Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Sydney Blues' Team of the Decade

It's certainly been an interesting past ten years as a City fan, with a number of relegations, promotions, managers, and takeovers. We've been days away from administration, and we're now the richest club in the world. Manchester City go through more turmoil in a season than most clubs do in a decade.

But to celebrate the past ten years, we've picked our Team of the Decade. It's not the most skillful XI, or the longest-serving, but it includes a host of players that defined the era.

Playing in a 4-1-3-2, wearing the kit in which their finest moments occurred, we have chosen,the following squad:

GK: Shay Given
January 2009 to Present

I was loathe to give any player a spot in a Team of the Decade, when they've only been part of the lineup for such a short amount of time. But in a decade where we've had quite a few good keepers on our books, such as David James, Peter Schmeichel, and um, David Seaman, Shay is in a different class again.

Right from his debut against Middlesbrough, where he saved our arse time-and-time again, it was clear to see Shay was something special. Has single-handedly saved more points for us than any other player in this past twelve months.

Classic City moment: Was the first man to save a Frank Lampard penalty in three seasons in the recent 2-1 win over Chelsea.

RB: Micah Richards
October 2005 to Present

Often criticised for being an athlete rather than a footballer, however it is interesting to note that Richards has been the first choice right-back or centre-half for four different managers now (Pearce, Eriksson, Hughes, and Mancini). Wile not at his career best form of 2007-08, he has made over a hundred senior appearances for the Blues, as well as becoming the youngest ever defender to represent England.

Classic City moment: Dropping the F-Bomb on live television after a last-minute equaliser against Aston Villa in the 2005-06 FA Cup. "This is just amazing. Fucking hell, I just can't believe it. It is a brilliant experience and a great feeling to have kept us in the Cup.

RCB: Richard Dunne (c)
October 2000 to September 2009

The easiest selection of the lot. Until recently, Dunne was the only constant in my City-supporting career. We may have been in another division again, or changed manager again, but I could always rely on Richard Dunne being there come-what-may.

Despite giving away more own goals and red cards than you could care to mention, Dunne was the solid foundation on which our defense was built. Four consecutive Player of the Year awards pretty much tell the whole story. Unfortunately didn't get the chance to see out his career when he was sold to Villa for £6million.

Classic City moment: Played so many games it's difficult to narrow it down to just one, but his performance in the 2007-08 Manchester Derby was one of the best seen by a defender in any match. The constant goalmouth attacks by Tevez, Rooney, and Ronaldo were no match for Dunne that day.

LCB: Sylvain Distin
2002-03 to 2006-07

Big Syl was the other half of a centre-half partnership that saved City from certain relegation in the Pearce Era. He won the Player of the Year award in his first season with the club.

However at the end of the 2006-07 season, with City facing an uncertain future, with no manager and no takeover, Distin decided against signing a new contract with City to advance his career with, um, Portsmouth.

Classic City moment: The breathtaking counter-attack and goal against Villa in a 3-1 away victory in November of 2006. Watch it here.

LB: Michael Tarnat
2003-2004

Unfortunately, much like the current City side, we have a lack of real quality at left-back. Names like Niclas Jensen, Wayne Bridge, and Michael Ball aren't exactly those of standout performers.

As a player, Tarnat falls into a category that was very common at City, which is "I wish we bought them five years ago" (for example: Weah, Fowler, Bernarbia, McManaman, Bosvelt...)

A world-beater at Bayern Munich, he struggled to recapture his form, but was good for the occasional free-kick, if nothing else...

Classic City moment: ...such as the 35-yard thunderbolt in a 3-2 win at Blackburn. Hit with the outside of his left boot, it swerved around the right of the wall before nestling inside the left-post. Amazing.

CDM: Nigel De Jong
January 2009 to Present

Again, it's hard to include a player who has only been at the club for ten percent of the last decade, but Nigel De Jong's effect on the side has been incredibly important. Not since the days of Danny Tiatto have we had such a tough tackler, although thankfully Nigel has a much better temperament. When in form, can nullify the midfield threat of any opponent.

Classic City moment: A wholly dominant performance in the 2-2 draw at Liverpool earlier this season. Gerrard has never been kept so quiet...

RM: Shaun Wright-Phillips (vc)
1999-2000 to July 2005, and August 2008 to Present

The prodigal son. His diminutive frame belies his ability to shoot with amazing power. A gorgeous player to watch when on the ball, he is near impossible to contain when running at defenders, especially in his first spell at the club.

He left for the bright lights of London in 2005, earning City a handy £21million in the process (at a time when we didn't have a pot to piss in, ta very much Ambramovich). However, he struggled to recapture his form at Chelsea and was brought back to the club by Mark Hughes for less than half that fee.

Scored two goals in his return at the Stadium of Light, and I'll happily admit I shed tears of joy after each of them. City through and through, and deservedly gets the armband if Richard Dunne were to suffer an injury (or more appropraitely, be suspended...)

Classic City moment: The final goal 4-1 Derby win in 2003-04. "Pick that one out!"

CM: Stephen Ireland
September 2005 to Present

Last years' Player of the Season, but has struggled to find consistency in his early years at the club. He always showed glimpses of the player he has now become, but these moments were few and far between.

His progress has been hampered by managers continually playing him out of position. He has featured on the left wing and at defensive midfield under Hughes, and was on the right wing under Sven — when played in the 'hole', he has the ability to unravel any side with precision passing when on the ball and incisive lung-busting runs when without it.

Classic City moment: Ran the show on his own in a 5-1 massacre of Hull City last season, scoring one goal and setting up the other four.

LM: Trevor Sinclair
2003-04 to 2006-07

This is a difficult selection. I could have put Robinho there, not so much for his efforts on the pitch, but the impact that his signing had on the club, and dare I say it, world football.

Craig Bellamy also makes a case for inclusion, espescially on current form. However, he's another player who's been at the club less than twelve months.

There was also the possibility of squeezing one of Ali Bernabia or Eyal Berkovic into the side, however this would have meant playing Ireland out of position, and the poor lad has already dealt with that enough in his career. I'm also not comfortable in including too many players that made their mark predominantly in Division One — it has the ability to make average players look like world-beaters.

So Trevor Sinclair gets the nod, a player with the ability to play either wing, but unfortunately his time at the club was dogged by injury. However, he gets extra points for being a life-long Blue, and publicly stating that scoring a Derby goal is "better than sex".

Classic City moment: Skinning Silvestre in the 2003-04 Manchester Derby, just like Goater did a season prior. You can see this goal, and also the Wright-Phillips effort, here.

RS: Shaun Goater
1998-99 to 2002-03

Even Shaun would admit that he is not the best striker of all-time. He had the uncanny ability to be in the right place at the right time, poaching most of his goals from within the six yard box. Could not only score with his left and right foot, but with his knee, thigh, back of head, and arse as well.

An amazing career that saw him climb the ranks from the team promoted from Division Two in 1998-99, to the side that finished ninth in the Premier League in his last season. He always gave the impression that he loved every single moment spent on the pitch. An all-time City great.

Classic City moment: Of course, being fed by Gary Neville in the last Manchester Derby at Maine Road, and scoring his 100th goal for the club in the same match would be right up there. But scoring an amazing 33 goals (in which the club scored over 100) in the promotion season of 2001-02 gets the nod.

LS: Nicolas Anelka
2002-03 to January 2005

Whereas Goater seemed to enjoy every moment on the pitch, most days Anelka could hardly look bothered. A complex character — you get the impression that he likes to be a winner having played (and excelled) at some of the greatest clubs in Europe, such as Arsenal, Real Madrid, Chelsea. This doesn't however explain why he signed for Fenerbache or Bolton, however...

He has scored more goals for City than he has for any other club, and scored more times in the decade than any other City player. So he deserves his spot for that, at least.

Classic City moment: Scoring 14 goals for the club on our way to our equal best Premier League finish of ninth in the 2002-03 season.

Substitutes:
David James, Sun Jihai, Ali Bernarbia, Joey Barton, Paulo Wanchope, Robinho, Glauber Berti.

Happy Blue Year to all the City fans around the world, let's hope the next ten years are just as fun, if not a little more successful!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Merry Christmas and a Happy Blue Year from everyone at the Sydney Blues.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Mancini's first press conference (and Cook's last?)

Roberto Mancini was officially unveiled as Manchester City manager in a press conference at around 4am Tuesday our time.

The purpose of the conference was obviously to introduce Mancini, however there was only one thing on the minds of the assembled media pack — the dismissal of Hughes.

Garry Cook began proceedings by asserting that he would not answer any questions, only reading out a lengthy prepared statement.

Cook was adamant that the target had now shifted from sixth place to 70 points (The improved target was alluded to in a previous post, but is often overlooked. Sixth place is unambitious considering out squad). He also believes City were not on a trajectory to reach that target, nor can he see that changing. Hence, the decision was made to appoint a different manager.

The only problem with this is that does it not take into account the possibility of success in the Carling Cup (our first semi final since 1981 of course). And if City were to defeat both Stoke and Wolves in the coming week, we would sit on exactly 35 points from 19 games — bang on target, with a transfer window to come.

Mancini did his best in the conference, and his weakness in English was preyed upon by the media in the room (especially this specimen). Barely a question asked about his ambitions, just petty snipes about our owners and the sacking of Hughes. By the time Cook found it necessary to intervene (and bang the table for emphasis), it had descended into a farce.

In between all the crap however, it gave us a good insight into Mancini for the future. He believes we can make top four this season, with a view to win the league next year. And if he can stay as cool under pressure as he did in that conference, he'll have no problem in the pressure-cooker that is the managerial post of Manchester City. Forward with Mancini.

You can watch Cook make a fool of himself here, or watch Mancini answer some questions about football here.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas time at the Super Sky Four

I don't usually like lifting images from other websites, but I couldn't resist sharing this piece of Photoshop brilliance. Originally posted on Bluemoon.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

No seriously, this is Mark Hughes' final interview...

This is the official statement released by Mark Hughes, via the League Managers' Association. If you get time, have a bit of a poke around that site — it's a good read.

I do think that Hughesy is telling a few fibs though...
"I was informed after yesterday’s match against Sunderland that my contract with Manchester City was being terminated with immediate effect. Notwithstanding media coverage to the contrary, I was given no forewarning as to the Club’s decision. Given the speed with which my successor’s appointment was announced, it would appear that the Club had made its decision some considerable time ago."

"I am extremely disappointed not to have been given the opportunity to see through my plans at the Club. At the beginning of the season I sat down with the owners and it was agreed that a realistic target for the season would be 6th place in the Barclays Premier League, or in the region of 70 points. All of this was communicated to the players and we all knew where we stood. Whilst everyone at the Club would obviously have wanted to see more wins, we were absolutely on target at the time of my dismissal. Only recently we had terrific victories against both Arsenal and Chelsea."

"I am very proud of the fact that I steered the Club through the most significant period of change in its history."

"I have always been aware of the responsibility that comes with being afforded the luxury of a significant transfer budget, and I was grateful that the Club supported me with significant investment in players. I very much regret, however, that I will not now be able to enjoy the success that would undoubtedly have followed in the light of that investment."

"I believe that I have handled with dignity the recent pressure placed upon me by press speculation."

"I would like to thank the fans for their support throughout my time at the Club and particularly at this difficult time, and I wish the Club every success in the future, particularly in relation to the forthcoming Carling Cup semi-final, the Club’s first semi-final for 28 years."

Mark Hughes' Final Interview?

"Obviously, it is very disappointing to be leaving Manchester City at this time. I am delighted with the job that I have done and am satisfied in that respect."

"We've come through a difficult period, when I first arrived we lacked ability in key areas. We've obviously benefited in terms of resources, but the key factor is that we've been able to improve not only the team, but the long-term future of the club, which is what we were trying to do here."

"This season, we've obviously improved the quality throughout the whole squad, but often we weren't dynamic enough for long periods. On occasions, we were missing a number of key personnel, and because of this we failed to kill off teams and to ask enough questions of the opposition."

"It's disappointing because I've always felt my teams are stronger in the second half of the season."

"Obviously."

Saturday, December 19, 2009

More on the sacking of Mark Hughes

It's now the morning after the night before, and the news is starting to sink in that Mark Hughes has been replaced as manager by Roberto Mancini.

How will this decision affect Manchester City and our season?

Hughes' Appointment

Mark Hughes, it should be remembered, was hired at the end of the Thaksin regime (I think it's fair enough to describe Shinawatra's tenure at City as that). At the time, we were skint. Hughes was brought in to transform City into a hard-working, high tempo team, all the while working on a limited transfer budget. It was hoped he could emulate his feats at Blackburn, where he was able to unearth some gems in the transfer market (Roque Santa Cruz), and perhaps qualify for Europe again.

The start of Hughes' appointment certainly followed the script. Apart from Jo, who to be fair was hardly his responsibility, he made some astute signings, such as Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany, and the returning Shaun Wright-Phillips. The start of the season was fairly subdued, as City stuttered through the UEFA Cup qualifying rounds and picked up some solid points in the league, the most impressive a 3-0 win at Sunderland. And then, the world changed forever, for everyone...

The Takeover

Hughes, and Manchester City, had suddenly won the lottery. In the eighteen hours between the takeover and the close of the summer transfer window, City broke the British transfer record, signing Robinho for £32million. Overnight, City were transformed from mid-table battlers to the most talked about club in world football.

Sheikh Mansour to his credit, stuck by the man from the previous regime, even after a 2-1 defeat at West Brom in December saw City slip into the relegation zone. After this particular match, it appeared that Hughes' position was now untenable. Many City fans, myself included, thought that this would be the end for Hughes.

To the credit of the owners, he was retained. He had access to a transfer kitty in January, his first real chance to make an impact on market and to buy the players he wanted who would play in the style he wanted to play. And his purchases were certainly inspired, as Shay Given, Nigel De Jong, and Craig Bellamy combined to salvage City's season, eventually finishing in tenth, but still failing to qualify for Europe.

More Recently

It has been referred to a number of times that the owners are all about "stability", however less than twelve months after the takeover, the only constants from the Thaksin regime were Hughes, Garry Cook, Stephen Ireland, Micah Richards, and Les Chapman. Just about every other player who was at the club before the takeover (including many of Sven's signings) were transferred, loaned, or released.

A more logical scenario would have seen Hughes moved on at the end of last season, and ADUG's own man brought in. It is strange that the owners were prepared to allow Hughes, a man that they did not appoint, access to an open chequebook, and back him without question in the transfer market. And it is commendable that they had such faith in the manager, and were prepared to build a whole club around him, his management team (the "Taffia"), and his priority for fitness and work-rate. There was a sense that Hughes would build a Baconface-esque dynasty at the club.

Clear targets were set for this season — top-six or bust. However, that target soon became obsolete, due to the changed transfer strategy. The owners saw a favourable marketplace, where Real Madrid aside, there was very little transfer activity. The Rags were even reduced to buying players from Wigan and the Championship. Hughes had the opportunity that no other manager in the history of football has had before — the chance to sign virtually any player and amount of players of his choosing. It is for this reason that so much was expected of this season.

This original sixth-place target was now upgraded to Champions League football. It has been alluded to by players, the staff, and the Chairman himself. Despite being on record as saying that the top-six was still a target, behind the scenes it was a different story. Assuming every player is fit, there is no reason that the current City squad should not be challenging for the League. The sacking of Hughes whilst City sits in the top six is evidence of this.

The Right Decision?

The sacking of Hughes brings unnecessary disruption to a season that has already been tumultuous to say the least. Yes, our form has not been great, the run of draws has hamstrung our season, and we have played poor on too many occasions. But will changing the manager, and with it the dynamic of the club, translate into a higher position in the table? And what of Hughes' buys, such as Santa Cruz, Bellamy, and Tevez? Will their form be affected?

Whilst we're not progressing as we should be, I don't think changing the manager was the answer. But what is though? Can Mancini fix our leaky defense for instance?

I don't agree with the decision, as personally I think it's poorly timed. I do see the reasons for it though, and at least it gives Mancini a couple of games to see where we need to improve and strengthen during the January window.

I do feel sorry for Sparky. He was a divisive character, partly because of the club he played his football with, but also because of perceived tactical weakness and lack of real personality. But hopefully, now that the future of Hughes has been decided, City fans can once more unite behind the team and the manager.

City were here a long time before Hughes, and we'll be here a long time after. Our support will continue — no matter who the players are, who the gaffer is, or what division we are playing in.

I am behind Mancini 100% as he takes us into a new era, and I wish Sparky all the best in his next post.

Breaking News: Hughes OUT

Official club statement:
Manchester City FC can confirm that it has today terminated the contract of Mark Hughes.

In giving reason for the termination Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak said:

"Prior to the current season beginning, with significant investment in players and infrastructure in place, the consensus between the Board and coaching staff was that appropriate agreed targets should be set for the 2009/2010 season.

"The targets were agreed as a result of the player acquisition strategy of the club being radically accelerated in the summer as a result of very favourable conditions for any buying club. It was also based on the fact that the infrastructure of the club had been overhauled completely at great cost in order to create the best possible environment for the team.

"A return of two wins in 11 Premier League games is clearly not in line with the targets that were agreed and set. Sheikh Mansour and the Board felt that there was no evidence that the situation would fundamentally change. This is a particularly difficult announcement given the personal investment over the past 15 months on all sides and we would like to put on record our respect for and thanks to Mark Hughes and we wish him the best in his future career."

Manchester City Football Club can confirm the appointment, with immediate effect on a permanent contract, of Roberto Mancini and are also pleased to announce that Brian Kidd will join Roberto as assistant manager.

Commenting on the appointment, Khaldoon Al Mubarak said: "Roberto is a hugely experienced manager with a proven track record of winning trophies and championships. His experience and track record speak for themselves. What is absolutely clear is that Roberto believes in Manchester City’s potential to achieve at the highest level and importantly in his own ability to make this happen. My hope is that our incredible fans will join us in welcoming Roberto to the football club."

Mark Bowen, Eddie Niedzwiecki, Kevin Hitchcock and Glyn Hodges have also left the Club and further appointments will be announced in due course.
We'll allow the news to sink in first before passing judgement on the decision. However, we wish Sparky all the best for the future.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Andy's trip to Australia — P: 27, lost only 4...

Having been pretty pleased this season to only lose one game up until Wednesday's smashing by spurs, I started to wonder how many games we had actually lost since I arrived mid-April. It's only 4, and these games were against only 2 teams (Spurs and United) and 2 grounds (you should know now...).

We have played 27 competitive games (including the last leg of the UEFA Quarter Final against Hamburg, still a technical win) and also beaten Barca 1-0 at the Nou Camp whilst also beating Arsenal twice, Chelsea once, point from Liverpool, and made it to a semi-final.

So if there are any Sparky critics reading this, just consider how far we have come in a few years, and take comfort in the fact that we are having far less heart attack endings and suicide inducing performances than a few years ago.

UP THE BLUES

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Adz on the current situation

Sydney Blues member Adam McKnight takes some time out of his World Tour Of The World to share his thoughts on the dilemma at City. Use the comments page to have your say.

The Positives


We are owned by the most generous football owners in the world. For me it’s not a matter of if, it’s when. They have upgraded the club completely from the basics in infrastructure, to the talent within the squad. They have a winning mentality and they want us to become a powerhouse in world football. They would be watching our reactions and making their opinion on Mark Hughes like the rest of us. They are patient business people with realistic goals. Until they can acquire the services of someone more suited to the role then Hughes won't be going anywhere (at least til seasons end). You take a look at Pompey, Notts County and whoever else to see that our owners are the real deal, we should be so ever grateful.

We are into our first semi-final in years and could be lining up at Wembley. The sheer prospect of another date with Wembley is mouthwatering and at the start of the season if you said you can have a cup final and a top 6 finish (which our owners outlaid) I would have taken it in a flash.

The squad is the most talented we have had in years and the potential they could reach is that of the top 4 standard. The game vs Chelsea was one of the most inspiring performances I've seen from city outfit in a very long time and if Hughes can find a bit more winning stability, the one that he has found in drawing then we could be onto something special and long term.

The Negatives

I won’t comment on the money but it’s a lot, luckily for us our owners have long pockets. Mark Hughes has done a ‘ok’ job and guided us into a position to challenge the top 6, but is he capable of doing any more then that? His tactics at times have been awful and when people come out and blame Sylvinho for being caught out vs Spurs, we all must remember that he was a signing of Hughes… and not the right one.

The biggest frustration is all the draws. So many "wastes of two-points" and if we had somehow got a goal or killed of the games then we would be right up there this year (which is the most weakened league for years). If we had won these games then people would be calling Hughes a masterstroke, but we are not.

The other negative is the sheer negativity of supporting Hughes. I for one am not his biggest fan, nor do I think his the man to take us forward. However if the owners support him, then we should support the owners. They have pumped a lot of money into the club and let us dream of bigger and better things.

At The End Of The Day

We are sitting nicely in the league and over the Christmas period we can notch up some points against some weaker teams. Beat United at home then we will be sitting pretty again. The season is not even half way through yet and people want to make conclusions.

Our owners will be watching patiently and they will make the right decision, at the right time. Yes I’d love to be playing Champions League football and holding up some form of silverware, but I know if it doesn’t happen this year, then it’ll happen next year.

Keep the faith lads, and lets sing our hearts out til the seasons end. Then make our conclusions.

City 'til we die,
Adam

Monday, December 14, 2009

Tottenham Hotspur preview

Big game Thursday morning against Tottenham, who harbour similar ambitions of breaking the top four. This could well be a match that defines the season of both sides.

Cheers Bar will be open for this clash, so you can join us at the eye-watering time of 7am. Apparently they do coffee and toasted sandwiches, if a schooner is too hard to stomach that early in the day.

Tottenham are coming off a shock home 1-0 defeat at the hands of Wolverhampton, and City had their eighth draw in nine games on the weekend at Bolton.

Nigel De Jong is still a doubt with swine flu, and Shaun Wright-Phillips is doubtful with an ankle injury. Sylvinho will most likely play again in place of long-term injury Wayne Bridge.

We have a simply disgraceful record against Spurs, with a 2-1 win in Sven's season the only time we've taken three points since that remarkable FA Cup tie in 2003-04. Looking back over recent clashes at Shite Hart Lane, there's a clear trend that should appeal to those punters amongst us.

2004-05 v Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane 1-2 (Reyna)
2005-06 v Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane 1-2 (Samaras)
2006-07 v Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane 1-2 (Mpenza)
2007-08 v Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane 1-2 (Bianchi)
2008-09 v Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane 1-2 (Bojinov)

So, there's a few options for some cash here, $3.30 for the draw on current form is nailed on, and the 2-1 loss is value at $9. Or, if you're more confident than I am, a City win will pay $3.15.

Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 2 Manchester City 1
Statistics courtesy of mcfcstats.com, odds courtesy of Sportingbet.com.au

Bryan Riggs' latest undeserved award...

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Carling Cup semi-finals LIVE at Cheers

Just a heads-up that I spoke with Gerrard from Cheers about the possibility of staying open for the Carling Cup matches on the mornings of January 7 and 20 respectively. Not only will Cheers be open, he has also offered the possibility of a full breakfast if we can confirm decent numbers.

So come down before work if you must — it'll be an absolute cracker. Kick off is at 7am for the first leg, and 6:45am for the second.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Perfect Christmas gift for bandwagon fans

And a bargain at $23 too! See if you can spot what's wrong with it...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Breaking News: City v Rags in Carling Cup Semi!

Oh my lord this is going to be truly massive, Manchester City will face arch-rivals Manchester United in the semi-finals of the Carling Cup!

At this stage, the games will be played on January 6 at Eastlands, and two weeks later at Vermin Towers on the 19th.

You can rest assured we will be showing the both legs live at Cheers. Four Derby Days in the one season... I don't know if my heart (or my hand) will be able to take it!

Bring it on you Rag bastards!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A new way to connect with the Sydney Blues

Our mascot, Blue Roo, is now on Facebook! You can now visit the Sydney Blues on by going to facebook.com/sydneyblues

From there, you can visit the Sydney Blues group, see upcoming events, and photos from nights out. It's just a much simpler way of grouping everything under the one banner.

Add him as a friend today!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Carling Cup Quarter Final on TV

Just a reminder to all City fans that the Carling Cup fixture will be broadcast live in Australia on Thursday morning. Tune into Fox Sports 2 or 2HD from 6:45am for the clash.

Unfortunately, Cheers Bar is shut between the hours of 6-9am when the match is on, so watch it in the comfort of your own lounge room, as City look to break our semi-final curse.

Come on you Blues!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Win a chance to go to the Derby!

Interesting link this one on the Official Site — Etihad Airways are giving two City fans from around the world the chance to catch the Derby at Eastlands in April.
Are you a City fan living outside the UK? Would you like to "come home" to the City of Manchester Stadium for derby day?

Or do you live in the UK and have friends and family living around the world who you’d love to bring home to visit for the City v United game in April 2010? Well, here’s your chance!

As part of the "Coming Home" promotion, Etihad Airways, Official Sponsor of Manchester City, are offering fans the chance to fly to Manchester for the biggest game of the season.

Send us your reasons WHY we should pick you as a winner to fly two people home from anywhere in the world. The prize includes return flights for two people from any of Etihad’s 57 worldwide destinations, three nights’ accommodation, VIP hospitality at the game and executive seating.
Looks like a great competition, and we'll definitely throw our hats in the ring. If you have any ideas or suggestions as to what would make a good video, let us know. I do guarantee that Blue Roo will make an appearance somewhere...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Liverpool v Sydney Blues live screening details

We're expecting a massive turnout this Saturday night for the clash between Liverpool and Manchester City.

Liverpool have a decent support base at Cheers (it's still an Irish pub after all), so we need as many of the George Street Hooligans there as we can muster. Kick off is at the relatively viewer friendly time of 11:45pm.

If possible, please bring beach balls, preferably in red if you have them. We're looking to wind-up the Dipper fans, and that goal against Sunderland is still as funny now as it was last month.

Gerrard may be a chance to play, but nevertheless Liverpool will still be without Torres. So we're a good chance of picking up points at Anfield for the second season running.

We'll have numbers arriving from around 10pm, we're going to try to secure the tables at the centre-right of the downstairs amphitheatre again (where we were for the Derby).

Hope to see you all there!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sydney Blues in the Scunthorpe programme

The September website article about us was also in the match programme for the Carling Cup match against Scunthorpe. We were able to get our hands on a copy.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sydney Blues on BBC Blue Tuesday this week!

In a bit of a coup for the Sydney Blues, we've been invited to appear as guests on the international edition of "Blue Tuesday" on BBC Radio Manchester. It will be our second appearance on the BBC this year, after Brendo flew the flag before Derby Day earlier in the season.

I've decided to take to make an executive decision, and it'll be me taking on the responsibility for this interview.

We'll be talking all things Manchester City — the season so far, the takeover, the level of support Down Under, and of course, responding Tony Coleman's comments last week.

I'm not sure if it's streamed live over the internet to Australia, but the whole show will be available for listening on the BBC iPlayer later in the week.

It'll be a good bit of publicity for us, assuming I don't make an absolute tit of myself.

Friday, November 6, 2009

1st Annual MASSIVE Australian Blues weekend!

This is an idea that came out of drunken ramblings one night at Cheers, but the more we think about it and have talked about it, the more we like it. We kept schtum for a little while, but now we can announce the details of the first of many Australia-wide gatherings of Blues.

We're encouraging as many of our friends from interstate to get involved. If you're interested, please contact either myself or Brendo.

Here is Brendo's letter to you all.
Dear Blues,

Greetings to everyone from Perth, Melbourne, Brisbane, to our friends ‘Across the Ditch’ and everyone in between. Hopefully you are all enjoying the fine start to the season that the lads are putting on and have all got your heartbeat back on track after the match against the clock. It’s been a great year so far and the early signs are that silverware is not too far off.

So to celebrate the great things happening on the field and the great things happening in the supporters club locally, it is with great pleasure that I extend to you an invitation to the 1st Annual Manchester City Australian Supporter’s Club weekend. Over the past few years the supporter base in Australia has exploded and we now boast quite healthy groups in many corners of the country.

The idea behind the weekend is to gather once a year in one City for a weekend of fun, sight seeing, food and of course, football – all in the company of our Blue companions. For this season the Sydney Supporters Club has taken it upon ourselves to welcome you all our fair City for what looks to be a great weekend.

The Details
The proposed weekend is the 19th,20th and 21st of February, 2010. This is the weekend of our home match against Liverpool FC and is sure to be an important match in the race to the finish. This time was chose to give fans enough time to book flights and hotels, and to organize numbers for group events we have planned

Schedule
Day Time Friday 19th: Arrive in Sydney
Sydney’s airport is located very close to the CBD with a train, taxi or shuttle bus taking 15-20 minutes depending on traffic and the location of your hotel. The CBD has plenty of hotels at reasonable rates. We are currently looking into group discounts so the more, the merrier!

Night Time Friday – Ten Pin Bowling
By the lights of Darling Harbour the Blues will converge to enjoy a drink, a game of bowling and a chance to meet with everyone. At the venue will be big screens showing live sport (presumably the cricket) and music. The venue is totally kid friendly for those with families in tow (or grown ups who like video games).

Following the Bowling you can head to one of many bars in Darling Harbour, stroll through the scenic wharfs and take in the street entertainment or head into the city for live music, cinemas and yes, more bars!

Day Time Saturday 20th – Bus Tour/Picnic
The group will be meeting around midday for a scenic bus ride aboard our very own blue vintage double-decker bus! We will take in the sites of the city and finish with a BBQ in Hyde Park and a kick of the football (whichever shape you choose!)

Evening Saturday 20th – Dinner/Match Day Event
With the game upon us and the butterflies in the stomach we will head to the Bowlers Club of Sydney where a buffet dinner, audio visual presentations and special guest Simon Hill from Fox Sports will be joining us*. Here will be a chance to gather together, have dinner, sing a few songs and get ourselves ready for the big game.

Depending on game time** the match will either be screened in the Bowlers Club, or at our sponsor Cheers Bar. If the match is shown at Cheers then unfortunately children under the age of 18 will not be permitted, however they are more than welcome in the Bowlers Club.

*Subject to work commitment **Subject to club operating hours.

Sunday 21st – Victory Day!
Hopefully we will have all celebrated long and hard into the night as the Blues triumph. Some of you may return home this day and some of you may be staying longer, but here is the end of the weekend. Hopefully you have had a fun time, made some new friends and got plenty of ideas for when your City host the Australian Blues!

I realise some people may be reading this, thinking it is a little crazy to fly somewhere to watch a match on a TV. Whilst this may be true, you can’t deny that it is a great feeling when City scores and you are surrounded by Blues. What we want to create is an annual event that gives us all a chance to see the country, meet new friends and enjoy great football, great weather (something the English fans don’t have) and the camaraderie between the City fans.

Please pass this letter on to City fans through Supporters Club, web forums, facebook and any other means by which you find City fans.

Expression of Interest
Please send an email to myself, Brendan Smith, or Matt Coleman via Facebook, marked with your name and number of people who are thinking of attending. We would like to finalise numbers within the next month, so that costs can be minimised. There is no commitment to money at this stage, just an expression of interest. Later next week another letter will be sent with an outline of the expected costs.

As stated earlier we are trying to organize group bookings for flights and hotels, but if anyone has any contacts they can suggest for these elements that would be appreciated.
Thank you all for your time in reading this and for the effort you have all put into building the respective branches of the City Supporters Club. I look forward to meeting you all in February and enjoying a great weekend.

Forever Blue,
Brendan Smith
Let us know what you think, and hopefully we see a few more faces at Cheers tonight.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

City terminate SeatExchange deal

Announced on the Official Site:

Due to circumstances beyond our control, the Club would like to inform supporters that the Seat Exchange service has been regrettably terminated. All transactions that have taken place for the Burnley, Hull and Chelsea games will be honoured by the Club.

Supporters who have yet to receive confirmation of their ticket for any of the above games are advised to contact Supporter Services on 0870 062 1894 option 2 or email supporterservices@mcfc.co.uk
This leaves me in a bit of a predicament.

Access to a guaranteed seat was the main advantage of getting involved with the Sydney Blues. The SeatExchange "service" was one of the reasons I justified getting a Seasoncard, as I could recoup a bit of the money outlaid for the games that either myself or other Blues could not attend.

However, from the first match it was painfully apparent that there were problems with the system.

The service was unavailable for the first home game against Wolverhampton, and when I finally used it for the Arsenal match, I was less than impressed.

The ticket, valued at the retail of £38, was sold for £33.63. Which I could live with — I thought that cut sounded decent, especially when considering they charged the buyer an additional 15% on that retail price (£43.70 all up).

However, I received an email twelve days later that this would not be the case.
Unfortunately there was an error with some of the automated seller emails sent out recently to season ticket holders, who sold their seat for this fixture. The email may have quoted an incorrect refund. We apologise for this.

Please find below confirmation of your sale and the correct refund you will receive, payable 14 days after the fixture.

If you have any questions, please feel free to send us a message via the Contact Us link at the foot of each page on the website.

Thank you for using the Manchester City Seat Exchange!
Consequently I received a cheque for £19.52. However, the biggest complaint came from those selling junior season tickets... people selling tickets for over forty pounds on the website received a refund of just £4.43.

SeatExchange posted the following response on Bluemoon after several complaints:
The reason for the difference exists because the Club has also determined that Seasoncard holders should not be able to profit from the sale of the ticket, but buyers should also not be able to purchase for less than the matchday price to ensure that the service does not affect sales from its own Box Office.

Furthermore, whilst the difference between the selling price and the purchase price is shared with the Club to pay for the operation of the service, the portion retained by Seat Exchange also goes towards offsetting the significant sponsorship fees we pay to support the Club as an Official Partner.

Seat Exchange provides a number of benefits to supporters and the Club, including giving Seasoncard holders greater value by being able to sell their seat for matches they cannot attend, and giving supporters the opportunity to buy additional tickets, even when areas of the Stadium or the entire match has sold out at the Club's box office.

Seat Exchange also contribute to the Club through our sponsorship fee, by sharing revenues from the secondary ticketing service itself, facilitating additional concession revenue from seats that would otherwise be empty, and increasing Seasoncard sales and renewals.
Now the first paragraph is completely reasonable — Seasoncard holders shouldn't be able to profit from selling individual games, nor should people be able to buy the ticket for less than face value. Fair enough.

The second paragraph is the one that leaves you scratching your head. "Offset the significant cost of sponsorship"? That cost is all part and parcel of being a sponsor! You pay the club a certain sum of money to advertise on the website, at the ground and in the programme, and as a result of the increased exposure, you should see an increase in sales to match that investment.

The difference between the sale price and the refund (as shown in some cases, around 90% of the purchase price), should have gone to the football club, or an equivalent charity, such as City In The Community — not to pay for the company's sponsorship of the club.

So in a way I'm glad that the arrangement has been cancelled, as SeatExchange were cowboys and rip-off merchants... however, without a service that allows me to recoup some of my season ticket investment, I'll have to consider cancelling it for next season.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Ex-City player Tony Coleman slags off Australia

If you haven't heard it before, the "Blue Tuesday" show on BBC Radio Manchester with Paul Lake, Ian Cheeseman, and the delightful Emily Brobyn is an entertaining and informative look at current Manchester City issues. It's well worth the weekly listen.

However, last night's in particular was very intriguing, not only for the discussion about Munich chants, but also an interview with 1969 FA Cup winner Tony Coleman.

Mr Coleman (no relation fortunately) spent the best part of three minutes alternating between grunting and slagging off Australia and its people. Which is a shame, because I would have liked to hear more about what it was like to play in the last City side that won the FA Cup, but nevermind.

You can listen to it here on BBC iPlayer (about 41 minutes in), I'll try to isolate a recording of it too.

Here's what he said, make up your own mind:
Ian Cheeseman: You are the most elusive of the sort of 1969 team, that particular team, because of the fact you live in Australia, how did you end up living there and not staying in this country?

Tony Coleman: My wife wanted to go and live with her sister and her mother, because they'd gone over there a couple of years before... and because I love my wife I'd said "yeah I'll give it a chance" but I've never settled there. They don't like us there as a race of people, the English. And I was fed up with fighting with them and that... they're the most bigoted race I've ever come across.

Georgie Best hit the nail on the head. George Best came out as a guest player for Brisbane United, and I went to see him, and I said "what do you think?" and he just laughed his head off. It was printed in the paper, he said "they're neanderthals, and they don't like anybody but themselves."

IC: Strong words those aren't they... how long have you actually lived there for?

TC: Twenty-five years...

IC: So why stay that long?

TC: I'm not staying anymore, I'm divorced now, my children are grown up, so next year, I hope, when I reach pension age, I'm allowed to go to Thailand. I bought a home in Thailand, so I'm going to live in Thailand. And Australia can pfffft (raspberry/fart noise).

Oh yeah, I hate it, I've never settled down since I've been there. It's just, I don't know... it's just a big huge desert, you know what I mean, everyone sort of lives on the coast, but in the middle, there's nothing there you know.

And the way they treat the Aborigines when you see them in the shanty towns... people wouldn't believe it was a civilised country, they really wouldn't.
Gee Tony, sorry you feel that way. The reason you probably didn't get on with anyone here is not because you're English, it's because you're a miserable bastard.

I hope the sale of your medals goes ok. In fact, I'll chip in with the first bid of $463. That's enough to get you a Jetstar flight from Sydney to Bangkok. One-way.

We're not all bad down here mate, shame you couldn't get over the massive chip on your shoulder to see it.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Carling Cup Quarter Final Draw

It's Arsenal reserves at home.

Although we didn't have much trouble against the Arsenal at home last time, it's a tough draw. But really, all opponents at this stage of the competition are going to be tough. Could have been better, could have been worse.

Is now the year we break our quarter-final curse? We've gone out of domestic cups at this stage in some pretty dire ways in recent history (Blackburn and West Ham spring to mind), but this is a new City. The eyes need to be firmly on that prize.

The full draw is as follows:

Blackburn v Chelsea
Manchester City v Arsenal
Manchester United v Tottenham
Portsmouth v Aston Villa

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Are City legitimate Premier League contenders this year?

It may be premature to start discussing the potential of Manchester City to break into the top four this season, let alone claiming the title, but seven matches in and facing yet another pointless international break, it's definitely not beyond the realms of possibility.

Coming from tenth to first in one season is a mammoth task, there is no doubt about that. I'm trying to look at it as objectively as possible, but I don't think I can knowing that I'll be $1000 better of thanks to Sportingbet if we do.

City are extremely fortunate in the fact that we have a range of circumstances that could put us in a much position than our direct rivals.

The main thing in our favour is the lack of European football. Last season's UEFA Cup journey was probably the highlight of our season, and matches against Hamburg and Schalke will live long in the memory of most Blues. But, the competition was a major distraction and a burden on our small squad.

We have the distinct advantage of playing around twenty games or so less than our Champions League rivals, and this will be more evident in the new year as the Carling Cup, FA Cup, and Champions League all begin to clash with the Premiership. We won't have this luxury next season however, assuming that we are playing European football ourselves (most likely Champions League).

We also have the ability to strengthen the squad in the January transfer window in a much greater capacity than our nearest rivals. Chelsea aren't able to buy anyone either courtesy of a transfer ban. So if we're a player or two short due to injury, fatigue, or the African Cup of Nations, we can buy the odd player as cover.

Also, don't think that we'll be so lucky in the summer with transfers this season. Everyone knew that we were going to buy players — but no-one could have predicted we would purchase to the extent that we did. Don't expect Fergie to settle for just Owen and Valencia next year...

Besides, our squad is too far away from contention as it is. Man-for-man, we have a side capable of pushing the best in the league. Don't get me wrong, we have some players that could do with replacing, but have you seen some of the rubbish the Rags and the Dippers have on their books? Would the likes of Babel, Ngog, Skrtel, O'Shea, Evans, or even little Mickey Owen strengthen our best seventeen? Outside of Gerrard and Torres, Liverpool look remarkably ordinary since the departure of Xabi Alonso. The Rags are solely reliant on fat boy Rooney, grandfather Bryan Riggs, and lazy twat Berbatov. An injury or two would severely test their depth.

We were a dodgy extra minute away from salvaging a draw at Old Scaffold — we can flog them at home.

Last season we finished tenth with 50 points. To win the league, we would have to pick up another 40 points — that is, win at least another thirteen games that we didn't last year. It's a tough task, but we can dare to dream.

Have faith Blues.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Daylight Savings Time

Don't forget to wind the clocks forward an hour (and an extra seven minutes if your name is Sir Alex Ferguson).

3pm England kickoffs now are 1am local time.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Going to see the game tonight? Spare a thought for your neighbours...

As I've mentioned before — I'm a fan of football betting above any club. City are my team and have been for 24 years — nothing will change that.

However when I moved back to East Manchester (Gorton actually — walking distance to CoMS) I lived just off Hyde Road. What was this Hyde place? What was there? All I knew was that my mate Spider used to write the fanzine "Preston Were Lucky", one of the best fanzines to come from any club if you speak to anyone! One fateful Saturday morning I was looking at the fixture list and saw that Hyde United (aka "The Tigers") had a game against Lancaster City. United Vs City, eh? Tempting.

Me and my mate Kev jumped on a bus, and never looked back.

What we found at the ground (when we found it) was a world of football I didn't know still existed. Real pies, cheap beer in a social club that made Phoenix Nights look classy, crazy characters, real tea, a nicely kept little ground with atmosphere, a fantastic pitch (better than almost any league pitch), and supporters whose passion and sense of humour were just so refreshing to see.

You could stand up, you could sing (and boy, did we sing!), and within a few weeks I had made some great friends and found myself running the (now semi-defunct) www.eyeonthetigers.co.uk fan site.

If you've not been to a non-league football game, I can't recommend it enough, through a few years following Hyde home and away (when City weren't at home) it revitalised me and reminded me of the love for the game. We shared so many laughs, on the pitch, in the car, and in the bar with the players and managers Some fierce local rivalries and some amazing derby matches with Stalybridge Celtic — the highlight being a (admittedly) hungover Gareth Seddon scoring 5 goals in a New Years' Day 7-3 drubbing away at Bower Fold.

So why do I mention this now? Well, Hyde have been issued with a winding up order. They have this week to raise £35000, and are well on their way — tonight at the West Ham game, fans and indeed players will be out shaking buckets and looking for whatever you can help with. Manchester City have given their blessing, and indeed are already Hyde's kit sponsors for the season with a significant contribution. If each City fan gave 50p (or one of our players gave 20% of their weekly wage!) then football will go on in Hyde. If not, then their last game will have been played.

Full details here: http://eyeonthetigers.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=67

This situation has arisen because some wealthy 'backers' pulled out, leaving lots of liabilities in the form of player contracts, and a tax bill. The current chairman took the honourable option of not going into administration, and so leaving creditors out of pocket, but this has cost us in the long term. The club want to, and are nearly in a position to save themselves, and are cashflow positive with the frugal contracts.

I implore anyone that can, to dig deep tonight, and if you can't help Hyde, to at least consider going to support your local non-league team from time to time, you won't get Robinho, but you will get a real taste of football at a club where your £8 on the door will make a real difference to them.

There are full details here:
http://www.bluemoon-mcfc.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=142134&start=0
http://smf.citymancs.com/forum/index.php?topic=16663.0

City fans have been great — but there's been support from all of football — it's heartwarming:
http://www.nlpl.co.uk/forum/gforum.cgi?post=196657;guest=13851821
http://www.twohundredpercent.net/?p=2339
http://www.hydeunited.com/league/News/board240909.html

Superb article explaining the situation by When Saturday Comes:
http://www.wsc.co.uk/content/view/3862/38/

Even rivals Barrow and Alty lend their support:
http://www.barrowafc.net/conf/viewtopic.php?id=12891&p=1
http://www.altyfans.co.uk/index.php?topic=8734.0

Right well, that's my piece — over to you guys, you can really make a difference here!

Listen: BBC Radio Interview

As mentioned previously, the Sydney blues were asked to appear on BBC Radio Manchester in the lead up to Derby Day. The BBC were kind enough to provide us with the audio, so if you didn't catch it the first time, here it is for your listening pleasure.

Fantastic work from young Brendo flying the blue flag and putting the Rags in their place.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Carling Cup Round 4 Draw

The draw for the next round of the Carling Cup was done overnight, and we have managed to draw... Scunthorpe at home!

Unlike some other Premier League teams, Manchester City are treating the Carling Cup seriously — this is reflected by the strength of the teams Mark Hughes is selecting. So a soft home draw against Championship opposition definitely makes the task somewhat easier.

However, the last three times we have been knocked out of domestic cups, it's been to lower league opposition (Nottingham Forest, Brighton and Hove Albion, and Sheffield United). So let's just hope we don't take our foot of the pedal for this tie.

The full draw is as follows:

Blackburn Rovers v Peterborough United
Manchester City v Scunthorpe United
Tottenham Hotspur v Everton
Barnsley v Manchester United
Chelsea v Bolton Wanderers
Sunderland v Aston Villa
Arsenal v Liverpool
Portsmouth v Stoke City

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

More on Craig Bellamy

You may have noticed there's been a fair bit of discussion of the Manchester Derby this past week... the amazing match, the controversial injury time equaliser, and of course the confrontation between Craig Bellamy and a pitch invader.


Our good friends Jack from The Lonesome Death of Roy Carroll and Danny from Bitter and Blue have given their thoughts on the matter, and both believe that Bellamy was lucky to escape without sanction from the club and the FA for his actions.

I'm a little surprised by this stance to be honest. We usually see eye-to-eye on most Manchester City issues, however it's not the case with this one. Maybe it's something as simple as being Australian, but I'm of the belief that once a spectator enters the field of play, he becomes fair game — for both security and the players.

If anything, I think Bellamy didn't go far enough. The Rag twat should be thankful he didn't get more than a slap. And be thankful that Andrew Symonds doesn't play football...


Streaking had been part of the Australian ethos for decades. Watching cricket as a youngster in the late 80's and early 90's, barely a week went by without someone running on to the arena, usually nude. It was funny for a while, but after Monica Seles was stabbed by an invader in 1993, the joke was over — spectators now posed a serious threat to players.

Fans on the pitch are trespassing and as such are breaking the law. You should expect the same consequences entering a football pitch illegally as you would breaking into a house — a severe backlash by both the law and the occupants (ie. players). What Bellamy did was not the right thing to do by any means, but that doesn't necessarily mean it was the wrong thing.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Secret of Fergie Time Finally Revealed

Daylight Savings and Future Live Screenings

One of the main disadvantages we have in Sydney, and the reason it is just so hard to get people to come out for games is the time difference. We have been fairly lucky so far that the draw has been favourable and kick-offs have been at an acceptable time. However, this is about to change.

It's almost that time of year where Daylight Savings Time kicks in, and kick-off now occur two hours later. Added to that though, the fixture list has conspired against us and we have a terrible patch of games on Sundays and Mondays, which makes coming out to Cheers nigh on impossible.

Over the next couple of months, we play the following games in the League:

Mon 28 Sep 8pm Manchester City v West Ham (5am Tuesday morning in Sydney)
Mon 05 Oct 8pm Aston Villa v Manchester City (6am Tuesday)
Sun 18 Oct 4pm Wigan Athletic v Manchester City (2am Monday)
Sun 25 Oct 3pm Manchester City v Fulham (2am Monday)
Sun 01 Nov 4pm Birmingham City v Manchester City (3am Monday)
Sat 07 Nov 3pm Manchester City v Burnley (2am Sunday)
Sat 21 Nov 12:45pm Liverpool v Manchester City (11:45pm Saturday night)

As you can see, we're not left with a lot of options... we may meet up for the Burnley match before it, but the next screening that we can lock in with any kind of confidence is the Liverpool match in two months time.

It looks like games at Cheers may be out of the question for a little while, so we may have to organise a trip to an A-League game or something to pass the time. For now, keep the faith, and be prepared to call in sick on Monday mornings...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Derby Day at Cheers

It was a night of incredible highs, and devastating lows... and even a trip to emergency thrown in for good measure! Just like at Old Trafford, a small pocket of Blues were able to quite comfortable outsing the Rags (with the exception of two minutes after each United goal). Wild celebrations were to be had after both Bellamy goals — got showered with beer after the first one, and ended up on the floor after the second.

The lads at Cheers (and there were plenty of them) did themselves and the club proud. With the exception of myself of course, taking out a stack of glasses could have injured someone and was not big or clever, and I now have seven stitches to show for my stupidity. Although, that Rag who threw the plastic schooner glass from the balcony really needs his head read. Hopefully, next live screening will have a little less of the "George Street Hooligans" element...

All that aside, it was a great night had by all (until the seventh minute of injury time of course) and as always, it's fantastic to see new faces.

Best looking bunch of fans, if nothing else.

Subtle swipe at the Rags on the top left of this photo...

Half time and the mood is jubilant.

A really tough loss to take, but we'll turn them over on our own patch later in the year. Keep the faith Blues.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sydney Blues to appear on BBC Radio

It's a week that keeps on getting bigger for the Sydney Blues — we have been approached by BBC Radio to appear on their match day programme (is appear the right word?) on the eve of the match to talk about the Derby.

I've done a couple of these interviews before — one before the last home Derby in November and another one after the Stoke match in January. However, these only appeared on the BBC World Service, which judging by the emails they receive, is only broadcast in Nigeria and Senegal. But this interview will be on the Beeb in Manchester, and it will be great promotion for the blog and the Sydney Blues cause.

With his broadcast experience, it was decided it would be best if Brendo took the reins for this one.

Besides, I wasn't expecting another appearance on the BBC, after being under the influence of alcohol in my last interview. How was I supposed to know that you can't say "we played shit" on the national broadcaster?

I'll put a word in to a few people over there and hopefully we can get a recording of Brendo's interview.

Every bit of publicity is good for us, as we try to build the profile of the Blues down-under. We're starting to make waves and attract the attention of the people that matter.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sydney Blues featured on the OS!

I told you all we'd be MASSIVE! We're on the offical website!

Click to read the article here.

Big thanks to Chris Nield from the club for getting in touch and wanting to know our story. It's nice to get recognised, but we don't really do what we do for the accolades, or mentions on the club website. We do it because we love this football club wholeheartedly.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Derby Day Live Screening Details

I don't think it's possible to be anymore excited/nervous for a football game than the Derby. But this season, it's different. This season, unlike any other, Manchester City look a genuine threat to Trafford United — on paper at least. We're coming to get them. It just depends if we're able to field a strong side, with Tevez, Robinho, Santa Cruz, and Adebayor all out or in doubt.

I know it's a school night, but it would be fantastic to see as many Blues as possible there — we need all the support we can get against the Rags. We'll definitely be downstairs in the amphitheater again. I imagine there'll be Blues there from as early as 8pm if you fancy a pre-match schooner.

Just a note for those riding the East Hills line, it's trackwork this weekend, so buses replace trains.

One idea that worked okay last season was the production of the Derby Day songbook. So I'll produce some more of these for the match, and post the link on the Facebook event. There will be a couple of new songs for this year, so here's your chance to learn them ahead of time.
To the tune of "Chase the Sun" by Planet Funk
Oh Adebayor
When he shoots he scores
Hear the City sing
Oi! Oi! Oi!

To the tune of "When Johnny Comes Marching Home"
We used to have a song for you Tevez, Tevez
But now you've gone from red to blue Tevez, Tevez
We're sorry for the hurtful words
We bet that you've shagged loads of birds
Carlos Tevez, City's thirty two.
Na na na na na na na, na na, na... Carlos Tevez, City's thirty two.
So be there bright and early on Sunday night and support the Blues!

More on Adebayor

It's Monday night here in Sydney. The hangovers have gone, the City shirt needs a wash, and the dust is settling after a game which has dominated blogs, internet forums, newspapers and more blogs.

So, how do I feel about the game, and Adebayor's performance?

Well, I'm not really sure. I'm a football fan first, and a Manchester City fan second — and this leaves me in a bit of a quandary. Dealing with me as a football enthusiast, on the one hand I think that some of Adebayor's actions were nothing short of appalling. Short-sighted, vicious, and self-centred. (Joey Barton, anyone?) On the other hand, you have to love the pantomime — the baiting of the fans, the crazy run, the display of emotion and, whilst it's not right in any way, you have to have a grudging respect for a man who can stamp on someone's face in full view of the ref, and get away scot free!

Not that I'm condoning any of this - just that as someone who enjoys his football and entertainment, you'd have to admit that this was a game that has got everyone talking, everyone has an opinion, and you'd have to be made of stone not to have found yourself shouting at the TV at some point. However, as much as it adds to the theatre, it's a shame that what would've been a very memorable game in its own right is being overshadowed by a couple of off the ball incidents.


Our club have now won four in a row, and in beating Arsenal have not only taken the points off a team that I think we will be battling for league position come May, but also laid down a marker for the rest of the "Big Five". It's a long way to go, but certainly we would've been carrying a lot of momentum into the game over at Trafford next week - his looming suspension seems to be almost certain, given the witch hunt going on, and robs us of one of our most in-form players for another big game. On the bright side, fining him a few weeks wages should recoup a decent wedge of cash! I just hope this isn't too much of a distraction for the players who are going to be taking to the pitch next week, with Robbie, Tevez, and RSC all out, holding onto Petrov and buying Bellamy is looking like an increasingly judicious move by Hughes. It certainly puts paid to those people who were laughing at the number of strikers on the books earlier in the season.

But I digress... Back to the man of the moment, Adebayor. The skill shown by the Togolese front-man in his run down the left-hand touchline was probably the second best run I've seen in a City shirt, and SWP's miss about the second most disappointing one! He has really been playing like a man possessed. The comparisons with Barton are unavoidable, I always said with Joey that you'd rather have him on your side than playing against you, but he let his emotions run his head, became a disruptive influence, and events ran their course.

The difference with Adebayor is that he's good enough to let his skill on the pitch do the talking - let's hope he takes the same decision after he's had time to reflect on this game.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sydney Blues double header: Sydney v North Queensland and City v Arsenal

It was a night to remember for the Sydney Blues — except after the amount of alcohol consumed, I don't think many people will. A top night that started at the Sydney Football Stadium for the clash between Sydney FC and North Queensland Fury.

A vast majority of fans where there to catch ex-Liverpool legend (and ex-City waster) Robbie Fowler, and he didn't disappoint, snaring the only goal.

The main event though in our eyes was of course City v Arsenal, and an amazing performance by the lads on the pitch was matched by those off it at Cheers, singing and yelling long into the night.

Here's a selection of grabs.

Sydney Blues go bananas in front of the Cove.

Ex-City player Robbie Fowler nets for the Fury.

Even the Rags were impressed by City's performance.

It's always fantastic to see new faces, and I hope those newbies that enjoyed themselves make the effort on Sunday for the match against the Rags.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Manchester City v Arsenal Live Screening Details

The first match against the Super Sky Four™ this week, and it's against Arsenal. It will be the first real test of the season and an indication of just how good City are playing.

Kick off for this one is at midnight, and obvioulsy with the calibre of this match we will be in the downstairs ampitheatre. Be there from around 10pm for the obligatory pool and Oasis tunes. For those still standing after the match, we can take the piss out the Rags as they battle Tottenham away at 2:30am.

Should be a good match, so we're expecting a big turn out.

If you can't make this one, be certain you're there at Cheers for the Derby Sunday week.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

More on Richard Dunne

The transfer of Richard Dunne was always going to be a difficult and controversial one, considering the length of time he has been at the club. The one constant figure in every single City team I have supported, has been the presence of the Irishman. Players came and went, managers were sacked, we even moved to a new ground. But Dunne was always a part of it.

In previous seasons, Dunne was often the saviour in a team going nowhere. His partnership with Sylvain Distin is almost solely responsible for keeping us from relegation in in 2006-07. When it became apparent that City could collapse both on and off the pitch, Distin joined for the 'brighter' prospects of Portsmouth, while Dunne stayed and fought for the cause.

Some interesting words from Richard Dunne in an article by the Press Association:

Newcomer Richard Dunne is hoping his disciplinary record will improve at Aston Villa but insists he will remain "fully committed" in every game he plays.

Dunne shares the record for the most red cards in the Barclays Premier League with eight, alongside Patrick Vieira and Duncan Ferguson, but the former Manchester City player is looking for a change of fortune under Martin O'Neill in terms of staying on the pitch.

Dunne said: "Hopefully, my luck may change and I can stay on the pitch more. I'm struggling to remember the last one (red card) I had, but that's not a good sign, because it wasn't that long ago.

"Wherever I go and play I'll always be 100% committed. I don't like to lose matches and I hope that's one of my strengths and I'll always give it my all.

"I can guarantee that every game that I play I'll be fully committed. I've had loads of red cards. I think there is me and Patrick Vieira as the most red-carded players in the history of the Premier League, so I'm in good company.

"I don't think I deserve many of them, although obviously the odd one. But it's just the way it goes and I suppose, as a defender if you're making last ditch tackles and you miss the odd one, then you're automatically off."

Well, Richard, you should — City fans certainly do.

The last one you had in the league was against Wigan, where you needlessly lashed out at Amr Zaki just seconds after Zabaleta's opening goal. What about the UEFA Cup quarter final against Hamburg, where we needed three goals (and all of our players on the pitch) to have any chance of progressing? And what about Middlesbrough away, where we were in danger of losing the Fair Play position that got us into Europe in the first place?

Rather than being the one thing keeping us from going down, he is now the one thing keeping us from going up... no longer is just being "fully committed" enough. Neither are the obligatory red cards and own goals. These moments cost games, and belong in the Typical City™ mentality of the past.

Yes it may hurt, but it is the right decision to sell a player that is surplus to requirements. It could have been handled much, much better, but like any break-up of a nine-year relationship, there is bound to be some ill-will.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

This just looks wrong...


We have to make sure that at the Manchester City v Aston Villa clash on 3 October, we give him a rousing Sydney Blues reception.

All the best for the future, Richard.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Transfer window slams shut

Deadline Day last season will be remembered as one of the most significant moments in the club's history. The ADUG takeover, the Berbatov saga, and then finally, the purchase of Robinho. It was a surreal day. This year though, it was a far more understated affair.

There was early speculation that we would move for David Bentley from Spurs, with Martin Petrov going the other way in a cash-plus-player deal. However, City were quick to refute this, and both players remain (on the outer) at their current clubs.

The only deal that was absolutely certain by the close was that of Tal Ben Haim to Portsmouth. It has been significantly clear for some time that he has not in Hughes' plans, loaned out last season to Sunderland and then being "shop-windowed" on the pre-season tour to South Africa.

The Richard Dunne move to Aston Villa was still up in the air, with nothing official by window's close. However, it looks like this transfer will go ahead after the deadline.

City were fortunate that they conducted their business early in the window, so there were no late panic buys like in previous years (Benjani). It would have been nice to pick up an extra player on the deadline, but any one who has any complaints about our business this transfer period should take a good hard look at themselves...

So in sum:

2009 Arrivals
Gareth Barry (£12m, Aston Villa)
Roque Santa Cruz (£18m, Blackburn Rovers)
Stuart Taylor (free, Aston Villa)
Carlos Tevez (£25.5m, MSI via Manchester United)
Emmanuel Adebayor (£25m, Arsenal)
Kolo Toure (£15m, Arsenal)
Sylvinho (free, Barcelona)
Joleon Lescott (£22m, Everton)

2009 Departures
Kasper Schmeichel (Notts County)
Gelson Fernandes (St. Etienne)
Ched Evans (Sheffield United)
Elano (Galatasaray)
Tal Ben Haim (Portsmouth)
Richard Dunne (Aston Villa)

2009 Loans
Joe Hart (Birmingham City)
Jo (Everton)
Felipe Caicedo (Sporting Lisbon)
Shaleum Logan (Tranmere Rovers)
Valeri Bojinov (Parma)
Donal McDermott (Chesterfield)
Kelvin Etuhu (Cardiff)
Ryan McGivern (Leicester)
Clayton McDonald (Walsall)

2009 Expired Contracts
Danny Mills, Daniel Sturridge, Darius Vassell, Glauber Berti, Didi Hamann, Michael Ball, Richard Martin, Matthew Brown, Ian Daly, Gregor Hartley, Ben Morris, Curtis Obeng, Chris Ramsey, Angelos Tsiaklis.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Third Kit details released — order through Sydney Blues

It was confirmed earlier in the week that this Sunday's clash with Portsmouth will see the debut of this seasons' third kit. City have today released a clearer photo of the new shirt and details about how to get it. You can view that story here.

The kit will be available to pre-order from Friday, 4 September and will go on general sale from Saturday, 26 September.

I think I cracked a semi looking at that photo, and believe me, it wasn't because of Robi's alluring gaze... That shirt is absolutely breath-taking.

Just like the home kit before it, I will be taking orders for the third kit, as well as any orders for the home or away kits. All shirts will be priced at $80 each, not inclusive of postage or PayPal fees if you choose to pay in this way.

I've had to increase the postage cost to $8 per lot this time, as I will be using registered post only. Australia Post managed to lose of the kits from the last order, and point blank refused to help locate it. So if you see a Postie wearing the home shirt, ask him where he got it from... This meant I had pay for a replacement shirt out of my own pocket, and I don't think that's entirely fair, considering I'm trying to do everyone a favour.

Paypal also attracts a $2 fee, due to the fact they are rip-off merchants. Alternatively, I accept electronic fund transfers and cold-hard cash.

When contacting me, I will need the following from you:
Name
Address
Home, Away, or Third kit
Shirt Size
Short or long sleeves (remember $11 will be added for long sleeves)
Posted or not ($8 for postage of up to three shirts)
For those that placed an order for the away kit or exchanged sizes... I'm still waiting for those to arrive. The club has dispatched them though, so you should receive them by next Friday at the latest.

I will most likely pre-order a couple of days before it actually goes on sale, so I'm going to set the deadlines at Thursday, 17 September for expressions of interest, and I must have the money in my account by Tuesday, 22 September.

As you can see I've had enough trouble with Australia Post and the Club shop as it is... please make it easier on me by ordering and paying sooner, rather than later.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Crystal Palace v Manchester City LIVE on Fox Sports

I honestly can't remember the last time I saw a City cup-tie on television, but our Carling Cup Second Round match against Crystal Palace will be televised. Tune into Fox Sports 2 at 4:30am Friday for all the action.

Or if you are really keen, a few brave souls will be watching the match at Star City Casino, before tucking into a bacon and egg roll before heading off to work.

We have been knocked out of the last three domestic cups in traumatic circumstances (Brighton and Forest last year, and Sheffield United in the FA Cup the season before). Surely, this is year we can at least get past the first hurdle?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Reports: Richard Dunne to Aston Villa?

In the Joleon Lescott post, I mentioned that there was doubt about the future of Richard Dunne, and it appears that after nine years at City he may be on his way out. There are strong reports that our longest-serving player and club captain is about to move to Aston Villa in a £6million deal.

It would definitely be a bittersweet moment for the club. He has seen the club rise from the darkest depths of the lower divisions, and even stuck around when we were about to go back down there after the 2006-07 season. Although it may sound harsh, he is not the player he once was, and not probably not good enough for the level we hope to achieve — especially with the additions of Toure and Lescott.

So, if he does leave, it is with the very best wishes. Hopefully it's just speculation at this stage. But I'm more concerned about the long-term future of Nedum Onuoha more than anything...

UPDATE 28/08: According to the Official Site, Dunne is discussing personal terms. Bloody hell.

Sydney Blues about to get a whole lot more MASSIVE...

I can't reveal details. But you will all find out in due course.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Portsmouth v Manchester City Live Screening Details

With the Portsmouth match kicking-off at the respectable time of 1:30pm (that being 10:30pm in Sydney), thought it might be a good idea to organise a screening at Cheers for this weekend too.

Due to the relatively short notice, and the fact that it's on a Sunday night, it's perfectly acceptable if you're not able to attend. But it would be fantastic if you did! If you can't make it to the city, the match is live on Fox Spors 3.

Hope to see you there, as we look to continue our perfect start to the season.

Sylvinho signs for City!

It's funny how the transfer market works sometimes. We have just spent the best part of two months arguing, bargaining, dealing, negotiating, and pleading with Everton for the services of Joleon Lescott. It has been a bitter feud played out in the media, thanks mainly to David Moyes' ramblings.

Then, you have transfers like that of Sylvinho from Barcelona. One day of speculation on Sky Sports, then bang — it's on the Official Site.

The 35-year-old left-back (yeah he's that old I'm afraid) has joined Manchester City from Barcelona on a free transfer. He has signed a one year deal, and will wear the number 16 shirt.

It is a strange deal, on the surface it's one that seems to go completely against City's current transfer policy. Hell at 35, and a free transfer, I'm surprised he didn't go to the Rags! But reading what Mark Hughes has to say on the matter, the deal suddenly makes more sense:

"Sylvinho has a wealth of experience at the very top level, having represented Brazil and played for some of the very top clubs in Europe," declared the boss.

"When the chance presented itself to bring him to Manchester City as a free agent I saw it as representing excellent business for us. Sylvinho won the European Cup last season at Barcelona and he will strengthen our defensive options."

If you overlook his age, he is the perfect Mark Hughes signing. He was a regular in the Brazilian squad. He has Premier League experience. He has won countless trophies. He has won the Champions League twice. He is a winner, and Hughes likes winners. You can't buy the experience that Sylvinho has... actually you can, and we just did...

He may well be another Glauber, and never play for us (those eight glorious minutes against Bolton aside). But as emergency cover for Wayne Bridge, it's hard to find reasons why this is a bad move.