Friday, June 29, 2007

Confusion Over Selling City Shares

I just thought I'd do a quick follow-up on my post earlier this morning as there seems to be a bit of confusion about the process for selling shares, given some of the comments that were left.

I've just spoken to City's communications team to try to get to the bottom of it. They confirmed that offer letters were sent to shareholders earlier this week, however it sounds like some people have not received them.

Now, this could be due to a number of reasons including:

* The usual slowness of the Royal Mail

* The impact of the postal strike

* Shareholders who have purchased shares and then moved house without notifying their change of address

I've suggested to the City communications team that they ought to put out some easy to read information and contact details so that shareholders that for whatever reason have not yet been contacted are able to sell their shares quickly.

The club did put out this takeover update last week, but I almost lost the will to live after the about the first page; a great document if you're a lawyer, but not so good for an average fan.

So, keep checking the MCFC website or contact the club for advice

Sven's Shrinking Transfer Window

After a few weeks of relative inactivity, the transfer window seems to be getting into gear at last with news this morning that Darren Bent has signed for Spurs for what to me seems like an over-priced £16.5m.

Back home at Eastlands, we're still caught up in this frustratingly slow take-over that has put a halt to any signings until it has been concluded. Please, if any shareholders are reading this article, sell your shares today !

What I can't quite get my head round is why Frank's current 70% holding is not enough for Sven to sign on the dotted line and why everything is on hold until another 5% of shares are acquired? I'm sure somebody will explain it strikes me as just a bit of a technicality rather than a showstopper.

Anyways, what this means is that City run the risk of missing out on a crop of decent, available players which must be a worry for Sven if he sees most of his targets snapped up by other clubs who are able to open the cheque book and move quickly.

The additional Sky money will certainly distort the transfer market even more this year, but nevertheless there are still potential bargains to be had if deals can be sorted quickly.

For example, Villa's highly rated young midfielder Steven Davis is available for around £4m, Phil Jagielka is apparently on the verge of joining Everton for around the same fee, Reo-Coker is hovering around the £7-8m mark and David Nugent has still not been snapped up by anyone yet. Kevin Nolan also looks like he could be leaving Bolton and a short move down the road to Eastlands could surely be on the cards.

Bent's arrival at White Hart Lane is likely to signal the departure of Jermaine Defoe who would be a great acquisition for City for the right price.

Another Spurs striker continues to be linked to us, but now that City apparently have a large transfer kitty to give to Sven, hopefully we will not be buying Mido and all the baggage that comes with him - we've had enough of that with Barton.

Whilst on the subject of strikers we don't want to see at City, please not Marlon Harewood - he's just not good enough and his arrival would seriously shorten any honeymoon period Sven is likely to enjoy as City boss. Similarly, no Michael Owen - too expensive, too prone to injury and too high risk; you'd be lucky to get 10-15 games out of him per season - let the Rags have him !

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

SWP Return To City Unlikely

There's been a load of speculation about SWP coming back to City pretty much ever since he left for Chelsea. Loan deals never materialised, but now with Frank and Sven almost at the helm City would be able to meet the £10-12m transfer tag that would see Chelsea offload him.

Much as I'd like to see him return, he's never given the impression that this would be an acceptable option for him and has been determined to cling on at Chelsea, almost to prove to himself that leaving City wasn't a big mistake. We know it was, he knows it, but for obvious reasons he cannot admit it publicly.

Listening to his Dad on Talksport last night, he pretty much ruled out a return to Eastlands which is a big shame. Shaun was a big favourite up here and illuminated many a dull winters afternoon with scintillating pace and exquisite skills. Most City fans, like me would love to see him back.

His Dad is a big influence on Shaun, and if he says he's not coming back, that's probably the end of it. I guess at the end of the day, money talks, but if his other options turn out to the likes of West Ham and Villa, he and his Dad might just need to have a re-think. Even so, reading between the lines, at the moment, I wouldn't put the probability of SWP coming home at more than 25%.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Blues Should Heed Mrs Beeton's Advice

With all the heady talk of billionaire takeovers, Sven Goran Eriksson as manager, the return of the prodigal SWP, it is at times difficult to remember that it's Manchester City we're talking about, such has been the club's low expectations over the last few years.

Over the last few weeks the media has been in a frenzy and awash with speculation of who City will appoint as manager and the galacticos that would be signed, seemingly attracted by the much vaunted new investment and big club ambitions.

Personally, I'm still not sure about Frank Shinawatra, but I'll be more than happy to eat humble pie if I'm wrong. However, I was at the club shop over the weekend, and there does seem to be more of a buzz about the place which is always great to see.

Now City fans are well accustomed to disappointment and heartbreak - it's in the blood, but I think before we all get carried away on a wave of media hysteria, it would be as well to remember the legendary advice from Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management for cooking Hare Soup written in Victorian times, but still highly relevant today; " First catch your hare ! "

It seems to me that there will be quite a few more stings in the tail before the takeover resolves itself one way or another. Frank's advisers themselves are saying that it could take another three weeks to complete the buy out, and that's without any more revelations from the Thai government about freezing more funds, arrest and extradition.

Similarly, without the new manager in place, it's difficult to see players like Benayoun, SWP, Nolan etc,,etc signing on the dotted line. Apart from the overall uncertainty, there's still the issue of where the transfer funds will come from until Frank has taken the club over. We could, as usual, be waiting near to the transfer deadline before being able to sign players - always a bit risky.

Furthermore, questions were raised by UK MPs yesterday about the worrying trend of foreign billionaires buying into the Premier League as a bit of a fashion accessory. Add to that the FA still needing to confirm Frank as a "fit and proper" person to run the club and you can see that despite all the new found optimism, some of the foundations are still looking a bit shaky.

Some of the concerns would be reduced if, as widely predicted, Sven takes the job in the next few days. I suspect that secretly he is desperately hoping another big club comes in for him just like Juventus did for Ranieri, so he can be spared making a difficult decision - we will see.

One things for sure though, this is all classic City roller-coaster stuff and the reason why we just love being Blues.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Ricky Hatton - Blue Legend

Ricky Hatton put on a sensational performance to destroy Mexican Jose Luis Castillo with a 4th round knock out in Las Vegas in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The "Manchester Mexican" looked in awsome shape at the weigh-in and exceeded most of our expectations by stopping Castillo so early in the fight.

Things at last seem to be looking up in the Blue side of Manchester; firstly with the City takeover and now with Ricky's superb performance, City fans are beginning to get back the swagger in their step and the twinkle in their eye.

There's already speculation about the opponent and location of his next fight, with a clash against Mayweather or de La Hoya if they can be tempted back into the ring with a huge wedge of dollars.

Talksport's rambling Mike Parry reckons the next venue for Ricky should be Old Trafford and not Eastlands. Now having Wayne Rooney carrying Ricky's belts is one thing, but Old Trafford is a whole different kettle of fish. Presumably Parry wouldn't mind if a similar Evertonian hero, if there is such a thing, were to stage an event at Anfield..... I think not !

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Sad Loss Of A Legendary City Son

Very sad news yesterday afternoon of the death of legendary comedian and big City fan, Bernard Manning. He was 76.

Manning was in every sense a larger than life character and a love-hate figure; there was no middle ground.

I never did see him at the infamous Embassy Club, but I was lucky enough to see him perform at my local pub (now sadly a Majestic Wine store) in the late '90s, where despite poor health, he still managed to pull off one hell of a show in a venue that was completely packed out.

He took time out after that show to have a chat with myself and a blind friend of mine who had travelled up from Cornwall to see him. This was a side that Bernard's politically correct critics chose to ignore and his support of charities and help for local people was not widely reported.

Like so many controversial celebrities, in real life he was the opposite of his public persona and I found him to be a very charming and caring person.

Sadly at a time when all the news about City seems to be negative, we have more difficult news to take in.

Farewell and rest in peace Bernard, sadly your like will never be seen again - you were a legend

Monday, June 18, 2007

What The **** Is Going On ?

After yet another week of press rumour accompanied by a deafening silence from City, fans are still non the wiser about the fate of their club. In the words of the great Marvin Gaye, "What's Going On?"

After the news of assets being frozen, I must have imagined that the Board had allegedly set a deadline of Friday last week for "Frank's" mob to prove they still had enough suitcases of readies to buy the club. This evening, the M.E.N are reporting that a further £123m of assets have been frozen in addition to the £830m from last week. How deep are this guy's pockets?

How much more time are the Board going to waste before it dawns on them that the whole thing is as dead as a doornail....... unless they know something we don't? ..... and if they do, please tell us?

Where is the money then? If he has sufficient funding, why is it taking so long to materialise?

How come the Board were so quick to dismiss Ray Ranson's approach and yet they are open-endedly clinging on to Shinawatra?

Is there really an American consortium ... are there two as has been speculated ?? .... does anyone really know?

We're only into June and yet this is already turning out to be an Annus Horiblis of mega proportions, even by City standards with the nightmare prospect of Kenny Jackett at the helm at the start of the season.

I wonder what Alan Sugar would say to the current Board given a chance?

The words "fired" and "you're" spring instantly to mind !

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Time For City To Pull Plug On Thaksin

The saga of the Shinawatra takeover took yet another twist yesterday with the news that the Thai government have frozen his £830m assets that still remain in Thailand. Shinawatra almost certainly does have access to other assets that he managed to get out of the country before the coup that overthrew him last year, but it seems highly unlikely he will use these funds to buy City.

It seem to me that dealing with Shinawatra is neither desirable or advisable. There are too many concerns about the man and his finances that make dealing with him too high risk. The warning signs were there last year when his high profile attempt to take control of Liverpool proved to be an embarrassing fiasco for both parties and City must learn lessons from this.

Wardle's offer at the weekend to sink a further £30m into the club if the Thai deal fell through was a clear indication that the Club has concerns about Shinawatra's intentions and finances and that behind the scenes, all was not well.

Wardle, and the rest of the board should now go a step further and pull the plug on Shinawatra immediately and pursue other options that may or may not include Ranson and/or the mystery American interest.

All the time that the doomed Shinawatra deal drags on, the club are losing crucial time to plan and prepare for next season. We've already lost players and a manager and cannot wait any longer to sort out the playing staff for next year. Before long, there won't be any decent players or coaches left to fill the current vacant positions and we'll end up yet again with the leftovers and ageing players who look at City as some kind of pension fund for the swan-song of their careers.

The club has looked amateurish and unprofessional throughout the takeover negotiations and it's now time for the Board to be decisive and kill off what is an already fatally wounded attempt to buy the club and move on.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Barton Demands His 30 Pieces Of Silver

As if Joey Barton hasn't already alienated himself enough from City fans, it appears that he, or should I say his agent, is holding out for a £300,000 "loyalty" payment as part of the overall deal that will see Barton move to Newcastle.

In a gesture akin to kicking more sand in the face of the club that stood by Barton throughout his many public misdemeanors, this final outrage has all the cynical hallmarks of agent Willy McKay.

In view of the circumstances leading up to Barton's exit from Eastlands, let's not forget, a brutal attack on fellow teammate Ousmane Dabo who ironically is also managed by McKay, Barton if he had any humility should have just slid quietly out the back door and up the A1 to the North East.

The word "loyalty" sit extremely badly with Barton and McKay. In fact, loyalty has been a one-way street during Joey's time at City; he has been on the receiving end of it!

I'm glad that the club seem to be standing firm and resisting the player's outrageous demands and hope they don't give in. Joey has reportedly signed a 5 year deal worth in excess of £60k per week with Newcastle. Why then does he and his agent want to make an issue over an amount that roughly equates to 1 month's salary under his new contract? Who said crime doesn't pay ??

I feel a bit sorry for the Geordies; they don't really know what they're getting with Barton, whereas City fans understand all too well - we're far better off without him.

The club need to learn lessons from this whole episode, and particularly dealing with the likes of Mr McKay - enough said !

Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Hit Man And Him !

City fan, Ricky Hatton has come in for a fair amount of stick over his friendship with Wayne Rooney, who we're told will accompany the Hit Man into the ring when he fights Mexican Jose Luis Castillo in Vegas on June 23rd.

I say "Hit Man", but Ricky has said he's changing his name to "The Manchester Mexican" as a tribute to his many friends from that part of the world and it's nothing to do with winding up his opponent - yer right !

It's also predicted that Ricky will be sporting a sombrero and poncho as he enters the ring with Shrek alongside him. Thankfully Blue Moon will be playing in the background and I hope that his ethnic attire will be suitably blue.

As for all the criticsm Ricky has had about the Rooney thing, well it is an unfortunate choice of mate, but everyone is entitled to choose their own friends, even if they are from rival camps. We may not like it, but it's Ricky's business and nobody elses. Personally I'd have liked to see Dunny or Weaver propping him up on his other side just to balance things up a little and maybe there's still time ?

Now before I get a load of stick, how many ordinary blues have Rag mates or even scousers? We all do and the banter and stick from local rivals is what makes football the best game in the world. There shouldn't be a double standard just because he's in the public eye.

So, I say best of luck to Ricky Hatton, the Manchester Mexican and hope all City fans will be supporting him. In these dark times at Eastlands, he's one of City's few rays of sunshine and a great ambassador for the club as well as being one of the country's unsung national heroes - let's not crucify him over something as trivial as who he hangs out with from time to time.

All the best Mate !

Monday, June 04, 2007

Good News For Sibierski ?

Not the fact that French Tony has just signed for Wigan on a free and will be playing alongside Titus Bramble, but the fact he is now spared the nightmare prospect of teaming up with Joey Barton once again.

It was Joey who famously said that City's French player legion were over-rated and not worthy of a blue shirt.... now hang on a minute, that reminds me of another soon to be ex-City player; now if only I could remember ???

MCFC Manager Solution

No surprise then that the Tinker Man opted for Juve instead of Eastlands; and who could blame him ?

The last few weeks have taken the biscuit as far as City farces we've seen over the years are concerned. All the media talk about the players Ranieri was on the verge of signing.... what a load of tosh !

As every day passes it now looks likely that the Thai takeover is slipping away and the club will be back at square one...... or should that read Ground Zero ? ..... hey, that's not a bad name for the City of Manchester Stadium ;-)

"Big names" still continue to be linked with us, but let's have a reality check here people, nobody with any ambition or pedigree is going to come whilst the takeover fiasco continues to play out on a very public stage in the form of a rather bad Shakespearian tragedy.

So, I have a quick solution that will avoid wasting all that precious time in the summer before the inevitable conclusion...
Just appoint Neil Warnock now !

It's gonna happen anyway, so let's do it sooner than later and get it over with. We can then sign up Brian Deane to solve our scoring problem and with a bit of luck coax Tony Currie and Len Badger out of retirement (yes I'm old enough to remember)

Just a minute, is that Souness I can see looming in the background....... pass me my brown trousers, I think I've just had an accident !

Friday, June 01, 2007

Is This Man Really Right For City?

This is a slightly unusual article in that I've extracted comments someone left on a previous post as it makes interesting reading.

I haven't changed any of the wording and therefore the views expressed are his/hers and not necessarily mine, although some of the issues raised are very well put.

I must admit there is an air of "any port in a storm" with the current Thai takeover, and I do feel slightly uncomfortable with some of the alleged baggage that surrounds Shinawatra, but on the other hand how much different is it from the big Russian money in the game?

That said, I guess the reality is that if this is a genuine offer to acquire the club and inject the funding and supporting infrastructure we need, any skeletons in cupboards will probably not be too rigorously investigated by the Club; the media will have a different view though, but that's what they are there for.

The comments do paint a very bleak picture, probably overly so, but anyway, I'll leave you all to make up your own minds……….

Regarding Thaksin Shinawatra’s Takeover of Manchester City Football Club

1. The Board of Manchester City Football Club
2. London Stock Exchange
3. Manchester City Supporters

How well do you know Thaksin?

- The man was deposed from Thailand’s Premiership under accusations of massive corruptions among other things.
- The man has been under extensive investigation by the Assets Examination Committee which is founded to especially deal with corruption in the previous government.
- Some of the cases under the Assets Examination Committee have already been prosecuted in the court of law.
- The government had already stated that the corruption cases against him are rock-solid and by year’s end there will be decisions.
- Manchester City is a world-renowned football club.
- Manchester City has a long and illustrious history as well as popular followings in the UK and around the world.
- Manchester City is currently listed in the London Stock Exchange.

- If Thaksin is successful in his attempt to takeover Manchester City, there will certainly be investigation by the Thai government concerning where his source of capitals come from. This will increase the chance of convicting him in court.
- If Thaksin is found guilty, it is more than likely that the Thai authority would proceed to file for his assets confiscation.
- Imagine what an uproar the filing for assets confiscation would cause:
o prolong legal battles that lead to court orders of years of impoundment of assets
o repercussion on the previously unblemished image of the club
o negative reactions from the club’s shareholders
o sustained disruptions that would put the club in most uncalled-for predicament and distract it away from putting effort on the football pitch.