Yellow is the new red for Pep’s sky blues

The ‘Magic of the FA Cup’ lost its lustre for Manchester City when a dyslexic Altrincham fan performed a bemusing two-card trick and made Fabian Delph disappear!

Delph sees red after another red – ref Anthony Taylor – produced a slight of hand card trick, making yellow the new red!

On a truly wretched night in Wigan, referee Anthony Taylor amazed and appalled in equal measure with his devious sleight of hand, as yellow became the new red and City’s bid for an elusive quadruple was quashed.

Taylor’s highly dubious antics date back to the time when he registered as a member of the ‘Select Group’ of referees with his PGMOL employers.

When it came to declaring which team he supported, Taylor discovered he was afflicted by dyslexia, somehow contriving to spell Manchester United as Altrincham.

Oh What A Night – Trickery, treachery and thuggery left a nasty taste in the mouth – none more so than for Sergio Aguero who was attacked by a cowardly Wigan lout after the final whistle.

Why ‘Thomas Walter’ Anthony Taylor is allowed to officiate and, by definition influence, the outcome of games involving either Manchester City or Manchester United should be subject to scrutiny after his latest shambolic shenanigans involving City.

His scandalous actions, along with a number of other Premier League referees, will surely be on the agenda when City meet with PGMOL, to query why so many bad tackles are going unpunished this season.

Magic – what magic? City, the FA Cup and Wigan just don’t mix well.

It’s a bitter irony that Delph was sent off when so many malicious fouls against City have been handled with infuriating leniency. Wigan’s Nathan Byrne didn’t even get booked for a shocking challenge on Sergio Aguero earlier in the match.

If Delph’s foul merited red, Byrne’s most certainly met the criteria.

No love lost – Pep and Wigan manager Paul Cook won’t be sending each other Christmas cards!

Raheem Sterling has used the term ‘butchered’ when remarking on the nature of some of the ‘tackles’ flying in on what has, at times, looked like ‘open season’ on City players.

The catalogue of ‘crimes’ against City is shocking:


  • Joe Bennett scything down Leroy Sane and Brahim Diaz, two yellows but both merited marching orders for the Cardiff defender
  •  Matt Phillips and James McClean of WBA saw yellow, not red, for malicious challenges on Diaz and Kevin De Bruyne
  • Jason Puncheon and Scott Dann of Crystal Palace both injured themselves attempting to hurt De Bruyne – no red cards, but natural justice prevailed
  • Jacob Murphy of Newcastle taking out Ilkay Gundagon, not even booked
  • Tottenham’s Golden Boys Harry Kane and Dele Alli booked for fouls on Raheem Sterling and De Bruyne – universal agreement (bar Pochettino) – both warranted red cards
  • Claudio Yacob of WBA, just a booking for a bad late tackle on Gundagon
  • Steve Cook of Bournemouth piling into Gabriel Jesus – not even spoken to by referee Mike Dean (no surprise there)

No wonder Pep Guardiola wants the matter addressed, but as the City boss says, ‘…not just for City players, but for ALL players.’

X-rated – Butcher Bennett inflicted ankle ligament damage on Leroy Sane at Cardiff.

Guardiola doesn’t want to eradicate the art of tackling as his shallow minded detractors would have us believe.

He wants to stop Rent-A-Thug Neanderthals such as Cardiff manager Neil Warnock, ruining the ‘beautiful game’.

KDB lies injured after Palace thug Puncheon had scythed him down.

Repulsive Warnock (how apt that an anagram of his name gives you Colin Wanker) has accused Guardiola of talking “hot air”, claiming Delph’s tackle at Wigan was “…10 times worse than Bennett’s…”

The repugnant 69-year old Cardiff boss is a prime example of all that is wrong with English football. To call him a dinosaur would be to libel the ugly, tiny brained creatures who roamed the planet millions of years ago.

McFilthy – WBA’s James McClean was hellbent on taking KDB out with this attempted tackle. Thankfully De Bruyne was too fast for the dirty Baggie.

If malicious intent and bad tackles are allowed to go virtually unpunished it’s not just City, the Premier League Champions-elect, who will continue to suffer – it’s the English game as a whole.

Despite the naysayers writing off Guardiola’s chances of replicating his success in England, he is succeeding with his exhilarating playing style.

Guardiola is gunning for glory but he’d be delighted if PGMOL could up their game and start punishing the bad guys.

He’s changing the very essence of the Premier League and, if he can add further influence by helping stamp out the thuggish elements, it encourages players with flair and skill to prosper.

If the imbeciles at PGMOL led by Mike Riley, can conjure up an iota of commonsense and consistency, it’s an initiative that could nurture, sustain and assist in the development of top talents.

Treble Chance – City are odds on favourites for the Premier League title, despite a long list of injuries and being the target of appalling fouls.

Players could play free from the constant threat of cloggers and destroyers – surely a benefit to English football as a whole, right through to the national set-up.

It’s a big ask however, when dealing with the likes of Taylor and other reprobate refs like Bobby Madley, Lee Mason, Mike Dean, Mike Jones, Kevin Friend, Andre Marriner and this week’s star turn at the League Cup Final, Craig Pawson.

Back to the scene of the crime – Craig Pawson will once again officiate Arsenal against City at Wembley. He and his assistants helped the Gunners to a 2-1 FA Cup semi final win last April.

Irrespective of questionable refereeing, City produced by far their worst performance of the season at Wigan and, despite having 82% possession and 29 attempts on goal, just couldn’t conjure up a draw, let alone a win.

Obviously the world and his wife were delighted to see City lose – it’s like finding a crock of gold plated rocking horse shit – it doesn’t happen very often.

Aguero’s ‘A’ Game – Sergio has hit 28 goals so far this season and is now just two shy of 200 career goals with City.

But for all the vile vitriol directed at City this week, it’s worth remembering City have won 86% of all games played this season – that’s 36 wins from 42 – scoring 111 goals, conceding 32 and amassing a goal difference of +72.

Looking extremely bitter at The Swamp nowadays with another cold front on the way.

Is there a team in the land that wouldn’t want to swap places with a City side sitting 16 points clear at the top of the Premier League, with a Cup Final to contest on Sunday and a virtual shoe-in for the Champions League quarter finals?

Basel Faulty – Bernardo steers home City’s second goal in the 4-0 Champions League win in Switzerland.

It was only in December, when asked if City would win all four competitions Pep said: “Of course not. Come on, that isn’t real. What we are living isn’t real. That is not going to happen.”

What is real, is the prospect of Pep collecting his first silverware in England this weekend against Arsenal.

When the two teams met in the FA Cup semi final last April, City lost 2-1, with key decisions once again going against the Sky Blues, notably a bona fide goal disallowed when the ball was wrongly deemed to have gone out of play.

Cheated – the ball clearly stays in play prior to City’s first half goal being ruled out in the controversial FA Cup semi final against Arsenal.

 In addition, referee Craig Pawson stood by and did nothing as Arsenal kicked David Silva out of the game within the first 20 minutes.

This would be the same Pawson who failed to dismiss Tottenham’s Alli and Kane at the Etihad last December, when both should have been sent off.

Will it be third time lucky for City with Pawson? Is there even a remote possibility he might actually do his job to the required standard, just for once?

Sergio and Kev will be gunning for the Gooners on Sunday after seeing off Bristol City in the semi final.

City will be encouraged at Gabriel Jesus’ return to training this week, having missed the last 12 games, but doubts remain on Raheem Sterling’s ability to recover from a ‘muscle problem’.

Fabian Delph is suspended and with Benjamin Mendy’s long awaited return still a few weeks away, the big question is who starts at left back?

Arise Jesus – Can Gabriel be fit enough to take part in the League Cup Final after missing City’s last 12 games?

Oleksander Zinchenko could be preferred over the more experienced, but somewhat wayward Danilo, or Pep could spring a surprise and slot Aymeric Laporte in as a left footed stop gap.

As the domestic cup keeper, Claudio Bravo starts in goal, his heroics in the earlier rounds against Wolves and Leicester, winning him the nod over Ederson.

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

Let’s hope Pep keeping faith with Bravo reaps the same rewards as City’s last League Cup Final appearance, when Manuel Pellegrini elected to stick with Willy Caballero over Joe Hart.

A Wembley win and a Carabao Cup bedecked in sky blue and white ribbons will gloss over the excruciating events of last Monday night, and then it’ll be back to league football.

On the subject of ribbons, the FA are on the warpath seeking to punish Pep for wearing a yellow ribbon in support of those jailed while campaigning for Catalan independence. The City boss risks a touchline ban and disciplinary action if he wears the symbol at Wembley.

Hero Caballero – Willy proved all the doubters wrong with a trio of stunning Wembley penalty saves when City last won the League Cup in 2016.

A City FA Cup exit used to be accompanied by a sigh of resignation and mutterings of having to ‘concentrate on the league’ – usually meaning  vying for mid-table mediocrity or battling relegation.

Not anymore.

No words needed…

Concentrating on the ‘leagues’ – plural – could see Pep deliver the really big prizes in the coming weeks and months.

Now that would be magical for every City Blue.


By David Walker

PS: Just a footnote to the FA on behalf of Pep…


A Dedication…

As City challenge for titles, this article is dedicated to a Super Blue facing the biggest fight any of us can ever face…the fight for life. Stephen Wilson will ultimately succumb to his battle with cancer, but he is the embodiment of the Club he holds so dear, so naturally he is going to Fight Till The End.

We had the pleasure of meeting Stephen and his daughter Sarah during the Champions League trip to Seville in November 2015. Those were indeed sunny days and a splendid 3-1 City win.

Team Wilson – Stephen and Sarah with Les ‘Chappy’ Chapman and family friend Karen.

We met up again at the Etihad before the recent 5-1 thrashing of Leicester. It was our privilege to hand over a signed City shirt to go towards #TeamWilson’s fundraising efforts on behalf of Macmillan Cancer Support.

Kind hearted former City kitman and now match day host, Les ‘Chappy’ Chapman, also made time to visit Stephen and help lift his spirits with some great City stories.

Blues together – Super Blue Stephen and Big Hearted Chappy.

The Wilson’s are a remarkable family, looking to give back to those who are helping them in their hours of need.  Sarah is running in this year’s London Marathon on behalf of Macmillan and can be found on Twitter @_tuesdaywilson @ReadButNeverRed @djwskyblu


  1. February 23, 2018  9:36 pm by Dave Leyland Reply

    Being an ex referee I cannot remember a time when I changed my mind over which card I was using? The excuse of he’s writing a name on the yellow so he can read it won’t wash as his assistants and the 4th official write everything down too. Simply put he bottled it under pressure #twat

  2. February 24, 2018  7:51 am by Will Reply

    Playing against 12 most weeks makes the 86% win rate even more remarkable. I can see the siege mentality being adopted. Pep is a belligerent character and I think he will indeed be thinking the message you embossed on his ribbon. He won't back down so this could get messy.

    • February 24, 2018  8:25 am by David Walker Reply

      And yet still there are those who don't and won't invest a penny in any anti-City conspiracy/agenda scenarios. Let's just hope Pep can pick up his first pot in English football tomorrow and screw the feckin' @rseholes at the FA.

  3. February 24, 2018  9:38 am by Guvnor Reply

    Leave Pep alone you childish wankers. They have to pick on the most stupid pointless topics. FA means Fuck All!

  4. February 24, 2018  11:58 am by Richard Cooper Reply

    The Referee debate will go on and on ! I haven't seen much TV coverage of the Wigan game but being there the Delph tackle was certainly not as bad as the tackle on Sergio. What I don't know is did he change the "card colour" because of the influence of the Wigan Manager and players or on the recommendation of the 4th Official ?
    I do think Cit players are targeted in order to take them "out of the game" and whilst referees are so darn inconsistent I can't see this changing at all. Football should always be a contact sport and many years ago I was taught how to tackle hard and fair without causing injury to an opponent. And, as a skill it isn't that hard to apply.
    My other "beef" is with the Media etc "love in" with Kane and Alli , both very good players, but they are in the "do no evil see no evil" category.
    Having said all that Wigan defended very well and that night City did not do enough in the critical areas to win that game.
    Let's make amends tomorrow and get the first trophy back at the Etihad and then we can concentrate on the next two.

    • February 24, 2018  1:12 pm by David Walker Reply

      All very valid points RC. Thanks for reading and the feedback.

  5. February 24, 2018  1:57 pm by Ed Reply

    I am backing the FA on Yellow Ribbongate. What if a coach wore a ribbon to support the NRA, IRA, BNP etc would we be rushing out to wear ribbons to support the coach or Is it ok as long as we agree with the political statement being supported?
    From the FAs point of view it has to be all or nothing and nothing is a better option than allowing extreme examples quoted.
    Let’s have a good day tomorrow and a win without extra time and penalties!

    • February 24, 2018  3:03 pm by David Walker Reply

      That's the beauty of democracy and freedom of speech - different views, choices and tolerance - but we are agreed...a City win without extra time and penalties :-)

      Thanks for the feedback Ed.

  6. February 25, 2018  12:47 pm by GeorgeInIsrael Reply

    As usual, great writing; and so many things to comment on.

    - I don't care who a referee says he supports; he should not be allowed to referee in games involving the teams from his home town.
    - Having looked at it in slow motion, I think a red card is the correct decision for Delph's tackle. He was lunging, both feet were off the ground, and his leading foot was studs up. If it had been against us, we would have been screaming for a straight red! Having said that, once he went for the yellow, he shouldn't have changed his mind. Also, the challenge against Aguero earlier certainly deserved a yellow card.
    - I think that the FA are right about the yellow ribbon; it's political and once you allow one political campaign, you have to allow them all. But, as usual with the corrupt b@st@rds at the FA, it's all about the timing. He's been wearing this since November and has already been warned at least once. The best time to pull this stunt is 48 hours before a final? Are the FA in a competition with UEFA and FIFA to see who can be the most corrupt?

    Finally, by the time you read this, I assume that it will be after the League Cup final. I hope that you had a great trip and are now basking in the glow of a City victory!

    • February 26, 2018  7:28 pm by David Walker Reply

      Thanks George, yes you're right we now have the League Cup in our keeping for the third time in the past five years. Totally agree on refs not being allowed anywhere near their hometown teams. I disagree on Delph, I think it warranted yellow, but it's very subjective. The yellow ribbon and Pep is even more subjective, but I would defend Pep's right to display a symbol of solidarity for people imprisoned without trial, and for him to exercise his freedom of expression.

      A big factor for the City fans supporting Pep is of course because he's our manager and, as you rightly say, the FA is corrupt, riddled with hypocrisy, racist, sexist and hardly in any position to claim any moral high ground. To many fans the actual topic of Catalan independence is almost secondary to their instincts to rally behind Pep.

      It's funny how the FA have inadvertently drawn even more attention to the topic and mobilised tens of thousands of City fans to sport yellows. Were we to draw Barcelona in the Champions League, it'd be interesting to see what kind of reception the team and fans were give from the locals.

      Many thanks for reading and commenting.

  7. February 26, 2018  8:29 pm by Pete Reply

    I thoroughly enjoyed the EFL cup final primarily because Pawson appeared to remember the rules of the game and how to implement them. Well that's beside not sending Wilshire off, I think he should have got a yellow for diving, one for dissent and the one he got, by my poor maths that makes at least two and enough for an early bath. I love the V.A.R. system it worked a treat, even though no major decisions needed to be checked. Could it be that Pawson did not wish to be held to instant ridicule and therefore managed to eradicate all his usual city 'Errors'. Bring it on I say; think of all the extra fun we could have had; An EFL cup final 1981; another 2012; an FA cup final 2017. Thats without mentioning a good tilt at the title in 2017, Yes, last year who can fail to remember three dropped points against Chelsea ( an appropriate red and we would have won bringing us 6 points closer to Chelsea) plus the two reds that should have been shown against Liverpool and Tottenham another four points, we might even have challenged to the end. Its a shame they didn't have it at the swamp yesterday when Salford Town managed to eke out a win when Chelsea were robbed of two points by poor officialdom. Well the futures bright... its Sky Blue.

    • February 26, 2018  9:09 pm by David Walker Reply

      Yes, I can't believe what is about to come next but...Pawson had a good game, and not just because we won, he simply managed to do the 'day job' for once. Listening to Arsenic Whinger and Jack Wheelchair today was really rather amusing - if only they could hear themselves and how they're perceived, not by outsiders, but by their own fan base.

      We can only hope Wenger does what he's always done, and that is honour his contract. Give us all a giggle as he presides over yet another season of spineless ineptitude and endless excuses.

      A great day out, great win , great company and Great Kompany! Thanks for the feedback.

  8. March 2, 2018  2:46 pm by Gary Brown Reply

    As I write this we have just completed a double against Arsenal with a mirror image score line - a rare thing for us in modern times it seems the pundits are gushing in their praise for our Team - yet during The Live Debate show - despite one headline being Magnificent City all the talk was about Arsenal - apparently according to Oliver Holt they have spoken about Man City's brilliance on many occasion. On reflection I didn't think Arsenal were not that bad and Pep was right you cannot switch off against them; but what was scary - but brilliant were our 3 goals here are my thoughts: 1) Scary Sane pace agility vision and will only get better and better. 2) Kun - provider and great work rate 3) KDB - Genius - his run off the ball created the space for B Silva to score our first. 4) The Magician David Silva two brilliant goals in two games. 5) Walker who should not be under estimated what he has given to the team so far this season. I could go on but each goal was a thing of beauty especially the last from one end to the pitch to another. Oh and please bear with me one other thing our - Goal Keeper world class and a crucial penalty save. I hope this is our time for the Champions League as the likes of Kun, Kompany, D. Silva deserve it to be included in their trophy cabinet.

    • March 3, 2018  8:36 am by David Walker Reply

      Excellent observations and comments, especially in respect of City's old guard and the sands of time. Thanks.

  9. March 5, 2018  4:51 pm by Gary Brown Reply

    Another great and well deserved win after a hectic few days in the Capital. I was chatting about the Premiership with my eldest son and remarked about the gap between first and last - around 50 points I believe. I mentioned that this was Barcelona like his reply was "Not really Dad this is the English Premiership" perhaps saying that this should not be happening .... but it is. You can talk about parking the bus (or 3 or 4) - lack of adventure, not wanting to lose by a large margin and that in terms of financial gain is almost (and I stress almost) is understandable but Chelsea's woeful performance is like a massive two finger salute to all the fans that pay their hard-earned money to support their team - with an expectation that they could at least "give it a go " they have the playing quality. Pep's squeal of delight at the final whistle say's it all a massive massive 3 points and another step towards another trophy. Stoke will be another type of test with the number of buses being mixed with dare I say robust challenges, but let's look forward to hopefully another 3 points and another step on our journey to greatness

    • March 7, 2018  10:11 am by David Walker Reply

      Very true. City have emerged as a class apart in the Premier League this season and, as a City fan, one can only think Pep will make us even stronger in the seasons to come with his peerless coaching, development of the likes of Foden, Diaz and CFA graduates and, of course, quality signings. Our rivals will spend big to try and play catch up and strengthen their claim to the top slot, but the Pep era has well and truly begun. UEFA and the Premier League will try and put more obstacles in our way to try and stop, or slow, our relentless drive to the very top so the future will not be without challenges. Even so, it's beginning to look like Pep has everyone's measure for the foreseeable future.

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