more friendly to go before departure for China and then we have Porto as visitors
in August before hostilities really commence. So how will City line up and are
there going to be any more transfers? Will Distin stay ? At least the squad looks
much stronger and players will have to play well to keep their places. Lee Croft
looks as though he is one his way to Norwich where he is likely to be playing
more often. He has always been a fully committed player for City but I have always
had my doubts about his future ability in the Premiership. A bit like BWP who
has now at Southampton. No signs of Vassell and Cole yet and no doubt City are
keeping Jihai Sun fit for the China trip. Has Reyna recovered from his World Cup
injury? Who is going to be reserve keeper?
No doubt we shall find the answer to these questions in the next few weeks and I don't envy Stuart Pearce's problems in deciding his best 11. At the end of last season it was a question of seeing who was fit. Now we have a strong squad and if they can blend into a team then a top ten place is possible. The only area that may need reinforcing is the left side of midfield where Musampa and Riera featured last season. I suppose Vassell and Miller are options but a specialist would be preferable and creative too ideally. So what are the options.
In goal we have Isaksson ( 100%) Weaver - Hart - Schmeichel
Back 4 we have Dunne - Distin - Mills- Richards - Thatcher - Jordan - Trabels -Onuoha - M Mills - Sun ( or midfield)
Midfield we have Barton - Dabo - Ireland - Reyna - Hamann
Forwards we have Sinclair - Miller - Beasley
Strikers we have Samaras - Dickov - Corradi - Vassell - Sturridge
I've highlighted the final possible 16 for the first team squad selection.
Willo Flood has now been transferred to Cardiff and the third of our youngsters has departed to pastures new. Willo pictured in one of his last games for City at Rochdale (far right) will no doubt do well for his new side. He would have had very limited chances in the Premiership with City
Marc Laird (right) will I understand get an extension to his contract this week. That's good news
time has come and gone and now we know the results of the last minute chaos of
August 31st. The possible signing of Olivier Thomert fell through but City did
sign on loan DaMarcus Beasley, a fast left sided 24 year old USA international
from PSV in Holland.. He has played over 60 games for the USA and scored 12 goals.
He played 56 games for PSV scoring 10 goals His nickname is " jitter"
short for jitterbug so I hope he will soon be dancing past defences in the Premiership.
He played his first game for PSV against GlazerUnited at Old Trafford and he's
played at the San Siro in Milan and the Nou Camp in Barcelona so playing at COMS
will not be a problem. Only 5ft 7inches -old money but can defend I understand.
For more info there is an old article here
It'sgood-bye to Sibierski who has moved to Newcastle United. Antoine had moved down the pecking order and would have found it hard to get a game. He was not the quickest around so the move is not unexpected. It's also farewell to Andrew Cole who has joined David James at Portsmouth. Cole's linking with Vassell last season was quite good but the ex United player was always injury prone and we had not seen anything from him this season so far. This move will be good news to young Sturridge who will move up the strikers pecking order. So there are going to be quite a few new faces for City supporters to pick out this season. By the time the next game comes up away to Reading and injuries have been sorted Stuart Pearce will have some difficult decisions to make in team selection.
was sad to hear about the death of George Heslop. He played for City in the 60's
making almost 200 appearances for the blues. He was a centre half who won many
medals for City but was one of the unsung heroes. He did his job well without
being flamboyant in any way and was a key member of the Mercer-Allison side.
After a poor start to September with defeats at Reading, Blackburn and Chesterfield it was looking grim for Stuart Pearce according to some City supporters as City tumbled to the relegation zone. However life with City is a rollercoaster ride and the win against West Ham and point against Everton took us to mid table and there were smiles back on the faces of the true blues. Ah you of little faith!
Just as the 'Thatcher affair' was becoming less news worthy along comes Joey Barton to take the headlines with the 'mooning' episode at Everton. I noticed that in my web page stats details there was a big increase in visitors looking for Barton pics - no doubt thinking I had been at Goodison. No I saw it on 'match of the day' and considering the abuse he was getting from Everton fans I thought it was a humorous riposte to a section of the home crowd. I would be surprised if the FA take any major disciplinary action over the episode.
What is a lot more worrying are the gross refereeing and linesmen errors that have been occurring of late. Several come to mind that have happened recently. The Liverpool keeper was penalized for handling the ball outside the penalty area when he clearly released the ball to kick it well inside the area. At the time the linesman was not in line with the keeper but had strayed several yards upfield. Why I wonder? It cost Liverpool a goal.
Referee Foy gave a spot kick for Spurs after Zokora dived in the area. Portsmouth lost to this goal. I understand the referee has apologized for missing the cheating. The FA cannot suspend Zokora as FIFA do not allow video evidence to affect any suspensions if missed by the referee. The Spurs manager did not help by saying that Zokora 'lost his balance'. If divers were automatically suspended for 6 games on video evidence then I am sure the practice would stop very quickly!
It would also help if referees were to get into position to judge incidents by sometimes leaving their 'predefined diagonal' . Many referees just stand still when they reach a play zone and will often have their view blocked. They go through a pre-match routine to 'warm-up' and show the crowd how fit they are! But then when the game starts they miss incidents or misinterpret them by being out of position. The 4th official could do more too by watching video replays and pass on info to the referee. The use of video must soon play a part in the Premiership as there is too much money at stake now.
There was also a recent blatant offside decision that ended with the scorer looking around to see if he was OK to score so offside was he. It was almost like a game in a local park where the referee has 'linesmen' from the opposing sides so he has to make an offside judgment himself and not rely on his helpers.
was saddened by the news of the death of Ferenc Puskas -the galloping major as
he was called. I was fortunate to see him score four goals in the European
Cup Final in 1960 in Real Madrid's 7-3 win against Eintracht Frankfort and
for Real Madrid against Man United in 1960 (3-2 for Real). I have just been viewing
some 8mm footage I shot at the time of both games and it brought back memories
of football played without diving, confrontations or histrionics !
Puskas was one of the greatest players I have ever seen and is up there with Pele, Finney, Matthews, Eusebio etc.
You would not think he was much of a player to look at him but he certainly opened a few eyes when he came with the Hungarian side in 1953 when the visitors tore England apart 6-3 at Wembley.
Since the poor home result against Bolton in November City have managed to string some results together by hard work and a little bit of luck rather than brilliant creative football so with a possible F. A. Cup run to look forward too and the January Sales now in full swing City supporters will be feeling a little more positive than a few weeks ago. The away system of 3-5-2 is not wonderful to watch but is getting results which is vital for us to keep Premiership status. The supposed influx of money from the mystery source may help in the summer - if it comes off of course. There will also be more TV cash too but at the moment we have to improve the squad with limited resources. Not much news in the way of signings yet. Young Djamel Abdoun has come on loan from French club Ajaccio . He is a skilful midfielder who has played a few times in the French League. Also hopefully about to come on loan is Spaniard Kepa Blanco Gonzalez a 6ft 2in 23 year old striker from Seville ( top of the Spanish League) . I understand West Ham are also in for this player so we wait with baited breath - Looks llike this possible transfer is over as the player prefers the lights of London and higher wages
Also new to City was Francesco Coco an Italian International defender from Internazionale. He was on a weeks trial to check his fitness following a serious injury. He has played for Milan, Barcelona, Torino Inter and more recently Livorno on loan. He played 17 times for Italy. He is 30 years old and is left footed. Hhis trial only lasted a couple of days !
Thatcher has departed for Charlton Athletic and I doubt whether there will be any other major departures in the January window.
The lack of goals is hitting City hard and the combination of Corradi and Samaras rarely looks dangerous let alone scoring. Despite many rumors the only signing in the January transfer window was Emile Mpenza who has arrived from Qatar on a six month deal.He has played for Belgium since 1997 His made his debut in the second half against Wigan and despite his lack of match fitness looks to be a useful signing. His goal scoring ability will be essential if City are to avoid the big drop . Just two games in hand ( against Chelsea and Arsenal) and 6 points ahead of Charlton as we head into the cup weekend.
Once again against Blackburn, City failed to score and with hardly a chance in the game City went out of the cup. Blackburn who were down to ten men for the latter part of the game were not all that good but despite the return of Vassell and the inclusion of Sun and Hamann it was not a good display. With Chelsea to visit COMS on Wednesday I feel the managers job is in real danger.
It is said that a successful general needs three main attributes
a. The ability to take risks when necessary
b. The ability to confuse opponents
c. The ability to have a plan B
Mmmm.....does our manager fit the bill?
Only time will tell and it is quickly running out.
Players that I think will be departing over the next month or so are as follows -
4. Jordan: 5 Dabo : 8 Barton: 14 Dickov : 18 Mills : 27 Trabelsi : 28 Sinclair : 30 Corradi : 43 Miller
other possibles depending on signings are 24 Beasley 15 Distin : 20 Samaras
June 21st - the longest day in the year and probably a momentous one in the history of Manchester City as it's now looking like the take-over by ex Thailand Premier Thaksin Shinawatra will now be going ahead. I understand an offer of over 81 million has been accepted by the board and recommended to shareholders though I have yet to hear anything myself as a tiny shareholder!
I expect a decision on the managers job very shortly as he has to be in position by the time the players return from their hols and new players have to be bought to bring the squad up to strength. At the moment ex England manager Sven Erikkson seems to be in pole position though I think many City supporters would be more in favor of Mark Hughes or Juande Ramos now that Ranieri has chosen Juventus. Still there is plenty of water still to go under the bridge as our prospective buyer has to face a 'fit and proper person' test by the Premier League before things can be finalized. He has lots of problems back in Bangkok where the Thai military government, jealous of his support by the people of Thailand are freezing many of his assets. We will wait with baited breath! More soon.
From interviews I have heard on Five Live it would appear that ' Frank Shinawatra' has the best interests of the club at heart so role on next season and no doubt supporters will be thinking up new words for
'I did it my way' !
Well the agony is now over. We at last have a new manager - Sven Eriksson but his number two is now likely to be fellow Swede Hans Backe and not Roland Andersson. So now the fun really starts when Sven goes shopping for strikers, midfielders, defenders and a keeper! Sven has a tough task to take City up into the top 6 and it will take plenty of patience from supporters who will be keen to see immediate results.
So on 7-7-07 I will close this 2006-7 page and hope it be a momentous occasion in the history of our club and the start of a new era.