Newsletter #482

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City recorded their highest away victory for 61 years against Burnley, with first half goals for Horlock and Morrison, and a second half hat-trick for Shaun Goater, with the final goal coming from Danny Allsopp. Inbetween, City managed to hit the post several times, whilst the Burnley ‘keeper acquitted himself well, with a few really good saves. All in all, it could have been 16 (the words of Elton Welsby on television later that night); Burnley’s defence was completely AWOL in the second half with Steve McMahon (as Elton’s sidekick) failing to think of a worse defensive performance in his entire footballing career. However, this shouldn’t be allowed to detract too much from City’s own performance, six is a lot away from home, however woeful the opposition. Unfortunately, we don’t have a single match report – can anyone rectify this situation for the next issue?

This issue has the usual news, including an appeal for opinions on a proposed revamp for Mancity.net. We also have the view from inside BSkyB with respect to pay-per-view (PPV), it seems PPV may not be the inevitability that some believe. There are more old songs; the guide to the promotion run-in from Richard Mottershead, and lastly, some nostalgic reminiscences from City’s pre-war days.

Anyone care to do a Why Blue?

Next game, Oldham Athletic at home, Saturday 13th March 1999

MATCHVIEW

A quick matchview of the Burnley game, I know some City fans love to poor cold water over anything good that happens and we will no doubt hear many “well Burnley were sh*t so we should stuff them” comments but I would like to congratulate the team on a very professional performance and say thank you for a thoroughly enjoyable night! We slaughtered them and it is no exaggeration to say we could have scored a dozen. Yes Burnley were poor, but apart from a spell in the first half (when we stopped passing the ball and were hoofing it down the pitch) we never gave them a chance to be anything but poor. I know a few Burnley fans and they said that City were the best team they had seen at Turf Moor this season, saying how good our technical ability and passing was. One thing that delights me now is the team spirit. Every player is genuinely happy for each other when they score and they all celebrate together. It was nice (if fickle) to hear “there’s only one Shaun-ie Goater” being sung as the fans realise that the lad needs confidence to make up for what he lacks in natural talent.

I still have reservations about the Taylor-Goater pairing, however, as was commented on in last MCIVTA, if one of them becomes provider the other will score, as was proved on Tuesday when Taylor provided three very selfless crosses for Goater then Allsopp to tap in. I remember listening to Lineker once saying that the measure of a good striker is not the number of times he receives a pass, but the number of off-the-ball runs that he makes that amount to nothing in most cases. He scored many tap ins but he probably made 20 runs for every goal he scored, he anticipated where the ball might go and was always on his toes. Our strikers tend to wait until the pass has been made and the ball is nearly at its destination until they move to it. Morrison shows that you don’t need great height to win the ball in the air, just good anticipation, timing and above all an absolute determination that you will win it. On the occasion that Taylor and Goater have been fired up enough to go in for a ball in this manner they have always won it.

Elaine Clegg (elaine@city4eva.demon.co.uk)

NEWS SUMMARY

City Run Riot

I seem to have some kind of talent for it. One Saturday in November 1987, for example, I decided to cancel plans to make what was admittedly given my location and finances at the time, a tortuous and expensive trip to Maine Road. The reason, which everyone I’d told beforehand found hilarious in retrospect, was that I expected the match I’d have witnessed to be “boring”. I missed what is (and may well remain) the only occasion in my lifetime that City have notched double figures in a competitive match. Less than two years later I was in Cologne, and on the morning of a rather notable Manchester derby clash, I remember justifying my extreme pessimism to a friend. “I can’t see where the goals will come from,” I elaborated. So, having said in my preview of the Burnley game that we’d do well to scrape a one-nil victory, I shouldn’t be all that surprised that we in fact managed our most convincing away win since a 7-1 triumph at Derby’s Baseball Ground back in 1938.

City are still sixth, but the high-scoring win at Turf Moor not surprisingly puts a much rosier complexion on the league table. We’re five points clear of Stoke, who are seventh, and Chesterfield, who are below them on goals scored. Wigan are a further two points back. Stoke have two games in hand (they lost 4-0 at home to Reading on Wednesday) while Wigan have three, but the old cliché is that it’s better to have the points in the bag. And we’re now only three points behind Gillingham after they surprisingly lost 1-0 at struggling Macclesfield. This unbeaten run represents City’s longest in the league since 1976-77, when we went fourteen matches without defeat. So far, we’re on twelve this time round, and with home games against two strugglers to come, there must (insofar as anything can be relied on in the surreal world of Manchester City) be every prospect of matching the team of 22 years ago, a side in which both of the current managerial duo played, of course.

Goater Answers Critics

To compound the spectacular inaccuracy of the predictions in the last issue’s news (a failing which, I hasten to add, absolutely delights me), there was a hat-trick for Shaun Goater. Of course, 24 hours earlier, I’d chosen to highlight his paltry recent goalscoring return and used it as a basis to suggest that Goater should be omitted from the team. In fact, Joe admitted that had Paul Dickov not been ruled out through suspension, the Bermudan international may have been left on the bench at Turf Moor. Goater’s hat trick came in the space of 15 minutes in the second half, and amazingly it meant he scored as many goals in a quarter of an hour as he had in almost five months since October 17. Should Tuesday’s feat get Shaun back on track for his 25 goal target which looked a formality in the autumn, it would certainly bode well. If the meanness of a defence which has conceded three goals in twelve games could be supplemented with a regular source of goals, we’d certainly be hard to stop.

No Transfer News

Joe has said that he has no imminent transfer dealings following last week’s disappointment when the Stan Lazaridis loan deal broke down. Reports now aren’t even adding the caveat that this state of affairs might change if there’s a cash investment soon. Whether this is simply because everyone’s now bored with waiting for developments on that front, or whether it’s because there definitely won’t be any before the deadline, I don’t know. Of course, one development Blues are keenly awaiting if the cash becomes available is the conclusion of a permanent deal for Terry Cooke. A rumour has reached me, however, that this will only happen if the promotion bid is successful. While Terry obviously enjoys life at City, he appears not to enjoy it enough to turn down the chance to play at a higher status should we only be able to offer him the glamour of Lincoln, Wycombe and other similarly exotic stages for his talents next term. Meanwhile, outgoing transfer rumours have Craig Russell, currently on loan at Port Vale, as a target for either Hearts or Hibs depending on which reports you read.

Reserves News

Fresh from a goal at Burnley in his 20-minute run out as a substitute in the first team, Danny Allsopp returned to the reserves for Wednesday’s Manchester Senior Cup tie away to Bury. And after netting the sixth and final goal in the carnage at Turf Moor, one news service reported that Allsopp continued his good reserve goalscoring record with two goals against the Shakers. However, the Manchester Evening News says that it was in fact Jamie Pollock and Danny Tiatto who netted the first two goals. The second string managed only half the tally notched by the seniors the night before, but I won’t turn my nose up at a 3-0 away win. There appears to be no dispute that Neil Heaney scored the other goal, so he may have impressed Bristol City if they’re still watching him.

Kinky For Goodison?

Ajax have apparently slashed their asking price for Georgi Kinkladze to £2 million in a desperate bid to off-load the Georgian. Having started only fifteen games since his summer move from City without once finding the net, Kinky has been consigned to the reserves, where he’s playing in front of crowds of 250. And after enjoying hero status at Maine Road, he couldn’t be further from similar adulation now. The Ajax press officer said, “He’s a very good player but he doesn’t suit our system. He has not fitted in and generally speaking is a moody guy.” Reports have said that Kinkladze has been offered to a host of Premiership clubs but that none is interested in signing him even at the bargain fee Ajax will accept. However, there’s a rumour that Ajax might just find one taker, and if it’s true, Gio will be back in the northwest of England playing in blue before long. It won’t be a case of City taking up our option on the player, though – Joe Royle has already discounted that possibility. Reports are claiming he’ll join Everton in the next couple of weeks in a deal alleged in some sources to have been brokered by Francis Lee!

In Brief

A few short items: Burnley manager Stan Ternent has vowed not to resign despite their drubbing at the hands of City on Tuesday … next season, the Nationwide league will kick off on Saturday 7 August, and City will play friendlies at Bristol City and Stockport on the two preceding Saturdays … Niall Quinn evoked memories of his famous penalty save for City against Derby when he replaced the injured Thomas Sorensen in the Sunderland goal for the last 15 minutes of their win at Bradford … Kevin Horlock is likely to suffer a two-match ban as a result of his controversial dismissal last Saturday … Joe has the weekend selection dilemma of whether to restore Jamie Pollock, who played for the reserves in midweek, to the midfield after his suspension – there’s an enforced change at the back, though, with Lee Crooks serving a one-match ban … Chris Greenacre has returned at the end of his three-month loan spell at Scarborough, while Alan Bailey is staying at Macclesfield on loan for another month.

Rough Justice

Apparently, Sunday’s Observer newspaper didn’t think much of the refereeing at Maine Road on Saturday. Their match report stated that his performance “should have Mr. Messias [the referee] examining his conscience”, before going on at length to remember another fateful decision three years ago (and it seems like an age) in the Cup at Old Trafford. The report lambasted Alan Wilkie’s spot-kick award that day as “one of the worst refereeing decisions of the decade”, but, grave injustice though it was, it sounds like nothing to me compared to one or two of the events in recent weeks. At a time when Premiership referees are coming under ever-increasing scrutiny, I can’t help wondering what kind of outcry there’d be if David Beckham were sent off for aggressive walking or trying to get a shot in.

Oldham Preview

Manchester City and Oldham have what must surely be a contender for longest list of ties between two clubs in English football. However, while City’s current backroom staff is full of Latics connections, I can’t offhand think of one of our old boys currently at Boundary Park. When we faced Joe Royle’s Oldham sides in the 1980s and early 1990s, there was always a strange tendency for City to dominate on their patch while the Latics fared far better against us when they were visitors. An Uwe Rösler goal was enough to ensure a 1-0 City win on the last such occasion, however, so let’s hope that particular run has been well and truly laid to rest in time for a game which will be vital to both sides – Latics are in trouble, just a point above the relegation places. As trying to talk down our chances seemed to work in midweek, let’s reflect on City’s tendency to meet expectations following a big win with a damp squib of a performance. In the last few years, it’s happened after the big Cup-tie win against Leicester, after the battering of Swindon last term, and of course when we followed the 7-1 league cup demolition of Notts County with a 0-0 draw against Wrexham at the start of this season. Let’s hope these things go in threes.

Blue Murder

Mr. Manchester certainly seems to have an interest in matters and people Blue – hardly surprising, though, given that the MEN’s diary isn’t referred to as “Mr. ‘Anywhere we can palm off shoddy merchandise on the sheep-like masses’ Diary”. Most recently it reported that Howard Davies, chairman of the Financial Services Authority but more importantly for Mr. Manchester an ardent City fan, had been musing on the similarity between Chilean dictator General Pinochet and Manchester City football club. This, apparently, is because “both know about dragging thousands of people into football stadia in order to torture them”. I’m no admirer of Pinochet’s methods to say the least, but I have no objection to City indulging in the practice as long as we remember it should be limited to opposing supporters. It’s happened all too rarely over the years, but maybe, just maybe, Tuesday night is a sign that we’re learning.

Peter Brophy (brophy_peter@hotmail.com)

REVAMP – WWW.MANCITY.NET

We are intending to revamp the <http://www.mancity.net/> website over the next few months in preparation for next season.

The team of City fans that work on the site have put together lots of ideas recently and have now decided on the improvements and enhancements we feel will make the site even better than at present. We want to complement rather than compete with existing City resources (both official and unofficial). We have already discussed some of our plans with those involved in many of these sites and are willing to cooperate with those who are involved with City on the Internet, to further aspects which will be of mutual benefit (and benefit to City fans).

For this reason, the changes we intend to make are aimed at giving the site a greater focus on the aspects of it which are unique to mancity.net. We hope to promote an ethos of bringing together City fans from around the world and bringing them closer to the club. As the home of the OSC and Tribal Gathering pages, we feel the site is well equipped to fulfil this rôle.

I would like to ask whether you would like to see anything on www.mancity.net that would be either informative or fun that is not there presently. We will do our best to provide it. We want to offer you a site which you will enjoy.

Mancity.net started life three years ago as the website for the Official Supporters’ Club when I worked at Supernet, an Internet Service Provider in Jersey, Channel Islands. I have been a City fan since I was a boy and attended my first match at Maine Road with the present Chairman of the OSC, Les Saul. The match was a 1-6 defeat in 1962 by West Ham and Bert Trautmann was sent off. How could I not love the Club after such an introduction? See http://www.uit.no/mancity/blues/young.html for my Why Blue?

I met up with Les three years ago and we decided to put together a website that would bring together City fans. My original thoughts were that fans from outside Manchester would look at the website for any functions/meetings the branches were organising in Manchester so the fan could attend when they arrived for a match at Maine Road.

We have tried to improve mancity.net over the last two or three years and have a great team of Thomas, Andy, Peter and Jim that have made the site what it is today. We now have new City fans offering to improve the site and hopefully make it as good as any other football website on the net.

I will go through the sections we provide at present:

Latest News: – This is taken from McVittee. I am grateful to Ashley and Paul for being the original inspiration and for their help in the early days.

Official Supporters’ Club: – This is run by Andy (Oscar). If you fancy a night out or meet up with City fans this is the place to go. I have met with up with City fans in Malaysia, Hong Kong, Galway and Dublin through these pages. As well as having City friends in many European/American countries/states.

Email addresses: – If you require an email address (such as kinky@mancity.net) let me know. I will set one up free of charge. All mail sent to you at yourname@mancity.net will be redirected to your normal email address.

Chat – Our link will take you to Blue View.

Interviews – We have a number of interviews online with ex-players including clips of Mike Summerbee in real audio recalling the great days.

Links to City sites – Links to the best City websites on the Net.

Fixtures and Reports – All the games throughout the season.

The Tribal Gathering Pages – We feel the Tribal Gathering perfectly encapsulates the idea of bringing together City fans from around the world, and mancity.net is its home site. Clive from St Lucia and myself have organised two Tribal Gatherings over the last two years. Fans from as far as Australia, Japan, South Africa and Canada have gathered in Manchester for City games against Bradford (in November 1997) and Gillingham (in November 1998). We have accounts and photographs from the both of these occasions, and nearer the time we will post details of this year’s. City have realised this is something special and have helped us make the Tribal Gatherings a success. Check out TG1 http://www.mancity.net/isc/gathering/index.htm

Wookie has helped with the six-a-side football matches for TGs and this has been great fun.

Monthly Peter Brophy page:- Nobody writes better articles than Peter.

Picture of the week:- We are happy to include any picture that is sent in with a Manchester City connection.

The new Official site has always linked to mancity.net, which we like to believe is a sign of some goodwill on their part. It is, of course, reciprocated and we hope this state of affairs will continue. We are keen to take any steps which will act to the benefit of the club.

I said to Francis Lee a couple of years ago that we (the Internet City fans) could create something with Manchester City that would be far better than anything Sky could create with Manchester United on the Internet. I’m not sure whether he believed me but I am convinced that we (and others) have. I believe, however, that the best is yet to come.

Let me know if you have any comments or if there is anything you want to see on the site.

Bob Young (bob@mancity.net)

PAY-PER-VIEW: COLCHESTER VS. MAN CITY

I would like to write a few lines about the experiment with PPV Football i.e. Colchester vs. City. I will start by saying that I am a City fan (from Withington à la Ealing)… and I also work for Sky.

There are quite a few of us who work for Sky, a kind of Fifth Column as it were. In a broad perspective I work in advertising. The kind of advertising that promotes Programming, Sports, Movies and PPV. More specifically I plan and monitor advertising campaigns on behalf all of the Sky channels. I planned the inaugural PPV Nationwide Football match between Oxford & Sunderland (which went very well as it happens).

I am also tasked with planning the PPV City game on the 20th March. I have read with interest some of the articles regarding this issue from many people. I would like some opinion regarding this matter from fellow Blues good or bad (please reply to me at Paul.Odusanya@BSkyB.Com). By all accounts the first experiment with Sunderland was better than expected. I had better not talk about buy rates etc as I might get sacked… contrary to what a fan mentioned in a previous issue we do have up-to-date info on buy rates etc. which can be seen minute by minute if necessary to show the peak demand for the event and have people ready at our call centres in Livingston/Dunfermline.

I have also noted a lot of misguided criticism of Sky by way of Rupert Murdoch did this/that etc. This is obviously borne out of the fact that we plan to buy Man Utd and currently broadcast MUTV. The reason for this acquisition are more political rather than Sky hating MCFC. The Premier League deal is under investigation by the M&MC. If the current agreement is ruled as being unfair then Sky would obviously have a big problem losing the Premier League rights. We are, after all a business that has built itself up on the foundations of the Premier League. Sky’s involvement can be seen more as a safety net should the current agreement with the PLeague be ruled unlawful. If this happens then individual clubs will have the ability to sell their own TV rights to the highest bidder. And as much as we don’t like them, Man Utd would attract huge fees for their games at home and abroad and give Sky a big bargaining tool to boot.

There aren’t huge sums involved here, so Sky decision is not at present based upon revenue. After all those most likely to buy the game will be either Colchester or City fans. Of those fans how many will have access to Sky? Of those that have Sky how many will be sat at home? Of those sat at home, how many will pay £7.95? As you can see the circle gets ever smaller.

At the moment PPV Football is just an experiment. The real big fish lie two Divisions above us. There are positive factors as mentioned in earlier issues. What happens if you cannot get tickets to an end of season crunch game and it is not televised? Or you live abroad as so many of us do?

For those who have Sky Digital there is the added bonus in future of watching the game via a number of different TV angles (Via – OPEN). I don’t think I could stomach Billy Goater’s ball control at close quarters!

Lastly, if anyone has any thoughts/opinions then reply to my email below. If there are any decent ideas I can recommend them to various people at Sky. Let’s hope we play better on PPV than on normal televised games eh?

NB: If Keith “Cheggers” Farr can read this newsletter, get in touch!

NNB: Lee Brogan is a Muppet!

Paul Odusanya (Paul.Odusanya@BSkyB.Com)

BOOTS’ PHOTO GIFTS SLIP!

Has anyone seen the Boots “Photo Gifts” slip that was attached to a set of photos I had developed? I don’t know if anyone else has noticed this, but you may recognise the shirt one of the guys has on. Anyone know who this City fan is?

Andy Longshaw (andy.longshaw@qatraining.com)

CURLY COMEBACK?

Just a quick note to point out the “Coronation Street comeback” – Curly Watts was in the News of the World magazine last Sunday (7th) – wearing his City shirt!

Sarah Barber (slbarber@hotmail.com)

SOUTH FLORIDA BLUES

A reminder that everyone is welcome to the next gathering of the South Florida Blues. We will be meeting at the opening game of the MLS season. Miami Fusion vs. New York, New Jersey Metro Stars. Saturday March 20th. Lockhart Stadium, Ft Lauderdale.

Man City tail gate party starts at 5:30 p.m. South East corner. Bring beer, food, and chair. We have the grill. Limited tickets will be available on the day, although we recommend advance purchase for this game. Contact me if you need directions.

Phil Calderbank (PCalderbank@csi.com)

THE ANORAKS’ FORM GUIDE TO DIVISION 2 – WEEK 5

Well Shaun Goater tried on Billy’s boots this week and came good: spare a thought for poor old Burnley though – conceeding five against Gillingham and six against us on Wednesday (the lyrics ‘Anything you can do we can do better’ come to mind). Also thanks to the mighty Silkmen for their unexpected victory over the Gills on Tuesday (I nearly fell out of my chair when I saw it). Lastly, is it just me, or do Bournemouth seem seem to be playing most of their games at home?

(Note: Read the small print at the end very carefully)

Team        Pld GS Pts  L6   Final   L6   Ave L6     Final    Pos
                        GS    GS     Pts   Pts        Pts
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Fulham       34 55 75 (10)12 79.00 (14)14 12.60 (101.67)103.00 =1
Preston NE   34 64 66 (13)13 90.00 (10)11 11.40  (86.67) 88.00 =2
Walsall      34 46 64  (7)7  60.00  (8)10  9.60  (78.33) 84.00 =4
Bournemouth  33 55 60 (10)8  72.33  (9)11 11.00  (76.50) 83.83 =5
Gillingham   34 54 59 (16)11 76.00 (14)11 12.00  (90.67) 81.00 =6
City         34 45 56  (8)12 69.00 (12)12 12.80  (80.00) 80.00
Stoke        32 39 51  (7)2  43.67  (4) 3  3.80  (58.67) 58.00
Chesterfield 33 37 51  (7)7  52.17  (8) 9 10.20  (68.67) 70.50
Reading      34 43 50  (?)9  61.00  (?)11 11.00  (58.67) 72.00
Wigan        31 45 49 (13)13 77.50 (15)15 14.00  (86.50) 86.50 =3
Milwall      35 40 49  (8)6  51.00  (7)6   7.40  (63.00) 60.00
Key:
Figures in brackets indicate last weeks values
Pld = Played         L6  = Last 6
GS  = Goals Scored   Ave = Average
Pts = Points         Pos = Final Position

Notes:

  1. Fulham will be champions with over a hundred points!
  2. We will not qualify for the play-offs!
  3. Two teams (Wigan+Fulham) now have better ‘Last 6’ form than we do.
  4. 5 of the other teams are within 2 points of our form.
  5. We must beat Preston and Gillingham (away) and Wigan (home) and hopeother teams lose a few games to stand a chance of qualifying for theplay-offs.

RTRCWMC (Riding The Roller-Coaster with Man City), Richard Mottershead (richardjohnm@hotmail.com)

OLD SONGS

How many City Supporters remember this one? To the tune of “Jesus Christ Superstar”

Georgie Best Super Star
Wears Frilly Knickers
And A Playtex Bra.

and, congraulations: it was my Birthday Tues March 9th, what a present, 6-0. Best gift I could wish for! Hope this gives Shaun Goater the confidence for the rest of the season. And to the defence who have kept yet another clean sheet.

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow (EB2205@aol.com)

IF I RULED THE WORLD

I was watching the ‘oh so satirical’ BBC2 game show “if I ruled the world” the other night, whilst basking in the warm afterglow of a 0-0 with Northampton Town.

There is a section in the show where questions have been asked of the studio audience and the ‘oh-so-witty’ guests have to guess what was the most popular answer. One question this week was “if there was a nuclear strike on Britain which City should be hit?” Imagine the general mirth and hilarity when the smug git replied “Manchester City”. ho ho bloody ho. The person concerned was a particularly sad individual called (I think) Tony Hawkes. Well I would like to hawk him to the top of the Kippax and allow him to demonstrate some skydiving technique minus parachute. Actually the top answer was Liverpool (the city I presume not the football team).

Jim Curtis (jimcurtis@cwcom.net)

OPINION – SOME THOUGHTS

Read the following in Saturday’s MCIVTA and was amused:

“Blue View was at its gloomiest for weeks, with the general opinion being that the failure to take all three points on Saturday is likely to be fatal to automatic promotion hopes.”

We haven’t had a realistic chance of being automatically promoted in months. The team has hovered around the play-off zone and little more since almost day one. So get over the idea of automatic promotion. Isn’t going to happen. At this point I will be most surprised if the top 6 of the past couple of weeks, Fulham, Preston, Walsall, Gillingham, Bournemouth and City are not the final 6 also. It will take good runs by Stoke or Wigan to dent this.

I remain convinced that we will be in the play-off and then the tendency of the players to play well in big matches will finally be a benefit and we will win through.

Now regarding Lazaridis. Don’t we ever learn? The attempted loan was the prelude to a proposed 2 million pound move which West Ham had agreed to. Why are we even contemplating such a move? I know we have a history of over paying for players at the wrong time but… repeat after me, Bosman ruling. George Graham can get a German international – and a good one – for £750,000 because he was out of contract at the end of the season. Now sure we aren’t going to get a German international but are the “powers that be” seriously trying to say that this is the best we can do? Both Palace and Portsmouth have money trouble, so if we are going to spend money let’s raid them. Do we even have a list of players who are out of contract at the end of the year?

Now Taylor may not have worked out yet but at least that was a logical deal in terms of a pickup. £400,000 is the maximum kind of money we should be paying to pick up players. I hear rumors to the effect that Man U want a similar fee for Cooke. Well 4 or 5 players upgrading the team is better than blowing £2 million in one go.

Wallace Poulter (WPoulter@aol.com)

OPINION – COOKE CAMPAIGN STARTS HERE!

Having an inherent hatred for anything from the Sty, I was at first very wary of Terry Cooke. Sure he seemed to be helping the team, but it wasn’t because he was anything special, I convinced myself, it was because he added width and you could have put anyone there who would do the same job. Slowly but surely I am becoming convinced that we have unearthed a gem from the slag heaps of Stretford. Watching him on Tuesday against Burnley I was astonished at how much work he put into the game – he must have covered every blade of grass, and his crossing was superb. All of this leads to the title of this piece and the rumour that we can’t afford the £400,000 transfer fee being asked by Taggart.

Well I for one pledge the first £20 to the “Buy Cooke Campaign” and I am sure many other Blues would do the same. If we are so strapped for cash and we have 30,000 fans at Maine Road and many more around the world can the club not swallow their pride and ask fans for donations to raise the cash? I’m sure this has happened before (was it Bournemouth?) and I doubt after all of the suffering we have endured that many fans would begrudge parting with some money. What do you think mad idea or what? Actually on the subject of Cooke, maybe the club are waiting until the end of March to raise as much money in season ticket sales to buy him. Maybe, just maybe, we are playing politics and trying to get Taggart to lower the price (no, far too clever for City, and they hardly need the money do they)?

Just a quick comment on the subject of racism, I have only once (in twenty years) heard a racist comment at Maine Road and have always felt safe and supported in tackling any truly obnoxious behaviour. However I also have a season ticket at Barnsley and that is a totally different story. Every black player is subjected to much racist abuse (sometimes even their own), parents are genuinely proud if their sons (never daughters – they are still at home cooking tea!) shout a racist remark. In fact I once heard a parent proudly claim “I’ve bred him well” to his mates after his 10 year old son called someone a n***r. I once dared to give someone a half dirty look for a tirade of racist abuse only to be subjected to ten minutes of abuse directed at me. This is a place where stewards are regularly set upon if they dare try to eject anyone from the ground and I was once punched by a fellow fan for holding out my arms to steady him from falling into me whilst celebrating a goal. Unlike at Maine Road, I feel totally unsafe amongst fellow fans, mind you I should expect as much being a bunch of in-bred yokels from South Yorkshire (only a joke – don’t take offence, I’m married to one of them!)!

Elaine Clegg (elaine@city4eva.demon.co.uk)

OPINION – STANDING

After a hard day’s work I made my way to Turf Moor and thought well at least I can sit down under cover and watch the match. We got to our seats and thought what a good view we would have even sitting down, and there would be no need to stand. I was wrong. For some reason the fans at the front decided to stand up, therefore all the rows behind them had to do the same in order to see.

Do these selfish people ever think of the fans that are unable to stand through a whole match, such as the elderly, disabled or young children? It has been bad enough having to stand up at some of the second division grounds but when you have the opportunity to sit down after paying for the seat, it’s annoying to say the least that you end up standing because some fans deciding that they would rather stand up. Not only that there were fans sat in the gangways that were supposed to be left clear, thus endangering the safety of City fans.

Let’s hope it’s not the same story at Preston.

A City fan with a bad back!

Elaine Taylor (elaine.taylor@tesco.net)

OPINION – STRIKERS

I haven’t (unfortunately) been able to go to a City game, since I’m only 15 and have no one to take me to Maine Road. Don’t get me wrong I’ve been a City fan all my life but because of my obvious absence from recent matches I thought I’d come to you for some ‘advice’. After all of this I get to the point!

Here are the strikers (attackers) for the Northampton game: Goater, Taylor and Dickov. I myself think that Gareth Taylor is another Lee Bradbury, high hopes when you buy him… but can’t score in a brothel. Dickov is a good creator of chances and scores the odd one, but that’s all it is, the odd few here and there. Could I please hear your (more ‘experienced point) of view on who City’s best strikers are.

Thanks.

Jonathan Daniels (geoff@isfa.freeserve.co.uk)

OPINION – VARIOUS

Playing The Field

Steve Nuttall said about compiling a list of famous Blues. Well here’s a lesser known one. The woman who plays Shazza in Playing the Field. I remember reading it in some Carling football thing in a pub once.

If this is not enough. As the team were leaving training a few weeks ago (Ilkeston Town FC?), one of them was sporting a City shirt under her purple sweatshirt. This is not a case of x-ray vision, you could see the MCFC at the back. And bugger me, she was wearing it again last week.

Gerard Wiekens

Big thanks to Gerard for helping organise a surprise for my lad’s birthday. Can’t say what it was as everyone will want one.

Statto is in the House (Again)

In Neil Haigh’s panning of Big Joe a few issues ago, he asked for a (the?) Statto to tell us how his record compares with that of Alan Ball. Luckily enough, I do keep a mental note of each manager’s career record at Maine Road. So if my memory serves me right, and to two decimal places, there is no comparison.

Joe : currently 1.48 points per game.
Squeaky : 1.00 points per game.

Joe also does him on better attacking and defensive records too.

There are worse records than that of Ball, but it’s currently a work in progress. You’ll have to read a future issue of Bert Trautmann’s Helmet to find out all the grisly facts.

I have no knowledge of any other English clubs except City, so to compare their whole careers is meaningless. I do understand that Ball has a certain penchant of relegation, though.

Goater

So what did Shaun’s myriad of detractors make of his hat trick on Tuesday? Incidently, our first league hat trick since David White’s nearly seven years ago. Granted, his strike rate of late has been poor, but he’s never stopped grafting. Having watched him since his Rotherham days, one thing with Goater is that he can do the unexpected (and often not the expected). He’s got sixteen goals so far and there’s still a quarter of the season to go. Only Rösler (twice) has managed more in a season in the last six years and Goater will probably pass one if not both of those marks. Why is it that people are so quick to get on Goater’s back, rather than, say, Taylor’s, whose three goals in nineteen games is hardly impressive?

In light of the recent racism postings, it’s interesting to see that Edghill and Goater are the two main targets for supporter venom rather than say Taylor or Horlock, who has been decidedly poor until recently. Just a thought to keep the pot stirring.

Andy Noise (anoise@globalnet.co.uk)

BLUE REMINISCENCES

I enjoyed reading Jon Abel’s article on MCFC (Issue 480) and it moved me to reminiscing about an earlier City team that played football every bit as attractive as the Lee-Summerbee-Bell era, and not without a degree of success. Perhaps you youngsters that write in MCIVTA might be cheered to know that our club has had more than one purple patch over the years. I wasn’t around in the days of Tilson and Brook, but maybe someone could persuade a parent (or grandparent?) to reminisce about those days?

The team I grew up with had Frank Swift, the best goalkeeper in England in his day, as its main star. A large man who was nevertheless extremely agile and never simply caught the ball if he could fling himself and tip it round the post or over the bar. He was quite fond of taking throw-ins and considered himself something of a joker in his later years. I can remember him bouncing the ball basketball fashion all the way to the centre circle in one match to the amusement of referee and crowd. No aggressive thrusting of a yellow or red card in his face and the opposition quite happy to accept a free kick on the edge of our area. The full-backs were Bert Sproston and Sam Barkas and it took considerable skill to get past hem more than once.

We didn’t win anything in those days, but I was present in some huge crowds, fortunately good-natured and protective to the young, who would be lifted up bodily and passed down to the front over the heads of the adults if there was any danger of their getting crushed. Anyone swearing would get a stern look from some adult and told to “Cut it out. There are children here.” Things have changed somewhat over the years. Organised chanting wasn’t known – just a deep-throated roar from the 60,000+ which was enough to make the hairs on the back of your neck crawl. The odd shout of “Up the Blues!” or “Come on, City!” No singing. No Blue Moon. Yes, we did boo the opposition, but it might seem strange to some of today’s supporters that we didn’t boo our own players. There might be a collective groan if Albert Emptage misplaced a pass or Roy Clarke dribbled over their goal-line with head down, but we felt affection for our players, and accepted that perhaps there were teams like Portsmouth and Derby County that had better teams. Opposing players were actually applauded if they did something that merited our praise – a shot scraping the City cross-bar would be clapped by the City fans, believe it or not!

Players like Tom Finney, Jack Froggatt, John Charles and Len Shackleton were never to my knowledge booed. They had our respect. The players we booed were the hard men in midfield (wing-halves as we called them). I remember some particularly hard men who could guarantee they would be booed after their first tackle and every time they touched the ball (or man) after that. In fact I suspect that they considered they had had a poor game if they weren’t booed throughout. Tommy Docherty of Preston North End was one; Alex Forbes of Arsenal another; Jimmy Scoular of Portsmouth and later Newcastle broke our hearts on many occasions and left us with sore throats over the rest of the weekend. The fact that all three were Scots is pure coincidence. We had nothing against the Scots – as long as we beat them in the home internationals.

I’ve mentioned that the early City teams I watched didn’t win many trophies, although we had some very satisfying victories in the old Second Division on our occasional visits down there. People used to ask “Are you going to see City on Saturday?” To which came the reply: “Why should I? They didn’t come and see me when I was bad.” The team that won the Cup in 1956 and lost in the final the previous year was one of the most attractive to grace English football in the post-war years. The Spurs side with Blanchflower, White and Mackay (sounds alcoholic!) was the only one to rival it, in my opinion. I never found Liverpool all that attractive – extremely efficient, yes. And I can’t bring myself to admit that that other team across the city could possibly have been attractive (what, with Best, Law and Charlton?). The present Arsenal and Chelsea sides may be getting there.

Once the Hungarians came over to Wembley and showed us how football could be played in 1953, City were quick to cash in the new ideas. Don Revie was persuaded to play as a deep-lying centre-forward in the style of Hidegkuti, the Hungarian, and little Joe Hayes banged in the goals. It took the rest of the teams a couple of years to sort out City’s game, which is more than can be said for the ill-fated Marsden Plan that followed it! We had a great goalkeeper in Bernd Trautmann and two passers of the ball in Ken Barnes and Don Revie as good as any in the land. We also had little Joe Hayes to bang in the goals. Believe me, City were good to watch. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be all that much on film, apart from the final against Birmingham City and Trautmann’s injury. Occasionally they show Jackie Milburn’s killer goal against us in the previous cup final. Enough of my ramblings. We scored six in mid-week, so things must be looking up.

David Buxton (dbb@forres26.freeserve.co.uk)

RESULTS

Second Division Results, Tuesday, March 9 1999

Bournemouth               1-0  Bristol Rovers         7,181
Howe (66)
Burnley                   0-6  Manchester City       17,251
                               Horlock (17)
                               Morrison (41)
                               Goater (50, 59, 65)
                               Allsopp (82)
Chesterfield              P-P  Millwall               3,616
Lincoln City              P-P  Wrexham
Macclesfield Town         1-0  Gillingham             1,868
Landon (33)

Second Division Results, Wednesday, March 10 1999

Stoke City                0-4  Reading                8,218
                               McKeever (59)
                               McIntyre (76, 82)
                               Gray (87)

Second Division Table
Up to and including Wednesday, March 10 1999 (10:09pm)

                               HOME            AWAY
                         P  W  D  L  F  A   W  D  L  F  A   Pts   GS
Fulham                  34 14  2  1 33 10   9  4  4 22 14    75   55
Preston North End       34 10  4  3 39 18   9  5  3 25 16    66   64
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Walsall                 34 10  5  3 26 17   9  2  5 20 19    64   46
Bournemouth             33 12  5  0 34  8   5  4  7 21 24    60   55
Gillingham              34 11  5  2 33 13   4  9  3 21 16    59   54
Manchester City         34  8  6  2 23  9   6  8  4 22 15    56   45
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Stoke City              32  8  3  5 22 18   8  0  8 17 19    51   39
Chesterfield            33 12  2  3 28 12   2  7  7  9 17    51   37
Reading                 34  8  6  4 24 20   5  5  6 19 24    50   43
Wigan Athletic          31  8  3  3 23  8   6  4  7 22 22    49   45
Millwall                35  6  7  4 24 19   7  3  8 16 24    49   40
Wrexham                 33  6  5  6 16 20   5  4  7 19 26    42   35
Luton Town              33  7  3  6 18 19   4  5  8 21 26    41   39
Blackpool               33  5  6  5 18 16   5  5  7 14 20    41   32
Bristol Rovers          32  7  6  4 26 19   2  6  7 16 16    39   42
Colchester United       34  5  7  5 18 24   3  8  6 21 26    39   39
York City               34  4  7  6 21 24   5  2 10 19 33    36   40
Burnley                 34  5  6  7 15 28   3  4  9 21 35    34   36
Oldham Athletic         34  5  2  9 18 23   4  5  9 17 25    34   35
Notts County            32  5  3  7 19 20   4  4  9 15 26    34   34
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Lincoln City            33  7  3  6 21 20   2  3 12 10 33    33   31
Northampton Town        34  2  8  6 13 18   4  4 10 13 21    30   26
Wycombe Wanderers       33  6  4  8 23 19   0  6  9  8 25    28   31
Macclesfield Town       33  4  4  8 11 17   2  5 10 11 24    27   22

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

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DISCLAIMER
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 #482

1999/03/11

Editor:


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