‘Tis the season to be jolly…and has been since August for Pep’s City

Christmas is nearly here and folk will be full of festive cheer telling us that it ‘Tis the season to be jolly, Fa la la la la la la la la la…’

Well they’re a bit late to the party – Manchester City fans have been enjoying a helluva ‘jolly season’ since August 12th and there’s no sign of the party ending anytime soon.

City are having a jolly time this season.

It’s supposed to be a time of peace and goodwill to all men, but referee, Bobby Madley won’t figure too highly on the Christmas card list of City supporters…and definitely not Kyle Walker’s.

Mad Bob – perhaps the worst top flight referee for many a year (and that takes some doing) couldn’t deny City a League Cup quarter final victory over Leicester – despite his finest efforts.

Hands up if you think ref Mad Bob Madley is a complete and utter tw@t!

The penalty shoot-out win, with Claudio Bravo the eventual hero again, came after a City side comprising youngsters Foden, Diaz, Adarabioyo, Nmecha, Zinchenko and Dele-Bashiu had battled Leicester A-Listers, Vardy and Mahrez, not forgetting the Foxes’ 12th Man – Mad Bob.

Cometh the penalty shoot-out cometh Claudio. Bravo was once again City’s Carabao Cup hero.

It meant City have now gone 27 domestic games undefeated since the FA Cup Semi Final defeat to Arsenal, and a total of 26, since their last Premier League loss to Chelsea last April.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but rewind to that summer afternoon in Brighton, and your average City supporter would be forgiven for thinking you were talking a loada ‘baubles’ if you’d said their team would be 11 points clear at the top, with 16 wins on the trot and 52 points from a possible 54.

Matchwinners – Bernardo and Bravo celebrate City reaching the League Cup semi finals.

City would undoubtedly have a full 54/54 points haul if Madley – the man who makes the likes of Twattenburg, Marriner, Jones, Dean and Mason look remotely competent – hadn’t wrongly dismissed Kyle Walker in the 1-1 draw with Everton.

He was at it again in the Carabao Cup, awarding Leicester a penalty when Demarai Gray clearly dived with Walker in close attendance.

Camaraderie, team spirit and togetherness – City played five CFA graduates against Leicester in the League Cup QFs and still won.

The beauty of this season is that City are SO good, they can beat 12 men every week (14 if you want to include the assistant referees), with Pep rotating his squad to great effect.

A productive summer transfer window with Ederson, Walker, Mendy, Bernardo Silva and Danilo arriving at the Etihad, had seen City installed as pre-season title favourites, but nobody could’ve foreseen what was to come.

City have been netting goals, goals and more goals but never under estimate the massive influence Ederson is having on City’s super season so far.

It’s proving to be £200m very well spent, but the penny really seemed to drop when City – without the injured trio of Aguero, Kompany and Mendy – went to Chelsea and effectively outclassed the reigning champions, despite the thin 1-0 margin of victory.

At the time, Read But Never Red asked whether the magnitude and manner of the win would force the mass media to re-evaluate their perpetually negative coverage of anything and everything City-related?

Stroll in the park – City completely outclassed United and showed the huge gulf between the two clubs.

The win at Stamford Bridge sowed the seeds and now, in the depths of winter, the sheer brilliance of Pep Guardiola’s team, is reaping an unseasonal harvest of superlatives and compliments from those who previously reveled in deriding City.

It’s not as if Guardiola has given them an option after a 26-game unbeaten run (23 wins and 3 draws) in the Premier League – that’s 72 from a possible 78 points.

Sterling cashed in his 14th and 15th goals of the season as Spurs were blown away at the Etihad.

City’s 4-1 demolition of Spurs on Saturday evening put them a staggering 21 points in front of the pretenders from North London – a team many thought would be City’s principal title challengers.

A richly deserved 2-1 Manchester derby win at The Swamp couldn’t be soured by Mourinho’s ‘Milkgate’ shenanigans, nor his breathtaking hypocrisy in demanding  some ‘f*cking respect’ from a loud and proud City dressing room serenading the Red Scum with ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ – a melody and sentiment, which clearly didn’t strike the right chord with the ‘Snide Sneer from Setubal’.

General Nicolas Otamendi at your service – Otto could be after the Golden Boot at this rate as he hit the winner at The Swamp.

Those two resounding wins over supposed title rivals – with a 4-0 romp over some sick Welsh Swans sandwiched in between – means it really is City’s title to lose.

Guardiola’s relentless and ruthless drive for football perfection, should make it virtually impossible for any hint of complacency to worm its way into the City psyche.

Silva strikes gold again – Merlin has been conjuering up the goals in recent games at City’s winning run continues.

And yet with 56 PL goals scored in 18 matches (averaging 3.1 per game) and just 12 conceded, you won’t find many City fans willing to claim the title is already won – despite Paddy Power paying out on City being Champions. Typical City has still to be banished completely from your average Etihad-goers vocabulary.

Sergio was back in the goals as he fired home City’s fourth of the night against Swansea.

Three more league wins against Bournemouth, Newcastle and Crystal Palace, would see Pep equal the best ever winning run in the top five European leagues (19) – a record he set at Bayern Munich.

Guardiola’s undoubted genius means fans now expect a City win in every game. It’s not born from arrogant assumption or a sense of entitlement.

We Salute You El Mago – Silva bagged a brace at Swansea in an easy 4-0 victory. David is now in our thoughts as he and his family deal with sensitive personal matters.

It’s simply no other team seems capable of quelling a wondrous attack or breaching a resolute defence sufficiently, to offset the former.

As mouthwatering as a Mary Berry Victoria Sponge, City’s sumptuous style has delighted the palate of most neutral football watchers with Sterling, Jesus, Sane and Aguero gobbling up a sweet collection of KDB Belgian goodies, aided by a full ‘Silva’ service.

Pep clearly has the ingredients of a title winning team and the mixture doesn’t include sour milk.

A pint a day obviously doesn’t keep a certain putrid Portuguese prat away. Jose with a face that could curdle milk!

We’ll leave that one to MUTV and their new culinary feature ‘Maureen’s Dairy Diary’ where the host – a putrid Portuguese Party Pooper, shares his secrets and curdling combinations on how to dampen celebrations – not just at Christmas – but any time of the year.

Staying with the festive theme, a fat man in red and white must’ve been listening to United’s Paul Pogba who had serious injuries and problems afflicting City players, on his Christmas wish list.

No Kompany, no Mendy, no Stones…no problem. City were missing three defenders and still beat Pogshit’s Manure.

Poisonous Pogba might be questioning his belief in Santa Claus after a City side missing David Silva, John Stones, Vincent Kompany and Benjamin Mendy, still annihilated ‘The Harry Kane’ team last weekend.

Kane – along with the despicable and hugely overrated Dele Alli – did their utmost to make Pogba’s wishes come true, both committing appalling fouls on Sterling and De Bruyne.

Kick Kevin at your peril – Dirty Dele Alli found out it doesn’t pay to annoy KDB as the Belgian master taught Tottenham a lesson.

Alli’s was especially malicious, but neither he nor Kane saw red, as pathetic Craig Pawson deemed the fouls as yellow card offences.

De Bruyne duly wreaked revenge within a minute-and-a-half with City’s second goal, while Sterling weighed in with now customary late show, netting his 14th and 15th goals of the season in the 80th and 90th minutes.

Gundagon got off the mark for the season heading City ahead in the 4-1 annhilation of Spurs.

An over optimistic Mauricio Pochettino had threatened turn up the music in the away dressing room, had Spurs beaten City. The reality was Spurs played in the key of off, hitting bum notes all night long.

City’s on-field performances and off-field celebrations have been equally headline-hitting in recent days.

General Otamendi with a big beaming smile before Jose soured proceedings in the Trafford Tunnel.

Some sniveling, sanctimonious sycophants (step forward The Scum Sun’s Neil Custis) are still scuttling up Jose’s backside at every opportunity.

Custis and a dwindling minority of other straw-clutching, jaundiced ‘journalists’ have created a new criticism of City – one whereby they are branded as  ‘disrespectful and unsporting’  for the manner of their after match celebrations.

Pep says City will celebrate just how they want to celebrate…and celebrate they will!

Pep denies claims of any post-match over exuberance when City win, adding that he’s the one who encourages City’s players and staff to celebrate ‘…in that moment.’

Will any killjoys be questioning Bristol City manager, Lee Johnson’s right to sprint joyously down the touchline, when his Championship underdogs scored a 93rd minute winner to dump Jose, Zlatan, Pogba, Lukaku & Co out of the League Cup last night?

Don’t Look Back In Anger…

If it were United or Liverpool romping 11 points clear, everything in the garden would be rosy, but because it’s City, the narrative is that it must be a weak Premier League.

This would be the same Premier League that has five representatives in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Having won through to a League Cup semi final date with United’s conquerors, Pep was asked if City will win an unprecedented ‘Quadruple’.

Keep it down chaps – Leroy celebrates another City goal.

‘That is not going to happen’, said the canny Catalan.

Whether Guardiola truly believes that his team will fall short in one or more competitions, remains to be seen.

There’s more than half-a-season to go, but rather than get weaker, City should grow stronger with the imminent return of the majestic Stones and injury prone Kompany, plus the distinct possibility of City making major moves in the January transfer window.

Fight the good fight – City didn’t give an inch at The Swamp and were easy, worthy winners.

Virgil Van Dijk and Alexis Sanchez appear more than viable mid-season acquisitions, with Pep wanting to strengthen key areas of his squad and, contrary to his protestations, push for success in all competitions.

The most important signing will be none other than his own signature on an extended Etihad deal in the summer, as Pep threatens to do what everybody originally thought he was here to do – create a new level of excellence in English football.

Oops – it’s another City celebration!

A year ago Guardiola was under fire having lost to Chelsea at home, Leicester away, before ending 2016 with the usual City loss at Anfield.

In the face of criticism and doubt from those who were willing him and City to fail, Pep never once questioned his football principles or playing philosophy.

All he needed was time.

Genius. Leader. Winner – Pep is doing it his way and is set to stay at City for many years to come.

Now, 12 months on he’s showing the world he is a man for all seasons and, if you’re a City fan, it looks like every season will be a season of jollity with Pep at the Etihad. 


By David Walker

 Competition Time

You could win one of three City prints from the great designs of the Art Of Football. It’s as easy as 1,2,3 – all you have to do is name your favourite City player of this season and pop it in the comments section of the Read But Never Red website, or tweet us @ReadButNeverRed along with @Art_of_Football with #artwork and the name of the player. You can also enter via the Read But Never Red Facebook page.

The winner will be drawn at random from across the three social media platforms and announced before City’s opening fixture of 2018 – at home to Watford on Tuesday, January 2nd.

There are three prints from which to choose:

The 93:20 Aguero Moment.

Gabriel Jesus goal celebration.

The Blue Moon Word Montage.

To view the full Manchester City range at The Art of Football just click on the link.


www.readbutneverred.com @ReadButNeverRed @djwskyblu


  1. December 21, 2017  6:37 pm by Bart Reply

    Excellent read as ever Dave

    • December 21, 2017  7:48 pm by David Walker Reply

      Thanks your Lordship - trying to get a quart into a pint pot - so much good stuff to write about regarding City.

  2. December 21, 2017  6:46 pm by Pete lynch Reply

    Top man David....love the brand of football we play and the obvious togetherness across the staff and players. Meanwhile at the swamp.....hahahahahahah

    • December 21, 2017  7:51 pm by David Walker Reply

      Haha indeed. We are so lucky to have Sheikh Mansour, Pep and our players. Oops did I say we were lucky? Bloody hell, I'm beginning to sound like Moanrinho ;-)

  3. December 21, 2017  8:42 pm by Doug Henshaw Reply

    Great read Dave I'm loving this season & seeing the look on my rag workmates faces makes it even better. #TeamslikeCity

    • December 21, 2017  10:35 pm by David Walker Reply

      Thanks as ever Doug - this season is definitely a thing of beauty...thus far.

  4. December 21, 2017  9:12 pm by Levenshulme Blue Reply

    Alright Dave

    For me, it's the contrast between Manchester's football citadels that tells the full story. Here, it's brilliance. Awe inspiring brilliance and we know that it's awe inspiring brilliance because our beaten opponents tell us so, every week. Christ, when the ranks of the negative naysayers are reduced to lickspittle clowns like Neil Curtis and Duncan Castles, we *know* we're getting it right.

    Meanwhile, over the border, it's sourness and seething bitterness agogo. They are now in *our* shadow and, by God, they don't like it. People no longer fall for Maureen's tricks and he's now recognised for the hateful little man he's ALWAYS been. We Blues have never taken to him. I remember his first appearance at Our House and we were sticking it to him then whilst the rest of the country fawned over him. At the end if the season, the game will be up for him, he'll do one, pronto, and united will be left scrabbling for yet another manager to take them back to the promised land. They'll fail, of course, because it's where we sit now, comfortably.

    As far as I'm concerned, it's See Yer, Jose! He won't be back. Good riddance to bad shit.

    There's been a lot of talk recently about Pep building a dynasty at City. It could well happen. He seems to like the club and the city. He seems to be enjoying the English football 'experience' (now he's got his head round it!) and he's struggling to hide his pleasure at the large slices of humble pie he's dishing up.

    Extra large, extra bitter slices for Custis and Castles, Pep!

    Let's keep it going, lads. We're on the cusp of something glorious!

    Favourite player? Hells Bells, where to start? Too many obvious candidates so I'll go for the Redemption Man, Fabian Delph and a career finally resurrected.

    Keep up the good work Dave and keep biting the voters!

    • December 21, 2017  10:41 pm by David Walker Reply

      Superb post sir - thank you and thanks for reading and being the first entry into the competition.

  5. December 21, 2017  9:12 pm by Andy Reply

    Another excellent and balanced article Dave. I always enjoy reading your posts mate. Best wishes to you and your family in 2018. All the best Andy Williams TNT

    • December 21, 2017  10:39 pm by David Walker Reply

      Hi Andy, it's been a long time. I didn't know you read my scrawlings from afar. Great to hear from you and what a belter of a season we're having. Let's start 2018 how we mean to go on - 64 points and top of the table on the evening of January 2nd. Merry Christmas & a Happy Blue Year fella.

  6. December 21, 2017  9:14 pm by Levenshulme Blue Reply

    BITERS! NOT VOTERS! Bloody predictive text....


    • December 21, 2017  10:42 pm by David Walker Reply

      Hang on fella I'll just go and get Mendy - he seems in tune with some pretty big biters #SharkTeam.

  7. December 22, 2017  8:37 am by GeorgeInIsrael Reply

    Excellent summary of the first half (almost) of this season. I have to admit that I'm still waiting for it to all go pear shaped and am still nervous before every game. In the meantime, I'm enjoying the best football I have seen from a City team since the teams of the late 60s and early 70s. I wish it were possible to create a time machine to allow the two teams to play against each other.

    Allow me a short rant against the press and the pundits. Is it just me, or are they asking pointless questions just in order to put us down? They keep asking "Can City go the entire season unbeaten?" and "Are City the best ever Premiership team?". The answer to the first question is obvious (Yes, but they probably won't), but there is no point asking it until we are still unbeaten with only about 6 games left. The second question shouldn't even be asked until after the end of NEXT season and depends on what we win between now and then and how we win it. However, it doesn't stop them asking it to then answer it immediately that it's too early to ask. Rant over.

    Finally, best wishes for Xmas and the New Year. Have a wonderful time in Prague.

    • January 3, 2018  12:09 pm by David Walker Reply

      Many thanks George - apologies for the delayed response. Yes, City are playing some great stuff at present, but of course we need to be picking up titles and cups before the most favourable comparisons are relevant with the great teams of the past - both City and other serial winners in both English and European football.

      Prague was great and here's wishing you and yours a very Happy New Year.

  8. December 22, 2017  10:00 am by David Arthur Reply

    Excellent summary David. Fact is City are doing it all right both on and off the pitch. Highly professional ways building a true Blue Dynasty. So proud of where we are, and where we can get to.

    • January 3, 2018  12:09 pm by David Walker Reply

      It's a mouthwatering prospect isn't it? Thanks for your feedback and comments.

  9. December 22, 2017  2:32 pm by Richard Cooper Reply

    Another excellent article.
    It's getting difficult to say something a bit different about this best City Team ever !
    So I will highlight what to me has been outstanding this season. The way Pep has through his skill at coaching improved a lot of players. Delph,Stones,Otamendi and Sterling are examples and even the already very good KdB.
    What is obvious to the admiring spectators is the fact they play as a team (hence the celebrations and togetherness demonstrated recently)
    As you said, we haven't won anything yet but surely that is just around the corner, but in the meantime I/we will just enjoy the football we are seeing. Long may it continue to excite and entertain.

    • January 3, 2018  12:11 pm by David Walker Reply

      Pep is once again proving himself to be the football genius which we knew him to be, but others doubted in his first season at City. Let's just hope he stays at the Etihad long enough to leave an indelible mark on both English and European football as City go trophy collecting for year to come.

  10. December 23, 2017  8:30 am by Allan Reply

    The usual good read.
    "At the time, Read But Never Red asked whether the magnitude and manner of the win would force the mass media to re-evaluate their perpetually negative coverage of anything and everything City-related?". I did comment on that one and say they would all jump on the bandwagon and claim they always knew we would be brilliant and to a large degree that is what has happened.
    I have come back to the UK from working overseas for many years and I watch Sunday Supplement on Sky. Very interesting, they decided a few weeks ago they wouldn't talk about City as there was nothing more to say. City were do good they were boring - really? - from people who get paid to write a comment on football?
    Then there was a guy Curtis, Custis (?), I did try to remember so that I would never inadvertently by the paper he writes for but its gone I'm afraid. Obviously a rag and had the Mickey taken out of him the whole show. He kept telling us history. It seems the rags were brilliant some years ago but not brilliant enough to be boring.
    There is an old (Belfast?) saying "who liked the cream off your bun?" Well in "mad Bob's (like that) case it must have been Kyle Walker.

    • January 3, 2018  12:55 pm by David Walker Reply

      Thanks for your comments and, yes, isn't it great that City's style of play and winning run has left our critics with hardly anything negative to say.

      Nice line in Belfast colloquialisms, you're spot on with Mad Bob and Kyle Walker.

      As for our 'friend' Neil Custis of The Sun - he of more Chins that a Chinese telephone directory - his irrational arse-kissing of Mourinho is now stripped bare for all to see. Long may it continue as it makes the Scum Sun look ever increasingly stupid, and begs the question whether Custis should be prosecuted under the Trade Descriptions Act, when he lists his profession as a 'Journalism'.

  11. December 23, 2017  9:33 am by Ian Cavanagh Reply

    Excellent article - as always.

  12. December 28, 2017  5:46 pm by Steve Reply

    Brilliant piece David, totally unbiased. We're sitting pretty on top of the league, 15 points ahead of the Trafford Redsox. Playing the best football the league has ever seen, even Shearer gets 'quite excited' and animated. I agree with the post from Richard Cooper regarding the most improved players, Delph,Stones,Otamendi and Sterling.

    However, I'm going for Fernandinho. The guy has been immense, even more so this season.

    Happy New Year to you and yours.

    • January 3, 2018  12:38 pm by David Walker Reply

      Thanks Steve - great comments. When it comes to choosing best/most improved players, it speaks volumes of Pep's coaching ability that we have so many players from which to choose. HNY right back at you - how can it not be when you're a City Blue?

  13. January 4, 2018  7:10 am by Kieran Reply

    Oustanding stuff. It is so good to witness the nay-sayers and deniers in the media having their words shoved back down their throats. I am SO pleased for Guardiola whose adherence to his principles has been vindicated - I have enjoyed watching all the hacks who doubted whether his style of football could be effective in the Premier League having to backtrack. The evidence is plain to see. The saddest thing has been the recent surge in the idea that the only way to stop City is to injure key players - courtesy of the classless Carlton Pogba and Danny Murphy. Shame on the BBC for providing the platform for these views.

    Favourite playerthis season? Has to be Fernandinho - aka The Rock. He is the fulcrum around which the football revolves and his contributions have been long ignored by the hacks who were busy fawning over Kante.

    • January 5, 2018  4:33 pm by David Walker Reply

      Great feedback Kieran - thank you. You're right Fernandinho has been outstanding this season and a comparatively unsung hero, but a hero nonetheless.

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