Newsletter #487

A good issue to sign off with for some R&R over the next two weeks – please note the new address to send articles to (Guest Editor = Mark Varley). Being the eternal pessimist that I am (thanks mum), I’ve been telling anyone that would care to listen, that our season would be over this weekend, as any idiot could see that Reading would turn us over. At 1.45pm I was frantically fiddling with the teletext buttons in my hotel room in Balloch, just before rushing off the catch the bus to the wedding I was attending along the banks of Loch Lomond. 0-0, and I couldn’t for the life of me remember the kick-off time – aagghh! Still, it was worth the 12-hour wait to again fiddle with the buttons (this time alcohol impeded) and find out the final score. Not only had we won, but there were defeats for Wigan and Gillingham! This issue has three match reports.

The main news is that our new kit manufacturer has been announced, and is none other than Le Coq Sportif, which on the face of it looks like an exciting deal – once again a continental manufacturer with a reputation for stylish kits. There’s also news of a near-miss at the latest Internet footie tournament, much opinion and another good Why Blue.

Finally, last issue it was stated that City’s sole income from the Colchester game would have been that from the 600 away tickets sold, had it not been for pay-per-view. It’s since been pointed out by a few subscribers that the club would not even have received this, as nowadays the home club get to keep all the gate money. So, City would have received nothing, and have probably made a fair sum from the television rights.

Next game, Wigan Athletic at home, Saturday 3rd April 1999


Please note that I’ll be taking a break starting with the next issue (MCIVTA 488). Mark Varley has kindly agreed to step in as guest editor for the next 4 issues; these are Issue 488 (Thursday 1st April) to Issue 491 (Monday 12th).

Please send all articles for inclusion in MCIVTA to:

Mark Varley (

Articles sent to me will not be read, at least not until it’s too late!



READING vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 27th March 1999

Well where do I start? What a day, what a game. The game was delayed for 30 minutes because of the huge influx of fans, the bar in the stadium was raided by some cheeky scally who ran off with the profits, and someone chucked the mustard over the poor guy behind the bar when he wasn’t allowed to serve more beer.

The stadium I thought looked impressive, it seated around 23-24,000 people and was 1,000 times better than Elm Park, which is the worst ground I’ve ever been in; this stadium was in the middle of nowhere, but a good bus supply got us there on time. City fans where genuinely surprised that Mark Robins wasn’t even on the bench (especially because I could have got odds of 7-1 on him scoring the first goal in Reading).

City started this game fairly slowly, they were doing more defending than attacking, the Reading home support was in fine vocal mood, and I for one thought ‘Oh Dear, here we go again’ (well I am a City fan). They had a few new players on show today, and things seemed to be going their way. City kept squandering possession in all areas of the field, and Reading did look up for their Cup Final. Then, midway through the first half, City got a free kick just outside the Reading box, up stepped Cooke (one-nil in your Cup Final); I thought their goalie would get to it but somehow it crept in, superb. Reading still kept coming back at City but we managed to hold them ’til half-time.

City in the second half were totally different, you could actually see that Goater and Bishop were playing. City looked well up for it now, and all of a sudden Reading looked very poor. City were all over them, Bishop was tackling and passing and generally looking the biz. Within five minutes of the start Goater had a one on one with the goalie, he rounded him and shot wide, he couldn’t believe it – neither could the crowd right next to him, he looked gutted (as well he might). Two minutes later he had another one on one, I held my head screamed ‘Please’ and Goater duly obliged. 2-0 and we were coasting, we looked in the mood for another Burnley demolition job. Dickov who had been there or thereabouts all game got away from their last man with the ball at his feet, in came the challenge, out came the red card. Terry Cooke struck the free-kick from the edge of the box, 3-0 and a sense of déjà vu. City were rampant and the Reading fans were leaving quicker than a Terry Cooke dribble. They were gutted and left with the cries of ‘Cheerio-Cheerio’ ringing in their ears. City 3-0 up and 30 minutes left, and against 10 men with the sun shining, and a song in my heart, I felt more goals. Bishop hit the bar and managed to thump the rebound over the open net, and with a few minutes left, and a half empty stadium Reading scored, and were applauded by 4,000 City fans for their effort.

I met someone I know on the way out, but was too excited to form proper sentences to talk to him, oh well maybe next time. I was slowly brought back down to Earth in the traffic jam outside the ground, it took forever to get out (maybe those Reading fans weren’t that stupid after all for leaving early). This had to be the easiest game for City, they could’ve (should’ve) got a hatful (there I go again complaining, typical City fan). We are looking far more healthy now than we have for a long time, long may it continue.

Last note, according to Reading programme Dickov is 5’11” and 13 half-stone and even more remarkably Goater is an excellent finisher in front of goal.

Walter Smith (


READING vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday, 27th March 1999

Saturday was nice and sunshiny at the Madejski Stadium, which enjoyed its biggest crowd ever and our record away attendance in this division… so it wasn’t surprising that kick-off was delayed by half-an-hour.

City started the match looking somewhat nervous, particularly with Wiekens and Morrison lookng less composed on the ball than usual. In contrast, Reading looked quite smartly organised, and were using the flanks much better, so the early chances fell Reading’s way. In the first twenty minutes, City only had Michael Brown’s stirring crossfield run that ended with a feeble shot, and Dickov’s yellow card. Dickov was bustling about but falling over too easily, so that the referee soon started not calling fouls on him even when they were patently real. On the half-hour, Weaver had to make a great save off Houghton (I think), but then two minutes later a free-kick that was given for a Dickov foul saw Terry Cooke step up and curl the ball over the wall and into goal. Cooke was playing a storm; a minute later, he combined well with Dickov, unfortunately without result, and then five minutes on tried an audacious lob that smacked into the top netting. Weaver then had to dive low to his left to catch a sneaky shot and City had another good attempt off a pinball corner.

Reading’s determination to chase the game in the second half meant that there was space at the back for City to work on, and in the first ten minutes City had five one-to-one situations. First Dickov forced a save, then Goater had a near thing, then Bishop tried for one too, but was just too slow to the ball, then Goater had a clear chance, went round the ‘keeper and the crowd couldn’t believe how he could have hit the side-netting. Then on 55 minutes, Dickov set up Goater, who raced into the top corner of the area and slid a brilliant shot past the despairing Scott Howie. Reading didn’t learn; it took just seven minutes for City to set a striker speeding through again. This time Dickov was on his way to goal when Alan Maybury hauled him back and Dickov went down like a wedding cake. The referee – by now doubtful of Dickov – ran to his linesman, who thankfully had a clear look at the incident, and Maybury had an early shower. City were awarded a free-kick just outside the area, and Cooke took a short run and smacked the ball low into the left corner for possibly the most classy free-kick goal of Joe Royle’s regime. Cooke then went on to put a few more dangerous crosses in, but we’d started saying “Cheerio!” to the Reading fans, and the team had started passing the ball around in exhibition style, so that there were only two more dangerous moments, the first Howie’s fingertips save from Allsopp and the second Bishop forcing Howie to tip the ball onto the bar and then skying the rebound. In the dying seconds, Reading got a consolation Keith Scott goal after some sloppy defending, denying Weaver a deserved clean sheet, but one had the sense that City really should have had more; 6-0 wouldn’t have been an unfair result.


Weaver – 7 – Did well, not at fault with the goal.
Crooks – 8 – Looking very good at right back.
Vaughan – 8 – Made some outstanding interceptions… and a few bad hoofs.
Wiekens – 7 – Not as assured as usual, but still played a major rôle.
Morrison – 7 – Solid and strong.
Pollock – 7 – A gutsy display, with some good attacking momentum.
Brown – 7 – Tried hard and worked well for the team but didn’t use the space wide left.
Bishop – 5 – Couldn’t do much right, kept misplacing his passes and getting caught in possession, missed the goal when it would have been easier to score.
Dickov – 7 – Worked hard and had a hand in all three goals but kept getting caught offside and didn’t look like scoring. Deserves another go though.
Goater – 7 – Well-taken goal and good effort, but could be better.
Cooke – 9 – Simply outstanding. Buy him! Now!

Taylor – 6 – Kept getting caught offside, but improving.
Allsopp – 6 – Seemed somewhat lightweight but could have had a goal.

Unused sub:

CTTCJOTM – City till the cow jumps over the moon! Toh Hsien Min (


READING vs.MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 27th March 1999

I phoned my mate on Friday night saying I wouldn’t be going to Reading without ticket. “I’ve already got them”, was the reply. “OK, I’m in” I said. What a decision!

Four of us set off from Wimborne in Dorset at 10:00, stopped at 10:05 to buy tinnies and pies and blasted up the M3. I had lost at spoof so was driving, which is why I can remember to write this. We reached junction 11 of the M4 at 11:00 and then sat in a gridlocked traffic jam for the next hour with the stadium in sight. The plan had been to find a pub for the England game but time meant we went straight to the Madjeski. The Trust House Forte at the complex was full of City fans, and they ran out of glasses. “We weren’t expecting this” they said, rather embarrassed. I think they were embarrassed at charging £2.70 for a bottle of Bud. It’s £1.50 down south.

Rumours spread that the kick-off was delayed so the two of us that were Blues started walking the mile to the stadium at 1:00pm. The other two with us (Chelsea and Villa) stayed in the pub and said they would meet us there. (waste of air, but they had paid already).

The ground itself was really good, plenty of space and atmosphere. We took our seats at the Reading end, with our accents giving nothing away. We were front row right by the left hand post, as most Blues were looking, and basking in the hot sun. The programme came in useful as a visor, to try to spot what was going on, and the match started at 1:30.

I’ll leave the actual details of the match to more gifted writers, but will say when Cookie scored his first I was up and pointing at the ball which finished in the bottom left corner, then as the stewards looked round, I said “look at the state of that net!” and sat down again. The first half was very even, and if anything City had scored against the run of play, but who cares? The second half was all City, we murdered them, really! Unfortunately this meant that all the game was down the other end in front of the City fans, in the shade, and it was difficult to gauge how near we were getting. We relied on the incredible noise from the City fans (which drowned out the Reading lot, who seemed to have a side rather than an end) to tell us if we were close or not. Then a through ball split a ragged Reading defence, Goater hit the second, and the Reading lot shut up completely. Within ten minutes Dickov was felled and we shouted penalty as the ref extended his hand. Then he reached in his pocket and I thought Dickov was going to be booked for diving (he’d been doing a bit of it earlier). He had been booked after about ten minutes of the first half, so when the red card came out I thought the worst. Then the Reading defender started walking and I thought, It’s a penalty after all. Why is there a wall for a penalty? Anyway it might as well have been a penalty because the ‘keeper didn’t get a sniff. 3-0 and loving it.

Our adopted Blues for the day, arrived during the second half, a bit worse for wear and watched the inside of their eyelids for half an hour. What a waste of £12. They had come to the Bournemouth game and probably thought it would be as dreary as then, but they missed a good, solid team performance by City.

We left 5 minutes before the end to beat the rush to a pub with a TV, and missed Reading’s consolation goal in the last minute but other reports will describe it I’m sure. The pub we found was bad for viewing so we set off home listening to Thames radio describe the International. Then reports came from the Madjeski that they were showing the game on the numerous monitors around the ground. Doh! The radio said that the stadium had an eerie feeling, it was empty to the eye, but cheers could be heard coming from the bowels.

Still, a good day and home by 6 thanks to the traffic being better now. Just a few observations: Reading’s half-time team talk must have been “watch City play and stop defending so well” – (City deserve the credit for this though). Morrison is a rock, full of commitment and never looked like losing a 50:50 all day. The Madjeski stadium is good, getting to it is crap.

Don’t take Chelsea or Villa p**sheads to City games.

Stuart Wells (


City Depose Royals

Saturday’s first-ever trip to Reading’s new Madejski Stadium brought a 3-1 win which in fact sounded more emphatic than the scoreline suggests. Leading at the break through a Terry Cooke free kick, the Blues had the game sewn up by the hour mark thanks to Shaun Goater’s eighteenth goal of the season and another Cooke free kick awarded for a professional foul which saw Reading defender Alan Maybury red carded. A combination of the woodwork, profligate finishing and good goalkeeping saw the Blues fail to add to their tally against the ten men, and the home side pulled a goal back in injury time when substitute Keith Scott scored on his début. Still, if I’d been offered a 3-1 win before the game, I’d have accepted with indecent haste, so it’s probably a little churlish to complain about the failure to score more. The after-match coverage focused once again on the possible fate of two-goal hero Cooke, but as the reports failed to add anything much of interest to whats already been said, I don’t propose to go over the same ground again.

The Promotion Picture

Saturday’s result was doubly important in that it severely dented Reading’s play-off hopes. The Royals are now eight points adrift of City having played the same number of fixtures. A couple of the other results went in City’s favour too, with Wigan losing at home to Stoke. I’d have preferred a draw in that one, but I’ll accept a result which leaves Stoke eight points behind with two games in hand and Wigan ten behind with four games in hand. Gillingham’s defeat at Luton, their third in four games, means that City are three points clear of the Kent side, who have a game in hand. We trail Bournemouth by two points, Walsall by three and Preston by seven. Bournemouth and Preston each have one game in hand over us while Walsall have two. All teams have two games over Easter, with fixtures spread from Thursday 1 to Tuesday 6 April. The only relevant action before then is Wigan’s home match against Bristol Rovers on Tuesday.

Kit Deal Announced

City chairman David Bernstein has announced that, after discussions with “some of the biggest brand names in football”, the Blues have signed a kit supply contract with French company Le Coq Sportif. The deal is said to be worth £1 million over a three-year period, though the chairman claims the manufacturer has made “not only a significant financial commitment but also a creative one.” New home and away kits will be available for next season, and the early rumour is that the home kit will be still be laser blue, while the away kit will revert to the more traditional red and black stripes which were synonymous with many great days in the late sixties and early seventies (I suppose the real purists would go for maroon). The new kits will be part of what Bernstein refers to as a “very exciting product range” to be unveiled in July.

City Linked With Shrews’ ‘Keeper

City have been linked again with Shrewsbury’s teenage ‘keeper Glyn Thompson. The player has already been on trial at Newcastle this season, and the Geordies are still interested in securing his signature. However, reports claim that Royle is hoping to lure the player with the promise of first-team football. With Nicky Weaver in such fine form, there would appear little chance of this being true – unless, of course, the club has decided to cash in on Weaver’s evident star potential. However, this has persistently been denied and the player recently signed an extended contract.

Robins Comes Home

On joining Manchester City last week, Mark Robins obviously had his book of football clichés handy as he trotted out the standard line of every Maine Road new boy. “This is a massive club with great potential,” he observed after signing until the end of the season. However, surprisingly in view of his Old Trafford pedigree, he also claimed that when he pulls on the hallowed blue shirt, he’ll be fulfilling a lifetime ambition. “My family are all devoted Blues and, although people may think it strange bearing in mind my United connections, they have always been my No.1 club,” said City’s new striker. The player revealed that his late grandfather, who died a couple of years ago, was a fanatical City fan and dreamed that Robins would one day play for the Blues. He’s certainly been linked with City before, and claims that two previous City managers have tried to bring him to the club. Incidentally, Robins was denied a place on the City bench at the weekend because his international clearance didn’t come through in time. A bank holiday in Greece caused the mix-up, but it should be resolved in time to allow Robins to be in contention for the Easter fixtures.

Royle Turns Down Striker Bids

Despite securing Robins’ signature, Joe Royle still felt able to turn down bids for three of his strikers before the transfer deadline – though it’s not entirely clear which three. The City forwards have drawn criticism from some quarters for their goalscoring record of late. However, Royle has consistently defended his front men, and was quick to take the opportunity to do so again, saying, “Obviously other clubs don’t think they’re that bad, do they? Shaun Goater has scored 18 goals this season and if I’d made him available there would have been a queue of clubs interested.” One outgoing move which did go through (albeit too late to make the last MCIVTA news summary) was another loan transfer for Chris Greenacre, with Northampton his destination this time.

Morrison Disciplinary Date

Andy Morrison faces an FA disciplinary tribunal in Sheffield on Tuesday to explain why he’s picked up so many bookings this season. The City captain faces an automatic one-match ban for picking up eleven bookings this term, and will sit out the visit of Wigan on Saturday. The tribunal could extend the punishment to two matches, meaning Morrison will sit out Easter Monday’s visit to Preston.

Youngster Injury Blow

Seventeen-year-old defender Clive Brown, brother of Manchester United’s Wes, has suffered a serious knee injury in training. There are few details on the injury except that at the initial stage it’s feared the player may face a battle to save his career. Hopefully it won’t be that serious. Best wishes to him for a speedy recovery.

Article On-Line

One of the best pieces of writing on City in recent times was Bill Borrows’ superb article entitled “After all that… this”, in the Weekend Guardian last September. The piece traced the demise of Manchester City during the eighties and nineties. Bill formerly edited Blue Print, the first City fanzine, before moving to London and writing for a number of well-known publications including ‘Loaded’ magazine. For anyone who hasn’t yet seen it, the Guardian article is unequivocally a ‘must read’, and now enjoys a link of its own on the Supporters’ Home Page at

Peter Brophy (


Ticket Office opening times

Due to the high demand for discounted season tickets the Ticket Office will be open on Saturday 27th March from 9.00am until 2.00pm. this is the last Saturday before the discount deadline of Wednesday 31st March.

Ticket Information

We wish to remind supporters that we are sold out of tickets for the away matches at Reading and Preston. In addition supporters are advised to purchase tickets as soon as possible for the home match vs. Wigan Athletic on Saturday 3rd April as tickets are selling quickly.

Ticket Office – Manchester City



The LuG tournament (Land Ut Gods) took place on Sunday 28th March. The event took place in Huddersfield on Leeds Road playing fields (just down the road from the McAlpine Stadium). The 12 teams involved were: McVittee, Net Terriers (Huddersfield), WHOSH (Luton), Inter Bears (Rangers), Mad Hatters (Stockport County), ASB (QPR), West Ham, SBA (Coventry), Nett Busters (Lincoln), Lards (Leeds), Internet Bantams (Bratfud) and Punch Drunk (Ipswich).

The format was 4 groups of three teams, the top two teams going through, though the bottom team then went into the plate competition. McVittee were grouped with Hudders and Luton.

Dave had managed to get a squad of 15 players, but with a few withdrawals through injuries the team was down to a bare 13. However, as the opening match against Udders drew close, there were only 9 players available, the first game:

Martin F, Dave B, Pete S, Mark W, Mark C, Andy H, Paul, Spenner, Lee H.

Basically it was a backs against the wall job, Hudders having plenty of possession and superiority in numbers. Fortunately we managed to hold out for the first half and went in at 0-0. The second half was much the same but then the delayed carful turned up and evened the teams up to 11 apiece. Rick took over in goal and Gav moved into midfield. Rob eventually went up front after a substitution. The match finished all square, 0-0, not a bad start.

Huddersfield beat Luton 1-0 in the next game, so a draw would be good enough to see us through. We wanted to win the group, but it wouldn’t be that way. Against Luton we struggled to gel and went through following a fortunate 0-0 draw; Luton had scored but the ref dissallowed it through offside, hmm, lucky for us.

The quarter final saw us paired against West Ham, a big strong team, but this time another recruit had joined (Mike S?), so we had the luxury of two subs (me being one after tweaking my knee against Luton). This was another tough game, although a lot more even. The match was decided in the second half with the only goal of the game. Mark W broke down the right, burst into the box and crossed to the far post for Rob to head in. West Ham pushed forward, but good defending and an outstanding last minute save from Rick saved the day and the lottery of a penalty shootout (which were numerous on the day – including a three way shootout to decide a group finish).

So onto the semi-final against Bratfud. An early blow was the loss of Andy H with a broken toe (ouch), he was replaced by yours truly. Once more it was 0-0 at half time. Spenner broke the deadlock with a run from midfield and slotted passed the ‘keeper. Bratfud came back strongly and equalised not long from the end. More injuries appeared, Mark W was struggling with a groin injury, Gav had to be subbed with a bad groin strain; he was replaced by Mark C. Bratfud nearly grabbed a winner with the last kick of the game but the combination of Rick, the post and Pete S hooking the ball off the line secured a draw and the penalty shootout.

The shootout stood tantalisingly at 2-2 with the last kicks to be taken. Rob took his, and however daft as it may sound, it was unclear as to whether the ball had gone in. The netting was loose, not tied down, flapping by one of the posts, and the penalty ended up in the netting. The ref gave the goal, Bratfud were sure it had missed, hand on heart I couldn’t tell. It was clear though that the McVittee players were unsure, some said it went in, others said it missed. The ref said we could re-take the kick, Bratfud protested; any further arguments were saved, when Rob to his credit admitted it had missed. Bratfud just had to score their pen (which they did) to reach the final, against Stockport County.

So semi-finalists, I honesty think the final would have been a step too far especially with the injuries. Who knows, maybe next year?

The squad in full:
Rick S, Gav H, Dave B, Martin F, Pete S, Mark W, Mark C, Mike S, Paul, Spen O’G, Lee H, Rob, Andy H.

So cheers to all the lads, thanks to the tournament organisers and looking forward to Leicester Fiesta (if you’re interested then let me or Dave Barker ( know.

Martin Ford (


A bit more on the Colchester review:

Has anyone mentioned the programme for the said Colchester game? Everything was normal, front cover dates, times, opponents etc, inside had the usual blurb from the club, the away section had the usual write up about the Blues, everything fine until you reached the back cover:

Colchester, blue white stripes, manager and line-up, fine, no problems.

City section:

Manchester City

Laser blue shirts, white shorts, etc.
Manager Joe Royle
Line up:
1 Gary Kelly
2 xxxx Rickers
3 etc
6 Lee Duxbury
7 etc

Get the picture? It must be an all time collectors’ item, pity I didn’t get one. It caused great amusement amongst the Blues.

Martin Ford (


By Noel Bayley – editor of Bert Trautmann’s Helmet

My best mate got married last Saturday so we couldn’t go to Reading, not even to knock out the new issue – so thanks to Mike and Steve for doing the honours there. We had to go up to Keswick, drink a bit of wine (which was shocking) and I did a bit of a speech (which was worse!). Still, it’s the first game I’ve missed since last Christmas.

Anyway, we adjourned to a pub (Casa’s Bar) to watch the England vs. Poland match knowing only that City were drawing 0-0 at half-time, care of Five Live. At least that’s what we thought, but as we’d missed most of the match report we had no idea that the game had kicked off half an hour late, but reasoned that Sky might let us in on the scores given their alleged commitment to football in general and their interest in City of late. No chance! I have numerous gripes against Sky (far too many to mention in fact) and one of them is this. As everyone knows, even the dullest Coventry vs. Wimbledon game, for example, will be magically transformed by flashy graphics and pithy pundits, clever camera angles and, no doubt, canned crowd noises into the best game you’ve never seen. Fair enough, they have to protect their investment, but whatever their chosen match is, it is broadcast to the detriment of all others, or so it seems.

Of course, I could have been in the khazi or at the bar when the results came through, but I doubt it. I could have blinked and missed them, but again I doubt it. Granada presenter Cerys Griffiths was in the pub, but she didn’t know the score either. Still, I don’t suppose having a bath with Ian Brightwell means to say that you automatically support City! As it was, Flat Cap Mike – a character associated with another City fanzine – also happened to be in the same pub so I asked him if he knew the score. He rang GMR for an update – 3-0 at the time – but in the words of many a vexed letter writer to Barry Took’s Points Of View: why oh why can’t Sky put regular updates across the bottom of the screen as, like me, there are many people whose first allegiance is to their own chosen team rather than a Cockney/Rags XI and that’s not bitterness, that’s a fact. It was only when the main event had given way to the bit of Saturday afternoon telly that used to feature the teleprinter that we found out that City had indeed won – 3-1.

But just out of interest, how many Blues cheered when Scholes scored? I might be risking condemnation here but I didn’t for the simple reason that I cannot support a) Rags in England shirts and/or b) anyone who plays in red. No doubt I’ll have Cooke, Robins and any of the other Rags and ex-Rags who Joe Royle seems intent on signing thrown in my face, but that’s a bit different. Hypocritical? Moi? Nah!

Noel Bayley


Just to let anyone who is interested know.

On Saturday my eight year old daughter, Jemma, is visiting only her second live football match. I decided to start her at an easy game and a battered old run down ground so she went to Wembley for the England vs. Poland game. She enjoyed it so much it’s time for the big one.

She will be with me on Row 20 in the Platt Lane this weekend wearing a brand new scarf (as long as I have time to get into the shop before the match) so give her a wave!

It’s just unfortunate that she has to start learning the important lessons of life so young – and be saddled with a life following the Blues.

CTID, Nigel Gibson (


The recent rumours surrounding the new Eastlands stadium may have more than an hint of truth in them. I pass the stadium site every day on my way from Stalybridge into the city centre, and there is a complete lack of activity in the area. I heard they were to begin clearing the site in January, but nothing has been done yet. There isn’t a single piece of equipment at the site, and I’ve yet to see a single workman. I think we will be staying at Maine Road.

Charles Pollitt (


I’ve got to get my two peneth in about this. I object to PPV football not because of the Sky/Man Ure connection, but because I am loath to pay once for the football City are playing right now, so I don’t really want to pay for it twice. It’s the same idea as tax. You get taxed when you get your wages, taxed when you put them in the bank, and then taxed when you buy something (assuming that there’s anything left). By subcribing to Sky, I have paid once, I’ll be damned if I’m going to cough 1/3 of my monthly subcription for one game. So why is it that only the demand sports are PPV? Obviously this is because they’ll make more money. You’d have to be a divot not to work that out.

However, assuming that Sky are tring to make an extra couple of bob for themselves as well as City, let’s look at other local sports. Superleague. Basketball. Ice Hockey. You don’t see people shelling out extra PPV money to see the Salford Reds, the Manchester Giants or the Storm do you? These games get as high ratings as the City games, but you wouldn’t dream of paying extra for them if you were a fan. Even the important league/playoff games are shown at no extra cost. I believe that the only reason we pay this amount is because as a nation we have been worn down by the advertising machine that is Sky TV. We don’t think anything of it when they ask us to cough up £7 for a non-descript Friday night Second Division football match. I want availability. If I can’t make it to an away game, I want to be able to switch on the TV and see the game as everyone else does. I know that £7 is probably half the price of the ticket for the game, so even without the petrol+beer+pies, I’m saving money. But it’s not the same. £14 For a spiritual experience is good value. £7 To get irradiated for 2 hours by your TV is not. That’s my piece said, Up the City!

Dave Ward (


Some City supporters might dislike what I am about to say. First of all I must say I was always very much against United, maybe not playing them of late took some of the sting out of that. All through the World Cup some of you might know there was an England Website and right through all the games fans posted their comments. Well when Beckham was sent off, I was not as mad at Beckham as most, I wrote the remark “if Beckham is the best in the country at his position he should play for England again, and if United did not want him City sure could use him.”

Well my point being I would like to thank United for the loan of Terry Cooke (and maybe a future signing). It will be good to get back to the old days of derby games, until then thanks United for Terry Cooke. Not to forget our Manager Joe Royle and Coach Willie Donachie for making it all happen.

Come on you Blues, let’s do it!

Ernie Barrow (


Sky, PPV and other commercial enterprises are changing football. The question is whether you think the changes are in the long-term interests of the game. Simon (I’m a stunning chief executive) seems to believe that football clubs can only be run on strict commercial lines when all the evidence is actually the opposite. The vast majority of football clubs, league and non-league get no big commercial revenue at all and even big clubs like Barcelona live off income largely from gate receipts. I don’t support Sky or Sky PPV, not because of the Rags, but because of the price/ticket and wage inflation which seems inevitably to follow. Please convince me that football can remain a working man’s or woman’s game with £7.95 per TV session or season ticket prices like those we see at Maine Road or in the Premier. Clubs like City get into difficulty because of poor financial management as much as anything.

I deduce from his email address that Simon is a bloated capitalist pig with slitty eyes, a big bank balance, a ten gallon ar*e and with the ability to peel a banana with his foot. Blurry clever these email addresses aren’t they?

Peter Llewellyn (


Am I the only one who has no feeling of loyalty towards the squad at the moment? There are certain individuals who I always want to do well, but equally as many that I want to be so poor that Big Joe sees sense and cancels their contracts. Brown, Morrison, Weaver and Wiekens get my vote, and possibly Goater – as he seems to try hard. The rest are easy come, easy go in my books. I want to like Pollock but he is a thug – great when at the game, but from afar it is frustrating that he is continually in trouble with the ref. I should like Taylor (me being a taffy) but I don’t, Edghill should take a run off a pier – but he would probably miss the end, Bishop should get a haircut and a new club (great first time around but you should never go back) and for no reason that I can fathom I just don’t like Horlock.

Don’t you all think that it is important that any team has a villain, even your own team. When I go down the rugby at Cardiff or to see Wales play at Anfield you have to hate someone on your team – Pembridge is my current choice and I had an awful feeling that he was going to be our big signing. Every team needs a villain.

I’ll now go and drink on my own as I have no friends.

Tomos (


I was home a couple of weeks ago and I was really touched by the number of people that asked if they could stay at my place if City get to the play off final. It was the attitude more than anything, not defeatist that we have to hope we get promoted through the play-offs but excitement at the prospect of a day out supporting City. It really made me feel part of the City family.

I must make a comment about Sky sport and Rupert Murdoch; I couldn’t give a damn. Remember that the people who contribute to this newsletter are mainly computer nerds and anyone that reminds them of Bill Gates or their High Court judge father really upsets them.

Mike Doherty (


  1. PPV – Let’s get it into perspective. You had a choice: yes or no. Thepoint is, it was a game you had the choice to watch? Does anybody think forone minute this game would have been covered by the BBC or Sky’s normalcoverage? We are an ordinary Division 2 side, whatever we like to believe. Iagree with Stuart.
  2. Paul Dickov – I agree with Simon. Paul Dickov is good. He needs someonewho is intelligent enough to feed off his runs.
  3. Why Blue – You were lucky. I used to get sixpence during the sameperiod, for the milk round. But I must admit the long road to the big housein Woodbank Park, where vehicles were rarely allowed, did make me feelquite regal.
  4. Colin Bell – I have read many articles, Chris Ryder’s being thelatest, about Colin. We all claim him as the greatest City player. What canwe do to truly pay the deserved respect to him? A web page? I have no ideawhere to begin, I just read this stuff. Does anybody else think we shouldpay special tribute to one of the greats? And if so, in which way?

David Kilroy (


What I thought was more interesting on transfer deadline day was not who we transferred in, but who we transferred out – i.e. nobody! Basically we’re unable to get shot of the excess baggage we need to lose to trim the squad down. Looks like we’ll have to hang on to them now till the summer, so we can try to offload a few during the close season.

If Mark Robins turns out to be any use then it may spell the end for Dickov, as I reckon Joe will want to try the Robins – Goater partnership. I suppose it’s too much to ask that Taylor falls out of favour too?

Steve Maclean (


A letter published in the MEN Football Pink has raised what I thought was an excellent point – penalties. If as looks likely, we do get through to the play-offs (please God don’t let Wigan beat us and win all their games in hand), then we should be aware of the possibility that a tie may have to be decided on penalties.

That raises 2 issues:

  1. In goal Nicky Weaver would probably have the confidence of most Cityfans of being able to pull off a save or two.
  2. But as far as taking them is concerned it is a different story! All Ican say is that if Joe has any grey matter at all he will be making surethat the whole squad is getting plenty – of penalty taking practice thatis. Personally I’d have specific penalty work in every single trainingsession from now till the end of the season.

For God’s sake don’t do a Hoddle, Joe!

Steve Maclean (


Cheap Star Trek Reference

To be read prior to the Reading game.

You’ve all realised by now, but I’ll say it anyway. Of our last nine games, only one is against a team we have already beaten this season. In fact five of the nine have beaten us.

Two schools of thought on this one (both mine). Either:

  1. there’s a stack of humiliating defeats that need to be avenged (the Klingon approach) or
  2. a string of bogey teams against whom a draw would be a good result (Human approach)

So what’s it to be? Klingon warrior or Human p’taq?

All Time Classic (Not)

So Mark Robins has finally arrived. Strangely enough, I always thought he would. Despite always doing well wherever he’s played (Slime Central, Norwich, Leicester etc.), you’d still put him firmly in the category of underachiever. Still he’s got a few years left in him yet, still only 29. I checked his record, as you do, and he seems to be a goal scoring substitute!

He certainly owes us one or two. I’ll never forget that most miserable of games against Leicester. It was January and it was dire. I had to get back to Chesterfield and the P.A. was progressively announcing the closure of Pennine passes. The Leicester fans were advised to forget any route apart from the M6. Claremont Road was still open, so the City fans were OK. The game itself should have been abandoned. Football was impossible and it was drifting into a 0-0 draw. Until a feeble Leicester shot was going out for a goal kick when it stuck in surface water by the by-line. Our ‘keeper stood and watched it, unlike the Leicester sub, one Mark Robins, who nipped in and poked it into our goal. And that was that.

The journey home over Tideswell Moor was a bundle of laughs too. It was finally shut to traffic half an hour after I started to cross. The only other vehicles I saw were in ditches as I had plenty of time to reflect on yet another defeat. Luckily the landlord in my local pulled me a pint at 11.30 when I arrived and I was able to regale my fellow drinkers with tales of my swashbuckling trip home (fending off polar bears etc.)

About Time I Put The Muckers On Us

If we win six of our last eight games, we’ll break our all-time points scoring record of 82 set back in 88-89. Granted we’ve played more games, worse teams etc. but a record’s a record, and we don’t break many.

Claim to Fame

On the subject of which. I remember as a kid we held the record for most (old) 2nd Division titles, yes it’s sad isn’t it? Is this still so? I presume that it’s not as it would be on the club crest or something.

And Finally…

So come on then. How many City fans cheered when that scum player scored (more than once, apparently) for England on Saturday? Especially when he cheated? Or is it different when an Englishmen does it?

Andy Noise (


Does anyone out there know how to get a username/password for the Realaudio commentaries on City matches on the City website?

It’s weird, there appears to be nowhere on the site to tell you how to do this, however I can get all other realaudio/realvideo broadcasts without a username…

Please help (preferably before the Wigan match)!

Nigel Timperley (


I have a friend who is doing a small project on replica football shirts. Is there anybody out there who can give me any information on:

  1. Where they are made?
  2. How much they cost to produce?
  3. How the profit is split between manufacturer and the club.
  4. I seem to remember an article claiming that they can be produced for £5.00 – anyone verify?
  5. Anything relevant to the topic.
  6. How many different shirts have the Rags had in the last 2 seasons?

Many thanks.

Ian McIntosh (


I’ve been a Blue as long as I can remember… all thanks to the dreaded family disease. Dad is a Blue (season ticket not renewed this year for the first time in donkey’s years), grandad was a Blue of sixty years, and (now here’s a thing!) great grandad William Taylor played for City in 1887 when they were Gorton or Gorton Athletic (if anyone has any stats, photos etc I’d be very interested by the way).

I saw my first match in April 1973 when City were beaten 3-1 at home by Ipswich. I seem to remember dad telling me Mike Summerbee scored our goal, but to be honest, so disinterested was I in the action that I played with my dinky cars on the old Platt Lane seats, and even thought they started again at half-time with the score at nil-nil!

Second match was home vs. West Ham, opening day of the 74/5 season when I really got the bug – we won 4-0 and complete with gleaming new City rosette (what happened to them?). I was smiling all the way back to Irlam where nan was cooking the egg and chips which was to become customary fare after our routine pilgrimage to Maine Road. Three generations continued to watch City throughout the seventies, when we were virtually unbeatable at home… I can barely remember anyone bar Liverpool ever winning at the Academy, and my City obsession was further helped by membership of the Junior Blues. I was one of the four thousand (mentioned in Gary James’s excellent Manchester – the Greatest City book) who went to Belle Vue for the convention around 1978… I even made a banner which I think read “Futcher the Butcher” in honour of our latest signing (Paul… not Ron) Quite why I was surprised I didn’t win any prizes for my ingenuity I’ve no idea.

Mid 80’s I took to going to away games with the Travel Club… lots of near-kickings at Blackburn, Sheffield etc. with hooliganism still rife, but plenty of memories too of big gruff Helen Turner informing us youngsters quite categorically that there was to be “no alcohol… and no bloody swearing neither!” I was also on the old “Special” train the day it ploughed into a horse en route to Barnsley – 15 minutes late to the match but I’ll never forget the cheers of the Blues already in the ground as we rushed down the hill to Oakwell from the station… they were reassured that the away end, as ever, was going to be full!

The 90’s of course have been depressing… but the joy of watching the lads hasn’t diminished. Although I have to say that I was as close as I’ve ever been to saying “stuff it” after travelling to York last December on a rare Saturday off. No parking places… 1-nil down before I got into the ground… freezing cold… last minute sub getting the winner… four and a half hour drive home. Boll**ks.

Anyway, we’ve only lost to Oldham since, so no complaints. I think Joe’s getting it right and here’s to a trip to Wembley.

Simon Hill (


Second Division Results, Saturday, March 27 1999

Bournemouth               2-1  Colchester United      6,447
Warren (35)                    Greene (20)
Hughes (40)
Bristol Rovers            1-1  Notts County           5,899
Ipoua (34)                     Creaney (14)
Chesterfield              1-2  Blackpool              4,027
Lee (81)                       Sturridge (15)
                               Clarkson (56)
Luton Town                1-0  Gillingham             6,705
Dyche (41)
Millwall                  3-0  Wrexham                7,390
Grant (10)
Harris (78, 88)
Preston North End         3-0  Northampton Town      10,686
Basham (36, 63)
Macken (70)
Reading                   1-3  Manchester City       20,055
Scott (90)                     Cooke (32, 62)
                               Goater (54)
Wycombe Wanderers         3-0  Oldham Athletic        4,083
Carroll (16, 34)
McCarthy (42)

Sunday, March 28 1999

Burnley                   4-3  Macclesfield Town     10,500
Little (17)                    Durkan (9, 63)
Cowan (58)                     Askey (14)
Payton (78)
Davis (89)
Lincoln City              1-2  York City              5,504
Miller (4)                     Williams (73, 80)

Second Division Table, Up to and including Sunday, March 28 1999 (4:57pm)

                              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       37 11  4  4 42 19  10  5  3 26 16    72   68
Walsall                 36 10  6  3 29 20  10  2  5 22 20    68   51
Bournemouth             37 13  5  1 36 10   6  5  7 22 24    67   58
MANCHESTER CITY         38  9  6  3 26 12   8  8  4 26 16    65   52
Gillingham              37 12  5  2 37 13   4  9  5 22 21    62   59
Reading                 38  9  6  5 27 24   6  6  6 21 25    57   48
Stoke City              36  8  3  7 24 22  10  0  8 22 22    57   46
Wigan Athletic          34  9  3  4 29 12   7  4  7 25 23    55   54
Millwall                38  7  7  5 28 21   8  3  8 17 24    55   45
Chesterfield            36 13  2  4 32 15   2  7  8  9 19    54   41
Blackpool               37  5  8  5 19 17   6  5  8 16 25    46   35
Luton Town              37  8  4  7 21 22   4  5  9 22 29    45   43
Wrexham                 36  6  6  6 17 21   5  5  8 20 30    44   37
Bristol Rovers          36  7  7  6 29 25   2  7  7 19 19    41   48
Notts County            36  6  3  7 23 22   5  5 10 20 31    41   43
York City               37  4  7  7 22 27   6  2 11 23 38    39   45
Colchester United       37  5  7  6 18 25   3  8  8 22 30    39   40
Burnley                 37  6  6  8 19 32   3  5  9 22 36    38   41
Oldham Athletic         37  5  2 10 18 24   5  5 10 19 29    37   37
Lincoln City            36  8  3  7 24 22   2  3 13 10 37    36   34
Wycombe Wanderers       37  7  4  9 27 21   1  6 10 11 27    34   38
Macclesfield Town       36  5  4  8 13 17   3  5 11 16 28    33   29
Northampton Town        37  2  8  7 13 20   5  4 11 15 25    33   28

Second Division Top Scorers, Up to and including Saturday, March 27 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
Barlow (Wigan)                  15    1    1     0      4     21
Nogan (Preston)                 17    3    0     0      0     20
Cureton (Bristol Rovers)        16    2    1     0      1     20
Rammell (Walsall)               17    0    1     0      1     19
Asaba (Gillingham)              16    0    1     0      1     18
GOATER (MAN CITY)               15    1    2     0      0     18
Roberts (Bristol Rovers)        11    7    0     0      0     18
Hayles (Fulham)                 15    1    1     0      0     17
Harris (Millwall)               14    0    0     0      3     17
Payton (Burnley)                14    2    1     0      0     17
Taylor (Gillingham)             13    0    0     0      3     16
Connolly (Wrexham)               8    5    1     0      1     15
Robinson (Bournemouth)          11    1    1     0      1     14

Dorien James (
With thanks to Soccernet


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

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Newsletter #487