Newsletter #401

A slightly sluggish weekend for articles; preparation perhaps for the forthcoming couch potato fest otherwise known as the World Cup; for the younger of our subscribers (I currently clock in at 46), one of the benefits of the ageing process is that World Cups come round faster and faster. Why, it only seems like yesterday that we did not like that (linesman).

Our thanks to John Warrington for standing in for Ashley for the previous 3 issues. We now march into our fifth century of Mcivtas, and our current count of subscribers is 2,098 – perhaps this is what the previous government really meant by “Care in the Community”?

A bit of this and a bit of that for this relatively short issue, including opinion on the recent JR/Gio spat plus opinion on the England squad which is as usual doing its best to disabuse us of any hopes of progress in the WC (shades of 1990 here perhaps?).

We have one Why Blue from another Blue in exile. As ever, Why Blues are always welcome; I would remind subscribers of the Why Blue archive, to be found on the Mcivta site at:

These go back a long way and are always worth delving into if you wonder how you ever got yourself into the predicament of being a Man City fan.

Enough. I’ll be doing the next issue as well, so contributions for that (by Thursday PM) to me at again, then it’s back to Ashley.

[PS… can contributors, if at all possible, avoid mailing attachments; these cannot be sent on with Mcivta, as who knows how many differing mailers we have out there which will not be able to read the attachments; also, they often are far bigger than the real content, which does not suit the likes of us in the UK who have to pay for time on the net, and lastly, it’s a bit of a hassle for the editor to reformat these into plain text]



Let the world know! I am proud to be a Blue.

I know I can wear that Kappa replica shirt without anyone daring to take the p**s out of me. However, that’s mainly because I live in Bartow County, Georgia, USA, and not living anywhere near anyone who knows sod all about football (soccer).

City is in my blood. City will be back.

Dave Brierley (


No doubt we will see a few changes in the not too distant!

Tommy Wright
Martyn Margetson          Transfer Listed
Nick Weaver
Kit Symons
Gerard Wiekens
Tony Vaughan
Rae Ingram                On loan to Macclesfield Town
Paul Beesley              Transfer Listed
Scott Hiley               Transfer Listed
Richard Edghill
Ian Brightwell            Transfer Listed
David Morley              On loan to Ayr United
Murtaz Shelia
Kakhaber Tskhadadze       Transfer Listed
Richard Jobson
Anthony Callaghan         Transfer Listed
Benn Gallagher            Transfer Listed
Stephen Rimmer            Transfer Listed
Eddie McGoldrick          On loan to Stockport County
Kevin Horlock
Ged Brannan               Transfer Listed
Lee Crooks
Jeff Whitley
Jim Whitley
Michael Brown
Nigel Clough              Transfer Listed
Martin Phillips           On loan to Exeter City
Neil Heaney               On loan to Charlton Athletic
Jamie Pollock
Ian Bishop
Scott Thomas              On loan to Brighton & Hove Albion
Brian McGlinchey
Neil Brisco               Transfer Listed
Neil Morley
Chris Pridham
Paul Dickov
Lee Bradbury
Chris Greenacre           On loan to Blackpool
Gerry Creaney             Transfer Listed
Barry Conlon              On loan to Plymouth Argyle
Craig Russell             Transfer Listed
Shaun Goater
Ray Kelly                 On loan to Wrexham
Mikhail Kavalashvili      On loan to Grasshoppers Zürich
Aled Rowlands             On loan to Sligo Rovers
David Wills

Maybe some of the following have been promoted to professional status during the course of the season…?

Second year trainees:

Richard Acton (goalkeeper)
Michael Brown (goalkeeper)
Ben Burrows (midfield)
George Doherty (striker)
Anthony Fenton (defender)
Nick Fenton (defender)
Gary Mason (midfield)
Alan Reilly (striker)

First year trainees:

Adam Allcock (midfield)
Alan Bailey (striker)
Lee Daly (goalkeeper)
Greg Duff (defender)
Darren Garfield (striker)
Shaun Holmes (defender)
Michael Julien (striker)
Jason Kneen (striker)
David Laycock (midfield)
Joe McNab (left wing back)
Neil McNab (midfield)
Ged O'Keefe (right wing back)

Stuart Reynolds (

(Thanks to Stuart for this; good to see that Neil McNab has decided to go back to go and start all over again :-))




MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) May 13 – English soccer has rarely seen such a mighty fall as Manchester City’s plunge to the third tier of the game.

Now, trying to stop the rot, is Dennis Tueart, the man who scored the spectacular winning goal when City last lifted a major trophy – the League Cup in 1976.

And he is convinced he holds the key for a brighter future at a club that has won the league twice, the F.A. Cup four times and the European Cup Winners’ Cup.

“I wasn’t here before,” said City’s new director of football, trying to explain how the club had fallen from the Premier League to the Second Division in successive seasons.

With cross-town rivals Manchester United gearing up for another assault on the European Cup and Premier League title, City are looking forward to games against Macclesfield, Lincoln and Wycombe – all of who were non-league clubs in the early 1990s.

And Tueart admits that many people at the club are having difficulty facing up to the new reality.

“We’re chasing around at the moment trying to create a sense of strategy to make sure who’s on board,” he told Reuters.

“We have to make sure no one’s doing things for the wrong reasons and that’s why we’re trying to create a sense of unity and team spirit both on and off the field.”

The anguish of last season’s disastrous relegation hangs over Maine Road like a black cloud but few people at the club seem to understand the reasons for it.

Tueart, who rubbed shoulders with the fading remnants of City’s greatest side in the early 70s, even suggests a gypsy curse might be at the root of the problem.

“We certainly had a crap home season this year,” he said, before giving details of a Romany curse put on the site of City’s Maine Road ground in the 1920s after gypsies were forced by developers to leave what they considered to be their home.

But the more likely cause can be traced to decisions made during the last 20 years.

“You can’t say it was this reason or that reason,” Tueart said. “Years and years of little mistakes culminated in this travesty at the end of the season.”

City were condemned to division two despite thrashing Stoke City 5-2 away in their last game of the season.

The two other relegation candidates, Portsmouth and Port Vale, also claimed victories to leave City’s win meaningless.

Tueart said the biggest problem for City was the turnover in management. He said the managers, eight in the last four years, had not always made the greatest decisions.

“The managers were bringing the players in and there was obviously no real assessment as to what they wanted. They never got rid of players they didn’t want,” he said.

City ended last season paying an “horrendous amount of money” to 53 players, who Tueart said would be cut to between 24 and 28.

Asked why good players like Niall Quinn and Keith Curle were sold to cut costs, he said: “The people who made those decisions made them in the best interests of the club, in their opinion.”

Now all City’s hopes now rest on current manager Joe Royle, who in Tueart’s opinion came too late to rescue the club.

“He was in charge for 15 games and got 18 points. If you multiply that by three and add a few, we would have been in play-offs.”

City have extended Royle’s two-and-a-half year contract by one year, apparently confident that he will provide the stability the club needs.

“We have suffered from having no long-term strategy in the past,” said Tueart. “I can’t make promises to the fans – that would continue the tradition of short-termism,” he said. “There are no guarantees in football.”

The continued loyalty of City’s long-suffering fans, however, will provide the basis for any future successes.

“The fans have been fantastic. They are why we have been able to make so many mistakes and to have survived,” he said.

City continued to attract crowds approaching 30,000 and will probably continue to do so in the Second Division.

But they will hope a new youth policy ensures their club never again allows players like Ryan Giggs to slip through the net. Giggs, who played for City as a junior, never signed a contract and has since become one of Manchester United’s greatest players.

And if all the normal routes fail, a move to the new Commonwealth stadium after the 2002 Games is possible.

The Blues, it seems, are prepared to try anything to lift the curse that has blighted one half of one of Britain’s leading soccer cities for too long.


It may be their darkest days, but Manchester City fans can still see the lighter side of their gloom, reports John Huxley.

It was to have been the season when the multi-million-pound spending spree finally paid off, when a great soccer club regained its rightful place in the English Premiership, when Manchester City resumed their rivalry with bigger, brasher, altogether “too big for their boots” near-neighbours Manchester United.

Instead, by season’s end last Sunday, City had lost a chairman, a manager and finally, amid scenes of typically high farce, their place in the First Division.

For the first time in 111 years, once-mighty Manchester City will play in the third flight. Their long-suffering fans can forget the times of cross-town trains to Old Trafford and contemplate local derbies with the likes of only Oldham, Wigan Athletic and Macclesfield Town, a non-league club barely a year ago.

As City’s 11th manager in 12 years, Joe Royle, conceded: “We’re not going down for what’s happened over one month or one year. It’s the culmination of a number of seasons. But the players are inconsolable. They have let a lot of people down.”

Fortunately, whatever else they might have lost this season, City fans have retained their sense of humour. As Steve Potter, a long-time City supporter now living in Australia, explained:

“Sure, it’s a real hard slog supporting the boys in blue, but it helps develop mental toughness, builds character and gives you a bloody good laugh.”

Even as they stood on the terraces at Stoke experiencing the pleasure of a rare win and the pain of relegation, they chanted “Going down, going down”, “Are you watching, Macclesfield”, and, most ironic, “We’re going to win the league”.

Just click on to the City website for more jokes. According to one, the City squad recently played a supposedly morale-boosting match against a team of witches’ hats – except the hats won. Another reports that a thief has broken into the City trophy room. Police are now looking for a man with a light-blue carpet.

But let no-one pretend that in the thousands of predominantly working-class homes in suburbs such as Hulme and Moss Side, pressed tight against City’s Maine Road stadium, it does not hurt. It does. Like hell. That’s not just because the fans still recall the great teams of the mid-’50s, of the late ’60s, of the mid-’70s, and the great players, such as Colin Bell, Mike Summerbee, Tony Book and Francis Lee, who helped win the FA Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup, and a few years later, Denis Law, Rodney Marsh, Peter Barnes and hole-in-the-heart player Asa Hartford.

Not just because the club has let go too many talented youngsters, including United star Ryan Giggs.

No, it hurts like hell because hated rivals Manchester United, the Reds, the Rags, who were relegated in the mid-’70s, have been so horribly successful during the period of City’s most precipitous decline.

Another couple of jokes plucked from City’s web site point to the predicament of fans desperate to keep up with their bigger-spending, better-supported neighbours. First: How many Blues fans does it take to change a light bulb?

Answer: None, they enjoy living in the shadows.

Next: How many Reds fans does it take to change a light-bulb?
Answer: 540,001.

That’s one to change it, 40,000 to say they’ve been changing it for years, and 500,000 to buy the replica kit.

Former manager Frank Clark, in an interview given only days before he was sacked, put it another way. “It’s hard enough for the supporters when the team are struggling in their own right. But when the lot down the road are doing so well and the bloke next door is a Manchester United supporter and they’ll be rubbing it in… well that makes it difficult for our supporters to take.”

Sadly, Clark conceded, United were: “up there on their own, even in global terms. In every respect, commercially and playing, we’re miles behind.” Little consolation can be taken from United’s failure this season to win the Premier League, let alone the European Cup. From next season, City are many more miles behind United. But why should that be?

After all, City enjoyed huge support (30,000-plus at home games), a big budget (more than $75 million spent on players) and, in foreigners Georgi Kinkladze and Uwe Rösler (leaving to play for Ajax and Kaiserslauten respectively), two of the league’s most exciting performers.

The hard truth is, as the season went on, they lived down to their reputation as, variously, the “worst team money could buy”, the “clown princes of cock-up”, a “football accident waiting to happen”.

Against a background of celebrity babble centred on speculation that the Gallagher brothers of pop group Oasis might bail out their favourite football club, the club self-destructed.

Former player and scrap-paper tycoon Frannie Lee, acclaimed as the new messiah when he bought into the club, departed a sadder, poorer man. Hapless Clark was replaced mid-season, mid-crisis, by the likeable Royle, another former player who simply ran out of time.

Players were bought, sold or more often simply set aside on a revolving-door basis: City’s squad now numbers 52.

And did bad luck, as well as bad judgment and bad football, play a part? Royle was asked as he came to terms with relegation last Sunday. “It’s a well-known fact that all the good sides are at the top and all the unlucky sides at the bottom,” he said with a smile.

Well, as any Manchester City fan will explain, you have to laugh.


So with the ink barely dry on the paper taking Gio across the north sea to Amsterdam to play at the magnificent Amsterdam Arena (sorry any PSV supporters out there but it is a impressive stadium), in the red and white colours of Ajax, than the backstabbing starts.

Opening salvo 1…

Gio publically criticises Royle for not picking him (Gio) during the run-in, other than when it was too late to save to club. Gio claims that if he’d been picked then City would have picked up a few points that would have avoided relegation. Gio claims that if City had avoided relegation he would have stayed at Maine Road.

Return fire…

Joe Royle immediately jumps up to defend himself, basically accusing Gio of not being good enough to do the job. Naming the three times he did play as abysmal once and anonymous twice. He (JR) then states that Gio will never play for the club again, although a first refusal at back-back has been negotiated.

JR then points out that Gio asked for a transfer in November!

That’s the ‘highlights’ over with, I’d just like to add my few pennies worth.

  1. The pair of you, shut the **** up!
  2. Act like grown men and accept the criticism.
  3. Gio’s departure, in all honestly he should have gone earlier in the season. However, during the final push towards safety when a creative player was needed Gio should have been thrown in and surrounded by the bodyguards (Brown, Pollock and Whitley). When the team was crying out for a little imagination we’d be faced with the likes of Brannan instead of a quality player like Gio. OK Gio is an enigma, but surely 2-3 minutes of magic could open up an team, all we really needed was one win, which his undoubted abilities could have given us.
  4. Royle should admit his mistake and acknowledge his tactis were flawed.
  5. Finally, so JR states that Gio will never play for City again, excuse me but who’s given you the impression you’ll still be here in 2-3 years? So we’re now going to reject any quality players, where’s the sense in that?

Martin Ford (


Although Manchester born, my family and I now live in the Midlands.

When City were relegated on the Sunday: My family were sad, though it has to be said, not as sad as when we were relegated from the Premiership.

When my eldest daughter, Kirsty, next went to school, she was not looking forward to it one little bit. She expected the Villa, Baggie, Blue nose (Birmingham City), Liverpool and United hordes at the local high school to taunt her something rotten. With a steely determination she set off for school.

To my surprise when I got home in the evening she had a smile on her face. When I inquired as to why she was so happy, she told me a wonderful story: Apparently all the kids in her class (including the raglets) had given her a standing ovation when she walked in to the classroom in the morning. Apparently they all thought it was amazing that she could stick by City through this season of trail and torture – and still smile – and still support City.

At this point a lump appeared in my throat and a tear came to me eye – I was very, very proud of my daughter.

Keep the Faith, CTTWBAB (City Till Tony Wilson Becomes a Blue),Richard Mottershead (


Glenn Hoddle… one of the best players I have ever seen (in fact, my claim to fame is that, as a Maine Road steward ten years ago, I delivered an inch-perfect pass to Glenn from my Main Stand vantage point during a pre-match kick-in), but one of the best managers? Hardly? What did he ever do at Chelsea? Well, he took ’em to the Cup Final where the Rags’ twelve man team (David Elleray was refereeing) took them to the cleaners thanks in part to two ropey penalties.

But anyway… Glenn’s upset. His decision to pick Rags and Spurs players like Sheringham and Anderton for the big Saudi match didn’t go down too well with the Wembley crowd it seems. Both players are held in anything but esteem at their own clubs; Sheringham is openly detested while Anderton is jokingly referred to as ‘Sicknote’. After all these years it still baffles me how jobbing players such as these can make the national team.

While Hoddle ventured: “It was totally unjustified and the people who were doing it don’t understand the game of football. I don’t know where they’re coming from,” it must be noted that even Peter Swales once said: “You can’t fool the fans.” Great players don’t necessarily make for great managers and with Hoddle in charge and that other famous ‘winner’, John Gorman, at his side I’m not exactly over-optimistic about England’s World Cup chances. Neither have won anything as managers; perhaps when they do they can lambast the fans with some justification.

Until then, I hope England’s fans continue to knock out old favourites, ‘Stand Up If You Hate Man. U’ with gusto!

P.S. How refreshing it was to see Pete (the Rag) Hargreaves contributing something constructive to MCIVTA at long last. But could this be the same Peter Hargreaves who sent me a bitter-as-the-cud, glad for your sake you’ve gone down e-mail following City’s relegation or has he finally seen the light; on the ‘Road to Domestos’ as it were?

Noel Bayley (editor of BTH) (


I have read this weekend in the Sunday Express sports section an interview with Niall Quinn, just prior to Sunderland’s play-off final with Charlton, in the dizzy heights at the top of the division we used to be in. What concerned me was big Niall’s declaration of the fact that when he was up for sale, City owed him money, and this point of principle led him to turn down lucrative moves to both Sporting Lisbon and Aston Villa, both of which would have provided a healthy income for City as well as Niall himself.

Although nothing should surprise me about events at Maine Road, and Niall didn’t elaborate about why or what money was owed to him, you have to wonder about the structure of a club that owes its players money and thus prevents them achieving the best possible deal for all concerned when they move on. Niall was alleging that City would only let him move to these two above mentioned clubs if he forwent the money that was owed. Presumably we are not talking about his normal wages here and the indication was that City were withholding this money intentionally. What sort of a modern business organisation treats its employees in this way? I think we all know the answer and this seems to be just another example of the mismanagement under Franny of the club. If we have achieved a better quality of pie shop off the field in order to sacrifice the well-being of one of our star players on the field, then it truly smacks of farce. No wonder morale among our players has often been said to be low. Regardless of how much someone earns you or I would be extremely p#*$ed off if our employers witheld money from us for no apparent reason.

I guess it’s all water under the bridge now, and as we have a supposedly more professional businessman at the helm we should wipe the slate clean until he has the chance to prove himself. However, Mr Bernstein should not be surprised if we are challenging every decision the board and manager make for a certain period of time and certainly until they have proved that they can competently manage the club’s money in a way that suggests we have the makings of a resurgent football club which is also financially sound. First indications seem to be good, and I was impressed by DB’s public apology to the fans. However, this is easy at the start of his tenure, now let’s see the results next season. Personally, I am not convinced JR is the man for the job, but whether or not he is still at the club at the end of next season, I do believe we will see the Goater and Bradbury partnership knock up a club record goals partnership for next season. Can anyone confirm what the figure is they would have to beat to achieve this?

I’m off now to cheer Sunderland on in the pub and hope Big Niall scores a hat-trick – he was a true Blue. Plus, if they do get promoted, perhaps Peter Reid can give Ian Brightwell the move to a Premiership club that he is craving!

CTID, Mark Stangroom (

I believe Niall had a clause in his contract that he would get a payment should he be transferred by the club, rather than as a result of him requesting a transfer.



In the light of the above article, the Division 1 play-off was a treat; though not for Sunderland; I hold no candle for them, but as Mark writes above, I would have been more than happy to see Niall back in the Premiership. For those who don’t know, the game was 3-3 at full time (2 to Niall), and 4-4 after extra time, with Charlton (next season’s Barnsley? Maybe not, being Sarfeners) winning the penalty shoot out 7-6. Cracking way to end the season for a neutral.

Martin (Ford) commented an issue or two back on my recent rundown of the Second Division, specifically aimed at all you Division 2 virgins. It was largely tongue in cheek (laugh or cry job), but for those who saw the Division 2 playoff between Grimsby (ha ha ha, laughing stock destination for relegation clubs… err… no, they swapped divisions with us) and Northampton will have seen a perfect example of what I hoped to detail about Division 2… a passing team (Grimsby), up against a power team (Northampton).

What is pleasing to note, that whilst much of the football in Division 2 is agricultural, all the three teams promoted laced some direct football with passing to feet and movement. I feel, to my surprise, more sanguine about our prospects next season than I did a month or two back. I am sure Goater and Bradbury will prosper; Pollock will certainly thrive, and some of the younger players may in fact have a chance to improve without too much pressure. Fingers crossed.

Anyone oop North heard a date for the Bristol City/Man City pre-season friendly yet? If I hear anything at the Bristol end, I’ll mail mcivta.

Jeremy Poynton (


Firstly, I would like to say a big thank you to everyone at Mcivta. I have been kept appraised of the demise of a once great club during my exile here in the States. I am lucky that for the last 6 years I have been out of the UK (3 years in Germany and 3 in the USA: 2.5 years in Detroit and now in Boston).Geographical distance has been a great help in the “denial” phase that is essential for any City fan to remain sane, however, it did not prevent a torrent of abuse from Rags after the weekend’s result. For some strange reason I have at least 6 “good” friends who are Rags, of course only 1 of them actually comes from Manchester.

Anyway, one of the things I have been debating (and something that is often asked as a Mancunian abroad) is “why blue”. The bottom line is I don’t really know, but here are a few of the possible reasons:

  • Coming from Eccles (now Salford!) most people were Reds/morons so Ifigured I had to do something different.
  • Always having an eye for a bargain you could get a bus all the way fromEccles (number 262) to the Princess hotel for almost nothing and thenat the age of 15 actually get served in the pub.
  • The first time I stood in the Kippax (1977) I actually saw 2 peoplehaving sex, so it seemed like City were the club for me!
  • At the time City were actually a good football team although neverthreatening to bore you with any consistency.
  • It was a great learning experience discovering such interestingthings as:
    • Geordies are at least 6 inches taller than other people so don’t bother chasing them down Princess Parkway.
    • Never bother getting a return train ticket to Stoke as you always get kicked off the train on the way back.
    • Always remember that shouting “you dirty red b*****d” at Joe Jordan while standing in the Stretford endwill result in unpleasant circumstances.
    • Never run to the Police while being chased at Elland Road or Anfield as all they will do is provide encouraging noises to thelocal populace as they do what the hell they like.

In reality I think City fans have to recognize they are destined to spend most of their life suffering for the cause. I am sure there are many City fans out there who realise they were born too late. I was born in 1961 and therefore missed out on England winning the world cup and City winning just about everything; the only consolation being that my 4 year old son should probably be old enough to appreciate the next upturn in the geat (but s***ty) circle of life.

In this time of deep despondancy the only thing to consider is that it could be worse; here in the States where the dollar is King you can actually lose everything; e.g the Cleveland Browns “football” team who lost their franchise because some other city offered more money. We can rest assured that no one will try and steal the City franchise.

My forecast for the next five years is we will end up back in the Premiership and for the next ten that we will lift the European Championship before the team from Stretford. I honestly believe this, sad eh!?

If anyone out there lives near Boston and would like to get together to either talk about City or watch a few world cup games together please e-mail me at

Have a great summer!



The Man City Teamtalk page a few days back had an article in which Colin Bell denied that Francis Lee had not been involved in his sacking, despite Lee being away at the time. Clearly still bitter (and with good reason), Colin Bell made it clear that he felt Franny had been economical with the truth.

Other notes from the Teamtalk page (

  • Tskhadadze set to leave.
  • McClair not set to join (big surprise that one!).
  • JR after the Burnley winger Glenn Little (can’t help you out there, can’t recall if he’s any good or not).
  • Kit Symons offers to take wage cut (from £4k to £2k a week) – fair play that man say I.

Jeremy Poynton (


Contributions: Jeremy –
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Technical Problems: Paul –

The views expressed in MCIVTA are entirely those of the subscribersand there is no intention to represent these opinions as being thoseof Manchester City Football Club, nor of any of the companies anduniversities by whom the subscribers are employed. It is not inany way whatsoever connected to the club or any other relatedorganisation and is simply a group of supporters using this mediumas a means of disseminating news and exchanging opinions.

[Valid3.2]Jeremy Poynton,

Newsletter #401