Newsletter #527

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on Pinterest


Ashley has taken the next 3 weeks off from being your steadfast regular editor in order to completely redecorate and refurnish the house in a style in keeping with his iMac, so I’m here filling in for him while he tries to find a stainless steel table and chair legs, parquet flooring and passing venetian blinds, etc.

Although Saturday’s game at Fulham ended without score, I’m quite happy we got our first point of the season from that fixture.

However… Andy Morrison had apparently heard that they were screening for Star Wars 2, “The Quest for Unquestioning Praise” at Craven Cottage last Saturday. Unfortunately he got it confused with the Alien, “Deep S**t Once Again” auditions, and tried to put his tongue down Stan Collymore’s throat. Whoopsy, Andy! Now you only face suspension. Well done, mate.

It’s hard to be guest editor of MCIVTA and not blow off, but (I will, so) I’m sure this will be an ace season for us. Wembley was a milestone for us, and when in conversation with all my City mates I know there is a sense of solidarity and mission about the club again that we haven’t felt since, well, since I stood as a kid in Piccadilly and saw the Cup Winners’ Cup being paraded. And that’s too long ago. This is it. We are back. God bless Joe and all the staff. Yes boys, we are City!

Tonight’s Why Blues are as poignant and individual as all Why Blues ever are. Fantastic.

All articles to me for the next 3 weeks, please.

Ta and ta-ra, your Matt Rayner (matt@mancity.net)
Next game: Sheffield United at home, Saturday 21st August 1999

MATCH REPORT 1

Fulham vs. Man City, Saturday 14th August. 3:00pm at Craven Cottage.

A warm but overcast afternoon. Sell out crowd of about 17 thousand. City supporters gathered at the Bishop’s Park end on the uncovered terrace. Parking problems and general congestion in this part of West London resulted in many City fans arriving some time after kick-off. The match was preceded by Mohammed Al-Fayed, the owner of Fulham FC, parading round the pitch accompanied by the extraordinary Fulham mascot ‘Sir Craven’, three bodyguards, his personal assistant, a couple of gofers, and the new manager. Mr. Al-Fayed announced plans to build a new 30 thousand all seater stadium at the ground. Existing traffic congestion and poor of transport facilities implied that this plan is even sillier than the pre-match parade. Most plans for new stadia these days involve extensive car parking and good road and rail facilities.

City lined up:

             Weaver
Crooks, Morrison, Wiekens, Tiatto
Whitley, Horlock, Bishop,  Kennedy
         Goater, Dickov

Fulham had Stan Collymore in attack, and he looked lean and athletic in stark contrast to Morrison in the City defence. For the first 5 minutes or so City hardly got the ball out of their own half. It looked as though we were missing Cooke on the right, but eventually got into the rhythm of the game and started to make some progress. All attacks came down the left via Tiatto and Kennedy. Morrison was dominant in defence, and City were winning all the aerial ball at the back. A war of attrition developed between Collymore and Morrison. Collymore was frustrated that he was not winning the ball in the air despite his height advantage, and started pushing and elbowing, Morrison retaliated, perhaps getting the retaliation in first. Fulham’s Horsfield actually caused City more problems than Collymore and in the first half Fulham looked far more likely to score than City. Fulham wasted a couple of opportunities from unforced City errors. Kennedy put across a couple of promising crosses from the left but neither Goater nor Dickov looked likely to connect.

In the second half there was a change of atmosphere, it started to rain, and City started to get more possession. As the game went on it eventually looked as though City might snatch the game. The home supporters became restless and began shouting for substitutes. City came close with a long shot from Horlock then Collymore started a pushing contest with Morrison which ended with both players getting yellow cards. As it was the City captain’s second, he was sent off. At this point it looked as though Fulham could win the match. Morrison had been very influential for City, but Vaughan came on for Kennedy, and played very well alongside Wiekens. Strangely the loss of Kennedy did not have the effect that could have been expected. The remaining City attacks were effective and Tiatto played a blinder on the left despite getting a knock. For the last few minutes Fulham besieged the City half and though the ref. appeared to allow about fifteen minutes of injury time it ended 0-0.

Ratings:

Weaver: 8 – One excellent save, good game.
Crooks: 7 – OK game, but Edghill is better at this position.
Morrison: 7 – Strong game marred by a few errors, war with Collymore and sending off.
Wiekens: 8 – Good game, and in control.
Tiatto: 8 – Played very well indeed.
Bishop: 7 – Class act, lacking a bit of pace.
Horlock: 7 – One good shot from long distance second half missed by inches. More required.
Whitley: 7 – Gritty performance, lacks vision.
Kennedy: 7 – Skilful, attractive play. Kept being caught offside. Works well with Tiatto.
Dickov: 6 – Worked hard as usual. Unrelenting play, continuous dialogue of ineffective complaints (shirt pulling, pushing, offside decisions).
Goater: 5 – Unable to get on the end of crosses from the left.

Sub:
Vaughan: 7 – On for Morrison, and did very well.

Perhaps this is some sort of parallel universe where bad is good and vice versa but this was a nil-nil draw away to Fulham in the league, the City captain was sent off, and the match was OK. So it’s two league games, one point and no goals. What price a new striker?

Bill Hardman (b.hardman@zoo.co.uk)

CLOCKWORK IMPROVEMENT

Fulham had the better of a mostly dull game in which the two teams were evenly matched. City did battle well and almost sneaked a win at the end. Although it was an improvement on last year’s horror show at Craven Cottage, I didn’t particularly enjoy this game, stood in the Fulham end because of the scarcity of away tickets. From my position the City end did not look full, which made it even more frustrating keeping my support for City silent.

In my experience, Fulham is a friendly ground but I hate it when opposing fans take home seats at Maine Road and don’t keep their gobs shut. “Do unto others…” and all that. Plus, as a London-based non-season ticket holder, I suspect it is an experience I will be forced to repeat in the coming months.

It was not a good performance attacking-wise by City. Defensively we coped reasonably well against an impressive Fulham forward line. We just about survived their onslaught after Andy Morrison’s sending off and throughout the game Nicky Weaver kept us in it with the high quality saves we have come to expect from the Boy Wonder.

We had a couple of good chances and more than enough possession to have won the game but, just like Wolves last Sunday and most games last season, City Lacked A Cutting Edge Up Front. I hereby declare CLACEUF to be a new acronym. Should save time writing up those match reports in the future. The main culprit this time was Kennedy, whose approach work was good but his crossing was – in the local vernacular – fuggin’ poor. We missed Cooke badly whilst Dickov and Goater had average games (i.e. one ran around a lot and the other skied a sitter). Bishop looked tired after 50 minutes and started to give the ball away in danger areas at the death. I don’t remember Pollock doing anything. For Fulham, Hughes in particular was moving the ball around nicely. And it was nice to see young Wright getting a seat on the bench.

I thought our makeshift defence played very well in the difficult circumstances. Morrison kept Collymore quiet until he was sent off and Wiekens was up to his usual good standard. The full backs had decent games too. Poor old Geoff Horseflies got a lot of lumps kicked out of him but he got his revenge on Morrison by diving and earning him his first yellow card. As for the sending-off, that was very careless refereeing in an otherwise competent performance. The Leamington Spa official obviously had no intention of dismissing Andy for his harmless tête-à-tête with Collymore but just wanted to stamp his authority on a game that was quite physical and threatening to boil over. From the long delay between yellow and red, it was obvious that he had forgotten he had already booked Morrison earlier on. The Fulham fans were only too eager to remind him and the ref had no choice but to proffer red while Andy trudged off to a chorus of “You Fat B**tard!”. The ref’s memory loss is understandable, I suppose. All the City fans I was with (in the Fulham end) had forgotten about the earlier booking as well and swore blindly after the game that I was making it up. You know who you are… and you say I was drunk! On this showing, neither team will storm Division 1. Fulham might have the resources to scrape into the play-offs but City are destined for mid-table mediocrity or worse. My prediction is 13th spot, which I will revise much higher if we sign a decent centre forward. What about Chris Armstrong? He would lead the line and feed off our wingers well. He seems to have vanished off the radar at Tottenham.

It’s definitely not panic stations yet however. There is a fair number of positives to be taken from this game and we have played quite well against two of the arguably stronger sides in the league. However, we have scored no goals. I fear my next match report will consist of nothing but an acronym.

MotM for City: Weaver (would have been Morrison).
MotM for Fulham: Hughes (with Horsfield a close second).

James Nash (J.Nash@mdx.ac.uk)

PETE’S REPORT

Having enjoyed reading everyone else’s match reports, I thought I might have a go at this one myself. I hope, as it’s my début on MCIVTA I can be forgiven if it’s a bit of a jumble.

Last Saturday I set off from Luton with my 12 year old son, heading for Craven Cottage for our first sight of the Blues in Division One this time around. The day was progressing well as we took refreshment in MacDonalds and got off the Tube at Putney Bridge, to be greeted by the sight of so many blue shirts that had taken over the nearest pub, all standing outside in the sun. Everyone in good humour and good voice.

We made our way to the ground in good time, taking a nice stroll through the park en route. All was well until we got to the ground. I asked a copper where we had to buy tickets from, as I had read in the paper that there were 12 pounds standing tickets available. When he said they had stopped selling them that morning, the words sick, gutted, parrot etc. all sprang to mind. He did say, however, that if I made my way towards the main road I might be able to buy some.

I first encountered a rather rough looking character, holding the side of his jaw, and stemming the flow of blood with a handkerchief, who offered me 2 seats at 35 pounds each. When he clocked the expression on my face he dropped the price to £30. We left him and a little further up ran into two lads offering a pair of 17.50 at 15 pounds each. This seemed more like it, as there was now only about ten minutes to kick-off.

Elated that we could now see the match seated and at only 3 pounds more each, there seemed to be an upturn in the day. It was confirmed by the fact that we sat next to another exiled Blue, from Brighton, who had got there at 10 O’clock that morning and had to pay 30 pounds for his seat from a man in the street.

The City line-up didn’t seem that strong to me, missing the likes of Edghill, Granville, Pollock, Brown and with Cooke on the bench. The match overall was not high on drama, with relatively little goalmouth action. In the first half Fulham had the better chances, with a clear header from a cross by Horsfield going wide, and a shot from Collymore being competently saved by Weaver. Another effort was pushed over by the ‘keeper. The only other notable events were a good twisting run and shot by Kennedy and the ridiculous caution for Morrison when Horsfield slipped over. Being a qualified referee myself, I winced at this error. The second half carried on much the same as the first, with both teams cancelling each other out. The sending off of Morrison for whatever (I couldn’t really see it as it was at the other end, except that it involved Collymore) was made even more farcical when the referee was only alerted to the fact he’d already cautioned him when the crowd shouted. We had our two best chances when Dickov headed straight at the ‘keeper and Goater slid in to put a chance over the bar, with only the ‘keeper to beat. We then held on reasonably comfortably for the rest of the game.

Points and comments:

Weaver: handling and positioning good, kicking sometimes wayward – 7
Crooks: average game from an average player – 6
Wiekens: solid game at the back, rarely looked troubled – 7
Morrison: kept Collymore in check, unlucky with the first caution – 7
Tiatto: surprisingly in my opinion man of the match, strong in the tackle and always getting forward – 8
Whitley: tried hard, but not particularly effective – 6
Bishop: very poor, passing often awful, caught in possession, on this showing a spent force – 4
Horlock: industrious, steady game – 6
Dickov: usual chasing game, not impressed with him in Division 2, so unlikely to set things alight in Div 1. A good sub. – 6
Goater: ineffective, like Dickov missed the one good chance he had, but service was poor – 5
Kennedy: very disappointing on this display. looked one-paced, one-footed and overhit nearly every cross – 5

Now to some of the Fulham “stars”:

Hughes: comfortable on the ball but no real end product – 6
Lee Clark: same as Hughes – 6
Horsfield: workmanlike striker. With Kit Symons suggesting he should be in the England squad, it shows what he knows about football.
Collymore: an absolutely lazy waste of space. Didn’t break sweat, tackle or look remotely interested – 2 (because he had a half decent shot).

Pete Babbage (care of pk@barnlib.demon.co.uk)

BRIEF BRIEFING

Just briefly, an excellent battling performance by City to claim a well-deserved point.

A game of three parts.

First half Fulham had most of the play but created few chances thanks to our excellent defending. We had few ideas going forward but looked very solid.

First period of the second half, we really took the game to Fulham, playing some good stuff, though again there were few chances. Fulham were now playing on the counter and as a result had a few chances of their own, but Weaver was in typically outstanding form.

After the Morrison joke sending-off, we obviously had to defend in numbers, though ironically it was in this period that we had the best 2 chances of the match, when both Goater and Dickov should have done better with only the ‘keeper to beat.

Individual players:

Weaver   8 - England's Number 1.
Crooks   7 - Vastly improved from his nighmare performances in the
             opening games, but still did not get forward enough.
Tiatto   8 - Why couldn't he play like this last season? He has been
             so good, maybe we will not need to buy Granville.
Morrison 7 - Had an albeit poor Collymore in his pocket, but made one
             or two slip-ups / errors which were perhaps only
             noticeable because they are so rare coming from him.
Wiekens  9 - Back to his form of the first 2/3 of last season. Great
             defender.
Bishop   7 - Not at his best but kept grafting away and working hard.
             Tiring at the end.
Horlock  9 - In my humble opinion, one of his best ever performances
             for us. Worked so hard, won many important tackles, and
             often made runs from midfield.
Whitley  8 - Epitomised the battling spirit of the team, winning many
             seemingly lost causes with excellent tackles.
Kennedy  7 - Not as good as Burnley but has his moments. His natural
             ability is there for all to see.
Dickov   7 - Ran around, chased back, though little serious threat
             up front.
Goater   8 - Worked as hard as anyone in the team, did not give away
             possession once, won many headers. Should have scored his
             chance but is looking better than ever before for City.
             Get off his back!
Sub:
Vaughan  7 - Continued the good work of Morrison, whose absence was
             not missed.

So very pleasing overall. Where were the missing 2,000 City fans? Also, where is Michael Brown? I have seen virtually no comment on this axing of one the stars of last season from management or supporters. It seems he and Royle do not get on and I fear we may lose someone who I believe has the ability, if not the right attitude, to one day play for England.

Mark Braude (mark.braude@some.ox.ac.uk)

NEWS SUMMARY

City Notch First Point

City chalked up their first point of the season on Saturday by drawing 0-0 with Fulham at Craven Cottage. Despite being reduced to ten men after a bizarre 69th minute incident which saw Andy Morrison earn a second yellow card (see below), City held out with some comfort in the end. Indeed, the depleted Blues might even have snatched victory after their skipper’s dismissal, Shaun Goater and Paul Dickov both missing presentable chances. Fulham’s best period had come earlier in the second half, when Nicky Weaver was called into action three times in a five-minute spell on what was otherwise a fairly relaxed afternoon for the City ‘keeper. It was a disciplined rather than inspired team performance from City, and there was rather harsh criticism from some fans arising from the fact of a second successive blank scoresheet in the league. This means that the Blues are the only side in the division still looking for a first goal. City are in 20th place, immediately above next week’s opponents Sheffield United on goal difference, though the four sides immediately above the Blues also have one point from two games.

Royle Anger at Red-Card Ref

Saturday’s point was overshadowed somewhat by the sending off of City captain Andy Morrison for a second bookable offence, a decision which left Joe Royle seething. “I’m amazed. We have had a player sent off for allegedly putting his tongue down another player’s throat,” said the City boss. “I haven’t asked Stan whether or not he enjoyed it. This is a passionate game; a man’s game. That was nothing and we have to suffer the consequences.” Fulham striker Geoff Horsfield, himself dismissed at Birmingham the previous week, took a similar view, commenting, “They seem to be booking players for nothing now. It’s alarming everybody that so many people are being sent off because it’s going to change the outcome of games.” Horsfield was involved in Morrison’s first booking after 12 minutes, when he appeared to, in footballing parlance, make the most of the challenge. However, the ex-Halifax man explained after the game that he’d slipped and said, “It [the decision] was a bit harsh because there was nothing malicious in the tackle. I even said to the ref, ‘Don’t book him’.” Morrison will receive the standard one-match ban for a dismissal arising from two yellow cards, and he’ll sit out the visit to Bolton on Saturday 28 August.

Meanwhile, Andy Morrison claimed his sending off wouldn’t have happened had referee Paul Rejer realised he’d already booked the City captain. “Referees have got a difficult job and they have to be strong but to get a red card for what I did is ridiculous,” Morrison told the Manchester Evening News, protesting his innocence. “I don’t know what happened really. I got up after a challenge, Stan [Collymore] pushed me and we came head to head which is one of those silly things that happen in football. I just stuck my tongue out as if to say keep away from me. I was just mimicking him really and the referee pulled his cards out. After he flashed them he said ‘now settle down the pair of you’. Then he got his notebook out and realised I was already booked. I could see the amazement in his eyes straight away.” City have already asked the Referees’ Assessor to request Mr. Rejer to review his decision on the second booking, but Joe Royle recognises that the chances of a reprieve for his captain are remote.

Striker Speculation Hots Up

Despite Joe Royle’s repeated votes of confidence in his existing strike force, the tabloids continue to link the City manager with transfer moves to strengthen his forward line. Whether there’s any substance to the rumours remains to be seen, though Royle did assert more than once his wish to sign a striker last season, and Mark Robins, the acquisition aimed at meeting this need in the short term, failed to win an extended contract. Certainly, the weekend newspapers appear to feel that there is still a vacancy, with the three following names all figuring in the speculation:

Kevin Gallacher – Blackburn are expected to sign Bradford’s Robbie Blake this week. As they also have Nathan Blake, Ashley Ward, Matt Jansen and Kevin Davies, Gallacher is probably now surplus to requirements at Ewood Park. While the asking price could be within City’s range, the board may not be impressed at the player’s wage demands. Moreover, as a rather injury-prone 32-year-old, his signing would hardly fit in with Joe Royle’s blueprint of bringing in players in their early twenties with something to prove.

Andy Booth – available at Sheffield Wednesday, and being linked with Forest, Blackburn, Leicester and City. Danny Wilson reportedly wants an improbable £5 million for Booth, crazy money for a man who can’t make the team at Hillsborough. Even if Wednesday lower the asking price to the £2.75 million they originally paid Huddersfield for the player, he’d still appear to be out of the Blues’ price range unless the prospect of a healthy cash injection suddenly rears its head again.

Bjarki Gunlaugsson – twin brother of Leicester’s Icelandic international Arnar, who first played in England with Bolton. Gunlaugsson plays for RK Rekjavik but wants to try his luck in England and is reportedly available at £200,000 once his team’s UEFA Cup run is over (they lead their tie with Kilmarnock 1-0 after the home leg). He’s an unknown quantity but is described in one report as “pacy” and a good bet to deliver increased firepower on a limited budget. For this reason, he seems the most likely of the trio to be considered by the City management, though the suspicion is that they’d like to see him at Maine Road on trial or on loan before committing to a permanent deal.

A couple of other pieces of gossip: Michael Hughes is rumoured to be desperate to leave Wimbledon because he’s unhappy with new manager Egil Olsen’s long-ball style (as far as I’m aware, he’s not as yet being touted for a Maine Road return), while Joe Royle is said still to be tracking York midfielder Alan Pouton, with whom he was linked earlier in the summer.

Norwich Fixture Set for Switch

As has long been expected, City’s visit to Norwich looks set to be moved from its original September 4 date. There are several European Championships qualifiers to be played on the same day, and the Blues are likely to be hit by call-ups for Northern Ireland’s home game with Turkey and the Republic’s visit to Croatia. Kevin Horlock, Jim and Jeff Whitley and Tommy Wright could all be on duty in Belfast, while Mark Kennedy is likely to travel with Mick McCarthy’s squad. The trip to Carrow Road is one of three games under threat from Euro 2000 ties, the others being the home fixtures with Portsmouth (due to be played on October 9) and Stockport (scheduled for November 13).

Lara Leads the Way

According to The Guardian newspaper, City sponsors Eidos have been named the planet’s fastest-growing company by the US-based World Economic Forum. The London-based computer games manufacturer now employs 600 people and has a gross profit margin of 65% on sales. Is it a coincidence that the accolade comes shortly after the company announced its sponsorship deal with Manchester City?

Peter Brophy (brophy_peter@hotmail.com)

OPINION – FULHAM

Of course if I’d been offered a draw before the game then I’d have readily taken it, especially after last season’s fiasco, so I suppose I should be pleased. But yet again we seem to have tossed away a couple of golden scoring chances.

The 5-0 drubbing of Burnley in midweek is actually quite useful to put things in perspective. Burnley give a useful and immediate comparison of the relative standards of 1st vs. 2nd Division defences. In other words we have shown that we are better than the 2nd Division… but maybe not yet good enough to thrive in the 1st.

The fact that the 5 goals against Burnley’s 2nd Division defence were sandwiched by 2 goal-less games in the 1st Division is therefore highly significant, and gives a bit of a warning that should definitely not be ignored.

Look at the league table and it’s obvious even at this early stage of the season – City are the only team yet to score even a single solitary goal. That definitely worries me. We’ve had this problem for so long it pains me to see it continuing.

Someone wrote in to suggest that Joe Royle uses the Burnley 2nd leg to experiment with some of the reserve strikers and I couldn’t agree more. The trouble is we have a bit of a catch-22 approaching and I don’t know what the answer to it is… Because one of the most likely youngsters deserving a chance against Burnley is Wright-Phillips, but the problem is his height (lack of). The striker making the best impression so far is undoubtedly Dickov, but can you imagine a front pairing of Dickov and Wright-Phillips, total height almost 6ft between them, just at the time when we finally get 2 decent wingers! Maybe part of the answer is to use Wright-Phillips as a sub for Dickov? I don’t know. Anyway, to sign off now, I heard that Morrison’s sending off against Fulham was a bit harsh, so…

F lagrantly
U nfair
L osing
H ardman
A ndy
M orrison

Steve Maclean (Stevemaclean@stm1.freeserve.co.uk)

COMEBACK ON TICKET STUBS

After last season, I can’t imagine why anyone would not keep their ticket stubs, so if Keith Riley has lost his… Like I said, the alternative is 3,000 people queueing on the first day of sale, incredibly time-wasting. Otherwise it’s the dreaded ballot (which means far more work for the ticket office).

However, the practice of asking for one particular match stub to get a ticket for a future match does set up the problem that if you miss one match you may miss the next match that qualifies you for the one after that.

The “attendance tracking” system may help, but has one problem. Last season, apart from York and Bristol City where there were people stuck with spares, any season ticket holder could have built a good record by buying a ticket even if they didn’t go. There is thus the potential for two claims on away tickets – from the person who bought the ticket and the person who went.

Steve Parish (SParish@baldmosher.demon.co.uk)

UNPUZZLING

Some of your contributors seemed puzzled by Terry Cooke’s performances. My own view is that he performed very well against the Wolves given the service he received. When Terry came to Maine Road he combined very well with Michael Brown and I’m sure he misses that contribution. I’m puzzled as to why Brown isn’t even on the bench. I also believe that Brown is a far better footballer than Whitley (seeing the latter at both Bristol and against Wolves did not convince me that he should be in the team; his passing is still erratic and he is clumsy in the tackle). If we are going to play with both Kennedy and Terry Cooke then I ‘m not sure whether we need Horlock (as long as we have a proper left back like either Granville or Tiatto). My preference would be for Bishop and Brown to be in central midfield. Bishop has vision and class, Brown works hard and has more skill than his ‘bad boy’ image implies. To get the best out of Terry Cooke one has to pass the ball through early so he can run onto it rather than to his feet. If City had not bought Morrison and Cooke we would still be in the Second Division. Both of these guys are good enough for the 1st Division and I don’t think they’d be out of their depth in the Premiership either! Watching City against Wolves confirmed my view that we need a new striker. What a shame we didn’t go for David Johnson, a man who has shown he can score goals in this division.

Ian Burgess (i.burgess@virgin.net)

BRIAN McBRIDE

I have to agree with Wallace Poulter in MCIVTA 526. About 2 years ago I suggested via MCIVTA that City try to get Brian McBride. He is superb in the air and has improved even more in recent times. He is now a permanent fixture in the US team and should soon start attracting attention.

Alan Arenson (alan.arenson@equitable.com)

Q: ARE YOU A SPARE?

There are spare seats available on a minibus from Cambridge to the Sheffield United game on Saturday – route is along the A14 then up the M6. Cost from Cambridge is about £11 but we’ll work something out for anyone who we pick up on route. If anyone’s interested contact me at the address below as soon as possible.

Sharon Hargreaves

FRANKIE SAYS

Frank Clark has been plugging his new autobiography in an interview with When Saturday Comes editor, Tony Lyons. Commenting on boardroom disunity at City, he says: “Francis Lee assured me that the troubles had been sorted out, but in fact they were all on the back burner. I did OK at first and everything seemed fine, but in the final few months it all came to the surface again. The biggest problem there was people on the periphery of the club – not Francis – people who’d been on the board then kicked out but still hanging around. One faction brought Dennis Tueart in to look after their interests and report back to them and generally I felt undermined. The players will begin to lose confidence in a manager when they feel he’s lost confidence in himself.” Later in the interview – carried in the magazine’s September issue – he says: “The last British player I worked with who smoked was John O’Hare at Forest 20 years ago.” Interesting, Frank.

David Butler (me@davidbutler.free-online.co.uk)

TOTALLY DISBELIEVING BLUE STRIKES AGAIN (and I thought it was just me)

Just a quick contribution… This is a candidate for the last post-Wembley match review!

I know that in a way everything has been said, but in another way you know it hasn’t, because there is another perspective, and that is down to the passage of time. I’ve just borrowed a tape of the complete game from another Sheffield Blue (hi Gary!) and watched it all the way through for the first time since That Day. Now I’d bought ‘City Are Back‘ already (who hasn’t?!) and watched it loads of times already (who hasn’t?!) but this was the first time through the whole thing… and what a difference it made. Suddenly, instead of that goal, the whole game was before me. Here’s what I noticed:

  1. What a cracking game it was. My suspicion / memory was that up until Gillingham scored maybe it hadn’t really been that good, and certainly the first half was tight. But from about the hour mark to the end of penalties, I’d put it against England vs. Argentina for sheer drama. Even before Gillingham scored there were some incredible moments (how didn’t Taylor score for Gillingham when Nicky screwed his clearance?; why didn’t Shaun pull it back for Dickov when he hit the post?… and so many more, perhaps the most painful moment was Dickov hitting Bartram’s right leg at 1-0).
  2. What an honest game it was. I’m afraid that my memory of Gillingham had become sullied by their fair-weather fans, and that ridiculous business afterwards about demanding a replay because the ref had a beer with some City fans. But actually if you look at both sets of players on the pitch, there was scarcely a bad challenge in what must have been getting on for 130 minutes of football (the one notable exception being Darren Carr’s appalling challenge on Cooke a minute before the end of extra time, but I guess we can put that down to tiredness).
  3. What an impact Bishop made (does anyone agree with me?!). I think he came on at 0-0 and very soon we were two-nil down, so I guess I had mentally linked those two facts up in my mind. But IMHO, and watching it again tonight, he changed the way we played with his thoughtful distribution and link-up play.
  4. What a great game Dickov had: just for sheer spirit, he was my man of the match this time. Sky gave the MoM award to Vince Bartram when Gillingham were 2-0 up, but Dickov was unbelievable for passion. Obviously the goal was the moment, but I just admired his unbelievable energy, his frustration when he smashed the ball into the billboards near the end of normal time, then the way he kept going when his mate Bartram saved from him at 1-0, his amazing first touch for the goal, and his fired-up performance in extra time. Paul Power – the all-Blue man of ‘my era’ – must have been wiping the tears from his eyes – I bet Dickov bleeds blue.
  5. What a terrible decision Pulis made in taking off Asaba, and how Joe capitalised on it by pushing on and playing direct. Suddenly they sat back, and panicked at anything that came their way. It all looked so possible, in fact watching it again I am amazed we didn’t win it in extra time.

Will there ever be another day like it? Let’s hope so!

CTTWTWO (City Till The Wembley Tape Wears Out! – and then some…),Sheffield Blue (nigel@ntimperley.freeserve.co.uk)

(Matt says: “God bless us all Nigel”)


LITTLE DEVIL

Could this be true, a red infiltrator on the board of M.C.F.C.!? According to Saturday’s Guardian, City’s new finance director, Alistair Mackintosh, at the age of 10, was Man U*d’s mascot in a game against Stoke. The story came from Mr. Mackintosh’s home paper, the Lymington Times, in an interview with his dad! A ‘red face’ in the boardroom on Monday then.

Colin Paxton (colin@cpphoto.force9.co.uk)

CLASSIC QUESTION

Can someone tell me what season the ‘classic’ blue City shirt being sold in the club shop at the moment is from? I presume it’s from the early 70s or late 60s, but I wondered if it was from a specific season (I was thinking ’68 for obvious reasons). Also, I have been away for a while… is Michael Brown injured? How and how long for?

Jon Abel (flapster@barrysworld.co.uk)

SOUND POINT

Now that our move to East Manchester has been sealed, I hope that there’ll be talk of where the more vocal supporters will go. Although I find Arsenal’s idea of an official singers’ section a cheesy Premiership-ism, it might be an idea for a collective sway towards one side or end. It’s weird to hear people chant “Kippax, Kippax, give us a song” these days. Whether such an area should be a side or an end? Well, obviously, it was said for years that while most clubs needed an end for their more fervently-tempered supporters, City needed a side. The club could call the louder side/end the Kippax for the hell of it. Maybe. In any case, both sides and ends will be full of City’s most fervent fans.

CTTCCHWIAWCIAGNC (City til the cows come home which is a while ‘cos I ain’t got no cows),Marc Starr (MARCATU@aol.com)

BLUE TUNE

As much as I hate mobile phones that play t***ty tunes (especially when someone’s goes off on the train) I did think it would be good to have one that plays Blue Moon. It’s sad I know but imagine instant recognition between Blues in strange places via a simple tune. If there are any musicians out there who can translate it for programming or if someone has already done it, please email it to me. Cheers.

The Rags could adopt “Money, money, money” by Abba for theirs.

Peter Abbott (pabbott.centreltd@btinternet.com)

LONE STAR MATE

Being an American, I’m very proud (as I know all Blues are) of my heritage and I’m thrilled to see Americans do well in whatever the occasion, but especially football because it’s not a sport we’re known for. I could not be more proud of Claudio Reyna and the recent success he has found with Rangers (wish it was with City – see Ernie’s article in MCIVTA 525), Kasey Keller for the respect he has received world-wide, and our women who have done it again at the international level.

I am deeply troubled however by the recent trend of America’s future soccer stars worshipping the Devil! Jason Kries from the Dallas Burn is tied for the scoring lead with 14 goals & 10 assists, and is (maybe was) one of my favourite players in the MLS (especially being from the local team). In a recent email Q&A on mls-net.com, this transpired:

Q:
Who is your favorite soccer player in the world?
A:
I am a big fan of David Beckham with Manchester United. He works both ends of the field really well and I think that we play pretty similar games.

How disturbing to hear. I was shocked and quite displeased with my local hero. I’ve seen him play several times, and would hardly consider his play as a forward anything like #7.

Chris Albright is yet another up and comer who recently passed up big money in Germany to stay and play with MLS, but only if he could play for DC United or LA. He is a forward who left school early, and he’s definitely got game. Well he ended up with DC and as the league tried to market him, they had a chat forum for him to participate in on mls-net.com and these were his responses to a couple of questions:

meg614 asks: Who is your favorite soccer player, other than yourself?
Chris Albright: I enjoy watching Dwight Yorke from Manchester United play.
meg614 asks: Which European team would you most like to play for?
Chris Albright: Manchester United. Realistically, probably not Man U, but that’s everybody’s dream!

Speak for yourself Chris. You couldn’t pay me enough to even look at a ManUre kit without cringing. I find this alarming, and offensive. You would think we were in Asia with all the ManYoo lovers over here. And the reason for this corruption is because of the lack of quality media coverage of the beautiful game here in the states. It seems that the World’s Strongest Man competition, or the Women’s Pro Basketball Leagues are on ESPN (America’s big sports channel) more often than any soccer. And ESPN even has a contract with MLS and they still don’t market them. The only European games we get are tape delayed Spanish games on Mondays, Champions’ League matches (with you know who getting all the coverage), and the weekly 30 minute hi-lite show (also with the Rags garnering most of the attention). This lack of coverage on soccer besides United is what is leading to the corruption of our future Reynas and Kellers. Or is it?

American soccer has made great strides in the last year. Going from dead last in the France ’98 to whipping Germany twice in a year, beating Argentina and Chile, nearly doing the same to Brazil, and the women winning their second World Cup in three tries. But, as we do this with our brightest, newest and youngest stars, I’m only left to wonder if our recent success is due to a deal with the Prince of Darkness himself. Big wins over big countries in exchange for extolling the greatness of his Red Devils here on earth, at every chance you get. It’s starting to look like that isn’t it?

But never mind them (or my editing, hey Dillon 😉 – Matt), I just wanted to say thank you from Dallas to all the Blues across the globe who wrote me after my first article in MCIVTA 514 titled “Dillon From Dallas Writes…”. The response was tremendous and I’ve made a lot of friends world-wide. I’ve never had more fun chatting with people about City via email or on Blue View. Because of the generosity of Blues everywhere (U.S., England, Norway, Santo Domingo, India and Australia), I not only got to view the Wembley Final via video tape, I also received a Wembley Match programme. And it looks as if my pilgrimage to Maine Road will happen as tickets have been generously donated for the March 18 clash with Charlton. Thanks Andrew, Dave, Peter, James, Ashley B., Tor, and everyone else that helped.

I can’t wait to visit England (and Moss Side) in the spring, and thanks again to everyone who dropped me a line and made me really feel welcome into the Laser Blue Army. God knows we need all the soldiers we can get with the evil empire on the other half of Manchester. And also thanks to McVittee for providing the means for my enlistment!

Dillon Allie, Dallas, Texas USA (Dillon.M.Allie.1@nd.edu orliamg19@hotmail.com, Liamg19 on Blueview)

BLUE HUMOUR

Q. Why did the Man U fan cross the road?
A. Because he still had his #### stuck in the Chicken.

Peter Abbott (pabbott.centreltd@btinternet.com)

(Matt asks: “Peter. Did Ashley put you up to that one as my editorial initiation by fire?”)


WHY BLUE?

Growing up in balmy Belfast in the late 70’s usually left a youngster with the following options:

  1. Follow your local team, and a popular English team.
  2. Follow your local team, a popular English team and either Rangers or Celtic, depending on your persuasion.
  3. Ignore your local team, as they’re just a bunch of semi-pro Scottish rejects and general no-hopers, and support a popular English team.
  4. Follow your local team and an exotic (ie unpopular) English team.

At the age of 10 I was firmly in the first group, with the odd flirtation with the second group. Being from the south-east of the city, the Castlereagh Road area, I was an ardent Glentoran fan. I watched them every week and travelled everywhere. This was slightly to the chagrin of my old man who had been a Blueman (arch enemies Linfield) in his youth, but who now wouldn’t go watch them if they were playing in the backyard. I felt a slight affinity with Rangers, but only because all my mates were Huns. Across the water, I went with the flow and followed Liverpool. No-one needs to be reminded what a team they were in the late 70’s and I’m sure I can be forgiven for my mistaken allegiance under what was considerable peer pressure. My bedroom was a sea of red.

Luckily, deliverance (and a lifetime membership to the 4th group above) was not far away. Our two cub scout leaders at the time were both keen fans of English football and would try to take our troupe across the Irish Sea to watch a game once every season. In March 1979 we went over to Manchester to watch City play Bolton at the Academy. We got the whole package that day – we played a couple of local teams in the morning (including one of City’s young teams I seem to recall), then got taken around the ground and got to meet big Joe and Tommy Booth. I can only remember the olympic-sized team bath and the shear hugeness of the Main Stand. I don’t remember much about the game – we won 2-1 I think and the crowd was bigger than anything I’d ever seen at The Oval. After the match we crowded into the souvenir shop, where I spent all my wad on a daft bracelet and a couple of posters.

Another part of the deal was that every member of the troupe were enrolled as members of the Junior Blues, whether they wanted to or not. It was no wonder City could claim they had the world’s largest junior supporters’ club. All in all I was well chuffed with the whole trip and it didn’t take me long (on the bus home) to decide that I was now going to be a City fan. My mates all felt this was just a fad that would soon wear off. There weren’t too many City fans about where I came from, but I think that just added to the glamour. I enjoyed being different. My new allegiance also helped to further embed my utter contempt for the Rags. I particularly hated Mickey Thomas.

A little over two years later and we were at Wembley. Not much chance of getting a ticket, but I remember the Hutch goals pretty clearly. I gurned like a stuck pig after the replay. Everyone is familiar with the hopeless 80’s, but I stuck with the Blues. High school was a further testing ground of my faith and I held out like a lone Comanche surrounded by Yankees. In the end I got quite well known as the only student who supported a Second Division team. I think there was even a little respect for my loyalty. During this time my hatred for the Rags reached an all-time low, when as an excitable 14 year old (I think) I was walking out of OT with my dad, having just seen Dave Bennett equalise in the last couple of minutes. A Rag walked up to us and promptly kneed me in the groin. What lovely people they are.

University followed and I finally got to see the Blues on a regular basis, as I joined the Leicester and Rugby branch and went home and away between 1987 and 1990. Being a bit of a tit, I missed the 5-1. I saw the result in the local paper in Ottawa when on holiday and almost kissed the guy behind the counter. I then had a year in Edinburgh, where I got a lift to the home games with a fine bloke, Sam Bell from Shotts. If anyone knows how I can get in touch with Sam again (he’s a member of the “60 Club” (???)), I’d be very grateful.

Now I’m out in Taiwan and City are further away than ever. I haven’t seen a game since 1995 and it really p***es me off. But thank God for the Net. MCIVTA is a real lifeline for expat Blues.

CTID, Neal Beatty – Taiwan Blue (Neal_Beatty@sgsgroup.com)

WHY BLUE?

Hello.

I will tell you why I am a City fan. It is not so long but I hope it is going.

I am a 19 years old boy from Denmark in Scandinavia. It all started in the Christmas of 1994. I had just brought the English football magazine Match. There was an poster of Manchester City in, and so I started to look out for Man City’s results, and some time Danish television was sending live English football, so I began to be more and more interested in City.

Since I began to follow City my absolute favourite City player had been Richard Edghill. In the summer of 1995, I became member of the Scandinavian True Blue, and have been member since. A lot of my friends think I am stupid because I am a City fan, they are Arsenal, Man. Utd and Newcastle fans.

I have not been to Maine Road, but the best moment in my life was on my birthday (30/5) when I went to Wembley, to see City play for the first time in my life. And it was so fantastic, to see City for the first time, and on Wembley and what a dramatic match. Here in the Summer I was in Copenhagen to have a Manchester City tattoo on my arm. Now you know how I became Manchester City fan.

CTID, Lars “Edghill” Larsen, Denmark (lhl@teliamail.dk)

RESULTS

First Division Results

Friday, August 13 1999

Huddersfield Town             3-2  Blackburn Rovers          13,670
Grayson (og 26)                    Carsley (65)
Stewart (51)                       Broomes (90)
Edwards (90)

Saturday, August 14 1999

Barnsley                      2-3  Crystal Palace            14,461
Barnard (pen 44)                   Rodger (23)
Sheron (64)                        Austin (60)
                                   Bradbury (75)
Bolton Wanderers              2-1  Queens Park Rangers       13,019
Holdsworth (pen 11)                Peacock (pen 38)
Gudjohnson (63)
Fulham                        0-0  Manchester City           16,754
Norwich City                  0-1  Birmingham City           15,261
                                   McCarthy (11)
Nottingham Forest             2-1  Grimsby Town              17,121
Freedman (26)                      Groves (pen 49)
Palmer (87)
Port Vale                     1-2  West Bromwich Albion       7,891
Minton (pen 38)                    Hughes (14)
Kilbane (55)
Sheffield United              1-1  Walsall                   12,581
Murphy (1)                         Wrack (38)
Stockport County              2-1  Tranmere Rovers            6,555
Connelly (79)                      Henry (33)
Dinning (pen 85)
Wolverhampton Wanderers       1-1  Portsmouth                21,024
Keane (48)                         Allen, R (36)

First Division Table

Up to and including Saturday, August 14 1999 (8:21pm)

                              HOME            AWAY
                         P  W  D  L  F  A   W  D  L  F  A   Pts   GD
Stockport County         2  1  0  0  2  1   1  0  0  1  0     6    2
Portsmouth               2  1  0  0  2  0   0  1  0  1  1     4    2
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Crystal Palace           2  0  1  0  1  1   1  0  0  3  2     4    1
Birmingham City          2  0  1  0  2  2   1  0  0  1  0     4    1
West Bromwich Albion     2  0  1  0  1  1   1  0  0  2  1     4    1
Bolton Wanderers         2  1  0  0  2  1   0  1  0  0  0     4    1
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Wolverhampton Wanderers  2  0  1  0  1  1   1  0  0  1  0     4    1
Charlton Athletic        1  1  0  0  3  1   0  0  0  0  0     3    2
Ipswich Town             1  1  0  0  3  1   0  0  0  0  0     3    2
Queens Park Rangers      2  1  0  0  3  1   0  0  1  1  2     3    1
Huddersfield Town        2  1  0  0  3  2   0  0  1  1  3     3   -1
Nottingham Forest        2  1  0  0  2  1   0  0  1  1  3     3   -1
Fulham                   2  0  1  0  0  0   0  1  0  2  2     2    0
Walsall                  2  0  1  0  0  0   0  1  0  1  1     2    0
Crewe Alexandra          1  0  0  0  0  0   0  1  0  1  1     1    0
Swindon Town             1  0  0  0  0  0   0  1  0  0  0     1    0
Blackburn Rovers         2  0  1  0  0  0   0  0  1  2  3     1   -1
Norwich City             2  0  0  1  0  1   0  1  0  1  1     1   -1
Port Vale                2  0  0  1  1  2   0  1  0  0  0     1   -1
Tranmere Rovers          2  0  1  0  0  0   0  0  1  1  2     1   -1
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Manchester City          2  0  0  1  0  1   0  1  0  0  0     1   -1
Sheffield United         2  0  1  0  1  1   0  0  1  0  2     1   -2
Grimsby Town             2  0  0  1  0  1   0  0  1  1  2     0   -2
Barnsley                 2  0  0  1  2  3   0  0  1  1  3     0   -3

Dorien James (dorien.james@btinternet.com)
With thanks to Soccernet

WWW MANCHESTER CITY SUPPORTERS’ HOME PAGE:
http://www.uit.no/mancity/


MCIVTA ADDRESSES:
Contributions: Matt – matt@mancity.net
News & Rumours: Peter – brophy_peter@hotmail.com
Subscriptions & Club Questions: Steve – sbolton@buxtonrd.u-net.com
Technical Problems: Paul – paul@city-fan.org


DISCLAIMER
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]Matt Rayner, matt@mancity.net

Newsletter #527

1999/08/16

Editor:


Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on Pinterest