Newsletter #555

Strange finding myself once again on the receiving end of being away from home and being unable to find out the score. Good to be back after 3 weeks away from the chair, and also good to see that MCIVTA has been in very good hands. Thanks therefore to Martin Freeman for keeping things running along smoothly.

Maybe it’s because I’ve just turned 40, but I’ve had my pessimistic hat on of late. Consequently, I was reckoning – considering we were likely to be without Morrison and Kennedy – that we’d be lucky to get 2 draws out of the three games commencing Saturday, with nothing from the Charlton game! Luckily, I and many others have learned not to trust my intuition when it comes to football; a solid performance by all accounts, one point more than I’d predicted with two games to go!

We have two match reports, Peter’s news summary, news of branch activities, and a Why Blue.

This one reaches 2,962.

Next game: Barnsley at home, Wednesday 24th November 1999


Goater Goal Sinks Charlton

City gained a crucial victory over Charlton in Saturday’s top-of-the-table clash at the Valley. Bermudan star Shaun Goater marked his return from with the game’s only goal in the 48th minute, leaving the Blues two points clear of Huddersfield at the top of Division One. City face the Terriers at Maine Road next Saturday but before then have a tough test at home to fourth-placed Barnsley on Wednesday. Huddersfield are two points behind the Blues having played a game more while Charlton (who have a game in hand on City) are a further two points adrift.

Royle Happy But Curbishley Blasts Ref

Joe Royle was delighted with the battling display which earned his side a win in the top-of-the-table clash at Charlton on Sunday. But his opposite number Alan Curbishley felt the Blues were guilty of an overly physical approach and was upset at referee Roger Furnandiz for failing to take stronger action against some of the City players. “We were offered no protection,” said the Addicks’ manager. “The amount of fouls conceded and no-one booked beggars belief. There were at least four or five occasions when the game should have been stopped and someone shown the yellow card.” But the City manager was unapologetic over his team’s combative approach and felt that the three points were deserved. Even though Charlton’s approach play was impressive and the Londoners had the bulk of the possession, the Blues’ goal was rarely threatened seriously, while City’s more sporadic forays produced moments of alarm for the hosts. It was this aspect of the performance which delighted Royle, who said, “We defended so well we had the better chances.”

Charlton Win a Good Omen

City’s win at Charlton will be seen by many fans as emphasising the Blues’ credentials as realistic promotion contenders. And the more optimistic Maine Road fans may also see an omen in the victory at the Valley. For the last two occasions the Blues have won away to the Addicks, City’s only two wins at Charlton outside the top flight, came in seasons which saw the Blues clinch promotion to the elite. In 1965-66, Joe Mercer’s team won 3-2 at the Valley on their way to the old Division Two title, while Billy McNeill’s team won 3-1 in south east London in the 1984-85 promotion season. Today’s result indicates that Joe Royle’s side can entertain realistic aspirations of emulating their predecessors.

City to Face Chester in F.A. Cup Third Round

City will face the Nationwide League’s bottom club in the F.A. Cup third round. The Blues were handed an away tie against Chester City when the draw was made on Sunday. The clubs have only ever been in opposition twice in competitive matches – in a two-legged League Cup tie in 1991-92. On that occasion, City won 3-1 at Maine Road and followed up with a 3-0 victory in the away leg, which was played at Stockport. This season’s tie is due to take place on Saturday, 11 December. Cash-strapped Chester have a capacity of only 6,000 at the Deva Stadium, prompting talk that the Third Division outfit might seek to maximise their pay day by switching the game to Maine Road or a neutral venue such as Old Trafford. If the match does take place at Chester, City can expect to receive around 2,000 tickets.

Brown Joins Pompey on Loan

City’s Michael Brown has joined Portsmouth on loan. And the transfer-listed midfielder could make the move permanent if he impresses during his month at Fratton Park. Brown was handed his league début by Pompey boss Alan Ball in 1995-96 when the former World Cup winner was in charge at Maine Road. And now Ball is offering Brown the chance to make a fresh start on the south coast, with the player reportedly having accepted that he has no future at City. Joe Royle commented, “[Brown’s] move to Portsmouth will do him good and it’s up to him to go there and sell himself.” Brown made his début for his temporary employers on Saturday and was reportedly one of Pompey’s best players in the disappointing 2-0 defeat by Crewe.

Royle Switches Sights as Taylor Deadline Passes

City manager Joe Royle is now eyeing another target after the Blues’ deadline for clinching Robert Taylor’s signature passed without the player completing a move to Maine Road. “It’s dragged on too long for my liking,” Royle said of the protracted Taylor saga. “I now have my eyes on another target. He’s a different type of player and would cost more but it’s a possibility.” It’s claimed that Gillingham chairman Paul Scally raised the asking price for Taylor to £1.8 million earlier in the week. Reports in Saturday’s tabloid press claim that the 28-year-old striker was keen to join City and has had a “furious bust-up” with Scally over the apparent break-down of the move. However, Taylor’s performance on Saturday was unaffected by any ill-feeling as he scored twice in the Gills’ 3-1 FA Cup win over Darlington.

Taylor Impasse Shows New Transfer Resolve

City’s refusal to meet Gillingham’s asking price for Robert Taylor is another sign of the club’s new hard-line transfer policy. Chairman David Bernstein recently told supporters’ representatives that the recent announcement of the club’s deal with BSkyB and prospective share issue won’t mean a return to the profligate days of old. “If a selling club attempts to hold City to ransom then we will walk away,” he explained. “The club has a system in place when buying a player with the manager, chairman and directors all involved.” And while it’s not impossible that the Taylor deal may be revived in the coming week, it’s clear that a change in Gillingham’s stance will be required for this to occur.

Hignett the Target of Taylor Deal Falls Through?

The City manager’s admission he may look for a “different type of player” if the Robert Taylor deal finally collapses this week has prompted some to suspect that the Blues could make renewed attempts to sign former target Craig Hignett. After Barnsley boss Dave Bassett recently refused to rule out the possibility of selling Hignett for financial reasons the player was linked with Middlesbrough and Leicester. And there have also been whispers that City could be interested in signing a man who was keen to move to Maine Road a year ago. On that occasion, the Blues failed to match Barnsley’s £750,000 offer to Aberdeen for Hignett’s services. It’s thought that any interested party would have to offer considerably in excess of this figure to tempt Bassett into a deal now.

No Maine Road Job for Kidd Despite Royle Visit

Recently-sacked ex-Blackburn boss Brian Kidd dropped into Platt Lane on Monday to visit his former playing colleague Joe Royle. But the one-time City striker’s appearance at the Blues’ training complex isn’t a sign that he’ll be taking up an official position at the club. Weekend newspaper reports had linked Kidd with an unspecified role on Joe Royle’s backroom staff, but the City manager poured cold water on the story before the visit of the former Manchester United assistant manager. And Royle’s Platt Lane welcome for Kidd doesn’t signal a change of heart. The Blues boss told the club’s official website at, “Brian and I had a cup of tea together. We go away back and he’s come in for a cuppa and to amuse me, which he always does. I can’t help speculation. Brian doesn’t want to speak about it because it is a no story.”

Royle Denies Hunter Rumour

Joe Royle has admitted more than once that the Blues are looking to sign a central defender but the City boss has denied speculation that he could be set to swoop for Reading’s Barry Hunter. Press reports had claimed that the Northern Ireland international had moved to the top of Royle’s wanted list after a string of impressive displays this season. But the City boss was unequivocal in his reaction to the story. “There is no truth in the suggestions whatsoever,” he told the Manchester Evening News.

Quakers Bid to Keep City Link Skipper

Another man on whom Joe Royle’s search for defensive reinforcements has supposedly focused is Darlington’s Craig Liddle. But the Quakers are hoping that their 28-year-old captain will accept the offer of a new three-year contract. Liddle signed for the north east club from Middlesbrough in the summer of 1998 after spending the last three months of the previous season on loan at Feethams. The Blues were linked with the player a year ago after he reportedly impressed Royle in the two FA Cup games between the clubs. However, Darlington manager David Hodgson is keen to retain Liddle’s services, and made his intentions clear this weekend when he promised, “City were keen on him last season but Craig isn’t going anywhere.” Thanks to the backing of multi-millionaire George Reynolds, the Third Division outfit are under no financial pressure to cash in on their captain.

Morrison Out for Six Weeks After Op

City skipper Andy Morrison has had a knee operation and will be out for six weeks. The Scot originally sustained the injury at Port Vale three weeks ago and trained only intermittently as the knee failed to respond to treatment. After an exploratory operation on Friday, it was decided that the big defender should undergo surgery to clear the problem once and for all.

City Impose Season Ticket Ceiling

City have been inundated with requests from fans wishing to buy season tickets after the club’s spectacular start to the season. But the Blues will disappoint all but 450 of the applicants, resisting the temptation to try to fill Maine Road with season-ticket holders. The board has decided that the guaranteed income such a scenario would offer is less important than leaving room for fans who can only visit Maine Road on an occasional basis – hence the imposition of a limit which will see the number of season tickets capped at just over 22,000. Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, director Chris Bird explained, “There is no doubt that, as we become more and more successful, so more fans are being attracted to watch us and we don’t want to lock people out by forcing them to buy a season ticket. It is a policy we will continue when we move to the new stadium.” Meanwhile, as City boom commercially, the club has also decided to extend the business hours of the City Store, which will now open late on Thursday evenings and from 10am until 2pm on Sundays.

City Men Win Opta Accolade

City have two representatives in the Division One team of the season so far. The eleven has been selected on the basis of statistics compiled by Carling Opta and features the Blues’ goalkeeper Nicky Weaver and midfielder Ian Bishop. Weaver wins the vote as the section’s top ‘keeper thanks to his outstanding saves to shots ratio of 85.53% while Bishop has the division’s best pass completion ration, his 81.06% figure edging out Bolton’s Claus Jensen, his partner in the team’s midfield. Mark Kennedy is kept out of the selection by Birmingham’s on-loan Allan Johnston, who has a superior crossing accuracy level. However, most City fans will surely feel that the Kennedy’s failure to find a City player with more of his crosses is not evidence of a flaw in the Irish international’s game. Arguably the statistic owes more to the failings of the strikers he’s supplying.

Under-19s Thrash Crewe

City under-19s continued their good form this season with a 5-1 home win over Crewe Alexandra on Saturday. The result was revenge for the Railwaymen’s 1-0 victory over the Blues at under-17 level in midweek. The five goal salvo came in spite of the absence of star forward Shaun Wright-Phillips’ absence on first-team duty. The youngster was an unused substitute for the senior side at Charlton. Wright-Phillips’ progess is in contrast to the fortunes of 18-year-old Irish junior Shaun Holmes, who’s been told he has no future at the club.

Fourth-Placed Tykes Bid to Stop City Charge

City’s run of matches against First Division promotion contenders continues on Wednesday as Barnsley visit Maine Road. Dave Bassett’s side are currently five points adrift of the Blues but will be confident of narrowing the gap after an excellent recent run. The Tykes have won six of their last seven games to move into a threatening position, and their tally of 35 league goals this season shows that the City rearguard will have to show the same commanding form as at Charlton if the Blues are to take all three points. However, the South Yorkshire outfit are less convincing on their travels than at Oakwell. They’ve won three but lost four of their eight away games, conceding 18 goals in the process. Those are figures which will inspire optimism that City can end Barnsley’s good recent league sequence at Maine Road – they’re unbeaten in their last four visits and on the last two occasions (in 1988-89 and 1996-97) won by an identical 2-1 margin.

Late News: Police Hold Key to Chester Cup Switch

Chester’s American owner Terry Smith has conceded that his club’s home F.A. Cup third round tie against City could be played away from the Deva Stadium. Smith, who doubles as team manager, said on Granada TV that there may be a switch in venue for public safety reasons. The Nationwide League’s bottom club will hold talks with the police and health and safety officials before a decision is made. There are fears that the ground’s small capacity may mean that City fans unable to buy tickets through official channels will travel regardless. And proper segregation may be an impossibility with ticketless away supporters sure to look to buy tickets for home areas. Any change in venue has to be sanctioned by the F.A. Council, but the governing body is reluctant to approve financially-motivated moves. A switch on public safety grounds would, however, be convenient for the Third Division strugglers since it would enable the match to be hosted at a ground whose larger capacity would generate significantly more revenue. Maine Road and Old Trafford have both been mentioned as possibilities.

Peter Brophy (


CHARLTON ATHLETIC vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 20th November 1999

Made a weekend of this one, travelling down with the family on Friday night to Orpington, Kent (not too far from Gillingham, didn’t bump into Robert Taylor though). The dads took the kids to see Bugs Life at 10am on Saturday, while the mums did some Christmas shopping. Kids deposited at 12.20pm, got the train via London Bridge to Charlton. A pint in the pub opposite the station (forgotten its name again) in the company of several hundred Blues going through the repetoire of Posh Spice Song variarions and a new Mark Kennedy chant (not the Wombles one, which in my humble opinion is the one we should adopt). Being unable to get to the bar for a top up, we retreated to the Chippy near the ground and then to the game itself.

I’m certain that any Blue before kick-off would have accepted a point from this fixture. Charlton were unbeaten at home and showed they had an abundence of character in coming back from 2-0 down to beat Tranmere a few weeks ago. When it was confirmed that Morrison, Kennedy and Bishop were out, a point looked an even more attractive proposition.

City lined up, probably as you would expect in view of the above absences, except that Tiatto was preferred as a direct replacement for Kennedy rather than Terry Cooke on the right and the midfield ‘shoved’ along one! Pollock got his 3rd start of the season in place of Bish. As you would expect, Charlton were all over us straight from the kick-off, with Andy Hunt going close in the first couple of minutes. In the first half, I was very impressed with Charlton’s movement; there were always several options for the player in possession. They played at a lightening fast tempo, like us when we get it right, but I must say even at this early stage, I thought that if we could hold on, Charlton would not be able to maintain the pace they set and hopefully our reknowned fitness levels would pay dividends in the latter stages of the game.

In comparison, our passing in the early stages was poor, the most spectacular stray pass coming from Pollock passing to the invisible man on the left side of midfield! However, our defensive and break up play was good and after Hunt’s early chance, Charlton’s best chance of the half was a wickedly deflected shot which thankfully went wide, with Weaver completely wrong footed. However, despite Charlton dominating possession, when we did get forward we looked dangerous. Horlock had a ‘Shearer-esque’ slice on the left rather than the right and Granville had a vicious low shot parried by Dean Kiely, the rebound being missed by Whitley.

During the interval I advised my mate (a neutral, actually supports Bromley in the Rymans league) that we usually play better in the second half. And so it proved yet again! Straight from the kick off we looked more aggressive and purposeful. I really wish I knew what happens at half time to make the transformation. We played well in the first half – this was not a Port Vale type transformation – but we still looked a far better proposition in the first few seconds of the second half. What’s going on? Anyway, Whitley had a rasping (on target!) 20-yarder well saved by the keeper. Horlock’s corner was cleared only as far as Pollock who pushed the ball back into Horlock’s path. From his cross Goater rose like a salmon (my adopted stock phrase for headers now, I think!) and headed powerfully into the top corner. The similarity in timing and in the way this goal was contructed to the goal that defeated Birmingham was uncanny. Hopefully an omen, I thought!

In the few minutes that followed, the Goat could have completed a hat trick. His running and determination caused a mixup between defender and keeper, but, with an open goal to shoot at, Shaun got neither the power or accuracy to capitalise. Seconds later he chased a long punt down field which for some reason the Charlton defence ignored. Shaun tried to chip the advancing Kiely but again didn’t get the required power or accuracy. I think most Blues now appreciate Goater’s attributes and without a doubt he is the best striker we currently have, but you still think that if he was just 5% better, his goal rate would be up amongst the best in this division. Anyway, I certainly wouldn’t criticise him today.

Weaver was winding up the Charlton ‘end’ – that we were defending – something rotten. One particular event which brought a crescendo of boos raining down was when he dribbled the ball around his area for ages. It wasn’t a dead ball so he wasn’t time wasting in an illegal way, and the Charlton forwards were happy to let him carry on, so why not! Excellent! Charlton threatened to get back in to the game as the half wore on, Weaver magnificently tipping Kinsella’s shot onto the bar and making an equally spectacular save in the dying seconds from Hunt, I think. However, although still moving well, Charlton’s attacks did get more predictable and the defence as a unit, but Wiekens and Jobson in particular, were superb. Wiekens was back to his cobra-like best and Jobson showed his experience and strength, particularly in the air. With Andy Morrison being out for a reported 6 weeks, we look in safe hands with this pairing.

Special mention too for both Pollock and Tiatto. Pollock got better as the game developed and was superb in breaking up Charlton’s play and laying on a simple ball either to Horlock or Whitley. A very disciplined defensive midfield performance. Tiatto, the guy we signed as a left back, made a more than passable impression of a centre forward in the second half. He constantly cut in from the left, outpacing and outbattling the bigger Charlton defenders. A few mazy dribbles were a little too mazy but he went off to a deserved standing ovation from the Blues when he was replaced by Cooke, with about 15 minutes to go.

I’m afraid my summing up is going to be the same as virtually every game I’ve written about in the past 6/8 weeks: This was a terrific team performance. We defended like Trojans, particularly in the first half, but also showed that we could play some attractive attacking football. We ‘got stuck in’ when we had to and there really was an ‘all for one, one for all’ spirit clearly evident. When you consider that probably 4 first choice players were out, this was a remarkable result. Sure, Charlton could have equalised, maybe even snatched it, but then we could have scored more on another day. JR says this result gives him more pleasure than any other. I think that I would tend to agree with him. Birmingham and Ipswich, although still genuine contenders for promotion have faded in recent weeks. I’m pretty sure that Charlton won’t. They are a decent side and I would not be surprised if we are the only team to beat them at home this season (just watch Port Vale beat them in a week or two!). This result proves that we are on top on merit. It also proves that we do have a strength in depth and a spirit and desire to win that permeates the whole squad, not just the usual starting eleven. We’ve proven that we can not only live with, but better the ‘fancied’ teams in this division. We’ve proven that we can bounce back from a run of defeats. We’ve also proven that we can avoid slipping up in the banana-skin fixtures that have plagued City down the years. There is already a healthy gap of 10 or 11 points between us and 7th place, if we can beat the Tykes and the Terriers in the next week, there will be a decent gap between us and 3rd, and we will go into the last month of the millennium looking a very impressive team indeed. Heady days, long may they continue!

Phil Hartley (


CHARLTON ATHLETIC vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 20th November 1999

Apparently luck wins you championships these days, and after Saturday’s win against Charlton I can well believe it. Before the game I would have been more than happy with a point against the team who are still the bookies’ favourites to go straight back up into the Premiership. We were without Morrison, who looks set to miss several weeks after an operation on his knee, and Kennedy wasn’t fit enough for a start – Royle said afterwards that Kennedy hadn’t even bothered to change, so unlikely was it that he would be making an appearance. City therefore lined up with Weaver in goal and Edghill, Wiekens, Jobson and Granville across the back. Goater and Taylor started the game up front, with Whitley, Tiatto (on the left wing) and Horlock in the middle – where they were joined by someone who we initially failed to recognise. Who was this svelte stranger in our midst? Had we signed a thin midfielder during the week when I wasn’t paying attention? Had Bishop dyed and cut his hair to confuse us all? Surely – surely – it couldn’t be Jamie “fat boy” Pollock? I have to admit that we had to recourse to checking the programme at this point – who was the City number 16? Imagine our surprise when we read those immortal words … 16 Jamie “skinny runt” Pollock. Having swapped shorts with Shaun Wright-Philips and had his shirt taken in by at least four sizes, Jamie was back to stake his claim in midfield.

For Charlton, Richard Rufus was again at centre half, but we were most disappointed not to see Andy Todd playing. Every time I’ve seen him for Bolton he’s been awful, usually either being directly responsible for giving a goal away or getting sent off for fighting. No surprise then that Bolton sold him not long after his dad had parted company with the club.

Charlton started the game as if they were planning on giving us a battering, and for a long part of the first half I thought they were going to. Wiekens was a rock in defence, looking back to his best as he made tackle after tackle to stop goal scoring chances. Edghill also had another extremely good game. They really did overrun us in midfield for long periods of the half but slowly it dawned on me that for all their possession they hadn’t really had a single shot on target. Admittedly they had a couple of very close misses – one in particular that seemed to take a deflection and whizzed just passed Weaver’s right hand post, but for all their shots they didn’t really look like scoring. This I’ll credit on this occasion to the extreme efficiency of our defence which meant that they were always shooting from distance – most of the shots they had (and there were quite a few!) were from outside the area, and didn’t have the power to threaten Weaver, who is just oozing confidence at the moment.

When City did get into the game (which took about half an hour but felt like about three weeks) Granville had a good chance to score just before the half time whistle, but we went in at half time at 0-0. As Kevin Keegan once said, I bet the ball needed a good massage after that. We did look good on the ball though (when we could get hold of it) – Tiatto was playing well on the left and Pollock was using the fact that he weighs about half as much as he used to to allow him to actually chase and win balls in midfield. Yes I know, I struggled to believe it as well.

We had a bit of entertainment at the start of the second half when Dean Kiely, the Charlton goalkeeper, tried his best to incite the fans in the City end but failed. I’m afraid it’ll take more than wiggling his ears and bottom at us to get us going at the moment. Still in the absence of Moonchester (again – where is he these days?) it at least gave us something to laugh at.

It can’t be said that we scored against the run of play as the second half had only just started. From a City corner the ball was only cleared out to Horlock on the far left, who played a lovely ball into the area which was met by none other than Shauny-boy Goater. Yep, a cracking header from the Goat, who leapt about 6 feet above the Charlton centre half to wallop the ball in the net past the despairing (ha ha) Kiely. I thought Kiely had saved it to begin with as he did get a hand to it, but there was so much power behind the header it would have taken a brick wall to keep it out.

We were a lot better, and the game was a lot more even, in this half. Tiatto, thankfully released from his defensive duties due to the presence behind him of Danny Granville, was making the Charlton right-back look stupid. Just imagine what Kennedy could have done in his place. Goater should have doubled his tally when Kiely decided to try to emulate a much better ‘keeper and came hurtling out of his area in an attempt to clear the ball, only for Shaun to show an accustomed turn of pace and knock the ball past him. Sadly he just couldn’t get his foot behind the ball and make it go in the right direction, so when the first shot had been blocked by a defender Goater’s follow-up was hit tamely at the (very relieved) Kiely. Ironically, about 30 seconds later Weaver showed him how a proper ‘keeper clears the ball by wellying it up two-thirds of the pitch despite being challenged by the Charlton forward.

For some reason the Charlton fans then took a bit of a dislike to Weaver, accusing him of time-wasting. The ball had been knocked back to him by a Charlton player, so Weaver took advantage of the fact that none of them could be bothered challenging him and kicked the ball from one side of his area to the other. Now Charlton may be playing to a different set of rules than the rest of us – the referee on the day certainly was – but the ball was still in play, right? Until Weaver picks it up he can take as long as he likes to clear the ball because it’s still in play. It isn’t like he was taking half an hour to take a goal kick. They should have a word with their forwards and remind them what their job is.

Having mentioned the referee, I’ll just digress a moment to describe the performance of this man. Apparently Royle was being got at on Sky later on about the number of free kicks given in the game. Well when the ref blows for a free kick at every tackle it isn’t really surprising is it? I wish these people would have a quick read of their rule book before each game and just remind themselves that a tackle from behind is not necessarily a foul. The only good thing about him was that he at least didn’t book anyone, or at least not until a handbags at half a mile incident in the second half which saw Horlock and one of the Charlton players (couldn’t see which one, it was at the other end of the pitch) getting booked.

Tiatto pulled up and was replaced by Cooke for the last 20 minutes, who played better than he has done for a while. Martin Pringle (great name for a Swedish player) came on for Charlton and nearly scored for them – obviously got confused between a football goal and a rugby conversion though as this shot went miles over the bar. Weaver finally had a couple of saves to make – and how – in the last couple of minutes, as he got his fingers to one rasping shot to tip it onto the bar, then in injury time pushed another shot just over the bar. Two minutes of time added on was about half an hour too long but we hung on – there was no singing of Jingle Bells before the final whistle though, this game was far too easy to not win for that!

I still can’t quite believe that we came away with three points. This was Charlton’s first loss at home this year and was crucial for us as they’ve been breathing down our necks for a while. We all know that City have to strengthen our squad in some areas, especially up front, but if I were a Charlton fan I’d be worried about their inability to get a shot on target. With Kennedy in the side and a good striker up front (and I’m not knocking Shauny here) we could have scored several – and this against the best team I’ve seen so far this season.

More importantly though, we probably only need another six points to save us from relegation…

Sharon Hargreaves (


Part of the BSkyB investment involves a new share issue for existing shareholders, with any surplus shares being made available for supporters to purchase (I think). Does anyone know any details of how this will be organised i.e. is there likely to be a mass mailing / emailing of supporters offering the chance to subscribe for shares? Or will it be just left to anyone interested to apply via the usual share purchasing routes?

Changing the subject, I’m getting a bit confused now with all the players who are out on loan, just come back from loan, etc. Does anyone have a latest squad list?

Changing the subject again, a few months ago in MCIVTA there was a request from someone who was thinking of setting up a Northamptonshire Branch of the MCFC Supporters Club. He was asking for names of anyone interested, but since emailing him I have not heard anything more (and I’ve lost the email address now). Does anyone know if anything came of it?

Changing the subject again…

C  ity
(H arrassed)
A  ttacked
R  arely,
L  ooking
T  otally
O   verwhelmed.
N  icer
A  fter
T  alks at
H  alf-time,
L  eft
E  asily
T  op
I  nstead of
C  harlton.

Steve Maclean (


I’m talking about Joe Royle and Willie Donachie. Members of the Essex & Suffolk Branch of the CSA were granted an audience with the team and coaching staff at their hotel last Friday (19th). We were to have met them between 6pm and 7pm but they didn’t arrive until 6:30pm. Shaun Goater told me they were stuck on the M6 for ages. So due to their late arrival we only had about half an hour with the players before they had their dinner (which they were all obviously looking forward to). Joe Royle though was very courteous, realising that we were perhaps a little disappointed at not having longer with our heroes, suggested a question & answer session which went on for well over an hour.

I must praise the man for his warmth, openness, humour, obvious intelligence, but mostly for his honesty. He did not dodge any questions, and he answered them all with complete honesty, whether it was what we wanted to hear or not. Willy Donachie also, was an absolute diamond and longs (with a passion) to get the club back where it was in the 70’s when “We were better than THEM”. You know who he means!

I don’t know if any one from the club will get to read this, but I would like to take this opportunity to thank Bernard Halford, Joe Royle, Willie Donachie and the entire squad for making last Friday evening, one of the most memorable evenings ever.

P.S. Thanks for the One-Nil win on Saturday too.

CTID, Paul Gallagher (


The next meeting will be held on Tuesday 30th November at the Red Lion, Wrockwardine, Telford. The evening will be a videofest featuring the 1998/99 season review, the Play Off Final match and hopefully a trip down memory lane with the showing of a certain 5-1 First Division victory from ten years ago (no prizes for guessing the opposition).

We look forward to seeing any Blues who would like an evening out, anyone who wants directions please contact me.

Simon Edwards a.k.a. Burnsideblue (


For any London Blues wishing to get together to watch the Wolves game on Sky – we’ll be gathering as usual in Terry Neill’s Bar in Holborn. If you need directions etc. please email me.

Alex Bracey a.k.a. MLI (


Essex & Suffolk branch of the CSA would like to invite all City fans and their families to our Christmas “Drink up” at the Duke of Wellington Public House, Hatfield Peveral, Essex on Saturday December 4th, 1999. Starting at approx 7:30 pm, we will quickly push through the usual meeting “stuff” and then will have a Music and Trivia Quiz with an occasional City question thrown in for good measure. We will also have a raffle and an auction for a signed ball. Anyone in the area is more than welcome.

For more details contact Paul Gallagher (Secretary) on 01708 787227.

Paul Gallagher (



That was a nice Why Blue but I get the feeling you have a lot more to tell. Quite a few of we “more mature” Blues enjoy hearing stories of the 50’s and 60’s, so I wonder if you can be persuaded to tell us more. I’m sure Ashley would agree.

My uncle played for City in the 40’s – George Smith – do you remember him? I believe he once scored 5 against the Rags during wartime.

Regards, Dave Smith (


An oldie but goodie, sang to the tune of KC and the Sunshine Band’s ‘Give it up’:

“Na na na na, etc. City going up, going up, City going up”.

Tim Jackson (


I shall be in Sydney, Australia soaking up the sun during December and would be delighted if anyone can tell me if there is a place where I can meet up with fellow Blues while I am there. If any Sydney/NSW based Blues could get in touch we could arrange something. G’day cobber (pardon the stereotyping).

Jim Curtis (


I must apologise for accidentally misspelling Joe Hayes’ name in my review of the March City Mag. I read it three times before I e-mailed it out and still missed it.

I hope that no offence has been taken and will be more careful in future.

Carol Darvill (


Another amazing result on Saturday, it just seems to be getting better and better. I just can’t help casting my mind back to this time last year, coming away from Adams Park. We’d just lost 1-0 to a very poor Wycombe side, who’d scored a dubious penalty from their only attack. We had all the possession but did not create one chance. I was so upset after that game; there just seemed no way forward for the team. We could not even make one chance, we were that bad, and this against probably the worst team I have ever seen. I know Mansfield was a low point, but then we had a reserve team out, while although after York we were 12th, we had played well that game. Adams Park was the lowest of lows for me.

Never in my wildest dreams could I imagine we’d be where we are now. The team has been transformed, and the credit has to go to JR and WD. I can appreciate the current side’s success much more having been through last season. I think I always will now, last year was quite remarkable. It saw the transformation of the club in many ways. Going nowhere in Division 2, then a gradual improvement, the growing together of the team, culminating in the astonishing scenes of ecstacy at Wembley.

I cannot understand why people still criticize the current team. Goater / Taylor not good enough, JR getting tactics wrong, dropping Cooke etc., team not good enough for the Premiership, buy Gio etc. Many of our players have limitations and maybe in the eventuality of promotion, they would struggle in the top flight, but why worry now about Premier League? To even be in the 1st Division after Wembley is a pleasure. Let’s just really enjoy a successful team going from strength to strength.

Mark Braude (


Seeing Bob Redford’s Why Blue reminds me of a question I’ve never asked.

Was Bert Trautmann responsible for the bombing of Old Trafford?
Wouldn’t that be great?
“Bomb hatch open”
“No hold on that’s Maine Road. Carry on… aahh… there’s the target.”

David Kilroy (


Following the further use of a “Get Out Of Jail Free” card today against Charlton (how many has Joe got?), I thought this was appropriate.

A City fan walks into a bar and takes a seat next to a very attractive woman. He gives her a quick glance, then casually looks at his watch for a moment. The woman notices this and asks, “Is your date running late?” “No”, he replies, “I just bought this state-of-the-art watch and I was just testing it.”

The intrigued woman says, “A state-of-the-art watch? What’s so special about it?” “It uses alpha waves to telepathically talk to me,” he explains. “What’s it telling you now?” she asks.

“Well, it’s telling me you’re not wearing any panties…”, he replies. The woman laughs and replies, “Well it must be broken then because I am wearing panties!”

The City fan says, “Damn thing must be an hour fast.”

Well the way our luck is going you never know!

David Kilroy (


I’m 14 years old from Israel and I see myself as part of the young City fans. Fans who have never seen Man City achieve anything special. I used to hate the English football, long balls, wasting of time in the centre of the field, it wasn’t what I called “total football”. But Man City was something different; though some of their games looked terrible, their great fans and the great attitude of the administration to the fans made me like them, I have an attraction to teams with real fans and not some fakers like the Rags’ fans. In Israel most people like the Rags, it’s probably their way to advertise themselves (especially with selling their jerseys) that made them so popular. I have lots of debates with my friends who like the Rags. They think I’m crazy but I’m trying to prove them I’m not. Well they can laugh now, in the future they’ll cry I bet…

I’m too young to afford a flight to Manchester so unfortunately I’ve never been to Maine Road but that’s my dream for the future. Hopefully with the new Israeli fans’ club coming up my dream will come true… Thanks to a great place named Wrigley (a sports bar in Israel) I get to watch the City games that are broadcasted live on Sky Sports, some of the Israeli City fans meet there (including Benny Blue who won the TG3 M.V.P. tournament award) and the atmosphere is great. When we’re not live on TV I listen to the live broadcast on What really upsets me is the ignoring by the Israeli press of Division 1; you can barely find anything about this league, only about the Premier League. I hope that next year my problem will be solved by City’s promotion to the Premier League.

Man City till I die! Eliasaph Deuel (


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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 #555