Newsletter #509

The major news is that City have signed a new sponsorship deal reputedly worth £2m over the next three years. The sponsors are Eidos, the computer games company responsible for the celebrated ‘Lara Croft of Tomb Raider’. Other news revolves around JR’s alleged interest in Lee Sharpe, though other targets are also being bandied about. For all those out there clamouring for anything resembling a copy of the play-off video, or even if a copy or a copy of a copy of a copy, there is finally some good news (OK, I know it’s only 2 weeks ago since the event!). The club has this week released the official ‘end of season’ video; this year’s is the biggest to date and should go some way to satisfying the play-off demand, as it devotes 45 minutes to this game. A review has kindly been provided by Paul Howarth, and yes… there are also details on how to order it!

There’s also more Wembley memories, more evidence of the football authorities’ arbitrary decision making (and that is being kind), an ‘all time great eleven’ article and a Why Blue.

This one reaches 2,598.

Next game: Burnley away, Saturday 17th July 1999


New Sponsor Named

City’s new sponsor will be Eidos, the computer games manufacturer. The Eidos chairman Ian Livingstone, a lifelong City fan, is a personal friend of director Dennis Tueart, and it’s believed this has facilitated the deal. Initially, a three-year contract has been signed worth a reported £2 million.

Eidos is best known for the top-selling Tomb Raider series featuring the character Lara Croft. However, it also produces sports titles such as Championship Manager, UEFA Champions League and Formula One Racing. To this end it has branched out into sports sponsorship with the West McLaren Merecedes Formula One team and as the official interactive partner of the England football squad. The club’s official site at promises that promotions for City fans are likely to be on offer as a result of the deal.

Chairman David Bernstein feels that the Eidos sponsorship is a testament to the progress the club has made, claiming that, “This association confirms that the club is being recognised as turning a very important corner.” For his part, Livingstone feels that it’s a good time to be associated with the club, claiming as many have done before him that, “Manchester City has enormous potential for the future.” A press conference will be held shortly. In addition to outlining the deal in more detail, it’s also expected to see Lara Croft make her Maine Road début.

Incidentally, it’s the Eidos name rather than the image of Lara Croft which will appear on next season’s shirts. The logo was sent to Le Coq Sportif on Friday evening – presumably to ensure that when the new shirts go on sale in July, they already bear the sponsor’s identity.

Sharpe “Set for Blues Move”

According to Saturday’s Manchester Evening News, City are favourites to sign Leeds United winger Lee Sharpe after the player reportedly admitted that he has his heart set on a move to Maine Road. Sharpe, of course, spent the closing six weeks of the season on loan at Bradford City, having chosen Valley Parade in preference to a temporary stint at Maine Road. With Bradford having secured a place in the Premiership, Sharpe was expected to complete a permanent move and last week Bantams’ manager Paul Jewell agreed a double deal with Leeds to sign the former England winger and Norwegian Gunnar Halle. However, while Halle has duly signed, Sharpe elected to go on holiday without committing himself to staying in West Yorkshire.

This has sparked claims that he’s changed his mind following a late bid by Joe Royle to hijack the signing. Royle admits he was unhappy with Sharpe’s snub in March but appears ready to forgive and forget. The City boss expects to have talks when the ex-Manchester United player returns from holiday towards the end of next week. One stumbling block could be Sharpe’s reported £10,000-per-week wages, but the reduced fee of £300,000 takes this into account – Leeds manager David O’Leary was said earlier in the season to rate the player at £1.6 million.

Other Transfer Rumours

City are now being linked with Liverpool’s ex-England under-21 midfielder Danny Murphy, who’s available at £1.5 million after becoming a victim of Gerard Houllier’s Anfield purge. Murphy spent the last couple of months of the season on loan at his former club Crewe and impressed as he helped Dario Gradi’s side to Division One safety. The player is also being linked with a move to Ipswich should they lose Kieron Dyer this summer. Meanwhile, Martin Smith, a possible alternative should the Blues miss out on Lee Sharpe, could be on his way to West Brom. Another man City may be considering to strengthen the left-hand side of the team is Scott Sellars. The 33-year-old has been released by Bolton and is also said to be interesting Wolves and Preston. Finally, Stan Lazaridis, in Australia to play in the match inaugurating the Sydney Olympic stadium, reportedly told a journalist down under that City’s interest in him may not be dead.

There’s little movement in terms of outgoing transfers, though Joe apparently ascribes this to a desire on the part of clubs not to pay the wages of prospective new signings throughout the close season. He reckons things will start to move in another month or so. At present, there’s no word on a potential new destination for Jamie Pollock, still rated as the most likely big-name summer departure. Neil Heaney, who was helping Charlton into the Premiership only a year ago, is being linked with a move into the basement with Darlington. Finally, reserve goalkeeper Tommy Wright is said to be interesting Millwall. If true, this would presumably mean Joe will be in the market for a new deputy for Nicky Weaver.

Other News in Brief

City raised £3,000 for the youth development fund after 300 fans each paid ten pounds for a square of the Maine Road turf… The Nationwide League has ratified plans for squad numbers and five substitutes next season, and has also voted to replace goals scored with goal difference as the means for deciding between teams which finish level on points… Though it’s been widely touted for some time that next season’s away shirts will be white, this is now being spoken of as an accepted fact. As in 1997-98, we can therefore expect to see the Blues wearing a third kit on several occasions, such as at QPR, Huddersfield and Blackburn.

Peter Brophy (


As a change from watching the play-off video, last Saturday I went to see the film Notting Hill and was pleasantly surprised to hear the cast break into “Blue Moon” during a party about half way through. Sadly, the audience (and it was a full house due to the media hype) did not stand as one man and join in and I was too much of a wimp to take the lead.

For those who collect versions of our anthem, I’ve recently discovered an excellent one on the Cowboy Junkies’ live album “The Trinity Sessions”.

Steve Willis, Stalybridge, Cheshire (


I now know that getting married was the best thing that I ever did, because it was my wife that stumbled across MCIVTA and whose access to the service enabled me to share the emotions of the last few months. MCIVTA gave me a feeling I belonged and was not alone at all.

If anything my love for City has intensified in the ten years I have been in South Australia. At one of my many leaving parties in Manchester I drunkenly stated the things I would miss in this order: MCFC, Marston’s Pedigree as served in the Royal Oak in Didsbury (Boddy’s in general also) and of course family and friends. Ten years on, you can get Boddy’s in a can over here, I have my own family and now I have at last kindred souls through MCIVTA. Exile makes the love harder, especially when up until last week it was an unrequited love.

My only regret about the whole affair is that I didn’t delay our holiday home to coincide with the end of the season, although given the ticket fiasco perhaps it wouldn’t have made a difference. My support had never waned, my belief that we would come good had never been stronger, but as a long distance exile the ticket didn’t belong to me. Sure, we have suffered, but not as much as the season ticket holders, nor despite my huge phone bills, have we forked out as much money to follow our passion (a few notable exceptions of course). Where we are as one is sharing the suffering over the years. Kosovo it ain’t, but who would choose a hobby, interest or pleasure pursuit that brought only anguish and pain?

Back in September I managed to go to a few games at the Academy and despite my joy at being back, the fare on offer was awful. At least at the Preston match there was a ‘big game’ atmosphere somewhat shattered by the comic chants of ‘We hate Blackpool’. Back to Second Division reality with a whimper. At that point which of us envisaged a day trip to Wembley?

Eight months on and it’s 2.00 am in South Australia, my child and visiting sister and her children all in bed. I am alone, the TV camera is on Old Trafford, it’s raining. It might only be the cricket ground for the Oz versus Windies clash, but once again they intrude on our day. However, they can’t ruin it because the sheer weight of hope and expectation of all those years is suddenly lifted, is no longer a burden but a parachute to lift all City fans as high in the sky blue as is possible. I listened to the match via a phone link to GMR Radio and I will never forget it. It will be a turning point, fate was at last on our side again.

When Weaver saved the penalty I only knew he had done it from the roar of the radio, no commentary could be heard. I now picture his joyous sprint alongside that roar as little details like that have emerged from MCIVTA. I had to run down a corridor, silently, screaming to myself with utter relief and joy. Two hours later my heart still pounding, sleep refusing to come. Four hours later the young boy (a little Franny Lee lookalike) awakes to a new dawn and I spend all day at work running on empty. The happiest zombie you ever did see and that night I slept the sleep of the just.

All that is missing is a phone call to my best mate who was there – Mike Davies if anyone knows him – I haven’t been able to contact him yet, probably still partying. The video is on its way and there will be a night set aside along with a few cans of Boddy’s and to complete the picture a smile like a Cheshire cat. So thanks to Joe and the lads and of course to Ashley at MCIVTA. The last two issues have been fantastic, real tear-jerkers. Keep up the good work.

P.S. Note from the aforementioned wife – I really loved the recent Why Blue – A spouse’s perspectivel Paul, you took the words right out of my mouth!

Tony Prince (


TITLE:        Manchester City are Back!
              Manchester City's 1998/99 Season
PUBLISHER:    Paul Doherty Television
RUNNING TIME: 120 minutes approx.
PRICE:        £13.99

Cover Judging by the clamour for videos of the play-off final in recent editions of MCIVTA, this video will be a top-seller. At 120 minutes, it’s the longest end-of-season video the club has yet produced, and the final 45 minutes are dedicated to the dramatic finale to the season at Wembley. There’s action from every first-team game this season, including the dismal defeat at home to Mansfield in the Auto Windscreens Shield, so we get to remember the mediocrity of the first half of the season as well as the consistency of the run-in.

Every goal scored and conceded this season is included, though Gary Mason’s opener in the 7-1 Worthington Cup thrashing of Notts County is nearly missed due to the TV director concentrating on a replay of a previous incident.

The video opens with the Nicky Weaver save that finally clinched promotion, and continues with brief scenes of the celebrations that followed, both on and off the field. The format then switches to that used for the largest part of the production, showing brief highlights and the goals from a group of matches in chronological order, followed by comments from Joe Royle or one of the players involved in the action.

The video is narrated by Rob McCaffrey, who will be well-known to most footy fans in north-west England as he does a lot of commentaries for ITV Sport, and does them quite well I reckon, conveying the excitement of games to the armchair viewer. However, McCaffrey doesn’t do most of the commentaries on this video; various different commentators are used, reflecting the wide range of TV companies providing the coverage. One of these is Piccadilly Radio’s Brian Clarke, who never seems to get excited about anything; I wonder what his reaction to Paul Dickov’s equaliser in the play-off final was? I don’t know who commentator for that game is (the Sky commentary isn’t used) but he’s accompanied in the commentary box by former City manager Brian Horton who clearly still has a fondness for the Blues.

With the main part of the video concentrating on the goals, it’s easy to forget some of the things that aren’t shown. Shaun Goater scores some cracking goals (volleys against Notts County, Wigan Athletic and Colchester spring to mind) but we don’t get to see some of the sitters he’s missed. Nicky Weaver could have done better with some of the goals we conceded but we don’t get to see very many of the saves he made that kept us in matches. On the other hand, three of the season’s crucial off-field events are highlighted as they should be as being critical to the way the club’s fortunes turned around in the second half of the season, namely the signings of Andy Morrison and Terry Cooke, and the roasting given to the players by Joe Royle at half time in the game against Stoke at Maine Road, which for me was the turning point of the season.

There are one or two mistakes in the video, such as Brian Horton’s assertion that at 2-0 in the play-off final the game was over (ho ho) and Jeff Whitley’s goal against York is described as his first for the club when in fact it’s his third (the previous two both being against Bradford City, not in the same game though). Some of the more controversial incidents are missing (e.g. a number of sendings-off are omitted) but on the whole the video is a good representation of the season as a whole, and the feel-good factor from watching the final will ensure that it’s played over and over again, at least at my house!

By the way, the video can be ordered online at City’s official website:

Paul Howarth (


How do you know we are back in the ‘semi big time’? We have our own dedicated page back on Sky Text. It’s 222 on Sky Sports 2.

I was talking to a fellow Blue the other day who did not know of the M(U)EN website. As I only found it recently, perhaps there are others. It’s After clicking on the sport section, just bookmark it!

Graham Jones (


Well… it’s taken me a couple of weeks to come down. I haven’t stopped singing. This was the greatest football drama I’ve ever seen. The day was so full of incredible memories:

The Globe on Baker St before the game. Six hundred proud and loud fans, singing and dancing in anticipation. Sikpupi delaying his Jock holiday and turning up as a blue nun, all the usual BV suspects leading the singing/drinking in customary fashion. The police wearing City away shirts. The tube ride and subsequent walk up a Blue Wembley Way, banter like the old days. Shaking Paul Power by the hand. Still my favourite free kick goal. The players’ entrance and the cacophony of noise, fireworks and balloons. I don’t remember much of the game until the last 10 minutes.

Disbelief when they scored. Abject disbelief when they scored again… the Blues had done it again and killed another opportunity. Putting my arm around an old lady who couldn’t stop crying. A consolation goal. More fans coming back in. Dickov! Falling down 8 rows of steps with 3 new best mates, getting up and jumping on top of everyone… for 5 minutes. The following version of Blue Moon, nearly scoring in extra time… Liam trying to jump on us from his box… Penalties… Horlock, Cooke… even Edgy, Weaver…! Taxi for Gillingham.

The Blues had done it for the first time… this is a new team and a new attitude… forget the gypsy curse bollox.

Delirium, pandemonium, cue absolute relief and a massive love in.

JJ Moon pub in Wembley… 3 hours of singing, dancing and more singing: “Let’s all have a disco”, “Let’s all have a conga”… out the back and into the street, 30 Blues on the tube to see Nelson… “We’ll drink a drink a drink to Colin the King, the King, the King…” Just a few of us on the lions, but there are all the usual suspect BVers, the look of calm, peace and pride on Le Tank Bleu’s face as I met him on top of a lion in Trafalgar Square. The look of happiness on my face when he gave us the champagne, the crowd grew and grew and grew. Sky Sports turned up, the police turned up, more Blues turned up the police went, the cameras went, the Blues stayed… let’s all have a disco.

Not that much drinking happened at all, but it felt like we were all steaming. Never have I felt so good. I have never seen Blues so happy, not a hint of bother all day. Everyone was everyone else’s best mate, even the Gills were sociable.

Absolutely fantastic City fans and support, the greatest football club ever.

A real huge thanks to the two folks who made it happen for us – forever indebted to you.

Prediction: new belief and tenacity, doing the football genius by 12 goals over two games and him getting sacked, City finish in the top six, back to Wembley… and on to the Premiership.

Carlos Fandango and his Super Blue Wheels – Huw Thomas (


I would have typed this earlier – I know all you Blues out there want to know the real reason behind not just our comeback, but of the gradual rise to 3rd place during the season – but my fingers have only just started growing new nails and the bloody stumps left after Sunday were just too painful.

We live in Hungary, my ladyfriend (Agi) and I. I’m Mancunian, she’s Hungarian, and more to the point, she’s a witch. There are lots of them around this region; not with warts on their noses and broomsticks and such like, but ostensibly normal people with supernatural powers. Agi’s knowledge of football is limited to Fradi (Hungarian pet name for Ferencvaros) and England’s 6-3 defeat at the hands of Hungary at Wembley (and subsequent 7-1 crash the following year in Budapest). But back to the point. About halfway through last season I was bemoaning the fact that City were giving goals away late, not fit etc., so Agi said she’d help by concentrating her telepathic powers on to the team during the matches. Now you probably think that the arrival of Terry Cooke had something to do with City’s fortunes, but oh no, that was just coincidence. Agi started using her witchy powers at around that point. So why didn’t we win every match from then on? Why did we have to go through the hell of a penalty shoot-out on Sunday? Well, I’ll tell you the answer. Witches can’t do everything. If they could, I’d be typing this from my yacht somewhere off the Bahamas. And they can’t affect the lifestyles of the players – for instance, she was always telling me that two of the players go out to the pub together on a Friday night. If the match is on Saturday, well… The only other thing she knew is that one of the players was blond.

I don’t get to see City often nowadays – I only return to UK at Xmas – although I have almost 50 years of Maine Road visits behind me (anyone else remember paying 3d to leave their bikes in the yards of the houses at the Kippax end?) and the only blond player I was aware of was Wiekens. But from reading MCIVTA I knew he had a girlfriend and had better things to do than go off boozing. So for a time I didn’t know what was happening from that respect.

Come the fateful Sunday I bribed Agi with flowers, told her she had to concentrate like never before, and at 4pm my time shut her away in a room on her own. The two daughters were totally nonplussed, didn’t know why their mother was sitting alone in the bedroom. I turn on 5-live via the satellite. 1-0 down. “Wharrayerdoin?” She’s started watching some Hungarian soap on TV. “Gebbacknconcentrate”. 2-0 down. “Darling”, I say, in a forced, restrained, but noticeably choking voice and with the demented look on my face that any City fan would recognise, “now would be a good time to invoke all the witchy powers you can muster.” “But I’m making sure they have enough chances”, she retorts. “Theycandothatthemselves, yergorramakesuretheypurremaway”, I scream. And the rest, as they say, is history.

The video of the match came over on the following Tuesday. I had looked for Agi to invite her to join me for the match, but for some reason I couldn’t find her. She surfaced during the presentation, saw Andy Morrison, and said “It’s him. He’s the blond one I was talking about.” And then pointed out Richard Edghill. “And that’s who he goes to the pub with.” Of course, she might be wrong. Does anyone know if Morrison and Edghill are good mates off the pitch?

So what of next season, you ask? Well, Agi says she’s mentally drained and won’t commit to anything. But if City suddenly start to take their chances and look as though they’re Premiership material, you’ll know what’s happening… The truth is out there…

Alan Stevenson (


Firstly, Yes!

Secondly, it was great to read all of the reports in the last few issues. It gave me some small taste of the atmosphere that I missed out on by not taking a couple of days off work to go up to Maine Road and camp out in the hope of getting a ticket.

My experience of the day was an extremely surreal one, I was in a pub in West London full of Irish Man Ure fans, and token Gills for the day, not one of them under 50. I was there with my Polish girlfriend, who doesn’t even understand the basics of the game, and half way through the second half, a Country and Western band started playing in the other half of the pub. Needless to say, I got a bit of a funny look from the assembled blue rinses when I did my own version of Nicky (God) Weaver’s victory run, mine being a complete lap of the pub. I should point out at this point that this was not my usual pub.

Thirdly, to David Kilroy. The fourth official, as far as I am aware does not decide on the amount of time added on. He merely holds up a board with the number of minutes on that the ref tells him to, tough job that one, I wonder what the required qualifications are?

Finally, I believe that we have the nucleus of an extremely good squad. I agree with various comments that JR should look to bring in a few new players to strengthen it as opposed to wholesale changes. I think it would be a shame to lose Pollock, he was one of the catalysts for the revival, and if the FA do introduce 3 from 5 subs for next season, he would be an extremely useful squad player.

P.S. Look out for a book that will be coming out in September called ‘The Nineties – What the F**K was that all about’ by John Robb, published by Ebury Press. I have just read a sample proof of a couple of chapters, and it contains an excellent chapter on the death of football brought about by too much money. It contains some great quotes slagging off our friends from Salford.

CTIWUAFOIWAAD (City till I wake up and find out it was all a dream), Stuart Langley a.k.a. Cockney Blue (


Dear Steve, I’m Mike Barnett, I edit the City Magazine. This week, I interviewed City’s stadium manager, Barry Pollen, for our next issue. Barry was for 10 years the events manager at Wembley, and I discussed with him the details of whose fans go where at Wembley. Apparently, teams coming from the North and Midlands tend to be allocated the tunnel end, as that’s the end which has easier access to the M1. Having said that, I can tell you that the ref tossed a coin for the penalties at Wembley, and Joe called correctly. All the best.

Mike Barnett (


On 25 January, Barrow AFC were wound up in the Barrow County Court due to debts incurred under former chairman Stephen Vaughan. He had transferred the rights to their Holker Street ground to his property company Northern Improvements Ltd in return for him paying off their debts but, just over a year later, the club were in deeper debt than when he took over.

Through the actions of a number of local businessmen, a new club, Barrow AFC (1999) Ltd was set up to take the place in the Football Conference of the old club, and after discussions with the Conference, permission was granted for the new club to complete the 1998/99 season. The supporters backed the new club and its directors by raising some £25,000 through a membership scheme, and the team went about avoiding relegation by finishing fourth from bottom of the League, courtesy of winning the final game of the season 2-1 away to Kidderminster, and as such Welling were relegated. Barrow were safe, or so we thought. Avoiding relegation was no mean feat; when the club went into liquidation fifteen members of the first team squad left, and Shane Westley, who was appointed just a week before the club went under, assembled a squad of players, some signed on free transfers, some on loan and some from local Leagues. Truly a great escape.

Whilst the new club accepted there was no guarantee from the Conference that the new Barrow AFC would be able to take the original club’s place in next season’s League, through discussions with the Football Association (FA) and the Barrow Board of Directors, the FA agreed that the new club would be recognised by the FA and membership granted to Barrow AFC (1999) Ltd if the following criteria were met.

  1. Confirm the security of the ground
  2. Produce a viable business plan
  3. Provide evidence of adequate sponsorship

This was done. Then on June 1, the FA refused to sanction the transferral of the original club status to the new club despite the new Barrow chairman, Brian Keen insisting that all the conditions laid down by the FA had been met. The FA now claim that the new club failed to meet the requirements concerning taking on the outstanding debts incurred by the old club. Barrow AFC (1999) say this was never identified by the FA as a criteria, and have the documents to prove it, but the FA are unmoved.

Less than a week later the Conference decided the club should be expelled from the next season’s League and Welling re-instated. Barrow now face an uncertain future, the next League down the pyramid from the Conference, the UniBond, have refused to accept Barrow in next season’s competition saying they are full, and Barrow will fall further, down to the Second Division of the North West Trains (was North West Counties) League.

So the Conference have decided that Barrow were unfit to grace their League and threw us out, refusing the club an opportunity to state our case at the League’s AGM. We were out, and the powers that be had washed their hands of us, or so they thought. Any club has an automatic right to appeal such a decision provided it is lodged within fourteen days; when we made this clear to the Conference, it then claimed it hadn’t made the decision to expel Barrow on June 5, but on May 13, so the deadline has passed, and tough. Much washing of hands was done again.

This isn’t fair, the club and its supporters did everything we thought we had to, in fact what we were advised to do by the authorities, and we still find ourselves outside looking in. We were good enough to avoid relegation on the football field, but not in the smoke-filled committee rooms, we fulfilled the requirements given to us by the FA and the door is still closed. But this isn’t the end of the story, Barrow and its supporters are determined to overturn the Conference’s decision and right this wrong. Barrow supporters around the world have started the ball rolling, the local MP has expressed his support and the national media is beginning to pick up on the story. Therefore, I would like to ask for your assistance and help Barrow to be reinstated to the Conference, to do this you can do a number of things:

You can sign the petition at <> and encourage others to do so.

You can contact the Football Association and the Conference expressing reservations over what has happened, and asking for Barrow to be reinstated in next season’s Football Conference. Their contact details are as follows:

Nationwide Conference: (01322) 303121 (+44-1322-303121)
The Football Association: (0171) 402-0486 (+44-171-402-0486)

To make it both easier and cheaper for those living outside the UK, here are a couple of web sites which allow you to send faxes at no cost <> and <>.

Join the Holker Street Newsletter, a daily email newsletter produced in New Zealand for supporters around the world wanting to follow the fortunes of Barrow AFC. To join, email me on <>.

If you subscribe to a football mailing list, and there hasn’t been any information posted to it concerning Barrow, can you post this message to it?

If you run a web site, provide a link to the Barrow site, go to <> for more details.

Barrow were kicked out of the Football League in 1972 when we didn’t finish bottom, and now we find the same thing happening to us again. Barrow are truly a club who need your help, and I’d like to ask for assistance in what is proving to be our darkest hour. If Barrow are allowed to be treated like this, then who will be next?

Best wishes,

Ralph Sheppard, New Zealand, Supporter of Barrow AFC for over 20 years and editor of the Barrow AFCNewsletter (


Was just musing… and I thought of my best ever City team. Here goes anyway.

Bert Trautmann 40/50/60’s
Jimmy Meadows 50’s
Dave Watson 70’s
Roy Paul 50’s
Glynn Pardoe 60/70’s
Colin Bell (need to ask?)
Mike Doyle 60/70’s
Peter Doherty 40’s
Mike Summerbee 60/70’s
Francis Lee 60/70’s
Dennis Tueart 70’s

No substitutes. This team would be so far in front before someone kicked them, that we wouldn’t need any 🙂

They would line up thus:

               Meadows    Watson   Paul    Pardoe
                      Bell     Doyle     Doherty
                Summerbee    Lee     Tueart

My God! What a team if only… Get Bert, Roy, and Peter to change their nationalities to English, and it would win the World Cup.

Just some musings.

Take care,

Jack Millington (


More memories Of that Sunday: for some strange reason we had booked 2 weeks holiday in Brittany to coincide with the play-offs; still, the campsite advertised satellite TV so I would be alright. So we arrived, me and daughter wearing City shirts, my wife carrying the flag. The campsite only had French satellite – oh no, off to the car radio to see what we could get – nothing.

The game kicks off, still don’t know what’s happening, phone home at half time, my mum and sister tell me 0-0, fiddle with the car stereo again, hear an English voice (Australian actually), it’s the cricket commentary from Old Trafford, listen in hope for anything. Eventually the Australian says you’ll never believe the news from Wembley, Gillingham were 2-0 up until 90 minutes and City have pulled 2 goals back, we will keep you informed what’s happening – then nothing for the next 40 minutes. The Australian is still talking about cricket and a big cheer goes up from the crowd and the guy says that’s it, City have done it, cue lap of honour around the campsite, phone home, my mother’s drunk, nearly all the southern comfort gone, can hear all the cheers on the TV in the background – great, I’ll be able to watch the video when I get back.

Managed to find another Blue on the campsite the next day, he had watched the game before he caught the ferry, but had walked away at 85 minutes and only heard the result 2 hours later. Got home on Thursday 10 June, rushed to the video somehow I only managed to record the 1st half, so if anyone has a spare copy or can lend me one please mail me.

CTID, Peter Utratny (


Understand this. All rational football supporters, including unfortunately Man City fans like myself, recognise and respect the achievements of Alex Ferguson. He is the one and only reason his club have enjoyed their success in the nineties, despite all their money. The issue with United is not ‘jealousy’. Like the performances of our referees, it is the sheer inconsistency that annoys us all. Bob Paisley had a better record than Ferguson (4 European Cups, 6 Championships etc.). No posthumous award?

Graham Jones (


Regarding David Kilroy’s point about the 5 minutes etc. The referee decides how much extra time is to be played and communicates that to the 4th official who then displays it on his electronic board or, at the technological nerve centre that is Maine Road, holds up a spare substitute number.

I know this one has dragged on, but when Graham Kelly was asked about it on Radio 5 he informed Alan Green that there had been 4 second half substitutions for which FIFA recommends 1 minute each, and one of the substitutions had been problematic because the electronic board did not work properly. There were also 2 or 3 bookings (30 seconds each) a head injury and 2 lengthy Gillingham goal celebrations. In his opinion the ref could have added 6 or 7 minutes. I think that there should have been more of an outcry about this – we could have won it outright in that extra minute or two and saved everyone’s nerves and heart valves.

Dan Rigby (


It has been quite a while since I last contributed to this amazing journal, but after reading everyone’s contributions after our day-trip to London, I think it’s time again. No comments on the magic – I’m still half-laughing, half-crying, much like everyone else. I do have have a few observations though; The Gillingham chairman… what a bad loser, a man who cares nothing for football… otherwise City would have have received 60,000 tickets. And when I saw on teletext he wanted the match replayed ‘In the interest of fair play’! God what a bad-hearted man.

The opera-singer… has, as has already been noted supports (oops sorry, is a fan of) the swamp-things. ’nuff said. Now to better thoughts. Someone asked how did this compare with previous good days for the lads? Well I was born in 1945 (I did a why blue about 3 years ago when I was with AOL as jackblue), and I have seen every Wembley appearance since, except the Full Members’ against Chelsea. I can tell you now. Nothing else ever compared, except for one game (not at Wembley), and that was at St. James’ Park in 1968. I was 10 years old when my uncle took me the first time, against Newcastle in 1955. One down after about 18 seconds then the best right back England ever had (Jimmy Meadows) crippled for life, and no substitutes, but at least my hero (then) Bobby Johnstone scored a fabulous diving header. Lost 3-1. ‘Never mind Uncle we’ll be back next year’… ( out of the mouths of babes and infants!).

1956, forget Schmeichel, the finest goalkeeper ever, Bert Trautmann, breaks his neck and with still about 15 minutes to go carries on, what a guy. Just to digress for a moment. City signed Bert from St Helens Town (a non-league club about 12 miles from Liverpool), in 1948 and the events of 1939-45 were still very fresh in everyone’s minds, so he had to overcome a lot of mistrust (to put it mildly). Suffice to say by the time he retired in 1962 every City fan worshipped him. 48,000 turned out for his testimonial and having met him once I can tell you he was (and probably still is) a gentleman. He is by the way the only German to ever captain England in a representative match. I’ll let you all ponder that one; if it generates any interest I’ll tell you how and when in a future edition ok. Early sixties… one season we lost our first two away fixtures 9-3 at Wolves, and 10-4 at West Brom, but we still kept going (CTID, know what I mean?). Then along came Sir Joe. As I mentioned, the only game to come close to the match was when we won the League at Newcastle. Scoring 6 goals (2 disallowed), and Newcastle playing their hearts out, United losing 2-1 to Sunderland (not that it mattered), a Rag stood next to us (a very old Rag, drunk as a proverbial) who somehow had gotten to the wrong game (only 120 miles out). Running on the pitch after the game, digging up some turf to keep forever. That also was very, very emotional. We played with 5 forwards in those days (Joe’s philosophy was ‘Let’s do the defending in their penalty area’), and all 5 ended up scoring double figures. Lots of memories from those times, but let’s stick to the main ones.

Wembley ’69. Biggest memory was at Villa Park for the semi-final, and Tommy Booth scoring after about 89 minutes (yes we have done it before). The final was only 1-0 but really it was City versus Shilton, he had a great game for Leicester. By this time I was 24 and City were the best. We always beat the so-called legendry Rags (Best, Law, Charlton et al) and usually by 3 or 4. 1970. This was hectic. Afer beating the Rags in the semi-final (how sweet it was to watch, Alex Stepney saving an indirect free-kick right in front of the Stretford End, only for Buzzer to knock in the rebound). A Cup Winners’ Cup match on the Wednesday before the final, in Portugal. The Wembley pitch was, that day, as bad as the stadium. Any City fans who have never been to Wembley… I can only say that it’s a disgrace. Anyway, the previous week they had the ‘Horse Of The Year Show’ there, and it rained all week and the pitch was a cabbage patch. The match went to extra time and Francis Lee gave the most committed performance, and one of the best performances, I’ve ever seen from one of my Blue idols.

1970. The Prater Stadium in Vienna. completely uncovered and it was lashing it down. The crowd was 5,000… 4,900 from City. I got turned over in London on the way, was at a party and had all my money stolen. Still went though, had to hitch-hike all the way. Those days we thought we would go on winning things forever (enter Peter Swales yeuk). When Swales got rid of Albert Alexander (the then chairman) and pushed out Sir Joe in favour of Malcolm Allison, well we’ve been paying ever since. 1976 Dennis Tueart’s overhead kick. Even then we were still challenging Liverpool. So how did it all compare? For pride and the proverbial ‘feel-good-factor’ 1968. But I didn’t cry then. But I wept unashamedly on May 30 1999. Now for the long climb back. Sorry if this has all been a bit rambling, but I’m still a little crazy… two weeks later.

CTSPDGTNTS (City Since Peter Doherty Graced The Number Ten Shirt), Jack Millington (


Just seen it on Man City Offical Website, a Video has been released, you can order from City Shop.

Ernie Barrow (


I’m currently collecting names of Stateside (and Canadian) Blues who might be interested in getting a copy of the final. Miami Blue is doing the conversion, and feels that the best route is him purchasing tapes and posting them to you, the fee should thus be kept to a minimum (cost of tape plus postage).

If you’re interested, haven’t as yet responded to my messages on Blue View and would like a copy, you can e-mail me.

Sean Cable – Blue Ridge Blue (


Is there anybody out there who would send a copy of the match video to a New York Blue who, due to the vagaries of the US Immigration Service, could not get to Wembley on that fateful afternoon and who had no TV coverage. I’ve all mod-cons so either US or UK video format would do and I’d be happy to reimburse any costs. Thanks.

Jon Davenport, Katonah, New York (


A few issues ago, there was an article by a City fan living in Atlanta, Georgia in the good ol’ US of A. Now I am going to Atlanta in July (well Athens really, which I think is just outside) and have lost the person’s name and email address. If you are reading this message could the City supporter in Atlanta get in touch and we can arrange to meet up when I am over there (from 10th July for a week). We could get p****d and watch a video of the game, which I haven’t yet seen living in Oz. I followed the match via the City talk on the Internet – never have I seen four fellows just staring at a computer screen watching text unfold, and when Herbie Blue left, we thought he had jumped off his roof or something.

Anyway, enough from me, look forward to hearing from the Atlanta Blue.

All the best, Adrian Bates (


This is a strange request but does anybody have one of the Manchester Evening News “Men in Blue” flags that were about at Wembley spare? I’d be willing to do a swap for a copy of a Georgi Kinkladze tribute video that I produced last year. Some of you may have seen it on at Maine Road towards the end of the Division One relegation season. A good deal I reckon!

Thanks again Ashley.

Richard Hall (


Ashley published my video plea in the last issue of MCIVTA, but I inadvertently gave him the wrong e-mail. It is and not john@brompton as I put. I should imagine that there are quite a few of us who would want a copy of that memorable day. I can copy tape-to-tape and send them out to any fellow fan as long as I can get an original.

CTID, John Brampton (


Difficult to start this, after reading MCIVTA 507 with tears in my eyes then receiving MCIVTA 508 at work this morning, tears in my eyes again I just needed to say, We / you are all “The Best”.

My friend Phil Bird went back to the UK to watch “that Match”; he recorded the game and returned to Perth last week. I have watched it about four time’s, the first and second extremely drunk. Even my friends who follow other teams want to watch it. That is special. I don’t really care what the Rags do, the are a good side and let’s give credit where credit is due. I am going to work in Brisbane on Sunday 20 June, so I do not know if I will have e-mail access at work, so I justed wanted to say to all of you “Fanx”.

Any Blues in Brisbane?

It’s cool to be Blue, Brian Smith (


I’m playing in a team which is to play in a tournament in Toronto on Sept. 11/12 (I think it’s sponsored by the Castaways), we have about 9 players committed and I’m in the market for a few good men, or lasses if they’re half decent. Any Blues living in the Toronto area fancy a game or two on that weekend? Right now I’m not sure what the format is but it would probably be at least 4 games (about 45 minutes) full size pitch etc. Most of the team are from England and all veterans of various Asian tournaments. Quality is crap but it’s the taking part that counts ($%#@!).

If any of you are interested please contact me at the address below.

Simon Hough (


Does anyone know if the club plans to sell a video of the Play-Off game City vs. Gillingham at Wembley? Or is there anyone out there can sell me a copy of the game?

Please contact me at, I will be pleased to make some arrangement with someone who has a copy (incuding the penalties etc.).

Thanks, Ernie Barrow (


I noticed in the MCIVTA of June 10th that City shares were quoted at 90p each – I know we haven’t floated or anything like that, but can anyone enlighten me as to whether it is possible to buy these shares, and, if so, how… Thanks a lot.

CTTSPDTZ – City ‘Til The Share Price Drops To Zero), Rob Abbott (


This just in on the wire…

In a move that has rocked the corporate world of football, Manchester United, starting next season, have ditched kit sponsors Umbro and shirt sponsors Sharp in favour of a solo deal with boot manufacturers GOLA.

Almost as big a shock is that United are planning to release only one replica kit for the whole of the 1999/2000 season. Sneak previews have said that this kit will have the radical design of plain white and be covered in black vertical arrows.

It has been announced that Roy Keane and Mark Bosnich have been chosen as boot models by United, citing their excellent kicking ability, although there have been rumours that the players’ agents are unhappy about the silver handcuffs get-out clause of 3 years to life.

Breaking news… in the rush to create kits for August, there was a mix-up at the printers and the new sponsor’s name was mis-spelt. So, by the time next season starts, all United’s players will be playing in GAOL.

Alex Feguson is 94, and still not as good as Bob Paisley.

(Inspired by the cartoon in the current issue of Private Eye)

James Nash (


I am a southerner born and bred and have no ties with Manchester at all. My family orginate from North London, therefore my grandad was a Spurs fan and my dad an Arsenal fan. Being the first son I was to support a football team but which one? My grandad and dad struck up a deal that they would take me to one game each and from those games I would be left to make a choice. So 1st game I went to Arsenal vs. Manchester City. I don’t remember much about the game. I know Arsenal won and I know it rained. At the end of the game, the Arsenal supporters trooped past us moaning about their team’s inablity to win by more goals and the City fans who were soaking wet standing in the uncovered clock end were singing and having a good time generally.

My dad, convinced he had won, took me to the Arsenal club shop to buy me the kit of my choice. The assistant asked if I wanted the red and white or the yellow and blue… such a choice. I asked for the light blue. I remained down south as a committed Blue for the next 20 years before deciding enough was enough and I left Southend and moved to Manchester to be near my beloved Man City. City till I die!

Colin Moore (


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 #509