Newsletter #457

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A very quiet week down at Maine Road: quiet in terms of news and in terms of the crowd at Tuesday’s game, though not so quiet when considering Mr J Royle esq. Joe was reported to be livid after yet another gutless performance (I admit to resisting the lure of paying £10 to watch our ‘for sale’ dead wood), though to be honest, he and a lot of us are probably relieved that we don’t have to play any more ‘noddy’ games which only serve to accumulate disciplinary points and injuries. Despite an all-time-low attendance of 3,007, we have 3 match reports and a matchview!

Peter Brophy has written a nice news summary, especially so considering the dearth of news; there’s the latest squad changes (with info supplied by John Maddocks); some inside info on songs likely to be heard on Saturday; a rebuke for the ‘Times’ author of the TG2 article; and plenty of opinion, mostly concerning Tuesday nadir.

Still need some Why Blues…

Lastly, an appeal: Although Peter Brophy will be doing the news summaries on a regular basis, he will be away from work (and computer) every now and then. Would anyone like to to volunteer to take over – on an irregular basis – when Peter is travelling? I can promise that it’s good fun, and you’ll be doing thousands of others a good turn… and remember, Santa is watching! Drop me an email if you’re interested.

Come on and join the collective – we have a lovely cube 😉

Next game, Bristol Rovers at home, Saturday 12th December 1998

MATCH REPORT – ‘LIVE’ I

MANCHESTER CITY vs. MANSFIELD TOWN, AUTO WINDSCREEN SHIELD 1ST ROUND

Tuesday 8th December 1998

On a cold December night 3,007 hardy/mad/sad (delete as applicable) fans turned up expecting to see the match which would kickstart our march on Wembley. The previous lowest recorded competitive home match (as confirmed by John Maddocks) was 4,029 for the Full Members’ Cup game v. Leeds in the 1985/86 season – yes when we got beat 5-4 by Chelsea in the Final! The annoying thing was that we were charged £10 for the privilege/honour (or make up your own thoughts) whereas it seems that teams like Burnley and Oldham were charging around a fiver for adults and a quid for kids. Mmm. Why did I go? Well, to date, I have only missed one home match since I moved up from “dahn sarf” 6 and a bit years ago but if things keep going as they are…

Having been originally informed that only DD lower block was being opened in the Kippax I got my own seat early – as it was the whole of the lower tier was open so you could sit where you wanted. Mansfield brought about 200 with them plus their mascot Sammy the Stag – although the bloke behind me insisted it was a moose! Well, to be fair, it did look more like a moose than a stag but there you go! The nice touch was that Sammy, aided or hindered by Moonie, was distributing sweets out to the kids, not just to his own fans but to ours as well – cheers Sammy! The down side was that, being on the front row, my feet were crushed by loads of kids after said sweets although a BlackJack did suddenly appear on my lap from out of nowhere – I hid it in my pocket to savour at a later stage! Yes I know, sad bag!

Anyway onto the game! I was desperate to get more than one programme for my mates in the London Branch but was told by a jobsworth that I could only have one as I went in as they were expecting quite a few people and couldn’t dish out any more – huh! (fortunately I did get some more later). Consequently I had to scribble the team down on the envelope containing my Wrexham tickets – the team was:

Wright, Jeff Whitley, Tiatto, Fenton, Rimmer, Vaughan, Brown, Pollock, Madge, Taylor & Heaney. Subs were: Bailey, Jim Whitley & Crooks (this bore no resemblance to the team printed in the “prog”)

Mansfield – pass! only managed to get a few of them!

The first half wasn’t one to write home about – Mansfield were more up for it than we were, Madge had a few good shots, Fenton was OK at the back, Rimmer (first time I’d seen him) seemed OK as well, Brownie was putting himself about as usual and seemed keen to impress. Tackles were flying in and Rimmer was booked – thought unfairly myself. 0-0 then.

The Mansfield kiddies won the penalty shootout regardless of what Alan Keegan said!

Pollock didn’t reappear for the second half and was replaced by Jim. He looked fresh and willing so things started to look up. However, on 52 minutes, the Mansfield number 8 – Christie I think – was brought down in the area and a penalty given. I thought it was Vaughan who gave the penalty away but the Mirror said it was Rimmer, I’m sure the MUEN will put me right later. Peacock made no mistake, although Wright went the right way. This fired Mansfield into action and four minutes later they got a free kick which Peacock took and blasted past Wright with a deflection on the way which he could do nothing about! Oh dear, the twin towers were disintegrating before our eyes! Taylor was then withdrawn and young Alan Bailey came on. He huffed and puffed and tried his best but the big Mansfield defenders were having none of it. On 74 minutes Madge got the ball, flew past me with a Mansfield defender hot on his heels, before finally rounding him and coolly slotting the ball home under the goalie. Well done Madge! The twin towers got slightly more in focus for a short while. Tiatto and Fenton both got booked for non-cynical fouls with Lormer and the number 5 also going in the book for Mansfield. Mansfield used two subs as well during this half. Slightly worried, Mansfield kept attacking until the final whistle, whilst our lot… well, they got soundly booed off at the end and thoroughly deserved it.

Markings:

Wright – 7 Did what he had to do and only made me shut my eyes once!
Jeff – 3 Too lightweight, poor passing, not in the game at all.
Tiatto – 5 Used his speed effectively but some of the end results weren’t very good.
Fenton – 7 Played well, composed as usual.
Rimmer – 5 Not bad – can’t comment too much as I’d never seen him play before.
Vaughan – 2 Sorry Tone, but I still reckon the Mighty Murt is a better player than you. Poor overall performance.
Brown – 6 Did his best in a non-existent midfield.
Pollock – 4 Not a bad score for one half.
Allsopp – 7 Tried hard, was unlucky on a couple of occasions but gets extra points for a well-taken goal.
Taylor – 5 First time I’ve seen him “live” so I won’t moan at him yet!
Heaney – 0 I only realised he was on the pitch when this number 11 fell over in front of me. Totally anonymous.

Bailey – Not fair to mark him for such a short time.
Jim – 7 One of the few positive performances of the evening.

So, we are out of the cup compy that most of us thought before the season started we would stroll. It was very unfair to charge us £10 to watch such total crap – we want our money back! At least Joe Royle has agreed that the paying fans deserved far better. The pride seems to have gone out of wearing the City shirt yet again, regardless of what Chris Bird tried to tell us on Monday night. Apart from Wright, Fenton, Allsopp & Jim, the rest showed no enthusiasm, commitment or interest. Just because Joe said it was a competition we could do without, didn’t mean they could take his words literally! “Tin pot” compy or not, there is something to be won at the end of it all, OK not a top prize but a bit of silverware for our somewhat empty cabinet and a bit of dosh to boot.

If we lose against Darlo then we really will know where we stand won’t we!

CBTPIWMTABTTD! (City but the patience is wearing more than a bit thin these days), Carol Darvill

MATCH REPORT – ‘LIVE’ II

MANCHESTER CITY vs. MANSFIELD TOWN, AUTO WINDSCREEN SHIELD 1ST ROUND

FOR PETE’S SAKE…

Attendance: 3,007 (Record Breakers!)

Sometimes, you can’t get to the Saturday matches so, the mid-week games assume a great importance (to you maybe!).

My nephew Pete is a new recruit to the beautiful game and in his wisdom, has chosen to follow the Blues, turning his back upon local sides like Nottingham Forest, Notts County and Mansfield, fans of whom he counts as workmates.

So, along comes the Auto Windshield Trophy and we are going to be there. Oh! Yes! A Cup tie – weak opposition – a goal fest – exciting or what? Apparently not.

Joe Royle has already gone public in the tabloid press on how inconvenient it is having to play an extra match at this time and on the fact that he doesn’t value the AWS competition much anyway. This feeling of negativity is confirmed for us when we get to the outskirts of Manchester and buy a copy of the MUEN. We wade through the pages of MUnure and eventually find the piece on City at the bottom of page 51. This confirms that City expect their lowest crowd ever to watch some ‘fringe squad players’ getting a ‘run out’.

“So, Pete, you know this exciting cup tie/goal fest thing we’ve been talking about, well, your first ever City cup tie isn’t going to be quite like that.”

What was it like then? Well, the formula was pretty much as usual – the Mansfield fans (500), with whom we’d had some banter on the way over, were loving it, singing, shouting -and why not, for this is their cup final! (Not again – we could charge clubs for lifting their teams and fans to unknown heights of passion using the wonder drug “Mancity” – one man’s Viagra is another man’s Valium).

City should have scored in the first minute when Taylor crossed from the right to Heaney on the goal line, he taps it in? No, another unknown goalkeeper has suddenly developed super powers and does a brave and brilliant save to deny us. That was Taylor’s last contribution apart from a text book defensive header on their six yard box – it was easier to put it into the net but it went way over the bar – Wales are in deep trouble if they’re relying on this lad.

More City pressure, Pollock’s finding Heaney on the left and he’s crossing the ball but, to no avail – Heaney did perform his wing rôle quite well on the night and was amongst the most energetic towards the end when City were striving for an equaliser which would’ve taken us into extra time and the ‘Golden Goal’ (Ha!)

Mansfield aren’t doing a lot but they have got a useful looking striker (No 8) who is sharp and has good feet. Up against him is Steven Rimmer, a tall version of Kit Symons who likes to dribble the ball away from danger when you and I know that the only thing to do is bury it in the stands. So, when Rimmer tries his ball skills against their No 8 and finds he’s lost the ball in his own penalty area, he hacks him down from behind and it’s a penalty – cue the Mansfield fans who have been making so much noise, they’ve almost drowned out the players. Wright gets it right but fails to keep it out: 0-1 Lee Peacock – he sure can hit it as we find out ten minutes later when Mansfield are awarded a dubious free kick just outside the box, middle left – up steps Peacock, whallop, top corner 0-2. We can’t believe it, neither can the Stag fans. So, what’s Tony Vaughan going to do now? (he’s captain because Pollock’s gone off at half time injured/bored who knows?) there’s a bit more urgency about City now, they’re building better attacks down the left but persisiting with the right side at the expense of valuable time. Taylor goes off to be replaced by Bailey, more right hand side play, Tiatto makes useful inroads on the left but there’s no real connection between him and the front players. Eventually, we score, Allsopp runs in diagonally from the left, keeps going, using his strength and prods the ball under the goalie, the 200 people in the Family Stand exec boxes go mad and so do we – the excitement of the Cup at last – well no, not really – City did press, they got a number of corners, easily dealt with by the Mansfield defence and they lost.

The old bloke behind us never stopped moaning all match “That does it for me with Royle” he said, “He’s finished as far as I’m concerned” well, no not really but, this was our ‘strength in depth’ against lower opposition and we came up empty and JR has to think on that and, he might also like to reflect on what our moaning friend also said, especially in the light of fans who are new to the City cause and need some encouragement – quote: “Royle has stated publicly that he’s not interested in this competition or this game and that must have got through to the players one way or another.” You could be right old man – the upshot is that although, in the fullness of time, Royle’s legacy may be a great one, at present, it amounts to the lowest crowd in the club’s history and an ignominious defeat at the hands of lowly opposition. In ten years time, Royle may be gone, the players almost certainly will but we will still be there and we’ll be having this nightmare rammed down our throats.

Team: Tommy Wright, Jeff Whitley, Danny Tiatto, Nicky Fenton (still looks good), Steven Rimmer (back to the drawing board), Tony Vaughan (shouts from the faithful of ‘Tony for England’ and ‘Taxi for Vaughan’), Michael Brown (best player), Jamie Pollock (why did he go off?/ sub Jim Whitley), Danny Allsopp, Gareth Taylor (they said he’s lazy, they might be right/sub Bailey) and Neil Heaney, Sub not used (why not?) Lee Crooks.

Rick Eagles (reagles@globalnet.co.uk)

MATCH REPORT – ‘LIVE’ III

MANCHESTER CITY vs. MANSFIELD TOWN, AUTO WINDSCREEN SHIELD 1ST ROUND

Tuesday 8th December 1998

Where do I start? At the beginning I suppose with the team selection:

  1. In goal Wright
  2. At the back was… I lost interest at this point but this is not a biased view.

Mansfield fielded 11 pub players and played with a little flair helped along by a dodgy (not so much in the first half) ref. But take nothing away from their crap performance, which was almost as bad as my typing. City started off quite well until they realised who the opposition was and sank to their level that was the first half.

The second half again started with promise until one of their players stood his ground near our penalty area and then was maliciously with intent approached by one of us, breathed upon then had the ball taken away from him, result a free kick after that it was only a matter of minutes until the penalty was awarded.

After that came a stormer of a free kick, bent around our 6-man wall into the net. I then waited to hear the attendance figure (3,007), got up and left.

This report lacks in quality and quantity a bit like the City players on the day and I just hope that Saturday’s performance is a vast improvement on what I saw last night.

CTID, Scott Grundy (scott.grundy@lineone.net)

MATCHVIEW

You had to be there to really believe it happened!

What can possibly be said about the performance or rather lack of performance against Mansfield on Tuesday? Perhaps the gypsy’s curse really is working?!

Give credit where it is due, Mansfield were “up for it” and so were their supporters. They made a tremendous noise which echoed round the empty ground. As for us in the Kippax all that could be said was that the biggest noise came from the biggest supporters… the four huge Germans who came to support City and then Bayern Munich.

This surely has to be one of the problems. No one in the Kippax was prepared to sing for the team even when we got one back. Although whether the display actually warranted any singing is another matter.

As for the team, they fell apart after Pollock was taken off at half time. Not that we had much shape before that but we should have been 3 up at half time. And there dear readers lies the problem. In the second half everyone around me started getting at Tony “whipping boy” Vaughan. A bit harsh at times especially after he made a reasonable run (from him), sent in a superb cross only to see Allsopp put it over the bar when it looked like it was easier to score. How the crowd could then get at Vaughan for a crap delivery defeats me.

Surely we can’t get any worse can we? I took a friend with me who used to live in Mansfield and he said that we will be able to look back at this fixture, in the mists of time, and see that it was a turning point… upwards for City as we can’t get any worse! Let’s hope he is right.

One of the record breakers, but for all the wrong reasons!

Chris Booth (Chris.Booth@LAB.co.uk)

NEWS SUMMARY

City derailed on Wembley trail

Showing just how quiet the last few days have been for news, the Auto Windscreens Shield tie at home to the mighty Mansfield Town took centre stage. Vanquished by Southport three days earlier, Mansfield perhaps predictably proved too good for a below-strength City, with Danny Allsopp’s 74th minute goal insufficient to cancel out a two goal deficit. As was widely predicted, the game produced the lowest ever crowd for a senior game at Maine Road, the 3,007 attendance eclipsing the 4,029 who saw a Full Members’ Cup win over Leeds in 1985-86.

The selection of what almost amounted to a reserve team (in Vaughan, Pollock and Taylor, we fielded only three of the players who figured at Darlington last Friday) and the size of the crowd might indicate that club and fans alike hadn’t accorded the match a particularly high priority, and I’m hardly an admirer of this competition myself. Even so, the performance upset Joe and the reports I’ve read have annoyed me too. All bar one of the players we fielded have played in the first team this season and most have played at a higher level in the past. Apart from their professional pride, those who took the field should have had a self-interested motive to do well – either to force their way into JR’s plans or to show their worth to other clubs. A furious Royle exempted only Michael Brown and Danny Allsopp from his tirade. Those BVers who’d seen the game were also distinctly unimpressed; the comments “disgrace”, “pathetic shower” and “everyone [except the same two singled out by Royle] … was rubbish” summed up their views.

Reserves – ticket to Hyde

Given the number of non-first team regulars who lined up against Mansfield, it was slightly suprising that we actually managed to field a reserve side on Wednesday. We hosted Oldham at Hyde United’s Ewen Fields ground – our new venue for reserve fixtures after problems over the state of the pitch scuppered the agreement to play at Moss Lane, Altrincham. Having a chance to go top of Pontin’s League Division One with a win, we failed, christening the new setting with a 2-2 draw, goals coming from Kelly (who evidently is not now at Scarborough) and Reilley.

Juniors – no news is … better news than usual

I can also provide latest news on the hitherto struggling juniors – neither Academy side had fixtures scheduled last weekend. However, I don’t have access to their results on a regular basis, so if there’s a demand for them to be included from the masochists among MCIVTA subscribers, someone will have to mail them to me. This coming weekend, our under-17s and under-19s both have away fixtures against the Forces of Darkness, to whom they’ve already lost 2-0 and 4-1 respectively at home in October.

Signings – Royle plays cards close to his chest

Actually, I don’t know whether that’s strictly true. Despite hints to the contrary a few days ago, there’s been little evidence so far this week that Royle has any cards to play at all in terms of incoming deals – there don’t even appear to have been any reserve trialists about whom I can report the usual “sorry, mate, but no thanks” verdict. Presumably a winger would be the priority, since we don’t have any (or at least none JR’s prepared to play) yet have just signed a striker who’s said to prosper only with a decent service from wide positions. However, having seen Tony Vaughan a couple of weeks ago and having read pretty scathing reports of Danny Tiatto, I fear the left-back slot is as much of a problem as ever.

The lengths some people will go to

One left-sided player being linked with City a couple of weeks ago was Bristol City’s Brian Tinnion. The rumours had credence in my mind – despite apparently having filled in at left-back in the past, he wouldn’t break the unwritten City ban on specialists in the position as he’s always described as a midfielder. Tinnion was at great pains to deny the City speculation with almost indecent haste. However, he was obviously so alarmed at the prospect of making a move to Maine Road that he decided merely expressing his lack of will to do so wasn’t sufficient guarantee against it happening. A dislocated shoulder should ensure he achieves his aim of not figuring in Joe Royle’s recruitment plans.

Saturday’s opoonents – Bristol Rovers

So unless Joe catches me out with a late swoop on Thursday night or Friday, it looks pretty certain there won’t be any new faces by Saturday, when the second of three successive home games in three different competitions in the space of a week sees Bristol Rovers in town. They made the play-offs last season, losing over two legs to Northampton, but they’re only in sixteenth place this time (six points below us) and have lost star striker Barry Hayles to Fulham.

This is the first time we’ve ever faced Rovers in the league, though we did play them in the league cup a few short years ago. In our heady Premiership days of 1992-93, they came north for the first leg of the second round. Though we did win through in the tie (anyone remember Rick Holden’s second leg clincher celebrated as if he’d just won us the European Cup?), the match at Maine Road finished goalless – we need better this time, Blues! Incidentally, with the last couple of Saturdays before Christmas notoriously bad for attendances, I suppose we could follow the Mansfield record with a season’s low at home in the league. The benchmark is the 24,291 who attended the Walsall match in early September.

Gathering of City fans

Following the Bristol Rovers game, there’ll be another gathering of City fans – these seem to be all the rage just now. They’re starting off in the Parkside on Lloyd Street straight after the match. Present will be editors and contributors from three of City’s four fanzines: “Bert Trautmann’s Helmet”, “City ’til I Cry” and “Chips ‘n’ Gravy” will all be represented. They bill as the aim of the evening the entirely laudable one of drinking and talking nonsense for several hours in a variety of Mancunian hostelries. Also on Saturday night, City fans Mark and Lard have a gig in Manchester in their Shirehorses guise. Will they manage to match the comic value of the City team a few hours earlier, though?

Peter Brophy (brophpe@moscow.whitecase.com)

CITY MUSEUM

Martin Ford asked if City have a museum open to the public and, although I can’t provide him with an answer, I would like to say that we should have one. How about turning the old hotel (can’t remember the name, but I believe the City players changed there when the ground was in Gorton) on Hyde Road into a museum? The place is in a terrible state, and it saddens me when I pass it on my way to work each day. It seems a shame to allow such an integral part of City’s history to go to waste. Any chance of putting this idea to the club?

Charles Pollitt (cpollitt@fs1.scg.man.ac.uk)

LOWEST ATTENDANCE

According to TeamTalk, City’s lowest attendance is 4,029. This was against Leeds in the Full Member’s Cup in October 1985. We won 6-1 and Gordon Davies got a hat-trick. Bit before my time that one – who’s Gordon Davies?

Tom Willis (psc8taw@WEST-01.NOVELL.LEEDS.AC.UK)

I feel a thread coming on.

Ashley

GIANT KILLERS?

Assume we beat Darlington in the replay and then (as a mediocre 2nd Division side) go on to beat the mighty Premiership side Wimbledon, will City be giant killers?

On the Shelia front, I too was disappointed to hear that he’s on the transfer list. If we look at Joe’s priorities for this year, it seems that they are (1) Reduce the playing staff and, more importantly, the wage bill, and (2) Get promoted. In that order! I can’t think of another good reason.

Paul Muschamp (paul.muschamp@bt.com)

TG2 – HACK JUST BEHIND THE TIMES

It occurred to me when I was flying home for TG2 that I must be mad. On the face of it, there seems little sense in making a 4,000-mile round trip for an event centred round a match against unglamorous opponents at a level to which, until a few short months previously, I never thought City would sink. Especially when you can’t even rely on the team to go out, do a solid professional job and win. Sure enough, we didn’t win, we couldn’t even bloody score. And yet I flew back to Russia knowing I hadn’t been mad at all. I’d do it all again – indeed I will do it all again. There’s so much more to it than the football, you see.

As a non-attending Blue Viewer remarked, those who’ve only seen the account which appeared in The Times newspaper probably picture an event which failed, marked by sniping at the panel of ex-players and uproar during the stand-up’s act. Mark Hodkinson, author of the piece, focuses largely on the controversies of the Friday night event, which have already been aired in MCIVTA and on BV – a classic case of accentuating the negative. Maybe there’s just cause to criticise the club’s consultation with fans over the new stadium, though I disagreed whether it was the right time and setting to question the process. It was certainly more than unfortunate that the comedian pandered to the worst prejudices of his stereotype of a group of football fans, ignoring that he had a rather more sophisticated, cosmopolitan audience to entertain. However, to claim that even the Friday night was ruined by these incidents would be inaccurate. I was in the Oasis Suite for six hours, and for more than five, Blues were sitting and talking, eating and drinking, singing and dancing or laughing and joking together.

That’s to say nothing of the article’s comments about the panel. Personally, I enjoyed the chance to meet and chat to the ex-players, whom I like many others remember with great reverence, and they stayed round for photos with good grace. I was actually interested to see international caps and trophies brought along by Donachie and Tueart, not offended by the egoism of the display. Maybe a few people voiced the odd cynical aside – as if that’s a surprise in a room filled with more than a hundred – but I’m pretty confident that this paragraph reflects the general mood better than the quotations produced in Hodkinson’s piece.

Even for those who departed from the function in the Oasis Suite (and though I didn’t, I understand why people walked out) I don’t think it was more than a small blight on the weekend as a whole. Hodkinson lists the other events, but not in full – some played golf on the Friday or went out for a meal on the Sunday, for instance. How can he ignore the fact that these events and the “trip along Rusholme’s famous curry mile, tour of Maine Road, five-a-side tournament and, of course, Manchester City match” he mentions were all attended by many and by all accounts I’ve seen (more than he has, I’d wager) thoroughly enjoyed.

Or at least, all were enjoyed apart from the game. Of course, I’m used to seeing City struggle to break their opponents down, spurn a couple of chances, grow uninspired and achieve a disappointing result. I’m used to seeing some of the players appear possessed of a first touch which would have embarrassed any of the lads playing in the five-a-side on the Sunday. But it’s worse now than it ever has been, because at least for most of our history we’ve been spurning chances and playing uninspired football and achieving disappointing results and showing poor first touch against top-flight opposition.

Yet I think the fact we follow a club with these characteristics brings us all closer together – we’re all people who love what most football fans would regard as unlovable. I wouldn’t be so trite as to say we’re all a brotherhood. In most respects, we form a pretty disparate group. Maybe without City to bind it together, many of the component parts might not have much in common and one or two may even not like each other all that much. But this is irrelevant, because we do have City to bind us together, and that means we can gather and do what we did for most of the Friday night and for all the rest of TG2. And at the end of it, ask any one of us and we’ll tell you we had a bloody great weekend.

In the light of this, when I read the piece from The Times, I was a little surprised. Indeed, if it hadn’t cited a couple of events I’d witnessed I might have wondered if Hodkinson had attended a parallel TG2. As it was, I felt that the author had given a disproportionate focus to a couple of brief episodes to fit what he wanted to say irrespective of the truth. I live in Russia, and am old enough to have spent a fair amount of time here when it was still the Soviet Union, so I can recall how this approach was a journalistic staple here in those days. I really think Hodkinson was born out of time – he’d have made a fantastic pre-glasnost Pravda hack.

So next year, come November, I’ll already have bought my ticket back to Maine Road for the next one, probably centred around a game against Wigan or Northampton or equally alluring opponents. I can understand why an onlooker might think it a crazy, P.J. O’Rourke-style pilgrimage, but as for some smart-arse telling me I’ve not had a good time? Sod him! Roll on TG3.

Peter Brophy (brophpe@moscow.whitecase.com)

DRINK UP THEE ZYDER!

As previously mentioned, I watch Bristol City most home games, as getting up to Maine Road on a regular basis is not only too difficult, but bad for my delicate health. City and Rovers, who many of you will have the pleasure of seeing for the first time on Saturday, enjoy a rivalry as healthy and venomous as City and the Rags. The Gasheads as they are known have as their main song, Leadbelly’s “Goodnight Irene”, though they only sing the first verse, and mostly claim not to know the second verse, which, FYI, goes

“Sometimes I go to the river,
Sometimes I go to the town,
Sometimes I get a great notion,
To jump in the river and drown,
Good night, Irene … “

To which the City fans respond, to the same tune, “F*** off, Irene”. Surprising really. The City fans’ main song, appropriate for the fact that Bristol has now surely taken over from Manchester as the music centre of England, is the Wurzels’ “Drink Up Thee Zyder”. The Ashton Gate variation goes …

As you would, expect, the Gas make their way into it.

“Drink Up thy Zyder,
Drink Up thy Zyder,
For tonight we’ll merry be.
We’re going down the Rovers,
To do the b******s over,
And there’s still more Zyder in the jar.”

So, if you hear this strange song issuing from Block AA of the Upper Kippax on Saturday, do join it – it will confuse the hell out of their supporters; not that that’s very hard to do anyway. And please, City, another 10-1 is long overdue!

Jeremy Poynton (jeremy@poyntons.u-net.com)

LATEST SQUAD CHANGES

Michael Brown, Murtaz Shelia & Ray Kelly – all transfer listed.

Second Year Trainees:

Steve Rimmer became a senior pro on 27.5.96
David Laycock became a senior pro on 27.7.98
Neil Morley became a senior pro on 15.10.96 but is now transfer listed.

First Year Trainees:

Shaun Holmes became a senior pro on 5.1.98
Andrew Porteous has signed as a pro – no date.
Shaun Wright-Phillips signed senior pro on 25.10.98.

New First Year Trainees: Rhys Day (defender)

Tommy Wright
Nick Weaver
Michael Brown Transfer Listed
Gerard Wiekens
Tony Vaughan
Richard Edghill
Anthony Fenton
Nick Fenton
Murtaz Shelia Transfer Listed
Richard Jobson
Danny Tiatto
Kakhaber Tskhadadze
Andy Morrison
Stephen Rimmer
Shaun Holmes
Kevin Horlock
Jamie Pollock
Lee Crooks
Gary Mason
Jeff Whitley
Jim Whitley
Michael Brown
David Laycock
Andrew Porteous
Neil Morley Transfer Listed
Neil Heaney Transfer Listed
Ian Bishop Transfer Listed
Paul Dickov
Shaun Goater
Alan Bailey
Danny Allsopp
Gareth Taylor
Shaun Wright-Philips
Chris Greenacre Transfer Listed
Ray Kelly Transfer Listed
Mikhail Kavalashvili Loaned to Grasshoppers Z

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