Newsletter #529

City broke their 1st Division duck in spectacular style on Saturday, beating Sheffield United 6-0. We’ve got six match reports (put the kettle on), Peter’s news, more about procuring tickets for away fixtures, a couple of offers (be quick!), various other things and a brilliant Why Blue.

Tomorrow sees us off to Turf Moor to face a Clarets’ side that must be sick of the sight of us after our last two encounters. Let’s hope for more of the same!

All articles for inclusion still to me, please.

Next game: Burnley, away, Tuesday 24th August 1999, Worthington Cup, First round, Second leg


MANCHESTER CITY vs. SHEFFIELD UNITED, Saturday 21st August 1999

What a day, what a game, the sunshine shone over Manchester (an unusual occurrence) and City scored six goals in a league game (an even more unusual occurrence).

For me, City had a strong line up, with Weaver, Edghill, Tiatto, Morrison, Wiekens, Kennedy, Horlock, Jeff Whitley, Cooke, Goater and Dickov. A huge crowd of 30,110 turned up (it would have been bigger if Sheffield United had sold more than half their allocation). The game started off at a hectic pace with both sides having useful attempts on goal and, for the first 25 minutes, I felt that honours were even. A few tackles were flying in and Morrison was booked for not letting their forward follow a ball he’d tapped past him. One of theirs, Sandford, was booked for a nasty challenge on Dickov. City were for me beginning to get on top of things with the two wide players flashing crosses in. This is where Sheffield United began to look uncomfortable and decided if you can’t head it out of the box go for the obvious punch, which was greeted with a 30,000 loud ‘Handball’ (guilty your honour). Horlock stepped up, ‘1-0 in your Cup Final’.

A couple of minutes later, Goater was through and Tracey up-ended him just outside the area, but Goater landed inside (and I thought it was in until seeing it later in the boozer). Tracey off (definitely guilty your Honour, finger in the till job). Horlock stepped up ‘2-0 in your Cup Final’. Half time and the hottest pastie in the world burnt my tongue to death.

Second half, game on, and City were now like an express train, destination Victory. Kennedy was running the left wing like his own private piece of Maine Road, putting in more crosses than your average church. He hit a shot that thundered off the crossbar. The onslaught was relentless (young Sheffield United fans should at this point have been taken away from the ground for their own mental well-being). City were on fire, the crowd roared, the players took up the challenge, 30,000 were living out football fantasy. Kennedy scored the third, rounding the ‘keeper after neat play from Bishop and Dickov. The fourth came from a very unusual source – Goater’s head (it’s then when you know that God is smiling on you). Cooke got the cross in and Goater headed neatly downwards to get his first of the season. Number five came from little Dickov who, after a cross from Cooke (again), finished nicely in true goal poaching fashion. The crowd were now singing ‘Are you Burnley in disguise’ and the party atmosphere was in full swing. City had loads more chances and this could have been 10-0, no problem. Taylor added the sixth, much to the annoyance of the few Sheffield fans still sat there (old bloke with his blow up sheep and whippet).

A truly great day for the Blues; my only down-side being in the shop afterwards. I queued up to get CITYSMITH on the back of my shirt, when I was told you had to pay for it first. So queued up to pay for it, paid for it, queued up again in the printing stand, and when I got there ‘Sorry mate, no H’s left’. It’s not good business sense, and money that City might not get. They are getting clued on the pitch, now to get clued off it. Last point; if you haven’t got your shirt yet, I got mine for £28 in the Trafford Centre, in a soccer shop. It makes sense, go there. Anyway, top day. It will keep me going when I’m soaked and cold and we’re losing in January.

Walter Smith (


MANCHESTER CITY vs. SHEFFIELD UNITED, Saturday 21st August 1999

The first visit of the season to the Academy is always special and a family holiday in France meant that this was actually our first game. We had been to the pre-season friendly against Liverpool and enjoyed a pretty good pre-season performance from the Blues.

It was great to enter the hallowed portals once again on a glorious sunny Manchester day. The stadium resplendent with new logos here and there, some new seating in the Gene Kelly stand and a new bank of seats under the electronic scoreboard between the Platt Lane and Kippax. My favourite addition to the ground though has to be the seagull suspended from the corner of the Kippax. It seems to be close enough to the away fans in the North Stand, that if it were real and the wind direction and velocity were favourable, dollops of seagull s**t could be deposited periodically on the away fans adding to the general joy of a visit to the ‘Theatre of Sheer Hope’.

I don’t really know what it’s there for but I hope that our performances remain good enough for the plastic seagull to stay put and not fly off to sunnier climes. I had travelled to the Academy in fear of my trousers falling down and the risk of being arrested for improper behaviour, a risk well worth taking when I explain why. You see, at the Liverpool game I realised as I got out of the car that in the rush to get home from work, get changed and get to the ground I had left my belt off my trousers. I knew instantly the implications of this oversight – if we were to win then I would quite simply have to acknowledge the portents and the impact my belt-less trousers had on the game – we won and I knew my responsibilities for the rest of the season. So if you see someone in the family stand with trousers around ankles, please wave and say hello and explain to the stewards the importance of this and the potential disastrous impact pulling them up could have. If you don’t believe the power of the belt think back to the first game – a home defeat! So now yet another ritual has been added to our pre match preparations, my children ask quite openly in the street – “Dad, will your pants fall down today?” the looks of concern from the neighbours as I say “Oh I hope so darlings” is a real joy.

I made my way to the Dennis Tueart bar for a ritualistic pre-match pint and noted the 10p increase on the price of a pint. This, added to the 20p increase on the match programme, actually caused my pants to tighten so no worries at this stage. As I sipped my pint I couldn’t help but smile at the typing mistake in the programme – our opponent on Bank Holiday Monday: Snottingham Forest – perhaps that’s something to do with Lincoln Green?

Moving onto the action – as ever the glorious feeling of expectation was heightened as the now familiar tune of Ronaldo’s Revenge blasted out from the PA, followed by Right Here Right Now and then the evergreen Blue Moon.

The first noticeable thing was the very smart and clean cut coiffeur from some of our players, Messrs Dickov and Weaver in particular showing lean lines to the nape of the neck. Our opponents for the day would have enhanced any post war photo shoot – resplendent in red and white striped shirts, with black shorts. Thin black lines separated the red and white stripes on the shirts with a white stripe down the centre of the sleeves. Black knee length hose with two red hoops complemented this rather natty ensemble. Well-done Sheffield, your football may have turned out to be crap, but you certainly looked the part.

As the teams took up their position on the turf I noticed the new style nets – reminiscent of the Wembley nets – delightful right angles being made in the top corners as the supporting posts (pale blue) form the shape of the net – delightful to see, I’ve always liked a good right angle.

The poor turnout of Sheffield fans was a disappointment, I heard on the radio that they had returned 1,500 tickets. Those that had managed to make the short trip across the Pennines sat smelting in the sun, dreaming of better days. Their eloquence was demonstrated midway through the first 45 when the clear benefits of the Government’s imposed Literacy Hour were evidenced by the guttural chanting in unison of “You’re the s**te of Manchester” – I was unclear though whether this was aimed at City fans or the mock seagull, ho hum.

Oh but for the Joy of Six – I suppose I’d best move onto the game itself. No doubt others will have written a more football focussed review than I did, so I won’t overdo it. I was impressed with this performance for a number of reasons. Goater for me was great, at moments his touch was sublime, Kennedy and Cooke showed great promise of entertaining games to come as they rampaged down the wings, Weaver as solid as ever, Morrison always strong and dependable. There was a moment around the 25th minute or so when The Goat looked like a Brazilian, conjuring a swiftness of foot with an impossibility of balance as he created his own samba rhythm to weave through the Sheffield players. Kennedy brought the crowd to its feet on more than one occasion conjuring that majestic and magical sight of a footballer streaking purposely towards goal against a colourful and crowded backdrop of fans rising from their seats to the harmony of an expectant and rising wall of sound.

Just after the half-hour Tiatto was subbed (looked like an ankle injury); did anyone else notice that he only had one T in the middle of his name on his shirt? His replacement was Bishop – and with the exception of a couple of sloppy passes, his contribution to the game was first class. With the half time break approaching and the score at 0-0 we were gifted a couple of penalties in the space of less than 5 minutes. The first a clear hand ball, the second when Goater was brought down as he was about to round the ‘keeper; from where we were it looked a penalty, but I gather from after-match commentary it may well have been outside the box. In any case Horlock whipped home both penalties, the second against the substitute goalie (Davidson) who had replaced the dismissed United ‘keeper.

The second half was a great performance and very, very enjoyable. We were rampant and, if I tell you that with a final score of 6-0 Sheffield can consider themselves lucky, you’ll realise how in control we were. As well as the six that went in the net, we hit the post and the bar, we missed clear-cut chances and near open goals – it really could have been 12 or 14 nil.

Goals from Kennedy, Dickov, Goater and Taylor completed the rout. This game was a delight to be at. I was impressed with some of the football that we played and the desire to want to score more even at 6-0 up. Great team spirit was in evidence again and there is without doubt much to look forward to. It will be a hard and closely fought season. If we can play like that on a regular basis and our defence/midfield can repeat its trick of conceding few goals again, the seagull will stay in the Kippax, teams won’t want to come to Maine Road and nobody will notice if my pants fall down.

Tony Burns (


MANCHESTER CITY vs. SHEFFIELD UNITED, Saturday 21st August 1999

What a terrific day for watching a match. Glorious sunshine, great atmosphere and a great result of course!

Prior to today’s game, City had not scored in the league, our neighbours from over the Pennines having scored one goal from their two matches. Taking into account recent previous encounters with the Blades, a nil-nil looked a good bet! Thank goodness I’m not a betting man!

City lined up in their ‘usual’ 4-4-2 formation, with Cooke returning in place of Bishop, Edghill replacing the injured Crooks and Tiatto retaining his left back slot.

The first half hour or so was pretty even with both teams playing some attractive stuff. City definitely had the best two chances; a Wiekens header cleared off the line and Goater so nearly scoring a contender for goal of the season, twisting and turning in the box before unleashing a powerful shot that (5-past) Tracey did well to divert round the post.

From a Kennedy corner, Blades defender Murphy gave away the most obvious handball you are ever likely to see and Super-Kev coolly slotted home the resultant spot kick. Four minutes later came the turning point. Goater outpaced a defender following an under-hit back pass and (5-past) Tracey came haring off his line to try to dispossess Shaun. The Bermudan tried to keep to his feet but went down. In the split second before the ref. made his intentions clear, my feeling was that Tracey definitely fouled Goater, albeit unintentionally, would be booked and would concede a free kick. A red card and a penalty were therefore way beyond my expectations! On reflection, by the letter of the law, Tracey had to go, although in my opinion he didn’t intentionally ‘take out’ Goater, there were no covering defenders and Shaun would certainly have had a shot on goal. However, we were very lucky to be awarded a penalty as the offence was at least a yard outside the box.

Nevertheless, we’ve had more than our fair share of bad decisions against us, so we need to take anything positive coming our way. Kev once again powered in the spot-kick past replacement ‘keeper, Davidson. At last a ‘proper’ penalty taker, 3 out of 3 already this season. When was the last time we scored 3 penalties in succession?

Early in the second half, Sheffield looked like they may try to make a game of it, but sadly for them, not for long. Adrian Heath showed that he has a fair bit to learn in the management stakes when he brought on a defender to try to shore up the defence, then subbed the sub. 20 minutes later when this tactic had clearly backfired big time.

Kennedy added the third, taking the ball around the ‘keeper from a Dickov header before slotting home. Goater scored a considerably less spectacular goal than his near miss in the first half, from a Cooke cross. Dickov slid in the fifth from close range from another Cooke cross and Gareth Taylor, on as sub for Goater, put the last nail in the coffin of his old club, from a low Kennedy cross.

In addition to the goals in the second half, Kennedy hit the bar, Dickov hit the post and there were several other good opportunities, a score of 11-0 would not have flattered us. Long before the end, we were singing ‘Are you Burnley in disguise?’ If Sheffield United carry on as they have started this season, they may well meet our Lancashire friends next season.

Make no mistake, this was a powerful performance from City. Cooke looked good once again. The ‘dream ticket’ of Kennedy and Cooke raiding down the wings looked a reality, and the Blades had no answer. Whitley scurried everywhere and looks pretty indispensable. Horlock was effective in his left-sided rôle (technically he replaced the injured Tiatto at left back, but as there was not much doing down the left side of our defence, he had license to roam). Bishop, although misplacing more passes than usual, still made us play better quality football when he was introduced. Morrison and Wiekens, although having a more comfortable afternoon than they can expect every week, looked pretty impregnable. Even fans’ ‘favourite’, Edghill had a good game.

We would certainly have beaten Sheffield United with or without the sending off/ 2nd penalty, but they did look a poor, badly organised side, particularly in the second half. When the fixtures were released, this looked on paper to be a hard game; however, the Blades, I feel are a poor side and will struggle this season. Let’s celebrate the victory, but let’s not get too carried away at this stage. If we put 6 past Forest, then let’s get really excited!

Phil Hartley (


MANCHESTER CITY vs. SHEFFIELD UNITED, Saturday 21st August 1999

It has been some time since I put finger to keyboard. I put this down to the same sadness expressed by that chap a few weeks ago who refused to return to Wembley when we equalised, in the belief that his presence was an irredeemable jinx. I stopped commenting when we went on an extended run of wins that carried us to the play-offs. It is also an irrefutable truism that it’s easier to be funny when you’re taking the pee. Dickov latched on to a loose ball and lashed it into the roof of the net. Exciting Stuff, but it just ain’t funny! So for those of you with short memories (or an infinite capacity for forgiveness), I’m so glad that I didn’t spend last season abusing Joe Royle, Shaun Goater, et al.

My favourite Wembley (a.k.a. The Fallen Madonna with the Big Boobies) story was the bloke who, during the penalty shoot-out, stood at the back of the Olympic Gallery with his fingers in his ears (presumably, in order not to hear the reaction of the crowd) whilst his wife/girlfriend used her fingers to communicate the score to him! I don’t know about anybody else, but I knew we were going to win. I just could not see any other outcome and as soon as my pacemaker came back from the menders I didn’t tire of telling anybody who stood still long enough.

I’d seen a few of the pre-season friendlies and was really quite impressed. We played some great stuff at Stockport and whatever is said about the experimental nature of the Liverpool side, Houllier did not put out a team to get beaten (by the way, what a turnout, I can remember going to a friendly at Maine Road some years ago against Sheffield Wednesday, when you could count the crowd on the fingers of an oven glove). Wolves – we were genuinely unlucky, but the game did underline the growing feeling that we needed more potency up front and greater creativity in midfield. Burnley – oh dear!

Sheffield United – Well, it pretty well made much of my cogent, intelligently articulated criticisms sound like utter b*****ks. Things were fairly even for the first half-hour or so. United (oh how I wish that was Manchester) were restricted to a couple of long range efforts and City were just as ineffectual when it came to creating anything substantial at the Sheffield end. There were some good signs though. Cooke, whilst doing nothing spectacular in attack was working hard and tracked back to great effect. Tiatto, who really has impressed me this season, was fighting for his place, and winning. He later took a knock and was replaced by Bishop. Jeff Whitley is a revelation and is becoming an effective ball winner in midfield. Shaun (the Goal Machine) Goater seemed more involved and had great game and Andy Morrison continues to prove that he was the most inspired of purchases. If a fiftysomething like me can have a boyhood hero then Morrison is it. I would walk over 4 miles of broken glass on my hands and knees to drink yak spit from one of his old plimsolls.

Saturday’s game turned on two penalties, the first when a defender swatted a ball away from Andy Morrison, though it’s questionable whether or not ‘Big A’ was ever going to get to it – it was a moment of pure lunacy and Kevin Horlock planted the resulting penalty to the ‘keeper’s right. The second penalty was less clear-cut and highlights one of the areas where referees seem to have the greatest difficulty in developing anything approaching consistency. Sheffield’s ‘keeper Simon Tracey and Shaun Goater chased a sloppy back pass and Goater was certainly brought down, my impression was, outside the box. A penalty was awarded and the red card ensured the ‘keeper got first go at the soap. The officials got it half right at least but I can’t help feeling that this ‘last man’ and/or ‘goal scoring opportunity’ is causing too much controversy. Perhaps the awarding of penalties wherever incidents like this occur, not just inside the penalty area, and replacing the red card option with a yellow would seem fairer but giving penalties and sending players off smacks of officialdom over-punishing one misdemeanour to hide the fact they are woefully ineffectual in punishing or even detecting others.

The net result was that City had a lead they fully deserved and United were condemned to chasing the game which to their credit they tried to do, but if they could have foreseen the result they might have played for something a little more ‘cosmetic’.

City turned it on in the second half; Kennedy and Cooke ruled the wings and, being one man to the good, City dominated possession and for the most part Nicky Weaver was left to fill in the gaps in his tan. Bishop centred from the right and whilst the replacement ‘keeper and a defender stood and exchanged gardening tips, Kennedy nipped between them and scored from close range. It was the least he deserved having rattled the bar earlier from distance. This willingness to shoot from outside the box is a feature we have lacked in the past. A few minutes later a powerful cross from Kennedy was collected by Cooke, whose centre was met by Goater and his slight downward header found the net. Not the most powerful of strikes but just reward for Goater’s efforts.

I can’t remember the exact sequence of events but Jobson, who looked fairly solid after a long period on the sick list, replaced Morrison and Taylor came on for Goater. Both players came off to great applause when the result was beyond any doubt.

The next goal was scored by a player who, despite going through a period where not all he tries is meeting with success, continues to graft and prompt the attack, namely Paul Dickov who was first to a low, powerful near post cross from Cooke. The final nail in the coffin was hammered home by Sheffield United old boy when Gareth Taylor slammed in another powerful Kennedy cross from inside the six yard box. His joy was obvious as he sought the approbation of the occupants of the new Royal Box – Green seats! Are they refurbishing at Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Club?

Right, the season so far. Joe Royle speaks of a play-off position as a reasonable expectation. I agree, but what about pushing that ambition a little further and embrace the idea of a ‘successful play-off’ position (Yeah! Like our hearts could take another play-off final)? Then I suppose, as already mentioned, another striker plus more creativity in midfield would not go amiss. But so far I can’t see or forsee any reason for panic or great concern. Joe has cleared the first hurdle. He has put right a state of affairs for which, I believe he was in part responsible. More importantly he did it by building a squad that can hold its own in present company and can form a platform for progress to the next level – see what I mean? Saying nice things and trying to be positive and supportive just isn’t funny.

Keep the faith and your nose out of my chips.

Peter Capes – CTID and I have a mug to prove it (


MANCHESTER CITY vs. SHEFFIELD UNITED, Saturday 21st August 1999

After having an unpleasant incident with a local beggar (sorry ‘car minder’) the previous match which resulted in damage to my car (I object to forking out money to kids with mobile phones just because they happen to live somewhere near where I park my car and can follow me on their bikes just to beg… rant, rant!), the pre match rituals were altered as I looked for a new location to park. Was this going to have an effect on the result? Unusually for me I arrived at the ground with only 15 minutes to spare (my dad always made us miss kick off by 10 minutes so now I’m neurotically early!) to find the ground bathed in sunshine with Kippaxers sat all over the place, supping their beers. I felt confident today, we were going to win; of course I didn’t dare say it out loud!

The game started with City having a lot of possession but not in any real areas of danger. With the sheer volume of action in the second half the opening 40 minutes are a bit of a blur now – no real need to remember missed half chances when you have 6 (count them, 6!) goals to revel in. We may have had some good chances, we may have not but the phrase that springs to mind to describe most of the first half play is ‘huffed and puffed’. We started by passing the ball through midfield but every pass went to a player with his back to goal and with a Sheff. Utd. player right behind him. Our players don’t have the skill to turn with the ball and take on the opposition so invariably the ball was just knocked back to the defender who usually smacked it down the pitch. As the half progressed City’s defence eventually missed out the first part and simply were content with lobbing it down the pitch – main culprit Morrison (God bless him) who spent most of the half trying to find Kennedy with 40 yard sweeping passes – quite amazingly these rarely paid off. Cooke was having little joy on the right – once again frustratingly not taking on a defender but choosing to cross from too near the half way line. Tiatto was like a man possessed, always trying to nip in front of his man like it might get him in trouble. He also kept getting caught out of position in his attempt to get forward and score, leaving the left wing empty at times. One thing that struck me in this game and also seemed evident in the Wolves match, is how much pressure the opposition put on our players when we had the ball. We were never allowed to settle, everyone was marked closely which made passing harder. Our players must learn to make quick, unexpected, last minute runs to shake them off and teach them to not stand so close – we made it too easy for them. Morrison got his usual booking for taking out an attacker who looked to be through on goal after one of our many over-elaborations in the middle.

With the half drawing to a close, Kennedy took a corner on the left which swung into the box where Shaun Murphy inexplicably punched it clear out of the area – a right hook that Tyson would have been proud of (I think!) and started right from the back. Horlock, who was now playing at left back after Tiatto went off injured (Bishop replaced him), played a ball down the wing for Kennedy to run on to. A good cross was almost converted by Dickov who claimed he was pushed but instead it ran to Cooke who crossed first time for a totally unmarked Goater in the 6 yard box to either cleverly place, or luckily get away with a fluffed, downward header into the bottom left of the net. Amusingly Dickov hung his head – he was gutted the ball hadn’t fallen to him and that he hadn’t scored. In a way it’s nice to see our players desperately want to score. By now I was just about managing to relax and believe we might win! The fifth came once again from the right wing. Cooke and Whitley played a lovely, yet oh so simple, one-two (we must work more on this), Cooke put in an excellent cross for Dickov to slide in at the near post and stab home under a challenge from a Sheff. Utd. defender. A well-taken goal. By now fans were looking at our new record for the biggest league win. The final goal came from another low, left wing cross; Dickov stretched but just missed the ball but thankfully Taylor was stood 30cm from the goal line and because I don’t like him I was convinced the ball just hit him and went in. In fact it looked like he even tried to miss from this distance with the ball shooting upwards into the roof of the net; surprisingly even he couldn’t get it over the bar from 30cm! His goal celebration was hilarious. Since he had joined the game for Goater he looked like he had lead in his boots – totally lethargic with no fire in him. Then it all erupted when he scored as he raced over to the new temporary seating in the corner of the Kippax and the Platt Lane, where all 60 people in there got a full celebration, arms punched into the air, as if these were the only fans in the ground.

Of course these goals do not do justice to the complete domination over this sorry Yorkshire outfit. Taylor should have had a hat trick when he missed from six yards out (blasted over) and when he placed what should have been a testing header feebly into the hands of Davidson. Dickov was very unlucky not to score with what was the best move of the match (involving some lovely passing play between Kennedy, someone else and Dickov) but only managed to hit the post. He also nearly had a hat trick when a great turn and shot skimmed just passed the post. Wiekens had a sitter from 6 yards out but blasted high and wide and there were many other half chances. A truly great performance in the second half, enjoyed even more by my Barnsley supporting other half, but let’s not get too excited. Not every team will get their ‘keeper sent off, give us a soft penalty and be unlucky enough to have a ref. give us a dodgy pen. just before the break. The first 40 minutes were full of nervous football and poor passing and City must work on breaking teams down without relying on the fortune we had in the first half of this match. Although I would like to see Bishop play from the start, he didn’t do himself much good as this was not one of his better performances. However, he does pass the ball well, into space for the recipient to run onto without having to worry about the defender behind clattering him or having to turn him. Football is a simple game really but often we over-complicate it and play ourselves into difficult positions. I’ll avoid scoring each player but would just give some impressions of each:

Weaver – had nothing to do, but I think he made one fine save, or did he?
Wiekens – solid again.
Morrison – ditto, but must stop thinking he can pass the ball 40 yards to Kennedy’s feet every time.
Edghill – didn’t notice him, which means he mustn’t have made many mistakes, although thinking about it he did make one foul-up. I wish people would get off his back. Royle has already stated he is a worrier and heckling him will only undermine him.
Tiatto – eager beaver but takes too many risks. Too hot-headed and gets out of position. Good wingers will wait for him to dive in and either take the foul or leave him on the floor and take the ball. Gets out of position too easily.
Horlock – didn’t notice him in the first half (except the penalties) and couldn’t bring myself to sing ‘Only one Kevin Horlock’. I’m with the guy in the recent MCIVTA, I don’t rate him highly so I only see his negative play. I will try to be more open minded from now on.
Whitley – thought he might get sent off at one point as he kept diving all over the place. Can get a little bit over excited at times, but generally put himself about and made a few really good tackles/interceptions.
Bishop – not one of his best games but he passes better than Horlock and Whitley and he is usually helping out the back two in either mopping up their tackles or receiving the ball from them. His presence meant Morrison stopped smacking the ball down the pitch, which can only be a good thing. Perhaps controversial but drop Horlock and play Bishop?
Kennedy – I really like him, so I don’t see his faults! Another good game. Made himself available a lot and read the direction of the pass well and ran onto it. Hopefully will provide many a good cross this season. A good buy who loves scoring, and can!
Cooke – Dodgy first half, I think he has been poor in the first two games I’ve seen, looking lazy and uninterested. When I sat down to write this I was surprised that he had so much influence in the last four goals. Perhaps I expect him to be head and shoulders above the rest of the team and am judging him too harshly, or maybe I’ve been affected by the Taggart mind machine and believe he is the best crosser in the world and worth millions.
Dickov – I think he has struggled so far, perhaps trying too hard. Spent most of the first half looking for, but not getting, fouls. He worked hard, especially in the second half when he saw his opportunity to bag a few with Sheff. Utd. in disarray. Hope the goal lifts his confidence.
Goater – My God I have never seen that man win so many headers. Perhaps he has been doing what I had hoped he would by taking advice from Morrison on how to time a jump. Worked hard and in a lot of ways won us the match with his involvement with the Tracey sending off and penalty. He really ran hard to reach the ball first and it paid off. Well done (and get off his back as well!).
Taylor – oh dear, sell that man and quickly before someone realises how bad he is. Against his old team, down to ten men, having sat on the bench for most of the game, comfortably in the lead and desperate (?) to prove a point, you would think he’d play with a passion and desire to be on the end of everything. But no, same old Gareth; slow, lethargic and uninterested in the ball. No drive and no determination, he’ll probably do a Nigel Clough on us. Now come on someone, tell me to get off his back!

Elaine Clegg (


MANCHESTER CITY vs. SHEFFIELD UNITED, Saturday 21st August 1999

I cannot think of a better place to be than at Maine Road last Saturday, the sun was shining, a near full house, the fans in great voice, well, the City fans anyway. I was in the Main Stand; I much prefer the Kippax, but I’m not complaining, it was just great to be there. The final score could have been 12-0, and that’s no exaggeration. Kevin Horlock was as cool as a cucumber as he put the Blues two up in the first half, both goals from the penalty spot. City started the second period nervously, but once they got going, they produced a fantastic display for the fans. It was great to see the two wingers flying down either side of the pitch, terrorising the United defenders for most of the second half but it was the team performance which most impressed me; every ball was fought for, even Gareth Taylor getting into a great position to score the sixth, after Kennedy, Dickov, and Goater had scored the other second half goals. I was delighted to see Paul score because he has not had the greatest of starts this season but there is never any doubt in my mind about his commitment. It was also a great birthday present for me, I can’t wait for my next visit to Maine Road, which will be against Crystal Palace. It will be the first official trip of the newly-formed County Wicklow branch; I think there will be about 35 of us at the game. Kindest regards to City fans everywhere.

CTID, Paul Fegan (


Royle Dedicates Win to Fans

Joe Royle was impressed with his side’s display in the 6-0 win against Sheffield United and offered the goal riot as a “thank you” to the Maine Road fans. Royle reflected that each of Shaun Goater, Paul Dickov and substitute Gareth Taylor could have had a hat trick but felt that the thumping victory should provide a confidence boost even so. The City manager admitted that the foul for which City’s second spot kick was awarded took place outside the penalty area but felt that referee Phil Richards had no choice but to dismiss Blades’ goalkeeper Simon Tracey as a result of the incident. And while most observers focused on the Blues’ exploits at the other end of the field, Royle expressed satisfaction with his defence after a third successive clean sheet.

Disappointed Heath Impressed by Blues

Sheffield United boss Adrian Heath was left to rue four minutes of first-half madness which saw his team go from level terms to two goals and one man down. Heath lamented the refereeing inconsistency that saw Tracey dismissed while Spurs’ Ian Walker survived in more ostensibly incriminating circumstances the previous week. However, the Blues impressed the Former City striker in the second period and he felt the movement of wingers Cooke and Kennedy was exceptional. And such was his admiration that he tipped City as likely promotion contenders.

Jim Looks to Brother’s Example

Northern Ireland international Jim Whitley has departed on loan for Blackpool, hoping to follow the pattern set last season by brother Jeff. Now establishing himself as a first choice, the younger Whitley had dropped out of favour last term and went on loan to Wrexham. He returned, according to Joe Royle, a “different player” and broke into the senior set-up in time to feature at Wembley. Now Jim, currently out of contention, will be hoping for a similar revival in his fortunes, and he’ll have been boosted by the manager’s comments that there’s no chance of City looking to make the loan move permanent.

Albion Eyeing Pollock

West Bromwich Albion’s new manager Brian Little is rumoured to be weighing up a bid for City midfielder Jamie Pollock. Close-season comments from Joe Royle indicated that Pollock would be given his chance to fight to regain his place after a disappointing end to the previous campaign, but he hasn’t thus far done so and, even though the player has said he doesn’t wish to leave Maine Road, there’s speculation in some quarters that his failure to earn a starting place may tempt him to consider other options. And Little’s presence at City’s last two reserve fixtures has given credence to the view that The Hawthorns could be the ex-Middlesbrough and Bolton man’s new home. One report has claimed that the Baggies have already had a £200,000 bid for Pollock turned down by Joe Royle, while other reports claim this figure is City’s asking price – surely unlikely given that Royle has claimed the player has international ability.

No Clash Over Transfer Cash

Joe Royle has again denied a rift with chairman David Bernstein over transfer funds. The City manager said the board has always supported him when he’s wanted to make an acquisition and sees no reason why the trend will be reversed now. Royle has again emphatically denied interest in Blackburn’s Kevin Gallacher, and for once the weekend newspapers don’t seem to have thrown any new names into the frame. Meanwhile, City hope this week to complete the signing of Ballymena ‘keeper Richard McKinney after a complication at the end of last week.

Burnley Preview

Tuesday sees what will probably be a fairly low-key League Cup trip to Burnley for the second leg of the first round tie with the Clarets. With the home team facing a five-goal deficit, passage to the next stage should be a formality even for unpredictable City. Burnley’s ambitions will be to salvage respectability after two drubbings by the Blues in less than six months, while Joe Royle is likely to rotate his squad. The City manager has already confirmed that Morrison and Dickov will be rested, while hamstring victim Danny Tiatto will also be sidelined.

Peter Brophy (


David Kilroy does both Mark Kennedy and Danny Tiatto a disservice by suggesting that Kennedy only looks any good when combining with Danny Granville. I was at Craven Cottage, and my City Man of the Match was probably Tiatto. He worked his socks off, was not scared to get forward and even run at defenders, and also shut down the Fulham right pretty effectively. Kennedy did not have such a bad game, although his crosses were mostly ‘long’ and he should have scored in the first half when put clear. But every time he got the ball and began to run at the Fulham, they looked terrified of him and kept backing off. The question is now: Do we need Granville, or can Tiatto make that left back spot his own?

Where he is absolutely right, however, is his reflection that City now look very left sided, and the big disappointment this season (apart from the lack of goals) must be the virtual disappearance of Terry Cooke from the scene. At the Cottage there were wide-open spaces down the right that nobody filled. With Kennedy and Horlock on the left, Whitley was required to marshal the midfield and the right, a task he attempted to do manfully but it was far too much for one player, and there were times when we needed to play the ball wide but no one was there. Please, Terry, get your form back and let’s play with the threat coming from both wings. Besides, Cooke’s crosses are far more lethal than Kennedy’s.

Crispin Pemberton (

(It should be noted that Crispin’s article was, of course, sent before Saturday – Matt)


Extract from Keith Riley’s posting, MCIVTA 528:

“Steve. 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… 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… Nobody should EVER have to queue up at all at the ground.

Keith Riley”

Keith, I was confused because I thought you were talking about not keeping the Bristol Rovers stub from last season. The Fulham fiasco was mainly down to reducing the number of stubs too slowly (one a day) until open sale came too late for many people – e.g. with cheap tickets to London by rail needing to be booked a week ahead, and London exiled Blues (a) unable to get through on the phone and (b) told to collect tickets in Manchester. As it was in Fulham’s financial interest to fill our end, why not send 1,000 tickets to Fulham to sell from the Thursday (still showing a City stub in order to prove you’re not Millwall…)?

In practice in the last couple of years there have been only a handful of matches where tickets sold out on the first day. Some people always queued on the first day, some of us just waited a day or two then strolled up or phoned or faxed. Demanding stubs for every match will only complicate matters unnecessarily; it’s probably only necessary for “local” away matches or ones with severe limits on numbers of away fans.

But when it comes to Crewe away (Millennium Monday), it’s either provide lots of stubs (or with attendance tracking see who’s actually bought tickets, favouring season ticket holders who buy the tickets but don’t go themselves) or queue. Of course, after Crewe away on Boxing Day two seasons ago, perhaps the club might have said to the fixtures people, during the Christmas holidays, give us an away match with lots of away capacity…

And another thing…

City’s potential as a well-supported away team was illustrated years ago. In 1963-64, City were going well with Jimmy Murray and Derek Kevan (is he still our record scorer?) working well up front together. In 4 successive matches they scored 7 and 6 goals each – including home victories over Huddersfield (5-2), Rotherham (6-1); then on Boxing Day Kevan got 2, and Murray and Matt Gray each scored 3 as we beat Scunthorpe 8-1. In those days the return of the Boxing Day matches was the following Saturday so two days later Piccadilly station (or that long ago, maybe it was still London Road) was inundated with Blues for the special diesel unit to Scunthorpe. They added another two coaches and still were selling, so they commandeered a Manchester-Sheffield express, piled us all on there, and found another engine at Sheffield to take the train through to Scunthorpe. Try and find someone now on the railways to use that sort of initiative!

Scunthorpe had the same ‘keeper so he came out to massed ranks of Blues behind his goal chanting “We want nine”. We won 4-2 and didn’t win again till March. We’d have made the play-offs though if they’d had them then and having finished with 4 wins and 1 draw were on form. Promotion, no Mercer… How about some more “what might have been”?

Steve Parish (


I am writing on behalf of my friend Gianni Corrado who lives in Ormea near Cunio. He was at the Sheffield United game. He normally comes to Manchester twice a season. He would like to get in touch with other Italian City fans or other City fans based in Italy to talk about City etc. You can contact him via myself Simon Greenwood, as Gianni does not have a computer at present.

Simon Greenwood (


I’m an Italian City fan who lives in Italy and I’ve just been to Maine road for the 2nd time since 1995. I think there’s no need to say I couldn’t have picked a better day for my second visit to Maine Road. A 6-0 win wasn’t even in my dreams! Anyway, I’d like to talk about something else, namely ticket allocations. I won’t be asking for tickets any more, because unfortunately Maine Road won’t see my face for the rest of the season, but I’ve noticed that the North Stand could be used in a far better way. Half of it was almost empty since not many Sheffield United fans decided to turn up (I understand why!), while the uncovered stand between the North Stand itself and the Kippax was packed with City fans. I think away fans should be allocated in that corner, which is smaller than half the North Stand, provides no segregation problems and so more suitable to them. Doing so, the whole North Stand could be given to City fans that would pack it every Saturday, no doubt about that. I managed to buy a seat in the Main Stand, but I had to ring City ticket office a month in advance, and thanks to a friend who lives in Manchester too. When I visited the City supersore (sic., matt) the day before the 6-0 game, I saw people desperate to get one. I thought it was going to be a full house then. Actually it was, 30,110 people turned up, but I saw 1,500-2,000 empty seats as well. With thousands of City fans forced at home to listen to the radio, it sounded pretty nonsense to me. Does anyone agree with me?

Vanes – Cremona, Italy (


I have a colleague at work who claims that he met an Irish Man City player at an awards ceremony in Dublin about 5 years ago. He claims the person’s name was John? Now I’m either being completely stupid or am losing my memory but I cannot think of any Irish Johns who played for us about 5 years ago. Before I have to go scouting around the loft in old programmes/history books can anyone assist with this?

Rob Kerr (


I have two copies of the “City are Back” videotape (last season’s highlights plus Wembley) converted to US format, for any Blue on this side of the Atlantic who wants them. Cost is US$15 each plus postage. If you’re interested, send me an email at with your US address. First come, first served!

Mike Edwards (


Due to unforeseen circumstances, I have found out that I can’t go to the Bolton game on Saturday, but this wasn’t before I’d already bought two tickets. So, if there are any Blues out there who want to witness at first hand the continuing renaissance of our great club, then please email me ASAP at:

Steve (


If anyone has a video of the 1969 F.A. Cup final, please get in touch with me at the address below. Thanks.

Ian Beaver (


S  ix
H  ardly
E  xpected
F  ollowing
F  ulham.
E  xpected
L  ow-scoring
D  raw.
U  nlikely
N  ovelties
I  ncluded
T  aylor
E  mulating
D  ickov!

Steve Maclean (


I was brought up in rural Northwest Wales and Liverpool was regarded as the unofficial capital city. School trips usually took us to a ferry trip across the Mersey and an afternoon trying out the arcade on the pier at New Brighton. In retrospect, it must have been a bizarre experience for the locals to overhear a large bunch of schoolkids from the Lleyn Peninsula – whose command of English was imperfect, to say the least – strutting about attempting to imitate John Lennon’s nasal tones.

In former days, Everton were the team not least because Pwllheli’s very own Tommy Jones had played centre-half for them and for Wales. In that pre-Shankly era, Liverpool were figuratively and literally Second Division. Nonetheless, I can recall patient queues outside the (sole) newsagent, on a Saturday night, patiently awaiting the arrival of the football edition of the Liverpool Echo, delivered over appalling roads, which gave both clubs equal coverage. The Manchester clubs barely got a mention other than in the Results columns.

I’m not quite sure why I didn’t gravitate towards the Merseyside clubs. Maybe it was a reaction to being dragged around Lewis’s department store every time the family visited the city for shopping! On the other hand, it could have been my growing awareness of the heroics of a Manchester club in successive FA Cup finals! In retrospect, the answer to the question – “Why Blue?” – can be summarised in two words: Bert Trautmann. This Welsh kid who, along with his contemporaries, regarded Manchester as “Ultima Thule” was captivated by the romance of this living legend and the club, and its supporters, that he played for. I had to see him play!

In this day and age of a vastly upgraded A55 and linking motorways, it is difficult to envisage the logistical problems my ambition posed to my parents. Getting to Liverpool and back in one day was one thing; “Minechester”, as the locals pronounced it, was quite another.

A kind couple, friends of the family, living in Deganwy, came to the rescue. I would be taken to them to stay overnight on the Friday, the three of us would travel by train from Llandudno Junction to Manchester, taxi to Maine Road, see the game (my very first!} and return the very same day for another sleepover. Everything went like clockwork. On a bitterly cold day, we arrived early in our seats in the main stand and I stared about me in awe at the size of the place. To our left, the scoreboard (now the North Stand) terrace began to fill up and I distinctly remember spotting three Catholic priests, whom we – being good chapel people – had noticed, earlier in the day, in Deansgate. I roamed up and down the gangway steps so that I could focus on the mysterious portals under the (Kippax) stand opposite through which emerged hordes of distant figures to deploy along the terrace steps. The minutes slipped by, the crowd grew, to my impressionable eyes, to monstrous proportions and, to a roar of loyalty, derision and insult the visitors emerged and limbered up.

At that time – Saturday January 2nd 1960 – Sheffield Wednesday were a power in the land and only a few days earlier had defeated high-flying Fulham – Tony Macedo, Johnny Haynes, Jimmy Hill et al – 7-0! No wonder 44,167 were attracted to this fixture.

A gathering crescendo, and to the accompaniment of a thunderclap of love and loyalty, out came the men in blue and a tall, blond figure in a green jersey trotted over to the goal at the scoreboard end waving cheerfully to the fans behind the net.

For once, City did us proud winning 4-1 and we, in common with the vast majority of that huge crowd, left the ground in a happy frame of mind. It was my début, and a winning one!

The following Saturday, City were at home in the 3rd round of the FA Cup. Fate decreed that my first experience of City “in the flesh” should be of them winning emphatically and in style in the League – not, one week later, in the Cup. Predictably, in the shock of the round, City were wiped out 5-1 by Ted Bates’ 3rd. Division (South) Southampton. This was salutary preparation for further débâcles in ensuing years, at the hands of the likes of Halifax, Shrewsbury and Cardiff etc. President Harry Truman, were he still alive, would be proud of us City loyalists; who have, throughout, withstood the heat and stayed in the kitchen.

I think it was later that same season that our English cum Sports Master issued the following pre-game tactical instructions: “Bring towels, boys,” as with misguided zeal he’d arranged a trip for our team to OT. We survived a shouting match with an irascible turnstile operator and were herded into the chicken run at the base of the main stand directly beneath Alan Weekes who did the BBC radio commentary. The game was dire and Wolves won 2-0. There was a bloody woman next to me who shouted incessantly “Bobbeee (Charlton)” every time Albert Scanlon got the ball. I thought at the time that if her level of football knowledge was typical of the rest of the 60,560 crowd then my allegiance to City and its supporters was in secure and sophisticated hands.

The following year I persuaded the teacher to take us to Maine Road. I hoped to win my class – who had succumbed to the Munich/media hype – over to the Blues but, in spite of a fantastic run by Colin Barlow down the left flank, City went down 1-0 to the great Spurs side of the early 60’s led by Danny Blanchflower. Kids like supporting winners; I must have been old before my time!

During the next few years, and throughout my time at University, I managed to get to Maine Road on a number of occasions: Cardiff (4-2) and Birmingham (3-2) stay in my mind, the former because Denis Law was in his first spell with us and the latter for Alex Harley’s very nifty winning penalty. But the game that my generation will remember, especially for those like me who were there, was the 1969 League derby at home.

At the time, I was working as an articled clerk in a law office in Caernarvon and, in the wake of the Leasehold Reform Act of that year, I realised that I needed to obtain the signature of a sitting tenant in Lloyd Street South. I managed to persuade my Principal that, in the light of the lady’s advanced years, I should travel to Manchester and personally supervise the transactions. He thought it very noble of me! There I was, on the top deck of a bus that Saturday morning with my briefcase on my lap, trundling down in that general direction, craning my neck for a sight of the ground which I knew to be close by our client. Suddenly, the lady next to me asked me where I was from, to which I replied “Pwllheli, North Wales”.
“Are you going to the match?”
“Yes I am after I’ve finished some business which won’t take long. I’m a big City supporter.”
“Are you now? Are you going to the City Social Club after the game?”
“I’d like to, but I’ve never been a member.”
“Don’t worry lad. You just trot along there and tell the lads at the door that Mrs. Berry from Crofton Street sent you.”
“Why, thank you very much.”

I got the business done in five minutes and headed for a few pints in the Parkside after negotiating entry past two gatemen who were impressed by my suit and briefcase. I went round the back of the Kippax and got myself up above the half-way line by 2.30. At that time Georgy Porgy was having yet another of his well-publicised bust-ups with a beautiful but tearful Swedish girl named, if memory serves me right, Eva Haralsted.

Just before the teams came out, the 63,013 crowd spotted the embarrassed blonde taking her seat in the main stand opposite. The overwhelmingly Blue element in the crowd, as if on cue, with arms and hands raised above their heads throughout the Kippax, chanted in unison: “Georgie Best {clap} {clap} {clap} haaas VD {clap} {clap} {clap}”. The uncouth louts! If there had been room, I would have fallen over with laughing. We won 4-0 with the style of that fabulous side; and in a celebratory mood, but, with hope rather than confidence, I left the ground along with the departing hordes and went to the entrance of the Social Club. The two guys at the door asked me:

“Are you a member of the Club? No new memberships on matchday.”
“No, I’m not but Mrs. Berry from Crof…”
“Come in lad.”

Lord bless them all. I had a great time and they even organised a taxi – which they paid for – to get me back to Victoria to catch the train to Bangor. Since 1979, I have been on my travels spending years in Africa, nine in Japan, Korea and south-east Asia and, since 1991, I have been beached in Vancouver. Throughout, my faith has never wavered and I have supported City over all these years through thick and thin – mostly thin. And I’m proud of it.

Last night I met a bunch of Liverpool supporters from Coventry. One of them, wearing a replica red team shirt congratulated me on learning that I was a City supporter. I thanked him and asked him what he thought of the Charity Shield result. He didn’t know the result! They had been up-country and only just returned. I described the match, step-by-step, foul-by-foul, petulant outbursts by Mr. Posh, one after the other. “Yes, yes, yes” he said, impatiently, “but what was the RESULT?” I told him. He seemed very pleased. I wonder why?

CTVESCDOSIJ (City ’till Vancouver enjoys seven consecutive days of sunshine in July}, Dafydd Goronwy-Roberts (



Birmingham City   (3) 4 Port Vale        (2) 2
Blackburn Rovers  (0) 1 Barnsley         (0) 2
Charlton Athletic (0) 1 Norwich City     (0) 0
Crystal Palace    (1) 1 Swindon Town     (1) 2
Grimsby Town      (1) 1 Fulham           (1) 1
Ipswich Town      (0) 1 Bolton Wanderers (0) 0
Manchester City   (2) 6 Sheffield United (0) 0
  Horlock 37 (pen), 43 (pen), Kennedy 62, Goater 65, Dickov 72, Taylor 86.
  Manchester City: Weaver, Edghill, Wiekens, Morrison (Jobson 65),
                   Tiatto (Bishop 33), Horlock, Cooke, Whitley,
                   Kennedy, Dickov, Goater (Taylor 70).
  Subs not used: Allsopp, Wright.
  Booked: Morrison.
  Sheffield United: Tracey, Derry, Murphy, Sandford, Kozluk, Ford,
                    Hamilton (Davison 41), Smith (Gybreches 56 (Hunt
                    67)), Quinn, Katchouro, Devlin.
  Subs not used: Marcelo, Doane.
  Booked: Sandford, Murphy.
  Sent off: Tracey (40, Serious Foul Play).
  Attendance: 30,110
  Ref: P Richards (Preston)
Portsmouth          (0) 2 Stockport County        (0) 0
Queens Park Rangers (0) 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers (1) 1
Tranmere Rovers     (1) 1 Huddersfield Town       (0) 0
Walsall             (1) 1 Crewe Alexandra         (1) 4
                P   W   D   L    F    A     W   D   L    F   A   Pts GS
Ipswich         3   2   0   0    4    1     1   0   0    4   1   9    8
Birmingham      3   1   1   0    6    4     1   0   0    1   0   7    7
Portsmouth      3   2   0   0    4    0     0   1   0    1   1   7    5
Charlton        2   2   0   0    4    1     0   0   0    0   0   6    4
Stockport       3   1   0   0    2    1     1   0   1    1   2   6    3
West Brom       3   0   2   0    2    2     1   0   0    2   1   5    4
Wolverhampton   3   0   1   0    1    1     1   1   0    2   1   5    3
MAN CITY        3   1   0   1    6    1     0   1   0    0   0   4    6
Crewe           2   0   0   0    0    0     1   1   0    5   2   4    5
QPR             3   1   1   0    4    2     0   0   1    1   2   4    5
Crystal Palace  3   0   1   1    2    3     1   0   0    2   1   4    5
Nottm Forest    3   1   0   0    2    1     0   1   1    2   4   4    4
Swindon         3   0   0   1    1    4     1   1   0    2   1   4    3
Bolton          3   1   0   0    2    1     0   1   1    0   1   4    2
Tranmere        3   1   1   0    1    0     0   0   1    1   2   4    2
Barnsley        3   0   0   1    2    3     1   0   1    3   4   3    5
Huddersfield    3   1   0   0    3    2     0   0   2    1   4   3    4
Fulham          3   0   1   0    0    0     0   2   0    3   3   3    3
Walsall         3   0   1   1    1    4     0   1   0    1   1   2    2
Blackburn       3   0   1   1    1    2     0   0   1    2   3   1    3
Port Vale       3   0   0   1    1    2     0   1   1    2   4   1    3
Grimsby         3   0   1   1    1    2     0   0   1    1   2   1    2
Norwich         3   0   0   1    0    1     0   1   1    1   2   1    1
Sheff Utd       3   0   1   0    1    1     0   0   2    0   8   1    1



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 #529