Newsletter #447

It’s Guy Fawkes night, and I’ve just sat here for literally 10 minutes trying to think of something topical to write linking City with bonfires and fireworks etc. Literally couldn’t think of anything other than the usual corny jokes (yes I know, it’s never stopped me before)… Will it prove to be another damp squib of a season? Will it be trick or treat on Saturday at Oldham? Will I get any inspiration if I sit here all night?

Hmm… better change the subject, remember the First Rule Of Holes (when in a hole, stop digging).

Anyway, first a bit of admin to get out of the way. Originally the plan was for this edition to be my last as stand-in editor, with Ashley to take over the reins again starting with the next edition. But a slight change – I’m continuing in the hot seat for one more edition, something to do with Ashley needing a bit more time to get his holiday snaps developed I think (that right Ash?)! So to get to the point – please continue sending in any contributions, articles etc. to me until after Monday next week, Nov 9th, then back to Ashley as normal from then (obviously if I do get anything after Monday then I’ll just forward it on to Ashley).

Apologies to those of you who missed the League Table in MCIVTA 446 – we’ve got one today. We’ve also got some good stuff for you this time – a mixture of opinions, some information requests and also a nice Why Blue to round it all off.

You may have noticed that some articles are headed “Opinion” and some are “Comment”, and wondered what the difference is between opinion and comment. The answer is – I haven’t the faintest clue, it’s just purely random, a bit like the one about the 1,000 monkeys spending all their lives at a bank of typewriters (in fact a lot like it!).

To borrow an old Two Ronnies phrase, “in another packed edition tonight” you’ll find even more thought provoking opinion / comment, some more information requests, details of yet more City activity on the Web, more info on the clock face debate. I’ve also included an article of my own of some stuff cut from “Football 365” (you can do that sort of thing if you’re the editor, it’s great!).

Steve, CTAGB (Covering Till Ashley Gets Back)
Next game, Oldham away, Saturday 7th November 1998


“I’ll swap you two of mine for one of yours!”

J.R. is reportedly set to take his interest in Aberdeen midfielder Craig Hignett a stage further. The City boss is said to be ready to offer the Dons either Michael Brown or Craig Russell in exchange for the transfer-listed Hignett, having had a £250,000 ‘enquiry’ turned down a week ago. Both players would seem to be very much surplus to requirements at Maine Road (one was player of the year last year, the other was again swopped for Nicky Summerbee) especially if it means a player of Hignett’s proven ability coming to Moss Side. Brown has started just one game for City this season so far, the home defeat by Preston, while Russell has made only one appearance as a substitute in the Blues’ other home defeat at the hands of Reading.

Makes you wonder why J.R. didn’t go for Higgy when Middlesbro let him have a free transfer.

Oxford United winger Joey Beauchamp has turned down the chance to join City after a £1 million fee had been agreed between the two clubs. Oxford boss Malcolm Shotton confirmed that a deal had been agreed between City and Oxford, but the 27 year old Beauchamp rejected the chance to drop down a division. Shotton said: “City wanted to speak to Joey but he wasn’t interested in going north.” Last month, Beauchamp rejected a move to Fulham – enough said! Is this the same player who was transfered from Swindon to West Ham and then decided he was homesick for Swindon? I think we could do better with a million smackers than buy players like him. Joe Royle is still waiting to find out when, or possibly if, former Blackburn Rovers winger George Donis will be arriving at Maine Road for a trial with a view to staying on loan at City until the end of the season. Stop me if you’ve heard this before but ‘red tape’ is still reportedly holding up the move for the 29 year old AEK Athens winger, who Royle will turn to if he fails to persuade Craig Hignett to move to Maine Road. Don’t ya just hate the color red? On the subject of trialists there’s been no decision yet by Joe Royle with regard to the futures or otherwise of Norwegian trialists Kenneth Karlsson and Trond Bjoerndal. The two defenders both played the full ninety minutes for the City reserves at Coventry on Tuesday night, prompting Royle to say: “They certainly didn’t look out of their depth, but we will wait to see how they get on for the rest of this week.” It looks like bye bye boys, thanks but no thanks.

On the playing front, the City youngsters recovered from being 2-0 down inside twenty minutes last night at the Deva Stadium to earn a 2-2 draw in their F.A. Youth Cup first round tie at Chester. Goals from Shaun Wright-Phillips (son of Ian, well we have to say that now that Ian Brightwell is gone, he was the son of olympic athlete Ann Packer you know) and Jason Kneen earned the Blues a replay at Maine Road next Wednesday evening, November 11th. Both Joe Royle and David Bernstein were in attendance at the Deva Stadium last night. And BTW the reserves lost out to Coventry in the top of the table clash; the City reserves side was as follows: Wright, Morley, Tiatto, Bjoerndal, Karlsson, Shelia, Brown, Pollock, Allsopp (Bailey), Russell and Jeff Whitley. Just as I predicted, it becomes public knowledge that they are top of the table with an important game. City loan star Andy Morrison wants a contract; the Huddersfield hard man impressed in a scoring début vs. Colchester last Saturday: “I don’t think that my début could have gone any better although a clean sheet would have been nice (I hope he`s not commenting on the bed linen at his hotel). This is a massive club (oh where have we heard that before!) and I now have four games to prove to Joe Royle that I am worth a permanent contract. Things have not been going well of late at Huddersfield and with a bit of luck I will be able to put that behind me and make a fresh start at City.” If you want to know what Andy is talking about then read Huddersfield Town fan’s Stuart Milner’s article in MCIVTA 446.

Russell’s staying put

Well runs dry for striker: Craig Russell is staying at City, for the time being at least, after Motherwell pulled out of a deal to sign the transfer-listed striker. The Scottish club, who already have Ged Brannan on their books after last week’s swoop, wanted Russell as well but changed their minds after realising they already have a full quota of loan players. The Motherwell chief executive is the former Tranmere and Everton player Pat Nevin and they are captained by the former Manchester United midfielder Brian McClair.

Howard McCarthy (


Wanted: Someone to review CITY Magazine for MCIVTA and the website.

David Butler, who has been doing the reviews for us for the last year or so, has recently penned some articles for the magazine himself and therefore finds himself having a conflict of interests. Because of this, and time constraints, he has decided to relinquish the task.

I would like to thank David for his fine efforts … and request volunteers to take over from him. If anyone fancies it, please email me at the address below.

Paul Howarth (


To anyone interested, the date for the UK Cup in Victoria is 6th December. Players must be at Waverly City’s Soccer pitch by about 10am. Waverly’s ground is on 6th avenue in Burwood, Victoria. Melways (sort of Aussie A to Z) reference page 60 J8.

What is the UK Cup?

One day a year the British Supporters’ Clubs of Australia get together in Melbourne and have a tournament; usually there have been between 9 and 12 teams competing. We generally have 4 groups of three playing a round robin with the winner of each group going into the semi and I suppose you can guess the rest. The games are played on a full sized pitch (there are 3 at Waverly), the games are played for 10 (that’s right 10) minutes each way, with the final being 15 minutes each way. There is no offside and each team must provide someone short-sighted to act as a ref. for one of the other games.

So if you come along each team plays in at least 3 games. The standard of play is generally exceedingly poor with the occasional exception of those goody goody types that like to stay sober or keep fit. So don’t be embarrassed, got 2 left feet, who cares! Your once in a lifetime chance to play in the sky blue (yes we have a kit) against the Rags. It could happen, they are in it. Interstate people welcome, we’ll try to put you up for the weekend. Coming to Australia for the Ashes? Why not try to fit in the UK Cup!

There is usually a small charge for playing, about 2 or 3 dollars. We have actually won the competition twice and been runners up once. The teams that regularly enter are Liverpool, Celtic, Chelsea, West Ham, Derby, Hibernian, Wimbledon, Arsenal, Sheff Wed, City and I am afraid so, United.

So if you’re up for it or even if you’re not, but don’t mind running around aimlessly for 20 minutes, ring me at Mel (03) 9645 1484 or email me.

Paul Kay (


I’m currently living in Aberdeen and on occasion go to watch the Dons play (and you thought watching City was dire!). At the start of the season the Reds (this took some getting used to) were playing quite well and Hignett was looking a class above, getting forward well and scoring – yes, midfielders are allowed to score. But as the Dons gradually got worse it was noticeable that Craig was losing his zest – but he still is far and away Aberdeen’s best player. Personally, my view is that his personal problems are an excuse for him to jump from this particular sinking ship. Whether he would want to jump straight onto a ship which has (hopefully) already hit bottom is another story.

I have a friend who covers the Dons for one of Aberdeen’s two main newspapers and is privvy to a lot of “off the record” information. I spoke to him last night (2/11) and he told me that City had raised their offer to £450,000 which is still short of the £600,000 that A.F.C. have made their unofficial lowest price. I asked my mate if he gets the chance to ask Craig whether he would go to City if the clubs agreed on a price. Hopefully I’ll get some feedback soon.

CTAPHMFTHA (City Till A Psychiatrist Heals Me From This Heinous Affliction), Steve Slack, Aberdeen (


It’s all OK having a go at the current crop of players but let’s remember that it isn’t these players who got us in the mess we’re in. I’m quite fed up of people harking back to the golden days of only five years ago. Lomas? Phelan? Carl Griffiths? These were the people who were playing for City in the Premiership for God’s sake. Can anyone honestly tell me that they think that Carl Griffiths would last five seconds in any of the Premiership teams?

Let’s blame these players and the people responsible for buying and playing them for what happenned to the club while we were in the top flight. The likes of Goater, the Whitleys and so on are all pretty decent Second Division players who stand a good chance of getting us promoted. It just seems pointless to slag off these players by saying what a great team we had in the early 90’s. I was there, I don’t seem to remember a great mood of epic euphoria whenever those players ran onto the pitch.

Ben Cavanagh (


Here in Reykjav