Newsletter #515

Firstly let me just say a word of thanks to Steve Biddick who offered to guest edit MCIVTA several months back. He’d probably forgotten all about it when my message landed in his ‘in’ box, but was nevertheless as good as his word. Thanks Steve for keeping things ticking over, even if it was a very quiet 2 weeks.

Still no news on the transfer front with Royle, as usual, playing his cards close to his chest. This issue has plenty of opinion on great City matches and great City goals, as well as a piece from yours truly in way of a thank you for recent events.

This one reaches 2,611. More Why Blues needed.

Next game: Bury away, Saturday 17th July 1999 (Friendly)


Royle Sets Out Promotion Stall

Joe Royle has been discussing his hopes for the new season – and stressing that consolidation of the Blues’ place in Division One isn’t on his agenda. “Manchester City have not won promotion so they can sit in the middle of the First Division for a year,” he promised the Manchester Evening News Summer Pink on the eve of the players’ return to training this Monday. “The Second Division wasn’t desperately easier than the First. The biggest difference was in the stadiums, not the teams.” He also feels that City will benefit from not being the division’s team to beat, reckoning that the Cup-final nature of games against the Blues for Second Division opponents presented the team with a major additional difficulty last season. Joe believes that the basis of his squad is good enough to challenge at the top end of the section, and points to the success of Watford and Grimsby, both promoted twelve months ago, as evidence that teams moving up from the Second Division can prosper in the First. “We will be meeting the challenge head on and I will be very, very disappointed if we are not in the play-offs at least,” he vowed boldly.

Fitness Again the Pre-Season Priority

After last year’s improvement in his squad’s fitness levels, Royle has promised that his players will again be “as fit or fitter than any other side in the Division.” However, there won’t be any repeat of last season’s week at an army camp at the outset of pre-season training. “I felt they needed an army camp as much for the spirit and camaraderie as anything else,” he explained. “Relegation left a hangover that needed to be addressed. This year they will report back in a very different frame of mind and the spirit that exists is tremendous anyway, especially after the way we won promotion at Wembley.” However, if the players are expecting an easy ride in the run-up to the new campaign, it looks like they’ll be disappointed. Their manager is promising plenty of sprint and stamina tests in a bid to give his players a fitness edge over their opponents.

Manager’s Boost for Out-of-Favour Stars

One of Joe’s first actions when his players report for training will be to reassure former captain Jamie Pollock and deposed goalkeeper Tommy Wright that they have an important part to play at Maine Road. The City manager is denying reports of a bust-up with former Middlesbrough and Bolton star Pollock after the player failed to make the bench for the Wembley play off final. “I explained to him before the play-off final that he wouldn’t be involved and that Ian Bishop would be preferred on the bench because of a fitness edge,” explained Joe. “Jamie took it like a man and went away determined to come back double fit and show that he should be in the side. Someone has put two and two together and got six. There has been no break-up and no irate conversation between us.” Meanwhile, Royle feels that two top-class goalkeepers are an essential part of any squad, and believes that in Nicky Weaver and Northern Ireland international Wright he has a duo of the requisite quality. And the manager was full of praise for the ex-Forest man’s professionalism despite his disappointment of figuring in the City first eleven in only two meaningful fixtures last season. “He has worked tirelessly for the club,” enthused Royle. “There has never been a bitter word and he has been fantastic with Nick, giving him nothing but encouragement along the line.” While Joe admits he would understand if Wright wanted a move to give him the first-team action which would help to revive his Northern Ireland career, the Blues’ boss is hoping the player will elect to stay at Maine Road.

Places Up for Grabs

An incentive for the likes of Pollock and Wright comes in Joe’s promise to all of his players that they have a chance to stake a claim for a place in the eleven for the big kick-off. “Everyone starts with a clean sheet,” said Royle, explaining that players holding down a regular place at the end of last term won’t necessarily remain the men in possession if others impress more in pre-season. “There are eleven first-team places up for grabs. No-one is ever written off here. That is the message.” To illustrate his point, the City manager noted how Michael Brown and Lee Crooks managed to become fixtures in the side last term after beginning the campaign in the reserves. He also recalled that Ian Bishop and Paul Dickov both had fairly lengthy spells on the sidelines before ending the season as key players. The message seems to be that the side taking the field against Wolves on August 8 could feature players being written off last term, while the players selected later in the season may differ markedly from those in favour at the outset. Royle is hopeful that among those breaking through into contention will be youngsters like Shaun Wright-Phillips, Leon Mike and Terry Dunfield. He also expects the likes of Gary Mason and Nick Fenton, who had their first taste of senior action last season, to make further improvements in the forthcoming campaign.

Transfer Round-Up

One or two of the different faces in the City line-up, of course, are likely to belong to players not yet at the club. Some fans are perturbed by the lack of new acquisitions and don’t share Joe Royle’s confidence in the promotion pedigree of the current squad. However, in Joe’s defence, Frank Clark’s recklessly acquisitive transfer policy did much harm the last time we were in this Division. Moreover, Royle showed in his canny pursuit of Terry Cooke the virtues of conducting transfer business in private rather than making his intentions public. Hence there’s still no definite news at present, though Royle is said to be in negotiations with two potential targets. Weekend newspaper speculation saw the club linked with Wimbledon winger Mark Kennedy in a £1.6 million move. Joe has admitted his interest in Kennedy, but went no further than confirming the Republic of Ireland international is “one of a number of players” about whom the Blues have inquired. Other unconfirmed reports claim that Australian Stan Lazaridis is ahead of Kennedy on Royle’s shopping list and that the West Ham man will choose between a £1 million move to Maine Road or Wolves this week. Lazaridis turned down the chance to end the season on loan at Molineux shortly after delivering a similar snub to Joe Royle in March. A third candidate for the left-wing berth is reckoned to be Everton’s former Aston Villa midfielder Gareth Farrelly, like Kennedy an Irish international. Farrelly is also rumoured to be a target for Portsmouth, along with his Goodison colleague Michael Branch, the ex-City loan striker.

There’s no fresh comment on Royle’s search for a new full back, Sheffield Wednesday’s Lee Briscoe and Preston’s Dominic Ludden earlier being rated as the most likely targets. There has, however, been renewed speculation that City could move for Ludden’s Preston team-mate Michael Jackson, a man linked with the Blues earlier in the summer. The North End captain has so far refused to sign an extension to his current contract, which expires next summer. It’s claimed in some quarters that if manager David Moyes is unable to persuade his skipper to sign the new deal, North End may be tempted to sell the player now rather than risk him leaving for nothing under the Bosman ruling in a year’s time. While the centre of defence isn’t rated one of Royle’s priorities, the consensus is that the Blues lack pace in the middle of the back line, and it’s thought that Jackson could be the man the City manager turns to should he wish to rectify this problem. In contrast, one target linked with the club earlier in the close season who now appears certain not to be Maine Road-bound is Liverpool’s Danny Murphy. The former Crewe player looks set to move to Derby County, with Anfield boss Gerard Houllier said to have accepted a £1.8 million bid from his counterpart Jim Smith.

Kinky Still in Limbo

Royle was no doubt interested to read a renewed plea by former City folk hero Georgi Kinkladze. The Georgian hopes an English side will rescue him from his miserable stay at Ajax. However, the Blue Viewers who’d love to see Kinky return to Maine Road are likely to be disappointed – even though the Blues have first option on the player, it’s inconceivable that Royle’s concern will extend beyond the fact that the club reportedly receives a cut of any transfer fee should the Amsterdam club sell their record signing. The player was transfer-listed after playing only twelve games for Ajax and is desperate to leave, reflecting, “I love playing football but I am not happy. I have not settled in Holland, or at the club, as well as I did at Manchester City.” While Everton, Liverpool and even Bradford City have been touted as potential destinations for Kinkladze, it still appears that no serious bids have been received for him despite the willingness of Ajax coach Jan Wouters to sell the player for a cut-price fee.

Tiatto Set to Face Reds

Australian Danny Tiatto is likely to report back to Maine Road on July 21, having been selected in his country’s squad to play in two friendlies against Manchester United later this month. The Reds are due to face the Aussie national team in Melbourne on July 15 and in Sydney on July 18, and Tiatto will feature on the left of the home side’s midfield – assuming Joe Royle gives his permission for the player to participate. Tiatto’s compatriot Danny Allsopp, however, hasn’t been selected so will play his part in City’s warm-up games.

Peter Brophy (


It seems like an age since that first ‘heart-in-mouth’ realisation – on the Maine Road turf – that there was going to be more to mark out MCIVTA 500 than the one-off articles I’d solicited from those people who’d been subscribers since the very early days. Yesterday, things finally came to a close with Col Surrey (The Wookie) officially handing me a brand new laser blue (OK then, blueberry) iMac G3 and an Epson 450 colour printer. It therefore seems like a fairly opportune moment to sum up my MCIVTA 500 experiences, particularly as so many of you played an active part of Col’s covert operation.

Looking back, it all seems blindingly obvious that something was afoot; I’m really left wondering just how I failed to suss out that I’d been set up. The first clue was Steve Bolton phoning me up at work on the day of the Wigan play-off home leg, to tell me that he’d be picking me up a little earlier than usual, as we had to meet Steve Sayer (club official) – it was actually a Voicemail message and he conspicuously failed to tell me why. Steve arrived on schedule, but when questioned about the meeting, just shrugged his shoulders and said he’d had a garbled message from Col – we were to meet with him and Paul Howarth at 7.00pm outside the souvenir shop in the Kippax.

Col and Paul were already there when we arrived, Col armed with 4 passes which would get us around to the tunnel, where we were to meet Steve Sayer. I asked Col exactly what Steve wanted to talk about, and Col replied, again with a shrug of the shoulders, “something to do with licensing”. This seemed to make some kind of sense, but I was left musing over the absence of such luminaries as Sikpupi or Doug Bennett! We made our way round to the tunnel via the North Stand, but had problems getting into the Main Stand; the steward seemed to experience some difficulty counting up to four and refused to let Steve and I any further. Col and Paul walked on for 20 yards before realising that we were no longer there; perhaps I should have recognised the urgency in Col’s face when he came running back to tell the guy that he had four, “one, two, three, four!” passes, not two. As we approached the tunnel, I was getting a little suspicious that all was not quite as it seemed – I mean, how could anyone conduct a semblance of a normal meeting in the bloody tunnel half an hour before the game! Easy with the benefit of hindsight isn’t it?

By the time we reached the tunnel, I’d come up with the plausible but incorrect hypothesis that Steve Sayer wanted a photo of some Internet Blues for the match magazine or something – in short, whatever it was, was going to happen to us all! Sure enough, Steve Sayer was already there (clutching a box!), as was the Chairman and Dennis Tueart; we were ushered through and stood around for a few minutes taking in the atmosphere. Suddenly, Dennis Tueart appeared next to me and pointedly asked Steve Sayer, “Is this the guy”? “Yes” replied Steve, whereupon Dennis took my arm and pulled me onto the pitch. At this point, I cast my eyes back towards the tunnel to see Steve Bolton, Col and Paul all smirking like a trio of Cheshire cats – this was when it finally dawned!

Basically, everything then passed in a blur, the MC talked about MCIVTA (I’ve no recollection of what he said) and then Dennis handed over the box which Steve Sayer had been holding. It turned out to be an engraved tankard to mark the 500th edition of MCIVTA, and was from ‘Internet Blues Worldwide’. Photos were taken of the handover, as well as all four of us with Dennis.

Suddenly it was all over and we were walking back towards the Kippax, me still speechless. At this point Col stopped me and informed me, “… and that’s not all, we’ve had a whip round and we’ve got you an iMac and a printer”! I was still failing to take it all in and remember saying something along the lines of “I hope it isn’t a red one”, which was met with a “I may support City, but that doesn’t mean I’m completely barmy” look from Col. Back in the Kippax I tried to thank Col, but it still hadn’t sunk in. It later transpired that Col nearly ended up buying a PC (Paul saved the day apparently), which for those who know me, would have been akin to a favourite auntie buying me a Man Utd top – lovely thought but … “Oh my God”!

Of course the events of the next 90 minutes then took precedence, and meeting up to hand over the iMac was then further postponed due to a small trip to the US (for me) and a big journey to a small suburb of North London (for everyone). I was due to go to the States again last week, but sadly my mother passed away, which threw everything into disarray. Thankfully, I’d already handed over MCIVTA to Simon Biddick for two weeks, so I was able to get on with the unpleasant yet necessary business of dealing with everything surrounding mum’s death. However, it did mean cancelling my trip to the States, which also gave me a chance to meet up with Col in Manchester.

It was all at fairly short notice, but we did finally manage it yesterday at 2.00pm in the Moon Under The Water on Deansgate (Steve wants to know if it used to be a cinema – anyone know?). A few familiar faces turned up to chew the cud, as well as a familiar writer who I’d not yet had the pleasure of meeting (Peter Brophy). We talked about all things Blue and sank a few pints. At 5.30 Col, Steve and I drove back to Col’s place in Sale and did the physical handover, together with photos; then it was off back to Whaley Bridge. The computer is now sitting on my hall floor whilst we procure a desk (bigger one, anyway) and get it all set up. It’s certainly reinforced Calum’s (my 6-year-old) resolve to be a Blue, after all, the other fans send you a computer to play with!

Col also gave me the letters that many of you had written to him, which I read in bed late last night. Many of them were just a few lines from far away, but nonetheless conveyed just how much MCIVTA touches peoples’ lives. I was particularly moved by those letters from people who quite clearly had little from which they could give, but nevertheless saw fit to give some for a present for me – simply unbelievable! I really am flattered by it all.

I’d just like to say a big thank you to all of you out there who wrote to Col, and particularly to Col himself for getting all this together: getting me struck off the distribution list (first person it’s happened to!); sending out an appeal letter; collecting money; getting a tankard and contacting Steve Sayer about a presentation (thanks to Steve as well); and finally, buying the iMac. Amazingly, during all this, no-one wrote to me asking me where to send the donations to!

Although I’m often seen as the man at the front of MCIVTA, I’m very conscious that it’s really a team effort. If it wasn’t for the likes of Paul, Steve, Jeremy and Peter; the regular feature writers; and all those who submit articles, then MCIVTA would quite simply not exist. I’ve said this many times – and it’s beginning to sound extremely corny – but it’s nevertheless still true – the success of MCIVTA is down to all of us, I’m just one bit of it.

Lastly, I’d just like to say how immensely proud my mum (Avriel Birch) was when I showed her the tankard; she constantly talked about how proud my dad would have been – he was a lifelong Blue who passed away in 1979. As they’re now together again (note: not reunited!), I’d like to say thanks to dad (Stewart Birch) for making me Blue (a special gift if ever there was one), and to dedicate the first 500 issues to them.

Col will put some photos of these events on his web site soon; the address will appear in MCIVTA as soon as the pages are ready.



From Mike Barnett, Editor, CITY magazine

Gary Owen has asked me to mention that a celebrity cricket match is being played at Urmston Cricket Club between a Gary Owen XI and another team of celebs on Sunday 25 July. Admisson costs a mere £4, with the proceeds going to City’s Youth Academy. All City fans will be welcome. The ground is on Moorside Road, Urmston. Their number is 0161 748 4660.

A whole manner of City personalities will be present, including James H Reeve, Tommy Booth, and Gary Owen himself. There will also be a variety of other attractions for all the family.

Let’s hope for some decent weather!

Mike Barnett (


In Firday’s edition of MCIVTA, a piece entitled “HUMOUR” asked for answers to some of Big Ron’s favourite sayings. I have translated most of these.

ITV co-commentator Ron ATKINSON – “Giggs went for a Buddy Holly at the back-post” and, after the same player fires over against Inter – “He’s gone for a tic-tac-toe there.” Anyone?

Buddy Holly is volley (Giggs ballooned the ball wide).

Tic tac toe we believe is going for a spectacular effort, one with a 33% chance of hitting the target. Not sure exactly on the latter.

Kev McMeeking (


You are right, and wrong. It was the best ever goal scored by a Blue, but it wasn’t Tolmie, it was Jim Melrose. I will never forget watching the ball, then glancing at their ‘keeper backpeddling and then glancing back at the ball. When the ball hit the net Jim Melrose was already on the fence of the Kippax celebrating. Who the f**k is Beckham anyway, Jim’s was miles better.

CTID, Steve Hunt (


When you get to my age, you find that you have to look through the “Nostalgia” section in record shops for your taste in music. My middle name is nostalgia, so I was delighted to read Richard Mottershead’s challenge to list our favourite City goals. I’ve had quite a few favourites since 1945, but at my age the memory tends to play tricks, so I’m afraid I’ll not be able to give the year of some of these suggestions. I only hope I’ve got the names of the scorers right! I’m not sure what criteria to use when making my final decision: individual skill? End of a fluent movement? Most satisfying? Most significant? Most unexpected? Any goal scored against United? Any goal scored by Colin Bell? There are those goals I’ve seen live and only once, with no action reply. Does distance lend enchantment and do they assume a greatness they never really possessed?

We once had a player from the Channel Islands called Billy Spurdle, who could be infuriating at times but could also turn on amazing skills. He scored several goals, weaving his way gracefully through opposing defences, but I can’t honestly pick out one. Did he once score a hat-trick against Middlesbrough, which included two such goals? Or is that my memory playing tricks? Peter Beagrie and Kevin Reeves in more recent times have scored some beauties. Where do I begin?

It’s a great temptation to include Paul Dickov’s Wembley equaliser – it certainly gave me as much pleasure as any, and after following City for over fifty years I can seriously say it might well be the most important goal we’ve ever scored. Or was the most important one Horlock’s in the same game, which gave us a chance to equalise later? I don’t think Horlock has been given enough credit for managing to keep the ball low and thread it through the defenders to where it belonged. Kinkladze’s wizardry against Southampton and Tueart’s overhead kick rank as high as most, and I wouldn’t argue with either of those in the top four, but just to be different I’ll offer four others plus an oddity.

In fourth place there was a Hinchcliffe header at the end of a lightning move in a certain 5-1 victory in 1989. I believe Ian Bishop provided the cross. I must admit I enjoy every goal we’ve ever scored against that particular side, but for some reason this one gave me extra pleasure. It must be said that the opposing defence was being run ragged at the time, so maybe that takes something away from the quality of the goal? (Don’t you believe it!).

In third place a goal scored against West Ham by Ray Haddington. Ray who? He was a player we bought from Oldham, who had one of the fiercest shots I’ve ever seen – he hit a dead ball as hard as – if not harder than – Charlton and Lorimer, but unfortunately didn’t make many other contributions to the team. I can’t remember any mazy dribbles or bullet headers. This was a free kick just inside the opposing half (though there were some who claimed afterwards it was in our own half). He scored before the goalkeeper had moved. Oh for Andy Gray and his speed-measuring device! Does anyone else remember that goal? We talked about it for weeks.

In second place a goal that deserved to win any game, and one that some of you MCIVTA contributors will remember. It was scored by Steve Mackenzie in the replay of the 1981 final, but unfortunately is not shown anywhere near as frequently as the one scored by Ricardo Villa for the opposition.

In first place my own favourite and one that I’ve written of before in MCIVTA. The 1955 Villa Park semi-final against Sunderland, which was the tensest match involving City I’ve ever seen (until Gillingham, anyway!). An exhausted Nobby Clarke hurled himself horizontally to head the only goal of the game. In the language of understatement prevalent in those days my souvenir brochure reports: “All 22 players deserved the highest commendation for their grit under difficult conditions”. They can say that again!

And the oddity? This occurred in a league game when we were at home to Charlton Athletic, probably in the (old) Second Division. Maine Road was shrouded in thick fog and from the Platt Lane end we could just make out players on the halfway line. I don’t know how I came to be at the Platt Lane end, and it was a stupid place to choose on a foggy day, but that’s how I remember it. In those days, if the ref could see both sets of goalposts from the halfway line, then the game was allowed to proceed. I was behind the City goal and could just make out Jimmy Meadows on the right wing as he swung his foot at the ball. A few moments later there was a roar from the other end of the ground. The ball was in the net, and Sam Bartram, the ‘keeper, together with the fans at that end, hadn’t even been aware that Meadows was shooting! I believe we won 5-1 that day as well.

I’m sure I’ll read this through in a day or two and think ‘Why didn’t I include the Neil Young winner in the Leicester final of 1969?’ – if you count the part played in that goal by Mike Summerbee, maybe it should be there. We also scored some beauties last year in that cup game against Notts County “Reserves”, but surely the strength of the opposition must be taken into account when choosing the best goals (which is why the Hinchcliffe goal is only in fourth place!)? I hope others will send in their contributions – it’ll be interesting to see what overlap (if any) there is in our choices and will keep us off the streets till the season starts again.

David Buxton (


In response to Richard Mottershead’s request for best City goals ever, consider these:

Peter Barnes against Chelsea in 6-2 home win – a wild run from distance and then a great shot into the corner. Probably some time in the early 80s.

Denis Law, 1-0, somewhere in Trafford, early 70s.

Dennis Tueart in 2-0 home win over Liverpool, late 70s or early 80s.

Steve Mackenzie vs. Spurs at Wembley.

Jonathan Fink (


Where does Steve McKenzie’s goal in the ’81 Cup Final fit into that list? I have always thought it was number one.

Graham Lord (


Jim Melrose, no question about it. I was scrolling down your list hoping that it would be number one. He took it on his chest in the centre circle and volleyed it in, and yes, it was definitely against Notts County.

Jes Wilkins (


Someone wrote recently about City acronym’s. Here are two I have thought of:

Malcolm Allison Never Could Hope Expensive Signings To Excel Royle Could Inherit Trophless Years.

I posted that to Mcvita not long ago. Maybe the person didn’t see it as he never mentioned it.

My other is Maybe A New Chairman Has Everyone Saing That European Results Come In Three Years.

Here’s hoping the latter one is correct.

Stephen Welch (


Richard Mottershead recently wrote about City’s greatest goals. Here is my list of City’s greatest games which I covered in my fanzine I used to write from the 80’s.

  1. 1981 Liverpool 1 City 3. Match of the Day had this covered onBoxing Day and what a game. We even had a goal disallowed by Hartfordand still won. It was the game where Corrigan had a bottle thrown onhis head. The Kop started singing, “Get the person out”, or words tothat effect, referring to their own fan. For some reason they like orused to like opposing goalies in those days on the Kop. Scorers thatday were Reeves, Hartford and a Kevin Bond penalty. Alan Green’scommentary on Reeves and City’s 3rd were, “And Grobbelaar’s misery iscomplete”. Liverpool went on to win the league that season. By beatingLiverpool we went to top of the old 1st.
  2. 1983. City 0 Luton 1. Another game covered by MOTD with Motson thecommentator. My memories of this match were the amazing crowd of over42,000, City fans singing, “Oh Luton Town, are going down, oh Luton Townare going down” to the tune of Manchester is wonderful and the scenesafterwards of Pleat’s run and City fans doing a Millwall, running onthe pitch and confronting their players.
  3. 1985. City 5 Charlton 1. MOTD here again with the same commentator Ithink. What a fantastic day this was. 47,285 packed to the rafters tosee City run riot. Bought the photos from the MEN of the crowd on thepitch etc. and didn’t they invade it à la Wigan.
  4. 1987. City 10 H.T 1. ITV cameras here this time to see a memorablegame with 3 hat tricks. What can you say about this game besidesbrilliant, superb, unbelievable etc. Supermac was almost speechlessafterwards, trying to figure out where his team went wrong.
  5. 1989. Bradford 1 City 1. ITV cameras here. John Bond got booed on thepitch for stating he had a feeling City wouldn’t do it. Shortmemories these City fans have. Almost ended up in the play offs untilMorley scoerd with minutes left. Can anyone recall the playersinvolved in Morley’s goal? For the record it was Cooper, Gleghorn,Moulden, White, Morley, then mass celebration in our end for what seemedlike the rest of the game.
  6. 1989. 23rd Sept. You all know the game. We were 5-1 up with 22 minutesleft, half the Platt Lane had gone. They were singing Fergie Out, wewere singing Fergie In! If only. BBC cameras here again. They certainlyknew when to put us on TV didn’t they!

Stephen Welch (


In recognition of the 13 years we had to wait for Wembley – and the lack of actual news these days – here’s 13 reflections and suggestions on City’s magical farewell to the millennium … whether you want them or not:

  1. First hint I had that this might be our year came in mid-March, on abusiness trip in a tiny Michigan suburb of Detroit. Got lost in my rental carand stumbled upon a soccer shop – as we call them here, sadly – so I had togo in. What should appear before me but City’s home and away shirts onmannequins? Cheers, Kappa. Even better, there wasn’t a single item of Ragsmerchandise in the whole store. That’s got to be a first in the history ofU.S. footy … and I took it as an unbelievably good omen.
  2. I think we can all agree now that hitting rock bottom was the best thingthat could have happened to the club. Both of the recent relegations havebeen hell, but one more goal in 1996 might have merely deepened the mess atCity and delayed our recovery. We had to bottom out and completely start overto get it right. Provided we keep climbing and eventually add some star powerto the foundation already there, the misery, dare I say, will all have beenworth it.
  3. All credit to Joe Royle. I haven’t always agreed with his tactics or hisline-ups or his signings, but the man sticks to what he believes in. He’sconsistent and a real backbone for the club, and we’re lucky to have him. JRmight have the toughest managerial job in the country this side of KevinKeegan, in light of how far we had fallen and all the criticism he faced,but, amazingly, he never panicked. To me, that’s almost as stunning asscoring two goals after 89 minutes at Wembley.
  4. I, for one, won’t miss Shaun Goater one bit, provided we can sell him.Send him to Brentford. Send him back to Bermuda, if necessary. He’s the AndyCole of lower-division football – 21 goals in six times as many chances. Aspointed out ad nauseum since we signed him, poor Shaunie is just aSecond Division striker, so we shouldn’t expect more. But I’m not the guy whoguaranteed 25 goals, he did. If he would’ve delivered those 25, we wouldn’thave been forced to endure the lottery that is a play-off final at Wembley.There are several strikers in Division Two that I’d have before Shaun, so,thanks for your service Big Fella. See you in the FA Cup.
  5. I hope whoever saw Uwe at Wembley wasn’t just teasing me. I’d love to havehim back, especially with a proper winger back in the side. For all of youwho were slagging my hero during his last couple of City seasons, be advisedthat ol’ No. 28 scored 13 goals for Kaiserslautern in the most goal-deprivedleague in Europe … including that Champions League hat-trick against HJKHelsinki. A totally impartial acquaintance from Germany who runs a Bundesligamailing list told me that he rated Uwe as ‘Lautern’s best attacker thisseason – even better than German national-teamer Olaf Marschall. I can’tbelieve he’d have to settle for Tennis Borussia Berlin in Germany’s seconddivision; surely some smaller Bundesliga clubs would want him? I think heparted on bad terms with Joe and won’t be invited back under anycircumstances, which breaks my heart.
  6. And which brings me to Niall Quinn. I know I’ll be shredded for saying so,but, if necessary, I’d send Wiekens to Sunderland for Big Niall in a swapdeal any day. We can always get another centre half, but we need a realstriker no matter how many times JR says the squad is good enough forDivision One. And Quinninho was absolutely brilliant last season. Sunderlandwon’t meet our valuation for Wiekens, but rumours persist that Quinn isavailable (for some ung-dly reason). Again, I say let’s swap. Niall is afuture City manager, I hope, and the sooner we get him back the better. Wenever should have sold him in the first place, and he’s still young and goodenough to help us get promoted. Give me Niall and some cash for Wiekens andI’m pulling the trigger.
  7. If you’re starting to say to yourself, “Why can’t this sod let go of thepast?”, fair comment. So here’s another idea: Ian Wright. If Birmingham Cityis trying to get Wrighty, why not Manchester City? Ian Wright and ShaunWright-Phillips sounds like a tasty strike force to me. Can you imagine howloud the Ian WRIGHT, WRIGHT, WRIGHT chants would be in Blue Heaven? We’d makeHighbury sound like a Second Division ground.
  8. How can Joe keep saying we don’t need to strengthen the side when we onlyhad one player (yes, Shaun, you rule) with more goals than Kit Symons untillittle Dickie’s late-season scoring spree? Our forward play was so abysmal,only some long-awaited scoring from midfield by Horlock and Cooke truly savedour season.
  9. How did we pi*s away 11 points against the bottom four clubs in thedivision and still go up?
  10. How did I survive 24 months between City season-in-review highlightvideos?
  11. Everyone I know who has Championship Manager here in the States tells methat Cyber City always winds up selling Nicky Weaver. There better not besome Eidos jinx that makes it happen in real life.
  12. I don’t have a tear-jerking testimonial to share about my Wembleyexperience, mainly because I had to follow The Game via the Internet from aSan Antonio hotel. But that didn’t prevent me from dancing around mycourtyard-view room when Dickie scored, nor did it keep me from celebratingthat night. I spent the whole evening walking around the city’s downtowndistrict with our beloved citrus away kit in full glare. Didn’t see any otherCity fans on the South Texas streets, but I did get plenty of attention fromcurious passers-by. I’ll miss that lucky shirt next season.
  13. One last bit of sappy nostalgia to chew on as we count down to pre-seasonfriendlies: Would you dare bring Gio back? Sure sounds like he’s available,huh?

Marc Stein, Dallas, Texas (


I sent the following to Sky Letters page in response to a letter posted there:

The control freaks are out of control again! Excuse me Mr Banks, here’s how it works. The FA, who run the FA Cup, set the rules for the competition. You (the Govt) are elected to be politicians. Unless I am mistaken, this is not the Soviet Union? Will someone please do something about this man before he tells us when we are allowed to go to the bathroom.

Graham Jones, Sandhurst (


The MCFC website has occassionally featured articles this close-season on a bloke who without doubt is City through and through: Ian Bishop. It has been heart warming to read about his staying in England to work hard at his fitness in an attempt to secure his place in the team as opposed to heading off to the beach. This statement alone typifies the new Manchester City spirit. In my opinion, even at 34 years old, we have a talent here that can read the game better than many players at the club and could be a real asset this season as we will thankfully be appearing at grounds with half decent playing surfaces. I know some of my fellow Blues commented last season about him not being tough enough, but an extended run in the side proved them wrong.

Although Bish came on at Wembley before Gillingham scored, I believe his non-stop running and directing of the play helped to urge the team on to draw level. He is undoubtedly utterly committed to City and you can’t help but wonder what might have been had he not been forced to join the Hammers when that drunkard clown Kendall arrived in town. I hope we can get at least one great injury-free season out of Bish before he decides to call it quits. He deserves a good run and who knows, may end up finally getting the national recognition that his outstanding skills deserve.

Philip Bradbury, Paris (


To the guy who posted an invite to McVittee’s to go to Wembley FC before the game. I know we didn’t actually meet, but alongside the coachloads of Baguley & Brooklands Blues I thought it was a tremendous occasion only superseded by what was about to happen at Wembley a little later on.

What a great little club and great hospitality.

I’m back in Saudi now 🙁

Jim Egan (


Paul Power’s winning free kick against Ipswich in the 1981 FA Cup Semi Final.

Peter Birbeck (


  1. A Buddy Holly is a volley.
  2. Not sure about tic-tac-toe but would suggest it means he’s gone forthe jackpot as tic-tac-toe used to pay out the jackpot on old fruitmachines.

CTITOHTGMRCWNPETIBU.(City Till I Tire Of Hearing The GMR CommentaryWhich Now Plays Every Time I Boot Up), David Kilroy (


Louise Slater/Kevin Whelan-BushBlue. Can either one of you please contact me again regards the radio copy of the Wembley Final, as every time that I try to e-mail you, my messages are returned ‘undeliverable’.

Lee Moreton (


I have recently moved to the King’s Lynn area and I am led to believe that there is a supporters’ club in the local area. If you are a member of this club or know where they meet etc, please contact me.

CTID, Lee Moreton (


“Manchester City Desktop Theme”

Apologies for not getting back to everyone who requested the theme. I initially started to individually mail people back with the desktop theme. This however, is unsuitable due to the sheer demand for the theme. I have decided therefore to register the theme with the “Theme Doctor” and other Desktop theme specific web sites. I have only recently submitted the Man City theme. It will be reviewed and presented far better than what I could achieve. There will be screen captures, full description, ratings system etc.

As soon as I know when it will be up on the web I will let Ashley know.

Paul Odusanya – Planning BSkyB (


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 #515