Friday, 30 May 2014

It’s all a bit, well…irritating at the moment

The actual transfer window doesn’t even open until tomorrow (1st June) and with that being a Sunday, it’ll be more like 2nd June when deals can be done. But already I’m getting tired of player / agent shenanigans…as well as the word “respect”.



Utterly bored of this one. First it was (before the season ended) no-one dishing out the rewards (at the FA and in UEFA) is recognising me. Okay, I get that one; I think he was treated a little harshly, especially on the domestic front.
But JEEZE has Mr Toure took this one to another level or three.
No-one in their right mind could possibly say that Manchester City Football Club (their fans included) have not shown Yaya love and respect (God! There’s that word already). £220,000 per week before bonuses aside, he gets his name sung from the terraces most games; songs sung about him outside the footballing arena, always gets one of the biggest cheers as the team sheet is being read out, has his name and face plastered everywhere around the Etihad and gets internal awards/recognition from the club on monthly & annual occasions. Oh…and he DID get a flippin’ cake!
I did say “right mind” though and, if you recall, he was getting very tetchy and downright angry on the pitch towards the end of the season…
Now’s it’s PSG; no it isn’t, yes it is, no it isn’t. Just SHUT IT Yaya (and Dimitry)!
For your OWN sake if not ours, you’ve just won the flippin’ Premier League (and League Cup) and are about to take part in your country’s World Cup campaign – cheer up! Numpty.


What was all the flippin’ (not-so) secrecy about? I’m leaving, then again I might not be. I am…but then I’m still an Arsenal player…for now. Then Manyoo try to ‘steal a march’ and muscle in. I’m still here…but now I’m definitely going.
Silly me…of course! Perhaps he was trying one, last-ditch attempt to get Arsenal to ‘up’ the offer [of another contract]? Perhaps he was trying to panic us into giving him more wages; with the Manyoo-suggested gazump?
Better not say too much more; I’ll be in danger of not showing enough “R” word…


I’ve said before that I like the look of this fella ON the pitch; on YouTube (groan). But off it? I’ve never even heard the bloke speak and already he’s annoying the hell out of me!
I’m actually starting to think that I wouldn’t touch this chap with a 10-foot one and with Mangala apparently preferring the ‘bright lights of London’ to the ‘oil burners and gas-street-lamps of Manchester’; perhaps we should start to look elsewhere to reinforce our central defence for next summer.
The Moroccan has been properly shouting his mouth off; slagging off Roma for, get this if you’ve not heard, not keeping to their promise of improving his contract…at the end of his first of a 5-year deal that he only signed 12 months ago!
He then goes on to use that same word - the word which gets used WAY too often by people who don’t understand the true meaning of it - by suggesting that Roma haven’t shown him, “respect”. The irony of his words irritates the hell out of me!
According to press sources Chelsea have apparently now, somehow, put some kind of “block” on any possible transfer of the ‘disrespected one’ to Manchester City.
“Indeed ‘the Force’ is strong in Abramovich & Mourinho”.
I wasn’t aware their “power” included being able to “block” players from leaving OTHER football clubs!
“Impressive is this...”


Then, according to the M.E.N., City sources suggest that we are after a goalie, a right-back, a central defender and a defensive midfielder only. I could – and perhaps should - take this with a pinch of salt, of course. But regular readers might not be completely surprised when I whisperwhat about a ruddy left back?! What about that young player from Sevilla, Alberto Moreno Perez? We were strongly linked with the Spaniard in January; latest reports are now linking him with a move to Liverpool


I was a bit irked too when I read that we are definitely in the market for a defensive midfielder – and definitely Fernando from Porto – but that Javi Garcia is definitely staying at the Club. As for the latter “definitely”…surely not. Garcia, Fernandinho AND Fernando all fighting for one position? No wonder James Milner wants to leave…

Other bits…

Alex Kolarov is going to Roma. Oh no, he’s staying at Manchester City. Then he’s going to Monaco…and now he’s staying at City again.
Alvaro Negredo is going to Atletico Madrid; Sergio Aguero is going to neighbours Real Madridbut only if they hand over £85M.
Dzeko had decided that he’d like a move to Italy.
Angel Di Maria is wanted by City…but now he’s going to Arsenal.
John Guidetti is wanted by Bolton on a season-long loan.
The Mangala thing has gone all quiet again…but then again David Villa will be training with us until February (what?!) after signing for one of our partner Clubs, New York City FC.
Dedryck Boyata has signed a new, 2-year deal. I can’t help thinking that’s just a ‘home-grown’ decision really. Whatever your reasons, City, just don’t play him at right-back, hey?

Me? Green’?

I’m not naïve, of course; I fully expected all this dizzy transfer talk and utter babble right from the end of last season all the way through to the end of the transfer window.
It’s the…”respect” thing and the ‘gobbing off’ of certain individuals - that we could ALL do with a lot less of - that bugs the hell out of me. I suppose that’s where agents get their (bad) reputation from and why footballers should do their talking with their feet, on the pitch.
Use the ‘head area’ for heading balls only, hey chaps?
Not wanting to wish my life away; but already I’m thinking, ‘roll-on 1st September…’

Friday, 23 May 2014

Bit of fun - The results are in…

At the end of the 'season-before-last' I totted up the empty seats at both the Etihad Stadium and Scaffold Trafford. I’ve done the same again for last season.

The season before...

Well they’re always bleating on about how many empty seats there appears to be when we’re on the telly so I thought...what the ‘eck; lets get it right and see just how many. And while I’m at it…let’s see how many ‘empties’ they get too.

Etihad Stadium official capacity:
47,805 for domestic / 45,500 for European

Number of empty seats for ALL competitions during 2012/2013:

Cold Trafford official capacity:

Number of empty seats for ALL competitions during 2012/2013:

So…hello? Potkettle…black anyone?

Last season...

Etihad Stadium official capacity:
47,805 for domestic / 45,500 for European

Number of empty seats for ALL competitions in 2013/2014:

Cold Trafford official capacity:

Number of empty seats for ALL competitions in 2013/2014:

Arr…right……okay then. What’s gone on there then?

THEY win the league by a good distance in 2012/2013 and they get more empty seats in their (admittedly larger) stadium than we got in ours; WE win the league in 2013/2014 and we get more ‘empties’ than they do. Mmmm…go figure that one out.

Some details of the season just gone…

Manchester City

Highest attendance:
47,726 (79 empty seats) v Barcelona in the Champions League
(and City would appear to have broken the European capacity rule here)

Lowest attendance:
25,519 (22,286 empty seats) v Wigan Athletic in the League Cup

Highest attendance:
75,368 (397 empty seats) v Aston Villa in the Premier League

Lowest attendance:
58,663 (17,102 empty seats) v Norwich City in the League Cup

Future plans?

At the start of the 2015/2016 season the approximate capacity of the Etihad will rise to 54,000, due to the expansion of the South Stand. By the start of the 2017/2018 that will rise to approximately 60,000, due to the same expansion of the North / Family Stand.

Huh…you’d better keep improving on the pitch Blues and as for the Sales/Marketing Departments; keep working overtime, keep those ideas flowing and keep those prices realistic…

How did I fare?

It was a bold move…but I was feeling brave at the time. To predict all of our season’s results AND the entire Premier League finishing table on the 4th August was, you’ve gotta admit, audacious…or should that be downright stupid?

Seriously, as I type these words I haven’t yet looked back to see what I predicted…the ACTUAL result are in the brackets on the right.


League fixture list for 2013/2014

August                               Start of season prediction (actual results)
Newcastle United (H)                            W (W)
Cardiff City (A)                                      W (L)

Hull City (H)                                          W (W)
Stoke City (A)                                       W (D)

Manyoo (H)                                           D (W)
Aston Villa (A)                                      W (L)

Everton (H)                                           W (W)

West Ham United (A)                            D (W)

Chelsea (A)                                           L (L)

Norwich City
(H)                                   W (W)

Sunderland (A)                                     D (L)

Tottenham Hotspur (H)                      W (W)

Swansea City (H)                                  W (W)

West Bromwich Albion (A)                   W (W)

Southampton (A)                                  D (D)

Arsenal (H)                                           W (W)

Fulham (A)                                           W (W)

Liverpool (H)                                        W (W)

Crystal Palace (H)                                 W (W)

Swansea City
(H)                                  W (W)

Newcastle United (A)                            D (W)

Cardiff City (H)                                      W (W)

Tottenham Hotspur (A)                        L (W)

Chelsea (H)                                           W (L)

Norwich City (A)                                   W (D)

Stoke City (H)                                       W (W)

Hull City (A)                                          W (W)

Fulham (H)                                           W (W)

Manyoo (A)                                           D (W)

Arsenal (A)                                           D (D)

Southampton (H)                                  W (W)

Liverpool (A)                                        D (L)

Sunderland (H)                                     W (D)
West Bromwich Albion (H)                   W (W)

Crystal Palace (A)                                 W (W)


Everton (A)                                           L (W)

Aston Villa (H)                                      W (W)

West Ham United (H)                            W (W)

W / L / D (actual):

Won – 27 (27)
Drawn – 8 (5)
Lost – 3 (6)

2013/2014 predicted league finishing places (actual):

  1st Manchester City (1st)
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
2nd Chelsea (3rd)
3rd Manyoo (7th)
4th Tottenham Hotspur (6th)
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
5th Arsenal (4th)
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
6th Liverpool (2nd)
7th  Swansea City (12th)
8th Sunderland (14th)
9th Southampton (8th)
10th West Bromwich Albion (17th)
11th West ham United (13th)
12th Everton (5th)
13th Norwich City (18th)
14th Newcastle United (10th)
15th Aston Villa (15th)
16th Cardiff City (20th)
17th Fulham (19th)
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
18th Stoke City (9th)
19th Crystal Palace (11th)
20th Hull City (16th)

Well I got…

  • 24 out of 38 Manchester City results right (you can work the percentage out);
  • The number of Manchester City, over all wins spot on,
  • 2 of the team’s exact finishing positions correct,
  • 6 teams just-within 2 places off their final position and
  • Predicted the league champions.
Can we call it a 6.5/10 – not a bad effort?

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Signs of movement

No real surprises name-wise but talk is gathering momentum about movement both incoming and outgoing at the Etihad.

Having said that, there are rumblings of other names that I didn’t expect to hear too…

Moving out?

Regular readers might not be surprised that I raised a little, hopeful smile when I heard the other day that Roma ‘have agreed a fee with Manchester City’ for the purchase of Alex Kolarov. The reported fee is £9.8M.

I honestly don’t take great pleasure in suggesting that any Manchester City player is poor and Alex, to his credit, has improved a lot under Pellegrini. But his improvements have been 15% going forward and 10% in his defending ability and when you consider the exceptionally poor starting position those improvements came from; well, it’s just not good enough…particularly in the defending department.

Not wanting to list, once again, the glut of obvious ‘taxi for…’ lot as I did not long ago; I will, instead, list a couple in the…‘you can believe it or not’ / ‘shock’ column.

  1. I was a little rocked, I have to admit, when I began to see headlines linking James Milner with an, ‘I want out of Manchester City’ line. Rocked, because, I can quite well understand and imagine that such a fine player at just 28 years of age being a little disgruntled at his (very) limited game time. Even a player far less fit than James is just approaching the beginning of his considered ‘prime age’ [of 28 to 32]…and being English too is sure carrying a hell of a lot more [negotiating] weight in these times of rule changes.
         In short, he holds all the cards here.

And so why shouldn’t he begin to make waves in order to secure a much better deal at Manchester City? And if we don’t bite and listen to what he wants then he’ll be in a similarly strong bargaining position before joining any other Premier League Club I’m sure - and there would be plenty of interest from some of the top sides I’m certain of it.

He must be a little concerned also that we’re in for another decent, defensive midfielder [in Fernando] – I’ve said before that he’d do a fine job sitting deeper in the middle of our midfield if asked.

I am reminded of the amount of times last season – particularly in the last third of the campaign – where local commentators uttered the words, “James Milner must consider himself very unfortunate not to make the starting 11 today; after some terrific performances of late…”

James has come a long, long way since his first season after joining us from Aston Villa; he’s a completely changed and MUCH improved player. And although he’s benefitted not only from better Management under both Roberto Mancini and Manuel Pellegrini; he has learnt a LOT, I’m sure, from the types of players he trains with most days (and plays with less so).

But he’s learnt now - he’s ‘arrived’. And England have a much, MUCH better player on their hands for it. He does hold all the cards and that’s why I am a little concerned that this rumour ‘has some legs’.

Sure he might simply be ‘tub thumping’ for a better contract. But I get the feeling that our Yorkshire Terrier isn’t the type to be satisfied with a big bank balance and very little in the way of first-team football – I might be naïve there but I just don’t think he’s like that.

But that leaves just one thing, which is a demand / promise [during any summer negotiations] for more ‘game time’. So for me there’s only one remaining question – is Pellegrini the type of man to respond positively to those kinds of “requests”? If the answer is no, then we could well be devastated by the loss of such a fine, valuable, adaptable and English-quota player in the summer.

  1. Yaya Toure wants to leave Manchester City”. Those are the apparent quotes from Yaya’s agent.

At first I barley blinked an eyelid; immediately thinking no more of this than a mischievous agent hankering for one last big pay-out on the Ivorian…either that or a desperate journalist looking for a cheap thrill.

And so when I read the reasons behind the apparent ‘want away’ I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Laugh – Because Manchester City Football Club officials had, get this…forgotten to celebrate and / or congratulate Yaya on his 31st birthday on 13th May!

But then after contemplating a big belly-gafoor…

Cry – Because I recalled how tetchy and angry he had been in the last few weeks of the season; sighting the fact that he’d been overlooked and unappreciated by footballing officials when awards were being handed out.

He’s a little sensitive and complex is our midfield hero…and that concerns me a little.




Moving on…and moving in?

And so, having now depressed myself with those two, potential departures, I’ll swiftly move on to the gathering pace of some incoming players…


Although there’s not been much mention of him in the last week I still expect Porto’s defensive midfield ‘Octopus’, Fernando, to be joining us. I just wonder, though, whether he might be peering across to his current club-colleague Eliaquim Mangala who, by all accounts, recently told an foreign interviewer that he won’t be joining Manchester City; preferring instead the area of London over Manchester. He wants Chelsea to make a move for him.

I was a little gutted when I first read supposed and actual quotes from the French defender; stating his reasons for preferring Chelsea as, “Because it is London”. Then I was a little irked and thought, ‘Sod yer then; your mistake and loss mate”.

So we’ll see on this one, as even MORE recent rumours are suggesting that Manchester City aren’t giving up on this long-term target without a fight…and the sceptical side of me is also thinking that devious Porto and / or his agent are interfering here; drumming up competition so-as-to raise the price…

I also got over it very quickly because I’d already been reading up and looking at footage of another recently rumoured move for a central defender; one who might cost considerably less cash too.

Now you can take YouTube football player footage with a big pinch of salt of course – some players on there have stock footage of their ‘best bits’ clipped together in a way that would make even Phil Jones look good!

And I’ve been bitten before; most famously footage of Georgios Samaras fooled both me and several thousand Manchester City fans before we signed him from Heerenveen.

But YouTube isn’t all that bad – if it’s a good enough collection of stuff and you are keen to watch the fine details of a players’ ability then it CAN be quite an accurate tool for fans to make some accurate judgements.

That’s why I’m all for us getting this fella, Mehdi Benatia. Here’s some footage…

Quick, good tackler, likes to play it out and pass and, crucially for me, very good with both feet.

For some reason, however, I’ve just noticed that his price has jumped up in the press from a reputed £12M to £25M…and of course Barcelona (remember them?) are now apparently sniffing too. Actually, though, I did think that £12M for a player just 1 season into a 5-year contract with Roma was a little on the cheap-side for the 27-year old, 31-capped Moroccan.

Putting 2+2 together here; perhaps the £12M would be the difference payable as we ‘hand over’ Kolarov to Roma too…

This one has some truth to it I think – particularly with their interesting in Alex – and don’t be surprised to see both Benatia AND Mangala wearing the sky blue of City next season.

Having said that, there’s also the more-recent Stoke City Player of the Season, Ryan Shawcross link. The ex-Manyoo (never played), 6’ 3” central defender was tipped for big things as he was loaned out from Stretford to Royal Antwerp (22 games) but found himself in The Potteries instead. He’s been a regular ever since and has, impressively, been Captain for the majority of his time there.

I can’t say I’ve paid close attention to his actual game play but clearly, at over 200 games in the Premier League at 26-years of age, he’s not bad. Again the ‘English / home-grown factor’ stands out here in the ‘plus’ column. The only thing that’s putting me off a little is his lack of games of his county; both at senior and U21 level. If he is ‘all that’ then why so few…especially at youth levels?

Newcastle United are apparently interested…

It would appear that Bacary Sagna is all but a ‘done deal’. Rumours are that he even had and passed a medical yesterday before finalising a deal to sign for us.

And, apparently, we beat off late and strong interest from Louis Van Gaal / Ryan Giggs. Doesn’t surprise me in the slightest – not only have I been bleating on about us going for this very good, very experience freebie; I’ve had Manyoo fans gritting their teeth in front of me about us potentially obtaining the Frenchman’s signature – they really wanted him too.

Hope we finalise it soon – him and Zaba vying for the right-back slot? Wow!

Speaking of freebies, I’ve mentioned it before but there’s been very little in the way of press links to Ashley Cole. I mention him again because it was looking like Jose was leaving the door open for the 33-year old left-back to stay with the Londoners.

However, this morning the story is that Ashley wants to move on and so if I was Mr Pellegrini - with the England / home-grown thing praying on my mind as well as the left-backs that I have at my disposal - this one SHOULD be a ‘no brainer’.

I’ve just got a feeling that this one COULD end up at Manyoo…either there or abroad. Shame…

That’s it for now. It’s good to see us addressing areas that were of concern to us last season. Not that I’m NOT hopeful of an additional attacking / creative option at some point…and we most certainly need to be addressing the left-side of the defence. But it should come as huge relief to most City fans to see the Club making early in-roads into securing the centre and right-side of the defence, as well as strengthening the defensive aspect of our midfield considerably.

We should be a FAR more solid unit next season…

Quick announcement…

Still without a laptop; I’m going away for a few days this coming Bank Holiday and then again for a week from 7th June. Apologies, therefore, in advance for the reduced number of postings over the coming weeks. I will try as & when possible…

In the mean time, if you’re going away soon too then have a great time…and enjoy the World Cup!