Newsletter #459

The contents will have to speak for themselves this issue, as I’m off to bed with a cold. I will say that there is plenty of opinion and a Why Blue (!), though no match report!

Next game, York City away, Saturday 19th December 1998


Extra time winner sinks Quakers

On Tuesday night, City booked their place in the third round of the Cup and earned an away tie against Wimbledon. Michael Brown’s goal in extra time finally put City ahead for the first time in more than three hours in the FA Cup second round tie against Darlington, and the Blues held on for the remaining twelve minutes. In front of a meagre 8,500 crowd (the lowest at Maine Road for nearly 35 years which wasn’t in a nonsense competition), Danny Tiatto annoyed his manager by equalling Jamie Pollock’s distinction of being red-carded twice this season when he and Marco Gabbiadini were both dismissed just before the goal. Presumably he’ll now face a lengthy ban under this season’s new disciplinary code; he was already due to sit out the Boxing Day game at Wrexham after a spate of bookings.

Joe felt that the display wasn’t too convincing and lamented our lack of attacking threat. However, he was pleased to go through and is looking forward to facing the Dons as City have nothing to lose. I promised I’d be very unhappy if Darlington knocked us out but they didn’t, so I’m not. I’m actually disproportionately happy given what we actually achieved and I have to say it makes a pleasant change. The mood on Blue View was rather upbeat, too. I wonder what we’d all be like if we won on a regular basis?

Donachie puts the record straight

After his much-reported comments about “negativity” at Maine Road caused a real stir, Joe Royle’s deputy has back-pedalled somewhat. He now merely thinks that the fans haven’t been quite as supportive in recent weeks as earlier in the season, and has distanced himself from the earlier comments which contained implied criticism of more or less everyone else from the board to the tea ladies for a lack of positive thinking. You may wonder whether it’s a case of taking foot out of mouth or of being misquoted in the first instance. I’m not sure – can anyone tell me if the original story ran in The Mirror?

Transfers – you read it here first

Reporting that Joe wants to buy a winger is hardly news, and though he’s still working away trying to put a deal together, there aren’t any hints of who might be involved (at least the Clayton Blackmore story hasn’t resurfaced – a decent argument for the proposition “no news is good news”). In these circumstances, the newspaper chaps seem just to make something up no matter how unlikely, so I’m going to have a go too, even though it doesn’t involve a winger. Look at the following facts: Neil Redfearn, who used to play for Joe at Oldham, wants to leave Charlton to move back north; Charlton reportedly had a bid for our own Shaun Goater turned down earlier in the season; Charlton are still looking for a striker but a deal for Portsmouth’s John Aloisi seems to have broken down. So what price a Goater-Redfearn swap? None whatsoever, no doubt, but in the unlikely event it happens, remember that you read it here first.

Reserves follow seniors’ lead

The second string were in action on Wednesday evening, with an away match against Bolton, presumably back to full strength after losing most of the regulars for first team duty last week. Picking up on the trail set by the first team, they managed a second straight draw, Alan Bailey’s opener being cancelled out by a late Bolton equaliser to give a 1-1 scoreline.

Freak accident may cause Dibble to quit

Andy Dibble was a player who saw more than his fair share of second team action in his time at Maine Road – in nine years on our books (yes, really!), he managed only 116 league games. Towards the end of his time with us he began to resemble a real comedy ‘keeper, and he went down so far in the world that he began this season in the Unibond League with Altrincham. He didn’t even cut it there and he’s now gone to Barry Town. I may have had a few digs at him when he was between the sticks at City, but there’s no way I’d wish on him what he’s going through at the moment. His career looks like it may be over after he sustained severe burns playing in a League of Wales match for Barry, possibly from chemicals on the pitch. Best wishes to him for a speedy recovery.

Next opponents – York City

Saturday sees a trip across the Pennines to York, a fixture which, as mentioned in the last MCIVTA, should be enjoyable for the pre- and post-match pubs if nothing else. I have no knowledge whatsoever of the York personnel except that they’ve a bloke called Cresswell riding high in the Division’s top scorers list and they’re managed by Alan Little, brother of Brian. Fortunately, Alan’s team isn’t in quite such fearsome form as his sibling’s – they’re in fifteenth place, with a pretty ordinary home record of three wins and fourteen points from ten games. That’s because, despite only losing there twice, they keep on drawing. As we’ve also drawn half of our last fourteen league games, I somehow think there’ll be a fairly short price on Saturday’s match finishing with honours even. Though we’ve never played York in the league before, apparently we did face them in a League Cup tie in 1973-74, easily winning a Maine Road replay after a goalless draw in the first game. Now if a squad boasting stars like Bell, Lee, Summerbee, Marsh and Law couldn’t manage a win at Bootham Crescent, what price the current lot?

Peter Brophy (


From the Sale & Altrincham Messenger:

Health and Safety officers are investigating a bizarre incident, which has left Altrincham ‘keeper Andy Dibble in hospital with chest burns – and the incident may end his career.

Dibble, on loan to Barry Town, dived at an opponent’s feet in Town’s 2-1 defeat at Carmarthen on Saturday and was left in excruciating pain.

Investigators are looking at the use of chemicals on the pitch and Dibble’s shirt has been sent away for tests.

Paul Burton (


This note is just to remind you all of the existence of the Ticket Office’s mailing list, which was recently successfully launched.

I know that the information we provide often appears in MCIVTA; however, we often send last minute information regarding away ticket availability / cash turnstiles, which is relevant only for a short period of time, and is possibly out-of-date when MCIVTA is next due to be sent.

Subscribers who travel regularly to away games may therefore find it beneficial to subscribe to both mailing lists.

The direct URL for subscribing to the Ticket Office list is: People who only have email access may join by emailing

Wishing you all the best in your endeavours and season’s greetings to all on the MCIVTA team.

Thanks in advance,Duncan ThomasTicket Office Manager


For the Bristol Rovers match I took a “Gas” up as I had a spare season ticket for the day. This is the same person who, at the beginning of the season wrote an article on his team for MCIVTA.

I asked him for his thoughts and any other comments about that day.

Here they are:

The first thing you realise about Man City is just how big a club they really are, and although it is sometimes pleasing for a small club like Bristol Rovers to see the mighty fall, there is nothing pleasant about seeing Man City in the position they are in now. After all they’ve got United gloating over their fall from grace, and we know how it feels to be in an inferior position to another club in the same city, especially one which is so despicable.

For fans such as ours, used to a squawking tannoy, a club shop in a caravan, and an Anderson Shelter for a main stand, it is inconceivable that any club with a PA system with hi-fi quality, a club shop in a warehouse, and a skyscraper for a stand, should be in the same division as us. That said it made for a fantastic day out for Bristol Rovers. It really was our cup final and the fans proved it on the day with their excellent support.

It was interesting to speak to the City fans regarding the standard of football. “How can you put up with that rubbish year after year?” they asked. “We’ve only had it for a couple of years yet we can’t stand it any longer.” The answer is of course that we will stand anything our club puts before us, as our expectation level is so low. Most Rovers fans have come away from the game saying how well we had done with a young, untried team who have only been together for half a season. Conversely Gareth Taylor wasn’t even given half a game to settle in by the City fans before they started having a go at him, whilst Shaun Goatherd was given about half a minute to settle in with his new strike partner. Still as an ex-s**thead he deserved nothing less.

What was interesting was the almost 50/50 split in the City fans between those who seemed resigned to their predicament and retained their good humour by taking the p*** and talking of old times throughout the match, and those who were absolutely furious with what was going on. As an outsider all I can say is stick with it – the money the club generates is sure to carry it to the top of the table in time.

Regarding City’s play in general it was clear that they lacked confidence. Despite his inadequacies Goater is a proven striker at this level and will only need a couple of goals to get him back on track. Taylor is good in the air but promises far more than he delivers – I don’t think he’ll last long. Dickov looked useful – God knows why he was taken off. Pollock ran around like a headless chicken, and I would have thought his panic-stricken antics in demanding the ball from the ball-boy each time it went out of play must have done more to unnerve his nervous players than anything else.

On the plus side I thought the No. 4 (Morrison?) showed excellent commitment and was probably the most effective player on the park. The left-footed No. 3 looked very useful, so it was kind of Joe Royle to stick him at right-back in the second half whilst putting the predominantly right-footed right back at left-back. What was that all about? Also, the No. 10 (Mason?) looked like he could be a useful player, but only when the whole team gets more confidence in it.

Stephen Wallwork (


There are compensations for being in this division, as Gareth Jones so rightly points out. You get to go to York. Me? I’m going Friday night to visit as many of the excellent pubs as I can, the welcome is overwhelming. I strongly recommend this course of action.

Probably a good idea to skip the match the next day anyway, and stick to the pubs, if recent performances are anything to go by!

Malcolm Plaiter (


In Stuart Hall’s current TV ad he quotes from Shelley. Ozymandias’s demise is charted, from shining example to decaying wreck, and is accompanied by arrogant pride. Is Stuart Hall having a snipe at a person/persons on the Board? Any suggestions for a past or present Ozymandias? The full text is below.

“I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert … Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works ye mighty and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

by Percy Bysshe Shelley 1818

Matthew Briggs (


Did anyone see the report on City’s game with Darlington in The Mail on 16/12/98? There was a picture, supposedly of Michael Brown, with the words Brown: Solo Strike underneath it. Sounds quite normal, apart from the fact that the picture was of an unkown black person looking like the bloke out of Breakdance The Movie!

Joel Adams (


There’s an old blues song called “Been down so long, it looks like up to me”. Returning to Maine Road for the first time this season, whilst recognising that we have not been making a great fist of bouncing straight back up to the giddy heights of Division 1, I thought we would massacre Bristol Rovers. But no – the song we were singing was “Been down so long, but we still got a way to go yet”. Quite the worst performance I have ever seen by a Man City team – indeed, even worse than the last time I saw us play the Gas, some years back when we played the second league of the “Can’t remember what it was called that year Cup” at the Gas’s old ground at Trumpton in Bath.

Oh no way. Last Saturday’s performance against a bunch of rejects, crocks and kids took the biscuit. I was thinking of putting together an Alphabet to describe it, e.g.

A is for Abject
B is for Brainless
C is for Clueless
D is for Desperate
E is for Exasperating
F is for F****d
G is for Ghastly
H is for Horror Show
I is for Idiotic

And so on … rather too easy, in fact.

What I witnessed was as follows.

11 p*** poor footballers, with possible exemptions for Wiekens and Morrison. Appalling lack of skills. Total lack of tactical awareness. An inability to beat a team that has got 5 points out of 30 away from home this season, with no away wins, and a strike force that has got 3 or 4 league goals between them all season. A cretinous reliance on the long ball.

A management team with absolutely no tactical nous at all. Having watched Shaun Goater at Ashton Gate, for nearly two full seasons, thriving on crosses, and thereby managing to make the best of his admittedly limited skills, the poor guy got about two the whole afternoon. Now, I know he’s not a great footballer, but before joining City he notched up an average of 25 goals a season for four seasons. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to deduce from that that we aren’t playing to his strengths. We seem to have an ability to get in reasonable footballers and turn them into crap ones; similarly to reduce our managers to impotent bystanders. Cursed? Well, sometimes I really do think we are.

To end, the local Bristol Paper, the Evening Post, reported the match as a triumph for the Gas. To give an opposing view, I quote this from the “City & Rovers Message Board” ( should you be interested in seeing just how violent the dislike of the fans of the two Bristol clubs is for each other), sent in by a (Man) City fan called Mike (Mike – if you are a subscriber, then excuse me grabbing this, but I thought it summed things up perfectly). I quote …

“Hi I’m a Man City fan, and I came across this site the other day, and I’d just like to say that, boy I have not seen a team so ugly, so technically impoverished – basically the term “no-ones” in the flesh – and a set of fans so utterly braindead as those of Bristol Rovers. Where do you lot come from? And to those Rovers fans who thought they had all the chances, like hell you did. And yes I know we’re bad, but Jesus, have we really sunk this low to be playing teams like this? And by the way I’m not a Bristol City fan, (yeah, but it does mean I can shout “Come on City” ! – jp) because anyone who wears red has got to have something wrong with themselves. But I do hate QPR. CITY ‘TIL I DIE. MIKE”

That it should come to this. Merry Christmas. Bah Humbug.

Jeremy Poynton (


Over the years, City have managed to get rid of some special talent. For me, the biggest loss in recent times (relatively), was one M Hughes. I cried when he left for France. He knew what was coming. Obviously, Kinky leaving was inevitable. Flitcroft, Lomas, Walsh (at the time criminal).

Now stand by for the latest defection! There is nothing more certain that Wiekens will be on his way and who can blame him? As he gets towards the end of his contract, he’ll be sold off cheaply with the excuse that he would leave under the Bosman ruling anyway. Unless we go up this season and next, he can’t be expected to stick around when he is good enough for the top flight.

A general issue to finish. If I hear JR talk about ‘no width’ again, I’ll go ballistic. It’s no use basing the shape of the side on Goater and Taylor without coaching midfield players to go wide when we have the ball. Of course, having natural wide men would be better. But for God’s sake, until (if ever) they materialise, crosses from the final third (not the half way line), are the only way to play. Chelsea have no ‘out and out’ wingers, but their team shape has width.

CADBHB (City always despite being here before), Graham Jones (


On Sunday the 6 of December the annual UK cup competition took place, in Melbourne Australia. The competition has been going since the late 80’s and is, in theory at least, played out between members of the supporters’ clubs of their respective teams. It is usually held at a soccer ground where there are about 3 pitches and the games are 11 a side, if possible. Played on a full size pitch, 10 minutes each way (15 for the final). There are no offsides and passing to the goalie is still allowed. The referee is provided by an opposing team in a different group. The games are played in a round robin format. The top of each group plus the best runner up make the semi-finalists. The competition used to be straight knockout years ago but with some players actually coming from interstate it was decide to make sure each team got at least 3 games.

Manchester City First entered in 1990 where they were knocked out at the group stage, as they narrowly were a year later. They Won the cup in 92, 94 and 95, they were runners up in 93 and 96. Last year saw an exit at the group stage. This year was City’s worst ever showing, made a tiny bit more palatable by the fact that they finished above United.

The competition has always a bit of a social day, with players often drinking before after and even during games!

This year saw the fixture switched because of ground problems to a date nearer Xmas; this caused a few problems with many regular members having works BBQ’s etc. to go to. So team numbers were on average down, causing more Ring-ins (not real supporters’ club members) to be playing for many teams than would normally be the case. Other teams were actually amalgamations of 2 or even 3 supporters’ clubs i.e. Hibs had most of the usual Celtic team and Northampton were the Host club’s girls’ team. Not to be confused with the United team who were just a bunch of girls!

The first of City’s games saw only 6 take the field in the sky blue due to a mix up in the allotted start time of the competition. Chelsea had about 8 players. Chelsea quickly took advantage of their numerical superiority and were 3-0 up at half time, by which time Chelsea were at full strength while City only had a few spots to fill. City put on a lot more pressure in the second half only to see themselves unluckily go another goal behind. Late in the game City got a consolation goal, a superbly taken shot by Paul Dallavalle. But the game was lost by then. The game saw the début of City’s first ever woman player, Geraldine Rigby, who played in midfield. City’s second game was against a much-fancied Forest side; by this time City were at full strength (well at least they had 11 players). Forest were soon on the attack and that’s the way it stayed for the whole first half. There were heroics from the goalie Trevor Allen, crunching tackles from the ever dependable Dave Hives and Gary Mallachan who actually was on City books in 1976. Forest hit the bar, hit the post but nothing would go in for them; it was with relief that the half time whistle went. Second half started more brightly for City as Nigel Jones and Adrian Bates started to control the midfield but as with the real City, nothing was going right in the final 3rd of the field. As legs started to tire, City once again held off onslaught after onslaught, Forest hit the post, shot just wide, there were goal line clearances from Jack Hulse and Paul Keelagher, City’s ageing and inebriated full backs, but in true Dunkirk spirit they held out for the draw.

If they could snatch a victory in their last game, it was still mathematically possible for them to qualify. So said rather ill-informed manager Bob Wheelan. It would be no easy task as their last group game was against the winners of the previous 2 years. City started brightly, Lindsay Whelan far and away City’s most consistent player over the last 9 years cutting through the static Merseyside defence to lay a ball inch perfect for Paul Dallavalle, his volley rocking the crossbar. There were further moments of optimism when the McSweeney brothers Kelvin and Gareth combined to trouble the goalie once again. A defensive blunder by Paul Keelagher saw the Scousers go 1 up. From then on the Merseysiders who clearly (as in previous years) had decided to take a “full on” approach, began to get back into the game. Their brutal tackling, particularly on pint sized Lindsay Whelan, caused a near all-in brawl when a particularly brave 6ft defender grabbed him round the throat. City lost momentum and despite midfield general Tony Brading’s best efforts, City’s attacks came to naught. As City realised they wouldn’t win they succumbed to 2 late goals and they were out for 1998.

Interesting points: one of United’s boys, à la Beckham threw the ball at the referee in one of their games. The referee did nothing ’til after the game when he pulled him to one side and told him he was going to rip his head off, whereupon the United player disappeared quick smart.

P.S. City have only ever played a United team once, 2 years ago, when they had 2 teams, 1 called ‘Nited’, one called ‘Newton Heath’; we beat them one nil despite them getting a last minute penalty which was saved by the City ‘keeper whereupon he was chaired off the pitch, take a bow David Chidlow.

City usually have Paul Newman playing for them and years ago an R. Redford from Western Australia applied to join but never got back to us. It couldn’t be though could it? Peter Keegan, Ged Keegan’s brother used to play in our 80’s 5 a side team. Peter Barnes once played a couple of games for Melbourne’s Serbian team Melbourne J.u.s.t.

Paul Keelagher (


Having been listening to Radio 5 Live last night for news of our match with Darlington, it was quite uplifting to hear a James Brown song being played at the ‘Stadium of Light’ when Sunderland scored in the live commentary game. Surely this lifts both home players and fans, and demoralises further the away team? Can anyone suggest what songs we should be playing at Maine Road when City score? My personal choice would be ‘It’s a Miracle’ by Culture Club…

CTID, Mark Stangroom (


Re: the Mirror article: ‘Maine Road Shame – We will stay neutral in the face of abuse’.

Reading through the Football Fever section of the Daily Mirror on Monday, I came across an of article which I thought may be of interest to other MCIVTA readers:

“It’s not something The Mirror would normally give credence to. A few blokes work themselves into a fury over something about their club in the newspaper, and have a go back at the reporter at the match. It’s happened before, and it will happen again. Newspapers dish out criticism and there’s no point in squealing like a baby if people take exception to that. But it’s the message behind the the brief skirmish at Maine Road that is worth looking at. The dozen or so fans went for a freelance reporter at the game, because this newspaper had used a picture of Maine Road on the back pages of our Manchester edition last week. On the night City drew the lowest crowd in their history, we showed the empty stands holding just 3,007 people, pointing out that their metropolitan rivals United would have a full house with their Champions’ League clash with Bayern Munich 24 hours later. The mood was not helped by the fact that they lost to Mansfield and so crashed out of the Auto Windscreens Shield. All these events were fact and beyond argument. But the contrast drawn between United’s dominance seems to have riled a few of the Maine Road contingent. The last thing fans enjoy is seeing the gulf between their nearest rivals highlighted. And fair enough. We understand that. But what these people fail to grasp, is that we would have done the same if Arsenal and Tottenham had been in the same situation. Or Everton and Liverpool. Or Rangers and Celtic. When Blackburn and Liverpool drew poor attendances for European ties this season, we discussed it in the Mirror. When Juventus had an attendance of 500 for a cup tie, we ran that story too. The fact that a club of City’s size and history drew the smallest crowd in their history, is worth talking about. The fact that they drew the smallest crowd in their history is worthy of recording. The local press in Manchester did the same. But the City fans kicking at the the press room door weren’t too interested in discussion. The day after the article in the paper, we had two telephone calls to this office. Just two. Both pointed out that City expected their very low gate and felt that their exit from the Auto Tinpot Cup was no loss. Good point. But when they moved on to try and suggest that the sports coverage in this paper was biased against City, we pointed out this was a strange argument, as the Mirror has spent the last couple of months attacking the Rupert Murdoch BSkyB takeover of Old Trafford. We have spoken out against the dropping of the words “football club” from the United badge and the over-commercialisation of the entir operation. A newspaper like the Mirror is too big to fawn over one club, or turn its back on another.”

Personally, I think that the Mirror could well be using this front of being the voice of ‘true’ football fans as an excuse to launch an attack on Murdoch, and more importantly, the Sun. I would hope not. I also left out the last couple of paragraphs, as they were so self-righteous, they would make you ill. Along with this, there was a shorter article, which detailed the terror of a reporter who was at Maine Road on Saturday, coming under the headline of ‘Sick thugs don’t get picture’. It tells us of how he was verbally abused by a lone fan, before being verbally abused again by another group (twenty) of City fans. The reporter also tells, in great detail, how the reporter seemingly feared for his life when the press room is barricaded by a group of fans, his police escort to the press conference, and how he was “mighty relieved, but saddened” as he drove away. Overreaction? I would have thought so. They also printed their fax number (0171 293 3739) if you’re interested, asking for their opinions on “Is there any justification for the thuggery of City fans?” and “Are Nationwide clubs getting a raw deal?” Thuggery of City fans? All City fans are thugs? Three out of ten, must do better. They should check their grammar more often.

Merry Christmas everybody.

Tim Causer (


That old chestnut – whinging fans or whinging managers looking to deflect criticism. I know where I stand, and if they play like a bunch of tossers then the £15 I pay to watch it entitles me to say so. It never used to be this way, City players and managers from years gone by never faced this, or if they did they never complained about it, as Donachie and Royle know from their playing days at the Academy. But those were the days when we were good and the team would give the perfect answer by winning some games. Now the admission of the awful truth evident to all who follow City has become unspeakable, if we do we are castigated by club and fans alike.

I pay my hard-earned money to watch players do the things that I can’t and wouldn’t even have thought of, I don’t get much of that at Maine Road these days. Misplaced passes, inability to control the ball, shots clearing the stand or threatening the corner-posts, I can do that in my back-garden. So I will let it be known when I think their performance has slipped below the low standard I have come to accept. If a comedian gets on stage and they are rubbish the crowd let them know about it in no uncertain terms, why should it be any different for that bunch of jokers?

It seems that everyone at Maine Road has become very precious these days, even the fans. It has been suggested in this forum that we can slag them off all we want but not during the game. Why? What’s the point in that, they can’t hear me. Would they rather have me rage at the bus driver, harangue the paper boy or kick the cat? Many would say that paying to watch City is grounds for committal, ruminating on Royle’s latest tactical masterplan in the middle of Market Street would see me inhabiting a soft-walled room faster than Michael Brown gets booked. You don’t think that Royle and Donachie read this rubbish as a means of assessing the fans’ opinions. Have they all become a load of luvvies at Maine Road, can we expect them to do a Stephen Fry and bugger off to France for a few weeks, all emotional and distressed, and if so can we give suggestions as to who should go first?

I was behind the City bench at Darlington and there was only one incident that could have caused any concern to Donachie, one fan got out of order but was quickly silenced and removed from the vicinity by the rest of the fans. The rest of it was far more constructive than the comments normally heard at Maine Road, perhaps they should move the bench in front of the North stand or the Kippax, then they’ll know the level of discontent. We’ve not travelled all that way to have a go at them, we want them to win, we do sing and shout and cheer them on, but for that they have to perform, to look like they want to win. I can just about handle them being crap, but they’ve got to show some commitment and not treat it like a Sunday morning kick about. Donachie reckons that calling the players shatters their confidence and causes them to perform badly; he should bear that in mind when he next calls the officials. I was amazed at the level of abuse hurled at the officials from the bench and the language used would have made Peter Reid blush. Most of the banter was reserved for Hodgson, and he took it all in his stride, laughing and joking with the City fans, even handing out cups of coffee to them, that’s how to build up a rapport with your fans.

So to all those fans who cheer and applaud regardless of the performance, next time you see Joe Royle tell him you’ve heard about a fat and f**ked 36 year old who’s probably as good as Goater, will accept 5 grand a week for a part time job and for that doesn’t mind having 25,000 people call him a w**ker for an hour and a half each fortnight. You let him know that no matter what how bad I actually am, you’ll cheer me on.

Ben Potts (


So the stunning inept displays contuine, how much longer do the board, management and players expect 20k plus mugs a week turn up to watch more dire s***e from a bunch of mercenaries? I honestly feel that the goodwill of the fans is really reaching breaking point! We all know that the team is booed, game after game, both at half time and full-time; just when is this going to have the desired effect in sparking a bit of self pride, commitment and determination to prove us wrong? Or are we going to be faced with a team devoid of ideas, willing to roll over and die and then blame us for venting our feelings the way our club is spiralling down, are the players so lacking in confidence? If they don’t like the criticism, would they really prefer to play in front of a 5/6/7/k a week? I suppose then we’d still get blamed, no fans to create an atmosphere! We’ve already seen a decline in the attendences from 29k to 25k, but if there’s no sign of promotion (even if the play-offs), I reckon those attendances will drop even further until the mid teens (15k). Then and maybe only then the club will realise we’ve had enough; by then it could be too late, the drop in revenue might just be critical!

I for one am sick and tired of watching tripe on the pitch and then listening to everyone bleating on about the way the fans react. For f***s sake, it’s not as if we expect world-beating performances week in, week out, we understand the problems, all we really want is a team to re-pay our faith in some way.

Also, Berstein, Royle and Co, should realise this isn’t their club, they are acting as custodians. They are in a privileged position to be working within the inner sanctums of the club. Bernstein maybe owns the majority stake and put some money in, but if it wasn’t for the paying punters there wouldn’t be a club for him to run, think on David, how far are you willing to let the club slip?

The board, needs to beg, borrow, steal, cajole, to get some financial clout into the club. We need an influx to allow us to buy our way out of the problems, the current team can’t play it’s way out! We need a benefactor to keep the club running, someone to desperately supply the funds to keep us afloat. The whole situation can be reflected in the Hignett non deal; is £750k really a massive sum to pay? If we’re that broke how come the next week £400k was found for a “striker” (term used very loosely) like Taylor? While JR’s at it, get out there and find two positions that need filling the quickest:

  1. A left back.
  2. A winger – you know, someone to supply a stream of accuratecrosses for the “strikers” to feed off!

And finally Ester, just what was wrong with the Daily Mirror article, it was spot on, just goes to show the gulf that has opened up and shows no sign of closing!

Martin Ford (


I can’t believe the last couple of MCIVTAs, all this doom and gloom. Well I enjoy the doom and gloom to a certain extent. Let me explain; supporting Manchester City is a lot more than football. I live down in London and get to see them about 10 times a year, but I am enjoying my football life more than I have in many a year. When I go to see a game, I sit amongst my own people, hearing the witty one liners, which have me in stitches: “City, I’ve seen more imagination in a Caravan site”. I love being a City Fan. When I see City it brings me back to the good old days of when I was 14, you go to crap grounds (like pre-Hillsborough). Going meeting a few mates and shouting at the opposition, at certain City players.

Being a City fan I feel privileged to find out information, instead of having information pumped at you through every medium there is (Man U, you get aggressive advertising wherever you go, Sports shops, TV, Newspapers). Manchester United no longer belongs to Manchester. If you go to see Man U, how many people would you have there that you grew up with? Answer: not many, while if I go to see City there is always someone I know, it does truly belong to Manchester.

I read a fantastic article in an Irish paper called the Sunday World, which is very Man U friendly; it was headed ‘Old Trafford is now the theatre for corporate hospitality’. It went on to say that Man U have a crowd problem, they don’t sing, clap, roar, wave or do anything that real football fans do (Man City). They sit there waiting to be entertained as if they were sat in a cinema instead of being at an event. It said that at full time the place empties in near silence (not like City, who at least cheer or boo), the paper summed up that bandwagons of people who expect success are shipped in from all over England, Scandinavia and Ireland, with no real felling for the club or its heritage.

The most popular team in East London is Man U; now I put that down to pure, aggressive marketing (notice that 3 Man Utd games were shown in London as well as 3 Arsenal games in the Champions’ League, which might seem fair enough, until you realise that Champions of England Arsenal, had no games screened in Manchester).

I love being a City fan. No I can’t remember them winning a trophy as I am 26, but it is not about winning or losing (though it would be nice to win sometimes), going to a game is a reminder of who I am.

I went to see Chelsea against Wimbledon in the Worthington Cup, and OK the level of skill on the pitch was higher, but the crowd was dead, I nearly had to start checking pulses. I started a chant in the Wimbledon end of “Graham Rix, gives it underage” to the tune of Go West, and I was looked at like a freak.

Going to see City is a reminder of who I am, where I am from and what makes me, what I am today. If people want success they should go nowhere near Maine Road, but if people want passion, wit, lines to make your sides split, odd blokes who remind you of uncles gone, go and get a season ticket at Maine Road. I feel privileged to call myself a City fan, whether they are crap or not. People see success as the be all and end all of football, that is because the Premier League tells you that, every day. Supporting City goes well beyond that, to me it