Newsletter #543

No game this weekend due to international call ups. However, the league results went our way (none too startling), with Huddersfield drawing and Birmingham losing; no one else of import played. Jeff Whitley was on the wrong end of a 4-1 result for Northern Ireland, but did score the consolation goal and was, by most accounts, the team’s best player. This issue has two reports of the most non-controversial AGM for some considerable time, a review of Mark Hodkinson’s season with City, a confession from someone directly involved in telling the ‘Maraccas Man’ the error of his ways, and lastly, an excellent Why Blue.

This one reaches 2,862.

Next game: Tranmere Rovers away, Saturday, 16th October 1999


City Stay Second as Rivals Slip

The Blues will go into next Saturday’s clash at Tranmere still in second place in Division One after two rivals missed the chance to overtake Joe Royle’s men this weekend. First, in the Friday night Sky encounter, an Andy Rammell strike in the second half ensured that Birmingham City lost their West Midlands derby at Walsall. Then the following afternoon Huddersfield Town could only draw 2-2 at home to Port Vale despite taking a two-goal lead in the first half. Birmingham are now a point adrift of City having played a game more while Huddersfield are a further point behind but from the same number of fixtures played by the Blues. It’s tight at the top of the division, with only three points separating the leading trio of Charlton, City and Fulham from eighth-placed Barnsley, though Alan Curbishley’s side are in pole position thanks to their two games in hand on the Blues.

Whitley, Kennedy Star in Qualifiers

Jeff Whitley provided the bright spot for Northern Ireland in an otherwise disappointing 4-1 defeat in Helsinki on Saturday. Whitley scored his first international goal and was reportedly the outstanding player for Lawrie McMenemy’s side. Mark Kennedy also produced a fine display in the international arena, but there was disappointment for the Republic of Ireland winger when Macedonia scored a late equaliser to consign the Irish to the play-offs for Euro 2000 – and ensure that the summer signing from Wimbledon will be unavailable (along with Nicky Weaver) for the Maine Road derby with Stockport on Saturday, 13 November. Meanwhile, on Friday evening Leon Mike featured for the England under-18s in a 3-0 win over Cyprus while Nicky Weaver was a non-playing substitute as the England under-21 side beat Denmark 4-1 at Bradford. A relief for manager Royle is that Whitley and Kennedy, the two members of the current senior set-up to play at the weekend, will both return with a clean bill of health.

Royle Looking Abroad but Suffo Interest Cools

Joe Royle will look to the continent for new blood after deciding that prices are inflated on the English market. “The English market is out of control,” he said. “It is insane, both in terms of salaries and the price you have got to pay for players.” The City manager pointed in particular to Wolves’ recent sale of Robbie Keane for £6 million and the Molineux club’s replacement of the Irish teenager with £3.5 million Ade Akinbiyi as examples of excessive valuations. Apparently with the latter deal in mind, Royle said he’d be unwilling to spend millions on a man who might help the Blues achieve promotion only to fall short of top-flight quality once the Premiership was reached. However, Royle has shelved any plans to move for the French-based Cameroon forward Patrick Suffo, with the City boss explaining, “Patrick finished training with us on Friday and he has returned to Nantes. I will not be pursuing our interest at the moment.” Royle and assistant Willie Donachie were at the Stade de France on Saturday to see the home side take on Iceland. “We had a free weekend and a few of the Icelanders are being touted around so it was an ideal opportunity for myself and Willie to check out their form first hand,” explained Royle.

City Boss Rejects Angell Talk

The Sunday tabloids did nevertheless link Royle with two men a little closer to home – the £300,000-rated midfielder John O’Neil of Scottish Premier League side St Johnstone and out-of-favour Stockport County front man Brett Angell, supposedly rated at £150,000. However, while Angell admits he would be keen to move to a “bigger club” should the chance arise, Royle has said he’s made no inquiry for the 31-year-old.

Bernstein – New Capital is Priority

The annual general meeting of City shareholders on Friday was a considerably less fraught affair than of late thanks to a feeling that, for the first time in a number of years, the club is moving in the right direction both on and off the pitch. Chairman David Bernstein, however, admits that there is still work to do to keep the club’s onward momentum going. “Though our profit and loss account has greatly improved, the balance sheet reveals our level of borrowings are largely unchanged,” he said. “We are well over-borrowed at the moment and our interest charges are still running at around £1 million a year.” To this end, the search for potential investors is still in progress and the chairman talks are ongoing with “two or three” parties. “We did hope to have something done by now,” he explained, “but our position now is infinitely better than it was twelve months ago and we remain confident that we will get the right transaction for the club. We don’t want to sell our shareholders short.”

Cost of Failure “£40 Million”

Most headlines after the AGM were dominated by David Bernstein’s estimate of the cost to City of the club’s exile from the Premiership, now in its fourth year. With the difference between the average television revenue of Premiership and Division One clubs estimated in the range of £7 million, and with additional commercial and sponsorship losses, the potential revenue lost to the club is huge. “As a guesstimate – and I would rather not think about it – I would suggest it has cost us £40 million over four years,” said Bernstein. “The television loss alone is a good proportion of that total. So it has been incredibly costly to be out of the Premiership.”

Greenacre in Talks but Loan Move Still in Balance

Chris Greenacre has had talks with Chesterfield, who reportedly want to take the striker on loan with a view to a permanent move. However, the Maine Road reserve has not yet signed for the Derbyshire club.

Tskhadadze Set for Return

Georgian international Kakhaber Tskhadadze is set for a return to action after fourteen months out with a cruciate ligament injury. The 31-year-old captain of his national side damaged his knee in the second league game of the 1998-99 season and broke down in an abortive comeback later in the season. Having since undergone surgery in Germany, Tskhadadze is now back in training and could be set to sample match action at reserve level by the end of this month.

Peter Brophy (


Season ticket holders are invited to apply for this time-saving scheme where we automatically, for all home FA Cup ties, send your ticket to your home address without you having to contact the office further. Payment will be taken from your credit/debit card with a 50p charge per ticket. For further information, contact the Ticket Office direct. Deadline Saturday 16/10/99.

Ticket Office – Manchester City Football Club


These are some quick notes from the bits I could decipher on the back of my agenda.

From Bernstein:

Bernstein explained each motion and asked for questions before putting them in turn to the vote. Each of the resolutions was carried virtually unanimously. At the end of the formal part of the meeting he asked if there were questions which were of a more general nature but pertinent to the AGM. Most questions were pertinent but he ruled a couple out of order because they were just specific complaints.

New Stadium:

New stadium will have a 250 year lease. City of Manchester Stadium is its name (like it or not) and Bernstein said this was one of the favourites from the survey of fans. The name cannot be changed to add a sponsor but the names of the different stands could incorporate a sponsor. We pay rent as crowds are in excess of 33,000, which is max capacity at Maine Road (I thought it was 32,500). He would not reveal the formula used to calculate the amount of rent we pay. Value of the stadium to City’s balances will not be less than Maine Road is currently valued (£22M). Could someone explain this to me – the stadium will be actually worth £90M so if we write down a value of £22M in our future accounts in whose balances is the rest appearing?


All shareholders who subscribed to the rights issue in 1996 now get more shares.


Pies will be controlled by City – In other words City have the merchandising rights to the stadium, not Manchester City Council.


10 possible deals in recent past: some were too small, some were not the right people, some backed out because City was too much of a risk. As we get better our sponsorship deals could be more lucrative – I deduced that Bernstein will not do a deal quickly.

Bradbury money:

All received so far on time but CP owe us interest on latest instalment which is charged at 1% per day (League rules)! The last instalment is due soon but he sees no problems.


No wish to sell City shares in spite of takeover talk from Scottish and Newcastle. Rep denied that Greenalls had actually been taken over.


Losses since leaving Premiership at least £28M (£7M per season) – I got the impression that the total losses due to our relegations were well in excess of this.

Season Ticket Prices in future:

Bernstein was aware of the falling gates at Chelsea etc. and “will not exploit our supporters” if we get promoted. He would rather have a full stadium with less expensive seats. 21,300 season tickets have been sold and if a match (finals etc.) comes up where 21,300 tickets are available then all season ticket holders will get one (Halford said this). This was not convincing – Halford did not seem to understand what was being referred to (Wembley last May when there were enough tickets for one per season ticket holder but they weren’t guaranteed).

Joe Royle answering questions:

At first no-one seemed to want to answer questions, but it started slowly and warmed up with Joe’s usual good humour.

Port Vale result:

Supporter said he felt cheated (so many chances) but that was a recognition of how far we had come. Joe said that he was very pleased to beat Port Vale and described them as a “Pain in the a*se”


Joe thinks the English market is out of control – he quoted Keane and Akinbyi. He wants goals to come from all parts of the team and is in no rush to buy. I got the impression that he won’t buy British – in fact I don’t think he will buy this year at all.


JR clearly impressed by Wright-Phillips and seemed to hint that there will be a gradual introduction into the first team.


Two weeks from a comeback in some kind of game.

Tony Vaughan:

Instant recall in second month of loan. ‘Keepers are on instant recall and he praised Tommy Wright’s attitude.

Nick Fenton:

Showing well now and needs first team experience.


Expanded recently and will look at Scandinavia and Northern Europe but JR is not keen on Eastern European countries because of passport/work permit problems.

Wiekens & Morrison:

Both expected back for Tranmere. Neither is suffering from long-term injuries.


A great talent but JR has no plans to look at him. I get the impression that he rates him as a very skilled player but not as a team player.


Virtually said that we will buy him (JR: “Read between the lines”)


Defended Mark Hughes’ action as unintentional and said Edghill had delayed concussion.

Small shareholders association:

A bloke who said he was the director of a publishing firm, stood up several times and slagged off Halford, the board and the chairman. He completely misread the mood of the meeting which was up-beat. He may have had good points but he whinged throughout. Remind me not to join.

Peter Llewellyn (


Yesterday, Thursday 7th. October, tickets for the Blackburn game went on open sale. Rang “Dial a seat” at least 15 times. Engaged every time. Finally got through today, Friday, to find that all that was left were uncovered seats. Sorry, I’ll pass on that. So you heard it here first, Man. City v Blackburn will be played in dry, sunny conditions, possibly even a heatwave. It will also be a cracker of a game with City sneaking it by the odd goal. I must try not to be cynical. As far is the club is concerned it’s a sell out. Therefore the system works?

John Shearer (


Right here we go, I’ll start with the accounts.


These are a damn sight better than last year’s figure and show that the whole club is moving in the right direction. Turnover dropped by 3 million quid but that was mainly due to loss of TV revenue from being in Division 2. However, the cost base has also dropped by over 5 million quid. But expenses still outweigh turnover by half a million giving an operating loss (i.e. principal business activities) of 517,000 quid, which is down from a loss of £3,309,000 last year. The on top of that we have tax (bloody Inland Revenue!) and a new accountancy practice of writing down the value of players (i.e. player depreciation) which when taken into account the overall loss was 3,731,000 quid. Last year it was 6,808,000 quid so we have made a huge jump forwards. If we hadn’t sold Kinky the year before we would have made a loss of £10,000,000. We are still massively in debt (around £16-20 million) but it is being looked at and things are being done to reduce the debt (or interest) in some way.

So that’s a bit about the financials. I won’t bore you with the rest (I could go into gearing, Return on Capital Employed etc. but it bores me as well). But we have moved forward massively.


The normal business was concluded very quickly. The accounts were approved, Mr Bernstein, Mr Bird, Mr Mackintosh (Finance Director) and Mr Lewis were all voted back onto the board and KPMG Audit Plc were again approved as the Auditors. Straightforward, no messing.

There were then 4 special business motions to be carried. The first was regarding a motion carried in ’96 about further shares being issued at a reduced price to existing shareholders. By doing this the share capital would increase to £5 million which is the amount that can then be issued at a later date. This would aid the next 3 motions and so was carried.

The next one was to give permission to the Directors to issue more shares to non-shareholders upto the value of 5% of the existing share capital. This would increase cash for the business and make the balance sheet look more respectable. Again this was carried.

The third special business motion was regarding the Council buying shares in MCFC. The council would not profit from such action unless the club was valued at £100 million. This is part of the deal for the new stadium, but the council has no obligation to buy these shares but has the right if it wishes to do so. There are tight constraints on this option, the main one being the council cannot hold more than 5% of the share capital. Again this was carried.

And finally, the fourth motion is the capitalisation of £539,154.70 worth of shares in order to meet the share options to current shareholders. Again this was carried.

A few questions were raised at the end, one gentleman even gave a five minute speech praising Mr Halford! One shareholder failed to see the improvements made in the running of the club and decied to slate the whole board, his excuse was is that this is the same board who got us relegated. There were a few points on the new stadium but even they were hazy.

Joe Royle gave a question and answer session at the end but really sat on the fence and didn’t divulge too much info about the team, it was more anecdotes and memories.

My view is that the club is going in the right direction. After 20 years of mis-management under the late Mr Swales and 3 strange years under Mr Lee, Mr Bernstein is changing the face of City. Hopefully next year we will have to celebrate over the financials and see how much more the club is getting stronger. We know have stability and the right attitude. Long may it last.

Andy Holgate (


Mark Hodkinson is the journalist who spent a year following Manchester City, producing a weekly column for The Times newspaper on life at Maine Road. His book ‘Blue Moon – Down Among the Dead Men with Manchester City’ centres round the articles he produced during that dramatic season. They’re presented in chronological order, though it’s the full versions rather than the edited texts printed in the Times which appear. These are supplemented by an additional 30,000 words. A brief day-by-day summary of relevant news items is fitted around the longer pieces to put them in context, while in many cases the author chooses to re-examine with the benefit of hindsight the subjects he addressed earlier.

Hodkinson was asked to cover City after undertaking a similar task the previous year at Barnsley during the Yorkshire club’s one season in the Premiership. The angle then had been the fight of a relative minnow against the top flight’s giants. In the wake of our relegation, we were an obvious contrast, with a support and turnover which dwarfed those of every other club we’d be facing.

As I was working abroad until recently, I was unaware of Hodkinson’s assignment until partway through the season. Had I been told of it before he began, I’d have been instantly mistrustful. After all, in the preceding years the club had managed to consolidate its undisputed niche as English football’s biggest laughing stock and it would therefore have been all to easy for any author to resort lazily to cheap jibes. Hodkinson himself admits that it was “magnanimous” of City to allow him the access they did, but the club’s trust wasn’t betrayed. He’s never an apologist for the club, but nor does he ever seek to use City as an easy target for deprecating humour. He’s fair and the notes on the back cover can justifiably claim he’s “impartial”. This doesn’t necessarily mean that I agree with every opinion he expresses on every topic. It does mean there’s no hidden agenda and his views in any case are sufficiently considered for the odd divergence of his outlook from mine not to grate.

This balanced approach contributes to making the book the most genuinely revealing I’ve read in a long time about Manchester City and the people there who count. Hodkinson has gathered thoughtful pieces centred round interviews with board members (David Bernstein and Dennis Tueart), the management team (Joe Royle and Willie Donachie), Academy Director Jim Cassell and team captain Andy Morrison. Chris Bird, who rose meteorically from the club’s PR consultant to the boardroom in less than a year, wasn’t profiled in an article, but was the club representative with whom the author dealt on the most regular basis during the year. Hodkinson is thus able to offer a retrospective comment of some authority on Bird’s accession to a position of real power and on the qualities which took him there.

While it’s these pieces which hold most interest for me personally as a City fan concerned about how my club is run, the book’s entertainment value and its appeal to those whose priorities differ from mine are enhanced considerably by the variety of the other articles. Many of those focus on characters from the City community who are not currently playing a high-profile rôle within the club itself. Hodkinson covers a range of personalities in this category – such as former players (Colin Bell and Paul Lake), an ex-manager (John Bond), former directors (Sidney Rose and Chris Muir), an eclectic bunch of celebrity fans ranging from Bernard Manning to Mark and Lard, the Maine Road laundry women and the editor of the City ’til I Cry fanzine Tom Ritchie. Then there are pieces where the author reflects on the latest events at the club, like how the Christmas visit of Stoke might prove a turning point, how the on-field events of Millwall’s trip north perhaps indicated that Lady Luck was beginning to smile on City and of course a certain fateful May Sunday. Finally, there’s a twenty-page chapter recording City fans’ Wembley memories expressed in their own words, almost all taken from MCIVTA.

This breadth of scope notwithstanding, the author has apparently said he regrets not interviewing Bert Trautmann and Francis Lee. I have one or two other aspects of life at Maine Road into which I might have liked an insight, such as the routine of one of the young hopefuls at the Academy or an overview of the work of the club’s commercial and marketing operations. However, it’s impossible to deny that the author conveys the variety among the adherents of the broad church which is Manchester City FC, so again the criticism is minor.

Furthermore, to emphasise this small gripe would be to ignore the quality of what actually is present. For instance, the depth of many of the interviews is remarkable. Hodkinson evidently has the knack of gaining his subject’s trust (he’s invited to Joe Royle’s house at the end of the season, for instance) and the result is invariably far removed from the habitual, anodyne fare of many football interviews. Andy Morrison is brutally honest when talking about his temperament and the problems it’s caused him while Willie Donachie talks openly about his tough upbringing in Glasgow in the fifties and sixties. Paul Lake explains more fully than in any interview I’ve seen before how the club’s flawed approach to treating his knee injury led to his retirement, while Tom Ritchie talks about how his City obsession cost him a marriage and his health.

An equally telling strength is the quality of the writing. Always eminently readable, Hodkinson’s best pieces are delightful, none more so than the reflection on the play-off final which appeared in the next day’s Times. This piece was posted, uncredited, on the Internet a day or two later and was immediately embraced by the new site for Irish City fans who, unaware of its origins, enthused that, “You won’t get much better writing than that,” before offering congratulations to the author for having “really epitomised the whole atmosphere and emotions of the day.”

While these qualities derive from the author’s abilities, the third major strength of the book (at least from a City fan’s perspective) is a function of the subject matter. Now that City have escaped from the clutches of Division Two, there’s a certain enjoyment (born mainly of relief) in looking back at how things were. A couple of weeks ago, I spent a Friday night travelling with a Wrexham-supporting friend to see his team at Colchester. My sole motive was to remember where we were such a short time ago and revel in one thought: “Thank God City aren’t here any more.” Hodkinson’s account of last season provokes exactly the same pleasurable reaction, a feeling which I’d expect to increase rather than decrease if the club makes the further progress we all hope. Additionally, Hodkinson benefits from something almost unparalled in the Manchester City literary canon – a happy ending, which fortuitously also happened to encompass the most dramatic afternoon most of us can remember as City fans.

I’m confident enough in the author’s writing ability and subject selection to feel that his work will be appreciated by non-City fans – after all, my own intention to read ‘Life at the Top’, his book on Barnsley, is evidence that I don’t see partisanship as a pre-requisite for enjoying his material. However, this review is from the perspective of the avid Manchester City supporter. ‘Blue Moon’ offers an entertaining account of an emotional rollercoaster of a season which will live long in the memory. It offers revealing portraits of major personalities both inside and associated with the club. It’s incisive and exceptionally well-written. For these reasons, I don’t hesitate to recommend it as a book the committed City fan should own.

Peter Brophy (


In reply to the articles in MCIVTA 542 from Heidi Pickup and Nigel Pickles, I must confess I was one of the guys who lost my head when our friend with the ‘Marraccas’ wouldn’t shut up. I don’t know why it got to me so much but it just got inside my head and it was just a constant irritating racket for 90 minutes. Being at City every week is torture enough sometimes so when a fellow Blue drives you barmy with the inane rattling of his mother’s salt and pepper pots, something inside just snaps. You could see most people sat in the vicinity of the guy wishing he would quit it, a couple of people asked nicely but he obviously doesn’t give a sh*t about anyone else apart from himself. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the ‘crazes’, the bananas were excellent etc., but this was just a nightmare. It was actually quite funny to see him rattle his ‘marraccas’ louder and louder and faster and faster as City attacked, he really was getting very excited with himself. Some classic Kippax comments from around and about, ‘most people do that with their c***ks’ etc.

Anyway, I wouldn’t have dreamed of walloping the guy, I was just trying to get the feelings across (I think) of many people who were indeed suffering in silence. I don’t think the other guy who snapped was very happy at all, in fact I think he will probably ram the ‘marraccas’ down the bloke’s throat if he brings them to the Blackburn game. Anyway, apologies if I upset anyone, I’m not a hooligan, just ‘a little vocal at times’ as my mates constantly remind me! So, Heidi and Nigel, I agree, ‘No to marraccas’, it’s a sh*te idea.

CTIEUIALADTM (City til I end up in a Lunatic Asylum due to Marraccas), Colin Earley (


A secret message to all Blues going to the game at Prenton Park on Saturday, the Tranmere Rovers mascot is a huge City fan. 11 year old Mathew Cain has conned his way in to being mascot just so he can meet his Blue heroes. There will be a small write-up on him in the programme where Mathew is portrayed as a Tranmere supporter, don’t you believe it. You will take note that his favourite Tranmere player is Eric Nixon, clever huh!

Come on Blues the lad has done well… he is going to try and run over to the City end to give all MCIVTA subscribers a wave, give him a cheer on Saturday!

T   Tranmere
R   Reeled
A   As
N   New
M   Mascot
E   Entered
R   Relishing
E   Excitement

C.T.I.D., Ian Mcintosh (


I haven’t submitted anything before, but the boys reckoned this should be made public.

I don’t know whether it will catch on or not, but it’s a bit of a laugh anyway and we’ve already managed to annoy a few people on the night bus home on Saturday night!

There’s a song around at the moment which I’m sure most people who turn on a radio will have heard, probably with an irritating frequency.

But it’s ripe for conversion to a terrace version, so here’s my effort. There may be a handful of us trying to get it going at Tranmere, we’ll see how it goes.

Morrison no.5

A little bit of Morrison at the back
A little bit of Kennedy, he loves the craic
A little bit of Weaver in the goal
A little bit of Wiekens on a stroll
A little bit of Cookie on the wing
A little bit of Goater we will sing
A little bit of Bishop to make us play
A little bit of City makes my day.

It’s not hard to, fall in love with a team like you,
We won’t run, we won’t hide
In laser blue we’ll play with pride.

A little bit of Whitley everywhere
A little bit of Edghill got no hair
A little bit of Lee Crooks tall and strong
A little bit of Dickov when he’s on song
A little bit of Horlock in the middle
A little bit of Pollock second fiddle
A little bit of Royle he’s the guv
A little bit of City the team I love.

That’s it.

Have fun making up your own versions, the possibilities are endless. I’ve already got one for the team I play for, but that’s another story.

I enjoy reading everyone’s comments, opinions, match reports (often wonder if I was at the same game!) twice a week in MCIVTA, so I hope you like my little offering.

Neil Gabblie – CTID (


My wife and I have just returned from a holiday in the USA staying with an old friend in Connecticut who if anything is more fanatical about City than me (flew back for Wembley, is coming to Tribal Gathering for Blackburn game etc.).

What I can’t get my head round is that he follows the NY Yankees (read MUFC). Everything Ken said about the Yankees and how they mirror the swamp occupants is true. The Mets seem to be just like us, snatching defeat from jaws of victory, long suffering but loyal fans etc.

Whilst in the USA I was looking forward to watching the Mets on TV. Guess what (is this a Sky TV City type jinx) they didn’t win a single game when I viewed. I saw them in the flesh in 96 and they lost then as well (it’s not me by the way, this is quite normal for the Mets).

I will be eagerly awaiting news from across the water and a World Series final victory against the Yankees would be sweet if highly improbable. However, Tranmere, Blackburn Ipswich et al are my primary concerns!

Maybe Torino, Mets and City fans should look to join forces and celebrate the success of any of the 3 when it happens.

Mike Wilson (CTIDANYMBYIWS) City Till I Die and New York Mets beat Yankees in World Series (


I can see where Ken Corfield is coming from (MCIVTA 542) with his comparison between City and the New York Mets but I think he is wide of the mark.

Really, to claim that the Mets are the team “famous for breaking its fans’ hearts? That can contrive ways of losing games it should easily have won, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in ways that no other team could have invented?” is wildly inaccurate as long as the Boston Red Sox are still in existence.

After all, the Mets have only existed for thirty years and have won two World Series in that time, the last one just thirteen years ago (and the less said about that the better). The Red Sox on the other hand have a healthy eighty (count ’em) years of failure to look back on. And no, not the failure of no-hopers or perennial nobodies but that oh-so tantalising City-style failure. The one where your hopes are raised so high only for the most ridiculous and unexpected thing to shatter your dreams again. Can you say Tommy Hutchison/Bill Buckner?

The Mets may live in the hated Yankees shadow but to suggest that they are the poor, downtrodden neighbours is slightly disingenuous. The Mets are one of the richest teams in baseball.

I once did a little bit of research into the history of the Red Sox and the similarities with City were actually quite spooky. Over the last few years I have also got to know a lot of Red Sox fans and the two sets of supporters share so many qualities. The same unfailingly loyalty and that pessimistically optimistic outlook. Honestly if your looking for a baseball equivalent of the Blues it has to be the Red Sox.

Anyway, if the Red Sox are eliminated I wouldn’t mind seeing the Mets win it, especially if you meet those fr***ing Yankees! Best of luck.

Kieran Casey (


>Coincidentally, if memory serves me aright, the last
>home stand of the Kippax witnessed a 2-0 defeat at the hands of... Chelsea!

Surely this match ended up 2-2?

John Lowe (


That’s USA, not Lincolnshire. I will be in London for a few days the week of October 18th (for work unfortunately), and I would love to hook up withsome Blues for a pint and some conversation, especially if the Birmingham City match is still on Sky and still on Tuesday evening!

On a totally different subject, here is what I suspect is a telling item about the Italian ‘keeper the Rags just bought: during Paul Ince’s first year at Inter Milan, they were playing Taibi’s team, and there was a goalmouth scramble. When the play stopped, Taibi called Ince a racially specific dirty name. Ince had apparently learned just enough impolite Italian to suspect what he heard and tapped (repeat: tapped) Taibi on the shoulder to discuss the matter. Taibi (I bet you saw this coming) dropped to the ground as if he’d been shot, and Ince was red carded. Yes, I know Ince is an ex-Rag, but I don’t think Taibi knew or cared; all he cared about was the color of the skin.

CTTBRSWTWS (City ’til the Boston Red Sox win the world series. Don’t worry; it’ll never happen) Ken Osgood – Cambridge, MA, USA (


Does anybody know where games can be watched in Brazil & Peru during December and the New Year? My jammy brother is off for an extended trek and would hate to miss out. Should have bought a season ticket, Steve, it’s a lot cheaper.

Heidi Pickup (


As I believe it to be the point of these “Why Blue” contributions, I am going to concentrate almost completely on my first three or four contacts with City, i.e. those which I feel really left me with no other option but be a City fan (well none if I was to remain true to my feelings). As I