Newsletter #498

Wigan lost at Wycombe this week, a result which means that teams above them must now lose for them to qualify, and therefore makes it highly likely that Gillingham and Bournemouth will fill the two remaining play-off places. We have a belated match report from the Rovers’ game, as well as two match reports. In addition, Nizam has kindly sent in a detailed report of last night’s Under-17’s thrashing of Liverpool, a result which puts them through to the semis.

Most of the rest, apart from the news and an article from a York supporter, is taken up with opinion on our Red neighbours. As announced in the previous issue, in the interests of maintaining readablility, I’ve set today as a deadline for articles on this subject – at least for the short-term!

Next game, York City at home, Saturday 8th May 1999



Having been in Kazakhstan when Sky first invited me to pay to watch City this was the first time I had paid to view. I wasn’t sure whether I would be able to get the match after reading last week of the problems Peter Blyth was having in Glasgow. Anyhow, looking at the frequencies it looked as though a channel named Bloomberg (33) should have it on. I looked at the schedule for Saturday morning which said it was then showing Titanic and switched to see if I could recognise the sound; there were lots of water rushing noises and cries of “prepare the lifeboats” and “batten down the hatches”. This prompted my wife to say “So they’ve put the game on early then!” Well I did take her to the Gillingham game at Maine Road where she found the crowd more entertaining than the match and obviously some of the native wit has rubbed off.

On to the match; City deservedly went two up, Goater showing good reactions and awareness to score the first and Cooke showed how free kicks from just outside the penalty area should be taken. City were more or less in control and should have killed the match with two or three more goals, but didn’t. The referee then decided to even things up and started booking City defenders for not allowing themselves to be wrestled to the ground by Roberts and for failing to dematerialise when balls or players hurtled towards them. The freedom that Roberts in particular was given was a disgrace and in the end, after Wiekens had been given another talking to for not standing aside to let Roberts run through and score, Joe Royle decided enough was enough and substituted Vaughan for Wiekens to avoid him being sent off. I’m not a great Joe Royle fan, but this was the right decision although it cost City the win. Roberts was then duly allowed to run through unchallenged, as the referee wished, and scored.

I found his next decision quite amazing. Tony Vaughan is about two yards away from a Bristol player who shoots straight at him. Vaughan turns away moving his arm up across his chest and away from the path of the ball. The ball hits him a glancing blow around the elbow and bounces into the six-yard area where a Bristol player fails to score. The referee appears to have let play continue until the ball is in Weaver’s arms and then points to the penalty spot. There was no real appeal from the Bristol players. Vaughan is booked, no doubt for walking towards the referee in an agitated manner. Cureton scores the penalty.

I have something of a “bee in my bonnet” about referees and sports officials in general. Sport is dead unless officials operate on a more controlled and accountable basis, football and even cricket could become like WWF wrestling if the results are determined more by the decisions of officials than by the merits of the teams involved. Of course this doesn’t excuse the recent events in Scotland, but part of that responsibility lies with the footballing authorities who seem incapable of achieving a consistent level of performance and so bring referees as a whole into disrepute – even the good ones. I also understand the pressures and difficulties of making split second decisions – hence perhaps critical decisions (e.g. goals, penalties, bookings and sendings off) should be reviewed by a more detached observer with the benefits of technology. If I wanted to influence the outcome of a match the referees are the ones I would target and yet we never hear of referees being involved in match fixing – are they being protected? Dad told me that Blackburn were treated even worse in not being awarded a penalty – these decisions influence the future of clubs and if we value the concept of sport then referees (and umpires) must be made responsible for their actions in the same way as the players are.

Well that’s got that off my chest. In the end a game we should have put beyond doubt but we allowed the referee to take it from us. The take away feelings were not of relief that we had secured a place in the play-offs but one of sadness and anger that the man in black had had more influence on the result than the players.

Dave Lewis (


Having made the trip from sunny Surrey to Bristol, I arrived in Horsfield at 4.45pm. I found a pub that had a few Blues outside and head in for a pint or two. Everything inside was well natured and the Rovers fans were jubilant that Bristol City had been relegated. I made my way down to the ground at 5.30ish and had to walk past another pub; unfortunately there were a mindless few had decided it was a good day for a fight, what with the sun shining and the birds singing and 10 pints of lager inside them. I felt sorry for the kids walking around the area, the must have been s*** scared looking at the melee of ‘fans’ and police. Luckily I was able to avoid the area and was picked up by Martin Ford who spotted me fleeing from the scene. Later on I found out the some Bristol City fans had decided to cause the trouble because they had been relegated. I don’t know how true it was but again the good natured City fans are being tarred down with the same brush as the mindless few.

Got inside the ground (or is it stadium these days?) to find it open at one end, i.e. no stand, just houses. Another good following for the Blues as the terrace was packed. The ground was marked out for rugby and had the nice area behind the goals for trys/touchdowns (whatever they’re called). Rovers’ rather attractive and rather young dancing troupe (The Blue Flames – being nicknamed the Gas I bet the spent all night coming up with that name) were placed in the standless part of the ground/stadia (delete as appropriate) and did a good job of dancing/cheerleadering/etc. all through the game.

Anyway, kick off. We struggled to get used to the narrow pitch and passes wide kept running out of play. Eventually after some nifty work by Brown(?) down the right the ball was crossed in and Goater scored his 20th goal of the season. A few minutes later it was 2-0 after a blinding free-kick by Cooke (Beckscum’s wasn’t half as good as Cookie’s, and look at all the adulation Becks gets!). The travelling faithful burst into song with “Oh Terry Cooke, he’s not Munich any more, he’s not Munich any more, he’s not Munich any more”. Half time 2-0.

The best player of the half was Moonchester, yes Moonchester. He kept us entertained with his antics all the way through the half. He ducked behind the boards when we sang “We’re not really here”, remonstrated with a slightly bemused ball boy, danced with the Blue Flames etc. At half time the mascot competition was three shots in which to hit both posts of the goal. Moonie missed all his shots which earned him a chorus of “You’re not fit to wear the shirt” until he pleaded for forgiveness. Whoever the bloke (or even blokette) who is Moonie, full marks mate, after slagging him off when he first appeared I know think he does a brilliant job (bring on Wolfie of Wolves!).

Second half was pretty much the same as the first. City having most of the play and the ref being as inconsistent as ever. In the 83rd minute the Gas got a goal back, still 7 minutes left we can hang on. Wiekens had been booked and JR replaced him to “protect him”. 88th minute and a very dubious penalty was called. I couldn’t see properly but apparently it was hand ball but if you’re turning away from the ball how can you handle it? 2-2 and that was it appart from Weaver making a good save at the end to keep the scores level.

We’re in the play-offs (Nationwide’s own version of the Lottery). Just hope we finish 3rd or 4th to get the away leg first.

Right now for a general rant and a request.

Noel Bayley – I really don’t give a s**t about the scum, as long as city go up this season I’ll be happy. Yeah I’ll feel sad if they win an “unprecedented triple” but I can’t see that happening, but f**k them and stop your inane whinge about them and give us something substantial if you feel you have to contribute.

As it has been reported before Gavin Hodge broke his leg playing for your McVittee FC. He is recovering in hospital and could do with cheering up. It would be nice for him if people could send a card wishing him the best. If you send them to his brother he will forward them. If you want the address mail me (to save Rob’s address being available to all and sundry). Remember he was playing for your Internet football team because he loves City and loves his footy.

CTID, Andy Holgate (


Another £7.99 on the bill. Am I the only sad individual to have paid out for all three PPV experiments so far (having an interest in Oxford as well as City)? However much we disapprove of it (and I’m fairly sure I do as well) if I’m home on a Saturday evening and can watch my team live on the TV by making a phone call then I’m going to do it. Which is what they depend on, of course…

Anyway, City started the match sluggishly and soon were causing Spilled Drink Horror by stroking the ball about in defence on a pitch which had more divots than flat bits. Even for a rugby pitch it looked awful – definitely not a game for Bishop to shine, and so it proved. After a few minutes a weird bounce eluded Wiekens and Cureton tried to catch Weaver off his guard and off his line, Nicky saving smartly to his left. At the other end Morrison had a header on target but it was looping rather than full power and was comfortably cleared off the line. The Bristol Rovers forward Roberts(?) was causing Wiekens some problems by flailing his arms about whenever the ball came anywhere near (watch out for Wimbledon signing him up); and Weaver had to block a close range shot as Horlock stood back to admire a loose ball bouncing around in the area.

Gradually City took control with Brown and Horlock taking charge of the midfield and both Dickov and Goater getting busy up front. Goater seems to work much harder than he used to – his control isn’t brilliant but he is getting better at holding the ball up and laying it off.

After half an hour or so there was a strange couple of minutes when Cooke and Horlock took it in turns to fire the ball across a crowded goalmouth with neither side able to get a touch on it. Eventually Goater sneaked goalside of the defender to get his toe to Cooke’s final effort and put City ahead. Just before half-time Dickov was smacked in the face by a flailing hand and Cooke curled the free-kick in off the bar. Was the name of Beckham mentioned by the commentators? Do Rags live in Hampshire?

Clive Allen and Nigel Spackman reckoned City would definitely coast home in the second half, so we all knew disaster awaited. Nothing much happened for half an hour apart from some cheating Rovers player (Trees?) trying to get Brown sent off by charging into his back and then clutching his face. Luckily the referee wasn’t fooled. Dickov set up a great chance for Goater to score the vital third, laying it back for a free shot from fifteen yards. Shaun chipped it gently into the ‘keeper’s arms.

Wiekens had been booked and was lucky not to be sent off when he pulled a Rovers forward back near the corner flag. Joe sensibly took him off soon after that – it may have cost us two points, but having both Gerard and Andy Morrison missing play-off games would be disastrous. But having been under no pressure at all, the defence suddenly decided to rely on an offside trap. Unfortunately nobody told Lee Crooks, who failed three times to step up with the others, allowing Rovers a clear run on goal. The first time the ball hit a crater left by some prop-forward’s bum, causing Cureton to slice his shot high and wide. The second time Roberts(?) skipped past Weaver and looked to have an open goal – except Nicky had put his foot on the ball and calmly bent to pick it up. Third time unlucky, and Weaver had no chance.

Taylor was on for Goater and looking totally ineffectual – one header on target but placed so gently it probably wouldn’t have crossed the line. Even so we looked like holding out until a Rovers player fired the ball straight at Vaughan from about a yard away. Vaughan turned his back, the ball grazed his elbow and the ref gave a penalty. It was a harsh decision, but not totally off the wall – the way Vaughan turned made it look as if the arm was going to the ball, which is what referees have to go by. Weaver went the right way for the penalty, but Cureton had placed it too well.

There was still time for Weaver to make a brilliant save at the near post to prevent complete disaster – and I couldn’t be bothered to listen to the post-mortems.

So not the end of the world, and much better to get it out of our systems now when it doesn’t really matter. We’re going to have to beat two out of the other three teams in the play-offs and it doesn’t make any significant difference which two or in which order. I don’t want to tempt fate, but we usually win semi-finals…

Piers Pennington – occasionally Kingston Blue (


Manchester City vs. Liverpool
FA Academy Under 17 Cup Quarter Finals
Wednesday, 5th May 1999, kick-off 5:15 pm

About 200 spectators witnessed a good team display from City’s Under 17s to despatch the challenge of Liverpool and book a date with Newcastle in the Semi-finals of the FA Academy Cup.

City started as follows:
Hodgson in goal, Hogan and Furnival at right and left full back, Jordan and Parkhouse (or Day, unsure) in central defence. Etuhu and Shuker manned the wings with Wright-Phillips and Dunfield in the middle of the park. The front line was led by Mike and Killen.

It was no contest! City were in control throughout the match with Terry Dunfield and Shaun Wright-Phillips controlling the middle of the park well. They both looked impressive, with good ball control, vision and strength. Despite his size, Shaun jumped well too, winning many headers. He was unlucky not to have a goal in the second half after a marauding run from the centre circle which ended with the ball hitting the inside of the left post. Although he tired towards the end of each half, his work rate was incomparable. The son of West Ham’s Ian, Shaun is a fans’ favourite for his runs down the middle! He did well despite not playing as a striker, his favourite position.

Two well taken first half goals from the powerfully-built Leon Mike put us fully in control. Mike combined very well with Shaun and Killen and had many other chances to kill the match off before half time. His first was a header from a cross from the very quick Chris Shuker while the second was a volley from Killen’s knockdown.

Leon, who joined the City’s School of Excellence at the age of 13, looked comfortable on the ball and held up play well with very good close control. One negative (?) thing though is that he supports the Rags.

His partner, Chris Killen, is a Kiwi who paid his way to Britain to get a chance to be a professional footballer. He represented Wellington from 1992-1998 and the New Zealand schoolboys before joining City recently. He did not play particularly well yesterday and was frustrated by the rough tactic of the Liverpool’s centre-half but did well with the knockdown for Mike’s and City’s second.

Liverpool started to apply the pressure about 10 minutes from the end of the first half but had only one real chance at goal which Hodgson parried well with a spectacular dive. They started the second half well too but when Mike completed his hat trick with a fine shot from the edge of the penalty box midway through the half, the match was over as a contest.

Although they got a goal back after some sloppy defending, City never looked stretched. Mike hit the bar and, after finding his way past 3 defenders, had another well saved.

Chris Shuker was threatening throughout with his speed and crosses but he tired towards the end and failed to beat their right back on a number of occasions. As he was also wearing the No. 11, someone in the crowd said in jest, “I didn’t know that Terry Cooke is under 17”. Chris will only turn 17 this weekend and has the potential to partner Cooke on the left wing in the future. It was ironic that he was given a second chance at City only because he missed selection for the Liverpool’s boys team earlier.

One worrying trend though is the fact that even at this level, our left full back position is weak. Furnival made some poor passes which gave the possession back to the ‘Pool after some hard work from the team. On the bright side, we looked strong in the centre-half position. Both Jordan and Parkhouse (or Day) were neat and impressive. Jordan is a Blue through and through and is the kid brother of Scott who scored the goal for York City which knocked United out of the 1995 League Cup.

‘Keeper Steven Hodgson attended the FA’s National School in Lilleshall at the age of 14 and never looked back. He was impressive throughout with sound handling and good control of the box. He supports Crewe and attended the same school as Terry Dunfield and Alan Bailey. A good prospect to continue the tradition of good goalkeepers at City.

Etuhu has to be the tallest 17-year old I have ever seen. For that, I think he is wrongly played at right wing. He looked good when on the ball with good close control but his distribution was woeful. May be better as a striker?

Now to my Man of the Match, Terry Dunfield. Young Terry, City’s first Canadian-born player in over a hundred years, looked a great prospect. He controlled the midfield well and capped a good match with a great goal from 25 yards out, City’s fourth, just minutes from the end. He tackled well and his distribution was very good. He joined the City School of Excellence rather late, at age 15, but lost no time in becoming a regular in the Under-17 team since. Judging by this display, he should do well in the future.

If we could keep this lot together, City will have a good crop of young players coming up in the future.

Having beaten Spurs and Wimbledon in previous rounds, we are now in the Semis along with Newcastle, Crewe and United. The boys are unbeaten since the turn of the year and if this form is kept up, we should stand a chance to win it. Looking up past Academy fixtures, City have not played Newcastle or Crewe before but lost to United twice, though both games were in the early stages of the 1998/99 season. Come on City!

CTID, Nizam M Idris (


The Play-Off Picture

Wigan’s failure to take more than one point from their matches this week at home to Burnley and away to Wycombe means that City are now certain to finish in the top five of Division Two. However, the Blues could miss out on a top four place if we fail to dispatch York on Saturday. Preston, who are away to Fulham, are ahead of us on goals scored so will finish above us unless we claim a better result than they obtain at Craven Cottage. Meanwhile, Gillingham, who also have a superior goals tally, are two points behind City. This means that should they win at Notts County, only a City victory will keep us ahead of them. The point of all this, of course, is that a top four place will guarantee being at home in the second leg of the play-off semi-final. However, given that both league defeats since Christmas have come at Maine Road, maybe this isn’t such an advantage as we might think. Meanwhile, there’s still much uncertainty over possible opponents in the play-off semi. It’s possible that Gillingham could overtake both ourselves and Preston, leaving us to face North End over two legs. And it’s also possible for us to face any one of Gillingham, Bournemouth or Wigan, the latter two of whom are still battling it out for the final play-off place.

Brother Split Confirmed

We’ve all known for weeks about the possibility of new sponsors next season and even David Bernstein had been admitting that it was on the cards. However, it was only this week that City’s split with Brother was officially confirmed. The Japanese company has reportedly been dissatisfied at the lack of international exposure resulting from City’s position outside the Premiership, and has therefore decided not to renew the twelve-year arrangement. After paying tribute to the success of the long-enduring Brother sponsorship, Bernstein observed that, “The tremendous potential of this club, its support and high profile all merit a quality sponsor with whom we can develop an exciting long-term relationship.” However, it looks like we’ll have to wait a little to see who the new “quality sponsor” will be. It will be easier to find a company fitting that description if we’re promoted, and it appears the club (and doubtless potential sponsors too) are waiting to see whether we are before making any commitment.

White Away Kit

Of course, whoever the new sponsor turns out to be, the name will be emblazoned across new shirts supplied by Le Coq Sportif. The new home design will go on sale late in July, just in time for us all to kit ourselves out for the new season. It’s not clear yet when the away strip will be available, but the word is that it will be white. This, of course, may well mean that we have a third kit, just as one was required a couple of years ago in Kappa’s first season, despite the club’s initial promises to the contrary. The yellow and black third kit used in 1997-98 wasn’t available to the public. If that policy changes this time round, the club will probably find itself subjected to accusations of trying to match our neighbours in the merchandising rip-off stakes. With two changes of manufacturer in the space of a couple of years, the summer’s two new kits will already have taken to five the tally of City strips which have gone on sale since the end of the 1996-97 season.

Reserves and Juniors

City reserves wind up their campaign on Thursday evening with a trip to Grimsby, the side which has finished bottom of Pontin’s League Division One. This follows on from a trip earlier in the week to face a Burnley team which has finished second bottom. An uninspiring match at Turf Moor ended in a goalless draw, notable from the City point of view only for the appearances of Jamie Pollock and Jim Whitley, who both completed ninety minutes for the first time after injury lay-offs. The under-17s, meanwhile, offered further evidence of their promise by following a victory over Wimbledon with a 4-1 win against Liverpool to move into the semi-finals of the Academy knock-out competition. Hero was striker Leon Mike, who grabbed a hat-trick – let’s hope he progresses further than his cousin Adie, who dropped down and then out of the league after coming through the City youth set-up in the early 1990s. The young Blues now have an away tie at Newcastle on a date still to be arranged, and there’s a possibility of a Manchester derby should they make the final, with United featuring in the other semi.

Winger the Summer Priority

It appears there won’t be many incoming moves over the close season, with Joe Royle stating, “I am not looking to bring in lots of players over the summer.” However, one area Joe has identified as a priority (irrespective of whether or not the team wins promotion) is the left wing. This season, City have tried and failed to land the likes of Mark Kennedy, Andy Sinton, Stan Lazaridis and Lee Sharpe, and it’s being claimed there could be renewed moves to bring one of them to Maine Road. A couple of weeks ago, the City manager dismissed rumours he’ll make a bid for Sharpe if City are promoted, but speculation may intensify after the player’s comments that, “I was very tempted to join Manchester City after I had talked to Joe Royle. And you never know. My answer might be different if Joe comes back with another offer this summer.”

In Brief

Joe Royle has warned Paul Dickov that he still needs to score more goals, the Scot having failed to score in three matches since his four in two games earlier in April … Gerard Wiekens is strongly tipped to follow his Sky Division Two player of the season award by being voted City’s Player of the Year … Bournemouth have refused to consider switching the date of the first leg of any play-off semi-final in which they may be involved, so if the Blues travel to the south coast in the next stage of their promotion bid, the fixture will take place on Sunday 16 May … The City players are reportedly on a £10,000-a-man bonus to win promotion through the play-offs … One newspaper has apparently reported that the club and major shareholders have agreed in principle a deal with an investor which will see a £20 million cash injection – but completion of the transaction is said to be conditional on the Blues being promoted.

York Preview

York City come to Maine Road on Saturday needing a draw to be sure of their own survival in Division Two. They currently have fifty points, but should they lose and Wycombe and Oldham both win, a defeat would see them consigned to Division Three. City may take the opportunity to rest one or two players, such as Andy Morrison and Shaun Goater, for the York game. Both are carrying minor injuries which Joe Royle won’t want them to aggravate given the impending play-off lottery. However, given the importance of the game to the visitors and in the light of the rancour caused by Stoke’s team selection at Oldham on Tuesday, it seems unlikely Royle will risk the FA’s wrath by making wholesale changes. City, of course, could do with a result not just to confirm a top four finish, but also to ensure that we head for the play-offs on an upbeat note. And after a City loss at Bootham Crescent just before Christmas, it’s also a chance to claim revenge, Joe noting that, “… we want to avenge that defeat and we have a duty to other teams at the bottom to do our best to beat York.” This match sees yet another visitor playing their first-ever league fixture on the hallowed turf, though they did come to Moss Side for a League Cup replay in 1973-74. On that occasion, they were dispatched 4-0 as City marched on to Wembley. Let’s hope it’s an omen (though of course we don’t want a repeat of that year’s actual Wembley result).

Another Absence

I’ll be out of the news seat again but just for one issue this time. The reason is a brief visit home to deal with a couple of issues arising from my imminent, long-awaited and, thankfully, permanent departure from Russia, but it also will allow me to see the York game. Geoff will again be doing the honours, so between now and next Monday evening, please send any news, rumours and gossip to

Peter Brophy (


Following last Saturday’s results it is now confirmed that we will take part in the Football League Play-offs.

The 1st leg will be played on Sat. 15th or Sun. 16th May, kick-off 3.00pm.
The 2nd leg will be played on Wed. 19th May, kick-off 7.45pm.

If Manchester City finish 3rd or 4th they will play the home leg on the 19th May. If Manchester City finish 5th or 6th they will play the home leg on the 15th or 16th May

Season ticket holders can claim their own seats for the home leg of the play-offs from 9.00am on Thursday 6th May and have until 6.30pm on Tuesday 11th May to do so. Supporters will require voucher ‘LL’ from their season ticket books.

It is possible that North Stand season ticket holders will need to be relocated due to Football League regulations. This will not be known until our opponents are confirmed. North Stand season ticket holders are advised to continue to make postal applications until further details are confirmed.

Membership card holders will be able to apply for tickets from 8.30am until 4.30pm on Wednesday 12th May.

An announcement regarding ticket sales to supporters with home match ticket stubs (including Wycombe) will be made once our opponents, date and kick-off times have been finalised, via Ticketcall, the Website and the local media.

Tickets for the away leg will be sold from 5.30pm on Wednesday 12th May. Full details regarding the requirements to purchase these tickets will be announced shortly.

Details of both games will be on the Official Club website as soon as possible.

Ticket Office – Manchester City


Had the distinct pleasure today of welcoming fellow long-standing City fan Stephen Burt into my house for lunch here in Napier, New Zealand.

I’ve been talking to Stephen on the net for a couple of months and though domiciled in Singapore he currently finds himself in his capacity as a surveyor, stuck off the coast of Napier on an oil exploration vessel. Rough seas today saw the ship in port and hence an inaugural meeting of fans (of the best club in the world) from opposite sides of the globe.

Showed him the ground of NZ’s premier soccer club Napier City Rovers – much like Macclesfield Town’s ground in size he said. Gave him a “Tui” (local beer) which he said was “an interesting beer”… alas was unable to match his request for Boddingtons.

Steve reckons his brother back in England won’t believe him when he says he met a Kiwi with City scarves hanging over the end of his kids’ beds.

The wife and I (and my wee daughter Chelsea) enjoyed having Stephen over for the short time he was in port and as expected, City fans really are good value with their friendliness and loyalty to City wherever they are on the globe.

He can only get e-mail on the boat so I’m keeping him up to speed with “Teamtalk”, etc.

Both of us are backing the Blues to go to Wembley and beyond, with an opportunity to see Blackburn at Maine Road next season soon to become reality!

Any City fans visiting Napier in future, let me know in advance and we’ll have an ale.

CTNKDHBRDIMR (City til Nicole Kidman does her Blue Room dance in My Room), Hawkeye of the “Bay” – Chris Loveridge (


This is a message that needs to go to each and every Blue who reads MCIVTA, so that they can tell every Blue they know who doesn’t read it. Make sure you spread the word at the York game, and at the play-offs.

From the number of subscribers, it follows that if every Blue gives the message to ten others this could be the biggest party that London has ever seen.

I don’t want to jump the gun because there have been one or two (dozen) occasions in the past where you knew City had it made, in the palm of their hand, so easy, and then they threw it all away, usually in a blo*dy Derby!

But if we do get to the play-off final… we need to make sure that the first True Mancunian Invasion since the Full Members’ Cup is one to remember. It’s pretty simple to go to Wembley, have a good day out and get the coach or the first train home. But let’s make this one a bit special. “If” we get there I’m sure I’m not the only one thinking that it’s about time and we should do it in style.

For all I despise Middlesbrough and Captain Horlicks, when they got to Wembley twice in a row they took over Trafalgar Square the night before each game and had one hell of a party It was horrible to watch them having such a good time, knowing that I’d spent more time on the motorway travelling from my exile (Bromley) to my one true home (The Academy) than it would take most of that lot to walk to Middlesbrough.

When Sunderland came for the play-offs they did the same, and their numbers were unbelievable. A few of the pub owners likened it to when the Scots came down in the 70s (without the aggro).

It’s the Bank Holiday, you’ve got the extra day, get down on the Saturday and show the Southerners how to party.

Location: Trafalgar Square (the one with the lions and the big column with Nelson on it… just follow the pigeons). The nearest Tube is Leicester Square, or BR Charing Cross.

Any time on the Saturday Night until it’s time to hit the clubs. A few things to remember… if you’re heading for the Square, bring some beer as most of the pubs don’t like groups of lads at the best of times, but it’s particularly bad on play-off weekend. If you’re heading for the clubs same rules, and make sure you’ve got shoes and a collar.

With a bit of luck it should be a great night (as long as we’re playing the next day!) followed by a fantastic day.

Spread the word and see you there.

I’ve booked my flight from Oz and there’s no refunds so don’t let me down City.

Martin McNeil (


I’m a York supporter and a recent subscriber to your newsletter. I thought you might be interested to hear some details on our squad and some names to watch out for so here you go.

Firstly in goal is most likely to be Bobby Mimms – a veteran ‘keeper who can be excellent on his day, but doesn’t like coming off his line. In defence there’s young lad Andy Dawson who is beginning to settle into the team after the dismissal of Alan Little. He made his début in the home leg against City and scored the winner. Then there’s player/manager Neil Thompson who is normally so bad he’s not even worth bothering about. Barry Jones and Chris Fairclough are both consistent hard-workers, the latter of which was a deadline week signing. Barry Jones was this season’s clubman of the year. In midfield we have Mark (card-a-game) Tinkler who is ex-Leeds and another consistent hard-worker. Martin Garratt is a young prospect who tends to faff about on the ball with no real effect, but he is coming on. Alan Pouton also faffs about on the ball a lot, but with real skill, and is who I would put as your danger man (watch him score an own-goal now I’ve said that). The remaining slot will be taken by Matt Hocking who I haven’t seen enough of to judge, or Scott Jordan (if he’s fit). Scott takes superb free-kicks and ‘is the best passer of the ball at the club.’ Rodney Rowe and Marc Williams are both pacey forwards who if they got half their chances in, would be taking us to the First Division. However, we seem to get the impression that they don’t get on with one another.

I live in Whitefield and we are planning to take the bus to Maine Road. Does anyone know which route goes nearest the ground?

Helen Brownlow (


Perhaps it’s a generation thing but I find myself wanting to echo many of the recent comments made by Leo Fewtrell and Peter Hargreaves. I’ve supported City for about 47 years since my father first took me as an 8 year-old, and they’ll always be my first and only real football love (I’ve now lived in Luton longer than M/c but a real affection for Luton Town has failed to materialise!).

What I find increasingly boring, sad (and pointless) is the knee-jerk criticism and general reaction to Man United. Why must we ‘hate’ them? Hatred is such a strong emotion that only demeans the people feeling it. Memories of the 50s and 60s are difficult but, having stood in crowds of 70 and 80,000 at Maine Road as a young teenager and going to some away games, I have to agree with Peter Hargreaves: I think crowds were generally more amiable in those days. Not to say that there was no passion and I can remember being spat on from the upper tier at Goodison Park but there was an attitude (I think) in the majority of fans of a love for the game coming first and a general, companionable, camaraderie.

I, too, used to go and watch other clubs in the ‘old’ days; there was no soccer on television (in fact we didn’t even have a telly until about 1960). Occasionally, I’d visit Old Trafford but most often I went to watch Stockport County (an easy bus journey from Wythenshawe) when City were away. Maybe it was a bit condescending but there was something pleasant about watching a ‘little’ team with which I felt no real attachment. There was none of the rollercoaster emotions of watching City (which, by the way, I still feel).

Munich was an incredibly sad time. I was a newspaper boy and I can still remember all the papers with the pictures and stories as I pushed them through letter boxes. I’m sure both sides of the City were united then and there is no way I could join in singing ‘Munich’ chants, although I can understand what someone said recently about it being ‘remote’ and I understand ‘black’ humour.

Perhaps this is all rose-tinted glasses and someone will contradict me but I really cannot remember the waves of venomous hatred that I have experienced at some matches in recent times – directed at opposing supporters (and sometimes our own players it seems). This is by no means restricted to City fans – I think it is universal. The reasons for it? I think we have to look at society, the media and the commercialisation of the game.

There seems to be a concentration, a polarisation of feelings which is definitely unpleasant today. We are no longer close to the players (in 1960 they still lived in ordinary semi-detached houses and were mere mortals that we could meet on the street – it says something that they could even live among ordinary folks!). We may have criticised them then but I believe it was in an affectionate or exasperated way; nowadays we pour vitriol on them when they disappoint us.

The media play a big part in this but I’m not sure which comes first here – the chicken or the egg. It is probably more about money than reportage; we don’t feel the same affection for the players when they don’t perform, because we perceive them to be ‘lazy’ and they earn such vast sums. The clubs themselves are increasingly distancing themselves from the supporters. They may have always been commercial enterprises but it was in such an amateurish way. With increasing income from other sources, soon the ticket-purchasing fan may be the least important part of a club’s income.

Sorry, I seem to have got on a soap-box but I guess the state of the game is quite depressing when you really pause and think about it. Anyway, it still irritates me to see the automatic references to Man United in these pages. Even referring to them as Man U****d grates after a while. If I dislike them at all, it’s because of what they represent in the modern money-fixated game and the fear I have that there is no chance we or any club outside half-a-dozen will ever catch them. Or, if we do, it will be because we have become just like them.

To finish: a quote from Frank Keating in The Guardian (talking about Alf Ramsey’s death but more widely relevant):

“Football is too manic these days to spare time for reflection, remembrance, or humanity, even in death. It knows the price of its past, of course – ‘wanna buy a “traditional” replica strip?’ – but it knows nothing of the value of its goodness or grandeur”.

And I think that’s what I was trying to say all along.

Peter Kewley (


I think that Ashley is quite correct to put an end date on the discussions about Munich and whether we should all hate United… but before he does, allow me to offer what I think is a slightly different view of the past.

Much has been said that it was the Munich disaster that made United a sell out. I am not at all sure this is completely true. The seasons following Munich were ones of rebuilding for United and crowds suffered (I am taking attendance figures from a couple of books on United); not drastically but I don’t think it was a time of full houses all the way. It is true that United have been the best supported team over the last decades but the one time where attendences were not as high were, I think, the few years after Munich. Some of this may have been to do with redevelopment at Old Trafford.

My memory of it all was that what turned United into a sell out attraction at Old Trafford was quite simply… George Best. Well, ok, then Bobby Charlton and Denis Law – well and a pretty good team. But once Best appeared and settled into the team and once Old Trafford was re-built for the World Cup of 1966 (and those of us who spend too much time thinking of what ifs… Maine Road never really caught up after World Cup funds help redesign Old Trafford – we can’t even host a semi-final game anymore) then you see the consistent 50,000 plus figures. I lived in Altrincham at the time so I was right in the middle of all this stuff.

I think this is right… though I do not mean to belittle the effect of the Munich crash. For those of us old enough it remains as clear and sad a memory as can be (as does the crash one year later in Clear Lake Iowa which killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and Big Bopper). But I don’t think crowds flocked to Old Trafford just to remember those who died in the crash – they attended to watch a winning team and in particular Best, Law and Charlton (and let’s be fair who could blame them – when we talk of big crowds at Maine Road don’t we associate them with good teams and good players… well for the most part anyway).

I haven’t much time for United plc… I admire the heck out of Ferguson and have nothing against their players (though I think a few of them are twerps and a little conceited). I just don’t like the image that is now United. The problem is, with City it is the reverse; I love the image, it is the details that are the cause for worry.

So let’s push onwards. I really couldn’t care who wins the European Cup Final (though coming back from 2-0 at Juventus takes more than luck) – my only concern is City getting out of this damn division and getting ready to rebuild for the next few years.

Best wishes, John Pearson (


Hi everyone, as an Italian supporter of City, I’d like to say my opinion about the problem with Munich’s song. I support in Italy AS Roma and as you know our enemy, yeah… enemy, is Lazio ( :(((( they are 1st on the table). I’m a season ticket holder here since 6 years and we often sing a song about a supporter of Lazio killed with a rocket thrown by some Roma supporter in the stadium. That song is horrible I know but when you are in the stadium, during a derby, with the crowd who start to sing you haven’t time to think and you sing too. The fact is that many people hate that song because we know it is wrong to sing, but to support a team is sometime to hate another team and that leads you to be blind and to behave as an animal.

I have to be honest and though I support City I was very happy when United beat Juve at Turin… I hate Juve and many Italian teams because 15 years ago when we played the European Cup against Liverpool and we lost on penalties, all of them were happy… In Italy, there isn’t a so great nationalistic spirit, many people support against Italian national team because players of their teams weren’t called in the national team.

I want to say City haven’t to think of United… they are now in another dimension… even if they are still thinking about us we have to continue on our way that is called Wembley… I know… they will play there against Newcastle for the FA Cup and we against Wigan or PNE for a place in 1st Divison but we have to think that Lazio 12 years ago were playing play-off to remain in Italian Serie B (English 1st Division) and now (for my desperation) they are winning the title… so keep the faith.

CTID, Simone (


I don’t know how other Blues feel about Walsall getting the automatic promotion spot, but I’m full of admiration for them. It is nothing less than amazing that a team costing next to nothing – I think £35k was the figure I’ve seen in the papers, and managed by an unknown (I’ve already forgotten his name!) – has achieved so much. I honestly thought that they would start to crumble under the pressure in the last month, and that City would overtake them – well, I was wrong.

I know that we didn’t really fail under the pressure – the opposite in fact (typical City!) we got, mostly, good results against the promotion contenders but the home defeats (due to complacency) by Oldham and Wycombe certainly made Wembley our best option. It will be interesting to see whether Walsall can cope with the 1st Division but I expect most Blues are worried about how we’ll manage there, providing we don’t blow it during the play-offs. I’ve been Blue so long, I can’t say that I feel overwhelmingly confident about either – we should have no problem but we are City, aren’t we?

I saw an item on Blue View last week that said that City were the last team to win the First Division title (including since the Premiership was formed) with an all English squad – can anyone confirm this? I currently live in Derby which, as most will know, has only one or two UK born players in their squad (this “fact” is something I can wind my mates up with) – I’ve heard that Jim Smith has sent his squad to esperanto lessons so that they can communicate with each other. Gladly, Derby didn’t let us down on Sunday!

A final point about whether Blues should support London/Salford un*t*d… I would need a lobotomy before I could manage to say “Oh well done G*g*sy, K**ne” etc. I can grudgingly respect their results – i.e. Arsenal, Juve, but want them to win? – I’d sooner sleep with Anne Widdecombe… uhhhhhh!

See you at the York game.

CTID, Jeff Berens (


I know this is now getting stale and boring but I felt there is another side to this. What I’m about to put down may get me a slating but if you’re going to slate me then do it direct, not through MCIVTA.

I wasn’t born when it happened, I’m only 22 but I picked up the various songs at the tender age of 7 years after standing in the Kippax. I got a roasting at school for singing them in a lesson, the teacher was a Blue but he still b*ll*cked me. He told the class about what had happened, and yes it upset a few people (being only young at the time). That’s how I found out about Munich.

Why are those songs sung? I feel it’s because of what we are, British. It’s in our nature, our sense of humour, we laugh in the face of danger etc. What’s that got to do with singing songs about Munich? We are scared it could have been our team that was on that plane. Same as the Hillsborough songs, it could have been us in the paddock in the Leppings Lane End (Nick Hornby in ‘Fever Pitch’ expressed similar feelings after being outside Arsenal one day). It’s sick to sing the songs but it pacifies our fears.

The same thing happens when it’s public figures who tragically get killed. Freddie Mercury, Diana, and yes some humourist has already come up with some for Jill Dando no doubt. We can’t help it, it’s our nature. Those of you who think they are whiter than white, get real and open your eyes. We like to feel we are better, stronger than those around us and we use anything to get one over on them, even sick jokes.

Let them sing if they want, you can’t stop them. Don’t join in if you don’t want to. It’s your choice. We are not all perfect and never will be. If anyone disagrees, please mail me, let’s not clog up the brilliant MCIVTA with continuous bile and belly aching, childish arguments about what’s wrong and right.

CTID, Andy Holgate (


I’m sorry if my question about chanting at Gillingham started all these vitriolic mesages about United and Munich. That certainly wasn’t my intention. I agree with our editor that there’s been enough in recent issues (at least until the next time…).

Paul Whittaker who admitted to singing Munich songs sounds to me like a mature young man nowadays (yes, 30 is young, believe me!). He’s right to say that United’s worldwide following is a result of what happened in Munich, but I’m not convinced that the club are milking the tragedy – it seems quite a natural thing to remember the dead, just as it is natural to honour our war dead. I see no harm in that.

I admire Peter Hargreaves for his fair and balanced attitude to both City and United, but suspect he is very much in the minority. I don’t hate United, but can’t help smiling if they lose. Very probably a result of envy at their success, and also influenced by some extremely smug United supporters I’ve met over the years.

Up here I only have three United fans to contend with. One is a Mancunian and was genuinely sorry when City went down (and down). The other two are Fergie fans from his days at Aberdeen, where he worked wonders with very limited resources. I sympathise with those of you still at work who have to face gloating colleagues – sticking with City requires real loyalty. I’m sure we’ll be back – we’ve just got to get out of this awful division.

There are four finals coming up: United are involved in two, and I would gladly allow them to win both if it would mean that we win our own final at Wembley. The other final involves the team I follow up here: Forres Mechanics, who have reached the final of the Highland League Cup. Watch your teleprinters on Saturday!

To those of you down there with tickets for the York match – shout them on, don’t slag them off. Remember they’re only human and will respond to encouragement. With the support the City crowd can generate, the players could then approach the play-offs without fear of being vilified for every slip they make. I’m sure the volume of support I witnessed (from my armchair) at Stoke last season was a positive influence on the way City played that day.

David Buxton (


So the old Munich issue rears its ugly head again…and again. Maybe it’s difficult to understand the hatred unless you’ve lived in Manchester. Supporting your football club is a badge of honour. Invariably, the away supporter is the most committed to the cause. He/she isn’t just an away fan, they go to all the games home and away. This requires a lot of commitment. It isn’t: a hobby; an interest; something to do on a Saturday afternoon. It is an obsession; a passion. It is time consuming. It is a major part of that person’s life. It’s then like a kick in the balls to be then told by: workmates; theblokeinthepub and the British media en masse that what you do is pitiful and worthless. Supporting Manchester City and I mean supporting them actively, not just being a fan from afar or going to the odd home game, has been like dragging a huge wooden cross round the British Isles for the past 24 years.

I have never met a single Manchester City supporter at an away game who has voiced his admiration of Man U and/or wished them well in any of their European campaigns. We hate them. It’s not a recent phenomenon. I hated them when I was at school with hundreds of the b*****ds in Salford in the 1960s. I hate them even more now. I hate the media obsession with them. I hate Clive Tyldesley’s commentary on European Cup nights. I hate the way it is obligatory to sprinkle superlatives around in any match report or commentary. Their ground is always referred to as The Theatre Of Dreams. When we beat them 5-1, Mark Hughes’ goal was the goal of the game according to… Clive Tyldesley… (just voted commentator of the year). Since we’ve had Terry Cooke, hardly any City player has warranted a mention in the begrudging match reports we occasionally receive in the National press. These usually take the form of p***-taking with the added proviso claiming that Cooke was the only saving grace. The subtext being that Man U are saving us from extinction. What utter b*****ks.

Manchester United became world famous in the aftermath of the Munich air disaster. Their oldest supporters’ club abroad, in Malta (a retirement home for Brits) was formed after the crash. The football club and their a***licking chums in the media have mercilessly milked the resulting sympathy angle for as long as I can remember. When Matt Busby died the media went into overdrive, denouncing everyone who didn’t see it as the greatest tragedy ever to be befall the UK. I was Editor of the London Branch magazine at the time and in it I wrote the following ‘obituary’:

On 20 January 1994 former Manchester City and Liverpool player Sir Matt Busby died in his sleep aged 84, after a long illness. However, Busby made his name on his return to Manchester in 1945, rebuilding a bankrupt Man U team, finally retiring 24 years later after his side became the second British team to win the European Cup. The reaction that greeted the death of this old man has, notably in the press, reached new levels of hysteria. It seems as if Man U have replaced The Royal Family in the nation’s hearts. The death of the Queen Mother would not have provoked such a reaction. The ‘tragic’ passing of this ‘immortal legend’ received more column inches in the newspapers than the murder of six children in Sarajevo the same weekend. It was fair enough to hold a minute’s silence at OT, but to expect the rest of the football league to hold this man in the same esteem was misguided. I don’t remember them doing the same thing for Bill Shankly or Joe Mercer. But no, of course the minute’s silence for Busby was the most moving minute’s silence in the history of minute silences. Most City fans at Liverpool did observe the silence, despite what the papers said. But let’s get it into context: he was 84 years old, he had a good innings. His death could hardly have been a complete shock, yet it was as if he had actually died in the Munich air crash after all. The following day at Ewood Park, Leeds fans, who hold Man U in as much esteem as ourselves, sang: ‘One Don Revie, there’s only one Don Revie’ throughout the minute’s silence, provoking the predictable outrage from managers and press alike. Surely it should be a matter for the individual, and if clubs want to honour the Great Man, they should send a representative to his funeral and not expect the majority of football fans, who detest Man U, to pay their respects to the man who was so inextricably linked with the mythology of the club.

Earlier that season Liverpool drew 3-3 with Man U in a midweek encounter at Anfield after Man U had been three up. The following weekend, the papers were still analysing the game, the Sunday Times being the most understated, calling it ‘The Match That Shook The World.’

When Man U eventually won the championship for the first time since 1966/67, Des Lynam opened Match of the Day with the words: ‘At last, the championship comes home.’ After the recent semi-final win over Arsenal, we were driving back to London after our more modest victory over Luton. People were ringing Richard Littlejohn on air without a hint of embarassment claiming that the match commentary they had just listened to on Radio 5 was for the best game of football they had ever heard in their lives! I’m not joking. These people are deranged.

Giggs’ goal in this game was hailed by the press as: ‘The greatest goal ever in the history of the game.’

On Saturday against Aston Villa, Utd got a free kick thirty yards from goal. Beckham, shaping to take it, was perhaps surprised to see that Villa weren’t interested in forming a defensive wall. With Oakes out of position, wandering towards the edge of the six-yard box it was a simple case of hitting the target and the ball would go in. That’s what he did. That’s what any semi-competent pro footballer would have done. Monday’s Daily Mirror screamed: ‘After the greatest goal ever, is this now the greatest free-kick ever’.

This is one reason why I hate them. No other club is hyped to such an extent by the fawning British Press.

We are heretics if we dare to suggest that we want them to lose in Europe… it’s unpatriotic. Why? Manchester United are a plc owned by multi-nationals. Their team consists of mercenaries from all over the globe. Their support comes from all over the globe. Their headquarters happens to be near Manchester in the north of England. They only play in the English league because the European one isn’t yet in place. They don’t represent me or you or anyone, bar their shareholders. They are committed to the worldwide growth of their branding. That’s all. They, like most clubs, don’t give a flying f**k for their supporters. Didn’t they used to eject them for standing up, not so long ago? I admire the Man U fans who took Murdock on and won (much as I would have liked to see Sky own them as I think it would have been the ruination of the club). However, I think Edwards will soon make them pay for their mutinous behaviour. Much as I think many things Sky has done for the game have been positive, they have also created a huge chasm between the top four clubs and the rest. It’s no surprise that Man U’s success began with the influx of money from Sky. Sky have created these superpowers. They now have to learn how to harness them before the structure of the game is destroyed forever.

Manchester United are committed to the destruction of the English league and cup set up by their obsession with the European Champions’ League. A competition so sullied that it keeps changing the rules to admit the richest, most powerful/TV friendly clubs, so as it becomes nothing more than a showcase for the interests of sponsors and huge muti-nationals. Enabling them to stockpile more money until the day football is no longer fashionable and they pull the plug.

And that’s why I hate them.

Kevin Cummins (


When I was younger I sang the Munich Song, but I am not proud of it – it glorifies a tragedy – and you just shouldn’t do that: Just imagine someone making fun of a tragedy that has happened to you. You’d be deeply hurt, well I know I would be.

However, our Red readers live in a dream world if they think I am going to support United in the forthcoming European ‘champions’ league final. By their earlier postings to this august journal, they appear to belong to the 20% (a higher percentage in Manchester itself) of United fans who are normal football fans and typically those who chose United because their favourite colour was red. We all know some United fans, in this bracket. You know, the ones you can talk to about football in a calm and reasoned manner. Sadly, their number is dwarfed by the ‘Glory Seeker’ brigade: The parasites who support United because they’re successful – the morons who cannot and will not take any criticism of their glorious team – the scum who are nowhere to be seen when things go badly for United but are in your face all the time when they do well. The reason why United are universally detested by the fans of other football clubs throughout the country. Curiously Liverpool were successful for nigh on 30 years, but they never attracted the spiteful ‘Glory Seeker’ like United do: Now just why is that?

For the 20% I supported United against Barcelona in the Cup Winners’ Cup but not this time: Yes, for the glory seeker I will be cheering on Munich. Just think if Munich wins and you won’t see or hear a ‘Glory Seeker’ for months. But God help us if they win – for life will be intolerable – but then again if I support United then surely they’ll be doomed…

RTRCWMC, Richard Mottershead (


I have returned to Indonesia after my sabbatical to Manchester where I managed to see my beloved Blues 3 times against the might of Wigan, Lincoln and Luton. I almost made it 4 but only got as far as the turnstile at Preston as my promised ticket never materialized but stayed until I heard the crowd roar for Brown’s goal before giving up and heading to the nearest pub to watch the latest score on Teletext while drinking a few pints of the finest bitter with the special of the day.

These were my first games since the Blackpool game last August so I was eagerly waiting to see the vastly improved side under JR. Goalkeeper, very composed, confident and the First Division will be a big test for him but I am sure he will go all the way and follow in the footsteps of our previous greats, although he was not kept too busy. Defence, now here I was very impressed, they looked strong, organized and never under any real threat. Andy Morrison has certainly made a big difference here.

Midfield, passed the ball around well but could improve on creativity, although they will not have many games as against Luton who on the night did not make any tackles.

Forwards, we must improve in this department, Terry Cooke although not brilliant has got class and has now the opportunity to improve and go all the way. Shaun Goater will improve if he can learn to lift his feet off the floor when jumping for a header but his first touch really lets him down. The crowd, I have been overseas for quite some years now so I have not had to endure the bad times week in week out, so City fans do deserve special praise for their loyalty here and they were excellent, behind the team and creating good atmosphere.

The stadium, mixed feelings here as my first visit was 40 years ago so to leave Moss Side will be a wrench but let’s hope the new stadium will have sufficient bar facilities because as usual it is still virtually impossible to get a pint at half time, surely this is not good business and I do miss the social club, the envy of the Rags for so long.

Which leads me on to the current topic of Munich/Rags. I am a Blue, always have been and always will TID. I have never sung Munich songs because I am sensitive to the hurt some Rags would feel as they lost someone they dearly loved, we lost Big Frank also. My love for City is greater than my dislike of the Rags. I can still remember Rag fans shouting Sieg Hiel at Bert Trautmann from the scoreboard end at his testimonial. This hurt me very much as I loved Bert, he was my idol, it also hurt a lot of other Blues too, judging from the way these Rags quickly disappeared.

Now there is a big difference between this type of bile and fanzine banter which Noel Bayley writes (I don’t read fanzines but I presume they are all similar). It appears our Blue/Rag writer or Rag/Blue, what shall I call him? is very sensitive to anything at all taking the p**s out of the Rags. If he has supported City all these years he would understand where Noel is coming from and surely the fanzines at the Swamp are no different so what is he trying to prove? This surely is rivalry and Manchester is one of the biggest football cities in the world. The swamp would need 6 tiers at the North Stand to come anywhere near our record 84,000 attendance.

I suggest Peter you are losing your sense of humour, perhaps you should curtail your visits to the theatre of dreams and watch City more often. A few nightmares maybe is what you need.

John Taylor (


Despite hating United with a passion, I am finding this argument increasingly tedious. However, I am very sorry to point this out to Peter Hargreaves but, even watching the United – Inter game on television, I distinctly remember hearing the United fans singing “It’s just like watching City.”

And just a short message about Shaun Goater: The boy may not be the most gifted or skilful player in the world, but he works himself to death and scores goals. I see no reason why certain members of the crowd should persistently barrack the poor sod when he is scoring goals and putting the effort in.

Lay off the big man, eh?

Tim Causer (


I have only recently subscribed to MCVICA and am certainly surprised that Rags such as Leo the Arabian Bouncer (from Wythenshawe) and Peter Extremely Petty Hargreaves (from Stretford) bother to read up on the Blues. I am shocked and stunned that they could take offence with comment written by any Blue yet to go to all the trouble to respond to Noel Bayley’s bile (sic) is truly pathetic. Why waste your time? As soon as you came out of the closet I “paged down” but then out of morbid curiosity I had to read your diatribe. I shouldn’t have bothered! Your opinion doesn’t matter a jot to me. Simple message to any Rag who subscribes… put up, shut up or p**s off.

Mark Bowden – Wythenshawe


I work in a school in the East End of London; I reckon that at least (honestly no exaggeration) 70-75% of the pupils are ManYoo fans, none as far as I know have ever been to a game at Old Trafford. Their knowledge of football is on the whole appalling. I see no reason to hate these people, feel a bit sorry for them. Yes. Even real Manchester United fans who go to Old Trafford must hate the fact that there are so many ‘day-trippers’.

You can picture in a lovely household.

Dad to Kids, ‘Where do you want to go today?’

  1. Old Trafford
  2. Alton Towers
  3. Disney Land, Paris
  4. Lego Land

You get the picture, my mates who are Manchester United fans, they despise these so called ‘Day-trippers’, they have no feeling for the club, but stop true fans from going to matches.

Do I hate Manchester United? No, I feel that they are a club who have achieved a lot and done it by employing a good youth set up and playing attractive but hard football. For the moment they are so far ahead of City that we can’t compare.

Do I hate ManYoo, oh yes with a passion, they have ripped the heart out of football, with their selling souls in a megastore. Becksy, Scholesy, Keano, Yorkie (Why no Butty?), Giggsy etc. This kind of marketing is driving away the very essence of football. 55,000 people sat there, with little or no atmosphere. Imagine the scenario, a life long Salford Red comes out of prison after 20 years (or working abroad, or amnesia, get the picture); what would he think about coming to Old Trafford? Would he view the changes as good, no atmosphere, no singing, no giving the opposition verbals, yes, you do sit down, but anyone who stood on the terraces and got in cheap, with members of your family sneaking you in, realises that terraces when not filled full (i.e. crushing point) were a great place to be. The mad-cap characters who can no longer afford to get in to the ‘Theatre of dreams’, what happens to them, who cares, certainly not the Chairman, because he wants as much money as is humanly possible. The Premiership was the beginning of the end for the real football fan at Old Trafford. Do I hate Manchester United, no they are a club whom I grew up with on my doorstep, most of my childhood friends support them, but ManYoo is something completely different.

I’ve not much else to say on the subject, as I have far more interesting thoughts on Manchester City, such as:

  • Is the current squad going to be good enough for the First Division?
  • New strikers?
  • Who are going to be the new sponsors (please be F.C.U.K., now that would be cool, c’mon David).
  • Are we going to let every man and his dog down by not going up?

Anyone any ideas? It is interesting to note that Mark Robins was voted the worst player ever at Leicester City by 4-4-2.

Walter Smith (


Impressionable kids, sad social deviant and misfit types see the likes of Man U as a perceived successful organisation, and these types (being unsuccessful in other walks of life) attach themselves to the likes of Man U. That is why living down in Berkshire you see so many saddos walking around in the red/blue/black/white/green/yellow of Man U! And when you chat to them they have no idea that Old Trafford is not in Manchester, they have never actually been, and yet they are so smug and pleased about the fact they support them! I’m really glad that when I take my seat at Maine Road I hear the sound of predominantly Mancunian accents, ’cause I know going to Old T is like sitting amongst the United Nations, cameras clicking away, aisles blocked by shopping bags full of the crap merchandise these saddos purchase at your multi-national, Corporation Mega store!

Don’t get me wrong, when I meet Reds from Manchester (which is not very often), I’ve got respect for them because they do appreciate the value and importance of us Blues, and a lot of them are envious of us!

I have listened to your multi-national set of fans sing at a few European games “Are you City in disguise” to teams and fans of clubs you’ve beaten, including at Juventus and Inter. So were you actually there or were you listening to Man Utd Radio station on your headphones!

This Munich business, what is it all about? I don’t sing Munich songs, but it p***es me off the amount of media attention this still attracts from the Utd controlled press/media. Who really gives a monkey’s these days? It was over 40 years ago and yet the hype around it continues. Other clubs’ supporters can see the unbalanced nature of football reporting, and Man U are constantly thrust down people’s throats, including Munich! I ask you would the myth be the same if it had been a Man City Team that had been involved in the air crash? Somehow I don’t think so.

To end I consider myself a man of good taste, I like cool music (Oasis/Weller etc), I’m quite fashionable, support Man City and so forth. On the otherhand Man U fans tend to listen to Status Quo/Spice Girls, walk around in Man U merchandise, with badges of Giggs, Becks etc. I thank God that I chose to support the good instead of the evil!

Khalid Ahmed (


Where’s Gary Flitcroft gone…

Have Blackburn dropped him to the reserves or is he injured?

When we go up, if they don’t want him, we should buy him back, selling Pollock in the process.

CTIBTLF…FC (City til I begin to like Ferguson… Fat Chance), Hawkeye of the “Bay” – Chris Loveridge (


I am from Otta in Norway. It’s a place about 200 miles north of Oslo. English Football is very popular in Norway, and these days a lot of Norwegians are playing in England. I have been growing up with it, and in school we all had our own team (today every kid supports f***ing Man Utd).

When I was about 9 years old (1974), I started following City. City were one of the best teams then, so my choice was a good one. Every week I bought a magazine called ‘Shoot’. Later I bought ‘Match’, where I could read City’s ratings every week. My walls at home were covered with pictures of City, and every Saturday I sat with my radio, listening to World Service on BBC. It was not easy to tune in and it was not everywhere in the house I could hear it clearly. I often ended up sitting in a small room where my mother used to sew.

In the nineties I have been to Maine Road five times. One of the games I watched was the defeat against Huddersfield last season. That was ugly, but I have always loved visiting Manchester. Last autumn I was there with my wife and she loved it too. I’ll be back soon.

These days it’s easier to get news about City. I use the Internet, I have The Pink and City Magazine sent to me and now I have MCIVTA (I am a new subscriber). But I am not able to watch games on TV. Sometimes they show the goals on Sky News, but I am hungry for more. I have tried to get Sky Sports but no one outside the UK is allowed to subscribe. That is a shame. No TV company in Norway is interested in the 2nd Division, so I have to follow City on BBC Radio 5. I think I need a good friend in the UK who can subscribe for me (Help!).

Let’s all hope that this season will bring us promotion to the 1st Division, but will it be through the play-offs?

Forever Blue! Arne Maehlum (


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

[Valid3.2]Ashley Birch,

Newsletter #498