Pipe down Barnes, you tool.

The oracle and fountain of management insight that is John Barnes should really keep certain opinions to himself and today is a perfect example. "Clash of egos is City's Achilles heel" reads the The Independent with a picture of ESPN's new 'football analyst' underneath.

Here's what he said;

"Football is all about togetherness, spirit and players being on the same level."

No shit Sherlock so what's your point? As though I don't already know where this is going.

"Manchester City are playing really well but I've always believed the test of a good side and the mentality and the character of champions is when things are not going so well."

You mean like having a man sent off after just conceding a penalty?

"I have no worries that United wont come back from that 6-1 defeat, because they have the character, as we've seen for the last 10 years. I remember United coming back from 2-0 down in key matches. Can City do that? They're playing well, winning in style, but Chelsea this time last year were doing the same thing."

Am I missing something or did City come back from being behind to beat Villareal recently? City also went on to increase their lead against Wolves despite being 2 men down (taking the ref into account).

"You can have too many star players. When a superstar coming off is replaced by another superstar, then he sees him as a threat, someone who can take his position. When City players have come off I can see a lot of them haven't been happy because they feel under threat."

So a player seeing another player as a threat to his position in the squad is a bad thing? Aren't pundits always saying competition for places is what drives players to perform better? And how many players does Barnes consider "a lot"? As this season the only players to have shown any real frustration have been Mario Balotelli in pre-season who was dragged off early and Edin Dzeko during the Bayern Munich game. Ok AJ didn't look happy at being hauled off in the first half against Villareal but seriously, what player would be?

What would have me worried is if players were quite happy to be taken off the pitch, but as it is now, the players are desperate to keep their places and are playing out of their skin for as much game time as possible.

But lets face it, all of City's new signings knew what they were getting into before signing the contract, they knew the players that were already here and they knew they weren't all going to play all of the time, and Mancini is doing a great job of managing them all.

"There are always sticky patches... So I reserve judgement on Manchester City until I see how they respond to adversity."

It sounds to me you're judge, jury and executioner here John and the verdict is already in. Yes we're only a quarter of the way through the season but I think we've seen City respond to certain adversity already.

I assume playing Last season's Champions League players in Spurs and last season's League Champions United is a cake walk is it? And City hammered them both in their own back yards. Lets also not forget the ludicrous number of headlines and stories designed to put pressure on the club, a lot of which a completely fictitious. Are they not some sort of adversity? What about the debacle that is Tevez and all the agro he has created that so called experts said would derail City's season? Has that not provided the club a measure of adversity to overcome?

"What Sir Alex Ferguson and Kenny Dalglish are doing is signing players they think will stay for years. Phil Jones, Ashley Young, Stewart Downing and Charlie Adam, they're not going to be looking to move anywhere else. Look at City now with Tevez, and what you get with foreign players who really have no allegiance to the club."

Oh my it gets better! You are correct that Jones, Young, Downing and Adam wont be going anywhere in a hurry because no other top team outside of this country wants them or would even want to pay the kind of fees United and Liverpool would ask for because of them paying over the odds for them in the first place (apart from Adam who is the only one out of those 4 who could even contemplate being sold for a profit at this moment in time).

Andy Carroll for £35m anyone? Stewart Downing for £20m? Ermmm....  Thought not.

And I love the part about "foreign players who really have no allegiance to the club." You're kidding right? So De Jong never said he would willingly see out his career at City as long as they wanted him at the club? David Silva didn't say he would turn down any advances from Real and Barca to stay at City? Kompany hasn't married a local lass and is well and truly settled in Manchester? Zabaleta is itching for a move isn't he?

What makes Barnes think that none of the 4 players he mentioned and the other English players transferred to United and Liverpool this summer wouldn't want a move? I bet if City or the likes of Milan, Real, Barca etc did come knocking for any of them (which I'm pretty damn sure they wont), I wonder how long it would take for United and Liverpool's English players' heads to be turned. Lets face it Rooney would jump at the chance if they offered more money seeing as he used City as a bargaining chip to get himself a better contract at United. And lets not forget the utmost loyalty they all showed to the clubs they have just left eh?

Does he really think City are buying players they feel will move on in a couple of seasons? Does ANY club at the top do that? I think we all know the answer.

City certainly haven't done that. If you look at the ages of the players that have come in it's a team specifically built for longevity. Lets quickly look at the 1st team players who have come in during Mancini's tenure and the age at the time of transfer

Patrick Vieira (34)
Adam Johnson (22)
Jerome Boateng (22)
Yaya Toure (27)
David Silva (24)
Aleks Kolarov (24)
Mario Balotelli (19)
James Milner (24)
Edin Dzeko (25)
Gael Clichy (26)
Stefan Savic (20)
Sergio Aguero (23)
Samir Nasri (24)
Owen Hargreaves (30)

Out of those 14, Vieira has retired and Boateng left due to family circumstances and the fact he didn't have the fight in him to compete with the other defenders.

So with Hargreaves and Vieira who were a 'quick fix' and seasoned tutor respectively, the average age of the signings whilst Mancini has been here is 24.6 years old. Without those two it's 23.3 years old. They're hardly seasoned veterans in the autumn of their careers are they?

Then take into account the current age of the likes of Richards (23), Hart (24), Kompany (25), Zabaleta (26), and De Jong (26) you begin to see that the vast majority of this team could potentially be together for another 6-7 years. How's that sounding now John? 

"I think Liverpool will be back in the top four. You can see that Arsenal are a bit inconsistent and Tottenham are similar. Manchester United will be first or second. Liverpool could pip Chelsea or even Manchester City."

In other words, and in a pretty round about way, he sees the top of the league table looking like this come May
  1. Liverpool
  2. Manchester United
  3. Manchester City
  4. Chelsea

Oh please! I really could go on and on and on about this, but anyway. On a final note... 

John Barnes, ESPN's new football analyst, analyse this...


Stuebben Saddlery to Sponsor Silva

Silva and Aesthete
Winning with the New Stuebben Saddle at 2011 Dressage at Devon

I am very excited to announce a new sponsorship from Stuebben Saddlery! I worked for Rudolf Zeilinger in Germany and that’s all he rode in, so I am very familiar with Stuebben saddles. They have a new model called the Genesis D Special and it’s really comfortable and close-contact so I can feel the horse. I’m really excited that I have a new partnership and the thing I most enjoy is that my horse’s backs are so much better since I started riding them.

The company is old-school and fits the saddle to each horse. Especially for people with back problems or fitting problems, Stuebben has been around for a long time and they really know how to make a saddle fit. I have a bad back like most riders and the Biomex seat really helps my back.

The other thing I find is that their customer service is outstanding; if there’s anything
wrong they’ll come get the saddle, adjust the fit and get it right back. Even when I went to Chicago they picked it up Monday and by Wednesday I had the new saddle in Chicago – that’s really impressive.

I feel like a lot of people kind of decided Stuebben didn’t go with the times, and they are not as popular as they used to be, but with this new saddle I really feel they’ve stepped up their game and it’s very comfortable for horse and rider.

My contact at Stuebben is Keith Brooks – he’s a big help and I’m very impressed with him. He’s amazing with people and very thorough, making sure everybody is happy. To contact Keith about a new saddle for you and your horse please contact him at 804-690-8002.


The 'new' City mentality.

Since joining City from Shrewsbury, Joe Hart has worked his way up to be both club and country's 1st choice goalkeeper. This was no mean feat either, and I'd say it was even more of an achievement to do it at City as he had one of the best keepers to grace the Premier League fighting him for it.

Although other players generally stand out for their performances or attitude towards the club I do think Charles gets a little overlooked (more so this season than last and a little like his 1st name) but epitomises the desire within the squad.

He was interviewed by mcfc.co.uk after the derby, where City romped away as 6-1 winners, did I ment1-6n they won 6-1? 6-1 at the swamp, don't think I ment1-6ned it. Anyway... In the interview Joe describes how annoyed they won 6-1. Why? Because it was 6-ONE.

"I was annoyed. You can get carried away with the result and the three points, but we let in a goal. It kills me to let one in, it kills all of us.

"I'm so angry because we've hammered teams and then we've let a stupid goal in. It's frustrating, and we're trying for perfection at the moment."

That sums up the mentality Mancini is instilling within the squad. He's a perfectionist and we've all heard him talk about the players never resting on their laurels, always striving to do better and even after a good win there is always something to improve on. It's important you see. Bobby has also mentioned (on a number of occasions) after City have let in the odd goal that this is one thing that bugs him. It seems to bug all the players too.

Now I certainly can't speak for every team's attitude but I should imagine there are a few that don't mind conceding the odd goal if they score more than the opposition. For some teams and managers that may be fine, not City.

When Sheikh Mansour took over and installed Khaldoon Al Mubarak as Chairman they wanted to create a football dynasty. They wanted to take a club and make it the best in the world. Then they installed a manager who was absolutely driven and as demanding and focused as they were. Roberto Mancini.

That focus and drive has gradually permeated the squad and now looks weaved into the fabric of the players. Joe Hart is no exception there. Just look at his reaction to conceding a goal (or the next time he concedes), even at 3-0 up at the time, he absolutely hates it. 

"So he should, he's a goalkeeper" I hear you say, well yes, but I've not seen too many keepers look like that when they're already 3-0 up and just had a goal put past them. And the sheer look of disappointment can also be seen on many other players in the squad too. Although it will only be for a fleeting moment.

Hart also gives us a little insight into the dressing room in an interview after opening a new club house for AFC Urmston in mid-week after being asked about the derby.

"There was a lot of talk about the Charity Shield, when we were 2-0 up at the break... We were telling each other not to back off, to go for it. And we did."

We've read it a few times before that it's not just the Manager that gets a word in at half time, it seems the lads are encouraged to make their views known to each other and to encourage each other during the break. There are a number of very strong characters in the squad now and that seems to be paying dividends.

If there's one thing that City aren't short of, it's leaders. Joe Hart is a commanding and confident presence at the back. Vincent Kompany is a born leader and club captain. Nigel De Jong is another strong and influential character in the team. Gareth Barry has captained England at times, has a steady head and is a fantastic professional. Micah Richards, despite his age he is a big character and as determined as anyone at the club when he steps on that pitch. Kolo Toure can be added to that as he was club captain at one point. I should Imagine Kolo's brother Yaya, will also be one of those to get their say as he is one of the most experienced players in the squad.

Some teams struggle to find 1 good leader, City have at least 6 or 7 to choose from, and it shows. No longer are we seeing the team put their heads down after a goal, we're seeing them push from the first to the last whistle, we're also seeing them push even harder to finish the game in a strong manner.

A wonderful example of this new resolve and mental strength they seem to find themselves with is the  3-1 Premier League win against Wolves. From the moment the first whistle went City were playing against 14 men; The 11 Wolves players, the ref and the two linesmen. If you watched the game you will no doubt be of a similar opinion that it was undoubtedly one of the worst and most one sided performances from any set of officials I've ever witnessed.

Wolves, a team well known for their 'physical' approach to the game only had 5 fouls called against them all game. City on the other hand had 17. An example of one of these 'fouls' was a Wolves player leaping over and into the back of Mario Balotelli to head the ball, which caused Mario to double over (a little theatrically, but still...). What was the refs decision? Foul... to Wolves, because Stuart Attwell decided Mario had backed into the player. Ok then Stuart.

Another example would be the blatant penalty call that both the ref and linesman conveniently missed/flat-out ignored when Nasri lifted the ball into the box. Dzeko at this point was almost in a choke hold but nothing was called.

I could go on and on about the ref but the point of this piece isn't to describe how the ref was a grossly incompetent prick (just look at his record and you'll see) that couldn't referee an U10's game let alone a Premier League match.

Anyway, what affect did this have on the team? Very little in the grand scheme of things. The lads plugged away, toughed it out, gave Wolves very few chances to score and even when down to 10 men they managed an injury time goal to stretch their lead.

Mick McCarthy told the BBC the they "let [City] off the hook" in that game, but I'm not entirely sure which game he was watching. City were not at their best by any stretch of the imagination but as Alan Hansen correctly put it (yes you did read that right) at the moment even when City aren't at their best "they're still impressive".

Yes City were and are still impressive despite not being at their best, despite playing against a ref that simply refused to acknowledge any foul against a City player even if that left them on the floor clutching their ankle in pain, despite going down to 10 men (for what is increasingly looking like a 50/50 after watching it on several replays, but we'll not argue) City were still impressive. They locked out Wolves and still got themselves a goal. Maybe Fergie could learn something there.

The 'old' City would have crumbled after going down to 10 men and conceded 2 or 3 goals late on. But the team now has such a balance and mental strength that even though they hadn't been playing to their full potential it barely affected them in the end. Being able to win games when playing 'poor' is what Champions do, isn't that what Hansen said last week? I noticed there was no mention of it this week though. But City proved they can do it, and do it well under very difficult circumstance

Oh and just one more thing seeing as I've seen it in a few places this morning. The fans were NOT booing the players. Any moron with half a brain should be able to figure out that the booing was for the ref. That is all... 


The Way I See It: Patience

Hidden in the midst of the piles of laundry that don't put themselves away, the dust balls that keep me from seeing the autumnal light dancing on the floor in the afternoon....


is the prize of patience, showing my reflection in all its glory.

It can often seem fleeting,

fragile, capable of bursting without warning,

but sometimes it comes to rest for awhile, helping me to love and live more fully.

Many thanks again, Molly, for The Way I See It photo prompts.  If you enjoy photography, please join the fun this week with the prompt simplicity.

City Stats: Manchester City v Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Joe Hart
  • Distribution: 26/41 - 63%
  • Saves: 4/5 - 80%
  • Minutes: 90

Micah Richards
  • Shots: 0
  • Passes: 31/44 - 70%
  • Interceptions: 0
  • Tackles: 4/7 - 57
  • Minutes: 90

Vincent Kompany
  • Shots: 0
  • Passes: 38/54 - 70%
  • Interceptions: 3
  • Tackles: 3/3 - 100%
  • Minutes: 75 (red card)

Joleon Lescott
  • Shots: 0
  • Passes: 37/42 - 88%
  • Interceptions: 3
  • Tackles: 2/2 - 100%
  • Minutes: 90

Aleks Kolarov
  • Shots: 1/2 - 1 blocked - 1 goal - 50% - 50% goals/shots
  • Passes: 36/55 - 65%
  • Interceptions: 1
  • Tackles: 3/4 - 75%
  • Minutes: 90

Yaya Toure
  • Shots: 0/1 - 0%
  • Passes: 47/55 - 1 assist - 85%
  • Interceptions: 2
  • Tackles: 3/3 - 100%
  • Minutes: 90

Gareth Barry
  • Shots: 0
  • Passes: 57/63 - 90%
  • Interceptions: 3
  • Tackles: 5/5 - 100%
  • Minutes: 90

David Silva
  • Shots: 1/3 - 1 blocked - 33%
  • Passes: 45/59 - 76%
  • Interceptions: 1
  • Tackles: 3/4 - 75%
  • Minutes: 90

Samir Nasri
  • Shots: 1/2 - 50%
  • Passes: 26/31 - 83%
  • Interceptions: 1
  • Tackles: 2/4 - 50%
  • Minutes: 71

Sergio Aguero
  • Shots: 1/4 - 25%
  • Passes: 25/27 - 92%
  • Interceptions: 1
  • Tackles: 2/5 - 40%
  • Minutes: 76

Edin Dzeko
  • Shots: 2/4 - 1 goal - 50% - 25% goals/shots
  • Passes: 8/18 - 44%
  • Interceptions: 0
  • Tackles: 1/5 - 20%
  • Minutes: 63

Adam Johnson
  • Shots: 1/1 - 1 goal - 100% - 100% goals/shots
  • Passes: 14/15 - 93%
  • Interceptions: 1
  • Tackles: 0/1 - 0%
  • Minutes: 27

Mario Balotelli
  • Shots: 0/2 - 0%
  • Passes: 4/6 - 66%
  • Interceptions: 0
  • Tackles: 1/1 - 100%
  • Minutes: 19

Stefan Savic
  • Shots: 0
  • Passes: 1/1 - 100%
  • Interceptions: 1
  • Tackles: 1/1 - 100%
  • Minutes: 14

Team Stats
  • Shots: 7/19 - 3 goals -  52% - 15% goals/shots
  • Passes: 395/511 - 1 assist - 77%
  • Interceptions: 17
  • Tackles: 30/45 - 66%
  • Corners: 5
  • Posession: 50%
  • Fouls: 17

Note: The ref was absolutely horrendously and disgustingly piss poor. The very worst I've seen in any game in the Premier League so far this season. So disregard about 50% of those fouls and you could add at least 10 onto the number of fouls Wolves committed. That is all I can say about that without exploding across the room in a visceral mess... For now anyway.


Susan Tuckerman Digital Art

At a recent Burghley celebration hosted by the Wintersteens, Susie Tuckerman very generously presented Boyd & Silva with one of her inspiring portraits.  This digital portrait was based off an original photo that Susie took of Boyd & Neville last year at the WEG, as they were galloping cross country.

I wanted to share this portrait with Boyd's fan base as a Thank You to Susie, and also as an opportunity to announce her new website, www.susantuckerman.com, which we just launched this week.  The website presents a cross section of her artwork which focuses on horses in sport, and wonderful portraits of children, dogs and the natural landscapes that inspire her.  Her pricing is quite reasonable, so please take a look at her designs & contact Susie directly about creating your own custom portrait!

Vote For Boyd!!! America's Favorite Equestrians To Be Announced at Alltech National Horse Show. Voting closes on October 31st!

WESTPORT, CT - October 29, 2011 - America's Favorite Equestrian will be selected based on the athletes with the highest number of votes on October 31, 2011 in each of the eight disciplines of Dressage, Driving, Endurance, Eventing, Jumping, Para-Dressage, Reining and Vaulting. The announcement will be made at a Victory Party hosted by the EQUUS Foundation and the United States Equestrian Federation on Friday, November 4, 2011, at 9:30 p.m. during the Alltech National Horse Show in Lexington, Kentucky.

Who's in the Lead?
The three equestrians for each discipline are listed in order of the total votes cast as of October 28, 2011.

This is it! Keep Voting! All it takes is a $5 gift to The EQUUS Foundation to insure that your favorite is America's favorite. To vote, click VOTE.

Guenter Seidel
Debbie McDonald
Steffen Peters

Rochelle Temple
Chester Weber
Tucker Johnson

Becky Hart
Julie Suhr
Dave Rabe

Tiana Coudray
Boyd Martin
Kimberly Severson

Anne Kursinski
Beezie Madden
McLain Ward

Para Dressage:
Jennifer Baker
Mary Jordan
Jonathan Wentz

Andrea Fappani
Shawn Flarida
Tom McCutcheon

Katharine Wick
Ali Divita
Megan Benjamin

For information on The EQUUS Foundation, Inc., visit the EQUUS website at www.equusfoundation.org or contact The EQUUS Foundation, Inc., at (203) 259-1550 or equus@equusfoundation.org.

About America's Favorite Equestrian
The EQUUS Foundation and the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) jointly launched the inaugural America's Favorite Equestrian in celebration of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games and the eight international disciplines represented on the field of play. The objective is for America's Favorite Equestrian to be an ongoing program with all equestrian disciplines/breeds represented and the winners recognized in a permanent "Hall of Fame".

About The EQUUS Foundation, Inc.
The EQUUS Foundation, Inc., established in August 2002, as a 501(c)(3) national charitable foundation, is dedicated to improving the quality of life of horses, promoting the use of horses to enrich the lives of those in need, and educating the public about the horse's unique ability to empower, teach and heal.

Thanks to the generosity of its donors, The EQUUS Foundation helps thousands of people and horses each year. Donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. Contact The EQUUS Foundation, Inc., at 168 Long Lots Road, Westport, CT 06880, Tele: (203) 259-1550 , E-Mail: equus@equusfoundation.org, website: www.equusfoundation.org.

The Friday Clive

From The Letters of C.S. Lewis to Arthur Greeves, 29 May 1918. Note: Lewis's conversion to Christianity happened in 1931.  I love seeing the chronology of Lewis's thinking and believing.

"The thing in your last letter with which I most want to disagree is the remark about Beauty and nature: apparently I did not make myself clear. You say that nature is beautiful because of its shape, colour and motions, and perhaps a little because of association. Now these colours etc are sensations in my eye, produced by vibrations on the aether between me and the tree; the real tree is something quite different - a combination of colourless, shapeless, invisible atoms. It follows then that neither the tree, nor any other material object can be beautiful in itself: I can never see them as they are, and if I could it would give me no delight. The beauty therefore is not in matter at all, but is something purely spiritual, arising mysteriously out of the relation between me & the tree: or perhaps as I suggest in my Song, out of some indwelling spirit behind the matter of the tree - the Dryad in fact. You see the conviction is gaining ground that after all Spirit does exist; and that we come in contact with the spiritual element by means of these "thrills." I fancy that there is Something right outside time & place, which did not create matter, as the Christians say, but is matter's great enemy: and that Beauty is the call of the spirit in that something to the spirit in us. You see how frankly I admit that my views have changed."

Projeto Saúde Bucal

Projeto desenvolvido pela Secretaria da Saúde do Município.



I have always had small dreams. Simple pleasures, small victories, pebbles splashing in tiny ponds, this has been my realm.  But a handful of years ago I became better acquainted with my now-dear friend Lisa and her family, and at that moment I was pushed into the front row to watch what big dreams, big vision, big faith look like. I have seen them host an annual carnival to serve and love orphans and widows around the world, I have listened as their door has swung open and slammed shut to hundreds of people who come over to swim, to talk, to laugh, to be loved, I have been the recipient of their love and wisdom and frienship.  Lisa and her family do life big and they do it beautifully. 

And now their family of ten is heading to Kenya to live and work with Agape Ministries, expanding their loving arms to children who have been abandoned to life on the streets of the city of Kisumu in western Kenya. Dreaming big becomes dreaming huge when you put the wheels in motion to get eight children and their parents across the world. Plane tickets, immunizations, packing, cleaning out, and harvesting walnuts on their ranch...they are doing amazing work, and they have not even gotten to African soil yet.

When you read Agape's website, it is gut wrenching.  I can't help but stop and ask how I can contribute in my small way.  I knew we had no more money to give this month, but then the request came out for walnut harvest help; I knew we had gas in the car and three of us who could lend a helping hand, so off we went.

By the time we finished our small part on Monday, prayers of thanksgiving had been said for the completion of the harvest and the dozens (and dozens) of hands that had volunteered to help the Kjeldgaards meet their needs.  They leave for Kenya in 43 days, having seen God use so many to make this dream of serving and loving street children come true.

We love you, Kjeldgaards!  

If you would like to be a part of reaching these children on the streets of Kisumu, you can sponsor a child or you can contribute directly to the Kjeldgaard family's trip (click here to read their newsletter and see where to send your donation.)  I can attest to the integrity, work ethic and devotion of this family, and the facts about street children in Kenya attest to the dire need for this ministry to be present in Kisumu.

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27

P.S.  This is also my The Way I See It: Community post.  Being a part of the Kjeldgaard community is a privilege and a blast.  The Way I See It photography prompt comes from Molly at Close to Home.  If you love seeing life through the lens of your camera, join in the fun each week.  Tomorrow's prompt is patience (Lord, have mercy!)