Monday, 30 July 2007

A Blast From The Past

Every season, Dave and Sue run a predictions competition, where entrants have to predict players sent off, goalscorers, relegated teams, City’s finishing position and lots more.

So, in order to help you make some of your selections, I have analysed the previous ten seasons to come up with some suggestions and predictions of my own.

***

Who will score the first goal of this season and when will it be scored?

Well, looking at the previous seasons, I know who my money’s on.

In the last 10 years, the opening goals have been scored by strikers in 60% of the seasons (Goater – 1998/99, Wanchope – 2000/01, Goater – 2001/02, Huckerby – 2002/03, Anelka – 2003/04 and Folwer 2004/05). 30% falls to midfielders (Horlock – 1999/2000, Barton – 2005/06 and 2006/07) and just 10% to defenders (Wiekens – 1997/98). For this reason, it is sensible to assume a striker will score and, looking at our current squad, realistically it has to be Mpenza or Bianchi.

But when will he score it? In the last 10 years, it has never taken any City player longer than 3 league games to score. The majority (50%) have been scored in the opening game, but we’re not looking at a majority on this one. Averaged out over 10 years, the opening goal should be scored after 1.7 games.

My Prediction: Man City opening goalscorer will be Emile Mpenza and he will score in the second half in the home game with Derby County.

***

Who will score City’s first penalty of the coming season?

Looking back over the last ten seasons, City have scored at least one penalty per season. 60% have been converted by midfielders (Kinkladze – 1997/98, Horlock – 1998/99 – 2000/01, Barton – 2005/06 and 2006/07), 30% by strikers (all Anelka – 2002/03 – 2004/05) and 10% by defenders (Pearce – 2001/02).

Logic should dictate that it will be another midfielder that scores, but looking at our current squad, I’m not sure who our best penalty taker will be. There could be some guesswork involved in this prediction.

When will this penalty be scored, though? Well, if we average out the first penalty conversions throughout the last ten years, it is likely to be scored after 12.6 games.

My Prediction: The first Man City penalty scored next season will be converted by Fernandez and will be scored in the second half of the away game with Portsmouth (on my birthday).

***

Which City player will put in the most man-hours next season?

That is to say, which of the blues’ squad will make the most number of starts next season (and how many will they make).

Judging off past seasons, 50% of the players with the most starts are defenders (Kit Symons, Tiatto, Dunne (2) and Distin), followed by 40% on the goalkeeping front (Weaver (2), James (2)). Bringing up the rear with the final 10% is Nicolas Anelka and the strikers.

With the most likely position to be a defender, it seems obvious who I am going to guess at, but how many starts will he make?

50% of the players with the most starts were ever-presents that season. The other 50% were close to it – Symons missing 5 games in 1997/98, Weaver missing 3 in 1998/99 and only 1 in 1999/2000, Tiatto missing 6 in 2000/01 and Dunne missing 3 in 2001/02.

This means that the average number of games missed by the player with the most starts over the last ten seasons is just 1.8.

My Prediction: The Man City player with the most starts next season will be club captain Richard Dunne and he will play 37 league games.

***

There are many more predictions that can be made off the back of the last ten seasons, but if you want to see how the science says this season will pan out, who will be sent off first and who will be the leading scorer, then you'll just have to buy King of the Kippax 152.

David Mooney

Friday, 13 July 2007

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Thursday, 5 July 2007

I'M NOT SELLING

I`ve been a subscriber to KOTK for a few years now, and a City fan since 1962, and I`ll definitely be City till I die, despite the many downs and a few ups we`ve had over the years. I`ve also been a City shareholder for 7 years (so I`ve lost a lot of money on them.....)

However, I can`t support the current takeover bid, and I will not be selling my couple of thousand shares, although I doubt it will make a difference to the outcome.

The Premiership is all about money. Coaches and team owners are convinced that success is directly correlated to wages, and buying players is critical, so good ones get bid sky high. Gate receipts and TV money are just swallowed these days and ever demanding fans and managements want more and more money, and don`t care where it comes from. So we`ve seen Russian oligarchs who mostly benefitted hugely from political favours, Americans who have borrowed to the hilt to produce balance sheets so fragile that most regular businesses with this level of risk would never last five minutes with, Owners cynically taking their club into administration, leaving creditors with 1p in the pound, and then buying back from the Administrator in a cosy deal that even seems to have excluded other, higher, offers.

I love to watch football, but I do have a few moral guidelines as well, and now we have the prospect of a deposed Prime Minister, who made huge sums from Government deals with his own family, who appears to have had a policy of shooting suspected criminals rather than bring them to court, and who dare not return to his own country. Never mind that he was deposed in a military coup, that is relatively normal in Thailand, there were several in the 90`s,and the Generals will always respect the country`s King. Mr Shinawatra looks like damaged goods, and heaven knows what happens if all his money is frozen, or he is extradited and banged up in Thailand. There is one short sentence in the offer document saying that investment bank Seymour Pierce has satisfied themselves there is money to settle the offer in full. Not, you notice, money to meet the promised £50m for players, which as far as I can see is not mentioned anywhere in the document, so there must be a real risk that that money might not materialise.

Now we have statements from City officials saying small shareholders should accept the offer as quickly as possible, so the club must also be worried that the money will suddenly evaporate.

Well, much as City desperately need money, like all the other "chasing pack" clubs, so that they can aspire to 5th or 6th place, I am afraid that I do not support the view that we should just take money from anywhere, no matter where it comes from. I will keep my shares, I will continue to support City, but I am totally depressed at the culture in the premiership of ever more demands for money, and no questions about where it might have come from,

Graham Wood

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

GUT FEELINGS

I thought I’d share with you some of the gut feelings I’ve experienced over the years re turning points /milestones at City, off the top of my head :

1) 1960 Denis Law coming – danced in the street

2) 1963 - George Poyser taking over – time to pack it in

3) 1965 - Joe and Malcolm coming - highly optimistic

4) 1967 – Franny coming – fantastic, legendary tales from Bolton, last piece in the jigsaw

5) 1971 - Joe going, very sad

6) 1972 Rodney Marsh coming – icing on the cake, 4 goals in 7 appearances proved it

7) 1973 - Malcolm going – non-plussed

8) 1973 - Johnny Hart as manager – worried

9) 1973 – Ron Saunders coming – optimistic

10) 1974 Ron Saunders going – pessimistic

11) 1974 - Tony Book taking over – comforting

12) 1974 - Franny Lee going – best for player and club

13) 1975 - Rodney Marsh going - as it turned out I never thought we’d win anything with Rod in the team

14) 1979 – Malcolm’s return – ecstatic

15) 1980 – Owen, Barnes, Hartford, Watson, etc going – what the eff is going on, madness

16) 1980 – Shinton, Lee, Daley, Robinson, Stepanovic coming in – interesting

17) 1980 – Robinson going, disappointed, wrote to him and suggested he’d score 20 goals for Brighton, which he did.

18) 1980 - Allison going – relief, sad for Tony

19) 1980 - John Bond coming – delighted

20) 1981 - Trevor Francis coming – skipped all the way to Stoke

21) 1982 - Trevor Francis going – thought we’d get relegated. I remember Swales saying in the November when we were second “people thought we’d struggle, but we’re doing OK”

22) John Bond “far too good to get relegated” going, timing was wrong

23) 1983 - John Benson – coming in – convinced we’d get relegated

24) 1985 - Billy McNeill coming in - fairly happy, would have preferred the Doc.!

25) 1987 - Billy NcNeill going, Jimmy Frizz coming in – cheap option

26) 1988 - Mel Machin coming in – great record as a coach so wait and see

27) 1989 - Machin going – Kendall coming in, exciting

28) 1990 - Kendall going - apoplectic

29) 1990 - Reid coming in – only possible decision

30) 1993 - New Platt Lane stand – now convinced that Swales must go

31) 1993 - Reid going, Maddocks/Horton coming in – what the eff is going on

32) 1993 - Forward with Franny – We were told by a source ‘close to Francis Lee’ “there’s more money than you could ever imagine” so we campaigned on his behalf. But the big money wasn’t there.

33) 1995 - Horton out – a farce, Franz Beckenbauer was mentioned – but we got Alan Ball – suicidal (Martin O’Neill was available, David Pleat even) but we backed him nevertheless

34) 1996 - Ball out – inevitable, but sad because it was yet another failure.

35) 1996 – Hartford caretaker, Bassett turned us down at the 11th hour until Coppell took over. Thought it was a good appointment, but he resigned when he found out that, despite promises, no money was available, and Bassett had been tipped off to this.

36) 1996 – Phil Neal caretaker, until Frank Clark took over. Relieved at Frank Clark, even though he’d failed at Forest, more in desperation than anything else.

37) 1998 – Clark out – he was clueless, and Franny out also as we headed for division three, after Dante’s ‘Free The 30,000 campaign – Bernstein/Royle in – time for a complete overhaul

38) 2001 – Royle out, Keegan in – thought Royle had to go, but would have preferred Moyes to Keegan. I said on TV that he wouldn’t see out his 5 year contract. He didn’t.

39) 2003 – Fowler in/Bernstein out/Wardle in – I really did feel that John Wardle would continue the good work - assumed, wrongly, that they'd checked that Fowler was fit.

40) 2003 – Move to Eastlands – definitely in favour, but were we told we’d be required to spend £25M or so to fit it out? We could have put up 2 new stands at Maine Road for that price, and extended the Platt Lane. But did we REALLY have an option?

41) 2005 – Keegan looking as though he’d lost the plot before the Palace away game, and I said so. I was annihilated on the message boards. We went out of the cup at Oldham in January, and even the die-hard City fans and message board reactionaries realised he was on his way.

42) 2005 – Anelka went – disappointed, to be honest, where would we have been without his goals, and he NEVER missed a penalty.

43) 2005 – Pearce in – he surprised us all with his results in the last 8 games – won 4, drawn 3 lost 1. The obvious choice for new manager.

44) 2005 – SWP sold – I thought it was a very dangerous game, likened it to 1983 when we sold Trevor, gates went down by 7,000, and we were relegated. Didn’t think we’d get relegated this season but we’d struggle and there wouldn’t be any excitement. Oh, and the money wasn’t invested.

42) Live For City and Real City campaign, I thought the timing was bad, after the Doncaster defeat, and was critical. They dropped ‘Real City’ but the ‘Live For City’has proved a winner.

41) 2006 – A poor season, lost ten out of the last eleven games, but the Board didn’t panic, didn’t get investment, and didn’t get Martin O’Neill. So a dire struggle predicted.

42) 2006 – Joey Barton – I thought that we should give him the money and sell him on later for at least £8M.

42) 2006 - Pearce’s decision to leave out Micah Richards in the Youth Cup final first leg, infuriated me. If he’d played at Liverpool we may have got a better result, added 10,000 to the gate for the second leg, and the game at West Ham was unimportant, and we lost anyway- all ends up.

45) 2007 – A dreadful season, as predicted – stayed up by having some good Christmas results and rare away wins, plus three or four teams being even worse than us. I criticised Pearce for the under 21 situation in January, and thought it was time he went.

44) 2007 – I criticised the time the proposed takeover was taking – seven months since it was first announced before the AGM last December. Questioned the credibility of Thaksin, and criticised the proposed move for Sven. Gut feeling - excitement to start with then the reality, which might not match expectations.

Anyone any other 'milestones' to add to this list?

The Takeover
A document popped through the door last week supposedly informing me, as a shareholder, of the takeover situation. No covering letter, no form to fill in advising how to give up our shares. No useful information whatsoever. Typical City.
Then this week another document landed, this time covering most of the above.
This was followed by the anticipated phone call asking if I was going to complete the form in favour of selling.
I asked if the £50million 'transfer kitty' was a gift or a loan from Thaksin, but the representative on the phone did not know.


People have been ringing up asking what’s going on, questions like :

1) What other bids were received, eg Ranson’s, and 'The Americans', whoever they are?
2) Why is the Thaksin bid considered the most suitable?
3) Was the £80 odd million and 40p a share price the best price and why?
4) Is the £50M transfer kitty a gift, or does it have to be repaid?
5) City fans bought shares not for financial reasons but to have a little stake in the club, but nevertheless why should they sell at 40p a share when they bought, thousands in some cases, at £1 a share?
6) Why was the initial document such a rambling statement of the obvious, rather than a source of information and advice?
7) Why are the Board recommending that we sell?
8) Why wasn’t our ‘manageable’ debt manageable?
9) Why is the lady from the share company (?) ringing up shareholders asking them what they’re doing?
10) Why is the deadline mid July – they’ve had 7 months to decide, shareholders have had a few weeks and many will be going on holiday now, if not already.
11) Why is the very regime which got us into this mess being retained?
12) Why was the £10million the board borrowed at Christmas not used in the transfer window?

Most of my gut feelings in the past turned out to be well founded.
Hope my gut feelings today are proved to be wrong, but fear they won't.
Dave

Please post your opinions.

FAIRY DUST DELUSION

On 25th June Parliament debated the foreign ownership of clubs. Our new man was branded ‘unsavoury’ by Labour MP David Taylor, Leicestershire North West, who asked “Will you say what protections, for instance, the Manchester City supporters have against the attentions of the unsavoury Thaksin Shinawatra or is it forever the fate of football fans to be fleeced by flaky foreign financiers?” (a fellow member of the alliteratives alliance – allegedly).
As far as I’m aware, no input from the supposed City supporting MP’s. Ivan Lewis, Paul Goggins, where are you? Let’s be having you!.... Give us your views. Should we be concerned, should we be welcoming, or is it a case of shades of grey? Your silence is deafening.
But not so the many City fans who are going happy clappy, as epitomised by this quote on the Bluemoon website “We can start laughing at other people as we rise up the Premiership”.
In reality this money is first an foremost to keep us afloat, and principally to reduce the risk of relegation. No sudden upward trajectory. Success will be defined as another year in the Premiership.
In case some Blues haven’t noticed, other ‘sleeping’ clubs are gearing up as well, and not one is going to stand aside just to let the Blue maestros of underachievement come powering past. Body piercing parlours in and around Manchester must be doing brisk business, as so many blinkered Blues will be going for nose rings, so eager are they to be led by the proboscis, thai-ed with no questions asked, to a string of fairy dust delusion. ROB DUNFORD

[Almost a done deal now, so we will have little choice, if we are to remain faithful to the Blue cause, but to support the new regime. Personally I wish I hadn't already bought my season ticket, or enrolled my grandson into 'Live4City'. I once heard of a disgruntled workforce opting for 'working without enthusiasm' rather than taking strike action. That's what my support will feel like from now on - supporting without enthusiasm. Maybe Mr Shinwatra (can't call him 'Frank' - it gives him a friendly aura I can't comply with) will be proved to be a generous benefactor, wrongly maligned by his critics, and maybe Mr Eriksson will prove to be a man of honour, enlightenment and a football genius. Maybe not. - Sue
Tell us what YOU think]

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Boston Pops for Sierra Leone

On Wednesday, the CBS affiliate in Boston - WBZ (Channel 4) - will broadcast the annual 4th of July concert featuring the Boston Pops at 8:00 pm. There will be a one-hour preview show at 7:00 pm called "The American Spirit" that will be hosted by Paula Ebben and Scott Wahle.

One of the segments of the show will feature our donation drive to collect used soccer (football) gear for the youth and adult players in Sierra Leone, West Africa. This is a very exciting development for our effort!

If you are in the Boston area, I encourage you to watch this special. Thanks again to all of you who have been so remarkably generous with donations. Hopefully, I'll be able to travel to Sierra Leone before the end of the year to deliver the gear in person.

Best regards,
George Cuddy
Chairman
Red, White and Sky Blues
Manchester City FC Centenary Supporters Association
USA Branch
617.893.0292
http://www.myspace.com/mcfc_csa_usa