Newsletter #1877

Super Sunday awaits us and it’s a term more of us than normal will become familiar with as the best part of a 1,000 tickets have been returned for this Sunday’s game at the Emirates. Controversy abounds about prices and Phil B captures the debate in tonight’s edition, leaving the rest of us to watch on Sky TV.

We are also heading to Stoke or Crystal Palace in the next round of the FA Cup after our victory over the Hornets on Saturday. A game that produced a record for our youngest-ever scorer – Marcos Lopes at 17 years and 8 days.

Next Game: Arsenal, Emirates Stadium, 13 January 2013, 16.00


The romance of the FA Cup filled the air at The Etihad Stadium as 17 year old Marcos Lopes completed the scoring to give City a three-nil victory over a skilful and spirited Watford side. It was a cool finish of quality from the Portuguese under 19 International, which belied his tender years (he had only just turned 17 a week before) and augurs well for City’s future as the club builds the impressive La Masia (i.e. Barcelona) style Academy at Etihad Campus.

There is something very special about the Saturday of the FA Cup 3rd round: lots of optimism, dreams of Wembley, expectation, hope, colour, special stories, luck, playing teams you don’t normally play; the FA Cup is alive and kicking. The healthy 46,821 crowd, including a colourful 6,000 from Watford that almost filled the Etihad, bear testament to that.

This was a very solid, professional and entertaining performance by City and for all Watford’s skill and competitiveness, the 3-0 score line was a fair reflection of the game. The FA Cup represents our best chance of silverware this season and Roberto Mancini sensibly played almost a full strength side of the players available, with the only significant change being Costel Pantilimon for Joe Hart. Yaya Touré (African Nations), the injured Samir Nasri and Sergio Agüero were absent.

City set about Watford from the start and Pablo Zabaleta forced a sharp save from Jonathon Bond in the Watford goal. Edin Dzeko chested the ball in after 20 minutes but was ruled offside.

City had to be wary of Watford, who played neat passing football and had lots of attacking options with Gianfranco Zola’s attacking 3-4-3 formation. Watford indeed looked like a side who will probably make the play-offs. They are currently owned by the Pozzo family who have taken Udinese from obscurity to the Champions’ League and Granada into the Spanish top flight, and they fielded some loan players from these clubs. This would explain a high degree of skill demonstrated by the visitors, who came with plenty of attacking intent.

Javi Garcia picked up a booking for an errant challenge early on as Watford looked to get at us. Gareth Barry and David Silva, though, soon took a grip of midfield and City’s class began to tell. James Milner tormented the left side of Watford’s defence as a City goal looked more likely.

Carlos Tévez gave us the lead after 24 minutes when his powerful free kick curled beyond the Watford wall. Sergio Agüero’s hamstring injury has been diagnosed as a tear so we will need Tévez to take on the mantle of goal scoring more, and this was a good start. Indeed, his whole performance was a good all round, intelligent one, where he was often the creator with some excellent passing.

Watford could have hit straight back after Tévez’s goal when they sprung our offside trap with an intelligent through ball, leaving Forestieri one-on-one with Pantilimon, but an excellent save by the City’s stand-in ‘keeper denied the visitors their best chance of the game.

City doubled the lead with a beautifully executed goal just before the break when David Silva slipped an inviting pass for Milner down the left, and the City number 7 clipped a lovely left foot cross, which Barry headed smartly into the net. It was a well-deserved goal for Barry who again controlled midfield superbly.

Both sides continued to play good, attacking football in the second half. Chalobah fired wide for the visitors, and James Milner was just wide of the left hand post with a shot after Carlos Tévez intelligently played him in.

Zola surprisingly took off the lively Forestieri, but Watford gamely continued to attack when they could. The prolific Makej Vydra had a shot deflected behind for a corner and fired wide with another effort.

It was a shame that a large minority of the Watford fans had to spoil the convivial atmosphere with mass chanting of “United” and songs about Robin van Persie. Pathetic. Naturally this drew enquiries of “Who the #### do you support?” from the Kippax and South Stand/Colin Bell corner. One can only presume that the rest of the Watford fans were rather embarrassed by their chants (see footnote below).

Mario Balotelli entered the fray with 19 minutes to go to a mixture of cheers and boos. Most of the booing came from the Watford end but it was difficult to tell if any City fans joined in. Hopefully none. He’s our player for now at least, and for all his tiresome immaturity let’s not forget that pass for Sergio’s goal on the 13th May amongst other important goals. He was quickly in to the action and his smart turn and shot forced a save at Bond’s right hand post, then his free kick proved easier to save.

An amusing moment followed when the tannoy message sounded like “Due to the testing of the trams, Meryl Streep would be inaccessible”. Well we have had the inaccessible Tom Cruise at Etihad recently (though why anyone would want to access him is another matter), and Timothy Dalton and The Hoff have been more forthcoming in granting interviews. Maybe it was because they enjoyed the views on nearby Merrill Street when it was open.

Another lovely threaded Tévez through ball found Milner but the England midfielder’s low, inviting cross eluded everyone.

Watford, to their credit, kept trying to score and the beefy Deeney out-muscled Kompany (no mean feat) but shot into the side netting. The finale, though, was all City’s, in particular Marcos Lopes. Balotelli shot from a central position from just outside the box, Bond couldn’t hold it and Marcos Lopes pounced from the right and clinically steered in City’s third. He was mobbed by all his outfield team mates who were clearly delighted for the teenager. A lovely moment on a very enjoyable day.

Goals: Tévez (24), Barry (44), Lopes (91).

Att: 46,821: a credit to the fans and both clubs for agreeing sensible ticket prices, which almost filled the stadium at an expensive time of the year.

Pantilimon: Handled well, very good save to maintain our lead. 7
Zabaleta: Tenacious as ever, he worked well with Milner down the right. Picked up a silly booking for dissent though: 7
Kompany: Caught out early on and outmuscled by Deeney towards the end, but otherwise decent: 6
Lescott: Good, solid showing: 7
Clichy: More good defending and good on the ball: 7
Milner: Worked really hard and showed no little skill on both flanks. Showed his two-footed prowess with his left wing cross for Barry’s goal: 8
Barry: At the very top of his game, it was good to see him rewarded with another goal: 9 (Man of the match)
Garcia: Got his foot in when needed, and his presence afforded Barry more chances to get forward. This game will have done him no harm as he settles into the pace and intensity of English football: 6
Silva: Always such a joy to watch: 8
Tévez: A brilliant strike for his free kick, he was always busy and at the centre of much of our good work: 8
Dzeko: Not his day really. His passing was under hit or inaccurate: 5
Balotelli (for Dzeko 71): Made his presence felt. If only he would grow up and do that more: 6
Sinclair (for Garcia 74): One jinking run was encouraging: 6
Lopes (for Silva 89): What a début. Such maturity in the finish for one so young: n/a

Refwatch: P Dowd: A little card happy: 6

Best Oppo: Forestieri: A lively performer who worked hard and linked well with his team mates. It was a surprise that he was subbed at 2-0 down – maybe Gianfranco Zola was thinking about keeping him fresh for the League. Good luck to Watford. It would be good to have a team like that and Gianfranco Zola, who is a footballing treasure, back in the top flight.


The lazy idiots in the media who run down this great competition, saying “it’s lost its magic” would do well to look at the size of this crowd, and even ask the fans up and down the country what the FA Cup means to them.

They should ask Macclesfield supporters how wonderful it was to beat Cardiff. Luton (boo!) fans could tell what a great experience it was to defeat Wolves. The media goons might ask the Mansfield fans how they feel about being cheated by Luis Suarez’s handball. They would have loved to still be in the competition, even if it was for just one evening out on Merseyside. The Geordies will be gutted to go out at Brighton for the second year running (the fourth year in succession to opposition from a lower division), and Seagulls’ supporters could account what a wonderful day the FA Cup 3rd Round brought, if anyone in the press bothered to ask.

Winning the Cup in 2011 remains a very special moment for many of us. So many of us had tears in their eyes, myself included, and I want to win that special cup again.

The only people who have lost a feel for the FA Cup are managers who don’t take it seriously and the media idiots who trot out such clichés that run down the greatest domestic cup competition. They banged on and on about Mario Balotelli and last week’s overblown contretemps rather than tell us about the game in what are supposed to be match reports. This goes on week in week out, whatever the competition. Furthermore, if the media can find a negative angle on City rather than tell us how we played, or, actually give City any credit.

But it’s not just a case that the reporting on City is biased and poor. It is very poor in general, even in the so-called quality papers. I was reading the Guardian’s so-called match report about Brighton beating Newcastle. All it did was talk about Newcastle’s woes. Not a word on Brighton other than to give the score at the top of the page. You wouldn’t believe that it was such a wonderful day for Brighton if you read that report.

What match reporting requires is balance, and it might help if they actually wrote about the match.

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


Well done to my fellow Blues who are boycotting this Sunday’s fixture at Arsenal, with a third of our tickets being returned (I have no problem with Blues who are going to the Emirates, as it is a personal choice). Why should we pay £62 for a ticket? It’s a total rip off.

Yet Arsenal and their fans have sanctimoniously condemned City for our spending in the transfer market when our tickets are nowhere near as expensive as theirs: some are just over half as expensive as Arsenal’s £900 and some are far less. People like Wenger and many Arsenal fans tell us that we are “ruining football”, and that Arsenal are “self-sustainable”. Sustainable by who? Fans who pay Sky subscriptions and fans paying rip-off ticket prices, and the profits go into Arsenal directors’ pockets (as their team gradually slides down the pecking order).

A table of season ticket prices:

Arsenal season tickets are the most expensive in the country. Their cheapest is £985 and their dearest £1,955. Even though both include 7 Cup credits, that’s still too expensive at £37.88 a game).

Arsenal tell us we are “ruining football” and yet City’s dearest season ticket is not as expensive as Arsenal’s cheapest. City’s board have kept our prices relatively sensible, though I have to say football is far too expensive in England per se.

City have the second cheapest season tickets at £275 (though there are limited number at that price): that’s £14.47 a game. Our dearest season ticket at £695, which is £36.58 a game. City’s season tickets as you probably know do not include Cup games but they are still far better value than Arsenal’s.

Granted, London ticket prices are ridiculous (the other day I rang the ticket office and they told me they had some QPR away tickets with a restricted view for £53).

Even allowing for London prices, Arsenal don’t compare favourably with their nearest rivals geographically and for that 4th spot, e.g. Tottenham. One would expect Tottenham with their smaller ground (36,500 as opposed to 60,000 at The Emirates) having higher prices than Arsenal with scarcity value coming into play and the need for Tottenham to compete financially. Actually Tottenham’s cheapest season ticket is £730 and their dearest £1,845.

Arsenal are the last people to be lecturing anyone about “ruining football”, let alone Sheikh Mansour’s City, which has tried to keep tickets affordable.

Come on City. Stuff them.

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


Since Manchester City have got the money to buy players, because of wealthy owners who care about MCFC, City have been after the players who are already stars, in an effort to make a Championship team fast, and so far it has paid off, winning the FA Cup and League Championship.

Now wouldn’t it be nice to find players who will be future stars? Right away comes to mind Michu of Swansea, who only paid £2 million for him! I personally would prefer to see him in a City shirt than £24 million Balotelli!

We now read in the media that City might buy Edinson Cavani for an astronomical fee; he is the second highest scorer in Italy with 13 goals so far this season playing for Napoli. I feel sure that Mancini has seen this player many times to want Cavani play for City; if only City could make a deal with Balotelli going the opposite way to Napoli.

In truth, not many teams will take Balotelli for such a fee and big risk, therefore Balotelli, if and when given another chance, has got to produce, or he will go down as a big failure. He is lucky to be managed by such a manager as Roberto Mancini, who does not like to see failure!

Nice to see City give another young player a first team game, Lopes, who scored with his first touch of the ball in his 5 minutes of fame.

In a couple of seasons I think that we shall see more of the City players coming through the City Academy, and becoming true stars, but right now Roberto Mancini wants trophies for City, and there is not a true City supporter or fan that will not agree with him.

Some observance on my part: our quiet neighbours across town do not have any players who have to take part in the African Nations Cup, whilst City send three; Yaya is a massive player to be missed.

This season is going well so far; more suspense and excitement to come from the greatest football club in the World (OK Barcelona and Real Madrid used to be)!

In Mancini I trust.

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


Over here in sunny Tenerife, nothing much disturbs our idyllic lifestyle except the odd trip… Bernabeu, the Etihad derby and such like (not much fun there!) and bloomin… Balotelli!

On Spanish TV there is a programme called “Hermano Mayor” where problem kids whose parents can’t control them call the “Older Brother”. He is a reformed bad lad and now he gives ’em tough love. I recommend someone like Patrick Vieira to keep Mario company 24/7. If he steps out-a-line Patrick locks him in a room in his mansion with no Xbox, no cigarettes, no telly for Balotelly, no mobile, no nothing… grounded!

Start him off on two hours… disobeying the Boss at least 4 hours. He’s a little kid so treat him like one.

In Ernie Barrow I trust!

Hasta Luego Lunas Azules.

Harvey Marcus <Harvey(at)>


Every Sunday in the USA there has been a programme on TV called “Dateline”, which has been very popular and running for many years. This Sunday there was a segment all about Barcelona FC – it is an amazing story, with a great history.

During this season Barça played in a game with eleven players that all came through their academy. Most of all their players are from their own academy, with very few that are brought in via transfer.

The future is truly going to by bright for MCFC, as they are building a new academy with special training facilities, and a school, all based on what has been achieved by Barcelona. Children at the age of 7 years old start in Barça academy for schooling and the art of football.

Messi, a product from the academy from the age of 13 years old and discovered in Argentina, is now well known as the best player in the world; his goals total for the year of 2012 was an amazing 91 goals!

In the past, City always have had a very good academy, but nothing like what is about to happen.

In truth it will be quite some time for a star to emerge from the MCFC academy, but the plans are there for it to happen, one day maybe even a full team from the City academy, what a dream!

Inasmuch as I have said City are the world’s best club, we do in reality have some catching up to do, but the ground work has started!

Correction: I would like to make a correction to what I said in the last edition of MCIVTA. I said that “Barton was tame in comparison to Balotelli”. Of course that is not entirely true though there are some similarities. Barton was probably the worst because of the incident in Thailand when he put a cigar in another young player’s eye; then we have Balotelli throwing darts at the young academy players. Of course both are pretty much the same on the pitch, except that Balotelli has helped City more on the pitch!

At least this might have drawn your attention of what is happening today!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


For what it’s worth, having done a bit of research, I can tell you that several Watford fans found the “United” chants “embarrassing”:

The best quotes I read from Watford fans were:

“Totally embarrassing when our team are out on the pitch trying to give their all.”

“Disgusted and embarrassed, made some people around me very angry.”

… and most amusingly…

“Bit embarrassing all in all, we should be chanting for one team and one team only, Watford FC… oh, and Udinese… and Granada.”

I can understand fans of other clubs being jealous of City’s wealth, but I cannot imagine fans up and down the country being truly enamoured by arrogant or sad little individuals who follow the Rags, or the vile behaviour of Ferguson and many of their players down the years.

Too many fans of other clubs have expressed views that they were glad that we won the title last May.

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


I really hate the way some football people think they speak for all of us. After Luis Suarez cheated to control the ball with his hand and score Liverpool’s second goal against Mansfield, we were being told that any fan would be happy to accept a goal like that. Really? Sorry but I beg to differ. I certainly don’t profess to speak for anyone other than myself, but I want to win fairly, not by cheating. Otherwise, what is the point? If I want to watch basketball I’ll watch basketball, and while we’re at it, I’d hate it if that vile racist cheat Suarez signed for our club.

As for the officials, referee Marriner was unsighted but his linesman would have seen it and questions have to be asked whether they thought it was a handball.

I was disappointed with Liverpool Football Club again. They were once a great club and did things the right way. Instead, Brendan Rodgers just said it wasn’t a deliberate handball, and that they had had a bit of “luck”. They should have followed Arsène Wenger’s lead a few years ago and offered to replay the match. That was the least they could have done. Liverpool FC are further diminished by Suarez’s behaviour, and their inability to rise above it.

Fair play to Mansfield for their dignified complaints. If anything their manager showed a little too much restraint, though their Chief Executive was excellent in spelling out that they felt that they had been cheated.

Mansfield were a credit to themselves all afternoon, on and off the pitch (I say that as someone who lives nowadays over the “border” in Derbyshire so praising Mansfield doesn’t come easy!). Their gesture of putting the names of the 96 Hillsborough victims on the seats was a wonderful one. Let’s hope we do see justice for the 96 sooner rather than later.

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


Does anyone have two tickets for the Arsenal game (one child) that they want to get rid of?

If so please get in touch.

St. John Cox <stjohn.cox(at)>



Michael Sokol <mike.sokol(at)>


League table as at 9 January 2013

                    P  GD Pts
 1 Manchester Utd  21  26  52
 2 Manchester City 21  22  45
 3 Tottenham H.    21  12  39
 4 Chelsea         20  20  38
 5 Everton         21   9  36
 6 Arsenal         20  18  34
 7 West Brom A.    21   2  33
 8 Liverpool       21   8  31
 9 Swansea City    21   5  29
10 Stoke City      21   1  29
11 West Ham Utd    20   0  26
12 Norwich City    21 -10  25
13 Fulham          21  -5  24
14 Sunderland      21  -8  22
15 Newcastle Utd   21 -12  20
16 Aston Villa     21 -24  19
17 Southampton     20 -11  18
18 Wigan Athletic  21 -17  18
19 Reading         21 -17  13
20 QPR             21 -19  13

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v1112.01]

[1] MCIVTA Addresses

Articles (Philip Alcock)         :
News/rumour                      :
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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 #1877