Newsletter #438

Another typical Maine Road script followed to perfection on Saturday: we’re all over them for 35 minutes, turn 6 excellent chances into 1 goal, gift the opposition a goal, let ’em have another after some poor defending, and finally score ourselves at the death! Although it has to be viewed as 2 points dropped, there is something gratifying about our ability to score in the last 5 minutes and to maintain this unbeaten run.

This issue has 2 match reports, some comments on the policing at the Burnley game, our Chairman’s statement (in the accounts), an assessment of Shaun Goater (from Bermuda) and plenty of opinion.

Anyone fancy doing a Why Blue?

This one reaches 2,210.

Next game, Preston North End at home, Monday 12th October 1998


MANCHESTER CITY vs. BURNLEY, Saturday 3rd October 1998

“Well at least if the game’s s***e you’ll get a good view of Manchester”

Those were the words of a fellow Blue as I left my son’s morning game of football early on Saturday to make my way down to the Academy. I had a ticket for the Millennium suite, which meant I would be watching the boys from the top tier of the Kippax. Normally I sit with my two children in the JD Sports family stand and the tickets were a treat from a couple of good folk that I used to work with who I met up with in the car park at about 12.30.

We had not even had time to take our seats for our meal when the fire alarm went off, we were all evacuated to the area outside the Kippax, but as with so many other things at the Academy it was a damp squib and we were soon back enjoying the pre-match meal and entertainment.

Onto the match, a couple of team changes from the programme: Tiatto was in at number 3 and Whitley in at number 8. Pollock and Dickov were of course not available.

The Burnley team were certainly well supported and the crowd for the game an impressive 30,772. As with most games at the Academy this year the away fans were certainly enjoying their day out and made plenty of noise at the start and throughout the game.

We certainly started brightly and were looking good in the first 20 to 25 minutes. In the opening minutes we saw Mason and Bradbury combining well to move in on the Burnley goal, we saw Mason getting a fine cross in from the right and we saw them link up well as the Burnley ‘keeper was drawn from his line only for us to hit wide and out.

Bradbury, who is looking better and better with every game, was the key in the first goal; he sent Goater off from around the half way line, the ‘keeper was coming out and he misjudged the line of attack, leaving easy pickings for Goater who was able to fire home for goal number nine of the current campaign.

At that stage and for the next 15 minutes or so I thought we might end up with about three by half time. Even Edghill seemed to be playing slightly better, although I have to say I still think he’s way below the form that should allow him to be selected in every game. Unfortunately our now predictable approach was evident. We were creating chances but just not scoring. I didn’t think we were getting as many openings as normal, but nevertheless we had chances that we didn’t take.

About 20 minutes into the game Burnley had the ball in the net but it was a clear offside and we weren’t worried. Just on 34 minutes Fenton had the ball in about middle of the 18 yard box; under no real pressure he passed back to Weaver. It was bizarre, he didn’t need to pass back and when he did it was a weak pass that left Weaver running forward for the ball as the Burnley striker rounded Fenton and took the ball before crashing it in. What a soft and stupid goal to give away. Burnley had never been in it up until then and there we were on level terms.

I was reasonably impressed with Whitley by this stage who was having a useful game, Bradbury and Goater were looking more of a partnership than in previous games and it seemed to me that Bradbury was being able to find more space than usual and has the confidence of his team-mates for them to seek him out, something that I didn’t see earlier in the season.

Within minutes of the Burnley goal Bradbury was shooting on sight and saw a good effort go high over the bar, and in a lovely combination move from Goater and Bradbury we saw three City forwards moving forward to press home the attack, but like the earlier fire alarm the final shot from Goater was another damp squib leaving an easy save for the Burnley ‘keeper.

We were doing OK against the predictable line of defence that most teams are putting out now when they visit the Academy, but even against the five or six-man defence we should have been in front. Bradbury was without doubt looking half-decent and he played a great ball into Edghill who in turn played a great ball into Goater but he just couldn’t finish it off; actually he couldn’t even make it to the ball!

Half time, 1- 1 and I went and had a pint and cheese and biscuits (well that’s the Millennium suite for you). The pint of John Smiths was at least at the right temperature which is more than can be said for the slops that I normally pay for in the Dennis Tueart bar in the JD stand. I was hoping that we would improve in the second half, as I had no doubt that if we played like we did in the last 10 minutes of the first 45 we would be lucky to get any points at all!

We did start of the second period quite well, but within about 10 minutes were left stranded when a Burnley player sent a speculative long ball across from left to right. It was well collected by the Burnley forward Andy Cook who it has to be said finished it well, although it was an easy one to score. I was a little concerned by the excitement this caused in a couple of Burnley fans behind me; much more and I’m sure they would have urinated themselves. Their excited shouts of ‘come on Cookie’ aimed at their number 10 were beginning to irritate me and the thought did cross my mind of how relatively easy it would have been for a couple of us to sling the Burnley fans down from the top tier.

There was a bit of off-the-ball fisticuffs going on that the ref didn’t seem to see between ‘Cookie’ and our number 7 (Whitley), but it didn’t come to much and the Burnley contingent behind me continued to threaten to urinate with excitement as the final whistle approached; how nice to see our now familiar last gasp equalizer, finished off by the sub. Allsopp, go into the goal with about five minutes to go. We knew it was a let off and it was now with a rather lacklustre voice that the Burnley fans behind me shouted ‘come on boys’.

Those pathetic ramblings were nothing though to what was one of the most bizarre comments I have heard assailing my ears at Maine Road this season. My ex-work pal, Amanda said that she thought Goater should be man of the match as he had ‘run his socks off’! I have to say I flirted with the idea of slinging her from the top tier now.

We were making a decent finish of it and I think there was relief all round when we heard the final whistle.

So in summary I guess it’s another couple of points lost that we really should have had. I don’t think we played bad, in fact we are playing some good football but we absolutely must start to score a higher percentage of goals from the chances we are making. My man of the match was Lee Bradbury, but you’ll know from my match reports that I’m biased anyway. It’s good to see that he remains popular with the fans and is starting to pay back their faith in him.

I finished my day with another pint after the match and got Dickov and Michael Brown to give me autographs for my children to add to the one from Mike Summerbee that I had got earlier.

Final comment, disappointed to only get the one point and whilst the game wasn’t s***e, I’m baffled by anyone who thinks that you get a good view of Manchester from the top tier of the Kippax. How can you when the Manchester skyline is tainted by being able to see Murdoch Towers in the distance?

Tony Burns (


MANCHESTER CITY vs. BURNLEY, Saturday 3rd October 1998

Another big local derby. Burnley at Maine Road. Oh how the mighty have fallen. Anyway, it looked like 3 easy points. City had their usual line-up but Tiatto on from the start and Horlock taking Pollock’s place both in midfield and as Captain.

Over 30,000 supporters were being congratulated before the game, by a letter from the London police who have the misfortune to work near the Millwall wild animal park, for their patience and restraint last Tuesday. He obviously knows nothing of City supporters. We have to be patient and restrained – we’ve waited a long time for any success.

It certainly looked like the sort of afternoon stroll to make Royle’s hip mend even more quickly. We started brightly enough looking, as we always do, as if we were going to score a whole panful. Bradbury was particularly inspiring. His confidence is obviously on a high and that makes him look a completely different player than the one I used to know. We passed the ball (well, apart from Vaughan, but that’s nothing new) to Blue shirts and were really outplaying the rather poor opposition. Sure enough the first goal came on 8 minutes after an excellent move down the middle (take note), a brilliant ball through from Bradbury and Goater showing a turn of speed (!) to leave behind the defender and slot the ball home.

We sat back and waited for the avalanche. For 30 minutes the football was about the best I’ve seen this season. Then disaster: Fenton – who was producing his usual impeccable performance – cool and commanding at the back, had a Schmeichel rush of blood (oh I did enjoy that on Wednesday) and produced the weakest back pass I have ever seen. The Burnley forwards couldn’t believe their luck and Payton gratefully took the gift (at this point I have to add an aside. The pratt who sits behind me and has the foulest and most stupid mouth I have ever heard at a football ground – and I’ve been to thousands of games over the years – kept going on about Fenton making a “schoolboy” error. But he is young enough to be a schoolboy isn’t he? Poor lad. It was a silly mistake. The first I’ve seen him make and I thought he deserved better from the pratt behind me – and one or two others – and from his Captain. A pat of comiseration wouldn’t have gone amiss. I bet Pollock would have had a little word. To Fenton’s eternal credit he continued the game as he had begun it).

Back to the match. The Burnley fan behind us in one of the boxes suffered some abuse and everyone around proceeded to malign anyone on the pitch in a blue shirt. It brought back memories of last year. Half time arrived with the majority of us stunned into disbelieving silence. How could we be level with this lot? Everyone agreed at half time that Burnley were the worst side we had seen at Maine Road this season. 8 minutes into the second half we thought we were in the land of make believe. Dreadful defending on the left and in the blink of an eye we were 2-1 down. Confidence then oozed from every Burnley player and we completely lost our shape. The midfield is far too lightweight without Pollock. There’s no-one to inspire – no-one to make “crunching” tackles – no-one to be creative. Actually I never thought I’d say it but we missed Pollock. I think he’s usually a liability. He’s a headcase sometimes and needs to act like a responsible Captain instead of a raging bull – but we missed him. Michael Brown could have done the same job but not Mason and Horlock together.

Despite several attacks we didn’t seem to be getting anywhere and Tiatto was substituted for Allsopp to try to get the equaliser (thank you Willie for not taking Bradbury off. If you had, most of GG block in the Kippax would have lynched you). Burnley then made the fatal mistake. They thought they had done enough to win the game and sat back, timewasting and inviting pressure. Have they not noticed how often we have scored in the dying minutes? Did they not realise that the City of today doesn’t give up? The inevitable was waiting to happen and in the 85th minute it did just that. A well-worked corner from Horlock to Goater and Allsopp got us the point I’m not sure we deserved. My end of match verdict? We need a striker and we need him quickly.

Ann Bennett – Sharon’s Mum (


Skipper op blow

City captain Jamie Pollock could be out of action for up to a month after being told he needs a hernia operation. The Blues’ midfielder has been carrying the injury this season but will undergo surgery during his four-match suspension, which started at the weekend. Pollock will have the operation later this week and should be available to make his comeback soon after he completes his ban. His last game out through suspension is the trip to Lincoln on Tuesday, October 20 making him eligible for the home game with Reading the following Saturday, October 24th, although it’s doubtful whether he will be fit by then. “It has been obvious to me for some time that everything is not right. I have been finding it very difficult to run properly and have suffered quite a lot of discomfort during matches,” said Pollock. “Our physio Roy Bailey has diagnosed the problem as a hernia injury and it’s best if I get it sorted out straight away. Fortunately the operation has coincided with my suspension and so I shouldn’t miss too many matches.”


Murtaz Shelia led an international exodus from Maine Road today as international call-ups depleted the City squad – the question is, can five people form an exodus? Shelia has linked up with his country Georgia but will be back in 10 days’ time, giving him an outside chance of making a return to first team action at Wigan Athletic on Saturday, October 17th. City will be without the suspended Tony Vaughan for that game so if Shelia can prove his fitness he could be pencilled in for a long-awaited return. Richard Jobson is also missing after undergoing a minor foot operation last Friday. Also away on international duty this week are Kevin Horlock and the Whitley brothers; Jeff Whitley will play for the Northern Ireland under-21’s against Finland this Friday, while older brother Jim plus Kevin Horlock will feature for the senior side against the Finns on Saturday. With the Irish not having a game on Wednesday week, all three players will be available for City’s game at home to Preston a week tonight. The situation is not so clear concerning Gary Mason, who is in line to play for the Scotland under 21’s. The Scots face the might of Estonia in a European Championship qualifier this Friday, but then face Belgium’s under-21 side in a friendly on Wednesday week, on account of the Faroe Islands not having an under-21 side to play a European Championship game. In that case, will City be allowed to withdraw Mason from the squad for the Belgium game, making him eligible to face Preston? Even though Jamie Pollock is suspended for that game, Paul Dickov is setting the Preston game next Monday as his target for a comeback after damaging the medial ligaments in his knee at Northampton.

Royle on the mend

Joe Royle is getting daily visits from his No. 2 Willie Donachie as he eases his way back to full health after his hip operation on Friday morning. Royle is recovering in a private hospital in South Manchester and was visited by Donachie shortly after the 2-2 draw with Burnley, City’s fourth successive league draw. “Joe’s in good spirits and has been laughing and joking with the nurses although the result didn’t please him,” reported Donachie. “I told him our inexperience at the back let us down because it was a mistake by Nicky Fenton that allowed Burnley back into the game after we’d been in control. We are conceding too many goals at the moment. We have let in two in two of the last three games and we’ve got to tighten up at the back if we’re to win games,” commented Donachie, who was in sole charge on Saturday with assistant Jim Cassell away scouting at another game. Danny Tiatto and Gary Mason came in for Pollock and Greenacre against Burnley, as City made it nine league games unbeaten, with just one defeat in eleven league matches this season. It was the first league game this season that City haven’t had a player booked!

Creaney blasts Blues

Gerry Creaney has taken a swipe at his old club as he attempts to resurrect his faltering career north of the border. The former City, Celtic and Portsmouth striker spent three unhappy years at Maine Road where he was overlooked by successive managers. “To be honest I wouldn’t go back to Maine Road if they were to pay me double,” snapped the 28-year-old, who has been released by West Brom and Oxford after brief spells on trial recently. “The whole experience at City brought me down to a level which I didn’t think I was capable of reaching. It was nothing to do with my performances,” said Creaney, who scored twice for St Mirren reserves last week. “It was all down to the politics behind the scenes. They were by far the worst I have experienced in all my time in senior football. The club had six managers while I was there and they all had their different ideas.” Coincidentally, none of those ideas entailed giving Creaney a regular first team place.

Like father, like son

City’s teenage striker Shaun Wright Phillips scored twice recently for the Blues’ under-17 side as they beat West Ham 2-1; he’s the adopted son of the Hammers’ Ian Wright, and despite his lack of height, is tipped for a bright future.

Midfield goal dearth

With Shaun Goater collecting his ninth goal of the season at the weekend, and Danny Allsopp his third, a City midfielder has yet to contribute a league goal so far this season after eleven games! The Blues’ sixteen league goals have been spread between four strikers (Goater 7, Dickov 3, Bradbury 3 and Allsopp 2) and one defender, Kachaber Tskhadadze. Put another way, Messrs. Pollock, Horlock, Mason and Whitley have yet to chip in with a league goal for the club this term. A far less interesting statistic is that none of City’s eight goalscorers this season in league and cup were born on the English mainland! Shaun Goater was born in Bermuda, Paul Dickov in Glasgow, Lee Bradbury on the Isle of Wight, Danny Allsopp and Danny Tiatto in Australia, Kachaber Tskhadadze in Georgia, Jim Whitley in Zambia, and Gary Mason in Edinburgh! Now that’s something to impress your mates with down the local tonight – or perhaps not!

Rösler to return?

Rumours have started to circulate Uwe Rösler is unhappy in Germany and could be coming back on loan until the end of the season.

News from John Brennan

Gold for the Blues

Swimming superstar James Hickman has heroes of his own… the boys in blue at Maine Road. The Burnage ace is a lifelong City fan and M.E.N Sport was able to fix it for him to meet the Blues’ stars before he was introduced to the crowd at today’s game. Proud Hickman showed off the four medals he won at the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur and issued a confident message to Joe Royle’s men: “Now make my day and be champs too.” City’s strike force, Shaun Goater, Lee Bradbury and Paul Dickov, took a break from training to meet Hickman – and revealed they had cheered him to victory during the Games. Bradbury said: “Paul Dickov and I watched James win the gold medal before our match against Derby. We were cheering him on all the way – it’s great to see a Brit coming out on top – particularly if he is a City fan.”

Brazilian ace linked!

The latest striker to be linked with a move to Maine Road is Brazilian, however, that’s as exciting as the link gets! Bradford City’s 31 year old striker Edinho is reportedly being linked with the Blues; he finished last season as the Bantams’ joint top scorer along with Robert Steiner, another averagely talented striker that Joe Royle has been linked with of late. Edinho scored Bradford’s winner against City at the Pulse Stadium last season. Neither Edinho nor Steiner are currently getting in the Bradford side – enough said on that one I think! The pair are considerably lower down Royle’s short-list than the likes of Mike Sheron and Mark Hughes, plus – reportedly – John Spencer.

All quiet on the Carlisle front

There’ve been no developments in Third Division Carlisle United’s attempts to sign a mystery City midfielder. It’s rumoured that Neil Morley or Andy Porteous could have been targeted by the Cumbrian side, but for now, nothing appears to be happening on the transfer front.

Mason call-up blow

As expected, City midfielder Gary Mason has been named in the Scotland under-21 squad for their forthcoming games against Estonia at Airdrie on Friday, October 9th, and against Belgium in Ghent on Wednesday, October 14th. Presumably, that means that Mason will not be available to City for their game with Preston at Maine Road on Monday, October 12th; the Blues are already without the suspended Jamie Pollock for that game. However, Kevin Horlock, Jim and Jeff Whitley and Tommy Wright will be available for the Preston match; that quartet are on international duty for Northern Ireland on the Saturday, when they face Finland, but the Irish have no game on the Wednesday, unlike the other British nations, so they’ll be okay to return to City in time for the Monday night clash with Preston, fitness permitting.

New stadium gets a name!

The Blues’ next home is to be called the City of Manchester Stadium for the time being. A decision on the official name could still be some time away but in the meantime, the City of Manchester Stadium will be used as a working title. The area where the sports city, including the football stadium, will be built has been known as Eastlands since its inception, but the club are referring to it now under the new banner. A delegation comprising directors Dennis Tueart, John Wardle and Mike Turner are touring other venues to pick up ideas and the consultation process with fans is nearing completion. The next stage is a meeting with the architects and the Sports Council to discuss details. “Our design team have been to Sunderland and Derby and we already have a list of about 35 points we’d like to put to the architects,” said Tueart. “I’d like to take the architects to Sunderland because there’s a lot of things we’ve seen up there we’d like to copy. Also some things we wouldn’t implement” said the former Sunderland player. “My job’s to see things from the spectators’ point of view with regards to the number of kiosks, tunnels leading into the seats and concourses. Our fans must have plenty of good access so they can get down at half time and at the end of the game. We are going to see Bolton because that has been highly recommended. Joe Royle has also had a little bit of impact from the football side because when he was at Everton he went over to look at Ajax with Peter Johnson when they were thinking of building a new stadium. We are getting information from all areas to make sure we get the best stadium possible for our fans,” added Tueart.

Email your City stories, rumours and downright lies to;

Roger Lee (


New City Site Up: Come and visit a new MCFC unofficial Site Created by Wonderblue (me). Here’s the address:

Jason Coleman – Wonderblue (


I am writing a piece in our next issue on City’s match at Millwall last week. I would be grateful if MCIVTA readers who were at the New Den last Tuesday evening could send me a note of their experiences that night.

Please send any information to the CITY magazine office at:

Thanks very much

Mike Barnett (


OK, I came home from the Burnley game feeling totally p****d off. I am 14, and I have been to every home game since I was 3. I go to the games with my mum, dad and grandad, and we sit in the North Stand. Now I’m sure anyone who sits in the North Stand will hate that woman who goes on before the match and at half time who says:

“This is a message for our away supporters. At the end of the match there will be heavy congestion outside your exits, and we would ask that you kindly, voluntarily remain in your seats for approximately five or six minutes, in compliance with our safety policy. Your coaches have been instructed not to leave without you. Thank you.”

The problem with this is that she usually says it as something important comes up about the tickets for the next game, etc. Anyway, this time she told the City fans to turn left towards Maine Road, not voluntarily, as Kippax Street would be closed to City fans. This is what happened at the Birmingham City game last year. And of course, the away fans were kindly asked to remain in their seats for seven minutes.

The end of the match came, everyone was p****d off because we hadn’t won, and so we all walk out of the ground frustrated. There was a police barricade to our right, which included horses and vans, and there was a police line to our left, blocking fans from going to Kippax Street from the Main Stand. It is probable that the Main Stand was not told that they were not allowed to go down Kippax Street (yet another sign of good policing). We all went through the car park near the old social club, where some people in Jaguars and Rolls-Royces were trying to run people over to get home. We all walked along Claremont Road and of course there was trouble at the junction between Kippax Street and Claremont Road. During the seven minutes it took to walk round to there, the Burnley idiots had amassed, shouting “Come on, City!” The policemen were stood there like dorks, watching, and there was a police dog which was laying into a poor guy. The four of us walked quickly around the trouble, taking extra care near that dog. We walked in front of a policeman who was filming the incident, and then my mum had a go at one of the policemen who was stood there doing nothing.

I would like to make a few points:

  • The actual policemen are not to blame for this incident, it is probablythe fault of some lazy desk jockey who hasn’t been on the beat since the70’s, and the club. I should imagine that the ordinary policemen arefollowing a plan.
  • Why don’t they lock the away fans in the ground until all the City fanshave been cleared, like they did at Millwall, but better?

  • Why did they just move the trouble 50 yards down Kippax Street?

One of my dad’s mates is a policemen (one of those guys in the armoured vans, dressed in blue), and he says that we should write to the police and the club about the incident.

Addresses are:

The Main Office,
Manchester City Football Club,
Maine Road,
Moss Side,
M14 7WN.

The Chief Constable
Greater Manchester Police
P.O. Box 22 (S.West PDO)
Chester House
Boyer Street
M16 0RE

I hope some of you follow up this matter so that it may not happen again.

CTID, Marchie (


I have to echo the opinions of Jeremy Poynton, who was echoing the opinions of Rotherham fans. So anyone who is creating multiple echoes must be something special. I also have a slightly biased vested interest in Mr Goater, and not only because I purchased him for a modest £100,000 whilst managing a sad looking Manchester City during the 2000-01 season. Goater’s goals steered us to a League and Cup double and a successful European campaign… Isn’t it sad that “Championship Manager 2” doesn’t quite mirror real life! But also because I live in Bermuda.

In Bermuda, where Goater will make daily headlines and make the Royal Gazette worth reading, his success is making 60,000 Bermudians (yes, that’s the correct term) immensely proud. He’s given a generation of kids a belief that, although they come from a minute little island that most people have heard of but very few can actually tell you where it is, they too might amount to something if they put their minds to it. Goater, currently the top 2nd Division scorer! So, from what I’m reading in the match reports in MCIVTA, if Goater is only worth a “2” or in one case this week “0” then it doesn’t speak too highly of everyone else. Goater has amassed over 100 goals in the last 4 seasons. Pretty impressive numbers by any stretch of the imagination. If he had returned these figures whilst in the Premiership, he’d command a transfer fee somewhere between £15 and £20 million. As he only cost City £400,000, it’s a safe bet that he’s not a Premiership player. In fact, I doubt very much if he’s a 1st Division player, not because of a lack of skill, but because he’s spent the bulk of his professional career in the 2nd Division, a league he knows well. He’s no spring chicken anymore and probably only has a few more seasons in him. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. The job Joe Royle pays Goater to do is to score goals, something he’s managing to do quite well so far. He’s a 2nd Division striker playing for a 2nd Division team, like it or lump it, that’s the reality.

If City do manage to achieve promotion then it’s pretty safe to assume that Shaun will step aside and let a 1st Division striker steer City back to the Premiership, where that striker will no doubt step aside and let a Premiership striker take the helm. You really can’t build a good, strong wall without using the correct foundations. It would be nice to have a Premiership striker, we’d all love that, but didn’t we learn something from Mr Kinkladze?! Players seldom do well when they play below their potential.

Remember – Shaun only needs one more goal to match Paul Dickov’s team leading total from last season and it’s only just October. At the present rate we should name a stand after him and not rate him as follows:-

Goater: 4 This man is not a footballer. Even so, his physical presence will upset defenders and if he keeps scoring goals we have to keep playing him. There’ll be a lot of useless performances like this along the way though.

Goater: 0 Until, that is, you come to Goater. What a poor, poor performance. Showed absolutely nothing. How on earth he’s scored 7 goals this season I just don’t know. Recommended to us by Ferguson wasn’t he? That just about sums him up. He didn’t get into the game at all. Didn’t make any runs, didn’t look for the ball, outjumped for every header, lost possession every time. Get rid now.

I’m not into personal assaults and am still suffering from the “Simon fiasco”, but Colin Jonas really doesn’t do anything positive for team morale. Ever thought that the players themselves might be reading this? Is it possible for me to forward MCIVTA to others in Bermuda? I didn’t see the game against Millwall; due to complications with air flights and extreme financial embarrassment, I was unable to attend. But I could give a far more objective rating for Goater as follows:-

  • Reputation as a 2nd Division goal scorer – got to be resting in the minds of the Millwall defence – 1 point.
  • Wears City’s colours with pride – Something we seriously missed last season – 1 point.
  • Probably man-marked or even double-teamed early on, leaving room for others – 1 point.
  • Daunting presence on field – scares the crap out of me! – 1 point.
  • Crucial, point-saving goals so far this season – has to be worth another point.

Just by showing up and playing, I’d give him 5. Leave him alone and let him do his stuff, he’ll score 20 plus goals for us and get us promoted. Get on his back and we all remember Herr Rösler!

The fact that Goater is still playing professionally in England speaks volumes for his commitment and dedication to the task. I have to admit that when he left here to join the Rags as a 19-year-old apprentice, I was one of the people who really expected him to be home with his tail between his legs with in six months. He proved me wrong, hopefully his phenomenal goal-scoring record will continue and he’ll help our promotion bid and also prove all the doubters wrong too.

CTTNTESTSGP (City Till They Name The Eastlands Stadium Shaun Goater Park), Dave Lees – Flatts Village, Bermuda (


Here is Mr. Bernstein’s statement to the shareholders in this year’s Financial Report.

As a life-long supporter of Manchester City it was a great privilege to be appointed Chairman last March. As is often the case, the change arose as the result of a downturn in the Club’s fortunes and in my first report it distresses me to record our relegation to the 2nd Division of the Football League and, on the financial side, a substantial loss for the year. Our overriding objective is to revive the Club’s fortunes, but I believe that this can only happen if it is based on solid foundations. To achieve this it has been necessary to review every aspect of the organisation and take a range of actions aimed at modernising, focusing and professionalising the Club. I will detail these actions later in this statement. Above all the Club needs long term stability; we have to get away from constant changes in personnel which make any coherent strategy impossible to implement. We must be ambitious but also realistic and we need to understand that change will take time and that patience will be needed.

You will see from the list of Directors that there have been further Board changes with four Directors leaving and two appointments. I would like to welcome John Wardle and Dennis Tueart; they bring additional talent and I believe we have a strong and energetic Board that will lead from the front.

Financial Review

I have to report a loss on ordinary activities after exceptional items for the year of £6.3m. It is important to understand the component parts of this loss. The operating loss before exceptional items was £6.3m. This reflected a healthy level of turnover up 20% to £15.3m but an unacceptable level of expenses arising largely from the size of the Club’s playing squad and the resultant wages. We have taken a range of actions to deal with these costs and I am setting out below more details on how we are dealing with the playing squad. In view of the unique circumstances of our relegation and the resultant restructuring we have provided £2.3m to cover all possible costs resulting from the downsizing of our squad. The other components of the loss are interest charges of £1.1m and net transfer fees payable of £1.9m.

The balance sheet shows equity shareholders’ funds of £6.6m which include a level of borrowings that is still too high, leading to an unacceptable level of interest charges. Your Board are fully aware of the need to reduce borrowings and are examining all available options, whilst at the same time not rushing into a re-financing that in view of our present weakness may not be in shareholders’ interests.


The 1997/98 season was nothing short of disastrous, culminating in relegation which was in many ways self-inflicted. Our previous managerial appointment proved to be disappointing and a change was made in February. We were delighted to gain the services of Joe Royle and Willie Donachie and look forward to a long and successful relationship with them and their colleagues. A key issue has been the size of our playing squad which, when I was appointed, comprised 54 professionals. This massive over staffing was extremely costly and also blocked the system so that good young players were not able to develop. The squad has now been cut to 37 and our new management intend to reduce the numbers further. I must emphasise that this is being done without reducing the quality of the squad and players are only leaving with the full agreement of the Manager. To this end the Manager and the Board are working closely together and I am greatly encouraged with the openness and feeling of partnership between all involved.

I am pleased to report that our youth organisation has been registered as an Academy under the FA’s new Programme for Excellence. This enables us to play youth football at the highest level and together with the excellent facilities we enjoy should enabie us to attract quality young players to the Club. We have invested heavily in this area which is clearly vital for the long term success of Manchester City.

Operational and Commercial

The high level of turnover is evidence of the success of our commercial operation although of course this would not be possible without the support of our fans. Sales of merchandise were high and all income streams arising from attendances were strong. The opening of our store at Maine Road has proved successful. We are moving our offices to Maine Road which should improve efficiency and reduce the fragmentation arising from operating on three sites. Our shop in the Arndale Centre has been less successful and will be closed later this year.


It is difficult to put into words my admiration for our fantastic fans. To achieve such high home and away attendances on the back of such poor results is phenomenal and I know that the loyalty of our supporters is the envy of the football world. Our overriding objective is to bring football success to this Club and give our supporters proper reward for their devotion.

I am conscious of the need to improve communications with our supporters and we are working on a number of initiatives to enable fans, through the supporters’ clubs, to enter into a constructive dialogue with the Club so that our strategy can be explained and questions answered.

New Stadium

It was announced on the 2nd September that we had reached agreement in principle with the City Council to occupy the stadium being built for the 2002 Commonwealth Games. Although we have signed Heads of Terms with the City Council this matter is still subject to completing legally binding agreements and to completing the consultation process with our supporters. My colleagues and I believe the new stadium represents an exciting and unique opportunity for the Club and we would wish to record our thanks to the City Council and the English Sports Council for the level of co-operation and goodwill shown during these lengthy discussions.


This year the Community Scheme has worked with over 20,000 children within Manchester schools. `Kick It’, our drug awareness project, attracted national attention when it received a visit from George Howarth, the Home Office Minister responsible for drug policy. The completion of the Astrodome at Platt Lane has ensured that Manchester City Football Club is able to offer its playing staff and the community a more comprehensive training facility.


A year ago it was stated that “a great deal depends on achieving promotion to the Premier League”. Obviously relegation has compounded the problems that our Club faces and in the 2nd Division we will suffer a reduction in income with lower television monies and sponsorship. However, as previously mentioned, we should be able to balance this by achieving stringent cost reductions which are not just confined to the playing staff. We are determined not to compromise the key areas of player quality and youth development but it is vital that our strong squad achieves the results of which we believe they are eminently capable. Promotion would be the catalyst in dealing with the main issues that need resolving. Our history and ambitions demand that we regain our position in football and your Board will do everything in its power to achieve this.

David Bernstein

Sorry for any mistakes in the scanning.

City till I die or until Lee Bradbury gets a hat-trick against the Rags, Alan Shannon (


The following was cut directly from the “Football 365” Internet news pages and gives an idea of what others thought. Thanks to Football 365.

Friday 02 October 1998

First Hand Views Of Tuesday’s Violence At The New Den

TWO Football365 contributors were at Millwall v Manchester City on Tuesday night, a game that made the headlines after an awful night of threatened and actual violence on and off the pitch and may result in an FA enquiry. David Willacy was in the press box, Editor Howard Johnson was in the North Stand with 2000 City fans. Here they give their accounts of the unpleasantness.

HOWARD JOHNSON: Millwall chairman Theo Paphitis’ comments after his side’s meeting with Manchester City on Tuesday made interesting reading for those of us who paid their money to go through the turnstiles at the New Den. “If a handful of youngsters going on the pitch intimidates Joe Royle’s players they should go back to kindergarten,” he said when discussing one of the evening’s unsavoury incidents. “As far as I’m concerned it was a great crowd. Joe Royle is right out of order for criticising Millwall,” said Paphitis and, while it’s hard to believe that the man would have had the same opinion if it had been his club’s players being threatened and spat at up at Maine Road, that’s not the entire reason why it’s actually him who’s out of order for his idiotic comments.

I was at the match. but I wasn’t sitting in the directors’ box. No, I paid my eleven quid and sat with the City supporters who I’d caught the train to South Bermondsey with. And believe me, I have never been in such an intimidating atmosphere at a football match. Now, of course, there are plenty of perfectly decent Millwall supporters who probably hate the long-standing reputation that the club has. But there can be no denying that the Lions have an unhealthy proportion of young men who revel in violence and the threat of violence. Like the scary no-mark who stood in front of me as I walked to the ground and screamed: “Come on you Man City slags. Do you f***in’ want some, then?” Me? I didn’t want any and by the time the match had started I didn’t even want any of the football either.

Incredibly, plenty of Millwall fans also seemed as disinterested in what was happening on the pitch as I was, albeit for different reasons. The assembled youth of South East London seemed only to have eyes for the Mancunians boxed into one end of the ground. Baiting, taunting and macho posturing were the order of the day for these knuckleheads and as the air hung ever heavier with the threat of impending violence, all I could think about was how quickly I could leave this awful place.

City supporters are no angels, of course. There were enough of them who were enjoying the idea that a pitch battle could ensue. But if they needed any encouragement then the police certainly gave it to them by steadfastly refusing to stop the Millwall lads from larging it and whipping up the antagonistic feelings. It was all so sickening that I couldn’t stand any more of it and left ten minutes into the second half, which at least meant that I didn’t have to endure the bottle and brick lobbing and general unpleasantness that happened after the match.

Of course, Millwall will tell you what great strides they’ve made in tackling the yob problem. Maybe they have, but Shaun Goater still got terrible stick for being the blackest player on the pitch from a large minority of this ‘great crowd’. I’ll have to find out whether they’ll make greater strides in the future through the papers. Because I, for one, won’t ever be going to Millwall again. I wonder what Mr. Paphitis thinks of that? By the sound of his comments he probably doesn’t care.

DAVID WILLACY: There were three reasons why the violence on Tuesday night should concern all football fans and Millwall Football Club in particular. First, was the reaction of the Lions chairman and manager, who chose to air the most blinkered and unjustifiable opinions to the public via the press afterwards. Then there was the fact that Millwall have made magnificent strides to improve their relationship with and behaviour of their local supporters with the most impressive community scheme in the country and yet do not condemn the perpetrators who ruin the nationwide image of the club yet again. Finally, it may come as a surprise, but among the worst behaved fans at The Den were sat a few feet away from the press and directors’ boxes, in the most expensive seats.

Howard Johnson has made his feelings about Theo Paphitis’ comments clear, but when manager Keith Stevens – Millwall through and through and a thoroughly pleasant man to work with – claims of a 19-man brawl on the field that stoked an already burning fire off the pitch: “Nothing happened – it was handbags at nine paces”, and that the 80 or so fans who invaded the pitch to celebrate Lucas Neill’s goal (that was disallowed) were “only kids – it’s not a problem”, you have to question who is taking any responsibility down in SE16.

The stewarding was, to be frank, utterly crap. Fans celebrating goals by encroaching on the pitch is not unheard of, but nearly a hundred? Please. Likewise, where were the stewards or police to haul out the men who hurled pitiful and obscene language from the £15 seats throughout the game? If Paphitis did not hear them, or was not perturbed by their presence enough to call for action, then Millwall have a very big problem. Police arresting City fans for chanting is not the way to calm things down and only 18 arrests from a major night of violence does not suggest a good performance by the police – over 50 were arrested last season the night of Preston v Blackpool, which was far less explosive.

The enormous and unpublicised amount of work the club do with the local community to improve their lives is being smothered by the yobs’ reputation. Of course, every Millwall nutter decided Manchester City at home was the game when they would go down looking for big trouble. I picked my way through the bricks, stones, glass from nearby house windows, torn-down fences and line upon line of riot police, vans, cars and ambulances to South Bermondsey station, while the City fans were still in the ground. They were safest there and they were kept away from the baying Lions fans. A policeman on the platform dismissed the riot as “just the usual them against us”. It was the annual Millwall v The Police fixture, with City thrown in for free. Alongside me, one yob who escaped arrest, complained of a sore hand after throwing bricks. Sad.

If you were at the game or weren’t but have an opinion on the events, aftermath or our comments, write to 365 at Or go to the Discussion Forum on our website and have your say.

Sent in by Steve Maclean (


As we all know, over the last few years The Mirror has been on a par with the M(U)EN in fawning over the Scum and sticking the knife into the Blues at every opportunity. Being that The Mirror has descended from being the only ‘left of centre’ tabloid to a malicious rag that merely takes the opposite stance to its main rival, can we assume with the impending take-over at the Sty, that The Mirror will firmly align itself behind the Blues in the future?

Strange where the Blues get mentioned but in a recent copy of The Big Issue it spilled the beans on our in-house security system. Alongside the usual CCTV system, there is an Automated Facial Recognition System. It was designed by the Greater Manchester Police and first used at Euro ’96. Apparently if some ruffian is caught on camera, a brief description is entered into the computer and out spews the twelve most likely matches with their relevant details.

Andy Noise (


The last few weeks/issues of MCIVTA have been superb with excellent match reports (for which I am truly grateful, not being able to get to many games), and varied viewpoints concerning all matters Blue. Not seeing the performances of the team as a whole or as individuals allows me to be somewhat objective in my opinions, although I am obviously influenced by you ‘regulars’. I have to say, however, that certain things to me seem to be pretty straightforward and obvious.

  1. Shaun Goater has to stay in the first team during our Second Divisionfight. So it is painful to watch him in his clumsy lazy fashion, but he isthe Andy Cole of Division 2. He will get the goals we need. Don’t ask me how hedoes it but he does it doesn’t he?
  2. Although we are drawing far too many times rather than winning, we are notlosing and we are in a reasonable position at this stage of theseason. Things ain’t so bad!
  3. Look at the 1979 line-up vs. Spurs in issue 437 and it is evident that thereason we are in Division 2 is because we don’t have the quality of playerrequired to succeed at top level unlike then. I know, it’s obvious, sad, buttrue. Great days, great players as opposed to the present dreadful times,dreadful players! Never mind, I still wish I was watching week in weekout! Keep up the great work everyone!

Adam Davey (


Just to take up a few controversial points.

I think the criticism for Richard Edghill is unfair. Since we play without wingers, in the home games particularly, he is expected to basically carry the attack foward on the right as well as cover defensively. His crossing is poor and he is not naturally a wing-back, but his class is unquestionable.

He made an England ‘B’ squad and JR, who would know his abilities better than anybody else, rates him highly (4-year contract). If we played 4-4-2 (as we should), and he played as a conventional right-back, he would be far more effective. Flitcroft, Lomas, and Quinn were slated just as much as Edgy and look at them now.

As for Big Shauny, I agree with what was said before. The guy is a 2nd Divison footballer. If he didn’t miss his chances, did put in more effort, won more headers, and attacked defenders, the guy would be a Premier League man. Two points… he cost £400,000… when was the last time we had the Division’s leading goalscorer?

Horlock has been a big disappointment this season, and Pollock has faded since his sendings-off. We need ‘Hacker’ Brown in the starting 11 – how he continues to be left out is beyond me. This is a crucial time of the season – we are heading for the play-offs! We have to strengthen – a striker (Fjørtoft would provide the aerial threat that we lack) and a full-back.

Mark Braude (


Yes, I’m still bleating about this issue. No, I’m not usually paranoid. I leave it to Ashley to see if he has more interesting articles this week. After the piece I wrote a few weeks back, I’ve been waiting for the truth to start emerging of how Sky Sports would use their presenters to promote their new acquisition.

Well, it’s started. Notice when the Sky presenters get to “What’s coming up on Sky’s three sports channels”, emblazoned on the caption along with the Sky Digital and Sky Sports News Logos is MUtv as well. The presenter then actually advertises the service as though it’s another of their general channels.

How can the rest of Sky’s subscribers stand for this? Sure, BBC1 often advertises a program to be broadcast on BBC2. However, Sky said when they bought the Rags, that they would treat all clubs equally. Initially, Sky merely provided the technology for MUtv. Now you could be watching any channel and get ‘indoctrinated’ with the Rags’ channel (and maybe more?). I hope the Office of Fair Trading has noted this development.

Graham Jones (


Having just watched the Burnley game a few things showed up:

  1. Is it Frankie Vaughan playing for us because the guy who played on Saturday was no footballer?
  2. Edghill – more like over the hill, this guy can’t cross the road never mind the ball.
  3. Mason – too lightweight, can’t run, doesn’t get stuck in, probably a bit young – to be brought in maybe next season.
  4. What’s happened to Brown? I’d have thought he would have been best to fill Pollock’s boots.
  5. Pumping long balls to the front men seems a bit of a waste of time if the defenders are a lot stronger and bigger.
  6. Have we not got any wingers at this club? We are crying out for 2 wingers; Horlock is not the answer for dead balls either.

Anyway, apart from that we are not that far away from being a team that can get promotion this season.

Keep the faith, Up the Blues – Derrick Bradshaw (


Second Division Results, Saturday 3 October 1998

Blackpool               1-2     York City               5,633
Bushell (58)                    Thompson (pen 25)
                                Jordan (71)
Bristol Rovers          1-0     Bournemouth             7,256
Shore (29)
Fulham                  1-3     Luton Town              11,856
Neilson (87)                    Gray (4)
                                Douglas (48)
                                Davis, Steve (65)
Gillingham              2-2     Macclesfield Town       6,093
Carr (70)                       McDonald (23, 82)
Hodge (90)
Manchester City         2-2     Burnley                 30,722
Goater (8)                      Payton (34)
Allsop (85)                     Cooke (54)
Millwall                0-0     Chesterfield            5,178
Oldham Athletic         1-0     Colchester United       4,231
Rickers (20)
Reading                 2-1     Stoke City              13,089
Brebner (45)                    Whittle (69)
McIntyre (73)
Walsall                 1-0     Preston North End       5,802
Rammell (16)
Wigan Athletic          1-0     Northampton Town        4,396
Dobson (og 67)
Wrexham                 2-1     Lincoln City            3,048
Brammer (11)                    Hartfield (21)
Roberts (77)
Wycombe Wanderers       1-1     Notts County            4,164
Simpson (pen 21)                Strodder (90)

Second Division Table

Up to and including Sunday, October 4 1998 (8:00pm)

                                HOME            AWAY
                          P  W  D  L  F  A   W  D  L  F  A   Pts   GS
 Stoke City              11  4  0  1  8  3   4  0  2 10  7    24   18
 Walsall                 11  3  1  2  9  8   4  0  1  6  4    22   15
 Preston North End       11  3  1  1 13  5   3  2  1  9  7    21   22
 Fulham                  11  3  2  1 10  6   3  1  1  5  3    21   15
 Blackpool               11  4  1  1 10  5   2  1  2  6  9    20   16
 Bournemouth             11  4  1  0  9  1   2  1  3  5  6    20   14
 Luton Town              11  3  1  1  6  2   3  1  2  8  7    20   14
 Manchester City         11  3  3  0 11  5   1  3  1  5  7    18   16
 York City               10  2  2  1  7  4   3  1  1  9  9    18   16
 Bristol Rovers          11  4  2  0 13  5   0  2  3  2  6    16   15
 Notts County            11  2  1  2  6  5   2  2  2  8  7    15   14
 Wrexham                 11  4  1  2 11  8   0  2  2  2  7    15   13
 Colchester United       11  2  1  2  4  4   2  2  2  8  8    15   12
 Millwall                11  3  3  0  7  3   1  0  4  3  9    15   10
 Chesterfield            11  4  0  1  5  2   0  3  3  1  6    15    6
 Wigan Athletic          11  3  1  2  8  5   1  1  3  4  6    14   12
 Gillingham              11  2  2  2 10  7   0  4  1  5  6    12   15
 Reading                 10  2  2  0  7  3   1  0  5  4 14    11   11
 Oldham Athletic         11  2  1  3  6  7   1  1  3  4  9    11   10
 Burnley                 11  2  2  1  6  5   0  2  4  5 10    10   11
 Macclesfield Town       11  1  1  3  2  4   1  2  3  5  9     9    7
 Northampton Town        11  0  4  1  5  7   1  1  4  5  8     8   10
 Lincoln City            11  1  0  4  7 11   0  2  4  1  9     5    8
 Wycombe Wanderers       11  0  2  4  3  8   0  1  4  3 10     3    6

Chesterfield have earned 2.5 points for every goal scored.

Stoke, Preston, Fulham, Blackpool and Bournmouth all managed to lose (yes! :-)) today so at least we’ve managed to pull a point back on them.

I haven’t got an update to the top scorers yet, but it looks like Goater has managed to get to the top again. How can somebody who misses so often be top?

Dorien James ( & Patrick Alexander (
With thanks to Soccernet


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 #438