Newsletter #507

Another issue packed mostly with memories of a week last Sunday. One of the main talking points over the weekend has been the Gillingham chairman’s assertions that the match should be replayed. His outbursts are apparently based on the assertion that the referee was seen partying with Blues at his hotel after the game. Needless to say, not even David Bernstein being filmed handing over the keys of a small Securicor van to the ref, would move the Football League to action, so I fail to see why this sort of anecdotal claptrap would. Scally should just accept the fact that his team were told they had 5 minutes to play and they then managed to concede 2 goals – fairly straightforward really.

Lastly, using U-Net’s Webmail facility for viewing email messages with a Web browser, I found several messgaes which failed to make it into my mailbox because they had the wrong username typed in the email address. Be sure to type ‘mcivta’ not ‘mcvita’ or some other combination, as it seems to allow the message through but not deliver it to my mailbox!

This one reaches 2,580.


Well what a fortnight it’s been for this City supporter…

Dennis Tueart presents the engraved tankard to Ashley

I’ve not stopped since the first Wigan match, conspiracies, holidays, Wembley. I’m physically and emotionally knackered, but I’ve never been happier in my life :o)

I’ll leave the emotion-filled tales of Wembley and drinking Champagne on Nelson’s Column to other Blues. I want to take you back to an event that started a few weeks ago.

About 5 weeks ago I invited you all to join a conspiracy to celebrate MCIVTA’s 500th edition and in particular the amazing hard work of its voluntary Editor Ashley Birch. Knowing Ashley’s legendary modesty wouldn’t allow us to publish the appeal through the newsletter, I acquired the help of the background staff, Paul, Steve & JP, firstly to sneak the appeal out under his nose and secondly to monitor the small amount of moneys that would trickle in.

How wrong I was… 15 letters first morning, 22 the next. My flat mate didn’t know what the hell was happening. From Canada to Malaysia, Finland to The Ascension Islands in the South Atlantic they came – cheque after cheque to the point where the Halifax gave me cheque sheets to fill in myself at home – and it still took them an hour to process!

The money mounted – my ideas grew from a new modem, to a modem & printer to a system. My faith in the fans of the Blues has never been in doubt. I’ve met too many Internet Blues from across the globe and got on like a house on fire to argue the fact that we a breed apart. But this was something special.

OK – the pressie’s in the bag… what about a presentation? What should we get him? Where to do it? Can we get City to do it, I mean they know we exist right?

With the play-offs looming, frantic emails were sent and trips to Maine Road made; finally I arrived in the office of Steve Sayer. Steve has always been the Internet Blues’ best friend on the inside of the Blue walls, from the early days and through the Tribal Gatherings he’s always pulled through with something for us and this was no exception. Several phone calls later we were in: “7:20 on the pitch before the Wigan match, Dennis Tueart will do the presentation.”

Thanks Steve, we appreciated your help greatly – you’re a genuine star!

Now – how to get Ash there without him knowing about it?

More emails between the chief conspirators. Oh sh*t, the tankard’s not going to be ready early… done at last. Drop it off pre-match Col. Argh! The office is shut! Blag my way in past the bouncers at the front gate. Can I speak to Steve Sayer? A stroke of luck – there he is – phew! “Here you go Steve, cop hold of this bag” – now to meet Ash.

(Elsewhere) Steve Bolton – “Ash – Man City need to talk to you about licensing or something before the match!” Would he fall for it? “We’re meeting Wookie by the Kippax souvenir shop.” My presence helped – “Yep – I’ve been summoned too Ash – don’t know what for, something about licensing!” Hook, line and sinker – I hope!

Dennis and Ashley with the conspirators

I can only imagine what was running through his mind on his way round the pitch. Ah there’s Steve Sayer now. “Um Ash – we’ve a confession to make, Dennis has something to give you on the pitch!”

His face was a priceless picture. Announced over the tannoy, on he went to shake hands with Dennis and have his photo taken. The pictures will be on my site from this weekend and very good they are too!

It was a fantastic moment. He can’t believe it. But there’s more.

It’s now I can reveal the grand total to be a staggering £1,137.

I cannot thank you all enough. There were too many individuals to mention but I’m proud of each and every one of you.

As a result, in the very near future I will be presenting Ashley with a brand spanking new laser blue (blueberry huh?) iMac and Epson printer to go alongside the engraved tankard and his memories.

A date will be set for the presentation in the coming weekends and you’ll all be invited to come along and join in the excess drinking to celebrate.

Once again I thank you and most of all Ashley for what was and still is the outside world’s best lifeline to the Blues. May it run for many years to come on his new iMac.

Col Surrey – The Wookie (


From 506: How are decisions made with penalty competitions? My guess would be that you toss a coin for who goes first and the other side choose which end to shoot at. I can’t believe they would have chosen to shoot at the City end as well as City going first but that’s what happened. Big, big mistake.

Rules: 1. The referee shall choose the goal at which all of the kicks shall be taken. 2. “He shall toss a coin, and the team whose captain wins the toss shall take the first kick.” Plus refs are told: “Decide at which end the kicks will be taken. This can be an important decision if the supporters of one team are behind one goal and those of the other team are at the opposite goal.” But oddly there’s no guidance as to how to make that important decision!

Steve Parish (


One thing hit me in the face when I read the last edition (03 June 99). That was the number of people who remembered their fathers, who had passed on to the big blue stadium. That explains more than anything what a City fan is all about. Tradition, birthright, tears of torment and joy. A feeling of belonging to something you can’t just join because they’ve won something. Total commitment through thick and thin.

CTID and after! John Stewart (


A day filled with trepidation – would we? Could we? Having woken every two hours the night before I wasn’t in the best frame of mind for what would turn out to be a very long, exhausting but rewarding day.

I was helping steward one of the OSC coaches (Coach D – lovely bunch of people) and after having our photos taken before we set off which we were assured would go in the MEN the following night (but didn’t), we set off and with a stop at Corley services with what seemed like 30 other City coaches, arrived at the end of the M1 at about 12.45pm. It took us almost another hour to negotiate the North Circular to get to the Wembley car park and park up. Adrian and Maggie were already inside, soaking up the atmosphere having almost given me up so I bought my programmes and a souvenir cap before going in search of something to eat. People who I’ve spoken to since said they were unable to get programmes at 2pm but I bought mine at about 2.10pm. I then spent £3 on a portion of chips and a bottle of water – extortion at half the price, but didn’t dare chance one of their burgers – I didn’t want to waste the day in the loo! I was able to take the water in with me but they then took the lid off which meant I either had to drink it there and then or waste it – I reluctantly wasted it. Having fought my way to the ladies I then fought my way to my seat meeting up with my fellow London Branch members. The trauma began.

I won’t do a match report because others have done so but I was fine at half time feeling we could still break Gillingham down. Asaba scoring didn’t really faze me too much although the young lad two seats to my right was muttering under his breath and into his foam hand (you know what I mean!). Gareth Taylor came on and whether someone “up there” wasn’t too impressed with Joe’s tactics I will never know, but Robert Taylor then flew through a seemingly non-existent defence to make it 2-0. Deathly silence at the citrus and navy/laser blue end. The lad to my right was now sobbing into his foam hand, fans were leaving in droves and I was thinking “oh well looks like I’ll get to do Scunthorpe after all.” Even Kev’s pulling one back didn’t seem to convince me otherwise and I missed the fourth official putting up the 5 minutes of injury time board. However, when Dicky equalised I was up on my feet shouting “yes! yes! yes!” (and so was Gary Owen as I found out later!), the young lad was hugging my neighbour and all was instantly forgiven! Where the ref got 5 minutes from I will never know but in my view if it’s good enough for Taggart and crew then it’s good enough for us! I felt the equaliser knocked the stuffing out of Gillingham but strengthened our resolve.

Extra time fizzled out and it was the dreaded penalties. You could almost hear the groans echoing around our end. Fortunately we had the penalties at our end which helped Nick and almost scared them to death! Kev scored, they missed (thanks to Nick’s long legs), Dicky missed – it must be easier to score than hit both posts but there you go, they missed again and Terry scored. 2-1 to us and my knuckles were white, fingers, legs, eyes and everything crossed. I could feel the tears beginning to well up. Edgy, who I must admit is not my favourite player and never will be, capped a great performance by scoring although he seemed to be unsure about which foot to hit it with, and then came the deciding moment – if they missed we were up. The emotion was definitely getting to me. Up came Butters I think it was and Nick saved again. I burst into tears, I am not ashamed to say I sobbed my heart out on Maggie’s shoulder, I know I vowed after Halifax in ’79 I would never cry at a football match again, but sod it! Sunday was a one-off rollercoaster ride of emotions and I don’t think for one moment that I was the only one in tears at the end. I missed Nick running round the stadium with the team in hot pursuit until I watched the highlights later. More hugging and kissing took place, although the looks of disbelief on people’s faces will stick with me for years to come. The Cup was collected and the celebrations began. I finally got out of the stadium and made my way back to the coach. A quiet, but ecstatic coach. We started moving out of the car park at 7.15pm and were back at Maine Road for 11pm, exhausted, grinning like Cheshire Cats and extremely happy! I felt sorry for those who lived near the ground because horns were being blasted at very regular intervals. My husband picked me up and we drove home. It was my birthday on the 25th and he’d put a bottle of champagne in the fridge which we didn’t get round to drinking, but the bottle was opened at midnight and we celebrated in style! Thanks for the birthday present boys!

Monday I wore my laser blue shirt whilst driving around (the citrus was finally in the wash!) and more horns were honked and people waved at me! The Reds I know were fairly gracious although they called us stuffy b*****ds! The cheek of it! But it was all good humoured.

Will we go up next season?! I think not, I would rather we consolidated for a couple of seasons and then pushed for promotion. Will we go down again – no way. The spirit in that squad is the best I’ve seen it in ages and I don’t think that spirit will allow us to spend another season back in the old Third Division. We will have to lose a couple of players but the nucleus is there and we can only improve.

Thanks boys for such a great day but please don’t do it too often. Do you realise how many prospective coronaries there were round the ground? I hope the poor chap who was stretchered away made a good recovery.

And as ever CTID – can I ever be anything else?!

Carol Darvill (


This is my first ever contribution to MCITVA, although I’ve been reading it since right near the beginning. Jeremy, the usual contributor has just jetted off to California for a couple of weeks so I’ve taken on the task of sending in our impressions of last Sunday.

Well, what is there to say? For 2 of us, it was our first ever visit to the ‘venue of legends, on a day of destiny’ as the PA announcer never tired of telling us. It more than lived up to expectations. The place is a disgraceful dump, and should be razed to the ground, but the atmosphere was unforgettable, sheer electricity. And from where we were, the view was exceptional, apart from the inevitable pillar.

I won’t give a match report, as others have already done a better job, and we all know what happened anyway, so I’ve chosen to give a more impressionistic view.

Things I will never forget about Wembley May 30th 1999:-

Getting lost in traffic jams on and around the North Circular as fumes poured from our car radiator every time we stopped.

Being surrounded by women from Gillingham in the ladies’ loo at Heston services. Them in brand-new Gills gear and us in our tatty old shirts and scarves.

Meeting Ashley, Steve, and Roger and Nina Haigh at last.

Weaver coming out on his own for his warm-up, and the incredible reception he got. What a star!

The teams coming out. Yes, we’ve seen it on TV, but nothing prepares you for the reality. The little procession of players, looking so small and vulnerable in the middle of all the razzmatazz of fireworks, balloons, Fatboy Slim, and unbelievable crowd delirium.

The way it became just another football match as soon as the whistle blew. The heartfelt singing turning into the usual grumblings about Edghill, Whitley, Goater etc.

The wonderful, endless, extensive repertoire of songs compared with the Gills’ occasional ‘Gillingham, Gillingham, Gillingham’, sounding like a sort of occasional low mooing.

The way everything changed when Bishop came on. Suddenly there was penetration and danger. Okay, 2 goals were conceded. But 2 were scored.

Gillingham’s goals (obviously). I don’t know what on earth prompted Jeremy to get up and say ‘let’s go’, and I don’t think he does. He has never left a football match before the end in his life. I didn’t want to go, but I wasn’t about to get into an argument at such a sensitive moment.

The sight of the little boy 2 rows behind us sobbing uncontrollably.

The sight of grown men sitting staring into space with tears in their eyes.

The man in front of us as we left, holding his small son’s hand, angrily kicking every full rubbish bag we passed, shouting F***, F***, each time.

My poor 15-year-old daughter Allegra, saying bitterly and tearfully, ‘Why did you make me support such a horrible football team?’ Within a few moments, she had her answer.

First the muted cheer which accompanied Horlock’s goal. ‘Bloody typical’, everyone said, as they made their way towards Wembley Way.

Then, unbelievably, the roar from inside. The way everyone’s expressions slowly changed as the realization dawned on us, not daring at first to hope, then knowing that it must mean extra time and somehow we had to get back in. I gather some people had a few problems getting back, but certainly around turnstile A the police and stewards couldn’t have been more supportive, and to everyone’s credit, there was no panic-stricken crush: it was all incredibly ordered and civilised.

Seeing the teams line-up for extra-time just as we got back to our seats, the ground full again. The exodus might never have happened. Gillingham’s goals never happened. The despair never happened. It had all transferred itself to the Gills’ end. The really great thing about e-t was the way they all sat there mutely, knowing the game was up for them, and their fear transferring to their players, who looked exhausted by the end.

The fattest, smelliest man in Manchester, sitting next to me, who sat there impassively throughout the entire game, never uttering a word, and who got up and left just before the end of e-t, never to be seen again.

Weaver’s ludicrously casual double save just before the end. What class, what style!

Ah, penalties. It was, of course, written in the stars that it would come to this. Day of destiny indeed. Funnily enough, although there was tension, obviously, there wasn’t as much as one might have expected, and as soon as they missed their first, you could sense the anxiety beginning to seep away, to be replaced, by the time Edghill scored, by sure and certain knowledge that everything was going to be alright.

The Gills never at any point looked as if they thought they could do it, and Weaver’s self-confidence seemed to have infected his team-mates, especially Edghill, who was positively German in his self-assurance.

Weaver’s celebrations. Surely the one of the maddest, craziest in Wembley history. At one point a steward tried to rugby tackle him, perhaps thinking he was a supporter.

The tannoy shutting up for once to allow an unaccompanied, spine-tingling chorus of Blue Moon.

The climb up to the Royal box. Yes, again, we’ve seen it on TV, but it is so much steeper and higher in real life. They seemed to be climbing forever.

The laps of honour. The ‘we are not worthy’ salute of the players to every section of the crowd.

The tiny bands of brave City fans left exposed in the Gills’ end, getting their own visit from the players.

The atmosphere as we left at last. It wasn’t crazy or particularly ecstatic. The horror we had been facing earlier, the prospect of another season of shame, humiliation, weed-strewn terraces and 46 f****** cup finals was replaced by intense relief, and the strange, unfamiliar feeling of having seen perhaps a new Manchester City, a team that doesn’t keel over and die when someone scores against them, a team that other teams might actually be afraid of, a team that actually wants to live up to its supporters’ hopes and expectations instead of being intimidated by them, and perhaps, as Churchill once said in a different context, the end of the beginning.

Pat Poynton (


Taking Nigel Edney’s, and many others’, reference to the noise at Dickov’s goal. It is the first time I have ever heard such a discernible difference in decibels on TV to celebrate a goal. Although I didn’t notice it until watching a tape of the abridged highlights the following day. Those who have a similar recording, play each goal and then fast forward to the next. The last one is the personification of a million lost souls screaming as one. I’m convinced every one of the 40,000 carried enough energy for all the Blues in the world when they roared. I’ve played it hundreds of times. It truly is awesome.

I had my sister and Manchester Rag brother-in-law staying for the weekend (he had just returned from Barcelona and still hadn’t seen the game. The bars there apparently closed). Being a Portsmouth-based exile I hadn’t harboured any hopes of getting a ticket, and also decided I would probably feel guilty at depriving somebody more deserving if I did get one. Anyway to the 86th minute. I was beside myself. I turned to the Red Andy expecting ridicule. He looked at me and said “Don’t worry, you’ll do it”, with the dispassionate calm of someone who had just seen his own side come back from the dead.

When Horlock scored he looked at me and said it again. This was starting to sound patronising. Then it was he who noticed the 5 minutes on the board. And then he was actually trying to convince me to keep the faith. “It can’t happen twice in five days, and certainly not to City” I said. He just looked at me as if to say “It’s going to happen.” He actually celebrated Dickov’s goal with me. It was shortly afterwards that Joe Royle’s words came into my head. We are not a problem to them, we are worlds apart. Andy was genuinely pleased that we had turned it round. He will save his vitriol for when me are a problem, and from now on I will save mine until we, not Bayern or Arsenal or anybody else, can put one over (as we used to). Let’s do what Joe asks. Concentrate on what we do, no-one else.

Has anybody else really thought about how close we came to being 3-0 down so close after the second? Will Nicky Weaver get save of the year? I bloody well doubt it. But what a save.

Murray Walker Of The Year Award :- Goes to Alan Brazil for the immortal line, after Bob Taylor’s goal. “It’s bye bye Division Two and hello Division One for Gillingham.” Bet he doesn’t get the freedom of the borough.

Lastly. I was deeply moved at the emotions that have been expressed in Mcvitee this week, whether funny or poignant. I actually shed a tear at Steve’s. Feelings very rarely come over so strongly in print. The last week has driven home to me the reason why I’ll always be Blue. Only people who have truly lived through such awful times can actually share more true emotion at finishing third in Division 2 than was shown by those winning the treble.

Here’s hoping we start well next season. And if we don’t… well remember this one.

APTBB (Always Proud To Be Blue), David Kilroy (


For those of you who do not believe in miracles, here is proof that they happen. The weekend of the play-off final I had to attend my friend’s wedding in the south of France. I was away for a week. How was I to follow the match? I only had my short-wave radio to help me. I kept sneaking off on Sunday afternoon to try to see what was going on via the BBC World Service. Reception was bad and not helped by the fact that the frequency changes as soon as you have found it. For most of the match there was a sports programme to keep me up to date. The City match was not the main focus of this broadcast. I heard the first goal live. The programme finished before the final whistle went. Half an hour later after swapping frequencies again the BBC World Service had a sports review programme. I heard the headlines through the crackles. Alan Green was heard to say that Gillingham went two goals up and that history was in the making. This report was well after the final whistle was due to have gone. So what was I to think?

There were about thirty of us at the wedding from England, the bride was from France and the rest of the guests were French (they did not understand why I was pacing around with a radio glued to my ear). I was asked what the final score was and told my mates it was two nil Gillingham. I got plenty of sympathy except from the two who had arrived straight from the runners-up cup in Barcelona.

So for the rest of the week I lived in a world where City had lost. I was going to have to struggle to get tickets for those poxy little Third Division grounds again on the few Saturdays I do not work. The sun was shining but I was so disappointed. My friends in Oxford would be teasing me about next year’s fixture. Ahhhhhgggg.

I got home on Friday and checked my e-mail at midnight. Why was MCIVTA so big? City fans are clearly the best and no disappointment was going to stop them having their say. I started reading, everything was as I expected until I got to the end of the first match report. Two goals in injury time? What was going on? The BBC told me City had lost. Of course it must be a joke. I read on, more of the same appeared. I felt sorry for fans living abroad whom would mistake the MCIVTA writers’ spoof and think we had won. After reading the best part of fifty pages (I should have been in bed ages ago) I began to think that something was going on. Who could I ring? It was far too late. So I had a look at Ceefax but there was nothing there. A bright idea struck, I will look on the Internet. So there it was, City scored twice in injury time and went on to win. It still has not sunk in.

For a whole week I lived in a parallel universe where City actually lost. It was a dark and horrible place. But God saw how I was troubled and transported me to a place where we had won. The only thing I do not know is whether that other team did the treble over there as well.

John Wilson – Oxford (


Elaine Clegg (Issue 506) says she would like to know how City’s astounding comeback compared to other great victories in the past. I’ve watched City since things started up again after the war (i.e. Second World War!) and can’t recall anything remotely approaching it. I seem to remember once beating Luton with two goals in injury time. A lot of the City faithful (?) had already left and made their way home believing we’d lost! I can’t understand why people do that – I’ve never left a game early and still don’t, although perhaps it’s unfair to compare my ten-minute walk home, threading my way through the 200 or so who go to watch Forres Mechanics, with leaving a packed Maine Road or Wembley.

We have been on the receiving end of late goals – Birmingham City the season before last for a start! In a cup-tie we were once beating Newcastle United 3-0 and cruising, only to lose in extra time. I can still see Jimmy Scoular, with those tree trunks of legs, hurling himself into every tackle and exhorting his team to a most unlikely victory. My feelings that day must have mirrored those of the poor Gillingham supporters. Winning the league (and I mean the league!) with an excellent victory at Newcastle was one of our finest hours – the road back to Manchester crammed with singing, scarf-waving fans running in and out of the cars and changing lanes so frequently that it was a miracle they survived. Our only rivals for the title that day had lost at home to Sunderland, and the fact that they were that other Manchester team made things all the sweeter!

One of the best and at the same time one of the tensest City wins I ever witnessed was a semi-final at Villa Park against the millionaires of Sunderland. We just managed a 1-0 win, thanks to a Nobby Clarke goal after tremendous defending by Dave Ewing and the rest for most of the game. That weekend it was easy to recognise the City supporters – not by replica shirts, but by the fact that they were the ones without finger-nails. I’ve done my best to recall tense games, but nothing compares to Gillingham. I watched the match at my mother-in-law’s house. She has known me (or rather she has thought she has known me) for almost 40 years, but this game revealed me in a new light. I had just remarked what a lousy weekend it was: England out of the cricket World Cup and City doomed to another year in the awful Second (Third) Division, when the unbelievable happened. Horlock’s well-struck shot raised a wan smile, but Dickov’s excellent equaliser had me leaping at least two feet into the air, arms outstretched and a yell echoing round New Moston. Behaviour that was repeated seven times during the penalty shoot-out (eight times, if I’m honest, as I thought Dickov’s penalty was in!). I’m sure I caught my mother-in-law giving me some strange looks during the rest of our stay, and suspect that things will never be quite the same again. On the other hand, I might well go there to watch next season’s play-offs…

David Buxton (


Logged on at 10.30pm South Australian time, an hour before kick-off. Perused Blue View and sussed out, thanks to other BVers, that Capital Gold had live and free audio of the game. Casey was somehow posting stills from the Sky coverage for the fans, players coming out the tunnel and other pics which helped convey the atmosphere to faraway Blues.

Five minutes to KO and starting to tense up now. Logged onto the TalkCity chat page to be greeted by all the usual suspects, Herbie, Casey, Oz Blue, Combustible Cat, Fiji Blue etc. Over thirty chatters online, not as big as ICQ I know, but a good gathering nonetheless. The first thing I noticed was that Herbie and Casey were about a minute ahead of the Capital commentary! Very disconcerting. Match well underway now and stress levels bordering on the extreme. We all know what happens next, all of a sudden it’s 2-0 to the Gills. Absolute despair, total and abject despondency envelopes the board. Combustible Cat claims he can’t take any more and logs off! A microcosm of what happened at Wembley! Herbie has disappeared as well. Looking through spread fingers I begin to type one handed… “I knew this would f***ing happen, everyone’s been far too optimistic”… and then Horlock scores. Typical! Casey then proclaims there’s to be five minutes added on. City pour forward and the clock ticks on.

93 minutes gone! It worked before so looking through spread fingers I begin to type one handed… “I knew this would f***ing happen etc. …” and sure enough we equalise! Cue absolute pandemonium as the message board goes into virtual meltdown. The disbelief, the pure ecstasy was there to behold. Extra Time begins. Chatters are concerned Combustible Cat is missing all the excitement. A quick debate ensues on the merits of whether to inform him or not of the comeback, in case he’s the bad luck charm. Eventually it’s agreed to try to get him back on. I know his phone number but would have to log off to call him. Fiji Blue offers to call him on his mobile. Nobody knows how to get hold of Herbie. Towards penalties we inexorably roll. Through spread fingers I type one handed… “I knew this would f***ing happen etc. …” alas this time to no avail. Fiji Blue claims it must be the wrong phone number because all he got through to was an irate woman! Said irate woman is Com Cat’s partner being told to deny the presence of any City supporters in the household for fear of gloating mates. Phone number checked and confirmed so Fiji Blue calls again! It’s 2.30am. A grateful but sheepish Com Cat rejoins the chat.

Penalties it is! The strain is unbearable. Casey, the only one of us with the Sky coverage, doesn’t want to watch the penalties. We plead and cajole until he agrees to talk us through it. Weaver saves! Cue mayhem. Indescribable feelings of joy and relief. No-one wants to leave. Everyone wants linger over this rarest of City performances. Herbie reappears. He had a power failure in his village and had to listen to the rest of the game on the car radio. Finally log off at 3.30am. Tape Sky News and watch the goals over and over again, less than an hour after it has happened. Eventually go to bed and lie awake for two hours before getting up for work. Arrive at work clad in laser blue, totally knackered but unable to wipe the smile off my face.

Cheers Casey for the commentary under great duress. And thanks Herbie for setting up the chatpage.

Bob Lawrence – Snappy (


A Thursday night. Phoned Steven in Heaton Norris after the first Wigan game. “Yeah. You’ll be alright mate. I’ll get you a ticket no sweat.”

A Saturday night. Our First Union meeting. Six of us make it to the Black Door. Great little pub. They actually have, and can serve Boddington’s Bitter like it tastes magic. We all get in the mood and end the night with We are City, We are City, Super City, From Maine Road. Three of us are going to go. I promise to take a Finnish flag for the match. Crash at Blue Finn’s after a top time after the pub.

Another Thursday night. Been up till too late trying to get a ticket via Blue View. Steve’s only got one ticket after horrendous queuing at Maine Road. S**t. Jarkko and Jarmo got theirs for eighty quid. ‘Len’ comes up with an offer. Phoned, sorted. Yes! £100.

A Friday morning. Early. Get into Ringway. Phone Len. No ticket! Drama. Get to Steve’s. Me and his mate Chris are desperate. Len calls with another offer. £120. Sonofabitch. Money out. Ticket bought and in hand. Feeling, f****** over and a bit out of whack. Later we go out for an evening of Robbies in Edgeley. Hear great tales. Get chatted up by a pretty one with big brown eyes. Pub’s a lock in. Get out late and drive up to the Curry Mile for a pig out. Stop outside somewhere. A totally p****d Blue is stopping the traffic with Blue Moon. We give him a hand. Shop full of students with out of town accents. We order a suicide chilli and head off back to Stockers.

The Saturday morning. My ar*e is on fire and I feel strung out. It’s 11.00 and I’m craving an ice cold beer and a lie down. Walk to the newsagents and ask if he’s got a Guardian. He reaches under the counter and, next to the Danish jazz mags, finds one. I’m wearing my dear sky-blue-royal-blue-and-white pully. Get back to Steve’s. No beer. Strung out. I hate the Guardian, and, reading it I hate London. Lonely people in a lonely place.

The Saturday evening. We get down to Euston. We make it to the hotel near Heathrow. Every **** is trying to rip us off. Taxis, faggot hotel clerk, disco. Every ****. They think we’re just thick Mancs. And we are. We’re just thick Mancs, but we forget nothing. We discuss how the legacy of the market economy will surely f*** this world. I’m a bit drunk now but so proud to come from the wonderful part of England that I do. God bless the North-West.

The Mother of All Sundays. I am nervous. I am a stone sweating, as it were, sober. I am really nervous. I have these voices laughing in the back of my head. It’s p***ing down. Concorde takes off in a huge polluting noise. The Three Musketeers discuss how we are doing. We discuss the weather, the game, my flag pole, the miracle of digital home recording and how the people we met in London last night might be doing for the rest of their lives. Get to Wembley far too early. We’re silent most of the way. I meet some Norwegian Blues who ask about the flag. Yeah, I am. Yeah, I have. Yeah £120. Yeah. Good luck boys.

Get into the ground. Wembley is such a wonderful dump. I’m so proud to be there with my dear Man City before it’s turned into The CocaCola Disneyland Wembley Dreamworld. There are a million Gills and still just a few Blues. I freeze for a moment as I feel that it might be their great day. Me and Big Chris find that our ace hundred and twenty quid places obscure the Gills’ end. Weaver comes out first with Alex Stepney to warm up. Nicky dances around like a star in a poor effort to look like he’s warming up. I’m thinking “This is the man”, and I’m right. Then and though we go two down, I still know we’re going to do it. People are leaving. I laugh. We score two. No sweat. Why did you leave? Ha! One Richard Edghill is given the ball. City end is for a split second silent. I’m still laughing. Puts down the ball. I’m saying loudly enough “He is the man now!” Ye-Ess! Nicky saves and it seems like he’s running in a time warp around our end.

I’m totally drained walking back down Wembley Way. So’s everyone else. My heart is going out to Gillingham. This is the way Curt Cobain dreamed people would leave his shows. Poor guy. He never knew, but we do.

Holy Sunday Evening. Rusholme. That’s an ugly away shirt we have. I hope we’ll be very light blue and red and black again soon. Rusholme Chippy. Nan and Salad. Good price mate. Screw Thatcher, Reagan, Bush, Major. Screw Murdoch and MTV. We are from Maine Road. We are super City. Let’s stay in Moss Side. Must be pi****.

The Monday After. Walking round Stockport Precinct. There’s loads of City shirts with heads held high everywhere with mums and wives and kids. It’s starting to make me feel like a beer. I go up to the Boar’s Head and drink a pint of Robbies. F***, I’m homesick. Could the wife ever take it living in England? Thieves, psychos and people who’d give you the shirt off their backs? Monday evening. Back home. It’s nice here. Great air. That’s my house. That’s my garden. But over there. That’s my beautiful Manchester City.

I’m City till I die
I’m City till I die
As Spam is Spam
My Mam’s a Gran
I’m City till I die

And now. For the Premiership we go, mateys. Ahoy!

Matt Rayner (


No point in asking if you enjoyed Wembley. I thought that fellow Mcvitee readers might like my memories! I was on a plane the whole bl**dy time. I’d asked Emma (my wife) to leave a message on the mobile for when I landed in Beirut. As soon as I got a signal there was the message icon. I got through and rather than hearing her voice telling me the score all I could hear was Radio 5 saying it had gone to penalties. For the next ten minutes the whole of the baggage hall and customs at Beirut airport was able to witness a stange Englishman with a mobile clutched to his head going through the agony and the ecstasy of the whole thing via the commentary! Suprisingly I wasn’t strip searched or even stopped by customs despite the peculiar behavior…

Since then the disappointment of missing the game has sunk in, it’s the first time for years I’ve missed a really crucial game. Still the phone bill will be enough to make me feel like I bought a tout ticket! More suprisingly I didn’t see a single Rag in Beirut. Although there was a bit about them in the local Daily Star. All the news stories are lead by the city that they came from so obviously the story on them started:

LONDON: Manchester United are expecting to cash in on their recent success by opening new stores in Dublin, the Middle and Far East.

Not a hint of irony! Still as a few people have noted it was the result that mattered!

Jim Parsons (


I thought about doing a match report but as I am sure others have got there before me and would probably do a better job, I thought that I would take a different stance and share my emotions and recollections from a terrific day out last Sunday. Funnily enough I remember very little from the first 75 minutes or so of the game but here are my recollections of the rest.

  • Seeing Shaun Goater hitting the post and hoping that we didn’t live to regret it.
  • Thinking “only 9 minutes left, whoever scores first will win” only to see Asaba running up the field and slotting home.
  • Watching the Gillingham fans celebrating and thinking “well at least the other 28,000 now know which team was Gillingham.”
  • Thinking “let’s get a quick reply straight from the kick-off to take it into extra time.”
  • Seeing them get a second and resigning myself to another season of watching s***e teams and travelling to s***e grounds.
  • Watching hordes of Blues disappearing towards the exits and debating whether to join them.
  • Telling Amrik to finish the Coke he had been nursing as I wasn’t planning on sticking around.
  • Working out that JR’s favourite statistic was now 3 defeats in 27 games.
  • Hoping that we could continue that form and boss the division like Fulham.
  • Realising that we wouldn’t be able to attract any half decent players.
  • Seeing two frustrated Blues having a slanging match and almost coming to blows a couple of seats away.
  • Hearing someone behind me cite U****d’s midweek feat and thinking that things like that never happen to us, only against us.
  • Remembering standing behind the goal in 1986 and seeing a 3-goal finish and thinking that it couldn’t happen again.
  • Praying to St Jude (the patron Saint of lost causes).
  • Almost missing Horlock’s goal (like I did with Steve McKenzie’s goal in 1981 when watching a fight behind me) because the two frustrated Blues were now only being kept apart by the eagerness of their colleagues to prevent spoiling the day (sic).
  • Thinking that at least the score-line looked a bit more respectable and that it was better than 3-0.
  • Showing Amrik my watch to indicate that this was too little too late and to forget any thoughts of a comeback.
  • Seeing the fourth official flashing up 5 minutes and thinking that there was still time for a goal.
  • Recalling how many times I have thought the same thing when we have been drawing or losing this season and failing to see any positive outcomes.
  • Swearing at Terry Cooke for wasting a good crossing opportunity.
  • Looking at my watch anxiously along with 40,000 others, looking up and Yeeeessssss! Thank you Paul Dickov and sorry for slagging you off in MCIVTA.
  • Dancing up and down the steps and almost single-handedly raising the roof off the stadium.
  • Turning round and seeing Amrik bawling his eyes out with sheer joy, poor sod’s going to have more grey hairs than me by the time he’s 16.
  • A feeling of sheer relief at full time and hoping that we could settle it in extra time so we wouldn’t have to have penalties.
  • Looking around at the start of extra time and realising that the place was full again!
  • Praying that it wouldn’t go into penalties.
  • Seeing the ref blow up after what seemed like 30 seconds and wondering where the first period of extra time had gone.
  • Praying that it wouldn’t go into penalties.
  • Swearing at Terry Cooke again for wasting another good crossing opportunity trying to repeat word for word what I had said earlier because 2 minutes after that outburst we had scored.
  • Praying that it wouldn’t go into penalties.
  • Seeing the ref blow up after what seemed like 30 seconds and wondering where the second period of extra time had gone.
  • Recalling that I had never seen City win a penalty shoot-out.
  • Recalling that I had never seen City win at Wembley.
  • Vowing not to cheer any conversions or misses for fear of celebrating too early.
  • Seeing Horlock stepping up and recalling that he’d missed against Blackpool.
  • Maintaining my non-celebration pledge as the ball almost burst the back of the net.
  • Seeing them miss and not being able to stop myself screaming with delight.
  • Watching with disbelief as Dickov’s shot hit both posts and blaming myself for not sticking to my pledge.
  • Watching them blast wide and keeping my lips firmly shut and both feet firmly on the ground.
  • Seeing Terry Cooke slot home with his usual clinical dead ball finish.
  • Seeing them score their first and hoping we could maintain the advantage.
  • Seeing Edghill stepping up and wondering about his non-scoring record.
  • Seeing him slot home and thinking “cool b*****d” for chipping the goalie (only realising when watching video evidence later that he had almost missed).
  • Telling Amrik that if they missed we would win.
  • Seeing the ball hitting Sir Nick and watching the frenzy unfold before me both on and off the field.

Now, if I had any poetic inclination, I could adequately describe the next hour or so using the English language for the purpose it was designed but, as I do not, I would not do the occasion the justice it deserves. Suffice to say it will obviously always sit right up there with all the other finest hours I have had or am likely to have.

All the Blues I have spoken to since and who have been watching them for around the same period of time as myself (20 years) have all said that they have known nothing like it and that only the 5-1 came close. However, that was nearly 10 years ago now and a lot of bad, bad water has passed under the bridge since then but I think that the emotions of that day were of a different nature and unfortunately we’ve had to live off them for far too long. I am glad that we now have a more recent event to cling to and hope that it is only the first of many or am I being too greedy?

Anyway, have a good, good summer and see you all in the First Division with the mighty Crewes, Stockports, Port Vales and Swindons of this world.

CTIFPFTCAATDWC (City til I finish paying for the counselling after another traumatic day watching City), Jagdeep Gil (


Well, it’s now just over a week since our little outing to London. It still hasn’t sunk in yet. Did we really come back from 2-0 down and win it on penalties? Did I really sing and dance in the stand like someone in the Mardi Gras?

Being crafty, I had arranged to be around London on business a couple of days before the weekend. One guy I saw was a Blue and was hoping to get a ticket on the black market (found out later he did get in but it cost him about £100). On the Saturday I went to Leicester Square to meet up with a few of the McVitee FC boys for a quiet drink. By then I was nervous and the feeling was growing. I couldn’t sleep on Saturday night, I was tossing (oo-er!) and turning and just couldn’t settle.

Sunday morning. I left Oxted in Surrey (where I was staying with my sister) at 10am and suprisingly there were a few Blues on the train. When we got to Victoria the place was awash with Gills’ fans but it was all good natured and we got some good banter going. The tube to Wembley Park was a mixture of Blues and Gills.

I’ve never been to Wembley with City, I’ve been with England, so to see the famous Wembley Way full of City fans was a real buzz. There was still about 3 hours to go and the nerves were horrendous. Finally got into the ground and sat down and watched the ground fill up. When the teams came out I couldn’t see much for 5 minutes due to all the smoke from the fireworks. The National Anthem came and went (they even put the words up on the scoreboard!). I didn’t realise they’d kicked off until about 5 minutes into the game because I was singing so much.

To be honest I don’t remember much about the game itself until the last 10 minutes. When we went 2 down, I had tears in my eyes and felt so depressed and let down. I could see people leaving (including my dad and nephew who missed both goals). I said to the woman behind me ‘If the Rags can do it, so can we.’ To my surprise Horlock scored, then a few minutes later Dickov. I went mad with delight. I’ve never kissed so many blokes before. You could feel the stand shake under our feet, and the noise was tremendous.

Extra time, Dickov could have won it but it went to penalties. You all know the story, Weaver the hero, Dickov’s miss, Edghill’s first goal for the club. My most endearing memory is the noise. I had to cover my ears it got so loud. We must’ve stayed in the ground for an extra hour after the game to dance and sing. The 6-hour queue for tickets had been worth it.

What a day. I finally got home some 12 hours after leaving. I’ll never forget the day. As somebody said on the way out “It could only have been City, it’s always a classic when we play there.” How true.

Andy Holgate (


Drove over to The Academy on Saturday morning (why the bloody hell didn’t I go there for Wembley tickets?) from Wilmslow and popped into the new club shop. Saw the ‘Wing Commander Cooke’ t-shirt; not bad (if a little optimistic?) but I had the thought for an even better one that extended the RAF metaphor and compared WC Cooke to that ‘Squabbling Bleeder Beckham’. What do you think?

Anyone not seen Craig Winstanley’s ‘Bleak and Blue: 22 years at the Manchester Academy of Football Farce’? Don’t be put off by the title, this is a cracking account of ‘Fever Pitch’ type wit describing the seasons from 1975/76 (The Zenith) to 1997/98 (City’s Touching Tribute to Titanic). I thoroughly recommend it. I found a copy in WH Smith’s in Wilmslow (where it was published in 1999 by Sigma Press).

Mark Barratt (


Still only half way through the coffee table edition of MCIVTA and what a thoroughly enjoyable read! Especially liked the one about the guy from South Africa and his dad. It’s great to hear that everyone there went through the same emotions as I did! Just come back from a news-free long weekend away to hear some devastating news (Gills want a replay) and am scared to death that I jinxed it by my last contribution! Does anyone know the legal aspect? Can the FL do this or do they need proof that the club itself was involved in some sort of match fixing? Should I take it as a good or bad omen that the club have not come out and slammed this statement? Just watched the game again and heard the commentator say that the Gills’ chairman is a Millwall fan (we’ll say no more!) and he paid 1 pound for the club (think he was ripped off personally!). Also clearly heard them say the ref. gets to choose the end for penalties (many contributors to Blue View thought we won the toss) and at the risk of repeating myself I’m convinced he chose our end as it was the least distracting as the tunnel is mostly what can be seen between the posts for the takers – anyone got an opinion?

Going back to the replay talk, please can any of the City fans in the bar that night tell anyone who matters that the ref. didn’t sing with you, he didn’t celebrate and that in fact he wanted Gillingham to win (said in the Times he was a QPR fan!). And another thing, having watched the game numerous times, and with Sky having a timer on it I added up the amount of time that should have been awarded. Adding together their two goal celebrations equals just over two minutes, then there was an injury and a very lengthy substitution for us adding nearly another two minutes. It also took him ages to book Taylor and the video clearly shows him indicating that he had stopped his watch. Add to this their time wasting (especially that runt of a Gills fan who keeps the ball) and in reality we deserved more than five minutes – I demand a replay! I heard a rumour that someone had seen the kit – anyone out there seen it or know where we can see it? For that matter, does anyone know when it’s out? And another thing, just downloaded the GMR commentary from and it’s a must – can’t stop playing it. The guy (Andy Buckley?) actually screams and his voice raises three pitches – just like the crowd’s scream after Dickov’s goal! It may be a bit long but that’s now my opening sound to Windows. Having spent three days away from home, the first thing I did when I got back (even before I unloaded the car) was to put on the video of the game and revel in the sheer blissfulness that overwhelms me when I watch it – this is surely better than taking drugs and I’m truly addicted!

And another thing…

Whilst watching the video (again!) I heard the commentator give out the attendance of 76,935, saying it was a record for the Division Two final but the play-off record was last year between Sunderland and Charlton with just over 77,500. Hang on a minute, if demand was so high for City tickets why didn’t we get the rest? It’s not as if Gillingham didn’t sell out their allocation. Are the Football League saying we need more segregation than last year? Even though we are only talking about 600 or so tickets I’m sure those who missed out would have preferred to have the option to buy them even if they were obstructed view tickets. Anyone got a theory on why the FL did this (apart from them being a bunch of useless tarts who couldn’t organise a p*ss up in a brewery?)?

Elaine Clegg (


I’ve kept quiet long enough. I can’t stand it any more… I am Jo from, and I’m writing from the perspective of partner of an ‘obsessed Blue’. We have moved across the planet, into different time zones, have new football-unfriendly friends, and I still can’t escape that blo*dy team (whose performance and results really do affect my weekends).

When it looked like they were on the way to Wembley, there was no way back, and I sold my soul to the Devil. I raided the piggy bank, cashed in our Premium Bonds etc. and bought John the ticket to go to Wembley. Once done, I spent the whole weekend panicking (will John get a ticket into the game – long way to watch it on the TV, will he get arrested, will he get beaten up by the Millwall fans we heard were going to the game, what will I tell our 1-year-old about how his father never managed to get back home…). I couldn’t even stay up for the results (dreading them being beaten, and my life being hell for the rest of eternity). It was only when a girlfriend openly wept for my good luck (her husband supports Spurs) that I realised all would be OK, and the therapy sessions could be cancelled. All I can say, Joe Royle, is get your bleeding act together and win these games earlier in the season, then my life can be smoother and I can come off the valium!

Nice one, City (but you still can’t take points off Boro, ha!).

Jo Lakeland (


It’s a week since they called the flight at JFK to London. What a weekend! Eating bacon sandwiches in my old caff in Twickenham, riding the dodgems on the fair on Hampstead Heath, then the day at Wembley! Hadn’t sent in anything to MCIVTA before the one posted in the last issue with its tale of getting tickets in the Gillingham end, but reading the euphoric notes from people from far and wide about the events in and around Wembley, here’s another one.

Did anyone notice in the programme notes how it said that City were “out of their depth” in the Second Division? Not quite what the writer meant, but glad just to be out of the damn thing altogether now. No regrets at leaving after Gillingham’s second goal. Couldn’t have sat there in silence when the equalizer went in. Even when it was 0-2 and some ugly-looking Kent blokes nearby were demanding to know where the City fans were, a brief “Come on, City” led to stewards hustling in and asking for calm. To anyone who was in the sports bar, all City fans, for extra time and penalties, what a wonderful atmosphere! The way the cameras followed Nicky Weaver’s run was reminiscent of how they tracked David Pleat across the Maine Road grass in less happy circumstances, after Luton won, or how they followed Sunderland’s goalkeeper (Montogomery) after they beat Leeds in the Cup Final.

Around 2 p.m. on Sunday at the top of Wembley Way you might have notiiced a big white sign that said “Came from New York – Tickets Needed” with the “needed” replaced by “GOT!” Hope it made you smile. It made a lot of Gillingham fans laugh. Daft sods aren’t so happy now, are they?! But help – can someone kindly send me the video? I’ll copy it onto the U.S. system and promise to return it.

Ken Corfield (


I’m in the army and I was lucky enough to get a ticket for that glorious day at Wembley. I was being posted abroad for six months on Monday so this was a real chance to have a final day on the p*** and watch my beloved City for the last time this year. Thursday night I get a telephone call, it’s my worst nightmare call, our flights have been brought forward to Saturday morning(!), I’m going to miss the match, my wife couldn’t make it to Wembley because of work so I gave the ticket to my next door neighbour (a Rag! and his flight isn’t for another fortnight, but nobody would let us change flights; he said he would get me a programme).

Anyway I get to my destination in the early hours of Saturday. One good thing I thought, it is bank holiday and nobody will be working over the weekend, at least I can listen to it on the radio. How wrong I was. No time to settle in I was straight at work until late at night. An early morning start on Sunday as I thought “if I can get my work finished I will still be able to listen to the match.” Lunch time came and I telephone my wife. She was at work. I was going to ask her to tape the match off Sky. Back to work and I finished at 4.30, straight to my room and on with the radio. My room mate couldn’t understand what was happening, I lay on my bed with my headphones on crying my heart out, thinking how glad I was that my flight had been brought forward and I wasn’t at Wembley, then I was jumping about the room crying with joy because we had equalised. My room mate doesn’t like football so he just couldn’t understand the emotional turmoil I was going through.

As soon as Nicky Weaver saved the penalty my mobile phone rang. It was my wife. She was crying with joy, and in between the sobs she managed to tell me that she had set the video to tape from the build up right to the end of transmission of Sky’s coverage (great, 4/5 hours of every emotion known to man). I went around for the next half hour trying to find somebody with a video I could borrow for when she sends it to me. I was lucky, the outgoing troops had rented TVs and videos when they arrived six months ago; unfortunately they had to keep them for a minimum of twelve months, so I managed to carry on the rental payments and had my TV and video waiting for that great day when I could see my beloved team gain promotion to the 1st Division. Then came a nightmare nearly as bad as the first one. My wife telephoned to say she went to watch the match and found out she had set the wrong channel on the video, 4/5 hours of Channel 5! My wife is lucky that I am away for six months, at least it will give me time to calm down. I won’t be phoning her because it’s costing me enough having my mobile connected to the Internet. 18 years of marriage and I am contemplating divorce.

If anybody wants to help and thinks they are good marriage counsellors then please, please send me a video copy of the match (I can supply the blank video and pay postage and packaging), I might then forgive my wife. I can only get on the net every couple of weeks so if any MCFCF’s want to help please write to: Sgt. K Pollitt HQ Coy 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards BFPO 812 or E-Mail to

P.S. Being away so often, the only way I keep in touch with my team is with MCIVTA. Thanks. Keep it up lads.

Kev Pollitt (


Have made contact with TeamTalk website. Very pleased to see that TeamTalk’s sub-menu “Pick a Team” already has City listed as a First Division team. Bless’em.

Suggest other humans take a quick peek at this one it will cheer you up even more just to see it.

Peter Abbott (


What can I say but thank yoooooooo City. Based in Vietnam for over 2 years I’ve kept my season ticket and had already purchased my ticket for 99/2000 season in February. I only saw 2 games in the 2nd Division, away to York (bummer) and at home to Stoke over the Xmas period. I couldn’t bring myself to travel back for the play-off final as the previous season I flew to Bangkok to watch the last game of the season at Stoke on TV only to find that they had decided not show the game after all. Bummer. For the play-off final I was waiting for the sports programme on the World Service only to find that they had cancelled the programme to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Tiannaman Square massacre. Those Beeb people have no sense of history in the making. Fortunately, the World Service managed to relay the news at 5.45 am the next morning, and a colleague Paul (yes 2 City fans in Hanoi) and myself settled for a cup of coffee and a tab at 7am to celebrate. Nothing I’m sure to compare with the aftermath of Wembley, but not bad.

I will have to live with the fact that my brother Peter and his family flew from Canada for the game and will rub it in for ever more that I didn’t make it.

Just to let you know that the ‘bandwagon’ Rags phenomenon is alive and kicking in Vietnam. In true City style I have informed one of the local staff that the purchase of a ManU shirt will be reflected in her Perfomance Assessment. If she can afford one of those we must be paying her too much already.

Returning for the full term in August.

Gary Hallsworth, Hanoi, Vietnam (


Blimey, I’ve just finished reading the Omnibus edition, glad to see that my note came in a respectful mid-season obscurity position.

Apart from reading other people’s perspectives/experiences, the best thing about this edition was being reminded of little things that happened on Sunday. So yes, we did respect the National Anthem and no, I’ve no idea why we booed the Opera Singer (bloody funny though, wasn’t it?).

I’m trying hard not to bore the pants off you lot by going on about the game but, everyone I talk to over here either doesn’t give a toss, or are jealous of me going and haven’t had an opportunity to see what I’ve been wittering on about.

Which brings me to the point, from my own experience and other MCIVTA/Blue View messages, it’s clear that there’s a market for a professionally compiled video of the day. Are you reading this, bloke who works for Sky TV?

John Riley (


What a bunch of sore, sorry, Strachan – like whingers!

It’s a sad day when a referee can’t have a beer and a few laughs with the fans at the end of his season.

And to say that he blatantly assisted City with 5 minutes of injury time… how many times have City suffered from such a decision over the years? What now, do we replay every match where clubs dispute time added on? Phew, that would be an endless season.

Come on Gillingham, take it on the chin like good sports; you blew a 2-0 lead from the 86th minute and didn’t have the mettle to see us off. You’re a Division 2 side historically and always probably will be! Bayern Munich suffered from defensive lapses too and at least they deserved to win, but they are not asking for a replay are they?

The game won’t be replayed ’cause the precedent would ruin the unpredictability of the game and the FA would not be bold enough to order a replay on a timing/celebrating issue. Remember Arsenal had to offer the replay to Sheffield United or a replay would not have happened! And the ref should be left alone; remember, he let them get away with a first-minute handball that would’ve set City on their way early, so they shouldn’t be complaining in the land of Wurzel Gummidge.

The lousier prats of Gillingham aside, I am hearing rumours of the following names as possible signings at City: Stan Collymore (risky), Uwe Rösler & Niall Quinn (second comings), Lee Dixon & Dominic Matteo (yes please).

What d’you ppl reckon?

Chris Loveridge – Hawkeye of the “Bay”


MCIVTA 506 was fantastic – not too mammoth at all. I read every word and I laughed, I cried and generally relived it all – which is good, given that I made a somewhat spur of the moment and very fleeting visit from Sydney in order to be there. Too late now for my story of the day. Suffice to say that whilst I didn’t necessarily want it to go on for as long as it did on the day, extra time, penalties, a win, Nicky Weaver without his shirt and a chance meeting with an old flame in Trafalgar Square made the trip most worthwhile! We also met Gerard Wiekens’ father-in-law and his fellow travellers on the tube after the match. He couldn’t speak a word of English but got his City bobble hat out of his pocket when we got on in our laser blue (can we go back to “City Blue” now?) and smiled and smiled – hilarious.

Next season though, can the boys do it automatically? None of my heart, liver and/or bank manager could stand the strain of another trip.

Most repeated phrases from issue 506:

“City don’t do comebacks” (they do now!)

“Don’t ever do that to me again”

Keep up the great work.

Andrea Hanlon (


Now we are out of it, it’s time to reflect on the 2nd Division. A bunch of small teams from small towns owned and managed by small-minded individuals.

They went out of their way to tell us how we were no longer a large club and generally have a laugh, whilst counting every penny earned at the turnstile. Well, City have always been, still are, and always will be a big club, it’s just that we’ve had a pretty crap playing ability over the last few years or more. Don’t confuse the two issues.

The final straw for me was the owner of Gillingham and his ever more eccentric opinions. Thank God we only have to play two of this year’s opponents next year.

I was offered a ticket to Wembley by a Gillingham season ticket holder who was boasting about how many tickets were available. The ticket offer disappeared when he realised that some distant relative, who has never seen a single match, wanted the ticket to join in the ritual humiliation of the ex-big boys from up North.

Bitter? Not at all, I’m currently explaining to the populous of West Kent, in excruciating detail, just how much fun it is to go to Wembley and win. No matter that it’s 23 years since I last went to see City win at Wembley, I was there and those b*****ds will never know the feeling!

LWFKTMBLEMATM (long way from Kent to Manchester but loving every minute at the moment), Alan Holt (


I suppose I was one of the fortunate ones who witnessed the greatest comeback ever seen. Forget United, this was the real thing. Grit, determination and a will to succeed. The players could see how much we as fans needed that victory, and I only see things getting better and better. We should not worry about many teams in Division 1 if we never say die like that.

Now my request. Having seen the game live, I would like to be able to relive it time and time again. Has anyone out there taped it? If you have and you could copy it I would be a very greatful recipient and will make sure that your costs are covered, as well as a drink.

See you next season, when hopefully away tickets will be easier to obtain.

Martin Farmer (


We witnessed the epic game on Sunday and after the 120 minutes and penalties were very happy in the knowledge that we’d recorded the whole match to enjoy all over again when we got home. However, our plans were ruined when we sat down to savour the rollercoaster ride once more, when we discovered the entire recording had been made without any sound!

My quest therefore is to find someone who recorded the entire programme, including the build up and post-match celebrations, with full audio. Obviously I would be willing to cover any costs. Please email me if you can help.


Kathryn Bircher (


I live outside Chicago and am looking to get a mailing list together for City fans here in the states. I would appreciate any Blues on the list contacting me and I will put together some sort of directory. So when we travel in the US hopefully some beer can be sampled and stories traded. I would appreciate it if you could include this in the next newsletter.

Bill Gentes (


Why do women hate English footballers?

They do nothing for ninety minutes, put it in twice and think they’re the best in the world.

Chris Cobb in Ottawa, Canada (


According to yesterday’s Observer the makers of Monopoly are to bring out a Manchester United Monopoly later on this year. Imaginatively, the stations are to be replaced by The Sty’s stands and Alex Ferguson’s boatrace will occupy the space usually taken up by Mayfair. However, Messrs. Bosnich and Keane won’t be pleased to hear that the jail remains! No doubt they will be cheered by the news that, as in the regular version of the game, there will be two Get Out Of Jail Free cards!

P.S. Does anybody know of the contact details for “The Soccer Shop” just next to the ground? This shop sells unofficial merchandise and when I was in the U.K. a few years ago had some excellent tee shirts.

Graham Jones (


Why City? I was born in Manc in ’64. My father was at the cup finals of ’55 and 56′, the Newcastle game of ’68, Wembley ’69 and League Cup ’70, Vienna ’70, and so on. The family tradition is intense. I was at the League Cup finals of ’74 and ’76 and both matches in ’81. By this time, I was hooked. Living by now in Coventry due to my father’s work commitments, I chose to attend University in Manchester so I could watch City. I now teach in Stratford in Warwickshire, still living in Coventry. City is everything. I love them. I fear them. But they are my club and will be forever. City ’til I die!

Michael Rennie (


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

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

[Valid3.2]Ashley Birch,

Newsletter #507