newsletter #455


The main news this issue is the placing of Murtaz Shelia on the transfer list. At first I was astonished to hear that a player who looked like the best centre half we’ve had since Dave Watson was being shown the proverbial door. Not only placed on the list, but on a free! My astonishment turned to despair and embarassment when I had to listen to Willie Donachie attempting to justify this bizarre move; the more he talked the less convincing it became, and let me tell you, it was fairly unconvincing to begin with. Clearly the major reason is not as claimed, i.e. that it’s not fair on old Murt to be playing in the reserves of some second rate club when he’s such a talented and experienced international! Apparently, it hadn’t dawned on our apprentice Glaswegian MENSA candidate that the logical progression to this line of reasoning is that individuals who are too good for a reserve team usually find themselves playing in the first team. However, the best line was reserved for later, when good ol’ Willie informed us of the intense competition for places, and the talent we had available; unfortunately, he then mentioned Tony Vaughan thus neatly scuttling another line of reasoning. Stop me if I’m ranting, but surely I’m not the only one who wonders why Donachie even attempted a justification? Surely the real reason is money? Better still, let’s have a competition for the best reason, I’m sure we could come up with some blinders.

This issue also has some rumour/news concerning the new stadium and its size. There’s also worrying facts concerning the City calendar; as well as opinion and David Butler’s last reviews of recent CITY magazine issues.

I’m afraid the news summary isn’t included due to an issue revolving around the source of the articles. Hopefully this will be resolved soon.

However. I’ve have heard that Neil Morley and Michael Brown (the goalie!) have been released by City and that Jamie Pollock will play tomorrow night (thanks to Carol Darvill).

Next game, FAC 2nd Round, Darlington away, Friday 4th December 1998


I went to the game last Saturday with two friends: Ian, a Luton fan, and Sue, a City fan, who just happen to be be a couple. We had to go in the home end, what with the City end sold out as well as being accompanied by Lutonian relations, so us two City fans kept very quiet during our goal and theirs.

Sue and Ian had a bet that whoever’s team won would have to make the dinner that night, leaving the loser to sulk more happily that way. We ended up eating a take-away curry in front of Match of the Day, watching some decent football not the half-baked crap we’d been unfortunate enough to watch earlier. It pains me to say that but Luton and City were both as bad as each other.

Admittedly, it was a cold day and with all the rain before the game and during the second half, playing conditions were bad but for most of the game, it was a comedy of errors. Players were constantly falling over, making very poor passes, not using space properly, etc. If either side had been half decent, they would have run away with the game.

City did play well first half and they should have been 2 or even 3 up by half time, especially with Goater, definitely onside, missing a sitter; he was clean through and didn’t even force a save. Then Luton should have won it at the end, their otherwise impressive full-back Simon Davies missing an even more glaring headed opportunity.

With Morrison withdrawn, we seemed to switch to 3-5-2 (or maybe 5-3-2 or even 5-2-3!) and I knew instantly we weren’t going to win the game. One thing which annoys me: why do City always come out early for the second half and then line up in formation before the other team has appeared? First, it looks stupid and second, it immediately exposes our tactics or any half-time changes. If a tactical novice like myself can see these things, opposing managers and players must see them a mile off.

Our defence played well. Weaver made three fine stops and Wiekens was superb throughout yet again. Gerard has been my City man of the match every time I’ve seen us play this season, with the exception of Russell in the Cup game. Morrison was very good as well until forced off; I wasn’t too surprised when he failed to come out for the second half, having taken quite a tumble heading a dangerous ball away. His headed goal from a corner was well taken but a bit soft for a defence that had previously only leaked two League goals at Kenilworth Road all season.

Remember at school when the P.E. instructor used to shout “You’re crunching! Spread out!”? That’s what happened for long periods in the game. At one point all 20 outfield players were within 20 yards of each other and there were spells of 6 or more successive thrown-ins to Luton. Not very surprising that neither midfield impressed then. Luton were mostly to blame, their defence pressing up to the half-way line from the off, with City being forced to do likewise. Russell put in lots of effort but didn’t seem to know if he was playing left midfield, winger or third striker. Tiatto on as sub was notable only for his dreadfulness; we would have been better playing with 10 men.

Our forwards should have exploited Luton’s offside trap but they just weren’t good enough. After his miss, Goater didn’t look interested until the last 5 minutes, barely bothering to jump for challenges as per usual. Taylor might not have been match fit but he looked awful. He can’t hold the ball up and he and Goater just got in each other’s way some of the time. I’ll give him a few games to shape up but the early signs are not good.

A word of praise to the referee who was one of the best I’ve seen in this division. Fair and firm, only booking players when merited. My one moan is that both corners leading to the goals looked suspiciously like goal kicks to me. Better a 1-1 than a 0-0 though. The Luton fans didn’t make a peep in the first half and the City fans did themselves proud in comparison, considering the quality of the fare on offer wasn’t much to shout about.

Although both sides had their moments and the chances to win it, it was a fair result in the end. I would have settled for that before the game, considering Luton’s defence is the best one in the League at home. I have a feeling we might be meeting this team in North London sometime in May. I hope not, if only for the sake of my friends’ relationship!

James Nash (


Stadium plans gather momentum: Thanks to Phil Healy for the following:

Ok so we all know the new stadium is nowhere near being built, even with the Commonwealth games lurking around the corner! We also know that all thos years ago when we first started bidding for the Olympics and again and then the Commonwealth games, we were promised a major stadium to rival Wembley, a stadium so big and wonderful. There was talk of football etc. moving North. But then hopes were dashed, Twickenham was built reducing our chances of some major sporting events, then we were told Wembley would be rebuilt, then we were told that Sheffield was to be the centre for the new national sports institute. Next it seemed the Commonwealth Stadium might not even be built due to withdrawal of funds and no prospects for the future use of the stadium. Well after much debate it appears that this will be our new home after the games, with a reduced 40,000 stadium, the track being ripped out and temporary seating making up an extra 5-10,000 seats. Well what a waste of this magnificent stadium, reduced to a posh second-division masterpiece, with all that potential going to waste.

Well, I am doing a sports science degree and a contact of mine has told me the following: that along with Sheffield as the major centre for this sports institute, seven other regional centres will be named, as centres of excellence. Manchester will be the main one with “very” exciting prospects and “very” big plans. Apparently the stadium will be approx. 80,000 seater, the track is expected to remain. Therefore City will be far from the only people stopping cobwebs from forming on this masterpiece of stadia. The project will be called “Sports City”, presumably encorporating Man. City as some sort of sports development, perhaps even a sporting school of (football excellence) with sports council backing. Things are looking very good.

Howard McCarthy (


St. Lucia National Side 0 Bury FC 2

A balmy, still evening in Castries, St Lucia saw Bury FC from the English First Division (i.e. the one above City’s division) take on the St. Lucia National Side at the Marshand Ground under floodlights as the game kicked off at 8.30pm. I arrived decked out in my City away strip (so I wouldn’t be run over in the rush to get home after the game!) with a group of friends, one of whom follows Bournemouth (so you know I have to put up with some stick every now and again despite City being above them in the division currently).

We made our way to the stand behind the goal which Bury were attacking and took up our seats among a crowd made up of locals and tourists, most of whom were also wearing football shirts and I could make out a Newcastle strip, a West Brom strip and a Man Ure shirt (which typically was being worn by a blonde woman in her forties!). There was some good-natured banter going on between the tourists and the locals and the atmosphere was warm and friendly.

I decided to shout for St. Lucia, having been resident here for almost 5 years I felt it was my duty to give the local lads a few rousing choruses of “St. Lucian ‘Til I Die”, “What’s it like to see the sun?” and “Stand up if you love St. Lucia” which all went down very well… and then Bury took the lead. It was a rasping drive from about 20 yards which whistled past the helpless St. Lucian ‘keeper, who nevertheless did a superb dying swan impression. This brought the tourists in the crowd to their feet and the songs started to echo round the stand… I retorted with “You only sing when you’re winning!” It was obvious at this stage that most of the people in the stand around me were non-footballing types and when I enquired of the three girls who were next to me “Where are you from?” and “Do you come here often?” I discovered they were from Toronto and had never been to a football match in their lives. When I said “So you must follow Manchester U****d then?” even that drew a blank look. They had decided that as Bury were winning 1-0 that they would follow Bury (another reason why I suspected that they were really Rags).

The game ebbed and flowed with neither side having many chances but the Bury players were obviously more comfortable on the ball despite some strong-arm tactics by the St. Lucian defence. Eventually a cross fell at the feet of one of the Bury strikers and he planted the ball into the net for a 2-0 lead. By this time, my Bournemouth mate’s prediction of a 2-1 win to St. Lucia had disappeared in smoke (and what does he know about football anyhow!). I had hedged my bets and gone for a 4-0 Bury win by the way. The referee had a good first half and he allowed the play to flow as best as it could on a real cabbage-patch quagmire. Half time came with Bury 2-0 up and the cooler of beers already empty so my Bournemouth mate trudged off to the bar while I explored the finer points of living in Toronto. Upon his return, he introduced me to the ladies’ tennis coach at the hotel where he works and I spent the remainder of the break trying to perfect my lob and to improve the toss on my serve!

As the game re-started, I settled back in the knowledge that it would take a miracle for St. Lucia to get back into the game but they came out with a renewed vigour and put the Bury defence under tremendous pressure for about two minutes. As both sides struggled to keep their boots on in the clawing mud, the only item of note from the second half was the sending off of one of the Bury defence. It was a piece of Second Division refereeing the likes of which can be seen every week when City play. He obviously decided that the game would be more interesting if Bury only had 10 men “to give the St. Lucians a chance”. It didn’t work as they failed to capitalise for the remaining 20 minutes. As the final whistle blew, the crowd funneled out and home to their shanty town on the hill or back to their plush hotels with talk of a good evening’s entertainment and the chance to watch a half-decent football match in St. Lucia with temperatures in the low 80s. So when shall we see our Blue heroes tread the hallowed cabbage-patch? That’s one for Chris Bird methinks… maybe TG3?

CTID, Clive Tysoe (


Having just turned the page for the last time on the Official 1998 City calendar I can’t help wondering if there is something sinister about appearing as flavour of the month. Practically all those who featured lost form, got injured or got sold. For the benefit of those who have missed this piece of artistic genius, I’ll list the victims:

Month			Featured Player(s)
JANUARY			Lee Bradbury
FEBRUARY		Martyn Margetson, Paul Beesley
MARCH			Georgi Kinkladze
APRIL			Gerard Wiekens, Tommy Wright
MAY			Tony Vaughan, Richard Edghill
JUNE			Kit Symons
JULY			Kevin Horlock
AUGUST			Eddie McGoldrick, Lee Crooks
SEPTEMBER		Nick Summerbee
OCTOBER			Ged Brannan
NOVEMBER		Paul Dickov, Jason van Blerk
DECEMBER		Ian Brightwell

If you remember, even current favorite Gerard had injury problems around the time he appeared. I’ve not seen the calendar for 1999 but maybe we could feature 12 goalkeepers from Wrexham, Macc, Chesterfield, Burnley, Gillingham, Northampton etc. to make sure they don’t play like spidermen on heat again.

Stuart Wells (


Volume 4 Issue 2, October 1998, £2

Issue 2

When this issue was published Nick Fenton was looking our most consummate teenage central defender since Tommy Caton. But the gnarled old pros of football’s hinterland have put his career on hold, something they couldn’t do to Tommy. Paul Wilkinson, late of Forest, Watford and Middlesbrough, got him booked at Northampton, but at least the spindly Fenton knows he is at the foot of his learning curve. “He knew how to deal with me,” he says in an interview.

Ron Saunders knew how to deal with Frank Carrodus. And vice versa, presumably, as seventies bit player Carrodus made a career following him around. Carrodus, who now runs a corporate hospitality business in Hale, is interviewed about the days when he used to wander around Moss Side with his win bonus cash in his pockets. Brave man (playing for Ron Saunders, I mean).

Jim Whitley, now seemingly more artistically talented away from the football field, still gets to play for Northern Ireland. He kept a diary for the match in Turkey when he came on as a substitute in a 3-1 defeat. He calls Horlock “the rat” – presumably a reference to our Kev’s physiognomy – and pictures him in his customary pre-Colchester mode – asleep. We also catch a glimpse of Michael Hughes (remember the Blue Print cover?: ‘Better Than Giggs’ Days of innocence long since departed, never to return). Whitley’s phrase “As we’re top international footballers…” has a disturbing resonance.

The match reviews feature our six-game unbeaten league run – savour this issue, people – and those balmy autumn evenings when we looked fitter, stronger and classier than teams now above us. We even held Premiership Derby County at their pen. The manager’s intended punishment for Pollock’s selfish elbow at Pride Park sounds appropriately painful: “We’ll deal with it internally,” says Joe.

Pollock does have his redeeming features when he can stay on the pitch and there is pictorial evidence of his extraordinary earth trembling charge, tongue a-flapping, to set up Dickov’s winner against Bournemouth.

Awayday Blues this issue represents something of a misnomer as our Middlewich representatives make the short hop across green and pleasant Cheshire to see City win at Macclesfield.

The new club website is apparently overseen by a Blue who was once Head of Sport at Granada TV – a combination to make you pause for thought – and there is a look at the plans for the new stadium. Ditto.

Volume 4 Issue 3, November 1998, £2

Issue 3

I had my hair cut last week by a friend of Nicky Weaver’s mum. She also thinks he’s rather good. She cuts Dave Bassett’s wife’s hair as well. And Carlton Palmer’s. And Chris Waddle shares my Co-Op, as does Sheffield Wednesday’s Alexandersson, who looks considerably smaller at the jam counter than he does rounding the not-so-great Dane.

Leonardo Di Weaver seems to have the right stuff to appear for England. Except he plays for us. Which brings us back to fumble fingered Pete. With Schmeichel’s powers waning you can be sure the Forces of Darkness are watching his progress.

Apparently a subdued AGM this year. No alarms and excursions, no bomb hoax and no Vince Miller (so at least someone is picking up the vibe. While I’m at it, could I just say a quick hello to all the “lovely disabled fans from Bury.”)

David Bernstein knows he has inherited a mess – in spending £31 million on players in the last five years the club “had achieved a remarkable level of failure” – so we must now cut our cloth accordingly. And then sell it.

So farewell then, Lee Wide Pen, our record non-signing. Bradbury stirs and away he goes, before he gets the chance to resume his slumber at our expense.

This is all so depressing. Still, at least we’ve got a good left-back. Solid, reliable and loyal. Pity he’s the coach. Encouragement seems to be the Donachie watchword and he identifies the problem. “It’s about desire. The player has to do it,” he says of today’s overpaid underachievers.

Willie was due to show how his back-pass technique has improved since ’78 in the Masters’ League Football tourney for the creaky-kneed at the MEN Arena in mid November. Organised in part by former beanpole Blue Ian Mellor, this is how you get your kicks these days. Or you go and watch City Ladies’ FC, who were top of the league with a 100% record when the magazine dropped by (bet that did for them).

Stop the season. I want to get off.

As Paul Howarth wrote in a recent McVittee, I am no longer able to review City magazine as the Good Ship Butler is heading for new and uncharted career waters and needs all hands on deck (these are a little late, you may have noticed).

Carpe diem and all that.

David Butler (

I’d like to say thanks to David for all reviews over the last year or so, and wish him good luck on the high seas!



Notice to all Australian Blues, the UK Cup is this Sunday at Waverly City Soccer Ground, 6th Avenue Burwood (near Melbourne) Victoria (Melways 60 J8). Players should ideally be there from about 10.30 am. Spectators, it should go on all day, until about 3 o’clock, when City will once again become champions (if you are an optimist) or City’s involvement will finish at 1 o’clock (if you are a realist). When we will all get even more bladdered!

Paul Keelagher (


Can somebody out there give me the answers to the following questions before I go mad thinking about them?

Joe Royle says we have too many players, so why does he go out and buy more? He said that he would not bring any player in that was not better than we already have – so why has he bought Taylor whose goalscoring record isn’t exactly brilliant and why is he considering Branch who is too lightweight for this division?

Why is Shelia not playing? Joe said he was not fully fit but then he goes and brings in Taylor, who he admits is along way off being fit, and puts him straight into the team.

Why is Pollock not playing – I have heard from one source he is not fit and from another that he was given compassionate leave to be with his pregnant wife who is ill. How much longer before he comes back? Is there something we don’t know or is it my suspicious mind? We need him.

Why has Vaughan not been dropped? Why has it taken Royle so long to play Russell? After all he hasn’t been given a proper chance as he was played out of position when he first came to the club.

I agree with Colin Jonas that Joe Royle’s judgement is something that worries me when I try to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I really want to stick with it, I’ve been a Blue for nearly 30 years but I am getting really depressed by it all – not being able to get tickets for away matches, all these extra cup matches, this season doesn’t seem to have taken off. Can someone out there give me any reason for optimism please, because it really hurts to see what’s happening to our football club.

Elaine Taylor (c/o


A reminder that we South Florida City fans will be meeting on Friday December 11th. Venue is the Tudor Inn, 5782 Powerline Road, Ft. Lauderdale. This is a British Pub, just south of Cypress Creek. Tel: 954 491 3697. come and ask for Paul Duncan, or myself.

Phil Calderbank (


Just been listening to the radio and I had one of my questions answered. Shelia is on a free transfer!?! Have they something against Georgians at Maine Road? The reason given by Willie Donachie is that he is too experienced (a Georgian international) to be playing in the reserves. OK so why isn’t he in the first team? And also we have a lot of good youngsters such as the Fentons together with good players such as Wiekens (agreed) and wait for it – Vaughan! Help, nothing makes any sense anymore!

The Fentons are not playing in the first team. We cannot have a team with too many youngsters, we need experience. Not only was Shelia solid in defence but useful when he came up for corners. In fact very useful seeing none of our forwards can score goals! The next thing we hear will be they are selling Russell or rather giving him away.

Sorry if I sound in a moaning mood but I am a logical person and nothing that happens at Maine Road these days is logical and as my teenage daughter would say ‘it’s doing my head in’.

Elaine Taylor (c/o


In the latest edition of MCIVTA there was mention of the demise of the Kappa kit, when it is number three on the best sellers list. Could it be it has achieved cult status, and all that entails at Maine Road? Then, lo and behold Andy Morrison is regarded as having achieved cult status. Oh no, watch the transfer list. Remember Peter Barnes, Gary Owen, Steve McKenzie, Tommy Caton, Nicky Reid, Ian Bishop (first time round)? The list goes on.

David Kilroy (



  1. Seeing Blueski hit 3 straight shots on the 3rd. Glad I’d stuck by him during the hard times!
  2. Playing golf with a gentleman, Andy Mannion.
  3. Chatting to another Harry Dowd, and Gary Owen realizing that they (the Club) are in the entertainment industry, even on Friday nights.
  4. On leaving Platt Lane looking back from the door on the Friday night and seeing everybody dancing, laughing and having fun.
  5. Meeting up with guys for the first time like Niallse, Peter Brophy and lots of others. And old pals like Clive, H and Wookie. Great bunch the TribalGatherers.
  6. Realising if everybody got behind the team like Dolphin we’d be top of the Premier!
  7. Chippy’s elation at his wonder goal followed 10 seconds later by a boot in the nuts!
  8. Liz saying she was approached by a number of 6-a siders asking her not to show them up. Them being the players!
  9. El Rincon, meeting Ian Niven, and him telling me lots of things he didn’t want repeating.
  10. How well the TG2 team worked together. Clive, Chris, Steh and Wookie.


  1. Spending too little time with MoK.
  2. The comedian that didn’t understand we would probably have preferred jokes about football! even having a go out our beloved would have been OK!
  3. Goater ball hitting the post, gutted because I felt we wouldn’t get a lot of chances and we didn’t.
  4. Up at 5:30am on Monday and a meeting at work at 4:00pm after 4 days on the booze. Wasn’t at my best.
  5. Being told someone had run off with my £1,500 for my next year’s holiday money and having to go out Monday night to hear the story behind it.
  6. Seeing City have no creativity and only have about 3 efforts on goal in the second half. Not like the good old days.
  7. Seeing Mike Summerbee introducing himself to my Jersey friends. Didn’t think a legend should have to do this!
  8. Being older than most TGers and having to pace myself a little. This after 30 years of being the last one at the bar!
  9. Not seeing the picture of me and Clive and the City guests. No articles in the MEN or Times!
  10. Not being able to spend 20 minutes more with Nina Haigh.


CTID, Bob Young (


In response to the posting by Gary Pritchard (McVittie 454).

It also seems to me that this (racist chanting) type of behaviour is on the increase again. I’ve seen it only a few times in recent years but could it be on the way back?

Last Saturday I went the The Reebok to see the Lancashire derby between Bolton and Bury. The Wanderers have a good reputation for their family atmosphere and yet many (not just several) fans were chanting abuse at Bury’s six or seven black players. I really did hear them sing “There’s no black in the Union Jack”!

It think that it is our duty to remove this from the game or at least certainly from Maine Road. If there is one thing that we do still have as City fans then it’s dignity.

Footnote: Red b*****d is, however, perfectly acceptable.

Simon Jones (


Sorry to bring this one up again.

I was one of those saying forget about Kinkladze and live for the future and forget the past etc., but it seems we do need his talent after all, someone with a bit of flair and style, someone to create chances from nothing, someone to have a go at goal etc.

…and according to many a varied report he still loves us, but hates his present club so…

Come Home Gio

Phill Healey (


Have just heard that Murtaz Shelia has been put on the transfer list! (source: Key 103)

While I am not in the least surprised, I am bluddy annoyed – here we have a decent centre half who, in my personal opinion, would make a great combination with Wiekens and/or Morrison, is far better than Tony Vaughan (sorry Tone) – and Joe decides to flog him! Why? We all know that he didn’t rate Gio (unlike the vast majority of us), he’s praised Taz in the past for solid performances – has he got summat against Georgians? How does poor Kakhaber feel? Does he now think that he’s going to get the Royle order of the boot when he’s fit again? That’s what’s happened to Taz! Maybe not immediately but after a couple of months… Bam! Bye, bye! Thanks, but no thanks! Grrrrr!

Sorry to rant, but sometimes our illustrious manager really does p**s me off/make my blood boil (whichever is printable!)!

Still CTID – just! Carol Darvill


Can someone tell me how we can afford to pay £400,000 for Gareth Taylor and make a rumoured £750,000 bid for Branch, but we are unable to match the £800,000 that Barnsley paid for Hignett? The early reports suggest Taylor is a very average player, and we all know that Branch is not worth signing. It would have made more sense to sign Hignett – a player with real class – rather than two average players. Why do managers lose their ability to make good signings when they move to Maine Road?

Charles Pollitt (


Four more years as they say in the US election campaigns. It will take us 4 years to sniff the Premier again.

From the results we have been scraping out against teams with glorious names like Gillingham, Luton and so on, it looks like we will just, perhaps, maybe be in with a chance of promotion end of season. I will not hold my breath however as reduction in staff numbers (essential) and sensible buying of players with promising potential at budget prices does not yield results immediately. In fact it only guarantees us a reasonable First Division team that can battle every season to retain top ten respectability (Wolves always spring to mind here). To get back up with the big boys only one thing is needed. Cash and lots of it. Big fat wads of money pumped into purchasing players. Middlesbrough tried it and it gave the team and fans a quick fix. I know it is not long term (the earlier points are long term) but fans pay wages and we like to see stars playing in the beloved blue. I need a quick fix. I need to meet my misguided friends who follow Utd. and crow how we won something / broke a points record / had the best footie song.

At least we are on Sky on Friday (Is that good I ask?)

Kieran Daly (


An unknown letter dropped in my letter box last week with the City programme versus Gillingham. Many, many thanks for this. If anyone else wants to send me programmes I will be more than glad to send them money for the purchase and postage as this sort of information is gold.

Kieran Daly (


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The views expressed in MCIVTA are entirely those of the subscribers and there is no intention to represent these opinions as being those of Manchester CityFootball Club, nor of any of the companies and universities by whom the subscribers are employed. It is not in any way whatsoever connected to theclub or any other related organisation and is simply a group of supporters using this medium as a means of disseminating news and exchanging opinions.

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