Saturday, 17 August 2013

The big KICK OFF! Well, almost…

Of course it is for 14 of our Premier League rivals; 4 more teams play tomorrow before, finally, the one that really counts.

All systems go for launch

Perhaps there were a few moans when TV companies grabbed a-hold of the fixtures and we were pushed to Monday night; perhaps I was one of those who gave a slightly resigned sigh.

But it couldn’t be better really. Not only are we going to avoid the miserable heavy rains and high winds forecasted for today – making it trickier for our lads to strut their stuff on the green, green grass of the Etihad – but it gives the boys a full 2 days extra recovery time and preparation following the many players who travelled to & from - and played in - international games this week-gone. Add that to your early list of moans too, Moyes (4:50 on this video link)!

Aguero is fit to play and there are no other injury/fatigue issues according to Pellegrini’s first, Premier League, pre-match press conference. And although not ready for Monday night’s opener, even Nastasic has recovered quicker than expected and is already training with the first team!

All systems go for…lunch (or tea/supper on this occasion)

And this’ll be our first taste, literally, of Jamie Oliver’s new endeavour into stadium food with his Fabulous Fanfayre joint venture. I hope it works and that fans really enjoy what he has to offer. Jamie might well get up the nose of some people but I have a lot of time for cheeky – and increasingly chubby – Essex lad. His principles and forward-thinking ideas are all there and as a Chef; I very much love his style.

He’s joint-first of the so-called celebrity Chefs/Cooks along with Nigel Slater in my book.

However, we’ve been down this road before and very recently too. Marco Pierre White designed and supplied our last ‘food revolution’ and what did we get? A slightly larger than normal (but still very small for the price), locally sourced pork and black pudding, glazed pie. It looked lovely (I couldn’t vouch for it being a veggie) and was told by many that it WAS very nice indeed. However, for the size of the thing it was very expensive – something in the region of £3.50!

For that, which is still a ridiculous price for a pie even these days, you want a good, stonking-sized pie that’s going to satisfy even the hungriest footy fan. Although we’re mostly catering for the home crowd of course; could you see a little dinky pie (locally sourced or not) satisfying the average Newcastle, belly-waving fan?

No, I can’t either...

I’m sure Jamie’s new burgers, hot-(pig)-dogs, chili dogs and whatever else will be really, really nice and will, most probably, be a ‘step up’ from what we have at the moment. But be prepared to be a lot lighter in the pocket as you take in the calories this season.

“Rainbow Veggie Pie”? I might try one…one day soon after pay-day just out of interest. Generally, though, it’ll be 4 cheese ‘n’ onion pies from Tesco for around £3. Stick one the in the oven as you’re getting ready for the match and wrap it in foil. Job done for little over 75p. Sorry Jamie…and Manchester City.


And while most are eating their tastier, locally sourced ‘whatevers’, we’ll now be doing it in and around “BT City Square”. Yep, the sponsorships just grow and grow at City and so be careful; if you stand in one place at the ground too long you too could soon find yourself branded on the forehead!

But rather than bemoaning the onslaught of companies that City are striking-up deals with; I think it’s great and absolutely necessary. We have fingers in so many (locally sourced) pies now that we’re putting ALL of the celebrity Chefs to shame! Does anyone remember 20-odd years ago when we didn’t even own our own shirt-selling store at Maine Road?!

Financial Fair Play worries? Yeah whatever…

Notable opening, Premier League fixtures

I’m sure that they’ll be some crackin’ games and loads of goals but do you know what; none really stand out as being particularly mouth watering to me if I'm being honest.

Who have Chelsea got? Hull City (Tigers) at home. Arsenal? Villa at home is hardly a thriller. Even a glance over to Anfield sees (only) the visit of Mark HughesStoke City.

Manyoo have a tricky visit to Swansea City and might not be a bad’n (I’ll be watching that one at 5:30pm) but out of all of ‘em – and only really because it’s an all-London affair - the Crystal Palace v Tottenham Hotspur game seems about the best of the bunch. If Ian Holloway continues his attacking style as he did with Blackpool when last in the Premier League, it could be a crackin’ game! You watch, it’ll be a boring 0-0…

Although very excited about the start of the season (for Premier League followers), Norwich City v Everton; Sunderland v Fulham, West Bromwich Albion v Southampton and West Ham United v Cardiff City hardly set the pulse racing. I still can’t wait, though, to listen to the live reports coming through and seeing the highlights later on…

Fantasy Premier League team is all set up and ready to go too…

Stevie Wanderers

Money spent:
£100M from £100M

Starting 11 (formation 3-4-3):




Guzan, Garrido, Hernandez, Johnson

Try to win the league of course; certainly to finish higher than last season's 10 from 22 (23 teams this season) and top-4 at the very least.


It’s back! Although I’ve really enjoyed the fabulous sunshine summer we’ve (mostly) had in the UK for a change – and also quite enjoyed (mostly) switching off and recharging my footballing batteries – I’m really excited about this season.

Whatever your other weekend (and occasional Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday) activities might be; make sure you make footy the priority – all other routines and tasks must now fit in around the beautiful game.

And if you ARE heading to The Etihad on Monday evening, make sure your locally sourced burger, pig dog or pie has settle well in your stomach before, unavoidably, glancing over to the Geordie, belly waving lot...


Prediction? A City win - and high cholesterol all round in the away end…

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