Tuesday, 15 October 2013

‘Proper football’ break nearly over…

Okay, so the ‘England thing’ is quite exciting I must admit – a win tonight and my country’s national team is through to the World Cup Finals; anything less and it’s probably the nervy play-offs for Roy’s men. And whatever your national team may be, I’m sure your sense of pride and interest in footy has seen you take an interest to whatever degree. And why not. However, although I’ll be watching England v Poland tonight, I’m already looking forward to West Ham United v my very own Manchester City on Saturday (5:30pm KO BST).


So what’s been happening to our lads?

Micah Richards: More rumours that he’s a little frustrated with a lack of first team opportunities at City and, therefore / similarly, England too. No recent quotes from Micah on the subject and the same list of suspects who are apparently lining up to take him off our hands have been joined this time by Newcastle United, so I’m not paying any real attention to it all.
Edin Dzeko: Bagged a couple of goals in 12 minutes for his country as they beat Liechtenstein 4-1; leaving them joint top of their group on points with Greece.
Alvaro Negredo: Scores a diving header in Spain’s narrow 2-1 win at home to Belarus, leaving them 3 points clear of France in their group.
Joe Hart: Our apparently dodgy and evidently arrogant (according to ever-so humble Roy Keane) keeper could do nothing to prevent Montenegro’s only goal against England in a 4-1 win for the home side at Wembley. James Milner had to settle for a 3-minute plus injury time cameo when Tottenham’s exciting-looking Andros Townsend was picked ahead of him. Steven Jovetic was the pride of the visitors with a very fine display against the group leaders.
Other City players played for their countries and did their part, I’m sure… J

What else has been going on Blues-related?

STILL staying…
Presumably having been asked by their respective, national press whilst away on international duty; both Aguero and Silva have reiterated…AGAIN…that they are happy at Manchester City and won’t be leaving any time soon. Tune in next international break for more of the same…
Going…gone, no hang on...still here, staying, going…what?
I was quite shocked to read that Crystal Palace are very much considering a move for Manchester City midfielder Abdisalam Ibrahim in January. Why so shocked? Well, I’m positive that I read a few months ago that he was unhappy at his lack of first team chances at City…and a mutually-agreed ‘separation’ had been successful.
I’m sure too that he’d agreed to sign for some Norwegian team on a permanent deal; possibly the one where he’d been on loan recently. So sure, in fact was I, that I hadn’t made it up; I’ve just checked my records and I have indeed removed him completely from my records of our current squad – and I don’t do that sort of thing willy-nilly let me tell you!
Oh well, I MUST have got it wrong because looking at City’s WEB site under the ‘Loan Watch’ section, there he is…mentioned on 25th September 2013.
'Cover' is on his way back.
Having been signed as experienced cover – and as predicted by Manuel Pellegrini at his pre-Everton match conference – Martin Demichelis was back in training yesterday and, according to some quarters of the press, is being “considered” for the West Ham game. I would strongly suspect that he’ll be a ‘bench man’ at the very most for this up & coming match and if that’s the case, I suspect also that at this early stage of his recovery the coaching team and medical staff will hope that he won’t be called on during the 90 minutes. Regardless, it is very welcome news that we should have more cover in that department for the time being at least.
Speaking of which, it was a relief to hear that Vincent Kompany’s LATEST injury wasn’t related to the previous hip/groin injury. Instead, it was apparently a thigh strain and he should be in contention for a start away at Chelsea on 27th October.

Now NOT arriving...

...in January is French international, central defender Adil Rami. Having been persistently linked with a move for the Valencia man; he has now joined AC Milan for training sessions in preparation for a loan move to the Italian side in January (with the possibility of a rumoured £5M permanent transfer). I've never heard of a pre-training session agreement prior to a switch of clubs before but I can fully understand it seeing as he has, apparently, fallen out completely with the Valencia Coach.

MORE of us are not going to be really here…

How the stadium would look from the outside
Only planning permission being turned down is going to stop Manchester City from expanding their stadium from the current (domestic) capacity of 47,805 to around 61,305. With plans to extend both the North and South ends by a total of 13,500, it will take our already-fine stadium to the second biggest domestic stadium in the country…behind only ‘them’.
Too much? Well I have to sort of agree with those who say that we don’t QUITE fill our ground to absolute capacity at the moment but, then again, neither do Manyoo! Want the facts? Last season, in all competitions, Manchester City had 45,797 empty seats. Manyoo totalled 51,892 empties for the 2012/2013 season.
Looking at records, for Premier League fixtures – and baring in mind how many away fans did or indeed didn’t visit the Etihad for any given game – last season we seemed to fluctuate somewhere between 500 & 800 empty seats per game. Nothing major there of course and, like Manyoo and many other clubs who don’t fill EVERY seat, the reasons are probably wide and varied:
- Last minute family domestics or illness
- Holidays (and no-one to give/sell tickets to) and…
- …perhaps break-downs an’ the like on the way to games.
These are just 3, very reasonable suggestions that spring to mind. Regardless of football, life is life after all.
A proposed internal look at how one of the end-stands would look
I fully understand those Manchester City-fan voices of concerns who are asking the question, “Where on earth are we going to find an extra 13,500 people to fill our expanded ground?” And some of those same people make a sensible argument when suggesting that we should only extend one ‘end’ at a time by 6,750. This, I understand, was a first proposal by the Club.
However, construction won’t be finished for almost another 2 seasons (August 2015), which is plenty of time to continue the already aggressive marketing of seats; at a cost of around £299+ each with sale-offers of 4 seats each to existing Season Card holders! They know what they’re doing…
Sure...in the early years of our new-capacity ground we’re most likely not gonna fill it every week. And, like now, I’m sure they’ll completely shut down those tiers for early-round League and F.A. Cup games; perhaps even certain group stage Champions League matches.
But by expanding both ends at once our owners are doing what they do best, which is to plan for the long term. I don’t hide for one second my belief that in 10 years time we will be playing the sort of football, creating the sort of home-grown talent and will be winning enough trophies to easily fill a 61,305-seater stadium most games.
And so I say…‘well done’ City and bring it on!
I’m gonna pop down to the ground soon to have a close-up look at the revised plans.
And ‘well done’ again to City for the decision to keep the away fans where they are; narrowing (from looking at the plans at least) the away fan allocation blocks in the South Stand and, instead, spreading them out by situating them above / below each other over the 3 tiers (see the 'Seat Options' tab in this link).

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