Newsletter #453

Three things of note have happended since the issue: Hignett has signed for Barnsley in an 800k deal; Mike Turner our Chief Executive has departed (jumped or pushed?); and City have signed Gareth Taylor from Sheffield United. A Blades season ticket holder friend of mine described him as big and lazy, but very good when he’s up for it!

This issue has a belated match report, the names of the ‘Departed Ones’, a lot of words about the comedian at TG2, who incidentally was not the subject of Ros’s article which provoked the replies; two conflicting origins for the ‘caravan site’ quip, as well as some opinion.

This one reaches 2,280.

More Why Blues needed…

Next game, Luton Town away, Saturday 28th November 1998


Well, what a bump to earth today was! After last Friday’s little romp against Halifax, I kind of thought that today would see a little more confidence and a decent win for once.

Looking at the back of the programme, I saw that the lineup was:


Subs: Brown, Dickov, Tiatto

I was actually getting quite excited at seeing what Michael Branch could do with Russell to get balls in. Also maybe we’d see Goater hit the back of the net again?

Well, City started off lively enough, with a few quick moves which got the crowd going with expectation. Unfortunately none were going in… Goater had a virtual empty net, and he managed to hit the post, admittedly a difficult chance as he was heading past the goal and was obviously off balance.

However, City’s build up play is so laborious at the moment… Vaughan had a terrible game, and seemed to be incapable of putting anything forward, he seemed forever to be passing sideways to Wiekens or backwards to Weaver. Needless to say, it wasn’t long before he started having to take some stick. Again, though, there was some awful passing and of course, combined with the laborious nature of City’s buildup play, meant that we didn’t really make any great chances. Goater had a couple of headers, which he did well to get in, one was saved by the ‘keeper and the other narrowly missed.

At the other end, we were not troubled at all.

The most worrying thing about the first half was that a huge gaping hole was evident on the right wing… it meant that as soon as Gillingham had the ball, they could get it to the halfway line easily through this massive gap. We really need a right sided player…

Half time – City 0 Gillingham 0

The second half was somewhat better. One nice thing was that with Russell in the side, we were actually able to create some kind of threat from our corners, and at one point we had three corners on the trot and seemed to have the opposition defence panicking.

However, the bottom line is that we didn’t kill the game off like we should have done. Once again, it was the opposition fans celebrating at the end, not because they’d won, but because we’d had the majority of the play and still only grabbed the one point.


Weaver 7, not much to do, almost got caught once, but solid.
Crooks 5, seemed afraid to take on the opposition and passing not good.
Vaughan 3, bad game… some terrible passing and crossing no better.
Morrison 8, didn’t put a foot wrong. Good and solid in defence, a real rock.
Wiekens 8, again nothing to fault at all, really classy again.
Bishop 5, not really very effective, perhaps not a good combination with Mason?
Mason 5, not very effective either, found it hard to control midfield.
Pollock 5, first game back… didn’t do a great deal, came off late on in favour of Dickov.
Goater 7, he tried hard, had a couple of good chances, unlucky not to score.
Branch 7, wow can he run when he wants to! He didn’t really have the support he needs but I think he could do good things for City given the right partnership up front, came off early in the 2nd half.
Russell 7, put some bite on the left side. At last! Someone who can take a threatening corner! Had a couple of chances which he could have done better with.

Brown 7, came on for Branch, looked better than I’ve seen him before.
Dickov 6, ran around like a headless chicken for a while, didn’t really achieve much though.
Tiatto, not really on for long enough to get a good idea.

Overall, we have a lot to do to really make an impact on the top of the table… I know that both Stoke and Fulham won today, which means that the gap between us and the top of the table is now 12 points, which is getting alarming. Sure, that’s only 4 games, but having to rely on other teams to mess it up is not going to help us. I expect at this stage that barring a miracle, then we’ll be in the play-offs at the end of the year. I hope not, but there are three clubs up there – Stoke, Fulham and Preston – who are going to be hard to catch. We just now need to get a winning streak from somewhere and see where we are in early 1999.

I have heard Joe Royle on the radio too many times, saying words to the effect of, ‘it just wouldn’t go in for us today,’ and, ‘their ‘keeper had a great game.’ Dominating games is fine, we have to make that domination count.

TTFN, Look forward to hearing more… Euan Bayliss (


Courtesy of the Sheffield United Web site:

Imposingly built, Gareth has made a successful conversion from defender to striker as evidenced by his elevation to full Welsh International and 11 League goals last season at almost one goal for every two starts. His game has blossomed at the Lane and he has added subtlety to his target man skills and power in the air.

Released by Southampton as a youngster, Gareth formed a dangerous and emerging spearhead with Marcus Stewart at Bristol Rovers before a big money move to Crystal Palace which proved to be short and ill-fated. He became a £750,000 signing for the Blades in March 1996 when Howard Kendall sent Dave Tuttle and Carl Veart in the other direction. Has youth on his side as he faces tough competition from the likes of Andy Walker and Jan Aage Fjørtoft.

Martin Purdy (


Concerning Paul Barber’s request to name the missing twenty seven.

I’ve interrogated my database (how brown is my anorak?), and come up with the following thirty who have been released, or in the case of a couple, actually sold, by Joe Royle. Now Joe was appointed on February 18th, and the first two left around deadline day, last Thursday in March. So it’s been a rate of nearly one a week since late March. With a little luck, he’d have added Chris Greenacre to that list and pocketed another £50,000 from Macc. But they blew us out. Also, Heaney must have come close to a Charlton deal after being in their promotion team and Ray Kelly’s been loaned here, there and everywhere.

So who are the thirty?

Goalies: Martyn Margetson (released, now Southend), Richard Acton (released, unknown).

Full backs (what are they?): Jason van Blerk (£50,000 to West Brom), Anthony Callaghan (released, unknown), Brian McGlinchey (released, Port Vale), Ben Gallagher (released, unknown), Ian Brightwell (released, now Coventry Reserves), Scott Hiley (free, Southampton).

Centre Halves: Rae Ingram (free, Macclesfield), John Foster (free, Carlisle), Kit Symons (released, now Fulham), Paul Beesley (free, Port Vale), David Morley (£10,000, Southend).

Midfield: Gio Kinkladze (£5,250,000, Ajax), Eddie McGoldrick (retired), Chris Pridham (released, unknown), Neil Brisco (released, now Port Vale), Ben Burrows (released, unknown), Nigel Clough (paid off, Burton Albion), Ged Brannan (£378,000, Motherwell).

Wingers: Tony Scully (£155,000, QPR), Scott Thomas (released, on trial at Bolton), Aled Rowlands (released, unknown), Martin Phillips (£100,000, Portsmouth).

Forwards: Uwe Rösler (released, Kaiserslautern), Gerry Creaney (released, St. Mirren?), George Doherty (released, unknown), David Wills (released, unknown), Barry Conlon (£100,000, Southend), Lee Bradbury (£1,500,000, Crystal Palace).

You can also throw in Beardsley and Briscoe, loan players that he didn’t keep, the McNab twins, who hadn’t yet signed pro-forms, Peter Edwards and Ian Miller from the coaching staff.

Given the chance, Heaney, Kelly, Greenacre and Russell would be added to the above. And it’s not hard to see Michael Brown and Jeff Whitley being used as bargaining tools to bring players in.

So thirty players, bought at a cost of £11.6 million and sold for £7.5 million. Taking away the Kinkladze deal, you get: Spent – £9.6 million. Received – £2.25 million.

Andy Noise (


Ros has asked me to make it clear that her comments were really based upon the fact that the TG question and answer session was not really the time or place for shouting at Chris Bird and the guests about the new stadium name… not whether the comedian’s sense of humour was politically correct or not.



This message is to Ros in reply to her message of Tuesday. I was one of the members whom you claim nearly started a mini riot on Friday during the comedian. I don’t know about you, but my parents brought me up not to applaud racism. I too had paid £20.00 to see the event and was wholly looking forward to it. I did not pay £20.00 to hear a comedian open his act with a joke like this: “Remember the £17.5m win on the lottery and the when you heard that one guy had won it? You were there saying good on him weren’t you? And then you found out it was a Paki, and thought though what a c***.”

I am sorry I was offended. I thought TG was all about International people meeting one another to talk about MCFC, not about listening to racial abuse. In between condoning racism, did you take a moment to notice how many foreign people left the room? I fear not. Those people had also paid £20.00. They did not enjoy themselves. What do they think of MCFC? As for your friend, if she didn’t mind listening to the type of comments that we have been desparately trying to get off the terraces, I am glad she will not be there, as I don’t think I would like to sit next to her.

I spoke to Clive and Bob afterwards, to apologise for my outburst, both said they understood, but the majority had wanted him to carry on; I reluctantly understand that is a fact of life, both Bob and Clive stated they did not know he was like that and were offended by him.

But, as the comedian (which is putting the term lamely in his case) said, Free speech and a Free country. That is why I made my point; unfortunately there were many others in the room who didn’t feel they could, I hope I came somewhere close to doing it for them.

I will be back next year, hopefully you will come to if your views on racism have changed, otherwise I have heard there is a club in South London that is always looking for Moronic members.

James Talbot a.k.a. JT (


Just thought I would respond to the comments from Ros in MCIVTA 452 about Friday evening’s little blip. I agree with the remarks concerning the 2 individuals who got carried away over the stadium name. It was not really the right time or place for those comments and what’s more they were factually wrong anyway, since I know loads who, like me, voted for City of Manchester Stadium and very few who voted for Joe Mercer Stadium, as I believe MCIVTA’s own survey has already shown.

However, as far as the comedian goes, there were far more people involved than just the 2 who heckled Chris Bird. In particular it was some who had flown halfway round the world to be there, spending a damn sight more than 20 quid. We had just been having a conversation on that table about Millwall and what a disgrace they are for allowing racism and how they are throwback to the seventies. Kim from Japan, also attending his first ever match at Maine Road was assured that he would never find such problems at City, then “lo and behold”, a few seconds later he has to sit there listening to a so-called comedian coming out with a stream of out-and-out racism. The timing could not have been worse! In my opinion the comedian was a mistake and inappropriate for such an international audience. I was not personally one who heckled or shouted. However, I can see no excuse whatsoever for that sort of humour, nor for the appalling treatment that was dished out by the yobs at the front of the room who were shouting considerably more abuse and foul language back, particularly at the two who had flown over from Japan to be there, then felt the need to walk out, after suffering such abuse.

Nevertheless thankfully, as City fans we can all rise above it. For those of us who stayed, it didn’t spoil the evening. Thankfully those who did leave reappeared on Saturday and we all kissed and made up! It was a tiny blip in what was otherwise a superb weekend. I am sorry if your friend decided that this was an excuse not to support City. If she is so fickle as to make up her mind on that sort of flimsy evidence I would suggest we are better off without her, and certainly better off with our friends from Japan, America, Norway and elsewhere who are not prepared to accept racism, without protest.

Please remember, the main point of the Tribal Gathering which worked so well was the fact that we are all a diverse bunch who have a unique common bond holding us together and keeping us as friends. We suffer enough abuse from Rags everywhere without attacking each other too. Let’s stick with that unique friendship instead of attacking each other and calling for people to be banned.

C.T.I.D. Howard Cohen – a.k.a. (


Just a quick response to Roz about her disappointment at the behaviour at TG2.

I wasn’t one of the folk at the back, but I was one of the folk at the front who left amid the tirade of racist, sexist and homophobic jokes. Before you jump to make a judgment and say ‘think about growing up’ I think I ought to say that I find it pretty unacceptable to use the sort of blatantly derogatory language the ‘comedian’ used. It’s not a case of not liking a joke, but the use of such juvenile and crass terminology actually (in my opinion) takes away any possible humour. There really are more skilful ways at laughing at the idiosyncracies of parts of the community without deploying such offensive techniques. One only has to look at the series on TV on Friday night ‘Goodness gracious me’ to realize that.

It’s a shame that your friend has decided that she won’t go to a match at Maine Road, but I can understand how she may feel if she thinks that the cheap racist and homophobic humuor, seemingly OK by some, is typical of Manchester folk. It’s not.

I’m not sure which part of the audience Roz would like banned from TG3; those who accepted the entertainment or those who didn’t?

Having said that if our early departure caused a problem with your enjoyment then accept our apologies, but as it is your right to listen to that form of entertainment, it was and remains the right of others to disregard it.

Tony Burns (


I was hoping this TG2 Comedian issue would die quietly, as I value the strength and unity of BV/McVita and the incredible efforts of Doug/Steh/Clive/Bob Y etc. away and above the sordid racist spewings of a rancid 3rd-rate comedian, but I feel I have to reply to Ros’s letter in the previous issue.

Unfortunately, thanks to Ringway’s baggage handlers, I arrived too late to see Dennis Tueart et al, and can make no comment on the heckling they seem to have suffered. But in my view, it was very commendable of Tueart/Bernstein etc. to turn up, and I hope the barracking doesn’t put them off attending any future TG events.

I personally believe the club has made efforts to consult the fans with respect to the name for the new stadium, within the constraints imposed by the fact that the ground will be owned by the local council, not MCFC.

I also feel that the club officials were well within their rights not to expose themselves to an ad-hoc Q&A session. This was not an AGM. It was a social event. Their attendance was intended as a mark of respect to the Internet supporters.

In any event, I would not condone barracking of club officials whom I believe are doing a really good job for the first time in two decades.

However, I have full support for those who tried to curtail the vile output from the last-minute replacement comedian. For those who did not have the pleasure, let me quote you his opening gag.

“I was really pleased to see that a bloke from Manchester won seven million on the lottery the other week. Until I realised he was a Paki bastard.”

That was it. In its entirety. In my book that’s not a joke, it’s just racist vitriol, pure hatred.

When he got a somewhat mixed reaction, his next line was:

“I’m only saying what you’re all thinking.”

So now we’re all tarred with his tacky brush?

As he carried on in the same vein, the heckling grew louder and louder, and many people walked out from all parts of the hall, including the black barman. But the guy with the mike was either unwilling or unable to change tack.

At this point he exclaimed “I’m not racist”, which is the only comment he made that made me laugh. And the thing that most incensed me was “My wife’s black”. As if (a) that excused it and (b) that was true in any case. I challenge the guy to send us a wedding photo.

I’m genuinely sorry to hear that Ros’s friend refuses to follow City because of the events at the TG, but I think she’ll hear a lot worse on the terraces at any game than she heard from the “back table” that night, so maybe it’s for the best. And anyone who can take more offence from a few swear words from a couple of loudmouths with their hearts in the right place, than the race-hate routine of said comedian needs to take a look at his/her priorities or buy a white pointy hat.

By the way – his only clean joke of the night:

“She opened the door in her nighty, which is a funny place to have a door.”

Come back Basil Brush… Robert Lever


MCIVTA readers may wish to note that I was on the press trip to Malaysia earlier this month with Peter Barnes, and there will be a full report about it and an interview with him in the next CITY magazine, on sale Monday 7 December.

Incidentally, while we were out there, we met Christopher Long, an MCIVTA reader who had travelled 60 miles into Kuala Lumpur to meet Peter. To meet someone on the other side of the world who’s a mad City fan, but who has never seen us play, not to mention his wearing a City top, was a humbling experience. Our drop in status hasn’t affected his loyalty to the Blue cause at all.

Mike Barnett, Editor, CITY Magazine (


Can anybody tell me the last time City came from behind to win a game? In recent times (Premiership seems a distant memory) when we have gone a goal behind, it is common knowledge that a draw is the best result we can hope for. The team just seems to give up and this is a long way past frustrating. I don’t know why the referee doesn’t just blow up when we go behind and put us all out of our misery. One pointers are just not good enough if we are to ever get out of this division. I would appreciate an answer to this question, because my mind is a blank (I wonder why).


WRT Walter Smith and his request for information on ‘City you’ve got about as much imagination as a caravan site’.

I think the line comes from a Neil Innes (late of Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band) song/LP ‘How sweet to be an idiot’… a.k.a. ‘A Song for the Sensitive, The Idiot Song’.

‘Hey you, you’re such a peasant,
You’ve got as much brains as a dead ant,
As much imagination as a caravan site’

Take any one City team/director/manager/player and apply as appropriate.

By the way, the next line is ‘But I still love you’. So take one City team/director/manager/player/supporter and apply as appropriate.

Perhaps it’s more introspective than I think.

WWW.LOG. Martin Purdy – We Want Wingers. Lay Off Goater (


In response to Walter Smith’s query about the meaning of this phrase, the words of Monty Python’s “Idiot Song” come to mind.

“Oh you’re a pedant.
You’ve got as much sense as a dead ant.
As much imagination as a caravan site.
But I still love you.

Refrain: (How Sweeeet to be an idiot)”

By the way the tune to this little ditty always makes me think of the Gallagher Brothers’ smash “Whatever”. They are very similar.

As for the meaning of the phrase, anyone who has spent any length of time on a caravan site will understand immediately. For the uninitiated, sites come in two types. One is a field in which people park wherever they can find space, the other sees vans parked in strictly regimented lines. On no occasion throughout an entire childhood spent on such sites did I see any evidence of imagination. I would suggest that City fall into the former category of site, an awful mess to look at, full of unexpected frustrations, with no visible signs of organisation.

Steve Brocklehurst (


Someone was asking about the MCFCSSA a couple of issues back. The email address quoted is the one published in the newsletter “Citation” although I’ve never used it. I would advise writing to the secretary Mr. Norman Clarke, 34 Holcombe Close, Salford Lancs M6 5DT. MCFCSSA is currently recruiting small shareholders and hopes to become a substantial force.

J Whelan (

I rang up and it seems the printed email address is incomplete, it should be:



Some rants and raves – sorry folks, moaning Martin’s back on the case…

Numero Uno

Just got the MuEN (Tues 24/11), opened it up near the back and recognised a name, I can’t believe it, one of our illustrious members was being interviewed. Here’s the text:

“Oldham fan Steve Bolton is the week’s guest columnist – he reflects on the heartache and glory.”

Come on Steve, things ain’t got that bad that you have to resort to watching the “Yard Dogs” at “Ice Station Zebra”?

Number Two

It’s a Tribal Thing… Has this event already reached it’s zenith? OK it’s only two-years old, but from everyone’s comments, they thoroughly enjoyed themselves (if their kidneys and liver didn’t); will the event be able to better itself next year?

Well obviously yes, one way, forget the match!

From a personal point of view and very limited experience of the proceedings (thanks in no small part to the Holstein Bier fest on the Friday), it was another well run, happy experience.

Just say cheers to Bob, Clive and Col (any others?), for getting things going. Looking forward to next year. I still think Howie’s comments about having TGIII and forgetting about the game is valid!

Finally Folks…

The team.

Does everyone seem happier that JR has finally resorted to a comfortable 4-4-2 formation? I for one am glad to see the back of the 3-5-2, it just didn’t seem to work. However, the 4-4-2 needs one very important fixture, a flaming winger. We’re crying out for someone to sling in the crosses, something that Goater and Co. could feed off. May I be bold and make a suggestion, bring back Beagrie, he’s proved he’s fit enough, would be available on a freebie (other teams are interested). I know a Bantams’ fan and he’s been a revelation, no more beating a man 5 times, he just beats him and gets it over and has supplied the ammo for several goals this season. He’s also a penalty taker as well (could earn them and dispatch them).

Someone mentioned that Bishop and Mason are lightweights, too right. We don’t exactly need another Pillock (sic), but someone a little more competitive with vision could work wonders!

Full backs, huh, just how much longer will it take before a “proper” set of full backs are playing? Edghill, hmm, he’s got to do the work to convince me (distribution), and as for Vaughan, I’ll be kind, he’s not a full back. His pace and distribution leave a lot to be desired. If we give it away at the back, how are we expected to score up front? JR shold be looking to fill these gaps urgently.

The point about Scott Hiley was very valid, what did he do to earn being shown the door to Premiershit football?

And finally Esther – JR (and Donachie) seem to have this theory that changing the team week in, week out will help the team. I think it’s about time that “de management” tried to stick to a set team as often as possible, mind you that’s going to be hard when there’s players who get themselves suspended!

Also the MuEN did a list of JR’s transfers in and out last week, I’ll try to dig it out and get the list in a legible format.

Martin Ford (


Monday’s MEN reported that £100,000 p.a. Chief Executive Mike Turner had left the club. Reading between the lines, it looks as though he has been pushed. He is being replaced by Chris Bird, our PR man who is to become the Chairman’s assistant.

Having dealt with Mike Turner over a couple of matters, I felt that he was the only person who had any financial acumen or business sense. The other people I had dealt with were not in his class.

It just seems so typical. If you read this Mike, then all the best in your new career, you did seem to have the interests of the club at heart.

Brian Leigh (


Today I received my first issue… and I have a few questions and opinions.

First of all, I think you should do every possible effort you can make to get Kinkladze back to Manchester… as I’m from Holland and read this massive article in this Dutch leading football magazine I know he’s absolutely not enjoying himself and the opinion of the Dutch football audience is that they think he is a 14-million-overrated player.

I know, and you probably even better, what a brilliant player he is. So if you just spend a few million and get him off the Ajax-bench (a 18-year old youth player is even being preferred above him) our team will get that lift that immediately bring them back to where they belong.

I don’t know much about the perception of Man City in England, but I’m very curious… what is the rest of England thinking about Man City at the moment? Are they sympathic or do they want them to be relegated again? And what do they think of Dutchman Gerard Wiekens? According to your reviews he is one of the better players in the squad.

Anyway, as I have declared my self a City-fan since a month, I’m all very much interested, so if anyone wants to react or give me any answers, please do.

With lots of Success-wishes, Wim Vis (


There’s a guy from Manchester (City fan) driving from Manchester to London and a guy from London (Rags fan) driving from London to Manchester. In the middle of the night with no other cars on the road they hit each other head on and both cars go flying off in different directions. The City fan manages to climb out of his car and surveys the damages. He looks at his twisted car and says, “Man, I am really lucky to be alive.”

Likewise the Rags’ fan scrambles out of his car and looks at his wreckage. He too says to himself, “I can’t believe I survived this wreck.” The Rags’ fan walks over to the City fan and says, “Hey man, I think this is a sign from God that we should put away our petty differences and live as friends instead of such rivals.”

The City fan thinks for a moment and says, “You know, you’re absolutely right. We should be friends. Now I’m gonna see what else survived the wreck.” So the City fan pops open his trunk and finds a full, unopened bottle of Jack Daniels. He says to the Rags’ fan, “I think this is another sign from God that we toast to our new found understanding and friendship.” The Rags’ fan says, “You’re damn right” and he grabs the bottle and starts sucking down the Jack Daniels. After putting away nearly half the bottle the Rags fan hands it back to the City fan and says, “Your turn”. The City fan twists the cap back on the bottle and says, “Nahh, I think I’ll wait for the cops to show up.”

John Taylor (


After Eric the frog dies and enters the Pearly Gates, God takes him on a tour. He shows Eric a little two-bedroom house with a faded MUFC banner hanging from the front porch. “This is your house, Eric. Most people don’t get their own homes up here,” God says.

Eric looks at the house, then turns around and looks at the one sitting on top of the hill. It’s a huge two-story mansion with white marble columns and little patios under all the windows. Man City flags line both sides of the sidewalk and a huge Man City banner hangs between the marble columns.

“Thanks for the house, God, but let me ask you a question. I get this little two-bedroom house with faded banners and Joe Mercer gets a mansion with brand new Man City banners and flags flying all over the place. Why is that?”

God looks at him seriously for a moment, then with a smile, says, “That’s not Joe’s house, it’s mine!”

John Taylor (


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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 #453