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Past Players : Bert Trautmann

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The second in our Past Players Series focuses on Bert Trautmann, the German ex-POW who was eventually accepted by Manchester City fans as his determined, fearless displays helped the club to new highs. Our first Past Player focused on fellow German Uwe Rosler – you can see this post by clicking here. Bert was most famed for his 1956 FA Cup heroics as he helped City to victory over Birmingham City despite playing the final 15 minutes of the game with a broken neck. You can see highlights and details of that match in our Past Games post by clicking here.

Bert Trautmann

Berhhard Carl Trautmann was born in Bremen in 1923. At 10-years-old he joined Tura Bremen football club where he played on the wing, reluctantly he joined the Hitler Youth from 1933. During the Second World War he was a paratrooper in western Russia where he was captured and subsequently escaped, however he was recaptured by the British who greeted him with the words “Hello Fritz, fancy a cup of tea?”. Bert gained five bravery medals for his services during the war, including an Iron Cross.

He was taken to POW camp 50 at Ashton where he participated in football matches as on outfield player between camps, however Bert found himself between the sticks one day when a goalkeeper was need. Bert’s paratrooper training became a useful attribute and he excelled in the goalkeeper position. During his time at Ashton as a POW he was deeply moved by the kindness shown to him by the locals.

After the end of the war Bert played for Liverpool County Combination club St Helens Town. During a friendly match against Manchester City he impressed the club officials so much that they set about organising a lucrative contract for the German. Bert said in an interview:

“I played football in the POW camp and after my release I continued living in England. I played for St Helens Town and in 1949 City somehow heard about me and became interested, as they needed a replacement for the great Frank Swift. They approached me and - in a cloak and dagger operation - they signed me. Obviously many City Fans were not very happy with that, nobody wanted a German in the team in these days.”

City season ticket holders threatened a boycott and various groups formed – bombarding the club with protest letters demanding that the club not sign the former member of the Luftwaffe. Twenty thousand people demonstrated against the signing holding aloft banners that read “Off with the German”. Despite problems with his nationality he was also following in the footsteps of the great Frank Swift which would have been a tall order for any goalkeeper at that time.

However the City fans began to accept Bert as he began to show his undoubted ability between the sticks. The City skipper Eric Westwood diplomatically welcomed Bert to the club: “There’s no war in this dressing room, we welcome you as any other member of staff.”

Trautmann went on to establish himself as one of the best goalkeepers in the league. One of Trautmann’s greatest games was the legendary 1956 FA Cup Final against Birmingham City. In the 75th minute Manchester City were leading the game 3-1 when Birmingham striker Peter Murphy collided with the diving Trautmann. After several minutes on the floor Bert returned to his feet rubbing his neck and continued playing – making several fearless key saves to ensure a City victory. (You can see a whole review and highlights of the 1956 FA Cup final in our Greatest Matches section here).

Later x-rays revealed that Trautmann had several cracks to his vertebrae which could have easily killed him. Unfortunately for Bert – three weeks after the heroics he showed in the final he sadly lost his five-year-old son John in a road accident in Bramhall. Bert said of the 1956 final:

“It was our second cup final in two years and we really wanted to win. Birmingham’s forward Peter Murphy hit me accidentally when we were in the lead in the 2nd half. I can’t really say a lot about it. It was an intense pain, like an explosion, I nearly fell unconscious. But somehow I managed to continue and we won the cup. "

Unfortunately for Bert – three weeks after the heroics he showed in the final he sadly lost his five-year-old son John in a road accident in Bramhall. According to Trautmann his wife, Margaret Friar from Manchester whom he married in 1950 struggled to come to terms with the loss ultimately resulting in the breakup of their marriage.

Bert Trautmann appeared in 545 matches for Manchester City during a 15 year period between 1949 and 1964. He did not gain any international caps for Germany since manager Sepp Herberger did not call up German players who were playing in other countries. This was very frustrating for Trautmann as he was widely regarded as the world’s greatest goalkeeper. He won the Footballer of the Year award in 1956.

Trautmann excelled at shot stopping, particularly penalties, saving 60% of those he faced during his career. Manchester United manager Matt Busby said in his pre-match team talks: “Don’t stop to think where you’re going to hit it with Trautmann. Hit it first and think afterwards. If you lookup and wok it out he will read your thoughts and stop it”. Former Manchester City midfielder Neil Young recalled: “The only way to beat him with a shot in training was to mishit it”.

In 1964 he finished his career with a testimonial in front of a crowd of 60,000 people – in stark contrast to those small crowds that initially protested against signing the German keeper. Trautmann captained a Manchester XI that included Bobby Charlton and Dennis Law against an England team that included Tom Finney, Stanley Matthews and Jimmy Armfield. After the match Bobby Charlton called him one of the greatest ever goalkeepers. Russian goalkeeper Lev Yashin said: “There have only been two world class goalkeepers. One was Lev Yashin and the other was a German boy who played in Manchester.”

On leaving Manchester City Trautmann had a brief spell with Wellington Town. From 1967 to 68 he managed German side Preussen Munster, taking them to a 13th place finish in Regionalliga West. The German Football Association then sent Trautmann as a development worker to countries without national football structures. At his first post in Burma he led the national side for two years, qualifying for the Olympics in 1972, winning the President’s Cup, a tournament contested by Southeast Asian countries later that year. He later had spells in Tanzania, Liberia, Pakistan and Yemen, until 1988 when he retired and settled in Spain.

He has since helped found the Trautmann Foundation which aims to use his example to improve Anglo-German relationships through football. The Trautmann Foundation promotes sportsmanship and facilitates exchange programmes between young and amateur players in Germany and the UK.

Bert with OBE

In 2004 Bert Trautmann was awarded an OBE for his work for Anglo-German relations. After the ceremony Trautmann said: "I am glad that I was able to do something for the relations between Britain and Germany in a difficult time.

"I truly would like to thank the British for the way I was treated as a prisoner of war and during the whole time in your country."

He said of the work of his foundation: "It is particularly important to bring together the young people from both countries in order to eliminate prejudices.

"I am sure that sport, and especially football, is an excellent way to do that."

Trautmann was clearly a man of great character and determination, something which we all hope our players will demonstrate during this year’s campaign to regain some silverware to a club that does have a history and great players. Some fans, players, ex-players and managers of other clubs need to be reminded that football has a long history and Manchester City is a part of it. City, already deserved of their place in the annals of footballing history will be writing new chapters in the very near future.

Watch the highlights and Berts heroics on our post regarding the 1956 FA Cup Final – CLICK HERE

Barnsley v Man City Preview,

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Manchester City travel to Oakwell tomorrow to face Barnsley in a preseason friendly, kick off is 3pm. William Hill have City at 4/7 to win the game, Barnsley at 4/1 to win and the draw is 5/2.

Tickets for the game tomorrow will not be sold after 3pm today, however Barnsley are going to have cash turnstiles open

New signings Carlos Tevez and Roque Santa Cruz will not play in the preseason friendly against Barnsley. The strikers are currently building on their fitness ready for the new season and will not be risked, whilst Micah Richards is expected to return to the team after recovering from swine flu. According to the official Manchester City website a late decision will be made on latest signing Kolo Toure.

Mark Hughes has said: “Micah is likely to participate against Barnsley but Carlos is probably a week away and Roque a bit longer than that but they are progressing well and there is no undue concern about any of them in terms of their fitness levels,”

“In fairness Micah has come back looking really strong and looks really focused. We are looking forward to him being involved at the weekend.

“We hope to raise the intensity a little at Barnsley but we still have different players at different fitness levels so we have to be mindful of that.

“What we have now are three good games in a week – Rangers and Celtic follow Barnsley- and what we intend to do is spread the workload so that everyone will get up to speed.

“We want everyone fit and well for the first game of the Premier League that is what we are working towards in these friendly games.”
Barnsley have injury worries ahead of the clash with Darren Moore, Anderson de Silva and Hugo Colace all picking up injuries during a training session today and will miss the match. Barnsley manager Simon Davey said:
"We have managed to get through pre-season without picking up any real injury problems and then we lose three today. Darren has rocked his ankle, Anderson will have a scan on his hamstring and Hugo has pulled a calf muscle.
"The middle of our team has been decimated in a five minute spell. It is frustrating but that is the things you deal with."

Elano Signs For Galatasaray

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Elano has left Manchester City and has signed a 4 year deal for Turkish side Galatasaray.

The news has been confirmed by Galatasaray's official website, which pictures the creative middle-man on its front page."Brazilian national football team player Elano Blumer (27) has signed a four-year contract with Galatasaray after playing at Manchester City for two years," the club stated.

Elano claims that he needed to seek regular first team football in order to make the World Cup squad with Brazil:

"I spoke with my national coach Dunga and he told me it will be difficult to enter me on his World Cup list if I am not playing football regularly,"

"I need time on the field. This season is very important. I dream of playing in the World Cup.

"I have received a few other offers, but this is the best one for me and City.

"I never had any problems with the coach, but Hughes may not have had total confidence in me."

Elano's inconsistent displays for City coupled with his poor attitude towards being dropped from the side meant that this transfer did not come as a surprise. Elano's attitude will not be missed, however his skill and passing attributes will be. City may well look to bring in another midfielder to bolster the creative aspect of the side. Vlad Wiess may well be given more opportunities to shine in a creative roll this season.

Billboard Wars: Man United Cadbury Advert

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Here’s the new Manchester United video based on the “eyebrow” Cadbury advert. A mock ad in response to the “small club” comments levied at Manchester City by Alex Ferguson. Featuring Sir Alex, Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand and Michael Owen strutting their stuff.

Ferguson’s comments came in response to the “Welcome to Manchester” poster featuring Carlos Tevez in the centre of Manchester. The knee jerk responses of Sir Alex told most of us that he didn’t see the funny side, a lot of fans did. Especially when numerous mock posters began to circulate – in good humour between rival fans, including Michael Owen on crutches with the words “Welcome to Stretford” and Ryan Giggs looking down on the Tevez poster with words “Pity the Fool”. See the links below this video to see the billboards and posters in question.

If you have anything to contribute then email it to admin@funkinsockmonkey.com

This video is The Manchester City Project’s contribution...

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Nedum Onuoha signs 5 year deal

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Nedum Onuoha has signed a 5 year contract extension at Manchester City, putting to an end any speculation of a permanent transfer away from club. The England under-21 international has been linked with a move to Everton, with Joleon Lescott going in the opposite direction.

Onuoha could still be used in a make-weight loan deal for the Everton defender, however this seems unlikely as City continue to ensure that they have a powerful squad of players that would be able to with stand a period of injuries. Kolo Toure and Adebayor will also be missing from cup and league games during January as they take part in the African Cup Of Nations.

Despite the increasing competition for places at the club Onuoha was happy to pen the deal and like the majority of the players is looking forward to challenging for a first team start. Nedum told the official website:

“I was pleased by the way I played towards the end of last season but at the same time I don’t think that level of form will be good enough to get me into the side this time around... ...Unless you are continuously improving you shouldn’t expect to be in the team. I want to improve on last season and I am raring to go.”

Nedum is please with the current ambitions of the club and is looking forward to being a part of the Manchester City project next term: “I am really, really happy,” he declared. “This is a great place for any young player to be. Hopefully it will be the start of another good five years for me and for the club. This is a season that we will be looking right towards the top of the table.
“Who knows how far the club can go. If you look back five years who would have expected the club to be in the position it is in now. We feel anything is possible.

“There is a brilliant mix here in terms of the squad. There are a lot of big signings that have been made but there are also plenty of lads who have come through the Academy and I think that is an important thing.

“We all have a lot more experience now and I think we are the type of players teams need to be successful. If you look at the recent history of the clubs that have won trophies they have all had a home grown element.”

Mark Hughes is delighted to have Nedum signed up on a long term contract, he said of the promising 22-year-old: “Nedum is a very important part of my future plans for the team, and I am very pleased he has decided to extend his contract with us. Despite his tender years he has already matured into a very good defender who has made a significant impact on the first team... ...Nedum has huge potential for the future and is another shining example of the kind of quality our academy can produce for Manchester City football club.”

Man City Sign Kolo Toure From Arsenal

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Kolo Toure has signed a 4 year deal with Manchester City after spending seven years at Arsenal where the powerful defender was part of the 2003/04 “Invincibles” side. The 28-year-old has been Arsenal’s most established Centre Back since then.

Last season Kolo was troubled with a published spat with William Gallas and handed in a transfer request in January. Played out of position last term Kolo had a dip in form. Now a part of the Manchester City Project Kolo can revitalise his career as Mark Hughes continues to build a squad capable of challenging the top 4.

Mark Hughes declared on the official Man City website: "I am delighted to welcome Kolo to Manchester City. It is no secret that we have been looking to strengthen our defense, and in Kolo I feel we have recruited a world class player. He brings a wealth of Premier League experience from his seven seasons with Arsenal,”

“Kolo has been a central figure in a very strong Arsenal team for many years, and I have been an admirer of him for a long time. He is strong, quick, reads the game well and will be an influential figure in the dressing room.”

Kolo becomes the sixth signing of the summer, joining former Arsenal team-mate Emmanuel Adebayor, Carlos Tevez, Roque Santa-Cruz, Gareth Barry and Stuart Taylor. Along with the other players that City have captured this summer Kolo brings with him a winning mentality and a CV that is littered with achievements. All of the current signings are also proven premiership players whose experience will be invaluable in the forth coming campaign.

Toure To Man City Transfer

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28-year-old Kolo Toure is expected to sign for Manchester City this week from Arsenal. Despite brother Yaya Toure claiming that City were too small for Kolo on Friday.

Kolo Toure handed in a transfer request in January after an altercation with fellow Arsenal defender William Gallas. The Ivory Coast International has just one year remaining on his contract and reports suggested that Arsenal are prepared to accept a bid from City for around £15 million - this would be seen as good business for a 28-year-old squad player in the last year of his contract. Despite Kolo forcing his way back into the first team towards the end of last season.

The sale of Kolo to Manchester City (Arsenal's new competition for 4th place) could cause more divide at boardroom level, after leading shareholder Alisher Usmanov's associate Farhad Moshiri spoke publicly regarding the sale of Adebayor to City : "Adebayor averaged 20 goals a season so, unless we replace him with a striker of that talent, we'll be weaker... ...The most worrying thing because Man City, with their enormous firepower, are one of the challengers for the forth spot. I'd have felt better if he had been sold to any other club than Man City."

The Manchester Evening News claim that whilst reports that a bid has been accepted may not be true, they believe that discussions are in an advanced position and an agreement could be reached within the next 24-hours with the London club.

Join Our Fantasy Premier League 09/10

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Create your Fantasy Football Team and Join the Manchester City Project Mini-League using the code 431917-106812.

Register your Fantasy Football team for free on the Fantasy Premier League website if you haven’t done so already: http://fantasy.premierleague.com/

Once you have selected your first XI, subs and tactics go to “Leagues” from the left hand menu. Select the “Join League” tab and then input the following code: 431917-106812

This fantasy football league is open to anyone irrespective of who you support. You can join as many leagues as you like, so there's no need to worry about missing out on the various leagues you may wish to join.

For a full list of the rules & scoring then click here:


You can change your team right up to the first transfer deadline on the 15th of August 2009, so there’s no need to wait until the final moment incase of injuries or mega transfer deals.

Updates of the fantasy football league will be published here throughout the season.

Terry Ends Transfer Speculation

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John Terry has finally spoken out about regarding the speculation surrounding a move to Manchester City and has committed himself to Chelsea. The following statement has been released on the official Chelsea website:

“I am totally committed to Chelsea and always have been. Chelsea have also made it clear to me consistently that there was never any intention to accept any kind of offer.

"When you are linked with any club, or with a manager who I have huge respect for, it will always make headlines but me leaving Chelsea was never a possibility.

"I know there has been comment that I should have made a statement earlier. However, throughout this period there have been numerous discussions between myself, the owner and the Chelsea board and we all agreed that the timing of the statement would suit everyone involved in those talks, not any outside influences or agendas.

"What is clear to me following those discussions is that Chelsea's ambition remains as high as ever. This has been further proved by the appointment of Carlo Ancelotti. I am certain that he will take this club on to the next level.

"Another important factor was knowing that Chelsea would be securing key current players for the long term. The strengthening of the squad around this core is crucial to pushing us onto greater success.

"I am as committed as ever to helping drive Chelsea forward and I will be proud to lead the team for as long as I can."

John Terry would have been an excellent signing for Manchester City, however it was not to be. Thankfully his commitment to Chelsea today will allow everyone concerned to move forward. City will now step up efforts to buy other defensive targets – this certainly isn’t the end of the project!

Alex Ferguson “small club” Hypocrite: Video Evidence

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Ferguson has publically stated that Manchester City are a “small club with a small mentality”, however back in April Ferguson criticized Rafa Benitez for branding Everton a small club – see video below. His current words do not just insult Man City but every club in the league outside of the "top 4". This is not the only hypocritical statement made by the pensioner & his club recently.

Ferguson in April 2009 after Benitez called Everton a small club

Ferguson responded in an interview regarding the billboard featuring Carlos Tevez and the words “Welcome to Manchester”. He said of Manchester City: “City don't even come into the equation. They are a small club with a small mentality. All they can talk about is us”. We may be able to forgive the oap for forgetting about the banner that is permanently on display at the streford end that has transferable numbers it says “32 years” and will be modified (as for years) to “33 years” this season – representing the number of years since City have won a trophy. Is this permanent billboard exactly the same “mentality”? United fans can even buy a T-Shirt celebrating the banner.

33 Years T-Shirt: 29 February 1976 was the date. Over 30 years have ticked-by since that time and still Manchester City have not won a single trophy. This design is based on the Stretford End banner. – From tshirtsunited website.

Articles have claimed that Ferguson is “playing mind-games” – these words are not mind games they are a knee jerk reaction of a man who has clearly had his feathers ruffled.

On June 17th 2009 David Gill pointed out the official transfer policy for Manchester United: “We are not in the market for 27, 28 or 29-year-olds for loads of money,” he said. “It doesn’t make sense. That is not a road we are interested in going down. When Cristiano left, I was inundated with agents offering this player and that player. But are they motivated at 28 or 29 to come to the Premier League? Are they United-type players? We are about young players, giving them a chance and giving our own young players a chance.”

Despite the transfer policy on the 03/07/2009 Manchester United signed 29-year-old Michael Owen on a free transfer. Yet another contradictory move by Manchester United.
After unveiling Owen as a United player Ferguson stated at the press conference that United would not be making any more moves in the transfer market and said with conviction that: "It is the end of our business, so all these stories about who were are supposed to be getting - forget it,". Less than two weeks later on the 17/07/09 United signed striker Mame biram Diouf from Norwegian club Molde.

During interviews published on the 20/07/2009 Alex Ferguson claimed that Carlos Tevez was not worth the valuation of £25 million: "In my opinion, I didn't think he was worth £25 million." This claim does not make sense when you consider that Manchester United made an official bid of £25 million for the striker. United released the following statement prior to Fergusons comments: "The club agreed to pay the option price of £25.5million and offered Carlos a five year contract which would have made him one of its highest paid players. Disappointingly however, his advisors informed the club that, despite the success he has enjoyed during one of the club's most successful periods, he does not wish to continue playing for Manchester United.”

Alex Ferguson childishly stated on May 17th after winning the Premiership: "I hope Carlos Tevez was crying after I took him off” – hardly the way to treat a player who he had previously compared to Eric Cantona: "Carlos reminds me of Eric Cantona in the way that he has a knack of rising to the occasion with a goal just when it's needed. He often comes up with the goods away from home when you are up against it. I don't think anything fazes him and he keeps his cool in the box."

Did-ums - is there something wrong?

The constant contractions that keep coming from Old Trafford signal either massive communication problems between Ferguson and the board or a sign that the club is completely disorganized.

As for Ferguson’s rants about City - they are not the sentiments of a manger who fears nothing from City. City will not be challenging for the premiership title next year, however if the new squad can gel together and add quality in the future transfer markets - then they could well be challenging in the 2010 campaign. Whilst united may have to rely on free transfers and pay as you play contracts as they attempt to lessen their incredible debt.

Unfortunately for Ferguson he may well retire from United in the same season as small City lift the Premiership trophy – is this how he dreamt of signing off his successful era at the club? Maybe that’s why he’s a bit mift.

Kaizer Chiefs Win Vodacom Final

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The Kaizer Chiefs have won the Vodacom Challenge after beating Manchester City 1-0 infront of over 30,000 fans at the Lofus Versfeld Stadium.

Towards the end of the first half Ntuka fired home from close range during a mix up in the penalty area from a corner. There was a suspicion of hand ball as Ntuka controlled the ball, however the Chiefs deserved to win the match following a below standard performance from Manchester City.

Gareth Barry and Emmanuel Adebayor played well, Barry’s defensive qualities will be much needed in the forth coming campaign and Adebayor’s all round team play can give Man City fans something to look forward to next season.

There were a number of injury worries for City with Dunne, Onuoha and Vidal all having to be replaced. City struggled against the pace and fitness of the Kaizer Chiefs. The Chiefs goalkeeper denied Craig Bellamy on 24 minutes and on 29 minutes both Wright-Phillips and Bellamy failed to convert a Martin Petrov cross. A minute after the break Ben Haim went close with a header from a Petrov corner. Adebayor almost scored in the 55th minute but watched his shot sail narrowly over the cross bar. Robinho came on the field towards the end of the game and almost equalized in the final moments of the game as his shot skimmed past the upright after fine work on the wing from Vlad Wiess.

Clearly City need to strengthen at the back and must surely dip into the transfer market once more for one or two defenders before the start of the season. Manchester City’s performance clearly showed that the majority of the players are not match fit, once City arrive back in England tonight this will be one of the main focuses in order to have the team ready for the opening fixture of the Premier League.

KAIZER CHIEFS 1 (Ntuka, 42)

KAIZER CHIEFS: Khune, Mmbooi, Rooi, Jambo, Ntuka, Lebese, Bulu, Yende, Masenamala, Mathebula, Nhleko.

MANCHESTER CITY: Given, Vidal, Bridge, Dunne, Petrov, De Jong, Ben Haim, Barry, Wright-Phillips, Adebayor, Bellamy.

Kaizer Chiefs Goal On 42 Minutes

The Ghost Of Michael Johnson Past

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A spooky photograph taken when the Man City squad met with Nelson Mandela earlier this week shows the current Michael Johnson but also the slimmer Michael Johnson from seasons past.

The above picture shows Michael Johnson on the far left of the picture after beefing up over the summer. On the right of Garry Cook (top right) there are striking similarities to the slim-line Michael Johnson.

Kaizer Chiefs v Manchester City Final Live Video Stream

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Manchester City face the Kaizer Chiefs in the Vodacom challenge today live video stream of the match here. The Kaizer Chiefs came through to the final on penalties after a 1-1 draw in the Soweto derby on Thursday.

City have confirmed that Emmanuel Adebayor and Robhino are set to take part in the final whilst Carlos Tevez has to wait for his first run out in a City shirt with a heel injury. Mark Hughes said: “Carlos has had a continual problem with his heel and we had it checked yesterday. He is probably going to miss a week of training. We have checked Emmanuel out and he has looked good so far, his fitness levels are fine and he could play a significant part tomorrow.”

The Kaizer Chiefs are set to keep a similar line-up to the one that faced City on Tuesday. However they will be without Reneilwe Letsholonyane who broke his leg after a challenge from Orlando Pirate’s Blaise Kiaku in the derby draw.

Kaizer Chiefs coach Vladimir Vermezovic is not worried about which players City play in the final so long as his players get a good workout ahead of the new season, claiming a win would be a bonus: “I am not concerned about who City will field against us. It will be good if they play all their new stars as none of them have played together before and that gives us a chance. Anything is possible in soccer. But to me this is show football. It is pre-season training for both teams and reaching the final was a big bonus for us. But, win or lose, I want my players to go out and enjoy the experience.”

The game will be shown live thanks to the official Manchester City website from 2pm today: http://live.mcfc.co.uk/

The Manchester City starting line up:
Given, Vidal, Dunne, Onuoha, Bridge, Barry, de Jong, Wright-Phillips, Petrov, Bellamy, Adebayor.

Vidal off with an injury on 15 - replaced by Ben haim. After 35 minutes Dunne picked up an injury and was replaced by Zabletta.

Current Score: 1-0 to the Kaizer Chiefs.

Adebayor and Barry having excellent games at the moment. The evidence for further defensive recruits is obvious.

Nelson Mandela Meets Manchester City Squad

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Nelson Mandela who turned 91 this week met the Manchester City Squad, who handed him a signed squad shirt and sang happy birthday to the civil rights leader. Mandela made a joke on the baby faced Robinho, whilst the meeting was in good humour the squad will never forget shaking hands with a true living legend.

Garry Cook, Mark Hughes and the Squad present shirt to Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela was arrested in 1962 and charged with sabotage and conspiring against the government. After spending 20 years in prison the anti-apartheid campaigner was elected South Africa’s first black president in 1994. The first black US president Barack Obama delivered a personal message via video to a concert held in Mandela’s honour for his Birthday on the 18th of July, which was the first ever Mandela Day. The US leader said that Mandela’s life “teaches us that the impossible can be done, but only if people have the courage to make change happen.”

The Manchester City squad met with Mandela at the Nelson Mandela’s Children’s fund in Houghton, Johannesburg on Thursday. The fund was established in the 1990s by the former president. The fund seeks to improve the living conditions and the way in which society treats its children in South Africa.

City manager Mark Hughes presented Mandela with a signed shirt with the number “91” on the back. Mark Hughes told the Manchester City Website, “It was a huge honour to meet Mr Mandela, and I know that all the lads were deeply touched that he took the time to meet us. He’s an inspirational figure and none of us that were lucky enough to meet him will forget today.”

Adebayor, Nelson Mandela and Robinho

Those sentiments were echoed by new Togolise striker Emmanual Adebayor who said that it was a profound honour to have met the man who more than any other symbolises his people's struggle for freedom in South Africa: "As an African man it is an honour [to meet Mr Mandela]. For me this is like a dream come true. He’s an icon for all Africans."

When Robinho met Nelson Mandela, the former president said “You are a baby! What are you doing here?" The 25-year-old, though, was profoundly moved by being given the opportunity to meet Mr Mandela, remarking, "It is a great honour to meet him. At 91 he’s still so fit and sharp. I hope that we’re so good at that age."

Baby Face Robbie shakes hands with Mandela

The squad gathered to sing Happy Birthday to Nelson Mandela, a video of which you can view below via the link.


The Billboard War Continues

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United fans have begun to make their own mock ups of the Carlos Tevez "Welcome to Manchester" poster. This is in responce not only to the large poster Manchester City officials errected in the City centre but also to a mock sign of Michael Owen on crutches with the words "Welcome to Stretford". (see previous post)

See also the mock cadbury advert featuring Manchester United 2009/10

See also post regarding Alex Fergusons hillarious rant regarding City regarding these posters

The mock posters include one with Giggs peering down on Tevez from a neighbouring building with the words "Pity the Fool" written below.

Have a new one? Email them here. tell me if you want your name to appear, otherwise I'll leave it annoymous. I'll post any adapted signs here:

Welcome to Stretford Poster Released in Billboard War

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An adapted photo of the “Welcome to Manchester” Tevez poster - featuring Michael Owen and the words “Welcome To Stretford” has begun circulating emails. This is after Manchester United fans pelted the Manchester City billboard in the city centre with socks dipped in red paint.

The original poster was raised in the city centre on the boundary next to Salford and the Borough Of Trafford. The poster features a picture of Tevez on a sky blue background with the words “Welcome To Manchester” written below. Apart from ribbing United fans about the transfer of fans favourite Tevez to City the poster also highlights the fact that City fans can claim the rights to being the only club from Manchester – since technically Old Trafford is situated outside of the official boundaries of the City of Manchester.

Since the bill board was erected United fans have pelted the poster with rolled up socks dipped in red paint – as a protest against the sentiments the poster represents.

Since the poster pelting City fans have responded with a little more skill & wit by releasing a photograph that has been graphically modified. The modified poster shows a picture of United’s new signing Michael Owen on a pair of crutches and the words “Welcome To Stretford”, again taking the Michael out of Manchester United being based outside of the City Of Manchester.

There have been many emails that have featured adapted pictures where fans use their artistic skills to try and out wit each other with the friendly medium of photo-shopping... ...if you receive any then email them here and they’ll get posted.

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Match Report: Kaizer Chiefs 0 Manchester CIty 1

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Manchester City made several changes to the side that were beaten 2-0 against the Orlando Pirates on Saturday for the trip to play the Kaizer Chiefs on Tuesday night. Shaun Wright-Phillips, Wayne Bridge, Stephen Ireland and Gareth Barry all played a part in the match. Stephen Ireland was named captain in the first half.

The Kaizer chiefs were largely depending upon long range efforts, their first came after 2 minutes when Mathebula’s effort flew over Taylor’s crossbar. City had the better of the half however; Shaun Wright-Phillips was excellent in the opening stages and created a number of chances and attacking moves. Gareth Barry gave a fine display – athletically reinforcing the defence when required and troubling the Chief’s defence with several runs. One of which came on the half hour when Caicedo put the England player through on goal, only to be thwarted by Khune the Chief’s goalkeeper. The move however turned into a counter attack that resulted in a good move ending with Motaung Junior hitting the side netting. Just before the break Ireland converted a low cross to take a 1-0 lead at half time. There were few chances in the closing stages but City had a let-off with nine minutes to go when Kaizer Motaung Jr failed to find the target from 15 yards. The home side continued to apply the pressure in the final 10 minutes with several shots going astray as City's young defense tired.

Gareth Barry was pleased with his first performance in City blue: "I was delighted to get out and feel good. Training is different but I'm getting used to it... ...I signed a five-year deal and think I'll play in the Champions League with City."

Kaizer Chiefs coach Vladimir Vermezovic was disappointed with the result and the Chiefs performance in front of goal but he did gain some positives from the match: “It is true that Man City were too strong for us, but we had some opportunities to score and that is good... ...Overall I would say we did not play so good, but I am satisfied with some things and other things I know we can be better. But it is a long road ahead and this is just part of the journey.”

City manager Hughes was pleased with another tough work out in the Vodacom Challenge: “It was another good workout for us and once again we came up against good opposition. It was a great atmosphere in the stadium and we were delighted to be able to give more players some game-time and see them all come through unscathed.”

“We have actually all been commenting on the atmosphere that the South African crowds can generate. It is stimulating for the players. Games at this stage of the season can sometimes have no energy, but that doesn’t happen in South Africa, there is huge enthusiasm for the game in this country and that has been recognised by us.”

Ireland Goal


KAIZER CHIEFS: Khune, Mmbooi, Sweswe, Nengomasha, Nahayo, Masenamala, Masango, Ntuka, Nale, Mathebula, Motaung.

MANCHESTER CITY: Taylor, Zabaleta, Bridge, Mee, McGivern, De Jong, Ireland, Barry, Wright-Phillips, Caicedo, Ethuhu.

Martin Petrov Linked with £5 million Spurs Transfer

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Martin Petrov has been linked to a move to Tottenham Hotspur according to the Mail Online. Petrov signed a three year deal with Manchester City in 2007 when City paid £4.7 million to Athletico Madrid. The Mail claims that Petrov 30, who made a successful return from a knee ligament injury at the end of last season, may be prised from City for £5 million.

This article would have been written sooner had I not almost choked on a sandwich in laughter when I first read the report. Martin Petrov has been a consistent light in the premiership for Manchester City. The talented winger could well force Robinho out of the side next season if the manager chooses a straight 4-4-2 formation. Why? Because Petrov is the only out and out winger at the club. He’s also the best crosser of the ball. He gives City an extra dimension, he gives the manager a choice of formations and a depth to a squad capable of sustaining a challenge to the top 4 and winning a domestic cup next year.

Spurs wish to prise Petrov away for £5 million! The only way Petrov would leave would be if he wanted too. Being the only player currently at the club that can play left wing and confident in his own ability - Petrov must consider himself worthy (and rightly so) of forcing his way into the starting line up. Maybe, only maybe in January if things are not going his way would he consider a move – surely.

Your 'avin a laugh - Petrov linked to Spurs

Knowing Harry’s past exploits in the transfer market he has probably got something up his sleeve - like trying to off load Bentley on City... but to be honest he’s probably just better off sticking to his deal for Peter Crouch.

Elano For Swap Deal

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Reports in Brazil have claimed that Elano is close to calling time on his career at Manchester City and that the player would favour a move to Santos. However the player himself has said: “I do not have any news. I have not received any offers”. Elano has not travelled with the rest of the squad to South Africa since being given time off by manager Mark Hughes after he successfully helped Brazil to secure the Confereation Cup earlier this summer. This has led to reports that the inconsistent and tempremental midfielder is no longer required at City. A reported £8 million asking price for the player is apparently considered too much for long term admirers Inter Milan and Real Zaragoza, however Cologne are believed to have tabled a loan offer for the player.

Skysports pundit and Spanish journalist Guillem Balague has revealed on his website that: “Chelsea and Manchester City have contacted the agent of Xabi Alonso, enquiring after the player’s situation at Liverpool...” In the last 48 hours Xabi Alonso has spoken to Spanish newspaper AS in which he states he is flattered by the interest shown in him by Real Madrid. However Liverpool are steadfast in not accepting the €27 million offer from Real Madrid. As the player becomes more and more unsettled it is highly likely that more clubs will circle Liverpool for the highly rated player.

Joleon Lescott is ready to plead with David Moyes to allow him to speak to Manchester City over a proposed move. The Manchester based defender would like to hear what the Manchester City project hold’s for him. According to a report in the Times Lescott believes that a move to City would increase his chances of attaining a place in the England team for next year’s World Cup Finals.

I would not understand letting a player of Elano’s calibre leave the club at the moment, unless he was to be replaced by a better player as so as to make the squad stronger – rather than weaker. There is much more “dead” wood at City to move on before Elano. A swap deal plus cash for either Alonso or Lescott would be welcoming. Moyes may consider the deal since he has a thin squad and may settle quickly with Jo at the club.

Kaizer Chiefs v Manchester City Live Video Stream

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The match against the Kaizer Chiefs and Man City will be shown live on the official Manchester City Website - it has just been announced. For a match preview please see the last post.


It will be available from 18:30 this evening with a 19:00 kick off

Alternatively try http://www.myp2p.eu and follow the soccer links.

Manchester City vs. Kaizer Chiefs Match Preview

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Manchester City face the Kaizer Chiefs in the second game of the Vodacom Challenge at the ABSA Stadium in Durban on Tuesday at 20:15 local time, 19:15 kick off in the UK. The “Glamour Boys” are in confident mood ahead of the match, whilst City will still be keeping a conservative line up for the clash. The game will be available to watch live from this link: http://live.mcfc.co.uk/ Alternatively try http://www.myp2p.eu

The Kaizer Chiefs assistant coach Donald Khuse wants to see some of City’s stars feature in the game, believing that beating a stronger City side would be a more noble achievement and be good preparation for the tough season ahead: “City must field all their big stars against us. We want to beat the real big guns that City have brought out to play in the challenge. All credit to Pirates for winning, but they played against a diluted City side. There were not many of their big guns playing.

"We are appealing to City to ensure they field all their big stars including their new signings (such as Carlos Tevez, Roque Santa Cruz and Gareth Barry). This Challenge series is a vital part of our pre-season training and we want to face the best both City and Pirates have to offer."

However Hughes will not feature all of his stars again for the Vodacom Challenge match, despite the players needing match practice together it is also vitally important that they are not rushed into a competitive game against the very motivated Chiefs. The players need a balance between protection from injury and being ready for the opening of the Premier League season. No doubt there will be cameo appearances in the Vodacom final, but we are more likely to see the stars getting more field time in the friendly match against Barnsley on the 1st of August. Adebayor will certainly not feature as he arrives in Africa on Tuesday morning, and Santa Cruz has still not fully recovered from a recent operation: “I do not want to risk him unless I am sure he is fit. I want him to be ready when the season starts.”

However for those who are fully fit Hughes expects a tough work out against the Chiefs as they did against the Pirates: “It was a good exercise for us playing a team like Pirates. It was tough and what I expected. This is the reason I was keen to come on this tour as we need this type of competition to help prepare in our pre- season. The difference was in the conditioning and Pirates were in a better physical condition. I expect more of the same from Chiefs.”

Mark Hughes has confirmed that Barry should take part in the match, however it is too soon for striker Tevez who has yet to complete a full training session after picking up a knock: “In terms of bringing players into the team for the Chiefs game, Gareth [Barry] will take part tomorrow, but Carlos [Tevez] hasn’t had a training session yet because of bruising to his heel. He will train today [Monday], so it may be a little bit soon for him tomorrow. Hopefully he will be ready for the final on Saturday though.”

Mark Hughes has also revealed today that promising defender Nedum Onuoha will not be leaving the club despite reports that the England Under-21 International could be used in a deal to bring Joleon Lescott to City: "Nedum is one of our finest young players, he was outstanding for us last season, and I am not looking to move one of our prize assets away from Manchester City."

The Kaizer Chiefs have recently held the Iranian National Team to a 0-0 draw and have beaten PSL champions SuperSport United as well as Bay United to give new coach Vladimir Vermezovic an unbeaten record in their preseason to date. They will still be without goalkeeper Khune and winger Tshabalala who played well in the recent Confederations Cup competition. The Chief’s new signings are expected to feature at some point in the match with former Bafana striker Nkosinathi Nhleko and midfielder Mthokozisi Yende hoping to play.

The third match of the Vodacom Challenge will take place on Thursday. The derby between the Chiefs and the Pirates will see the winners face City in the final on Saturday.

During a press conference ahead of the match Mark Hughes has defended the clubs position regarding the John Terry transfer saga. Amidst reports that Chelsea will be filing an official complaint against City regarding the courting of the England captain hughes has claimed that it was Chelsea and not City that brought the transfer bid into the public domain and so there is no case to answer to. See Hughe's response below:

Exclusive Footage: Orlando Pirates v Man City Live From Stadium & Adebayor Signing 18/07/09

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Below is footage taken 18 July 2009 at the City Of Manchester Stadium at the City Live II event that presented big screen showing of Orlando Pirates versus Manchester City and the signing of Emmanuel Adebayor.

On Saturday the stadium was surrounded by hundreds of fans for the release of the new umbro kit and the big screen showing of the Vodacom Challenge opener. Many of the families took advantage of the entertainment on offer free of charge around the ground. Despite a technical hitch that prevented the match being beamed live for the first 30 minutes of the game and the 2-0 score line to the Pirates – the day was an enjoyable one.

After the game fans began to gather outside of the main entrance of the stadium as word began to spread that City’s next new signing was travelling to the stadium after agreeing to sign for the club. Adebayor was finally signed yesterday, arriving to hundreds of cheering fans. All of City’s latest signings did not play a part in the opening game of the Vodacom Challenge. City’s display highlighted the need for the new blood after an inept display. The only moments of real note for City were the return of Michael Johnson from injury and the energetic displays of youngsters Vlad Wiess and Mee.

City found themselves behind after 35 minutes when Thwala converted a harsh penalty for shirt pulling by Mee. After the break Mogale scored a long range screamer to the delight of the passionate home fans.

The team fielded by the blues consisted of largely “C” players that would be challenging for a place on the bench at best for the opening game against Blackburn. The result was therefore not a huge surprise. With defensive reinforcements on the way before the end of the transfer window City’s squad on paper will support Robinho’s claims that there is no longer a “top 4” in the premiership but a “top 5”.

Full Time: Orlando Pirates 2 Manchester City 0
Goals: Thwala 41` (pen) Mogale 55`

Orlando Pirates: Josephs, Thwala, Makonese, Lekgwathi, Mahamutsa, Mabalane, Chenene, Mthembu, Jali, Olivier, Kiaku.

Manchester City: Taylor, Zabaleta, Ben-Haim, Mee, Garrido, Weiss, Ireland, Johnson, Bojinov, Petrov, Bellamy.

Emmanuel Adebayor to be announced as City Player?

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Lately Manchester City has been rather bold and has made no secret of their intentions – as long as it suits them. City’s policy of not releasing information to the press unless via official press conferences has frustrated the newspapers.

Newspapers have been releasing varying reports that contradict each other as they try to anticipate the clubs next move and get the ”exclusive”. To the point where it's obvious the stories are frabricated. Unfortunately for the Sun this week - City has announced they will be taking legal action over false allegations that the squad received expensive watches from their owners.

Would the owners really give the players who have yet to win anything a watch? I think not. They are professional business men with a winning mentality. Sure they will pay what it takes to get the better players to City but they will not reward them unless they win, and if they do they’ll probably get more than a watch!

There have been numerous reports in this mornings press claiming that Adebayor has signed for City or he is trying to gain a move to Chelsea or he is wanting to squeeze a loyalty payment from Arsenal because he didn’t hand in a transfer request – as Joey Barton did in his move to Newcastle. In the mean time the club has resurrected a massive bill board in the heart of the town centre with a picture of Tevez and the words “Welcome to Manchester”. Another example of the bold approach the club has taken.

Today see’s the launch of the new kit and the live screening of the Vodacom Challenge at the City of Manchester Stadium. It would not be surprising if City were to announce Adebayor as a City player during the proceedings. It would be good for the fans and add some more bold exposure for the club, especially as we play Orlando Pirates and would give even more exposure in Africa that the club clearly craves.

It’s a shame it’s not Lescott who is also being unveiled today after Everton turned down the £15 million pound offer yesterday. However Lescott would be a fantastic signing and his name has been on the lips of many City fans for over a season. It’s quite clear that the Manchester based player would exactly what the squad needs going into the new season. Surely with a returned offer Lescott would have to seriously consider handing in a transfer request – Moyes is a bold strong manager and he will not accept any bid, and I doubt he’s accept any excuse from the board. It will be up to the player, but when you look at City’s ambition and means to succeed coupled with how they have gone about their business this year – it is very impressive and Lescott could relish the challenge City have set out for themselves.

Orlando Pirates vs. Manchester City Preview

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This weekend see’s Orlando Pirates go head to head with Manchester City in the Vodacom Challenge.

The Head coach of the Pirates – Rudd Krol is taking a 29 man strong squad for the Bucs trip to Polokwane to face Man City. The squad includes some new signings including Gert Schalkwyk, Ndumiso Mabena and Andile Jali. A number of extra players including Dennis Masina, Phenyo Mongala, Congolese Blasise Kiaku and Cameroonian Frank Oliver, who are yet to sign for the club have also made the trip.

Krol considers the Vodacom Challenge Competition as a perfect platform to assess his players ahead of the gruelling 2009/2010 season, which has been shortened to give Bafana more time to gel ahead of next year’s world cup in the country.

Manchester City will be sending a full strength squad too with new signings Gareth Barry, Carlos Tevez and Santa Cruz. Gareth Barry today spoke at a press conference in South Africa about the trip and his wishes to return to South Africa next summer with the England team for the world cup:

Garry Cook who has played a vital role in the building of a squad capable of challenging for a top six finish this year also spole at the Vodacom Challenge press confrence and highlighted City's current spending philosophy:

A win against City would send a strong message to their rivals Kaizer Chiefs. The game between Kaizer Chiefs and Pirates will be an exciting and tense game, one which thousands of fans will look forward to – as they do every SOWETO derby. Watch the video below of the derby match from the 2nd of May 2009.

The game on Saturday kicks off at 3pm local time and 2pm in the UK, you can watch the game live outside the Stadium, with events happening all day. See this link for info and for more on the Orlando Pirates. There will be a match review here before the end of the weekend.

Also... a sign raised in Manchester say's it all, come along to the stadium on Saturday in Our City...

MANCHESTER CITY SQUAD FOR THE VODACOM CHALLENGE: Shay Given,Kasper Schmeichel, Pablo Zabaleta, Michael Johnson, Stephen Ireland, Valeri Bojinov Javier Garrido, Martin Petrov,Shaun Wright-Phillips, Wayne Bridge,Benjani Mwaruwari, Richard Dunne, Kelvin Etuhu, Craig Bellamy, Nigel de Jong, Felipe Caicedo, Ched Evans, Shaleum Logan, Vladimir Weiss, Ryan McGivern, Stuart Taylor, Roque Santa Cruz, Gareth Barry, Robinho (arriving a week later), Elano (arriving a week later), Micah Richards, Nedum Onuoha, Carlos Tevez

Joey of the Week : Man City Project Rant

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There have been a number of contenders for Joey of the week, namely Alex Ferguson, Rafa Benetez and David Beckham.

Joey of the week is based upon the famous disabled Joey Deacon as featured on Blue Peter in 1981. Joey featured on Blue Peter with Ernie who “translated” Joey’s sounds into meaningful speech for the audience. Despite the positive light in which the programmer’s editor was trying to present his story, the impact was not as intended. The sights and sounds of Joey's distinctive speech and movements had a lasting impact on young viewers, who quickly learnt to imitate them. Joey's name and mannerisms quickly became a label of ridicule in school playgrounds across the country. Even today, if a person trips over or happens to otherwise compromise themselves, they may still be mocked as a "Joey".

This Weeks Nominees are...

Alex Ferguson: Bemoaned this week that the transfer market is over inflated this year and that the transfer fees paid are crazy. He said that he would not be buying any more players in the transfer window because it’s impossible to get value, and he would not make any knee jerk reactions after receiving the £80 million from Real Madrid for Ronaldo: "There is no need to panic. We should not panic because of one player [Cristiano Ronaldo] leaving," Ferguson said. "I don't think any of the transfers – if you look at them – are realistic. We have a very good squad and some good young players. There was no need to have a knee jerk reaction of losing him." Taggart also claimed that he had offered a contract to Tevez months before he left. Before this week a statement from the swamp had reported that United would not be signing any players over the age of 26.

If I’m not much mistaken is it not Manchester United who have inflated the transfer market by sanctioning the sale of the winker to Madrid for an astronomical £80 million, was it not united who broke the English and world record signing fee for a defender in 2000 with the purchase of Rio Ferdinand from Leeds United? Wayne Rooney £27 mil, Berbaflop £28 mil, Veron £28 mil? It’s hard to know how he managed to keep a straight face as he bemoaned the state of the transfer market when he’s been buying players for the title for years (Which is what you have to do to win anything!). I suppose he couldn’t say that the money for Ronaldo has just been swallowed up by the clubs massive debts! Also is Owen under 26? I believe that this might have gone against the current transfer policy at United. Was it not the same “I wouldn’t sell them a virus” Ferguson who said that United wouldn’t be buying any more players and anything in the media is just not true? Erm... haven’t United today just bought Mame Biram Diouf from Norwegian side, Molde? Ferguson’s hypocritical, cocky, lying characteristics have made him a serious challenger for Joey of the Week.

Rafa Benetez: Rafa has claimed that Gareth Barry is a “100 per cent” mercenary for joining Manchester City: “ If it’s just for money sometimes you make mistakes, like Barry”. The irony being that he was unveiling Johnson when he made the allegations, an £18 million substandard right back on £90k a week! Benetez must clearly have forgotten his own signings and the wages he has paid players at Liverpool... Gerrard signed a contract this month with wage of £140k a week, record signing Torres has signed an improved lucrative deal to stay at the club, Kuyt, Benayoun? With Liverpool’s bullying history under Benetez the cheek of the Spanish waiter has to make him a contender for a Joey award.

David Beckham: Finally we have David Beckham who has announced that John Terry should not sign for Manchester City as he would regret it and not to go just for the money. Is this the same David Beckham that signed for LA Galaxy for an unprecedented deal worth over £128 million? Is this the same Beckham who insulted Galaxy after realizing he made an international career boob by joining the MLS outfit and joined AC Milan on loan? He outwardly condemned the MLS with his comments regarding AC Milan and his loan deal – which the LA Galaxy fans have certainly not forgotten by roundly booing him on his return this week as he also began a war of words with LA player Donovan after the player rightly branded Beckham unprofessional for his lack of respect to LA Galaxy and his “team mates”. Beckham makes a hypocritical three some this week as challengers to Joey of the Week award.

And the winner is... ...click on the short video below as Joey Deacon announces the winner...

Manchester City Make Official Bid For Lescott

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Man City has launched a £15 million bid for Everton’s Joleon Lescott.

Despite David Moyes claim that “no players will be sold at Everton... ...The board have never sold a player from me” Manchester City are to test that claim. The Everton chairman Bill Kenwright backed his manager: “There is no pressure on David to sell any one. Any decisions are his and his alone.”

However reports suggest that Lescott would be interested in a move and if the player were to hand in a transfer request then Everton would have little choice but to try and get the best value for the player.

Manager’s have frequently made steadfast claims only to back track for example Taggart of the swamp said that United would not be buying any more players in a press conference when today it has been announced that they are to sign 21-year-old Senegalese striker Biram Diouf from Molde.

Lescott signed for Everton from Wolves in 2006 and became an immediate success winning player of the season and player’s player of the season. His outstanding displays at both left back and his preferred central defensive role propelled him into the England squad.

Manchester City vs. Orlando Pirates Live at Stadium

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Manchester City will open the 2009 Vodacom Challenge campaign against Orlando Pirates at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane this Saturday (18/07/09). The game is to be shown live outside the City of Manchester Stadium at 2pm.

*UPDATE* - This game has been and gone but if you click here you can see footage from the day outside the stadium plus the gathering of fans for the Adebayor signing.

The Vodacom Challenge has gained in popularity locally over the past number of seasons, in part thanks to Premier League teams taking part. Spurs won the challenge in 2007 and Manchester United in 2009, United came second to Kaizer Chiefs in 2006.

This year Manchester City, Kaiser Chiefs and the Orlando Pirates take up the challenge. City’s first opponents were founded in 1937, the pirates have become ingrained in the culture of the country and boast over ten to twelve million fans. Their most successful era was during the 70’s dominating the National Professional Soccer League. They were crowned the Kings of Africa in 1995 when they won the then CAF Champions Cup.

Manchester City has announced that they will be taking a full strength squad to the Vodacom Challenge, including new signings Gareth Barry, Carlos Tevez and Roque Santa Cruz. Robinho and Elano will not be available until the final after they have been given extra rest after their recent Brazilian success.

Garry Cook has confirmed that the new kit will be worn in the game. Cook said of the tournament: "There is a great deal of excitement in Manchester about the Challenge and everybody is anticipating a great trip… The players have just completed a full week in Germany where they did a lot of fitness and stamina work and are now looking forward to playing some matches."

After the first game City will play the Kaizer Chiefs before the two African clubs play each other. The winner of the two African teams on the 23rd of July will play City in the final on Saturday 25th July.

The Manchester City new kit will be officially released on Saturday and will be on sale at the City of Manchester Stadium from 9am when the City Store opens for the new season. Saturday will be the second day of the “City Live” event and the match will be shown live on a big screen outside the ground opposite the East Stand, kick off 2pm. There will also be family entertainment and a BBQ. The match is also being shown on the mcfc website live.

With the new signings and anticipation surrounding the team Saturday could prove to be very atmospheric.

City Live: Man City vs. Orlando Pirates, 2pm, big screen, East Stand: Free
Click here to see mcfc article about the day

MANCHESTER CITY SQUAD FOR THE VODACOM CHALLENGE: Shay Given,Kasper Schmeichel, Pablo Zabaleta, Michael Johnson, Stephen Ireland, Valeri Bojinov Javier Garrido, Martin Petrov,Shaun Wright-Phillips, Wayne Bridge,Benjani Mwaruwari, Richard Dunne, Kelvin Etuhu, Craig Bellamy, Nigel de Jong, Felipe Caicedo, Ched Evans, Shaleum Logan, Vladimir Weiss, Ryan McGivern, Stuart Taylor, Roque Santa Cruz, Gareth Barry, Robinho (arriving a week later), Elano (arriving a week later), Micah Richards, Nedum Onuoha, Carlos Tevez

John Terry Unlikely To Sign For Man City

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Following Terry’s appearance before media cameras to promote the new Chelsea kit and Michael Ballack’s comments during an interview with Sky Sports it would appear that City’s final pleas to the England defender have failed.

Peter Kenyon, Chelsea’s chief executive repeated today that the club would not accept any bid for John Terry, no matter how much the bid:

"We're very confident that John will be remaining here as captain of Chelsea. We're not going to sell John so from that point of view it's really irrelevant what another club will offer. He's too important to us."

Michael Ballack commented that he did not believe that Terry would be leaving Chelsea for Manchester City after a conversation between the two players. Although he did not want to expand on the conversation he had with the club Captain Ballack seemed confident that Terry would be playing for Chelsea next season: “I am really confident that he will stay. I don't want to talk too much about our conversation, but I have the feeling he will play for Chelsea next year."

Video of Michael Ballack’s interview about John Terry’s future

Michael Ballack was speaking at a launch of the new Chelsea kit, in which John Terry also featured. These are not the actions of a player who was “considering” his future and who wanted to leave with dignity.

Chelsea’s forceful rejections of City’s offers for their player make it quite clear that Terry would have to hand in a transfer request and go public with his desire to leave the club. With the team ready to fly to the US tomorrow for pre-season friendly’s it seems time is running out. If Terry were to go with the team to the US then surely this would signal the end of City’s interest in the defender. City will not be shy in moving on to other targets soon, as shown in the prolonged Eto’o saga.

City is clearly creating a powerful squad that will be able to stand up to the rigors of a long season and be able to churn out results away from home, which proved difficult last season. The men behind the transfers at City clearly have a strategy that they are successfully implementing. Once Terry is no longer the focus of transfer speculation do not be surprised to see one or two top quality defenders added to the squad. I would be more than happy to see Lescott join the club and then prepare the squad for the season ahead. Benjani & Evans would be the only players I would sell during this transfer window.

Ricky Hatton In Hospital Tonight

Ricky Hatton has been taken into hospital this morning after complaining of chest pains and vomiting, he will remain in Thameside Hospital over night.

City fan Hatton is said to be not seriously ill and has been kept in hospital overnight as a precaution. Doctor’s who carried out tests on the 30-year-old former light-welterweight champion believe that food poisoning may be the most likely cause of Ricky’s pains.

Boxer Hatton Is In Hospital Tonight

Past Matches: 1956 FA Cup Final - Man City v Birmingham City

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The first in a series of posts dedicated to Manchester City’s past great games we take a look at the FA Cup Final on the 5 May 1956 between Manchester City and Birmingham City.

During the 1950’s the FA Cup final was the only match to be televised nationally, resulting in heightened media attention for both club and players. Each player that played in a televised match received £5 – the first time appearance money had been paid.

1956 FA Cup Final Ticket

The 1956 final was Birmingham City’s second time in the final, whilst City were preparing for their sixth FA Cup Final. The press regarded Birmingham as favourites. The Daily Telegraph contrasted Birmingham’s “dazzling Cup run” with Manchester City’s progress to the final as “scrapping through”, placing the Midland club as “firm favourites”. In pre match interviews the attitude of the clubs involved was clear; City’s Bobby Jonestone said: “Even an unbiased fan must regard Manchester City with favour”, whereas Birmingham’s Len Boyd said: “They say Birmingham City are the hottest Cup favourites since Wolves crashed to Portsmouth in 1939”.

Man City started the competition against Blackpool which was abandoned due to fog. City won the replay 2-1. In the forth round City faced third division side Southend. Bert Trautmann was required on several occasions to make great saves to keep City in the competition. On a breakaway counter attack Joe Hayes scored the only goal of the game to put City through to a 5th round tie with Liverpool. A replay with Liverpool was required after the first match ended 0-0. City won the replay 2-1 however Liverpool were aggrieved because Liverpool’s Billy Liddell put the ball in the net as the referee blew his whistle and Liverpool were denied the draw. The other team from Liverpool – Everton faced City in the Quarter Final. 1-0 down at half time to a Jimmy Harris goal City made a come back in the second half with Goals from Hayes and Jonstone. City went on to knock Spurs out of the competition 1-0 in the Semi Final.

Bert Trautmann was named Footballer of the Year two days before the final and was an automatic name on the team sheet. There was speculation leading up to the match which of Don Revie and Bobby Johnstone would be selected, as Johnstone was carrying a calf injury. Bill Leivers was another injury doubt along with Billy Spurdle. Consequently City didn’t reveal their line up until the morning of the match.

Official Programme of the '56 FA Cup Final

Don Revie the centre forward was a surprise inclusion in the squad when it was announced since he had only made one appearance prior to the Final. Thankfully he did play as he set up Man City’s third minute opening goal with a smart back heel.

The Final was watched before a crowd of 100,000 and a television audience of five million.
The following match report is as published on http://www.fa-cupfinals.co.uk/:

Manchester City Team: Trautmann, Meadows, Little, Barnes, Ewing, Paul, Spurdle, Hayes (1), Johnstone (1), Fagan, Revie – Sub: Dyson (1)
Birmingham City Team: Simpson, Cowell, Batty, Scoular, Stokoe, Casey, White, Milburn, Keeble, Hannah, Mitchell – Sub Kinsey (1)
Referee: A Bond
Attendance 100,000

Manchester City FC 1956 Team Photograph

Match Report:
Birmingham were unable to produce the kind of football against Revie inspired Manchester City that had carried them to Wembley, and could only hold their rivals by employing methods which resulted in their tiring visibly in the last half‑hour. Manchester scored twice during this period to win the match.

Revie, a late inclusion for the injured Spurdle, was the key player as Manchester controlled the game with their ‘Hungarian style' play, which involved keeping the ball on the ground and building up attacks in a slow and deliberate way.

Within three minutes of the start Revie began the move near his own penalty‑area which led to the unmarked Hayes sweeping the ball past Merrick to put Manchester ahead. Birmingham's confidence was shaken, but they fought back to equalize in the fifteenth minute through Welsh international inside‑forward Kinsey.

Both teams seemed to lose their touch immediately after half‑time, but then, after an hour's play, Manchester regained their stride and suddenly went two goals ahead. Following a bout of interpassing on the right wing, Dyson was put clean through to score. Three minutes later Johnstone grabbed a third from Dyson's pass.

An unexpected chance for Birmingham occurred when Manchester's German goalkeeper Trautmann was badly injured making a typically heroic save at Murphy's feet. He played out the last fifteen minutes in great pain, and examination later revealed a broken neck.

Watch highlights of the game below:

1956 Cup Final Highlights

Read The Times full match report

first published 7th May 1956.

Click here to see document.

Bert Trautmann had previously played an important role in the season City reached the 1956 final and forth in the First Division. During the FA Cup Final, with twenty minutes remaining the ball fell lose between Trautmann and Peter Murphy, of Birmingham well inside the City area. Typical Trautmann fearlessly dived straight for the ball – head first. He collected the ball but smashed his head on the leg of Murphy as he followed through after the shot. Both players fell to the floor with Trautmann motionless. After a few minutes the crowd were chanting “we want Bert!”

After several minutes Trautmann got back to his feet and carried on playing. City surely would have not won the game had Bert not made some fearless saves in the dying minutes. Any jolt to his head in those moments would have easily killed him. X-rays confirmed several clear cracks in his vertebrae.

Trautmann: Fearless

Trautmann was clearly a man of great character and determination, something which we all hope our players will demonstrate during this year’s campaign to regain some silverware to a club that does have a history and great players. Some fans, players, ex-players and managers of other clubs need to be reminded that football has a long history and Manchester City is a part of it. City, already deserved of their place in the annals of footballing history will be writing new chapters in the very near future.

Bert Trautmann will be the focus of our next Past Player profile that looks back at some of Manchester City’s cult heroes.

Previous Past Player Posts: Uwe Rosler

Adebayor Granted Work Permit & Passes Medical For City

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Emmanuel Adebayor has been granted a work premit to play for Manchester City and has passed a medical for the citizens.

A deal in the region of £22-£25 million to take the Togolese striker to Man City from Arsenal is now almost a formality. The striker has played 142 games for Arsenal since his £3 million move from Monaco three and a half seasons ago. He has scored a total of 62 games.

You can see more of Adebayor in two videos; including 30 goals for arsenal in this post (click here)