‘Disaster’ as City only draw – BLACKBURN ROVERS 1 MAN CITY 1

First rule of writing – don’t do bland – nobody wants to read ‘beige’ – so at the risk of being a tad ‘colourful’ and offending some of my fellow Blues, here we go with reflections on a less than satisfactory sortie to Blackburn.

Manchester City haven’t lost a match since a particularly dim Sunday in Sunderland on November 10 – that’s 13 matches and 11 wins ago. Only two were drawn and one of those came today in a scrappy, below par performance at Ewood Park.

Yes, it was disappointing, frustrating and a pain in the ass that City didn’t just turn up and steamroll the opposition.

Battling Blackburn - James Milner & City had to fight all the way in the FA Cup 3rd Round tie  Courtesy @MCFC

Battling Blackburn – James Milner & City had to fight all the way in the FA Cup 3rd Round tie Courtesy @MCFC

But guess what, it isn’t City’s God given right. Admittedly this may come as a bit of a shock to some City supporters of more recent years.

For those ‘fans’ chucking inappropriate comments at City’s Captain on the day, Joleon Lescott, a word of advice from one who has stuck with the club through thin, thin and anorexic times.

We live in a democracy, so if you’ve paid your £20 to go into the ground you’re entitled to express an opinion, but do you really think it benefits anybody if you insult your own players and show yourselves as shallow, fair-weather fans?

Nearly seven years ago, the majority of City fans who witnessed Stuart Pearce’s team capitulate in an FA Cup Quarter Final at Ewood spat out the words ‘You’re not fit to wear the shirt…’ at players who probably weren’t fit to do so.

It still didn’t make it right.

Tough tackling - Gael Clichy gets 'stuck in' at Ewood Park  Courtesy @MCFC

Tough tackling – Gael Clichy gets ‘stuck in’ at Ewood Park Courtesy @MCFC

Fast forward to 2014 and City fans have simply NEVER HAD IT SO GOOD! The team is challenging for four trophies, with every chance of landing at least two, so can those who spout poison at the team inhale – very very deeply – and smell the bloody coffee!

Manuel Pellegrini has to face up to an unwelcome extra match in an already chronically cluttered fixture list, one which shows no sign of abating after the traditional festive programme.

It’s a nuisance, but he and his star spangled squad are ‘up for it’ – they want trophies, glory and the chance to create the most celebrated season in Manchester City’s history.

City didn’t even lose and the social media networks were aglow with negativity. This follows in the wake of pernicious rumours about the health of Stevan Jovetic – just what is it that floats the boats of these so-called fans?

Pellegrini is doing a magnificent job. His team are the talk of England – the great entertainers – respected throughout Europe and even slightly feared by the mighty Barcelona, in the run up to a glittering Champions League contest next month.

GOAL - As the now departed David Coleman would have said '1-0'  Courtesy @MCFC

GOAL – As the now departed David Coleman would have said ‘1-0’ Courtesy @MCFC

So, what’s the problem?

City didn’t dispatch a determined and well organised Blackburn team, on their own turf at the first attempt? Well, strike me down what a crisis!

If the minority of fans had their way we’d start sounding like that bunch from across the way – The Trafford Troglodytes – and their reviled supporters full of arrogance and not a hint of magnanimity.

Believe it or not City ARE in the draw on Sunday afternoon, with every prospect of progressing in the FA Cup.

Pellegrini’s options were curtailed at Blackburn with five players out injured. His team are playing highly combative, competitive matches every three days in, at times, appalling conditions.

Yes, the players are extremely well rewarded, but they’re still just flesh and bone and susceptible to injuries and fatigue.

Tough going - Alvaro Negredo found Blackburn in uncompromising mood  Courtesy @MCFC

Tough going – Alvaro Negredo found Blackburn in uncompromising mood Courtesy @MCFC

Why is it such a massive shock that City don’t win 7-0, 6-0, 6-3 every match?

City fans have been spoilt and some need a reality check. A draw at Blackburn isn’t Armageddon, but it is a chance to sit back, take stock and be thankful for what City fans have and the promise and potential of what is to come.

Fair to say not a single City player covered themselves in glory, but if this was the proverbial ‘bad day at the office’ then it isn’t such a bad thing. Oh for the days of FA Cup losses at the likes of Halifax, Shrewsbury and Oldham…NOT.

Costel Pantilimon made his first major personal blunder in 22 games in the First XI – unfortunately it gift-wrapped Blackburn’s Scott Dann a 54th minute equaliser and gave the home team momentum.

It would be churlish to deny Gary Bowyer’s Championship outfit some credit for the draw, but to suggest City were lucky to be in the 4th Round draw is just media-inspired drivel.

City could have been, should have been, home and hosed by half-time.

Man down - City were reduced to 10 men when Dedryk Boyata received two yellow cards  Courtesy @MCFC

Man down – City were reduced to 10 men when Dedryk Boyata received two yellow cards Courtesy @MCFC

David Silva ballooned a shot high over Paul Robinson’s bar in the 34th minute when it was easier to score from 10 yards out. Alvaro Negredo, whilst not at his beastly best, should have had a penalty when Rover’s defender Tommy Spurr pulled him back.

When Negredo did open the scoring on the stroke of half-time, steering home from close range after connecting with Edin Dzeko’s header, City should have been out of sight.

Referee Michael Oliver and his assistants seemed impervious to several challenges that were clear fouls, on Negredo and James Milner, but the officials were obviously keen to contribute fully to the ‘magic of the cup’ e.g. help the underdogs win!

Dedryk Boyata – sadly not living up to the promise he displayed when Roberto Mancini thrust him into the limelight against Manchester United in the League Cup semi finals in 2009-10 – had an uncomfortable afternoon and was dismissed after two yellow cards.

Javi Garcia gave a disappointing, less than commanding display, doing little to endear him to a sceptical City support.

Balancing act - Pellegrini is trying to optimise his City squad  Courtesy @MCFC

Balancing act – Pellegrini is trying to optimise his City squad Courtesy @MCFC

But Pellegrini simply has to utilise his squad as best he can, otherwise his first choice players would be worn out by the time the Champions League comes calling in February.

The drawback is, despite media-hype designed to undermine the club, some of the squad players are not as good as they are portrayed. However, there is a time and a place for transfer speculation and this isn’t it.

City’s Director of Football Txiki Begiristain, working in concert with CEO Ferran Soriano and Pellegrini will know who they want to bring in and who they will let go. Whether those activities extend to this transfer window only they will know.

Most City fans would appreciate top quality defensive additions as a priority but, as stated previously, Karim Rekik looks an outstanding prospect and Matija Nastasic is still only 20 years old. A careful fiscal balance needs to be struck against short and longer term ambitions.

Goal celebrations - It wasn't enough on the day but Rovers must now come to Fortress Etihad  Courtesy @MCFC

Goal celebrations – It wasn’t enough on the day but Rovers must now come to Fortress Etihad Courtesy @MCFC

If City can clear out the medical room and have a fully fit roster from which to choose, it will mean the likes of Aguero, Jovetic, Rodwell, Richards and Demichelis being available. Or as the media would have it £120m worth of talent!

Those who have only supported City of more recent seasons, may be unfamiliar with the ‘Typical City’ days of old. This used to be the time of year where fans took solace in the phrase ‘Well now we can concentrate on the league…’

It didn’t refer to trying to win the bloomin’ thing, it usually meant could City amass the 40 points usually required to stay up, before the middle of May?

Considering City had 44 points on New Year’s Day some may wish to reconsider their idiotic negativity aimed at a manager, a team, a squad, and an entire club which is rapidly becoming the envy of the world.   



By David Walker




  1. January 4, 2014  10:42 pm by thegingerwigmcfc (@thegingerwig) Reply

    Think today shows we still need backup in wide areas. Zaba and Kolorov offer attacking threats from full back which others don't. Milner should play in the centre as he lacks true pace. Great read as usual!

    • January 4, 2014  10:58 pm by David Walker Reply

      We have deficiencies undoubtedly and hopefully Pellers and Txiki can address them ASAP. Micah may not be long term solution on the right flank - sadly.

  2. January 4, 2014  10:48 pm by Ian Barton Reply

    I have to agree with all you say, Dave. It is good to read a balanced well considered view rather than the knee jerk reaction of the school boy keyboard warriors who infest many of the message boards. I dearly hope the read this and take note.

    • January 4, 2014  10:59 pm by David Walker Reply

      Oh damn - that WAS me being a kneejerk reactionary ;-)

      Thanks Ian.

  3. January 4, 2014  11:37 pm by peter ashton Reply

    wow how biased!!!! what about citys offside goal and rovers blatant penalty when your goalie nearly beheaded best.....great team yes but you are defiantly lucky to be in the draw

    • January 5, 2014  1:11 am by David Walker Reply

      I'd simply say a draw was a fair result on the day with neither side doing enough to merit the win. As for bias...well read the top right hand corner 'About Me' - I'd pleaded guilty before the charge was laid. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  4. January 5, 2014  12:03 am by Simon Dear Reply

    Superbly put David , like you I ached for years as Trafford FC won everything and having never seen us in such a envious position, I am really disappointed that some so called fans have used vile comments against our own player & captain, a player that delivered us our 1st premier league trophy! .. Unbelievable and quick frankly it makes me wonder what we are turning into . I'm certain 99.99 percent of City fans have enough brain cells to understand football enough to know that the FA cup is a leveller and always will be , maybe they need reminding of our last cup success, third round replay I recall against bloody Notts County, I hope we don't end up like fans of the dark side , I m sure that wont happen , I think it's upto us realistic true blues with a memory and half a brain cell to make sure that never happens and educate the odd clowns that drag us down.
    On a footballing note , it's a shame we have another game ( replay ) but hopefully the treatment table will start to clear by the time we face Barca and the run in. Lets all get behind the team on Wed night and I think Lescott should be shown the true side of blues fans wether playing or not .

    • January 5, 2014  12:26 am by David Walker Reply

      Let's hope City fans stay true to our values & remember our origins. Vocal support for Joleon on Wednesday wouldn't go amiss.

  5. January 5, 2014  12:03 am by Graham Ward Reply

    A pity we couldn't get through at the first time of asking, but, as you rightly say, David, we are still in the competition, and that's something that probably wouldn't have happened 5 years ago.
    Sad to hear of this ill-advised abuse of Lescott, it's not necessary, or warranted.
    I think 99.9% of the rest of the league would pray to be in our current position!

    • January 5, 2014  12:50 am by David Walker Reply

      It's a massive over reaction from some City 'fans' PL & CL are oriorities but I have no doubt MP would love to lift the FA Cup.

  6. January 5, 2014  12:20 am by Andy Devereux Reply

    Top stuff again David and bang on the money....every word.We can't win every game but at least MP is picking sides to try and win every game (two up top home or away etc) if it doesn't quite work like today then lots not be bleating like children, as you say we are in the 4th round draw, I'll wager Villa fans would like to be at least in the hat (Lambert...what a numpty) A fully fit squad,hopefully very soon and we'll be in good shape,new recruits or not for what should be an exciting second half of the season #TRUSTOURMP

    • January 5, 2014  12:53 am by David Walker Reply

      Of course it could go pear-shaped but alternatively this could be our greatest ever season. MP is doing a great job & it's high time lyricists better than me came up with a song for Snr Pellegrini!

  7. January 5, 2014  1:15 am by Clay Landon Reply

    That was a pleasure to read. Thank you.

    • January 5, 2014  1:33 am by David Walker Reply

      Thank you for taking the time and having an interest.

  8. January 5, 2014  1:40 am by susan richardson Reply

    Very perceptive as usual. Unfortunately a side effect of success is the attraction of undesirables, football is not unique BUT we should not let these morons win. We complain about the media giving fuel to these people and this insult is almost trending on Twitter by our own fans. Someone must know who it was so report them and get them banned from Etihadd.
    Vitriol towards the players of our beloved team is unnecessary and very unwelcome. I think some are frustrating at times but our MP puts them on the pitch to do a job and they follow his instructions some do it better than others but it's swings and roundabouts when it all comes together its sublime. What I do love at the moment is that all the players are supportive of each other and are always smiling. (The bench were in particularly good form today!) ;-)

    • January 5, 2014  4:46 am by David Walker Reply

      Thanks Susan - it's just a question of a) decency towards our own players b) not having a new wave of City fans who don't have a clue about what we, as a club, have been through over the decades and finally c) to appreciate what we have in the here & now. I never ever dreamt a day would dawn such as May 13, 2012, let alone what may lie ahead.

  9. January 5, 2014  9:00 am by Eileen Fullen Reply

    As you say in the years of the bleak midwinter City fans have suffered the losses and bore the pain. Which is why it's so sad when we do struggle the support shall I say from a small section of fans is negative. Brilliant read once again and puts everything in perspective.

    • January 5, 2014  9:12 am by David Walker Reply

      Folk are so fickle - one can only hope the individuals who abused Joleon were drunk - if did what they did when sober it makes it even worse. Thanks for feedback.

  10. January 5, 2014  1:14 pm by kevin Reply

    my thoughts exactly I was not fuming or moaning that we only got a draw I thought Blackburn played well and it is the fa cup teams lift themselves we now have them at the Etihad which would be really surprising if we lost it is another game though that we did not need but alas , I am a man city supporter for 40 years and he is right we have never had it so good a wonderful owner who lets everyone do what they need to do we have a good manager we did have one in bobby manc as well don't forget and we are playing well , the new city supporters I have heard them in the grounds they are bunch of moaners get real.

    • January 5, 2014  5:49 pm by David Walker Reply

      Best not to tar the new breed of City fan all with the same brush, I'm sure there are long-serving supporters who like nothing more than a good grumble. It's a time for all City supporters to show the world that we are broadly as one, behind MP, the team, executive structure and, of course, the owner.

  11. January 5, 2014  1:30 pm by Nev Artingstall Reply

    Your best blog to date David and absolutely spot on. I've had a season ticket since 73 and seen some crap so let's enjoy these better days.

    • January 5, 2014  5:50 pm by David Walker Reply

      Aye, we've had our share haven't we, but the bad times make the good that much sweeter. I'll never forget the horrible feeling leaving Gay Meadow - wasn't so bloody gay for the City fans - in Shrewsbury all those years ago.

  12. January 5, 2014  2:34 pm by Philip Entwistle Reply

    Dave, an honest assessment of a dour game with non of the intensity we see at the Etihad. Having just watched West Ham capitulate completely to Notts Forest, bring on Wednesday. We have an enviable squad, but when injuries also come along we are forced to field players who would not be even considered - Boyata is the case in point. Having to wrap Zabba in cotton wool has forced our MP to include somebody who is just not good enough to fill any position within our back four, and then getting sent off, well bye bye Boyata.

    • January 5, 2014  5:53 pm by David Walker Reply

      Yes, Zaba is a 'diamond' and, sadly, Dedryk has yet to fulfil the promise he showed when he was a standout in the FA Youth Cup winning side. Can't see the lad making it with City - always regrettable if they've come through the Academy.

  13. January 5, 2014  5:02 pm by DOUG HENSHAW Reply

    Hi Dave top blog as always my friend. No Doubt it was a bad day at the office for us no tempo to the game & some players just not doing for me but as you say we have no divine right to win every game. I like you am a long time member of the city fan club been there seen us a lot worse than today & feel some of the new fans are indeed glory hunters. My very first game i was told no matter how bad we are you never boo a blue & i have stuck to that up to present day those fans booing & abusing one of the players on a personal level at Blackburn should be ashamed go support another club proper city fans don't want you at the club. I wasn't happy with yesterday result felt the team was good enough to get a result but we didn't so on we move. my message to those so called fans is get behind the team or clear off. Sorry for rambling on.

    • January 5, 2014  5:55 pm by David Walker Reply

      Hell, no apologies needed and no rambling - just an honest heartfelt opinon from a true and longstanding Blue. Cheers Doug.

  14. January 5, 2014  6:22 pm by Mole Rocks Reply

    Absolutely agree with many points.

    1. We can't win every game as much as we might try.

    2. We know we have 8-9 world class players, however we can't play them every 2-3 days, due to injuries, suspensions, etc.

    3. We definitely have never had it so good!

    As you mentioned, we have started seeing tweets from Barcelona tracking City performances, the development on and off the pitch is phenomenal, if you can't recognise that, perhaps there is no hope for you as a City fan!

    My philosophy is to follow City whatever happens. I hate it when they lose, but I quickly move on looking forward to the next game.

    Perhaps I'm fortunate to have seen some of the most abject and miserable City performances ever! When you've survived that, you can survive anything!

    Trust in MP, trust in City!

    • January 5, 2014  7:50 pm by David Walker Reply

      Well said Mr Morgan CTWD In sickness and in health, for richer for poorer...

  15. January 5, 2014  10:33 pm by Jim Land Reply

    Yet another excellent article. Didn't see the match as it wasn't on TV here in OZ, but the general sentiments relating to the attitudes of some fans resonate at all times. As a high school teacher in England for 30 years, and a City fan for nearly 50, I saw the increase in the number of United 'fans' who had never attended a match, and often didn't know the 1st thing about football, but never missed a chance to gloat at any success United had. And, of course, the 'little Citeh' comments followed swiftly.
    When -OK, if - the reds fail to qualify for Europe this year how many empty seats and unsold season tickets will there be next year? And how much unsold merchandise will there be cluttering the club shops, and other independent outlets? And how will the sudden drop in income affect their Financial 'Fair' play standing? The very policy they were so keen to see introduced.

    • January 5, 2014  10:50 pm by David Walker Reply

      You pose a very interesting scenario in the event of our little friends from The Swamp failing this season. Let's see how things pan out. Thanks for reading all those many miles away. CTWD.

  16. January 6, 2014  11:21 pm by Chris Barry Reply

    Some excellent points. David. Nice to read an articulate and thoughtful blog without some of the pitfalls one gets with 'fans with a pen' !
    Not sure why Lescott got stick, he played pretty well on Saturday in what was not a great overall performance. Boyata is not even Championship quality I am afraid & Milner played easily his poorest for more than a year.
    Re Lescott, I wish he would learn to spell! & I hope he stays with City.

    • January 7, 2014  11:20 pm by David Walker Reply

      I'm quite dangerous with crayons and don't even get me started on felt tips! The comments aimed at Joleon were truly spiteful and despicable - you just can't fathom the motives. Yes, players should always come over and acknowledge the fans, but we hadn't even lost. There's nowt so queer as folk as they say. Thanks for reading and taking the time and effort to comment.

  17. January 7, 2014  2:49 pm by Toby ornot Toby Reply

    Strange to say IMO Dzeko had one of his better days against Blackburn, but still nothing special. Apparently there was a mix up with numbers and according to the boy soprano commentating (Michael Owen) Negredo was substituted instead of him

    Boyata is not a right back and City should keep an eye on Sam Byram over at Elland Road.

    • January 7, 2014  11:24 pm by David Walker Reply

      Thanks for the heads up on Byram. Sadly Dedryk isn't going to make it at City, the lad's gone backwards after early promise. If there was a mix up on Negrdo's substitution, surely someone on City's bench would have intervened? Is it fact or anti-City BT propaganda? As for Owen - he even called us Manchester UNITED at one stage - monotone Michael the perfect cure for insomnia, MR CHARISMA, as in MISSED A CHARISMA!

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