Saturday, 28 August 2010

Friday .......................

Well what a day today. It seems like one step forward two steps back. The main problem is that we visited the shipping line to make sure everything was in place only to be told that the ship itself is in Conacry, Guinea. It seems that the harbour there is being dregged and the ship containing our precious cargo may arrive here on Sunday or Monday, talk about cutting it fine.

Then a big blow, we were at the shipping lines offices in Freetown and were given an estimate of the duty payable which was way and above the original amount we were quoted. Then we were told it had to be cash. No problem in the UK, just go into a bank and pay it. It doesn’t work like that here and we have spent a lot of time on emails and phone calls trying to arrange it. To my wife Liz, thanks for all the hours you put into trying to make the arrangements with Western Union Cash transfer all to no avail.

We did have one success we got the bus insured after a lot of negotiations with the insurance company and we proudly held the certificate high. Things go very slowly here but everywhere we go people shout “Man City till I Die” and that helps us cope with out frustrations and disappointments.

Got back to the hotel where we dropped with exhaustion before going out for a meal and debriefed the day.

Watch this space, we are now hoping for 2 steps forward and 1 step back.

Tony Griffiths

Thursday and off to training

Hi everyone

Travelling through Freetown to get to Achuga Mini Stadium (the training ground of Man City Sierra Leone) has in itself been an amazing and eye-opening experience. The hustle and bustle of city life is all apparent as our driver Brian, weaves his way across the challenging terrain on route to our first important stop of our non-stop itinerary, seeing the boys for the first time and watching them as they train in the midday heat.

Trying to explain to you the state of the pitch won't be easy but, if anyone can recollect the state of the shale School pitch in the film - 'Gregory's Girl' only picture the shale in red, add in pot holes the size of man hole covers, rocks the size of your fist 'jutting' out of the surface and a general feel of concrete under foot, then this would be the quality of the surface to work with!

The standard, in spite of the unpredictability of the bounce was very high. The touch, skill, passing ability and general awarenes of the guys jumped out as at all of us posing the question as to their individual and team potential were the facilities of a higher standard.

I gave the guys a 'pep' talk and had to be very pedantic in areas for improvement but aside of their communication on the pitch - everything was positive and I think they really listened and took on board what was being said.

Before we left, we witnessed Howard starting a chorus of "City till I Die" and Alex holding court to dozens of wide-eyed Saloneans on the benefits of being a City fan, this being an easy sell! Roll on Friday...



Well we arrived in our hotel (Barmoi) at 4:00am shattered to say the very least but non-the less excited to what the day will bring us.

We had about 3 hours sleep, if you can call it that in this heat, and we met with Armani at our hotel at 7.30am. After much hugging and back slapping he informed us that the ship was delayed and was expected on Saturday… as I always say there’s never any problems just opportunities….

Armani arranged for a driver (Brian) to take us to watch the Teams train, which they do five times a week and Paul will give you more details on this later. I do a lot of driving but I’ve never seen anything like this and Brian was amazing. We then went to see the insurance company and arranged the necessary cover for the mini bus and Armani then took us to a “cinema” where we will be watching the Sunderland game on Sunday with the rest of the Teams and local City fans.

Back at the hotel we had a meeting over a couple of cold beers to rearrange our itinerary which we’ll update you on later.


Howard Burr

Wednesday, 25 August 2010


Well we left Manchester bang on time at 08:45 for Heathrow and we we're due to leave for Freetown at 14:30....and then the story begins...

We were informed at Heathrow that there was a delay until 16:00 so no problem we'll have a couple of beers in the bar.

Getting ready to board at 15:15 and we've just been told that the plane we should have been on has "technical problems" and we're now going on another plane via Malaga where we'll have to wait for an hour to re-fuel and then on to Freetown (we hope).

And so the adventure begins and I'm sure there'll be more hiccups along the way but hey it's all part of it!!!



Tuesday, 24 August 2010

well the time has arrived

In 10hrs and 50mins I will leave the house at 6am to meet up at Manchester airport for the long journey to freetown - can't wait - I am already knackered though from last night and am sure will get little sleep tonight so by the time we get there will be well and truly shattered - but feel sure the magnitude of the situation will keep me going - we will - internet willing keep you all informed - wish us all luck - everything crossed for a smooth handover


One or two people have asked how far it is from Conarkry to Freetown which is the final leg of the journey.

Well Conarkry is a sea port in Guinea and it's 77 miles to Freetown.

Check this link out for more details:

When the ship finally arrives in Freetown it will have covered a staggering 4,625 miles!!




Within the next 24 hours we'll be off on a journey of a lifetime which I'm sure will be both very rewarding and emotional to say the least.....

If you want to know more about the history of Sierra Leone try this link it's an intertesting read.

The container ship Claes Maersk is due to dock at Conakry today (Tuesday 24 Aug) at 11:00am. She'll then set sail at 00:01 on Thursday 26th Aug on the last leg of the journey and dock in Freetown at 14:00 the same day.

We'll keep you posted.



Monday, 23 August 2010


Those at the Liverpool slaughter tonight got a first glimpse of the bus as there was a small feature on page 14 along with The Usual Suspects - and of course a great result on the pitch also

Long May it Continue

Sunday, 22 August 2010


from Allan of £50 thanks for your generosity - and a little note from Allan

"thank you and the others for all the hard work, makes me proud to be a blue.

Take care"



Thursday, 19 August 2010

Well off on the morrow

Watch out in the liverpool programme for a small piece on the Appeal and in the home tie against FC Timisoara next Thurs the 26th a big article on the CITC page of the programme - the same day the bus arrives - along with the eagerly awaited pictures of YOUR fantastic bus - thanks to all who have helped in any way

The time is nigh

Well the time has arrived to start my journey - I leave on the morrow for Manchester - on Sat we have a final meeting with those going we have a few ends to tie up so to speak - A BIG BIG THANKS TO KIM AND COLIN - they have agreed to take some stuff including the Glasses collected down to London after the Liverpool game and deliver them to Heathrow for us (its a long story)

I will be at the Liverpool game on Monday where we will be collecting more glasses - then on Weds morning we fly down to Heathrow on the red eye - We then leave for Freetown at 2.30pm

We will be on here as much as we can letting you know what is going on - but this will of course be dependant on internet connections - when we get back I will be writing a report about the trip and experiences we had whilst there - I will also ask one or two of the others to do the same

Reality has set in - really looking forward to seeing those faces in Sierra Leone

Wednesday, 18 August 2010


Just to let you know that the Claes Maersk left Port Tangier at 10:26 on Tuesday 17th August and arrived at Algeciras at 15:00 the same day.

The ship left for Conakry at 06:00 today (18th August) and is due to dock at 11:00 on Tuesday 24th August.

She's then due to sail from Conakry at 00:01 on Thursday 26th August and due in Freetown at 14:00 the same day!!!

I'll keep you posted.



Monday, 16 August 2010

an extract from an e mail by Alex

One thing our support has done is make MCFC the biggest football name in SL and that is before the coach and all the goodies arrive there. By this time next month the name of Manchester City FC will have exploded in SL thanks to the generosity of MCFC Supporters club members and City fans world wide.

Alex Channon

Getting exited now

Not felt like this about a trip since I was a little kid feeling giddie going on holiday - I have been planning and packing for the last 2/3 weeks - normally its the night before throw the socks and undies along with the smelies and leave for the match - this time is so much different - not to put to fine a point on it we are going as your representatives and City's - to change peoples lives forever - and maybe save a few - this is leaving a big impression on me and those that know me - know I am not easily impressed and take all in my stride - I as all the guys going do take this responsibility very seriously - we will not let you down if if that means being tea total for a while (well maybe) - I am finding it very difficult to express how I feel about this (as you may have gathered from my ramblings) - never felt like this before - WE - YOU and I am going to make a difference - thats all that matters - that one I did not see coming - thanks again to all who have donated and supported us in any way



Blue Tuesday

By the way listen into the programme between 7 and 8pm

Blue Tuesday

Slight change on the morrow its being done by phone by Tony - they only wanted one this time so I escaped (I am really really upset NOT)

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Thanks H - is that on time ?

I hope so - and lets hope the impending Airport strikes don't scupper our travel plans


The Cornelia Maersk docked in Port Tangier at 15:00 yesterday (Friday 13th) where our precious cargo will be off loaded onto the Claes Maersk.

The Claes will then sail at 02:00 on Tuesday 17th August to Freetown via Algeciras and Conakry.

I'll keep you all posted and please keep your donations coming.



Friday, 13 August 2010


As most of you who read this blog on a regular basis will know, on Wednesday 25th August myself (Howard Burr) and 5 colleagues, Tony Griffiths (Reddish), Alex Channon (Swinton), Phil Holme (Portadown), Paul Lake (MCFC) and Neil Cole (MCFC - Endemol) will be travelling to Sierra Leone to handover the mini coach and distribute the football kit and equipment donated by City fans to Armani and his a community.

We are also taking some educational equipment for use in schools and one thing we are desperately short of is spectacles of all sizes and strengths.

If you have any spare or old pairs of glasses that are no longer in use would you please bring them to the Reddish Blues Branch Meeting on Tuesday 17th August and we will ensure they are given to people who need them but cannot obtain them in Sierra Leone.
More details at


Also lets not forget the contribution made by this branch - without it I think we may well have been sunk before we could swim so to speak

Thursday, 12 August 2010

we have an event this weekend

we will be
having a meeting this weekend and having cleared out for my move to Spain and not enough room in the suitcase for all will try to sell some stuff to raise monies for SL



Please tell everyone

I’d like to ask all City fans reading this blog to mention it to all the City fans they know and ask them to visit it. A lot of work has gone into this project by a lot of people, and the more people we can get on board the bigger success it will be. Can’t wait to see that faces on the City fans in S.L. when they see their new bus. I know from experience that it will be the best bus the country. Thanks for all your support so far and let’s keep it going. Not difficult to work out which one is me - and thats sweat it was not raining

Tony Griffiths

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

do we like the new look

if not and you want the old one back or somthing a bit different just say so

We made the official site

check here

Also we have had two donations today from Martin and Family plus from Stephen thanks guys for your generous and kind donations

Tuesday evening on blue Tuesday with lakey will be the 3 stooges Tony Alex and myself by phone from N Ireland so if you want to know more listen in next Tues at 7-8pm - BTW I am cacking it dont like interviews so if I sound nervous I probably am

Monday, 9 August 2010

thanks to H for his first post

this guy is very very knowlegable(sp) so keep tuned


The container ship Cornelia Maersk (see blog and photo below from Phil) is currently on route from Bremerhaven North Sea Terminal to Port Tangier where it's due to arrive this Friday 13th August at 15:00.

The container with our precious cargo on board then changes ships to the container ship Claes Maersk (see photo above) and sails from Port Tangier on Tuesday 17th August at 02:00 for Freetown when it's due on 26th August at 14:00.

I'll keep you all up to date with the ships progress.



It SINKS in but I hope it does not SINK

the boat is on its way the most recent pic is of the container ship on its way to Sierra Leone with our precious bus aboard along with all the kit , laptops , books etc - lets keep it all crossed it arives in good time

new posters

we now have both Alex and Tony on board - so maybe they will give their thoughts we have also invited Howard - neil from Endermol and Paul Lake if he has time to contribute so should be a more informative Blog form now as they guys have a lot of insight - Go Guys

Friday, 6 August 2010

all a bit quiet before the storm so to speak

we are making mundane arrangments like being able to watch the home leg of the europa tie against the rumainians and the mackams game - I searched my house today and came up with no less than 7 pairs of glasses for SL and maybe more to come yet - our chairman flies in on Sat - if the rumours are true to tie up the signings of Milner and a certain Italian 19 yr old - bigger business than I will ever do me thinks but for less than a weeks wages for either of the players we will make so much differnece in SL - so if you find time to read thankyou Mr Chairman - Mr Khaldoon Al Mubarak - thankyou for believing in us and SL

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Getting Ready

Well the bus has left - and we are well on the road to being ready to go as well as all the injections we had to apply for Visas to gain Entry to Sierra Leone - they required quite detailed info and £50 per person - this is now done and all have been cleared to go

Please check the Valencia programme for details on an unwanted spectacles collection at the ground for the Liverpool game but just in case here are the details

BY Alex Channon

One thing we are desperately short of is spectacles. We are appealing for glasses of all strengths and sizes to take with us. Spectacles can be posted to

Alex Channon
'Penalty Spot'
11 Thirlmere Avenue
Manchester M27 5XD.

Prior to the Liverpool home game we will be collecting spectacles outside the main entrance and the City Store. Please bring your old and unwanted glasses to the Liverpool game and donate them to a very worthy cause.

Further enquiries about the Appeal and need for glasses can be had by contacting Alex