Monday, January 31, 2011

Notts County 1 City 1; and yet-to-be discovered Amazonian tribes...

Catering staff and the number-crunchers at the City of Manchester Stadium whooped in delight, as Manchester City were held to a 1-1 draw at League One's Notts County — a team that should have probably been disposed of at the first time of asking, being 59 places lower in the football league, but *insert obvious reference to The Magic of The FA Cup* etc...

It was Edin Dzeko who scored the equaliser for City, expertly slotting in from six yards from a Maicon Richards cross.

On a pitch scarred by hosting two rugby matches, a U2 concert, and a recreation of the Battle of Passchendaele in the previous week, City struggled to create anything of note. However, a midfield of Jimmy Milner, Gumboots Gaz, and Uncle Pat is generally going to have about same level of creativity as the scriptwriters of Two and a Half Men (This week: Charlie wears a bowling shirt. He runs into an old flame. They sleep together. The dumb fat kid says something dumb. Roll credits. We get it already...)

Unsurprisingly, City looked much better once Jo was replaced by Silva in the second half; although, there are yet-to-be discovered Amazonian tribes that know Asian Dave would be at least "just a slight improvement". With long-term injuries to key players Mario Balotelli and Adam Johnson, uncertainty over the future of Subbeteo Wright-Phillips, Craig Bellamy, and Vladimir Weiss — the lack of a creative outlet apart from Silva or Tevez might present a problem in the coming months.

However, City are still in the hat, and will face Aston Villa at the City of Manchester Stadium should they safely negotiate past County in the replay. Thankfully, Darren "1-0" Bent is cup-tied, and not eligible for the clash.

Elsewhere, Australian Blues were left heart-broken by an extra-time defeat at the hands of Japan in the final of the Asian Cup in everybody's favourite footballing host nation, Qatar. Still, that's one more final of a major international competition than England's reached recently, so every cloud...

Making it Easy to Hate Manchester United

I didn't see the FA Cup game last night (sorry, 1am, Monday morning, would've had to go to the pub, it was Notts County FFS), so I can't comment too much on a rather disappointing but ultimately not-catastrophic result for City (Game time and a goal for Dzeko in very English conditions surely a good sign?).

Aside from a Mark Hughes-marshalled Fulham demolishing Tottenham 4-0, the big news for me was that non-league Crawley Town have been drawn away to Manchester United in the fifth round. As the BBC say, it's the first time in 17 years that a non-league team have reached this stage, and to draw Manchester United at Old Trafford must just be dream stuff for them. Have a listen to Crawley Town manager Steve Evans describing the excitement, and indeed the honour he feels to be able to go up against Fergie, also from Glasgow, (whom he describes as) the "greatest manager in my lifetime". I've been a supporter of non-league football for a while (C'mon Hyde!) and I know what a positive difference a game like this (or indeed City's investment in Hyde) can make to the fans, players and long-suffering directors of a non-league football club.

It came as somewhat as a surprise, therefore, to see the following thread started by a friend of mine on good ol' Facebook this morning. Take a look, and let us know what you think.

If there's a positive, then it's that much of the abuse directed at the initial poster (my huffing and puffing notwithstanding) is from other, more rational-thinking Man United fans. Some of whom are even from Manchester.

Good on Crawley, and good on those football fans who maintain a sense of perspective when we watch the game we love.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Emmanuel Adebayor: How to fail upwards...

Emmanuel Adebayor has gone out on loan, a move that will see him go from Manchester City's bench to Real Madrid's bench until the end of the season.

The striker, once described as "slightly peppery" and "machine washable", has been now been referred to as a "physical marvel" by Real Madrid. The only marvel with Adebayor is how the same player could run the hundred in 10.04 seconds to goad opposition fans, yet took three and a half years to get back into an onside position...

From Arsenal, to Manchester City, and now to Real, Adebayor is inexplicably managing to build a career in failing upwards, collecting massive signing-on bonuses and wage-increases for doing three-fifths of fark all each week. Like the Rob Schneider of the football world, you wonder how on earth he manages to keep earning a decent wage. And not unlike Rob Schneider, after sitting through a 90 minute "performance", you more than just a little ripped off...

Before the Gunners fans lose their shit (McBurnie) — I'm in no way suggesting that moving from Arsenal to City represents an improvement in footballing terms... not yet anyway. But boy-oh-boy was it an improvement to Badbuyor's wallet. Worst of all, he probably feels he has been vindicated for acting like a twat most of his professional career.

The day he leaves the club for good, will be the time to pop open the champers. And a good time will be 'ad-by-all... had by... is this thing on?

Hopefully Andy Gray will be fired from the FIFA series as well, so we no longer have to hear about those fucking headers from 25 yards...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Villa 1 City 0; and things that are predictable.

Bent scores the winner against City for three separate clubs... he's heating up!

Football is a rather predictable game — despite our inability to select three winners on a Sports Multi every week.

Predictable: Roberto Mancini describing someone/something/somewhere as 'important'.
Predictable: Manchester United racking up another three comfortable points at home against Birmingham/Wigan/Blackburn et al.
Predictable: any blog post by us not being anywhere near as funny or clever as we think at the time.
Predictable: Opposition fans suddenly regaining internet access to come out woodwork and give it the big I am, falling over themselves gloat that we have "over 100mill worth of strikers and still cant score"...

And so as night follows day, Darren Bent scored another match-winning goal against Manchester City, an occurrence so utterly foreseeable that even we picked it last week.

Thankfully, after already denying City a possible six points this season, that's the last of Darren Bent we'll see for a while... unless the money-grabbing, Twitter-posting, suddenly-value-for-money striker decides that he's got another week of the window left and fancies a move to Stoke.

A slight concern for the Blues (apart from falling further behind in the title race — thanks again McLeish!) is the apparent confusion that playing both Tevez and Dzeko in the same team has brought. Neither player seems entirely comfortable playing on the left of a forward three, something which Mario Balotelli, and dare I say it, even Jo, look more adept at doing.

In their desperation to equalise, City launched wave-after-wave of attack — with Tevez and Johnson determined to dribble around the whole opposition back-eight like something out of a Harlem Globetrotters film. Aston Villa were able to hold on to the slender one-goal advantage, thanks mainly to the frustratingly-dependable Richard Dunne, who will no doubt return to form with a yellow card and an OG next week.

News just keeps getting better for the Villa, with Gary Glitter said to be interested in buying a share of the club, after hearing their attack is Young, Bent, and possibly Keane...

And yes, that joke is so old by now that even Gary Glitter wouldn't invite it back to his hotel...

It's another day for you, you and me in paradise...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mario Balotelli: brilliant footballer, even better WUM...

Mario Balotelli has used his latest injury lay-off to WUM just about everyone in world football, with Wayne Rooney, Jose Mourinho, and even the entire Barca team copping a serve.

"Rooney is a very good player but not the best [striker] in Manchester. Our attack of Balotelli-Tevez-Dzeko is the best in the world. We are the strongest. Better even than Barcelona and Real Madrid" scowled Mario — and that's not even mentioning the other attacking talent in the squad, David Silva, Adam Johnson, and Jo Yaya Toure.

The want-away Italian also claimed he is better than Rayne Wooney, but then again, with one goal from open play in twelve league appearances this season, that puts Tabloid Wayne amongst the great goal poachers of our time, alongside such luminaries as Joleon Lescott and Micah Richards. Still, it's one more goal than Jo's managed this season, so every cloud...

"Do United fans insult me? No, they stop me in the street and say: 'Mario, come to us'. But I dream of beating them because I know how much the City fans care. They are wonderful with me. When they sang my name after the hat-trick, I had chills..."

"They're multiplyin'!" he didn't add.

Meanwhile, in breath-taking transfer news, 'Arry "I ain't no wheeler and dealer" Redknapp has wheeled-and-dealed himself another midfielder, with Steven Pienaar the latest to sign for those ultra-attacking, devil-may-care, free-scoring Tottenham Globetrotters. Who despite the presence of the bestest left-back turned left-winger in the world, have still netted six less goals than Boring, Boring City.

"I've had brilliant years at Everton and it will always be a special place in my heart," tweeted Pienaar as he left Goodison Park, just before having his iPhone nicked.

Elsewhere, Darren Bent has joined Aston Villa from Sunderland for the cut-price fee of £18million, just in time to score another late winner against us on Saturday... sorry, £18 million?

Is he really worth one Roque Santa Cruz? Ok, poor example... is he really worth two-thirds of an Edin Dzeko? (Presumably you'd take the two legs. And the head. You could do without the arms...)

Bent is no doubt worth the extra money because can he score the odd goal, but he is also English, and would therefore qualify as a home-grown player under UEFA regulations. This would be important in the unlikely event of Aston Villa avoiding relegation qualifying for the Europa League, also known as "hell freezing over".

The only thing more shocking than a player moving from the top six to a team in a relegation dogfight is the fact that people are still wringing their hands at the thought that players move clubs "just for the money"...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Yaya Toure's 40-yard runs...

We're a massive fan of them... so much so we've cobbled together this little bit of YouTube goodness. Not bad for a "defensive midfielder", hey? Enjoy!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

City 4 VfL Wolverhampton 3; obligatory Dzeko-based pun.

Moneybags Manchester City regained top spot in the League (albeit having played three games more than United), with a 4-3 victory over plucky little Wolves, who have spent a fraction etc...

It was a performance very atypical of what we have come to expect this season from City — gone was the resolute, you-shall-not-pass defense we've come to expect of the central pairing of Van San Kompany and Kolo Toure, replaced by scuffed clearances, needless penalties, and old-fashioned bricking-it. Although according to the BBC, we should have expected no less; after all "City's Achilles is their defence." That'd be the same defense that has leaked 19 goals at an average of 0.82 a game then? Oh...

"We can improve because although we played good football in the second half, we had some problems at the back and shouldn’t concede three goals at home," Mancini fumed, thankfully focusing on that negative and not losing it amongst the positive of scoring four at the other end — although Edin Dzeko's debut was the best in a number 10 shirt since, um Robinho. If that's a poor game by his standards (hasn't played in a month, doesn't know his teammates, hates the Manchester cold etc), I can't wait to see him in full flight.

We're not usually one to subscribe to the "the refs are all biast [sic] and they hate city!" school of thought, but extra points to Lee Mason for not only being incredibly shit — and playing enough additional time to ensure those who left the stadium early made it home before the final whistle — but also being the first ref to successfully pull of a Cruyff Turn mid-match.

Lucky, flimsy, scintillating, and heart-stopping. And a whole lot more exciting than watching West Ham. Boring, boring City indeed.

Love City, love bespoke Sky Blue suits...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Bridge joins West Ham on loan; sub-editors (and City fans) rejoice.

Wayne Bridge proves he is as useless with his right hand as he is with his right foot, missing an easy handshake by at least two feet...

Sub-editors across the globe were predictably tripping over themselves to be the first to publish a headline with a gratuitous Simon and Garfunkel pun, as Wayne Bridge joined the troubled West Ham (damn, it's an easy trap to fall into) on loan for the rest of the season.

The 'Ammers will even pay the full whack of Bridge's £90,000 weekly wage, as they desperately try to undo the damage caused by playing Tal Ben Haim in defense all year.

Bridge was Mark Hughes' first true post-takeover signing, joining the club in January 2009 for the typically frugal figure of £11 million.

"I am glad the loan is sorted and I'm ready to play. It will be great to play a part in helping keep West Ham in the Premier League. It would be a big achievement."

"I know a few of the players from England and I know the physio," he continued, without an apparent hint of irony, considering his injury-plagued time at City.

We've spent a lot of money in recent times, but it seems awfully hard to justify £20 million pounds of investment on a player who aside from his early days at Southampton, has robbed a career as an okay left-back and serial bench-warmer. One who you'd suspect would happily go all Winston Bogarde on us and sit back and collect a wage for doing not much at all...

Michael Johnson: Gets knocked down, gets back up again...

Michael Johnson successfully completing a back-pass from the penalty spot against FC Midgetland.

Astonishingly, Michael Johnson has managed to complete an entire interview (and a half of football) without picking up another season-ending injury, playing forty-five minutes in the Elite Squad's 4-0 win over Rochdale.

The 22 stone year-old midfielder has not started a game for the club since a 3-0 win at the Stadium of Light back in September 2008 — lining-up along side world-class talents such as a Tal Ben Haim and Gelson Fernandes.

"It was good to be out there. It has been too long as it has been over a year since my last game."

"I felt good, although a bit rusty at times. Fitness-wise, I am there or thereabouts," he added, before skolling his pint to get one more in before the teams came out for the second half.

What happens next is anybody's guess. The kid has ability, but is he good enough to get us where we're going, even on the off-chance he regains full fitness?

The tub-thumping, Rag-hating, "Adam Johnson should start every game" faction will continue to compare him to the great Colin Bell based on a couple of goals three seasons ago — some have even gone so far as suggest he's adequate cover for David Silva. But with the several gazillion pounds of talent the bench this season, he'll be doing well to make more appearances than Stuart Taylor.

A loan to a team in the 'Lekkie Leagues, such as Preston or Leicester, would be ideal for all parties.

On a not completely unrelated theme, Roque Santa Cruz is going to have to scoot up a bit on the treatment table to make room for Mario Balotelli, who is set to miss yet another month of football with knee-ouch. So that'll be another month of having his picture taken with some tandoori-basted, fake-norked floozy before doing one back to Milan, then.

And people wonder why the kid doesn't smile?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Shallow Jo; and deciding which Premier League club to relegate...

"Can you believe Thaksin paid 18 million for me... he must have been high, son!"

According to latest reports, everyone's favourite Marlon Wayans (and professional footballer) impersonator, Jo, is said to be the target of five (count 'em!) separate football clubs. Yes, to actually play football for them...

The 23-year-old Jo — full name: For Fuck's Sake Jo — was thought to be on the radar of Greek giants Olympiakos, however this has been denied by his agent.

"There is no option for Jo to go to Greece," said the luckiest Mister-Ten-Percenter in the business, much to the relief of Olympiakos fans worldwide.

"Jo has five offers right now from clubs outside of England but he doesn't want to leave."

"There is no offer from Olympiakos. We have offers from Spain, France and Russia." And from Manchester City fans willing to drive him wherever required, he didn't add.

I can only assume that Bobby Manc is afflicted with a similar condition to that of Jack Black in 'Shallow Hal'. However, rather than becoming smitten with a grossly obese woman — Don Roberto has fallen head over heels for a (alleged) Brazilian (alleged) footballer, who was once deemed surplus to requirements at Everton and Galatasaray. Yes, the same Everton that once paid Lucas Neill a weekly wage.

In other news, City's fifth-choice left back, Wayne Bridge, is apparently set to decide which claret-and-blue clad Premier League club he'd like to relegate — with both West Ham and Aston Villa interested in signing the only man who uses his left foot for both accelerating and braking.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Young Hearts, Be Free Tonight...

The coincidences surrounding the FA Cup third round match between Leicester and Manchester City were astounding. Even the draw itself — where Noel Gallagher and Kasabian's Serge Pizzorno, drew their own favoured teams, Manchester City and Leicester respectively — was scarcely believable.

Roberto Mancini is the current Manchester City manager. He played four games for Leicester in 2001.
Sven Goran Eriksson is the current Leicester City manager. He is also a former Manchester City boss.
Sven managed Mancini at both Sampdoria and Lazio, later appointing him as assistant coach in 2000.
Leicester striker Darius Vassell is an ex-City player. Paul Dickov has also played for both clubs.
City youngsters Greg Cunningham and Ben Mee have been out on loan to Leicester this season.
Mancini's son, Fillipo, joined Manchester City's youth ranks when Sven was manager.

However, the most significant relationship between the two clubs is the 1969 FA Cup final, with Manchester City running out 1-0 winners.

Thanks to a goal by Neil Young.

Sadly, Neil has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, and may not have the chance to see City win another FA Cup — even if the club's 35-year wait for a major trophy comes to an end at Wembley.

Neil Young was a player many years before my time, both as a City fan... and well as anything really. So I feel it would be crass and disingenuous to comment about his contribution to Manchester City apart from the facts — a very respectable 86 goals from 334 appearances as a winger or inside forward is a fine record.

One thing I can comment on though, is the reaction of the fans.

I feel that the phrase "best fans in the land and all the world" is bandied around a little too often by some City supporters. We're certainly not the most abundant. We're definitely not the loudest.

But there are moments where as a Manchester City supporter you genuinely think "would fans of any other club do this?"

Such as the time someone who was yet to meet me in the flesh arranged tickets and travel to an away game.

Or when that same person put me up for the night when I couldn't secure a hotel room.

However, the performance of the away end at the Walkers tonight was truly something else. Even conceding in the first minute couldn't prevent City fans from carrying out their tribute to Neil.

On 24 minutes — the amount of time on the clock when Young fired in the winner in the '69 final — the entire away end turned their backs and did 'the Poznan', and waved red and black scarves above their head. This was topped off by a rousing rendition of "There's only one Neil Young". It was a moving tribute, one that left a knot in the stomach.

And one of those moments where you think "yep, this is what being a City fan is all about".

We have a second chance for qualification now with a replay at Eastlands. Let's win it for Neil.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Etihad Coming Home: THIS time starring the Sydney Blues!

Regular readers of the blog (all 28 of you) will remember our unsuccessful foray into last year's Etihad Coming Home competition, which offered overseas City fans the opportunity to fly back to Manchester to watch the Derby.

But this year, we've gone one better, and made through to the final ten. Public voting will open next month, and don't worry, we'll definitely let you know when it opens, and we'll hound you for your vote then. In the meantime, check out our entry below, and don't forget to visit us on Facebook ( or Twitter (

"Being a blue is like nothing else.
There's something intangible. Something you can't describe.
You ride every emotion.
The incredible highs. The wonder goals that have you out of your seat and hugging strangers.
The devastating lows. That almost bring you to tears and ruin your week.
Even from 10000 miles away, we support the club like those that live on City's doorstep.
But it just not the same as being there…which is why Gav and I would like to come home…

The Sydney supporters club started off with very humble beginnings, in fact three years ago it was a couple of blokes having a couple of beers in a random pub in Sydney, pleading with the bar staff to turn one of the TVs on to the City game — even if was the one in the corner with no sound.

Through hard work over many months, and by simply turning out at the same venue each week, we began to increase our following.

Two became three. Three became five, and five became ten. Soon, big matches such as the Derby were attracting upwards of forty fans. Some Australian, some ex-pats, some Mancs on holiday, but all part of the City family. We've even managed to get some 'big name' City fans to come down, such as broadcaster Simon Hill and ex- City 'star' Spencer Prior.

Despite being half a world away, we try to bring a little bit of Eastlands to Sydney. Every goal, every missed chance, every injury-time loss — we feel it too.

The Sydney Blues have been recognised on several occasions by the club. We featured had our story published in the Match Programme, we've been on the Official Site in a story about 'Far Away Blues', and our home pub was named as a 'Heart of the City' — one of just eight international venues to be named a safe-havens where City fans can watch matches with like-minded fans wherever they are in the world.

Watching the match on a pub TV is only half the story. We aim to be a proactive supporters club, and spread the Blue Gospel through anyway we can, whether that be through our blog, Facebook, Twitter, or anyway we possibly can. We've been interviewed by FourFourTwo, and appeared on BBC radio — although whether that happens again is unclear, after expressing my disappointment a little too colourfully after losing to Stoke…

We've both made the pilgrimage to Eastlands on previous occasions, but to Come Home with Etihad would be the fulfillment of a dream that's been discussed and poured over many times at Cheers Bar over the past few years.

Over the coming weeks, we'll post some new videos and reasons why we think we we should Come Home to Manchester. But in the meantime, it's a thrill and an honour to even be considered for the prize. Fingers crossed!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Guess who's back with a brand new track?

Oh my word, it is really too long since we updated this website. I can only apologise profusely for the heinous disregard shown to the many thousands dozens that used to follow the blog.

Just like many other media outlets, sometimes a change in direction is required. It's probably for the best if we do away with the physical Match Reports. There are several million sites that cover City matches already. If you're after an alternative to the Official Site or the BBC, there are a couple of sites I can recommend.

For match reports, you can't go past David Mooney's 'Blues Reviews' — a blog so simple and no-nonsense it was last seen playing central defense for Stoke.

If you like your blog posts full of superfluous verbosity and a love for David Silva that blurs the lines of hetero- and homo- sexuality, then Jack at 'TLDORC' is well worth your time.

Of course, these two fellas have a few significant advantages over this website. Firstly, they aren't watching from 16 000 kilometres away. And they're not doing it blind drunk at 3am either. So they have a little bit more of an idea of what they're talking about...

It's a busy time for the City at the moment (and the Sydney Blues too, but more on that later), and if we decide we have an opinion on something, we'll cover it in our trademark irreverent style.