Newsletter #520

City trundled to a 2-0 win over Halifax yesterday, so no repeat of the F.A. Cup result that has almost become synonymous with our fall from grace. Perhaps the major news from this fixture was the bizarre biting of Mark Kennedy (not sure what happened to the assailant, apparently small, black, winged and a frequent carrier of malaria!). He had an allergic reaction and had to drop out of the game, and is allegedly out for a week. The game was also notable for the surprise inclusion of a French midfield trialist. Apologies, but we don’t have a match report.

Other news is that we have a new friendly set up against Liverpool at Maine Rd on Tuesday 3rd August. There’s also a match report from last Friday which neatly provides an explanation for the absence of Mike, Wright-Phillips and Dunfield from the Bury match. There’s also a personal insight on Dave Ewing, and a quite bizarre Why Blue from Andy Cleaver of the London Branch – more required!

P.S. Perhaps Colin Bell isn’t with Dynamo Dresden after all!

Next game: Bristol City away, Saturday 24th July 1999 (Friendly)



Given that City were promising to field two teams at Bury on Saturday, it was probably City’s third eleven which took the field on Friday night against Rossendale. They won very comfortably against a team due to compete in the Second Division of the North West Trains League. The result was 4-0 with goals from Fenton, Greenacre and Shelia, the fourth was a penalty and I’m not sure who took it. It could have been Greenacre as he took another and missed it. Both penalties came as a result of City forwards being upended by the ‘keeper.

The starting line-up bore no resemblence to the one listed in the programme. From what I remember from the announced team or could recognise, City lined up:

Dunn	Shelia	Fenton	Holmes
?????	Wright-Philips 	????	????
     Greenacre	 Killen

Subs: Leon Mike, Dixon Etugu (sp?), Terry Dunfield and two more.

Neither Shelia not Fenton looked to be potential first teamers, and Rossendale created a few problems from corners.

Hodgson made two excellent saves. I saw him against Blackburn in the under 17s final at the end of last season and wasn’t too impressed, but he looked better this time round. Hopefully he’s still got a bit of growing to do yet.

Holmes played a steady game at left back – given the dearth of such players in the club he is probably favourite for rapid promotion.

Wright-Philips played another very combative game, but he’s so small. If he ran out with the first team you’d think he was the mascot. However, he’s extremely quick and could be in the running for introduction to the first team squad if there’s not a lot to play for later this season.

Wright-Philips, Dunfield, and Mike’s contribution to this game put in perspective their places in the club pecking order. They will undoubtedly be very good players as will most of the team which played against Blackburn in the Academy final. However, it is a bit (a lot?) premature to be thinking of them as first team players yet. Don’t forget that they will all be in the Youth Cup team this year.

Roger Haigh (


Midweek Action – Halifax

Hopefully this issue will contain more detailed on the spot reports from City’s 2-0 win at Halifax last night. Goals from Gareth Taylor and Andy Morrison gave City an apparently comfortable if unconvincing win, so I hope the search for a striker goes on. The last time we played at the Shay saw another of those F.A. Cup cock-ups that seemed to come along so often in the 80’s; a 1-0 third round defeat on January 5th, 1980, when Paul Hendrie’s late strike sent then Fourth Division Halifax through against then top flight City in front of 12,599. Revenge of a sort came last season when we beat them 3-0 in an F.A. Cup 1st Round tie at Maine Road, with two goals from Craig Russell and a third from Shaun Goater sending City through in front of just 11,106 on a chilly November night. Non of that 1st Round nonsense this year thank God!

Before the game Joe was quoted as saying “Saturday wasn’t a bad little reminder that Wembley was a bit surreal and I will be looking for a vast improvement. The Bury game was designed for a purpose and that was to give everyone 45 minutes worth of competitive action. From now on I will be working towards a team that will start the season,” said Joe Royle. “There are still places up for grabs and those that don’t figure may get a game at Bristol on Saturday. Cooke and Kennedy were bought to play in the same team and we want to start working with them in tandem as soon as possible.” He added: “They promise to be an extremely exciting pair but we will also be stressing their defensive duties. They will have to work on their rôles when we do not have the ball.”

Cookie is evidently looking forward to the partnership and feels his best is still to come. The 22 year old said: “It’s up to me to work hard and keep improving but City have not seen the best of me yet. I’ve not played all that many first team games and I know I can get stronger both mentally and physically and I am looking forward to doing that this season and having a real go at promotion. I’m sure there will be a bit of pressure on me but that goes with being at a big club.” As for his wing mate Kennedy? “There are not many teams who play with wingers these days let alone two wingers, and there are not many teams who like playing against wingers either. We have set our sights on being the best team in the First Division.”

Bristol Preview

With apologies to anyone who thought they we’re going to get a URL for a dodgy web site, the Cooke-Kennedy partnership will have to wait a little longer to get established after a mosquito bite (I kid you not!) kept Kennedy out of last night’s game. “Mark’s leg has ballooned up after he suffered an allergic reaction and the doctor has told him to take it easy for a few days and let it settle down,” said Royle, who is almost certain to be without the winger at Bristol City on Saturday. Kennedy’s next target is likely to be the Everton game next Wednesday night, giving him just eleven days to sharpen up his fitness before the season gets under way. It could only happen to us!

Shaun Goater is likely to be back, having been rested at Halifax, against his former club. Goater was an immensely popular figure at Bristol City prior to his move, as was Joe Royle apparently, who scored four times on his league début for the Robins against Middlesbrough.

Financial Backers?

‘Media giants’ Granada are the latest rumoured investors in our beloved club, following in the wake of alleged interest from America as well as closer to home in the form of Manchester City Council. Notwithstanding their investment of £22 million in Liverpool (a 9.9% stake to avoid limiting their options elsewhere it would seem) Granada are supposedly drawn to our ‘huge fan base’ and recognise the huge potential. If this were to be true, it’s unlikely we’d get anywhere near that amount given the relative merits of the assets at stake. With the late Stephen Boler’s 24% stake up for grabs in the event a bid was in line with his family’s wishes, this saga looks set to rumble on.

Personally, I hope that any deal avoids disrupting the back-room progress the club seems to have been making this last year or so since Dave Bernstein came on the scene. Consequently I’m heartened by the news that Joe’s refuted the claims that he’s at odds with his Chairman over funding of transfers. “Contrary to what you might have read, what I was quoted to have said by a reporter I haven’t even spoken to, there has been no difference of opinion over transfers or transfer policy. I repeat again, if we go into the season with the squad we have at the moment I will be more than pleased, as I know they will not let us down. But if the right player is available I will speak to the board and see if the money is there. But there has been no rift. I have in my mind two positions in which I think we can dramatically improve if the right players become available. But I won’t say what those positions are.” For what it’s worth, TeamTalk’s latest story is a deal for Ipswich’s David Johnson involving Craig Russell going the other way. Given Ipswich’s selling policy this summer this could almost be believable.

No Franck You!

JR confirmed today that French trialist Franck Passi will not be staying with the club after a less than impressive performance last night at Halifax. The 33 year old was born in Bergerac in France and started his career with Montpelier, before moving on to Marseille and Toulouse – he made his début in 1990 for Toulon, and also played under Arsene Wenger at Monaco before heading off to Spain to play for Compostela. Passi is classed as an “all-round midfielder” and is regarded as being defensively very strong as well as possessing a powerful shot, although five goals in a career approaching 200 appearances is hardly anything to write home about. Given his disciplinary record it’s perhaps as well that we don’t add to our complement of firebrands!

Michael Owen to Play at Maine Road

… but sadly not for City. The club have managed to squeeze in a game against the other side of Liverpool at Maine Road on Tuesday August 3, kick off 7.45 pm, billed as one last workout before the season proper kicks off. “It will be our last major test before the season starts and will be a tremendous way to finish off our preparations,” said Royle. “Liverpool have spent heavily during the summer and will expect to be challenging for the title so it will be a good way to assess our progress.” Owen is expected to be in the squad.

The game will bring back some unpleasant memories of the last time we played these particular Reds in our last Premiership game three years ago, when a 2-2 result and the associated communications breakdown started the slide. Ticket details for the game will be announced shortly and will probably be in tonight’s edition of the MEN.

The reserves are in action again this Friday at Doncaster, followed by games at Bamber Bridge on Tuesday and then Altrincham a week on Friday. Perhaps a run out for some of the youngsters who seem otherwise destined to be left out of the pre-season games?

Danny Allsopp was the star of Tuesday’s reserve clash at Radcliffe Borough, as The Blues cruised to a 5-1 win. He followed up his consolation strike at Bury on Saturday with a hat-trick, and given our recognised strike force limitations could be in line for a start against Wolves. The team included Jamie Pollock and French midfield trialist Frank Passi and led 3-0 at half time, with Alan Bailey and an own goal from David Bean boosting the advantage.

There’s Only One Colin Bell?

Well actually there’s another one who is indeed coaching Dynamo Dresden; check out (with thanks to Howard Davies).

Paul Lake

Former City star Paul Lake could be on the move again as he continues his career in the field of football fitness. The one-time Blues’ captain, whose career was ended by a crippling knee injury, spent last season as physiotherapist at Burnley working alongside Stan Ternent and his former City colleague Sam Ellis. However, after quitting Burnley last month for “personal reasons”, 30 year old Lake is now understood to be in line for a similar rôle at Altrincham who have just won promotion back to the Nationwide Conference. Lake only joined Burnley early last season after quitting his job at City where he was physio to the Academy section.

And Finally…

Anyone wanting to open up old wounds from the Clark era can check out a new book ‘Kicking with Both Feet’ published by Headline, priced £16.99, on August 5, 1999. I’ll say no more about that as we approach a new season with optimism.

Geoff Donkin (


Some of you may be aware that there is an Official Supporters’ Club website at

This has recenty undergone a total re-vamp and now (hopefully) looks a lot better.

If you are in a branch please look to make sure the information is correct and let me know if there are any changes or additions.

Homeview is a fans’ eye view of their clubs – so if you have friends who support other teams let them see it and I can add their thoughts – just let me know and I will send you a blank form to fill in – even United are there!

Andy Birkin (


It has been two months since our dramatic victory at Wembley. From all accounts, it was an unbelievably memorable game for those lucky enough to experience it in person, or view it on television, or listen to it over the radio. Unfortunately, being a Chicago-based Blue, I was completely unable to witness the match.

In the issues of MCIVTA that followed, several stateside Blues voiced their frustration over not being able to see (and hear) Dickov’s goal. In response, a few gracious Blues offered to make copies of the game once the video was converted from the UK’s PAL broadcast format to the North American NTSC format. Encouraged that a copy of the play-off final would soon be in my possession, I followed-up with everyone who offered to make a copy. Unfortunately, my inquiries went unanswered. I recently E-mailed the MCFC marketing department to see whether a US compatible tape could be ordered. To my disappointment, I received a reply that due to “cost implications”, no US version is available.

Before I throw in the towel and purchase the PAL format City Are Back tape and find someone in Chicago to convert it for me, I’d like to issue one last desperate plea. Is there anyone in the States with a copy of the play-off final who would be kind enough to make a copy for me? Of course I will reimburse you for the cost of the tape, the conversion/duplication fees and the necessary postage. Sorry to be so long-winded, but I have got to see that game! The new season is starting!

CTWHOTRTTPPTTCC (City ‘Til We Have Our Triumphant Return To The Premiership Parade Through The City Centre), Bob Krug,Chicago – Home of the (Laser) Blues (


‘Big Dave Ewing’, as he was always known, was not only big in stature but had a generosity of spirit about him as well. I remember him playing against Manchester United when I was a child and he was a ferocious defender who I remember once actually playing the ball when he couldn’t reach the player he was marking. For Dave the player, marking an opponent usually meant exactly that. I was fortunate enough to get to know him well when he was coaching the Reserve team in the seventies. The players at the time all gave him plenty of respect because he was quite capable of knocking the sh*t out of all of them, including Big Joe Corrigan when required. However, Dave was also respected for his grasp of the game and his tactical awareness, and many of the reserve team games were changed round after his half time team talks. I have a lovely memory of Dave at Gigg Lane, Bury during a reserve game; it was a dreadfully cold winter afternoon and City were struggling and he had decided to make a substitution. The sub. that day was Derek Jeffries, a brilliantly gifted if somewhat erratic midfield player. When Dave looked across the bench to tell Derek to strip, he was faced with sight of Derek wrapped around a meat pie and cup of Oxo which he had grabbed from a vendor who was selling to the crowd! As you might imagine, the air turned blue as Dave bollo*ked him up hill and down dale, but he did have the last laugh by making Derek go on with his full stomach.

In 1973 City won the Central league for the first time ever and this in the days when Liverpool had won it for the past 8 out of nine years, including the previous 4 years. City virtually clinched the title by beating Liverpool by a single Paul Power goal in April, and a measure of the victory was that City could have won by 4 or 5 goals. Dave’s strategy was the opposite to his playing style; he told the players to go out, play it right, to go forward and win with positive football! Some of the younger players Dave was managing in those days included Dave Bennett, Ray Ranson, Ronnie Evans, Russell Coughlin, Ged Keegan, Tony Henry, Paul Power, and Roger Palmer, all of whom progressed at some stage to the first team. In addition to these players, Colin Bell, Mike Doyle and Keith McRae had fairly extensive runs whilst recovering from injuries or attempting to get back to first team fitness! Over the recent years I had been kept in touch with Dave and his wife Sylvia through his son Mike. It had become apparent that Dave was in a bad way, and at times could not recognise even his wife and family. I find it immensely sad that someone who was so close to his immediate family should have to end his life in this confusion. My prayers are for his family and hopefully Dave will now rest in peace and be remembered for his terrific contribution as a player, coach and gentleman, not as big daft Dave, because daft he never was.

Leo Fewtrell – Wythenshawe Exile (


As a longtime City fan, I was saddened to hear about the loss of Dave Ewing, As a young fan growing up in the Sixties I watched Ewing play a lot and although the City team of the early Sixties was pretty dire, Ewing and goalie Bert Trautmann were stalwarts of City’s.

Karen Sharp (


Am I alone in remembering Barney Daniels? We may have got him from Stockport and I think we sent him back to them for their Friday Night is County Night days. The best thing I can say of Barney is that he put some power into a shot, sadly accuracy was not a strong point.

M Joyce (


What did we learn from this? At least the result didn’t matter. Poor old Craig Russell would probably play a round of golf like Jean de Veldte plays the 18th at Carnoustie. Our reserve ‘keeper cannot kick a football. We still do not have any full backs. We forgot to pass the ball to our new signing, Kennedy. We lacked movement up front in the first half and relied on the pace of Allsopp in the second. The new kit looked nice though it was a pity the ‘keeper’s didn’t have the finished article. Our squad is so big that Kennedy wears 34?! Crooks looked lost at centre half. Where were Fenton, Mason, Mike and Wright-Phillips? The size of the Blue turn-out was tremendous – nothing new there then. We require a striker and a left sided full back – nothing new there then. Or have I said that?

M Joyce (


Ah…! the season is upon us and yep no sooner have we played one friendly and the knives are out. Gary King’s article in MCIVTA 519 raised a couple of questions. In reply to Gary’s first question on “what the heck Joe was doing playing 2 different teams and not playing the 2 wingers (Cooke and Kennedy) together”… Gary, pre season friendlies are all about fitness. After a couple of weeks of training to build stamina the players are eased into the twisting and turning of a semi-competitive game of football in preparation for the big kick-off. There are no hard and fast tactical displays in the first few games. In my opinion Joe is doing it right by giving every squad member the chance to impress and improve their fitness levels.

The second question asked why the youngsters such as Mason, Fenton, Wright-Phillips etc. are not given a chance. We should not lose sight of the fact that this club was in complete freefall before Joe came along, Joe has turned things around so therefore I trust his judgement. Joe is in the best position to judge the young players coming through so yes you are right, if Joe thought they were ready I’m sure he would include them. Maybe they were given a baptism of fire a little too early… it’s Joe’s call.

Gary, let’s not start the season slagging off Joe and the team, we have been on a journey none of us would have envisaged 5 years ago. The fact is that for whatever reason we ended up in the Second Division, we are not the power we used to be, we don’t have Premiership players. We have cut our cloth accordingly and are heading in the right direction. What worries me is that after the euphoria of Wembley some fans may expect too much and if we don’t get a good start to the season, panic will set in and people will start slagging off Joe and the team. Come on Blues…. we can only get the best out of the team when we are totally behind them… à la Wembley!

CTWOOOTFACTWTWCC (City till we can opt out of the F.A. Cup to win the World Club Championship), Ian McIntosh (