The respect handshake prior to the City match against Arsenal
What a fantastic victory against Arsenal. We really did Sheikh up the Gooners. But what a shame it has been over-shadowed by reporting that can only be described as totally un-balanced.
City have reluctantly accepted the FA charge for the stamp on Van Persie, almost certainly the right decision in the circumstances. The situation that remains with the goal celebration is an altogether harder one to judge from the club's perspective. Can City really expect a fair hearing at appeal in light of the totally un-balanced reporting in the press?
It's a mystery why there has been so little coverage and comment of the behaviour of a small section of Arsenal fans at the front of the away end. Their reaction was of the kind I have never seen at a match in my life, with the exception of a fairly large riot at a derby match in
No mention in the press reporting of Van Persie's celebration in front of the City fans when Arsenal equalised. Not one that I have noticed. City fans, impeccably behaved in recent history, watched aghast at the reaction in the away end to Adebayor's celebration. When Van Persie trooped over to the home-end corner of the Colin Bell stand did you see objects and chairs flying towards the pitch? Not a bit of it. No crowd rush, barely even a reaction and yet this has been nowhere in the reporting of the Adebayor celebration. No mention either of Henry's unpunished celebration in front of Spurs fans in 2002.
If any readers have in fact found a balanced report of this incident, please could they post a link as we would like to congratulate the reporter involved.
City fans are fair-minded supporters with a passion and love for the game. We're light-hearted and full of good humour. We don't believe in player hate campaigns. We don't take life so damn seriously that we need to rush to the front of the away end and knock a steward out. Sure, Adebayor's celebration was perhaps over-the-top and most City fans would probably accept that. What we don't accept is the relentless attack against our football club. In this particular case, the un-balanced reporting of this incident has the real potential to make idiotic so-called fans of clubs everywhere to think that a reaction like that is completely acceptable. We appeal to quality reporters everywhere to stop and think before getting caught up in the anti-City hysteria that your industry peers seem intent on whipping up. Our time has come, let us enjoy it.
MCFCfans (see poll on our home page)
There is no time for intricate research and intelligent commentary this morning. No City fan is going to make any allowances today in their pursuit to get to quite clearly the biggest game of the season so far. The fact that this Arsenal game is immediately followed up by the derby next week makes it extra special. There is also the outside chance of an appearance from the owner in front of a sell out home crowd for the first time.
The atmosphere today will be something close to the Hamburg game. It is the first big test against one of the so-called 'big four'. It's game on, the talking stops here, and the playing on the pitch is everything. It's time for a huge performance from every player. What a mouth-watering prospect.
No Tevez for City won't make a jot of difference given the circumstances. City's approach to the game will be the key. What will the mental state be? If we give Arsenal too much respect in the face of the pressure then we stand to be taken apart. But if our confident strutting is carefully employed with an Adebayor goal or two then we're in good shape with a belting crowd behind us.
Time to get in the car and drive to the match. Can't wait. Will be collecting kit for the Manchester City Babies in Ghana on the way. They play Standfast FC this weekend, a rival side based in Tamale and above the Babies in the league in every age group (see MCFC Babies page). It will be a tough weekend for them but here's hoping for top points for City and the Babies this weekend.
City forced to defend early in the first half
A well-deserved one-nil victory (City Official Match Report) but an expensive three points for my wallet! The foundations of my goal-fest prediction were all there. But when I turned up and realised we were to be playing in white I thought the entire strategy might be undone. I’m a strong believer in third kits being a bad omen.
I’ll exchange a dent in the wallet for three points any day. City dominated for a lot of the game but it's fair to say Pompey gave us some cause for concern in various areas. It was a great atmosphere and we roll on unbeaten in the league, unbeaten away from home, the only side to have not conceded a goal. As one fan bellowed out in reply to Pompey’s cheating chant aimed at Adebayor, “Same old City, always winning!” Yeah, steady on...
Any fans who weren’t at the game will know better as it was televised on Sky, but I hear the disallowed goal should have stood on the grounds that Barry was offside and not Richards. Was Barry interfering with play? There were also two big penalty shouts. I thought both were penalties, but the Tevez penalty shout was probably the most blatant I have ever seen. Again Sky may have already proven me wrong. Either way, had a couple of all of those chances gone in the 3-0 correct score and total goals call might have looked a little more sensible. I hope readers didn’t wager too much on similar outcomes. I heard one fan on the way out say he had Adebayor to score first and City 3-0. Gutted.
Adebayor's goal brought about rapturous scenes in the City end with Adebayor's newly adapted song being bellowed out to a silent Pompey crowd (see home page for video). If Adebayor can keep up the steady trickle of goals then our away form might just continue.
As it was many City fans were sweating like Aussies in a spelling test for a period during the second half when Pompey pressed for an equaliser. Shay Given’s call for composure in seeing games out was not entirely heeded, as the gut instinct for many City players is still to rampage up the pitch in search of another goal late on. But the 1-0 held and City fans celebrated to avoid the riot that would have unfolded had Pompey equalised after the Tevez penalty shout.
City fans celebrate the final whistle...let the good times roll!
With readers having watched the game on television it leaves me to point out a few subtle nuances picked up in the terrace. Firstly, the terrace banter is getting better and better. The production line of imaginative and humorous songs that used to be the reserve of standing in the Kippax is on its’ way back. If you’ve not been to an away game yet this season then I can highly recommend it.
On the player front Tevez looked a bit tired as the game neared the end. More match fitness is required. I guess I have to break my protective silence on Wayne Bridge as well. He must close down potential crosses quicker than he does, or at all. If we’re vulnerable anywhere it is down the flanks. Finally, an observation on Petrov. I spotted it at the Blackburn game and noticed it again at half-time at Portsmouth. His body language seems to be saying, “what am I doing here,” like he would be more interested staying at home pairing his socks up. Head down and no enthusiasm. I hope I’m wrong and he wins a place to prove his attacking worth.
After the international break, City have two huge games in the form of Arsenal at home and United away. The Chairman’s recent interview with the official site suggested the Sheikh could be in town soon. Arsenal at home would represent a fine way to greet an adoring and grateful City faithful.
Bring ‘em on!
The Grand Master Plan takes shape
Firstly, a warm welcome to all of the new members of MCFCfans, supporters of Manchester City from all over the world who have been signing up to be a part of a growing global City community. There are many great City fan blogs, and it is the sign of a club with real heart and substance that we should be blessed with so many not-for-profit, well-respected, unofficial sites.
The form book certainly reads in City’s favour today. WWWWW, our form back to the Celtic friendly, is not a sight we have seen for a while. Added to this is the fact that City has not conceded a goal in the last four games. There are certainly some small issues around the edges about one aspect or another of the team, but I would take that start any season.
As Hughes himself has confessed, Pompey presents a somewhat unpredictable challenge. Playing a struggling team away from home, that has just had a major organisational change, is always perilous. In the spirit of light-hearted banter, I think that predicting a tight affair today is the easy option. City should trounce Portsmouth today, make no bones about it. Pompey’s new owner has yet to make an impact at Pompey, and it could be said he needs to prove himself after his outbursts during the City takeover. A lot of quality has left the club and not a lot has come back in the other direction.
There were several aspects that impressed me watching City from the stand on Thursday evening. The one that really stood out though, was the condition of the players. Very few players looked to be lacking match fitness even though we’re at the start of the season. When a ball was being chased by any City player, it was chased with a burst of pace that demonstrated a rigorous pre-season training routine. No longer does Stephen Ireland look like the only player who can run for 90 minutes.
Stephen Ireland’s description in the Telegraph yesterday about a walk in the hotel grounds with Micah and Nedum was enlightening. “We were on a walk at the hotel, me and Micah and Nedum. And we were just saying – Richard Dunne had just left, just before we went on our walk – and we were saying there’s just three of us left, this is mental you know.” It’s happened so fast and yet, so far at least, the manner of the execution of the plan has been excellent.
It’s not difficult to pick out the new players who have made an impact so far. All of them. Adebayor is scoring and has slotted in nicely up front. Barry’s command of midfield is a cut above, although there is more to be done to gel the midfield together. Tevez showed signs of real class on Thursday night. His vision and ability to join up passages of play is something akin to a chess player. Toure and Lescott looked relatively assured. The niggling wing-back concerns persist, and there is a real need to find a way to get the best out of Robinho as the formation takes shape. But these niggles take time.
This is a team that is enjoying playing football together as the grand master plan is implemented. There is a real buzz around the club and the players are feeding from it. The feel good factor could create a big result today. The betting certainly indicates a strong City showing (Betfair: City 1.59 – 1.6, Pompey 7.0-7.2, Draw 4.2-4.3 @ 09.57am, 30th Aug). So I’m long total goals, but have capped my correct score optimism at 3-0 to City (Betfair: 13.5-14.0).
Let’s hear a big noise in the 2,000 strong away end today Blues: COME ON CITY !!!
Here's hoping the newly formed City team show the deep passion
and commitment of the Manchester City Babies in Ghana
What a great time to be a Manchester City fan. I can’t stop myself day-dreaming about the noise that we created that night against Hamburg, only I apply the noise to some made-up cup-winning goal scenario. I crave more of it. Lots more!!
The signings we have made so far have been impressive. If we can add a big central defender to the squad before the transfer deadline then we’re in really good shape to win something this season. Yes, repeat, “win something.” As Robinho has rightly pointed out though, unless the defence is sorted out then we will have an uphill struggle to make our way into the top 4. Top teams win consistently by being strong at the back. That being said, buying a defender isn’t necessarily the answer. We’ve played well at the back with what we’ve got in the past. So surely there is a lot to be said for getting our existing defenders seriously organised this season?
MCFCfans returns to the blog after a long time out. It’s been a busy and rewarding last few months working on the Soccer Babies project and supporting the MCFC Babies in Ghana. After a difficult start to their first season in the Ghanaian youth league, the Manchester City Babies recorded an unbeaten weekend across all age groups last weekend. It was truly great news and readers can catch up the progress of the Babies throughout the season on their dedicated blog.
My trip to Ghana to see the MCFC Babies was truly memorable. The English Premier League is at the centre of almost all discussions concerning football among young Ghanaians. Scattered around the country are large theatres with big screens and multiple televisions that show all of the big live EPL games. I had the misfortune of watching us lose to United in one of them. Virtually every shirt was either a Chelsea shirt (on account of Essien) or a United shirt. Among the 400 odd present in the theatre to watch the derby, there was one guy in a City shirt with the old Brother logo. He gave me a long story of how he had come to inherit the shirt, how he had cherished it ever since, and that he always went to the theatre to watch City.
The potential of the fan base in Africa cannot be underestimated. Our capture of Adebayor and Toure will advance City’s profile in the region. But the support of local youth football teams in Africa playing in Manchester City colours is a fantastic win win for the club. Soccer Babies aim is to sell this to them once we have established a credible track record.
In the meantime back home over 7,000 fans will turn up to Ewood Park for the opening game of the season on Saturday. I simply can’t wait to get there (I'll be twittering updates on the home page for anyone unable to make it). Whatever criticism comes our way, whatever nostalgia for the past may circulate, whatever anyone might think about the money in the game, if you bleed blue blood then you simply can’t help being excited by the season ahead. Bring it on.
Come on City !!!