Newsletter #526

Short and sweet, as I haven’t much time: City romped to a 5-0 win over Burnley yesterday, perhaps a game most memorable because it gave us our first inkling of what Mark Kennedy is capable of. We have a couple of match reports, but generally we could do with more, so if you care to have a bash at doing them for future games, please consider it – the more we have, the better view of the game we get.

Please note that I’ll be away on my hols for a while (see below) so all articles for MCIVTA should go to Matt Rayner from now on.

Next game: Fulham away, Saturday 14th August 1999


I’ll be taking a break from MCIVTA (and work!) from Issue 527 (Monday 16th August) to Issue 532 (Thursday 2nd September). Matt Rayner has kindly agreed to take over as guest editor for these 6 issues. So, MCIVTA will be coming from colder climes for a short while, namely Finland.

Please send all articles to Matt at:



MANCHESTER CITY vs. BURNLEY, Worthington Cup st Round, 1st Leg, Wednesday 11th August 1999

I bet that Stan Ternant, the Burnley players and fans are sick to death of us, a 5-0, to follow the 6-0 earlier in the year. I bet when each subsequent goal was scored after the first, the Burnley directors were knocking a couple of thousand or so off their expected attendance figure for the 2nd leg. Bearing in mind that only 11,000 and odd turned out for this one, it could be a very eerie Turf moor in a couple of weeks!

The match itself was very much a game of 2 halves. We ‘won’ the first half 1-0 and the second 4-0, and I think that those scores do indicate the level of performance in each half. City lined up with the same team as Sunday with the exceptions of Crooks on from the start at right back and with Tiatto on the left. We started very positively with several good opportunities not capitalised. However, Burnley also had several good chances, the best being towards the end of the first half when a woefully underhit backpass from Crooks was intercepted by Mellon, but Weaver spread himself well to save.

Although we created some good chances, this first half performance was not particularly thrilling. City’s main tactic was a long ball, usually trying to find the flanks, but sometimes straight down the middle, and of course it rarely came off. I need to clarify this; it was not a case of ‘hoofing’ the ball as far as it would go, we were (Morrison in particular) trying to find players in positive, attacking positions but you do wonder about their assessment of their own abilities at times. When someone like Ronald Koeman for instance, used to pick out a team mate with a 60-yard pass, it was praised, quite rightly, as a superb pass, a great piece of skill. This is because it is difficult to pick someone out with a controllable 60-yard pass. Yet our players think they can do it all the time! The ‘long ball’ is a valid tactic – at times, not to the virtual exclusion of short passing or running with the ball. Kennedy and Cooke (a bit better, but still not firing in all cylinders) together with Goater saw a fait bit of the ball, but Horlock and Whitley’s main contributions were simply in breaking up Burnley’s midfield. Except on sporadic occasions, they didn’t get the opportunity to contribute to the attack. The same could be said to a lesser extent of Tiatto and Crooks.

The first goal when it came was simple but well worked. Horlock, Dickov and Goater beat Burnley’s offside trap and, with Cooke also joining the strikers in the box, Kev had the choice of 3. He threaded a pass to Goater who made no mistake from 6 yards out. Apparently Royle had ‘words’ with the team at half time, particularly it seems with both wingers. Kennedy was able to raise his game with a flourish, poor Cookie unfortunately wasn’t and was subbed by Bishop around 10 minutes into the 2nd half. I don’t know what it is with Cooke at the moment. His touch seems to have deserted him and his self-confidence must be diminishing. I think Royle should stick with him for now, a goal or a good assist I’m sure will do the trick. Before Cooke’s exit, Kennedy scored the second with a terrific curling right-footed shot from the edge of the box. It took everyone by suprise, not least Crichton, the Burnley ‘keeper.

When Bishop was introduced, the change in our style of play was amazing. Although being 2-0 up would obviously have helped the players relax and play better, this guy makes us play. Suddenly there was variety, movement off the ball, one-two’s and some superb attacking moves. Whitley and Horlock were able to get more involved going forward. Kennedy had a more free rôle and terrified the Burnley defence. A special mention must go to Danny Tiatto – he was excellent and got better as the game went on. Defensively he made several good interceptions, the best being a sort of ‘flying, overhead, trap’ (know what I mean?). He was also positive going forward.

Dickov was blatantly pulled down on the edge of the area (not a single complaint or appeal from Burnley) and super-Kev made no mistake from the penalty spot. Allsopp and Taylor replaced Goater and Dickov, with Taylor powerfully heading the 4th from a Horlock cross (2 assists and a goal is not a bad return). Kennedy wrapped up the scoring with another ‘unexpected’ 25 yarder, which may have taken a deflection. In truth we could have eclipsed (clever, eh? – for our non-European subscribers, we had a total eclipse earlier in the day) the 6-0 thrashing we dished out at Turf Moor last season, and although in the first half, Burnley looked a better team than when we last met, we certainly looked the team from the higher division.

So the main learning points in my opinion were that Tiatto looks an able replacement for Granville, certainly more effective than Edghill and (not rocket science, is it!), we look a far better prospect when we supplement the ‘laser guided (sic)’ long passes with some quality passing through the middle. I know he’s 34, I know that he’s not a tough tackler, I know that he’s not quick, I know that he’s not going to score many. But we need to find a place for Ian Bishop. He’s like the final piece of a jigsaw that completes the picture. After hearing Royle’s comments on GMR, he seems to view Bish’ as a ‘last 20-minute’ man, which although makes sound sense on one hand – he can come on and change the focus of our play and therefore the game – I still feel that we’ll play more cohesively with him in from the start. Problem is I can’t see Joe dropping either Horlock or Whitley, and indeed I agree that currently they deserve their places. For me, on current form, Cooke is the most likely to make way. As mentioned above, not yet, give him a chance. If we can get the best out of both wingers, it will be a delight to watch. However, if Cooke eventually needs a ‘rest’, Bish is the man. So, disasters excepted, we should be safely through to the 2nd round, where we may meet one of the ‘big boys’. Avoiding relegation, consolidating and aiming for promotion are the priorities, in that order. However, a ‘cup run’ (what’s one of those?) would be a nice distraction!

Phil Hartley (


MANCHESTER CITY vs. BURNLEY, Worthington Cup st Round, 1st Leg, Wednesday 11th August 1999

I arrived at this game wondering what tonight would have in store… early indications had Danny Tiatto taking on the left back rôle in the absence of both Danny Granville and Richard Edghill.

Would City manage to make hard work of this game? Given that the last meeting between the two resulting in that infamous 6-0 win, it seemed just as likely that City would struggle.

Anyway, the team lined up thus:

Crooks   Morrison   Wiekens   Tiatto
Cooke    Whitley    Horlock   Kennedy
         Goater     Dickov
Subs: Wright, Jobson, Bishop, Taylor, Allsopp

The game started very badly, I thought. Neither team seemed to have much of a grip on this game and it quickly descended into a kind of mediocrity which I thought we’d left behind last season.

City were creating chances, but they were also letting Burnley through. At one point Dickov beat the offside trap but missed out because he was looking for the flag to go up. Goater also had a perfect chance to score but managed to fluff it. At the other end, Morrison made a couple of mistakes which might well have been punished by a better opposition. So it was great relief all round when Goater scored from point blank range after an excellent cross from Danny Tiatto.

Half time came, and I hoped that the players would get a roasting from JR. This was a poor game all round, and some City players, notably Crooks and Cooke, were having terrible games.

The second half started with no changes, but City seemed to have more of a determination to win. Pretty soon, it was 2-0 – Kennedy curling a great shot in off the post. The first substitution happened – Ian Bishop coming on to replace Terry Cooke, who was having a terrible time. Not long afterwards, it was 3 – Dickov trying to keep possession of the ball was brought down in the box and Horlock took the penalty very well.

After this it was all one way – Burnley simply fell apart – and City’s increasing confidence showed itself all over the pitch. Bishop’s introduction into play seemed to give City an extra edge. Tiatto, particularly, showed a desire to do well, and his running up and down the left wing was great to see. He seemed not to be able to put a foot wrong!

Goater and Dickov were taken off and replaced by Allsopp and Taylor, this didn’t cause any problems, although Allsopp managed to miss the ball altogether when presented with a perfect scoring opportunity. The fourth goal was very well taken by Taylor heading low into the net – both Goater and Taylor scoring in the same game was an unusual event, both goals well taken too.

After this City started to pass the ball round amongst themselves, and did a good job not only of totally stifling any Burnley forward play, thanks to Morrison and Wiekens having total control over their forwards, but also started to show hints that they were developing some shape and attacking strategy. The fifth goal was a really well hit shot from outside the penalty area by Kennedy.


Weaver:      7 - Some excellent saves, slightly modified by some dodgy kicking.
Crooks:      5 - Had a bad game, distribution poor.
Morrison:    6 - A couple of bad moments, but overall solid, in control.
Wiekens:     7 - Solid, and in control.
Tiatto:      8 - Took time to warm up, great second half, showed good control.
Cooke:       4 - Poor game, looked less than interested, and barely fit.
                 Took a knock. Maybe his baby is keeping him awake!
Horlock:     7 - Solid, well taken penalty.
Whitley:     7 - Showed determination again to work hard for the team
Kennedy:     7 - Two nice goals, anonymous in the first half, good second,
		 with Tiatto, controlled the left wing.
Dickov:      6 - Fought hard, won the penalty thanks to some determined play
                 Otherwise a bit anonymous, looked rather shocked at one point
                 not to be flagged offside and as a result missed a great
Goater:      7 - Didn't take all his chances, however he worked hard and at
                 times played intelligently.
Bishop:      7 - His passing immediately brought the standard of City's play
Taylor:      7 - Scored well, reasonably solid while on.
Allsopp:     6 - Missed a good chance, didn't do a great deal.

Overall, City got the result which mattered, and found the back of the net. I hope that they can be this determined in the normal league games. I hope that, now City are pretty much guaranteed a place in the 2nd Round, that Joe Royle considers giving Shaun Wright-Phillips and some of the younger players a run out in the second leg.

CTBSSITSL (City till Burnley score six in the second leg), Euan Bayliss (


Royle’s Anger Spurs City

City swept aside Burnley in Wednesday’s first leg of their first round Worthington Cup tie – but only after a half-time blast from Joe Royle. The Blues went in a goal ahead at the break after Shaun Goater scored on 37 minutes, but the Clarets had missed a couple of chances while only some fine goalkeeping from Nicky Weaver had kept the Second Division side out. The slack display from City infuriated manager Joe Royle, and after the match, he admitted, “Our ‘keeper Nicky Weaver kept us in it in the first half. You can say we had words at the break, I asked them if they’d been out at a party before the game.” Needless to say, he found the second half a little more palatable, and he had particular praise for Mark Kennedy, who scored his first two goals in City colours. “Kennedy will get the praise and rightly so,” commented Royle. “He had a lethargic first half but after that he was outstanding. Wherever he’s been, at Millwall, Liverpool or Wimbledon, nobody will have any doubts about his great talent. He showed out there what he is capable of.” The Blues’ other goals came from a Kevin Horlock penalty and from substitute Gareth Taylor. Burnley manager Stan Ternent must be sick of the sight of the Blues after City also demolished his side 6-0 in their last encounter, and he conceded after the game that Joe Royle’s men “just got stronger and stronger” in the second period. However, Ternent had some harsh words for his own side. “We surrendered and that is not acceptable,” he said. “We started well, could have had a couple, but after Kennedy’s first goal we just fell away. Three goals were self-inflicted.” The return is on Tuesday 24 August at Turf Moor, but barring a spectacular second-leg capitulation unprecedented even in City’s history, the outcome of the tie should be a foregone conclusion.

Dickov Lands New Deal

City’s Wembley hero Paul Dickov, whose current deal was due to expire at the end of this season, has signed a new three-year contract. Dickov hadn’t been an automatic choice in the first year of Joe Royle’s management, but the Blues’ boss was pleased with the player’s improvement towards the end of last season. A spell of seven goals in the last eight games of the campaign represented the Scot’s best scoring run in three years at Maine Road, and included some memorable moments. There was his first senior hat-trick against Lincoln, followed by vital play-off strikes at Wigan and, of course, at Wembley, the latter one of the most dramatic and important goals in the club’s history. Dickov is delighted to commit himself to City, commenting, “Everyone who knows me knows I love the club and that I want to be here. As soon as the gaffer offered me the contract I was ready to sign, there was never any doubt – now all I have to do is start scoring.”

Strikers Start to Repay Royle’s Faith

Despite the clamour among some fans for a new forward player, Joe Royle, as indicated by Paul Dickov’s extended contract, is still backing the strikers currently at the club. Speaking before the Burnley game, the City manager recognised that his team needed to develop more of a threat on goal, but believed the lack of this attribute in the Wolves game and others amounted to a collective failing. “It is true we have lacked a cutting edge in several of our games and I am looking for it to become sharper,” he admitted, “but the fact we didn’t score against Wolves should not be pushed in the direction of Dickov and Goater.” Mark Kennedy’s double in the Worthington Cup tie will have pleased the manager in the light of his wish for goals from other sources, while three of Royle’s front men have this week started to show scoring form. Shaun Goater’s goal against Burnley will do his cause no harm, while Gareth Taylor’s strike in the same game followed his goal in a behind-closed-doors friendly with Blackburn. Shaun Wright-Phillips was also on the mark in the latter game to give City a 2-1 win over a Rovers side including the likes of Nathan Blake, Garry Flitcroft and Keith Gillespie.

Granville Fitness Boost

After a frustrating start to his City career, loan signing Danny Granville will be back to try to make an impression sooner than anticipated. Granville limped out of the action only a quarter of an hour into the season’s opening game, and the prognosis earlier in the week was that he could be missing from the Blues’ line-up for as long as six weeks. However, the player has not, as first feared, torn his hamstring muscle. In fact, the damage is less serious, with only torn fibres, and the result is that Granville could be back in contention around the beginning of September. There’s no doubt that manager Joe Royle will keenly be awaiting the return of the man he called “a smashing lad [who] has settled in really well here both on a personal level and in the football sense.”

Royle Wants Cup Scrapped

Way back in 1976, Joe Royle played in the last City side to win a major trophy. However, if the City manager had his way, the Cup lifted 23 years ago by Mike Doyle would no longer be in existence. For several years, Manchester United have fielded weakened line-ups in the League Cup, and more recently the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal have followed suit. This week has seen the managers of the two London sides, Arsene Wenger and Gianluca Vialli, arguing that one domestic cup competition should be sufficient, and despite his players not having the distraction of an energy-sapping Champions’ League campaign, Royle slightly surprisingly agrees with them. “It is one of our major cup competitions but, to be honest, it’s one I could do without,” explained the City boss. “We play 46 League games and two cup competitions and it’s too much. The FA Cup would be enough.” Incidentally, Joe was speaking before his side scored five against Burnley on Wednesday evening.

Fulham Preview

Saturday sees City’s first London away trip of the season, as the Blues visit Fulham – a year to the day after suffering a battering in last season’s corresponding fixture. The 3-0 Craven Cottage drubbing was the last time City lost a competitive game by more than a single-goal margin and if a comprehensive defeat against potential promotion rivals wasn’t bad enough, the in-form Kakhaber Tskhadadze was stretchered from the field with an injury from which he still hasn’t recovered. City, of course, extracted revenge in January by winning the return by the same margin, but Fulham still went on to win the divisional title with consummate ease. Manager Kevin Keegan has departed to coach the England team, leaving erstwhile lieutenant Paul Bracewell with the responsibility for making owner Mohammed Al-Fayed’s Premiership dream a reality. Backed by Al-Fayed’s millions, Bracewell has sought to bring in players of genuine pedigree, raiding his former club Sunderland for Andy Melville and Lee Clark while taking Stan Collymore and Stephen Hughes on loan with a view to signing permanently from Aston Villa and Arsenal respectively. Perhaps not surprisingly, then, Fulham are rated as likely challengers for a second successive promotion, and if City can come away from this match with a point, I for one will view it as a more than satisfactory result.

Other News in Brief

Everton’s Tony Grant continues to be linked with a move to Maine Road, even though the already fierce competition for places in the City midfield appears to make a move for the 24-year-old unlikely… Richard Edghill will be fit for the visit to Fulham, though it’s unclear which position he’ll fill. Teamtalk reckons Edghill is likely to replace Australian Danny Tiatto at left back at Craven Cottage. However, the Manchester Evening News’ Chris Bailey suspects Tiatto did enough against Burnley to earn a reprieve, in which case right back Lee Crooks may make way for the ex-England under-21 player… City reserves will face Oldham at Hyde’s Ewen Fields in their opening Manchester Senior Cup tie on Wednesday 25 August.

Peter Brophy (


If any of you are interested, here are the reserve team home fixtures to be played at Ewen Fields (Hyde) this season:

31/08/99 Burnley
14/09/99 Tranmere
 5/10/99 Huddersfield
 2/11/99 Grimsby
14/12/99 Stoke
18/01/00 Preston
 1/02/00 Birmingham
29/02/00 WBA
28/03/00 Port Vale

For the princely sum of £2.00, quite an entertaining evening – last season saw almost all of the first team in action given the suspensions and injuries incurred.

Heidi Pickup (


On Friday 20th August 1999, will take place the 2nd meeting of the newly formed Essex & Suffolk Branch of the CSA.

The venue is “The Duke of Wellington” public house in Hatfield Peveral and the start time is about 8:00pm.

All in the area are invited to attend, tell your friends!

Paul Gallagher (


Manchester City 5 Manchester United 4!

A tenuous victory, but a victory nonetheless; I’ll explain my reasoning.

I thought that there was a rule which meant that City and United couldn’t both play at home at the same time, whether for security or traffic management or for those strange people who used to ‘support’ both clubs. Tonight 12/8/99 they did. Does anyone know why? But as both sides played in Manchester and these ruling holds then the fact that we scored 5 against Burnley and the Rags scored 4 surely means that we ‘beat’ the Rags 5-4. Marvellous. Or was this a consequence of the eclipse!

Gareth Thomas (


Sources at the club have indicated that the new shirt, contrary to rumours suggesting a return to the classic red’n’black stripes, will be white all over, with a little laser blue piping. It will be released in October.

And you may be interested to know…

Apparently the Red and Black, despite being a fans’ favourite, is a difficult kit for the club to use – as the associated leisure and sports apparel, which they sell to us the loyal fan, has to have a related colour scheme. Apparently, red and black is a clothing designer’s nightmare and results in less attractive and poorer-selling merchandise.

This does, however, explain the nightmarish horrendousness of some of the football-related “sports casual” wear one sees on the streets of Bournemouth, Torquay, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai etc. It seems that certain clubs have no option but to go with this colour scheme. One can only sympathise.

Roly Allen (


Thanks to all of those who emailled me with full details of the Eastlands site. I now know exactly where it is. Just in case there is anyone else who doesn’t know (or was it just me, doh!) here is the detail: Ashton New Road to the south, Alan Turing Way to the east (a new dual carriageway following the line of Mill Street; Forge Lane is now abandoned), the gas works to the north, and the railway (New Viaduct St) to the west. The stadium will be in the south-east area of the site, main car parks to the north across the Ashton Canal, with Metrolink running west-east just south of the canal (thanks to Steve Parish for this).

If anyone knows if there is a detailed plan of the site anywhere on the Net, please let us know via MCIVTA…

Steve Maclean (


B limey!
U nusual
R esult.
N ow
L ikely
E very
Y ear?

Steve Maclean (


I must respond to the MCIVTA 525 suggestion by Dukinfield Blue that the football trivia question set a few issues ago is a hoax.

I can tell you that it is in fact not a hoax and I was somewhat surprised that nobody got it right. It has been doing the rounds for “donkeys”. It is not the referee nor orange peel nor Andy Gray’s ego.

The answer is “Pitchfork Holes” made by the groundsmen.

Think about it.

Paul Gallagher (


To the two Nottingham Blues, Malcolm and Dick who so very kindly took a Blue and her sister to Maine Road on Sunday… the day meant so very much to Janet, thank you so very much! Sorry we didn’t bring a win, but Janet may never have got to go to, as she puts it, the home of football without your kindness! Many thanks, Malcolm and to Jacqui for driving us home!

CTSD (City till she dies!), Gill Short (


OK let’s see. We have 2 very good wingers in Kennedy and Cooke who create lots of chances in the air. We have a striker, Goater, who scores goals when he gets lots of chances on the ground. Ergo we need someone who can convert chances from the air to chances from the ground. Now I’m not a huge proponent of US soccer and US soccer players in general. They have a couple of good defenders (Pope and Frasier) and a defensive midfielder, Armas who has great potential. However, up front they have one of the best pure target men in the world – yes the world. Brian McBride gets his head to just about everything thrown his way. I’m quite sure there are no more than 15 better pure target men in the World. McBride would also be a cheap pick up. His new National team partner, Joe-Max Moore is also pretty good. Getting the both of them, and they’d qualify under existing international rules, would solve City’s striking problems.

If there is anyone from the club reading this I would sincerely request that they bring these names to the attention of Joe Royle. I say this on a purely rational basis. This is not a “go get x player rant” which is unattainable. This is a legitimate observation that I would appreciate someone at Maine Road taking seriously. US players are overlooked for a lot of reasons (correct ones for the most part) but these two are quality players that could address what even Joe Royle admits is a need at the club. They would also be cheap which in the current financial climate is not to be sneezed at.

Wallace Poulter (


To hell with it – let’s learn from Frank Clark’s failure (see his tome, £16.99) and bring Kinkladze back as one of the front two. Now that the Georgian is desperate to play some football he might try a bit harder when he hasn’t got the ball.

Tex Adorno (


A few points regarding the Wolves game and other comments made in today’s MCIVTA. I cannot understand the criticism levelled by the majority of our supporters at Richard Edghill. He is often given stick and Sunday was another example. OK, he gave the ball away a few times (about 3), made 1 or 2 other errors, but didn’t have a bad game overall. His critics do not seem to notice the good and often excellent things that he does, such as last-ditch tackles in the penalty box, or even the sheer amount of ground he covers attacking and defending. He certainly has his faults, but, as with Shaun Goater, if these faults were not there then he would be a £4 million Premier League man.

I thought only Morrison (excellent as usual) and Cooke performed anywhere near their best on Sunday in what was a generally disappointing performance. I agree with the need to sign a striker, Dickov and Goater are not going to get us into the Premier League. The problem is any half-decent striker (say, Akinbiyi) costs around £3 million, which we do not have. David Johnson is about as good as we’ll be able to get, or how about Alun Armstrong on loan from Boro (Robbo won’t play them unless they’re over 30).

Prediction for the season… 10th.

Mark Braude (


I’m afraid I have to totally disagree with Steve Parish’s opinion that the ‘Bristol away stub idea was OK’ (MCIVTA 525) – it is a total disgrace that City are requiring fans to have retained any away stubs at all from last season having given no prior indication whatsoever that this would be the case. This compounds the two similar fiascos last season that surrounded the play-off SF versus Wigan and the well-documented shambles which purported to be an allocation system for Wembley tickets. I was lucky… I managed to get tickets for both games, but that doesn’t change the fact that it was and is unreasonable to expect people to rummage through 9 months’ worth of rubbish bins at their local council tip to have the chance to go and see City, particularly when some of them might have been to every City game for the last 70 years. Neither does it change the fact that the promise made by the club to improve things after Wembley has been made to look an extremely shallow one given that the same mistakes are simply being made again. Why doesn’t the club understand that only people who wear kagouls and patterned knitwear keep things like bus tickets and ticket stubs from Colchester away in 1964?

Incidentally, I will be going to Fulham this Saturday – not because I was psychic enough to keep any stubs but because I phoned up Fulham on the day the tickets went on sale and bought some in the home section as I knew it was the only way I would see the game. So I’m going to sit and keep my mouth shut. But the point is that City’s ticket system is encouraging me and no doubt lots of other City fans to sit in the wrong part of the ground, thereby increasing the chances of unwelcome confrontation when the Fulham fans realise what’s going on. I suppose the only consolation is that the fact that I got my tickets the way I did demonstrates that City aren’t the only club with a shambolic ticket office.

Keith Riley (


What odds on the 0-1 scoreline! What is it about playing Wolves at home… it perplexes me. Whatever happened to chasing Ipswich’s Johnson (who scored first up). It’s glaringly obvious what we lack is a striker (and a left back again). Come on Joe, don’t make us wait too long again.

Chris Loveridge – Hawk (


Regarding Kinkladze coming back if we can get him on loan when presumably the wages aren’t going to be too high, I think we should do it. Kinky has sat on the subs’ bench all season at Ajax and might have learned a little from the experience – like he might be prepared to put the effort in, especially if he thinks it’s a shop window for Premiership teams to watch. Reading the extract from Frank Clark’s biography where he says he should have played Kinky in the front two – let’s do it. It can’t get worse – our strike force is going to kill us as it is (and everyone knew that from watching the percentage of chances to goals from last season). Kinky has a shot and ball skills. Get him on loan and put him up front.

CTTRTS (City Till They Remove The Straitjacket) Oh! All right, even after that, Steve Fovargue (


I previously put a message out on MCVITA re. tapes of the Wembley game I am prepared to let someone with access to an edit suite copy. One guy contacted me and I said I would send him the tapes but his e-mail has been deleted. Can he please contact me again? Ta.

Bill Borrows (


I support Phillip Walker’s call for a return to Maine Road for big Niall Quinn. He is probably my favourite player to pull on a City shirt, not only for his play, but also for his all round sportsmanship and commitment to the club in his last spell there. I always recall Niall coming out to apologise to the fans for the results when they went badly and he wasn’t even the captain! He always came across as someone who was very committed to the City cause and his injuries in his final two seasons were an unfortunate hindrance to his career at Maine Road. When he left I was disappointed but I could understand that he would want to link up with Peter Reid and his success at Sunderland has shown that he still had some ‘mileage’ in him.

He enjoyed a fantastic season with Sunderland last year and as runaway leaders he enjoyed the success he has been due for a long time. Even further injuries didn’t hamper his abilities to score goals, and he ended the season on a very respectable tally, especially given that he did miss games and was not the principal goalscorer at the club. He has knowledge of almost all of the current First Division clubs and how they play and would be a valuable asset to any club trying to gain promotion this year. You can also imagine that whilst Quinny will relish the opportunity to be playing back at the top level again this season he may also struggle to score against Premiership defences, and Peter Reid may be forced to buy another striker to consolidate his squad.

However, although I would love to see Niall pull on a blue shirt again, I can’t see it happening. At his age, and with a successful external business to football in horse racing, would he really want to endure another First Division dogfight? I can’t imagine he would go the entire season without injury and if he were injured it would put us back in the position we started in again, without a good quality striker. If we did get promotion, then would he, with another year under his belt, really be first choice for a Premiership campaign? Maybe an emotional first choice, but probably not a practical one. I always thought Niall might be a good choice for a player/manager, but most fans I’m sure currently want Joe to stay on for many years to come, and I’m sure I’ve heard Quinny say in interviews that he wants to concentrate on the racing business when he does retire from soccer.

If I were Niall Quinn then I think I would enjoy this year with Sunderland, score a few goals against some of the best defences in the land (and I hope to God he gets one at OT!), help Sunderland consolidate in the Premiership and try to stay injury free. I think he would consider this a success. He would then be able to retire on a high note, rather than what could be a frustrating mid-table year with City.

As for Kinky, again, as for many, he is a personal favourite of mine from the last few years (admittedly there haven’t been a great many to choose from). His skill was obvious for all to see, and the frustration just as evident with his inability to be consistent enough to really be a finished product. Frank Clark’s admission that his great tactical mistake was his failure to play him as one of the front two was interesting and the fact that we currently need a new frontman suggests he could fill this rôle. It is a fascinating thought to think of Kennedy and Cooke twisting and turning on the wings with Kinky doing the same down the middle of the pitch. However, I can’t see little Georgi being on the end of too many crosses from our two wingers and even if his strike partner were Goater, can you imagine his frustration as big Shaun failed to put away most of the defence splitting passes Kinky could supply him with? As everyone also appreciates, he isn’t likely to be top of Joe’s shopping list, especially at the price and wages he would probably command. As with Niall, I don’t think we’ll be seeing Georgi Kinkladze back at Maine Road this season.

The only thing that would tempt me to buy him were I City’s manager (and also a fan) would be the horrible, horrible thought that we might be visited at Maine Road by Portsmouth with Alan Ball as manager and Kinky in his team. We all know what would happen… he would absolutely destroy us and probably score a hat-trick. I just hope the rumours about a move to Pompey aren’t true. But that’s the heart of a fan talking. Realistically, I think Joe is going to try other routes to solve our striking problem, and I wouldn’t rule out him looking at Mr Ferguson’s reserve side again for any on-loan talent he might be able to borrow. In the meantime, I just hope he puts Allsopp or even Russell ahead of Taylor in any team considerations.

In fact, as a measure of my lack of faith in Taylor’s abilities, I’ve decided to give 5 pounds sterling to charity (my nomination is any charity which does work to help donkeys, as it would be most appropriate) for every goal Gareth Taylor scores for the first team this year. I wonder if Joe Royle or any other MCIVTA subscriber would like to join me in this money saving venture?

CTIHTFOASPFTD (City Til I Have To Fork Out A Single Penny For The Donkeys), Mark Stangroom (


Just a short note from a distant Blues supporter.

In my opinion we have been too lax in the transfer department and if we don’t buy some players soon we may find ourselves kicking a ball around the Second Division very quickly. The first 5-6 games are very important and if we don’t get premium points we could be in trouble later in the season.

We need at least one – two good forwards – good with the head – and a good full back. Let’s try and maximum points straight away so we don’t have to struggle later on.

Regards and hello from Melbourne, Australia.

City boy till I die, Roy Hunter (


Joe Ramsbottom’s comments in MCIVTA 525 struck a chord. He commented on how my own and Euan Bayliss’s comments on Shaun Goater during the Liverpool game appeared to be at opposite poles of opinion. There are various opinions given in the Wolves reviews which also appear at odds with each other. It is interesting how 2 people can see the same game and voice 2 very different opinions. Obviously fans of competing teams, no matter how unbiased they feel they are will see the game first and foremost as a supporter of their own team. However, generally (unless you are a Rag of course), most fans will come to the same overall conclusion i.e. we deserved to win, we were outclassed etc… It’s when you look at the detail of a game where opinions will differ the most;- ‘It was a penalty’ vs. ‘he dived’ or ‘horrendous 2-footed tackle’ vs. ‘hard but fair tackle’. The same is true when looking at individual players.

My overall opinion of Shaun Goater is that he gives everything he can, but is not a great player either in terms of skill or consistency. When he first arrived at Maine Road he looked quick and fairly skilful. My perception last season was that he wasn’t quick or skilful and for a big man was crap in the air. Nevertheless, if at the beginning of last season, someone had said they would guarantee that he would score 21 goals, I would have been more than happy. We know with hindsight of course, that if he had scored 41 goals, it would have been a better reflection of the opportunities he had. I’m not a sports journalist or a statistics anorak, I go to match to hopefully see a good game (or at least a crap game that we win!), not to compile a minute by minute account of ‘the facts’. But obviously both during and after the game I naturally form opinions on what I have seen.

My perception of Goater’s performance during the Liverpool match was that he won more in the air than I expected – it could be that in reality he lost more than he won, although I don’t think so. My view of his perceived pace was based on one or two incidents, mainly where he beat Song (no slouch) to the ball when starting well behind the defender. His ‘sharpness’ was just an amalgamation of all the positive aspects I felt that I saw. I suppose in another way, differing opinions can be in part due to the ‘glass is half empty/ half full’ syndrome;- I want Goater to do well, therefore I see any slight positive aspect as something worth mentioning, whereas with Terry Cooke, I know that he has proved himself to be a far better player than recent performances suggest, therefore any negative aspects to his play are magnified. Someone else who has ‘given up’ on Goater may not be able to see anything positive, nor be able to see anything significantly negative in the performance of a ‘hero’, Mr Kinkladze for instance!

The recent comments about Kinkladze also show how perceptions differ. For me Gio, without any shadow of doubt is the most skilful player I have ever seen, and in my heart I would love nothing better but to see him again in a City shirt. In the dark, dark days, he literally was the only worthwhile reason to watch City, in the hope that he may do something which lifted the gloom a little. He did, on many occasions; Southampton, West Ham, Oxford, Southend even the QPR game which effectively relegated us to Division 2. However, the reality is, with or without Gio, there were many more gloomy days than bright ones during his time with us. Although it pains me to say it, my head says that Kinkladze is not yet a great player, not because he’s a ‘luxury’ or doesn’t tackle back but because as yet he has not been able to fit into a team successfully. He is an individual in a team sport, a sport where the sum of the parts must be greater than the individuals. To play him in his favoured position, a free rôle in midfield, weakens the structure of the team as a whole. To play him out of position as Ajax have done negates his skills and indeed probably replaces a player more suited to that position. Although it would need some reassessment of his career, Gio’s best position is probably (as Frank Clark appears to be saying) as a striker in the Dennis Bergkamp mould. His pace, skill, trickery and eye for goal surely would deliver far more productivity and goals than he has done so far, and may indeed allow him to make the final transition into becoming a truly great player. Now then, can you think of a team that currently needs a striker with skill, pace and an eye for goal?!

Phil Hartley (


Congratulations for giving Paul Dickov an extended contract. If there is a player up front who deserves it, then my vote would go to Paul Dickov for his non-stop running,and yes his skills, and who will ever forget his great goal at Wembley? Sorry there 2 other players up front who do not get my vote. But I do think we will all agree the club have done a great job from Mr Bernstein and all the other board members, Joe Royle and Willie Donachie and the staff. When the time is right and the funds are available,and the right player is available, the club will know what to do. I have the greatest confidence in everyone who runs Manchester City right now.

We will be behind them all the way! Up the Blues!

Ernie Barrow (


Can I suggest we go back to Wimbledon and sign Ekoku on loan? I don’t think we could afford to buy him outright but who knows? The Chief holds the ball up and is good in the air.

Wolves match. I noticed that Cooke’s crosses were too early and often grass cutters. Also neither Cooke or Kennedy wanted to play the ball to the striker, usually Dickov and then offer themselves for a one two in order to cross it into the box. Joe needs to get them practicing their triangles!

Graham Lord (


Alex Ferguson is sat at home polishing his three trophies when the phone rings.

“Hello boss, it’s David here.” says the caller.
“Hello David what’s wrong?” says (Sir) Alex.
“Well, Posh has bought me this jigsaw and I just can’t get any pieces to go together.”
“What is it meant to be?” enquires Mr F.
“Well, it’s meant to be a chicken according to the box, boss, but it’s doing me head in.”
Always being one to try and keep his team happy, Alex says “Well bring it round and I’ll see if I can help you.”

So 20 minutes later Becks and Fergie are stood over the kitchen table, whilst David bemoans the fact the pieces don’t go together, so he is unable to make the picture of the chicken on the box.

“David,” says Alex, “Put the f**king Cornflakes back in the box lad”.

Steve Garrod (


As a young lad my cousin used to open pop bottles for Sale Rugby Club. He was a year younger than me in those days and would tower above me as I craned my neck for a squint at the top shelf at the local newsagents. Somehow hearing his description of the Playgirl of the Month never quite lived up to getting to know her properly yourself. He lived in Brooklands and used to travel all the way to Weymouth every Summer holidays just to goad me with his homemade red and white bar scarf. We lived on the Isle of Man at the time, so that just shows what an oaf he was.

The Isle of Man is the sort of place where you can wander along the Victorian promenade in Douglas and believe that you are living in a time warp. Old ladies with hairnets give you farthings and the man on the corner with the wall eye is usually busy selling wicker baskets of tripe, when he’s not entertaining passers-by with his impersonation of marmite. The local football scene is reminiscent of a mixture of Old Corinthians and Ale House Thunder. With cousin Eric romping around the rock pools in his scarf and trunks, a strange loathing was welling up inside me which would out in one of two ways. Either I could force his head into a giant clam and run off for dinner or I could counter his bad taste with something more chic and adventurous. Then I found out there was a Third Way.

For some reason at this time there was football on Thursday afternoons. It didn’t seem odd at the time but then all that tripe was making me hallucinate anyway. I remember watching a match on the old Grundig between City and a black and grey striped Coventry. The date was January 16th 1974, soon after the official end of City’s greatest period in history. This was to haunt me for years until I realised that supporting City is supposed to be like eating semolina with a fork.

It all seemed to fit: here was a team full of mavericks. Lee, Law, Summerbee, Geoff Hammond. They played across the city from cousin Eric’s lot. Mick Horswill looked like a stand-in for Pan’s People. It was perfect. When I saw Tony Book’s flares there was no turning back. That season, after a strenuous League Cup run that took us past mighty Walsall, Plymouth, Carlisle and York, we were to face Wolves, the first team in the entire run to Wembley not playing in the bowels of the league. We all laughed at Geoff Palmer’s Three Degrees haircut, then Wolves won the cup. If I had realised that there was a very obvious pattern which was already developing in front of my teenage eyes, I would have taken up sword swallowing instead. By the following season things were beginning to move on. Cousin Eric, sporting his very own Geoff Palmer haircut, had a red tracksuit. I had a sky blue one. Someone had set Keith MacRae’s hair on fire and it was becoming crystal clear that I had lumbered myself with something on a par with bedsores. We beat Shooting Stars of Nigeria in a friendly to commemorate King Barry III’s graduation from Lagos Tap School. In the FA Cup we had the good fortune to have to play an away tie against Newcastle at home because Newcastle fans had dismantled Nottingham city centre the year before. We lost. Still the penny didn’t drop. Instead I got more and more interested. Ged Keegan, Mick Docherty and the original Fourth Degree Kenny Clements were my new heroes. Clements looked like he should work in a butchers. Docherty played as if he did. It was this season that we lost 4-2 to South Korea B in a friendly and an overhead kick by Dennis Tueart secured our last trophy before we went into hibernation. No turning back, obviously.

I still couldn’t get to a game, however. The only way to get off the Isle of Man in the seventies was to row like hell and hope that you didn’t get caught in the fishing nets. My dad, a keen agoraphobic and collector of hatpins, did not see the funny side of it at all. When we did manage to get him across the water and into the precincts of Goodison Park, he stepped in a mountain of horses**t and has never been seen at a football match again. If it was going to be this good each time, I’d make it across more frequently, I thought to myself.

Since then the drug has grown inside me to epic proportions. I left to study in Sheffield, where I was an unhealthily frequent traveller across the Pennines taking in Full Members’ Cup matches in sparsely populated places and generally living the life of Reilly (or Nicky Reid, as it was then). My career since then, for what it’s worth, has taken me to a variety of continental destinations, where I have watched the likes of MSV Duisburg, Borussia Dortmund, PSG, Cannes, Ajax and now Benfica without a hint of the Blue fever dying down. I found that you can adopt a local team to laugh at, to compare, even to urge on occasionally in times of need, but you cannot sit there in a pool of sweat like you do about the maverick Blues. You can’t ruin a relationship over Borussia Mönchengladbach after all. You can’t make terrible, expensive trips across Europe to sing yourself hoarse for AZ Alkmaar. You can’t spend hours pouring over newspaper cuttings of Valencia (can’t even understand newspaper cuttings about Valencia). Thus, I will be there for the Bolton and Forest games, as I was at Wembley, eyes bulging, heart tripping, pants sighing. Having been stupid enough to inaugurate the official supporters’ club on the Isle of Man and the CSA Holland branch, I am now digging for would-be members of the Lisbon Branch. So far we are four but give me time. I don’t give up easily. Let’s face it, none of us do, do we?

Simon Curtis


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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 #526