Newsletter #1963

A special edition this evening, not only with City about to embark on a new Champions League campaign (how bizarre is it to say we are ‘used to playing Bayern Munich?!) but also, as Svenn in his article highlights, the passing of 20 years of MCIVTA. Truly remarkable and a testament to so many people who have made this special phenomena survive and thrive.

Exciting plans ahead too so without further ado I’ll let you read on.

Come on City!!!!

Kind regards, Phil.


On September 7th 2014 MCIVTA turned 20 years of existence. It was the very same day back in 1994 that Ashley Birch started the initiative to collect news about our beloved Blues to be shared to all supporters around the world, at a time information about City was sparse and often draped in negativity. What started as a handful of people sharing whatever information they could get their hands on, grew over the years into a community of thousands. We made t-shirts, had our own footie team which trained and had fun together, gathered on match-days for a meal, and went to visit each other. People all around the world read the newsletter online, or had it printed and delivered. Some sources suggested that even the players kept a tab on what MCIVTA were saying.

MCIVTA soon became the de facto standard for information about Manchester City on the Internet. There were several reasons for that:

Unlike other “fans mailing lists” the MCIVTA newsletter was edited and filtered from flame-wars and off topic comments. Also the Supporters Homepage, which arrived in November the same year, became a safe haven for all the back-issues of the Newsletter meaning that all the information was available at all times. But most importantly; the content of MCIVTA was pure class and accessible to you at the click of a button. Many times the information in MCIVTA turned out to be reliable, close to the club, and faster than the traditional press.

Today, the picture has changed dramatically. There are tons of news-sources that cover the need for instant information, and the presence of bloggers and other supporter sites have made a huge impact.

Most importantly the site has grown and matured into a great source for information, possibly the best club-site in England.

MCIVTA as a source for fans is still a great asset but the head start is gone and other channels are competing hard for your attention. To remind you of the development I will quote a thank you note I received from a Dutch fan in 1996: “I just want to complement you for the homepage because it’s a real good one, compared to other clubs homepages. It’s incredible that you can update the news section two, three times a week”. Oh how much easier things were back then…. 🙂

Where do we go from here? Well MCIVTA is still alive and kicking, and with Phil Alcock at the helm it will keep on going as a newsletter service like we have all known and loved for the past two decades. And as long as we have contributors and readers like YOU (who are reading
this) it will continue to do so, however, the number of contributors and active readers have gone down in recent years and this we must address.

To go back to the beginning. To mark the 20th anniversary have undergone a major facelift during the summer and is now ready to provide you with a better and more integrated service in social media channels that we in the past were not able to cover.
Stories from the web-page will be automatically load into the facebook and twitter streams of subscribers to MCIVTA, providing you with the quickest updates from MCIVTA in whatever channel you desire to subscribe to.

Hopefully, you will help us spread the word about MCIVTA to fellow fans by following our channels, like and share our posts, and continue contributing to and reading the newsletter. If anyone would like to help out with producing more content for MCIVTA just drop me a line and we will take it from there.




If anyone would like to pick up the torch and remind us when and how they first came in touch with MCIVTA and how things have evolved after that, I bet that would make an interesting set of stories 🙂

All the best to everyone on the list and to the Blues this season! It’s a completely different world today than in 1994. We’re actually winning…

Svenn A. Hanssen (svenn at


City came away with a draw away to Arsenal but would have won had it not been for the failure of referee Mark Clattenburg to punish fouls by our opponents in the lead up to both Arsenal goals, and his failure to award City a penalty for a blatant hand ball by Jack Wilshere. City played very well and have every right to feel aggrieved, especially given Clattenburg’s partial showing at Anfield last season. Despite Clattenburg, we almost won this exciting game as we finished much the stronger, hitting the post twice and being denied by an excellent save late on.

Extra credit is due to City as we almost won this game without Yaya Toure and the injured Fernando. Manuel Pellegrini explained that Yaya was omitted from the squad as he had returned back late from International duty on Friday. As a result, Fernandinho and debutant Frank Lampard started in central midfield with James Milner on the left and Jesus Navas on the right. Sergio Aguero started in attack with David Silva just behind him in an advanced role.

It was Arsenal who started the quicker, moving the ball at pace in midfield, closing us down and outnumbering us three to two in the centre. Hart was forced to make a good save to a low shot from Sanchez that dipped in front of him, then he had to be alert to palm away a cross from Wilshere with Arsenal players ready to pounce. Then with Arsenal players harrying us, Silva won a challenge in midfield only to play a short back pass which Welbeck pounced on. Every City fan would have held their breath, even if it was only Welbeck…Thankfully, it was only Welbeck, and he chipped over Hart against the post and the ball rebounded into the grateful arms of the City keeper. It’s a shame that Welbeck won’t be lining up for United against us anymore. Still, there’s always Phil Jones…

Headless chickens aside, Arsenal did, however, sign some genuine quality in the summer. Sanchez was a real livewire in attack and using his quick feet effectively, he proved to be a real handful. Added to this, with Arsenal quick and feisty in midfiled, City were mainly playing on the break in the first half hour with Aguero and Navas both having runs and crossing into the box only for Arsenal defenders to intercept. The ball was not really sticking to us in attack with Arsenal defenders allowed to foul Aguero with impunity which was to prove costly later in the game.

It was an exciting game with both sides intent on trying to shoot on sight. Ramsay forced a regulation low save from Hart. We had our first meaningful attempt when Lampard fed Milner and the City number 7 played a smart one-two with Aguero and shot just over from distance. If that was a warning it wasn’t heeded for City carried a great threat with the pace of Aguero and Navas on the break, and they struck just before the half hour.

Aguero won a meaty fifty fifty challenge just inside the Arsenal half and the ball span out towards the right wing. Navas took the ball on the run at pace down the wing before crossing accurately and Aguero swept in a crisp finish. It was a very well taken goal.

City looked in control for the rest of the half as Arsenal became hasty with their shooting: Sanchez firing well over with a free kick and Ozil well wide and over in two other attempts.

HT 0-1

Arsenal started the second half like they did the first. Welbeck forced a save from the angle, but if Hart hadn’t saved it serious questions would have been asked of England’s number one. Then Pablo Zabaleta made an excellent covering interception to snuff out a searching Sanchez cross from the right.

Pellegrini had made a change at the break, bringing on Nasri for Lampard, and shifting Milner into his favourite central position for once to give us more legs and sharpness in the engine room. David Silva was used in a deeper position.

Silva was pulling the strings as ever with great panache in the Aguero fired over in the 55th minute then four minutes later Clichy dinked a ball over Szczesny and wide following a one-two with Silva. City were looking very comfortable, and i ncontrol. Arsenal were on the ropes, or so it seemed. Wilshere was up to some desperate, cheating tactics, falling to the turf without contact, and referee Clattenburg kept buying it. Was Clattenburg really fooled?

Then very much against the run of play, and controversially, Arsenal equalised. Aguero was clearly fouled at least once as he tried to hold up the ball inside our half, Arsenal robbed possession and WIlshere scuttled down the right, tricked his way past Clichy and surprisingly beat Hart with a chip at his near left hand post.

City were still in the ascendency, and both Aguero and Navas forced saves in the 64th minute. Nasri should have done better with his shot in the 72nd minute which failed to test Szczesny.

By this time Dzeko was on for Aguero, but Arsenal were buoyed by their equaliser and the force was with them, and some might say, so was Clattenburg. Kompany headed a cross out of the box, Wilshere headed it back into the inside left position where Sanchez spectacularly volleyed in past Hart to make it 2-1 to Arsenal.

In years gone by, City would have been beaten by that goal, but not this City team. They are Champions and they proved it again here, playing like Champions.

Arsenal were forced onto the back foot and Wilshere was very lucky to get away without conceding a penalty when he used his arm to steer the ball out of the box. It should have been spotted by the linseman on that side if not by Clattenburg.

City still had to be vigilant in defence as Arsenal carried a threat. Wilshere lobbed a pass which Ramsey fired wide in the 77th minute and Vincent Kompany and Martin Demichelis showed their rock solid qualities to snuff out Arsenal attacks.

Manuel Pellegrini rolled the dice once more bringing on Kolarov for Fernandinho. His calculated gamble soon paid off when Kolarov’s superb out swinging corner from the left was met by a Martin Demichelis bullet header that deservedly levelled the scores. What a relief that was, but City’s play merited more than that, and went for the winner.

Both sides to their credit went for the winner but City were the far more likely to score, and finished much the stronger. Whilst Welbeck was wide (where else!) with a curler in the 87th minute, the Boys in Blue weren’t content with being level and went for it. Twice City hit the woodwork. Navas crossed from the right in the 88th minute and Kolarov hit the left hand post with a curler. Silva then played an incisive diagonal pass that hit Dzeko, Koscielny and the right hand post. Then in the 94th minute (there were 6 minutes injury time for a serious injury to Debuchy) Silva presented Dzeko with a chance to the match with some of his typical brilliance. Taking a touch and turning, Silva played a lovely through ball for Dzeko but the Bosnian’s sharp low shot was brilliantly saved by Szczesny. Whilst Nasri swept in the rebound it was ruled out for offside which TV replays later confirmed to be correct.

A point at Arsenal is always hard earned, and many will say a draw was a fair result, but it was, nevertheless, frustrating. We should have built on our lead at 1-0 up and we were on the rough end of refereeing decisions. Even then, Hart should have done better for the first Arsenal goal, and possibly the second.

Arsenal are like Arsenal always are. They play great football, particularly at the start of the season, when the sun is shining, but remained soft-centred. It is unimaginable that Chelsea would allow the free header that Demichelis was granted to score. That is why they will not challenge for the title this season either. The London press can big up Jack Wilshere all they like, but in reality he is the classic Arsenal paper tiger. The Little Englander won’t be seen for dust when the going gets tough in February, and he will be hapless, outpaced and outclassed on trips to The Etihad and Stamford Bridge. The sun shone for him in this match and Clattenburg somehow decided he should stay on the pitch. Not every referee will be so lenient with him, and he is nowhere near consistent nor good enough to sustain the form he showed in this match over a season.

City played very well despite having to replace both central midfield players. Fernandinho and Milner proved to be very good replacements and with David Silva adorning the game with his alchemy from his more advanced “number 10” position (even if he is a number 21), and Navas using his pace to great effect down the right all afternoon, our midfield ended up clearly in the ascendency. At the back Kompany and Demichelis get better and better as a partnership, and the full backs are getting fitter by the week.

This draw leaves us 5 points behind an ominously strong looking Chelsea, but there is a long way to go and what’s a 5 point gap to modern day Manchester City?

Att: 60,000

City: Aguero 27, Demichelis 83
Arsenal: Wilshere 63, Sanchez 74


Hart: A game of two halves: he made some a good save early on and an important interception in the first half; and after the break he went down too quickly and was too easily beaten for Wilshere’s goal, and might have been slightly too far over to his right for their second: 6
Zabaleta: Making more forward runs as he gets fitter. His highlight in defence was a superb covering interception to clear a dangerous Sanchez cross: 7
Kompany: Absolutely immense all afternoon. Assertive in the air, sharp in the tackle on the ground. A great, great defender in any era: 9 (City’s Man of the Match) Demichelis : He may lack pace at 33, but he reads the game so well, and so it proved here. Rock solid and in this consistently good form, he will be hard to dislodge from the team.8
Clichy: Beaten a little easy for Arsenal’s second but otherwise defended well: 7
Navas: Very good indeed in attack, frequently troubling the Gunners with his pace. He delivered a perfect cross for Aguero’s goal, and was always willing to get back and do his defensive work: 8
Lampard: He looked off the pace which is understandable given it being his first game but he played one lovely pass out to the left and set off Milner for his one-two with Silva. He should play v Sheff Wed to help him get back up to speed, but I can’t see him being much more than a sub for us while he is here: 5
Fernandinho: A vigorous show in central midfield and picked up a booking for his troubles. 7
Milner: Solid on the left, but a stronger influence in his favoured central role in the second half: 7
Silva: Exemplary, save for that dangerous back pass in the first half. As ever, so creative, intelligent and hard working. His delightful turn and pass for Dzeko should have won us the match: 8
Aguero: Took his goal brilliantly and looked very sharp. Like Navas he often caused Arsenal constant problems 8


Nasri (for Lampard (HT): Again he was clearly affected by the childish Arsenal fans’ boos and he didn’t hold the ball and take responsibility like he normally does. He has to learn to relish the stick and take delight in imposing his quality on Arsenal: 5 Dzeko (for Aguero 67): On another day he would have volleyed Silva’s incisive diagonal pass in and also might have put his 94th minute chance to win the match out of Szczesny’s reach: 6 Kolarov (for Fernandinho 77): Great delivery for Demichelis equaliser: n/a

Best Oppo: Sanchez: Very skilful, duck and effective, particularly out on the right flank. He was one of the main reasons Arsenal could move the ball so quickly, particularly in the first half. Much is made in the London press of the vastly overrated Wilshere, but the truth is that Wilshere was a continual cheat with his diving, should have been sent off for a bad tackle on Clichy and penalised for hand ball late on. In contrast, Sanchez played a good tough game, worked hard in defence too and was a real live wire in attack, taking his volleyed goal brilliantly. If it wasn’t for the Arsenal, United, Liverpool etc cartel, and their so-called “Financial Fair Play” regulations, we may have seen him in a light blue shirt this season. Still, without wishing to be overly covetous or arrogant, but it is whingeing, Establishment Arsenal after all, Arsenal’s better players have a habit of seeing the light and taking a northerly journey up the M1, M6 and

M60 to East Manchester: 9

Refwatch: Clattenburg: He and his officials allowed fouls to go unpunished in the run up to both Arsenal goals. He may well have been unsighted with Wilshere’s audition for the Harlem Globetrotters but that doesn’t excuse him overall. A weak or biased showing? Only he knows: 0

Phil Banerjee (phil.banerjee at


To give your vote for MCIVTA man of the match against Arsenal please visit:

Who was Man of the Match against Arsenal on 13-09-2014

Choose between Navas, Aguero, Silva, Milner or Demichelis. Votes are accepted until noon Thursday 18.9.

Svenn Hanssen (svenn at


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Newsletter #1962
Date: 2014/09/11
Editor: Philip Alcock (
Subscriptions: Madeleine Hawkins (

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