Saturday, 9 November 2013

When we should support and not ridicule...

Being an outfield player can make it a considerably less pressurized situation when you’re ‘dropped’. Being England and Manchester City’s number one goalkeeper and the Premier League Golden Glove winner the past three years makes it headline news. For the past month Joe Hart has been at the centre of a media firestorm: ignited further after his ‘mistake’ at Chelsea during injury time, which saw Fernando Torres net the winner for the home side in a 2-1 win at Stamford Bridge.

The hounding tabloid wolves speculated instantly after the final whistle at the Bridge as to whether or not Hart would be dropped by City manager Manuel Pellegrini. So when the news filtered through that the Chilean had chosen to play stopper Costel Pantilimon ahead of Hart in the Capital One Cup tie against Newcastle at St James’ Park, despite the fact that the Romanian is always first choice for cup games, the media outlets on social networking sites practically purred with delight. 

Sky Sports, with their finger forever on the pulse, lapped up the opportunity and kept cutting to pictures of Hart sat on the bench. Downcast, dejected and disheartened, the commentators quipped. No, just rested. No sensationalized reports of Sergio Aguero or David Silva being dropped. No, because they were rested too. It’s all part and parcel of being a member of a squad participating in the usual squad rotation. The Blues won the game in extra time 2-0 to progress to the quarter finals of the cup (clean sheet bonus there Costel!).

Friday, 18 October 2013

Kolo Kolo Kolo...Yaya Yaya Yaya...

The song has dance moves all of its own. City fans still sing the bit in it about Kolo Toure, despite the fact the defender moved to Liverpool this summer. It's the terrace chant that has now spread to Newcastle - the Yaya and Kolo Toure song.

Set to the 2 Unlimited hit 'No Limit', which reached number one in the United Kingdom upon release in January 1993, revelers took to the streets of Newcastle city centre in the early hours of Wednesday morning after their night out and instantly broke out into the song. The crowd was so big, taxi drivers couldn't pass through the blocked street the students had taken over.

A gift or a curse...

It’s not very often people are given a second chance in life. Occasionally individuals have the capacity to excel, but are tainted by demons. Sometimes things do go wrong and that chance to put things right is gratefully received and grasped with both hands. That’s exactly what is happening at the moment with West Ham midfielder Ravel Morrison.

After years of hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons, he wrote them himself with that incredible solo goal against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane recently. Add to that his performance for the England Under-21s this week, in which he scored two goals in a 5-0 drubbing over Lithuania, and you have a lot of plaudits gushing over the 20 year old.

The only thing that stands in Morrison’s way is him. He does himself no favours. Despite the sparkling display during that 5-0 victory he attracted negative attention again, this time for having an on-pitch bust-up with England team-mate Wilfried Zaha. Having a fiery temperament is all well and good, it’s learning to control and channel it in a positive and constructive way - that behaviour certainly doesn’t belong on the football pitch. 

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Remember Kazimierz Deyna? No? Read all about him...

When City supporters turn the conversation to choosing their best loved players, there’s always a wide variety of names proposed and no shortage of favourites. The most recognised names are familiar, celebrated and remembered fondly, along with their background stories.

However, the generation gap means that certain players are not as readily brought to mind and their stories, if not forgotten, are often consigned to the further reaches of the collective conscience. With that in mind, perhaps it’s time to introduce the younger City fans to Kazimierz Deyna – and to remind his past and present admirers of what the man also known as Kaziu or, affectionately, ‘Kazzy’ was all about.

Elegant, composed and blessed with wonderful vision and football brain, Deyna’s brief stay at City earned him countless admirers both within the club and on the terraces. He was born in Starogard Gdanski in northern Poland, on October 23 1947. He was the son of a dairy worker and was one of nine siblings in a big family. Football was in the bloodline as two of his brothers also played the game; Henryk for Wlokniarz Starogard Gdanski and Franciszek for Starogardzki KS.

Kaziu began his career playing youth football at the age of 11 for his local side, Wloknairz Starogard Gdanski. When he turned 19 he moved to LKS Lodz before heading to Legia Warsaw. Deyna had been called up into the Polish army and at the time Legia were known as an army club. It was during his time at the club when the midfielder really made his name.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

First blood to City in Derby Day rout

Looking back now it’s almost strange to think that nobody knew what to expect going into the 166th Manchester derby. Not many would’ve been so bolshie, so brazen and so accurate to predict the merciless massacre that played out in the blazing Manchester sunshine. A match so one-sided it was wrapped up in shiny sky blue wrapping paper with 40 minutes of the game still to play.

City were industrious, formidable and relentless from the outset. Jesus Navas, all blistering pace capable of putting Olympic athletes to shame, stretching the pitch boundaries with his width. Alvaro Negredo worked tirelessly upfront, assisting with two goals for his efforts. Fernandinho showed great endeavour and command in midfield and ever-reliable Pablo Zabaleta made 10 tackles throughout the match- more than double any other player.  

Friday, 20 September 2013

It's that time of the season again...

Derby day. Whether Tyne-Wear, split by Stanley Park or across the Black Country, it’s the 180 minutes of football no fan really looks forward to every season. Until it’s over that is. The week leading up to a derby match is filled mainly with dread, nervous excitement and bravado, climaxing with the result.

Pride has just as a big say in it: whoever’s on the losing end has to face the barrage of social media and text abuse from friends, as well as turning into work the next day and burying their head in their laptop to avoid the goads of fans victorious. Naturally, if the boot’s on the other foot it’s one of the sweetest three points the Premier League has to offer. A lot is at stake. 

This Sunday is the 166th Manchester derby: it’s all change in the dug-outs, with both sides having appointed new managers. With David Moyes and Manuel Pellegrini each experiencing derby day for the first time, there’s an extra air of heightened uncertainty lingering around Manchester. Although it’s still early days in the 2013-14 season things couldn’t be tighter table-wise, with the two clubs locked on seven points and City just edging it with a superior goal difference.