Bury 0 Man City 0
City 3 Lazio 1 City 1 Fulham 1 City 4 Charlton 0
August Notes
The transfer deadline had been and gone and despite the loss of Wanchope to Malaga there have been no new signings apart from the earlier demolition firm of Mills and Thatcher. Early signs after the first few games show an irritating similarity to last season so I think City supporters should be prepared for a tough rollercoaster ride. A mid table position next May would be satisfactory to many considering the City financial position. The next annual shareholders meeting will be interesting to say the least. There is certainly an urgent need of more funds
I must mention the extraordinary run by Arsenal who went unbeaten last season and look like setting an all-time record of unbeaten games that will be difficult to surpass. I would like to think that at the end of September we might put a stop to this run! One can hope. I first saw Arsenal play at Maine Road in 1946 when the zoned leagues finished and we were able to see teams from all over the country. United used Maine Road as a home ground and on that occasion United beat Arsenal 5-2. As City were in Div 2 then I had to wait until the end of 1947-48 season when City drew 0-0 with them in front of a paltry 21,000. Highlight for me in that game was the sight of both the Compton brothers playing for the visitors- Denis on the left wing and brother Leslie at centre half. What an allrounder Denis Compton was. A little earlier that season I watched United draw with them at Maine Road in front of 83,260 - a record I think for Maine Road. Joe Mercer was playing left half for Arsenal that day and it would have been a nightmare for any 'safety officer'. In those days we used to think of them as 'Lucky Arsenal' and unlike today they were generally not an attractive side to watch. So its congratulations to Arsenal and may your run end on September 25th!
Another issue in August was the sacking of Sir Bobby Robson as manager of Newcastle United. A sad day indeed for this gentleman of football. I first saw Bobby play on Christmas Day 1951 when United played Fulham at Maine Road. 35,000 saw United win 3-2. After my return from my stint in Hong Kong football I next saw him make his England debut at Wembley (1957 ) in a 4-0 win over France for whom Piantoni played at inside left. Robson scored two goals that day the other two coming from Tommy Taylor. Tom Finney played on the left wing. By then Robson had moved to West Brom but it wasn't until March 1959 I saw him play against City. It was at Maine Road in a 2-0 win for West Brom. An attacking wing half who loved to score goals I next saw him score for West Brom in a 4-2 at Highbury against Arsenal in 1959. I watched him play for England in a 4-2 win against Spain in 1960 (Di Stefano and Gento were playing for the visitors) and a year later in a World Cup qualifier 2-0 win against Portugal for whom Eusebio played. A year or so later he returned to Fulham and my last recorded time I saw him play against City was in 1967 - a 3-0 win for City. Among his managerial teams are Fulham, Porto, Barcelona and Newcastle plus England of course.
The Rooney record transfer from Everton to United also made the news. He certainly did not look worth the £25 plus when he played for Everton late last season.
City 0 Everton 1
City 7 Barnsley 1
City 0 Arsenal 1

September Notes
With Arsenal running away with the title at this early stage of the season , the sad death of Brian Clough manager extraordinary and some weird refereeing decisions there was plenty going on. City's form was ...just typical City really. A poor home display against Everton was followed by an impressive home cup win against Barnsley after the away league win at Palace which was a must win situation. The game against Arsenal was a little disappointing given that we got nothing from it. I always had the feeling that if we had equalised Arsenal would have gone up another gear . They are way ahead of the rest of the pack at the moment.
Back in March 1954 when I was stationed with the RAF in the Hartlepool area I was a linesman in a 4-4 game between Middlesbrough and Leeds United juniors. Brian Clough would have been about 18 at the time but alas I have no recollection of him playing. At this time I used to watch Middlesbrough home games and their stars at that time were Wilf Mannion, Delapenha and Spuhler. Brian Clough didn't start playing for their first team until 1955 by which time I was enjoying the hot sunshine of Singapore.
When I checked my records I surprisingly found that I had never actually seen him play for either Middlesbrough or Sunderland on my return to the UK. His son Nigel played for City between 1996-98 but never alas never reached the heights attained by his father. Brian Clough alas only won a couple of caps for England (in 1959) but his style of management will ever remain in the memories of football supporters
I was staggered to see one game in which at a penalty kick the keeper was allowed to stand almost at the edge of the six yard box. It beggared belief. Why the referees assistant didn't flag is anyone's guess. I think sometimes they are told to flag for offside, throw-ins and dead balls and nothing else!

October Notes
Having missed the Chelsea game ( and I didn't know the result until late evening) I was hoping that a visit to Newcastle might make up for my disappointment at missing the great win over Russia PLC. I am writing these notes a day or so after the Newcastle game (pics and report here) I was disappointed at KK's outburst at the referee. One of the snags of being a visiting supporter at St James is that you really need binoculars to view the game closely and judging decisions by the referee is not easy from a distance but I did not think Mr Dunn had the horror game made out by the manager. I now have had time to view the video replays and even analyzing it frame by frame from different angles it was not easy to see whether the referee had made the right decisions. The soccer pundits have plenty of time to look at TV replays while the referee has to make split second decisions based on their angle of view and experience. I cannot remember an outburst by KK like this before and we have been the victim of some strange decisions over the last few seasons.
Arsenal lost their record by losing to PLC 2-0 but most of the post match hype concerns the so-called cheating by players and referee Riley got some stick in this game. Mind you Mr Riley has never been popular with City fans either.

Newcastle 4 City 3
On the question of cheating I believe the FA should start using a big stick. It has slowly invaded our game and until the FA hit the culprits hard, managers will still turn a blind eye. I believe a panel of 5 ex players and referees should examine video footage of blatant incidents and guilty players should be suspended for a minimum of 6 games for a first offence and 12 games for a second offence. I feel sure that over a season or so the lesson will be learnt. I would also like greater fines for players written into their contracts so they would also suffer loss of income.
After the death of Brian Clough last month a sad note for October is the death of Billy Nicholson the ex Spurs Manager. I first saw him play for Spurs in February 1947 when City beat Spurs 1-0 . I saw him play once more before I left for the Far East . When I was stationed in Norfolk on my return he was then manager at Tottenham and I tried to get to London to watch Spurs play as often as I could and for the next few years their type of flowing football was good to watch. With Danny Blanchflower and Mckay in midfield you had the ideal mix of guile and strength and with the like of Greaves, Smith and Jones upfront goals were always on the cards. I saw them beat Burnley 3-1 at Wembley to win the cup in 1962 and they were always the team to beat.
City 1 Arsenal 2 Cup
The great news that Bert Trautmann (82) has been awarded an honorary OBE will be welcomed by all City supporters young and old. He will be mainly remembered for his bravery in staying on despite breaking his neck in City's 3-1 win over Birmingham in 1956. I first saw him play for City reserves in a win 4-1 over Leeds on Nov 4th 1949 just after he signed professional forms. He made his debut for City a week or so later at Bolton and I saw him play for the senior team for the first time in early December when City lost 7 nil on a mud heap pitch at Derby. I went on to watch him play for City in almost 100 of his 545 appearances for City over the years until his retirement in 1964.
I can remember traveling upstairs on a bus to Bury to watch a match (I think they were playing a side from Austria or Germany ) and Bert Trautmann was sitting just in front and talking in a Germanic- Lancashire accent! Ah those were the days.
I managed to find a really scratched old negative of Bert Trautmann making a typical catch at Maine Road. I am afraid I have no record of the game or year but I am sure it was probably middle 50's. There is also a sequence of him making a save on my City Past page
City 1 Norwich 1
City 1 Blackburn 1

November Notes
I hate to start these notes with yet another death but on November 9th there was the news of the sad loss of Liverpool and England favorite Emlyn Hughes from a brain tumor. He was 57 . In 1967 he signed pro forms for Blackpool and I first saw him play against City for the seasiders in Feb 1967 so it must have been one of his early games. City won 1-0 and he played at left back marking Mike Summerbee. I saw him play twice the next season by which time he had moved to Liverpool, in games at West Brom and United. He will be remembered for his infectious smile and total dedication to football.

I rarely comment on England games though over the years I have seen quite a few. However the match in Madrid against Spain must be one of the poorest efforts I have seen either live or on TV. I cannot remember when England were so outplayed from start to finish and as for the performance and behavior of Rooney ...Words fail me. He should certainly have been sent off. The referee from Greece was far too lenient and though it was supposed to be a 'friendly' he should have stamped down on some of the ugly tackles early on. Excuses are already been made for Rooney but his lack of control will be used by opposing players to get him sent off and I am sure sponsors are not going to be happy about his growing negative reputation. If this 'attitude' is part of his 'game' then God help football.
The racial baying by the Spanish home crowd aimed at SWP and Cole was disgraceful and I believe FIFA should close the Real ground for several games. This would help get the message through. Action is needed not words. English supporters can help by refusing to go to Spain on holiday.
City supporters watching the England game will be slightly heartened that an international side can pass so poorly and be so dismal creatively. The modern game in UK is so dependent on speed, workrate and accurate passing that when these fail there is no plan B . Very few players have the ability to beat a man and put through the killer pass. In their two home games this month City have failed to make and put away chances against inferior sides.

City 2 Aston Villa 0
City 0 Spurs1
Bolton 0 City 1

December Notes
I attended the share holders meeting for the first time on the 14th of December and was surprised to find it was held in what appeared to be a long narrow indoor tent! As a latecomer I was stuck at the back and was only able to see the speakers via a video link. Fortunately the audio was OK so it was possible to follow the proceedings from the back of the 'tent'. It was an interesting morning with many questions from the audience answered honestly and openly by the manager KK and diplomatically by the chief executive
It is now unlikely that SWP will be leaving in the January sales unless an offer of over 20 million comes in and as for Anelka as we still owe Paris St Germain 6 million from the original transfer it would take an offer of over 10 million to tempt KK into letting him go despite the Frenchman's comments in a French magazine for which he has since apologized.
The City Christmas party was marred by the stupidity of Joey Barton and Tandy who have been since heavily fined by the club. Setting fire to a team mates' fancy dress can have dire consequences and although Tandy did have to go to hospital he escaped serious injury. I wonder why colleagues did not sort this out at the outset and surely someone should have been in charge. Perhaps the AGM should be held after future Christmas parties! In fact the future of Christmas parties for players must be in doubt.

On a personal note I had one of the images from the epic ballet on ice game against Spurs in December 1967 published in the December issue of the City magazine in a two page spread. I also had a couple of black and white images published in the Neil Young autobiography.
At the half way mark of the season City are just in the top half of the table and whilst the defence has improved on last season the inability to kill poor opposition off is a problem. There is too much reliance on SWP. When Shaun is on song then the outlook is bright but I think we are too predictable in attack and the lack of a left footed attacker reduces the options. Fowler is showing much better form and has improved 200% on his initial displays when he was signed. Anelka is missing too many good chances and Sibierski is often too labored and needs time to react to situations. Bosvelt has settled well in his midfield role and does his job well without being a shining star. Barton's passing is still poor and though his work rate is high with Reyna injured he lacks competition for a place in the team. The back four have done pretty well with only the odd blunder . Until his injury Jordan has been a good replacement for the injured Thatcher. Mills is still prone to yellow carding and occasionally his form has dropped below the level we expect from the ex-England defender. Dunne and Distin have generally done well in the centre of defence . Alas their odd mistake has cost us goals but I have been able to reduce the number of tablets I take before the opposition take a corner! David James has made few errors and has made quite a few good saves. A good signing after Seaman retired.

City 1 West Brom 1
City 2 Southampton 1
Oldham 1 City 0
City 3 Crystal Palace 1

January Notes
There was good news in the New Years honours list with the award of the MBE to Colin Bell one of the fnest players to have worn the sky blue shirt of Manchester City. His contributions both on and off the field earned him the affection of City supporters over many generations and all supporters will be pleased to know he has been rewarded for his efforts.
Providing he passes his medical it looks as though Kiki Musampa will be the first loan signing by Keegan in the January sales window. Kiki a left sided midfielder will be 28 in July and was born in Kinshasa, Congo. He first played for Ajax in 1995 and after three seasons went to Bordeaux for a couple of seasons before ending up at Malaga for 4 years. He moved to Atletico Madrid in 2003 and in his career has scored 35 goals in 205 games overall. His prolific years were at Malaga and both Danny Mills and Fowler will remember him from the day Malaga knocked Leeds out of the UEFA Cup back in December 2002. He has played at junior international level for Holland and could play for the Congo senior side if chosen.
With the move of Thatcher to Fulham being called off it is likely the move for Spanish International left back Juanfran will be halted. The original request by Thatcher to move to the South because of burglaries in Hale seemed a little odd . One would have thought soccer players would have been able to afford pretty good anti-theft measures.
By the time you read this the Anelka saga will have ended. The attempt by Fenerbahce to sign him for a bargain price appears to be failing as City would certainly want to clear their debts to Paris St Germain and make a bit on the side to get a replacement. 7 million pounds would be an absolute minimum transfer figure and the end of the month is rapidly approaching.
Another rumor circulating is the swap of Distin for the unsettled Bellamy at Newcastle United. If Anelka goes then this would be an interesting replacement. Would it be swapping a different kind of trouble I wonder. Bellamy would at least be pretty certain of a place in the team and his speed and aggression would be welcome.

The discussion on players doing a dive or cheating to get a penalty goes on . The blatant dive by a Bolton player the other evening and the lack of action by the FA to put a stop to it hit the headlines once again. Veteran City supporters will remember the efforts of Franny Lee who used to win regular penalty kicks. In those days there was not a same TV coverage from every angle as there is now. Referees often get the blame but they have to make a split second decision often running at speed and if a player gets in their line of view in that crucial moment its a tough decision. Managers will be unwilling to admit their players cheat so the only way forward to rid the game of this misconduct is to convict on video evidence and suspend the guilty party for two games on a first offence and double up on further offences. It would be a brave but necessary move by the Football Association and it would soon stop this increasing ugly trend in the game

City 1 Newcastle U 1
City 0 United 2
Shawn Wright-Phillips and Reyna show their skills despite the inclement weather
Kevan Keegan arrives in style!
SWP evades a tackle by Steve McManaman under the watchful eye of Stuart Pearce who later joined in the practice attack v defence with great gusto.
An impressive Nedum Ohuoha and Bradley Wright-Phillips in friendly combat.
Macken, Shawn Wright-Phillips and Jordan in action in a snowstorm
Young Kasper Schmeichel makes a good save whilst put through his paces by KK and Lee Croft
The man himself Kevan Keegan displays lots of concentration and skill in shooting-in practice against Kasper Schmeichel
Kiki Musampa shows off his skills.

February Notes
It started with a home draw against Newcastle and ended with a good win at Norwich with the disappointing 'derby' game and a tough draw against Chelsea in the middle so there were mixed fortunes for City but the really bad news came at the end of the month with the blow that SWP was out for 6 weeks with a torn cartilage. No doubt it will give a chance to Croft or Flood to see if they are going to make it in the Premiership but it is a bitter blow for manager Kevin Keegan who has had his first team squad decimated by injuries.
However team spirit is excellent as I discovered down at Carrington just prior to the Norwich game. Below are a few images from the training session. Also visiting at the same time was Des Walker ex Notts Forest and England with whom I had an interesting chat. He was looking forward to some welcome sunshine in Dubai shortly. Des was there as a guest of Stuart Pearce.

City 0 Bolton 1
Little did I realise when I was taking these pictures that they were likely to be the last ones of KK at a training session . The news late last night that Kevin Keegan was leaving City has had mixed reactions. Once he announced some time ago that he was giving up management at the end of next season speculation knew no bounds asto who would take over and when. The timing of Kevin's departure will give the board time to assess the capabilities of his temporary successor Stuart Pearce before making a final choice. With 9 games to go it would be wrong to rush into a rash decision. My ideal successor would be Martin O Neill but whether he can be prized from Celtic is another matter. Martin played for City briefly in the early 80's and would see City as a challenge. We wait with baited breathe!
But it has not been a boring time and his infectious enthusiasm will be long remembered by City supporters and many will be saddened by his departure.
Faz keeps a close eye on the action. From left to right- Derek Fazackerley, Lee Croft, Paul Bosvelt, Steve McManaman, BWP, Willo Flood, Stepehen Jordan and Mikkel Bishoff
The past and the future ... Robbie Fowler and Nedum Onuoha
Weaver waits his turn in goal as Reyna shoots past Kasper Schmeichel with KK looking on.
Kevin Keegan has had both bad and good times at Manchester City. His record of 33 wins, 43 losses and 29 draws is not the best in the world and some of his signings were fraught with controversy. His worst decision was probably the signing of Vuoso and his best Ali Bernabia and Anelka.. If only Ali had been a couple of years younger and fit enough to play in the Premier league we would not be in this predicament. There are some signings who have yet to really prove their worth to the club but the emergence of Shaun Wright - Phillips is a big plus.
Keegan Departs
April Notes
Baring some disaster it now looks as though Stuart Pearce will be manager of City next season. His efforts so far, though only rewarded by a single point at Charlton in his first two games, will have lifted the hearts of supporters and board alike. An unlucky loss at Spurs was followed by a wonderful display at Charlton , especially in the first half when we could have had five goals easily, Macken missing two really good chances. Only a last gasp equalizer by Charlton saved them from defeat. The effort by the players was only matched by the passion shown by Pearce on the touchline. The interpassing of the team was excellent and for once we were winning those 50-50 balls in midfield. I write this before the Liverpool game so it will be interesting to see Barton battling against Gerrard and as the opposition will be better than last Saturday Pearce's third game in charge will be a better barometer of the future.
City 1 Liverpool 0
City 3 Birmingham City 0
City 2 Portsmouth 0
Wins against Liverpool ,Birmingham and Portsmouth and the away draws at Fulham and Blackburn have only confirmed my impression of the managerial situation at City. I believe it is only the timing of the announcement to be sorted. It would be a nice gesture to do it at the final home game against Middlesbrough. This would give the players more motivation to beat Middlesbrough and perhaps just perhaps give us 7th place if other results fall into place in City's favour. The loss of Dunne - for me the player of the season - for the rest of the season - as a result of an ankle injury will be a blow but it would be a good time to try out Onuoha in the centre of defence and bring back Mills to right back. It will be interesting to see who Stuart Pearce chooses as his number 2. Several pundits have mentioned Nigel Clough one of his old Forest buddies. Clough had a very brief spell at City having been transferred from Liverpool ( he lost his place to Fowler) in 1995-96 season. He played almost 40 times for City scoring 4 times. However another possibility would be Des Walker also a good friend of Pearce who was at Carrington as a visitor the day I was there.
Congratulations to Stuart Pearce for winning the Barclay Pemiership Manager of the Month competition for the month of April.
I am very pleased to say that at a press conference at the City of Manchester Stadium today (Thursday) at 2-30 pm Stuart Pearce will be officially unveiled as the City manager - now there's a surprise! I believe he will be offered a two year contract and will be presented to the crowd at the Middlesbrough game as well as receiving his Manager-of- the Month award.
I understand he has already made an excellent impression to all departments at City ..So long may he reign at the club. He has already been in charge of the longest successful City run in the Premiership and it would be wonderful to cap it all this coming Sunday with a win over Middlesbrough and to take over 7th spot (again City highest position) and we would be back in Europe again.
City 1 Middlesbrough 1

Last season ended on a high with the 'new look' team under Stuart Pearce's leadership looking at last like a side capable of finishing in the top 6. KK left at just the right time to allow Stuart to show the board just what he was capable of and now we can look forward with much more optimism to next season. We will be without McManaman and Bosvelt who have not been retained but on the plus side Kiki Musampa has had his loan extended for 12 months.. Who will be bought to partner Fowler upfront now that Macken has been sold to Palace is guesswork at the moment. There has been plenty of newspaper talk but nothing definite.
Last season summary
David James 7.8 - made very few major errors and helped to form a solid defence.
Danny Mills 6.2 - a little flakey at times. His distribution often left much to be desired.
Nedum Onuoha 7.6 - has made an impressive start to his City career despite being out of position at right back
Richard Dunne 8.5 - has improved a great deal. Made the odd error but generally brilliant in defence.
Sylvain Distin 7.6 - pretty consistant throughout the season.
Ben Thatcher 7.1 - had a couple of spells out through injury and lost his place to Jordan but fairly consistant.
Stephen Jordan 7.2- took his chance well and gained a lot of experience.
Claudio Reyna 7.6 - came back strongly after his injury.
Shaun Wright-Phillips 8.6 - was City's most influential player for most of season - took time to return to form after injury
Lee Croft 7.4 - only had limited opportunities but shone when used.
Antoine Sibierski 7.2 - had a mixed season. Shoud have scored more goals
Joey Barton 7.6 - ran his socks off in midfield and passing has improved -a bit.
Kiki Musampa 7.4 - rapid improvement as he got used to the pace of the Premieship.Expecting better next season
Robbie Fowler 7.6 - improved dramatically as the season progressed as fitness improved. Shame about the penalty
Bradley Wright-Phillips 7 - only had short cameo substitute spells - very enthusiastic-- will improve

Paul Bosvelt 7.3 - often an unasuming rock in midfield . He will be missed.
Jon Macken- 6.5.- very rarely shone - sometimes linked well but rarely finished.
Nicholas Annelka 8 - I wonder what he would have been like under Pearce. Now just some Turkish delight!

The decision of UEFA not to allow City to sneak into Europe next season after Liverpool's Champions win is a bit disappointing but with Pearce at the helm we now have the crew to sail in next season.

May Notes