Newsletter #429

Firstly I’d like to thank Nizam for doing an excellent job in my absence. Definitely did me some good being away from it all; finding myself searching for a result in West Cornwall (probably the last person to know it) and being informed by Jeremy Poynton in the Logan Rock that we’d won 7-1 was a pretty unusual experience for me!

The major news is that the new Commonwealth stadium will be built at a cost of £90 million and that after the games, City will take over the running of the stadium in exchange for Maine Road. What isn’t clear is whether this is ownership or whether City must pay an annual rent. The move will only take place with the approval of the fans, to which end GMR ran an impromptu poll with the pro-movers outnumbering the anti-movers by 11 to 1. It certainly looks like a once-in-a-century opportunity and one which, on the basis of last night’s phone-in, will go ahead. Can anyone write up a detailed piece using the information available in the press?

This issue has match reports from the Walsall and Notts games; news of BlueView and the Tribal Gathering (II); a poignant obituary for Robin Dilks; and another unusual Why Blue (more needed).

I’m sure there will be a collective sigh when I tell you that this issue contains more on ‘Simon’, ‘replies to Simon’ and ‘replies to replies etc.’. Nizam made a laudable effort to bring a rather long (and open) discussion to a close, mainly because people were getting a little fed up with it. Unfortunately, Simon seems to have (mis)interpreted this as censorship, which it patently wasn’t, and furthermore, felt at liberty to write a rather offensive little piece to Nizam, who after all was giving of his own time for the benefit of us all. To call a halt now would clearly be inappropriate, I therefore intend let it rumble on to the end of the week when hopefully we can get onto something else.

Lastly, I’ve been asked by the anonymous ‘insider’ of a few issues back to reiterate that he/she is not an ‘insider’ but is someone who is in a position to pick up information, more of which is in this issue. They are known to me so are not truly anonymous, but have merely had their address witheld.

Next game, Bournemouth at home, Tuesday 8th September 1998


Over the next few weeks, we’re going to be asking for help with MCIVTA, both to improve the quality and to spread the load. These two things go hand in hand, as the current team are already doing as much as they can, and any attempt to improve the newsletter must of necessity come in the form of extra hands. At the moment, I (Ashley) do the editing, Paul does all the technical stuff (plus some match reports), Steve does subscriptions and bouncers, and Jeremy helps out with running the distribution software. What we are looking for is people who can spare time to do a regular job (whatever that might be) in addition to those mentioned above. If we can get a few people to help out in this way then we can hopefully improve MCIVTA for the benefit of all without it leading to a personal tragedy!

So, onto this issue’s request:


Russell Town has done a sterling job for the last 2 years in sending the results and the appropriate league tables to MCIVTA. He obtained these from SoccerNet and sent them to me in the form of an email so that I could paste it in in a couple of seconds. I could easily do this myself, but by the time I’ve got it and reformatted it, it will have taken 15 minutes which I could have usefully spent on other things. Unfortunately, Russell has gone quiet, so we need someone who can come in and take over, sending the table and results to MCIVTA after each series of games. It’s quite a simple task which doesn’t require any IT skills, but does require someone who can do it on a regular basis.

Please consider doing your bit, your fans need you!

Ashley (


MANCHESTER CITY vs. WALSALL, Wednesday 2nd September 1998

Now this was more like it. A pleasant late summer evening, a good turn out by 24,021 fans and a far better performance from City. They just weren’t the same team as had performed so abjectly on Saturday. Horlock and Whitleys were off on international duty, resulting in a recall for Bradbury and a début at left wing back for Tiatto. Weaver had shaken off his groin strain enough to be able to play. The full team was Weaver, Edghill, Tiatto, Fenton, Wiekens, Vaughan, Mason, Pollock, Goater, Dickov and Bradbury, with Allsopp, Brown and Jobson on the bench.

City went off like a train. They spent the entirety of the first 30 minutes camped out in the Walsall half. In the second minute Dickov had a chance that he should have done better with, Goater then missed a couple of chances as did Bradbury. The sun was setting behind the Main Stand, the floodlights were on, City were ripping apart a Walsall side whose furthest player forward was about level with the edge of the penalty area… ah this was better. Dickov should have put us in the lead when a long ball out of defence found the ‘keeper wandering around on the edge of his area. He suffered a Jamie-Pollock style rush of blood and ran out of his area towards the ball, whereupon Dickov challenged him about 30 yards out, didn’t foul him, knocked the ball towards the goal and carried on going… only to hit it wide. Tiatto was looking dangerous down the left as he, unlike poor old Edghill, seems to realise that wing backs are supposed to attack and put some good crosses in – most of which were fumbled by Goater, but it was only a matter of time before we got one. After 30 minutes a cross from Fenton picked out Goater in the middle of the area, where he rose majestically and headed the ball into the net. Yep, Goater scored a header. The man who, on Saturday, looked as if his feet had been superglued to the grass, actually jumped. Cool.

Walsall did come out of their half at that point but didn’t look too dangerous, only forcing Weaver to make one save about 5 minutes before the end when he did well to come out and hold a fierce dipping shot. His kicking was a bit suspect at times as he didn’t seem to be able to lift the ball, probably as a result of the injury he’d had, but luckily the defence remained solid throughout the first half and ably mopped up any problems. Bradbury should have made it two-nil but sidefooted his shot wide of the post, and both Dickov and Goater had ample opportunities to score. We look far better with three strikers playing.

Half time: 1-0.

So, what would happen in the second half? Would City continue to be on fire and add to their lead in the manner their first half performance had deserved? Er, well, not at first, as Walsall had obviously had rockets shoved up their bottoms during half time and were much better in the second half. They were unbeaten prior to this game, which had surprised us during the first half but it was easier to see why during the second. There were chances squandered at both ends, especially by Bradbury (who looked far better when creating chances than when trying to take them) who was substituted after 60 minutes when he’d just been booked for a daft challenge. For the five minutes after he went off, City went to pieces. We completely lost our shape and the midfield seemed to have nipped off for a pint as they certainly weren’t in the game. Every ball cleared out of our defence fell straight to a Walsall player and was knocked back in for another try on goal. Weaver was outstanding during this as he didn’t put a foot wrong; luckily Fenton and Wiekens were also having excellent games although Vaughan wasn’t as steady as in earlier games. Allsopp then had a chance to score with one of the easiest finishes ever… and put it wide. The howls of derision were transferred straight from Bradbury onto him, but only a couple of minutes later he redeemed himself. A long ball from Edghill for once didn’t go into touch. Allsopp ran with it into the area, turned, left Neil Pointon for dead (nice touch) and crossed for Goater to score his second. Nice finish from Goater, he’s missed easier chances, but this was Allsopp’s goal.

Four minutes later we were three up when Allsopp again was the creator, this time laying in an inch perfect cross for Dickov to side foot it into the net. Lovely.

Walsall did manage to pull one back just after that when an uncharacteristic mistake by Fenton gave the ball away, and some lovely passing from the Walsall forwards ended with Andy Rammell putting the ball in the net, but City were now back in control. Some of the passing around the defence and midfield was almost sublime. Remember the way Liverpool just used to pass the ball round and have the other team chasing shadows for ten minutes at a time? It was almost as good as that. Sadly the final ball forwards from these moves was always a bit naff, but you can’t have everything – what would they work on in training if they were perfect? Brown came on for the last five minutes and ran around a lot, winning a couple of balls in midfield well and looking as if he was keen to prove himself ready to get back in the team.

This really was a far better performance than Saturday’s. I was particularly impressed by Tiatto, who I just hope doesn’t go the same way as some of the others who’ve had promising débuts recently then faded away. We need to turn more chances into goals to build on this, but I for one was far more confident after last night’s game of our doing well this year. Fingers crossed.

Sharon Bennett


The crowds gathered for the “classic match” (in the words of the pre-match build up) between City and Walsall; in fact over 24,000 turned up. We desperately needed the 3 points to pick ourselves back up after the slack couple of weeks.

City started well and set about the task of breaking down Walsall. City seemed at times to dominate the play and couldn’t quite seem to put the ball in the back of the net. Nicky Weaver had very little to do for most of the first half. The boo boys got into action when the ball was played backwards, but this was part of City’s new style of play. With the combination of long ball and passing we looked fairly good. If we couldn’t exploit one option the ball went back and we started again. Finally as if from nowhere Mr Goater leapt to meet a cross and glanced the header into the Walsall goal. 1-0. 10 minutes to half time, would we hold out? For once we didn’t sit back and at the break we still had the lead.

Walsall came out looking a completely different team and we looked shaky. Bradbury made a couple of cock ups and the boo boys got on his back. Joe Royle substituted him for Allsopp who made the difference. He certainly helped in the build up for 2 quick goals to put us 3-0 up. Both came from low crosses across the goal with Goater and Dickov grabbing one each. City then sat back and conceeded a sloppy goal with about 10 minutes left. That’s how it finished.

Much was said about the state of the refs in this league and so far it seems true. The ref was the same one who did the Blackpool game and again he made some very dodgy decisions. In the end we won, 3 points to us. Goaters target of 25 goals looks a safe bet (he’s got 6 already).

Weaver – He’s young but looks a safe bet for the future.
Edghill – Had a good game for once.
Wiekens – Had a solid game in defence, Jobson will have to work hard to remove him.
Tiatto – Small, but fairly nippy, still hasn’t settled.
Bradbury – Is it time to cut our losses? Played better without him.
Goater – Proven striker in this league, still proving his salary.
Dickov – Worth his weight in gold, always working hard.
The rest – Sound game, still some rough edges to smooth out.

Andy Holgate (


NOTTS COUNTY vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 29th August 1998

This was dire. Unrelentingly so. A good turn out of Blues and a poor one of County fans saw what has to be one of the worst matches so far this season, in any division. Notts County is quite a nice ground, good view from the away end behind the goal (which we filled) and it probably would have been a good view from the other stands too if over half the seats hadn’t been empty. We weren’t expecting a repeat of the 7-1 but surely we couldn’t lose this one?

Bradbury was again on the bench, this time with Brown and Jobson. The team lined up as Weaver, Jim Whitley, Edghill, Fenton, Wiekens, Vaughan, Mason, Pollock, Goater, Dickov, Horlock. The fans were in fine voice, for once we didn’t stay in the pub too long and miss the kick off, this was our chance to really get our season going and show them some class. Ahem.

The first five minutes were all County but we weren’t worried, after all, they were the home team and we could just soak up the pressure and hit them straight back, right? Well… no. We did get the ball back from them with relative ease after each attack they had, then Whitley and Edghill hit it straight into touch. Every time. After a while Vaughan realised this was all they were doing so decided to clear the ball from defence himself. Straight to one of the County forwards. It took almost half an hour before we had a decent chance, when Pollock (who’d been having a nightmare but wasn’t alone in that) put a lovely ball through the middle of the County defence for Goater to run on to. He couldn’t have asked for a better ball, all he had to do was control it and hit it hard and the ‘keeper wouldn’t have had a chance. He fell over his own feet when trying to take his first touch then waited long enough to let the defenders get back to mark him before kicking one of the weakest goal attempts I’ve ever seen. Five minutes later Mason put Goater through with an even better chance. Again, all it needed was control and shoot – he dawdled around so long this time that one of the defenders just came and took it off him. Five minutes later, exactly the same. All chances to Goater, all completely fluffed. We’ve found our very own Andy Cole. Still, at least he was getting into positions where he had chances to score, all we needed was to bide our time and the goals would come. Right. A large proportion – although not all, never believe what the papers tell you – of the City “faithful” booed the team off at half time. Someone sitting behind us who’d been at the cup game at Meadow Lane was telling everyone who’d listen (and a few who didn’t want to) that this was exactly the way that cup game had gone – terrible in the first half, bollocked by Royle at half time then much better in the second half. It’s a shame this wasn’t what happened on Saturday.

There were no City subs at half time, despite the fact that half the team were having the worst game of their lives. There was also no change to the performance, as we were just as bad in the second half as in the first. After about 15 minutes Notts County broke down the right, Whitley came across and tackled the County attacker very, very badly. The County fans were all baying for him to go off and no wonder, it was an awful foul and he was last man. Luckily – especially considering what was to come – he escaped with a yellow and the subsequent free kick led to nothing. Weaver was then called on to make a couple of saves which he did extremely competently, still the County attack didn’t look like achieving anything. Dickov was, as usual, running around like an idiot but seemed to have left a vital part of his brain behind. If you’re clear on goal, 20 yards out, no defender in front of you, why slow down and wait for one to catch up with you so you can pretend you have been fouled? Why not just keep going and at least force the ‘keeper into making a save? Some refs believe Dickov when he falls over, some, like the one on Saturday, form the opinion very early in the game that he’s a cheating little so-and-so and don’t ever give him free kicks for anything. The Notts County centre half could have pulled a knife on Dickov on Saturday and we still wouldn’t have been given a free kick.

Anyway, the referee had obviously decided that he didn’t want to see a 0-0 draw, so he invented a penalty. County had had one of their periodic “oh we aren’t very good but lets run forwards” attacks and, in the ensuing City defensive panic, the ball bobbled up and hit Kevin Horlock. We couldn’t see clearly from where we were as it was at the other end of the pitch, but I can well believe it hit his head, his nose, his back, anything except his hand. Wiekens and Vaughan were most put out and argued with the ref, both getting booked for their trouble. Don’t know why they bothered, there’s no way the ref was going to change his mind. There never is. The County no. 2 duly stepped up and scored the penalty – Weaver wasn’t far away but you can’t really expect him to save a well struck penalty. At last the County fans realised they were at a football match and started singing but we soon drowned them out. No contest really, there just weren’t enough of them and they couldn’t sing loud enough. Most of the players went back to the half way line ready for kick off, but the man with no brain decided to add an extra bit of excitement to the proceedings and went over to argue with the ref. Oh, Jamie Jamie, just because you’d been having the worst game of your life really didn’t mean we wanted you to leave the field like that, we’d much rather have seen you subbed for Michael Brown. After you’d started to walk away from the ref when you’d been booked for arguing about the penalty, you really didn’t have to go back for another go, I’m sure he got your point first time. It took Dickov to forcibly drag him away from the ref before he started to walk towards the tunnel. The County fans loved that – they’d been given a dodgy penalty then the ref had booked two of our players and sent another off. It couldn’t be going any better for them.

Weaver made a couple of excellent saves after that, notably one when Vaughan had played a lovely crossfield ball to the unmarked County centre forward. Bradbury came on for the quite awful Whitley – this boy is not a right back and I can’t believe he was asked to play there – and played really well. He’d only been on the field a couple of minutes when he had the best chance of the second half, a header at the near post which somehow the ‘keeper managed to save. Bradbury looked really up for it, running around and jumping – yes, jumping! – far more effectively than Goater had done. The minutes ticked away, County started some shocking time wasting and we just knew we weren’t going to equalise. The board was held up for four minutes of time added on. City attacked and attacked but weren’t ever going to score. People all around us started to drift out, we resigned ourselves to another away defeat, a terrible performance and another City let down. Four minutes of time added on had gone. Except then Goater, who obviously hadn’t realised that City don’t do things like this, remembered how to shoot. His first shot was only parried by the ‘keeper, but instead of turning away in a sulk the way that Rösler always used to, he followed up his first shot and slid home the rebound. The crowd went wild. I couldn’t find any words so I just screamed and screamed and screamed. Remember the Sheffield United game last year? You’d have thought that point had just won us the Championship from the reaction. Some pride had been restored.

We ended up back in the Trent Navigation after the game, talking to some Notts County fans, who all seemed quite happy with their team’s performance. It just shows how bad they must be the rest of the time, for they were awful. This was a game fought out by two clueless teams who looked more like relegation contenders than, in our case at least, odds on to be promoted. I was thoroughly depressed by the whole match. The only players who didn’t disgrace themselves were Weaver, Fenton and Mason and, to a lesser extent although his passing was awful, Wiekens. Dickov ran around a lot but drove us all mad by diving constantly; why bother getting into good positions if you aren’t going to do anything when you get there? Vaughan had the worst game I’ve seen him have this season. Edghill and Whitley could have been the same man. Pollock was frankly awful, how he dared to have a go at Fenton in the first half I’ve no idea. I know we had a problem last year with a lack of team spirit and passion, but I don’t really think that’s the sort of passion we need. Getting sent off like that was stupid, he’s the captain and should have more sense than to let his team – and the fans – down. Horlock was better in the second half but still isn’t playing anything like as well as he can. And as for Goater… he may well end up as the leading goal scorer in the division, but just think how many he could get if he was any good? He doesn’t jump, doesn’t run, gets caught in possession constantly, doesn’t create chances for anyone else, can’t lose his marker, only worries defences because neither he nor they know which way he’s going to go next. He should have had four on Saturday and we should have had three points. I hate writing match reports like this, I always try to find the good points of any performance but this time I don’t think there was one. Well, there is one – we can’t possibly play any worse. Sort it out Joe.

Sharon Bennett


We’re so s**t it’s unbelievable!

I don’t get to see many of City’s games, mainly the away fixtures in the Midlands and Yorkshire. So this was just my second match of the season, both of them at Meadow Lane. This is not a blow-by-blow account, but just my impressions, whilst the City players were doing their impressions of “The Comedians” on the pitch 🙁

We didn’t look sharp all game. Most of the players couldn’t pass and they couldn’t use their brains to see that playing it in the air just wasn’t working so they should try it on the ground. It took the half-time team talk to sort that one out. Pollock was trying hard, but got booked in the first half, for a not that dirty challenge I seem to remember. Goater didn’t seem to be enjoying himself and wasted three chances at the end of the first half; one of them he passed to nobody and another he had the defender on his back as he was running in on goal. A number 9 should be able to leave a defender for dead in those situations. We looked poor, generally. Some fans booed City off at half time and I can’t say City deserved more.

Second half and we started to pass to feet, and to me at least we seemed to be keeping our shape better. Goater just didn’t seem to want to find the ball though. He just appeared to be so goddam lazy. Then County got a penalty for handball (Wiekens?) and County scored (72 mins). After the goal we put on Bradbury for Jim Whitley, and whilst the substitution was taking place somehow Pollock got booked again. I didn’t see what he had done, so I suppose it was dangerous use of the mouth. I know he tries to motivate people, and he tried to get the City fans behind the team during the match, but he’s the captain and JR needs to let him know that more is expected of him discipline wise.

We tried a bit but were still poor. Goater just couldn’t do owt right and Dickov seemed to have caught Uwe’s disease a few times. Some of City’s passes were too short, and these weren’t difficult passes. Some 5-yard passes were mistimed and these led us in to trouble. Weaver made a few saves after County broke free from City mistakes.

There was one last scramble in the County box well into injury time and Goater seemed to hit his shot into the goalie. Typical! He couldn’t even hit an Elephant at that dista… And then he scored with the rebound. 95 minutes on the scoreboard. Jammy or what?!

I never hope to see a City performance that poor again. I rate it down their with our game at Vale Park last March. Some of our general skills were very poor. Our players didn’t seem to be talking to each other (at times the crowd were the only ones telling the defender there was a man on him). I do not want to put City down. I want us to go back up, but on this performance I can’t see how. Our game at County in the cup wasn’t brilliant but we tried and eventually got somewhere, especially with the help of the crowd.

Good points though were Weaver, who got us out of a few spots and only clattered his own defenders once, and the number 4, Fenton I think (missed the team changes on the tannoy), who seemed decent, though Wiekens and Vaughan weren’t our worst players by far either.

Sorry about the use of “County”, living in Nottingham for 12 years makes it automatic. Sorry if most of you thought I meant Stockport 🙂

Kevin Hopkins (Kevin.Hopkins@Cs.Nott.AC.UK)


Went to Maine Road last night, not a bad result. Three people of interest were there: Peter Reid, Steve Bruce and Dario Grady, so who were they after? It could be Michael Brown, news is that he is in talks with Port Vale (hence his general absence), the other choice is our Mr Mason. I’ve also heard Peter was eyeing up Edghill (who suprisingly had quite a good game!). Stato from Fantasy Football was also there and he’s got an uncanny resemblence to Moonchester.

Not much else going on, except Jobson should be fully fit by the end of the month, but can he get his place back?

Andy Holgate (


The new Blue View website will officially open on Friday 4th September 1998. It has been built from scratch over the last few weeks by Doug Bennett and my good self. I won’t bore you by giving out all the details, go and see it for yourself.


We’d appreciate it if you would use the link on the start page to mail us with your comments, suggestions and/or problems.

Steh a.k.a. The Sikpupi (


Firstly, I’d like to pass on my thanks to Nizam for his efforts during Ashley’s absence. It hasn’t been an easy time, thanks to some excitable contributors, but you did a great job, Nizam.

It never ceases to amaze me how keen Manchester City fans remain despite the rollercoaster ride the team gives us. I’ve had the pleasure of spending some time recently with a few City fans who have made the trip to these shores to stay at my hotel and it occurs to me what a special breed of folk we are. I’ve heard the phrase “roll with the punches” but City fans’ degree of suffering goes way beyond that. Here we are only four games into our first season in the Second (ex Third) Division and we have stumbled and lurched to five points out of a possible twelve. Definitely not promotion form… yet. But I remain confident that we’ll be there at the end of the season. The fervour of the City fans will be severely tested this season, that is clear. But we are all in this together and together we will stand.

An ideal opportunity to join your fellow sufferers presents itself in November on the weekend of 20-22 November to be precise. We have organised TG2 and now all that is missing are the numbers. We are looking at a Friday evening bash in the Oasis Suite at the Platt Lane Stand, Maine Road. There will be room for about 100 people and I’m asking anyone who is interested in coming along to send a cheque for 20 pounds (made payable to Bob Young). If you are interested and need Bob’s address, please email me on We are having a comedian (and it’s not Frank Clark) plus other celebrities along to meet the fans and there will be food, late-bar and music.

Please note – do not confuse this function with the matchday gathering which also costs £20 but must be paid for separately!

Tickets for the matchday gathering are selling well so if you haven’t already secured your place in the former M(U)EN Lounge for the Gillingham game, do so quickly. It’s strictly first come, first served.

If we can repeat the tremendous spirit of last year’s TG, we will all have a blast. There will be a Guided Tour of Maine Road on the Friday afternoon and 5-a-side on Sunday which will be included free to anyone who joins us on the Friday evening or Saturday gatherings.

Looking forward to welcoming everyone to “the return of the tribe – TG2” – Clive Tysoe (


The death of Robin Dilks of a heart attack at the age of 48 is a loss from which many of us will never recover. Apart from a stretch in Egypt for V.S.O., Robin had worked for the BBC World Service for all of his adult life and I first met him in a bar in Buenos Aires when he was the BBC’s Latin America correspondent. I was a young journalist trying to make a living abroad and Robin offered me a job as his fixer, flying me all over Latin America and paying for my accommodation. “But first,” he said, “you have to answer one question. Answer it correctly and you’ve got the job.” I was terrified. My Spanish still wasn’t up to much, I couldn’t name the president of every country on the continent and if he was to ask me about Argentina and the privatisation of oil, then I knew I was done for. But Robin looked at me and with a smile said: “You’re obviously from Manchester. Which team do you support? Blue or Red?” I got the job and within two weeks, Robin had me covering food riots on the streets of Caracas. It was the start of my own career with the World Service and although I owed Robin a massive debt for everything I have now, it was typical of the man that he never mentioned his own rôle or the help and advice he gave to so many others.

There are thousands of stories to tell about Robin and his love for City. But they’re being saved for a rainy day and a few pints of beer after watching City throw away a two-nil lead to some bunch of no-hopers. For anyone out there who knows Robin or who maybe heard his voice when he was a correspondent, please bear in mind that Robin died at a time when I personally have never seen him happier. His partner, Liz, is six months’ pregnant and Robin was going to be the father he always dreamed of being.

Robin Dilks. Friend, journalist and Loyal Blue.
Born 19 October 1949
Died 12 August 1998

Rob Minshull (


The article by Jim Taylor in a recent MCIVTA awakened a faded memory from almost 30 years ago. I think it was Christmas 1968 or 69 and Santa Claus had brought me Subbuteo. The two teams were standard I believe, one Rag and white the other Everton lookalikes. I also got a boxed team of players with yellow body, blue arms and shorts. As my dad was a Rag fan, I believed (wrongly) for many years he had purposely told Santy to get the United colours. How could he do such a twisted thing to a little boy?

In retrospect, I now know it was in fact Santy’s fault; after all he does wear red and white and lives in the north pole a million miles away from Manchester, a classic example of a typical Rag fan.

Well, my initial reaction was to get the paint I used for my airfix models and paint over the red with sky blue (City’s real colour). But no, a better idea emerged, I would paint over Everton making them sky blue, and the yellow team became the away kit with red and black stripes. Just like the real results at that time, my subbuteo team never ever lost to United or anyone else for that matter (Liverpool once beat us 4-1 but we won the second leg 5-0).

Eventually I had a further Everton team painted all blue with a white and red diagonal stripe and indeed Leeds with a red and blue diagonal. I think we won the League, F.A. Cup and European Cup for about eight years in a row, until my index finger wore out; there were no cruciate knuckle operations in those days.

Ah, if only it was so simple as a lick of paint!

(City above all) Niall Burns (


I’ve had the privilege of seeing Gio a few times on EuroSport since his move to Ajax and it would appear that they are using him in a different rôle than at Maine Road. He seems to be playing in a wide, left, attacking midfield rôle, not quite a winger but sticking to a specific team shape. City always used to use him as the focal point when they had possession, picking the ball up all over the field, channelling everything through him. At Ajax, I know he is playing with more talented individuals, but his ability to create space for others as a natural left footer coming in from the left seems to give the team a better shape. Whether he likes it is another matter? His problem at City was that the opposition worked him out after a while. Consequently, City’s play was totally dependent on him. They could not adapt when the opposition shut him out.

Graham Jones (


Some people may have heard about this group of people, the majority will not have heard of them at all. They are all close to the club, mainly Directors and major Shareholders. They have been around since the days of Mr Swales, so they are not new on the scene. Their sole aim is to undermine the club at any opportunity for their own personal gain. It is these men who brought down Peter Swales and ultimately brought down Francis Lee. I can, at the moment, only name one person involved with the Fifth Column and that is Ian Niven. He seemed to have a lot of say in things and often wrangled with Francis over trivial things.

You can imagine how difficult it can be to run a club with a group of people trying at all times to undermine your decisions. When Francis Lee said on his departure as Chairman “there are a lot of Rats in the Club” (or words to similar effect) he was having a direct dig at the Fifth Column. It leaves the question: Who, ultimately, is running City? David Bernstein Or the Fifth Column?

David Bernstein has already got rid of Ian Niven (unfortunately not completely, he is still an Honorary President) and is the process of rooting out more of this secretive group. It will take time but I feel he can do it. Then, maybe, City can be steered back to where we belong.

Name witheld by request (Ashley)


Someone over the summer mentioned that to get an automatic promotion place (based on the 97/98 final positions) we needed to win all our home games and draw all our away games. At the end of August we have 5 points, 3 down on the 8 needed under the above scheme and are 14th in the table. Our performances don’t seem to have been spectacular but we our only 3 points behind our target. There is hope, though we need to greatly improve the performance on the field compared to that at Notts County. In September home matches against Walsall (6th), Bournemouth (4th) and Chesterfield (13th) could be tough but some of the away games against Macclesfield Town (23rd), Northampton Town (22nd) and Millwall (11th) should hopefully allow us to catch up a few points that we might drop in the three home games.

If folks don’t mind I’ll try to send in the progress so far at the end of each month so we can see how we are fairing against the target. I know we can all see the table, but it might give us an idea how many points we have in hand, or how far behind target we are.

Kevin Hopkins (Kevin.Hopkins@Cs.Nott.AC.UK)


Latest changes to squad
Ged Brannan on loan to Norwich
Kakhaber Tskhadadze taken off transfer list
Scott Hiley free transfer to Southampton
Martin Phillips sold for £100,000 to Portsmouth
David Morley sold for £10,000 to Southend
Paul Beesley free transfer to Port Vale
Barrreee Conlon thinking over a move for £100,000 to Southend

Tommy Wright
Nick Weaver
Michael Brown
Gerard Wiekens
Tony Vaughan
Richard Edghill
Anthony Fenton
Nick Fenton
Murtaz Shelia
Richard Jobson
Danny Tiatto
Kakhaber Tskhadadze
Kevin Horlock
Jamie Pollock
Lee Crooks
Gary Mason
Jeff Whitley
Jim Whitley
Michael Brown
Nigel Clough              Transfer Listed
Neil Heaney               Transfer Listed
Ian Bishop                Transfer Listed
Ged Brannan               Loaned to Norwich
Paul Dickov
Lee Bradbury
Shaun Goater
Alan Bailey
Danny Allsop
Chris Greenacre           Transfer Listed
Ray Kelly                 Transfer Listed
Mikhail Kavalashvili      Loaned to Grasshoppers Zürich
Craig Russell             Loaned to Tranmere

Second year trainees:

Lee Daly (goalkeeper)
Greg Duff (defender)
Stephen Rimmer (defender)
Adam Allcock (midfield)
David Laycock (midfield)
Neil Morley (midfield)
Ged O’Keefe (right wing back)
Darren Garfield (striker)
Michael Julien (striker)
Jason Kneen (striker)
Alan Reilly (striker)

First year trainees:

Steven Hodgson (goalkeeper)
Shaun Holmes (defender)
Stephen Jordan (defender)
Tony Dunfield (midfield)
Andrew Pavey (midfield)
Andrew Porteous (midfield)
Leon Mike (striker)
Stephen Parkhouse (striker)
Shaun Wright-Philips (striker)

Stuart Reynolds (


Having never offered a contribution to MCIVTA, the recent (and what has become a very banal) debate on the goings on inside the club, have aroused my sentiments and forced me to make my début. I quite agree with Simon, that MCFC fans get carried away with telling everyone what a great football club Manchester City are, but what the hell are we supposed to do? I could name fans from a plethora of clubs who maintain such loyalty in the face of adversity, including Doncaster Rovers, Lincoln City, Chesterfield, Rotherham, Bury, Stockport, PNE, Burnley, and the list goes on. I have to some extent question your state of mind, when you refer to the optimism of City fans, as bulls**t. In all honesty, you – like probably most City fans – realise that we are s**t, struggling to make our mark in the Second Division, and we all know the causes of our current predicament. But what is the use in going on about Chairmen, Managers, Players and anyone else who has had a hand in our downfall? We are all aware of the contributions of particular individuals, but that is in the past. I believe we should look forward now to the restructuring of the club, both on and off the field, which I believe will lead to success. Anyone can spend time analysing what people have said and picking out contradictions in contributions, but I think the process is an unproductive, boring and senseless one.

Gavin C. Thompson (


In all the time I have been receiving MCIVTA I have only been an observer, who enjoyed reading the many views – and there have been many contentious views – but nevertheless in a democratic country – one should be allowed to express these views, without the fear of retribution in any way. Simon, rightly or wrongly has been accused of being a “traitor” for expressing his heart-felt views, that many probably agreed with but were afraid to view.

The reason I am responding, is that I could not believe his response to Nizam – especially the tone and the unnecessary foul language in expressing himself – he would not get far in any debate with this attitude – I fear the response from the MCIVTA regulars – and can only foresee him being treated even worse than before – and even though I appreciate the “Red mist” that must have come over him, to respond in such a manner – I think an apology is required quickly.

Being Editor – even temporarily, cannot be an easy task – and I can understand Nizam’s desire to nip the “Simon” issue – before it got out of hand.

Simon – if you are CTID like the rest of us – do not alienate yourself with outbursts like this – we all know following City is a Rollercoaster ride of expectations and disappointments – so stop being pessimistic!

Glyn Alberquerque (


I do empathise very much with Simon’s evident feelings of frustration and despair at what has happened at the club over the last few years. The Fulham game was an absolute shocker; I bumped into Noel Bayley at half time and jokingly suggested to him that “maybe Simon is right after all.” I was so annoyed at the team’s performance I left early; something I haven’t done in over 10 years. The dark days are definitely not over yet.

For the record, I don’t know if Simon is right or not; I suspect he is at least partially correct. However, I wish he would be more measured in the way he expresses his views. They often appear to me as rude because of the multiple punctation and capitalisation and a willingness to insult. I instinctively distrust anything which appears rude to me.

I’m not saying Simon intends his mails to come across as rude – “anger is an energy” as an ageing punk rocker once sang – but we should all remember that an e-mail newsletter is a very impersonal form of communication, where a writer’s intentions can be easily misread and where the boundaries between facts and opinion easily become blurred.

(As an aside, there’s a few philosophers out there who could argue the difference between facts and opinions into the ground, but that’s a topic for another forum).

I’ve been on the Internet for donkeys years and I have seen countless flame wars start on e-mail and on USENET out of simple misunderstandings. For example, I recently saw a flame war start over a blank posting! If the protagonists of these flame wars ever actually get to meet, they nearly always get along and end up respecting each other’s opinions, if not agreeing with them.

So, Simon (and everyone else), keep the opinions coming but please try to be more measured. Tell us why something is “complete garbage”, give us your reasoning, don’t just call it a fact. That way, you will garner more respect for your opinions.

My opinion is that none of us knows all the true facts and we never shall.

James Nash (


Dear Nizam, Simon,

An apparent lack of success on and off the field will clearly make some fustrated, some angry, some indifferent and frankly whatever turns you on. The important thing with MCIVTA is that the you don’t argue with each other’s egos, because then it is only messengers that are sacrificed – no messengers, no message.

Living next door to the ground most of my life and now living on the Southern tip of Africa, I actually look forward to MCIVTA for what it represents, the club, the vision of the Parkside full before the game, Louie on the door collecting money for charity, chips and gravy, half-time drinks in the Main Stand etc…

Those of us who know why we support City feel that warmth, those that view us as suffering pr**ks may have a point, but we appear to enjoy it together most of the time.

I normally just read, but I have chosen to stop working for 10 minutes to say that some heads are so far up some backsides that perhaps you should consider why this electronic environment is important – it connects otherwise absent minds and spirits, with facts, wit, and cameraderie across a virtual belief system called City.

If you would like a highly secure discussion database that you can swear and curse each other on, I will glady sell you one, otherwise I suggest you get out of your secure zone and have a scrap outside Old Trafford next Saturday to sort this out – I am sure you will find some degenerates to join in, (I can even arrange). Freedom of speech is overrated and is only constitutional in the USA. Stick to the spirit of this and think about giving the remote users some fun and stimulation before one or many of you smack each other in the pub for the wrong reasons and all this seems like too much trouble.

“S***e”, “S**t” and “Diatribe” just doesn’t do it for me. However, I do enjoy “who the —- are Man United” when it is sung well.

Mark Bell


Who is this pathetic t**t Simon who keeps boring us with continuous pessimistic drivel that we don’t want to waste our Internet fees on seeing day in, day out. He’s the sort of “stalker” type who follows people around a.k.a. “Hinckley” and generally p****s them off. He appears to be the type you’d like to see at the bottom of an All Black ruck in the days of Colin Meads. As if JR & Co haven’t got enough on their plates trying to move City onward and upward, we don’t want ****ers like Simon trying to keep us in the doldrums… I reckon he’s a Rag infiltrator! I bet he puts on white gloves and checks after his wife has done the dusting. Put it to the vote amongst our readers… in the words of The Clash “should he stay or should he go?” I vote to zap the b*****d.

Hawkeye of the “Bay”, Chris Loveridge (


I like McVittee a lot, I enjoy the match reports, news, Why Blues, history, stats and humour, I want to keep up because I can’t get home to Manchester often enough…

What I could really do without is individuals ranting twice a week.

Simon has said his piece; some may agree, many don’t… right or wrong, can we please end it now? No amount of argument will convince either side, so kindly let them do it some place else. Given the nature (and distance from Maine Road) of the McV readership, I’d have thought that by the time people reach the teenage “I’m more loyal than you” level of debate we can safely assume that many readers have lost interest anyhow.

This mailing list is one of the best I’ve seen, because it’s sensitively edited and because it keeps side conversations where they should be, off line. It’s adult and intelligent where it needs to be, and it shouldn’t permit exchanges to degenerate into slanging. I’d rather not hear from subscribers if they are being abusive. We can understand an issue perfectly well without being shouted at.

Keep doing what you’re doing.

Ian Bilsborough


Simon’s last rant was just distasteful. I have no objection to reading criticism of the team, the board, the pitch or people who support City even though they live in Milton Keynes. But I do object to stuff which:

  • uses bad language (except where strictly necessary or very funny).
  • is personally abusive to other subscribers.
  • contains neither facts nor original thoughts.
  • is largely typed with the Caps Lock key jammed down.

MCIVTA is a great read with some brilliant contributions (the recent comparison with Russia was a world-class piece of writing). You have the right as editor to maintain the standard of discussion without being accused of censorship. Please don’t let yourself be bullied.

Dorien James – Milton Keynes Blue (


I have actually supported Manchester City only for 2 years. That’s mainly becuase of my age (17). In Finland you don’t usually start to support an English club as early as in England.

When I was about 10 I liked Tottenham because of Paul Gascoigne and Gary Lineker. I also once liked Derby, because Peter Shilton played there. But it was never serious. There were English games on TV and I watched them, but at that time I didn’t have a favourite club and to be honest I wasn’t that big fan of English football.

Three years ago when I was 14, I bought an English football guide season 95-96 (Veikkaajan Käsikirja for Finns), which is published in Finland. I started to read it. I checked details and other info about English football clubs. I really loved to read it, but I was still without a club. In February 96 I travelled with my family to Los Angeles via London. In London we had about 6 hours time before the LA plane would take-off. We travelled to Piccadilly Circus by Tube. Those 6 hours changed my life. I bought some football magazines and started to like England and English football. When I came back to Finland I watched every game there was on TV. The game I remember best, was the Manchester derby at Maine Road. Then I didn’t hate U****d or particularly love City. I just watched it as a neutral. As you all know City lost that game and later that season got relegated and U****d won the championship.

Just before season 96-97, some Finnish weekly sport paper published an article about football in Manchester. It was actually written by someone from Manchester (Hugh Southon). The article was quite anti-United. When I read the first lines of the article I immediately started to feel sympathy for City. The article explained how U****d were the most succesful team in England that time and how everything in City was misery. It told how passionate footy fans in Manchester are and how big the rivalry between U****d and City is. I have always hated big clubs and this kind of article was sure to make me hate U****d. That was actually the first time I heard about their glory-hunting armchair fans (if you can call them as fans). I didn’t know it before, that their supporters are mostly kids and girls. I didn’t know that everything there is about money. I also didn’t know that the support of City is so phenomenal. I saw pictures of City’s supporters who were crying after the relegation and I realized that there were something special about this club.

I read that story several times. Everytime I read it I started to hate U****d more and like City more. I still wasn’t a City supporter, but I had found it. There were few clubs I liked and City was one of them (other clubs I liked were mostly Cockney clubs). In Autumn 96 City struggled and the more they struggled the more I started to support them. After season 96-97 I started to support only Manchester City. Later that Autumn I saw on TV City’s game at Bramall Lane against Sheffield United. It was the first time I saw City’s game as a supporter of the club. The game was quite s**t, but Kevin Horlock’s late equaliser gave us one point. I was amazed when I saw that about 5,000 supporters had travelled from Manchester to watch a struggling First Division side play.

In December I then travelled to Manchester to watch City play against Nottingham Forest at Maine Road. I had a brilliant time there even if City lost 3-2 and after that trip I knew I was going to be City ’til I die. I have never regretted the moment I became a City supporter. I have had some great moments and I have met some brilliant people. I have experienced that supporting Manchester City is something special.

As I earlier said I’m City till I die. Even in Finland I have heard lots of abuse because of City’s relegations, but I am and I will always be proud to wear the Sky (at the moment Laser) Blue shirt of the team I love – Manchester City.

CTID, Topi Kauhala (


I am a sailor in the New Zealand Navy. My parents live in Wellington and one of my sisters, who lives in Palmerston North, is married to a Londoner.

My father and mother have recently been arrested for growing and selling marijuana and are currently dependent on my two sisters, who are prostitutes in Auckland. I have two brothers, one whom is currently serving a non-parole life sentence in Mt Eden Prison, Auckland, for the rape and murder of a teenage boy in 1994, and the other is currently being held in the Wellington Remand Centre on charges of incest with his three children.

I have recently become engaged to marry a former Thai prostitute who lives in Christchurch and indeed is still a part time “working girl” in a brothel. However, her time there is limited as she has recently been infected with an STD. We intend to marry as soon as possible and are looking into the possibility of opening our own brothel with my fiancee utilising her knowledge of the industry working as the Manager. I am hoping my two sisters would be interested in joining our team, although I would prefer them not to prostitute themselves, at least it would get them off the streets and hopefully the heroin.

My problem is this:

I love my fiancee and look forward to bringing her into the family and, of course, I want to be totally honest with her. Therefore, should I tell her about my brother-in-law being an Manchester United fan?

Perplexed, Kiwiland, Ralph Sheppard (


Contributions: Ashley –
Subscriptions & Club Questions: Steve –
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]Ashley Birch,

Newsletter #429