Monday, September 28, 2009

Going to see the game tonight? Spare a thought for your neighbours...

As I've mentioned before — I'm a fan of football betting above any club. City are my team and have been for 24 years — nothing will change that.

However when I moved back to East Manchester (Gorton actually — walking distance to CoMS) I lived just off Hyde Road. What was this Hyde place? What was there? All I knew was that my mate Spider used to write the fanzine "Preston Were Lucky", one of the best fanzines to come from any club if you speak to anyone! One fateful Saturday morning I was looking at the fixture list and saw that Hyde United (aka "The Tigers") had a game against Lancaster City. United Vs City, eh? Tempting.

Me and my mate Kev jumped on a bus, and never looked back.

What we found at the ground (when we found it) was a world of football I didn't know still existed. Real pies, cheap beer in a social club that made Phoenix Nights look classy, crazy characters, real tea, a nicely kept little ground with atmosphere, a fantastic pitch (better than almost any league pitch), and supporters whose passion and sense of humour were just so refreshing to see.

You could stand up, you could sing (and boy, did we sing!), and within a few weeks I had made some great friends and found myself running the (now semi-defunct) fan site.

If you've not been to a non-league football game, I can't recommend it enough, through a few years following Hyde home and away (when City weren't at home) it revitalised me and reminded me of the love for the game. We shared so many laughs, on the pitch, in the car, and in the bar with the players and managers Some fierce local rivalries and some amazing derby matches with Stalybridge Celtic — the highlight being a (admittedly) hungover Gareth Seddon scoring 5 goals in a New Years' Day 7-3 drubbing away at Bower Fold.

So why do I mention this now? Well, Hyde have been issued with a winding up order. They have this week to raise £35000, and are well on their way — tonight at the West Ham game, fans and indeed players will be out shaking buckets and looking for whatever you can help with. Manchester City have given their blessing, and indeed are already Hyde's kit sponsors for the season with a significant contribution. If each City fan gave 50p (or one of our players gave 20% of their weekly wage!) then football will go on in Hyde. If not, then their last game will have been played.

Full details here:

This situation has arisen because some wealthy 'backers' pulled out, leaving lots of liabilities in the form of player contracts, and a tax bill. The current chairman took the honourable option of not going into administration, and so leaving creditors out of pocket, but this has cost us in the long term. The club want to, and are nearly in a position to save themselves, and are cashflow positive with the frugal contracts.

I implore anyone that can, to dig deep tonight, and if you can't help Hyde, to at least consider going to support your local non-league team from time to time, you won't get Robinho, but you will get a real taste of football at a club where your £8 on the door will make a real difference to them.

There are full details here:

City fans have been great — but there's been support from all of football — it's heartwarming:;guest=13851821

Superb article explaining the situation by When Saturday Comes:

Even rivals Barrow and Alty lend their support:

Right well, that's my piece — over to you guys, you can really make a difference here!

Listen: BBC Radio Interview

As mentioned previously, the Sydney blues were asked to appear on BBC Radio Manchester in the lead up to Derby Day. The BBC were kind enough to provide us with the audio, so if you didn't catch it the first time, here it is for your listening pleasure.

Fantastic work from young Brendo flying the blue flag and putting the Rags in their place.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Carling Cup Round 4 Draw

The draw for the next round of the Carling Cup was done overnight, and we have managed to draw... Scunthorpe at home!

Unlike some other Premier League teams, Manchester City are treating the Carling Cup seriously — this is reflected by the strength of the teams Mark Hughes is selecting. So a soft home draw against Championship opposition definitely makes the task somewhat easier.

However, the last three times we have been knocked out of domestic cups, it's been to lower league opposition (Nottingham Forest, Brighton and Hove Albion, and Sheffield United). So let's just hope we don't take our foot of the pedal for this tie.

The full draw is as follows:

Blackburn Rovers v Peterborough United
Manchester City v Scunthorpe United
Tottenham Hotspur v Everton
Barnsley v Manchester United
Chelsea v Bolton Wanderers
Sunderland v Aston Villa
Arsenal v Liverpool
Portsmouth v Stoke City

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

More on Craig Bellamy

You may have noticed there's been a fair bit of discussion of the Manchester Derby this past week... the amazing match, the controversial injury time equaliser, and of course the confrontation between Craig Bellamy and a pitch invader.

Our good friends Jack from The Lonesome Death of Roy Carroll and Danny from Bitter and Blue have given their thoughts on the matter, and both believe that Bellamy was lucky to escape without sanction from the club and the FA for his actions.

I'm a little surprised by this stance to be honest. We usually see eye-to-eye on most Manchester City issues, however it's not the case with this one. Maybe it's something as simple as being Australian, but I'm of the belief that once a spectator enters the field of play, he becomes fair game — for both security and the players.

If anything, I think Bellamy didn't go far enough. The Rag twat should be thankful he didn't get more than a slap. And be thankful that Andrew Symonds doesn't play football...

Streaking had been part of the Australian ethos for decades. Watching cricket as a youngster in the late 80's and early 90's, barely a week went by without someone running on to the arena, usually nude. It was funny for a while, but after Monica Seles was stabbed by an invader in 1993, the joke was over — spectators now posed a serious threat to players.

Fans on the pitch are trespassing and as such are breaking the law. You should expect the same consequences entering a football pitch illegally as you would breaking into a house — a severe backlash by both the law and the occupants (ie. players). What Bellamy did was not the right thing to do by any means, but that doesn't necessarily mean it was the wrong thing.

The Secret of Fergie Time Finally Revealed

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Daylight Savings and Future Live Screenings

One of the main disadvantages we have in Sydney, and the reason it is just so hard to get people to come out for games is the time difference. We have been fairly lucky so far that the draw has been favourable and kick-offs have been at an acceptable time. However, this is about to change.

It's almost that time of year where Daylight Savings Time kicks in, and kick-off now occur two hours later. Added to that though, the fixture list has conspired against us and we have a terrible patch of games on Sundays and Mondays, which makes coming out to Cheers nigh on impossible.

Over the next couple of months, we play the following games in the League:

Mon 28 Sep 8pm Manchester City v West Ham (5am Tuesday morning in Sydney)
Mon 05 Oct 8pm Aston Villa v Manchester City (6am Tuesday)
Sun 18 Oct 4pm Wigan Athletic v Manchester City (2am Monday)
Sun 25 Oct 3pm Manchester City v Fulham (2am Monday)
Sun 01 Nov 4pm Birmingham City v Manchester City (3am Monday)
Sat 07 Nov 3pm Manchester City v Burnley (2am Sunday)
Sat 21 Nov 12:45pm Liverpool v Manchester City (11:45pm Saturday night)

As you can see, we're not left with a lot of options... we may meet up for the Burnley match before it, but the next screening that we can lock in with any kind of confidence is the Liverpool match in two months time.

It looks like games at Cheers may be out of the question for a little while, so we may have to organise a trip to an A-League game or something to pass the time. For now, keep the faith, and be prepared to call in sick on Monday mornings...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Derby Day at Cheers

It was a night of incredible highs, and devastating lows... and even a trip to emergency thrown in for good measure! Just like at Old Trafford, a small pocket of Blues were able to quite comfortable outsing the Rags (with the exception of two minutes after each United goal). Wild celebrations were to be had after both Bellamy goals — got showered with beer after the first one, and ended up on the floor after the second.

The lads at Cheers (and there were plenty of them) did themselves and the club proud. With the exception of myself of course, taking out a stack of glasses could have injured someone and was not big or clever, and I now have seven stitches to show for my stupidity. Although, that Rag who threw the plastic schooner glass from the balcony really needs his head read. Hopefully, next live screening will have a little less of the "George Street Hooligans" element...

All that aside, it was a great night had by all (until the seventh minute of injury time of course) and as always, it's fantastic to see new faces.

Best looking bunch of fans, if nothing else.

Subtle swipe at the Rags on the top left of this photo...

Half time and the mood is jubilant.

A really tough loss to take, but we'll turn them over on our own patch later in the year. Keep the faith Blues.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sydney Blues to appear on BBC Radio

It's a week that keeps on getting bigger for the Sydney Blues — we have been approached by BBC Radio to appear on their match day programme (is appear the right word?) on the eve of the match to talk about the Derby.

I've done a couple of these interviews before — one before the last home Derby in November and another one after the Stoke match in January. However, these only appeared on the BBC World Service, which judging by the emails they receive, is only broadcast in Nigeria and Senegal. But this interview will be on the Beeb in Manchester, and it will be great promotion for the blog and the Sydney Blues cause.

With his broadcast experience, it was decided it would be best if Brendo took the reins for this one.

Besides, I wasn't expecting another appearance on the BBC, after being under the influence of alcohol in my last interview. How was I supposed to know that you can't say "we played shit" on the national broadcaster?

I'll put a word in to a few people over there and hopefully we can get a recording of Brendo's interview.

Every bit of publicity is good for us, as we try to build the profile of the Blues down-under. We're starting to make waves and attract the attention of the people that matter.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sydney Blues featured on the OS!

I told you all we'd be MASSIVE! We're on the offical website!

Click to read the article here.

Big thanks to Chris Nield from the club for getting in touch and wanting to know our story. It's nice to get recognised, but we don't really do what we do for the accolades, or mentions on the club website. We do it because we love this football club wholeheartedly.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Derby Day Live Screening Details

I don't think it's possible to be anymore excited/nervous for a football game than the Derby. But this season, it's different. This season, unlike any other, Manchester City look a genuine threat to Trafford United — on paper at least. We're coming to get them. It just depends if we're able to field a strong side, with Tevez, Robinho, Santa Cruz, and Adebayor all out or in doubt.

I know it's a school night, but it would be fantastic to see as many Blues as possible there — we need all the support we can get against the Rags. We'll definitely be downstairs in the amphitheater again. I imagine there'll be Blues there from as early as 8pm if you fancy a pre-match schooner.

Just a note for those riding the East Hills line, it's trackwork this weekend, so buses replace trains.

One idea that worked okay last season was the production of the Derby Day songbook. So I'll produce some more of these for the match, and post the link on the Facebook event. There will be a couple of new songs for this year, so here's your chance to learn them ahead of time.
To the tune of "Chase the Sun" by Planet Funk
Oh Adebayor
When he shoots he scores
Hear the City sing
Oi! Oi! Oi!

To the tune of "When Johnny Comes Marching Home"
We used to have a song for you Tevez, Tevez
But now you've gone from red to blue Tevez, Tevez
We're sorry for the hurtful words
We bet that you've shagged loads of birds
Carlos Tevez, City's thirty two.
Na na na na na na na, na na, na... Carlos Tevez, City's thirty two.
So be there bright and early on Sunday night and support the Blues!

More on Adebayor

It's Monday night here in Sydney. The hangovers have gone, the City shirt needs a wash, and the dust is settling after a game which has dominated blogs, internet forums, newspapers and more blogs.

So, how do I feel about the game, and Adebayor's performance?

Well, I'm not really sure. I'm a football fan first, and a Manchester City fan second — and this leaves me in a bit of a quandary. Dealing with me as a football enthusiast, on the one hand I think that some of Adebayor's actions were nothing short of appalling. Short-sighted, vicious, and self-centred. (Joey Barton, anyone?) On the other hand, you have to love the pantomime — the baiting of the fans, the crazy run, the display of emotion and, whilst it's not right in any way, you have to have a grudging respect for a man who can stamp on someone's face in full view of the ref, and get away scot free!

Not that I'm condoning any of this - just that as someone who enjoys his football and entertainment, you'd have to admit that this was a game that has got everyone talking, everyone has an opinion, and you'd have to be made of stone not to have found yourself shouting at the TV at some point. However, as much as it adds to the theatre, it's a shame that what would've been a very memorable game in its own right is being overshadowed by a couple of off the ball incidents.

Our club have now won four in a row, and in beating Arsenal have not only taken the points off a team that I think we will be battling for league position come May, but also laid down a marker for the rest of the "Big Five". It's a long way to go, but certainly we would've been carrying a lot of momentum into the game over at Trafford next week - his looming suspension seems to be almost certain, given the witch hunt going on, and robs us of one of our most in-form players for another big game. On the bright side, fining him a few weeks wages should recoup a decent wedge of cash! I just hope this isn't too much of a distraction for the players who are going to be taking to the pitch next week, with Robbie, Tevez, and RSC all out, holding onto Petrov and buying Bellamy is looking like an increasingly judicious move by Hughes. It certainly puts paid to those people who were laughing at the number of strikers on the books earlier in the season.

But I digress... Back to the man of the moment, Adebayor. The skill shown by the Togolese front-man in his run down the left-hand touchline was probably the second best run I've seen in a City shirt, and SWP's miss about the second most disappointing one! He has really been playing like a man possessed. The comparisons with Barton are unavoidable, I always said with Joey that you'd rather have him on your side than playing against you, but he let his emotions run his head, became a disruptive influence, and events ran their course.

The difference with Adebayor is that he's good enough to let his skill on the pitch do the talking - let's hope he takes the same decision after he's had time to reflect on this game.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sydney Blues double header: Sydney v North Queensland and City v Arsenal

It was a night to remember for the Sydney Blues — except after the amount of alcohol consumed, I don't think many people will. A top night that started at the Sydney Football Stadium for the clash between Sydney FC and North Queensland Fury.

A vast majority of fans where there to catch ex-Liverpool legend (and ex-City waster) Robbie Fowler, and he didn't disappoint, snaring the only goal.

The main event though in our eyes was of course City v Arsenal, and an amazing performance by the lads on the pitch was matched by those off it at Cheers, singing and yelling long into the night.

Here's a selection of grabs.

Sydney Blues go bananas in front of the Cove.

Ex-City player Robbie Fowler nets for the Fury.

Even the Rags were impressed by City's performance.

It's always fantastic to see new faces, and I hope those newbies that enjoyed themselves make the effort on Sunday for the match against the Rags.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Manchester City v Arsenal Live Screening Details

The first match against the Super Sky Four™ this week, and it's against Arsenal. It will be the first real test of the season and an indication of just how good City are playing.

Kick off for this one is at midnight, and obvioulsy with the calibre of this match we will be in the downstairs ampitheatre. Be there from around 10pm for the obligatory pool and Oasis tunes. For those still standing after the match, we can take the piss out the Rags as they battle Tottenham away at 2:30am.

Should be a good match, so we're expecting a big turn out.

If you can't make this one, be certain you're there at Cheers for the Derby Sunday week.

Monday, September 7, 2009

More on Richard Dunne

The transfer of Richard Dunne was always going to be a difficult and controversial one, considering the length of time he has been at the club. The one constant figure in every single City team I have supported, has been the presence of the Irishman. Players came and went, managers were sacked, we even moved to a new ground. But Dunne was always a part of it.

In previous seasons, Dunne was often the saviour in a team going nowhere. His partnership with Sylvain Distin is almost solely responsible for keeping us from relegation in in 2006-07. When it became apparent that City could collapse both on and off the pitch, Distin joined for the 'brighter' prospects of Portsmouth, while Dunne stayed and fought for the cause.

Some interesting words from Richard Dunne in an article by the Press Association:

Newcomer Richard Dunne is hoping his disciplinary record will improve at Aston Villa but insists he will remain "fully committed" in every game he plays.

Dunne shares the record for the most red cards in the Barclays Premier League with eight, alongside Patrick Vieira and Duncan Ferguson, but the former Manchester City player is looking for a change of fortune under Martin O'Neill in terms of staying on the pitch.

Dunne said: "Hopefully, my luck may change and I can stay on the pitch more. I'm struggling to remember the last one (red card) I had, but that's not a good sign, because it wasn't that long ago.

"Wherever I go and play I'll always be 100% committed. I don't like to lose matches and I hope that's one of my strengths and I'll always give it my all.

"I can guarantee that every game that I play I'll be fully committed. I've had loads of red cards. I think there is me and Patrick Vieira as the most red-carded players in the history of the Premier League, so I'm in good company.

"I don't think I deserve many of them, although obviously the odd one. But it's just the way it goes and I suppose, as a defender if you're making last ditch tackles and you miss the odd one, then you're automatically off."

Well, Richard, you should — City fans certainly do.

The last one you had in the league was against Wigan, where you needlessly lashed out at Amr Zaki just seconds after Zabaleta's opening goal. What about the UEFA Cup quarter final against Hamburg, where we needed three goals (and all of our players on the pitch) to have any chance of progressing? And what about Middlesbrough away, where we were in danger of losing the Fair Play position that got us into Europe in the first place?

Rather than being the one thing keeping us from going down, he is now the one thing keeping us from going up... no longer is just being "fully committed" enough. Neither are the obligatory red cards and own goals. These moments cost games, and belong in the Typical City™ mentality of the past.

Yes it may hurt, but it is the right decision to sell a player that is surplus to requirements. It could have been handled much, much better, but like any break-up of a nine-year relationship, there is bound to be some ill-will.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

This just looks wrong...

We have to make sure that at the Manchester City v Aston Villa clash on 3 October, we give him a rousing Sydney Blues reception.

All the best for the future, Richard.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Transfer window slams shut

Deadline Day last season will be remembered as one of the most significant moments in the club's history. The ADUG takeover, the Berbatov saga, and then finally, the purchase of Robinho. It was a surreal day. This year though, it was a far more understated affair.

There was early speculation that we would move for David Bentley from Spurs, with Martin Petrov going the other way in a cash-plus-player deal. However, City were quick to refute this, and both players remain (on the outer) at their current clubs.

The only deal that was absolutely certain by the close was that of Tal Ben Haim to Portsmouth. It has been significantly clear for some time that he has not in Hughes' plans, loaned out last season to Sunderland and then being "shop-windowed" on the pre-season tour to South Africa.

The Richard Dunne move to Aston Villa was still up in the air, with nothing official by window's close. However, it looks like this transfer will go ahead after the deadline.

City were fortunate that they conducted their business early in the window, so there were no late panic buys like in previous years (Benjani). It would have been nice to pick up an extra player on the deadline, but any one who has any complaints about our business this transfer period should take a good hard look at themselves...

So in sum:

2009 Arrivals
Gareth Barry (£12m, Aston Villa)
Roque Santa Cruz (£18m, Blackburn Rovers)
Stuart Taylor (free, Aston Villa)
Carlos Tevez (£25.5m, MSI via Manchester United)
Emmanuel Adebayor (£25m, Arsenal)
Kolo Toure (£15m, Arsenal)
Sylvinho (free, Barcelona)
Joleon Lescott (£22m, Everton)

2009 Departures
Kasper Schmeichel (Notts County)
Gelson Fernandes (St. Etienne)
Ched Evans (Sheffield United)
Elano (Galatasaray)
Tal Ben Haim (Portsmouth)
Richard Dunne (Aston Villa)

2009 Loans
Joe Hart (Birmingham City)
Jo (Everton)
Felipe Caicedo (Sporting Lisbon)
Shaleum Logan (Tranmere Rovers)
Valeri Bojinov (Parma)
Donal McDermott (Chesterfield)
Kelvin Etuhu (Cardiff)
Ryan McGivern (Leicester)
Clayton McDonald (Walsall)

2009 Expired Contracts
Danny Mills, Daniel Sturridge, Darius Vassell, Glauber Berti, Didi Hamann, Michael Ball, Richard Martin, Matthew Brown, Ian Daly, Gregor Hartley, Ben Morris, Curtis Obeng, Chris Ramsey, Angelos Tsiaklis.