Writer: Johnny Baguette
Date:Friday April 17 2009
Comments courtesy of Manchester City Football Club
A warm welcome to everyone today, and especially to the players, staff and fans of West Brom who have made the journey up the M6 today.
I have to begin by reflecting on what was a night to remember last Thursday. The atmosphere at kick-off was just what we wanted, and I am sorry that we could not quite pull off the result that the support our wonderful fans gave us so deserved. It was a huge effort from everybody - on the pitch, behind the scenes at the Club and most importantly in the stands. Not too many people gave us a chance of turning the tie around, but we came very close and we can be very proud of the performance.
Our run in Europe, and nights like the one we had on Thursday, has shown us where we want to go and we want to bring more nights like that to the City of Manchester Stadium. I know that our Chairman, Khaldoon Al Mubarak, was thrilled with the atmosphere against Hamburg and was as disappointed as anyone that we did not quite make it into the semi-finals. We met before the game and had a very productive meeting on our plans for the future and where the Club needs to go, our owners have been excited by our run in Europe and will support us in our efforts to give it another go.
A special word must also go to our away support, who have given us such fantastic backing all over the continent since last July. I know they have enjoyed our European odyssey as much as we have and I still cast my mind back to the game in the Faroes, when so many made an awkward trip over to get behind their team. Following us overseas in these difficult economic times has been a big ask, but everyone in and around the playing staff thanks everyone who made such sacrifices over the last nine months.
After our good run at home in the League, last Sunday`s result was a huge disappointment, and I can assure you that the players, my staff and myself all understood how you, the fans, were feeling by full time. We are all working hard to bring the success to Manchester City that you deserve, and results like the defeat to Fulham hit us hard. In fact, coach Eddie Niedzwiecki summed it up perfectly on our web site last week when he said, "when we lose there is no worse feeling for us." Our European exertions caught up with us a little bit last weekend and made qualifying for the Europa League next season via our final position in the table difficult, but if we can string together a good run in the closing stretches of the season we could still pull it off.
West Brom come to us today bottom of the table and fighting for their lives. They still have a chance of staying up and will be looking at today`s game as an opportunity to kick-start a move out of the relegation zone. Tony Mowbray instilled an attacking approach in his side that deservedly won the Championship last season and he deserves a lot of credit for sticking to his guns in the Barclays Premier League. West Brom have won a lot of friends with the way they have gone about things during this campaign, and they have certainly posed problems for everyone they have faced along the way - including us. They battled for their victory over us at the Hawthorns in December, but we have not forgotten the late drama there and this is a chance for us to make amends.
Tony has not been helped by a long-term injury to a graduate of our Academy, Ishmael Miller, who would have loved the chance to go up against his old club today. He made a real impact in West Brom`s title drive last season, but they will pose us threats from several quarters. As we know from the our previous meeting this season, they are an athletic side who can break at speed and hit you hard from deep in their own half, so we will have to be on our mettle today.
Thank you once again for tremendous support, and enjoy today`s game.
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Date:Friday April 17 2009
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