Newsletter #415


City won 6-0 against Newquay on Tuesday night. Scorers were Pollock, Tiatto, Kelly (pen), Brown, Allsop & Mason. The match was delayed due to crowd congestion apparently!

The good news for Internet Blues is that City’s new Official Web Site, MCFC Online will go ‘live’ this Saturday and will carry a ‘live’ broadcast of the game – the club is to be congratulated on taking this step, one which surely put them at the leading edge as far as official sites go. Let’s hope it’s a big success.

This issue has the result of ‘ultimate eleven’ survey, opinion on Eastlands, and the scandal surrounding shares. We also have another away fan’s view of their own team, this time Preston North End – thanks to TM for getting this for us. These particular articles give us all a unique insight into the teams we are going to face next season; if you can persuade someone you know to write one on of the teams we haven’t had already, please do so, we’ll all be grateful!

Next issue should see the publication of the longest Why Blue ever submitted – and a quality one as well; it would have been this week but the author forgot to add his name after all his hard work! Will the author (Edmonton Public School) please get in touch.

Next game, Sunderland at home, Saturday 18th July 1998


MCFC Online, the new official Manchester City Football Club website goes live on Saturday 18th July for the Ian Brightwell Testimonial game. Featuring the full match broadcast live on the web, the new kit pictures and much, much more, this is another first for the club. The only section not ready for Saturday is the secure online merchandise catalogue. However, don’t worry becasue this should also be up fairly soon, certainly in time for the kit launch on July 30th.

Watch This Space!

Steve Sayer (


I’ve just rung the club and they’ve told me it’s pay on the gate, £10.50 for adults and £6.50 children/concessions. They’re expecting a larger than usual turnout but the all-seated away supporters’ stand has a capacity of just 1,344 (subject to confirmation by the authorities I believe) … talk about getting a quart into a pint pot! There are probably 3 or 4 of us travelling up from Beverley – anyone else going to the seaside?

Geoff Donkin – Beverley Blue (Geoff@Donkin.Demon.Co.UK)


Just heard Gio has been successful in his appeal against his fine for the driving offence. The fine has been reduced from £2,500 to £1,000 but the ban still stands.

Carol Darvill


Sorry to everyone who sent me their teams ages ago, but every time I started to compile the team I’d get another offering. Anyway, here are the results from the Blue jury…

It was odd to find out that 14 players were chosen by more than half the fans who voted, so putting together a first team squad was easier than it might have been. In true Blue fashion, however, 32 players were chosen by at least 1 Blue fan. Many of the players were picked in a variety of different positions so what I’ve done is list the players who were picked most often, regardless of the actual position suggested. After that I’ve listed the position that was suggested most often for that player! Got that? Good!

Without a doubt, the single most voted for player was… Richard Edghill – 96% of you would place him in the team. 65% would play him at right back.

The next most popular player was Shaun Goater – who was chosen by 93% of City fans to play up front.

Next was Nigel Clough, who was voted for by… absolutely no one! (HA!)

No, the third most voted for player was the young Michael Brown, who along with Murtaz Shelia were mentioned by 90%. 70% of those voting for Brown wanted him in the centre of midfield; 77% wanted Shelia smack in the middle of the defence.

Just over 85% wanted Mr Lee Bradbury up front.

Paul Dickov and Jeff Whitley were both requested by 83% of the fans. Dickov was suggested in no less than 5 positions and was a very popular subs’ bench choice. However, 40% of you wanted him in a free rôle behind the strikers – so that’s where he goes! Whitley was also suggested in 5 rôles but the most popular (44%) was to play him on the right side of midfield.

Jamie Pollock was next; approx 80% wanted him in the first team and 91% of those votes wanted him as a central midfielder. Interesting about Pollock was that when the suggestions first started coming in he was in everybody’s team and more recently his name has been strangely absent. Not sure why…?

Kevin Horlock was voted for in a similar way to Pollock – loads of interest to begin with, less as time went on. He ended up being chosen by 80%; almost everyone wanted him on the left (but not all), most (71%) wanted him as a left sided midfield player.

Gerard Wiekens took the last defensive place by being voted for by 73%, 72% of them wanted him as a centre back.

Finally, the eleven was completed with the addition of Nick Weaver. 70% wanted him in the team somewhere, 91% had him as their first choice ‘keeper and the other 9% wanted him on the bench.

The subs were fairly easy too – 63% Jim Whitley; 56% Tony Vaughan; 50% Richard Jobson. Those percentages were how many people wanted those players in the side rather than just wanted them included as subs – they were the 12th, 13th, and 14th most requested players in any position. Tommy Wright was the next most voted player (46%) and would certainly make the subs’ bench as the second choice ‘keeper.

The Rest

Another 17 players were mentioned but they all received less than 25% of the vote.

With the above 11 players the formation would seem to have to be this:


        Edghill  Wiekens  Shelia
Jeff Whitley  Brown  Pollock  Horlock
          Goater      Bradbury


This 4-3-1-2 formation was only chosen by 13% of the voters but it seems the obvious choice considering the players chosen and their suggested positions. The most popular formation was 4-4-2; 40% of you wanted City playing like that but we’d have to draft in either Vaughan or Jobson and drop Dickov (probably!) to play like that.

As a matter of interest these are all the other players mentioned who didn’t make it into the team: Symons, Russell, Bishop, Morley, Crooks, Greenacre, Fenton, Serrant(?) Heaney, Reilly, Conlon, Brannan and Bailey. Anyone not mentioned above didn’t get a single mention… unless it was as one of the players to be ditched instantly.

One glorious sky blue was mentioned by 56% of you as the first man who should be kicked out without a second thought; it was of course the fantastic Nigel Clough. He was followed by Ged Brannan – 43% of you couldn’t wait to see the back of him. Next was Gerry Creaney (23%) and the 4th most yearned for departure was the Welsh wonder himself Kit Symons. Apart from Neil Heaney (13%) all the other players we wanted sacking were suggested by only 10% or less of the voters. Again, for interest’s sake, here are all the other players you wanted to get rid of: Bishop, Bradbury, Wright, Vaughan, Russell, Pollock, Margetson, Morley, Conlon, McGoldrick, Beesley. And… it’s started already – Joe Royle was mentioned as someone who should go straight to jail without so much as looking at ‘GO’!

So there it is, maybe everyone already has different opinions. Maybe a certain Aussie would now feature in those teams. Who knows? Anyway, roll on next season!

Paul Chronnell (


Having been invited to write a piece on The North End for City fans I had a problem… where to start. Over the years I’ve felt a slight affinity with City. Like City, North End have under-performed. Like City, we have not capitalised on our financial turnover, our support, our relative status, etc. It is likely that the attitude of our supporters is not radically different from yours. Preston is a footballing town. We have tradition. We were the first team to win the double. Unlike the Red scum, we did it properly: we didn’t lose a single game and we won the cup without conceding a single goal. Not bad. Unfortunately, we have done little in the hundred years or so since. Even in the 50s, with the legendary Tom Finney, we failed to win a major trophy.

Our demise, however, really started in the 70’s. In ’69 we spent our only season out of the top two divisions. This was a forerunner of what was to come. We flittered between what is now Division 1 and 2 until the mid-80’s. Then disaster… relegation to the bottom division. Then… we finished second bottom of this and had to apply for re-election to the league. The season from hell. Even at this point, we were Number 1 in terms of support. I think Swindon, who won the title, pipped us for average home gates that season (even our floodlights collapsed and we had to play evening games during working Wednesday afternoons!), but we certainly took more away than them. What a waste. We got our act together a bit and got promoted the following season. The problem was that the underlying problems were still there. We went back down in ’93.

Then the revolution… John Beck came into town to introduce scientific football. Our already impressive support doubled. He ripped the club apart and put it together again. He got rid of hangers-on and deadwood (couldn’t you do with this?). In ’94 we lost in the play-off final at Wembley… we took more fans there than the Red scum did in the F.A. Cup the same season! The revolution transformed the club and when Baxi got involved, we knew things would never be the same. Unfortunately, we parted company with John Beck soon after, following a bad run of results. Our momentum was in place however, and soon we were promoted in front of almost 20,000 with thousands more locked out. We’ve floundered around the lower reaches of Division 2 for the last couple of seasons, despite outspending everyone, but the stadium is now beginning to take shape. As you approach on the M61, look for the floodlights. You can see them dominate the skyline.

Half the ground is complete. It looks good. Next year the National Football Museum will open within it, eventually to encircle the whole ground. It is and will be unique, and not just for the mosaics on the stands… Tom Finney, Bill Shankley (who by the way spent longer at Deepdale than at Anfield!), and soon to be The Invincibles we believe in Stand No 3. Just look at the architecture… the traditional floodlights and how close you are to the pitch. Compare North End (our support, ground, etc) with teams like Blackpool and you’ll see why we believe we are too big for this division. OK, I know… so are you.

On your visit you will almost certainly be given the new Bill Shankley Kop. Comfortable, good view and 4 or 6,000 tickets. You shouldn’t have too many problems from our fans…. we are not in a Potteries type time warp. You may even be impressed with The Town End. It was us… PNE… who introduced the concept of a regular band behind the goals. Sheffield Wednesday took up the idea when our band went to a Wednesday game after a postponement away. They sent people to Deepdale to learn from us and then got all the credit for the idea! Like us, you will have to endure some real pits… Macclesfield, Blackpool and Wrexham, spring to mind. However, hopefully you will feel more at home visiting Deepdale than most places. Unfortunately, though, you will lose! PNE are on the way back! Finally, and seriously, good luck next season. You deserve some success… I just hope that it isn’t at our expense!

Town Ender Steve, solicited and submitted by TM


Sighting of the new away shirt by David Sweeting (MCIVTA 414). The navy shirt he mentions is a ‘leisure shirt’ which can also be used as a training top… the new away shirt won’t be unveiled until the end of the month… erm, don’t City now have a press officer who earns a load of wedge to pass on this sort of information?

Kev Cummins (


I think I know where the £5 million from Gio’s transfers went:

  • £2 million went to Boler for going down;
  • £2 million went to Wardle for going down;
  • £1 million went to Tbilisi for the sell-on clause;

So that means a grand total of £0 going on players unless we have a major rise in tickets sales for the start of the season.

Derrick Bradshaw (


Confirmation… watching City is just like “watching Brazil”; from this morning’s (Tuesday 14th) Football 365, commenting on Brazil’s fall from grace, the following …

“But whatever the friction within the camp, the champions’ performance was as lame as their star striker. Two goals conceded with, frankly, Manchester City-like incompetence proved what many had suspected, that ‘brittle’ isn’t strong enough to describe their defensive shortcomings.”

Thanks Guys

Jeremy Poynton (


I was wondering if anyone could explain the dubious workings of recent share dealings reported in the excellent “Teamtalk”. As I read it, 3 directors look set to pocket 4 million quid by exercising an option of buying City shares at 10p, i.e. well below market price. This option is a result of City failing in its efforts to make the Premiership by the year 2000.

I am particularly interested in knowing how the deal works and whom the directors are making the money off. I am also interested in knowing if this is a share option; as I understand it, you do not have to exercise an option. If more share capital is required, why can’t another effective share issue be arranged? The deal was described by one of our former saviours Mr Francis Lee as complicated, and I am sure it is.

It strikes me as being the most inefficient and bizarre performance incentive for the Manchester City board of directors. Put simply, if you fail in your stated objectives, i.e. to take City back to the Premiership by the year 2000, you will not be sacked, or have your career destroyed, as we have seen with so many managers and players, but instead we will let you make a huge windfall profit. Do I smell sleaze in the air?

I know this makes sense to those who agreed the deal but it makes no sense to me. I am prepared to believe this is a fair deal if anyone can explain why via the pages of MCIVTA.

Colin McKarell (


The issue of a stadium for the Commonwealth Games which may house Man City thereafter is one which should concern all City fans and North West sports fans alike. I refer in particular to the latest rumours about design and capacity. I was horrified to read in the M.E.N. (Friday 3 Jul) a report suggesting that the choice is now down to a 40,000 seater or a temporary stadium just for the games. I don’t know how true the report was or whether the idea is part of a bid to deflect criticism of a small stadium by suggesting it’s better than a temporary one but this is a far cry from what we were promised.

The North West is the world’s biggest sporting area in terms of attendance at events and it needs a world class state of the art stadium. We were promised the legacy of world class sport in a super stadium after the games but a mini stadium will not attract big events.

From Man City’s point of view it seems we have a choice of stay where we are or move to Eastlands. If we stay we will be stuck with a poor ground by Premier League standards which could be improved but not made any bigger. The locals are determined not to allow any further expansion or significant increase in capacity. It is a patchwork ground with a 2nd division Platt Lane stand and the surrounding area is a dump. Eastlands is not picturesque but it’s an opportunity for a new start in a new stadium in a redeveloped area with good roads and parking and it’s not far from our Hyde Road origins.

If we are going to move then it must be to a worthy stadium. We need to know what is proposed now. The original proposal has been watered down gradually from 80,000 (Olympic) through 60,000 (original Commonwealth) to whatever it is today and all this has been going on without any public consultation whatsoever.

I would like answers to many questions. What reference has been made to the people of the North West about the stadium? What accountability is there? Is it true that we are looking at a mini-stadium seating only 40,000 and if so why? It’s not what we were promised. Why is there no opportunity for the public to invest in the project? Rugby Union has built Twickenham and Murrayfield at huge cost and they are hardly used. Our stadium will be well used and will make a profit so what’s the problem?

Sunderland have already built a stadium for over 40,000 and it will be added to. Everton are planning a 60,000 seater. Sunderland’s crowd has increased to match its ambition, almost filling their ground each game and they aren’t in the Premier League. City’s crowd has always been bigger than Sunderland’s until last year! Maine road gets full now to watch the worst team in the club’s history!

In summary, although I’ve been going to Maine Road for nearly 40 years, I believe we have to move on but not to a mini-stadium. We must not be sold short, we need a stadium to match our ambition. The sporting people of the North West need a world class stadium to bring in world class sport i.e. a 60,000 seater and Manchester needs the legacy it was promised after the games.

P.S. Since I wrote this piece yet another M.E.N. feature has appeared claiming (not for the first time) that government money has been pledged for a stadium which may house 40,000 for the games. After the games seating could be increased to 50,000. I don’t like the words “may house” and “could be increased”. We may eventually get a stadium to be proud of but as things stand we’re going to get what we’re given which may or may not be what we want.

J Whelan (


France, champion du monde. I told you to buy Henry last year. Too late now…

Olivier Potaux – Orl