Manchester City grab UEFA Cup spot
Manchester City will play in next season’s Uefa Cup after claiming a place via the Premier League’s fair play table. England were awarded an extra place in the tournament after the Premier League came top of Uefa’s fair play rankings. City had feared losing out to Fulham in the race for European football after centre-back Richard Dunne was sent off in the 8-1 defeat by Middlesbrough in their final game of the season. Depsite that lapse they held off the challenge of Fulham to finish sixth in the English Fair Play table but crucially above any team who has not already qualified for Europe.
City will join the Uefa Cup at the first qualifying round stage in July and compete in the Northern region. This puts them in line to face opposition from Estonia, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Lithuania or Luxembourg, or opposition closer to home as there are two Northern Irish representatives Glentoran and Cliftonville, two from the Republic in Cork City and current league leaders St Patrick’s Athletic, as well as Bangor from Wales. There is also the possibility of a rematch with Wales’ other representatives The New Saints who, as Total Network Solutions, faced City when they last got into the UEFA Cup by the same route in 2003.
Ironically, City have already confirmed they will not be able to host the first qualifying round tie at their own stadium as the pitch is due to be relaid once a Bon Jovi concert has taken place in June. Old Trafford is unlikely to be a choice and most Lancashire grounds would either be relaying their surface or deemed unsuitable, Huddersfield Town’s Galpharm Stadium, which usually plays host to rugby league in the summer, has been mentioned as a possible alternative.
(compiled from ESPN, CNN and other news agency articles)