Friday, August 10, 2007

Thaksin in the picture / Squad details

The 2007-08 team photo and squad numbers were released yesterday and it's probably no great surprise that our new owner has put himself centre stage. Some might view that as a bit of an imposition, though my view is that the official photo has been cheapened in recent years thanks to the huge advertising hoarding and assorted sponsors' equipment on display.

For the last two seasons the club have even reserved a place in the photo for the winner of a Thomas Cook competition, so if a £1.5m-a-year sponsorship deal buys you a place it's probably fair that a £35m takeover plus £40m+ on transfers does too.

Thaksin is not the first City chairman to get into an official team photo. Franny Lee also took centre stage in the 1996-97 squad photo:

Actually, Franny was notorious for muscling his way into official photos. Here he is sneaking into the team pic of the 1977 England cricket side that toured the West Indies.

Okay, that's not really the England team but it is Franny Lee top row third from the right (click on the photo for more details).

~ You can find City squad photos dating back to 1880 in the Images section here.

Squad numbers released

Below are the updated squad details. I've only included the players who have played in the first team (Laird and Logan are included for the first time following their appearances in the pre-season friendlies) but you can find the full list of 44 players here.

With Corluka and Bojinov having received their work permits, below are the outfield players who could figure in the first few games:

And finally, here is the revised list of when the contract come up. The details will be kept in the Stats & Squad section:

Summer 2008
Emile Mpenza
Paul Dickov
Jihai Sun
Kasper Schmeichel
Dietmar Hamann

Andreas Isaksson
Michael Ball
Ousmane Dabo
Stephen Ireland
Darius Vassell
Danny Mills
Richard Dunne
Matthew Mills
Bernardo Corradi
Daniel Sturridge

Micah Richards
Michael Johnson
Joe Hart
Georgios Samaras
Martin Petrov

Nedum Onuoha
Rolando Bianchi
Javier Garrido
Gelson Fernandes
Valeri Bojinov

Vedran Corluka

Pinch me if I'm dreaming

I suppose reality might well hit us at 3pm tomorrow, but this really has been the most surreal close season I can ever remember. So the sight of a deposed Far Eastern PM donning a City scarf and singing Blue Moon on Saturday (not to mention the Thai Elvis) seemed to capture the mood perfectly, as well as providing an image I'll probably never forget.

Click of picture of Pinthongta for more images

'A very surreal experience', was the assessment of Bagpuss at Citymancs called it, while a poster called Paulo described it as 'a strange experience indeed'.

The strange thing is, despite all the newsprint devoted to the man we still know very little about him aside from the allegations about his business dealings and human rights record. I've been writing a profile of Thaksin for the upcoming Purelymancity book, but one clue to his personality can be found at his newly-launched website, Prominently displayed on the site is the message: 'The Truth Shall Set You Free' - words originally spoken by Jesus and later used as the title of a David Icke book.

So maybe that's the deal then. Thaksin feeds us Thai curry, and we feed his Messiah Complex.

~ Probably the most surreal time of all was had by a poster called Neville's bum chum over at Bluemoon (registration required). Popping into Reebok City last Friday he bumps into Thaksin and his family and persuades our new owner to have his picture taken with him. On leaving the store he notices Alistair Mackintosh walking into the stadium, calls over to him, and gets him to pose for a shot. He then relates an extraordinary conversation in which Mackintosh allegedly remarked that Distin "must be mad going to Portsmouth" and that Barton was "going to end up in fucking prison anyway." I can't really comment on how accurately the conversation has been remembered but the pictures he took on his phone of him with Thaksin and Mackintosh have been posted on the site and he is adamant that those were his exact words.

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