasing it on United who will have to play more. I am not saying sacrifice the FA Cup. If the reserves still beat them, well and good. We shall just continue using the reserves in that competition.

Philip van Gass <philipvangass(at)>


Sunderland played the same game as West Brom did, only this time the City defence went to sleep with only seconds remaining and Sunderland got the winner!

To complain that it was offside was weak.

We saw City do everything but score, and more than once were unlucky.

I would like to see City try for goal with first time shots on goal, instead of controlling the ball or trying to tee it up first; by then a defender was there to block.

Or the City players were trying to walk it in again.

Only two days and then the opponents are Liverpool at home; at least I think that Liverpool might play an open game and try to win but, as I have said before, teams are watching videos on how to beat City: defend and go for break-away goals.

It is easier said than to do to score an early goal and, to do that, first time shooting and on goal has got to happen.

We don’t win games by saying after a game we did enough attacking, and we were unlucky!

Should we risk even sitting back a little by forcing the opponents to come forward a little, and then a fast counter attack, really fast?

After all the goals that City scored early on in games, now we can’t even get one – players go back and watch how you scored.

Note that I never mentioned any player by name; we lost as a team!

Oh well, still at the top of the League, and I never hung myself.

Come on you Blues, score and win!

P.S. A great weekend for the bookmakers!

CTWD, Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


Happy New Year to all. I hope you had a good Christmas.

If we thought that dropping points to West Brom was bad, losing to a weakened Sunderland side was a huge disappointment. If we are to win the title, we have to win matches like these in the future. Had we won them both, we would have seen our five point lead restored but instead we are relying on goal difference to maintain top spot.

OK, it is not a disaster in the scheme of things, and when you remember being doubled by Wycombe Wanderers, it shows how far we have come, but these are very different times and we have very different aspirations. We are in a serious title challenge, and we have slipped up over Christmas and New Year.

I am not inclined to be critical of Roberto Mancini. I have every faith in him. All managers make mistakes, though. I can understand him making 6 changes from the Baggies game, with the Liverpool game just 48 hours after, but it is fair to wonder whether we should have played our full strength side and got the Sunderland match won, then resting players like Silva, Yaya Touré and Agüero half way through the 2nd half.

I don’t want to be hard on these wonderful players either. They are only human, but vital errors cost us a point at Sunderland. We did not show enough guile to win the game, but even then we should have finished better. Without Silva, we were like an orchestra without a conductor, and he should have started the game. Nevertheless, we still had three very good chances and at least two half chances and, on a better day, we would have won. Our problems were not all about finishing off opponents.

As a team we were over-committed in attack, leaving the back door open. The home side had threatened a couple of times with counter attacks and the City players did not heed this warning, leaving themselves outnumbered by three to five for the Sunderland winner. Roberto Mancini has rightly picked up on this, and he will have impressed this on his players, in particular Micah Richards, who was too far up the pitch in that fateful last minute. There must not be a recurrence.

All players, especially defenders, must know when to attack. Fair play to Sunderland for their doggedness in defending, and they had good chances too, but without wishing to be ungracious, they should not have won this match on the balance of play.

Edin Dzeko has come in for a lot of criticism for his poor performance, but if there is one player who suffers from the rotation policy it is him. He needs a run of games for us to see the best of him, and he clearly looked out of touch at Sunderland.

A good chance to go three points clear has been missed.

There is no need to panic and Roberto and his players will learn from this. They will have to if we are to win this title. United may be a poor imitation of their previous teams, but they have been consistent, and Tottenham are getting stronger, and closer to us.

The Liverpool game now takes on huge significance. We need to win it.

Phil Banerjee <phil.banerjee(at)>


Was Sunderland’s Ji booked for lifting up his shirt and running into the crowd after he scored on Sunday? No he wasn’t, which is good, because it would have been a ridiculous, petty decision by an official who refereed the match with a lot of common sense (although it was a shame his linesman was behind play and didn’t spot the obvious offside).

Next question: would Balotelli have been booked for doing the same thing? Almost certainly. ‘Nuff said…

John Caley, Berks <john(at)>


To me my Man City story is 43 years and counting, with poignant moments along that “Long and Winding Road”. Whilst “Thirty-Five years” is a record of season 2010/11 it is a record interwoven with the author’s thoughts of what has gone before.

Others will write in a more detailed way of season 10/11, but Steve attempts to see each game as steps forward or backwards, as those of us of a certain generation have witnessed. To me, born in Newcastle 6 days after City secured a League title with a famous 4-3 away win at St James’s Park, little could I have known of what was to come.

My own football allegiance followed my father’s best mate, who had introduced the delights of Moss Side and Maine Road to him as late 1950’s Chester College students.

Fast forward to 1976 and the start of our author’s thoughts. A League Cup win I well remember against – who else of course but Newcastle. City’s star though, Dennis Tueart, was Newcastle born, not long left the school that saw my father’s first teaching job in the early 60’s, and whose relatives lived near our family home.

This is where Steve really takes as his starting point some early season glory, with a 3-0 win against Liverpool, about 1977/1978 in our timeline where memorably, but possibly easily forgotten, City defeat AC Milan en route to a UEFA Cup quarter final defeat to Borussia Mönchengladbach.

Defeat away to Sunderland was possibly a harsh reminder of the 2 FA Cup defeats of the late 1970’s away to Shrewsbury and Halifax.

So the roller-coaster continues as Steve whisks us through the season with one eye on history, or was it David Pleat’s suit!

Maybe that little purple patch in February qualifying for the last 16 in the Europa League and through in the FA Cup mirrors the Division 2 play-off.

As I write this it is hard to believe my football playing daughter becomes a teenager tomorrow; at least one embarrassing City story for a decade’s time at wedding or similar involves a nappy change and me nearly leaping through a ceiling as Nicky Weaver makes that save.

Steve is caught in the latter stages of the book – is the climax Wembley or Bolton and the future? Others may decide different but I will plump for Wembley, but my own life came full circle as almost the last message I passed to my dad via my brother just days before my dad passed away was that I had Cup Final tickets to see City; yes I was really there.

Read the book and re-live the season but, if you are old enough, re-live 35 years of City. Steve ponders over the money; moving on to this season I was keeping up with the 6-1 win whilst running the line for Stony Stratford Ladies when the referee failed to show. I read the last bit of Steve’s book on Boxing Day, which saw me watch Wellingborough Whitworth’s derby match in front of 70 people, with a shed and portakabin substituting for a burnt down club house. Yet when enquiring about a City Ladies game the manager replied to an e-mail question in person and my daughter and friend got introduced to the team in person.

Whatever the money, City will always be City.

Please note this book is available now as an e-Book via Amazon, WH Smith or i-Tunes. Just search the e-books section for “Thirty Five Manchester City”.

Steve Ayre, lifelong City fan and currently Secretary, Woburn Lionesses Girls FC


While most of the other games played over the Christmas period were equally tedious, City’s Boxing Day performance against West Brom was conspicuous by its lack of both passion and imagination – and Sergio Agüero’s creeping inability to score all but the most simple of tap-ins.

Mancini said West Brown were ‘difficult to break down’, which was obviously the case. Equally, City seemed to lack the tools and desire to do the job with too many players, certainly excepting the great David Silva, going through the motions and looking like they couldn’t be bothered.

The City public relations machine made Carlos Tévez persona non grata among the mass of City fans, but the club would do well now to hire the world’s greatest conciliator (whoever that may be) and bring our errant striker back home. He has the drive, the passion, the fire and the skill to inspire the team. Nobody else in the ranks possesses those qualities in such quantity.

The Tévez situation was handled badly, and without forethought, from the start. I mean before he apparently refused to play against Bayern, if that’s what he did. The Club’s captain and top scorer had a right to feel aggrieved at being benched as often as he was, and especially during such a high-profile, important European game. It made no sense.

City may be winning the PR battle against Carlos Tévez but unless some serious intervention happens, he will win the war.

Chris Cobb <cobsun(at)>


Just wanted to let everybody know that Tinchy Stryder has released a ‘free music download’ featuring a rather fun and listenable track about Mario Balotelli!

‘Why Always Me – Mario Balotelli’ is bound to be a big hit with Blues fans.

There is a link to watch and listen here:

Adam Davey <davey.adam(at)>


1 January 2012

West Bromwich Albion  0 - 1  Everton               23,038
Sunderland            1 - 0  Manchester City       40,625

31 December 2011

Manchester United     2 - 3  Blackburn Rovers      75,146
Arsenal               1 - 0  Queens Park Rangers   60,067
Bolton Wanderers      1 - 1  Wolverhampton Wndrs   20,354
Chelsea               1 - 3  Aston Villa           41,332
Norwich City          1 - 1  Fulham                26,406
Stoke City            2 - 2  Wigan Athletic        26,595
Swansea City          1 - 1  Tottenham Hotspur     20,393

30 December 2011

Liverpool             3 - 1  Newcastle United      44,372

League table to 01 January 2012 inclusive

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F   A   GD Pts
 1 Manchester City 19  9  0  0 28  4  5  3  2 25 12 14  3  2  53  16  37  45
 2 Manchester Utd  19  7  1  2 30 14  7  2  0 19  3 14  3  2  49  17  32  45
 3 Tottenham H.    18  6  1  1 17  8  6  2  2 18 12 12  3  3  35  20  15  39
 4 Arsenal         19  7  2  1 16  6  4  1  4 19 20 11  3  5  35  26   9  36
 5 Chelsea         19  6  1  3 23 16  4  3  2 14  8 10  4  5  37  24  13  34
 6 Liverpool       19  4  6  0 14  8  5  1  3 10  7  9  7  3  24  15   9  34
 7 Newcastle Utd   19  4  3  2 12 11  4  3  3 14 14  8  6  5  26  25   1  30
 8 Stoke City      19  4  4  2 14 11  3  1  5  6 19  7  5  7  20  30 -10  26
 9 Everton         18  3  2  4  9 10  4  1  4 10 10  7  3  8  19  20  -1  24
10 Aston Villa     19  3  2  4 11 11  2  6  2 11 13  5  8  6  22  24  -2  23
11 Norwich City    19  4  3  3 17 15  1  4  4 11 19  5  7  7  28  34  -6  22
12 West Brom A.    19  2  2  6  7 12  4  2  3 12 15  6  4  9  19  27  -8  22
13 Sunderland      19  3  4  3 14 11  2  2  5  9 11  5  6  8  23  22   1  21
14 Fulham          19  3  3  3 14 14  1  5  4  6 11  4  8  7  20  25  -5  20
15 Swansea City    19  4  5  1 12  4  0  3  6  6 19  4  8  7  18  23  -5  20
16 Wolves          19  3  2  4 13 15  1  3  6  8 19  4  5 10  21  34 -13  17
17 QPR             19  1  4  4  8 15  3  1  6 10 18  4  5 10  18  33 -15  17
18 Wigan Athletic  19  1  4  4  9 16  2  2  6  8 21  3  6 10  17  37 -20  15
19 Blackburn R.    19  2  0  7 12 19  1  5  4 16 22  3  5 11  28  41 -13  14
20 Bolton Wndrs    19  1  1  8 11 24  3  0  6 12 18  4  1 14  23  42 -19  13

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1792