Newsletter #1795

An angst-riddled, though high-quality, McVittee issue with concerns rangingfrom our title and cup chances to fear for the future of the game!Challenging can be so stressful can’t it!Monday night is the next lap in the race and we’ll be level on points atthe top, so all to play for. My suggestion… a series of deep breathsand reach down to your bottom drawer and pull out that coat of blind faithwe all wore as we were plummeting down the league in the late ’90s.It will go to the wire, so as any good boy scout will tell you (NickRamsden this means you)… “Be Prepared!”All the best, Phil.

Next Game: Wigan Athletic, away, 8pm Monday 16 January 2012


City’s terrible first half performance handed the lead to Liverpool in this two-legged semi-final and, again, we are left asking about fairness and consistency from referees.

Savic deputised for the much-missed Kompany and as we feared, he was way out of his depth. Just 11 minutes had passed when the inexperienced Savic stuck out a leg after a corner was fired into the box, and Agger took full advantage to go sprawling on the turf. Referee Lee Mason awarded a penalty, which Gerrard clinically fired just inside Hart’s right hand post.

This goal had been coming though as Liverpool, through Carroll and Downing, had already forced two good saves from Hart. City started like a team that was lacking confidence. Our passing was laboured, movement limited and after Vincent Kompany’s unjust sending off, the players looked scared to make a tackle. We were always going to suffer without three of our better players: Kompany, Silva and Yaya.

The combination of creativity and physical presence that these three bring collectively was missed very badly. We were like rabbits in the headlights, and struggled to get out of our own half for half an hour.

Too often Savic’s passing was either misdirected or telegraphed. He took too many touches and his intentions were read very easily. This made him go into his shell and he sought to pass to Lescott for much of the time. It didn’t help that there weren’t enough options to pass to. On the occasions when a forward pass was on de Jong again was guilty of passing side-ways or backwards. We have to be more progressive.

We really missed Kompany’s authority in defence and in bringing the ball out to pass it decisively.

Most of the Liverpool supporters were singing songs in support of Luis Suarez. They made it clear, if it needed to be made clear, that like their club, they support a man who has been found guilty of racism. It was telling that they went silent when they were reminded of the incident last week, when Oldham’s Tom Adeyemi was (ED – allegedly!) racially abused by a Liverpool fan. Indeed, have Liverpool as good as endorsed racist actions by wearing those T-shirts and with Dalglish’s crass support of Suarez?

Spearing pulled a muscle, playing a pass and his replacement was Adam, whose first action (surprise, surprise) was to foul Balotelli. Finally, in the 42nd minute City showed some mettle, and it was the captain for the night, Micah Richards, who led the way, driving at pace powerfully to the bye-line and teeing up Milner with a perfect cross. However, the City midfielder skied the ball over the bar. Adam Johnson was even more wild with a free kick. At least City were playing with some purpose at last.

The second half was a case of attack against defence as Liverpool got every man behind the ball to protect their slender but crucial lead. They almost shot themselves in the foot when Kelly’s back pass played in Agüero, who rounded Reina, but with Liverpool defenders scrambling back the City striker’s off-balance left footed shot flew over the right hand post.

The closest City came to scoring in the match was when Richards’ bullet header from Nasri’s corner was instinctively saved by Reina. Without being anywhere near our best, City were pressing and fashioning chances. Nasri set up Agüero who twisted and turned away from 3 Liverpool defenders but his shot was easily saved by Reina. Nasri and Agüero played a one-two but the Frenchman shot over the bar when well placed. This combination represented our best hope and Agüero headed over Nasri’s pinpoint cross late on.

There was a late moment of controversy when Johnson slid two-footed into a tackle with Joelon Lescott, which left the City defender jumping out of the way. To our outrage, referee Mason failed to show a red card for an offence that was worse than Vincent Kompany’s that unjustly earned a red for the City captain. This issue is dealt with in a separate article.

So, it’s another home defeat in the Cup leaving us with a mountain to climb at Anfield. With a full strength team, I’d fancy our chances but with Kompany and Yaya definitely out of that game it will be very tough, though by no means impossible.

What do we learn from this defeat?

Firstly, we need to pass the ball much quicker and more smartly than we did in this game. A shuffle of our midfield would help. Whilst Silva and Yaya missing, surely we would be better tucking Milner into central midfield alongside Barry? They can drive attacks forward from there and if needs be, we can have de Jong giving us extra insurance to plug any gaps. Milner relishes such a rôle and has the creativity to perform it. We could then have Nasri in a free rôle just behind Agüero to prompt and make the play, with Dzeko to give us height. In defence a better option than Savic would have been Micah Richards moving to centre back with Zabaleta coming back in a right back.

Micah was a more than competent centre back alongside Dunney in Sven’s season in charge. In fact he was the best player on the pitch in that position when City beat United 1-0 at Eastlands under Sven. Furthermore, if Roberto wants to keep Micah on the flank for his pace, Nedum Onuoha is a better and more solid option than Savic right now. He would not have given away that penalty.

Whilst we are severely compromised with the loss of Kompany, Silva and Yaya, we cannot feel sorry for ourselves. Our players have got to puff their chests out, remember that they have all played their part in making us top of the League. They all need to take more responsibility and make sure that we get that win against Wigan on Monday. Each game as it comes, as they say…

That all said, fans like me can bang on all we like but Roberto Mancini is the man whose opinion counts, and he serves us brilliantly. In Roberto we trust.

Att: 36,017.

Some fans and members of the media have criticised attendances (not just our own) at various Cup games. These people clearly don’t live in the real world (but when did the likes of Alan Green or many Rags live in the real world?). We are in possibly the worst recession since the days of Thatcher and a lot of people up and down the country are being laid off, or in some cases, facing pay cuts. Besides, it’s just after Christmas and there is not a lot of cash floating about at this time.

Hart: Brilliant saves early on kept us in the game, and made a valiant attempt to save an unstoppable penalty: 8
Richards: The skipper for the night was awesome: his power, pace and authority shone brightly on a gloomy night: 8 (Man of the Match)
Savic: He is not ready for first team football at this level but will he ever be? There has sadly got to be a question as to whether he is good enough: 4
Lescott: Not really tested. Did nothing wrong: 6
Clichy: tried to get things going from left back and eventually on the right wing: 6
Johnson: Another opportunity missed. No impact on this game at all: 2
Milner: Found it difficult to get into the game, but no little effort: 6
Barry: Always busy but suffered for lacking options to pass to: 6
De Jong: Not progressive enough in his passing: 6
Balotelli: No impact at all before he got injured: 4
Agüero: Work as hard as ever, and linked up with Nasri in the 2nd half. Got in positions to score but it just wasn’t his day in front of goal: 6
Nasri (for Balotelli 39): Injected some creativity and engineered three chances for City. Needs to step up and deliver now, whether or not Silva is out for any length of time: 7
Dzeko: No impact: 5
Kolarov: Poor deliveries: 4

Best oppo: Our lack of self belief.

Refwatch: Lee Mason: One of the poorest referees in football today, he failed to book Gerrard for literally making James Milner fly through the air with a dirty challenge. If referees are going to send off Vincent Kompany for a perfectly good tackle where he got the ball (with one foot) then they have to send off players like Johnson for his worse (and definitely two footed) tackle. Where is the consistency? Where is the fairness? Not possible to mark.

Phil Banerjee <phil.banerjee(at)>


The game versus Manchester United, with just ten men versus twelve, took its toll as City faced a Liverpool side that were determined to take advantage of the situation.

In the first half we saw City playing in unfamiliar way, without the usual flair of fast and flowing passing. The second half saw City playing a lot better, but without a goal, as Liverpool played a defensive game after scoring their goal.

Liverpool got their goal from a penalty after Savic made a high challenge on a Liverpool player in the penalty box. City missed Yaya, Silva and captain Kompany in this first leg, which they only lost by the one goal. The good news is that Silva should be back for the second leg, after an injury to his ankle.

We still see inconsistencies from referees as Lee Mason failed to give Glenn Johnson even a warning for a two legged attack on Lescott. If Lee Mason had been the referee during the United game, Kompany would never have been sent off.

All we want is fair play and consistency from referees, no more, no less!

City can still overcome the 0-1 defeat when they go to Anfield in two weeks.

Come on you Blues!

CTWD, Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)>


I hope my posting about Kompany’s sending off and an Arsenal January doesn’t become a self-fulfilling prophecy but Wednesday night’s performance against Liverpool did little to lift my spirits.

My feelings of dread resurfaced when I saw the team sheet for the game and the inclusion of Stefan Savic at the centre of defence. To my non-highly paid football mind, Savic is a million miles away from being capable of playing at this level. He is poor in every department of his game, in the air, on the ground and positionally.

Having already been turned by the lumbering Carroll, he then gave away the penalty with a clumsy high tackle on Agger, a misdemeanour he almost repeated later in the half when he raised his boot towards the head of Carroll who flashed his header across the face of goal.

Maybe one day Savic will develop into a good centre-half, but I feel that day is a long way off and sending him out on loan seems the best option to help him gain that experience. Although we probably would have lost some attacking option from right back I, and this was before the game not in hindsight, felt Mancini should have played Zaba at right back and Richards in the middle. I would even have preferred to see Onouha, rather than Savic, at centre-half.

On the subject of Micah Richards, how he isn’t in Capello’s immediate plans has to be one of the more baffling football conundrums; he was absolutely immense again last night. He demonstrates by example what it means for him to play for his club without resorting to the sycophantic badge kissing so favoured by so many of today’s footballers.

Despite the much criticised money spent by City in assembling the squad, the knowledge that we are over-dependant on David Silva was reinforced last night, though to be fair to lose him as well as Yaya Touré and Vincent Kompany is something most teams would struggle to overcome.

What was particularly galling last night was the confirmation that the total lack of consistency of decision making from referee to referee is costing City, and many other clubs, dear.

I’m not suggesting Glen Johnson should have been sent off for his two-footed lunge at Lescott, which didn’t even warrant a free-kick on the night, but rather that it reinforces the argument that Kompany shouldn’t have been sent off. Both tackles were remarkably similar; the only difference, and probably a key one, is that Kompany’s tackle came early in a passionate derby with a referee who has shown previously that he struggles in highly-charged games, whilst Johnson’s came at the end of a lack-lustre game with a referee who tries to control a game without constantly reaching for his pocket.

Earlier in the game Gerrard body-checked a City player in a carbon copy of the offence that saw Gareth Barry receive a second yellow against Liverpool the previous week. There was no card for Gerrard. How can two identical incidents receive two such contrasting outcomes?

To finish on an optimistic note, the second half last night showed there is no reason to doubt we can overturn the deficit at Anfield, where Liverpool have been less than impressive, with hopefully Silva back pulling the strings. In the meantime the games against Wigan and Spurs have taken on a greater significance, we need to lay down a marker at Wigan on Monday, and halt the march of in-form Spurs.

Dave Kilroy <dave.kilroy(at)>


Roberto has to cool it about screaming about all the other red cards referees are missing (Glen Johnson on Lescott), let the Kompany incident go, make sure his players don’t go into tackles with two sets of studs showing, and just get on with winning games again.

What is evident now, especially since everyone has played City at least once, is that most teams have now figured out how to play against us. No wonder the results are changing and the goals are drying up. Compare City’s 3-0 win over Liverpool with Wednesday’s 1-0 loss. First game we had Silva and Agüero and Yaya Touré in free flow and Kompany shoring up the defence: result – easy win. Without Silva, Touré and Kompany, we fall behind to an early penalty and then Liverpool bricks up midfield.

The reality is that Mancini has only one attacking system, which revolves around Silva, Agüero and Yaya Touré, but without Silva and Touré (as on Wednesday) our attack is clueless.

This shouldn’t happen with Agüero, Dzeko, Balotelli, Nasri and Johnson to call on, but the reality is that these players can’t follow a system when Silva’s not playing. Our 5-1 win over Tottenham and our 6-1 win over the Rags were generated by Dzeko and Balotelli playing off Silva and Agüero; without Silva they are clueless.

This should not be happening.

Even without Silva, Kompany and Yaya Touré, a team that can field Hart, Richards, Clichy, Barry, Milner, Johnson, Agüero, Balotelli and Johnson should be more than a match for anyone in the league. But Mancini has to use his available talent pool and have an effective Plan B when Silva (and Kompany) can’t play.

Roberto still has time to sort things out, but when he starts crying about needing more players? Come on, be more effective in using what you have. The team that seems to have it right is Tottenham…. beware of ‘Arry!

Keith Sharp – Toronto, Canada <>


We are delighted to announce that there is now a Switzerland branch of the OSC. We meet reasonably regularly in Paddy Reilly’s in Zurich.

If you (or any Blues you know) live in or visit the area, drop me an email, or search for our Facebook page (Official MCFC Swiss Supporters’ Club). We’d love to see you!

Daniel Yates <daniel.yates(at)>


Maybe it didn’t have a bearing on the eventual outcome but I had a sense of dread when I saw the following headline on the BBC Sport website prior to Vincent Kompany’s appeal against his red card: “Mancini: We Will Win Appeal”.

Maybe it was taken out of context, what Mancini was actually saying was that he felt the sending off was unjust and felt confident that the disciplinary panel would see it this way, but he should know that headline writers love to twist words to grab attention.

What we ended up with, especially if seen by those involved in deciding the result of the appeal, was a seemingly arrogant statement and attitude that the result was a foregone conclusion.

I think Vincent Kompany, and Manchester City, would have been better served by Roberto Mancini saying nothing until after the appeal, thus avoiding giving the headline writers ammunition to sensationalise.

Now, with Kompany out, the likelihood that Silva, Balotelli and Dzeko are injured and the Tourés away on international duty, City need several performances like the second half last Sunday to avoid an Arsenal January (I refer to a few seasons ago when Arsenal, seemingly unstoppable at the time, went out of the FA Cup, lost in the semi-final of the League Cup and threw away their league title ambitions with a disastrous run of defeats, one of which if my memory serves me right was an away defeat to lowly Wigan).

Come on Blues, don’t let it happen to us.

Dave Kilroy <dave.kilroy(at)>


I am troubled by the way meaning erodes so quickly when people use meaningless phrases. For example, all the hysterical and self-righteous views on “two-footed tackles” leaves me wondering if the person ranting (or any recipient) shares any common understanding of the words they choose to use.

For the record, the phrase “Rules of the game” is utterly wrong. There are only Laws of the Game (published and revised annually by FIFA). There is no mention anywhere at all in the Laws of the Game of “two-footed tackles”, so instantly half the angry self-righteous arguments are blown out of the water.

Jumping at an opponent is the offence under Law 12 that results in a direct free kick (a penalty offence). There is no definition in Law 12 as to mandatory use of cards, which blows away another pile of righteous indignation. I will not bore anyone with the actual Laws and official interpretation for referees, but highly recommend that the next barrack-room lawyer who wants to rail should do elementary research and, at the very least, read the actual Laws of the Game, rather than invent their interpretation and present it as “fact”.

I agree that Foy’s interpretation of Kompany’s challenge was completely wrong and I am saddened that the FA has not recognised that the lack of any contact with the opponent and the clean taking of the ball does not constitute an actual foul (it is complicated because you can be penalised for attempting to hit or attempting to kick an opponent).

If Vince had clattered the Rag, it would have been a possible booking, but I cannot accept the reasoning for a red card (see Law 14). This was Mr Potato Head cheating (it’s what he is best at) and it destroyed a great game and seriously threatened our January results. When I said how much we needed Onuoha as cover for centre half, I had assumed Vincent would be a given constant. We are very stretched without him (and Nedum).

We are also stretched without a front man. The idea of bringing back Tévez is fatuous. He has made clear his feelings about playing for us. How does anyone imagine we could get anything out of him (even if we were stupid enough to abandon all principles and forgive him for his serial insults to the club and the game). Adebayor on the other hand is doing rather too well for our nearest rivals despite their unwillingness to pay for him. Surely that is very bad business and could be an easier solution (once he gets back from Africa, of course)?

The short term solution should be to introduce some young blood. It seems that Manchester City don’t regard the Academy as part of them any more. I fear that is our real weakness. Not only could it cause us to win nothing, but it could also mean that our beloved club becomes a hideous monster like those unspeakable Rags.

Martin Hunt <martinhuntctid(at)>


From the football I’ve seen this season refereeing inconsistency has reached levels that I can only describe as scandalous. The games on Sunday and Wednesday epitomised what I have been seeing. Clearly the FA, seemingly hiding largely behind their interpretation of FIFA regulations, are incapable of remedying this situation.

I wonder whether those MCIVTA subscribers living in the constituencies of Manchester based MP’s might want to consider writing to their MP’s requesting that they ask a question of Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport. The question might be along the lines:

“Can the Minister explain what steps he is taking to ensure that the Football Association deliver a consistent level of implementation of the Laws of the Game and to have a transparent and publicly accountable appeal system? In particular, given the national significance of English football, would the Minister consider bringing English law in line with the progressive nature of Scottish Law where the decisions of sports governing bodies and individual clubs are amenable to judicial review?”

Such a suggestion would undoubtedly fail insofar as sporting governing bodies would align themselves to lobby against it. However, it would, I think, cause the FA to take some notice of the concerns of football supporters.

David Lewis <dfl(at)>


You have to wonder how the FA allows blatant injustice to go on and it gets worse with every year.

Steven Gerrard was not booked for a tackle that lifted James Milner off the ground, and yet if it was made the other way round, you can guarantee that the City man would have been booked. Gareth Barry picked up a two yellows for far less last week. Is this how it has to be? We cannot book Stevie G?

Would Rio Ferdinand have been sent off for the excellent tackle that Vincent Kompany made last Sunday? We all know the answer to that one.


Glen Johnson’s two footed challenge on Lescott in The League Cup Semi was worse than Vincent Kompany’s tackle, yet Johnson escaped without punishment. Johnson’s challenge is actually at Lescott and carried more force, being genuinely two-footed (the Law makes no distinction between one or two feet, but does about excessive force).

I am not looking to get Johnson into trouble here, but why should Kompany’s be a red when Johnson’s is not? Roberto Mancini highlighted this in his post match interview. City have to go back to the FA and ask them to review Kompany’s suspension, which has to be rescinded if there is any fairness in the game. We don’t have to accept this and we should make a noise about it. It is time for Brian Marwood, as a Football Director, to get in touch with the FA.

Platini is trying to stop us spending money. Now the FA Establishment is trying to stop us tackling!

Why should City and others be judged by different standards to Establishment clubs like United, Liverpool and Arsenal?

Steven Gerrard showed a lack of class on this occasion with his interrupting Roberto’s press conference, rather rudely (but laughably) sticking his oar in, blaming Mancini for trying “to get him (Johnson) into trouble”. Gerrard is of course wrong and his comments are hypocritical (he didn’t criticise Skrtel, Adam, Kuyt and co when they successfully got Mario Balotelli sent off for nothing at Klanfield, and let’s face it, Gerrard’s diving has got several players into trouble).

Mancini is entitled to stick up for his captain and compare the two tackles: Johnson’s is worse, and it is not just City fans who are saying that. If he had a bit of decency, Gerrard should show some respect to Mancini and button it, but we needn’t hold our breath on that one. The Liverpool captain might reflect that Mancini has won three titles as a manager and one as a player: something that Gerrard is highly unlikely to achieve (almost certainly not as a player).

Liverpool are making a habit of being strangers where the truth is concerned and on Wednesday night they continued the trend. Gerrard told a bare face lie when interviewed, saying “I don’t think it was two-footed, no. Glen was a clear winner of the tackle.” He won the tackle all right, but because he made a dangerous two-footed tackle.

Not that we should expect too much from Gerrard. As good as a player as he is, it’s not as if he has displayed much class as a man down the years is it? His lack of it has been evident with his diving (which often cons referees) and dirty fouling (he’s put a few dangerous two-footers in himself) on the pitch and his behaviour off it.

He is not a man whose opinion has any true credibility outside one half of Merseyside and it is interesting that he alluded to Wayne Rooney in this exchange: one might say it’s one Red thug being akin to another. Indeed, how Steven Gerrard avoided a jail sentence for that bar fracas is a source of mystery to many people, myself included (even if it was a Merseyside jury that acquitted him!). Future Liverpool manager material, no doubt. Isn’t it sickening that Establishment players in this country are John Terry, Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs and Steven Gerrard and that they get away with tackles that would see anyone else hung drawn and quartered? Too many times those players and managers from the establishment get away with foul play and/or bad behaviour. It’s one rule for them, and one rule for the rest of us.

A little bit like Platini’s so-called “Fair Play” regulations which are, of course, a con. They are designed to protect the Establishment clubs in Europe by stopping the likes of City and Chelsea from spending. Under Platini’s rules, the clubs with the biggest revenue streams, i.e. Real Madrid, Barcelona, Man. Utd, Liverpool, Arsenal, Bayern etc. will be allowed to spend the most money.

No chance of a Jack Walker going into Blackburn Rovers then. We might have been envious of Rovers, but we wished them well. Personally I was quite pleased for their fans (and it stopped you know who). Why shouldn’t they have their days in the sun?

Under Platini’s unfair play regulations there will be no chance of, for example, someone going into a great club like Nottingham Forest, twice European Champions, and making them competitive at the top level of football. Why shouldn’t their neighbours Derby who have a great support not enjoy such an opportunity, if someone was so minded?

It’s all about the Establishment clubs protecting self-interest and Platini is petrified that the Establishment clubs will abandon his Champions’ League and breakaway, because that would damage his credibility and possibly cost him the FIFA presidency.

Why not have clubs outside the establishment having a benefactor to make them competitive? The more the merrier, I say. City’s and Tottenham’s rise into the top four last season has been good for the game. At the moment we don’t have the same sterile old top four, year in, year out. When Platini sticks his oar in, and we can expect the old order to return.

There is something badly wrong with a game where the so-called guardians of the game are making the game less competitive rather than more.

Phil Banerjee <phil.banerjee(at)>


… just scored on début on loan for Preston… go on lad!


11 January 2012

Tottenham Hotspur 2 - 0 Everton      36,132

League table to 11 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 20 10  0  0 31  4  5  3  2 25 12 15  3  2 56 16  40 48
 2 Manchester Utd  20  7  1  2 30 14  7  2  1 19  6 14  3  3 49 20  29 45
 3 Tottenham H.    20  8  1  1 20  8  6  2  2 18 12 14  3  3 38 20  18 45
 4 Chelsea         20  6  1  3 23 16  5  3  2 16  9 11  4  5 39 25  14 37
 5 Arsenal         20  7  2  1 16  6  4  1  5 20 22 11  3  6 36 28   8 36
 6 Liverpool       20  4  6  0 14  8  5  1  4 10 10  9  7  4 24 18   6 34
 7 Newcastle Utd   20  5  3  2 15 11  4  3  3 14 14  9  6  5 29 25   4 33
 8 Stoke City      20  4  4  2 14 11  4  1  5  8 20  8  5  7 22 31  -9 29
 9 Norwich City    20  4  3  3 17 15  2  4  4 13 20  6  7  7 30 35  -5 25
10 Sunderland      20  3  4  3 14 11  3  2  5 13 12  6  6  8 27 23   4 24
11 Everton         20  3  2  5 10 12  4  1  5 10 12  7  3 10 20 24  -4 24
12 Swansea City    20  4  5  1 12  4  1  3  6  8 19  5  8  7 20 23  -3 23
13 Aston Villa     20  3  2  5 11 13  2  6  2 11 13  5  8  7 22 26  -4 23
14 Fulham          20  4  3  3 16 15  1  5  4  6 11  5  8  7 22 26  -4 23
15 West Brom A.    20  2  2  6  7 12  4  2  4 12 16  6  4 10 19 28  -9 22
16 Wolves          20  3  2  5 14 17  1  3  6  8 19  4  5 11 22 36 -14 17
17 QPR             20  1  4  5  9 17  3  1  6 10 18  4  5 11 19 35 -16 17
18 Bolton Wndrs    20  1  1  8 11 24  4  0  6 14 19  5  1 14 25 43 -18 16
19 Wigan Athletic  20  1  4  5 10 20  2  2  6  8 21  3  6 11 18 41 -23 15
20 Blackburn R.    20  2  0  8 13 21  1  5  4 16 22  3  5 12 29 43 -14 14

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1795