Date: 15th May 2007 at 3:37pm
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Grade A

Richard Dunne – Another fine season for our club captain. He is a top defender and was deservedly named as the clubs player of the year. He`s the best player we have.

Sylvain Distin – If this was to be his last season with the club then Sylvain signed off in style. His performances have been consistently at the highest level and should he leave, he would be a great loss. A great ambassador for this club and a fine player.

Micah Richards – A fine season for the 18 year old, his athleticism has been sorely missed over the last 10 games and he is the brightest prospect our academy has ever produced. Expect big things from him in a City shirt next season, Richards has the potential to be the cornerstone of our team for the next 15 years.

Grade B

Nicky Weaver – A magnificent return from a man whose career was in jeopardy 12 months ago. Weaver has produced some of his best form this season. While he isn`t world class by a long shot, he is a solid dependable keeper who this club should strive to keep. It`s a worry that he hasn`t signed a new deal yet so fingers crossed.

Michael Ball – The best left back this club has had since the days of Andy Hinchcliffe. Ball is a great defender and gets forward very well. His distribution for a full back is very good also. A player deserving of a long term contract.

Emile Mpenza – Has established himself as the clubs number one forward in less than 3 months. Worked tirelessly in the lone striker`s role and sticks the ball in the back of the net when a chance presents itself. Could prove to be a tremendous asset with the right players around him as he`s a quality footballer.

Joey Barton – Joey has endured an up and down season to say the least. On the pitch, his performances have not been as good as they were last season. His overall quality has been severely lacking, not to mention his dead ball deliveries. He seems to have missed playing with Reyna and does not gel well in midfield with any of our current players. Likely to have played his last game here following the Dabo incident, the loss of Barton would be no catastrophe. Take away his energy and he has little else which points to him being a top class midfielder. Overrated by many, its time to call an end to the Barton era.

Grade C

Michael Johnson – A midfield schemer who shows great promise. Johnson is a raw talent whose performances in the City midfield get better and better every time he pulls on the shirt. He has a great touch and the innate ability to move the ball around quickly and precisely, something the likes of Barton, Hamann, and Dabo cannot do. With experience, he may develop into a top midfielder.

Stephen Ireland – Started the season out of the side but managed to carve himself a regular place over Christmas. Flatters to deceive a lot of the time but his performance against Spurs showed everyone he has great quality. Needs to work on his all round game over the summer as his impact on a lot of matches this season has been minimal. A talented footballer.

Darius Vassell – Played out of position on the wings for most of the season and has done an admirable job considering he`s rarely played there in his career before. He could not strike up a partnership with any of our current forwards when given a chance. Lack of goals can be attributed to his manager playing him out of position. Let`s hope a new boss can get the best out of him in an attacking role. Vassell is no winger, but he still has a lot to offer this club.

Nedum Onuoha – A good return to the first team following a string of injuries. Onuoha has the potential to be a top centre half. His touch and limited passing do not equate well to the full back role he has been employed in recently, but his defending has been exemplary on the whole. One of our great hopes for the future and a good man.

Andreas Isaksson – Injury hit first season for the big Swedish stopper who looks a top goalkeeping talent. Was brought into the side in February and has performed admirably. Hasn`t been overworked due to the quality of the City back four but on occasion has produced some fine stops. No clangers of note although his poor kicking over the last few matches could have resulted in disaster. A quality number one.

Sun Jihai – The ultimate squad player, Sun has bounced back from 12 months of injuries in style. Jack of all trades, master of none, he is invaluable to the club. Filled in on the right wing, in the middle of the park and at full back over the last third of the season and did a good job.

Grade D

DaMarcus Beasley – Underused winger whose chance in the side came too late. Beasley wasn`t given a run in the team until February even though he was the only left sided midfielder we had in the squad. He is a decent player but nothing more. Would be worth keeping around for a reasonable fee as he adds something different to the squad, but if he isn`t here next season, it will be no great loss.

Claudio Reyna – A fully fit Reyna provided a great base to the City midfield but injuries took their toll. He was on his last legs and was mercifully allowed to move back to America where he could enjoy rather than endure a career swansong. After seeing Dabo and Hamann perform in Reyna`s role, it shows just how good of a job Claudio did for us.

Dietmar Hamann – An injury blighted first season for the German, Hamann was once a fine midfield player but age is catching up with him fast. Shows the odd glimpse of his quality but the pace of the game is too much for him. His usually reliable passing radar is also on the blink. A move away to an easier tempo of football may be best for all parties this summer.

Ben Thatcher – A better bet than Jordan at left back, but not by much, Thatcher was too much of a loose cannon. His challenge on Mendes was horrendous and he was duly sold in January when Charlton inexplicably offered us 500k.

Hatem Trabelsi – The injury prone full back was never given a run in his favoured position due to the emergence of Micah Richards. A handful of quality performances on the right of midfield gave fans great hope for the season, but his production waned and he became a hindrance to the side after Christmas. The option on his contract has not been taken up by City and few will miss him.

Grade E

Georgios Samaras – A disastrous season for the great Greek hope, Samaras has been given a torrid time by his fans and manager. A natural forward, he has been stuck out on the left and right wings too often with zero success. His partnerships with Dickov, Vassell and Corradi did not gel and he finished the season sitting on the bench. Samaras has struggled to get to grips with the pace of the English game which often bypasses him. He isn`t physically or mentally strong enough at the moment. A new manager may rejuvenate his game but his physical attributes do not transfer well into the English style of football. Would be much better off applying his trade in Spain and, should a takeover occur, it may be best if we cut our losses and let Samaras make a fresh start.

Bernardo Corradi – A very poor return of 3 goals in 25 appearances has more or less put paid to Corradi`s career here. As with Samaras, his ‘talents` are not suited to Premiership football. Too slow, poor touch, and too soft. A move away is a must regardless of who`s in charge next season. Corradi isn`t good enough.

Trevor Sinclair – Sinclair has endured a very difficult campaign. Towards the end of last season it was obvious that he was struggling and this season his performances have been hard to watch. He tries his heart out but he simply isn`t up to it anymore.

Paul Dickov – Our best player when the opposition has the ball and our worst when we have it. Dickov has great desire and a fine attitude but he has little quality and produces nothing but yellow cards. Thanks for the memories Paul but its time for you to step down to the championship.

Ishmael Miller – A player with the physical attributes desired for in the modern game. Big, strong, fast and direct. The problem is he isn`t a good enough footballer. Produced nothing this season when called upon apart from 1 run against West Ham and a string of missed chances. A natural forward, Miller has been used as a makeshift left winger, a move which has brought his progress to a standstill.

Ousmane Dabo – Came to the club with great expectation after a solid career over in Italy, but he has been a flop. Showed promise early on in the season but poor distribution and his lack of mobility have seen him not get a sniff of first team action since February. Another player not up to it at Premiership level, he should be moved on this summer.

Stephen Jordan – A limited footballer who isn`t up to Premiership standard. Jordan has performed satisfactorily this season at times but he`s also produced two of the worst performances I`ve ever seen in a City shirt (Wigan (a), Blackburn (h)). He`s moving on in the summer which is in everyone`s best interests. Not good enough.

Other first teamers with appearances this season – Joe Hart, Danny Mills, Matt Mills, Djamel Abdoun, and Daniel Sturridge


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