Welcome back!

Here we are again with what is already our fourth of six home Premier League matches since the restart...

Our digital programme is proving to be a popular addition to our match build-up, with lots of positive feedback.

Among the many exclusive features in the Newcastle edition, we have Pep Guardiola’s manager notes, Mike Summerbee’s regular column and an in-depth focus on Steve Bruce’s side.

As always, we’ve stats aplenty on both teams and a fascinating head-to-head between Raheem Sterling and Allan Saint-Maximin – two of the Premier League’s most exciting attacking talents.

We also have a 'two for the price of one' with BBC 6 Music DJs Marc Riley and Mark Radcliffe each supplying a column.

Paul Moulden selects his Dream Team while Kev Cummins shares his memories of working with Kevin Keegan - in words and pictures - and we’ve a Riyad Mahrez 'story so far' graphic, plus plenty more.

So, time to get into the mood for City v Newcastle with the nearest thing we can provide to the regular matchday programme.

Here’s hoping for another entertaining game...

Enjoy the match and above all, stay safe.

pep's Manager notes

The boss looks ahead to the visit of Newcastle United...

I hope wherever you are reading these notes that you are safe and healthy and looking forward to an entertaining game of football against Newcastle United.

On Wednesday evening, we welcome Steve Bruce and his team to the Etihad Stadium, just ten days after we won 2-0 in the FA Cup in St James’ Park.

Newcastle have done well since sport returned from lockdown. They enjoyed big wins over Bournemouth and Sheffield United and showed great fight in the draws with Aston Villa and West Ham United.

They possess some very good players and are placed comfortably in the middle of the Premier League table, so we are expecting another tough contest.

We were disappointed to lose at Southampton on Sunday evening, but only with the result, not the performance.

I was proud of the way we controlled the game and I liked the way we played, but it wasn’t enough. I would not complain about the players. Far from it.

The game was a little bit of a repeat of how some matches have gone this season - one mistake and the opposition punished us and then we couldn’t find a way to get level. I am not blaming any individuals because mistakes are part and parcel of the game. Everyone makes them. It is how the individuals and the team respond which is the important thing.

We didn't lose because of a mistake. We tried so hard but it is true we have lost too many games like this when we have had lots of chances and the other team hasn’t. We will keep working.

After the Southampton goal we had plenty of time to get back into the match and we created a lot, but they had 10 players behind the ball and credit it to them they defended with everything they had and at times very bravely.

The confidence in the players is not any less than it was after we beat Liverpool 4-0. The control is there, the way we play is there we just need to be more consistent in front of goal – where normally we are very good – and in our own penalty area.

When a team wins eight titles out of the last 10 competitions they play, it is because they are an incredible team and that is what we hope to show in the remaining games. The Liverpool game is history and so is the Southampton game. Newcastle United is what matters now.

Enjoy the match everyone.

Puma Future

The BuzzWord

Our Club Ambassador reviews recent events...

Our attitude against Liverpool was superb from start to finish and we thoroughly deserved the victory.

It’s not easy playing in front of empty stands and Liverpool arrived here as the champions with everything to play for.

They put out their strongest XI and they weren’t taking things easy at all, but apart from a few early chances, we dominated the game and could have won by even more goals.

It was a great game and I thoroughly enjoyed it – but I think there is one thing missing - and that's our supporters.

Your presence at the Etihad is sadly missed.

Plus, I think football as an outlet is important to everyone who regularly goes. Being able to sing, shout or whatever can be a great way of releasing stress and I can’t wait for full, noisy stadiums again.

I got back late on Sunday evening after our trip to Southampton where we did everything but score. Southampton worked tirelessly to win that game and it’s hard to begrudge them the victory – but we dominated throughout, completely outplayed them in every department and were punished for one mistake.

We created chance after chance, but it was just one of those games where we didn’t get the rub of the green – a pattern that has happened in a number of games this season.

Next up is Newcastle on Wednesday evening. They are a difficult team to fathom as they are quite unpredictable, but they have some quality players and it should be a good game.

If I’m honest, I’m looking forward to the end of the Premier League games so we can focus on the FA Cup and the Champions League which is what it’s all about now.

We’ll keep trying to win games and play our way, I’m certain of that – the attitude for these matches has to be spot-on, and I think we’ve been superb in every match since the restart.

Enjoy the game and let’s get back to winning ways.

Nexen Tire

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A closer look at the Magpies' 2019/20 season so far...

Three days after their FA Cup disappointment against City, Newcastle United cleared their heads, scored four goals at Bournemouth and crossed a significant threshold.

With back-to-back away wins – the previous one was also on the south coast, at Southampton way back in March – they moved into the comfort zone with 42 points

For supporters, it represented a job well down, possibly a little earlier than may have been anticipated back in August.

For the club, with a much-publicised takeover on hold, securing Premier League status for a 26th season out of 29 when the 2020-21 campaign is under way was crucial.

For the manager, it was a milestone to be acknowledged in professional and personal terms.

When Steve Bruce was appointed last July, replacing Rafa Benitez after the Spaniard’s move to China, there was some negativity among fans.

In Benitez’s three seasons, United had won the Championship and settled in mid-table with 44 and 45 points, the club’s strongest performances since Alan Pardew’s team finished fifth in 2012.

Now Bruce, perhaps against the odds (and certainly those who feared a relegation struggle), has an opportunity to improve on his predecessor’s record.

In passing 40 points in 32 games, the current side were slightly quicker. Under Benitez this milestone came up in 33 and 35 games.

Fine margins, but an improvement nonetheless. To make it really count, there are other targets. With a good finish, Newcastle could get to 50 points in the Premier League for the first time since Pardew took them into the Europa League.

For Bruce it is good reason to be happy with a solid start to his 11th appointment as a manager. “It is a great club, a unique one,” he told the Newcastle Chronicle. “I am delighted to have the opportunity to manage it ."

At Bournemouth, Bruce moved away from the format for the Cup-tie with City. Danny Rose, Isaac Hayden, Andy Carroll and Miguel Almiron were among the subs at the Vitality Stadium.

Regular goalkeeper Martin Dubravka took over from Karl Darlow, the Switzerland international, Fabian Schar, and former Liverpool loanee Javi Manquillo were the full-backs, and the captain, Jamaal Lascelles, was joined by former Swansea player Federico Fernandez in the centre.

In midfield, Jonjo Shelvey, in his fifth season in the black-and-white stripes, and Nabil Bentaleb, previously at Spurs and now on loan from Schalke, lined up behind a trio of attack-minded players.

The Frenchman, Allan Saint-Maximin, has been one of the finds of the season, the big-money signing from Nice proving to be an exciting winger in the mould of Tyneside legends David Ginola, Chris Waddle and the 1950s Cup finalist, Bobby Mitchell.

At Bournemouth, other midfield slots were taken by Brazilian forward Joelinton and Sean Longstaff, the latter scoring his first league goal of the season. Almiron and fellow-sub Valentino Lazaro completed the scoring.

With two changes for the next game against West Ham, Hayden and Almiron were in the starting team, the latter scoring again in a 2-2 draw at St James’ Park.

To date, United have had a good, solid campaign and are likely to have more of a go in this encounter than they did in the recent FA Cup clash.

Either way, it's been a solid start by Bruce.

CITY V newcastle


We have a rich history with the Magpies...

An often colourful fixture, City and Newcastle United have a long history stretching back more than 126 years.

In fact, the very first meeting as Manchester City and Newcastle United in October 1894 hinted of things to come with the Magpies edging a nine-goal thriller 5-4 on Tyneside.

The next two meetings - both at Hyde Road - went City's way, with 4-0 and 5-2 victories and meaning the first three clashes had produced 20 goals!

But between 1896 and 1905, the Magpies ruled the roost, with nine wins and two draws from 14 meetings. The first clash between the sides at City's new Maine Road home in November 1923 ended 1-1, but during the 24-year period that game fell in, the Geordies easily had the better of the fixture, losing just seven of 34 meetings - an overall stat of just 12 City wins from the first 51 encounters!

Things needed to improve - and they did - with City losing just three times in 12 matches between November 1929 and 1946. But the Magpies again dominated after the resumption of football in 1946, winning 11 and drawing three of the next 17 clashes - one of which was the 1955  FA Cup final that saw the Magpies win 3-1.

That was the era of a great Newcastle side, inspired by 'Wor Jackie' - the legendary Jackie Milburn. Few realised, however, that the '55 FA Cup success would by United's last major domestic trophy - a barren run that will now stretch to at least 66 years.

City would boss the 1960s, losing only four of 17 meetings (nine wins, four draws, four losses) and famously won the top flight title with a dramatic 4-3 win at St James' Park on the final day of the 1967/68 season.

The 1970s would slightly favour City, too, with just five losses in 19 matches in all competitions and included revenge for the 1955 FA Cup final loss as Dennis Tueart’s spectacular overhead kick settled the 1976 League Cup final at Wembley 2-1 in City's favour.

And those who witnessed Colin Bell's comeback from injury on Boxing Day 1977 will never forget the standing ovation that lasted several minutes as the legend returned from 18-months out during a 4-0 win over the Magpies.

By the early 1980s both sides had lost their top flight status and met as promotion rivals in 1983/84 - but a Kevin Keegan inspired Toon won 5-0 at St James' Park and 2-1 at Maine Road.

There was an explosive encounter at Maine Road in 1996, as the title-chasing Magpies met Alan Ball's struggling City, but a thrilling 3-3 draw helped neither side.

But if United had dominated the majority of the first 75 years or so, City completely ran the show between 2006 and 2014, winning 15 and drawing two of the 17 meetings – one of which was the crucial May 2012 win at St James’ Park in the penultimate game of what would prove to be City’s title-winning season.

And the next 10 games - up to the recent 2-0 win at St James' Park in the FA Cup - have seen just two more wins for the Magpies. That equates to 21 City wins, four draws and just two losses in 27 clashes - an incredible stat we hope continues in what will be our 180th meeting.


Celebrated photographer and lifelong Blue Kev Cummins looks back at Kevin Keegan's reign as City boss...

Kevin Keegan is one of the nicest men I’ve ever had the good fortune to work with.

He is truly charismatic and hugely inspirational. When I was shooting my book for the final season at Maine Road, he gave me as much help and access as I needed.

The book definitely wouldn’t have happened without his constant encouragement and support. 

Keegan loved being on the training pitch.

Like all footballers - past and present - he was fiercely competitive and after training, he’d ask, “Right, who wants a penalty competition?” - knowing full well that at least half a dozen of the players would take him up on it.

Kevin Horlock and Nico Anelka were two who would always stay behind and they’d carry on until it went dark if necessary.On one particular day, the others having fallen past the wayside, there was only Keegan and Nico left. They both kept banging the ball passed the hapless keeper - Carlo Nash this time - until we’d lost count - I think it was 36 all. Everyone else had showered and the head-to-head was still in progress, so many of them came back to watch it rather than drive home.

Then at 43-43, Keegan tried to hit the inside of the post to spin it onto the other one and in, but Nash read it and stopped it. Richard Dunne muttered, “If I was Nico, I’d miss this one. You don’t want to beat the gaffer.” But Anelka was ‘in the zone’ and calmly sent Carlo the wrong way with his winning 44th penalty. 

Keegan smiled ruefully and said, “I’d have beaten you 15 years ago,” then turned to [his assistant] Arthur Cox and said, “But he’d only have been 9 …”  It didn’t stop them going head-to-head the following week and I think we could say honours were even by the end of the season.

A legend of English football and a good man, too.

stranger things

Lifelong City fan a BBC 6 Music legend Mark Radcliffe looks back over a bizarre summer for music and football...

The pandemic has brought us many experiences we never thought we would see.

Last week I was at Worthy Farm in Somerset for what would have been the 50th anniversary of the first Glastonbury festival. Actually it was a rather serene and reflective weekend wandering the fields that should have been invaded by 200,000 revellers. I was actually mistaken by security for a single, stray reveller as I trudged the green and pleasant land and they took some convincing that I was in fact there to be on the telly.

Thankfully, Jo Whiley vouched for me so all was well - though why they found her word good enough and not mine I really couldn’t say.
Mark Radcliffe

The other odd spectacle we’ve been adjusting to is football with no fans. I must confess I find the soundtrack of a crowd they add on the television coverage pretty effective. It works even better on the radio as, at the risk of patronising, there are no pictures and so it just sounds like a regular match. On TV you also have the option of selecting a channel without the synthetic fan noise which is a very odd experience.

Whether players have been given a language warning I do not know, but it would seem to be a sensible thing to do as you can hear absolutely everything from the juddering thud of a ball hitting Nicolas Otamendi in the family jewels to the juddering thud of Nicolas Otamendi hitting the ball into an opposing forward in the family jewels.

Expletives are therefore audible to all and heaven forbid that any impressionable youngsters, locked down and isolated from the foul diatribes they’d have been hearing daily in the school playground, should hear one of our immortals  utter a naughty word.

How their perfect role model image would be tarnished! I prefer to think of Kevin De Bruyne as some kind of god with a capacity for spacial awareness and vision that mere mortals do not possess. If I can hear him cussing like some Kippax n'er-do-well in Mary D’s he’d lose just a little of his lustre, so button it Kev!

Of course it’s been fantastic to see the boys come back so strongly, particularly when giving the new worthy Premier League champions a reminder that we are the best really and they’d better enjoy their glory while it lasts as retribution is coming in a big way. At least, that's how I see it.

Nevertheless Liverpool have been the best team this season and I congratulate them. 

Oh, and how great does Phil Foden look? So when the now legendary David Silva finally takes his leave, and what a sad day that will be, we now have a home-grown replacement to fill those sizeable boots. Which has presumably saved the Club around a hundred million pounds in the process.

Foden for England. You know it makes sense Gareth.


Former City striker Paul Moulden entered the Guinness Book of World Records when he scored 289 goals in 40 matches as a schoolboy.

So, who will the prolific goal-poacher choose as his strikers?

Take it away, Paul…

“I’ve seen a number of the Dream Team selections so far and not many have included past legends – but mine does.

“I'll start with Bert Trautmann, possibly the bravest keeper the game has known and I’d have Tony Book at right-back, Glyn Pardoe at left-back with Vincent Kompany and Dave Watson as my central defensive partnership.

“Midfield… imagine Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva and Colin Bell as a trio? Hard to beat!

My forward line would be the great Billy Meredith on one wing and Peter Barnes on the other, both supplying our greatest striker of all-time, Sergio Aguero.
Paul Moulden

“My bench is full of legends, too – some I saw play, some I didn’t. For instance I’ve read and been told about Roy Paul enough to know that he was a fantastic skipper. 

“Sadly, I didn’t make the cut! I’d go 4-3-3 with Pep Guardiola – who else? – as manager.”



One thing is for sure…when we eventually come out of this nightmare we currently find ourselves in  - you can  bet that  a  lot of things will have changed  in our day-to-day lives. The only comparison I can draw were the shocking events of 9/11.

Mark Radcliffe and I were on air presenting the BBC Radio 1 afternoon show as the terrible scenes unfolded on the TV in front of us. I went home and continued to watch in disbelief. The world changed at that moment. Things would never be quite the same again.

With the current pandemic we once again have had to adapt the way we lead our lives and perhaps lower our expectations and needs. Whereas I would be climbing the walls without going to at least one football match and/or gig a week - these days I count myself lucky to be able to watch a ‘behind closed doors’ match on TV, whereas six months ago, this would have been considered a real grind.

I think it was the BBC Radio 2 presenter Jeremy Vine who recently tweeted that he thought in light of this current situation, perhaps it was time to put the ritual of men shaking hands as a form of greeting behind us. That it was an old-fashioned and out of date habit. He also said it originated from medieval time when men carried swords.

Apparently, if you were about to enter into a civil exchange with someone you didn’t quite trust, what better way of proving that you weren’t going to have a swing at them with your weapon than to offer you right hand as a display of faith?

If your fighting hand was outstretched, you’d struggle to pull your sword with any surprise! All well and good - but it does lead me to wonder whether left-handers like myself come from long line of men who quite simply weren’t to be trusted and regularly clattered their unsuspecting ‘acquaintance’!

So, I wonder whether football players who sometimes don’t have too much time for each other on (or off) the pitch, will continue the tradition of shaking hands before a match after the virus has disappeared?
Marc Riley

I reckon so -if the actions of one Premier League manager is to go by!  No names, no pack-drill,but this chap was recently wandering around the technical area offering his out-stretched hand to every raised elbow (and eyebrow) he encountered like his life depended on it! I don’t know if he didn't get the email - but he certainly didn’t get the message! 

Another tradition I would happily see the back of is the ‘Guard of Honour’. Call me not old-fashioned, but being expected to applaud someone who you would rather not, in front of an audience of millions of people? That is harsh. I think it’s fair to say that there are some Premier League players (again, no names - no pack drill) who would wholeheartedly agree with me. But I could be wrong!

I think it would be a far more honest and entertaining spectacle to see the title winners being welcomed on to the pitch with a bout of unceremonious booing from the opposition! I’d pay to see that!

All together now….

Tonight, we welcome the Magpies to our place. Having just ushered them out of the FA Cup, you can’t help but think they’ll be out for revenge tonight, but if they’re expecting anything other than hungry opposition in the shape of City, I can only guess they didn't watch the Liverpool match!

Up the Blues!