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					         Manchester City Centenary Supporters’

                                            Merseyside Branch
                                             September 2008

                       Next Meeting: Tuesday 23rd September, 2008
They used to say that a week was a long time in politics. Thanks to Manchester City we now know that a
day is a long time in football!

As dawn rose on Monday 1st September, we fans were fairly content with our lot. We’d just scraped
through our UEFA Cup qualifying tie and the prodigal son Shaun Wright-Phillips had returned, and
inspired us to a remarkable 3-0 victory away at Sunderland the day before. The signing of SWP, and those
of Pablo Zabaleta and Glauber Berti had already done much to scotch the rumours of financial instability
and cash poverty (and in the case of the former, an immensely shrewd piece of business). But who knew
what was looming on the horizon in the shape of the Abu Dhabi takeover?

But, gosh, wasn’t that day exciting, as we were suddenly linked with just about every Fantasy football
player on the planet? Like the last day of the previous transfer window, I was glued to the updates on the
BBC website, following the twists and turns as we attempted to gazump Manchester United’s protracted
pursuit of Dimitar Berbatov. Sure, this eventually came to nothing, but in the process it forced our friends
across the way to stump up at least £5 million more than they’d hoped, and they had to toss in the loan of
Fraizer Campbell as a sweetener to avoid official conduct complaints. Chortle! So much funnier than the
unfolding saga of the will-he-won’t-he arrive in time Benjani transfer last time round.

Amidst all this, Robinho seemed to be just one of the names seemingly plucked from the ether by an
excitable journalist, drunk with the consequences of the club’s takeover. How many of these supposed bids
were real, we have no way of knowing. Berbatov certainly was. £50 million for Torres? Hmm. Fabiano,
Gomez, Lord knows.

Now, I don’t actually know if Robinho is any good. I’m assuming that’s the case because people tell me he
is. Time will tell. But it’s become a cliché to say that his signing as much represents a statement of intent as
it does the acquisition of a particular football player. It’s true, though. At the start of the day, did anyone
believe the British transfer record would be broken by Manchester City. They certainly didn’t think that at
Chelsea, where the news that they had been outbid by somebody, anybody, must have been received with
absolute shock.

Since then, of course, various staggering hypocrites from West London, notably dodgy-bonce Cech and
shifty-faced midget Deco have decried Robinho’s intentions as entirely money-related, mercenary and
somehow antithetical to sport. Because, of course, they decamped to Chelsea for the luurvv…. Heaven
forfend that somebody outside the ‘Big 4’ should have ambition, should be attempting to build for the
future. Fabregas at Arsenal struck the same tenor. Just how arrogant are these jejune upstarts? I’m a little
uneasy about the triumphalist tone of much of the rhetoric coming from the bid spokesman Dr Sulaiman al-
Fahim in the early days, but how sweet if we can piss on the chips of these self-righteous tossers. It was
definitely amusing to see how many managers were lining up, bothering themselves to say how they
weren’t bothered by the prospect of City competing at the top table. Spot the irony, there, chaps? No,
probably not. Ironically, given past form, perhaps the greatest sense came from Liverpool’s Rafa Benitez
who conceded that such backing would, sooner or later, lead City to becoming genuine title contenders.
Sadly, how much faith we can put in the views of a man who seems seriously to believe his own club fall
into that category….!
The last meeting was Tuesday August 26th. This saw the reelection of Tony Ralls as Chairman, having
submitted himself to the democratic process! Other executive decisions made were that the impending need
to renew our hosting space rights for the Branch website ( would be
addressed by the Secretary, and that for various reasons (new ground syndrome, allure of the fixture, naïve
hopes of decent weather!), this season’s official away trip would take us down the Smoke. More
specifically, Saturday 4th April, away at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium. As ever, we cross our fingers that the
dictates of European competition and/or pressures of TV scheduling do not throw a spanner in the works
over that particular enterprise. There was a fair degree of wrangling over the proposed date for our Branch
Christmas dinner, with various Members’ indispositions causing what Sherlock Holmes might deem a
three-pipe problem. The possibilities, or otherwise, of pleasing all of the people, all of the time, are
addressed in Tony’s Mutterings towards the end of this abbreviated missive.

After the phony war of the transfer window, it seemed ages until battle proper could be resumed, with the
providentially scheduled game at (Middle) Eastlands between City and Chelsea, dubbed, with predictable
hysteria and histrionics, as the Clash of the Cash. The stadium’s highest attendance saw a cracking game of
football, though it tasks me to confess that the London Blues were markedly superior. As, indeed, they
should be. The City ‘project’ is at an embryonic stage, we had two debutants, and Chelsea have had the
nucleus of a settled time for quite some time now. Nevertheless, we were always in with a shout, and
matched our illustrious rivals, certainly in the first half. I saw enough to be optimistic. Mind you, even
before the prospect of bottomless coffers, I felt we had the makings of a decent team – I merely now expect
the Abu Dhabi riches to hasten our progress towards the upper echelons of the domestic, if not the
European, game.

Some wags (or simply pessimists) were speculating whether Arab ownership, and their well known
strictures on Western-style ‘hedonism’, might see the demise of beer at the stadium. Well, as after the
game, three blonde babes were handing out entrance tickets to a notorious city centre lapdancing lounge, it
might be some time before a New Morality bites!! And I’ll drink to that.

A victory over Chelsea was always going to be difficult, though in some of my feverish imaginings, I
fancied us for a draw. Nevertheless, there was much to admire, seeing the dismissal of John Terry was a joy
to behold (too bad the FA didn’t have the balls to make it stick), and just for a moment, as that Robinho
free kick hit the back of the net, I allowed myself to dream.

There may be a bit more dreaming yet to do, this season…

Below are upcoming fixtures which Members may be tempted to apply for, and the relevant application
dates. Sorry to be dogmatic, but we’re going to have to stick to these, and remember that the CSA will
require payment to reach them TEN DAYS before the fixture is actually played. Thanks.

Game                                Apply by                   Date of Game
                                        th                         th
Middlesbrough (A)                   15 September               28 October
                                        nd                      nd              st
Bolton (A)                          22 September               2 November (was 1 )
                                        nd                      th
Tottenham (H)                       22 September               8 November
                                     th                            th
Hull (A)                            6 October                  15 November
                                     th                            nd
Arsenal (H)                         6 October                  22 November
                                        th                         th
Manchester United (H)               13 October                 29 November
                                        th                      th
Fulham (A)                          27 October                 6 December
                                        th                         th
Everton (H)                         27 October                 13 December


    •    City’s away leg tie in the first round proper of the UEFA Cup aganst AC Omonia of
         Cyprus is to be/will have been televised by Sky One. That’s right, not the actual sports
         channel, but the home to endless reruns of Stargate and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. How
    •    Michael Johnson finally puts pen to paper on a new five year contract. Having suddenly
         realised that a move to Everton would be as big a mistake as Hitler annexing the
    •   City curries favour with its fan base by adorning the ‘spirals’ at the ground with banners
        bearing the names of current year Seasoncard holders. No mention is made of those who
        might want it kept secret!!
    •   Much speculation surrounding the composition of City’s new board following the finalising
        of the takeover. This will probably be resolved by the time of the next Branch meeting.
    •   Once again, City’s grip on the Football Soap Opera of the Year trophy is loosened by the
        antics of those crazy fellows up on Tyneside. Canny, man.

                                      Mormorii da Meols

Greetings, dear reader – and my word, what a lot of water has passed under the bridge
since last we idly gossiped.

I have never previously – and doubt I ever will again – watched Sky Sports News for four
whole hours, hardly believing what I was seeing and hearing - £350m being wafted around
Europe trying to persuade at least one of the best to join us, Mark Hughes babbling on
about meeting up with Berbatov and all the time some geezers in suits were busy
snatching Robinho from under Chelsea’s corporate nose. What a bunch of scallys!

‘Pinch me and I’ll wake up’, was my immediate reaction – possibly still is.

My cup was overflowing in any case, with the return to our fold of one Shaun Wright-
Phillips. Whilst other voices than mine had been heard to express the opinion, ‘Never go
back’, my view was, ‘Yes, please, if you’re SW-P’.

The war cry from the terraces, ‘It’s just like watching Brazil’, at last has a ring of truth, is
not a joke, and poses the question, ‘How good can it get?’

I left the match against Chelsea not at all disappointed – they deserved to win but I was
content that great things will come from said SW-P, Robinho and Jo, whom I thought led
the line splendidly.

Do we then already have an embarrassment of riches, remembering that Elano, Johnson
and Petrov played no part in the Chelsea game and that some of our rapidly-maturing
youngsters will find their career-advancement somewhat hindered by those already
imported and those still to come.

That last comment makes me feel a little sorrowful – some starlets will not become stars,
at least with us – which is a great shame but the jam is required today, not tomorrow!

How secure, I ask you, dear reader, is our manager? Our lords and masters buying the
best players in the world may well target someone they believe to be the best manager in
the world. Could it be that The Chosen One could tread our hallowed turf?

One of our number is in Ireland holidaying – or whatever they call it across the Oirish Sea
– emeralding, perhaps? Anyway, Paul phoned me a couple of days ago in a state of high
thing, ‘I hear the Arabs is pulling out’. Upon investigation with some of my more trusted
aides – son-in-law, Mark! – the rumour was quickly squashed, Paul was advised ‘RELAX’
and peace reigned – or, at any rate, he was relieved – as in Mafeking.

Anyway, though as far as I know we’re still involved in due diligence and book-keeping
and debt-assessment, et al, there can be no doubt that the go ahead is going ahead.

Harking back to the Chelsea game, I forgot to mention earlier in this ‘ere epistle that, once
again, I thought our manager had got it wrong. In my team there is no room for both
Hamann and Kompany and, though I regret saying it, Mr Hamann will be obliged to sit
upon the bench. Having two of our midfield – in the shape of Sweep and Robinho – going
forward with heartening rapidity left our midfield and, subsequently, our defence overrun
by extremely fast-moving counter-attack.       Hamann just doesn’t have the pace to cope

Quite how Petrov, when fit, will be positioned in this jigsaw remains to be seen – and, of
course, which of the squad makes way, unless it becomes a straight swap – Petrov for

After much soul-searching, pub and restaurant visiting – in the exercise of my
responsibilities, you understand – our Christmas Dinner will now be held on Saturday 6
December at Sevens restaurant in Meols, 7.00 for 7.30. The three-course meal is priced at
£18.95 and discussions with Anita and Steve have resulted in my being assured that John
Smith’s beer and Fosters’ lager will be available at a price, dear reader, that will not cause
you anguish. I shall bring copies of the menu with me to the next meeting, which Head
Scribe advises me will take place on Tuesday 23 September.

I am advised that Liam will be unable to attend, as he will be viewing – in person – Fulham
–v- City at Craven Cottage. My apologies. However, on whatever date dinner had been
arranged, some of our number would have been unable to attend – it is, literally,
impossible to find a date acceptable to all.

Little snippets:

‘The Brazilians aren’t as good as they used to be – or as they are now’
-attributed to Kenny Dalglish

‘His throw went absolutely nowhere near where it was going’
- Richie Benaud

Male reporter: ‘Are you still a lesbian?’
Martina Navratilova, ‘Are you still the alternative?’

And finally –

‘It’s a catch he would have caught 99 times out of 1000’
Henry Blofeld


‘So you want to be a millionaire –for £10 what nationality is the Pope?’
‘I think I know that one – is it Jewish?’

Exciting times ahead, dear reader. Will we become the biggest and the best? Who knows
– but it could be fun watching it happen – or nearly happen. And what pleases me most?
The possibility of a poke in the eye for Fergusscumbag!

I wish you well. I wish you joy. I wish you good fortune – and in respect of the latter – a
little aimed at deserving wrinkly causes would not go amiss.

Buona fortuna.


Contact details:
           Secretary / Newsletter:        Garry Bradbury, 30 Oceanic Road, Old Swan, Liverpool. L13 1BP
                                          0151 259 7720 / 07526 209702 / /

                   Chairman:                   Tony Ralls, 7 Flowermead Close, Meols, Wirral. CH47 7BY
                                        0151 632 5068 / 07803 162797 /

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