Friday, 27 February 2009

This week

Copenhagen, home, well, overall a good performance, and what a bargain Craig Bellamy is turning out to be. OK we should have scored more, and it was disappointing to let a last minute one in at the end (just for a change!) but it’s the result that counts in the Cup, and we’re now into the last sixteen. Poor crowd again on a rotten night though – even my son couldn’t be ‘arsed’ – kids eh! So far we’ve been happy just to experience the away trips but now it’s getting a little bit serious. Aalborg next so who knows, good job we saved our Krone leftovers eh!In answer to tony's query, no i don't think we've played em before - that was Elsborg under Billy Mac. but we did play a Danish team called Alborgand Aallorg in 1949 in a friendly winning 5-1!
Tonights programme had a lovely shot of John Leigh’s mob in the Bloomday’s bar, including Neil Shaw who I forgot to mention was in our party on the trip and had just set John's son Alex on at his firm, so first meeting of the two, and thanks to John for sending that photo in.
Milan went out, so KAKA must be really pissed off that he didn’t join us. Also noticed that Spurs and Villa were criticised for playing weakened teams, but little praise for City taking the competition seriously. Fancy that! On Sunday we’ve got the ‘ammers away at 12.30, here’s the’It’s a Fix’ extract……

Last promotion was in 2005, so this is their third season back, and how lucky were they in 2007 to stay up? No league titles and last F.A. Cup in 1980
Most recent connection: Craig Bellamy
Big name supporter : Russell Brand, Ray Winstone

Zola’s squad includes : Green, Upson, Collins, Neill, Parker, Collison, llunga, Behrami, Cole, Noble, Di Michele, Boa Morte, Spector, Lopez…..
Ins : None
Outs: Lee Bowyer to Birmingham on loan, Widdowson to Grimsby on loan, Etherington to Stoke for £3M, Reid to Wolves on loan, Bellamy to City for £14M, Quashie to Wolves on loan, Mullins to Pompey for ?, Faubert to Real Madrid on loan,

This season so far : We kickstarted our season with the 3-0 home win in August, goals coming from Sturridge in the 65th minute, and Elano in the 70th and 76th minutes. Noble was sent off after half an hour, and Richards stretchered off after a clash of heads with Ben Haim. Maybe that affected future performances, who knows? Anyway it led to ten minutes of extra time but it was a comfy win for us and probably saw off Curbishley as manager.
Currently they’re in 9
h place with 33 points from 24 games and six wins one draw and six losses at home. A win could take us abovre them and Fulham.
They went out of the League Cup at Watford, and in the F.A Cup they’ve just lost at ‘Boro in the 5th round replay so let’s hope they’re down in the dumps and don’t take it out on us.

Our form at West Ham: On the opening day of last season we had that wonderful 2-0 win at Upton Park, Bianchi netting in the18th minute and Geovanni wrapping it up in the 87th. 34,921 (2,869 Blues). That was only our second win in the last eight visits. In the third round of the cup we came away with a 0-0 draw 33,806 (3,858 Blues), winning the replay 1-0.
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Upton Park Capacity : 35,146 (3,000+for City
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Groundwise: Same again at Upton Park, or is it now The Boleyn Ground? We’re in the left hand side of the Centenary stand.
Not as intimidating since they built the new main stand, with the pitch not as close to the crowd as it used to be, and no sign yet of the stand to our left being replaced.

Comment : If there’s a club as daft as us it’s The ‘Ammers and that’s a fact. Still in turmoil in the boardroom with Icelandic owners, the Tevez affair not going away, regular sacking of managers, plus still selling off their best players, though the £12m we gave em for Bellamy has helped, makes the running of City look like that of a well oiled machine. They’ve also got Chelsea, Spurs and Arsenal to put up with, not quite as bad as the rags but not far off.
Still, they’re doing OK this season, but still chance of a rare away result for us, maybe, possibly, hopefully….

Stats : 16 pre-war, and 65 post make it our 82nd league meeting and down there it’s : Played 32 won 9 drawn 6 lost 17
WWTWTWShite : Averaged 17,679 in 55/56, so not bad.
Their current home average att : 33,463
Away day zines : On the Terraces, Over Land and Sea, Knees Up Mother Brown
The Steve Parish Routemaster/pubs/parking :
M6, M1, M25 to jn 27, M11 (London NE) to end of M11 and onto A406 North Circular (the left lane). Continue past A12 and A118 junctions and take left slip to A124 roundabout, 4th exit into A124 London Road (heading for London). Ground is a mile on right (Priory Road).
Park up? No obvious places to park up and come in by train. Upton Park station is on District Line. M25 jn 29 then A127 toward Romford, and second left to Upminster (station car park, then 20 mins to Upton Park, £4.30 return).
Pubs : Tricky, The Boleyn Tavern, Millers Well, Denmark Arms
Parking : On the street. Bugger to get away from!
Sat Nav : E13 9AZ

Were all going on a Turkish Holiday?

Well done to City for progressing to the last 16 of the UEFA Cup. With all the English teams out and David Beckham's AC Milan out of the Cup, we will never be in with a better chance of reaching a major final. In reality, I know they are only teasing us like they have done in the FA Cup in recent years. Anyway, I looked up our next opponents on t'internet and found out the following.
A group of English engineers, who built the Jutland railway system, were responsible for the establishment of Aalborg Boldspilklub in 1885. A man called Nick was the Founding President of the club. The club began life with cricket, not football. Initially, it was named Aalborg Cricketklub and changed its name to Aalborg Boldklub (Aalborg Ballclub) in 1899. Certain amateur players began playing football in 1902, and this grew to be a major sport in the club. Ultimately, the name was changed to Aalborg Boldspilklub af 1885 in 1906. In 1987, the club founded a professional branch of AaB A/S to run a professional football team. A group of English engineers, who built the Jutland railway system, were responsible for the establishment of Aalborg Boldspilklub in 1885. A man called Nick was the Founding President of the club. The club began life with cricket, not football. Initially, it was named Aalborg Cricketklub and changed its name to Aalborg Boldklub (Aalborg Ballclub) in 1899. Certain amateur players began playing football in 1902, and this grew to be a major sport in the club. Ultimately, the name was changed to Aalborg Boldspilklub af 1885 in 1906. In 1987, the club founded a professional branch of AaB A/S to run a professional football team. A group of English engineers, who built the Jutland railway system, were responsible for the establishment of Aalborg Boldspilklub in 1885. A man called Nick was the Founding President of the club. The club began life with cricket, not football. Initially, it was named Aalborg Cricketklub and changed its name to Aalborg Boldklub (Aalborg Ballclub) in 1899. Certain amateur players began playing football in 1902, and this grew to be a major sport in the club. Ultimately, the name was changed to Aalborg Boldspilklub af 1885 in 1906. In 1987, the club founded a professional branch of AaB A/S to run a professional football team.

I wont bore you with the rest as there is nothing you can't look up yourself via the net, but on the section that lists the clubs greatest achievements, a win over Tottenham, draws with Sampdoria, Anderlech, Porto and Auxerre appear to be their biggest European successes. Lets hope that City don't allow them to add to that list. Does anyone know if we have played them before. I half expect to read that they were fodder in a pre season friendly in the McNeill days.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

this week

This week
At O/T Ronaldo should have been sent off before scoring the winner and Blackburn had a stonewall penalty turned down, surprise, surprise, by Howard Webb. How long can this continue to carry on? No wonder everyone hates them.
Liverpool away – did you find it difficult to park? All the side streets were residents only? Walked past a betting shop with three full size Manu player posters in the window. IN LIVERPOOL for fucks sake. Still if Old Trafford can have the Liverpool Warehouse…. it was a decent day. Paul Tyrrell said hello but wouldn’t admit to who he was supporting today! Great performance from the boys and a deserved draw, and so nearly a win. Sadly some Blues around us in the ground delighted in some racist abuse but a few quiet words from Sue seemed to make the penny drop and they became very apologetic. Said hello to Mark Lillis on the way out. Neil thinks that SWP is a spent force, well his time at Chelsea hasn’t improved him despite us being told he is a better player for that experience. Let's hope we see a return to his old form when he's back from suspension.
ManuMirror continued its disgraceful City coverage, Alan Nixon this time, referring to Eastlands as the Theatre Of Sniggers, and Hughes being under intense pressure … only City could make a mess of being the richest club in the world etc etc….why are such twats allowed to get away with it?
Anyway, Copenhagen again tonight, and we should be good enough to win the tie after slipping up a bit last week. Let’s hope for a good crowd and performance to match.
Dave

Saturday, 21 February 2009

this week

This week
Managed to see the Tom Stoppard play ‘Rock’n Roll’ at the Library Theatre. It’s a bit highbrow and it’s not about rock ‘n roll but there is a music theme which tries to convince us that Pink Floyd have been crap since Syd left which is fanciful, but bollocks of course!

Copenhagen. Early start. Airport at 5am for 7am flight. Bar packed at 5.30am and ale flowing freely! I am indebted here to John Leigh and his bro-in-law Craig for helping me with a fanzine delivery to the Norwegians in the Bloomsday’s bar in Copenhagen. Thomas Cook flight arrived roughly on time and there was plenty of snow around. Coach dropped us off in the middle of the city and we wended our way to Bloomsday’s, meeting up with Tor and the Norwegians, who duly received their KK’s. Tor produces a tremendous supporters magazine if you ever get chance to grab a copy, but it’s mostly in Norwegian! Big Alan P was in there too and we did visit a few other bars which were bulging with familiar Blues. I do find it funny that Blues you meet home and away with a wink and a nod are greeted like long lost relatives when we’re abroad, which is nice! We all do it. Why is that?
Anyway, off to the match and inside the ground without incident. Thought we had the beating of them so it was disappointing (as MH says after every draw or defeat) to say the least, that we finished up with a ‘Desmond’ It felt like a defeat. Why can’t we take a corner? And why can’t we defend one, or score a headed goal?
So it was a long haul back. Delays at the Airport to de-ice the wings, and had to circle Manchester for a while whilst they finished a job on the runway, obviously united fans, and we couldn’t use the second runway due to weather conditions, though it wasn’t even snowing.
So it was a 24 hour day, pretty tiring but enjoyable and I didn’t see any trouble.
Headline in the ManUMirror was “ Spurs and City UEFA agony’ This translates into Spurs lost 2-0 and we drew 2-2. David Anderson’s report includes the line ‘the World’s richest club’. so look out for that one again when we whip someones arse, again, but don’t place any bets This means a 0-0 or 1-1 draw will do next week, but surely we can do better than that, brace yourselves for extra time and penalties! Aalborg won their first leg game 3-0 so it looks like we could be off to Denmark again…….if……..
Sunday we’ve got Liverpool, so three easy points eh? Here’s the It’s A Fix extract : -
Rafael Benitez squad includes : Reina, Carragher, Skirtel, Dossena, Alonso, Mascherano, Arbeloa, Riera, Torres, Kuyt, Benayoun (Alice Cooper lookalike) Cavalieri, Babel, Hypia, Gerrard, Agger (dooo doo doo),
Ins : None
Outs : Hammill to Barnsley on loan, Keane to Spurs for £15M?

This season so far : In October at COMS we went into a two goal lead playing wonderful football through Ireland on 18 minutes and Garrido’s free kick in the 41st. ‘Pool pulled one back through Torres in the 55rd minute, then Zabaleta was red carded for a challenge on Alonso. Torres got his second on 73 minutes, Skirtel should have been sent off for kicking Jo in the back and was then stretchered off injured. Kuyt, who’d slagged us off midweek inevitably got their winner in the last minute, which was cruel considering our first half performance.
Currently they’re second with 54 points from 25 games and 7 wins 5 draws and no losses at home. They went out of the League Cup at Spurs, face Real Madrid in the Champs League, and have just lost to Everton in a 4th round replay at Goodison.

Our form at ‘Pool: At Anfield last April it was a 1-0 loss Torres scoring for them in the 57th minute whilst we never looked remotely like scoring, as the Sven protests rang out. 43,074 (3,000 Blues) Remember the chant from a couple of seasons ago? “We all agree, Barton is better than Gerrard” Well KK subscriber Ross Bullock suggests that since his night club incident Gerrard is better than Barton – off the field!
Only 1 win (2-1 in 02/03) in the last 10 visits, 3 draws prior to that.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------Anfield : Capacity : 45,362 (3,000 for City)
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Groundwise : This is (the same old) Anfield. We’ll be behind the goal on the rhs. Poor view at the back of the stand. Stewards stop zine sellers inside the ground, and Police stop us outside?!
Tickets £38

Comment : Still turmoil after the euphoria of the Yanks, Gillett and Hicks taking over who now don’t speak and want out, but Dubai say they aren’t interested and the new stadium ‘s miles away.
They looked to be putting in a decent challenge for the title this year but have fallen away after Benitez had a little rant plus they sold Keane back to Spurs. It’s almost twenty years since Hillsborough, so respect.

Stats: 64 pre-war and 81 post-war make it our 146th league meeting and P/W over there it’s :
Played: 40 Won 5 Drawn 8 Lost 27
Their current average home attendance : 43,557
WWTWTWShite : Av’d 22,742 in 1931/32
Away day Zines : Red all Over the Land, The Liverpool Way.
Route/parking : A 580 for us, turn left at Everton, park where you can, take out your radio and remove wheel trims?!
Pub : The Arkles
Sat Nav : L4 0TH

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

This week

This week
Well, as I said, I couldn’t make Pompey, owing to wedding duties, and to rub it in the bride’s mother (sister-in-law) said “haven’t City got a game today” So I probably wouldn’t have been missed!” I relied on Burfield’s texts and nipped out to listen to the post match reaction on Radio Manc in the car. Suppose I should have known better than to hope for a result. A win? A draw even? Thanks again to Steve and Sean for selling KK 167. Saw most of the game on the box later, and whilst we looked in control we hardly won a 50/50, the first goal came from our weak left side again, and the second from a header from a corner, again. Hard luck on Ched though.
If I had gone I think I would have been pretty annoyed so I didn’t miss much in the end, but those fans who made the trip deserved better. As for the Brazilians, it looks like they just want to go through the motions with City and turn it on for Brazil.
Anyway it’s off to Copenhagen tomorrow and we are owed a decent performance. The Copenhagen boss, Stale (?) Solbakken, has obviously been asked if City are destroying football by The ManUMirror in particular, and naturally he agrees that we are. Would he turn down a £30M bid for one of his star players? No chance.
Apparently the meeting places are The Irish Rover, or Bloomsday's on Niels Hemmingsens Gade 32, where Tor and the Norwegian Blues will be staked out. Here’s the It’s A Fix extract :

Oh Manchester, is wonderful, oh Manchester is wonderful, full of T*ts, F**ny and City, oh Manchester is wonderful, so what’s so wonderful about Copenhagen? It’ll be interesting to see if it matches up!

They were formed in 1992 as F.C. Copenhagen when the two existing clubs from the city merged - Kjobenhauns BoldKclub (KB) (formed1876), and Boldkaubben (formed (1903)
Since then they’ve won the title 6 times and the cup 3 times.
Outstanding performances in Europe have been in the Cup Winners Cup in 1999 when they lost to Chelsea 0-0 away and 0-1 at home, Brian Laudrop scoring that goal who later joined F.C Copenhagen. In the 2006 Champions League they beat united 1-0 at home.
This season in the UEFA they’ve seen off Cliftonville 11-0 on aggregate, beat Lillestrom and F.C. Moscow, lost 1-0 at home to St Etienne, drawn 1-1 with Valencia, 1-1 with Rosenburg, and beaten Club Bruges 1-0 away .
Previous managers have included Roy Hodgson and Hans Backe.
They’re ranked as the 77th best club in Europe
Ground is the Parken Stadium, approx 25 minutes by road from the airport also the home of the Danish National team, built in 1992. It’s current capacity is 34, 098 which will rise to 38,000 when the new D stand, under construction, is completed.
They have a fan club known as FC Kobenhaun (FCKKFC - no U!) which has 20,000 members. They have groups known as The Urban Crew, Copenhagen Casuals, and Copenhagen Cooligans, (but no Fu*kers!) who frequent the C stand lower and the B stand lower known as the atmospheric stand.
European colours are all white for home games and all Mayo Blue for aways though their third kit is all orange.
They averaged over 10,000 for the first time in 1997/98 but reached 23,795 in 2006/07.
Their record attendance was 41, 201 v local suburban rivals Brondby in 2006.
In the league after 17 games they were second, two points behind Brondby who had 39 points, and 6 points ahead of 4th place F. C. Midtjylland.
Still playing for them is ex Blue Niclas Jensen.
City haven’t played F.C. Copenhagen before, but have played a Copenhagen X1 in 1937/38 on tour winning 4-1 twice and 8-0 but drawing 3-3 and losing 2-1 in 1948/49.
City did also play in Copenhagen against Gornik Zabre at their old ground in the 1971 European Cup Winners Cup 3rd round replay winning 3-1 with goals from Young, Booth and Lee before 12,100,
Parken Stadium : Capacity : 34,098 (1900 for City)
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Tickets are £30. Entry is through entrance 11, two turnstiles into a sterile search area then up five flights of stairs, to the upper tier of A stand into unreserved seats!!
Refreshment area is small, there’s no beer only soft drinks. There will be no programmes but there is a club shop and currency is Danish Krone. It’ll be cold!Sounds delightful!

Finally I notice that a rag has infiltrated the blog. Why are they so obsessed with City? And what wit. Cock must stay, absolutely hilarious. No wonder everyone hates ‘em
Cheers
Dave

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Things that make you go Hmmm

Now let's see, just after former Brazillian coach "Big" Phil Scolari gets sacked, our two Brazillian stars put on an exhibition of samba football against Italy in a friendly. Three days later they are so annonymous against Portsmouth that Collymore, when asked to rate Robinho's performance out of ten, gave him nought. Coincidence or are they trying to orchestrate Hughes' sacking with "Big" Phil as the replacement? I have criticised Hughes in the past, but he doesn't deserve that.

Friday, 13 February 2009

This week

Boro, then, early kick off, another one, and another cold one, and a needed win. great debut by Shay Given
It was, of course, fanzine weekend here at KK towers. Finished at 3am, then off to the printers on Tuesday morning., before a routine visit to the eye hospital
In the week we had the Internationals, with Elano and Robinho starring for Brazil, no wonder Robbie didn’t fancy it last Saturday then, saving himself? England lost in Spain where SWP did OK. Need to catch up on our other boys.
Thursday we attended an exhibition of Ben Kelly’s artistry on City which is good stuff, out of fan’s reach financially though, so we await the availability of prints.
Pleased to say that the zine is now out and in Urbis and Areef’s on the High Street and in the old Needbest kiosk, corner of Market Street and Cross Street. 52 pages for £2.50, hope you like it.
Tomorrow it’s Pompey again. Can’t go owing to having to attend a bloody wedding, Steve and Sean have kindly volunteered to sell down there for us , so be nice to them! Here’s the It’s a Fix extract :
Squad includes : James, Campbell, Distin, Johnson, Mullins, Basinas, Davis, Belhadj, Gekas, Crouch, A. Traore, Kranjcar, Hreidarsson, Nugent, Utaka, Kanu, Lauren, Pamarot, Pennant….
Ins : Belhadj from Lens for £4.4M, Pennant from Liverpool on loan, Pele from Porto on loan, Mullins from West Ham, Basinas from Athens, Gekas from B. Leverkausen on loan
Outs : Diarra to Real Madrid for £20M, Defoe to Spurs for £15M,
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Fratton Park, Capacity : 20,308 (2,000 for City)
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This season so far : In September we had that wonderful 6-0 win at COMS, the goals coming from Jo (13), Dunne (20) Robinho (57) SWP (68) Evans (78) and Fernandes (83) 40,238, 853 Pompey. Course we then went and cocked it up by going out of the Carling at Brighton then losing at Wigan! They were rocked with the departure of ‘arry to Spurs, and they’ve now fired Tony Adams. Another manager to go and fire up the team before we play them!
Currently they’re in 16th place with 24 points from 24 games and four wins two draws and five defeats at home, and dropping like a stone..
In the Carling they went out 4-0 to Chelsea at home in the third round.
In the F.A. Cup the defending winners lost at home to Swansea in the 4th round.

Our form at Pompey : Last season it was a 0-0 draw (19,528, 1269 City, Sunday on TV) In our last 6 visits we’ve had 4 losses 1 draw and 1 win (04/05 3-1)

Comment: Still a good chance of a result as they’re wobbling a bit since ‘arry left, but just had a heartbreaker v Liverpool. Wind ups generally include : small town in Southampton, ‘oh when the Saints’ , (though these are wearing a bit thin considering Saints current predicament) Shit ground no heating etc., Distin, Distin what’s the score (with a bit of luck!) and he’s been a bit dodgy recently.

Groundwise: The away end was covered last year at long last, but there’s a few stanchions to dodge! It’s still the same old dump though, and the catering and toilets
are a disgrace. Stewards very bolshy on our last visit, and the move looks as far away as possible.
Tickets £34

Stats : 22 pre-war, and 53 post make it our 76th league meeting, and down there p/w it’s :
Played : 26 won 8 drawn 5 lost 13
Their current average home attendance : 19,468
WWTWTWShite : Averaged 8,544 in 81/82 (highest in div 3 so not bad)
Away day zines : True Blue, Park Life (we think)
Pubs: The Newcombe Arms, Newcombe Street, The Shepherd’s Crook, Goldsmith’s Avenue, or down Hilton Road for the Brewers Arms, Travellers Joy, Mr Pickwick and the Milton Arms. Further down is the White House, karaoke on Friday night, Connaught Arms, Guildford Road, .
Route: M6, M42, M40 (jn 9), A34, M3 (jn 14) to M27/A27 then A2030, Eastern Road to Fratton Park which is signposted. On street parking (but watch restrictions).

Sat Nav : Frogmore Road P04 8RA

Monday, 9 February 2009

SWP

I see SWP has been banned for the maximum three games by the FA for his retaliation in the Stoke game. I have seen the incident three times now although always from the same angle. The Stoke player not only hacked SWP down but kicked the ball at him whilst he was on the ground. SWP then appeared to retaliate with little more than a tap on his ankle. I understand that MH was hoping that a one match ban would be the maximum he would receive, but he reckoned without the anti City bias that is around at the moment. Did anyone get a better look at the incident and can say he deserves the ban?

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Saturday Round Up

Twas a busy Saturday; not only did we have a near full Premiership program, but the England squad was announced for the Spain game and the English cricket team showed why yet again, we are rubbish at sports we invent and give to the world. We can take solitude in the view that we MUST have the world's best teachers though; either that or this generation of English is getting stupider and we are forgetting skills we once knew. I fully expect the 2018 World Cup squad to jump on the ground at kick off and start doing the front crawl.

On to footballing matters. The second North Eastern team came to the CoM in the past couple of weeks, and the game wasn't quite what I expected. We all get that "We'll thump them 5-0" bias before the game, but this time I really believed it. Their away form was terrible, their team is terrible, they play horrible football and their support's interest level is usually on par with mine whilst watching anything with Graham Norton in it - non-existant.
We on the other hand, have made some excellent signings this January that addressed weaknesses in the team, ourhome form is starting to pick up, we are playing heavy on the possession and workrate side and the team is potentially full of goals.

With this in mind, the train ride in to Piccadilly was filled with a nice optimism about the game ahead, despite my severe attack of man-flu. Unfortunately, City always find a way to bring us back down to reality.

On the face of things, a 1-0 victory isn't a bad result but the story of the game was told by the performances of the teams. Far too many times, we let Boro slip through our defence and had to be saved by future City hero, Shay Given. Given made an excellent debut and showed us why he is regarded as one of the best keepers in the Premiership; his reactionary saves and his one on one handling was superb throughout. This however wasn't the best part of his game for me. I don't think any can argue that Joe Hart is a top keeper in the making, but his distribution is absolutely terrible at times, he tends to boot the ball long every time he picks it up (which is rare compared to how often he punches it away), and he often scuppers our chance at a counter attack. With players like Robinho and Sweep possessing the pace that they do, we really should be battering teams on the break, but Hart's long balls upfield to our midget brigade shows how far he has to come in his decision making. Given, on the other hand, sensibly threw the ball out to a defender which allowed us to charge at Boro more than we have done recently. It's also nice to see a keeper actually catch a ball, I can't think of the last City keeper that didn't punch it at the first sign of trouble. Hopefully, we can expect the same from him every week. Perhaps he will even do the Samba or the Moonwalk in time.

On the issue of Robinho, it has become clear that he less effective drifting towards the left wing than his more central position that he was playing earlier in the season. Yes, we were after a talisman up front this window in the form of Roque Santa Cruz, but it isn't a complete disaster that we didn't manage to get him, and I'm proud that the club weren't held to ransom despite their riches. The only reason I'm not too unhappy is due to the immiment return of Martin Petrov. Not only will he help Bridgy defensively, but he will also allow Robbie to move in to his more preferred central position. I'm salivating at the thought of Petrov and Sweep on the wings with Robbie and Bellamy in the centre. Maybe a switch to 4-4-2 is coming back?

Zab had his first bad game in a while. The switch from Right Back to Centre Midfield has helped him and the team exponentially. Richards can now stop whinging about playing Centre Back, Kompany and Ned (or Dunny when he gets his head together) are capable Centre Backs, and Richards, although sometimes suspect in his abilities to get back, can run the lines well with Sweep. Zab has brought some steel in to the team and with Ireland, Kompany, Bellamy and the new lad, De Jong, we currently have more steel than Rockefeller.

De Jong has been a bit so-so in his first few games. He hasn't made any particularly bad mistakes, but hasn't done anything great. Either that, or he is one of those players who just does his job quietly. It should be recalled that when he came over, he was actually injured and this is his longest run of first team games in about three months.

Ireland has had a dip in form recently, and it was apparent yesterday. A half good Ireland though is still a force to be reckoned with though. His passing has become a bit suspect, and against Stoke and Boro I don't think he developed that understanding of Bellamy yet whereby he can deliver the killer balls we are used to seeing.

The Boro game was one of those games that we would have lost a year ago. We battled for 90 minutes and never sat back, always searching for a goal. It was a nice change to our usual laziness after the hour mark. Now we have put a bit of home form together, it won't be too long before we get our acts together on the road, resulting in us climbing the table.
I've heard many people say that the Top 6 is still possible. I agree with this, but I think people are forgetting that next season is the first season of the Europa League, resulting in only the 5th spot in the league and the winners of the FA Cup qualifying. 5th might be a bridge too far this season as the teams above us are WAY WAY ahead of us in terms of points.

The England squad was also announced yesterday, with Hart, Bridge and Sweep all getting the nod. It is interesting to note that we actually have more players in the current England squad than our neighbours. Maybe they couldn't afford the train ride to send them to London...
It's good news to see those three in the squad, all of these are players who could really do with the confidence boost an international call-up generates. Let's just hope the Spanish don't stuff us, especially if Hart gets in the team. Sweep knows that he won't be playing football for a bit due to his violent conduct charge (lesson here kiddies: if a bully attacks you, sit on the ground, take the kicking then tell the teacher!) so I imagine he will be running his little socks off more than usual. The Villa boys also got in with Agbonlahoar, Abghlonahor, Agbonelamore, Gabby, the Young Ones and Heskey in the team. This is a new look England squad and I get the feeling that Capello is just bowing to public pressure here and seeing what sticks, so to speak.

Anyway, with the rags playing their bogey team today and the Spuds-Arses derby, today is a new day. Let's hope for a Arse win (as it helps us in the table), and a West 'Am win (because it's always fun to watch ol' Taggart's face when they get beat).

Thus concludes my first post to the blog, let me know how I got on in the comments section. Oh, and subscriptions to the main mag are only £14 including P+P, so if you aren't a subscriber get your wallets out.

Until next week,
Paul

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Best Signing? Bellamy gets 100% of the vote!

Errm... well... Actually, there's just the one vote as we speak. I've only just added the latest poll to the site. Bellamy gets my vote for 2 goals in 2 games. City's debutant Shay Given pulled off a MOTM performance today and will, for sure, even the poll out in time.

Of course, City's other two January signings are included. Both De Jong and Wayne Bridge seem to be "Steady Eddies" and will pull in a few votes.

But the choice is yours. You have until the end of Feb to vote.

Oddly enough, Mark Hughes has ignored our last poll, which asked "Which position needs stregnthening the most in the January transfer window?" the position of centre back romping in at 65%

Friday, 6 February 2009

this week

This week
Stoke was poor on a bitterly cold day. Ireland and Robinho should have put us two goals up before Delap was sent off for his vicious attack on SWP> Now we learn that Shaun’ flick out merits a 3 game suspension after the video review, Ridiculous. How does the F.A decide which incidents are to be reviewed? And where’s the consistency? Ronaldo’s done about three of them recently and not a word. What was all that about at half time? City fans throwing bottles at each other, injuring some youngsters, emptying bins and causing the cops to move in with dogs. Give it a rest.
Went to see the Youth team on Wednesday night and what a revelation they were in the 4-2 win. It could have been ten. Next round’s at home to Norwich so well worth a trip to see them.
Thought the papers might use it as a positive story on the Blues, but no it was the usual shite particularly in the ManUmirrore.

‘Boro tomorrow, and an early kick off, 12.45pm for TV.

This season so far : We couldn’t manage revenge for last seasons 8-1 defeat up at ‘Boro on a Wednesday October night, losing 2-0 to a dodgy Alves penalty, and a last minute O’Neill goal. 25,731 (1227 Blues)
Currently they’re in 18th place with 21 points from 22 games and 2 wins 2 draws and 7 losses away from home.
They beat Barrow at home in the F.A. Cup, and are at West Ham in the 5th round.

Our form v ‘Boro in Manc : We’ve won the last two. Last seasons it was 3-1 - Riggott (og 10), Elano (33, 63) and a late reply from Hutchinson 40,448 (1179 Smoggies) and in 06/07 it was 1-0 with a rare Richard Dunne goal.

Comment : Everyone’s unfavourite team – especially ours. They are struggling this season so a good reason to expect that we can continue our little home run against them.
Wind ups, well there’s going down of course, but we’re too kind to suggest anything incestuous. SWP will be out so he won't be giving the v's to Southgate. maybe we will!

Stats : 52 pre-war and 59 post make it our 112th league meeting and here post war it’s :
Played : 30 won 19 drawn 6 lost 5 (all 1-0 - in 49/50, 92/93, 95/96, 03/04, 05/06).
Their current average : 28,083
WWYWYW Shite : Averaged 5,135 in 84/85

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Seeing Things in Black and White

“You’re not fit to referee!” Several thousand City fans shouted past me, during City’s 2-3 defeat against Liverpool. We had been in a great position – two goals in front at half time and Liverpool not looking like they were going to score, every City fan was bouncing.

But then the game changed, just after Liverpool had pulled a goal back. Pablo Zabaleta was sent off for a foul that left the football pundits worldwide torn between whether it was or wasn’t a red card.

Incidentally, I’ve never really understood the chants “who’s the wanker in the black?” and “you’re not fit to referee!” I don’t quite get why it would then be in the referee’s interest to give that side advantage on the next 50-50. After all, if 40,000 people turned up at whichever swimming pool I was working at and started shouting abuse at me for my choice of activity, I’d sure as hell not change my mind.

Now, you might be wondering why I’ve taken you all the way back to the start of October, but there is reason in my madness. Apart from the fact that it was quite a snappy opening, it illustrates the point in the title. The referee saw Zabaleta’s tackle as dangerous and worthy of a red card and the FA backed him up.

Meanwhile, everyone else in the country wasn’t really sure. But the FA was, and that’s what matters, when it comes down to it.

This brings me to my grievance of this month, with an excellent, yet rather suspicious link between subject matters.

I don’t get to a lot of away games, but I made the relatively easy trip down the M6 (I didn’t expect it to be that easy, but for some reason there was no traffic on the way there or back – I think it’s the first time in my short life that I’ve seen the M6 queueless) to Stoke’s Britannia stadium. There, I witnessed a team who forgot to shoot when they had the chance play against a team who were happy to concede possession in return for not facing any shots, especially after they’d grabbed a goal when being a man down.

If that makes any sense at all.

And now, because of the incident that caused the national press to be preparing puns like Delap thrown by Wright-Phillips challenge, Delap hurled off early, or Delap launched into tackle, City will be without Shaun Wright-Phillips for three matches.

Don’t get me wrong, he shouldn’t have kicked out at Delap after the Stoke man had chopped him down, and he’s right to be punished for it. But what has me riled, is the clear and blatant double standards on show at the FA.

If anybody saw Chelsea’s defeat to Liverpool last weekend, then you’ll probably have seen an incident in the corner when Benayoun was wasting a bit of time and Bosingwa found a way to stop him doing it. It involved Benayoun’s back, Bosingwa’s foot and the Chelsea full back taking it upon himself to introduce them to each other.

And, after the incident was looked at by the FA’s video panel, they decided no further action should be taken and the player wouldn’t be punished.

In the same game, Gerrard got away with a two-footed lunge on Salomon Kalou and, as far as I’m aware, the FA didn’t even look at the incident, when most agreed he was lucky to stay on the pitch.

A few weeks ago, Spurs played Man United and Ronaldo kicked out at Michael Dawson. At the time, the referee didn’t see it and it was reviewed by the FA panel. It was a petulant kick out, granted, but the pundit world was agreed that he was lucky to have stayed on the pitch.

And, after the incident was looked at by the FA’s video panel, they decided no further action should be taken and the player wouldn’t be punished.

Just after Christmas, Rooney hurled Stoke’s Faye to the ground by his neck and wasn’t punished at the match, despite the incident being in full view of the assistant, three yards away.

And, after the incident was looked at by the FA’s video panel, they decided no further action should be taken and the player wouldn’t be punished.

Spotted the connection yet?

I could go on.

Basically, when you take the incident that Shaun Wright-Phillips has been punished for as a standalone action, then the FA is correct to punish him. He kicked out at an opponent and it’s not allowed. Had the referee seen it, he would have been sent off at the time.

But, when it’s put into context with the other incidents that have been left retrospectively unpunished, then it’s nothing more than double-standards.

City are being made an example of, but there have been similar and worse incidents (thinking mainly, here, of Bosingwa, Gerrard and Rooney) that could have been punished, but weren’t.

And, as a side note, just take a look at the clubs those players are affiliated to. Now, take a quick look at where those three clubs have finished in the Premier League in the last ten years and you might, might see a connection.

The top four teams provide the league with the best source of income – they’re the ones who bring in the biggest crowds when they visit other stadiums and the most views from abroad, ensuring a bigger TV deal.

So, (and I think you can forgive me for being cynical, here) you don’t suppose that the FA are doing their best not to upset their biggest money-earners?

I actually think the argument that these people at the FA ‘haven’t ever played the game and so their decisions could be excused’ is utter rubbish. I’ve played football, but not to any decent standard – ok, so I might not understand everything about the game, but I know that wrestling someone to the ground, karate-kicking someone in the back and diving in with two feet is just as much of a red card or retrospective ban as kicking out because you’ve been chopped down.

I don’t think I’ll hold my breath for too long.

The trouble is, the referees have to play by the rules in the book. And I know that sounds like a completely daft sentence, but there’s absolutely no flexibility for common sense.

With the referees having an assessor in the stands who can’t help meddling every time there’s a minor decision the man in the middle has got wrong, resulting in said man in the middle being dropped a division for a few weeks (or, to put it another way, acting like a father around their child and a pile of Lego), then the referees are going to stick to the rules as they are written.

There just isn’t room for common sense in the rules. But the FA don’t seem to see this and they are too preoccupied in trying to apply hard set, non-flexible and abstract sentences to an entity that changes constantly and is about as predictable as a Manchester City form book.

But we don’t live in such a black and white world. If we did, then there would be a very clear boundary between right and wrong, there would be no grey areas causing confusion, Frank Lampard wouldn’t have been sent off for winning the ball and there would be absolutely no heavy metal music. I don’t care what anybody says, it is just noise.

I think the ironic part of this is that each of the incidents I listed earlier, including the Wright-Phillips one, has no grey area. Each player is in the wrong and each should be punished.

But somehow, the video review panel has found the grey area, camp in it, before delivering a brutal right hook to Manchester City.

And things, unfortunately, won’t change any time soon.

Part of the problem is that these decisions aren’t usually made in the first place. Granted, some of them have been missed because they’re subtle, but Bosingwa’s kick was about as obvious as an alligator in a tutu trying to get into the Royal Ballet performance of Swan Lake, just so it can have a tasty snack.

If the referee had taken action against the kick, then I doubt the FA would have overturned the decision. But, since he didn’t – and the assistant didn’t even flag for a foul on this one – then they can hide away, say he deserves no further action and go back to the comfy seating area for a cup of hot tea and a chocolate bourbon.

Another part of the problem is the assessor in the stand. The referee is so petrified of making a cock-up in front of thousands of people in the stadium, millions of people around the world, and one person in the stands, that they will tend to favour the top teams.

By no means do I think this is the referee consciously cheating the smaller teams, I actually think it’s a subconscious trait – a mistake leads to him being demoted for a few weeks. While, having assessors in the stands leads to nervousness. But, and this is the killer, nervousness leads to mistakes.

You’d have to be Houdini to get out of that one.

It’s such a shame that the only ones who can change how this system works are the FA. And that’s because they are the one governing body of any company, scheme, system, sport or (insert synonym here) that won’t actually do anything about it.

Since September people have been doing their best to blame City for ruining football because of the money we can spend. If Kak√° accepted half a million quid a week, then football was beyond lunacy.

But, if you want to truly find out what is causing the most problems in football, then I think there’s wider issues to be looked at first, starting at the top.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Just a reminder for those who have yet to discover it. There is a great site featuring many City related photographs. I have just been going through a load of pics from the '69 Cup Final and the teams homecoming and almost found myself in tears, was it really 40 years ago? I can still remember the anticipation of that day for it was the first time I would have seen the blues live on TV. The gentleman who runs the site, Richard Tucker must be a keen photographer as I am certain most of the photos are his own. The address is http://www.mancity.tk/

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Carl Ramsbottom

Carl Ramsbottom
Helpers Meeting Fri 6th February All Welcome. Carls Brother & Cousin will be there at the British Legion, Victoria Avenue, Blackley 8pm,
February 7 th Bucket Collection V Boro. Meet 11am super Store Volunteers Required .Cabaret Fri 3rd April 7pm-Midnight @ the Legeion starring North West entertainer of the Year Dom Collins .Comedian Mike Lancaster. Compere James H Reeve .Special Guest Tommy Booth Cheers Don Price