Saturday, August 29, 2009

Third Kit details released — order through Sydney Blues

It was confirmed earlier in the week that this Sunday's clash with Portsmouth will see the debut of this seasons' third kit. City have today released a clearer photo of the new shirt and details about how to get it. You can view that story here.

The kit will be available to pre-order from Friday, 4 September and will go on general sale from Saturday, 26 September.

I think I cracked a semi looking at that photo, and believe me, it wasn't because of Robi's alluring gaze... That shirt is absolutely breath-taking.

Just like the home kit before it, I will be taking orders for the third kit, as well as any orders for the home or away kits. All shirts will be priced at $80 each, not inclusive of postage or PayPal fees if you choose to pay in this way.

I've had to increase the postage cost to $8 per lot this time, as I will be using registered post only. Australia Post managed to lose of the kits from the last order, and point blank refused to help locate it. So if you see a Postie wearing the home shirt, ask him where he got it from... This meant I had pay for a replacement shirt out of my own pocket, and I don't think that's entirely fair, considering I'm trying to do everyone a favour.

Paypal also attracts a $2 fee, due to the fact they are rip-off merchants. Alternatively, I accept electronic fund transfers and cold-hard cash.

When contacting me, I will need the following from you:
Home, Away, or Third kit
Shirt Size
Short or long sleeves (remember $11 will be added for long sleeves)
Posted or not ($8 for postage of up to three shirts)
For those that placed an order for the away kit or exchanged sizes... I'm still waiting for those to arrive. The club has dispatched them though, so you should receive them by next Friday at the latest.

I will most likely pre-order a couple of days before it actually goes on sale, so I'm going to set the deadlines at Thursday, 17 September for expressions of interest, and I must have the money in my account by Tuesday, 22 September.

As you can see I've had enough trouble with Australia Post and the Club shop as it is... please make it easier on me by ordering and paying sooner, rather than later.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Crystal Palace v Manchester City LIVE on Fox Sports

I honestly can't remember the last time I saw a City cup-tie on television, but our Carling Cup Second Round match against Crystal Palace will be televised. Tune into Fox Sports 2 at 4:30am Friday for all the action.

Or if you are really keen, a few brave souls will be watching the match at Star City Casino, before tucking into a bacon and egg roll before heading off to work.

We have been knocked out of the last three domestic cups in traumatic circumstances (Brighton and Forest last year, and Sheffield United in the FA Cup the season before). Surely, this is year we can at least get past the first hurdle?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Reports: Richard Dunne to Aston Villa?

In the Joleon Lescott post, I mentioned that there was doubt about the future of Richard Dunne, and it appears that after nine years at City he may be on his way out. There are strong reports that our longest-serving player and club captain is about to move to Aston Villa in a £6million deal.

It would definitely be a bittersweet moment for the club. He has seen the club rise from the darkest depths of the lower divisions, and even stuck around when we were about to go back down there after the 2006-07 season. Although it may sound harsh, he is not the player he once was, and not probably not good enough for the level we hope to achieve — especially with the additions of Toure and Lescott.

So, if he does leave, it is with the very best wishes. Hopefully it's just speculation at this stage. But I'm more concerned about the long-term future of Nedum Onuoha more than anything...

UPDATE 28/08: According to the Official Site, Dunne is discussing personal terms. Bloody hell.

Sydney Blues about to get a whole lot more MASSIVE...

I can't reveal details. But you will all find out in due course.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Portsmouth v Manchester City Live Screening Details

With the Portsmouth match kicking-off at the respectable time of 1:30pm (that being 10:30pm in Sydney), thought it might be a good idea to organise a screening at Cheers for this weekend too.

Due to the relatively short notice, and the fact that it's on a Sunday night, it's perfectly acceptable if you're not able to attend. But it would be fantastic if you did! If you can't make it to the city, the match is live on Fox Spors 3.

Hope to see you there, as we look to continue our perfect start to the season.

Sylvinho signs for City!

It's funny how the transfer market works sometimes. We have just spent the best part of two months arguing, bargaining, dealing, negotiating, and pleading with Everton for the services of Joleon Lescott. It has been a bitter feud played out in the media, thanks mainly to David Moyes' ramblings.

Then, you have transfers like that of Sylvinho from Barcelona. One day of speculation on Sky Sports, then bang — it's on the Official Site.

The 35-year-old left-back (yeah he's that old I'm afraid) has joined Manchester City from Barcelona on a free transfer. He has signed a one year deal, and will wear the number 16 shirt.

It is a strange deal, on the surface it's one that seems to go completely against City's current transfer policy. Hell at 35, and a free transfer, I'm surprised he didn't go to the Rags! But reading what Mark Hughes has to say on the matter, the deal suddenly makes more sense:

"Sylvinho has a wealth of experience at the very top level, having represented Brazil and played for some of the very top clubs in Europe," declared the boss.

"When the chance presented itself to bring him to Manchester City as a free agent I saw it as representing excellent business for us. Sylvinho won the European Cup last season at Barcelona and he will strengthen our defensive options."

If you overlook his age, he is the perfect Mark Hughes signing. He was a regular in the Brazilian squad. He has Premier League experience. He has won countless trophies. He has won the Champions League twice. He is a winner, and Hughes likes winners. You can't buy the experience that Sylvinho has... actually you can, and we just did...

He may well be another Glauber, and never play for us (those eight glorious minutes against Bolton aside). But as emergency cover for Wayne Bridge, it's hard to find reasons why this is a bad move.

Couple of changes to the Sydney Blues blog

Just giving you all a heads-up that there are a few changes I've made to the blog to hopefully make it a bit easier to navigate and keep it a little bit fresh.
  • I've removed the 'Blue Roos On Tour' gallery for now, but that will be updated in time once we get some more pictures from you guys. If you are an Australian (or an ex-pat of course) and you've been to a Manchester City match, simply send a photo of yourself and we'll upload it!
  • In its place, I've added a link for you to meet team here at the Sydney Blues. It has taken a lot of hard work by a select group of people to get the club to where it is today. Obviously the ADUG takeover has helped things considerably, but it's still been tough. So click here to read a little more about us.
  • When starting the blog, I decided I wouldn't get drawn in to writing match reports and blow-by-blow accounts of the games. It's a waste of time doing something that is provided by hundreds of other websites and City blogs... and to be honest they do it much better anyway.
    As a result, "match reports" on this website simply consist of four key points I noticed from the match, and a rating from A to F of how we played. I will also include the goal scorers and a link to highlights.
  • I will continually update the 2009 Fixtures page of the blog throughout the season, adding the scoreline and a link to the initial match report. So simply click here anytime to view all of this season's results.
  • Commenting on posts is a bit of a ball-ache with Blogger unfortunately... I think you need a Google account, then you have to log in, then send us three forms of identification, and then maybe your post can be published... but you can reach us in plenty of other ways by looking under the 'Connect With Us' column.
  • I've made a few cosmetic changes to the twitter to tie it in to the blog. We'll be using that service a lot more now, so you might like to follow us if you have it.
If you have any other suggestions as to how to improve the blog, let us know!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Khaldoon interview on the OS

In case you haven't seen it, it's well worth the watch. Click here to do so.

Pretty much nothing else to add to what everyone else has said: we are truly blessed to be in the safest, richest hands possible. Everything that Sheikh Mansour and Khaldoon have done for and with the club has been with us fans in mind — which is extremely rare considering the cultural and financial boundaries between the owners and the fans. Other clubs have somewhat rich owners, but they've never felt more alienated by the club (the Rags are a good case in point).

They are also men of their word. They said they would bring the big players in, they have done that. They have said that they would stick by Mark Hughes and he was the man for the job, even when flirting with relegation. They did that. They have said they are invested in Manchester City for the long haul... and there is no reason whatsoever to doubt that... we are the luckiest and most fortunate fans in the land and all the world.

Thank you, Sheikh Mansour!
شكرا شيخ منصور

Joleon Lescott on his way!

UPDATE 26/08: Lescott officially puts pen to paper and has signs a five-year deal.

After what seems like months of negotiations, it finally seems that we have got our man — Joleon Lescott will be a Manchester City player within days, according to the Official Site. It was rumoured that Lescott was actually at the Manchester City v Wolves match, and thankfully we were sent pictures to prove it...

This move has been inevitable for some time — once Lescott submitted a formal transfer request, there was only really going to be one outcome. Modern players may sign four and five year contracts regularly, but if they receive an offer from another club far superior to their current deal, there is little the club can do to prevent the move.

While David Moyes' continued resistance to the sale was admirable, the feud between himself and Lescott has only served to disrupt their opening to the season. It is no surprise that Everton now find themselves at the foot of the table, courtesy of defeats to Arsenal and Burnley.

It may not have been the shrewdest, or most secretly conducted bit of business Hughes has done, but we finally have our man. But at what cost? The fee of £24million is ridiculous quite frankly, even if we do have money to burn. Where does this leave our captain Richard Dunne? Or academy graduate Nedum Onuoha, who only recently signed a five-year contract?

Hughes most definitely has a problem on his hands. It's a good problem I suppose, to have too many players rather than too few... but it is a problem nonetheless.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Massive Sydney Blues Weekend Part II: 6-a-side

Six brave souls took part in the supporters club six-a-side tournament in Manly. City turned up looking very dodgy from the night before and we were outnumbered, heavily. United had at least 20 and Everton had 50.

Our first match was against Liverpool. Early into the match our Christmas tree/blob formation was penetrated and the score was 1-0 to the bad guys. City kept things light and in good humour and before we know it, equalised.

The best was yet to come as we netted a further two goals and eventually won 3-2. After this we sat down and assessed the day, there were serious thoughts of silverware.

These were quickly dashed when the Scotland side gave us a 2-0 wake up call. With results and a determined effort we were a chance at the semi finals and had turned a few heads with our eclectic play and mismatched shirts. We created a bit of a stir when we wandered around to the United camp with a ukelele and sang a couple of tunes, including one about a trip to Rome to see the Pope. Everyone seemed to enjoy us being there and we were certainly having a laugh.

The next match saw a couple of injuries and a 7-0 defeat at the hands of AstonVilla. It could have been more. Lots more.

Finally the day rested on our result against Celtic. They were an awful opponent with no respect for the spirit of the day, other people and the English language. We lost 3-1 and they qualified for the semis ahead of us.

Everton won the tournament overall and were deserved. They were a class above everyone, and good sports to boot!

Anyone who said they would play (Matt) and didn't should hang their head in shame. It was an awesome day and hopefully next time we have a few more supporters.

Thanks lads for a top night/morning/day!

What fine specimens...

Brendo bombs the Rag's photoshoot.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Massive Sydney Blues Weekend Part I: Blackburn v Manchester City

Manchester City started the season with a 2-0 victory over Blackburn Rovers, courtesy of goals to Emmanuel Adebayor and Stephen Ireland. Well that's the match report out of the way, now let's talk about our night!

Firstly, the attendance was fantastic. It seems every time we see at least one new face, and that's the way we have to grow. So to those to made their debut — I've already forgotten your names because I was kinda drunk — but thank you for coming nonetheless and hope to see you again soon.

Early on in the night we presented Gerard from Cheers with his shirt. He was so impressed by our gesture that he presented us $50 worth of beer vouchers in return, so many thanks to him for that. Assisted by the extra beverages, the night didn't wind up until well into the morning, as a few stayed back to take great pleasure in Arsenal tearing Everton a new one.

For those that missed it, the certificate said the following:
The Sydney Blues branch of the MCFC Supporters Club would like to present this 2009-10 City home shirt to Cheers Bar, as a small token of our appreciation.

The live screening of matches is an integral part of the Sydney Blues setup, and is only made possible thanks to the assistance of Cheers. So we would like to personally thank the management, bar staff, and security personnel for making us feel welcome each week and for tolerating our (occasional) rowdy behaviour.

We look forward to many more nights out at Cheers Bar this season and in the following years.

Here's a couple of the photos from the night — the rest can be found on Facebook.

The Burnley fan club (the Sydney Clarets?) make an appearance.

Gerard receives his shirt and nicely presented certificate of appreciation.

Pre-game schooners upstairs.

...and post game. A few people on struggle-street.

However, this was only half-time as far as the weekend was concerned. The boys had to back up the next morning for the Supporters Club Six-a-side Tournament... unfortunately, I missed out, but Brendo was there to comment on the day.

Thanks to everyone who made the trek to Cheers, and hopefully we can welcome even more new faces next match.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Supporters Club 6-a-side Tournament Update

Originally it looked like there wasn't much in this, but we have had interest from ex-City player Spencer Prior, who is keen for us to join in. There is also a possibilty of Simon Hill from Fox Sports, and a camera crew covering our progress on the day.

So if you are keen, we need to know straight away. Either call me on 0408 22 12 42 or Gav on 0466 55 44 28.

Originally posted on Saturday, July 4, 2009
I recently received an email from Lee Sutherland on behalf of TNT magazine, informing us of a Futsal tournament involving Supporters Clubs such as ourselves.
"The tournament will be held on Sunday 16 August from 11am, through to around 5pm. It is on the synthetic pitches at Manly Vale-Calabria Bowling Club, Campbell Parade, Manly Vale. It is six-a-side, with squads of up to twelve players.

Match officials and Match rules plus all other football related issues will be managed by who will ensure that all runs smoothly, a full copy of the rules will be sent out prior to the event to ensure there is total clarity.

The event will consist of group stages to ensure all teams get to enjoy a few games with the top two from each group progressing into the knockout stages and ultimately the final.

The tournament will run regardless of weather as the pitches we are using can easily withstand rainy conditions.

The event will obviously feature in a double page spread in our magazine the following week, might even stretch to three, all teams will receive copies of this issue, team photos will also be provided as well as pictures being taken throughout the day.

Post tournament we will have a presentation in the Bar area to the winning team and I’m currently working on getting other prizes for Golden Boot etc.

Costing of the day is $170 per squad, this covers venue hire, pitch hire, trophies, officials, equipment, prizes etc – the more people in the squad the cheaper it becomes."
Now I've seen most of you at Cheers for matches, and judging by the athletic specimens that turn up there, we will get absolutely flogged. But I suppose being City fans, we're quite accustomed to losing...

I'm not overly keen, but I just thought I'd throw it out there and see who is interested. Not sure we'd have sufficient numbers or talent to make it worthwhile. We could always rely on ring-ins if need be, so any proper footballing mates are welcome. Doesn't Spencer Prior live out that way?

Obviously, we would be representing Manchester City, and will have to dress accordingly. I reckon the new kits will be arriving pretty close to that date, so wear those. If not, I can sort you out with a shirt for the day. It's a futsal court, so I'm quite certain you won't need studs.

So, what do you lads think? Let me know...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Manchester City v Blackburn Live Screening Update

Just a few things to go over before Saturday night's massive season opener.

The early kick-off is Chelsea v Hull at 9:45pm. Yeah I know, probably could have picked a better game to start, but if you want to see plenty of goals it should be quite entertaining. I'll most likely be there from 9:00 to play a couple of games of pool and to get a good spot, so feel free to drop by anytime from then.

There are six midnight kick-offs, however Blackburn v City is the main event! There's nothing worse than watching at a pub and the staff refuse to change the channel using the red button arrangement in case it will piss off the Rag fans watching. It's the default game on Fox Sports 3, and as a result the game will be shown in the downstairs amphitheatre, shown in the photo below.

I will also be accepting orders for both home and away kits his week, as I will be sending a few items back on Monday. So payment must be in by then. Alternatively, you can order and pay cash on the night if you prefer to do it that way.

So if you would like to order a kit, please do so on the Saturday for approximately $80 and leave your contact details if I don't have them already. I should warn however, no responsibility is taken by myself if this payment ends up in "Where's The Gold" instead...

Judging by the response the Facebook event has generated, it looks like there will be a few first-timers to Cheers on Saturday. If you like Manchester City, meeting new people, or singing and yelling at a television screen, you'll have a blast.

Monday, August 10, 2009

New website match-day experience.

For those part-timers who can't make it to screenings (I can think of one in particular...) or are unable to see the game on Foxtel, the official website will be ideal place to go, thanks to the Match Day Centre.

It features live text commentary, match stats, players stats, a preview from the manager, and a photo gallery. It was tested on the weekend during the Celtic friendly, and should be live for the Blackburn fixture.

Here's a sneak peek at what's in store:

So if you can't find any other way of keeping up with the action, try the Match Day Centre, either on its own, or to supplement the TV coverage.