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Vital City Zen: Arabian Cool Cats Take Charge


Khaldoon Al Mubarak, City's new Chairman exudes calm and integrity and is one cool cat. As MCFC moves into a new era he declared "Nothing rash is going to happen, we are not going to do crazy stuff. The watchwords are patient, committed and long term…"

Today, the takeover of Manchester City Football Club by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan and his Abu Dhabi United Group will be completed. It has been a stunning September and Planet Blue is still pinching itself that we really are here!

Only two months ago sports hacks and our bitterest rivals were drooling over and shrieking about an impending City implosion. Just as we have done time and again since the mid seventies, we had to brace ourselves and prepare for anything. But along came that crazy 1st September day which will live long in the Blue memory!

Sheikh Mansour and his team are not going to pursue the hysterical world domination transfer target nonsense that the man who brokered the takeover Dr Sulamain Al Fahim had excitedly come out with to anyone within earshot.

Instead, Mubarak underlined a strong commitment to the City Academy, five graduates of which represented the club in the 6-0 demolition of Portsmouth:

"I spent a couple of days visiting Carrington and going to the Academy, I was there all of Sunday morning and I watched the under 14, under 12 and under 9 sides. One thing that I think is important and that I want to emphasise straight away, is that the Academy is a priority.

'We need to invest in the Academy and we will continue to develop it. It makes business sense and from a community perspective there is no question about the impact it has on the community. From the business perspective, the future of this Club is to continue to produce talents like Micah Richards, Michael Johnson and Shaun Wright-Phillips. This is very important to us, and we are really going to commit to the Academy."

This will be music not only to the ears of City fans, but no doubt to anyone who loves European football that likes to see a team built carefully and not just bought. And that is exactly what is taking place right now.

Mark "Bluesy/Sparky/Leslie" Hughes is shrewdly putting together a young and exciting team who have the makings of becoming a formidable force with a blend of homegrown talent and young international stars.

If that scintillating attacking display last Sunday sent shivers of optimism through you, then the words of Mubarak will not only allay fears, but reassure you at the same time. It looks as if we are in good hands:

"We want to hear from the fans and the community. We want to bring this club back to the community and to the fans.

"We are here as long-term investors, and it makes sense for us to build a dynasty. Between Mark and Garry (Cook), I think we have a dynasty in the making. With our backing, with the commitment we are going to make to the Academy in the next 10 years there is going to be a tremendous period for Manchester City and for us. And I think we are going to have a blast doing it!"


This correspondent has been fiercely and frustratedly critical of Stephen Ireland these past two seasons. He has it within him to be one of the all time greats, but his well documented 'danny act daft' carrying's on have threatened to destroy his career. A career that was heading for Royston Vasey Keane's Sunderland before Mark Hughes steamed in.

Last Sunday's destruction of Pompey was Ireland's finest footballing moment to date and was richly deserved. He is rapidly becoming a key player under Mark Hughes' guidance and if he can maintain his new found admirable work rate, vision and focus, he could be directing City's midfield for years to come.


For Full world and European football match satellite listings, go to LJ`s


City reserves play Carlisle United tonight (Tuesday 23rd September) at the Regional Athletics Arena, SportCity, 1900 GMT+1 in the League, formerly known as The Central League.


"I don't know why these people are in there. It doesn't look like they are there to make money, so if they are not there to make money out of football then are they buying it out of love? "Well, I'm not sure these people are supporters of Manchester City from a young age, so then comes a further question - why are they doing it? Why have they bought the club? - and I can't find a rational answer."

- "Rational" *rsehole Whinger, clearly all rattled and obsessed about City now starts moaning in Arsenal`s magazine. The latest stunning statement from a man who regularly fields no English players.

"Celtic are a bigger club than City."

- Our former Greek basketball player Sam Harris, just about our worst ever signing now finding his level in Scotland, tells it like it isn't.

"They're interested in getting their Robinhos, their Peles and their Ronaldos and that is great because it will sell shirts and will be good for them in Dubai - and it will be good for some kid watching in a bar in the Far East. But I'm not sure how good it will be for Manchester City in the long term. It's a recipe for disaster."

- Daily Torygraph football writer Henry Winter lazily declares the end is nigh for City without researching what the new owners are actually saying. Pisspoor journalism.

"It's great for the club and the fans but from the players' point of view it's a case of when the sun finally shines they will be pushed aside because big names are going to be brought in."

- Sylvain Distin's pep talk to the City side was just the rallying cry they needed to leave him chasing shadows in said sunshine at Eastlands.

"You can bid for all the best players in the world but if you do not use them properly you are not going to win anything."

- David James get's in on the City bashing act before his latest abject demonstration of dreadful goalkeeping.

"We're ecstatic, we're on a high, we're buzzing and we are really looking forward to our next few games coming up with the form that we are in. At the moment we feel we are invincible, we are going from strength to strength and we're in great form.'

- Stephen Ireland finds the words so many of us are struggling for!


Brighton & Hove Albion at the Withdean Stadium
League Cup, 2nd Round Wednesday 24th September 2008 @ 1945 GMT+1

City Form:
Last 6 games including UEFA Cup fixtures: W,W,W,L,W,W

The Seagulls Form:
Last 6 games including Cup fixtures: W,D,W,L,D,L


Johnny On The Spot?:

This is going to be all about competition for places and how Bluesy approaches his squad rotation strategy. That said, he will also be keen to keep gelling a senior side who are absolutely bursting with confidence and enjoying their football. The momentum City have at this time is fast approaching juggernaut proportions and as Brighton are hardly pulling up trees in front of goal, I am predicting that they will be steam rollered as Omonia Nicosia should have been.

Brighton 0 City 4


Wigan Athletic at The JJB Stadium
FA Premier League: Sunday 28st September, 1600 GMT +1

City Form:
Last six PL games: L L,W,W,L,W

Latics Form:
Last six PL games: L,L,L,W,D,D


Johnny On The Spot?:

Never an easy place to go is Wigan and I'm sure Old Bent Nose will have the Pie Tasters fired up as ever for a Man City visit. City's quicksilver attackers are likely to face some stern opposition and the whole team will need to be ready to exchange tough tackles if we are to realise an important away win. Still, City dealt admirably with everything Sunderland threw at them in similarly matched circumstances, so if the team continues to work hard for each other whilst turning on the style, we really should be leaving Wigan with three points.

Wigan 1 City 2

Vital MC's Magnificent Seven Fans Interview with Wigan should be with you after the mission to Brighton.

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Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The journalist

Writer: Johnny Baguette Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday September 23 2008

Time: 1:49PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
I think the team for Brighton will read something like this : Scheimichel, - Logan, Ben Haim, Onouha, Berti, - Johnson, Fernandes, Castillo, Etuhu, - Sturridge, Evans. On the Bench Hart, Ball, Garrido, Hamann, SWP, Ireland.
Report Abuse
23/09/2008 15:10:00

p.s. forgot to include Weiss on the bench.
Report Abuse
23/09/2008 15:12:00

Hopefully no complacency tomorrow (which I cant see happening!) and we'll progress without too much anxiety. Going for 2-1 to our reserves!
Report Abuse
23/09/2008 15:18:00

Just seen the reserves squad tonight and no seniors are included so we can expect a good deal of changes for Brighton, I reckon.
Johnny Baguette
Report Abuse
23/09/2008 15:25:00

Wow, Johnny Baguette. My congratulations on this wide ranging City review. There's just so much happening at City now we could almost run a daily newspaper... Some great quotes in there: The Ireland one should be reprinted and pasted on the wall of every Academy to show what positive mental attitude can do to a sportsman. He is playing out of his skin and the words flow straight from that. I have a question about something completely different though JB. The "Leslie" tag for Hughes has gone straight over my head. Please could you bring this numpty up to date?
Report Abuse
23/09/2008 16:15:00

Interesting to see how deluded some football managers can appear. Thanks for pointing out Whinger's views that he can see no "rational" reason why Sheikh Mansour should invest in City. Perhaps he could explain why their ground is called "The Emirates Stadium" after a Middle East airline decided to sponsor Arsenal... Then again maybe they should now rename the ground "The Semi-rated"
Report Abuse
23/09/2008 16:45:00

Robhino, Petrov and Onouha out of Brighton squad flying down.. Man City (from): Hart, Zabaleta, Richards, Dunne, Ball, Ben Haim, Johnson, Ireland, Kompany, Wright-Phillips, Elano, Jo, Garrido, Schmeichel, Fernandes, Hamann, Evans, Sturridge, Etuhu, Glauber.
Johnny Baguette
Report Abuse
23/09/2008 17:10:00

The Leslie thing as I understand it started in reaction to him being called Hughsey or Sparky by the rags, Sindbad. It's losing out to Bluesy at this stage!
Johnny Baguette
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23/09/2008 17:12:00

Our new owner Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan has spoken. Full statement on forum.
Johnny Baguette
Report Abuse
23/09/2008 17:22:00

Just put this up in the forums in reaction to the unprecedented statement from Sheikh Mansour: "Have we ever heard an owner/chairman offer out such an olive branch to us and the community? Indeed the dignified addresses of both the Sheikh and the chairman must be unrivalled throughout football for their intent. Let's see how the hacks and fifth columnists react. Suddenly, City are not buying 18 superstars and selling the Academy lads, but looking to build a team as, and it pains me to say it, Taggart has done so successfully with the rags using a backbone of homegrown lads. These are heady days!"
Johnny Baguette
Report Abuse
23/09/2008 17:54:00

JB great article and your comment re Taggart is true and thas the route that City should take.We want players that really want to play for us when they put on the shirt.Yes Robbi jojned us for the money, but I bet he already loves the club. Bluesy says that he is not making wholesale changes for the Brighton game and wont play a weakened side simply because the opposition is Brighton.I think I would want to have a look at Bertie. Schmeichel;Zabaleta.Richards Dunne.Garrido: SWP Kompany.Ireland.Elano.Etuhu. Jo Sturridge. I have picked the same back four, because I feel the more games they play together as a back four the more efficient they will become. looking for a good win and not a banana skin folling Sundays display. Johnson to do the last 30 mins.
Buzz Lightyear
Report Abuse
24/09/2008 09:59:00


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