Newsletter #545

Oh dear, yet another match affected by a combination of bizarre refereeing, but one which should have been academic by the time the ref chose to make his mark. City drew 1-1 at Prenton Park, but Royle was left seething after a blatant handball wasn’t penalised (a penalty) and an apparent offside was given without the benefit of the linesman, the latter leading to Tranmere’s equaliser. This means that the press have once again been running their ‘striker’ stories – how much truth there is in them is anyone’s guess.

We have three match reports and a matchview from this game. Additionally, there are the Fans’ Committe/MCFC meeting mintes; news of TG3 (this coming weekend); share info, and some opinion. Lastly, I decided to curtail the baseball discussion due primarily, to the number of complaints about it! Evidently I judged it less boring than the many!

This one reaches 2,883.

Next game: Birmingham City away, Tuesday 19th October 1999


Royle in Ref Rage

Joe Royle was again fiercely critical of the match officials after City drew 1-1 at bottom-placed Tranmere Rovers on Saturday. Both goals came from spot kicks with Kevin Horlock’s effort early in the second half cancelled out by Alan Mahon eight minutes from time, but the City manager felt his side should also have benefitted from second half penalty awards for a handling offence by Rovers’ Clint Hill and a foul on Paul Dickov. Royle was also upset that, while Kevin Horlock was red carded for the foul which gave the Merseysiders their penalty (and will now miss the games against Port Vale, Portsmouth and QPR), Tranmere goalkeeper Joe Murphy stayed on the pitch despite bringing down Gareth Taylor in the incident which earned City a spot kick. And to cap it all, the move which led to Rovers’ equalising penalty began with the linesman flagging for a City free kick. The referee had clearly waved play on after Paul Dickov was caught offside, but defender Dave Challinor picked the ball up and took a free kick. “We feel robbed,” lamented manager Royle. “I’m afraid the officials have affected the outcome and I’m devastated. It was a 1-1 battering for Tranmere and the officials are costing us but I’m afraid it’s out of our control.”

Blues Linked with Striker Moves

City’s failure to kill the opposition off when in a winning position surfaced again in Saturday’s game at Tranmere, once more leading fans to call for the signing of a new striker. And after being linked with Gillingham’s Carl Asaba a couple of weeks ago, the Blues are now said to be keen on Asaba’s strike partner Bob Taylor. Like his former Brentford colleague, Taylor was also on target for the Gills at Wembley and it’s reckoned that the Kent club are prepared to sell for £1.5 million to help fund their ground development programme. If Taylor is made available, Charlton are also expected to be in the hunt for his signature. Meanwhile, there was renewed speculation that the Blues could attempt to take Stan Collymore on loan from Aston Villa after the Midlands club failed to agree terms with Fulham to make the striker’s three-month Craven Cottage loan a permanent move. City are also said to have been watching the 19-year-old Carlisle defender Peter Clark, with Leeds and Liverpool other interested parties, while the unlikely link with Everton’s Tony Grant (currently on loan at Tranmere) has also resurfaced.

There’s Only One Jimmy Grimble

City fans who fancy starring as extras in a film may get their chance at Maine Road early in November. The film, called “There’s Only One Jimmy Grimble” is billed as being about “realising the dream, the Manchester City dream,” and the story depicts a gifted schoolboy who goes on to sign for the club. According to the makers of the film, City have been chosen thanks to the “loyalty and enthusiasm” of the fans. It stars Robert Carlyle (of ‘Trainspotting’ and ‘The Full Monty’ fame) and Ray Winstone (whose previous credits include ‘Quadrophenia’ and ‘Nil By Mouth’). Filming starts on 18 October, with match scenes of the Schoolboys’ Final due to be shot on location at Maine Road during the weekend of October 30-31 and between 4 and 10 November. Anyone interested in being one of 400-500 (unpaid) extras should contact Vicky on 0161-827 2954.

Stockport Game in Kick-off Switch?

It’s reported that City are considering switching the kick off time for the game at home to Stockport County on Saturday, 13 November. The first leg of the Scotland vs. England Euro 2000 qualifying play off is due to take place at Hampden Park on the same day, kicking off at 2 p.m. City will decide within the next 48 hours whether to move the Maine Road encounter with County. It’s thought the club is consulting supporters’ groups to assess whether it would be more popular to switch the game to Friday evening, Sunday afternoon, Saturday morning or a later time on Saturday afternoon. An announcement is expected on Tuesday.

Fenton on Mark for County

City centre half Nick Fenton, currently on loan to Notts County, scored his first ever goal at senior level when he headed the Magpies into the lead against Wycombe on Saturday. The win took the managerless Division Two outfit to the top of the table. Incidentally, County’s shortlist to replace the recently-departed Sam Allardyce is rumoured to include ex-City boss Frank Clark.

Under-19’s Impress in Win

The City under-19s beat their Leeds United counterparts 4-3 on Saturday to chalk up a sixth successive win. The under-17s, however, were unable to continue their good form of late and went down 3-0.

Birmingham Away – Preview

City face a second successive away trip on Tuesday evening when Joe Royle is likely to field the same starting eleven on duty at Tranmere for the game at Birmingham City. The last couple of trips to St Andrews have been unhappy ones for the Manchester Blues – especially in the Division One relegation season, when two injury-time goals saw Frank Clark’s side snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Moreover, Sky TV will screen the Blues’ visit to Birmingham and three of City’s four defeats in competitive action this term have come in games shown live by the satellite channel. Birmingham finished fourth last season, and though play-off semi-final defeat at the hands of Watford was a blow, hopes were high that Trevor Francis’ side would again be among the contenders this time. And that’s the way it’s turned out, with the midlanders currently in third place. Birmingham are unbeaten at home this season and followed up last week’s 2-0 League Cup win over Newcastle with a win by the same score against Crystal Palace at the weekend. As this is a six-pointer for City against the team immediately above us in the table, we need to stop them making it a hat-trick.

Peter Brophy (


TRANMERE ROVERS vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 16th October 1999

OK, let’s deal with the important issues first. Have you noticed how sickly poor Moonchester is looking lately? On Saturday he did his best to entertain the crowd with his usual shenanigans, but his once bright blue head looked particularly insipid to me and his arms and legs were white! What’s happening? Are we not feeding him properly? Has he picked up some sort of interstellar flu? B*llocks to a new striker, let’s spend the money on getting Mooney into the nearest BUPA hospital! Ahem!

Tranmere is a great ground for visiting supporters; a massive away end (which we filled of course), reasonable facilities, decent, safe parking and of course the marvellous ‘Mersey Clipper’ public house about 30 seconds walk from the ground. Unfortunately, although we have yet to lose at Prenton Park, we never win here either! City had the usual line-up of recent weeks, with Taylor making his first start in place of the hamstrung Goater. Edghill was suprisingly left on the bench in favour of Lee Crooks. The first half was truly awful fayre. I seem to recall Jeff Whitley having his usual couple of rugby conversions and that’s about it. Tranmere were fighting for their lives, closing down and tackling anything that moved. They also had an infuriatingly successful offside trap which we couldn’t get to grips with. Tranmere’s main attacking tactic seemed to be Dave Challinor’s jaw-dropping long throw (he can throw the ball further than Dickov can kick it!). Big Wayne Allison whom I would have thought would have proved a handful was well marshalled by Morrison and Jobson.

The second half had to be better and it was, marginally. Gareth Taylor, who was pretty anonymous throughout, ran on to a through ball on the left edge of the penalty area. He was going nowhere really, but Tranmere’s inexperienced ‘keeper, Murphy clattered the big centre forward and an obvious penalty was given. Only a yellow card to the ‘keeper which in my mind was correct, but you never can tell nowadays, can you? Super Kev slammed home the spot kick yet again and we sat back expecting a few more goals. Immediately after the penalty, Tranmere were there for the taking. The ‘keeper looked nervous, fluffing a back pass, but although we now began to play some nice stuff in little flurries, we couldn’t (again!) kill off the opposition. Dickov had a reasonable shout at a penalty when he was tackled/ brought down in the area. Taylor somehow didn’t get to a right wing cross from 3 yards out. Allegedly the ball was punched off his head, which of course should have resulted in another penalty. I must say that although having a great view, I didn’t see this punch, but this could have been down to me concentrating on Taylor’s movement and lack of success, I don’t know. Doubtless other reports will confirm this incident.

Notwithstanding our lack of killer instinct, Tranmere weren’t at the races and with 10 minutes to go, I would have happily had a bet on the result being another 1-0. Then the officials, led by Premiership ref. Dermot Gallagher, decided to get in on the act. Dickov burst through the middle on to a pass, with only the ‘keeper to beat. Although he looked suspiciously offside due to the space he had, it was a well timed run. Apparently the linesman (sorry ‘assistant referee’) momentarily raised his flag, but changed his mind. Dickov’s shot was appalling, more of a pass back than a shot. A Tranmere defender placed the ball (with his hand) just outside the area and took a ‘free kick’. The linesman flagged, presumably for hand ball, which surely it was, but Gallagher waved play on. A quick break by Tranmere got the ball to Allison who rounded Weaver and was taken out by Horlock, who had no alternative really. Kev was sent off and Mahon scored from the resultant spot kick. This was a crazy situation and surely extremely poor officiating by the referee. They say play to the whistle, but I certainly didn’t hear any peeps or toots during this chain of events. The City players obviously didn’t and it seems likely that the ‘assistant referee’ didn’t either based on the contortions he had with his flag. Although our players shouldn’t escape criticism completely (they should not have been caught cold by a hopeful punt upfield), this was a mess of a situation, which if it hadn’t resulted in a goal and possibly more importantly the suspension of a key player, would probably have been forgotten. If Dickov wasn’t offside, then no offence had been committed and the Tranmere player committed a hand ball offence. If Dickov was offside, but the ref chose to play-on, the Tranmere player committed a handball offence. If the ref wasn’t sure what he was doing, he should have blown and maybe given a drop ball. If he did in fact blow for an offside offence (although I’m sure that he didn’t) then we got our just desserts. Everyone makes mistakes, but this one not only cost us 2 points, but also the services of Horlock for probably 3 games. There can be no appeal, as Horlock’s action was a sending off offence, despite the fact that he probably should not have been put in that position.

Nevertheless, although we certainly deserved a better fate, this was not a good performance by the Blues. Although sporadically we looked the ‘classier’ side, Tranmere did not allow us to play how we wished. This will happen again and we must impose ourselves more. To coin a Joe Royle phrase “We must earn the right to play our football”. The lack of goalscoring again cost us. Tranmere’s penalty may have been a consolation if we’d had a more cutting edge. Despite his media protestations to the contrary, I’m certain that JR is not happy with his strike force and that he is desperately trying to find an addition. It’s been said many times before, but we must score more goals. Goater has been doing the business, Dickov’s all round contribution is excellent except in the crucial goal-scoring stakes. Taylor, I feel either can only be used as a sub or he needs an extended run, with all the risks that that involves. I must say that personally I don’t think that I’d be prepared to take that risk. There must be a Premiership player we can get on loan to ‘tide us over’ (Ian Wright, Paul Kitson, Daniele Dichio, Stan Collymore even!) In my opinion the lack of goals has cost us 5 points so far (2 points today and 3 against Norwich). Spread over the season, at the same rate, we will lose 21 points only due to not finishing our chances. You don’t need to be Einstein to realise that we can not afford to throw away such points.

Phil Hartley (


TRANMERE ROVERS vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 16th October 1999

I am a great believer in omens and two of these should have told me the very good and the very bad of last Saturday afternoon. The first one was whilst listening to GMR on the morning programme someone talking about City’s match at Prenton Park, said that they did great burgers there. They were right. Whilst eating the said burger at about 2.30pm (actually it was my second one – they were so good), I bought a programme and looked at the name of the referee. My comment? “Anything could happen here. He’s a nutter.” I said. Well that just about sums up the best of the afternoon (the burger) and the worst (Dermot Gallagher). Close second to the burger was the atmosphere in the pub next to the ground. Actually it was outside – it was such a beautiful day. Can you really imagine any pub next – or near even – to Maine Road being taken over by opposition fans? I didn’t see one Tranmere shirt or hear one Scouse accent. Nothing but wall to wall City.

The leader of the singing (a rather fat gentleman – he’d have to be, he’s a City fan – with very few teeth but a huge voice) kept up a non-stop rendition of every City song you will ever hear, whilst a group behind sang some very strange songs. They all seemed to be singing the same words but God only knows what they were singing about. Anyway, they were happy so that’s all that matters. I commented that I hoped the fat toothless one was not sitting near me. That was another mistake. Guess who turned up just before the kick off right behind me?

The team was what you would expect with superman Taylor up front instead of Goater. Nice to see Edghill again too, even though he only came on for the last few minutes. What good Joe thought that would do I’ve no idea, but he’s the Manager not me. Anyway the first half came and went. Very little to talk about really except for some strange decisions from the ref. I timed the first shot on target from either team (and that was Tranmere!) at 23 minutes, so you can see that excitement was at a premium. Still the weather was good and the toothless one was strangely quiet. In fact everyone was quiet. 5,000 City fans, Dickov, Taylor, Horlock et al. Everyone. Kennedy was putting some good crosses in but they were going towards Taylor so nothing came of any of them. There was an interesting battle going on between Wayne Allison and Andy Morrison but you’d back Andy against anyone wouldn’t you? Still it did remind me of the “rock meeting an immovable object” saying. That Allison is so big!

Their guy with the long throw was quite interesting. At least the ballboy who produced a towel to wipe the ball for him amused me. Was that to keep his hands clean then? Whitley was having a good game but I still think that Horlock and Bishop look a little lightweight in midfield against teams who hassle them as Tranmere did. Half time arrived and I considered another burger but the queue was long so I didn’t bother.

Now the second half I thought improved somewhat. Don’t get me wrong. We were still playing as badly with absolutely nothing up front but the antics of the ref. and linesmen (I still like to call them that) were very entertaining. I particularly liked the “shall I, shall I not?” dithering of the one in front of the main stand. Not the decisive sort you might say. To be fair we did look by far the better side but I think that said more about the poorness of Tranmere than the greatness of City. Still, when Taylor (superhero) was brought down by the goalie (silly man – he didn’t think that Taylor would have scored did he?) and Horlock clinically slotted home the penalty it was only what we deserved. Even that was strange though because the ref went over to the goalie first – booked him – then pointed to the spot. We all thought he hadn’t given it.

Several half chances later the ditherer on the line really excelled himself by doing an imitation of “Simon says” with his flag for Dickov being offside. The ref though decided that he knew best anyway and gave the offside. Tranmere went straight through our flagging (sorry!) defence, Allison (him again) went round Weaver who was having a rush of blood moment and Horlock had no alternative but to bring him down. It could have been worse though. It could have been Morrison and I’m sure we would miss him on suspension more than we’ll miss Horlock. Weaver went the right way for the penalty but couldn’t repeat his Wembley heroics and it was all over by the shouting.

Dickov actually got a free kick a few minutes later and Joe threw his arms in the air in amazement. It was the only one he got all afternoon. I also noticed Joe throw a water bottle on the pitch but in true Taylor fashion it missed anyone of importance and Dickov threw it back quickly before anyone noticed. Well, I said anything could happen with Mr Gallagher and he didn’t let me down. Next time I’ll keep my mouth shut and my thoughts to myself. Joe refused to be interviewed on GMR afterwards. Said he might say something he shouldn’t because he was so angry. Yes the ref was awful. Yes he made some very poor decisions. But the players should have done enough for none of that to matter. If they only do enough to win by the odd goal then, like on Saturday, sometimes they will end up only getting a point or even none. They must learn to press home their advantage and make the score comfortable if they are to do anything this season. And to do that we need someone to score the goals. Taylor is not that player. But we all know that, don’t we? We do,don’t we? Joe? You do know that, don’t you? Still it’s a damn sight better than watching Chesterfield or York or Bury or Burnley or Wigan… Enough said.

Anne Bennett (


TRANMERE ROVERS vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 16th October 1999

The day started perfectly, the sun shone, the copper that gave the `no booze’ speech on the coach as we arrived, hoped we would win and the home side’s PA played `Going Down’ by Tattoo Spice. However, the Officials did not join in the spirit of the day and to be honest, neither did City.

The wife and I took our place in the Bebington Kop Stand full of hope, happy expectation and Pringles. A couple of hours latter we left angry, depressed and (me at least) full of wind. Let me run through the usual preamble; lots of possession, the better chances, the opposition barely created a threat, and blah, blah, blah! Tranmere were not by any stretch of the imagination anything other than a struggling First Division side. They were however, pacy, aggressive and like so many sides in the English league highly skilled at playing the officials.

City on the other hand played the first half as though we only had to turn up. Too much was placed on Kennedy and despite being double-marked throughout the ninety minutes still managed to get balls into the box even though he was forced right out to the corner flag. Crosses delivered under these circumstances are rarely accurate and require strikers to `fight’ for the ball and that midfielders be prepared to feed off scraps. Just about everything we did came down the left and everybody seemed to get sucked over to that side. If ever there was a game that called out for Cooke to come on in the second half, this was it!

Gareth Taylor, whatever his talents, and he did win a fair amount of the ball, is not a leader of the line and given that the midfield did not support as they did in the Port Vale game for instance, a lot of good work came to nought. Dickov too, got a lot of possession in the Tranmere box and found himself with no one to lay the ball off to. Allsopp could have proved a good substitution, as it became increasingly clear that a second goal was required. My only criticism of Joe Royle on the day was that the only change he saw fit to make was to bring on Edghill to save the point after Horlock was sent off.

The game hung on penalties, those that were given and those that were not. Taylor was sent through and the ‘keeper brought him down just inside the corner of the box. I’m not a great fan of the double punishment of red cards and penalties unless violence is involved – but the law, which Dermotitis Gallagher on this occasion sensibly chose to modify with common-sense was perversely and rigorously applied when Horlock `bundled over’ Wayne Allison (a man three times his size).

I’m still not clear about the events that lead to the Tranmere equaliser. The events as I remember them were, Dickov dived to head the ball and simultaneously the Blues fans were howling with disbelief that he was given offside (not surprisingly, as all afternoon it was only required for a Tranmere defender to raise his hand to scratch his head to earn an offside flag from one official in particular). I looked up at this point and the linesman’s flag was resolutely down by his side. I don’t know what happened next, the ball was sent upfield, goal kick, free kick – your guess is as good as mine. There was a call for a Tranmere handball and someone said that the other linesman was flagging – nothing registered with Gallagher – Allison was put through – Horlock hit him with an empty crisp bag – Gallagher gave a penalty, waved a red card – Allison stopped rolling.

In fairness, if it had happened to a City player I’d have wanted a penalty.

Dermot Gallagher is apparently one of the more respected Premiership referees. Perhaps it was the close proximity to Wales that convinced him that it was perfectly acceptable for Tranmere players to handle the ball. The most outrageous example was when a defender clearly punched the ball over the crossbar – from where I sat his arm was fully extended and God was nowhere to be seen.

Dickov in the first half had a great chance, cutting in from the right he laid off a ball to no one in particular when he should have shot – confidence seems to be a problem: Not surprising when in the second half he was on the receiving end of a foul in the Tranmere box that in some states of America still carries the death penalty: OK – I exaggerate for dramatic effect!

He is clearly losing his rag, getting kicked up hill and down dale and chasing lost causes whilst the midfield and fellow strikers think movement is something your bowels do. Ask Uwe Rösler how long a striker is prepared to continue earning a living in this fashion.

It may be my paranoia, but advantage was played when there was no advantage to be gained for us, and the game was stopped just when we were in possession and an advantage was developing.

While I’m on the subject, another major irritation was the pratt on the radio on the way home, giving the scores, who tried and nearly succeeded in squeezing three syllables out of the word – `nil’. OK perhaps my mood was just highly susceptible to irritability.

Where does City go from here? Well, Joe has closed the door forever on the return of Gio – and when the groans and `luxury player’ arguments have subsided, I will proffer the argument that whilst he didn’t turn it on all the time, our problems in the past derive from the fact that most of the team never turned it on at all! Look at the 1996-97 video and see how much of the good stuff went through him.

OK, if Kinkladze is not the solution there is no hiding from the fact that the problem is lack of creativity in part, but mostly a lack of pace, in midfield.

Furthermore Joe has recently reaffirmed his faith in our current strikers – but the truth is we don’t have a natural replacement for Goater and we certainly continue to have a system built around the use of a target man style of football.

The events of Saturday have not dented my confidence that with our current playing staff we can prosper in the First Division. Everybody happy with that?

No? I’m talking this way, as I believe these issues must be addressed to win promotion to, and survival in, the Premiership.

Regards – Peter Capes (


Firstly we had a great time before the match at the Three Stags. This was a meeting arranged, I believe, by the Merseyside Supporters’ Club and what a fantastic bit of organisation! We went to the match under our own steam but quite a few coaches turned up at the Three Stags where not only was there a hot meal for three quid but an entertainer who was making many varied shapes out of blue and white balloons. The sun was shining, the atmosphere was very relaxed and it would be great to go to more events like this when we go to away matches.

Unfortunately it all went downhill from then. The match was a pretty dull affair. Although we looked OK in midfield at times we never really threatened to score and Kennedy was caught offside numerous times which also helped to ensure that the game was one of the most boring I have watched in the recent past. Fortunately for us they are a poor side and they didn’t manage to capitalise on at least one situation where they should have scored. It seemed that the high point as far as Tranmere was concerend was when they got a throw-in near the area. One of their players was obviously a ‘long throw specialist’ and launched the ball some fair distances.

I couldn’t go so far as to pick a man of the match as none of them played particularly well so let’s just hope that they pick themselves up in time for Tuesday. I hope Joe gave them a good talking to after the match – despite the fact that he blamed their goal on poor refereeing. In the papers. The actual incident he referred to was where the ref gave an offside decision despite there being no flag from the linesman. Basically Tranmere took the kick quickly and caught City napping and Kevin Horlock had very little option but to let the player score or bring him down. Well, the decision was poor but City should have finished the game off some time previously instead of which they all seemed to slow down and give up about 15 minutes before the end. If we can’t beat a team that are almost a dead cert for relegation who can we beat?

My husband thought our centre halves did OK. We met a friend who is a Tranmere fan after the match and his view was that he didn’t think they’d get back into the game and that they did was because we went to sleep. He also said he’d have felt aggrieved if they’d lost 1-0.

Anyway enough moaning and let’s look forward to Birmingham City on Tuesday. Thanks again to the people who arranged the do at the Three Stags.

Sharon Marsland (


Monday 11/10/99

Attended for MCFC : Bernard Halford, Peter Fletcher and Sara Billington.

Attended for Fans : Dave Wallace, Dave Beddard, Ian Barton, Les Saul and Stephen Knott.

1. International Fixtures

1.1 From next season the Club will highlight the international match dates and the appropriate City fixtures that may be affected by these dates. For this season, fans will be made aware when they purchase match tickets of any matches which may be affected by international games.

1.2 The Stockport home fixture could be affected by the Euro2000 play-off matches. The Club are attempting to get information from the various FA’s to ascertain if there will be a full international calendar on that particular day.

2. North Stand / Kippax Stand Corner

So far this season this area outside the ground has not experienced any problems with congestion etc. The survey being carried out by Panstadia International is still ongoing. The home fixtures versus Blackburn and Birmingham could change this situation. If necessary the Club will hold back away supporters for a few minutes to ensure this area does not get over congested.

3. New Stadium

John Wardle, Director, is to attend the next fans’ meeting. He is to inform the fans on their involvement, if any, during the development and build of the new stadium. If anyone has an opinion on this subject please send to fans’ committee.

4. Idea – Beer Sales

At some venues, refreshments are sold using tokens not cash. This system can speed up the turnover of people being served, thus reducing queues. Stadia Catering have looked into this method but feel it would not work at Maine Road.

5. City Stores

Although the Club has a massive support in Greater Manchester, they feel it would not be the right time to open City stores around the Greater Manchester area. The Club are to carry on concentrating their efforts on the store at Maine Road. What are your views on this?

6. Fans’ Involvement at Board Level

The Sports Minister recently said he would encourage groups of fans to purchase blocks of shares and have a say, at board level, in the everyday running of their football club. The Co-op bank are to help and advise these groups. The Club feel that MCFC are already very open with fans and that most City fans have regular access to the Chairman and Directors of the Club in some way. Is this the way forward for football? Your thoughts please.

7. Programme Feature

Along with the article in the programme, you can access the minutes from the fans and the football club meetings via the Internet at the Supporters’ Club web site ( and the Official Club web site ( You can also write to the fans’ committee C/O MCFC Maine Road or Email or just come along to the monthly meetings and join in.

8. A.O.B.

8.1 The Club are to liaise with the Police to arrange for the televisions in the bar areas under the stands to remain on for longer after the half time interval. This has been requested by the fans’ committee and at the recent AGM.

8.2 The Club are to look into the circumstances surrounding the recent sale of a Club plaque by Ian Niven.

8.3 The Club will also be looking at ticket prices for 16/17-year-olds who are still in full time education. Any views?

9. Next Meeting

Monday 15th November, 7:30pm, Oasis Suite, Platt Lane Complex. Everyone welcome, all opinions are discussed with the football club.

Les Saul (


The Nationwide League Division 1
Manchester City vs. Blackburn Rovers
Saturday 23rd October 1999
Kick-Off 3.00pm

This match is all ticket. Tickets are now sold out.

The Nationwide League Division 1
Manchester City vs. Stockport County

Due to the International match between Scotland and England, arrangements for this fixture are not yet finalised. We expect details to be finalised on Monday 18th November.

MCFC Ticket Office


Thanks to all who replied to my request for information about where to buy Man City shares. I also got a lot of messages from people requesting the information once I had received it, so here it is:

Shares are quoted each night in Manchester Evening News in the OFEX section of Share Prices. The price on Friday was £1.00 each. You can contact pretty much any stockbroker or bank who can buy OFEX shares for you. Do watch the commission though, it can be high i.e. £25 in cases.

Here is the website for up to date prices:

Warren Mittoo (


It seems Alan Ball has at last reached the heights at Pompey that he reached at Maine Road. Such is the excellence of his coaching and management skills that the Portsmouth official supporters’ club have decided not to award their player of the month award; this is due to the dire displays of the team during September. In Saturday’s Daily Telegraph it is reported that the supporters’ club received only twenty replies, and with their committee unable to come up with a suitable candidate they have decided not to make the award. Apparently this is the first time they have not made the award, though according to the Telegraph they have before failed to find a candidate but the award went to Paul Hall and Fitzroy Simpson as they were away on international duty at the time and it was deemed that they “didn’t do any worse than anyone else”.

Judging the mess the “Football Genius” left City, Portsmouth fans will be saving a lot of money on postage over the coming season, as far as voting is concerned. Now that he has bought Lee Badbuy back things can only get worse (with a bit of luck). Pity the half pint, half-witted little sh*t has just signed a new long-term contract, to lead Pompey to their destiny, which with Ball’s record is likely to be relegation. So let’s hope we can start November off for their fans in such away that they cancel that month’s competition after one game.

Steve Hunt – CTID (


This month’s Quiz:

  1. Where is City’s new ground going to be situated?
  2. Who scored Gillingham’s goals in the Play-off Final?
  3. Where has Tony Vaughan been loaned out to?

Please send your answers to before 31st October.

Prize: A signed ball kindly donated by Manchester City Football Club. The winner will be chosen at random if we receive more than one correct entry.


Clive Tysoe, an exiled Mancunian now living in St Lucia, first came up with the idea of using the Internet to bring together City fans from across the globe to meet up, party and watch a game at Maine Road. Clive and I had been regulars on the Manchester City Internet message board Blue View since 1996 and we thought that meeting for a match was the natural progression in our friendship. Our mutual love of City brought us together through the Internet as it has done for thousands of other City fans living in Manchester and around the world during the mid to late nineties. It was Clive’s idea to extend this get together to include other Blue Viewers who were interested, and we decided to name the event “The Tribal Gathering”.

We picked the game against Bradford City for the first Tribal Gathering and a narrow victory courtesy of a last minute goal by Tony Vaughan completed a memorable day for us all. Fans from as far as Australia, Japan, South America and Africa joined us for the weekend.

TG2 was held last year for the game against Gillingham at Maine Road. It ended in a goalless draw and although the match couldn’t produce the last minute drama of TG1, the weekend was special for all the “Gatherers”. We again attracted fans from all over the world including Moscow, Canada, Kenya and this time we even had a Japanese fan on his first visit to Manchester.

The whole concept we were trying to create was to build friendships between City fans wherever they were living in the world. Although most of our Internet postings and emails are City-related, our friendships have extended beyond just football. I remember on a trip to Hong Kong 5 years ago not knowing where to go on the day I arrived. Now I have five City fans that I am in contact with via the Internet and email living in Hong Kong that insist they will look after me on my next visit. I have also visited a friend in Galway that I met via the City Internet websites. There must be over 3,000 City fans around the world that have become friends through the various City websites.

This worldwide community of City fans is something we are very proud of. We feel we are the most active fans in the country in our efforts to get together through meetings such as the Tribal Gatherings and other local events. The Blue View message board has regularly been in the top 50 of UK sites. We know that another football team just outside Manchester has a huge world-wide following but we also know that the depth of feeling for Manchester City around the world is unmatched by any other football club in England.

Everyone knows that Manchester City attracted 30,000 fans to home games even playing in the third flight of English football. Our fans are widely reputed to be the most loyal in the country and that we have a tremendous sense of humour especially when things are not going our way. We can all laugh at some of the chants we sang as our team struggled to find form. When we talk about loyalty, we gained the respect of the football world through the huge gates we used to attract on the Nationwide Division 2. I couldn’t think of one other football club that would get the gates we did in that division as no other club ever have before.

What people often don’t realize is that City have a massive following spread around the world who obviously can’t attend matches on a regular basis. However, through the Internet we have found like-minded fans that have become pals through daily correspondence with each other.

Manchester City Football Club have really helped us make the “Tribal Gatherings” a great success and we are very grateful to Steve Sayer who has co-ordinated things from Club’s side for both the events so far.

This is what we are trying to achieve and we think we have succeeded in our efforts so far. We want Manchester City to realize that the Club can be a world-wide football club, and we want City fans that live outside of the UK to feel part of the Manchester City community. There is vast potential for the Manchester City in all of this and that is why we, the fans, have recently instigated the International Supporters’ Club to supplement the Tribal Gatherings and to give us the opportunity to get together more often.

Bob Young (


T oo few
R eal
A ttacks
N ullified,
M eant
E ventual
R overs
E qualiser
R oyle
O ver-
V alues
E ssentially
R ubbish
S trikers

Steve Maclean (


I write to inform you of the release of the Man City home branded computer. It is available in a limited edition of 200 with special features exclusive to this unique range including framed, authorised certificate. All details are available at our web address and we are able to offer finance which starts from £8.30 per week! Also, we are selling the case alone for those able to build their own PCs. The PC is becoming an essential part of the home and so what better one to have than one in City colours!

For more details ring 0161 926 4414.

Paul Wilde – M&H Procom Ltd (


Inspired by the highly successful get-together a few weeks ago, Mike Warren (Redding Blue) has ordered me to arrange another. The growing list of City fans in New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania are invited to the Telephone Bar and Grill on Second Avenue at 9th Street on Sunday November 14th around 3:00 pm. This pub/restaurant serves proper beer and is conveniently situated a short walk from East 6th Street, which resembles Wilmslow Road in Rusholme with its dense concentration of curry houses which share one massive underground kitchen. Hopefully the conversation will not include American rounders.

Martin Price (


Colin Bell’s testimonial springs to mind. It was a combined City/Rags team against a combined Scouse team. I can’t remember who won, but I do remember who won the penalty shoot out at half time. I think Stuart Hall was the half time compere/announcer, and he was controlling the penalty kicks. It was ‘even stevens’ coming up to the last kick for each side. It went something like this:

‘Come on then Bobby (he of the unique hairstyle), your turn’. So up stepped ‘desert head’ to place the ball on the spot. He stepped back a few spaces, steadied himself, then proceeded to put the ball in Row Z of the North Stand. Cue loud howls of laughter and derision from the Kippax. ‘Never mind Bobby, have another go’ said the over zealous Stuart Hall (did he know what he was doing! We wanted to win this competition and he was dispensing largess in abundance) so, up stepped the ‘bald eagle’ who once again proceeded to blast his spotkick over Helen’s head. She vigorously rang her bell to sound the death knoll to the Rags’ chances of winning this competition.

Enter ‘Frannie’ stage left (loud cheers ring round the Academy, for the man with the golden boot) Frannie puts the ball on the spot and retreats to the half way line (OK! About 10 yards) and then in his own inimitable style scored past Stepney (or did he jump out of the way?) with a truly memorable strike which made the onion bag ripple for a full 30 seconds or so. Glorious, and I recount the story to my sons on each and every opportunity that arises (my youngest son laughs his head off at the thought of a goalkeeper jumping out of the way of a penalty!).

Hugh Doyle (


Now we do know things are changing for City; most of us feel, and have felt for some time, that City need another striker. We must be patient and just look at our position in the league. I feel sure the club will get the right man when it’s the right man and the right time. There’s no panic, have faith in Joe Royle and the Board to do the right thing. But of course they must not leave it too late – Come On You Blues!

P.S. The way I see it it’s a gamble to get a striker who can get us the goals (whatever he may cost) to the losing of approx £10 million for not being in the Premier League. The truth of it as I see it: we will not make it without that striker. Nothing would make me happier than to be proved wrong. Come on you Blue!

Ernie Barrow (


Fellas, after being stuck in Chicago for the last 10 years I’ll admit I don’t mind the odd baseball game either, although to be honest like cricket, it is best enjoyed on a sunny day whilst being so sh*t-faced drunk you really don’t care what the hell is going on.

However, the key point here is that it if I want an opinion or insight on a baseball team then I will go myself onto a website that caters to that subject. Now please do not take this personally but what I’m basically saying is *** off and leave this boring sh*t out of McVittee. I echo Michael Warren’s sentiments, McVittee is about Man City, pure and simple. Even though I don’t mind the odd incursion into different areas of interest in McVittee every now and then, the flood of baseball related minutia in the last two editions is nauseating.

P.S. Best of luck to your respective teams and I hope you haven’t bet too much money on them.

CTID, John Walsh (

This was echoed by many; I hadn’t quite realised what passionate reactions this would elicit – more than if a pro-Man United article had been included!



I too have an Eidos shirt, worn twice, lost twice, and back in the drawer. To win, you have to take the shirt out the day before the match, then put it back in the drawer that night, until after the game. This never fails. Just for interest what did people do with their old Brother shirts, perhaps we should all have sent them to some African Club where they can’t afford shirts. Then their Nganga (witch doctor) could lift our curse.

CTID, John Stewart (


I read on MCIVTA a few weeks ago a report about the book called “Guvnors” and decided to track it down. I’m really glad I did, it was an excellent read and a great insight into football hooliganism and why they do it. As the original contributor said, I also wasn’t aware of City having such a large hooligan element especially when I can remember attending most of the City games mentioned. Football is much better for not having the trouble, and I guess that’s why the book was made more enjoyable because you know it is no more – and long may it continue.

CTID, Peter J. Timperley (


Firstly, a plea. Please, no more postings about baseball, it’s very very boring.

Secondly, I was very interested to read Dave Kilroy’s assertion that his replica shirt is responsible for City losing. I’m sure Dave’s shirt has some part to play in City defeats, but the game we lost at Norwich was cursed in a way that couldn’t be done to just one City shirt thousands of miles away. No there was something more powerful in the immediate vicinity acting on the linesman that night.

That night made me finally realise that my replica shirt was cursed with the ability to turn games against City.

You see, mine doesn’t have Eidos or Brother printed on the front, it doesn’t even have Phillips; it is a replica from the 1969 FA Cup final, my favourite design of red & black stripes, bought several years ago to commemorate the day I became Blue. I thought it would be full of good charm, being associated with one of our most successful periods, but I was sadly wrong.

Being based in Norfolk, the shirt hasn’t have too many outings to live games, except those in East Anglia. The season before last it was at Ipswich (lost 1-0), but not at Norwich (0-0 draw). I put it on when City were at Birmingham and I saw the score on Teletext at 4.45pm (1-0 to City at the time, we went on to lose 2-1), and had it on when listening to a game on 5 Live (I think it was Huddersfield, lost 2-0?).

Last season it was buried in the bottom in the bottom of my drawer and never came out, and we all know what happened that year!

Its final appearance was a few weekends ago, when it came out for a wash on the Sunday before the Norwich game, and was then at the Norwich game on Tuesday night. Obviously it was frustrated at not having been able to exert its power for over a year and gave vent, totally taking over the linesman and making him give those awful decisions and disallow perfectly good goals. I tried taking it off at half time and tucking it under my seat, but to no avail.

Rest assured it is now back in its rightful place at the bottom of a very large pile of clothes and won’t see the light again until we have secured promotion next year.

CTID, Richard Jenkins (


This week, I received an e-mail from someone who’s had the opportunity to view detailed plans for the City of Manchester Stadium. These are not publicly available…

Of course they are – the planning application is on public record. Planning Department is 7th floor, Manchester Town Hall extension.

Steve Parish (


Any Blues in Brisbane fancy a beer and chat, I am over in Brisbane working.

Brian Smith (


Being a City fan from Melbourne, Australia I am always interested on the performance of the two Aussie boys currently at the club.

Danny Tiatto played extremely well against those Red po*fs recently in Melbourne, and I was wondering if anyone can give me some feedback on his and Allsopp’s performances for City?

Also does anyone in the land of Oz know where we we can get the new City strip, preferably in Melbourne?

Thanks and Go Blues, Roy Hunter (


Because I was born into a family that is Blue.

Because I can still remember the first time I climbed the steps in Maine Road and saw the ground, floodlit in a November night: breath frozen in the evening air, a crescendo of cheering as I entered the stand at the same time the team ran on to the pitch.

Because team posters hung on my bedroom wall in competition with Starsky and Hutch, but I still have the City ones.

Because wherever I go in the world and I mention Manchester, I still get a thrill when I tell people I am not a Utd fan.

Because I worked in Stretford for four years – a Blue island in a blood-red sea of baloney.

Because a football team is for life, not just for successful times.

Elizabeth Mitchell (


Really this should be my 5-year-old daughter’s Why Blue, but I hope she’ll come up with her own in due course. However, after much questioning and persistance on her part I agreed to take her to the Crystal Palace game – her first live football match – I think she was just interested to see what it was all about. For some context to my own City supporting background, please see the Why Blue in MCIVTA 323 on the web site. I had not taken her before, as we live a couple of hours away, I didn’t think she had the concentration span to cope with 90 minutes, and frankly, that she would spoil my own enjoyment of the game. But on parking the car and walking with her to the ground, I felt a range of emotions, some nerves, fearing that she would hate the experience, a sense of pride, which I think is just about having a kid and them wanting to do things with you, and a strange sense of history, another generation coming to Maine Road, all that time having passed from my own childhood memories of coming to watch City in the early ’70’s with my dad.

Of course I went over the top in the City Store, and she is still sleeping with ‘Citybear’ although she has long since eaten the chocolate football that came with it. I got her a City polo shirt, which she had to put on there and then, and we went into the ground. I bought a programme that I knew I would always keep, and we went to our seats. It was just before kick off, and the noise was growing as we took our seats behind the goal in the North Stand. I thought she might be frightened or overawed by the noise or the number of people, but not at all. She just took it all in and it was as though she had been going for years. OK, she liked seeing Moonchester best, but walking away from the ground and back to the car after we had come back from 0-1 down to win 2-1, she decided that the best bits were when City scored (and shaking Moonchester’s hand at half time), and all the singing. As it started to rain, she wanted to know when we were coming again.

The following day, I was in the kitchen and she was in her bedroom. I could hear her singing ‘City (clap – clap – clap) City (clap – clap – clap)’ etc, and later came down to sing her version of Blue Moon (which involved repeating the first line indefinitely). She was telling her grandma (my mother in law) about the game, who told her that she supported Man Utd (news to me). Katy just cut her dead; ‘I support Manchester City’ – proud as you like. The clincher though was at school the following week. I was reading one of her work books. On Mondays the kids have to write a diary entry – what they did at the weekend. They dictate it to the teacher, who writes it out, and the kids copy it to practice their writing. Katy had written ‘I went to see Manchester City and we won’. Not they won, or City won – we won. I’m sure supporters of other clubs must feel the same sense of belonging as we do, but that’s the point – we don’t care, because we are City ’til we die.

John and Katy Roughton (


Saturday 16 October

Barnsley                 1     Wolverhampton                      2
Hignett 81                     Taylor 5
                               Akinbiyi 33
Attend: 14,923                 Half-time: 0-2
Birmingham               2     Crystal Palace                     0
Purse 10
McCarthy 48
Attend: 21,582                 Half-time: 1-0
Blackburn                1     Grimsby                            1
Carsley 45                     Ashcroft pen 43
Attend: 17,575                 Half-time: 1-1
Bolton                   1     Huddersfield                       0
Gardner 45
Attend: 16,603                Half-time: 1-0
Fulham                   1     Swindon                            0
Horsfield 84
Attend: 13,715                 Half-time: 0-0
Ipswich                  1     QPR                                4
Holland 3                      Peacock 33
                               Wardley 65
                               Steiner 71 , 82
Attend: 17,544                 Half-time: 1-1
Port Vale                0     Norwich                            1
                               Fleming 82
Attend: 5,790                  Half-time: 0-0
Portsmouth               0     Charlton                           2
                               Robinson 43
                               Salako 90
Attend: 14,812                 Half-time: 0-1
Sheff Utd                2     Nottm Forest                       1
Smith 55 57                    Freedman 43
Attend: 15,687                 Half-time: 0-1
Stockport                2     Crewe                              1
Connelly 45                    Sorvel 16
D'Jaffo 59
Attend: 7,571                  Half-time: 1-1
Tranmere                 1     Man City                           1
Mahon 82                       Horlock pen 50
Attend: 13,208                 Half-time: 0-0
West Brom                0     Walsall                            1
                               Rammell 57
Attend: 19,562                 Half-time: 0-0

                               Home          Away                Goals
         Team          P  W  D L  F   A  W  D L F  A   Pts     Difference
 Charlton              9  5  0 0  11  2  2  1 1 7  5    22         11
 Fulham                10 4  1 0  7   1  2  3 0 7  4    22          9
 Birmingham            12 4  2 0  16  6  2  1 3 5  7    21          8
 Man City              11 4  0 1  11  3  2  2 2 4  4    20          8
 Stockport             11 4  1 0  9   4  2  1 3 5  10   20          0
 Ipswich               10 4  0 2  13  8  1  2 1 8  6    17          7
 Huddersfield          11 4  1 0  17  6  1  1 4 4  9    17          6
 Barnsley              11 4  0 2  18  8  1  1 3 6  15   16          1
 Bolton                11 3  2 1  11  9  1  1 3 5  4    15          3
 QPR                   10 3  2 0  9   5  1  1 3 6  7    15          3
 Grimsby               11 3  1 1  5   3  1  2 3 6  11   15         -3
 Wolverhampton         11 1  2 2  4   5  2  3 1 6  7    14         -2
 Sheff Utd             11 3  2 1  12  7  1  0 4 4  14   14         -5
 Blackburn             10 2  2 1  6   3  1  2 2 7  7    13          3
 Nottm Forest          11 3  2 0  11  4  0  2 4 5  10   13          2
 West Brom             10 0  5 1  4   5  2  2 0 6  4    13          1
 Norwich               11 2  0 3  4   6  1  3 2 6  7    12         -3
 Crystal Palace        11 2  2 1  10  4  1  1 4 6  16   12         -4
 Portsmouth            10 2  2 2  6   5  1  1 2 5  13   12         -7
 Walsall               12 1  2 3  5   9  2  1 3 5  9    12         -8
 Port Vale             12 3  0 3  7   6  0  2 4 7  12   11         -4
 Crewe                 10 2  1 1  4   4  1  1 4 8  14   11         -6
 Tranmere              12 1  3 2  7   10 1  0 5 4  10   9          -9
 Swindon               12 1  2 3  5   12 1  1 4 3  7    9         -11

Dorien James (
With thanks to Sporting Life


Contributions: Ashley –
News & Rumours: Peter –
Subscriptions: 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]Ashley Birch,

Newsletter #545