Newsletter #1796

Well international travels (get me!) have curtailed my ability to get MCIVTA this week but an interesting edition follows with some slightly anxious Blues and some slightly bashful ones too!

A little alphabetical nicety is pointed out by Steve O’Brien in relation to Wigan’s Figueroa. Points awarded for any other interesting opponent surnames for next week!

As ever, pleased to give news of the latest KOTK plus a new Stateside broadcaster with Blue allegiance.

I’ll be away for the Spurs game on Sunday so looking forward to your submissions with added relish.

Next Game: Tottenham Hotspur, home, 1:30pm Sunday 22 January 2012


Well, the collective media seemed to find it dull but I certainly didn’t and I think that many neutrals would have enjoyed it. I certainly didn’t though; I enjoyed the goal, I enjoyed seeing Joe Hart’s biggest piggie reaching the lone clear chance we succumbed to, I enjoyed the final whistle, but much of the rest of the 97½ minutes I spent hating the fact that my pulse-rate was hammering away like that of a jogger on the upper reaches of K2.

That’s how I am with City and our relative success these days – anything less than a three goal lead and I’m convinced of the worst to the point that time slows down to a crawl, in a way only worse when sat in the dentist’s waiting room (actually, in saying the above, last time we played Liverpool in the league, even at 3-0 with ten minutes to go, given that we were down a man, I was still in panic mode!).

Paul McCarthy, on Sky this morning, described it as a “typical Italian defensive grind”. Erm, talk about a lazy journo going for a stereotype, did he even watch the match? I don’t think he could have with an encapsulation like that.

The big media issue of the night was Mancini and his disappearing card trick. I’ll be honest and say I don’t like it one bit; I don’t like players doing it, I wouldn’t like to star-struck kids doing it, and I certainly don’t want our man-in-charge at it. Whilst I don’t think it’s a whole lot worse than Fergiscum’s bully-boy antics (indeed nowhere near as bad, given the amount and the time-spread with which AF has routinely intimidated refs), I still don’t even want to have us compared on a human level to the depths which he is happy to sink to. That said, and the pseudo-moralists in the press aside, surely the bigger issue should have been over the fact that Figueroa (nice name, given that it contains all five vowels, but therein lies the end of my compliments about the cheating g*t) DID NOT get a red card. What has football come to when such a blatant and cynical action like that gets just the merest slap on the wrist? The so-called powers that be are forever banging on about ways to make the game more entertaining and increase the number of goals – well outlaw that kind of thing just for starters.

De Jong (whilst looking understandably rusty) was given a yellow card not long after coming on. It was one-footed, he won the ball, yet the caution still came his way. Where will this sudden PC/health and safety stance towards football take us? If it carries on in this direction, people like Nigel will not be able to play the game.

As for us, we weren’t fluent as were early in the season but at least we were positive in moving the ball forward. None of the recent endless poking the ball around in our own third of the pitch with no sign of getting a move on. Our passing was often lacking precision but hopefully that will be put right on Sunday.

Gary Neville (give him his due: in his new career he’s come across very fair in general, and extremely generous in his praise of us in particular) gave MotM to Hart – for making one save(!?). Most people went with the very lively Dzeko, but I’d give it to Silva. He might not have had the spectacular effect of earlier in the season but he still seemed to have been central to most of our creative forays.

Oh yeah, nice to see a performance from Savic, I must admit I cringed every time he got the ball until I saw him visibly relaxing.

Steve O’Brien <BODSnVIMTO(at)>


Gareth Barry and Joe Hart led the way in a gritty team performance as City ground out a very important 1-0 win at Wigan, thus restoring our 3 point lead over United and 5 point lead over third placed Tottenham.

This win should have been confirmed well before the end but our finishing was not quite at its best, with Agüero and Dzeko both spurning chances to double our lead. Why Dzeko shot at the end of Agüero’s brilliant slalom run when he should have left the Argentine striker to shoot is anyone’s guess. Agüero was not best pleased judging by his glare and the Bosnian was left shaking his head at his own actions! At least they didn’t start fighting and get sent off like prolific Charlton strikers Derek Hales and Mike Flanaghan did in the 1970s!

As we couldn’t finish Wigan off, we were forced to endure a nail biting last 20 minutes in which Joe Hart made a brilliant left foot reaction save from James McCarthy’s shot. It was a testament to Joe’s professionalism and powers of concentration in that it was the only shot of note that he had to save in the 2nd half.

It was a good show of togetherness by City and Roberto Mancini’s powers of organisation were evident. The template he has laid down and the responsibility that he has instilled in this squad pay dividends when the going gets tough. On freezing winter nights when the pitch may be a bit bobbly and we are affected by suspensions and injuries, as well as being below par in our form, is when a manager’s preparation really comes into play with positive results.

David Silva’s return certainly brought some of the fluidity to City’s game that had been missing in the previous game. He was a joy to watch, carving clever passes round the pitch as we took the game to Wigan, and it was his superbly delivered free kick in the 22nd minute that set up the winner.

Edin Dzeko rose above the Wigan defence to head a high free kick from David Silva’s high into the net, out of the reach of the excellent Wigan goalkeeper, Ali Al Habsi.

When a player of such quality and influence such as Kompany is missing, it can have either one of two effects on the team: they either grow and thrive or they suffer. In this game our defence stood up. Led out by captain for the night Pablo Zabaleta, who gave his usual solid display at right back, our defence had cool calm leadership. Joleon Lescott stood up taller than everyone and gave a Kompany-esque(!) performance. Time and time again, if a header was there to be won, Joleon stepped up and cleared the ball decisively. This can only be good for his game and may even improve it.

His partner for the night, Stefan Savic, also had a good game, looking far more assured and like a centre back, timing his jumping well. Of course perspective has to be that Wigan did not provide as much of a test as Tottenham will on Sunday, but it was a good way to respond to his nightmare against Liverpool.

Gareth Barry is having a terrific season and he got through so much work here. He is ideal for games like this where we have to slog through the game, and epitomised the spirit of this City team.

We can play much better than we did at Wigan, and will need to against Tottenham who will of course present a much tougher challenge next Sunday.

Att: 16,026

Hart: Showed why he is a great goalkeeper: 8
Zabaleta: Really solid, and good going forward: 7
Savic: Much more composed but the real test will come on Sunday: 7
Lescott: Commanding: 8
Clichy: Matched Zaba for solidity. Some good headed clearance under pressure: 7
Barry: The power in the engine room: 8 (Man of the Match)
Milner: Worked hard as ever, but a little out of touch with his slip almost gifting Wigan a goal: 6
Nasri: Some good touches: 7
Silva: Our mean creative spark again showed why he is so vital: 8
Agüero: As ever took up intelligent positions and on another night would have scored at least once: 7
Dzeko: His goal (his first goal for twelve games) capped off a fine performance by the Bosnian who held the ball up well and competed well physically: 7
Subs: de Jong (for Nasri 74): Uncharacteristically didn’t always find his man with his passing. Booked: 6
Onuoha (for Silva 81): n/a
Johnson (for Agüero 90): n/a

Best oppo: Ali Al Habsi: Did brilliantly to keep the score down in the first half, particularly: 8

Refwatch: Martin Atkinson: Denying a goal scoring opportunity is a red card offence, so why did he only book Figueroa? Otherwise ok. 6

Phil Banerjee <phil.banerjee(at)>


This was one of the poorest matches City have played this season (2nd half). So much possession in the first half, a few missed half chances, and then we ended up hanging on for our lives. I will take the 3 points, but considering we were playing the bottom side, there were times when Wigan were first to every ball, and looked a lot better than us, especially as we were happy to hoof the ball anywhere.

It really highlighted the absence of Yaya Touré in the middle, who controls much of the ball for us. Our midfield too often were hounded off the ball and we lacked the control that is expected of the top team in the league. Too many of our players were not at their best. Silva was only in the match in patches, whilst Milner was poor and so was Nasri. I just don’t know what happened to the Nasri at Arsenal that left me thinking wow, how good would we be if we had him; at times he was the driving force for them.

Personally, I feel at Arsenal, he was their main man, whilst I feel at City he is happy playing second fiddle to Silva. I cannot understand why he does not run at the opposition’s defence, like he did at Arsenal; now he is happy to run 5 metres then lay the ball off. He needs to make things happen, and he just does not do enough to trouble the opposition. Agüero runs his socks off but for some strange reason, he does not have that early season finish; maybe his luck will change.

Savic was better, but not big enough, and is out-muscled in the air way too often. Lescott had a far better game, and we needed him to stand tall and boss that position, as Wigan were putting us under a lot of pressure in the last 15 minutes. I thought Milner had a very poor match, and did not influence the midfield enough… this in itself, tells you how important Yaya is to our team.

We desperately needed a 2nd goal to clam our nerves, but it was not to be, and we somehow held on and claimed the very, very vital 3 points. I really hope we bring our A game when we play Spurs on Sunday, or else I can see us getting walloped.

We are at the stage of the season where we need a solid spine in the team and this will keep the chasing pack at bay. Personally some of our “expensive” 2nd squad of players are not really good enough. Kolarov is very poor and cannot be trusted at left back, Savic is not tall enough, de Jong is not the same player from last season (partially down to not playing enough).

Balotelli is a player I have never rated: all 6ft plus of muscle who goes down too easily and has as many off days as good ones, and even though he has scored a few goals for us, I cannot recollect one match where I can honestly say “wow he was a right handful throughout the match” and produced a star performance. Just compare how many times Tévez produced a man of the match performance, with his work rate and never say die attitude, and scored many vital goals (even though I hate him now, for what he has done to our club).

Balotelli thinks of himself as one of the top 5 best players in the world! Can you ever remember him doing anything like what Thierry Henry did for Arsenal? Considering that we have Kompany missing for a further 2 matches, plus Yaya and Kolo, I would love us to go and buy Chris Samba, as he would be a useful addition to our defence, a big imposing centre half and more than useful at attacking set plays.

We really need a Ribery type of player, someone who runs at the opposition’s defence from the middle of the pitch causing mayhem (remember what he did to us in Munich); this is something Nasri should be encouraged to do! The teams around us will definitely strengthen in the January transfer window, and we must not be caught flat footed. The sooner Tévez and Wayne Bridge are offloaded the better, and maybe then we will see some proper action in the transfer window as we certainly need quality additions. The title is in our grasp, we cannot afford to give it up especially as United have some quality players nearing return from injury.

Well I am really keeping my fingers crossed that we beat Spurs on Sunday, as this is a really big match.

CTID, Glyn Albuquerque <glynalbuquerque(at)>

ARTICLE: King Of The Kippax Number 194

Pleased to announce that KK194 should hit the outlets at Aleef (corner of Cross Street and Market Street) on Friday January 20th, and the selling points around The Etihad at the Spurs and subsequent games.

KK194 is an A4 48 page issue with a front cover having the suggestion to ‘Keep Calm and Play Your Cards Right’. Indeed, this issue includes free imaginary red and yellow cards (remember the rock mag that had a free air guitar!).

This issue includes Quiz of the Year, If the Commons were the Terraces, Adebayor, Winter Break, Us and Them book advert and letters, Half Term Report, 92/93 season part two, plus all the usual regulars to tickle your fancy.

It sells at just £2.50 (unbeatable value) and can also be purchased for £3.50 (including P&P) from: King of the Kippax, 25, Holdenbrook Close, Leigh, Lancs, WN7 2HL.

Incidentally, the Us and Them book is now available in Waterstones, Hale Bookshop, Simply Books Bramhall, Thackerays Denton and on E-Bay and Amazon, but NOT in the City stores but go in and ask – any way to put a bit of pressure on! You can obtain it directly from KK at the above address for £18 including postage.

Sue Wallace <dw001e8104(at)>


I would suggest that everyone has a look on the MCFC website at the Academy team’s recent 4-1 cup win against Swindon Town.

Watch the footage of the full highlights from 1:08 onwards, patient build up, powerful runs from midfield, covering teammates, comfortable on the ball, encouraged to probe for the opening and build from the back, making the right decisions at the right times, unselfish off the ball movement, decisive through ball, clinical finishing. We seem to have a philosophy of how to play football the right way built into the club from the bottom up at long last.

Oh and to be fair the Swindon goal is an absolute belter as well.

Peter Blyth <blythie44(at)>


Available to a good home: signed MCFC ball (1993/1994 season)

After succumbing to parental demands to tidy my former bedroom, I’ve got a signed ball to give away to one lucky Blue. I can be pretty specific about the timing of the signatures: one of the few legible ones on there is our short-lived midfield loanee Steffen Karl (remember him? I’ve a feeling he scored the winner away at Southampton) (ED – He was also banged up for match fixing in Germany!). He was only at Maine Road for 5 months so this must be pretty rare!

Other names I can make out are Ian Brightwell and Mike Sheron, and maybe David Rocastle too. Looking at an old squad list, there could be such legends as Alphonse Groenendijk, Steve Finney, and Kåre Ingebrigtsen on there as well. Good times!

First come, first served. I live in Mossley but if anyone wants to pay postage I’m happy to send it further afield.

Tom Willis <tombola2005(at)>


Further to a previous posting about Blue Moon Beer, the following web site actually sells Blue Moon neon signs and they will also make signs to your own specs. I had one made with MCFC that sits alongside the Blue Moon Beer sign lighting up the barbecue area; sad I know but it keeps me happy!

If anyone wants to see what the signs look like, email me and I will send a photo.

Dave Sterrett <Blueds2(at)>


We have one fit striker, RSC and Ade out on loan, Ade doing the business week in, week out and now RSC tonight creates mayhem against Barça at the Camp Nou.

He takes possession on the half way line, beats two players, passes a gorgeous ball, runs 20 yards to the edge of the box to take the return, one touch and belts it into the top corner of the net.

A fit RSC is worth every penny Mark Hughes paid for him. However, he’ll probably get a pulled muscle next week and sign for QPR.

I’ve got a feeling that Tévez will apologise and be back in the squad come February.

You couldn’t make it up.

Only at City.

Come on you Blues.

Pat Knowles <patrickknowles(at)>


I’m a MCIVTA subscriber since 1995-ish and wanted to ask for a small favour.

I would prefer if you guys wrote up a few paragraphs about this as opposed to just printing my email (ED – it reads just fine, no need to re-write!), cause I feel a little pretentious sending this in, but wanted to let you guys know that America’s most fervent Blue – yes, I mean me – is now doing a weekly footy show on ESPN Radio that gets distributed nationally via podcast after the show airs live on Saturday mornings.

We’ve been on since June and I thought it might be cool if you put it on the radar of all our City brothers and sisters worldwide, since we devote a lot of time to what’s going on in the Premier League as well as domestic matters.

Below is a link to our show page; if you can include a mention of it in a future newsletter… with me as one of the co-hosts there’s always a splash of Blue in the discussion as you’d imagine.


P.S. Ex-Blues that have already appeared on the show include Mike Summerbee and my ESPN colleague Steve McManaman. With more to come.

Marc Stein <MARC.STEIN(at)>


16 January 2012

Wigan Athletic        0 - 1  Manchester City

15 January 2012

Newcastle United      1 - 0  Queens Park Rangers   49,865
Swansea City          3 - 2  Arsenal               20,409

14 January 2012

Aston Villa           1 - 1  Everton               31,853
Blackburn Rovers      3 - 1  Fulham                18,003
Chelsea               1 - 0  Sunderland            41,696
Liverpool             0 - 0  Stoke City            44,691
Manchester United     3 - 0  Bolton Wanderers      75,444
Tottenham Hotspur     1 - 1  Wolverhampton Wndrs   36,194
West Bromwich Albion  1 - 2  Norwich City          22,474

League table to 18 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 21 10  0  0 31  4  6  3  2 26 12 16  3  2  57  16  41  51
 2 Manchester Utd  21  8  1  2 33 14  7  2  1 19  6 15  3  3  52  20  32  48
 3 Tottenham H.    21  8  2  1 21  9  6  2  2 18 12 14  4  3  39  21  18  46
 4 Chelsea         21  7  1  3 24 16  5  3  2 16  9 12  4  5  40  25  15  40
 5 Arsenal         21  7  2  1 16  6  4  1  6 22 25 11  3  7  38  31   7  36
 6 Newcastle Utd   21  6  3  2 16 11  4  3  3 14 14 10  6  5  30  25   5  36
 7 Liverpool       21  4  7  0 14  8  5  1  4 10 10  9  8  4  24  18   6  35
 8 Stoke City      21  4  4  2 14 11  4  2  5  8 20  8  6  7  22  31  -9  30
 9 Norwich City    21  4  3  3 17 15  3  4  4 15 21  7  7  7  32  36  -4  28
10 Swansea City    21  5  5  1 15  6  1  3  6  8 19  6  8  7  23  25  -2  26
11 Everton         21  3  2  5 10 12  4  2  5 11 13  7  4 10  21  25  -4  25
12 Sunderland      21  3  4  3 14 11  3  2  6 13 13  6  6  9  27  24   3  24
13 Aston Villa     21  3  3  5 12 14  2  6  2 11 13  5  9  7  23  27  -4  24
14 Fulham          21  4  3  3 16 15  1  5  5  7 14  5  8  8  23  29  -6  23
15 West Brom A.    21  2  2  7  8 14  4  2  4 12 16  6  4 11  20  30 -10  22
16 Wolves          21  3  2  5 14 17  1  4  6  9 20  4  6 11  23  37 -14  18
17 Blackburn R.    21  3  0  8 16 22  1  5  4 16 22  4  5 12  32  44 -12  17
18 QPR             21  1  4  5  9 17  3  1  7 10 19  4  5 12  19  36 -17  17
19 Bolton Wndrs    21  1  1  8 11 24  4  0  7 14 22  5  1 15  25  46 -21  16
20 Wigan Athletic  21  1  4  6 10 21  2  2  6  8 21  3  6 12  18  42 -24  15

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1796