Exclusive Q&A With SAFC
Barrie from safc-fans.com kindly took time out of his busy schedule to answer several Vital Manchester City's questions.
Sunderland v Manchester City - Sunday 14th March 2010 kick-off 4pm GMT.
After a much needed home win against Bolton, (which took away from the dreaded relegation zone) do you believe you have steadied the ship and can prevent a relegation scrap?
'I'm not naive enough to think we are suddenly safe from relegation, and with just 1 win in 15 we still have a lot to do to pull away form the bottom clubs. However, our home form is pretty decent and I believe we have enough games to pick up 3/4 more wins which should see us ok.'
'The Bolton game needs to be the springboard for a decent run, and the visit of our owner Ellis Short appears to have given the players a boost.'
'Also we are fortunate Pompey are already dead and buried, and teams like Hull and Burnley don't have a goal scorer like Darren Bent.'
With Steve Bruce allowing to bring in many new faces during last summer and the results being this dire how do you find the mood and moral surrounding Bruce's position?
'He made a decent start and our performances against the top 4 gave us plenty hope for the season. Despite the horrid run of form, I still believe that without all of the injuries, we would be safely inside the top half. It's an easy excuse, but our strongest side can compete with anyone but we have had to rely on youth players and players out of position most of the season. I mean, since when was Anton Ferdinand a left back?'
'The majority of the fans are backing Bruce, and believe the structure we have in place with Ellis Short the owner, Niall Quinn as chairman and Bruce will come good. And Quinny yesterday came out in the press and said Bruce will not be sacked even if we lose the rest of the games this season. You don't see backing like that these days. Most certainly not at teams like Man City...'
As a black cats supporter what has been your greatest memory through the years?
'I'm still relatively young at 23-years-old so my greatest memory was last season at the Stadium of Light when we beat Newcastle for the first time at our relatively new home. It was also the first time we had beat the mags at home in something like a million years. Ha!'
'The stadium was packed, the crowd was immense and Richardson's free-kick to win it was a thunder bolt. I can't remember much after the game apart from drinking lots of beer and getting pushed over by a bouncer outside a nightclub in Newcastle. Didn't ruin my night though!'
On to the blues. The clubs have contrasting aspirations, but how do you feel City's push for the coveted Champions League is going and where do you see us finishing?
'Under Hughes I thought Man City were progressing well and I fancied you to finish 5th this season. When Mancini first come in I thought you would regret it but he has won the fans over by the looks of things and you look decent enough.'
'I'm not sure if you will get 4th place or not, but I would say it's going to be between yourselves and Villa. Liverpool are bombing, and I don't expect Spurs to keep up the challenge. I don't think many people respect the way Man City are doing things with all the big bucks and all, but one thing is for sure, I expect City to be a major force in the Premiership next season and will overtake Liverpool as a member of the 'top 4'.'
'Oh, and I was rooting for City against Chelsea. The Chelski boys are still the most hated club in England.'
As the season has progressed you get a better understanding of your star players and flops. Who has been your biggest flop/star player?
'Easy to say as whom our top man is. It has to be Darren Bent who has been banging them in all season, even when we have been woeful. The guy is a natural goal scorer and I hope he goes to the World Cup in the England Squad. I'm not convinced he will, as he hasn't been involved too much under Capello.'
'But my question to the England gaffer is, how can you overlook the leading English goal scorer this season behind Rooney?'
'Bar the Bolton game I would say Steed Malbranque has been poor this season. He has failed to finish a single game this season, lacks pace and whereas his passing used to make up for that, he hasn't been performing to a good enough level at all.'
'The Bolton game saw him return to the side after a few games out and he was like a different player, and got a standing ovation from the fans when he was subbed off (again!). I just hope he can go from flop to French wonder in the coming weeks.'
With the City line-up consisting of so much talent, who would you pick as a dream buy for yourselves?
'I'll be unpopular with most Mackems by saying this but I think Craig Bellamy has been brilliant this season. I know his dodgy knee isn't going to get any better, but he is such an explosive player and despite all the 'big' names you have signed, I rate him as good as anyone in your team.'
'Obviously Tevez is a bit of alright too, but for me Craig Bellamy is such a big player and despite his big mouth I think he really gets under the skin of the opposition which can only be good. I'm gonna get lynched for saying that about an ex-Newcastle payer!'
The Last fixture saw the end of Mark Hughes reign in a seven goal thriller. How do you feel this game will go?
'We are full of confidence and can score goals, but I'm well aware you guys can score a goal or two too. Our defence is looking more settled and we are not conceding many at the moment so hmmmm, tricky one. This is either going to be a 1-0 game or a 4-3. I really can't predict how it will go but I fancy Darren Bent to score...and if Bellamy is fit it is a given he will score against us!'
'Let's say 2-2 with the above strikers grabbing a brace each. I'm looking forward to this one and hope your fans have a good day out at the SoL (bar the result!)'
Many thanks to safc-fans.com and in particular Barrie.