Newsletter #485

City continued with their recent run of form, playing less than impressively but still managing to take home the points. For those who didn’t manage to see the goal, it was a truly excellent strike, but was tempered – for those of us listening to GMR – by the radio pundit’s assertion that, “…a great goal from Goater, who has been simply appalling ’til now!” Stoke lost again, and Walsall drew, but both the Gills and Bournemouth won, the latter beating Preston away from home. Tellingly, Wigan are looking very ominous (for us); we simply have to keep winning to try to guarantee that when it comes to the final games, it isn’t just between us and them (they are 7 points behind but have 4 games in hand). Royle is supposedly hoping to sign a striker this week; let’s hope he succeeds, because I don’t fancy our chances away to Reading and Preston if we need to have 7 clear-cut chances to put the ball away once – we just won’t get them against these teams. This issue has two match reports and a matchview of Saturday’s game.

Elsewhere, the Internet Blues (McVitee FC) go from strength to strength, and Martin Ford has kindly done a match report, despite having a hard day in faraway Colchester! Peter Brophy talks about the speculation surrounding new targets and that man Terry Cooke, but really – and thankfully perhaps – there’s not much hard currency, as it were; doubtless this will change by Thursday’s issue. I’ve had the dates of the play-offs confirmed; there’s news of an evening with Dennis Tueart; and the usual opinion.

This one reaches 2,400.

Next game, Reading away, Saturday 27th March 1999



Lakeside, Ford Escorts and All of That

Well I better start this match report with an apology to Paul; Paul was a bloke who said on MCIVTA that he was looking for a ticket, so I e-mailed him with my telephone number and arranged to meet him at the railway station in Colchester. How in God’s name did I know that there were two railway stations in Colchester? Manchester has only got two. So I went into the game with two tickets oops sorry, I tried in vain to flog it at 5:55, but no joy.

So onto the game, my word Sky must be kicking themselves, because this game was dull. I thought this had 0-0 stamped all over it, but was later to be proved wrong. For whatever reason best known to Joe, we started the game with 5-3-2 formation again, why? I personally preferred the 4-4-2.

Colchester started quite brightly, knocking the ball about quite well, but not really looking like scoring. Their new Brazilian was looking quite sharp, with some deft touches, then he decided to take on the big man Morrison (oh dear, either brave or stupid); I would rather take on the Incredible Hulk. Well anyway we all saw the aftermath, 1-0 Scotland. Even after this, City just didn’t look to be gelling well, Terry Cooke was not given much room on the narrow pitch, the defence doesn’t look as steady with a back 5. For me, they did look more promising up front than our lot. The referee brought the first half to a close and for me, half time brought one of the biggest shocks in modern day football, Colchester’s toilet facilities. There was one urinal, with enough room for two people, in a hut around the back. One of the policemen out the back was daft enough to tell us he was an Everton fan, so he got a bit of grief from the City fans (and policemen are supposed to be clever, well you know what I mean).

The second half kicked off and City I believe were looking more dangerous, and their build up play was more patient and effective. However, the last third of the pitch is where it all went wrong for City, the front two don’t seem to cut it, either their runs are very poor or the midfield isn’t finding them with balls. Goater’s goal was stunning and brilliantly taken (à la Salas; OK maybe not, but you can’t knock a bloke for dreaming). City seemed to be in the mood to open the flood gates but had a goal disallowed and a couple of offside decisions, should be interesting to see them again. Colchester did hit the post and apply quite a bit of pressure, but to no avail. The referee seemed to add forever on at the end. Andy Morrison got another card, but he does seem to be unlucky. I hope Sky noticed that anyone travelling back by train would have had to leave early to get the final train to Manchester; we are City fans after all, we are not all London residents (unlike the other Manchester team).

Walter Smith (


Without wanting to get into the whole issue of Pay-per-View and its long-term impact on football, I did decide to order the match based on very simple and straightforward criteria. Although we get to all the home matches, away games are by and large impossible for us, the prospect of four of us watching the game live for less than eight quid made good sense. In any case, since when has long-term planning been synonymous with City?

Ordering was straightforward via our cable operator, even to the point of good-natured banter. The chap at the other end of the phone told me that he had not taken a single call from a Colchester fan, but plenty from City fans. He told me he knew ‘where we were coming from’ as he was a QPR fan. I couldn’t help but wonder if that meant he also followed a crap team or he was just some sort of mind reader.

The screen came to life exactly at 17.30, with elaborate tele-montages explaining to us armchair fans for the day that this was a Sky Box Office Special Presentation, sponsored by Duckhams. The excellent background music had been chosen well, Black Grape “England’s Ire” with the lyrics “it’s a digital football thing” prominently coming across.

As the commentators began to introduce the event, one of the descriptions applied to our beloved boys was “for too long a cloud has hung over Manchester City”. I thought this a remarkably charitable introduction given the fact that some of us may have described it as a malevolent maelstrom of discontent.

Colchester for some reasons have signs around the ground describing themselves as the U’s and indeed the commentators referred to them as this. I wondered whether or not this was some sort of code for covert activities with sheep or rather a very public acknowledgement of poor standards of attainment in the literacy hour and that the locals just find it easier to say U than United.

Further billing was along the lines of “they’re both in the same division but with different ambitions”; this is a case of “David and Goliath” and then my favourite piece of understatement from Ray ‘Butch’ Wilkins, talking about City’s fall from grace: “well City have gone through a little bit of a period”, er, well said Ray.

I will get onto the match in a minute honest, but I have to set the scene a little more. Joe Royle was interviewed and asked (in relation to getting beat last week by O) “was that a monkey off your back?” I thought that an odd question but perhaps it just a Sky thing.

Certainly the ambience of the match felt different; as I sipped at a my red wine in the comfort of my living room I was oblivious to the longer-term arguments of Pay-per-View. Last week’s memories of the warm slops from the Dennis Tueart bar faded away as I munched on some crisps and sat back for this football fiesta.

Of course, watching the game on TV does have some drawbacks, not least the stupid and inane comments from the commentators, one of whom said that the “pitch looks good, full of grass”.

The coffee table was loaded with all the essentials for Pay-per-View football: cheese, crackers, sausage rolls, garlic bread, wine etc.

From the kick off the Us were right up for this game; almost within the first minute they made a serious challenge on the City goal but Morrison was able to clear away for a corner, clearing the ball (the first of many) to clear the tiny legoland/meccano stands to be lost to the street urchins of Colchester.

The first 5 to 10 minutes continued very much in this vein, plenty of pressure and as we have seen so many times this season, the opposition quite naturally being well ‘up for it’. The 10-minute stage saw some commotion as fresh sausage rolls were placed on the coffee table and as my wife looked for space on the additional bowls of crisps, the U’s were finding acres of space at the back of the City defence. It was around about this time that the commentator made reference to City strikers Goater and Taylor as “being good in the air”; I thought that a very strange thing to say.

There was a sickening collision around the quarter of an hour mark as Morrison clashed with the Brazilian striker (I think called Fumac) who fell immediately unconscious and was taken away to hospital. As the rather tall substitute came on (6″ 5′), my main course arrived: a very tasty Panina Tomato & Mozzarella concoction on ciabatta bread. City were beginning to settle and it seemed to be that the U’s strategy had been to press for a very early goal, and to be honest they were a little unlucky not to achieve it. City were starting to build a few attacks, but were getting very little time on the ball so the play tended to have a rather raggy sort of feel to it. Around the 25-minute mark, Taylor headed to Edghill who thundered a shot from a good distance; as the ball was cleared away for a corner the hazards of TV football were reinforced to me as garlic butter dripped onto my jumper.

The game started to even out and move towards a more midfield game, it certainly wasn’t pretty, but let’s remember this is the 2nd Division and as I said in my Oldham report, it is a wretched league. All in all on a night when the result meant everything and the style of play would count for little, we were doing OK.

The referee who arrived with a fearsome reputation was quite laid back in the early stages of the match, but went on to make seven bookings, four for them and three for us. I thought Taylor and Morrison’s first half bookings were harsh, but the ref., was determined that players’ arms would not flail about as they jumped to get a head on the ball.

As the second half kicked off we were told that the U’s goalie enjoys keeping pigeons and were treated to the pathetic sight of the street urchins of Colchester scrabbling over the walls and advertising hoardings to claw at discarded sweets and lollipops. I felt so sorry for them as I guessed that this is how it must be in Colchester, it has a sort of Dickensian sadness about it.

We certainly started off better in the second half, more purposeful and direct, but still looking dodgy. We were better at the back as we had reverted to four with Edghill dropping to right back. A very typical scrappy Second Division game was livened when Goater shot a magnificent goal. A ball in from Bishop was collected on the thigh, brought down and blasted over the U’s ‘keeper. It was a superb strike and just what we needed. Make no mistake, we were not the better team and to be honest were fortunate to be in the lead. Two minutes later Taylor scored a great goal but the strike was ruled offside. I think it was a tight call, but probably a fair one.

The rest of the game was played out with Colchester coming close a few times. There were occasions when it looked like we just had no defence at all and it was worrying to see us split so easily by what in all honesty were poor opposition. Weaver saved us a couple of times, as did the woodwork on one occasion. Whitley made a return to the side for Cooke around about the 75-minute mark, but it was a nervous finish as the board went up for four minutes of extra time.

Morrison was given the Nationwide Man-of-the-Match award, but for me Brown was our best player. The whistle went and we had hung on for the points. I don’t think we deserved the three points, but once again we had played crap and got the points.

It’s going to be a tight finish, but the win by Bournemouth at Preston showed us it’s not over yet. I don’t think we’ll get away with the points if we play like this at Reading, and as ever we are left with the feeling of much more needing to be done at the Academy.

As for Pay-per-View, despite all the longer-term problems and implications for football, I’ll pay the next time we’re on the box, even our cat came in for the second half and in a magnificent display of good judgement slept soundly through the game.

To finish on a positive note about Pay-per-View, at least the bogs don’t stink of stale urine.

Tony Burns (


Manchester City maintained their promotion bid with a 1-0 victory at Colchester in a match screened live on Sky Box Office.

Shaun Goater scored the all-important goal in the 55th minute to earn Joe Royle’s men another three points as they bid to escape from the Second Division at the first time of asking.

The home side got off to the worst possible start when Brazilian Fumaca, who was making his début for Mick Wadsworth’s side, was stretchered off after just 13 minutes following a collision with City captain Andy Morrison.

Former Ipswich and Tottenham striker Jason Dozzell was a constant threat to City and he hooked an effort goalwards before City scrambled it away to safety early in the first half.

City took the lead on 55 minutes when Terry Cooke’s clever pass was brilliantly controlled by former Bristol City striker Goater, who took the ball on his thigh before crashing a shot past Emberson.

Colchester had their fair share of opportunities to score and when Morrison picked up his 12th caution of the season, Warren Aspinall went close from the resulting free-kick.

Colchester: Emberson, Dunne, Duguid, Pounewatchy, Greene, Buckle, Aspinall, D. Gregory, Dozzell, N. Gregory, Antunes (Sale 16), Sale (Stamps 65).
Subs Not Used: Williams.
Booked: Dunne, Dozzell, Sale, N. Gregory.

Man City: Weaver, Crooks, Edghill, Wiekens, Morrison, Vaughan, Brown, Bishop, Taylor, Goater, Cooke (Whitley 78).
Subs Not Used: Dickov, Allsopp.
Booked: Morrison, Brown, Taylor.
Goals: Goater 55.

Att: 6,554
Ref: R Styles (Waterlooville).

Wallace Poulter (


Much-Needed Win

Kicking off on Saturday after all the other games had finished, City went into the match at Colchester knowing that other results had gone badly. While Stoke lost to further dampen their ever-receding play-off ambitions, the afternoon fixtures saw victories for the two teams immediately above us, Bournemouth and Gillingham, and success also for three of the sides hot on our trail in Wigan, Reading and Chesterfield. This meant that anything but a win in the clash at Layer Road would be bound to raise doubts as to whether even a play-off place would be obtained. Thanks to Shaun Goater’s seventeenth goal of the season (and British football’s first ever on pay-per-view), City duly took all three points, even if the performance wasn’t much to write home about – the Blues were “poor and lucky” according to Joe Royle. Still, “poor and lucky” one-nil wins up to and including May 30th would suit me just fine.

Transfer Deadline Approaches

Joe Royle is seeking, in the words of the Manchester Evening News, “complete his promotion blueprint”. In practice, this appears to mean signing another forward player. And despite reports to the contrary, he does have an unspecified amount of cash available as he attempts to make these objectives a reality. While he’s played down reported interest in Dundee United’s Alex Mathie, he hasn’t excluded the possibility of a renewed attempt to revive the Stan Lazaridis transfer. “Until he goes somewhere else, I will not rule it out,” said Joe. “The problem is trying to persuade the lad to leave London. I know he is impressed by the set-up at City but has become quite settled in the south-east.” Another old target whom Joe won’t “rule out” of the equation is Everton’s Michael Branch, who, of course, has already been at Maine Road on loan. There hasn’t as yet been any contact between the clubs, however.

Yet More Cooke Speculation

Royle’s blueprint also supposedly entails making sure Terry Cooke comes to Maine Road on a permanent basis and therefore doesn’t leave us either this week or at the end of his three-month loan spell (when we’ll have four league games and three possible play-off matches remaining). To see the potential effect of his departure on our promotion hopes, just measure City’s record of 25 points from 12 games with Cooke against the 37 points from 25 games before he arrived. Newspaper speculation at the weekend is still insisting that City are having problems finding the cash to make the loan permanent. This is leading to claims he could be off elsewhere by the end of this week – Bradford City has been mentioned as one possible destination. I’m convinced that both Joe Royle and David Bernstein are both well aware of the potential impact of the loss of Terry Cooke. If, as has been stated by the club, there’s some money available, surely signing Cooke on a permanent basis is the first priority? My worry is that even if the money’s there, Cooke himself may have reservations about committing to the move because it may mean Second Division football for him next season.

Incidentally, one prophet of doom (my dad, actually – that’s the effect of being a Blue since 1943!) saw only ill in the return of Jeff Whitley from his loan spell at Wrexham. You see, Whitley has been playing on the right side of midfield for the Welsh club, replacing a certain Terry Cooke after the end of the latter’s own loan spell at The Racecourse. I share the general view on this one and would take no comfort from the fact that Wrexham managed better results with Whitley in the side than Cooke. I’d like Cooke to stay permanently, but if it’s not viable, we need to keep him at least until the end of the season – even if it needs some creative thinking. For example, if the only way to ensure this is to buy the player and insert a clause in his contract that, should we stay down, he’d be sold in the summer for the same fee we paid, we should do so. And if there really are problems in raising the cash to sign the player, maybe we could borrow the cash and guarantee its return in the summer – from the onward sale of Cooke if necessary.

Dickov Anger at Snub

The City goal scorer at Layer Road, Shaun Goater, had been restored to the team after missing the midweek win against Notts County through injury. Paul Dickov, who deputised impressively for the Bermudan last Tuesday, was by all accounts upset at being restored to the bench for Saturday’s match. Reports stated that Dickov is fuming at his omission from the team and was seeking those “clear the air talks” which only ever seem to happen at football clubs. It was even rumoured that the former Arsenal striker may ask for a transfer. His rationale presumably is that Royle appears to regard Dickov as a useful substitute. However, the Scot hasn’t had a crack at a starting rôle despite recent barren spells for both first-choice strikers and his presence hasn’t prevented the manager from making a number of attempts to buy strikers from elsewhere. The latest news is that for the moment, the confrontation is off – Royle has said that the player will get a chance. Given Royle’s evident interest in other forward players, it has to be asked, though, whether Dickov is likely to stay long term.

No Move for Kinky

There have been persistent rumours of Georgi Kinkladze, available from Ajax for a reported cut-price fee of £1.9 million, attracting interest from Everton. And weekend reports claimed that because of the time needed by the Department of Employment to process a work permit application, the Georgian might avail himself of another avenue open to him to clinch a pre-deadline move to Merseyside. If he married his English fiancee before Thursday, he wouldn’t need a work permit to play for an English club. In fact, it looks like there’ll be no hurried marital plans for Kinky. Goodison sources say Everton are unlikely to make any signings this week. Apparently (and see if this reminds you of anyone) there’s no hope of takeover talks ending in a deal before the deadline, and without an infusion of funds, they simply can’t find the cash to fund incoming deals.

Kit Rumours

Following last week’s announcement of the early termination of City’s kit deal with Kappa, three contradictory rumours have surfaced about next season’s arrangements. One is that the operation will be brought in-house. The second is that there’s been a reconciliation with Kappa and they will, after all, supply next year’s kit. The most likely of the three to be true in my view, however, is that representatives of Diadora and Nike have visited Maine Road recently and that one of these companies is in line to win the new contract. Whatever happens, it looks like rumours will abound until the club issues its promised statement.

Second City Blues

Colin Shindler is writing and presenting a programme on Radio 4 (FM only) next Friday 26 March at 11.30 pm. Called ‘Second City Blues’, it’s a comparison between Birmingham and Manchester as sporting cities. I’m told that, as the programme is all Colin’s work, the commentary contains a fair few digs at United. This contrasts with his recent commentary for ‘The Football Millionaires’ where, much to Colin’s disgust, Alan Hansen(!) and the BBC cut all the anti-Beckham jokes. The author would welcome responses to the programme bearing in mind it was not devised for GMR but for Radio Four, while I’m sure overseas subscribers in particular would welcome an account and views from anyone who hears it. Incidentally, people like me who lent out their hardback copy and never had it returned will be pleased to know that Manchester United Ruined My Life is due out in paperback on May 6.

Peter Brophy (


Bristol Rovers vs. Manchester City, Saturday 1st May

This fixture has been chosen by Sky to be shown as a pay-per-view game. The kick-off will now be 6.00pm.

PNE vs. MCFC, Monday 5th April, Kick-off 12 noon

Tickets for this fixture have now SOLD OUT. Supporters are advised not to travel without a ticket.

Ticket Office – Manchester City


Thanks to all those who wrote in to tell me the play-off dates, particularly Mike Barnett, Les Saul, Roger Haigh and Peter Hamblett.

Semi-Final – First leg: Sunday 16th May

Semi-Final – Second leg: Wednesday 19th May

Final – Sunday 30th May.

The price of the tickets at Wembley will be from £16 to £34.



There’s only one pot noodle…

Another early start beckoned, a few more hours on the road before I pulled on a shirt again to represent McVitee FC, this time in Colchester. After 4 hours on the road, I managed to find the pitch and sat there waiting for the others to arrive (maybe I could have had that extra hour in bed?). By 1:00 there was still no-one around, my thoughts drifted to Middlesbrough, no team, what to do? The rest of the team finally drifted into view but we were short of numbers, only nine against a squad of 14/15 Colchester lads. The Colchester team decided in the interest of fair play they would play 9.

So, McVitee FC lined up:

         Rich S
Dave B   Lee G    Martin F
         Gavin H
Rob H    Spenner  Andy C
         Lee H

The formation seemed to work; although hectares of space (or so it seemed) were available, there was always a man challenging. Although McVitee had 9 players to Colchester’s 14/15, we created a lot of early chances that went begging. The Colchester goal seemed to lead a charmed life. In fact the post was hit twice (at least), the ‘keeper and other players blocked goalbound shots and several conversions were sent over the bar (something Clive Woodward would have been proud of). It was worrying the number of missed chances we had, Colchester were always a threat, especially on the break. However, the nerves finally settled when Rob opened the scoring, something to finally settle the nerves.

However, the lead was only brief and Colchester equalised with what was only their 2nd/3rd attack, a sharp shot from the edge of the box after some good work by their number 14! Any pressure Colchester had was soaked up and a quick ball up front relieved the pressure, some neat play up front creating chances that went begging. Colchester swapped and changed players which kept them fresh. McVitee on the other hand had to play on with the nine. Lee H scored the second goal to nudge us ahead and the confidence rose, hold out to half time and then regroup. That idea fell flat when yours truly missed a tackle (next time the ball’s going to end up in Suffolk, rather than trying to play a smart little flick); the ball fell kindly to the wingman, whose strong run and shot into the roof of the net equalised the score at half-time, 2-2.

It only acted as a catalyst not to let the game slip from our grasp; if it had been a boxing match I honestly think we would have been rounds ahead (except if Don King had anything to do with it). Colchester kept swapping players and in some cases this helped McVitee; they removed their quicker players. The second half was another strong tussle, with McVitee slightly ahead through strong midfield work. It was left to Lee H to ease the nerves with City’s third, a 25 yard curling shot into the top corner which gave us much needed breathing space. It also acted to make Colchester come at us again. However, with some desperate defending and goalkeeping we managed to hold them out.

Spenner grabbed his first goal of the season and McVitee’s fourth of the game, the most decisive. He cut in from the left, beat a man and kicked through the ball (à la Gav’s coaching), with the shot ending up right in the top corner. Time for some celebrations and a huge sigh of relief. Could we hold out for the remaining few minutes. Still Colchester came at us, once more last ditch tackles, good keeping and some luck preserved the lead. Colchester’s last chance came from an inswinging corner that hit the post and was fortunately blocked.

The final whistle brought relief, it has been a tough match with both teams thoroughly committed, though it was played in great spirit, a true example of how footie should be played.

After the game there was time for drink and a bite to eat in the Colchester lads’ local (The Dragoon) and time for an amble upto the ground. There was also time for Spenner to nip into a convenience store and grab a Chicken and Mushroom pot noodle, it just wouldn’t be the same if he didn’t have one of them.

Now onto the “Land ut Gods” tournament in Huddersfield next Sunday.

As for the Nationwide game, not exactly the spectacle we wanted. JR had altered the team (always a bad start) and it showed, they were out of sorts and couldn’t really come to terms with the Colchester style. Colchester had a few chances, one of which saw their Brazilian import via Grimsby reserves head just over and then get stretchered off after a clash with Andy Morrison; I think he was still unconcious when he was carried off. Don’t mess with our man mountain!

The most entertaining aspect of the game was the number of balls despatched from within the ground, I believe it was somewhere near the dozen mark! The second half saw City get into the game slightly more and Shaun “the goal machine” Goater scored the decisive winner (as it turned out). A poor clearance was knocked forward, he controlled it with his thigh and then smashed it over the ‘keeper and into the net, but from my aspect behind the goal – in the corner, he controlled it on his knee, turned, lifted his leg, obscured view, obscured view, then the ball hit the back of the net!

Taylor thought he’d scored a second shortly afterwards, but was ruled offside – just when is someone going to explain this rule to Taylor, it’s unbelievable the number of times he gets caught! Weaver pulled off a couple of good saves, as per usual these days and that secured the win. Cliché time: “It wasn’t a good performance, but it’s the 3 points that count” – sorry folks it had to be said.

A few pointers from the match:

  1. Layer Road – poor ground.
  2. JR, try not to change a winning formation, the 4-4-2 has been working recently so let’s stick to it.
  3. Get a gag for Morrison and also get a decent defender to replace him when his ban comes up.
  4. Prove to me that my “favourite” player can walk back into the team – Horlock.
  5. Give Taylor the biggest, almightiest kick up the ar*e anyone has ever received.Either that, or acknowledge you boobed big style and sell him, he’s effin useless.
  6. Ermm, that’s all folks.

Martin Ford (


Friday 16 April 1999

The London Branch of the Official Supporters’ Club are holding their annual social event on Friday 16 April. Our guest of honour will be a genuine City hero, the King of all Geordies, Dennis Tueart. The event kicks-off at 7:30pm at the Exmouth Arms, 1 Starcross Street, London NW1 (2 minutes walk from Euston Station). There will be a question and answer session with Dennis, a raffle and we are laying on a buffet. Tickets are £10 for adults, £1 for juniors and can now be reserved with me. So if you want to come along and meet the last man to score a cup-winning goal for City, email me with your postal address. Tickets will be sent out approximately 1 week before the event.

Andrew Cleaver, Secretary, MCSC London Branch (


All Perth Blues are welcome to come along to the Lakers Tavern in Thornlie for a few drinks and a get together with a view to organising a regular meeting, etc.

The evening is set down for Tuesday 30th March at about 7.30 onwards.

Please let me know if you can make it or, if you can’t, if you are interested in any future meetings. Thank you.

Geoff Clegg (


In today’s (22nd March) Sun newspaper there was a article on Mike Doyle, he was saying a few interesting things. He is now manager for a golf company. He talked about how he used to go on the TV the night before any big Derby game, and wind up the Rags; I quote “We felt we were representing the people of Manchester, because even then all the locals supported City, while 75% of those who went to Old Trafford were from Surrey, Devon or China.”

Another Classic quote: “It’s daft that they are getting 30,000 fans for Second Division football – I can’t imagine United fans being that loyal. And I don’t care about all the hype, United are not going to win the European Cup. My money is on Dynamo Kiev.”

Last quote from this article that made me giggle on the way to work this morning: “The night before a derby, I would go on ITV with Gerald Sinstadt and tell United we were going to thrash them, And why not? It was absolutely true. We were gutted the year we got United relegated, because while they were on the fixture list, it was a guaranteed 4 points every season. They might have had Best, Charlton and Law but when we played them it was a piece of p***. City would win 4-0 or 5-1 every time.” Top Blue.

Walter Smith (


I have decided to trial a match Chat room. The room is called MCFC and will be open 24 hours for anyone who wants to chat in there. It is not a reloading room! It’s “live” chat with a lag time of 3-5 seconds. This will be especially useful on matchdays where reports from those guys that keep us all informed and will not have to be reloaded all the time.

To join the room here are the instructions.

  • In the URL type
  • At the bottom of the page yype MCFC then hit go.
  • Type in your nickname and e-mail (you can reserve your nick by registering it at
  • Choose EZTalk Lite (fastest loader), or if you are enrolled then EZTalk Pro will give you more features when chatting.
  • Hit enter MCFC
  • The room will take about 1 minute to load, or 3 for EZ Pro, then chat away.
  • You may be asked for a password for the room, if so this is bluemoon (case sensitive).

Hope to see you all in MCFC next weekend for Reading!

Any questions or problems then please mail me at the addy below.

CTID, Graham (Herbie) Hibbert (


I’ve been a City fan for 30 years. I live in LA right now but I get a first team shirt sent over when I can from the UK and wear it with pride around California.

This is a true story that indicates the degree with which our reputation has spread around the globe. I was in Montreal this week wandering around the city centre and saw the horrible green/blue away strip for sale in a store. I’d never be able to find it in LA and I thought well, pop in, buy it, be the proud owner of the ugliest shirt in LA, get a last shot at a Kappa shirt and wear it with pride when we win the European Cup some time soon as a reminder of the dark days.

I go in and French service was as usual awful, so I’m looking at the shirt, all the help is huddled in the back, finally a guy shouts at me “Eh, you need help?”, then he saw what I had in my hand and blushed and said “Excusez moi, I was not trying to be funny… monsieur”. Is there nowhere in the world doesn’t think that we don’t need some kind of help or counselling?

CTID, Phil Whitaker (


The management of this service and the technical quality of the service have dramatically improved recently. After a mistake that occurred during the City vs. Oldham match, the following has occurred:

  • The club and Planet has extended my service for free by a month due to the above problem;
  • The technical quality of the Notts match and last Saturday’s match have been excellent:
    • no problems logging in
    • no interruptions during the match
    • clear as a bell with high volume.

There may be technical gremlins in the future, but as long as the service provider Planet and the club are attuned to the situation and continue with the above good faith approach, then I am a happy camper…

Hunter Sheridan (


I would just like to reply to the total and utter boll**ks spouted by ‘Simon’ regarding PPV, in the last issue.

What is this guy on? He asks… “what’s the difference between subscribing to Sky Sports and PPV?” The answer is bl**dy obvious. The £29.99 monthly subscription is PPV. Is that not what you subscribe to a sports channel for? That’s exactly why I cancelled last year, it’s a blatant and undisguised rip-off. It surely cannot be viewed any other way. ‘Simon’ also mentions the situation in the USA. Hey, ‘Simon’ they don’t pay the monthly subscription, just as they don’t pay for local telephone calls. They refuse to be ripped off, unlike us. Also, why has he had a go at Noel of BTH? is it Noel’s fault?

‘Simon’ you are entitled to your view and to voice your opinion, whatever that may be, but please don’t criticise or condemn others for voicing theirs. If you wish to donate to the success of you-know-who, then go ahead, but please don’t ask others to contribute too.

Ray Bardsley (


I’m sure this first one will be regarded as a classic case of “Stating The Bl**ding Obvious” but who cares…

  1. Wigan are going to overtake us. Therefore we have got to overtake someone else or we can forget play-offs.
  2. This one might be just a little bit contentious… if Crystal Palace are not going to be able to cough up the money forBadbuy, then we should re-christen him Badsell, cancel the transfer andtake the player back. Then at least we can sell him again later (tosomeone who can pay) even if he doesn’t make the team. Then again whatif he managed to get onto the end of a few of Cooke’s crosses?

Steve Maclean (


Simon Fink is perfectly entitled to his opinions, but then again so am I so I must disagree with his match report against Notts County!

I thought that Terry Cooke was absolutley outstanding first half, though he admittedly did fade in the second half. Dickov played his normal game which is essentially plenty of hustle and bustle and flying in left, right and centre but very little end product.

The man is a striker for God’s sake – he missed at least three clear cut opportunities and gave the ball away cheaply on a number of occasions. I am sorry, but Dickov is the sort of player who you always think has had a good game due to him sprinting about all the time but when you sit back and analyse what meaningful work he has done it is usually minimal.

Bishop was virtually anonymous for me against County and also gave the ball away a number of times. He followed this up Saturday with a performance which left me checking the teamsheet to make sure he was indeed playing. Central midfielders need to get more involved in the game than this.

I was happy with the result against Colchester in a match that was mind numbingly tedious. We must keep winning games like this just to ensure we make the playoffs.

The crunch games are coming – especially Wigan at home.

Forever Blue, Paul Cooper (


Firstly, I just want to know why it is that no matter what City do, there are so many of our so called fans out there who find something to moan about, some player to slag-off etc? OK, we’ve slipped up in a couple of games recently and that has annoyed me too, like almost everyone else, but before that we were on an excellent run which before we achieved it all our fans would have gone overboard at the thought of. On top of this, we seem to be getting (if not already) back on track, and due to this overall good run of form and the subsequent demise of other teams, we are clearly in a very good position and even an idiot can clearly see that if City would find it hard to not finish in a play-off position!

Secondly, why is it that there is always someone who has to find fault in a large number of the players at every given opportunity? Yes, be upset when we don’t perform, but don’t be nasty and super-critical and complain at the players, this is far from beneficial to anyone, in fact it just generates an air of doom, gloom, and this transfers to the players. Give praise when it is due, and you’re allowed to be upset at poor performances, but how many of those critical “fans” are professional footballers? Not many, so the players on the pitch have got there for a reason and it’s not because they are ar*ewipes as some complete idiot deemed clever to proclaim!

As for Joe Royle, well will the boo-boys of Manchester City ever realise that a Manager is also in the job for a reason (i.e. they are deemed to know what they are doing by those in power). Surely the many managers that have passed through this club over the last 15 years were not all idiots! So with such inherent problems at a club, surely we should stop blaming our problems on whoever is in charge at the time, and credit it to a misguided era some years ago? That way we can support the current regime and hope City can become what we all now it is worthy of!

Look at Ferguson, he was subject to speculation of the sack for several of his early Utd years, but look at them now! We will only grow by giving the powers that be the time to initially stop the slide downwards, even slowing it down is a good start. Then once that has been addressed, then it is time to look towards climbing back up the hill that is the Football League and success!

So give Royle a chance, give the board a chance, give the players a chance; sometimes the only way to get to the opposing goal is to pass backwards – mid-attack – before launching the final manouvre.

As for PPV, well it’s a good idea in terms of providig greater access to a wide range of teams, to a wide range of people; the armchair fan is no less important than the fan who is able to part with the horrendous figure that constitues an entrance fee. However, the real issue is that of Sky’s ability to manipulate the football calendar. This is the real tragedy; PPV is a choice, if you don’t like it, don’t use it, let’s concentrate on the real issue and stop Sky from taking over the greatest game in the world.

Phill – a Blue since birth, I don’t go to that many games but I’m as important as any other Blue, perhaps more important in the case of those who only moan about the way things are instead of “supporting” the team.

Phill Healey (


Tickets went on sale today for 2nd year season ticket holders for the Preston game. I finally got through, at position 12 in the queue. Eventually my call was answered, only to be told that there are no tickets left in the City end! So in desperation, I’m turning to the subscribers of MCIVTA to ask if anyone has 2 spare tickets available? If you can help, I would be very happy to hear from you!

Kathryn Bircher (


Second Division Results, Saturday, March 20 1999

Chesterfield              3-1  Luton Town             3,921
Wilkinson (52, 56)             Gray (82)
Reeves (66)
Colchester United         0-1  Manchester City        6,554
                               Goater (55)
Fulham                    4-0  Blackpool             12,869
Hayles (20)
Horsfield (63)
Finnan (75)
Symons (86)
Gillingham                4-0  Lincoln City           7,023
Hessenthaler (13, 57)
Lisbie (79, 90)
Northampton Town          0-2  Macclesfield Town      5,790
                               Wood (62)
                               Sorvel (84)
Oldham Athletic           0-1  Millwall               4,565
                               Cahill (24)
Preston North End         0-1  Bournemouth           12,882
                               Fletcher, S (13)
Reading                   2-1  Wycombe Wanderers     10,298
McIntyre (28)                  Devine (80)
Caskey (73)
Stoke City                2-3  Notts County           9,565
Oldfield (68)                  Beadle (54)
Keen (90)                      Liburd (76)
                               Stallard (85)
Walsall                   3-3  Bristol Rovers         4,967
Rammell (2)                    Cureton (pen 53, 63, 89)
Cramb (pen 38, 67)
Wrexham                   1-1  Burnley                4,151
Brammer (14)                   Mellon (75)
York City                 1-3  Wigan Athletic         3,356
Jordan (40)                    Lee (31)
                               Sharp (34)
                               Greenall (36)

Second Division Table, up to and including Saturday, March 20 1999 (7:58pm)

                              HOME            AWAY
                         P  W  D  L  F  A   W  D  L  F  A   Pts   GS
Fulham                  37 15  2  1 37 10  11  4  4 26 16    84   63
Preston North End       36 10  4  4 39 19  10  5  3 26 16    69   65
Walsall                 36 10  6  3 29 20  10  2  5 22 20    68   51
Bournemouth             36 12  5  1 34  9   6  5  7 22 24    64   56
Gillingham              36 12  5  2 37 13   4  9  4 22 20    62   59
MANCHESTER CITY         37  9  6  3 26 12   7  8  4 23 15    62   49
Reading                 36  9  6  4 26 21   6  5  6 20 24    56   46
Wigan Athletic          33  9  3  3 27  9   7  4  7 25 23    55   52
Stoke City              35  8  3  7 24 22   9  0  8 19 20    54   43
Chesterfield            35 13  2  3 31 13   2  7  8  9 19    54   40
Millwall                37  6  7  5 25 21   8  3  8 17 24    52   42
Wrexham                 35  6  6  6 17 21   5  5  7 20 27    44   37
Blackpool               36  5  8  5 19 17   5  5  8 14 24    43   33
Luton Town              35  7  3  7 19 21   4  5  9 22 29    41   41
Bristol Rovers          34  7  6  5 28 22   2  7  7 19 19    40   47
Notts County            35  6  3  7 23 22   5  4 10 19 30    40   42
Colchester United       36  5  7  6 18 25   3  8  7 21 28    39   39
Oldham Athletic         36  5  2 10 18 24   5  5  9 19 26    37   37
York City               36  4  7  7 22 27   5  2 11 21 37    36   43
Lincoln City            35  8  3  6 23 20   2  3 13 10 37    36   33
Burnley                 36  5  6  8 15 29   3  5  9 22 36    35   37
Northampton Town        36  2  8  7 13 20   5  4 10 15 22    33   28
Macclesfield Town       35  5  4  8 13 17   3  5 10 13 24    33   26
Wycombe Wanderers       35  6  4  9 24 21   0  6 10  9 27    28   33

Second Division Top Scorers, up to and including Saturday, March 20 1999

                                     FA   Lge
                                Lge  Cup  Cup  Euro   Other  Total
Horsfield (Fulham)              21    2    1     0      0     24
Stein (Bournemouth)             14    1    5     0      4     24
Nogan (Preston)                 17    3    0     0      0     20
Cureton (Bristol Rovers)        16    2    1     0      1     20
Barlow (Wigan)                  14    1    1     0      4     20
Rammell (Walsall)               17    0    1     0      1     19
Cresswell (York)                16    3    0     0      0     19
Asaba (Gillingham)              16    0    1     0      1     18
Roberts (Bristol Rovers)        11    7    0     0      0     18
Hayles (Fulham)                 15    1    1     0      0     17
Payton (Burnley)                14    2    1     0      0     17
GOATER (MAN CITY)               13    1    2     0      0     16
Taylor (Gillingham)             13    0    0     0      3     16
Harris (Millwall)               12    0    0     0      3     15
Connolly (Wrexham)               8    5    1     0      1     15

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 #485