Never Thought I’d See this Day

May 14, 2011 by · 7 Comments
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Article by Blue Ted

I honestly thought this day would never come.

Seeing the FA Cup finally in the possession of Manchester City is a dream I’ve held onto since I first saw City in action in 1981 against Spurs. That game was, as we all know, thirty years ago and since then, the blues have done nothing but decline, while across the road, United have done the opposite.

To endure thirty five years without a trophy is bad enough for any club of our stature, but we’ve also had to suffer while watching United win almost every trophy possible. And to cap it all, we’ve also had to battle for promotion or fight relegation on an almost regular basis. But all that hurt has now been wiped away on one glorious afternoon in the Wembley sun.

We now have the FA Cup and a Champions League place to boot, which is another step in the blue revolution. The hard work is only just beginning but the Cup will hopefully be the first of many to grace Eastlands in the coming years.

Turning to the game itself, I was particularly pleased with Mario Balotelli. Following City’s Europa League exit, I was very critical of the Italian and thought that it would be better for him to be out of the club. But today, Mario stood up to the wind up tactics of some of the Stoke players and kept his cool. There was a time when I thought he would lose it, but he showed that he could handle the situation and his back heel in the build up to the goal was superb.

As for the goal itself, I don’t think anyone would have been able to stop it. It was a bit scrappy in the stoke area but Yaya made no mistake with his left foot as he blasted the ball into the Stoke goal at the same end that he scored against United in the semi. But if there is one person who deserves all the credit he received, it is Roberto Mancini. The Italian has been the subject of increased speculation over his future, and it wasn’t long ago when fans were calling for his head. But in one season, he has taken us from perennial FA Cup losers to the trophy itself, as well as the Champions League. He has delivered on all the board’s targets set before him and he will quite rightly take the praise that will surely be delivered.

And let’s not forget one of the reasons we were at Wembley today. It would not have been possible without the huge investment in the club from Sheikh Mansour. In the years he’s been at City, the blues have climbed the table and made substantial progress already. So a huge thank you goes out to Sheikh Mansour, Khaldoon Al Muburak and ADUG for ending our pain.

But while we celebrate our win, our commiserations go out to Stoke City, who proved themselves worthy finalists, but seemed to be overawed a little by the occasion. But if one thing has been shown this season, is that the ‘big four’ monopoly has well and truly been broken. With Liverpool missing out on Champions League football again, City and Stoke contest the FA Cup Final and Birmingham winning the League Cup, the remaining trophy to crack is the League title.

And with a bit more time and investment, it won’t be long until the blues are challenging on this front to.

Redknapp Ready To Blame Stoke Rather Than His Own Team’s Performances

April 20, 2011 by · 1 Comment
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Spurs manager Harry Redknapp has suggested that the FA change Manchester City’s home Premier League fixture with Stoke over fears that the visitors just won’t be bothered.

The two teams were due to meet on May 14th, but now have an appointment to meet in the FA Cup Final on that day and their league fixture has been changed to take place three days later. Stoke will qualify for Europe if City win the trophy AND finish fourth, prompting fears from North London that Stoke will throw the game to help City finish in a Champions League place.

“It is a bad time to play the game. No-one would say that Stoke would go there and not try to win but I just think the whole thing would be surrounded by people looking at it and thinking what went on if they do get beat,” said Redknapp which, once translated from cockney into English read ‘if City win the cup, Stoke will screw us.’

However Redknapp swear that his fears have absolutely nothing to do with his own team’s inability to catch City despite the blues indifferent form in the league. “That fact that we have won only one in six league games has nothing to do with it,” says Redknapp, who threatened to burst a blood vessel at the very suggestion.

“In fact, City should have seen how crap my lads have been and given up a few more points. They have a better goal difference to us, so why did they then go and put five past Sunderland? They are unfair and inconsiderate. Thinking about it, they should be deducted as many points as it takes for us to overtake them without fear of them catching us. That’s how it should be”

The Spurs manager confirmed that he had spoken to the chairman about the Stoke situation, who promised that he would give the matter his immediate attention right after he had completed ‘some other more important tasks.’ When asked what date City and Stoke should meet, Redknapp replied “9th May would be ideal, to be honest. I know they play Everton two days earlier and us the following day but come on, fair’s fair. They’ve got lots of money.”

Spurs recorded their fourth draw from those six games with a 3-3 result against Arsenal, leaving City two points clear of the Londoners. Ironically, Spurs only win during their current run was a 3-2 home win over Stoke City.

On other Cup Final news, ITV have confirmed that there will be absolutely no bias in Stoke’s favour during their coverage of the FA Cup final next month. A statement from ITV read: “Although we love to see the bigger teams getting beat, especially in a Cup Final, there will be absolutely no biased reporting from our commentators or pundits, before, during or following Stoke’s magnificent and unexpected victory at Wembley next month.”

FA Cup Or Champions League Place?

April 17, 2011 by · 2 Comments
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Roberto Mancini could face a tough call ahead of the FA Cup Final against Stoke City.

The blues currently occupy fourth place in the league and if they stay there, City will qualify for the Champions League. However they are only three points ahead of Spurs and the Londoners have a game in hand that could put them level on points. 

And four days before the Cup Final, the two teams clash at Eastlands, leaving Mancini with an unenviable task; choose a team to claim a Champions League spot but risk them being tired for Wembley or potentially sacrifice fourth place in pursuit of silverware?

Last Monday, Mancini left out key players such as Silva, Zabaleta, De Jong and Balotelli and were comprehensively beaten at Anfield and it was clear that his mind was more focussed on the United game than the league.

But will that be the case in May and would the fans accept it if Mancini did the same for the Spurs game but won the Cup? It would help matters if Spurs lost a couple of games and gave us a little breathing space. Hopefully Arsenal will do us a favour when the visit White Hart Lane on Wednesday.

Obviously we would like to both finish fourth and win the Cup, but if it had to be one or the other, which one would you prefer?

Let’s Go Back In Time, Rio

April 17, 2011 by · 10 Comments
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Bitter loser Rio Ferdinand has criticised City striker Mario Balotelli following the fracas at the end of Saturday’s FA Cup semi final which saw City book a return to Wembley for the FA Cup Final.

Writing on his Twitter account, Ferdinand said “If you score a goal and give a bit to opposing fans I kind of accept that. But at the final whistle, go to your fans and enjoy it, not opposing fans.”

Interesting words Rio but what a short memory you have. Let’s go back 18 months and a derby at Old Trafford. Michael Owen scores a last minute winner for United and what does Gary Neville do? Run and celebrate in front of the visiting City supporters.

And let’s not forget that the same player flashed and kissed the United badge in front of visiting Liverpool supporters after United had beaten them.

The funny thing about the whole situation is that Ferdinand acted like a child being wound up by a younger brother. He is 31, captained England and lifted every major trophy, yet he allowed himself to be wound up Mario who is really just beginning his career.

The sensible thing for Ferdinand would have been to walk away but instead showed his complete bitterness at the result by trying to land one on Mario and ended up looking a complete fool.

On another note, I must say that many of the United fans I have spoken to have been quite gracious in defeat and some are even wishing us well in the final. Obviously there are going to be those that will want to see Stoke beat us (I say this as Stoke are 5-0 up at the time of writing), as they see City wining a trophy as unthinkable.

I remember a similar situation when Leeds went head to head with United in 1992 for the league title and we were saying how United winning the league was unthinkable and that it couldn’t be allowed to happen. It didn’t that year but the following year it happened.

No doubt many of United’s hate infested blogs, you know the ones I’m referring to, will be firmly on Stoke’s side on May 14th and, although it will be a very difficult game, we will go there with the belief that the FA Cup will be in our possession by the end of the game.

Thank You Michael Carrick

April 16, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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Yaya Toure was today’s hero as City booked a place at Wembley for the FA Cup Final on May 14th, but we mustn’t forget the contribution made by Michael Carrick in helping us get there.

With the game poised delicately at 0-0, Carrick superbly passed the ball to Yaya Toure, who charged past Vidic to nutmeg Van Der Sar in the United goal and send City to the FA Cup final.

With both teams missing key strikers, United were still favourites to win the tie, given their recent record against the blues. Prior to the game, Roberto Mancini had only one success against the reds since arriving at Eastlands and that was in last season’s League Cup semi final first leg when the blues won 2-1. However, United won the second leg 3-1 to send the blues crashing out.

So it was something of a revenge game at Wembley today and that revenge was deservedly dished out by a cool finish from Yaya. It was Carrick’s useless attempt to pass the ball on the edge of his own area, rather than thump it away, that presented Yaya with the chance and once he had the ball, he wasted no time in punishing the midfielder.

United had their chances, when Dimitar Berbatov saw his first half shot brilliantly saved after an excellent build up, then less than a minute later, missed an even easier chance when he somehow scooped the ball over the goal from about two yards out.

United are always a threat and minds will no doubt have been cast back to the semi final they played against Oldham Athletic when Mark Hughes grabbed an equaliser in the last minute to force a replay and City fans everywhere would not be able to relax until the referee had blown the final whistle.

However, things got better for City when ageing ginger minger Paul Scholes was dismissed for a disgusting tackle on Pablo Zabaleta. Scholes went in with foot high and studs showing when it connected with Zabaleta’s thigh, earning him an instant red card.

After that, United couldn’t find a way back and even five minutes of Fergie, sorry injury time couldn’t help them this time as City booked a Cup Final date with either Bolton or Stoke.

There was some unsavoury scenes at the end as Rio Ferdinand tried to have a pop at Mario Balotelli, after the Italian nutter apparently flashed the club badge towards the United fans, not that there were many left to see him do it. But despite Balotelli’s actions, Ferdinand should not have reacted the way he did and just wouldn’t let it drop.

And I thought it was City who were supposed to be bitter.

Balotelli’s Wake Up Call

March 21, 2011 by · 2 Comments
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Mario Balotelli has been given a big wake up call from both City and Italy.

The striker was dropped to the bench for City’s game at Chelsea on Sunday and has now also been dropped by the Italian national squad. The effect it has had on him may well save his City career as he has finally admitted he has a problem and has appealed to Italy coach Cesare Prandelli to help him.

“I spoke with Balotelli, he realised that he acted stupidly,” Prandelli revealed. “He said ‘I need help I always ruin everything,’” Prandelli continued.

Being relegated to the City bench would have been bad enough for the young striker, who has previously claimed that he could over take Lionel Messi as the world’s best player, but to be dropped form the national side could just be the kick up the backside Balotelli needs to improve his attitude.

The striker made an immediate impact at City, scoring on his debut as the blues qualified for the Europa League group stages but, after a short period out of action, got himself sent off for the first time after scoring two goals at West Brom. He has gone on to score 10 goals in 20 appearances for City but his recent red card against Kiev has again highlighted the dark side to his game.

There is no doubt that Balotelli has talent and there is no doubt he can score. If he can control his attitude he can be a great player for City and Italy. And the fact that he now recognises the problem is a big step towards rectifying that problem.

Last week, Balotelli apologised and begged forgiveness for his actions. The best way he can justify his request is by letting his performances do the talking. Only then, when we see the real footballer at work, will we be able to forgive him.

City Heading For Spurs Crunch Again

March 21, 2011 by · 3 Comments
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You can see it coming can’t you?

After City’s 2-0 defeat at Chelsea on Sunday, the blues lie just four points ahead of Spurs in fourth place in the Premier League table and looking at the remaining fixtures, it’s going to be a close call with Spurs again and another Eastlands showdown is now looking inevitable.

City have played a game extra than Spurs, so if the Londoners win the game in hand, just one point will separate the two sides. Other than the Spurs game, City have three other home games remaining. Sunderland visit on Saturday, while West Ham arrive on May 1st, with Stoke being the final home game this season. City have the potential to win all four of those games so it will be the four remaining away fixtures that could prove to be our undoing.

The blues travel to Liverpool in the week prior to the FA Cup semi final at Wembley, with trips to Blackburn and Everton all thrown into the mix before another potential FA Cup Final rehearsal against Bolton on the final day of the season. Again, all are winnable but they will be games that we will need to win if we want to finish fourth.

But Spurs also have a bit of a sticky run in as well. They have nine fixtures remaining, but the next four in the league are all at home. Wigan visit on Aril 2nd, while Stoke, Arsenal and West Brom all go to the Lane, before they end that run with a trip to Chelsea. Another home game against Blackpool follows, with a trip to Anfield being their final away game before finishing at home to Birmingham.

So six out of nine games are at home for Spurs, but the also have the rigours of the Champions League quarter final against Real Madrid to contend with, as well as a potential semi final, should they get past Jose Mourinho’s men.

Whatever happens in the next few weeks, City have just got to get their act together for the final eight games, but it is looking once again like the Spurs game is going to be the deciding factor in our season.

What Are AJ & Milner Talking About?

March 19, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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Adam Johnson and James Milner have teamed up with Cancer Research to produce a cancer awareness video aimed towards football supporters.

The City duo have helped produce a video along with the England Footballers Foundation which urges people to have possible signs of cancer checked out. You can check out the video by clicking here.

In the video, AJ and Milner talk about the importance of spotting cancer early and urging others to send a nudge to friends or family about the disease from former England striker Gary Lineker in the form of a new online application called Do Me A Favour.

This recently developed application will see Lineker call your friend by name, state where they live and mention the club they support, before encouraging them to spot the disease early. Cancer Research had one made for me as an example and it is very well done. You can see this here. and the more people that can be aware of cancer, the more can be saved from it. So if you want to potentially be a life save, send someone you know a personalised video. You can do this by clicking here.

Many people are afraid to get checked out, possibly through embarrassment and this applies to both men and women. For men, it is testicular and prostate checks and cervical cancer in women that is particularly embarrassing. But what’s worse? A little embarrassment or death? I know which one I’d choose.

Cancer doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care who it attacks. It could affect you or the person sitting next to you, their families or friends. In recent years, I have lost two family members to the disease. I’m not prepared to lose a third. I also don’t want to lose you as readers to something that can be prevented if spotted early.

So if next time you celebrate a goal at Eastlands and you can feel that lump you’ve had for a while but ignored it, swallow your pride and get it checked out. It could save your life.

Not Fit To Wear The Shirt – Or The Bib

March 17, 2011 by · 10 Comments
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That’s my honest opinion of Mario Balotelli.

The striker again received his marching orders following a disgraceful high-footed challenge on Kiev’s Goran Popov with the score at 0-0. Aleksander Kolarov scored a few minutes later but the hill City had to climb after losing the first leg 2-0, turned into a huge mountain. I’m not going to say that his sending off cost us the tie, but it certainly didn’t help.

Faced with scoring another two goals to stay in the competition, City were lucky not to see Carlos Tevez sent off early in the second half for a high challenge, but I think the referee, who had already endured the wrath of the City faithful, lost his nerve a little and only booked the Kiev man.

But, not for the first time this season, it will be Balotelli who will again be making the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Last week, he had an ‘allergic reaction’ on the pitch due to the wrong type of grass and this week it’s a stupid, reckless tackle that cannot even be classed as a tackle.

If Balotelli wants to have a career at any club, not just City, he needs to grow up and play the game that way it should be played. I look around at some of the young players in the Premiership, younger than the Italian, and they play with so much more maturity and Balotelli would do well to take a leaf out of their books.

But in my personal, honest opinion, I think we would do much better if we got shut of this idiot. Yes he can score goals, yes he can play, but do we really want the baggage that comes with it?

 I don’t like to end a rant like this on a dismal note, so I thought I’d share this link with you. If he has so much trouble putting on a bib, how does he get his shirt on?

Milner set for Kiev Return

March 16, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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Article by Elliot Dodd

James Milner is set to make an appearance on the bench against Dynamo Kiev tomorrow after recovering from a hamstring injury, as City attempt to overcome the 2-0 deficit and progress in to the last 16 of the Europa League.

The winger has struggled to find games since the end of January making only four appearances as he has been battling with his persistent injury. However the 25 year-old returned to training this week but is still not fully fit.

Roberto Mancini is taking a gamble on featuring Milner in the squad saying “James is not 100 per cent but he has worked with us for the past week and probably he can go on the bench tomorrow.”

More good news as Nigel De Jong may also be involved after ankle problems experienced last month and towards the end of the FA cup victory over Reading. Mancini commenting on this said “Nigel, after Reading, I hope is feeling very good. He had a problem with his ankle.”

However Mancini believes it will be too much of a gamble to play Adam Johnson tomorrow night. “It would be very difficult for him to play,” but added “maybe it is better for him and us that he continues to work.”

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