Newsletter #462

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Couldn’t resist leaving all the good news and cheer to the New Year! We’ve got a match report from each of the Xmas period victories; a news summary from Geoff Donkin, ticket news, opinion and a Why Blue.

Please note that any news snippets/rumours should be sent to Geoff Donkin at citynews@donkin.demon.co.uk whilst Peter Brophy is away.

Meanwhile, all the best for the New Year… from me and all at MCIVTA.

Next game, Wimbledon away, FA Cup, Saturday 2nd January 1999

MATCH REPORT – ‘LIVE’

WREXHAM vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 26th December 1998

My first visit to Wrexham and my first match on ‘foreign’ soil. At least this dire season is allowing me the opportunity to add to my tally of grounds visited. Wrexham’s Racecourse Ground is a strange one. Two good seated stands to the side and one end face a partly covered terrace and pub. Didn’t fancy the open part of the terrace in the pouring rain and strong winds, but the pub certainly looked inviting. I purchased my seats directly from Wrexham and was again pleased to see that most of the supporters around me in the Wrexham seats were City fans. I was a little surprised to hear the Wrexham fans chanting ‘Argentina, Argentina’. Can’t quite see what relevance the English team has to City fans at this moment in time, especially while it’s loaded with United players. The last City player to play for England was David White over five years ago. Maybe, I’m out on a limb on this one, but I really couldn’t care less about the English team at this moment in time.

Anyway, back to more important matters and City’s line-up against Wrexham. With Wiekens recovered from his flu bug, his inclusion at the expense of Fenton was the only change from the team that faced York. Playing 4-4-2 City lined up as:-

              Weaver
Crooks  Wiekens  Vaughan  Edghill
 Brown  Pollock  Bishop  Horlock
         Taylor    Russell

Subs: Dickov, Goater, Jim Whitley

City had the majority of possession in the opening quarter of an hour although as usual creating little. Wrexham tended to sit back and attack on the break, mainly through Terry Cooke on the wing. After fifteen minutes a shot by Pollock at the second attempt narrowly flew over the bar from outside the penalty area. Wrexham responded with three good chances in the next five minutes. First Karl Connelly headed just over. Next Ian Rush hit just past from five yards, when he should have scored after Terry Cooke beat Edghill on the wing, and an awful pass by Bishop straight to a Wrexham midfielder resulted with the ball hit straight at Weaver. City came back and a great cross from Russell, his only real contribution of the game ended with Taylor forcing the ‘keeper into a save from five yards via a deflection off the arm of the covering Wrexham defender.

Weaver kept City in the game with two absolutely outstanding saves from Terry Cooke. The first shot he brilliantly tipped over the bar, and the second he somehow managed to scoop the ball away when the ball seemed to have passed him and a goal certain. City came back and a good interchange between Crooks and Bishop ended with an excellent cross into the box from Crooks (has he been practising!) onto the head of Brown who glanced the ball towards the far corner, only to see it graze the post.

City started well in the second half. A diving header from Tony Vaughan at the far post went just over. This was quickly followed by a curling left foot shot from outside the penalty area from Michael Brown that went just past the far post.

On the hour, and after a good fifteen minutes of constant pressure. The ball was lobbed into the penalty area from a corner and Gerard Wiekens rose above everyone else and headed home. Yesss. I guess my criticism of this type of tactic used in the York game was proved wrong. It seems that if you use this basic tactic all the time, the law of averages suggests eventually you’re going to win one.

Wrexham came back immediately and really should have equalised within a minute. Two separate attacks saw close range shots narrowly miss both posts. It seemed really strange watching City have some luck for a change. Five minutes after the City goal, Dickov replaced Craig Russell. For once, a substitution that I agreed with. At least it made the wife happy. Russell was reportedly recovering from a flu bug and looked a good yard off the pace. Should he have played at all?

After Dickov had been on a couple of minutes he played a great crossfield ball to Michael Brown. His cross eventually landed at the feet of Taylor. With the ball stuck in the mud one yard out of goal and the ‘keeper stranded Taylor managed to scoop the ball up so high that it hit the bar and went away. I would have to say that this was the worst miss I have ever seen. If you’ve seen the often televised miss by Ronnie Rosenthal when he played for Liverpool against Aston Villa, well this was worse. Joe Royle obviously thought so as well, because he was immediately withdrawn to be replaced by Shaun Goater.

Shortly after, Wrexham had another chance to equalise. One of their midfielders ran onto a long through pass, past a static City defence and only had Weaver to beat. But Weaver came out to narrow the angle and brilliantly saved the ball with his feet.

With time running out, Dickov saw a lob from thirty yards go just over, and in injury time Wrexham should have won it. Edghill made another mistake in defence. The ball ran loose inside the box, and again the Wrexham forwards missed the target. With a good five minutes of injury time having been played and with City frantically hanging on, the referee finally blew for full-time and City had won 1-0.

It makes a great change to report on a City victory. For once. City had all the luck and a 4-3 victory for Wrexham would have probably been a fairer result. However, I’ve lost count of the number of matches City have territorily dominated this season and failed to win. A very mixed bag of performances for this game. Some players, notably Weaver and Wiekens were exceptional. Others, in particular Edghill had their worst games this season. Here’s my view of each player’s performance:-

Weaver: Brilliant. Made three world class saves. Best goalkeeping performance by a City ‘keeper since Joe Corrigan at his best (10).
Crooks: Much better game than York. Good defensively and even managed to get in a couple of half-decent crosses (7).
Edghill: Had a very, very poor game. Was beaten every time by Wrexham’s winger Terry Cooke (pity about Cooke’s United connections, because here was a winger who could be the answer to City’s requirements). Edghill also kept giving the ball away, didn’t win many tackles and his positional play was hopeless (1).
Vaughan: Usually it’s Vaughan’s ball distribution that lets him down. This time it was his defensive work. Not too clever for a defender. Poor tackling, poor heading and no positional sense. Not quite as bad as Edghill, but not much in it (2).
Wiekens: Constantly had to cover for the mistakes made by his defensive partners. Great tackling and passing. I’d still prefer to see him play in midfield with Fenton and Morrison at the back, but was by far City’s best outfield player (9).
Brown: Great touch on the ball. When he’s involved he looks a class player. Stuck in a wide midfield rôle he tended to get left out of the action. Would prefer to see him more central, but nevertheless a good game (8).
Pollock: A very quiet game. Went for long spells without touching the ball. City’s long ball game, aiming for Taylor’s head or over the top for Russell seemed to miss Pollock out. Looked quite good when he was involved though (7).
Bishop: Good first touch, but still hasn’t dominated a match like someone with his experience and class should. Tired in the second half and was replaced by Jim Whitley (7).
Horlock: Again, he didn’t look fit. Also appeared to be ducking out of 50-50 challenges. On his day. Horlock can be a quite excellent player. But not this season and certainly not this game (5).
Taylor: The first 15 minutes looked quite promising. He was seeing a lot of the ball, and even dominating in the air. But the Wrexham defence soon got the measure of him and most of what he tried went wrong. His first touch was letting him down. In particular one long ball in the first half played him clear of the defence. Unfortunately, as Taylor stuck up his foot to control it he managed to kick the ball back towards the half way line where it had come from. His confidence went down from there, culminating in his awful miss as described above (4).
Russell: Not a patch on his York performance. If he wasn’t recovering from flu, then a poor poor performance. Showed a lot of promise against York, so let’s hope this was a one-off (4).
Dickov: (Sub) Gave City a much needed outlet up front. Came close with a lob from way out near the end, but was injured in the last five minutes and although still on the pitch didn’t take any further part in the game (7).
Goater: (Sub) Such was Taylor’s poor performance I was actually glad to see Goater back on the pitch. Didn’t really do much, but still gave Wrexham more to worry about as they’d appeared to stop bothering to mark Taylor (6).
Whitley: (Sub) Didn’t really have much time to show (6).

I’ll leave the match report for the Stoke game to someone else, but I’d just like to say that City’s second-half performance was quite brilliant. They fully deserved the victory. With Brown and Pollock winning every 40-60 ball in midfield and Dickov creating numerous chances up front, City were a different team from the one that luckily beat Wrexham. Indeed, every player was magnificent and fully deserving of 10 out 10. Yes, even Gareth Taylor. I’m now even feeling optimistic about our chances of promotion. If City can keep this form going then maybe one of those automatic spots can still be reached. It’s weekends like these that make being a City fan all worthwhile.

City are back, City are back… Colin Jonas (colinjonas@compuserve.com)

MATCH REPORT – ‘LIVE’

MANCHESTER CITY vs. STOKE CITY, Monday 28th December 1998

After our Boxing Day victory, which was by all accounts a somewhat lacklustre (surely some mistake!) performance, but one when we finally got the rub of the green, I was strangely optimistic about our chances against Stoke. I’d been told by a Stoke season ticket holder with whom I work, that there was great disappointment with their ticket allocation: “we could bring 8,000 but we’ve only been given a lousy 3k” were his words. I was therefore somewhat surprised to see quite a few empty seats in the North and Gene Kelly Stands, probably about 500 short of 3,000. I did wonder if the Stokies had been delayed at a pub somewhere off the M6, after all, we all know what a riotously good time they usually have on their little trips away.

City lined up once again with the -oh-not-so-promising- ‘3 at the back’ system, but this time with Wiekens partnering Crooks and Vaughan, Morrison being ill. The wing backs, or what pass for wing backs at Maine Road, were Edghill and Horlock. The midfield consisted of Pollock, Brown and Bishop, with Taylor and Dickov up front. I could understand it if Dickov’s lack of height were made up for by adept finishing, but it isn’t; why then is he preferred to Russell who is not only much faster, but can finish convincingly? As it’s the season of goodwill, I’ll assume he was feeling a little peeky after all the Xmas pud.

The game was quite open for the first 10 minutes – especially the Stoke defence – which surprised me as I had been told by a Stoke fan that their results this season have been built on solid defence, everything else being pretty much mediocre. Maybe that was earlier in the season, ‘cos they showed precious little evidence of it for the rest of the game. City got behind them a couple of times early on, and one lovely cross saw Taylor race in, outleap the Stoke defence and head down past the flailing arms of Muggleton. Cue hysteria, followed shortly by disbelief as the ref saw fit to disallow it. I’ve really no idea why, the only thing we could think of was that he presumed Taylor’s impressive (and aggressive) leap was man-assisted. To be perfectly honest though, if the goal had been scored against us, I’d have accepted it without question as it just looked what it was, a striker outjumping the defenders. Later on it was suggested that Horlock was offside, but I certainly didn’t see it, nor did any of the other 4 people I spoke to at half time, all of whom were level with the play as the ball was delivered in.

City strove to recover, but just couldn’t seem to get the break. There was one beautifully worked move, a one-two on the edge of the area, which saw Brown move behind the defence and pass hard and dangerously in front of goal, bringing an emphatic clearance from a Stoke defender, the sort of move which can easily end up with an own goal. City however, hit the old self-destruct button after about half an hour, when a Stoke forward was left, and left, and left on the edge of the City box, I think Vaughan was the culprit – after an eternity, when he finally realised that no-one was going to bother tackling him, he calmy walked forward and crossed to Sigurdsson who left Weaver absolutely no chance from about 3 yards out.

City, to give them credit, didn’t let their heads drop and were unlucky not to get an equaliser from the pressure they applied. However, the Blues really needed a change of game plan for the second half; Taylor was fairly dominant in the first, but no-one else seemed to be unable to capitalise on his knock downs. Crooks had earlier put Dickov through with an excellent ball, with the goalie fully 15 yards off his line – it was crying out for a lob but by the time Dickov had finished panicking, his half-hearted effort was intercepted by a defender before even reaching Muggleton. Stoke had really looked frail at the back, and particularly down the wing; however, Edghill in particularly seemed unable to overlap, despite several gilt-edged opportunities. A fellow sufferer offered the suggestion that he was under orders from Royle not to cross the half-way line, though I think this was probably a spontaneous outburst of Xmas spirit rather than a real assertion!

The pack was indeed shuffled for the second half, the ineffectual Bishop was replaced by Goater and City adopted what looked like a 4-3-3 formation, with Crooks and Edghill as right and left back, respectively.

Big Shaun made an immediate impact, lunging into a 50:50 with the goalie, and the ball bouncing free for Taylor to pass to an unmarked Dickov who slotted the ball home from his favourite distance – 3 yards out! City were really up for it now and the crowd was more animated than I’ve seen in a long, long time. Several chances came our way, with Taylor in particular being unlucky, as well as Goater. As the minutes rolled by, it looked like another fairly dominant performance was going to see us only get a single point. Suddenly, a goal appeared from nowhere; Dickov received the ball on the wing, looked up and crossed, inch perfectly, for Taylor to rise above 2 Stoke defenders and head down, off the post and in. The celebrations were ecstatic, particularly from the impressive Taylor. Furthermore, it seemed that the usual script had been torn up when, instead of Stoke penning us in and then scoring 2 in extra time, City tore into Stoke for virtually all of the remaining 9 minutes. There was a funny incident when the crowd encouraged the City players to hassle the Stoke defence, panicking them into a farcical series of attempted clearances which cannoned back into the defence off the onrushing Blues!

The whistle went and we could hardly beleive it, not only had we won, but we’d deserved it and the crowd had been excellent; Stoke looked like they were glad it was all over.

Ratings:

Weaver: 8, a couple of sound stops and no chance with the goal, thanks to an awol defence. What a joy it is to watch him receive pass backs and distribute them like a seasoned campaigner.
Crooks: 7, had a few uncomfortable moments in the first half, but showed he has the skill in the second, getting forward and delivering some telling balls, both through the middle and as crosses.
Wiekens: 8, A couple of beautifully timed interceptions.
Vaughan: 7, looked very good in the second half, but the Stoke goal must go down to him really. Lucky not to get booked for twice roughing up Stoke players after late tackles, the last one not on him!
Edghill: 6, very poor first half performance. Edgy will never be a wing back, he doesn’t overlap, surely an absolutely prerequisite for this position, and can’t cross to save his life. Redeemed himself in the second with a sold performance at left back.
Brown: 7 made some excellent runs and got forward to support the strikers.
Pollock: 5, looked unfit but did put in some fairly aggressive tackles!
Bishop: 5, fairly poor, no telling passes and not much of a workrate either.
Horlock: 5, again not sure if he’s fit, did get forward to support the front two but not as effective as we know he can be.
Taylor: 8, won almost everything and provided some excellent knockdowns for the others, Should have had two goals, both excellent headers under pressure.
Dickov: 4, scored, but who wouldn’t have! Ineffectual as a goalscorer and as a goal provider.

Sub:
Goater: 7, the equaliser was down to his hard work, looked very lively and should win his place back at the expense of Dickov.

Ref: 5, poor decision for the disallowed goal. Stopped the game every 90 seconds in the first half, totally disrupting it.

Excellent afternoon out!

Ashley

NEWS SUMMARY

Last time I had a stand-in job on McVitee all Hell broke loose on the managerial front. This time Santa has shown he’s really a Blue in disguise and brought us 6 points (Yuletide invariably seems to bring us nowt but a sack of cinders!). At this rate Pete Brophy is going to have to stay in Manchester for the rest of the season; more realistically, he can make it a hat-trick and see City play “FA Cup giant killer” and win at Wimbledon this coming weekend. Anyway, on with the news …

Playing badly but winning

Said JR after the Wrexham game “We played an awful lot better at York last week and got nothing. I am very pleased to say that I am delighted we picked up the three points today, as I haven’t been able to say that too often recently.” And so say all of us! The Manchester Evening News weren’t too impressed either; the tone of their recent web site articles gives credence to the notion that they’re a newspaper that’s Red as well as read. A rare Gerard Wiekens goal gave City the points, his being one of the better performances it seems, along with Nick Weaver who kept City in it in the closing stages.

The Stoke game appears to have been a different ball game (football for a change) and all the accounts I’ve seen suggest we were well worth the 3 points … and all without Andy Morrison again. A capacity(?) crowd of 30,478 saw Gareth Taylor break his duck (he reckons he’s got a good scoring record against Stoke so felt optimistic before the game); JR reckons his disallowed 4th minute goal should have stood as well. “We deserved it, you have to admit that we deserved it. There were a few rebounds and plenty of blocks in their half, and overall I felt we really deserved it. In the end justice was done” he said afterwards – what a difference 48 hours makes! And of course, just for once, we came from behind to win. Even the MuEN joined in with “Almost an entire year of doom and despair was swept away in an instant as a tide of belief surged through Maine Road. For the first time in a very long time, the depression was lifting and the real Manchester City were back. No more fear and fury, just faith in a brighter future for the Blues.” Hey, steady on now!

Some friends of mine had the good fortune to bump into one of Brother’s senior executives on a golf course a month or two back and not surprisingly took up his offer of VIP treatment for this afternoon’s game, so I’m glad the team did the business for them for once.

Shaun Goater’s New Year Resolution

Shaun’s been talking “exclusively” 🙂 to the MuEN about his recent loss of form – no league goal in 2 months – after a storming start to the season, and his determination to make ’99 a better year for him and City. “You just have to keep on going and hope the ball will fly in off your back or something like that. I have not lost faith in my own ability and know it will come right.” he said showing refreshing honesty about his own technique for scoring goals. He went on to say that Jamie Pollock had been taking the p**s a bit by introducing him to the goal – a case of kettle calling frying pan methinks Jamie!

Share price

I’m told that City shares went from 70 pence to 80 pence on the OFEX market in the week before Christmas. I’ve read a few business news snippets lately which suggest the football share / flotation honeymoon might be over in the City – anyone with insider knowledge of why we’re bucking the trend?

Wot no winger?

The search goes on; the Scott Oakes trail seems to have gone cool if not cold (I’d thought he was a midfielder in any case? Please Joe let’s not get caught out buying / loaning someone and then playing him consistently out of position again). The Lee Sharpe trail was surely only ever a rumour and in any case it looks like he’s likely to join up with David Platt in Italy. At the risk of incurring an inbox full of flames, might I suggest that we could do worse than give Neil Heaney another go in his favoured left wing position? He seemed to do the business on loan at Charlton last season (wonder why they never signed him?). Teamtalk has him a possible target for Hearts at £100,000 – another Blue heading north of the border? JR has apparently stepped up the search in advance of the next league game at Blackpool on 9th January.

Attendance record?

For all you budding Stattos, the gate of 30,478 for the Stoke game was the third time this season that City have drawn a home crowd of over 30,000; 32,134 (Blackpool) and 30,722 (Burnley) being the others. Lowest home gate this season was for the midweek win against Walsall, a crowd of 24,021. Given that Stoke vs. Preston on Boxing Day managed only 23,272, what price the Blues having the highest gates in Division Two this season for all 23 of their home games?

News of old friends

I happened to spot an article in the Independent about our old mate Uwe Rösler and how his fortunes have changed since he went to Kaiserslautern towards the end of last season. He’s been in the thick of an eventful season for them, scoring 4 league and 2 cup goals prior to their winter break, as well as a hat-trick after coming on as sub. in their last Champions’ League group game. He seems to be enjoying playing alongside some old friends from his East German playing days; interestingly in view of lots of recent comment on McVitee, Uwe puts a lot of his success down to the fact that his new manager is a big fan of … wingers! “At Kaiserslautern, Andreas Buck is on the right and Martin Wagner is on the left and they just run up and down the line and cross balls” Rösler said. “That’s great for a striker. Kaiserslautern are the only team in Germany that play this way. It’s like playing for City when Peter Beagrie was playing on the left and Nicky Summerbee was on the right”. Happy days!

Geoff Donkin (citynews@donkin.demon.co.uk)

TICKET NEWS

Wimbledon vs. MCFC
2nd January 1999, Kick-off 3pm

A limited number of seat tickets in the Arthur Wait Stand priced £15.00 for adults, £8.00 for junior’s/O.A.P.’s are now on open sale. As long as tickets remain postal, Dial/Fax-A-Seat credit/debit card bookings will be accepted up until 5.00p.m. on Thursday, 31st December.

In addition supporters will be able to purchase tickets from the away Ticket Office on the day of the game priced at £15.00 for adults, £8.00 for junior/O.A.P.’s.


Walsall vs. Manchester City
Saturday 23rd January, Kick-off 3.00pm

Tickets for this fixture will go on sale to regular season ticket holders on production of voucher Y from Tuesday 29th December. Ticket prices are £12 adults, £8 Concessions. The allocation is approx. 3,000 tickets.

Supporters should be aware that this is the weekend of the F.A Cup 4th Round.


Stoke City vs. MCFC
29th January 1999, Kick-off 7.45p.m.

This match is all-ticket. Tickets cannot be guaranteed.

Seat tickets for this fixture will be on sale to personal applicants from 9am on Saturday, 16th January to regular season ticket holders only, on production of application form ‘Z’ from their season ticket book.


MCFC vs. Millwall
6th February 1999, Kick-off 3.00p.m.

The Club, after consultation with the Police wish to inform its supporters that for the above fixture the North Stand home section will become a membership area. The membership scheme has been suspended in all other areas of the ground at this present time for this fixture. However, it may be necessary to re-instate the scheme in all areas of the ground before kick-off.

Seat tickets for this fixture will be available from 9 am on Saturday, 9th January to postal applicants for the first 7 days of sale.


Colchester vs. MCFC
Saturday 20th March 1999

This match has been chosen to be screened on Sky Sports as a Pay-Per-View fixture. The kick-off time has now changed to 6.00pm.

Ticket Office, Manchester City

JAMIE POLLOCK LICKED MY MOUSE!

My sarcastic posting in McVittee last month about the apparent lack of a City mousemat prompted a curt enquiry from the club questioning my intentions and informing me there was indeed one on the way. I didn’t see it in the shops before Christmas, but on Monday it winked at me from behind the glass display casing in the Kippax souvenir shop. For a penny under a tenner you get a colourful, if confusing, moulage featuring Pollock, Dickov and Wiekens (presumably three of the players least likely to be pushed overboard. Or jump ship). The mat seems to be of reasonably good quality and you also get a screensaver on a floppy. A largely uninspiring collection of blue images and animations this, but a huge improvement on pipes and flying windows. And it comes as a bit of shock to suddenly see Tony Vaughan staring at you from your screen.

Made by Alternative Software of Pontefract, I don’t know if a Mac version is available, but you could always ask at http://www.altware.demon.co.uk/ They apparently also have kit-shaped mats in our colours for £6.99.

David Butler (david.butler5@virgin.net)

SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT

I was exploring the excellent mining company site a couple of weeks back, and under travel, I found a section on Manchester. Although pleased to find we had our own section, I was dismayed to discover that under Sports, only United was listed with a link. So I wrote the following email to the section’s guide, Jeff Clark:

Hey Jeff:

Greetings from Los Angeles and from an ex-Mancunian.

Was perusing the Manchester section tonight – it was good to take a look at the beautiful site for the renovated Royal Exchange Theatre – and I was disappointed to find the only link under Sport was one for Man Utd.

While it is true they are world famous, any football fan will acknowledge the stature, albeit crumbling, at the moment, of Manchester City. City is a club with two League Championships, 4 FA cup victories, and a European title, inter alia, and draws an amazing crowd of long-suffering fans given the team’s struggle in the Second Division.

Perhaps the club’s official site: www.mcfc.co.uk could be included for the sake of balance, and for the thousands of Mancunian and ex-patriot City fans? There are City devotees around the world, too.

I’d be happy to hear from you on this, and happier if you would include the above link.

Well, tonight I got my reply:

Hello Paul,

Sorry about the delay in responding – the holidays you know… I’ve included the link for Man City, and it’ll be showing up tonight. I actually looked for it, but couldn’t find it on the web anywhere, so was glad you sent it to me… Enjoyed watching City play Millwall this September…

Thanks for the link…

Jeff Clark
UK For Visitors Guide
The Mining Company
http://gouk.miningco.com/

All in all, a pretty good day. May this augur a promotion year for our team!

Paul B. Cohen (paul17@jps.net)

OPINION – SUPRISE, BOO BOYS HATE CRITICISM

Well, that stuff I wrote about jeering fans didn’t go down too well did it? The point by point rebuttal shows that the author dislikes criticism as much as the next man. Still, there are always those who are happy to dish it out, becoming sensitive flowers when on the receiving end. I’m sure very few people believe that stuff he wrote about Bradbury, Edghill and Corrigan. Even if it were true that booing spurs on the strong to greater things, it took a very long time to work in Bradbury’s case. If we are to believe that anonymous, hypercritical abuse is a sure remedy for the ills of the City team then Ben Potts should be given a snake-oil franchise.

For the few contrived examples pointing to the healing power of derision, you can find plenty of opposites. Rösler was a good player before Alan Ball, a poor player during his critical managership and is doing well again now. An even better example is Nicky Summerbee. We have all seen his skill but he became derided as a lazy player who wouldn’t produce the goods. Now he is scoring and providing for Sunderland in a way which is difficult to believe if you watched the last few matches when he played for City. Scully did well at Stoke, Creaney performed at Burnley, Ged Brannan provided midfield confidence and the pass which produced the only goal at Motherwell against a Rangers side full of internationals and saw the team rise up the Scottish Premier. And so on. These players were either not given a regular chance by the management, derided as lazy or incompetent by some of the fans or scapegoated for the poor performance of the team. Criticism works? You must be smiling.

My point wasn’t actually about footballers. It wasn’t even original being repeated in almost every management text on motivating people. Unfriendly criticism doesn’t work in producing better performance in any occupation. People never feel good about being told they are bad at their job – particularly by those who couldn’t do it themselves.

The boo boys jeered City off at half time at Wrexham, but were eventually drowned by more positive support and we won. At home against Stoke there was virtually no booing at half time even though we were 0-1 down and when City showed their second half fighting spirit the crowd got behind them. You could see their self-belief improving. Edghill who had a nightmare at Wrexham and started badly against Stoke, but finished well tackling, making passes, playing as a proper wing back.

Finally some quotes from JR in the Stoke programme:

“But there is a certain element who are becoming very vociferous and very negative and, listening to them, I can understand why two chairmen and a succession of managers have been hounded out of this place”

“… but all the knockers do is to put everybody, the board, the manager, the coaching staff, the players under more pressure.”

So do us all a favour Ben Potts: support City positively or follow your own excellent suggestion of staying at home and watching your football on Ceefax.

Peter Llewellyn (hw79@dial.pipex.com)

SEASONAL MESSAGE

To all the Blues all over the world:
It’ll be alright: first Wrexham than Stoke and all the others!
I’ll wish everyone a smashing and successful new 1999!
I’ll hope to come to Maine Road in the very near future to see if it is that bad as I read, I really don’t believe it!

Till then! Bertie van Haag, CTIMTM (City till I move to Mars) – (w.g.van.haag@dlg.agro.nl)

WHY BLUE?

I am from Hartlepool in the north east and I have supported City from the age of six. The reason I chose to support City when everybody else was following Newcastle, Sunderland or even Hartlepool, is because an older boy who lived in my street was a City fan and I suppose I wanted to impress him. I don’t see that lad now and I sometimes wonder if he still follows City as I still do now’ twenty-nine years later.

In the early days it was difficult to get hold of any City merchandise in Hartlepool, but at least I got to see them on match of the day quite a lot and I was a member of the Junior Blues. My first game at Maine Road was a few years ago when we were still in the Premiership. I will never forget that feeling as I took my seat in the North Stand and looked out across the beautiful pitch and the magnificent Kippax and Umbro stands, the hairs on the back of neck stood up and I had this tremendous feeling of warmth – I felt totally at home. I get to about ten home games a season now and love every minute of it. I was talking to an Everton fan recently and we were discussing Liverpool and the Rags and he said to me “it’s not that we are jealous of them it’s just we know that we are better than them.” I know what he meant.

Barry Gough – Hartlepool (barrygough@city56.freeserve.co.uk)

BLUE HUMOUR

What have City and Jesus got in common?

They both have a following of thousands and are dead and buried by Easter.

Andy Holgate (andy.holgate@tipeur.ge.com)

RESULTS

Second Division Results
Saturday, December 26 1998

Blackpool                 1-1  Wigan Athletic         5,147
Garvey (56)                    Liddell (64)
Bristol Rovers            P-P  Gillingham
Fulham                    2-0  Colchester United     11,939
Smith (25)
Hayles (pen 75)
Lincoln City              1-0  Macclesfield Town      3,732
Holmes (50)
Luton Town                P-P  Reading                7,807
Notts County              3-1  Northampton Town       6,131
Grant (1)                      Howey (71)
Tierney (7)
Richardson (44)
Stoke City                0-1  Preston North End     23,272
                               Jackson (7)
Walsall                   2-2  Wycombe Wanderers      6,258
Rammell (21, 64)               McSporran (53)
                               Brown (63)
Wrexham                   0-1  Manchester City        9,048
                               Wiekens (56)
York City                 3-3  Burnley                5,630
Hall (54)                      Payton (23)
Rowe (61, 73)                  Robertson (59)
                               Armstrong (88)

Second Division Results
Monday, December 28 1998

Bournemouth               1-0  Luton Town             8,863
Cox (53)
Burnley                   1-1  Lincoln City           9,635
Henderson (80)                 Finnigan (73)
Colchester United         0-3  Bristol Rovers         4,609
                               Cureton (2)
                               Roberts (44)
                               Ipoua (84)
Gillingham                  -  Millwall               3,919
Manchester City           2-1  Stoke City            30,478
Dickov (49)                    Sigurdsson (31)
Taylor (85)
Northampton Town          1-1  Fulham                 7,315
Freestone (68)                 Horsfield (49)
Oldham Athletic           0-2  York City              5,343
                               Cresswell (33)
                               Jones (59)
Preston North End         3-1  Wrexham               12,106
Nogan (22)                     Gregan (og 60)
Cartwright (32, 70)
Reading                   1-0  Notts County          13,026
Richardson (og 24)
Wigan Athletic            2-0  Walsall                4,579
Barlow (61, 83)
Wycombe Wanderers         1-0  Chesterfield           5,391
Scott (65)

Second Division Table
Up to and including Monday, December 28 1998 (5:27pm)

                              HOME            AWAY
                         P  W  D  L  F  A   W  D  L  F  A   Pts   GS
Fulham                  23  8  2  1 23  8   7  2  3 13  9    49   36
Walsall                 24  8  3  2 20 12   6  1  4 15 16    46   35
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Stoke City              24  7  2  2 15  6   7  0  6 16 13    44   31
Preston North End       23  6  3  3 26 13   6  4  1 15 10    43   41
Bournemouth             22  7  3  0 21  6   4  3  5 14 16    39   35
Gillingham              22  8  2  2 23  8   1  8  1 10 10    37   33
--------------------------------------------------------------------
MANCHESTER CITY         24  5  5  2 15  9   4  4  4 13 13    36   28
Wigan Athletic          24  6  3  3 18  7   3  4  5 13 16    34   31
Reading                 22  5  6  1 16 10   4  1  5 10 17    34   26
Blackpool               24  4  5  3 16 13   4  4  4 13 15    33   29
Chesterfield            23  9  1  2 20  8   0  5  6  3 11    33   23
Millwall                23  4  6  2 14 10   4  2  5  9 15    32   23
York City               24  4  6  2 19 16   4  1  7 14 24    31   33
Luton Town              21  5  2  2 11  5   3  4  5 16 19    30   27
Bristol Rovers          23  5  5  2 19 13   1  5  5  8 12    28   27
Colchester United       23  3  4  4  8 14   3  4  5 13 16    26   21
Burnley                 24  5  4  3 12 12   1  3  8 14 28    25   26
Northampton Town        24  2  7  2 12 12   3  3  7 11 15    25   23
Wrexham                 24  6  3  5 15 14   0  4  6  7 19    25   22
Notts County            23  4  2  5 16 16   2  4  6 10 18    24   26
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Wycombe Wanderers       24  5  2  6 17 13   0  6  5  6 16    23   23
Oldham Athletic         24  3  2  7 11 19   2  4  6 12 19    21   23
Macclesfield Town       24  2  4  5  9 12   2  5  6 10 18    21   19
Lincoln City            24  3  2  6 14 18   1  3  9  9 25    17   23

Second Division Top Scorers
Up to and including Monday, December 28 1998

                                     FA   Lge
                                Lge  Cup  Cup  Euro   Other  Total
Stein (Bournemouth)             11    1    5     0      0     17
Asaba (Gillingham)              13    0    1     0      1     15
   1 for Reading
Cresswell (York)                12    3    0     0      0     15
Payton (Burnley)                12    2    1     0      0     15
Rammell (Walsall)               13    0    1     0      0     14
Barlow (Wigan)                  10    1    1     0      1     13
Horsfield (Fulham)              10    2    1     0      0     13
   8 for Halifax
Hayles (Fulham)                 11    0    1     0      0     12
   10 for Bristol Rovers
GOATER (MAN CITY)                8    1    2     0      0     11
Cureton (Bristol Rovers)         7    2    1     0      1     11
Gray (Luton)                     6    2    3     0      0     11
Davis (Luton)                    6    2    2     0      0     10
Corazzin (Northampton)           9    0    0     0      0      9
Williams (Reading)               9    0    0     0      0      9
Nogan (Preston)                  8    1    0     0      0      9

Dorien James (dorien.james@btinternet.com)
With thanks to Soccernet

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The views expressed in MCIVTA are entirely those of the subscribersand there is no intention to represent these opinions as being thoseof Manchester City Football Club, nor of any of the companies anduniversities by whom the subscribers are employed. It is not inany way whatsoever connected to the club or any other relatedorganisation and is simply a group of supporters using this mediumas a means of disseminating news and exchanging opinions.


[Valid3.2]Ashley Birch, mcivta@tollbar.u-net.com

Newsletter #462

1998/12/30

Editor:


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