Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Site update

In light of the latest dramatic events I've decided to place today's planned feature on City's ownership and management structure on temporary hold.

I'm going to spend the rest of the day trying to make some sense of the latest developments, but it should be noted that a statement on the official site refers to the Abu Dhabi United Group (ADUG) "investing" in the club rather than taking it over.

Personally, I sense there's a lot more going on here than meets the eye, and I'm not yet convinced that Thaksin really intends to sell up. But hopefully we'll get a much clearer picture over the next couple of days.

Tomorrow I'll be publishing an updated Premier League / world transfer spending table (which may contain a surprise or two) and later in the week I'll be detailing how much City have actually spent since the Thaksin takeover.

Player ratings v Sunderland

I don't know if Sky are annoyed at selling their 10% stake in City too cheaply, but this week I've given them the red card for their bizarre ratings for this game.

Ratings come from (in order): MEN (Chris Bailey); xavi6, Vhero, bobadji, LookMumI', Svensational, SvenIsDaMan, goat_thelegend, Niall Quinns Discopants, Grob, (Mancityfans), blue_blue (Wookie's Lair), Sky Your Rating and the BBC.

Hart: 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 8, 7, 7.6, 6.9 (av: 7.1 )
Precious little to do in terms of shot saving but there was confidence about work. (MEN)
Composed, solid etc etc. Didn't have a lot to do but did the little things well again. (xavi6)
Not a lot to do, but conceded 0 is all that matters. (bobadji)

Corluka: 7, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 7, 9, 9, 8, 7, 6.6, 6.7 (av: 8.2)
Couple of dodgy moments early on but settled well into rhythm. (MEN)
Best game in a loooooong time. Very calm, played lovely football, and defended well. (xavi6)
Brilliant today, hopefully he'll stay and form a decent partnership with SWP. (bobadji)

Richards (Ben-Haim 46): 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 8, 7, 7, 7, 7, 6, 7.2, 6.5 (av: 7.0)
Took a could of nasty blows to either end of his anatomy and off at break. (MEN)
Kept Cisse quiet while he was on. Hopefully he's ok. (xavi6)
Went off at h/t but looked a lot better at CB than midweek. (bobadji)

Dunne: 7, 7, 6.5, 7, 7, 7, 9, 8, 7, 7, 6, 8, 7.3, 6.7 (av: 7.2)
When he starts well the captain often continues in the same vein and did here. (MEN)
The skipper did well today. Didn't give any of the strikers a sniff. (xavi6)
Didn't have anything to do really, but what he did, he did well. (bobadji)

Ball: 7, 9, 9, 8, 8, 8, 8, ,8 ,8 ,8 7, 8, 7.1, 6.4 (av: 7.8)
Continues to show improved form and was neat, tidy and accomplished.
We all knew he could defend but he actually looks a threat going forward now. Played very, very well again. (xavi6)
Really good, solid at the back, and grabbed himself an assist for SWP's 2nd. (bobadji)

Ireland: 7, 8, 8, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 8, 7, 8.2, 7.5 (av: 8.3)
Survived the axe when Petrov went lame and did himself proud again. (MEN)
Some lovely link play with Jo and a great finish for the goal. Another good game from Superman. (xavi6)
Preferred to Elano. Scored, and looked generally lively. (bobadji)

Hamann: 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 7, 7.6, 6.6 (av: 7.8 )
Never does anything extravagant but it always has a positive purpose. (MEN)
If only he was ten years younger. Can draw a foul in any situation and was a real calming influence in the middle. (xavi6)
He's great to watch, good passer, good tackler, knows when to foul, and knows how to draw the foul. Shame he's slow as fuck really. (bobadji)

Johnson: (Gelson 81): 7, 8, 7, 8, 8, 8, 8, 7, 8, 9, 5, 7, 7.8, 6.7 (av: 7.5)
Looked much more influential when he managed to get forward. Made goal. (MEN)
Liked him a lot today. Played more like the West Ham game than the midweek one. Got forward a lot and generally just played well. (xavi6)
Looking much better, like the start of last season. Did well for Ireland's goal. (bobadji)

Kompany: 8, 9, 9, 8, 8, 8, 9, 8, 8, 8, 9, 8, 8.2, 7.5 (av: 8.3)
Another impressive effort and he doesn’t seem to have a weakness. (MEN)
We've got a real star here. Last week clearly was no fluke. Has all the assets to be a top holding midfielder. (xavi6)
Another cool performance from the Prince. He's Hamann but 10 years ago. Brilliant. (bobadji)

Wright-Phillips (Elano 85): 9, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 9, 10, 10, 10, 9.5, 9.1, 9.0 (av: 9.7)
Superb. Never stopped running, tackling, smiling and scoring!
Carlsberg don't do dream returns........!!!! Fantastic to have him back and two goals capped a great day. (xavi6)
What can you say? Superb. (bobadji)

Jo: 7, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 9, 8, 8, 7, 7.5, 7.9, 7.1 (av: 7.8)
Much better. A threat in air but miscued his one real chance to score.
Fully deserved a goal. Ran his bollox off upfront and got involved in some lovely build ups. Couple more weeks playing with the rest and he'll be sorted. (xavi6)
Great touch and movement, did really well for 2 of the goals. Just lacking a goal or his game would've been complete. (bobadji)


Ben-Haim (Richards 46): 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 8, - , 7, 7, 8, - , 6.8, 6.3 (av: 7.1)
Intelligent and sturdy defending. (MEN)
Solid, didn't give their strikers a sniff. (xavi6)
Didn't have lots to do, but was solid. (bobadji)

Gelson (Johnson 81): 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 8, - , - , 6, 6, 5, 6.3, 5.9 (av: 6.1)
Plenty of energy. (MEN)
Buzzing as usual. (bobadji)

Elano( Wright-Phillips 85)
Didn't have a real chance to influence the game. (bobadji)

Subs not used:

Schmeichel, Garrido, Evans, Sturridge

Is it time for a new badge?

There's been plenty of discussion about this on the talkboards over the last few days, fuelled by this highly dubious Sunday Mirror story, which claims that Thaksin is going to give our badge a Thai-makeover, incorporating an elephant / mythical creature / Bangkok ladyboy, or whatever, into the design.

Considering that this is the paper that brought us the classic 'Thaksin Asks Players To Bow' nonsense, and that photos of next season's kit, if genuine, have the current badge on them, I'm guessing the story is largely mischief-making by a disgruntled - and possibly former - employee.

However, the possibility of a change of badge was raised at a Points of Blue meeting earlier in the year, attended by City's head of operations Sara Billington, and the matter appears to be under review. Certainly, with the club under new ownership a change of badge might be appropriate, particularly as there are plenty of fans, myself included, who have never been happy with the current one.

Although the introduction of the new badge in 1997 made good sense (Francis Lee revealed at the time that we weren't getting royalties on the old one), I do think it's a very flawed design. While the overall look of the badge is not bad, it hardly screams either "City" or "Manchester". Here it is close up:

My first gripe is the eagle, which looks too much like the back of US quarter, or worse, a Nazi symbol. The eagle was taken from this creepy-looking City of Manchester badge created in 1957, but doesn't appear on the much more commonly used City of Manchester coat of arms (pictured lower down) which was created in 1842.

The three stars "have no significance and are purely decorative", according to, and there's even a question mark about the meaning of the Latin motto "Superbia In Proelio". Although it translates as "Pride in battle", "superbia" is best defined as an arrogant or excessive type of pride.

Below are the designs that have been used throughout the club's history, starting with the Ardwick AFC badge dating from 1887:

That design was ditched after Ardwick evolved into Manchester City in 1894, and the official coat of arms of Manchester was adopted as the club crest. United also used this crest until the late 1960s though it appears that, unlike City, they needed permission on each occasion. "Concileo et Labore" loosely translates as "wisdom and effort":

The only other design I've seen used before the 1970s is this odd one that appeared on season tickets in the 1920s. Thankfully, it doesn't appear to have lasted that long:

The 1970s saw a redesign of the official Manchester crest which, for some reason, involved losing a stripe:

Traditionally only worn for Cup finals, the crest was used on shirts from 1977 to 1981:

I love both the look and the idea of using the Manchester coat of arms on shirts, but the fact that the club can't copyright it means it's unlikely to make another appearance. I'm presuming that copyright was also the reason the classic round badge was introduced, with clubs recognising the potential in club merchandising by the 1960s.

According to Gary James' Manchester: The Greatest City, the original version of this badge first started appearing in programmes and club documentation in the mid-1960s, but wasn't used on the shirt until the 1971-72 season:

In January 1972, a modified version of the badge was introduced. Surprisingly, this particular design has only been used on shirts for 19 seasons (compared to 11 seasons for the new badge) though somehow it feels much longer than that. Maybe my feelings about it are largely shaped by nostalgia, but I just think it is a thing a beauty:

Personally, I'm with Sir Ron Manager at Citymancs, who believes we should revert to this design. It's not clear who currently owns the copyright on the badge, but it might still be Eddie Phillips, who ran the old souvenir shop. According to this interview with Francis Lee, Phillips bought the rights to the badge from Peter Swales in the 1980s and also paid an annual flat fee for control of the souvenir shop, worth just £60,000 a year to the club in 1994.

That deal was terminated in 1995 when City took back control of the Maine Road souvenir shop and Phillips moved out (the redeveloped merchandise operation was making an estimated £2.5 million-a-year by 1998). It appears he took his badge with him, although there are still a few items at the City Store with it on.

Considering how much design consultants charge, you do wonder whether it would be just as cheap for the club to buy back the copyright. PR doesn't come cheap either, and reverting to the classic badge would certainly be a great publicity coup for our controversial owner.

Another option is a new badge that's close to the traditional design, such as this one posted by Wheelsy OSC Sydney at Bluemoon.

Or failing that we could just go the whole hog, with this design posted by MaineRoadMemories at Mancityfans:

~ I found an an excellent site called Behind The Badges, which has the history of the club badges for 98 English league teams.
~ You can see a graphic of every City home kit since 1884 at Historical Kits.


ga ga said...

I dont think going back to the old badge would be a good idea just because you shouldnt look back but the new variation of it that you show is a cracking looking badge it would help us remember what was and look forward to what could be again.

gazef said...

I think the current badge is the best of the bunch. Each to their own but i think it stands out and has a continental feel to it. When it was unveiled, i felt proud and still to this day think it's the best in the league. I for sure don't want it incorporating a Thai theme unless they only want to incorporate a subtle symbol or something.

Falastur said...

I have to say that I also like the new badge, though I also think the stars not representing anything could either be seen as hopeless optimism or an attempt to infuse glory by non-City fans. And I just thought I'd offer you this, just posted on the City site: Garry Cook denies all rumours of a Thai-style badge, saying "“I did see a ridiculous story ... which claimed that there would be a change to the club crest with the image of an elephant ... I want to assure supporters that there is no truth in that whatsoever” Presumably if that's up on the club site, it's reliable.

Andrew said...

ga ga,
Considering the number of changes we've witnessed - new stadium, new ownership, different colour kits - I'd prefer at least one clear link with the past.
However, I'd happily settle for a badge that was based on the old design.

Yeah, it's all a matter of personal preference. As I said in the article, nostalgia probably plays a big part here, and that old badge just stirs my emotions in a way the current one never can.

Andrew said...

I'm going to be writing more about that Sunday Mirror piece, as the claim lower down in the story that Thaksin answers to the title "Your Excellency" not only strikes me as a complete falsehood, but could have serious consequences if it spread around Thailand.

jackblue said...

Garry Cook Quoted today on
“I did see a ridiculous story in an English Sunday newspaper before I left which claimed that there would be a change to the club crest with the image of an elephant being added to it! I want to assure supporters that there is no truth in that whatsoever,” he added

ga ga said...

I think all points on a topic like changing a badge are relevant what i didnt get across in my first comment is i actually am a big fan of the current badge but if it were to change i would have a prefrence like falastur said garry cook denies it. One thing i know is i wouldnt settle for a thai style badge and wouldnt buy merchandise with it on as city are from england not thailand and it would be an insult to the heritage of our club asides from that they could play in bin bags with no badge my number 1 care is winning a trophy as that is what big clubs like us should be doing.WE ARE IMPECCABLE.

Anonymous said...

Swiss Tony,
There was a newspaper article released earlier in the week apparently from the good Dr. In it he stated that the Crest design was in discussion, that he would not be including any Thai symbols but he was thinking about getting rid of the boat as "A sail boat can only take you as far as the wind blows, No wind, no sail". If the quotes are true then it has two potential effects - Definitely no to the old badge and a completely new design.

Mr Kev said...

This is a fab article, really interesting look at the history. I'm only 28, so it's nice to get an idea of the history behind the club.

I was a classicist at uni, and I can advise that 'Concilio' is a word pertaining to plans and cunning, so a more natural translation would be 'cunning and hard work'.

'Superbia' meanwhile does not have any implicit arrogance, but is a very brash term, and one that would normally be associated with someone playing themself up, so yes, does seem rather arrogant! :)

Norb said...

heraldic badge of the city of manchester:

Andrew said...

jackblue, ga ga
Glad to see that official statement, as I've been surprised how many people were getting wound up by the Sunday Mirror story.
Interesting that Cook didn't rule out a re-design though.

Swiss Tony,
I couldn't find an English translation for those Thaksin quotes from a recognised news source, so left them out of the article.

Mr Kev,
Thanks for that. "Cunning and hard work" would be an apt motto for City under Hughes.

Nice find. That is one creepy looking badge though.

Norb said...

the picture you have of the current club crest is wrong, the typeface for the motto and the motto itself is wrong

Is a picture from an official club source
The font used is "Script MT Bold"

if you type "Superbia In Proelio" into MS Word (or even notepad) and change to that font you will see that it is the correct spelling of the motto

Superbia was the latin cognate of hybris (now spelled hubris in english) which is often defined as "overweening pride" - the "Pride comes before a fall" sort

Andrew said...

Thanks norb,

I've amended the piece to take on board your comments.

Chris said...

Ive done a version of the club logo, which borrows elements of the old and adds a splash of the new, see what you think


Chris Bickley

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