Newsletter #528

Not such an epic tonight. The commemorative “Gold” edition of MCIVTA 527 is available for just £29.99. If you’re interested, let me know. Another interpretation of the Fulham match, Peter’s news (how does he do it?), 2 more ace Why Blues and loads more in between. Our first 3 goals of the season in your next McVitee digestive 529.

Till then, Matt (

Next game: Sheffield United at home, Saturday 21st August 1999


0-0, soaked to the bone and no tea. Although my plead for tickets in MCIVTA 524 came to no avail I managed to sneak into the Hammersmith Terrace to see the boys from the Academy make their first visit to London of the season.

Not a bad result as we were reduced to 10 men after Andy’s display of the great northern art of gurning resulted in his first red card of the season. Young Mr Weaver provided us with his usual display of composure between the sticks to stop the likes of Collymore nicking the points on his home début. Towards the end of the match Nicky was getting some stick from the fans behind me which tested my girlfriend’s patience (being a Nicky fan). One smart guy shouted out ‘Stop wasting time you northern person’ which made us all laugh. Obviously an educated supporter.

I’ve never been to the Cottage before and must say that it reminded me of Altrincham’s ground with a quaint house in the corner. If Fulham ever get to the Premiership they’ll be the laughing stock especially in contrast to the Theatre of Screams, Stadium of Sh**e and A-field.

All in all not a bad match, despite the mid-match thunderstorm which soaked us to the bone, and a good result to get away from home.

One last thing: can we have a whip round and send Al-Fayed/Fulham a new kettle, as the announcement stating that they’ll be no tea at half time was just heartbreaking, not to mention the serious lack of meat and potato pies.

CTIDFLWMYGBBB (City till I die from laughing when ManYoo get Beat byBradford), Rick (the self exiled Manc)


City Set for ‘Keeper Signing

City are set to sign Ballymena goalkeeper Richard McKinney. The 20-year-old attended a goalkeeping course run by Tommy Wright over the summer, and the Northern Ireland international was impressed enough to recommend the youngster to City boss Joe Royle. Both Royle and goalkeeping coach Alex Stepney had the chance to form their own view when McKinney attended Maine Road for a week’s trial, and they were equally impressed. Joe Royle commented, “McKinney is a very exciting prospect. We already have an excellent young goalkeeper in Stephen Hodgson and at senior level of course we’ve got Nicky Weaver who is one of the best in the business in my book. But Tommy [Wright] is in the last year of his contract at Maine Road and there is always the possibility that he might want to move on at the end of the season. If that happens we will need a goalkeeper to bridge the gap between Hodgson and Weaver which is why I’m offering McKinney a contract.”

Joe Denies Striker Story

Joe Royle has denied reports that City are set to offer a trial to Icelandic striker Bjarki Gunnlaugsson. The City manager admitted that he’s spoken to the player’s agent, but says that, as yet, there’s been no discussion of the prospect of Gunnlaugsson training Maine Road. “This happens all the time in this business,” explained Royle. “An agent rings you and asks you if you are interested in looking at a player. We may agree to look at him when we can. He then will go to another club and say Manchester City are interested so you better be quick! That’s the way it is at the moment.”

Conflicting Stories Over Move for Gallacher

Despite strong speculation this week that City are set to bid for Blackburn’s Scottish international striker Kevin Gallacher, Joe Royle is reported as saying he’s had no contact with Rovers manager Brian Kidd over the ex-Coventry man’s availability. Gallacher faces losing his first-team place at Ewood Park in the wake of Egil Ostenstadt’s arrival, and if Kidd is successful in his bid for Bradford’s Robbie Blake, the Scot’s prospects will recede further. As the player is out of contract at the end of the season, it’s thought that Rovers would prefer to cash in now for a fee, depending on which paper you read, of between £600,000 and £1 million. And City denials notwithstanding, a source at Blackburn is claiming that Royle has approached his former Maine Road playing colleague Kidd over the player. However, it’s thought that the fee could prove a sticking point.

Extra Seats for Maine Road

City are installing an extra 550 seats in the Maine Road stadium in time for Saturday’s home game with Sheffield United. Around 250 of the extra places will be added to the existing temporary seating between the North and Kippax Stands, while the remainder will be placed underneath the scoreboard between the Kippax and Platt Lane Stands. Said club secretary Bernard Halford, “The response from our supporters after winning promotion has been phenomenal. I certainly believe that if the ground was big enough our average attendance would be somewhere between 37,000 and 40,000. The problem we are facing is that we are due to move to a new stadium in under four years time. Any major extension would be extremely costly and it doesn’t leave us much time to recoup that investment before we move over to Eastlands.”

Morrison to Stay Skipper

Andy Morrison will retain the captain’s armband despite being sent off for the second time in his ten-month City career last Saturday. Six months ago, Jamie Pollock lost the captaincy because of his poor on-field disciplinary record, but Joe Royle has conmfirmed he won’t be taking similar action with Morrison. “Andy’s aggressive appearance does him no favours but he stays captain because he’s done a great job for me,” explained the City manager.

Opponents Rate City Highly

Last Saturday’s opponents Fulham see City as potential promotion rivals, according to their manager and one of their star players. In interviews with Fulham Teamtalk, boss Paul Bracewell and midfielder Lee Clark pointed to the quality of the opposition they’d faced as the major reason why the Cottagers had disappointed their fans by failing to win either of their opening league fixtures (they drew away to Birmingham before the stalemate against the Blues). Said Bracewell of the game against Joe Royle’s team, “We lost our shape a bit but it’s something we will be working on this week. But I can’t be too despondent because City are a good side and will be there or thereabouts at the end of the season. It was a good test for us.” The assessment was echoed by Clark, who said, “People are moaning because we haven’t won yet, but we are unbeaten in a tough league and that’s not bad. The teams we have played, Birmingham and Manchester City, will both be contenders for promotion so we cannot complain.”

Reserves Crash in Opener

City reserves opened their Pontin’s League season with a 3-0 reverse away to Birmingham. A side containing Richard Jobson, Tony Vaughan, Michael Brown and Gareth Taylor was no match for the home team, for whom Dele Adebola, Peter Ndlovu and Howard Forinton were on the mark. Joe Royle was in attendance and was unimpressed by the display. “I wasn’t ecstatic about our performance,” said the City manager. “The only one to emerge with any real credit was Richard Jobson.”

Finance Director “Outed” as Red

The Guardian newspaper has revealed the dark secret of City’s Finance Director Alastair Mackintosh. The truth emerged in an interview given by the accountant’s father to his local newspaper in Lymington, Hampshire. It seems that at the age of ten, Mackintosh, who joined the City board at the start of June, was the Manchester United mascot for a game against Stoke. Mackintosh’s board appointment coincided with a similar promotion for Chris Bird, and at the time much was made of Bird’s City-supporting credentials. Oddly enough, Mackintosh was a little more reticent about his own allegiances.

Sheffield United – Preview

City take on Sheffield United at Maine Road on Saturday in a game which sees both sides looking for their first league wins – the Yorkshire side also have one point from their two games so far, but are in 21st place in the table, one below the Blues, on goal difference. The Blades, who are now managed by former City player Adrian Heath, have sold many of their best players over the last couple of years, and aren’t generally rated among the favourites for promotion this season. On the face of it, the match seems to offer City a decent opportunity to notch their first league goals and first three-point haul of the campaign. To do so, we’ll have to go one better than on the Blades’ last three visits to Maine Road, each of which finished goalless. A similar outcome this time would no doubt provoke further howls of anguish about City’s attacking failings. So let’s hope that our forwards show better form in front of goal than the opposing manager in his time at Maine Road – Heath managed four goals in over two years at the club, despite commanding a regular starting place in the City attack.

Peter Brophy (


I can understand the concerns about Cooke, but the fact is we have suddenly become a left-sided only team. And that will hurt without Granville. Everything in the Wolves game went down the left. And once Granville went off we got nowhere and Kennedy suddenly looked ineffectual. I wrote recently that he is only here to shop-window himself. I hope I’m wrong, because Kennedy only looks class when Granville is there. We need to remember we now have two wingers and spread it both ways.

David Kilroy (


I’m amazed at the reviews Goater has been given for the Fulham game, when he battled as well as Dickov, held the ball up very well, and was frequently our best defender! Yes, we didn’t really look like scoring, save two late breakaways near the end when Goater missed at full stretch, and Dickov missed a pretty comfortable free header. But it’s got to be said, neither received anything near decent service. All of Kennedy’s crosses were at least ten foot over Shaun’s head, never mind Dickov’s, and IMHO Bishop had a terrible game down the centre. The right was non-existent as an attacking force save two late breaks.

It’s fair comment that Goater and Dickov aren’t going to scare many Division 1 defences. But the problem doesn’t lie solely with the front two. Unless Kennedy and Cooke can both play and perform, no-one else brought in will have any more success. Just look what has happened to other forward recruits in past seasons – Bradbury, Taylor, Allsopp. Basically, unless we get Kinky back to occasionally sack off the rest of the team, beat every opposing defender, and score one himself, no-one will score many with the current service we give to the front two. And we will not magic a hatful of goals just by buying a clapped out, failed, or ‘with something to prove’ centre forward.

Julian Douglas (


I’m writing to share James Nash’s frustration at the lack of availability of City tickets for the Fulham game. It’s so annoying. You ring the ticket office and they tell you that first they sell to those who’ve had season tickets since the Ice Age, followed by those who can prove they’ve been City fans for at least three consecutive life times, and so on. Ok, so you have to give priority to the most loyal fans. But it has become impossible to get tickets over the phone, because you’re so far down the pecking order that by the time it’s your turn it’s too close to match day for them to send off the tickets. And then you get to the game to find our end only two thirds or so full. I was lucky enough to buy a City ticket for face value off a friendly Blue in a pub, but I can hardly rely on this as a method of getting in to see my team.

City till I die and beyond into the next life, Daniel Marcus (


I’m afraid Steve Parish appears to be getting a little confused when he says ‘after last season, I can’t imagine why anyone would not keep their ticket stubs’ – the whole point of what I was saying was that City required ticket stubs from games which occurred last season before any suggestion that ticket stubs should be retained. I also think it was pretty clear that I hadn’t ‘lost’ mine but thrown them away because at the time there wasn’t any suggestion… oh I’m not saying it again.

Steve is absolutely right when he asserts that it isn’t fair to give out tickets on the basis of possession of a ticket stub if supporters couldn’t get a stub because they couldn’t get a ticket because they didn’t have the previous stub but, again, that was er, the whole point. Imagine my annoyance on Saturday when, settling down for the game at Fulham in the home section (surrounded, incidentally, largely by City fans) I was appalled to see that the away standing section wasn’t even nearly full. This was of course entirely due to the ridiculous ticket allocation system and thus added further credence to my previous comments.

Finally, I’m sorry to have to say that I also disagree with Steve that the ‘alternative is 3,000 people queuing’. The alternative is clearly to have a well run ticket office with a modern and efficient computer system with records of who are ST holders and whether they are 1st Year, 2nd Year etc and to sell the tickets in priority order either by post or by telephone with sufficient telephone operators that it doesn’t take days to get through. It’s perfectly simple. Nobody should ever have to queue up at all at the ground. It’s archaic and insulting.

Keith Riley (


Sorry about that, I’d just lost it for a second, ok where was I? Oh yeah I remember now, on the 7th of July an advert was placed in our local paper, informing the townsfolk that anyone interested in forming an official Man City supporters’ branch, should make their way to the Blazing Rag, London Road, Buxton, Derbyshire, on the 15th of July (sorry again, I must learn to chill out!).

Thirty one eager Blues turned up, including the landlord Mr Michael McMahon, who explained about the correspondence he received from Mr Frank Horrocks, General Secretary. The letter stated what was required; they are as follows.

  • You will be required to have twenty members (sorted)
  • From this number a committee has to be formed (sorted)
  • A bank account has to be opened (sorted)
  • You will need a room in which to hold meetings (sorted)
  • When this is established, if you will contact us we will supply youwith membership forms (not sorted). Our Chairperson Mr MichaelMcMahon, has made every effort to obtain information regarding futureguests, election of president, etc.He spoke to a member of the Committee last week, who said he wouldphone back.We are still waiting for his reply.This should not be happening if City are 100% committed in achieving agreater fan base. If nothing is sorted out before weekend, I will bewriting a letter of complaint to Fred Dibnah, Arrgghh! Sorry, there Igo again.

P.S. For any Blues who are interested, we have booked a coach for the Nottingham Forest game on bank holiday Monday 30th August, 11 O’clock, Contact Mick McMahon on 01298 23154 for details. Next meeting, 9th of Sept. at 7, O’clock. I will mail any info A.S.A.P.

Gary Sullivan (


Following on from our two previous very successful meetings we are due for our third gathering next Monday (23rd August) again at the Willow Tree in Winchester. All Blues in the area are welcome to come along. The more members we have the better it will be for everyone. Email me if you need directions. I look forward to seeing you there.

Andy Stevenson (


There was a short item in the Belgian press about City interest in Bart van den Eede from Beveren. I know a guy who supports the team and he says he’s a big lad but not much of a footballer, he’s pretty happy that they are selling him. Mind you, this guy is a bit of a prima donna, I don’t think he’d appreciate a big lad who isn’t pretty but causes problems and creates opportunities for others.

Mike Doherty (


Any chance of getting updates on the Academy sides from time to time? Living in NZ we don’t hear anything via the press and as I have a son playing in the Under 19 team would love some feedback.

Gaynor Killen (


Observant readers may have spotted the deliberate mistake in my match report from the Fulham game published in MCIVTA 527. I reported that I didn’t remember Pollock doing anything during the game. This is not too much of a surprise seeing as he didn’t play, not even on the bench according to City’s web site. I was confusing him with Horlock who did play and it was him that I don’t remember doing very much. In mitigation of my error, they do both have “-lock” at the end of their name, one of the Sunday papers made the same mistake, they both play in midfield and, er… I’ll get me coat.

Especially observant readers may have noticed a few months back, in my MCIVTA 500 reflection article, the craftily hidden swearing aimed at the Rags. I was quite disappointed when no-one got it initially.

James Nash (


According to Team Talk’s Sheffield United site the Blades are desperately trying to get a striker on loan for Saturday’s visit to the Academy because of injuries and “lack of fire power”. They have only scored one goal so far. Luxury! Maybe JR could sell Gareth Taylor back to them!

Peter Abbott (


I am a Season Ticket holder living in Alton in Hampshire. I will be driving up to a large number of home games during the season, so if anyone wants to share a ride let me know.

Simon Cox (


Subscribers to the Orange mobile phone network may be interested in a new service. Send a text message to 177 with the following content “FOOTB MCFC” and they will send the result of whatever game the Blues are playing as soon as possible after the final whistle. Text messages cost 12p so it ain’t free but it’s cheaper than ringing somebody up when you are on a beach or busy at work. I subscribed today and got an immediate response in the form of Saturday’s Fulham result. A friend in the office also subscribed but, as a Newcastle fan, was less than pleased to be reminded of how his boys did at The Dell!

CTID, Nigel Gibson (


With Andy Morrison sticking his tongue down Stan ‘The (failed) Man’ Collymore’s throat, should Morrison’s number 5 shirt now bear the name ‘Jar Jar Binks’?! I’m thinking of scripting a film about Collymore, the only name I can come up with for the film at the moment is ‘Failed Star Wars’!

Also did anyone notice Gillingham’s attendance for their first home fixture of the season versus Bristol Rovers on 14th August – 6,234! I make that roughly 4,300 short of their capacity. Where are the ‘loyal’ 28,000 that supported their team at Wembley in May? Surely the people who are responsible for the ticket allocation within the FA should be made aware of this, so something similar does not happen again. Anybody got any thoughts on this? Anybody want to read about the play-off from the view of a Gillingham fan? Go to website:- They were adamant they were going to beat us!

Duncan Madden-Ross (


In response to Peter’s question, I have programmed my Ericsson Mobile to play Blue Moon; the notes are as follows: (1 is bottom C, * is pause and pressing the 0 after a note sharpens it).


Where the p’s are pause and the +’s represent sharp notes. The whole thing comes out an octave high, but this is the only way to fit it all in the mobile’s range. It works a treat for annoying people at work!

I am just waiting for a phone that will do lyrics so that I can have “you can stick your treble up your a**e”.

CTIGKBMWMFTAROMP (City till I get killed by my work mates for the annoying ring on my phone!),Stuart Langley – Cockney Blue (


Claudia Schiffer, Bill Gates and Saddam Hussein were gathered in a room. Claudia Schiffer started bragging: “Oh, I’m the most beautiful woman in the world!” Bill Gates looked at Claudia and said: “Yes, but I’m the wealthiest man in the world!” Saddam Hussein laughed at them and said: “OK, but I’m the most hated man in the world!” Then Claudia Schiffer said: “I have a truth-mirror in the next room. We can check if what we claim is true by saying it into the mirror.” They all thought that was a good idea. First, Claudia Schiffer went in to the room. After 2 minutes, she came out; “It is true. I am the most beautiful woman in the world!” Then it was Bill Gates turn, and after 3 minutes he came out and said: “Yes, I AM the wealthiest man in the world!” At last it was Saddam Hussein’s turn, and after 20 minutes Saddam came out – p****d off – and screamed: “Who the f**k is David Beckham?”

Nizam Idris (


Yes, why Blue? A hard question, because there’s so many things that makes it a natural thing to be a Blue, but then again it’s difficult to explain what made me fall in love in a club who plays in a city I’ve never been to, until a few months ago.

I think for me it’s a personality thing – I’ve never gone with the flow. In Denmark the Rags are unfortunately also very popular, it must have something to do with Schmeichel because just a few years back there were no s***ty Sharp kits on the streets, and if you asked people which club they supported in England most of them would say Liverpool – probably because they won a lot at that time and they had a certain Jan Molby playing for them. Today in 1999 almost everybody in this country are “lifelong Manchester United supporters”. It does not make sense to me.

But I have to begin with the beginning. Back in early 70’s Danish league football were pretty bad, the player were strictly amateurs and it was not really that exciting. Danish television wants to send live football every Saturday but they were not allowed to broadcast live from Danish games, the Danish F.A. feared that the gates would go further down if the Danes could sit and watch a game at home. So Danish TV turned to the English league and bought the TV rights in co-operation with Swedish and Norwegian television, I think it was in 1974.

Unfortunately it ended a few years ago when channel Digital bought all the rights to the Premier League. But it was almost 25 seasons with top class English football. That made a huge impact on Danish sport culture. We became very familiar with almost every English league club, and everybody had a “special” team they preferred to watch. But in the last few seasons the transmissions lasted they almost only showed the Rags vs. “something else” as the match of the day, and that was a bloody shame.

All the children who also watched the Saturday games did not get any knowledge about the other clubs in England, as I did. No TV “told” them to support United. They did not have a choice, because they were not told about the other clubs. There were Rags – and the rest. What a shame. Luckily I am old enough to remember the good old days in the early 80’s where they different teams every Saturday.

I became a City fan when I was 8 years old. I remember clearly the day. It was in 1981 and I was sitting with my dad in our living room – prepared to watch the final game of the season – the F.A. Cup final. I did not know who were supposed to play, but I loved watching football. But I was soon to find out who played. Tottenham-City. Ohh what a match, I can’t remember anything particular from it, just that it was thrilling. I was on City’s side immediately, their shirts were smashing, and that name: Manchester City, there was a nice ring to it! My dad was on Tottenham’s side, “look at these two Argentins” as he said referring to Ardiles and Villa. I did not care about them. They could have players of the world and I would still not care about Tottenham Hotspur. From that day I was Blue.

A few years back lived I in London. There I had the opportunity to see some games “live”. Meeting you Mancunians on the turnstiles was brilliant, seeing City play live was brilliant, and it made me love the club even more. Today it’s a lifestyle for me, and I have made a City fan out of my girlfriend, Tanja, too. We have been in Manchester together, we also were at Wembley on our big day out, the 30 of May! It’s a lifestyle to us. And even though most of our family and friends does not understand why we spend so many money and so much time on an English 1st Division club, we don’t care, because they don’t know what they are missing while they are sitting in their armchairs watching the Rags on the telly.

Blue Moon, Morten (


Although I live in Toronto Canada I have been a City supporter ever since my dad took me to watch City beat Sheffield Wednesday 3-1 in 1956 when I was four years old and my dad hijacked me to Maine Road instead of babysitting me.

As a youngster living in Bury I used to worship Bert Trautmann and even earned the nickname Bert when I played goal for Bury Derby School.

Admittedly City weren’t very good in the early Sixties but I remember going to watch City play Tottenham Hotspur in 1962 when The Spurs were going for the cup and league double. My dad sent me to get him a cup of tea and a pie early in the game and while was in line I kept hearing all these cheers. As City was supposed to get hammered that day, I thought that Bert must be having a good game keeping Tottenham at bay. Imagine my shock to return to my seat and find City leading 3-0. They won that game 6-2, typical City always capable of pulling off a surprise even when they were bad.

I remembered being at Maine Road when they drew 0-0 with Southampton to win the Second Division championship and complete an unbeaten home schedule and their first season back in the First before we emigrated to Canada in 1967. From that point on I had follow their success in the late Sixties and early Seventies via the television and newspapers but I have always remained a staunch supporter.

I remember being in Sydney Australia in 1988 and picking up a paper to see how City had made out against Huddersfield and being upset because there was an apparent typo by their score, it showed they had won 10-1! Did they draw 1-1 or lose 0-1? It wasn’t until I got back to Toronto that I found out they had won 10-1, the game had been televised and a friend at The Sports Network had taped the game for me.

I have been depressed by their recent fall from grace but was naturally thrilled by their play-off win with Gillingham. Now if they could only find a buyer with deep pockets to buy some world class players, the team could match their amazing crowd support.

Keith Sharp, Toronto, Canada (


Contributions: Matt –
News & Rumours: Peter –
Subscriptions & Club Questions: Steve –
Technical Problems: Paul –

The views expressed in MCIVTA are entirely those of the subscribersand there is no intention to represent these opinions as being thoseof Manchester City Football Club, nor of any of the companies anduniversities by whom the subscribers are employed. It is not inany way whatsoever connected to the club or any other relatedorganisation and is simply a group of supporters using this mediumas a means of disseminating news and exchanging opinions.

[Valid3.2]Matt Rayner,

Newsletter #528