Newsletter #541

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Another impressive display of attacking football from the Blues – bar finishing that is – saw us run out 2-1 winners against Port Vale, securing joint top place in the process. Although only 2-1, this game was just about the most one-sided that I’ve seen at a professional level; had Sky shown it, the possession stats would have surely been record breaking. Port Vale looked woeful, and couldn’t even be bothered to try to make life difficult for us by a little bit of harrying. Kennedy was outstanding and so tortured the right back that I do wonder if the victim hasn’t packed it all in and found another more suitable vocation. Bishop was sublime; he controlled midfield, set up several excellent chances (which were wasted) and had time to score a brace himself, one beautifully worked. Now for the down side: our finishing was appalling, there were at least 10 opportunities for goals from inside the box, where the the City forwards (midfielders as well) seemed to want gilt-edged hand-written invitations to shoot, their efforts ended up being blocked by the time they finally took the plunge. On top of this, there were about 3-4 one-on-ones, only one of which brought a save from the ‘keeper; and finally, a miss from Whitley from 4 yards out, with no goalie and no defenders within a nautical mile, which has to be just about the most awful miss I’ve ever seen. The take-home message from this game is that we have the makings of a very good side, one that can definitely win promotion, but… we urgently need quality up front – this is not panic buying (we are not in free-fall) this is investment in the future – ours! More on this issue from Peter.

We have three match reports and a matchview amongst news, opinion and two Why Blues.

Next game: Tranmere away, Saturday 16th October 1999

NEWS SUMMARY

Bishop the Hero but Blues Almost Pay Penalty

City have returned to second place in the Division One table after the unlikely goalscoring heroics of Ian Bishop proved enough to seal a 2-1 win over Port Vale on Saturday. Bishop hadn’t scored since his return to the club 18 months ago, and last found the net in a league game at Maine Road over a decade previously. His two previous league goals for the club came in successive games in his previous Maine Road stint when he followed his memorable strike against Manchester United with a goal against Luton the next week. He went one better this time by managing two in the same game. “It’s been so long since I scored I didn’t know what to do afterwards and before I knew it I had about four people on my back,” said the veteran midfielder. “After I’d scored I was wondering whether I’d get another chance because I’ve never scored two in a first team game before. Then I was dreaming of the hat-trick and what I might do if I got a hat-trick but it never materialised.”

However, the Blues’ failure to manage more than two goals from a massive 25 goal attempts almost saw Vale rescue a point from a game City dominated totally. Martin Foyle pulled a goal back for the visitors in the second half when they should already have been trailing by many more than two goals. And the Potteries side might have gone home down the M6 with a point had referee Steve Baines awarded a late penalty for a blatant foul by Andy Morrison on Tony Rougier. However, Morrison himself contested the general view that a spot kick should have been awarded. “I did catch the lad but he made a meal of it and he was never going to reach the ball before it went out of play,” argued the City skipper. “It shouldn’t even be an issue.”

Horton Backs City – Royle Happy With Start

Vale manager Brian Horton, one of the many former incumbents of the Maine Road hot seat, was disappointed with the decision which cost his team the chance to equalise from the spot. “You could tell by the reaction of their players, the City bench and the crowd that it should have been a penalty. But we could have beaten out of sight by then,” he admitted. “I always enjoy coming back here but I don’t enjoy losing.” However, Horton was impressed by the promotion pedigree of his former side and he feels the Blues have what it takes to be in the leading pack at the season’s end. “Clubs like Charlton, Fulham, Huddersfield, Ipswich and, of course, City will be fighting it out,” he said. “In Mark Kennedy they have an outstanding player at this level.”

Meanwhile, Joe Royle was happy with his side’s progress over the first two months of the campaign, though he couldn’t resist thinking of what might have been. “I’m satisfied with our start to the season but we should have been even better off,” he said. “We should have had three points at Norwich and at least one at Ipswich.” Of Saturday’s events, he reflected, “The 2-1 scoreline does not tell the story of the game. I was delighted with our performance and the chances we created, although our defending was a bit shaky at times.” Though he admitted that he’d have had no complaints if Vale had been awarded a penalty, Royle did speculate that, “Their player made a bit of a meal of it and that might have influenced the referee who was standing close by.”

Break Gives Quartet Chance to Get Fit

City now have a two week break from action after next Saturday’s scheduled fixture against Portsmouth was postponed owing to international call-ups for several City squad members. And Joe Royle will be hoping that the enforced lay-off will enable some of his walking wounded to return to action. Shaun Goater left the action after half an hour on Saturday having sustained a hamstring injury and is under treatment, while Richard Edghill (head injury), Gareth Taylor (facial injury) and Gerard Wiekens (ankle) are also on the sick list. The Blues’ next game is away to Tranmere on Saturday 16 October.

Wright Set for New Loan Exit

Tommy Wright is set to be sent out again on loan. The Northern Ireland international goalkeeper ended last term at Wrexham and had a temporary spell with Newcastle this season, and he looks set for another short-term departure from Maine Road once he returns from international duty next week. Indeed Wright was already due to have moved to Reading for a month but the Royals decided not to pursue the matter when they realised he’d be spending a chunk of that period in Finland with Lawrie McMenemy’s squad. Blackpool were previously linked with the former Forest goalkeeper.

Granville Aiming to Seal Permanent Move

City’s own temporary signing Danny Granville is keen to seal a permanent switch to Maine Road. “I love it here,” said the on-loan Leeds full-back. “I’m disappointed that I haven’t played more but I’m fit again now and raring to go. The fans have made me feel really welcome as have the players and it’s a really happy club to be around.” Although Granville arrived at the club in July and played in three pre-season games, he wasn’t officially registered with the Blues until just before the start of the season, meaning that the ex-Cambridge and Chelsea player still has around a month to convince Joe Royle to thrash out a deal for his services.

Cameroon Striker Linked

The latest striker to be linked with City is Cameroon international Patrick Suffo, currently with French club Nantes. French football magazine C-Foot reported that Suffo had been withdrawn from the Nantes squad for their weekend match against Paris Saint-Germain to travel to England with his agent for talks with Joe Royle. It’s claimed that a decision may be announced early this week. Suffo largely figures on the bench for Nantes, who went down 4-0 at home to PSG on Sunday.

Call-Ups Boost Youth Policy

Leon Mike, whose call-up for the England under-18s was reported last week, is one of four City youngsters representing their countries. Mike will be hoping for a chance to figure this week in England’s European Championship qualifiers this week against Spain at West Ham’s Upton Park on Wednesday, against Cyprus at Orient’s Brisbane Road on Friday and against San Marino at Dagenham on Sunday. Meanwhile, Rhys David (Wales), Paddy McCarthy (Irish Republic) and Gary Brown (Northern Ireland) are all in their respective squads. It left City’s Academy Director Jim Cassell a proud man as he reflected, “It is a long time since we have had so many kids away on international duty at one time. There was a time when City’s youth policy was in the doldrums but that is not the case any longer. Kids now want to come here and play for Manchester City and that can only be good for the senior team.” And he also noted that Shaun Wright-Phillips, possibly the most vaunted of the current youth set-up and the only one to taste first-team action, must have been close to a call-up too.

Academy Sides Continue Goal Blitz

As if to prove the point, the City Academy boys continued in fine form in the weekend fixtures against Bolton. The under-17 side, 9-1 conquerors of Barnsley seven days previously, managed a mere 7-0 victory this time while the under-19s notched a fifth successive win, beating the Trotters 5-3.

Peter Brophy (brophy_peter@hotmail.com)

MATCH REPORT – ‘LIVE’ I

MANCHESTER CITY vs. PORT VALE, Saturday 2nd October 1999

Our two defeats away from home meant that we really did have to win this one if we were going to maintain our excellent start and excellent league position. I think experience at the Academy last season showed that many of the smaller teams coming to Maine Road were there to simply enjoy the day, enjoy the big crowd and with one or two exception come for the draw. I have to say Port Vale’s tactics were weird, the only team I’ve seen in a long time who didn’t even come for a point, they were that bad. At the end of the report I’ve included some statistics that indicate that despite the two defeats away we’re still well on course for a good finish.

I think their nickname is The Valiants, but I can’t for the life of me think why, it would make more sense for that name to be used to describe their supporters, although a medical intervention might be more appropriate with the simpletons who pay money to watch that rubbish week in week out. You have to go back to 1928/29 for their most successful season (5th in the Second Division). On yesterday’s performance it won’t be long before they’re back in the Second Division again.

Anyway, for those of you not in Manchester the weather on Friday and Saturday morning had been pretty appalling: very very wet and it was a real credit to the ground staff that the pitch was as playable as it was, although I must say that the grass looked a little longer than normal. On the way down to the ground we had stopped for a Guinness at the most excellent hostelry The Gardeners and the contrasts in the weather at about 2.00pm was such that we could actually sit outside to enjoy our drink. Remarkably the weather stayed dry as we walked down to the ground, and although I had thought the crowd might be a little less than of late, there were actually 31,608 there – another superb attendance.

There were not too many Vale fans, but I guess that’s not surprising as they only have an average attendance of about 5,000 or so. Those that had made it were allocated to the roofless Gene Kelly stand, and as I carefully avoided the steaming dog and horse sh*t that fills the alley ways around the ground, I prayed for freezing cold rain to provide a complete Manchester welcome to the Variants. In fact I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much dog and horse sh*t in one place as yesterday (other than when I was in Rotherham a week or two ago). There was so much of it that I wondered whether or not horses and dogs could have a bad day – you know when your guts are really off after a night on the beer etc., it certainly seemed that way to me, or maybe the Vale fans had walked that way earlier and had just got a little over excited in the crowds.

As we waited for the kick off I couldn’t help notice that the plastic seagull seemed to be in distress. In fact it seems that its fastening lines were either tangled or coming away and it hung almost on its side as it flapped around in the swirling wind. I do hope it can be fixed, as I for one will be very disappointed if it goes.

Regular readers will know that it’s about this stage of my report that I do my fashion section and comment on the playing attire of our opponents. Well, it will be a bit different in this report, because it quite simply was cr*p. The green of the goalie’s outfit was dull and faded (from a car boot sale perhaps?) and the outfield players were dressed completely in the most ridiculous yellow – in fact my 16-year-old daughter captured it perfectly when she said to me ‘what’s that kit all about then’!

The officials were as smart as ever and Mr Baines from Chesterfield had a pretty decent game, particularly when he refused to listen to the appeals for a penalty in the second half from the stupidly attired Vale players.

The game itself was pretty much typical of City this year. We simply dominated it. Six minutes into he game Kennedy lashed the ball goalwards only to see it strike the upright. Ian Bishop, who started this game and played the full 90 minutes was immediately effective and for me went on to become Man of the Match. It was good to see Danny Granville playing again and he looked sharp as he combined with Kennedy. Dickov was very unlucky not to score what would have been a sensational overhead kick on about the 11th minute, as he showed himself to have a degree of acrobatic skills normally restricted to members of a circus troupe. It really would have been a cracker.

Kennedy again was in top class form as he tore down the left wing time after time, dazzling our dim-witted opponents at will. I think the dullards from Port Vale must normally play on a miniature pitch, as it seemed that not a single one of them knew they could use all the pitch and even come near the City goal. It was as one sided as the Sky commentary when the Rags are on (oh and on that score hard luck Marseille, I was gutted when the Rags got their goals in midweek).

Round about the 30th minute, Ian Bishop hit a superb ball from inside, but near the edge of, the 18-yard box (the ball had rebounded from a Jeff Whitley shot) and from the moment it left his foot it was always going in. The ball rose on its trajectory and smashed into the net causing that most magnificent of sights; that really is what football is all about – the magnificent spectacle of the net billowing out to retard the leather projectile as the beaten ‘keeper is left clutching at nothing.

After this, to be honest the rest of the first half was a bit of a joke, it really was one sided. We lost Goater to injury (replaced by Allsopp) and not long after Bishop smashed home a second great goal after Dickov had done great work to cut the ball back in from what looked to be a difficult angle. At 2-0 you would have bet on a 4 or 5 goals margin being the final result. The second half was pretty much the same balance i.e. all one sided but we did lose our way at times. We still had more chances than you can shake a stick at and we just don’t take anything like enough of the chances that magic boots Kennedy slings across. Dickov was unlucky when he hit the post around about the hour and how Whitley didn’t score later on I just don’t know.

Port Vale got their goal on their one and only visit to the other end of the field and it proved to be a simple tap in for the Vale number 15 – Martin Foyle (probably their best player).

Oh, I forget to mention how pleased we were when it rained, brilliant, City fans nice and dry in the North Stand, away fans nice and wet and cold in the Gene Kelly. I had to laugh though when the stewards gave out the pac-a-macs to the City fans in our new magnificent scoreboard stand – it looked like a special Klan meeting (or some sort of plastic lovers fetish meeting) as they all slipped into their white rain macs with pointed hoods) Prior to the match I had visited the Vale web site and I was going to include some trivia about the club, but as they were so cr*p I can’t be bothered, other than to say did you know there are over 2,000 bulbs in the Vale scoreboard (I bet they don’t light up very often though).

OK, finally what does all this mean then? Well, the couple of defeats away from home mean that our points per game has dropped to an average of 1.9, we need it to be at an average of 2 per game if we are to secure an automatic place. Current trends mean we’ll finish on 87 points and that will give us third place and a place in the play-offs. We must increase our goals per game as our hit rate is only 1.4 and we have a declining goal trend. A win in our next game will put us back on track and despite recent setbacks, three points from our next game will put on track again for a top two finish. If you want more stats, picture and previous match reports etc check out my website at <http://members.xoom.com/bluenews/>.

One last point: I was told by friends in the Kippax that there is a new craze – people are bringing salt or pepper shakers into the ground to create a sort of Madchester Samba beat. Anyone know anything more about it (honest that’s not a wind up – the next banana craze?)?

Cheers and good luck to Chelsea, Tony Burns (tony.burns@cwcom.net)

MATCH REPORT – ‘LIVE’ II

MANCHESTER CITY vs. PORT VALE, Saturday 2nd October 1999

2-1: A score that flatters or deceives?

Saturday’s visit by Port Vale was in my opinion, the perfect summation of City and brought to the surface the old feelings of insecurity that I feel we all to some extent share. Is it possible that after the experiences of the last few years we are only satisfied with the total and utter humiliation of any team that sets their shoddy, unworthy feet on our sacred soil? In order to wash away the sick and sour taste that the last few years has made us savour, the public disembowelling of our perceived torturers is required to restore our self belief.

This may go some way to explain why the crowd turned so nervous as the team appeared to turn so casual.

All of us should remember at this stage of the season, in this division there are a number of teams that are capable of putting together promotion sides and many sides are capable of taking points off the best. We took three points and were in control for ninety percent of the game. I can’t remember an occasion that a team totally dominated any game for ninety minutes. And whilst I’m not in favour of ‘percentage’ football let’s be honest, the way we now play, barring major injuries, should ensure that across a season we will collect more points than we lose. This, unfortunately doesn’t on current evidence, guarantee us a place amongst the top six that will win or challenge for Premiership football. More importantly I’m beginning to believe it doesn’t altogether rule us out either.

Saturday’s match for me, underlines the growing general belief that we have to find an ‘edge’ that will go some way to ensuring we are amongst those in contention at the season’s closing stages.

Do we have the ingredients currently within our squad or is it time to mug the chairman?

Shaun Wright-Phillips has on a couple of occasions been shown what it’s like to see a crowd. Mason and Fenton who impressed in the early stages of last season hover somewhere in the gloom and we seem to have a clutch of players in almost every position capable of stepping in to cover our established players. I’m thinking of Allsopp, Tiatto, Brown and Pollock et al.

Having said all that, it is obvious that we do not convert a high enough proportion of the chances we create. I’m not altogether convinced that is always due to the ineffectiveness of the strikers and in an odd way Saturday’s events both pleased and peeved me.

Putting aside the vagaries of lady luck, hitting the woodwork, Kennedy’s shots whistling pass the post and the ball just not running for us, our worst misses came from midfielders wanting extra touches, maps or written permission to score from their mums – that’s the bit that peeved.

The bit that pleased? The midfield! – The two overdue goals from Bishop, but in general the way Whitley, Horlock, Kennedy and Bishop supported the front two. I may be unduly optimistic or barking certifiable, but I saw Saturday not so much as a shaky performance but a good idea that still requires some working on.

We don’t require expensive makeweights who would rather see out their careers in London discos (are they still called discos?) than help rebuild an honest club’s potential. If anyone out there harbours thoughts of ‘panic’ purchases let them be reminded of how close City came to oblivion when we had a playing staff that on occasions, outnumbered the visiting fans.

Purchases if required, are to be selected carefully as part of a plan to take us to the Premiership and whilst it’s too soon to panic there are a few names worthy of mentioning,

David Johnson – Ipswich, Jason Roberts – Bristol Rovers, Paco Rabanne – Debenhams Smellies Counter, or Conan the BarbieDoll.

At last the whiskey kicks in!

For anyone remotely interested, as I write this – Chelsea 2 – Manicured United 0 : Butt has been sent off and should as I tap, be sharing manful tales of woe with Scholes – let’s see if the FA want to do a trial by video with this one.

Back to more important things, the first of Bishop’s brace came when a good shot from Whitley rebounded off the heel of a defender to the edge of the penalty area and His Eminence struck it into the top right-hand corner. This was on the half hour, the second came a few minutes later when Dickov cut a ball back from the left and this was hit low into the bottom left-hand corner from just outside the box.

For the rest of the first half and for the first half-hour of the second half we created and missed enough chances for an Andy Cole hat-trick. Then some old fart with more hair than me ghosted – and I do mean ghosted – into the penalty area to score (Poyet has just made it 3-0) into an empty net, completely unchallenged.

Whitley managed to kick the ball up his own nose from five yards (4-0 – Berg own goal) when it would be have been easier to score and Port Vale were denied a good penalty shout – only me and Andy Morrison thought Tony Rougier had kicked the ball too far (TV revealed he had hardly kicked the ball at all).

The strangest sight was a knot of City players celebrating a goal in front of the Kippax whilst Port Vale hurried to take a goal kick – apparently the Vale ‘keeper and the referee knew it was a indirect free kick for an offence that wasn’t exactly clear to me or 31,000 other spectators. A shame really, as I think a goal would have done wonders for Cookie’s confidence.

Anyway, we certainly live in inter(5-0 : Morris nutmegs Tiabi)esting times and would we have it any other way?

All the best, Peter Capes (peter.capes@christie-tr.nwest.nhs.uk)

MATCH REPORT – ‘LIVE’ III

MANCHESTER CITY vs. PORT VALE, Saturday 2nd October 1999

If the games at Southampton and Ipswich could be likened to a Romantic Tragedy, and the events at Norwich a particularly Black Comedy, then today’s game must have been penned by David (Twin Peaks/Eraserhead) Lynch, so surreal were the events. This was a strange day indeed! The Manchester weather alternated from torrential downpours to bright, bright sunshine in the space of seconds. I really felt sorry for the Vale fans in the ‘gallows’ stand.

This was a game that we could and should have won by a country mile, could have thrown away and had some interesting cameo performances. This was a game we had to win. 3 successive defeats, 2 in the league despite playing well and apparently being robbed at Norwich was a sequence we needed to halt. Port Vale, believe it or not, had not lost at Maine Road since the 1920’s and indeed their last win at the Academy, aided by a certain Tommy Wright was still reasonably fresh in the memory. I heard on the radio on the way to the game that Mark Kennedy had supplied something like 95 crosses so far this season, his closest rival supplying 50-odd. Do you believe that, ninety-five crosses! Even if we only take 10% there’s 10 goals, without other sources of service and the 4 that Kennedy has scored himself. Although I wasn’t counting he must have increased his tally significantly today!

City started with the same team as at Norwich, with Terry Cooke surprisingly left on the bench. Jamie Pollock got his first appearence on the bench and Tommy Wright regained his seat upon his return from Newcastle. We started brightly as usual and the aforementioned Kennedy almost scored another goal of the season contender, cutting in from the left and rattling the bar on 6 minutes. It really was one way stuff with Vale’s only tactic relying on the pace of Marcus Bent on the counter. Weaver was a spectator throughout the half. Bearing in mind the conditions, Morrison was extremely hard done by to be booked for a tackle on Bent. It was one of those spectacular sliding tackles that you get when there is a lot of water about and I’m sure that it looked worse than it actually was. A Vale defender wasn’t penalised for a similar tackle on Goater a little later.

City were dominating, but again failing to convert any chances until spring chicken Bishop from the edge of the area, rammed in a rebound from a Whitley shot into the roof of the net. He’s been threatening to do this for a while now and it was his first goal for us in 10 years! The second goal follwed a tasty move involving Kennedy and then Dickov who pulled the ball back to Bish, again on the edge of the box, who made no mistake with a low drive. It’s a shame he didn’t get a hat trick as then we could all have reeled out the ‘Tch, just like buses, you wait 10 years, then 3 come at once’ comment! So 2-0 up at half time.

The second half kicked off at exactly 4 O’clock, rather than the usual 4 or 5 minutes past – I reckon the ref was on a promise! At 4 minutes past we should have been 4 up. Allsopp had replaced an injured Goater towards the end of the first half and he was instrumental in the first 2 chances of the half. Firstly his pace took him clear, but his shot was blocked, the ball spinning to the edge of the box, with Musslewhite, the Vale ‘keeper, in pursuit. Somehow Dickov and Whitley collided with each other and Dickov seemingly passed back to the ‘keeper. Secondly, Allsopp again broke away only to screw his shot wide of the post with the ‘keeper to beat. Again we were pummeling Vale, but a mistake by Whitley during yet another foray into the Vale penalty area was punished on the break, with Martin Foyle (again) tapping in at the far post.

Weaver’s retrieval of the ball was his first action of the afternoon. Never mind, there were more goals in this game, surely? Horlock came more and more into the game as an attacking force and could easily have had a hat trick himself but for some excellent last ditch blocks by the Vale defence. I think I discovered Kev’s main asset today. I’ve always rated Horlock, although I know many who don’t were asking ‘what did he do today?’. Well today Horlock was everywhere – not in a so-called ‘all action performance’ such as is attributed to Whitley or Michael Brown, but his movement off the ball was superb. He made himself available to support his team in both defensive and especially attacking moves. He doesn’t always get the ball, which is probably why its not clear what indeed he has done in a particular match, but he’s always there.

Speaking of the midfield, the undoubted man of the match today was obviously Bish. He really did roll back the years with a sublime playmaker performance. His passing as it nearly always is, was accurate and positive, but so were the little shimmys he used to do in 1989, dummying opposing players and creating yards of space for himself. Oh if only we could halt the ageing process! Back to the game. Vale had the most obvious penalty decision (apart from maybe ours at Norwich) turned down when Morrison won man first, ball second with 7 or 8 minutes to go. The ref and his assistant really were the only people in the ground not to think that it was a penalty. Shortly after, Cooke who had come on for the injured Dickov ‘scored’ a beauty from an indirect free kick. I knew it was indirect, so why on earth Cooke and his team mates didn’t, I don’t know. Perhaps he was hoping for a Franny Lee/ Alex Stepney result!

Finally, in the last seconds of the game Whitley missed a virtual open goal from 4 yards out. I kid you not, I could have scored from there! Although we weren’t exactly ‘hanging on’, after Vale scored it was a little nervy, but we should have been out of sight by that stage. If we had scored 7 or 8, it would have been a more accurate reflection of our domination and chances created. But as we have said on more than one occasion, we didn’t take our chances. Thankfully, this has only really cost us once so far this season, at Norwich, but over a whole season it could be a major problem. Goater I think has made the step up to this division with ease and should be good for at least 15 goals or more. Dickov, bless him is a great little player, but, but, but he isn’t scoring enough goals. Allsopp is still too raw and inexperienced. Taylor, although doing well as a sub, just doesn’t seem to have the sharpness of thought or deed to make a 90-minute contibution. Kennedy’s 100 and odd crosses deserve a better fate. We need someone who can attack the ball in the box regularly. Riedle would have been ideal. Quinn or Rösler would be perfect. Obviously we’re joint top of the league, there’s no panic stations, but that’s exactly the right time to buy – adding to an already successful team. Let’s hope that there might be some movement in the next couple of weeks.

Phil Hartley (philh@firstcap.freeserve.co.uk)

MATCHVIEW

As an exiled Blue, now living in deepest darkest Dorset, I don’t get to too many games, however I thought that as I did go it must be worth a report. All in all the day consisted of 593.7 mile round trip, leaving home at 7.45am, arriving back at 1.40pm, a couple of pies with a bovril to wash them down, appearing on Talk Radio’s 505 phone-in to pass the time and playing air guitar to Stiff Little Fingers which I played very loud in the car to keep me awake in the early hours (does anyone remember them?)!

The game itself was very reminiscent of other games I’ve seen this year, total domination, some great moves, several howlers in front of goal and yet another phenomenal attendance, 31,608 I believe. Bishop was inspirational, not only scoring 2 great goals, but commanding the midfield, to the point of using his arms to tell other players where to play the ball. Dickov ran for the whole of the game before being substituted, playing some great first time touches and making lots of space for the other players to run into. It’s just a shame the guy wasn’t a foot taller. The worst performance of the day had to be Whitley who just never got into first gear. He didn’t look comfortable all game. Topped off by missing an open goal from 5 yards out with only a couple of minutes left. Goater had his best game so far, probably helped by being substituted after about 10 minutes! We should have had a hatful and as so often let the opposition back into the game and at the end were very lucky that the ref didn’t award them a blatant penalty in the last 5 minutes. I guess this balances out the decision at Norwich when we should have had a penalty. The shouts must get louder for Joe Royle to buy a quality finisher, it could truly make the difference between promotion or not.

It was a very much needed win after recent results and for me it made the journey worthwhile, helped even more by the Rags being stuffed by Chelsea the day after; a few more weekends like this please.

Finally, thanks to my brother for the ticket.

Peter Timperley (peter.timperley@UnitedAdvertising.co.uk)

TICKET NEWS

As part of the Manchester City’s ongoing Customer Service Programme we are pleased to announce the arrival of Citycard, the only scheme that gives you priority ticket benefits and lets you show your support for the club.

With three days guaranteed exclusive sale for all home league and cup matches before tickets go on open sale and the first option on tickets after season ticket holders for all other big games, you can be assured that Citycard holders are always at the front of the queue.

“The support of the City fans was invaluable last season and has been phenomenal this season, so Citycard is the ideal way to help assure yourself of a seat at Maine Road.” – Joe Royle.

In addition to the ticket benefits outlined above, Citycard also offers you the following benefits:

  • Credit Card style membership card to improve customer service
  • 5% Discount in City Stores
  • Members monthly prize draw and a membership benefit booklet, plus othermember only special offers throughout the season

All the information you need to know on how to join and a full list of Citycard holder benefits, terms and conditions are included on the official website at http://www.mcfc.co.uk/, so don’t delay and apply today.

Please note that from 1st October 1999 all previous membership cards will become invalid, so supporters are encouraged to join the new scheme.

Ticket Office – MCFC

ANOTHER NORWICH ACRONYM

Another Norwich acronym further to Steve Maclean’s.

Never
Offside
Referee
What
Injustice
City
Had

Stephen Welch (MTESSSAW@mail1.mcc.ac.uk)

CITY VS. PORT VALE (AND HANSEN)

Why is it in the games we win we always have loads of clear chances, near misses galore etc? Trust City to put us all through the emotional wringer on Saturday by missing enough chances to go a million goals ahead, then conceding a late goal. At least they hung on instead of collapsing.

So that’s another ex-manager beaten, Coppell and now Horton. Roll on Ball (hang on that sounds familiar, could be an advert for a deodorant!).

The more ex-managers the better is what I say – especially if we can beat them all. We can now see that all the managerial sackings of recent history have been cleverly designed just to make sure we have lots of these sort of games to win this season.

So if only we can wangle it for Frank Clark to take over at Charlton, Tony Book at Fulham, John Bond at Birmingham, Billy McNeill at Ipswich, Mel Machin at Blackburn, Peter Reid at QPR, Howard Kendall at Swindon, Malcolm Allison at Barnsley… then we’d be certainties for promotion.

Anyway enough of my insane ramblings… onto a serious managerial question. There was an interesting article about Alan Hansen in The Times on Saturday. In it the comment was made that he had offers at one time to manage QPR and Manchester City. Can anyone shed any light on when this might have been? Was it known about at the time (it’s certainly the first I’ve heard about it)?

Finally –

P oints
O bviously
R equired
T oday.
V armint
A lmost
L ooted
E qualiser.

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

OPINION – MEMBERSHIP CARDS

First posting to MCIVTA, and I see Bungling Bernard has done it again. My moan is about the state of the applications for the new membership scheme (the ‘City Card’). From the club came “when news is available, it’ll be found in the local media and other sources”. Having heard nothing, I see on Saturday morning on Blue View that someone has received information through the post. I am a membership card holder, and as such the club should have my address. “Great” I thought, I’ll pop to the City Site and pick up details. When I get there, I find that the scheme started on October 1st and that the old membership card is no longer valid. No ‘switch over’ period, nothing. Surely, the two schemes should have been married together and that one was phased out say, by the end of October? Notwithstanding, I see the form set up by Planet/City doesn’t print onto one page unless you reduce the font and change all the margin settings. Hastily put together methinks. And you have to post it off to Staffordshire somewhere (with a ‘please allow 21 days for delivery’)… not very good for Stockport applications from Saturday 16th?! I have today (Sun 3rd) received an email about the scheme from the club, but it’s too, little too late. Bernard is an absolute disgrace to this club and its magnificent supporters. Just how much longer can a company get away with treating its paying customers the way it does and not do something about it at the top?

Simon Farrell (simon@farrell68.screaming.net)

OPINION – RE NORWICH

“With Kennedy in a great attacking position, the referee obviously had to stop the game immediately. Taylor went off again, Allsopp came on and the referee instructed City to pass the dropped ball back to the Norwich ‘keeper. Why? At the very least this should have been a contested drop.” (from one of the Norwich match reports).

Perhaps we should have just refused to do what the ref wanted. Or run away with the ball when he dropped it and put it past the Norwich goalie…

Steve Parish (steve@bloovee.freeserve.co.uk)

REQUEST – TAIBI BLUNDERS

Video clips of the Rag Scumbags. Does anyone know where I can download video clips of the Taibi Southampton wonder-blunder, and the 5 (five!) Chelsea gems?

Phil Maund, Cape Town, South Africa (morals@mweb.co.za)

RESULTS

Results to follow – if Sporting Life get round to posting them…

First Division Table at end of Saturday 2 October

                               Home        Away                Goals
         Team          P  W  D L  F   A  W  D L F  A   Pts Difference
 Charlton              8  5  0 0  11  2  1  1 1 5  5    19          9
 Man City              10 4  0 1  11  3  2  1 2 3  3    19          8
 --------------------------------------------------------------------
 Fulham                9  3  1 0  6   1  2  3 0 7  4    19          8
 Birmingham            10 3  2 0  14  6  2  1 2 5  6    18          7
 Ipswich               9  4  0 1  12  4  1  2 1 8  6    17         10
 Huddersfield          9  4  0 0  15  4  1  1 3 4  8    16          7
 --------------------------------------------------------------------
 Barnsley              10 4  0 1  17  6  1  1 3 6  15   16          2
 Stockport             9  3  1 0  7   3  2  0 3 4  9    16         -1
 Grimsby               10 3  1 1  5   3  1  1 3 5  10   14         -3
 Nottm Forest          10 3  2 0  11  4  0  2 3 4  8    13          3
 Bolton                9  2  2 1  10  9  1  1 2 5  3    12          3
 Blackburn             9  2  1 1  5   2  1  2 2 7  7    12          3
 West Brom             8  0  5 0  4   4  2  1 0 5  3    12          2
 Crystal Palace        10 2  2 1  10  4  1  1 3 6  14   12         -2
 Portsmouth            9  2  2 1  6   3  1  1 2 5  13   12         -5
 Sheff Utd             9  2  2 1  10  6  1  0 3 4  13   11         -5
 Port Vale             10 3  0 2  7   5  0  1 4 5  10   10         -3
 QPR                   8  2  2 0  7   4  0  1 3 2  6    9          -1
 Norwich               10 2  0 3  4   6  0  3 2 5  7    9          -4
 Crewe                 7  1  1 0  3   2  1  1 3 7  12   8          -4
 Swindon               10 1  1 3  4   11 1  1 3 3  6    8         -10
 --------------------------------------------------------------------
 Wolverhampton         8  0  1 2  2   4  1  3 1 4  6    7          -4
 Walsall               10 0  2 3  4   9  1  1 3 4  9    6         -10
 Tranmere              9  1  2 2  6   9  0  0 4 1  8    5         -10

With thanks to Sporting Life.

Dorien James (dorien.james@btinternet.com)

WHY BLEU?

My first visit at Maine Road was after the Trafford Rangers-Feyenoord Champions League match. We went to get a tour around the stadium. The man at the reception told us that we could walk around by ourselves but not on the pitch. After being robbed for everything we wanted to do or see at the ‘other’ stadium this was a pleasant surprise. The atmosphere at Maine Road felt much better than what we expierenced earlier that day. We were very impressed and took lots of pictures while we walked around. Made a few jokes about the away stand, how they would feel in some weather conditions. And who we would like to see there. When we left to see the Fan Store the man from the reception called us back and gave us a few magazines about MCFC. For free! We realy had to pinch each other to see if all of this was for real. This was the area where people love their club and are proud of it. It still existed! We came to the conclusion that what happened earlier that day was just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. From that moment we considered ‘that’ place as the mosque.

Since that day MCFC has a very special place in my football heart. Of course you guys are a much more bigger fans of the guys in Blue than I am. But I still consider myself a City fan. I have much respect for a club that went through a lot of trouble but still have a higher attendence than many Dutch Premier League teams. If you look the word ‘faithful’ up in the English dictionary you’ll see a picture of a City fan. In the Dutch version it would be a Feyenoord fan, that’s for sure. What City means for all of you is Feyenoord Rotterdam for me. I think we have a lot of things in common. We both hate another team with all we’ve got. Because of simular reasons. The other team that I mean is @j@ks from Sh*t City. They also have won a ‘few’ prizes the last couple of years. And that attracts a lot of glorybees. People that have never been in Sh*t City act like they are @j@ks themselves etc. Sounds familiar? Anyway, my team is doing well at the moment, they’re top of the league and that sounds familiar again I quess.

All I wanted to say is that I realy enjoy reading you stories and nicknames. With this newsletter, a few Internet pages and Ceefax I keep myself up to date about MCFC.

Wish all of you a quick journey back into Premier League!

Chris Bakker (Chris.Bakker@manpower.nl)

WHY BLUE 2

I’ve been Blue since my dad took me to Maine Road when I was 12. I played footie growing up here in the States so when my family went to England on holiday, we naturally went to a match. It was Wednesday at City – City won 2-1 and that was that. Ever since I’ve been a Blue all the way. It also didn’t hurt that I always despised United – but now it’s great to follow City via the net. Hope to get back to Moss Side one day next season when we are up!

Anyone interested in getting a City Supporters’ Club up in the States – email me at rrossi1@hofstra.edu.

CTID, Robert Rossicone – America ( rrossi1@hofstra.edu)

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


MCIVTA ADDRESSES:
Contributions: Ashley – mcivta@tollbar.u-net.com
News & Rumours: Peter – brophy_peter@hotmail.com
Subscriptions: 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]Ashley Birch, mcivta@tollbar.u-net.com

Newsletter #541

1999/10/04

Editor:


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