Tuesday, 25 August 2009

It’s Tuesday and that can only mean one thing...no, I’m not talking about the Joleon Lescott deal finally being confirmed, but ‘Blue Tuesday’ is back on the airwaves!

Our pilot show went well last week and we are back with a bang today with presenters Ian Cheeseman and Paul Lake. As usual I will be lurking around the City forums and message-boards spying and seeking out the funniest, most appropriate and topical debates and issues surrounding Eastlands. We have got an exclusive interview with Noel Gallagher, Lakey’s ‘hot topic’ will be expectations and we will have another excellent live interview for your listening pleasure.

Make sure you get involved by:

a) Emailing us at
b) Texting us on 07786 206951
c) Become a fan of the show by searching ‘Blue Tuesday’ in your Facebook search bar and give us your comments on our official page.

Tune in at 6-7pm tonight, only on 95.1 FM BBC Radio Manchester.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Adebayor goal enough to claim three points

Sometimes it’s quite difficult to write about football without dropping in a couple of clich├ęs, but I think I can get away with ‘a game of two halves’ in this article. Manchester City arrived onto the pitch at Eastlands in front of a spectacular sell-out crowd in the blazing northern sunshine; the air was filled with anticipation and excitement. The dawn of a new blue era was upon the City faithful- and the debut fixture at home against Wolves was one of the hottest seats in town.

City’s new superstars featured across the pitch: Kolo Toure started in defence with Gareth Barry controlling the midfield and the daunting duo of Emmanuel Adebayor and Carlos Tevez started upfront. Within minutes of the kick-off, Wolves looked more like rabbits caught in the headlights. Wave upon wave of City attack stunned the visitors and it wasn’t long before the deadlock was broken. Tevez provided the assist for Adebayor to slot the ball home clinically past Wayne Hennessey.

Mark Hughes’ men could have been five up before the interval, such was the dominance of City, with chances going amiss for Robinho, Tevez, Barry and Adebayor. But the one-goal lead was always slender and Shay Given kept the advantage intact with a superb save just before the break from Matthew Jarvis.

It was a warning shot that, despite the complete dominance and unequivocal possession statistics that favoured the home side, the lead was precarious. More chances came and went for City from Stephen Ireland and Adebayor, and Robinho even put the ball in the net but it was ruled out for off-side. But Wolves came back to bite with a vengeance that almost made City rue their plethora of missed chances when Andy Keogh’s stinging effort crashed off the crossbar. Mick McCarthy’s team finished with a flourish that had the substantial home crowd biting their fingernails, as has been the case so many times in the past, but they couldn’t find the equaliser.

Garry Cook had mentioned during the summer that he wanted to dispel the popular saying ‘typical City’ from the club. But as I walked out of the City of Manchester Stadium, that’s all I could hear being uttered around me. ‘Typical City’, we almost threw away two points despite the vast quantity of chances throughout the 90 minutes. The faces on the pitch may have changed, but the game should have been comprehensively killed off. But that was City’s fourth win on the bounce (counting victories against Celtic and Barcelona), and the third clean sheet in a row. Consistency was certainly hard to come by last year...could it have finally been found?

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Okay, okay, so it was only a friendly, but there is no harm in gloating over the fact that City beat Barcelona 1-0 to win the Joan Gamper Trophy at the Nou Camp.

In front of a capacity crowd, the Spanish side dominated for long periods, but it was City who took the lead through Martin Petrov in the 28th minute. Barca’s summer signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic even made an appearance but Mark Hughes’ men held out for an unprecedented victory.

Barcelona’s coach Pep Guardiola praised City’s ventures.

"City are a team with big stars and we knew it would be difficult.

"They scored a goal and almost scored another at the end, but we had our chances too and it was a good match," he added.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

I’m quite baffled at the whole situation regarding the Joleon Lescott saga. I first thought that David Moyes was right to reject City’s initial bid if he really wanted to keep hold of his prized defender. That was all well and good. The second bid came in from City and was also rejected. Moyes was becoming more and more frustrated and his responses quite abrupt and almost venomous. Mark Hughes remained persistent and confident in acquiring Lescott’s services at Eastlands. Lescott has since had a transfer request turned down and been dropped from the squad in their Europa League qualifying tie against Sigma Olomouc.

But now it is almost as if the spat has hit a raw nerve as far as Moyes is concerned. The 6-1 drubbing against Arsenal at Goodison Park on Saturday was shocking evidence that perhaps the Lescott situation is over-shadowing the football club. Moyes has admitted that the defender’s head just wasn’t in the game, so as a professional football manager shouldn’t he have been aware of that before kick-off and not played him?

“He wasn't (right) before Saturday's game and he told me that,” Moyes stated.

“I took the risk and chose to play him. But now the time is right to leave him alone until things are sorted, and hopefully that will be after the deadline."

But in an interesting and almost contradictory twist, Moyes added that a route out of Goodison Park may still be possible for the 27 year-old.

"The door is open for Joleon. We don't want him to go, I have said that all along, unless we get an offer that I think is right.”

I think that Moyes has handled the situation wrong. I understand that Lescott is under contract at Goodison Park and that selling to one of his rivals is something that the Scotsman is very reluctant to do. But his side need the cash and the player wants out. Take the money. This transfer fiasco has to be resolved one way or another in the next 12 days...will he stay or will he go?

Monday, 17 August 2009

New-look City boys off to flying start at Ewood Park

I previously spoke about how Sam Allardyce’s side can be both stubborn and tenacious and shouldn’t really be underestimated. City’s visit to Ewood Park could have posed a potential banana skin, but instead proved to be an excellent start to the season. Not only was the 2-0 victory a clean sheet away from home, but it also demonstrated how crucial a number of Mark Hughes’ summer investments will be throughout the season and beyond.

Gareth Barry had an excellent game in midfield, providing an important steel to the front of City’s defence and also linking up well in attack when the blues countered. Kolo Toure was partnered in the heart of defence with Richard Dunne and together they both had a superb 90 minutes, frustrating Jason Roberts and Benni McCarthy with their steely presence and stubborn work ethic. Emmanuel Adebayor’s goal was further evidence of the quality of football that City’s new faces are capable of achieving. Although the partnership with Craig Bellamy was a slight mis-match, Hughes will be able to experiment and discover which two target men are best upfront and Adebayor will be only too happy to add to that welcome selection headache.

Carlos Tevez left the Stretford side of Manchester for guaranteed first-team football at City but started from the bench, with Hughes still aware of his lack of match fitness. Yet when he replaced Robinho, who played well but still seems to suffer from travel sickness, Tevez looked sharp, effective and industrious. The new boys all certainly impressed and their presence and calibre combined fluidly with the relative ‘old boys’. Stephen Ireland, City’s reigning Player of the Season looked just as impressive and sealed the victory with a composed and assured goal.
The overall performance, particularly the second half, was clinical and comprehensive. The visitors were forced to withstand attacks from Allardyce’s men, but never particularly looked on the ropes. It was a vast improvement from last season’s calamitous away days, with City looking confident, combining the important elements of steel and flair to full effect. Shay Given pulled off a couple of outstanding saves to protect his side’s clean sheet and the question that City fans will want answering now is whether that all-important consistency can be achieved, and maintained.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

I absolutely LOVE this picture that I stumbled across. It was taken during City’s recent Open House training session and shows a selection of our players posing and frolicking about. It looks like they are relaxed and jovial ahead of the new season, and it’s good to see them engaging in a fun team spirit. Come on City boys!

Monday, 10 August 2009

"I was put on this earth to be a footballer"

Football Pundette meets a footballer that is one of the best to ever play for his club Manchester City, Colin Bell.

It’s not every day that you get to meet a bona fide legend. A footballer of the highest calibre, one that was so good for the club he played for that they decided to name a stand in the stadium after him.

It’s safe to say that Colin Bell comes under that category. After starting his football career at Bury, he made his name playing for Manchester City in the so-called golden era of football during the 1970’s. He was part of the dream team, playing alongside Mike Summerbee and Francis Lee, winning numerous accolades and trophies for City.

Colin went on to play for England but his career was cut painfully short when he severely injured his knee during a match against City’s arch-rivals Manchester United in 1975. He was only 29 and at the peak of his career.

After recovering, Colin tried to resurrect his playing days in America at the San Jose Earthquakes but decided to call time on what had been a bittersweet but successful career.

“I don’t know if anything made me want to become a footballer. I just thought that I was put on this earth to be a footballer. That is the way it went through the early stages of my life in school; I was always playing football. I always went everywhere with the ball at my foot. I was playing football at school at an early age. I just thought, at the back of my mind, even though I was going through school, I would become a professional footballer.

“It’s only in hindsight, years down the line, you realise how lucky you are that it happened that way. There are a million kids that dream of becoming a footballer now and it never happens for them. But fortunately enough for me, it happened. To me it was a hobby and I was lucky to become a professional and get paid for it. There’s nothing that comes better in life than getting paid for something that you just love to do. It was fantastic.”

“50% of the players were Manchester lads”

“There were a lot of Manchester lads, which was great because it was a Manchester team. I would say that about 50% of the players were Manchester lads. You talk about foreign players coming in now: I don’t mind the quality players coming in. I didn’t like it a few years ago when they started to come in but you have to draw the line somewhere. Once the quality players are in, I would prefer to give English players a chance after that. By all means bring quality in if it’s going to improve the team, but at some stage you have to draw the line and say to give the youngsters a try or our own players. It should be a happy medium really.

“During my time at City I was close to three players because they had a similar personality to me, they were quiet and reserved; Alan Oakes, Glyn Pardoe and Mike Doyle. If we ever went away on club trips we would tend to run together and play golf together. We did everything together when we were away with the club, basically because we all shared a similar personality and temperament.

“I was lucky enough to play alongside George Best during my time at the San Jose Earthquakes. He was very special. He will stand out in history as a great player and he really was. The number one thing about George Best, even though he was a great player, was that he was a lovely person. I used to run with him when we played for the Earthquakes. I hadn’t met him before then; of all the times that I played against him when he was at Manchester United and I was at City I hadn’t bumped into him or gone out with him. But for a few months at San Jose I got to know him and he was lovely. As everybody knows, he was a special player.

"I look back on my career, and the thing that I am proudest of is when we came out on top after those 42 league games, so I would say that winning the Championship at City was my proudest moment. But the glory one is probably the F.A. Cup, I was lucky enough to win that as well. Both of those come very high in honours really. But my number one thing was when I got injured and I came back from my bad injury to finally be able to finish my career.

“It was against Newcastle at home on a Boxing Day. There were 45,000 fans there and I got a standing ovation from both sets of fans. I had this connection with the City supporters from day one. They just took to me straight away and the reception that I got on this particular day was absolutely fantastic. Football is a team sport, but this day, when I came on as a substitute at half time, it was a standing ovation for me personally. I will always remember that game; it was my number one game. I’ve played for England, I’ve won these trophies, but my number one game was that.”

“The money in football now is over the top”

“The thing about being a footballer is that it is a short career and I do believe that footballers should be paid decent wages because they are entertainers and are classed as entertainers. But the money in football these days is well and truly over the top. It should be a good wage but there should be a ceiling on transfer fees and on wages. Somebody at the top should have done that years ago. I can’t blame the players for taking the money that’s offered to them. It isn’t their fault. I’m sure if you were offered that amount of cash you would just say thank you very much. A lot of footballers would agree they are lucky to be picking up the kind of wages that they are. If they play for three or four years these days players can be set for life.

“But that doesn’t mean I would change when I played. The only thing that I would have probably changed would have been the wages or the pitches. Other than that, the time during which I played and the people that I played with and against, well it was a better era. It was a better time in life and a better standard of football, better everything.

”With that in mind, because it is a short career, players have to knuckle down and be whiter than white, especially nowadays with the amount of press and television coverage. It only lasts perhaps 10-15 years so it isn’t a great length of time. You just have to put the brakes on everything and be whiter than white, that’s how professional footballers should be. I get annoyed or frustrated when they get caught out with drinking or doing things that they shouldn’t do. They should be squeaky clean.”

“City will be one of the biggest clubs in the world”

“City are now moving with the times. The thing that I have always thought about over the years is why has somebody with money never gone into City before because I’ve always considered City as a big, big club. Why we haven’t had interest from people with money before is something I have never understood. I’ve had my fingers crossed for a long time that somebody would finally come in with good and true money and it looks as though that is the case now.

“Hopefully we will be one of the top teams, not just in Britain but in the world. The money was needed without a doubt, you can’t go anywhere without money nowadays in football. Over the last five or ten years the Premier League has become very predictable. It’s always the four top clubs that have got money. It’s unfair to the rest. In my time, everybody in the division had a chance of winning the league because it was the same wages for everybody; everybody could afford the top players so everybody had an equal chance. But now it’s a terrible shame that the other clubs are struggling.

“You know what? The only regret I have in life is that I picked up an injury when I could have played for another five years with the way my career looked at that moment in time. To add another five years or so onto my career when I was at the top and had played 40-odd times for England, I could have probably reached a hundred. I could have probably won more trophies. I could have probably got another 200 or so appearances in, my goal-scoring chart would have looked better...there’s so many things. But that’s my only regret. I was blessed and so very lucky to play football.”

Friday, 7 August 2009


'One Moment In Time'

‘One Moment In Time’ is a nostalgic look back at events and occasions in City’s past that will no doubt resurrect many impassioned memories for most City fans. Written from my personal point of view, I am hoping that reliving these moments, whether they were good or bad, will prove to be an enjoyable read for all. This month...drawing Wigan in the 1998/99 play-offs.

The one positive that City could take from the Millwall game was the result- a 3-0 victory meant that City were back on the promotion trail. Although we wouldn’t be winning the league (Kevin Keegan’s Fulham were runaway winners of that), there was an opportunity to gain Division One status via. the play-offs. The play-offs were renowned for being somewhat of a lottery. Three days are all that stood in the way of your team gaining promotion, with the final one being a trip to Wembley.

A lot of people regard the play-offs as the hardest way of being promoted, but many saw the chance of a day out to Wembley too good too miss. But for all concerned, getting out of Division Two was the only option for City.

On the pitch the blues made steady progress. A 6-0 win at Turf Moor against Burnley was the highlight of the second half of the season that saw City elevate from seventh to third- firmly in the play-offs. The final home game of the season, against York City, saw Joe Royle’s men confirm third spot. Kevin Horlock, Paul Dickov, Danny Allsopp and Jeff Whitley all scored as City beat the visitors 4-0, the irony being that the win meant possible promotion for City and definite relegation for York. I didn’t feel elated, I felt relieved. Excited. The season was over- but it was only just beginning.

The final league positions saw us drawn in the play-off semi finals against our local rivals Wigan Athletic. They had finished sixth after a run of consecutive results and we had to play them at their ground, Springfield Park, in the first leg. On paper it was looking good. City had beaten the Latics home and away in the league- both times 1-0. It felt like we had booked our seats at Wembley- but just not received the tickets.

Springfield Park had a capacity of approximately 5,500 which made it extra difficult to get tickets. Impossible in fact. Luckily, Maine Road played host to a ‘screening’, with a huge television screen taking up place on the pitch, beaming the match back live to the Kippax audience.

The joy quickly turned to embarrassment. After only two minutes, Wigan’s top scorer Stuart Barlow capitalised on a misunderstanding between Nicky Weaver and Gerard Wiekens, scoring possibly the easiest and potentially most important goal he would ever score. Here we go again, I thought. Most people in the Kippax had barely sat down and City were already behind. It was a huge blow. Surely an equaliser wouldn’t be far away, would it?

As the match progressed, it was pretty much end to end stuff. Michael Brown and Gareth Taylor went close for City and Andy Liddell could have settled it for the Latics. Hope was fading fast between us blues. Then it came. The equaliser. Paul Dickov found the net to score and level the tie, bringing Wigan to Maine Road for the second leg with the situation all square. Chants of ‘North Stand give us a song’ eased the tension and most blues left Maine Road reasonably satisfied and eagerly anticipating the return leg.

19th May 1999 and Maine Road was buzzing. Not only was it a warm spring night it was ‘flag day’ at City, as well as being the match that would decide the club’s future- staying down or possibly going up on the road to recovery. Wembley or Wycombe. Disaster or delirium. I was so excited. The atmosphere was absolutely electric and the air of anticipation was immense. People were partying before the teams had run out. I could sense that this was going to be a special evening.

Nerves were high and both teams were more than matching each other. With so much at stake, neither side could afford to slip up and give anything away. I had some really rowdy men behind me, who were constantly jumping on their seats and landing on me. The spirit and expectation was unbelievable and then came something to really shout about. The breakthrough. The goal. City youngster Brown crossed the ball in and our very own Bermudan superstar Shaun Goater saw the ball into the back of the net. I say saw, because there was a big shout for hand-ball. Who cares? 1-0 City.

I screamed when I saw the net bulge. I jumped around, almost crying, mostly making an arse of myself, but so did 30,000 others who shared that moment with me. City were in the driving seat, but now they had to avoid any obstacles that Wigan may put in their path, and it was unbelievably tense. During the last five minutes Wigan pressed forward, they even hit the crossbar. Every City fan had all of their fingers crossed- hoping, wishing, even praying. It was like a communal church, with every blue praying for the final whistle. ‘Blow it!’ we screamed. We were heckling at the referee as the City players fought to clear the ball once more. My ears were ringing from the deafening shouts and mock whistling. My heart was in my mouth.

Toot toot toot! There it was- the end of the 94 minutes. An almighty roar engulfed Maine Road as everybody ran onto the pitch. I was itching to join in the fun so I hurdled over seats and ran with reckless abandon onto the scene of victory. I had never witnessed anything like it. The P.A. announcer’s pleas to vacate the pitch went unnoticed as grown men cried with joy, kissing the pitch. I let myself drop to the ground and I lay on my back, gazing at the stars in the cloudless sky. It was a magical moment. The stench of moist grass filled my lungs and I looked around at the scenes of ecstasy. The chant of ‘Wem-ber-ley’ echoed around the stadium.

I got to my feet and spun around, looking at each stand. The Kippax (my home), the North stand, the Main stand and the Platt Lane end. I ran along the touchline, cut into midfield and into the box, me and my imaginary football. I scored the goal of the season that night! It was alright to dream on that warm Wednesday evening, but we all went home believing as well. The famous Manchester City were off to Wembley.