Date:Friday January 9 2009
Bonjour Johnny, Comment allez-vous ?
Bonjour Chix, Je suis bien remercie vous, et vous ?
Bons mercis. Attendre avec intérêt le week-end
Although conducted in French, the rest of the interview has been translated into English for the benefit of our readers.
So M. Baguette, tell me a little about yourself . How long have you been supporting City? do you attend Eastlands on a regular basis?
A Blue since 1967 thanks to my Dad. I live in France now so get to a handful of home fixtures a year, but modern technology has seen me witness the rollercoaster ride over 20 times already this season. The ties remain strong with my family and mates and we did a three generation family night out for the PSG UEFA Cup clash. I always miss Manchester but keep in touch about The Blues on a daily basis.
What is your greatest moment as a City fan?
To come back from the almost certainly dead. The 10th anniversary is coming up. Beating Gillingham on penalties at Wembley in May 1999. We would have been finished if it wasn't for our heroes that day.
Who is your favourite City player of all time?
It would have to be someone who encapsulates everything about being a Blue. Fightback, courage, loyalty, honour and a steadfast refusal to give in. Shaun Goater.
What's it like being a rich Arabs play-thing?
I agree with Noel Gallagher on this one. There had to be some sort of reward for 40 years of service and 'Sheikh Mancity' giving the go ahead to buy City, for all the recent poor results still offers promise of far, far, better times to come. Sure, His Highness Sheikh Mansour's people have bought City as part of their plans for an oil free future on the back of buying The Chrysler Building, etc but under young Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak the club are making priorities of pumping money into the MCFC Academy and reaching out to the Manchester community. That'll do for starters.
Is Mark Hughes the right man for the job?
I wasn't happy with his obvious rag connections at the outset when the Thai's brought him in. However, I was looking forward to him injecting some steel and a siege mentality into the squad. This hasn't happened. Some of his substitutions and tactics have been mystifying to say the least. Blues are still speculating over what exactly has gone wrong. Do we have mutineers in the squad? Allied to injuries to key players, has that undermined Hughes' options or is he just plain out of his depth? To his credit he has given just about every available senior player a chance to prove himself. But I like many others have called for Hughes' removal as an emergency measure since we lost hopelessly at West Brom. However, City's hierarchy have stood firm in their support of him. I am also increasingly realising that the crap failures we have on board who got a stay of execution when the Thai's sacked Svennis might get a third chance to stay on the gravy train were Hughes axed. But if we keep on losing, it'll be curtains, for sure.
Who do you think will be offloaded in January?
January transfer windows are usually notable for their lack of activity and the City squad is young, lightweight and lacking strength in depth meaning you'd expect players in rather than out at this stage. But we are carrying a number of passengers who are almost certainly doomed at the end of this season. Not only that, evidence of squad discord has been seen out on the pitch and if there are foundations in the rumours of 5th columnists in the playing ranks, then the likes of Gelson, Hamman, Ball, Vassell, Elano, Jo and Tal Ben Haim could all be up the road. Oh yes, and Danny Mills is still paid by us, you know.
How is our mate Benjani - And can we have him back ?
Nice bloke by all accounts, terrifically hard worker but no way is he a lone striker as Vital Pompey warned us. Both Svennis and Hughes have used him relentlessly in that role and it's hardly paid off. He is also starting to ship injuries with regularity. I still believe he will be back home at Pompey this year.
What are your thoughts on the Joey Barton to Pompey speculation?
If that comes to pass it will be a shocker of a move for obvious disgraceful reasons, but would also highlight Tony Adams acceptance that Pompey need to start battling and biting back in midfield. I may not be popular in saying this but Barton's tackling presence and drive has yet to be replaced at City.
If you could pick one Pompey player to play for City who would it be?
Again, might not be popular but I would move for Sylvain Distin under an all is forgiven/quick defensive fix scenario. We are in the shit and need to sort out the centre of defence asap.
What do you expect the score to be on Saturday?
I predicted in this week's Vital City Zen that we'll lose unless the new cavalry arrive in time. With so much at stake in a league which has no margin for error and is generally dominated by big, physical sides, I predict that one goal will settle it and it will be Portsmouth's unless Hughes can galvanise and motivate the players who shamed our shirt against Nottingham Forest. Without SWP and Ireland and the addition of only Bridge he'll surely go for damage limitation.
What were your hopes for this season ? And what are they now ?
I honestly thought we would be in the UEFA Cup places and doing well on all cup fronts at the turn of the year considering 7 players of sound reputation had been brought in over the summer. We've witnessed some scintillating attacking football and appalling defending in equal measure and shedloads of goals in both directions. It's been bedlam at times, but now, realistically we have to hold out for urgently finding league stability and then being able to give the last 32 in the UEFA Cup a real crack.
Where would you expect to see Pompey & City finish come May?
If things carry on as they are we'll be both scrapping for survival! That said, maybe City have finally bottomed out and the only way is up. Much of that revival would depend upon who comes and goes this month. Pompey don't have the same funding of course, but surely you have enough talent to arrest the current slide.
Merci Johnny. Il t'a été bon parler
Le plaisir était tout l'à moi Chix. Je dois dire que les rumeurs au sujet de vos bons regards sont très vraies. Je peux imaginer que vous êtes un succès avec ces filles anglaises sexy !
To see the return interview in which Chix speaks to Johnny about Pompey`s chances tomorrow click here
Date:Friday January 9 2009
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