Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Proud of the effort

Everything seemed set for the fairytale City winning and Villarreal holding Napoli.  Indeed City did finish up beating Bayern Munich 2-0 though sadly the score was mirrored in Spain as two second half goals put Napoli through.  Speaking to a few fans I got the impression people knew it was a tough ask but IF we were to go out then at least do it with pride and that's exactly what happened thanks to a lovely strike by David "Merlin" Silva and a coolly finished Yaya Toure goal

It has been a learning experience for Roberto Mancini and the squad one which no doubt they will learn from .  There is little doubt mistakes were made in earlier games but just like City's rise from the ashes no journey is ever smooth.  For me the defensive tinkering did play a big part in the reasons we now are in the last 32 of the Europa League but surely it won't be too long before the Champions League music again blasts out of the Etihad PA system.  That said I can't see any reason why we don't push to win the Europa League.

Ironically all week I'd read United fans goading about us facing "Thursday nights on channel 5" well it appears lady luck wasn't smiling on them either as despite them needing to simply draw they lost and crash out with a worse record than City.  It would appear the players have caught the fan bug of simply believing turning up was enough or were they too busy looking at us as appears to be their life at the moment (yet we are the obsessed ones don't you know)  They are a good side but no where near as strong as they once were there simply isn't the strength in the squad they once had.

City meanwhile can take pride in their first ever Champions League becoming the first English side to win in Villarreal and even reaching the 10 points which if you believe the pundits is good enough to qualify.   Roberto Mancini learnt a lot during his first 6 months and used that too guide City to a record Premier League finish and a first major trophy in 35 years.  No doubt he will have learned much from this Champions League campaign and be eager to guide City further next season.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Lack of credit = smell the fear

City getting into the Carling Cup Semi Finals again is signs of a winning mentality within the club so much so that a squad side could become the first blues team since before I was born to win away at Arsenal.  Instantly this was met with comments like "well it was a young Arsenal side full of kids" But thats what Arsenal always do and the got to the Final last season! Well ok if you ignore the fact that these players played Park, 26, Chamakh 27, Arshavin 30, Koscielny 26, Vermaelen 26, Benayoun 31, Fabianski 26 and Squillaci 31, then run kids by me again?

City won in Villarreal becoming the first english team to do so in European competition and that was met with "well they aint the same side they were"  City thrash Utd 1-6 at Old Trafford and of course that was met by "red card changed the game"   City beat Spurs 1-5 "down to the bare bones at the back"

Perhaps you can see a pattern emerging there?  Yes no matter what City do the knockers try their hardest to have a pop,  they pose the questions City answer in style suddenly the question changes.  Last season "Champions league you're having a laugh"  was quite popular amongst visiting fans to the then City Of Manchester Stadium along with "you're gonna win f**k all"

Well we won the FA Cup! only for the comments of "FA Cup means nowt these days" and we also qualified for the Champions League only goal difference in fact stopped us finishing second.  The Champions League hasn't been as smooth and City need to win and Villarreal to get points to get through into the knock out stages if not it's Europa League for the Blues. But the players have tasted what football is like at Europes top table and will no doubt be keen to ensure they taste even more.

Point is the squad are learning and evolving they used the disappointment of Semi Final defeat in the Carling Cup 2 years ago to Utd and became cup winners 1 season later beating Utd in the semi final (more red card excuses)  We used the disappointment of Spurs pipping us to 4th by ensuring it didn't happen again the next season by Ironically beating Spurs.  Of course if City win the Premier League the question will be "so how does it feel to buy the title?" my honest answer name one team in the modern era that hasn't?

All the knockers are afraid very afraid. They realise this sleeping giant (used to hate that tag) is very awake and hungry for Silverware and as a friend on facebook posts quite a bit "MCFC hated adored never ignored!"

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

International break nice and quiet...then guess what

Players jetting off during an international break isn't uncommon.  However over the last 24 hours it's become clear that a certain player on the books of Manchester City has done something he shouldn't have.  Yes step forward Carlos Tevez.  It was reported last night he had boarded a flight to Argentina he was of course mobbed as he arrived back there judging by TV Images.

Now many might not see that as a problem though that's indeed where the issue lies it turns out he had done it without the permission of the club and was expected at Carrington today for training.  Press reports indicate that City have passed the matter to club lawyers as they investigate yet another clear breach of contract by Tevez.  The PFA got his original fine reduced over him refusing to warm up at Bayern Munich.  It looks like this could be another matter they get involved in as it's highly likely Tevez will be suspended again.  However with these constant disregard of his contract it does make you wonder if Tevez actually cares is he that wealthy that it won't matter if he gets sacked and possibly banned by FIFA?

Jim Boyce the vice president of FIFA was certainly the most high profile person to speak out over the incident at Munich it will be interesting to see what happens over the next few days and weeks but one thing that is clear in my opinion we've seen the last of Carlos Tevez in Manchester City colours.  Indeed if anything the incident in Munich galvanised the team who since that game have been scoring freely with 30 goals coming in the 8 competitive games since.  There is little doubt Tevez signing for Manchester City was a huge coup at the time and he did play a huge part in the run to Wembley for the FA Cup and his goals ensured 3rd place in the League.  But a look at this years table sees City top 5 points clear with 3 players in the top 10 scorers and 3 in the top 5 assists.  City are in a position to cope without Tevez and that makes me wonder was he happier being the big fish in a small pond?  Certainly these issues have come more and more to the fore as the pond got bigger so is this simply a ploy to keep his name in the headlines?

Saturday, 29 October 2011 least we won!

Manchester City 3 Wolves 1 doesn't really tell the story of a game ruined by a referee clearly out of his depth.  Stuart Attwell (he of the phantom goal fame) turned in quite possibly the most inept and incompetent performance I've ever seen in 26 years of attending football matches.

You can understand a referee making one or two bad calls in a game but Attwell made so many I lost count.  During the first half of every 50-50 challenge resulting in a free kick to Wolves (Matchday centre on the City website shows 18 fouls by City to Wolves 6 in total)  This lead to Vincent Kompany questioning what was going on in his role as captain  There were some challenges of equal force made on City players only for play on to be the decision.  Apparently throttling a player is ok...well as long as you are Mr Stearman of Wolves as he did to Edin Dzeko  in what should have been a penalty to City.  Half time came with a chorus of boos ringing out directed at the official.

The second half started well for City  going 2-0 up and it must have been eating at Attwell he hadn't be centre of attention for 15-20 minutes as suddenly the decisions started again. 

To be fair to Mr Attwell the decision of penalty and red card for Kompany were spot on.  However just before Yaya Toure was fouled he then went into a challenge which resulted in a free kick for Wolves an obviously frustrated Toure screamed out his disgust at the decision.  we've all heard and understand the "Respect" campaign but seriously?? respect should be earned by at least having officials who are competent and able to do the job sadly Stuart Attwell simply isn't up to the job and could have cost Manchester City vital points today. It's also lucky David Silva wasn't seriously hurt by some of the challenges that were dished out (none of which were punished) As luck would have it a great strike by Adam Johnson sealed the points for City late on but surely the FA or Premier League will have to act and remove this joker from it's lists he isn't fit to referee a WWE No Disqualification  match (there are no rules) he'd still get it wrong!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Imagine if time travel was possible

The last 6 months have been incredible now just imagine if time travel was possible when would you go back to?  I have my own theory it would have to be back to perhaps the darkest hour in City's recent past.

I'd go back exactly 13 years to October 1998 it had been 6 months since City's relegation to what is now League One and we'd hardly started well hanging around mid table.  Despite it all crowds at Maine Road were pretty healthy smashing the average for the division.

Now just imagine telling your 1998 self that City have just annihilated United 6-1 imagine telling them that we were in the Champions League and that we'd won the FA Cup in May.  Following that up by informing yourself that there would be an amazing afternoon at Wembley the next May in the playoffs and I'm almost certain my 1998 self would ask for some of what I was smoking.  Either that or calling for "those nice young men in their clean white coats"

With all the positive things happening at the moment sometimes a bad result causes a barrage of abuse from critics and the snipers are out in force.  For me I tend to think back to how I felt back in 1998 "CITY TILL I DIE" I cried then, I still cry it now no matter what I am always will be a proud blue just like many people happy to take my children to watch the club if a little jealous they won't suffer the lows we felt!

A lot has changed since 1998 I have loved "the journey" I'm hoping for many more highs!

Monday, 24 October 2011

"Mad Mario" Derby Day star

Unless you've been living under a rock for the last 24 hours it's obvious you will be aware of City thrashing United 6-1 at Old Trafford yesterday.  A results which Sir Alex described as his worst defeat ever as a Manager or a player.

In the build up to the game City fans had to endure most of the pundits and ex pro's predicting a close game but United's "big game experience" seeing them to a victory.  Now to be brutally honest as the game kicked off had you offered me a draw I would have took it.  Much like the FA Cup Semi Final United did start the brighter City soaked up the pressure though Joe Hart was rarely troubled.  And you just knew after all the silly press his firework display from his bathroom generated Mario Balotelli would be involved his delicious pass into the net for the first goal was then followed by him revealing a T-Shirt with the words "WHY ALWAYS ME?"...Pass Mario but you weren't finished there.
 2 minutes into the second half he burst through and was pulled back by Jonny Evans who was rightly sent off by Referee Mark Clattenburg.  15 Minutes later City fans were in dream land when Balotelli tapped in at the far post after brilliant work by Silva and Milner laid it on a plate.  When it was 3-0 Roberto Mancini decided to give Balotelli well earned rest subbing him for Edin Dzeko who would go on to get a brace of goals as well.

Many people were upset by Balotelli's stupid red card against Kiev which killed any hope of City progressing in last seasons Europa League.  That appears to have been a watershed moment as since then Balotelli has turned in stunning performances in a lot of key games including being man of the match in the FA Cup final having already played a key role in the Semi Final against United.  Yes there has been the odd "Mad Mario" moment including the back flick against La Galaxy which caused a lot of grief (honestly I believe he thought he was offside he stopped then span round)
 BUT when it's mattered he has been a key player scoring goals and even celebrating some which I think surprised many of us who saw his run to hug Mancini.  There can be little doubt the man has talent it appears bar some moments of pure madness (like the fireworks or the darts incident)  City do have a player capable of doing anything he cares to try.  City fans have come up with a comical song for their flawed genius which was heard loudly being sang by 3,000 blues at Old Trafford  and has been aired a fair few times at The Etihad Stadium as well as on route to games.  Long may he be a striker and I hope Roberto Mancini continues to get the very best out of Mario.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Aston Villa Preview

After the International break Roberto Mancini will be looking for the blues to continue their red hot form at the Etihad Stadium when Alex McLeish brings his Aston Villa side this Saturday.  The Villa side include 3 former City stars in their squad with Shay Given, Richard Dunne bound to feature Stephen Ireland has also seen action in 4 of Villa's games so far this season. 

It is bound to be a tough test for City as Villa are unbeaten away this season having drawn all 3 games scoring and conceding 3 goals.  Villa will also feature a in Darren Bent a man who managed to score twice last season against the Blues adding to the threat of Gabriel Agbonlahor who is great goal scoring form it could be a big test for Joe Hart and his defense that haven't let a goal past them in the last 5 league games at home.

City should welcome back Sergio Aguero who went off with a muscle strain midway through the first half at Ewood Park two weeks ago.  Added to this David Silva, Edin Dzeko and Samir Nasri all found the net for their Countries midweek confidence will have remained high amongst City's attack minded players.  Indeed at Blackburn Mario Balotelli  looked at his dangerous best Roberto Mancini certainly has a welcome selection headache.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

"Honest Kia" strikes again

Well without speaking to Carlos his "advisor" not agent Kia Joorabchian has in an interview denied Carlos Tevez refused to take to the field when Manchester City were away at Bayern Munich.  Yes apparently not only was it a misunderstanding on the bench between Tevez and Mancini, the interpreter who Carlos used in his after match interview to sky also got it wrong when Tevez appeared to admit he did indeed refuse to come. 

Now lets look at the man I like to call "Honest Kia" a man banned by Manchester City from the Etihad Stadium a man who gets round FIFA's agent licencing laws by calling himself an advisor.  A man who claimed Manchester United tried to angle for a reduced fee when his loan ended despite David Gill and Sir Alex Ferguson claiming the total opposite was the case.

Sky Sports looked at the tape and got two spanish speakers to re-translate and yes Tevez does indeed say he wasn't mentally prepared.  Sorry "Honest Kia" despite your very best efforts Tevez's own words do seem to confirm the guilt  and if FIFA do act as Vice President Boyce indicated your meal ticket could be heading for a ban.

Despite Tevez issuing a statement the next day claiming it was all a mix up and he enjoyed a good relationship with the Manchester City faithful,  the 7,000 fans at Blackburn Rovers last Saturday singing in support of Roberto Mancini for me sum up the feelings of most blues sorry Carlos we've forgiven and forgotten once too often you refused to play you can face the music.

Me commenting on You're On Sky Sports

Monday, 3 October 2011

UEFA Financial Fair Play...A problem at home for Platini??

Many people suspect that UEFA'S Financial Fair Play Regulations were introduced to stop clubs with rich owners like Manchester City and Chelsea being able to simply buy their way to the Champions League title.  It has also created a set up where clubs in smaller domestic leagues face never being able to qualify as to challenge for a title does require some investment.

Indeed The Daily Mail's Martin Samuel indicated this in his regular article when he highlighted Bate Borisov of Belarus due to getting into the group stages twice in recent years they have become almost unstoppable at home winning the title 5 times on the spin and are 11 points clear this season.

That situation is being repeated in a fair few of the smaller league round Europe with the same names at least getting into the qualifying rounds year on year.  How can this be "fair play" and the more important thing how can that be healthy?  There is also a real chance the Champions League could stagnate with the same old same old year in year out.

As I mentioned earlier Manchester City and Chelsea are just the sort of teams the rules appear to target but UEFA President Michel Platini faces a headache a lot closer to home in the shape of Paris Saint Germain.  The famous Parisian club were bought in the summer by The Qatar Investment Authority who are owned by Sheikh Hamad.  PSG do have a rich history but haven't had a top 3 finish in Ligue 1 since 03-04  and it was 10 years before that since their last title, with only 3 sides getting a Champions League place they face a fight to break into the top 3 and get that coverted spot and that will cost money. 

Added to the fact Parc Des Princes has on average seen crowds of just over 33,000, the french league also only recieves €668 million over four seasons for it's TV rights compared to The Premier League's £1.7 Billion deal for 3 years with Sky and ESPN it's clear PSG face a battle to get the monies in place to meet FFP and even get into the Champions League.  I could only imagine that Mr Platini would be made to feel very welcome in his nations capital if PSG did qualify only to fall foul of his brain child.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Blackburn Rovers 0 Manchester City 4

After making headlines for all the wrong reasons midweek Manchester City needed a good performance to get rid of the storm clouds the media had hanging over the Etihad Stadium.  Roberto Mancini certainly picked an attacking side with Mario Balotelli up front with Kun Aguero.

After a quiet start things appeared to be going wrong in the 25th minute when Aguero sat down on the pitch having pulled up with what looked like a groin injury.  He was replaced by Samir Nasri and the first half petered out a few alarms but no major scares in either box.

The second half started and it was obvious City has upped the tempo Balotelli was unlucky with a delicious shot that clipped the post and even tried an overhead kick that was just wide.  Then in the 56th minute as a corner came out of the box Adam Johnson controlled the ball before bending a shot into the top corner of Paul Robinson's net.  Just two minutes later great work from Samir Nasri on the left and a good cross was met by Mario Balotelli who did well to beat Robinson with a great flick making it 3 goals in 10 days for the Italian.

Mancini had previously called for City to be more like local rivals United and keep scoring and that's exactly what City did when after setting up so many goals previously Samir Nasri swapped passes with David Silva before hitting a goal bound shot that deflected passed a helpless Robinson.  Stiill that wasn't enough for goal hungry City as near the end from a corner Stefan Savic rose well to bury a header in the net meaning a 4-0 scoreline that in truth after 19 attempts on goal to Rovers 7 did not flatter the men in Red and Black and sent 7,000 fans home very happy.

Rovers owners Venky will have been aware of the protests against Steve Kean with 3 wins in 21 games it does seem a case of him being on borrowed time.  But that should take nothing away from a very good performance from Manchester City whom sit a proud second in the League only on goal difference.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Tevez a misunderstanding?

So the day after the night before Carlos Tevez's representative "Honest" Kia Joorachian releases a statement claiming it was all a big misunderstanding and Tevez did not refuse to come on when asked.  Ok perhaps given his lack of clear English there might be a chance of everyone jumping to the wrong conclusion there might be a case for the defence.....Or is there?

Pablo Zabaleta a fellow Argentinian seemed to react in a negative way to Carlos the TV pictures clearly show Tevez talking to a very angry looking Zab who was looking straight ahead as if to ignore what was being said. Simply go onto youtube and search Carlos Tevez speaks English and you will find videos proving whilst not being fluent Tevez does indeed have a good understanding indeed far more than he makes out. Another annoying fact Zabaleta has played in England 2 years less yet speaks almost fluent English with a slight Mancunian accent no less!

The evening of the match Tevez said in an interview to Sky Sports "I wasn't physically or mentally ready to go in".  The next morning his statement mentioned so such mental or physical problems indeed it had all just been a misunderstanding and he was ready to come on.  Sorry Carlos why say one thing to a national television channel then something else in your statement? slept on it and realised you'd messed up I would suggest. 

Then bring "Honest Kia" into the mix a man banned from the Etihad Stadium whom despite not being a FIFA registered agent manages to get around that issue by being a "personal advisor".  Something hasn't sat right with me over last summers proposed moved to Corinthians and it's simply this, in 2006 stories broke of 2 players refusing to play for Corinthians and in the end  they were loaned to West Ham.  Bet you can't guess who they were?  Yes Javier Mascherano and the very same Carlos Tevez who suddenly they wanted back!  City seemed to smell a rat and put some conditions in the way including some money up front and no return to Europe within the first 2 years and low and behold the deal fell through. Amongst football fans Joorabchian has little credibility there have been too many yarns yet he still tries to portray himself as being up front and honest like he did in interviews for Sky over the Corinthians move.

Tevez has undoubtedly been a huge player for City he was the joint golden boot winner last season and no one had scored more in 09-10 10-11 seasons combined in the Premier League, he is one the the key reasons why City ended their 35 year wait for a major honour and the reason Champions League football is being played at the Etihad.  That said his actions if it's proven cannot be defended .  Even Gordon Taylor of the PFA has said there appears to be little case for the defence.

Roberto Mancini is reportedly heading for talks with chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak over last nights incident we await the verdict.   The majority of City fans seem to think if he has refused the door is that way I must admit it's a view that sadly I have to agree with Tevez when he joined was a big fish in a small yet growing pond the club bent over backwards to accommodate him and his difficult position due to his family being in Argentina by numerous times off to visit them (despite the fact it was his affair that made them leave)  Now the pond is much larger the club have players who can it appears fill the void. City fans have welcomed him back when he wanted to leave then change his mind only then to want to leave again, so it looks like a case of Adios Carlos enough is enough.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Great games and moments

Below is a selection of great moments from the recent past hope you enjoy my choices!

Charlton '85 points needed for promotion done in style
Huddersfield 1987 City go goal crazy!

an amazing evening

Andy Hinchcliffe scores direct from a corner

A point meant promotion....... 1 down then
First derby after promotion
A strange day for Niall Quinn
An amazing night for David White
Thrashing the eventual Champions
Rounding off that season in style
Alan Kernaghan wonder goal
Uwe Rosler
Kinky wonder goal

The Division Two play off
 The following year yet again a win and City were up

Eyal Berkovic

Last Ever Maine Road Derby
First ever at COMS
Perhaps THE greatest comeback ever?

Aston Villa Fa Cup dead and buried?? NO!
Perhaps the best free kick ever at COMS?

50th Anniversary of the tragedy at Munich
 We had the Shiekh and we had Robinho!
Arsenal disposed of
Sylvinho screamer
Chelsea away the league begin to realise we are a threat
FA Cup Semi Final
The Final City end 35 years of hurt
Carlos Tevez free kick V Stoke
 Sergio Aguero announces his arrival with a wonder strike
Spurs destroyed! sorry Spanish is all I could find on youtube!

Monday, 12 September 2011

Wednesday City dine at Europe's top table!

Manchester City fans have been known for gallows humour.  the infamous "Alan Balls a football genius" at 6-0 down when playing Liverpool, to replying to taunts of "going down going down going down" with "so are we so are we so are we"

The arrival of Shiekh Mansour City fans dared to dream as big money signings came and the club went from mid table in 08-09 to narrowly missing out on a Champions League spot in 09-10.  Last season the thing many fans had dreamed of but dared not think could happen did, not only did City win the FA Cup they also finished 3rd in the Premier League ensuring automatic qualification for the Champions League group stages.

The draw could have been kinder but Bayern Munich Villarreal and firstly Napoli face tough games when they arrive at the Etihad Stadium.  Just to hear that Champions League Anthem been belted out of the PA at 7:40pm will ensure win lose or draw City are amongst Europe's elite I like many others simply cannot wait!

Sunday, 11 September 2011

BLUE MOON! not blue moon

We all know and love the song, there is nothing better the 40 odd thousand belting it out at a match.  The club even sometimes slam an animation of the moon on the screens as it's sung.

There have been many versions played over the PA from the Marcels through to Supra's "Ricky Hatton".  The Supra version has for a while been used pre kick off to get the crowd cheering along and it never failed  To mark the launch of City's new kit celeb Blue Liam Gallagher recorded a version with his band Beady Eye that was used in the video to promote it.

The Beady Eye version has been used the first two home games this season and it simply hasn't worked it is too slow a few sat round me in the family stand tried but it just died down and the noise went up after it finally finished.  It was noticable the South Stand and "Kippax" fans also seemed to not get into it.

It's one of  those classic if it aint broke don't fix it moments the Supra version never fails to get the crowd going, and if anyone at the club reads this or sees the thread on bluemoon  I would hope we return to the Supra version as it would seem the majority of blues agree.  Some on twitter have even tweeted the hash tag #bringbacksupra  me included!

Come on MCFC you know it makes sense, it really should be BLUE MOON not blue moon at the Etihad!

Friday, 9 September 2011

David White

Watching City in the 80's was a roller coaster of ups and downs but the one thing they always did was play fast attacking football with wingers.  Being a regular at youth and reserve games I had seen David White develop and really couldn't wait for him to make his bow in the first team.  He broke into the first team in 1986 and quickly became a regular and was soon a firm favourite of the Kippax.

Early in his career he showed signs of just what he was about scoring a hat trick in the famous 10-1 win V Huddersfield he also set up many goals with his bombing runs down the right wing.
After two years out of the top flight City returned to Division One and White really began to show he was a talent many blues remember "that" pass as White swung in a ball for Andy Hinchcliffe to bury a header into the top corner as City beat neighbours United 5-1.  It was the introduction of Howard Kendall as manager that in the end saved City from relegation but White held his own as Kendall brought in many players whom he knew from his days at Everton.

The following season despite Kendall quitting Peter Reid guided City to a creditable 5th 1 place above United.  The highlight for White had to be the 5-1 win away to Aston Villa where he scored 4 and even set up the other for Mark Brennan.

City fans knew White was worthy of an England cap but at the time there was a clear bias towards certain teams within the league.  Indeed as he moved into a more central role the goals were really flowing 16 in 91-92 and 18 in 92-93 (the first of which was Citys first in the new Premier League and the first on Skys Monday night football).  Finally White did get the call up his form had deserved probably 1 year earlier when he played for England away in Spain.  At the time I remembered thinking he deserved to be called up for a serious game and that seemed to be the views of many blues I knew.  Sadly England lost 1-0 and White got the lions share of the blame as he wasted a clear chance.  It seemed to affect him as he lost form and eventually in 1993 he was swapped for David Rocastle.  Things didn't perhaps work out for him at Leeds and two years later he was on the move again this time to Sheffield United and whilst at Bramhall Lane there was the odd performance that showed signs he still had it.  Sadly just 3 years later aged just 30 a persistant ankle injury forced him to retire.

David White is a player I will always remeber fondly and to be honest despite the vast number of talents City do have in their 11 now White will always be my number one favourite i've seen wearing the blue of City.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Goodbye and good luck to SWP

Shaun Wright Phillips returning to Manchester City from Chelsea seemed a real statement of intent by then owner Thaksin Shinawatra in a move that was universally welcomed by all.  Indeed he got off to a dream start scoring twice at Sunderland's Stadium Of Light.

In his original spell he had endeared himself to the Maine Road then City Of Manchester City Stadium faithful playing over 150 times and even breaking into the England squad.   Many fans were upset when he moved to Chelsea for £21 million in 2005 though given City's financial state it was a deal that made sense.  Not bad for a player that was released by Nottingham Forest for being "to small to make it".

His return saw him shine in some key games like the Carling Cup Quarter Final V Arsenal .  There were also some games where it almost seemed like something was missing the old Shaun would drop a shoulder and dance round a defender the new Shaun just seemed to run straight into the defender. That loss of form and the odd injury meant he was more and more a bit part player.  This was questioned by many fans feeling that with a run of games we would see the good old "Sweep".  It did seem he wasn't going to break back into the squad. Then during the Summer he played in most of the pre season games scoring some brilliant goals all seemed to be pointing to a surprise return to the fold. 

Then on transfer deadline day after weeks of rumours and counter rumours it was confirmed Shaun was at QPR.  The deal has since gone through once again breaking many blues fans hearts.  One thing I know for a fact when QPR play City at the Etihad Stadium Shaun will be warmly welcomed  a special player loved by a lot of fans.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Edin Dzeko an apology

I must admit I have been quite a vocal critic of Edin Dzeko.  I wasn't impressed by what I had seen in his first few months.  Play the ball into him with players around him he would lose it very easily as his first touch was always heavy.  The press was just as unimpressed similar comments were made that City had wasted £27 million.

Fast forward to the start of the season he ran the show against Swansea yes sometimes that dodgy first touch was still there but when he ran with the ball he caused panic he scored a goal which needed split second reactions. He played a part with the ball into the box that lead to Aguero flicking back for Silva  Then against Bolton he scored again running through drawing an experienced keeper in Jussi Jaaskelainen out to create the space to score.

Then today V Tottenham we saw the "perfect hattrick" one with his left one with his right and one with his head.  He even followed that up with a thunder bolt for his 4th proving despite some dodgy goalkeeping his goal V United in the Community Shield was no fluke.

Yes I finally do see what he can bring to the team he is a poacher (something City haven't had for a while) He is a link up man he can head and can shoot.  He was labelled a "pony" by Danny Simpson on twitter something which he today took back with "As for Dzeko, gotta swallow what I said, he's come good n showin he's class! He's now not haha!" 

It's amazing what a pre season can do for a player   He has comeback the player we had heard about really hope he continues to make the critics and me eat their words

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Opposition Myths

After a typical discussion with a rival teams fan I decided to answer a few of these myths that seem to have weight with a lot of fans from other clubs.

1  Your defence is suspect.

I look at the fact we were equal best in the Premier League along with Chelsea for fewest goals against and think yeah we must be poor!.

2 20,000 empty seats.

That's simply because we don't force seasoncard holders to buy tickets for all cup games.  In fact when a certain club relaxed their rule for one game they didn't sell out either.   We averaged around 46,000 and were 4th overall in the Premier League

3 Buying Trophies.

This is the one that makes so little sense.  All teams buy players that's a fact they also bring through youth players. This dig could be levelled at all teams in England, all City have done is spent over a compressed timescale compared to say United.  Chelsea won the league two seasons ago with a lot of players bought over a similar small timescale but a few years before.

4 You've got no history.

History is a record of the past not a measure of anything, that said historical fact City won the FA Cup before Liverpool, Everton and United.

5 Only a matter of time before you implode.

Still waiting for it to happen.  Yes with the influx of players there are bound to be unhappy players getting dropped etc..  That said for a team about to implode we still managed to deliver very real progress and success.

Long and short of it whatever the myth there is an answer.  A lot of it is envy of the fact we have an owner willing to spend and get things right.  People have got so used to the same old "Sky big 4" that the fact we are even trying to break it up is treated to a tirade of abuse mainly from the clubs who's position near the top we are challenging. 

Thursday, 4 August 2011

My all time City 11 and subs!!

This is based on players I've seen since I first started attending games on a regular basis since the mid 80's!

Goal Keeper :
Torn a little on this but have gone with Tony Coton.  He was always consistent and but for the likes of Seaman would have been England's number 1.  I realise people may say Joe Hart etc... But for me TC was at his peak Hart is still young learning his trade and makes the odd silly mistake.

Defence :
So many to choose from in every position but I personally think
Right Back Paul Lake  Centre Half Vincent Kompany Centre Half  Keith Curle Left back Andy Hinchcliffe.

Midfield :
Grew up seeing wingers and loved that system so for me it's got to be..
Right Wing David White  Centre Mid Nigel De Jong  Centre Mid Neil McNab Left Wing David Silva..I realise Sliva isn't naturally a winger but just for his grace and style he has to be in.

Centre Forwards :
Possibly what's took me the longest to think through a fair few options all equally deserving of selection but I've gone with
Uwe Rosler Carlos Tevez.

Subs : Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, Niall Quinn, Paul Simpson, Peter Beagrie, Terry Phelan, Michel Vonk.

so as a 4-4-2

Lake Kompany Curle Hinchcliffe

White De Jong McNab Silva 

Rosler Tevez.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Who makes the 25??

With a little over a month left of the transfer window Roberto Mancini's squad is beginning to take shape however it is clear some big names aren't going to be on the 25 man squad when it has to be registered.  This is based on the feeling Carlos Tevez will leave,  my best guess is.

Goal Keepers
Joe Hart, Stuart Taylor, Gunnar Nielsen.


Micah Richards, Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany, Kolo Toure, Joleon Lescott, Aleksandar Kolarov, Gaël Clichy


Nigel De Jong,  Gareth Barry, James Milner, Yaya Toure, David Silva, Adam Johnson, Shaun Wright Phillips, Vladimir Weiss


Edin Dzeko, Sergio Aguero

True that is only 20 and quite possibly leaves space for some of the "outcasts" like Nedum Onuoha or Craig Bellamy to make the cut.  It also shows some great transfer policy by the club as the likes of Mario Balotelli Stefan Savic etc.. are Under 21's and therefore free to be picked regardless.

It also leaves space for any other deals the club has in the pipeline!  Making this has made me realise one thing.  I am glad I am not a manager!

Saturday, 23 July 2011

MCFC 6 Pompey 0 my favourite game!

Having been to by my best estimates 300 Manchester City games you might ask why have I picked this this particular game?  Well for me it was a special moment as for the first time I took both my sons together to a game, It was Lucas's first ever game at 2 years old, Connor had been a fair few times having both the boys though made this special.  Lucas loved meeting Moonchester and as the build up to kick off gathered pace he seemed to be taking it all in as by his standards he seemed quiet.  There was all the excitement of the ADUG takeover with Thaksin introducing Khaldoon to the crowd from the directors box. 

When the players came out both boys were cheering and genuinely seemed to be having a blast.  Then 13 minutes in Jo scored I celebrated looked and realised the noise had scared Lucas he was sobbing!  I got him calm only for Richard Dunne to score..yes you've guess it the waterworks started again!  So had to go through the effort of cuddling him trying to explain that the noise was every being happy that City had scored, fair play to Connor he tried as well once he'd finished celebrating the goal.

Half time came the boys happily scoffed their sweets and drinks.  Out came the players I looked and realised Lucas was copying everyone clapping even managed to babble "MON CITY"  Connor was also doing his best to make noise. 

57 Minutes in marked the moment we had all been waiting for as Robinho smashed in a well taken goal I looked there was a hint of a whimper from Lucas but he seemed to be a little better even trying to copy me as the Invisible Man song did the rounds.  68th minute SWP smashes in a great goal from a tight angle Lucas is now laughing and jumping around.  When Ched Evans scored making it 5-0 he jumped into my arms and kissed me then hugged a now gob smacked Connor whom only seemed able to utter the words 5-0 It's 5-0 Dad!!!

Well it got better 83rd Minutes Gelson scored making it 6-0 both boys (and their dad) were stunned and overjoyed.  I don't think I could have picked a better game to take them to.  Connor was singing the Invisible Man song as loudly as he could and when Bluemoon hit both boys had their arms up even if Lucas wasn't fully familiar with the words.

The full time whistle went we cheered clapped the players off and slowly made our way home tired and delighted.  

Friday, 22 July 2011

Bluemoon Rising was it too soon?

We have all heard the arguments from fellow blues and rivals that the film Blue Moon Rising was released perhaps a season too early.  I've seen others write that only City could release a film where the end result was disappointment.

I did touch upon this a little on my "R.I.P Typical City" article earlier this month.  But after reading a thread on Bluemoon titled "Blue Moon Rising II"  I noticed the same arguments once again have surfaced.

I have always said for me the film was released at the perfect time as it was about the hopes and dreams being a Manchester City fan, as we could see the good times on the horizon though perhaps dare not dream just how quickly after 09-10's so near yet so far ending that season 10-11 delivered the dream and then some. 

Had we indeed won something that year I don't think the films ending would have worked as well.  It showed the lads and Helios heading to West Ham and the song hit "34 years and we're still here" they were singing it loudly and proudly.  And that's why for me the film was indeed released at the right time it didn't matter we hadn't won anything we love Manchester City there had indeed been progress so as the film title puts it the Blue Moon was indeed rising.

Now for a slight confession. See the man and lad behind the pie in the screen shot from the film?  Yes that's me and my son Connor we were extras in the film's flashback scene "It's the pie!"  We had an absolute blast filming took place at the Etihad Stadium.  It was an experience I will never forget.  I was so excited to see the film and like a big kid made up to see my name in the closing titles.  Though one slightly annoying point I was on screen longer celebrating Carlos Tevez's free kick V Chelsea than the bit I got paid for!   That said I don't think my views are biased towards the film....OK perhaps a little but still it is a great film one which as the Times put it in their review "Entertaining, funny and at times, poignant" and as I put it a fitting tribute as we lay to rest "typical city"

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Thank god for ZABMAN!

Robinho, Jo, Santa Cruz, Elano, Giovanni  and probably sooner than later Carlos Tevez are all from the latino continent of South America all despite very good efforts by some have failed to settle at Manchester City for various reasons.  Be it rumoured partying by Jo home sickness by Carlos or just the season ticket for the treatment room of Santa Cruz.

True there have been fair efforts Robinho's now legendary bus ride to the Trafford Centre and his keenness to use his new language whenever he could.  But all in all things just don't seem to go well for South Americans at M11 3FF.....Or do they??  Step forward everyone's favourite accident prone player Pablo Zabaleta.

He probably is as familiar as Roque with the way to the treatment room at both Carrington and the Etihad Stadium.  That said season 2010-2011 was quite possibly Pablo's best in the blue of City.  It was only right he got to be on the pitch as the full time whistle blew signaling the end of City's 35 year wait for a major honour as the Fa Cup was lifted.  Pablo's committment to the club is something that doesn't need to be questioned.  Even with his father seriously ill you really got the impression Pablo felt guilty that he was there at his bedside, despite the fact everyone knew this was exactly what Pablo should be doing at a time like that.

Certainly his fathers illness showed Pablo just how popular he is.  He admitted to be taken aback by the amout of goodwill messages he received.  His tweets in both Spanish and English keeping people updated were always packed with messages of thanks.

On the pitch he has matured.  And this is where I pay him credit effort and determination aside I always had him down as being a red card waiting to happen.  He seems to have calmed that side down, he is still the tough tenacious never say die player we all knew.  The standard of his performances has also increased.  Added to this his mastery of english (note to Mr Tevez done in 2 years less than you've been in England) shows a happy and content player..if a little accident prone as the Zabman Video proved! but take that away and you would be taking part of the man who is widely liked and respected.

Well as we sing "DO DO DO PABLO ZABALETA!"

Sunday, 17 July 2011

My own mini City

March 10th 2010 was a dark day for me.  It marked the day any person who cared about Chester City Fc had known was coming but didn't want to accept, the day the club was wound up in the High Court.

Moving to Chester in 1989 I had started to attend games on a regular basis when the club opened the Deva Stadium  in 1992 when MCFC fixtures didn't clash.  Chester City really did remind me of a miniature version of MCFC the management changes the ownership changes the false dawns the new hopes the shattered dreams.

Club Owner Stephen Vaughan had long since lost fans support, crowds were down to 300-400 in the Conference Premier.  There are various reasons behind this perhaps the biggest was many fans believed the club were being used as a front for some of Liverpool's gangsters.  At first many didn't want to believe or accept it.  Then in 2008 the club held a minutes silence for a "club benefactor" Colin Smith. The press headlines saying "Cocaine King gunned down"  meant the rumours did indeed appear true and that news also marked a decline in Chester City which lead to the relegation to the Conference.  They went into administration and were hit with a 25 point penalty.  Rumours were rife the club was leaking money at an alarming rate.

Then just before an away game in February '10 the players finally had enough after months of not being paid they refused to board the coach to go to Forest Green leading to the game being postponed .  Added to an earlier game being abandoned due to a fans protest pitch invasion,  It was painfully clear the club had zero future.  The fans supporters group CFU (City Fans United) were already making plans for a phoenix club.  This despite being laughed at by Vaughan saying all members were "a bunch of fools in a bingo hall".

So fast forward after March the CFU had enlisted the help of Supporters Direct a group that supports and encourages fan ownership and community involvement.  Along with reps from FCUM AFC Telford and AFC Wimbledon it was made very clear fan ownership and was a very workable option.  It was also very simple anyone could join the CFU and £1 of the membership fee paid for 1 share in the club, renewable each year.

The new club's name was voted on with a return to City's original name Chester Fc being the winner.  Local Graphic designer Martin Huxley designed the clubs crest coming up with a simple yet classic design.
Chester City Council granted the club the lease of the Deva Stadium the club appointed Neil Young as Manager.  The club applied to the FA for placement in the football pyramid. The news came through Chester had been placed in the Northwest Counties League (step 9 ) which was a shock previous phoenix clubs like AFC Halifax Town and AFC Telford starting in step 8 which in Chester's case should have been The Evostick North Division One (Northern Premier League Division One North).  Chester appealed and the FA accepted they had indeed made a mistake.

The season started with a 1-1 draw V Warrington away followed by the clubs first ever league win V Wakefield again away.  The came an unforgettable  Wednesday evening at the newly christened (by sponsorship) Exacta Stadium, Trafford Fc were the first home opponents and were soundly battered 6-0 in front of  over 2,700 (league average is approx 400)
 Half time in the match even saw Chester "sign" Perry Groves and Pat Nevin, no they weren't coming out if retirement it was part of a deal with Radio 5's Colin Murray he would donate £2,00 to Chester if they signed Groves and Nevin and named them as unused subs through out the season.  He even kept listeners of his show updated throughout of Chester's progress.

Crowds were healthy at the Exacta averaging out at over 2,300, the league record was beaten V Bamber Bridge when over 3,300 packed out the ground.  In the end the title did go to Chester but it really was only just 3 points clear with an 8 goal margin over Skelmersdale United going into the last game, Chester lost 2-1 away at Garforth Town while incredibly Skelmersdale did indeed score 7 but already relegated Ossett Albion scored 2 meaning yes Chester were league champions by two goals!
The triumph was bitter sweet you may notice some of the players in the youtube video above wearing t-shirts bearing the face of someone.  That someone was Club Director Richard Wightman a man I had the pleasure of calling a friend for over 12 years, who sadly passed away in January through ill health.  Wheelchair bound all his life he had never let anything get him down despite his health problems his death was a terrible shock and rightly he got a huge turn out as family, friends and supporters paid their final respects.  Seeing his coffin enter Caldy Valley church draped in the clubs flag was unbearable his effort and commitment was key to convincing many disillusioned fans Chester Fc were the real deal and we did indeed have our club back.  The T shirts I mentioned simply showed how much he will be missed with his picture on them taken at the clubs first ever friendly at Colwyn Bay smiling so happy that he had played a part in getting the club started.  R.I.P Rich I will always remember you mate.
12 months on from that Colwyn Bay game the club continues to go from strength to strength season ticket sales are rocketing towards 1,000 the first two friendlies of pre season have attracted crowds of over 1,800 to the Exacta.  It's certainly an exciting time for me being a Manchester City fan and it's also an exciting time for me as a Chester Fc fan the future looks oh so good where as for both teams just a few years ago there the addiction and love for them but little else.  And certainly in Chester's case not bad for a bunch of fools hey Mr Vaughan!

Thursday, 14 July 2011

R.I.P Typical City??

The very successful 2010-2011 season for Manchester City could just have marked the end of what City fans loved to call "typical City".  Well perhaps loved is to strong a phrase, loathed would perhaps be more apt.

So for those who perhaps aren't fully familiar just what is typical City? Well it's best summed up in the roller coaster we call Manchester City and the ability to take one step forward one game only to take 2 backwards the very next.  A classic example would be the 1961 Fa Cup tie V Luton Town, City were 6-2 up when the game was abandoned only to lose the replayed game 3-1

A more recent example would be the 1989 home game V Bournemouth.  All City needed was a win to ensure promotion to the old Division 1 3-0 up and cruising at half time City threw it away and drew 3-3.  That meant fans had to endure a nervy game at Valley Parade V Bradford City where Trevor Morley's late goal gave City the point they needed .

City also hold the dubious record of being the only League Champions to be relegated the very next season. There are numerous examples all of which with gallows humour City fans would always write off as typical City.

Last season marked a change in untypical fashion City qualified for the Champions league in ironic circumstances when Peter Crouch scored an own goal at the same end and virtually the same spot just 12 months earlier he had broken City's hearts.  Then City followed that up with a convincing performance to beat Stoke City and win the FA Cup.  Surely typical City would strike in the last game of the season when all the team had to do was at least equal Arsenals result and they would be automatically on the Champions League group stages.  No they won 2-0 and yes they finished a best ever 3rd in The Premier League.

I've heard people say the film Bluemoon Rising was released a year early it should have been done once we had won something.  My answer hasn't really changed and that is it's fine as it is a tribute to typical City as if you compare 09-10 to 10-11, It does indeed show the bluemoon has indeed been on the rise long may it contine and be a fitting eulogy to "typical City"

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Tevez the puppet?

So Manchester City have received a large bid from Corinthians for the services of want away Carlos Tevez.  If that is indeed the case as "Sky Sources" would have us believe despite being below market value it would remove the chances of in the short term facing him in the Champions League and therefore is certainly worth considering.

But wait why would Corinthians want him back? He went on strike to engineer his move to the UK back in 2006.  Why would they want to risk a heck of a lot of money by Brazilian football standards on a player that has done the dirty on them in the past?

Step forward his agent Kia Joorabchian.  The man who owned Tevez's registration whilst he was in Brazil and whilst he played for both West Ham and Man Utd, and the man who got a substantial cut of the fee when City signed him.

I am utterly convinced this whole saga is down to "Honest Kia" he seems to have the power to manipulate Tevez to do his bidding and Carlos in a misguided sense of loyalty is trying to help his friend.  A move to Brazil would open it up so "Honest Kia" could once again hold a share of his registration so his biggest cash cow will once again be earning him a nice little income.

What basis is there for my feelings?  I honestly question if Tevez is the brightest academically in 5 years he has failed to master English when you compare that to fellow Argentina international and Blue Pablo Zabaleta who is fluent despite being in the Country a full 2 years less.

Tevez always appears a little awkward when interviewed not fully comfortable.  I started thinking something wasn't quite right when I took Connor to a fans forum and Tevez was there with Kolo Toure.  Kolo walked in on his own Tevez turned up with a large group in tow tow admittedly two were his brothers, but who were the others?   Why did he need so many when he was meeting fans who were fast falling in love with him.

Something just doesn't sit right with this whole saga yes Tevez may well be unsettled with life in England and because of this want to move.  But my gut feeling honestly is there is much more to it than an unsettled player whom just a few weeks ago it was announced was happy to stay with City.  "Honest Kia" can say what he likes but for me he is like a puppeteer controlling Tevez and getting him to do and say exactly what benefits Joorachian the most instead of what is best for Carlos.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Top NBA Star to the Cheshire Jets??

We've heard the stories in the past regarding footballers conning clubs to get contracts the most infamous incident being Ali Dia who turned out once for Southampton in 1996 after a person claiming to be George Weah recommended him, he came on as a sub and was subbed himself just a few minutes later when reality set in with the Southampton Bench.

Now imagine a top NBA player like LA Lakers Ron "Metta World Peace" Artest showing an interest in playing for Cheshire Jets. Yes I'm serious yes this might well be happening!

How has it this situation come about? well basically there is the very real threat there won't be an NBA season this year due to ongoing wrangles this has left players looking for games whilst the situation is resolved.  Artest via his twitter page indicated he might well like to try the BBL (British Basketball League)  The Jets have moved quickly establishing dialogue with the player and Artest seems keen to come over.

So what awaits him well having played regular games in front of nearly 19,000 at the Staples Centre    The Northgate Arena holding approximately 1,200 will certainly be a huge difference!  Artest though to his credit appears to have done some background checks saying on his twitter he would come to England knowing there won't be much financial gain for him...or will there?  He is a well know celebrity in the USA on TV and even released rap records.
This move could benefit Artest if he want's to further his other interests by breaking into the UK market, as well as being a huge boost to the BBL which only returned to Sky Sports last season, just a few appearances by Artest in a Jets Kit could be huge for all the clubs generating interest and possibly commercial partners.  I sincerely hope Jets owner Peter Hawkins and Coach Paul Smith pull this off.

In a sensational update The Chester Chronicle has reported Artest has agreed to the deal and will head to the UK to finalise the move.

Why do other clubs want the Etihad deal investigated?

The press have been full of stories claiming other clubs are asking for the Manchester City-Etihad deal investigated.  True they may claim unfair on the basis that the Mansour family are on the board of Etihad but there is a lot more to it than simply that.

Take Barcelona they will this season have a shirt sponsor in the Qatar Foundation.   They always have proudly stated they won't have a shirt why the change?  The BBC report in that link points out that Barca were over £300 million in debt in '09-10.  They even last summer had to get a loan to pay the players wages.

Real Madrid weren't much better a little under £300 million in debt .  Then of course there is our arch rivals from Trafford.  Despite making huge operating profits their parent companies debt climbs year on year.

Perhaps Italian football is in better shape?  Ok perhaps not both Milans are in debt despite recent success domestically and in Europe.
No wonder they are crying for UEFA to investigate the deal they are all terrified they won't meet the criteria of the new fair play rules.  It's pure bitterness of course the Mansour connection at Etihad helps but they have committed to a lot of different sports teams and venues around the world they wouldn't do it if it didn't make sense to their business plans.

Perhaps the best example is that Barca shirt deal for £25 million a year.  If the Etihad deal is as now reported is £400 million over 10 years is that bad value for shirt sponsorship stadium sponsorship and "campus" sponsorship?  The Bluemoon is rising and it's making the old guard panic.