Newsletter #1836

Well the transfer season has slowly begun and so far only departures. Stuart Taylor, entering his 14th professional season, which has yielded just 63 League starts, has departed and is currently training with Reading. Wayne Bridge “The Loan Years” is off to Brighton in the Championship and it seems the likes of Santa Cruz and young Vlad Weiss may soon follow if speculation is to be believed.

Inbound it’s been all about Robin van Persie, though one feels selling him to us may be an ‘icon too far’ for the Gooners to lose to us.

The most significant development though has been Roberto signing up to a 5-year gig with us. Great news for the platform of stability it provides and you’d have to say well deserved.

Let’s see what unfolds between now and the end of August.

Today’s somewhat tardy issue is packed full of some thought-provoking articles, amongst them a look at the other lot from Trafford and the ongoing Mario debate.

Next Friendly Game: Arsenal, “Bird’s Nest Stadium”, Beijing, 27 July 2012, KO TBC
Next Official Game: Chelsea, Community Shield, Villa Park, 12 August 2012, 1.30pm


It’s been sometime since my last posting, and I must say that when we played Arsenal away I was so disappointed in the outcome and the way we played that I was calling for the head of Mancini. I take it all back – I was wrong – but that was just how I felt at the time of the posting! When we finally won the Premier League, you could not meet a prouder City supporter… I am still pinching myself today – can’t believe we finally won it – yes!

I enjoyed watching the Euros, even thought England had an outside chance of making the finals – how wrong could I have been?

In my honest opinion, after watching the Italy versus England match, I just shook my head when Roy Hodgson did absolutely nothing positive all game and even when, at half time, it was glaringly obvious to all and sundry (and you did not need to have a FIFA coaching badge to see it!) that Pirlo, in particular, was running the show! Did we see an enigmatic, dynamic, great tactician, someone who would send out his team in the 2nd half with an obvious tactic to counter the midfield threat, whilst insisting that the back four and the midfield all push higher up the field to try and win the game in normal time? Hell no! If it worked for Chelsea twice in the Champions’ League, well then it was good enough for England! Some of the substitutions were so incorrect, you just wondered what the FA saw in this man? Harry at least would have attempted to play some attacking football!

I was keeping a lookout for our various City players in all the teams, hoping that they would all perform at the highest level and get everyone talking about them (positively that is!).

We then get to Balotelli. Now this is my opinion: from day one I have never bought into this “he is potentially a brilliant player, he could be the best in the world”. I guess that could be said about hundreds of players. I have yet to witness Balotelli play so well in a City shirt, that anyone watching could say “he was just unbelievably good, he was a constant menace and would grace any team in the world!” Now those expressions have been said about a lot of players around the world e.g. Messi, Ronaldo, RVP, Suarez, Gerrard.

His work rate is poor, his conversion rate is poor, his demeanour is poor and, for a big guy, he gets roughed up and goes down too easily. Compare him to Tévez or Agüero… no comparison.

I, for one, would admit that he has made some valuable assists in the City cause, but nearly always in cameos, nothing consistent. When does he ever get MoM? (ED – FA Cup Final)

Personally, I would flog him to any club willing to pay us what we paid out for him and get a real centre forward. Someone that terrorises defences with pace, skill and determination… a real team man. I would like someone like Cavani or Llorente: we need a tall striker, to balance the little geniuses in the team.

I do hope Mancini gives Dzeko a chance, I felt he was rotated at the wrong time, especially after scoring 4 goals early in the season. He needs continuity, which brings confidence. As much as Tévez can be a match winner and his tenacious workrate is second to none, I would not be too fussed if we sold him.

I was really hoping we would sign Eden Hazard, as he is the type of player I really like, but I can understand that he felt he had really stiff competition from very similar players in our team.

I appreciate that City need to sell before they buy, and it’s going to have to be very specific players that Mancini will be scouting for. We definitely need a quality centre half to aid Kompany and Lescott as both Touré and Savic are not up to the standard (perhaps Savic needs to be loaned out, to get the necessary experience he needs?). I liked the look of Mats Hummels the German defender; unlikely that Borussia Dortmund would sell? In time we will need a couple of players to take over from Barry and de Jong, and I liked the look of Javi Martinez the Athletic Bilbao defender, who could maybe play in more than one position? For the 3rd Athletic Bilbao player, how about Iker Muniain, a very good attacking midfielder – would they be prepared to lose 3 top players?

Well there you have it, my forthright views; some will agree with me and a few will definitely not… c’est la vie!

Looking forward to the season… reading all the press, watching Sky Sports to see all the players we are linked with – can’t wait!

Glyn Albuquerque <glynalbuquerque(at)>


In reply to Keith Sharp, Henry Dowd, to give him his proper name, Harry was just a nickname, is still with us and used to work at Lees’ brewery in Middleton. Just had a look up and, amazingly, he only won the FA Cup with us; thinking back, Ken Mulhearn was in goal when we won the League at Newcastle and Big Joe Corrigan was in goal in the League Cup Final and the Cup Winners’ Cup Finals in 1970.

Alan Oakes, of course, is the cousin of Glyn Pardoe but I think that he was one of the players who shunned the limelight. Shame though, he is always thought of as one of the stalwarts of City’s success of that era. As far as I can find out on the net, Dave Connor is still alive but no information and Tony Coleman is a recluse in Australia and, apparently, very hard to contact.

Finally, and very sadly, George Heslop died in 2006 after a short illness.

I see the club are doing an ‘On this day’ feature on the official site.

I’d like to see a where are they now with others from the 60’s era such as Bobby Owen, Dave Connor (already mentioned), Ian Mellor (whose son Neil ended up playing for:Liverpool), Steve Kinsey etc. There’s also Arthur Mann who City signed for £65,000 from Hearts around 1969 and ran Bobby Moore ragged once when he was played in midfield against West Ham.

P.S. – Have found out Arthur Mann died in a factory accident in Birmingham in 1999. Very sad.

John Nisbet <nisbet1957(at)>


I have to share this story with all City fans.

Today (July 1st – Canada Day) I was performing as a security officer at one of Toronto’s largest supermarkets when a bloke came into the store with his wife, wearing a black Man United shirt.

I gave him the standard, “Sorry we don’t serve Rags here, it’s a Man City store” which solicited a silly grin from said Rag as he and his wife proceeded to tally up about $200 worth of groceries.

He brings the cart load of groceries to the checkout, processes the groceries through the cashier and then his wife pushes the cart out into the parking lot. The Rag pays for the groceries with his debit card… but the card gets declined! I race out into the parking lot to make sure his wife doesn’t do a runner with the groceries. I am standing next to her when her husband starts banging on the store window to tell her the card has been declined!

She looks at me and, in a fit of exasperation, screams out “What sort of a (expletive) moron is he!” Without missing a beat I said “He’s a Man United supporter Miss”.


Well done Merlin, tough luck Mario… now the real season begins!

Keith Sharp, Toronto Canada <>


This is the response I got from the BBC re MB, be interesting to see if others got the same response (see below):

Thanks, Kelly

Thanks for contacting us regarding ‘Match of the Day Live: Euro 2012: England vs. Italy’ broadcast on BBC One on 24 June.

We understand you felt the commentators and presenters were biased against Mario Balotelli. We appreciate in your view, they made a series of snide and offensive remarks which were unnecessary.

Mario Balotelli has been a controversial figure throughout his career in both Italy and England. In common with various media and press in both countries, our pundits have acknowledged both his youth and undoubted footballing talent, but have had to comment from time to time on various disciplinary issues both on and off the pitch, and his repeated raw displays of dissent and frustration.

Jose Mourinho described him as “unmanageable” and both his current club and international managers – Mancini and Prandelli – have expressed concerns that his talent could go to waste unless he changes his ways. Our team’s comments, while sometimes reflecting those concerns, have across the programme been balanced and fair.

Please be assured, we do appreciate your strength of feeling on this. Therefore, your complaint has been registered on our audience log. This is a daily report of audience feedback that’s made available to many BBC staff, including members of the BBC Sport team, channel controllers and other senior managers.

The audience logs are seen as important documents that can help shape decisions about future programming and content.

Kelly Stephenson <kelly.stephenson(at)>


Who does Stuart Pearce think he is?

How dare he pick the Great Britain Olympic Football team on merit?

How dare he ignore the claims of an overrated, overpaid one trick pony who plays in a League which is akin to the Third Division?

How dare he place traditional sporting values above commercial revenues and ticket sales?

Just how can he even contemplate trying to win an Olympic Gold medal for GB?

Surely the aim is to massage the ego of the most overrated footballer in the history of the game ((C) Evil Enterprises)?

How dare he try to win?

It’s, it’s, it’s outrageous.

Just, who does he think he is?

The coach of the GB football team?

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


Are Manchester United going the way of Glasgow Rangers?

In the transfer market today it seems to me Ferguson is ‘the Emperor with no clothes’. Manchester United ‘the man with the invisible wallet’.

The Glazers and United seem short of cash. On Wednesday it was reported the club is £423 million in debt and they are hoping by means of an IPO (Initial Public Offering) on the New York Stock Exchange to raise $100 million / £64 million, which it is said will be used to help reduce the club’s heavy level of debt and onerous interest payments (

Whether the Glazers’ hopes are realised remains to be seen but looks doubtful.

United fans have been angered for a long time at the debt loaded on to ‘their Club’ for the benefit of the Glazers, financiers and investors. Earlier this year it was reported Manchester United’s debt totalled £413 million, up by £26 million on last year whilst their income is down about 6% (

To date, the Glazers have reportedly taken more than £500 million out of Manchester United, £76 million just this year, £50 million of that to cover interest charges alone. Since winning the Superbowl a decade ago, the Glazers’ American Football team the Tampa Bay Bucaneers have failed to even qualify for the play-offs and are reportedly incurring losses partly offset, some suggest, by milking United.

It’s been a miserable time for the ‘Bucs’ but according to Wikipedia in the first day of the NFL Free Agency period in March 2012, in an effort to change their fortunes this year, the Buccaneers signed 3 players, ‘two out of the top 3 free agents available’ committing ‘a total of $140 million dollars, considered the largest investment the Glazer family has put into the team in almost a decade’. I would guess the Glazers were confident then that United would win the Premier League and that would help pay.

Peter Schmeichel commented in April just before the Manchester derby that the fact Manchester United ‘with a relatively 2nd rate side by their standards’ were still in contention with City to the end for the Premier League title was for him one of Sir Alex Ferguson’s biggest ever achievements at Old Trafford and I have to agree. For me Fergie, whatever your opinion of him, has done an amazing job papering over ever widening cracks ever since the Glazers loaded the club with yet another tranche of huge debt and last season was indeed extraordinary. Calling back Scholes was a sign of desperation, but a master stroke. Time waits for no man and I suspect time, money and confidence are running out for an aged United and an elderly Ferguson to continue to service their seemingly ever increasing debt.

Ferguson has complained clubs like City are paying ‘silly money’. I don’t disagree but of course it was Fergie himself who stepped it up to a ‘silly’ level more than 10 years ago with £30 million for a a guy called Rio Ferdinand, still a record for a defender to this day. The truth is that ever since its inception 20 years ago, winning the Premier League has always been about silly money. For at least the 30 years prior to that silly money too was a key requisite to winning the League title albeit arguably to a marginally lesser degree. As a boy I recall us all being amazed by Denis Law being transferred for unbelievably silly money £100,000 and ridiculously high wages and Steve Daley, who he, for a record £1.4 million from Wolves. All relative in a ‘silly money’ sort of way.

By paying ‘silly money’ over the last 20 years, Ferguson and Manchester United very effectively priced almost every other Premier League Club out of the transfer market and the Premier League Title. Since its inception the Premier League has always needed ‘silly money’ to win it and consequently only 4 other clubs apart from United have ever won it. In 1995 Jack Walker, a local steel baron with deep pockets brought Blackburn, a fan’s dream come true. Arsenal have won it 3 times in 1998, 2002, the last being with the ‘Invincibles’ back in 2004, but since then with the building of the Emirates Stadium, Wenger’s early achievements have increasingly been compromised by financial constraints, the need to sell players and balance the books and lack of ‘silly money’ required to compete / the Fergie effect. Chelsea have won it three times in 2005, 2006, and 2010 thanks to the intervention of oligarch Roman Abramovich and this year Manchester City with the support of Sheikh Mansour. ‘Buying the Premier League’ and buying success is nothing new… Fergie and Manchester United are the past masters of it.

Now the boot is on the other foot, the likes of Alex Ferguson and ‘established silly money’ clubs like Manchester United really don’t like it. Why, because they know first hand that money talks and more often than not prevails. The Premier League title is won over 38 games so has very little to do with luck, unlike a cup run/knock out competition, even Ferguson admits that. Which is of course is why Manchester United and other ‘established’ teams are doing their best through UEFA to invoke a closed shop on inward investment to protect their perceived ‘rightful’ position, the ‘status quo’. They fear if they don’t, that they and other ‘credit card compatriots’ will wither or worse still have no way of servicing their debts and face foreclosure and bankruptcy. But that has always been that way, other teams would then rise and they and their fans take their day in the sun before fading away themselves too, all hoping to rise again one day. No club has the God given right to dine at the top table in perpetuity.

Success in football has always healthily moved on, but over the last 50 years, my lifetime, that success has exponentially followed the money to where we are today. In terms of achievement, European Cup titles, Liverpool, Nottingham Forest should of course by rights have been the best supported and wealthiest of clubs in the land. But Manchester United benefited from a broad countrywide and worldwide support stemming from the Munich air disaster and a fairytale recovery to win the European Cup in 1968. When dads outside of Manchester who cared little and knew little about football were asked by their sons what team they supported, they would scratch their heads and say err Man Utd and here’s the story why. That misfortune and lives of those now legendary players lost ultimately brought Manchester United great fortune and provided the very foundation, the level of universal support… and money, for what we all see as Manchester United today. Until that fateful day, Manchester United were just another middling club, unworthy of consideration as one of the greats. The lives lost on that freezing runway in Munich made United’s blood red shirts famous and them the richest team in the UK and one of the richest in Europe. Today’s generation of United fans would do well to remember that. That United generally underachieved and squandered their financial strength until Mr Ferguson arrived to exploit it is a moot point.

So it should hardly have been any surprise that every football fan other than Man United fans were cheering when Manchester City won the Premier League. ‘Anyone but United’ was the cry. Any residual sympathy for United has long since dissipated. Down the years every fan has seen United use their financial muscle / superior credit limit to dismantle the opposition and so secure their own pre-eminence. Many great clubs like Leeds United have driven themselves into debt, ultimately bankruptcy and ignominy just trying to hold onto players and compete with team they call ‘The Scum’.

Clearly, there would be very little sympathy were Manchester United to be hoisted with their own petard. Live by the sword, die by the sword!

Like many other clubs since the Edwards family decided to cash their shareholding in, Manchester United effectively became a pawn in the world of high finance, with successive owners progressively driving up income and taking more and more money out, ‘gearing it’, loading it with debt. Some Manchester United supporters with reason take the view ‘their club’ has and is effectively being financially raped and they may well be right. However, most have been succoured/seduced in the glory of continued success, mellow, as the level of debt has piled up, the club’s credit limit increased and almost all competition effectively priced out. Ferguson is not strictly speaking responsible for that debt but the successive sales and consequential refinancing/mortgaging of the club have, along the way, helped to make him a very wealthy man. With successive owners he has kept his peace and his job and so with respect to debt he might be seen by some as a Judas. But the money, the financial muscle and influence afforded to him along the way combined with his acumen to use it (like it or not) has enabled him to bring Manchester United untold honours and success. So who can say he hasn’t done his job and doesn’t deserve every penny, after all it is not he who has loaded Manchester United with this enormous debt and not he who is directly responsible for it.

Happily though at Manchester City, rather than being loaded with debt and monies extracted by the owners, hard cash is actually being invested into the club. More importantly not just into MCFC, but into the new training complex in Sportcity and not just for profit but for the benefit and regeneration of the whole community in East Manchester. That and MCFC’s success promises to be Sheikh Mansour’s legacy and against which he’ll reap further returns on his investment. Quite a contrast to United and of course a dream come true for City fans.

Which, as an aside, rather begs the question… if someone wants to put real money into a club rather than load it with debt, field a fine team and make a real contribution to the local community, what is so wrong with that?

Would you choose for your club, the likes of the Glazers… or people who put hard cash in like an Abramovich, or a Jack Walker or a Sheikh Mansour? I can’t comprehend UEFA’s twisted logic in effectively wanting to shut people like the last 3 out, it seems a no-brainer, but I guess the ‘logic’ is it all comes down to money… he who pays the piper calls the tune.

Listing United on the London stock exchange from 1991 to 2005 was a roller coaster ride for investors but one that it might be argued provided them, for a while, with an inflated value and a correspondingly high credit rating / borrowing ability that ultimately allowed the club to be loaded with the huge level of debt we see today and very effectively price competition out. Fine… as long as you’re winning and others simply don’t have the financial muscle and/or credit worthiness/ or borrowing ability to keep up… which is not the case today.

In reality I don’t think the listing really benefited the club on the pitch, rather a number of speculators off it. Now loaded to the gunnels with debt, facing serious competition and possibly their glory days behind them, Manchester United, as Damian Reece points out in the Telegraph, don’t look a particularly attractive proposition to investors in today’s market.

More cynical observers might take the view the Glazers are simply looking for a way out and a means to reduce their exposure to debt, a bit like rats leaving a sinking ship, recognising that without further funding and significant investment United may well find life increasingly difficult in the Premier League, so better they take what they can while they can. They’ll be conscious that, except for a quite extraordinary season from Wayne Rooney’s 35 goals in 43 games, unlikely to be repeated, they wouldn’t have have even been in sight of their ‘noisy neighbours’. Worse still, if Schmeichel’s assessment is right, they will harbour doubts as to how long elderly Ferguson can continue to hold together his aged ‘relatively 2nd rate United team’.

It can’t have gone unnoticed Glasgow Rangers’ debt was ‘only’ £50 million when they went under. Some might say that United’s current position is unsustainable, that the ‘Plastic Reds’ really should pull their horns in, that something’s gotta give, something’s gotta change. If United did that they, like Liverpool, would face the prospect of an indeterminate slide into mediocrity, perhaps worse, a corresponding debilitating loss of income, value and financial muscle to compete at the top level whilst their finances are straightened out. The United finance manager Mr David Gill insist’s there is money available for United to compete, but I wonder is it enough? If not aren’t Ferguson and Co. and their prospective new shareholders just headed right on down the bankruptcy route?

I’m sure United and the Glazers would say no… at least not so long as they are seriously competing for the Premier League and are in the Champions’ League but I guess Glasgow Rangers thought that too. Therein lies the rub… ‘no one ever went bankrupt because they borrowed too much money… rather when they couldn’t pay their bills’.

So it seems to me Manchester United are between a rock and a hard place, damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

I can’t help wondering if Ferguson & Co’s final legacy will be…

RIP Man Utd… long live Newco Man Utd!

Not that that really matters, he’ll always be remembered by United fans for a great ride.

It could be the chance for ‘Plastic Reds’ to load up their very own credit cards up and buy back… The Damned United!

Ho di Hum.

David Parker <david.parker5(at)>


Thanks to everyone who has written into the BBC and various organisations such as Kick It Out and The FA to complain about the biased, nasty and bigoted punditry of Alan Hansen, Mark Lawrenson and Alan Shearer with regard to our very own Mario Balotelli. Thanks also for the kind words to people who have written to me and to MCIVTA. It is much appreciated. I’ve never ceased to be delighted by the decency and sense of fair play of the vast majority of City fans. I’ve been lucky enough to have met a lot of very nice people over the years through supporting City. I’ve also learned that being a Blue means that you keep your feet on the ground!

I read with interest Dave Lees’ post in MCIVTA 1835 and thank him taking the trouble to read my piece and write in. Dave wrote that I had a “good argument completely thrown away by the ludicrous use of the race card.” Whilst I respect Dave’s view, it probably won’t come as a surprise to you that I totally disagree with him.

I asked in MCIVTA 1834 if Hansen, Lawrenson, Shearer or Mowbray would be so personal about an English player, or perhaps more pertinently, about a white player?

They have treated Rooney very differently to Mario, and yet it could be argued convincingly that his behaviour, over a period of time, has been far worse than Mario’s. Furthermore, Rooney’s performance in Euro 2012 has certainly not been anywhere near as effective as Mario’s. Mario has been the subject of much negative comment from them and yet he has had a very good tournament, scoring 3 goals. So why should Mario be treated differently to Rooney? Andy Carroll has had a pretty controversial career so far and yet Hansen and Lawrenson don’t single him out either. Would they treat Mario differently if he was white or English? Hansen and Co. should answer that question and someone at the BBC should be asking them, whilst reviewing their positions. If they are found to be racist or prejudiced against Mario then they should be sacked.

I will stress that I am not keen on using “the race card”, but I will ask the question where and when I believe it is justified and I’d still like to know the answer to the question that I posed in MCIVTA 1834 (it has been asked via another complaint).

Judging by the posts I have read in MCIVTA, Bluemoon, and the Evening News website, and some of the personal messages I have received, I am certainly not alone in suspecting a racial element to the opinions of Hansen and Co. There is certainly nothing libellous in asking the question or, indeed, expressing an opinion suspecting racism (not “an act of slander” either, Dave, either if I was actually speaking as opposed to writing). It might be libellous if I said categorically “Hansen (or whoever) is a racist”, if that were untrue. So, judging by the reaction amongst several other fans, and good old rationale, it is fair to say that my view of suspecting a racial element to the behaviour of Hansen and Co. is certainly not “thrown away” (as David puts it), and is worthy of an airing.

Hansen’s and Lawrenson’s world in particular, I suspect, is one that is stuck in the 70s and 80s, where the less enlightened people in the game said “black players don’t fancy it ‘cos it’s too cold'” or “stick ’em in attack… they don’t have the bottle to tough it out in defence”. Thankfully, most of football has moved on from those attitudes, though I doubt that Hansen and Lawrenson in particular have.

Hansen’s behaviour is like that of the classroom bully: the biggest bully in the playground. Lawrenson acts like his bezzy mate and chief henchman (or is it henchboy?), whilst Shearer (who barely having an original thought of his own, always seems to take his lead from Hansen), and Mowbray follow on like pack animals. I’ve seen such behaviour in my school days (in days of yore) and been on the receiving end of it (much of it racist), so have some first-hand experience in recognising the signs. I know I’m not alone in that either.

In complete contrast in the Euro Semi Final, it was wonderful to have two wonderfully enlightened, insightful pundits in Jurgen Klinsmann and (Roberto Mancini’s old strike partner) Gianluca Vialli in the BBC studio. These gentleman of the game put Hansen and Co. to shame in sharing their wisdom and giving us an insight into football. They are both class acts and are an absolute joy to listen to. It was interesting to see how Shearer’s behaviour and demeanour towards Balotelli improved in the semi-final coverage (probably an act of self-preservation from the boring Geordie). Has someone had a word with Shearer or was he behaving better with people who act like adults, or both? That said, in the Final coverage Gary Lineker reminded Hansen and Shearer of the titles that Mario has won but Shearer did not apologise for his “Balotelli has achieved nothing yet” comment that he had made before the quarter final. Instead he lamely changed it to “achieved nothing yet on the international stage”. Weasel words from someone who won one trophy in his career as opposed to Mario’s 8 so far, and who, unlike Mario, has not played in a Final of a major tournament. Shearer is a boring pundit and should be canned for that alone, not to mention his joining in the vilification of Mario.

[I don’t think I was alone in feeling sorry for Jurgen Klinsmann that his team didn’t go through, and I’m not accustomed to feeling sorry for Germany, given our rivalry with them and their remarkable teams (that nearly always beat us) over the years!]

Contrast Klinsmann’s and Vialli’s behaviour to the nasty, vindictive out of control sourness of Hansen and Lawrenson, who didn’t hide their contempt for Mario during the coverage of the Final either. Even Vialli who is a very mild mannered gentleman was irked by Hansen. Vialli, much to his credit was quick to remind Hansen that Mario is only 21, and gave a balanced view. Contrast the intelligence of Klinsmann and Vialli to the lazy, cliché-spouting punditry of Hansen, Lawrenson and Shearer. It’s easy money for those three (a reported £40,000 a show for Hansen) for very little. What do they tell us that we don’t already know? Very little, if anything.

Has complaining to the BBC made a difference? I very much suspect that something has been said to the pundits (even if Hansen’s and Lawrenson’s behaviour has not improved as yet). It was very noticeable how Gary Lineker distanced himself from the opinions of Hansen on two occasions: the England vs. Italy game and the Final itself. He clearly isn’t comfortable around him on the subject of Balotelli, and has made it clear that he does not feel the same way. The fact that Lineker pointed out the titles that he has won to Hansen and Shearer in the coverage of the Final, suggests that it is quite possible that our complaints have at least introduced some more balance (even if the BBC are not admitting it in the standard replies – thanks to Blues who have sent me theirs). In the England vs. Italy match it was Hansen, Lawrenson, Shearer and Mowbray all against Lee Dixon with Lineker as referee in the Balotelli debate. In the Final there was at least Vialli and Lineker making the case for Mario.

That is not enough. The bullying and victimisation (racist or not) was unedifying and should be stopped. I urge people to complain to the BBC if they haven’t already done so, because it is important to demonstrate that the punditry of Hansen and Lawrenson in particular is not acceptable. The more people complain, the more difficult it is for the BBC to ignore this. The BBC cannot be seen to sweep this under the carpet, especially where prejudice and/or bullying is involved.

Once again, the link is:

Other useful links/email addresses are:
The English FA:
Kick it Out: <info(at)>

No one is saying that Mario Balotelli is a saint. It would be as foolish to claim thus as it is to vilify him. We can, though, reasonably expect balance and fairness from pundits, especially when we pay their wages like we do with our licence fee.

The BBC can do much better. It needs to move on from the cosy, jobs for the boys club that it is now. There are good pundits out there, as we have seen, some of them already at the BBC. When Lee Dixon comments on football we learn something and he does it without prejudice. He is an excellent pundit. I also enjoy listening to the entertaining Robbie Savage and admire his passion and originality. We are not naturally inclined to love Gary Neville at City (personally I have never hated him, thinking him more a joke, and the United player who set up Shaun Goater for his 99th City goal!), but I am very happy to listen to his thus far unbiased, insightful punditry. Yes, I can hardly believe that I am saying that. That said, it is a pure delight to see his face when City have done well, beaten the Rags, or won the title. Even so, he has managed to retain a professional impartiality. Something which Hansen and Co. have failed to do.

Finally, Dave Lees set me a challenge that I am more than happy to take up. How do I describe Mario Balotelli? Now there’s a challenge!

So here goes:

Skilful, young, immensely gifted, an enigma, sometimes capable of doing daft things, very fast, strong, powerful, great header of the ball, versatile (left midfield, inside left or centre forward), fascinating, rather immature at times, precocious, goal-scoring, goal-providing, match winning, Italian International centre forward, nonchalant finisher, powerful shooting, attention-seeking, vulnerable, loved at City, loved in Italy now, loved by some fans of other clubs, cheeky, daring, trophy winning (8 already), big match player, fun, lovable, much-talked about, frustrating, generous, a good laugh, 21 years old, coolest and deadliest penalty taker I have ever seen, serial winner, sometimes rash, learning, unpredictable, exciting, unique, barely a man yet highly successful, and… a Champion (four times)… but certainly not “stupid”. And certainly not worthy of the vilification or victimisation of Hansen, Lawrenson, Shearer and Mowbray.

I’ll invent an adjective to describe Mario if you like: Balotacious: (see above for a definition).

Now, where are those “City-Blue tinted glasses”?

Thanks for reading.

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


Re the BBC and Hansen and the Offalpuddle moaners, perhaps they don’t know that Balotelli already has three Serie A titles, a Premier League title, a Champions’ League, a Uefa Super Cup and two national cups to his name. Were he to add the 2012 European Championships to that tally on Sunday, he would join the football greats as far as early achievements are concerned. Pele, Messi and the Brazilian Ronaldo are joint leaders of this hall of fame with nine trophies to their name aged 21. If Balotelli wins Euro 2012 he will join three of the greatest ever football players, including his personal icon Ronaldo, among the most successful under-22 footballers to play the game. Many all-time greats were yet to win a trophy aged 21, including Zinedine Zidane and Roberto Baggio, while Diego Maradona had only won a Metropolitano championship trophy in Argentina before moving to Barcelona and experiencing his first successes on European soil.

My thanks to ‘Goal’ for the above info.

Jack Millington <jack(at)>


I read on the Internet that Robin van Persie may be leaving Arsenal soon and that he has been linked with City. Mario Balotelli has been quoted as saying that he would be very happy to play with him.

The thing is though this move would give us a surfeit of strikers along with Agüero, Dzeko and Balotelli himself especially as City’s style is to play with only one up front until such time as a deadlock needs to be broken later on in the game. So somebody is going to be spending a lot of time warming the bench.

This idea occurred to me: Roberto should phone Arsène Wenger and offer him Mario plus 10 million quid in exchange for van Persie. I wonder what your readers think of this idea.

Philip van Gass <philipvangass(at)>


Well here are three deals that I have seen.

  • North Stand Car Park = £ 10 per game
  • K2 Car Park (Ashton Old Rd) = £ 7 per game
  • With me = £ 120 per season = £ 5 per game (based on 24 home games)

I am offering:

  • Safe and secure vehicle Parking
  • Less than 1 mile from the Etihad
  • Locked gates
  • Premises manned by guard, ably assisted by “Dino” the Doberman
  • Your own parking space for every home game
  • Premier League, FA Cup, Carling Cup, Champions’ League, Europa (hope not)
  • A short walk to the ground avoiding the police traffic blocks after the game, perfect for quick getaways

Phil Lines <phil.lines(at)>


On the 4th July, let’s celebrate American Independence and remind the Glazers that it work both ways.

No representation without taxation!

Register in the Caymans by all means, but don’t expect to be accepted in the English League. It is time the nation learned to show utter contempt for corporate tax dodgers (just the latest reason for abject contempt in this one particular case, but hopefully enough to tip the balance).

The news really made laugh long and hard this morning. Cheered me up no end and I’m still laughing!

Martin Hunt <martinhuntctid(at)>


I am trying to complete a set of programmes home and away from our Championship winning season; if anybody on MCIVTA has any spare copies of any of the home or away games can you please email me with the price plus post?

Thanks for the opportunity to ask…

Howie de Blue (Howard McCarthy – <galwayblue(at)>)


This is all I know Keith…

The boys of ’68…
So what happened to City’s last title-winning team?

Ken Mulhearn
Goalkeeper, now 66, played 50 times for City. Joined Shrewsbury in 1971, ending career at Crewe.

Tony Book
Bricklayer became captain and later managed City for three spells. Life president of official supporters’ club. Now 77 and living in Sale.

Glyn Pardoe
City’s youngest ever player when making début at 15 years, 314 days. Played 305 times before coaching youth team. Now 65.

Mike Doyle
England defender played 448 games, winning every domestic honour and Cup-winners’ Cup. Also played for Stoke and Bolton. Died at 64 last year.

George Heslop
Defender played 42 games during 1967-68. Later played for Cape Town and Bury before becoming pub landlord. Died in 2006 at 66.

Alan Oakes
Midfielder holds City’s appearance record with 564 games. Joined as an amateur in 1958. Now 69 and a golf fanatic.

Colin Bell
Earned the nickname ‘Nijinsky’ after racehorse because of his stamina. Won 48 England caps. Now 66, match-day ambassador.

Mike Summerbee
‘Buzzer’ played every league game of his first City season as they won Second division in 1966. Now 69, club ambassador.

Francis Lee
Scored 16 goals in 67-68, capped 27 times by England. Made fortune from loo rolls and in 1994 became City chairman.

Neil Young
Local boy scored 19 goals during title year and then the only goal in the 1969 FA Cup final. Died last year at 66.

Tony Coleman
Left-winger scored eight goals in 67-68. also played in South Africa. Now 67 and lives in Thailand.

Hope that helps.

Jack Millington <jack(at)>


Final League table

                    P  GD Pts
 1 Manchester City 38  64  89 *CHAMP16NS*
 2 Manchester Utd  38  56  89
 3 Arsenal         38  25  70
 4 Tottenham H.    38  25  69
 5 Newcastle Utd   38   5  65
 6 Chelsea         38  19  64
 7 Everton         38  10  56
 8 Liverpool       38   7  52
 9 Fulham          38  -3  52
10 West Brom A.    38  -7  47
11 Swansea City    38  -7  47
12 Norwich City    38 -14  47
13 Sunderland      38  -1  45
14 Stoke City      38 -17  45
15 Wigan Athletic  38 -20  43
16 Aston Villa     38 -16  38
17 QPR             38 -23  37
18 Bolton Wndrs    38 -31  36
19 Blackburn R.    38 -30  31
20 Wolves          38 -42  25

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v1112.01]

[1] MCIVTA Addresses

Articles (Philip Alcock)         :
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]Philip Alcock,

Newsletter #1836