Newsletter #521

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City’s lacklustre pre-season form continues, as evidenced by three match reports, one vs. Halifax (2-0), one vs. Doncaster Rovers (2-2) and one vs. Bristol City (0-1). I for one will be fairly glad to see the back of these ‘fitness’ games, so we can get down to the serious stuff. Success has however not eluded us completely, as the U-14s won the Milk Cup in Coleraine against strong opposition. This issue also has opinion and two mini Why Blues.

This one reaches 2,640.

Next game: Everton away, Wednesday 28th July 1999 (Friendly)

MATCH REPORT – ‘LIVE’

BRISTOL ROVERS vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 24th July 1999

Following Jeremy Poynton’s invitation, I decided to ‘treat’ my nephew (also City exile and former season ticket holder) to an afternoon at Ashton Gate to see our heroes. Meeting Jeremy before the game, I was pleased to put a face to a name well-known from his contributions to MCIVTA and to discover an excellent pub (The Nova Scotia) for future reference. Thanks also to Jeremy for the interesting walk around bits of Bristol that most Bristolians wouldn’t even know (probably one of the more novel approaches to a football ground along a disused railway, over a few motorway-style roads, a couple of iron fences and a park) – more like an outward bound!

Whilst waiting for my bus to arrive at College Green, said nephew had the pleasure of meeting the City team (well, seeing them walk from the hotel to the coach) and actually shaking the hand of Richard Edghill and wishing the City defender (?) good luck! A portent for later events?

According to Joe Royle’s pre-match statements, the plan was to field a team fairly close to the Division 1 starting line-up and, looking at the team, I guess this was the case. In the event, the match was a typical pre-season affair, played in steaming heat (I reckon it must have been 30 degrees C on the pitch) and lots of comings and goings. For most of the first-half, City had things well under control without really looking too threatening in the opponents’ area (for reasons, see later comments on the midfield). The over-rated and incredibly clumsy Akinbiyi was kept under close wraps by Jobson and Wiekens, escaping only once to produce a good save by Weaver’s outstretched boot.

Unfortunately, two events altered matters significantly: firstly, Wiekens’ injury after half an hour led to a reshuffle, with Edghill(!) moving to partner Jobson in the centre of the defence and Jeff Whitely switching to right back, thus, at one stroke, rendering City’s defence open to any ball in the air and reducing a signficant threat from midfield. Whitley’s replacement, Jamie Pollock, contributed little and his most telling effort was a thirty yard shot that nearly hit an upright – an upright in the stand! The second event was the second half non-appearance of Kennedy, with Horlock switched to wide left midfield, his place in the centre being taken by Bishop. This seemed to disrupt Tiatto who, up to that point, had enjoyed a fairly productive partnership with Kennedy. Plenty of people have commented in the past about Horlock’s lack of effectiveness out wide and this was further highlighted in this match. I have been an admirer of Horlock since his Swindon days, but there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that he is totally ineffective in the wide position, lacking the pace to get past players. In all honest, he looks half the player of three years ago.

To add further insult to injury, Cooke was eventually taken off, thus further reducing City’s attacking options and leaving them effectively with no wide players. In the second half, Tony Pulis made an astute substitution by bringing on tall striker Lorenzo Pinamonte who proceeded to wreak havoc with City’s centre back pairing of Edghill and Jobson. Bristol City threatened every time the ball was crossed into the area and this led to Bristol’s bizarre goal, as a fairly meaningless overhead kick by Akinbiyi into the centre of City’s defence was calmly placed wide of Weaver by the luckless Whitley. To be honest, we thought at first that Edghill had committed the deed and there ensued dark mutterings about handshakes and good luck messages. In truth, although there was little excuse for Whitley, it was Edghill’s complete inability to win any ball in the air that led to the error.

So, what might be learned from this Saturday afternoon stroll in the sun.

  1. The defence without either Wiekens or Morrison is going to struggle -Jobson was adequate with Wiekens, but the thought of daring Dickie facingFirst Division opposition is frightening.
  2. In general, I have to concur with those who think that Richard is pasthis best, as he is hardly recognisable from the young lad who showed so muchearly promise. Whether it is because of his injury who knows but, evenbefore his switch into the centre, he had made a number of heart-stoppingerrors.
  3. Taking this point further, I wonder whether it is the lack of quality atfull-back that is reducing Terry Cooke’s effectiveness. I have only seen himplay twice live (two Bristol games plus video of play-off final) and havebeen a bit disappointed on each occasion. He has excellent control, a goodfootball brain and is an excellent crosser of the ball. But, I have yet tosee him take on his full-back, beat him cleanly and then deliver a tellingcross. He was better against Rovers with Lee Crooks behind him, but, again,Crooks only provided marginal support. I sense that Cooke is a playerwithout real killing pace and, in the present set-up, is having to come fromtoo far back to make a real impact.
  4. On the contrary, given the evidence of last Saturday, Kennedy is a playerwith pace who can cross the ball well. The concensus in MCIVTA has largelybeen against Tiatto, but I thought that he teamed up well with Kennedy andHorlock in the first period. However, after Kennedy’s departure, theleft-wing combination of Tiatto and Horlock posed absolutely no threat. Iguess they have fairly similar styles and both lack real pace and crossingability.
  5. Strikers: I was really pleasantly surprised by Goater’s play in bothBristol games. Contrary to much of what I have read in MCIVTA, his work rateis pretty good, his control is much better than most front men at this leveland he is quite adept at bringing other players into the game. Certainly, helooked a far better all round player than Akinbiyi, although he does lackAkinbiyi’s physical presence. Dickov was certainly missed for his running.I think that Dickov is a player who has been subjected to some pretty awfultreatment by various City managers, whose tactics seem to have been to throwas many high balls to him as possible and then complain about his lack ofsuccess. Personally, I think that he works very well with Goater. OnAllsopp, I’ll have to reserve judgement: he looks a tryer, but seems to lackreal flair or pace. However, he is relatively young and inexperienced, so isworth perservering with for a while yet. As regards Gareth Taylor, theleast said, the better! Just why on earth he was bought, heaven knows – onecan only presume that he made a good impression on Willie Donachie in hisSheffield days. He made his name over about half a season with BristolRovers, mainly because he had a couple of good players around him(particularly Marcus Stewart who City should have bought). Rovers got shutof him to Crystal Palace for good money at the first opportunity – I can’tremember who squandered a million or so for him at Palace, was it our oldfriend Steve? Advice to City, get rid quick!
  6. Finally, the midfield: If you want to know why City have difficultyscoring, look no further than the midfield. You just cannot expect the frontrunners to succeed with the sort of serivce they got on Saturday from thecentre midfield, particularly after half time. There is a crying need for aplayer who can run from box to box, support the strikers, score a few goalsand put in the odd tackle – sounds familar? Well, if Colin the King isn’twith Dresden, they might try to persuade him to come out of retirement!Seriously, City just don’t have a player on their books who can do this and,if they want to do well in Division 1, they need to find one quickly. As forwhat they have, I am a long-time fan of Ian Bishop (I believe that the swapof Bishop and Morley for Mark Ward was an act of criminal folly), but, wehave to face the fact that he can’t fill this rôle any more. Perhaps ifHorlock is left in the centre and encouraged to stamp his presence on thegame, he might, but I’m a bit doubtful. As for the others, I was not tooimpressed with Michael Brown in either the Rover’s game or the play-off final- again, he seems to be player who has not really improved from his youngerdays. Ditto Lee Crooks – I just can’t see him making the grade anywhereabove the Second Division, certainly not in midfield. To my mind, the bestof the bunch for the future is probably Jeff Whitley – he has good ballskills, plenty of spirit and enthusiasm and can score goals – but apparentlyonly for Wrexham! For the moment, I would start with Bishop and Whitley,with Brown or Horlock reserved for second half substitution. Oh, and as forPollock – Saturday was my first viewing and I was not impressed with what Isaw! He was constantly in no man’s land, neither in attack nor defence,forever chasing the game without getting anywhere. I suspect his best days(whenever they were) are behind him.

To sum up my views – albeit on fairly scanty evidence, but trying to be objective. I think that the team that started on Saturday, with Morrison for Jobson, Dickov for Allsopp and Bishop for Horlock, will hold their own in the First Division, without achieving anything great. But, in order to put in any sort of real challenge at the top, I guess the team needs at least one good full back (my priority would be on the right, but we probably need a left back as well), the sort of midfield player described above and a quality striker – you can’t expect that Dickov and Goater will last the whole season. Absolute priority – I’ll say it again: centre midfield!

Finally, just a final word about ‘Big Dave’ Ewing. Thanks to Leo Fewtrell for the moving testimony – he was my first City hero along with Bert Trautmann and Jackie Dyson (what a player he would have been if Bill Leivers hadn’t broken his leg!). Incidentally, Leo, I never expected your prolific contributions to a City newsletter – does this mean that all the work of Tony Evans and myself was not in vain? Best regards anyway.

MCSEBIWAMA! (Manchester City supporter even before I worked at Manchester Airport!), Barry Taylor (barryriley@aol.com)

MATCH REPORT – ‘LIVE’

MANCHESTER CITY XI vs. DONCASTER ROVERS, Friday 23rd July 1999

Firstly, this is my first ever attempt at a match report, so please bear with me, and I would appreciate any feedback/comments etc. as to the quality of the report (especially if I appear too biased).

Here goes…

Following my failure (due to the illness of a family friend) to make it to The Shay for the midweek match, I was left looking remarkably excited to a game which could prove to be nothing more than a run out for a few youth team players I thought. Upon arriving at the ground, and purchasing the bumper program (anyone who has one will know what I mean), I was greeted with quite a few first team names in the probable City squad. Once in the ground (£8 pre-season?), looking out onto the pitch, I knew that only several of the listed players seemed to be in attendance. The teams lined up as follows (to the best of my memory):

Manchester City:-

                              1.
                         Tommy Wright
     2.                5              6.              3.
Jim Whitley (c)	   Nick Fenton   Murtaz Shelia    Shaun Holmes
     8.              4.	              7.              11.
Shaun            Gary Mason     Michael Brown    Alan Reilly
Wright-Phillips
                    9.                      10.
                Alan Bailey            Craig Russell

Subs:
12. Chris Greenacre
13. Steve Hodgson
14. Greg Duff
15. David Laycock
16. Darren Garfield

Doncaster Rovers:-
Warrington, Shaw, Barnard, Warren, Walling, Minett, Maamria, Goodwin, Duerden, Hume, Caudwell.

Subs:
Sutherland, Watson, Kirkwood, Price, Jones, Thompson.

The under-strength City team seemed to take quite a while to get into this game, as Rovers seemed to make all the early running. It was therefore no great surprise when Rovers shot into a 1-goal lead, the strike coming from Ian Duerden. Despite several reports I have read to the contrary, the strike seemed to take a very harsh deflection over Tommy Wright, who could only look on as the ball sailed into the back of the net. Unfortunately, City then lost centre-half Murtaz Shelia through injury quite early on. He was replaced by Greg Duff, and from that point on the City defence never really looked entirely comfortable. Rovers then further strenghtened their lead with a strike from Shaun Goodwin, the City defence being completely carved open. The “friendly” match then threatened to bubble over as Michael Brown was ordered from the pitch following a two-footed challenge on Dean Walling. The usual handbags at 10 paces followed, before Brown was then replaced on the pitch by young David Laycock. City then seemed to come to life, and the passing game finally began to cause Rovers problems. As the Rovers defence pushed up for an offside, the ball dropped to an unmarked Craig Russell, who casually volleyed the ball home with his left from outside the area. For all the criticisms this guy receives, he certainly looked a class above everyone else in the finish.

City continued to press and were denied a second following a good save by Warrington from the advancing Russell, who failed to notice the two defenders closing him down. Russell then did get his second, heading home unmarked from a right wing cross right on the stroke of half-time. The second half never really lived up to the first, the most surprising element being the re-emergence of the tenacious Brown. The game was battled long and hard through the middle of the park in the second half. City brought on Chris Greenacre for Alan Reilly but still failed to get the chances needed. Rovers put young Matt Cauldwell up front and at one stage he was tearing poor Nick Fenton ragged. The second curious incident of the match then occured, with Nick Fenton been ordered from the pitch for an off the ball incident, giving Laycock a second opportunity to take to the field. In the end, the match finished two all, with Rovers probably the happier of the two sides. The attendance for the record was: 2,442.

Here are my views from the game:

Jim Whitley looked a little out of sorts at full back, often being caught flat-footed by the spritely Rovers winger. Nick Fenton was another who failed to impress me, suffering from the Jaap Stam ailment of always coming too close to the attacker, and leaving himself open to be turned time and time again. David Laycock looked pretty comfortable, especially considering he was out of position at centre half. This was the first time I have seen Wright-Phillips play, and he looked a good prospect for the future. Craig Russell also demonstrated his obvious class, and surely deserves another chance. Michael Brown only seemed interested in running when he had the ball at his feet, and often allowed his man to wander freely. Gary Mason seemed to have an average game, at times getting caught, but at others showing some neat touches. From the Rovers team, little Matt Cauldwell looked ok, not afraid to run at people with the ball, and the young right wing-back they brought on, Jamie Price, displayed a youthful confidence, turning in a good performance.

Sie Barlow (SieB@gremlin.co.uk)

MATCH REPORT – ‘LIVE’

HALIFAX vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Wednesday 21st July 1999

Having been sent to sunny Dewsbury to work for a week, it was a pleasant relief to find that it would coincide with City being at Halifax for the second of their pre-season friendlies. So on a dull and windy July evening, 2,020 (1,000+ City) fans gathered at the ‘New Shay Stadium’ for an anticipated spectacle of free flowing football between two highly talented sides.

City lined up as follows:

               Weaver
Crooks  Wiekens  Morrison  Edghill
Cooke  Jeff Whitley  Bishop  Horlock
           Dickov  Taylor

Mark Lillis (Halifax’s new manager) sent a message over the tannoy before the game, congratulating the team and fans for the Wembley triumph and wishing us well for the coming season. Most people were waiting for their first viewing of our multitude of summer signings, but it seems that he went down with some sort of allergy just before the game, and was not even named on the subs’ bench.

Not much to say about the first half really, other than the fact that it very quickly developed into a gentle evening stroll for both teams, with City always being in control and Wiekens and Morrison looking as solid as ever at the back. City created many good chances, and two very good goal opportunities. Dickov putting the ball just wide having been through one on one with the ‘keeper, and Taylor somehow managing to mis-kick the ball from two yards out with no one in front of him. Halifax created one chance to note with the young left winger blasting the ball high from a good opening. Other than that Halifax seemed to be a bit shot shy, and seemed to want to play the ball into the box, but Wiekens and Morrison were having none of that.

Lee Crooks was helped off the pitch just before half time and was replaced by Vaughan who went into left back with Edgy moving across to the right. Highlight of the first half was the City fan who ran onto the field and led the stewards a merry dance across the field. 0-0 at half time.

The second half began with Halifax making 5 changes and City none, although Bishop was replaced by a French trialist called Passi after about 5 minutes. He slotted straight into that midfield position and although was never really called upon to do much, showed a good awareness and some deft little touches, him and Cooke could work well together down the right.

The game continued much as the first had finished, and the first goal came eventually. Dickov went off on one of his never give up runs out to the left corner flag and won the ball from the defender; cutting inside the penalty area along the left goal line he pulled the ball back to the penalty spot and Taylor managed to miskick it into the top left-hand corner of the goal. This brought about a mad substitution spree from Halifax, who must have used 25 players on the night, with City only making two further changes, Brown on for Jazzy Jeff and Goater eventually replacing the woeful Taylor.

Morrison wrapped the match up with about 5 minutes to go when Cooke, for once forgetting about some silly corner routine, put the ball over for the Beast to thunder in a header from about 10 yards out. That was it really, except for the second City fan running on the pitch, and making the stewards look stupid as they were falling over trying to catch him.

Final score, Halifax 0 City 2. Overall a gentle work out for the boys.

Weaver – Didn’t have much to do, looked solid and competent when called upon.
Crooks – Very capable and looked good before being helped off just before half time.
Edghill – Looked OK in both left and right back positions.
Wiekens – Normal unflappable performance, read the game well.
Morrison – The man is a beast, ran the side well and apart from one dodgy looking two footed tackle in the second half, let no one through. His header went like a bullet.
Cooke – Seemed reluctant to take on the defender, kept cutting inside instead, and the final ball was poor.
Jeff Whitley – Looks like he has come on since last year, looked good.
Ian Bishop – Everything went through him, controlled the midfield and had a good understanding of the game.
Horlock – Steady game, did not get forward much.
Dickov – Normal non-stop running, and managed to wind everyone up as usual, managed to last 40 minutes before being spoken to though. Man of the match.
Taylor – Woeful, the guy hasn’t got a clue.

Vaughan – Fitted into the back four well, managed a few mazy runs up the wing and even got into their box on one occasion, enjoyed himself without ever really being under pressure.
Passi – Took over the Bishop rôle quite capably, showed some good touches and awareness. I now see that Joe has said he will not be signing him though.
Brown – Had an easy time of it, played some balls for the attackers to run on, got back to defend well.
Goater – Got in the way as usual, if he doesn’t know what he is going to do the how will the defender? Didn’t do anything wrong though.

The Ref – Had a good game, played it very much in the friendly spirit, no cards.

The new kit – I liked it, not too keen on the dark blue socks though. I thought Weaver’s shirt was the best of the lot, plain dark green. Are the ‘keeper’s shirts going on sale along with the home shirts in August?

Andy Stevenson (rocket@mancity.net)

JUNIORS LIFT FIRST SILVER OF THE SEASON

I’m in Northern Ireland at the moment and I have been for about two months, unfortunately I don’t get around much, but I do get all the papers and watch television. Over the past couple of weeks there has been a football extravaganza over here. The “Milk Cup”, for under 16’s and under 14’s where teams come from England and Northern Ireland. Man City had the under 16’s and under 14’s playing in both tournaments. The younger ones made it to the final and below is the write up from the local newspaper (I hope I am not breaking any copyright laws):

Orr Double Strike Sinks Toffees

Two quality goals from Adrian Orr put Manchester City in the winners’ enclosure at the Milk Cup Tournament last night.

His second half double strike brought victory over Everton in the entertaining Under-14 final at Coleraine Showgrounds. Orr was simply stunning in the second period, twisting and turning to give the Toffees a sticky time. City soaked up early Everton pressure but gradually imposed themselves on the proceedings and produced a devastating finish with those two goals in six minutes to delight their coach Paul Power. City finished the first half strongly and continued where they had left off after the break, gradually pinning Everton back.

The result was a shattering blow for the Merseyside club who had started as slight favourites after showing impressive form earlier in the tournament. Around 5,000 spectators watched as City received the silverware at the end of one of the better finals in the 17-year history of the top youth competition. Everton started off strongly and Steven Beck sent a good chance wide when he connected with Paul Keegan’s cross. Then Alan Kinsella intercepted Brian Moogan’s pass to fire a shot across goal when it looked easier to score. Then City began to show their abilities. John Fitzgerald went close and just before the break it was Fitzgerald again who beat the Everton defence to see a shot come off the bar.

On 28 minutes City produced a sparkling build up to present Grant Thorley with a chance but his rising shot missed the target. City carved out three more consecutive chances after the restart. Orr shot wide from 20 yards and Glen Whelan sent in an effort which wasn’t far away. The introduction of substitute Lee Croft strengthened City’s hand and he almost grabbed the opening goal with a shot from distance which had the Everton goalkeeper Michael Jago completely beaten.

Just before Orr’s first goal Keegan volleyed a beck cross straight into the hands of the City ‘keeper Chris Cogger.

Croft was the provider for Orr’s first contribution. The youngster did exceptionally well on the left side before whipping in a centre for Orr to glance a spectacular header past Jago and into the corner of the net. Everton missed a chance to equalise three minutes later. Beck’s shot from 22 yards was brilliantly turned away by Cogger. Later Keegan won possession in the box only to lob his effort over the bar.

In the final minute Orr made sure for City with a brilliant second goal. He beat two defenders to control a long ball and dispatch a shot past Jago.

Taken from the NEWS LETTER (Ulster edition).

In the evening they showed some highlights on the Ulster News. The second goal by Orr was reminiscent of Goater’s against Stoke at the end of the season (two seasons ago). He (Orr) won man of the match and also joint Player of the Tournament. Paul Power was interviewed and couldn’t praise them enough. These are our youngsters, let’s keep them and nurture them for our team. Other comments in other papers were things like:‘The slick Manchester Outfit’‘Manchester City slickers were king-pins at the under 14’s Milk Cup Final.’‘Orr gives five star performance’‘City were superb in the sun-soaked showpiece’. Let’s hope the confidence and playing soaks through to all levels for the season.

What made the everything worthwhile was all the papers and coverage were going on about Man Ure and how good their youngsters were. In the under 14’s I believe they were knocked out at the first hurdle. The under 16’s did a little better. They got to the Final and were beaten by Crewe 2-1. It was great watching the highlights on TV, the whole crowd wearing Man Ure shirts and not one Mancunian amongst them.

Kev Pollitt (kev@kevfcity.globalnet.co.uk)

NEWS SUMMARY

Bristol City

So the mixed pre-season form continues with another (apparently well-deserved) defeat, this time thanks to an own-goal from Jeff Whitley Add in the injury to Ged Wiekens and Richard Edghill and suddenly we’ve got no regular defensive line-up going into the Everton game (though better that game than the Wolves match).

The starting line up was Weaver, Edghill, Wiekens, Jobson, Tiatto, Cooke, Jeff Whitley, Horlock, Kennedy, Allsopp and Goater, with subs Taylor, Bishop and Pollock. The preparations for the game were less then ideal, with Lee Crooks and Tony Vaughan both missing the game through injury; Crooks suffered an ankle injury in the win at Halifax and could be out of action for up to three weeks, whereas Vaughan – who replaced Crooks at the Shay last Wednesday night – is to see a specialist over a groin strain which may require a hernia operation. Andy Morrison had a groin strain and Ian Bishop has a slight knock but was included in the squad. The good news was that Mark Kennedy was fit to play after his allergic reaction to a mosquito bite, Paul Dickov was missing through injury too.

The game saw a rapid dug-out reunion for JR and the new Bristol City manager, and erstwhile Gillingham manager, Tony Pulis. Wonder how much injury time was played?

Reserve Action

Friday’s game at Doncaster ended 2-2, with City coming back from a 2 goal deficit thanks to 2 goals from Craig Russell. I understand that the vogue in friendlies this season is for players who are seen to be playing ‘a little too enthusiatically’, are asked to leave the pitch. This was apparently the case with one Michael Brown at Belle Vue. I got a few details of the game indirectly; what about a report Craig?

Under 14’s

The City Under-14 team reached the final of The Milk Cup tournament being played in and around Coleraine (Northern Ireland) this week. After beating Blackburn 3-0 in the semi, they played Everton in Friday’s final, but at the time of writing I’ve been unable to find out the result (with thanks to Jim Doran). See report earlier [Ashley].

Transfer News

Basically there isn’t anything of substance. Joe confirmed last week that there have not been any serious inquiries for any of the players on the list (are we surprised?). A revised circular will be going out this week.

Liverpool Game

The final pre-season friendly on Tuesday, August 3rd against Liverpool at Maine Road is all-ticket in anticipation of a crowd of around 15,000. Tickets are only on sale at the Piccadilly Box Office in the centre of Manchester, leaving the Maine Road ticket office free to deal with the demand for season tickets and seats for the Wolves game five days later. Season ticket holders can apply for a reserved seat in the Main, Kippax or Platt Lane stands until Tuesday. Liverpool supporters have been allocated the North Stand. Remaining tickets go on open sale on Wednesday.

The New Mick Doyle?

Joe’s been explaining why he saw fit to offer Andy Morrison a new contract extension recently. “Andy is a one-off, a born leader. It is impossible to quantify just how big an influence he has had since he came here. We have added a year to his contract on improved terms and are delighted to have done so. In a way he is a throwback to the days when teams had leaders on the pitch like Dave Mackay and Billy Bremner. Andy is in that mould – a fist shaker who commands total respect in the dressing room. I think Andy would be the first to admit that he has had some wasted years but they are behind him. The City fans love him. I don’t think they have had an up-and-at-em leader since the days of Mike Doyle.” Or have we? I can’t recall one, but I’m sure there’s a subscriber out there who might think otherwise.

Ian Bishop

Talking to the Manchester Evening News, Ian Bishop has made it clear that he’s not going to give up his midfield place without a scrap. “I have had 18 pre-seasons in my career and I can honestly say I have never had a better one or felt sharper. I am as fit as ever and ready to give the younger lads (Bishop’s now 34) a run for their money. I won’t be settling for a place on the bench, or an hour here and there. I want to play every game. Getting older means I don’t miss the pace I never had. Anyway, football is played as much with the head and the legs and if you can out-think your opponents they will never get the ball off you, no matter how quick they are.”

With a year of his contract to go, his aims are threefold; to help City back into the Premiership, to win himself a new deal and to encourage and help the development of the club’s youngsters, for whom he sees a bright future. “I cannot get away from the fact that I am experienced but I can use my 570-odd games to help others. It will be nice, in a few years’ time, to watch a Premiership match involving City and sit back and say maybe I had a hand in helping one or two of them. Having said that, I have not ruled out the possibility of playing in the top flight again myself.”

Looking to the more immediate future. “This season is very important to us. We have to make sure that last year’s efforts are not wasted. There is a lot of competition for places, particularly in midfield, but I have had that all my life and, if I am playing well, I expect to get in the side. And once there I will make sure I am difficult to shift.”

Acknowledging the support the club has he says “We don’t want to let them down, they are incredible. Teams in the First Division don’t come any bigger than City and the crowd can help us turn Maine Road into a fortress. If we can achieve that, then it is not stretching the imagination to suggest we can get into the play-offs at least. Look what Watford did last season – hopefully we can do the same.”

MCFC on the Move

Those of you based in the UK who just have to have the up-to-the-minute news of the club, or at least the news as TeamTalk sees it, may be pleased to know you can now have news headlines and match scores delivered directly to your mobile phone via SMS. You can choose to receive just the ‘top story of the day’, the occasional big story such as a transfer confirmation or you can opt for ‘all’ City news updated around the clock. Not sure how many networks it covers, but if you are a Vodaphone customer call 0870 129 6666 (you will need the City three digit code which is 026). The catch? 30p + VAT for each message received. Watch out for those huge mobile bills!

All being well, Peter Brophy should be back from his jaunt to Canada for the next issue, so any gossip should be directed his way until further notice.

Geoff Donkin (citynews@donkin.freeserve.co.uk)

TICKET NEWS

Full details on the following fixtures can be found on the ticket information pages of our website at www.mcfc.co.uk and supporters are requested to check there for full selling details.

Pre-Season Friendlies

Wednesday 28th July
Everton vs. MCFC (John Ebbrell Testimonial)
Kick-off 8.00pm

Saturday 31st July
Stockport County vs. MCFC (Rodger Wilde Testimonial)
Kick-off 3.00pm

Tuesday 3rd August
MCFC vs. Liverpool
Kick-off 7.45pm

League/Cup Fixtures

8th August 1999
Nationwide League Division One
MCFC vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers
Kick-off 1.00pm

Seats are now extremely limited for this fixture and supporters are advised to purchase tickets as soon as possible.

11th August 1999
Worthington Cup 1st Round, 1st Leg
MCFC vs. Burnley
Kick-off 7.45pm

Please refer to our website.

14th August 1999
Nationwide League Division One
Fulham vs. MCFC
Kick-off 3.00pm

Please refer to our website.

28th August 1999
Nationwide League Division One
Bolton Wanderers vs. MCFC
Kick-off 3.00pm

Please refer to our website.

Ticket Office – MCFC

ISC UPDATE

The Manchester City International Supporters’ Club

We have had a great response to our initial email about the ISC kindly sent out by MCIVTA. A large number of the City fans that requested the questionnaire have also asked to join the Club which at the moment is in the very early stages of being formed.

We would like to keep all the fans that expressed an interest in the ISC informed of developments and the results of our questionnaire and have decided the best way to do that was to create a MCFC-ISC mailing list.

We are currently working on our own ISC mailing list but in the meantime we have set up one at listbot.com

If you wish to become a member of the ISC & join the mailing list please complete the details at: http://mcfcisc.listbot.com/

When you have added your email address to our temporary mailing list you will receive a notification of your request to join to which you should reply to with a blank message.

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Bob Young (dylan@itl.net)

CSA – WEST YORKSHIRE BRANCH

The next meeting of the West Yorkshire Branch of the CSA will be held on 3rd August at The Globe, Rastrick Common, Rastrick. Hopefully, our guest will be Richard Burgess, formerly of the Manchester Evening News but now with GMR. Start time 8pm. We will also be holding our AGM that night and taking new membership applications.

Further details can be obtained from me at the address below.

CTID, Simon Clegg (simonclegg@tinyonline.co.uk)

WESTMINSTER SUPPORTERS’ CLUB

Less glamorous than the launch event a few months ago, over 25 Blues turned up on Monday at the House of Commons to hear guest speaker, resplendent in her colours, Suzanne Bookbinder from Radio 5, revisiting some City highlights during her 30 years as a manic Blue. After a question and answer session, Ivan Lewis MP, co-Chair of the branch, reported that Manchester United supporting MP’s (and remember there are at least 30 London MPs), are going to take our lead and form their own branch. There was much talk about taking them on at a five-a-side game, going en masse to City games and discussion over a possible new club investor.

Miles Webber (lfi@dircon.co.uk)

APOLOGY!

I definitely must apologise for that silly and actually unforgivable mistake I made suggesting that it is legendary former City player Colin Bell who is coaching Dynamo Dresden. In fact, there is really more than “one Colin Bell”! I

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