Newsletter #477

City coasted to a 2-0 victory over a dire Macclesfield team at the weekend. Macc had the luck in the game, as they could have easily conceded double figures; City had the luck at the end, when all the other results bar Fulham’s went for us – pinch me please! The game was alike a Terry Gillian film (surreal indeed – see Sharon’s match report): shots raining down, comical Corrigan-esque goalkeeping from the Macc goalie (I’m talking about Big Joe’s early days here), Weaver doing his party tricks, and Brown being repeatedly fouled without a hint of retaliation! We have two match reports and a matchview; there’s also a detailed match report from the reserves’ last game against Sheffield Wednesday.

There is little news, other than Joe’s announcement that he intends to bring in at least one loan signing this week – if you think it’s Gio, then I’m afraid medication is needed! There’s more on Mr Coddington, something from Cookie’s mouth and the usual opinion.

I’ve used all my current stock of ‘Why Blues’, so if anyone fancies putting their story or reminiscences down, now’s the time to send them in.

This one reaches 2,353.

Next game, Chesterfield away, Saturday 27th February 1999


MANCHESTER CITY vs. MACCLESFIELD TOWN, Saturday 20th February 1999

One of the best things for me that our change in fortunes has brought is that whole feeling that I think is best summed up by ‘when Saturday comes’.

It’s that feeling you get when you’re really looking forward to the match and you are pretty sure your team’s going to win and make progress, you want to read the back page of the paper and you’re happy to talk football all day.

It’s been missing for so long that not only had I almost forgotten about it but my children had never experienced it!

Quite an indictment really if I tell you that my daughter is 16 and my son 10.

Our push to the top, the arrival of Cookie, the tight defence and the continued bumper crowds have made the sun shine again. It was with some desperate realism then that I was brought down to earth when the first words my son spoke on Saturday after getting up were ‘derby day today dad’. Now unfortunately he said this with the same sort of excitement and relish that I might have said when savouring some of our finer battles against the Rags of a few years ago. Makes you think though doesn’t it, City vs. Macclesfield as a derby.

Anyway, moving on to the match. Had it not been the fact that I had shown my season ticket to get in I might have thought I was at the wrong event. I thought it was some sort of huge open air fetish party as the travelling contingent in the away end shouted ‘come on Silkmen, come on Silkmen’. Now either that was a cry of some sort of sexual deviant behaviour or their team has one of the most ridiculous nicknames in the world. I mean, can you imagine the sort of stickers you might have on your car e.g. ‘I love Silkmen’ or ‘Silkmen do it in their kit’; add to this that the referee was named Mr Wiley and it could well have been a bizarre experience.

Right from the start of this game we were going forward; within the first minute we had won a throw and then two corners in succession, the second of which was saved by the ‘keeper after a good head in from Taylor. Wiekens as ever demonstrated his masterful approach to this beautiful game as he picked up the stray runs with ease and grace, a nod back here to Weaver, a foot in there to move the ball to safety, all the time showing his class and increasing understanding with Weaver. On about the 5th minute No. 11 for the Silkmen broke through and fired in only to see his shot go wide to Weaver’s left.

Back at the other end there were appeals for a penalty as Brown went down but the referee (who I thought had a good game) would have none of it. A couple more corners followed, one from the left then one from the right, the second collected by the ‘keeper.

It was all going City’s way, Cookie was drifting down the wing and smashing crosses in and when Goater seized on a crazy back pass and fired home from what looked like a very tight angle on about the 15th minute, I thought we were on for a cricket score.

I don’t really know what happened after the first 20 minutes but for the remainder of the half we just didn’t make our dominance pay. We seemed to relax too much knowing that we were not up against credible opposition. We could easily have been four or five up at the interval. Cookie had a glorious shot go high over the bar, Goater had an effort cleared off the line and Horlock had an outrageous lob from about 35-40 yards out only to see it slip wide of the target. Morrison had a header just tipped away and Taylor nearly smashed the bar; add to this another Goater effort cleared from the line and it was clear that we were all over them.

Having said that, the Macc player Tomlinson missed an open goal and Weaver made a superb stop again from Tomlinson when it looked like the equalizer was going in.

The second half was similar, really we were never in real trouble although we did call on Weaver a few times to pull off super saves when other ‘keepers might have been picking the ball out of the old onion bag.

There was one bit of brilliant play from the Macc number 10 early in the second half. His run towards goal took him past three or four City players and it looked good to end in a goal. His superb jinking run was brought to an end when Horlock got a foot in to stop the challenge on goal. Not long after that Taylor hit home after Goater passed the ball through to him. It was always safe after that but I hope we don’t end up missing out on goal difference, as this was a game when we could easily have finished with seven or eight.

Dickov came on for the last 25 and as ever worked hard and fast; when it comes to enthusiasm there’s no holding him back. Bishop also came on and made a useful contribution. Despite a double substitution for the last 20-25 minutes for the Silkmen, there was nothing they could do and I have to say that it looks like they need a miracle to stay in this division now. So another win and we’re now in the top five. The play offs are looking good and incredibly we are only eight points behind Preston in second place. Another stunning crowd, 31,086 turned up for this one.

Anyone who was in the Platt Lane or in our case the JD Family stand will know that the master himself was there. Yes Gio Kinkladze was watching from the box with Shelia. Once spotted by the crowd he proved quite a distraction as fans turned to humble themselves before this modern day Manchester god. The cry of Gio, Gio, Gio was rewarded by a wave as to the classic Skinner and Baddiel song, the fans sang ‘Kinky’s coming home’.

I wish he was but I guess he won’t be, but it does make you wonder what he was doing there and how good would he be if he was playing in front of our solid defence and alongside the like of Cookie.

On the down side, Morrison was booked for a fairly innocent looking tackle and Joe Royle will need to re-configure the team carefully for the next few games as we pay the price of our poor disciplinary record.

It was also good to see the rest of the results go our way, with the exception of Fulham of course, but our recovery continues and I can’t wait until Saturday comes.

Tony Burns (


MANCHESTER CITY vs. MACCLESFIELD TOWN, Saturday 20th February 1999

This was a really surreal game to watch. It had the potential to be a disaster – City coming off the back of a good run. Macclesfield well rooted at the bottom of the table and an almost sell-out crowd who’d come along expecting a festival of football and lots of goals. I don’t know, these fair weather fans…

City lined up with the same team that had started against Bournemouth – luckily not the one that had finished the game against Bournemouth as that would have been a bit of a disadvantage – Weaver, Crooks, Edghill, Morrison, Wiekens, Horlock, Brown, Pollock, Taylor, Goater and Cooke, with Bishop, Dickov and Allsopp on the bench. Macclesfield had some weird-looking bloke at centre half who was man-marking Goater. We thought he was wearing a headscarf for the first half, but apparently he’s got a white skunk-like strip down the back of his head. Hmm. He did play well though, unlike the rest of the Macc team, but there you go.

City started this game completely in control. Macclesfield are without doubt the worst team I have seen at Maine Road this season (yes, even worse than City have been) and look as if they will deservedly be relegated. I can’t remember them having the ball in our half in the first 15 minutes and it was only ever a matter of time before we scored the first. Cooke was ripping their defence apart down the right hand side, if we had any decent forwards we’d have been three up in the first five minutes! It was from a defensive error that our first goal came though, an underhit back pass that Goater latched onto, rounded the (dodgy) ‘keeper and squeezed the ball into the net from an impossibly tight angle. I thought Goater did really well with this, he was so far out wide to the left when he hit the ball that it would have been really easy to miss the net. He placed the ball really carefully – so carefully that it crossed the line with about as much power as Dickov’s goal against Millwall, but I’m not being picky.

Their ‘keeper was responsible for some truly woeful kicking and clearances in the first half – the wind was against him, but Weaver didn’t have quite the same difficulties after the break. For the ten minutes after this City ran riot (I kid you not). Morrison had a thumping header from a corner tipped just over the bar (bet the ‘keeper’s hands are still smarting now), Taylor hit the bar and Horlock had a good – and hard – close range shot saved by the ‘keeper, and that did hurt. Macclesfield’s only chances of any note came when our midfield dozed off and let them have the ball, but there was nothing that Wiekens, then Morrison, then Weaver couldn’t cope with. The last fifteen minutes of the first half were dull though, we were more interested in trying to find out what the Platt Lane crowd were getting so worked up about as it certainly wasn’t the game. The soporific effect of the low standard of football was getting to the rest of the crowd too as we wondered for a couple of minutes why the planes going overhead were flying so low today. It was probably too windy for them higher up.

City were obviously treating this as a training ground exercise, which must have been a bit insulting to the Macclesfield players (and fans). It’s a good job Macc were quite as dire as they were as even our not-very-prolific strike force would have scored at least one of the chances they were presented with. Luckily their shooting’s about as on-target as ours and their best chance went just wide – I’m sure Weaver have it covered really… Pollock was frighteningly quiet in midfield, possibly because he’d been told off a couple of times by Morrison early on and was scared. I don’t blame him. Comedy moment number one had come when Cooke laid a perfectly weighted ball into the area for Pollock to tap into goal, he swung his foot at it and missed it completely. Cooke played well in the first half, creating some really good chances. He was guilty of a fair bit of greedy play, going for goal himself rather than laying the ball off for someone else in a better position, but you couldn’t blame him at all for thinking he had a better chance of scoring than anyone else! He really does look out of place in City’s team, especially the way they performed on Saturday.

The score at half time should have about 4-1 but never mind. Surely the second half would give us the goal-fest we were craving? The omens were good at half time when we won the kiddies’ penalty shoot out 5-0; now that would have been a respectable score line. Sadly the performance in the second half was even worse that that of the first. Macc decided they wanted to shed their “nice team, shame they can’t play football” image and picked on Michael Brown. Has he done something to upset them in a past life? There were a couple of iffy tackles on him in the first half, but I think three of their players were booked for fouling him from behind in the second. I’m amazed he managed to walk off the end of the pitch rather than be carried by the end of the game. Comedy moment number 2 was when Macc’s Simon Davies amused us greatly by refusing to give the ball back when a throw in was given against him – wasn’t he a Un**ed youth player? They obviously breed petulance into their boys young over at the Swamp. City’s second came – at last – when the ball fell to Goater on the left hand side in front of the Kippax. We all stood up. He passed it to Taylor on his left then carried on moving towards the penalty area ready to receive the return ball (note – this was the only time there was any off the ball movement during the whole game). We all sat down. Taylor decided he was going to take the ball into the area himself rather than using Goater. We all groaned. Two defenders came over to cover Taylor. We all stopped watching. Taylor somehow managed to take the ball to the left of both defenders and shoot, straight at the ‘keeper. Oh how embarr- oh hang on it’s gone in! He misses loads of easy shots then manages to squeeze a really difficult one under the ‘keeper! Is there no beginning to the man’s talents?

Comedy moment number 3 followed immediately afterwards as Macc decided to go for goal straight from the kick off. Yeah right, and you’re really going to beat Weaver like that. The only way that would have gone in was if one of the low flying aircraft had swooped down, grabbed it in a fishing net and swung it into the net at 300 miles an hour. As that didn’t happen Weaver just chested it down then launched it straight back down the field. We then had comedy moment number 4 – two of the Macc defenders bumped into each other and fell over in the penalty area. Oh how we laughed.

The rest of the game wasn’t good. City should have had a couple more but looked more likely to gift a goal to Macc. The ball was given away too many times in midfield and from one of these Macc really should have scored. Wiekens was nowhere as the Macc number 14 raced down on goal, only to be met by an onrushing Nick Weaver who came haring out of his area to show he can play football as well as look pretty and cleared the ball upfield. This lad is a complete star.

Bishop came on for Pollock and refused to head the ball – well it might have messed his hair up. Dickov came on for Taylor about 30 seconds after he’d scored – strange timing but it was nice to see Goater get a chance to stay on the pitch for a change. There was lots more scrappy football, a couple more bad challenges on Brown and – at last! – a chant from the Macclesfield fans. Well lads, City might yet be going nowhere but it’s pretty certain you’ll be playing your football in Division 3 next year. Brown was the only one showing any flair towards the end of the game. He had a couple of really good runs where he picked the ball up from midfield and ran goalwards, but there was never any outlet for him at the end and he couldn’t find a way past 5 defenders all at once. Not when they were all bigger than him.

In summary then, this was a good victory that should have been by double figures. Someone needs to remind Joe that it’s goals scored that count in this division – we’re almost 20 goals behind Preston and Saturday would have been a prime opportunity to catch them up. It’s easy to see how we lose against bad teams if that’s the way City play against them, talk about sloppy. Still, this is a game we probably would have lost at the start of the season and with Weaver in goal who’s worried? We’re in a play off place at last, can’t wait till May…

Sharon Bennett


‘Times they are a changin’, Bob Dylan once sang, well with City’s two front men both scoring in one match, maybe they are, but if you were there to see the game, maybe they are not. Macclesfield came and they looked like a dog in the lights of an oncoming car (scared), and the superior class of City told in the end.

City had a couple of good chances to go in front in the first few minutes, with Brown shooting wide (what would he be worth if he owned a decent pair of shooting boots?) oh well. Terry Cooke started this match on fire, the crosses were coming thick and fast, Taylor has great heading ability, but is really a very poor man’s Niall Quinn, because his finishing is woeful, it’s like my mother’s on a particularly bad day. When Dickov came on, he too left his shooting boots tucked at home underneath his bed. He tries, but so would I if I played for City; City don’t need another trier, they need a cutting edge, this score could and should have been a lot more.

Goater got his first goal, when he received the ball after some Kit Symons-ish defending from Macclesfield. He rounded the ‘keeper well and finished off from a tight angle. ‘One nil in your cup final’. I sat in the Kippax this week instead of my favourite North Stand and the atmosphere is not nearly as good, but still a whole lot better than ‘The Swamp’. On the half hour City were all over Macclesfield, but could not find the back of the net, Morrison had a header tipped over and Taylor hit the bar, but still no second goal; they had a chance to equalise and if they had it might have been a completely different result. Their number 10 was a bit of a nutter, having a go at the Kippax and any City player except Morrison (I told you he was a nutter, not a raving psychopath). Morrison has been the best buy at City for a while, good luck to him in his captaincy. Pollock after losing his captaincy didn’t play well, the game seemed to pass him by. Brown was good but was taken out of the game with a few dodgy tackles. Morrison got booked for a very light challenge, I was gutted for him, I hope it doesn’t mean a suspension for him.

Wiekens didn’t play as well as usual and missed a free header. Oh well, we’ll forgive him this once. Taylor eventually made it 2-0 and not before time, after some dreadful finishing he took his most difficult strike like a true pro, superb. When he was taken off, we lacked up front, Dickov missed a sitter after some good work. He’s OK, but not good enough (certainly for a million that he cost). Great results elsewhere, and City move up the table. Unbelievably, ‘Gio’ was at the game, but before you get excited about a loan move, he was only here visiting friends Tskhadadze and Shelia. Three points on the board, unbeaten since Christmas, no-one sent off, a bumper 31,000+ crowd, roll on ’99. Times they may well be a Changin’

Walter Smith (



A bright performance by City reserves, but ending in the wrong result. It was a game we could and should have won.

N. Fenton  Jobson    Shelia    Holmes
Tiatto    Mason    Jim Whitley  Heaney
           Allsopp    Dickov

Subs: Porteous, M. Brown (GK), Rimmer, Wright-Phillips, Mike.

City started off in 4-4-2 formation and the strong midfield quickly took hold of the game with Mason and Whitley looking dominant. Both sides however produced few chances in the first half. One bright moment occurred after a good passing movement when Dickov shot into the body of the Wednesday ‘keeper. Things were looking promising for the Blues until the 23rd minute when the ball hit Shelia’s arm in the box. Penalty! Wednesday scored, possibly by Scott Oakes, but it didn’t really concern me who it was.

Let me digress here for a moment. Wednesday made about 9 changes from the printed team sheet, and the public address in the main (South) stand at Hillsborough was dismal. I managed to hear some of the changes, but in effect I did not know who most of their players were. Of note were Francesco Sanetti (more of whom later) and Junior Agogo, who I can only presume Wednesday signed because of his great name – certainly not on his football ability. Back to the game. The same story unfolded for the rest of the first half, with lots of City possession but no real penetration. Half time: 1-0 to the Wednesday.

First half Hits: Gary Mason and Jim Whitley in midfield. Shelia at his solid best – he seems to be able to win the ball in the air every time without even jumping – however, his first reaction is to hoof the ball upfield rather than playing a simple pass. First half Misses: Neil Heaney. He was pretty ineffective. Is he right footed? What was he doing on the left wing then? At half time my son and I found we were sitting just in front of Francesco Sanetti’s mum. A group of Italians had just come in with one Italian-speaking Sheffield resident. Sanetti is Wednesday’s new foreign signing and part of his family had come over to see him. He was originally listed as a substitute for this game but actually started the game. This was great news to his mum. During the second half there were shouts of “Bravo, Francesco!” and “Well done” in an Italian accent. All in all though I have to say that Francesco was fairly anonymous in his striker rôle.

There were big changes for the second half. Dickov, Allsopp and Nick Fenton did not appear, and Leon Mike, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Steve Rimmer took their places. Presumably Rimmer is back after his loan spell at Doncaster. Changes were also made to the formation with Holmes moving into the left side of midfield, leaving three at the back. Danny Tiatto moved into the middle and Jim Whitley went wide on the right. I thought that the replacement of the front two was desperation stakes and an acknowledgement that we had lost the match. How wrong could I be – but not about the result. Again City had most of the possession and the new strikers looked sharp and capable of causing trouble in the Wednesday defence. Heaney improved in a freer rôle. Tiatto was looking good in the centre of midfield. Is this his best position? All that possession still produced few chances until the last twenty minutes when all hell broke loose. Leon Mike showed strength and skill in receiving balls and shielding from defenders. Wright-Phillips was fast and capable of taking on the Wednesday defenders, and when he started to run through the middle of the defence he looked really dangerous. On one such run he was body-checked on the edge of the area. The culprit was sent off by the referee. I don’t know who it was (see earlier about the public address), but it might have been Bromby. I apologise here if it was somebody else. The resultant free kick was blasted over the bar by Heaney. Against ten men City now moved Jobson up as a centre forward, keeping Shelia and Rimmer at the back. 2-5-3 formation! Two minutes later Shaun ran into the area again and after beating two defenders was brought down by the ‘keeper. Penalty! At last we would have a chance to get back on terms which we definitely deserved. The ‘keeper was yellow-carded, with some Wednesday fans saying he should have been sent off as well. Tiatto stepped up to take the penalty and blasted the ball against the bar. It was then cleared. Oh no, what do we have to do to score? At the other end Danny Tiatto plays a lame backpass which Tommy Wright would never reach. Two Wednesday forwards take it in turns to fire shots at the City goal but Tommy makes two brilliant saves when all looked lost. City finished off with total domination and pressure but could not get the ball in the net. Result: a 1-0 loss in a match where we at least deserved a draw and should have won.

Second half Hits: Wright-Phillips and Mike up front. Tiatto in the centre of midfield. Tommy Wright’s saves. Second half Misses: Tiatto’s backpass. Tiatto’s penalty miss. Lack of goals.

City Exiles in Yorkshire, Arthur Hill (


Colchester United vs. Manchester City
Saturday 20th March, Kick-off 6.00pm

Tickets for this fixture will go on sale to Regular Season ticket holders from 9.00am on Saturday 20th February at 9.00am. supporters will require voucher ‘GG’ from their season ticket books.

Ticket Office – Manchester City


Gio Rumour?

Blue View was understandably buoyant on Saturday night, and the optimism stretched to speculation about the reasons for Gio’s attendance at the game – he was given a Messiah’s welcome by the Platt Lane stand as he showed his face in one of the boxes. With Joe reported as being on the hunt for additional loan players, coupled with an apparent lack of interest on the part of the Premiership – Villa boss John Gregory has hinted that he has no interest in him – one line of argument goes that JR has seen the light and is planning to take him on loan to the end of the season and put him in the shop window for Ajax. Sounds far-fetched but you never know.


With the bookies apparently feeling we were the strongest home banker of the weekend – William Hills had us at 4-11 to win – City fans would have been forgiven for fearing the worst given our unpredictability of old. Joe Royle certainly saw this as a crucial test of our ability to win against the teams below us, so he’ll be pleased with the result if not the manner of its achievement. The unbeaten run continues after Saturday’s 2-0 win; 6 wins and 3 draws and a 13-2 goals record since Christmas leave us in 5th place albeit with our rivals mostly having at least a game in hand. Over 31,000 saw City deal comfortably with Macclesfield and the reports I’ve read suggest it ought to have been a bigger winning margin given the extent of our control of the game. Messrs Goater and Taylor must have been conscious of the criticism of their strike rate in Blue View and McVittee and with Dickov and Allsopp on the bench they duly delivered the goods, the former as a result of latching onto a poor back pass and the latter scoring with an assist from Goater.

Reserves Lose

Only the fourth defeat and second time that they’ve failed to score in a Pontin’s League game this season means City stay third in the table after losing 1-0 to Sheffield Wednesday last Thursday. City are now seven points behind leaders Coventry with two games in hand; Oldham are second, three points ahead of City.

Danny Tiatto missed a penalty two minutes from the end – given after substitute Shaun Wright-Phillips was fouled – after a goal from Scott Oakes (whatever happened to that speculation?) midway through the first half gave the Wednesday the lead in a game the Blues can count themselves unlucky to lose.

Starting line-up: Tommy Wright in goal, then Nick Fenton, Shaun Holmes, Murtaz Shelia, Richard Jobson, Danny Tiatto, Gary Mason, Jim Whitley, Neil Heaney, Paul Dickov and Danny Allsopp. Next game: Tuesday night at Hyde against Wolves.


It would seem JR still harbours hopes of saving Kevin Horlock and Tony Vaughan from suspension. “We are disturbed about a number of things that happened at Dean Court and we’ve made our feelings known about Kevin Horlock’s so-called dissent. We’ve seen Tony Vaughan’s foul again on the video and it’s hard to see where the foul was, never mind the booking. But bearing in mind the recent record we’ve had when we have appealed I would rate our chances of success as very slim.” I’m sure he’s taking the realistic approach of reckoning without them for the trip to Chesterfield this Saturday along with Jamie Pollock and Andy Morrison.

Joe was reported as saying that he felt we were OK for defensive cover for Morrison and Vaughan and that Gerard Wiekens injury is nothing to worry about, but mentioned that the problem is in midfield, especially on the left side, saying “I have made one or two enquiries and will be looking to take these bids a step further early on in the week.”

A more unlikely bit of gossip on TeamTalk is that we’re allegedly one of 12 English clubs chasing Røsenborg star defender Andre Bergolmo. Given our defensive record and squad strength this seems unlikely to go much further even if we could find the £2 million required to make a move for him and if the competition from, Newcastle, Leeds, Spurs, Arsenal, West Ham, Everton, Nottingham Forest, Villa, Sunderland, Huddersfield and Wolves was to come to nothing.

Chairman Praises Manager

Now there’s something you don’t get too often in football, but David Bernstein has hailed Joe Royle as the inspiration behind the rebirth of the Blues. “Given the situation he inherited, I think he has done a marvellous job. The problems that the club have faced have been well documented. The squad was far too large, whilst being terribly unbalanced. However, we have set targets for the future and I reckon we have come a long way over the last few months. The squad looks so much better now and I am confident in another six months, our rebuilding should be complete”“On the playing side of things I think that our performances of late speak for themselves.”

Meanwhile, Joe has confirmed that there is still a bit of housekeeping to be done as he starts his second year in charge but he does not anticipate so many major changes. “If a player comes in then inevitably there will be someone in their position who will be deemed as not going to make it. That means they may have to make way.”“We will be trimming our squad wherever possible to give youth a chance to come through but we don’t want to stockpile players like the club has done in the past.”

Wright Stuff?

Could the answer to our scoring problems be on the doorstep? The MEN reckons Joe might be considering thrusting 17-year old Shaun Wright-Phillips into the first team fray before the end of the season, which could see him make an earlier début than did his old man who did not make his first senior appearance for Crystal Palace until the age of 21. “Shaun is very much in our minds at the moment. He has come on in leaps and bounds since arriving at the club.”“He has flown up the ladder and can compare against any of our best young players. The first-team lads are even commenting on his emergence and that is always a good sign.”“He has played for the reserves and acquitted himself well, but we have to be a little bit patient.”“We need our most experienced players at the moment and obviously Shaun still has a great deal to learn. Still, I have always believed that if you are good enough, then you are old enough.”

Able to play in midfield or up front, we took him on at the start of this season. Nottingham Forest felt he was too small to make the grade but youth academy supremo, Jim Cassell, spotted the potential of the 5ft 3ins youngster. His faith has been rewarded, with Wright-Phillips netting eight goals this season – including a hat-trick in last week’s 8-0 win over Aston Villa.

“I don’t like singling out players, but Shaun has done very well this season,” said Cassell. “He has wonderful balance for a youngster and has obviously inherited the knack of scoring goals.” Let’s hope Jim’s judgement is up to scratch.

All Together Now

Apparently there was an extended rendition of Blue Moon in a variety of musical styles towards the end of Saturday’s game, though I understand the first verse got something of a hammering. So courtesy of Blue View, here’s a cut out and take with you for future reference:

Blue Moon, you saw me standing alone,
Without a dream in my heart,
Without a love of my own.

Blue Moon, you knew just what I was there for,
You heard me saying a prayer for,
Someone I could really care for.

And then there suddenly appeared before me,
the only one my arms will ever hold,
I heard someone whisper “Please adore me”,
And when I looked my moon had turned to gold.

Blue Moon, now I’m no longer alone,
Without a dream in my heart,
Without a love of my own.

… I hope those lyrics are correct 🙂

Geoff Donkin (


I have not read the CITY magazine’s interview with Terry Cooke and do not know what he had to say about making the deal permanent, but I thought I would give a you a quote straight from the horse’s mouth (as it were).

I wrote in a previous issue about some players visiting my son, Amrik, in hospital prior to his operation just before Xmas. As a follow up to this, we were guests of Jamie Pollock in the Players’ Lounge for the Macclesfield game (the day of his 12th birthday) and the lad even got to do the half-time draw courtesy of Jo Blakeway. I will try to get him to do a write up of the “best birthday he’s ever had” in a future issue. Needless to say he went armed with camera and newly purchased autograph book in pursuit of momentoes of his big day. After asking Eddie McGoldrick “when he would be fit again for 1st team action” before the match, he was hesitant to engage any others in conversation for fear of putting his foot in it again, but did pluck up the courage to ask TC what he was doing at the end of his loan spell. TC’s reply was that it was “up to Joe Royle and that if JR wanted him, he was happy to stay”. Now this may have just have been a diplomatic reply to a young fan, but it suggests to me that he is keen to stay and happy enough to play in a blue shirt, despite the obvious lure of OT.

It was also interesting to note that he seemed to be accepted as one of the crowd by the other players and not an outsider from a big team, as I know some players who go out on loan to other clubs are made to feel. Let’s hope JR does the right thing and persuades the board to part with some cash before the transfer deadline.

Jagdeep Gill (


I’ve added quite a few more jokes to my anti-Man United joke page:

I make no claim to originality however, as they were all lifted from an e-mail someone sent me!

Contributions to the page would be welcomed and acknowledged – e-mail:


CTMBCMDTAW (City Till My Boss Catches Me Doing This At Work), Dan Nunn – Oxford (


About six years ago Brian Coddington refereed Northampton Town vs. Hereford United and sent off four … count ’em four … Hereford players.

Remarkably the Bulls hung on for a one all draw.

I was there working for BBC Hereford and Worcester and it made me a fortune ’cause suddenly Five Live and everyone wanted match reports.

Hereford player Steve Devine, now with Hednesford I think, did an interview with me after in which he described Coddington as the worst ref he’d ever seen. Said he completely lost it.

It was broadcast nationally and Devine didn’t get into trouble. Which shows what the powers that be thought of Coddington.

I remember at the end of the game the Northampton players were going up to the sent-off Hereford men shaking their heads as if to say “We don’t know what was going on either.”

When I read over my report to Five Live I mentioned that Coddington was described as a local government employee. The woman who recorded it came back to me and said. “He must be a poll tax collector.” Nuff said.

Miles Barter (


I sent the opinion on the two dunnies to a work colleague who replied that Tiatto could be anything but (like Andy Noise said) doesn’t like “tracking back”, and has a short fuse. Apparently, that’s what you learn at Croatian clubs! He reminded me of Australia’s game against Scotland two years ago when Tiatto came on and within a minute had “clattered that big ugly sod who was with Blackburn at the time.” (Colin Hendry! – just remembered).

But the real news in this reply is that Jim Tsekinis is at South Melbourne now. Opinion is he had some form a few years ago (with West Adelaide) but that he’s “too small, even though he has a big heart. Champion bench warmer material.” Fausto de Amici is also back at South Melbourne after his short trial with City.

Sebastian Harvey ( with opinion from Phillip Bird


In the last MCIVTA, Elaine Clegg did a lot of people (even her mum and dad!) a disservice with her turn-around support of Joe Royle and criticism of the so called ‘boo brigade’. Elaine I think you have missed the point big style, and your initial perceptions regarding Joe Royle were correct. Certainly, in my opinion, Joe Royle can take little if any ‘credit’ for where City currently are (7th in the old Third Division). And, through an even bigger irony, it is in fact the City fans who I believe have brought the turn-around about; for not settling for 15th best, and particularly, for having the guts to stand up and criticise Joe, and point out the total hypocrisy that has emanated from Maine Road for over a year (if not a hell of a lot longer).

Let’s look at the facts. Joe Royle took over City with around a third of a season to go, in a mediocre division, with an absolutely massive squad to choose from. Meanwhile, Alan Ball (who we all know is the worse manager don’t we?), was at Portsmouth, with a harder job and far less resources. The reason I am fed up with people having a go at Ball, is, if they were so right in their view of him, then Royle would have kept us up, and Ball would have taken Pompey down. As we know, this didn’t happen, and I think in comparison with what Ball achieved, Royle did a lousy job in charge of City last year, whilst maybe, Bally was a ‘football genius’ for what he achieved at Pompey (can a statto tell us how does his record compares to JR’s overall?)

More specifically, JR’s decision to drop Kinkladze was directly responsible for taking us down: this was just rank bad management. And we can be certain that if the boot had been on the other foot, i.e. if JR had kept us up, then believe me, we would never have heard the end of how our little Georgian genius was the cause of all our problems (King-of-the-Kippax please take note). So I’m actually glad we went down, because I love(d) Gio so much, that I didn’t want this to happen, and anyway, I’m sick of the bulls**t talked about ‘unit’s, work-rate and cloggers etc.

On top of this, JR said that City had a ridiculously massive squad and that he would only bring in players if they were better than the ones we had. Two seconds after saying this, he did what every other City manager has done upon arrival (after dispensing with their brains that is) – he bought players based on prejudice, without assessing the squad. Did we really need yet another centre half (Jobson), did we need a kicker (Pollock) instead of the far more capable Michael Brown, did we need a striker with the likes of Russell kicking his heels in the squad? I don’t think so, and I am sick of City managers not looking carefully at our own squad before reaching for our chequebook (far too many examples to cite here).

So we dropped down to a ridiculously low standard division, and where are we now? Rubbing shoulders (barely) with the likes of Chesterfield, Gillingham and Walsall, and, we are absolutely miles off the pace, points wise. Presumably, relegation last season wasn’t JR’s fault, and our mediocrity this season wasn’t either. Oh but, the minute we string a few results together, then JR immediately takes the credit! Being manager of City must be the greatest job in the world, because if things go wrong it is someone else’s fault (usually the chairman’s), and if things go well, the manager can take all the credit.

Let’s face it, until Christmas we were absolutely bobbins and I cannot blame any City fan for having a go. Furthermore, let us look at what a good number of City fans were saying needed to happen for things to get better (see our very own MCIVTAs for the proof). First of all, we needed to drop the pathetic five-at-the-back wing-back system. Secondly, we needed a winger and thirdly, we needed a left full-back (the much criticised Tony Vaughan just wasn’t a left-back – everyone but JR could see it). We have the genius of Alex Ferguson to thank for our much needed winger don’t we? And guess who sold our only two decent wingers (Tony Scully and Buster Philips) without even watching them play? Also can you remember last year, when Kakhaber was transfer listed (no use to us, apparently)? Only to become by the Fulham game at the start of this season, absolutely indispensible. Pass the sick bag please, I’ve had enough.

Oh no I haven’t, we have JR’s treatment of Michael Brown to consider. The City fans told JR and the club as long ago as last season, that Michael Brown was the our best player, and that was after he played only 18 games for us. Did Joe thank us for our foresight? Absolutely, not! Instead, he had to show us who is boss by not playing him. Indeed, better try to get rid of him before he proves that the fans do indeed know what they are talking about. If Brown signs another contract under JR then he wants his head feeling – he owes the club nothing, and deserves a lot more (i.e. fairer) treatment, at a much higher level. Joe seems only to play his favourites, and the likes of Brown and Russell, and of course anyone who happens to be from Georgia, just don’t seem to get a fair chance. I sometime feel that Pollock and Vaughan could get sent off every game, score own goals, miscue passes all over the place and never be out of the reckoning in Joe’s eyes.

So if Joe Royle actually knew what he was doing and was deserving of our total support, we simply would not be where we are. And I for one will not give him any credit for dropping the wing back system, playing a winger, playing Brownie, not playing Vaughan at left-back, because we’ve been telling him to do it for the best part of a year. Also, at the start of this season, I would not have accepted our current position in this league as in any way acceptable. So where on earth are our standards?

Elaine also asks why do City fans go to matches if only to boo, even if it is at the expense of those fans who would rather sit back and allow (enjoy?) the club to slip silently ever downward. The answer is simply that we are the club, not just some passive cinema goers. If City were our local Odeon, then they would be very lucky to be a small bingo hall in a very rough part of town. Personally, I no longer boo the players myself, but I understand and will not criticise those who do (my disdain is reserved only for the Munich disaster chanters). City fans boo to make sure that the manager knows that we know what is going on. They boo to make sure that if he continues to pick players not on merit, but on some ‘pals-only’ based system, then we know we are being short-changed and cheated (so by the way, are the players on the bench). Finally, to even hint (as Joe and Willy) have done, that City’s problems arise from the fans criticising the team, totally insults us at the expense of the Arsenal, Tottenham, and yes, United fans, whose clubs presumably must be highly successful because their fans are more committed, loyal and supportive than we are. Pass the sick bag again please, I will never accept the validity of this particular line of thinking.

Don’t get me wrong, Elaine. I know exactly where you are coming from, we are all glad to see City at long last headed in the right direction. But Royle has made a lot of mistakes since his arrival, and has just about broke even in my reckoning. Also you maybe owe your mum and dad an apology(!), firstly because from what I’ve seen over the last two decades, we have had plenty to gripe about, and secondly, imagine if they’d let you become a Rag just so you could see some nice trophies and sit with the ‘better’ supporters! If apologies are due from anyone though, it is the ‘beyond criticism’ managers who should be making them (has anyone ever heard one). Instead, it always sad that it is we fans who turn on ourselves in the frustration of it all.

Best regards to Elaine and Blues everywhere… it’s a laugh really!

CTIHAMAFTMWAI (City till I hear a manager apologise for the mess we are in), Neil Haigh (


In reply to Martin Ford’s comments in the MCIVTA 476 regarding the MEN reporter Richard Burgess, I’d just like to speak in his defence! I went to University (in Manchester) with Richard and he’s the reason that I’m a City fan now. He was (and, I’m sure, is) an ardent City fan, who has supported them all his life (literally!). However, when I knew him he was far from a brown noser when speaking about his beloved team. At the time of the “Swales out” campaign, we were looking for a student house. A group of us found a property just off Claremont Road, within sight of the Kippax. We told Richard about this, saying “It’s just a stone’s throw from Maine Road.” “That’s no good” he replied “I may well be tempted to throw stones!”

Jason Harper (


I just want to say that I couldn’t agree more with Elaine Clegg. Firstly, from what I have seen and heard about Craig Hignett, both before and after he signed for Barnsley, it appears he is an outstanding player, undoubtedly Premier League class. Perhaps the biggest tragedy about us not signing him, other than it was because we wouldn’t cough up the extra £200,000, is the fact that he really wanted to join us.

Being in the 2nd Division, very few class players will want to come, both Beauchamp and Fjørtoft have rejected us, so really Hignett was probably a totally one-off opportunity to buy real quality. I could go on, mentioning how he would have transformed our season, how he would have lifted the dressing room spirit (so says Pollock), how the Scottish commentator said on one of Aberdeen’s earlier games that he will be one of the stars of the Scottish season etc. but I might cry so I won’t. Secondly, if we get the cash injection, then we must buy Jason Roberts! The guy is so class. He is strong, powerful, and pacy (all that Goater was supposed to be when we signed him, and then wasn’t), and most importantly, he is a goalscorer! He has scored about 15 goals since they sold Hayles, and Roberts really stood out for me when he played them. I don’t usually notice opposition players as I am watching City players closely, but Roberts caused us huge problems at Maine Road. So, Joe, buy him, even if he costs over a million. A class striker is the difference between us being the best in the division and play-off potential.

Mark Braude (


Stone me! “5th”. Are we dreaming… pinch me someone.

Goater and Taylor score… nah must be a dream.

Promotion beckons… only 1 goal conceded in the last 7… however, our defence will be missing at Chesterfield next week…

Still, either I’m crazy or do I detect a growing optimism amongst Blues worldwide?

Wotcha reckon fellow Blues?

Chris Loveridge – Hawkeye of the “Bay” (


I am giving a talk about The Decline of Manchester City, about where they went wrong. I would appreciate it if people could send me any information, facts, jokes or anecdotes or any useful material about this subject. My email is and my ICQ number is: 19422460. Thanks.

Jon Abel (


Anyone out there in Sri Lanka, I will be moving from Bermuda to Sri Lanka in the next couple of months. Would appreciate knowing if we have any Blues out there. City for over 40 years. The good times are a coming back. Keep up the great work you guys. We fans who are in foreign parts sure appreciate all the news.

Steve Davies (


Due to a late change of plan, I now find myself without tickets for the game on Saturday. Bit of a long shot I know, but does anyone have 2 spare tickets?

Kathryn Bircher (


Second Division Results, Saturday, February 20 1999

Blackpool                 0-1  Lincoln City           4,215
                               Miller (81)
Bristol Rovers            1-0  Luton Town             6,361
Tillson (26)
Fulham                    2-1  Notts County          11,909
Horsfield (36, 57)             Owers (82)
Gillingham                1-1  Colchester United      7,276
Asaba (22)                     Duguid (64)
Manchester City           2-0  Macclesfield Town     31,086
Goater (14)
Taylor (67)
Millwall                  2-0  Stoke City             7,855
Harris (39)
Cahill (64)
Oldham Athletic           0-1  Northampton Town       4,752
                               Corazzin (pen 9)
Reading                   2-1  Preston North End     10,937
Caskey (55)                    Basham (80)
Thorpe (pen 90)
Walsall                   1-1  Chesterfield           5,268
Rammell (45)                   Williams (11)
Wigan Athletic            2-1  Bournemouth            4,144
Liddell (54)                   Robinson (90)
Barlow (79)
Wrexham                   1-1  York City              2,980
Thompson (og 13)               Pouton (57)
Wycombe Wanderers         2-0  Burnley                5,195
Simpson (51)
Scott (52)

Second Division Table
Up to and including Saturday, February 20 1999 (6:09pm)

                              HOME            AWAY
                         P  W  D  L  F  A   W  D  L  F  A   Pts   GS
Fulham                  29 12  2  1 29  9   7  3  4 14 13    62   43
Preston North End       31  8  4  3 32 17   9  4  3 24 15    59   56
Walsall                 31  9  5  3 25 17   8  2  4 18 17    58   43
Gillingham              30 11  4  2 32 12   2  9  2 15 15    52   47
MANCHESTER CITY         31  8  5  2 23  9   5  7  4 15 14    51   38
Bournemouth             29 10  4  0 30  7   4  4  7 18 22    50   48
Stoke City              29  8  3  3 21 11   7  0  8 16 19    48   37
Wigan Athletic          30  8  3  3 23  8   5  4  7 21 22    46   44
Millwall                32  6  7  3 23 16   6  3  7 13 21    46   36
Chesterfield            30 11  1  3 25 10   2  6  7  9 17    46   34
Reading                 30  7  6  4 23 20   4  4  5 13 20    43   36
Blackpool               31  5  6  4 18 15   5  5  6 14 19    41   32
Luton Town              29  6  3  4 17 14   4  5  7 21 25    38   38
Bristol Rovers          28  6  6  3 24 18   2  6  5 16 14    36   40
York City               32  4  7  5 21 21   5  2  9 19 31    36   40
Colchester United       31  5  5  5 15 21   3  7  6 19 24    36   34
Wrexham                 30  6  4  6 16 20   3  4  7 14 25    35   30
Burnley                 32  5  6  5 15 17   3  4  9 21 35    34   36
Oldham Athletic         31  5  2  8 16 20   4  4  8 14 21    33   30
Lincoln City            30  6  3  6 20 20   2  3 10 10 27    30   30
Northampton Town        30  2  8  3 12 13   4  3 10 13 21    29   25
Wycombe Wanderers       31  6  3  8 21 17   0  6  8  8 23    27   29
Notts County            29  4  3  7 17 19   2  4  9 11 25    25   28
Macclesfield Town       30  3  4  7 10 16   2  5  9 11 23    24   21

Dorien James (
With thanks to Soccernet


Contributions: Ashley –
News & Rumours: Peter –
Subscriptions & Club Questions: Steve –
Technical Problems: Paul –

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,

Newsletter #477