Newsletter #463

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Apologies, but the contents will have to speak for themselves today!

Next game, Blackpool away, FA Cup, Saturday 9th January 1999

MATCH REPORT – ‘LIVE’ I

WIMBLEDON vs. MANCHESTER CITY, FA Cup, 2nd January 1999

A cold but sunny day at Selhurst Park at the kick-off when there were plenty of seats to spare for both sets of supporters, with the game having the look of being played at a neutral venue. Support looked about even. How Wimbledon achieve what they do I’ll never know. Attendance 11,200, so no bumper profits for either club from this one.

The City line-up:

                       Weaver
Whitley, Jim     Morrison    Wiekens     Vaughan
            Horlock    Pollock    Brown
               Taylor  Goater   Dickov

It was an attacking look for the start of the game and generally City had the better of much of the opening. Naturally (as usual) they didn’t create too many really clear-cut opportunities but they often looked the better footballing side against Premiership opposition. Most of the shooting chances seemed to fall to Michael Brown although probably the best chance of the half went to Horlock who only managed a tame shot into Sullivan’s hands. Dickov seemed to be operating almost as a winger and up front Goater and particularly Taylor were winning quite a few of the aerial battles.

At the other end Morrison and Wiekens were superb, containing the threat of Gayle and Leaburn well at many of the corners that Wimbledon won. The main weakness for City was at full back, especially Whitley who was having to work hard. The referee didn’t seem to be doing City any favours at this stage and he let one nasty challenge on Weaver from Leaburn go without a card. Soon after this Weaver made one of the saves of the season from a point blank range header. Horlock was yellow-carded when Wimbledon players seemed to be given free licence to commit fouls.

The half ended with City continuing to look easily Wimbledon’s equals and we all went for our tea and Bovril feeling pretty happy. There were no changes for the Blues (playing in their home strip) at half-time but Wimbledon brought on a couple of subs.

The second half was much like the first with City continuing to have slightly the better of things. We were all on our feet as Taylor found Dickov who volleyed sweetly home but the linesman had his flag up promptly for off-side. I’d like to see that one on t.v.

Needless to say Wimbledon scored not too long after this. It was at the opposite end from my seat but a ball was played inside Whitley and squared across, prodded back by Hughes and the move ending with it being put into the net by Cort. Until then, Wimbledon hadn’t really looked like scoring but they missed another good chance soon after this.

Soon after, things boiled up when Morrison retaliated to a bit of aggro from Cort and both were sent off. It appeared to me (admittedly from some distance) that Morrison was treated a bit harshly but he did react. Pity, since he was having a great game (I’ve watched it all on Match of the Day now and the original incident was nothing but they did flare up rather stupidly. The referee didn’t see it and he relied on his linesperson called Wendy for the decision. No sexist implications).

Russell replaced Pollock soon after and the game became an exciting end-to-end cup-tie. When Euell was dismissed for a second bookable offence the match was there for City’s taking. They laid siege to the Wimbledon goal but (you’re all familiar with the scenario) they didn’t ever really look like scoring. It was cross after cross into the box but not much else. It was nearly totally one-sided with just the odd breakaway and Wimbledon were happy to hang on.

This was definitely a game that we should have won but most of the fans were happy with the performance. Team and fans applauded each other at the end. We seem to have a gritty, fighting team at last, built on a really solid central defensive duo.

Ratings: I think I might give everyone 8 with the exceptions of Wiekens (10) and Morrison (9). It would be harsh to criticise anyone after such a passionate performance. If we had a real goal scorer this team could well be looking at promotion!

(The Sunday papers are unanimous in describing the game as ‘drab’ and in taking the opportunity to relate how far City have fallen. I suppose it all depends on your perspective – on the one hand we performed well against a team two divisions above us and compared to some games I’ve seen this season this was a good show from City. On the other hand, there wasn’t much skill on display and we still can’t put the ball in the net. P.S. the NoW reports Joe Royle being interested in the Darlington centre back after an impressive game against us. Surely, that’s the last thing we need? Shelia was on the bench at Wimbledon).

Peter Kewley (pk@barnlib.demon.co.uk)

MATCH REPORT – ‘LIVE’ II

WIMBLEDON vs. MANCHESTER CITY, FA Cup, 2nd January 1999

It’s hard to believe that there’s Premiership football played at Selhurst Park. I was looking forward to going to a decent ground again but this wasn’t it. I couldn’t see a long strip of the pitch over the centre circle as there was a post in the way, and as for seeing the corner flag over to my left… The pitch was a mess and obviously has far too much football played on it, and the Wimbledon fans were noticeable mainly for their scarcity. There was talk in the pub after the game that the City fans had made up over half of the 11,266 crowd and I wouldn’t be surprised if this were true.

Morrison, having recovered from his bout of flu (flu? Right, I bet he’d been out on the beers and had a dodgy curry) that he missed the Stoke game for, City were as follows: Weaver, Vaughan, Morrison, Wiekens, Jim Whitley, Horlock, Brown, Pollock, Taylor, Goater, Dickov. Wimbledon had Neil Sullivan in goal, Michael Hughes down the left and lots of very big men everywhere else. I keep noticing this – every other team looks far bigger than us, I can’t be imagining it all surely? Only Taylor looked equal to the Wimbledon centre halves in stature – Goater may also be tall but as we all know he can’t jump so may as well be Dickov’s height most of the time.

Wimbledon started by ripping into our defence, literally in some cases, but City held out well. Morrison was awesome at the back – despite the height of people such as Earle and Euell he and Vaughan (honest!) were winning everything in the air. After about five minutes Weaver came out to collect a ball from a Hughes (I think) cross and was bundled off the pitch and on to the floor behind the goal. Nasty and completely unnecessary. The ref (Graham Poll) didn’t seem particularly bothered; I thought they were supposed to protect ‘keepers from tackles like that these days? Luckily there was no harm done to Weaver and the game continued. A couple of minutes after that Horlock tackled someone from behind and was booked. Good to see consistency in a Premiership quality ref.

City’s confidence was obviously sky high after the performance against Stoke on Monday and they soon started to reply to the pressure and push back the Wimbledon attack. I thought Vaughan had played really well against Stoke but was worried to see him back at left back for this game. However, he proved me completely wrong time and time again. He made one tackle on Robbie Earle to prevent him shooting on goal that, had it been mistimed by even a fraction of a second, would have resulted in him probably having been sent off and a Wimbledon penalty. It was perfect. Weird. He was passing the ball to City players too – the man looked like a footballer at long last. Just watch him go and have a shocker at Blackpool now.

About halfway into the first half a cross came over into the City area, over the top of Morrison and Wiekens (and not much had been doing that) and onto (I think) Earle who was standing a good yard offside. The linesman didn’t flag, Earle headed it at goal, we all thought “oh bugger” and Weaver pulled off one of the most outstanding saves I’ve seen this season to tip it over the bar. What a hero. It’s difficult to remember how young this lad is when you see him do things like this. For the first time for years we don’t all think “oh heck” when our ‘keeper comes out to clear a ball with an attacker charging down on him. His goal kicks go over the half way line, they don’t all veer off wildly to the left like certain others I could mention, he isn’t scared to come off his line, he can catch (ooh Eike Immel)… I could go on for hours. But I shan’t.

That was by far the best chance of the first half from either side. City had a shot flash just past the post – it was down to my left so I couldn’t see it so I’ve no idea who it was or what happened – but the linesman had already flagged for offside so it wouldn’t have counted. It seemed that as the half went on City had more and more possession and attacks but we still just lacked that cutting edge up front. At half time we went in at nil-nil, deservedly level and (from the crowd’s point of view anyway) pleased with the first half.

Wimbledon replaced Leaburn and Earle at half time with Roberts and Cort. We thought the half would start as the first one had, with lots of Wimbledon pressure, but instead it was all City as we pushed forward time and again. Fifteen minutes into the half we thought we’d taken the lead. Goater crossed the ball from the right, past the two defenders, and Dickov span and volleyed it into the net. Superb finish, sadly offside. If Goater had crossed it that split second earlier…

Just after that City attacked again. Taylor went up for a header with one of the centre halves (Ardley?) and got an elbow in his kidneys, falling like the proverbial sack of spuds. The ref didn’t see anything wrong though and let the game continue, so it wasn’t too much of a surprise when the worst bit of defending in the game let Wimbledon score. We had several chances to clear the ball before a hard low cross from the left found Cort in the area, and his shot left Weaver with no hope. The crowd were stunned into silence for at least a second, the Wimbledon fans remembered what they were doing there and woke up and chanted. That didn’t last long though, the City fans were soon on their feet shouting encouragement back at the team and I don’t think I got to sit down again that half as City pushed forward again and again. Anyone who thinks that booing the team whenever they let a goal in is their right should have been there on Saturday – the way that Vaughan in particular responded to having the crowd on his side rather than against every move he makes was a joy to watch.

Could we come back from a goal down for the second game running? Well we certainly gave it a try. Taylor was playing better against the Womble centre halves than we could have hoped for – some of the knock downs he’s been providing for the rest of the strike force in the last couple of games have been almost good. It’s a shame that so rarely is there anyone to pick up on them, but as no-one in the team’s been used to that sort of ball recently I can only hope it will come in time. Brown seemed to be everywhere on the pitch, tackling, running, calling for the ball – playing the way that those who are high in confidence do. Dickov had drifted out to the right and seemed to be trying to play as a winger – shame he can’t cross then. It did look as if we could get back in the game. The goal had come against the run of play if anything – a bit like the Stoke one had the week before. The few attacks that Wimbledon had were being ably mopped up by the defence.

Then the match suddenly got that bit more exciting. Morrison and Cort ran for the same ball in the City area and Morrison won. As he turned away to run back up field, Cort (who was lying on the ground feeling sorry for himself) reached out and grabbed hold of Morrison’s leg. Morrison, not one to look on such invasions of his personal space lightly, turned around and told him to leave go – or words to that effect anyway. Cort jumped up at him, Morrison pushed him and everyone else dived in to help. The ref hadn’t seen a thing so had to go and consult with his linesman (or lineswoman rather). When he then sent Morrison off we thought we were about to have a repeat of the Reading game – Tiatto was sent off for less than that. Imagine the relief when he then did send Cort off as well. Apparently he has agreed to review a video of the incident after appeals by the two managers, probably because he didn’t see any of it happening – I can’t see him changing his mind though somehow.

We thought this might make a difference as we’d miss Morrison more than they’d miss Cort, but it didn’t turn out that way as we kept Wimbledon well penned back after that. A couple of minutes later Jason Euell was booked for kicking the ball away after giving away a free kick, then five minutes after that he came clattering through the back of Michael Brown in a needless foul and got himself sent off. Dozey idiot, I’m not surprised Kinnear was annoyed with him afterwards. Kept us happy though. Russell came on for the knackered Pollock with about five minutes of normal time to go – exciting, four up front, bet he doesn’t try that against Blackpool (there was a suggestion that Pollock had only gone off so he could get changed quickly and meet us in the pub in his Cheadle Blue disguise but I’m sure that wasn’t true).

A huge cheer went up when the six minutes of time added on were announced as there was only one team ever going to score, but it just wasn’t to be. Time and again there were opportunities for Dickov to run behind the defence and put a cross in, but each time the midfield elected to loft the ball into the area towards Goater and Taylor, only for the defence to clear it away. The seconds ticked away and it just wasn’t to be.

Good points – loads. I can’t remember the last time I was so optimistic after losing a game. The only area on the pitch in which Wimbledon beat us was for speed up front, and that hardly came as a surprise. I was worried that Taylor and Goater would be completely snuffed out by the Wombles’ defence but that wasn’t the case at all. We dealt with the aerial threat from their strikers extremely competently and, with the exception of the goal, didn’t have the usual “your ball” “no, your ball” defensive panics that we’ve seen so many times in the past. There were none of the usual panicky clueless long punts up front when we went a goal behind – rather we kept the ball on the floor and tried to out-football them and it so nearly could have worked. While I don’t think we did enough to win the game we certainly deserved a draw and I was desperately sorry for the team that they didn’t manage to scrape one after playing so hard. All this against a team who are currently doing better than expected in a league two divisions above us, at a level everyone keeps telling us we’re years away from reaching.

Bad points – we need some speed up front and a decent winger. Sound familiar?

I’m not going to get carried away, there’s always that worry of “we were only lifting our game for the cup”, but we saw in the second half against Stoke how we could play against opposition in our own division – please oh please let it continue against Blackpool on Saturday.

Sharon Bennett

MATCHVIEW

Not really a report – the match was too fast, furious and lacking any pattern to remember much of particular incidents and which order they happened in. Overall we were probably unlucky to lose; after suffering numerous spineless displays at Wimbledon in the last ten years or so we matched them this time in spirit as well as skill (not that either side showed a great deal of the latter).

Positives: total commitment from ten of the eleven players which would enable us to have a much better second half of the season if it can be maintained. The fans responded by getting behind the team – I didn’t hear any barracking of less-favoured individuals such as Vaughan or Goater, and it seemed to help them raise their game and avoid the kind of nervy errors they have been prone to recently. The defence looked sound until Morrison’s dismissal; Michael Hughes might have been expected to have a field day against two occasional full-backs like Jim Whitley and Vaughan, but they contained him better than many Premiership defences have this season. Weaver seems to get better with every match, as does Wiekens. Michael Brown had the best game I’ve seen him play in midfield (so now we’ll probably sell him). Gareth Taylor looked lively and useful up front.

Negatives: Sullivan didn’t have a shot to save apart from a few feeble long-range efforts and a close-range header from one of his own defenders. We still have no penetration and no crosses coming in from the bye-line. And no width – the long ball down the middle hoping for something to happen continues to be our only attacking idea. We also need some work on basics – silly offsides from sheer carelessness (Wimbledon weren’t particularly playing an offside trap, the forwards just weren’t concentrating, Dickov being the main culprit). Similarly, the defence are slow to push out when the ball is half-cleared, allowing the opposition to play it back unchallenged into a crowded area. And surely somebody can be shown how to take a corner?

Ratings:

Weaver 8/10. One brilliant save from a close-range header and looking more confident with crosses. A couple of scary moments when he dribbled the ball nearly to the half-way line and then miskicked.
Jim Whitley 7/10. Did well to contain Hughes, but might have cut out the cross which led to their goal.
Morrison 8/10. Won most things in the air and good distribution on the whole. Silly to start a fight in front of the assistant referee.
Wiekens 8/10. Classy defending and coped quite well in the air against Wimbledon’s large and physical attack (mainly by getting away with a push in the back and two quick steps backwards). Came close to being caught in possession by being too cool and calm once or twice.
Vaughan 6/10. Still makes me nervous but didn’t do anything too horrendous and even managed a couple of not-too-bad long-range crosses.
Brown 9/10. Excellent game – committed without being too reckless, great first touch and worried Wimbledon by running at them. If only he could shoot…
Pollock 6/10. Slow and unfit – tried hard and tackled well, but offered little service to the forwards.
Horlock 4/10. Totally anonymous for most of the match – unfortunately our two best chances fell to his right foot. We can’t afford to play two unfit midfielders – and if he isn’t unfit, he just doesn’t seem to fancy it any more. Crap corners, too.
Dickov 7/10. Would have scored with a fine volley if he hadn’t needlessly strayed offside yet again. Seems to have had his card marked as a diver so fails to win anything even when clearly fouled. But still gives his all, hassles defenders into mistakes and did well helping Vaughan cope with Hughes.
Goater 7/10. I was told off by our friends in Bermuda last time I wrote about him; but this was a definite improvement. Put himself about, held the ball up quite well and tackled back. I preferred it when he was lazy, useless and scored every game.
Taylor 7/10. Looked good in the air, though nobody read his knock-downs. But neither he nor Goater can be expected to score if there’s no service to them.
Russell. Came on for Pollock in the last ten minutes, but no time to make an impression.

So overall it was an encouraging display. Pity we can’t get our revenge on Tottenham for that quarter-final disaster (did Coton have a worse game for us)? They say good teams develop from strength down the middle: Weaver, Morrison, Wiekens and Brown is a start and Taylor and Goater might be OK in time. But like everybody keeps saying – a left back and two wingers. Soon please.

Piers Pennington (p.pennington@acu.ac.uk)

NEWS SUMMARY

Cup Exit

So once again we have to concentrate on the league – it’s now 30 years since we last won the FA Cup – it’s just that it’s a different league to the one we’re used to concentrating on. Radio and on-line reports suggest that the game was a rather scrappy affair, with the emphasis on scrap. Michael Hughes who supplied the cross for the winning goal (another ex-City player comes back to haunt us) reckons that City did him a favour by selling him to Strasbourg back in ’92. He’d helped City to fifth place in the old First Division in his début season but was in the reserves when Strasbourg came in. “Out of the blue I got a phone call from a Swiss agent who’d seen me play for Northern Ireland against Germany. By the time I’d finished abroad I was 30-35% a better player.” Nominations by e-mail for candidates for an overseas sabbatical from the current squad?

The game was watched by one of the biggest travelling followings of the season; unofficial estimates put the Blue contingent at just under 5,000 spectators in a crowd of just 11,226 at Selhurst Park. The previous best away support for City this season was 4,596 for the win at Oldham, and only ground capacity limitations have prevented similar turnouts elsewhere in the league.

The backing of the fans was noticed; “It was important that with a great travelling support, who really got behind us, we put up a good show and we did that. We carried on our recent good form and scaled two divisions quite comfortably against a Premiership side that beats all the top sides” said JR. “At half time I felt we could go on and win it and we were giving them one or two problems. We knew we had to be strong and every man did his job but the goal made it hard for us,” commented Royle. One for the Colemanballs at the end there!

The joys of January …

This month sees City have a chance to consolidate on a good Christmas with potentially their toughest run of games in the remainder of the season. A trip to Blackpool this Saturday (note midday kick-off) is followed by successive games against Fulham (H), Walsall (A) and Stoke (A). We owe Fulham one after the dire performance at the season’s outset (with hindsight a real wake up call for life in this division) and Walsall and Stoke will be keen to make good on their defeats at Maine Road. However, we seem to do better against the ‘better’ teams in this division so I’m reasonably optimistic we can make some headway in our climb up the league.

… or should that be jinx?

However, we may well have to get through the month without the services of Andy Morrison in the wake of his sending off on Saturday. Unless the referee’s review of his decision in the light of video evidence prompts a change of heart (not a regular occurrence in such reviews) he’ll be missing for the Fulham, Walsall, and Stoke games. “The referee has said he didn’t see the incident. He sent Andy off on the linesperson’s opinion and has said he will look at it again. I saw Andy trying to get up and he was held down. Andy admits himself that he was stupid and pushed him away and if that is seen as violent conduct there is not a lot we can do,” said JR.

Joe was reported by TeamTalk as being interested in securing the loan of the services of Craig Liddle of Darlington who impressed with his performances against City in the FA Cup, supposedly as cover for Morrison, but given the progress of Messrs Jobson and Tskhadadze, not to mention Nick Fenton and Murtaz Shelia, surely we don’t need another centre-half even temporarily?

Wiekens for Wearside?

TeamTalk reckons that Peter Reid (why did we ever let him go?) has been casting a covetous eye over our favourite Orangeman though I’ve not seen any other reference to this elsewhere in the media. Several of my friends and family are Sunderland season ticket holders and their immediate concern is the absence of their beloved wingers Summerbee (honest!) and Johnston as they struggle to convert a higher proportion of their chances … oh that we should have only scored 55 goals this season 🙁 However, given their last experience in the Premiership, so candidly documented on UK TV earlier last year, I suspect that Reidy will be looking to strengthen the squad in advance of promotion so watch that one for further developments.

Jobson on the mend

An optimistic Richard Jobson is nearing a return to full fitness. “I’ve been out of plaster for around seven weeks now, after undergoing an operation three months ago. I went to see a specialist last week and he has given me the all clear to start running so hopefully, if there is no reaction, I will be back in training in the next week or so.” As Peepo is on the mend too, we look like having a spare centre half or two … no bad thing with Andy Morrison’s temperament 🙂

Pay per view

City will make history by taking part in only the second Football League match to be broadcast on a pay per view basis, when they travel to Colchester for the League match on March 20th, kick-off will be 6.00pm. – God knows why they chose Colchester. The £7.95 to view the game is split 50:50 between Sky TV and the Football League, Manchester City and Colchester each then take a third of the money allocated to the League. It is expected that the experiment could net City around £12,000 … we’ll see.

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

BIRTHDAY GREETINGS

As some of you will already know, my little girl Amy is well on the way to being a fanatical Blue, I’d love to give her as surprise by getting as many MCIVTA blues to send her a birthday greeting or electronic card on her birthday. Her birthday is on Thursday 7th Jan and she will be 7.

Thanks.

Howard McCarthy – Howie de Blue (howardmc@iol.ie)

FOLLOW-UP TO MAN CITY JESUS JOKE

We had the following joke included in MCIVTA:

What do Jesus and Man City have in common?
They both have thousands of followers and are dead and buried at Easter.

Good Joke. It occurs to me there are many other similarities though… It will take a miracle for them to rise from the dead. Both teach their followers about humility and faith in things happening that defy all conventional logic. They both challenged the devil dressed in red. The media makes both sets of their followers look like crackpots. Their followers travel around the country waiting for a miracle to happen. They will both one day return in a blaze of glory, although many of their followers will be dead by then.

Alistair Deakin, Lives in Atlanta, Heart at Maine Road (alistairdeakin@hotmail.com)

GENERAL SADNESS

Can anyone provide info on the following?

  1. Was there was a video (nasty ?) of last season (’97-’98)?
  2. Has the truly bland ‘City Handbook’ been published this season?
  3. Any details on a book called ‘Bleak and Blue’?

I’ve seen none of these in the club shop (quelle surprise).

Once a completist…

Andy Noise (anoise@globalnet.co.uk)

CHANGE OF FORTUNES

Not being one to blow my own trumpet and all that, but the amazing change in City fortunes since Xmas (a “lucky” win and a comeback from a goal down) I think can be laid squarely at my (and my partner’s) doorstep. You see, just over an hour before kick-off on Boxing Day, she gave birth to a little boy (our first) and obviously the news filtered through to the team, inspiring them to the dizzy heights of two successive wins…

He’s already got his City romper suit (unfortunately the replica kits only start at 6 months) and I’m about to register him for the Junior Blues…

He’s hoping he really does provide the inspiration for a major promotion push and cup run (well, we can at least dream about the latter…).

Happy (and successful) New Year to you all.

Gareth P. Smith (Gareth.Smith@woolworths.co.uk)

OPINION – DEMISE OF THE BOO BOYS

A simple message to Joe Royle, Willie Donachie and all the MCIVTA subscribers who keep moaning about boo boys knocking team performances:

If you play attacking football, as we did against Stoke, then lo and behold the crowd gets behind the team – even when the opposition scores!

All I want for many happy match days in 1999 is a winger! If we had one, then it’s pretty obvious that our strikers would start scoring very frequently against teams in this division.

CTID, Richard Mottershead (richardjohnm@hotmail.com)

OPINION – PAY-PER-VIEW

From the official MCFC website:

“City will take part in the pay-per-view experiment when they travel to Colchester for the League match on March 20th, kick-off will be 6.00 pm. Subscribers will have to pay £7.95 to view the game, of which half is split between Sky TV and the Football League, Manchester City and Colchester each then take a third of the money allocated to the League. It is expected that the experiment could net City around £12,000.”

Whether it makes money for the club or not I would urge all fans not to support this event. When Sky first offered pay-per-view for boxing events the public lost sight of what they were actually doing – as a cable subscriber (with a package including 3 Sky sports channels!) I strongly object to being asked to pay for something I am already paying for. Sky costs me about £30 per month – why then should I need to pay another £7.95 to watch a further specific event?

If the take up is good during the pilot phase you can be sure that Sky will gradually put all football matches onto pay-per-view as they have done with all high-profile boxing matches. If the take-up is poor they will be less inclined to introduce it full time.

I know that people will be keen to watch the match but you need to think longer term and about the fans that actually want to go to the away game. The kick-off is at 6.00 p.m, meaning that any fans from Manchester will probably need to stay over in Essex that night, when they would otherwise be able to go home with a 3.00 p.m kick-off.

Don’t do it!

Joel Adams (joel@ppfs.co.uk)

OPINION – CUP EXITS

So the three Cup competition are over and done with, all over a done before any fun started!

League Cup    2nd Round
AutoGlass     1st Round
FA Cup        3rd Round

I for one am fed up with years of nothing but failures in Cup competitions, when are the club going to give us something in return, a decent cup run isn’t really something terrible to ask!

If anyone comes up with the cliches,

  1. There’s always next year, and
  2. We can concentrate on the league

I feel like smacking them. Why can’t we have a little silverware in our cabinet, what’s wrong with aiming for a cup?

Martin Ford (mford@fs1.li.umist.ac.uk)

OPINION – GARY MASON

Before Christmas I seem to remember Joe Royle moaning about the crowd dishing out stick to Gary Mason. As a result, he’s rested him. Was Joe the only person who couldn’t see that Mason was due a spell in the reserves? He’s made a big impact (bigger in Royle’s eyes than most, admittedly) for an 18 (now 19) year old who’d had little or no reserve experience. But his impact over the last month or two, has reduced considerably. Time to rest him. But no, Joe waits ’till he becomes a bit of a scapegoat, then drops him. Hardly perceptive is it?

He’s another good midfield prospect. But he needs nurturing, not burning out and giving away by the time he’s twenty one. Man management, eh? Now I don’t advocate getting on players’ backs, especially youngsters, but it’s frustrating when Royle seems to be watching a different game to the rest of us. Still he’s the one with the F.A. coaching badge (or is he?).

Aim your abuse at Royle and Donachie. They buy the players, pick the team, decide the tactics and the training methods.

… 3-5-2

Royle is always saying 4-4-2 this and 4-4-2 that, yet, at the drop of a hat, we’re back to wing backs and more centre halves than you can poke a stick at. e.g. vs. Darlington. He subs Russell with Tiatto. Abracadabra, we’ve got two wing backs vs. Stoke. He brings in Dickov for Russell. Again this swap somehow frees up two wing backs vs. Wimbledon. The only actual full back at the club is injured. What choice is there? Buy some bloody full backs, Joe. Oh and a winger… (yawn, yawn, I must stop repeating myself… and everyone else…).

Andy Noise (anoise@globalnet.co.uk)

OPINION – CUPS FOR COCK-UP’S

Got the above book for Crimbo and set about it despite knowing of its Rag origins. After a dozen pages, all I’ve read is a series of cheap put-downs and endless comparisons with the Scum. Is it worth reading on? I mean it’s hardly f**king difficult contrasting their recent trophy haul with ours, is it?

I’d appreciate some opinion to prevent me wasting my time.

Andy Noise (anoise@globalnet.co.uk)

RESULTS

FA Cup Third Round Results
Saturday, January 2 1999

Aston Villa               3-0  Hull City             39,217
Collymore (44, 66)
Joachim (51)
Blackburn Rovers          2-0  Charlton Athletic     16,631
Davies (44)
Wilcox (88)
Bolton Wanderers          1-2  Wolverhampton Wanderers  18,269
Sellars (58)                   Keane (9, 65)
Bournemouth               1-0  West Bromwich Albion  10,881
Howe (34)
Bradford City             2-1  Grimsby Town          13,870
Mills (29)                     McDermott (79)
Lawrence (66)
Bristol City              0-2  Everton               19,608
                               Bakayoko (86, 88)
Bury                      0-3  Stockport County       5,325
                               Angell (5)
                               Lucketti (og 13)
                               Woodthorpe (27)
Cardiff City              1-1  Yeovil                12,561
Nugent (84)                    Dale (54)
Coventry City             7-0  Macclesfield Town     14,197
Froggatt (28)
Whelan (36)
Payne (og 44)
Huckerby (60, 71, 89)
Boateng (88)
Crewe Alexandra           1-3  Oxford United          4,207
Johnson (47)                   Windass (20)
                               Murphy (45, 66)
Leicester City            4-2  Birmingham City       19,846
Sinclair (21)                  Robinson (35)
Ullathorne (27)                Adebola (90)
Cottee (51)
Guppy (72)
Lincoln City              0-1  Sunderland            10,408
                               McCann (16)
Newcastle United          2-1  Crystal Palace        36,536
Speed (47)                     Bradbury (17)
Shearer (69)
Nottingham Forest         0-1  Portsmouth            10,092
                               Claridge (18)
Oldham Athletic           0-2  Chelsea               12,770
                               Vialli (68, 75)
Plymouth Argyle           0-3  Derby County          16,730
                               Burton (15, 82)
                               Eranio (pen 21)
Queens Park Rangers       0-1  Huddersfield Town     11,685
                               Allison (42)
Rotherham United          0-1  Bristol Rovers         6,056
                               Leoni (44)
Rushden & Diamonds        0-0  Leeds United           6,431
Sheffield United          1-1  Notts County          12,264
Marcello (36)                  Jones (70)
Sheffield Wednesday       P-P  Norwich City          12,549
Southport                 0-2  Leyton Orient          4,950
                               Smith (pen 60)
                               Griffiths (71)
Swindon Town              0-0  Barnsley               8,016
Tottenham Hotspur         5-2  Watford               36,022
Iversen (10, 19)               Johnson, R (1)
Anderton (pen 13)              Kennedy (34)
Nielsen (42)
Fox (86)
Tranmere Rovers           0-1  Ipswich Town           7,223
                               McGreal (og 46)
Wimbledon                 1-0  Manchester City       11,226
Cort (62)
West Ham United           1-1  Swansea City          26,039
Dicks (86)                     Smith (61)
Wrexham                   4-3  Scunthorpe United      4,429
Logan (og 22)                  Housham (50)
Connolly (47, 56, 90)          Eyre (71)
                               Harsley (85)

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

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http://www.uit.no/mancity/


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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 #463

1999/01/04

Editor:


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