Newsletter #561

City returned to winning ways yesterday, but not without a few scares, leaving it to the last minute to make sure – literally! The prize is a home tie against Leeds United, which is likely to be televised. Other news sees Gareth Taylor on the transfer list, and the rumoured purchase of Tony Vaughan by Cardiff City.

We have two match reports, news of a City fan banned for throwing pies (!), and more on that favourite ’60’s comedy, ‘The Dustbinmen’.

Lastly, the MCIVTA subscribership has now reached 3,000 (officially), which represents something of the order of a 10,000% increase on Issue 1! Having said that, it’s frequently been speculated that the number of people who read it may actually be 2 or even 3 times the subscription number, though there’s no real evidence to support it, jsut a feeling.

Next game: Swindon Town at home, Saturday 18th December 1999


City Win Through at Deva

Manchester City moved into the FA Cup fourth round with a 4-1 win away to Chester City on Sunday. But the scoreline was misleading, with two of the Blues’ goals coming in second half injury time. The Nationwide League’s bottom team made City fight all the way, with captain Nick Wright equalising eight minutes after Shaun Goater’s 19th minute opener. In the second period, Luke Beckett had two good chances to give the minnows a shock lead, and the Blues were grateful to goalkeeper Nicky Weaver for producing a good save on each occasion. City retook the lead on 78 minutes from an unlikely source – the head of Ian Bishop. The Blues then scored twice in time added on, through Shaun Goater and an own goal from Chester defender Matt Doughty, to give the scoreline a look which flattered Joe Royle’s team.

Royle Salutes “Tremendous” Weaver

Joe Royle hailed his young goalkeeper after two vital Nicky Weaver saves prevented the Blues from falling behind in the FA Cup third round tie at Chester today. And the City boss felt that Weaver’s display was a perfect reply to critics who’d picked up on the youngster’s error in midweek. “He’s been responsible for one goal before today,” said Royle of the England under-21 international. “He’s been tremendous [all season] and he made good saves [today].” The Blues manager felt his team had been “a bit sloppy all round” but was happy to have won through, reflecting, “Big clubs are under pressure when they come to these grounds but there are four or five Premier League clubs who won’t have that pressure in the fourth round.” Chester’s American owner/manager Terry Smith, meanwhile, was proud of his team’s display before the Blues’ late scoring burst gave the scoreline a misleading look. “I was real pround of our guys,” he claimed. “They matched Manchester City and they [City] are a great team.”

Cup Draw – City Face Leeds

After disposing of lowly Nationwide League Chester in the FA Cup third round, City have been handed a home fourth round tie against one of the Premier League’s big guns. The Blues face Leeds after the Yorkshire side beat Port Vale 2-0 at Elland Road on Sunday afternoon. The fourth round is due to be played on the weekend of 8-9 January but the current Premiership leaders’ visit to Maine Road is already looking a prime candidate for live TV coverage. In the wake of the Blues’ 4-1 win at Chester, Joe Royle commented, “I’m more bothered about Swindon next week than the fourth round.” However, the prospect of such a high-profile encounter at the Cup’s next stage could force the City boss to revise this view.

City vs. Leeds Set for Live Sky Coverage

Sources are indicating that City’s FA Cup fourth round tie with Leeds is virtually certain to be screened live on Sky TV. If the news is confirmed, it’s thought the match will kick off at 4pm on Sunday, 9 January, although precise details will be announced on Tuesday after discussions with the police. It’s likely to be a busy schedule in front of the cameras for the Blues, with the Boxing Day visit to West Bromwich Albion kicking off a period which could see as many as four City games shown live in just over six weeks. A week after the probable Cup tie screening, the Blues’ home game with Fulham is also being covered on Sunday afternoon, while the potential promotion clash at Huddersfield has been earmarked as a Sky Friday night fixture on 18 February.

Royle – League the Priority But We Want Cup Run

Joe Royle’s prioirty for his Manchester City team is to put the Blues’ promotion bandwagon back on track. However, the City manager also wants his side to embark on a good run in the FA Cup. Royle, of course, has already sampled Wembley glory when he led Everton to a victory over Manchester United in 1995. And the former Goodison boss remembers how the excitement of the Cup campaign lifted his players’ league form. The Toffees ended the season clear of relegation despite being far adrift at the bottom of the table on Royle’s appointment. So although the City manager admitted before his side’s third round tie at Chester on Sunday to the club’s official website at that the FA Cup is “of secondary importance” to his team this term, he’s nevertheless promising, “I want us to go as far as we can and do as well as we can.” The Blues will need to be at their best in the fourth round tie against Leeds if this aspiration is to become a reality.

Gareth Taylor Transfer Listed

City have transfer listed striker Gareth Taylor. Manager Joe Royle is to circulate other clubs with news of the former Sheffield United player’s availability. Taylor joined City a from the Bramall Lane club just over a year ago but has managed only nine league goals in 28 starts plus a further 16 substitute appearances. And following the recent signings of Lee Peacock and Robert Taylor, the Welshman has fallen victim to Royle’s need to trim his senior squad. The City manager claims already to have fielded several enquiries for Taylor in recent weeks.

Vaughan to Join Cardiff This Week?

Press reports are claiming that City defender Tony Vaughan is set to complete a £450,000 move to Cardiff when the ex-Ipswich man’s three-month loan spell at Ninian Park ends on Wednesday. Vaughan has featured only twice for City this season, making substitute appearances in August at Fulham and in the League Cup at Burnley. The player has reportedly impressed sufficiently during his loan spell in South Wales to persuade Bluebirds boss Frank Burrows to pay a club-record fee. However, even if it’s true that the two clubs have agreed a deal, the transfer may not be a formality – there were earlier claims that Vaughan was reluctant to drop into the Second Division on a permanent basis.

Crooks to Follow Whitley With Extended New Deal

City manager Joe Royle, who recently handed midfielder Jeff Whitley a new three-and-a-half year contract, is set to make Lee Crooks the latest player to receive an extended new deal. Player and club will have talks in the New Year, but an agreement seems certain. Royle explained that Crooks has become a “vital squad member”, confounding even the manager’s expectations. “At one stage I didn’t know if he would ever be a player for Manchester City,” admitted the Maine Road boss. “But he is definitely part of the future. His best position is right back but it is great that he can also play centrally in a back three or an anchor rôle in midfield.” And there appears little doubt that the Wakefield-born 21-year-old will put pen to paper, with the player himself commenting, “If the offer of a new contract comes, I will be delighted. City are a great club and my heart is here – I love the place.”

Royle Denies Cooke Transfer Talk

Joe Royle has denied that Terry Cooke will become the latest victim of the Maine Road clear out. The spring buy from Manchester United has lost his place in the first team squad but will not be transfer listed. The City manager is hoping that the 23-year-old winger will respond positively to being dropped and force his way back into contention. “I haven’t had any contact from any other clubs and I am not inviting contact from other clubs for Terry,” Royle explained to the official City website at “He has got great quality and we now want to see him use that quality.”

Royle Backing New Boy

Joe Royle insists he’s happy with new signing Robert Taylor even though the striker’s arrival coincided with a slump in the Blues’ form. Taylor failed to find the net as City slid to defeats against Wolves and Stockport, but the City manager isn’t doubting the wisdom of the signing. “I’m happy enough with the way he has started with us. He will get goals, there’s no doubt about that,” promised Royle, though he did go on to echo some of the criticism from fans over the player’s apparent lack of fitness. “He has got to get fitter,” affirmed the Blues boss. “He’s been hampered by an ankle injury and had not done much training with Gillingham this season because of it. He’s cup tied for the Chester game, so he’ll have some time to work on his fitness.” Meanwhile, the man who lost out to Taylor as the Blues looked for a new forward, Rikhadur Dadason, has finally left Viking Stavanger. The Icelandic international has joined Bundesliga side SV Hamburg.

Mixed Academy Results Again as Youngster Gains Recognition

City under-19s won 1-0 away at Everton on Saturday but the under-17s were defeated 2-0 when they travelled to Tyneside to take on Newcastle. Meanwhile, the Blues’ youth policy has been boosted by an England call-up for another Maine Road starlet. Terry Dunfield, a regular in the City under-19 side, has been called up for a joint England under-16 and under-17 training camp at La Manga in Spain in the New Year. The Canadian-born junior follows a number of his City colleagues in catching the eye of their national selectors this term. Leon Mike has played for the England under-18s, Rhys Day has represented Wales and several of the Blues’ Irish youngsters have been called up by either the North or the Republic.

Youth Cup Draw – City at Bradford

The draw for the second round of the FA Youth Cup was made on Monday morning. And the Blues landed an away tie at Bradford City as they bid to win the competition for the first time since 1986. The Maine Road juniors progressed to this stage courtesy of a 2-1 win against Bristol City, and with some encouraging results being achieved at Academy level there are hopes that the Blues can make a real impact on this season’s tournament. The date for the game hasn’t yet been fixed but it has to be played before 22 January.

Eastlands to Take on Athletics Rôle?

Sports bosses are desperately looking for a way out of the Wembley fiasco, which has seen the recently-announced plans for the national stadium exclude permanent use for track and field. And it’s been suggested that Manchester City’s new home, the City of Manchester Stadium at Eastlands, could step in to become the permanent base of British athletics. A report in this week’s Independent on Sunday claims that a solution could be to raise the Eastlands venue’s capacity from around 48,000 to 65,000 with the additional seats being part of a retractable seating scheme. The same arrangement is in place at Paris’ Stade de France, allowing the arena to host football matches with the crowd close to the pitch but with rows of seats removed to allow the necessary track for athletics tournaments. It’s argued that, given guaranteed use of the site by anchor tenant and stadium manager Manchester City, the idea of expanding Eastlands for regular athletics would be economically viable.

Council Tight-Lipped Over Eastlands Speculation

Manchester City Council Chief Executive Howard Bernstein has refused to comment on reports that the Blues’ new home at Eastlands could have its capacity expanded to become the new home of British athletics. When asked whether there was any truth in the reports, Bernstein would only offer cagily, “We don’t want to be seen jumping on bandwagons at this stage.” However, it’s understood that the Council has requested a meeting with Secretary of State Chris Smith to explore the possibilities. One possible obstacle was removed when David Moorcroft, Chief Executive of UK Athletics, said in an interview with Radio Five Live that Wembley would still serve as the showpiece stadium for a British Olympic bid – the design allows for a concrete track to be built over part of the pitch in this eventuality, whereas the Manchester venue will not meet Olympic specifications. But according to Moorcroft, his organisation doesn’t have enough muscle to campaign successfully to have the Wembley plans amended to incorporate features befitting a permanent home for British athletics and the sport now has its eye on sharing facilities with a football club – and not necessarily in London. Moreover, the cost of installing retractable seats over a running track at Eastlands, an estimated £20 million, would be a fraction of the sum needed to perform similar work at Wembley. It’s already being said that lottery funding could well be found for these changes to compensate the athletics authorities for missing out on a base at the national stadium. While the latest developments don’t by any means show that it’s certain athletics will move into Eastlands, it’s now clear that the City fans who initially dismissed the story out of hand didn’t do so from an informed perspective.

Ex-City Boss – My Career is Over

Former Manchester City manager Alan Ball is set to quit football in the wake of his dismissal from the Portsmouth hot-seat. The 54-year-old said that he now has a chance to be “close to my family again” so will “probably retire” from the game. The ex-Southampton boss spent only thirteen months at Maine Road but his turbulent reign hasn’t been forgotten by fans. Unfortunately it was a period of scant success, with the Blues relegated from the Premiership in Ball’s only full season and losing two out of three matches at the start of the next campaign before the one-time England midfielder fell on his sword. In truth, Ball’s managerial record at the two south coast clubs, Maine Road, Blackpool, Stoke and Exeter might charitably be described as patchy and he’ll be better remembered as a truly outstanding player for, among others, Everton, Arsenal and the national side.

Peter Brophy (


CHESTER CITY vs. CITY, FA Cup 3rd Round, Sunday 12th December 1999

We were crap, but we won. Phil Hartley.

Oh, you want a bit more detail, do you? OK here goes. Despite hearing from various sources that access to the Deva Stadium, parking and physical entry into the ground were difficult, we arrived, parked and got into the ground without any problems. My white lucky underpants from the season so far had been discarded only for the second time for a match I have attended in favour of a rather fetching black pair. Would they do the trick? The Deva stadium itself is a ‘legoland’ type construction, not much more than 4 stands built around the pitch, a bit like Walsall really. Having said that the view from all sides was good and unobstructed – there were no posts holding up the roof.

We were in the seats, back row which was designated row ‘F’. Somehow “…the centre half hoofed the ball into Row F…” doesn’t quite have the same ring of a Row X or Z! Anyway… City made 2 changes from the losing team of the last 2 games, Peacock in for the cup-tied R Taylor and Pollock getting a deserved start in place of Whitley. From the kick-off it was obvious that the other City were fired up for the game and they forced a corner in the first few seconds. We looked reasonably in control and Kennedy in particular was seeing a lot of the ball. He got in his usual quota of crosses, some really excellent, but Goater and Peacock failed to connect. Chester’s ‘keeper flapped at several balls and it seemed a matter of time before the goals flowed. Our first goal came on about 18 minutes, when Horlock’s through ball (might actually be giving Kev more credit than he deserves here – it was a long punt with far too much power!) was chased by Goater. His presence obviously panicked the defender and ‘keeper, allowing him to toepoke the ball past the hesitant ‘keeper to score. Although not spectacular, a fine individual goal.

Soon after Goater had another half chance, as it looked like Chester might fall apart. However, 10 minutes later Chester scored when Jobson appeared to head the ball clear only for it to deflect off a player into the path of Chester’s captain, who shot past the advancing Weaver. I wouldn’t blame Jobson, but it was another poor goal from our point of view. Chester’s right back had resorted to stong-arm tactics on Kennedy, one scything challenge really was X-rated stuff and if Kennedy had not jumped clear, it could well have been the last contribution to the game for both Kennedy and the offender, but for obviously differing reasons. Our passing was pretty poor and Chester enjoyed a spell of reasonable pressure before half time.

We expected Royle to give his usual half-time rollicking and for us to up the tempo in the second half. Granville was sacrificed for Whitley as we reverted to a 3 at the back formation, in an effort to bolster the midfield, which had not been particularly effective in the first half. However, the tactic could easily have backfired spectacularly as Chester really went for it. They had obviously detected a lack of pace in the centre of our defence and a succession of long balls for the impressive Luke Beckett (a City fan) to chase, caused us problems. Still our midfield was misfiring with virtually every player misplacing passes. The aforementioned Beckett had 2 great chances to be the hero when twice in quick succession he beat our defence only to be denied by 2 great saves from Weaver.

The game looked like being a 1-1, and Chester would have thoroughly deserved a replay at Maine Road, but with 13 minutes to go and against the run of play, Edghill for once picked out a terrific cross which was finished off by Bishop (yes Bishop!) rising like a salmon ™ at the far post to plant an unstoppable header past the Chester ‘keeper. In the last minute Goater scored from a Kennedy cross (who had been very quiet in the second half) and an own goal finished off proceedings.

4-1 was an exceedingly flattering scoreline and as mentioned above, Chester can consider themselves unlucky not to have at least earned a replay. We were poor, particularly in the second half (despite scoring 3 goals!) but I suppose we kept going and probably our much vaunted fitness levels gave us the edge in the last portion of the game. I have said in many match reports this season that we have performed well as a team, with each individual knowing their rôle and working hard for each other. This isn’t the case at the moment. There were several instances where players abdicated responsibility, either getting rid of the ball as quickly as possible or not covering their team mates when not in possession. JR needs to get this aspect of our game back on track, because if we had played a more skilled team than Chester, we would not now be looking forward to a tie against the current Premiership leaders. More importantly, if we had played a league game, rather than the FA Cup 3rd round, we might have been looking at a 4th consecutive defeat. Hopefully this win will oil the wheels of confidence a little and, with Kennedy beginning to rediscover his form (in the first half at least), Goater still scoring goals and Bob Taylor with another couple of weeks training with the rest of the squad, we can get back on track against Swindon on the 18th. Fingers crossed. Oh, the lucky underpants are dead, long live the lucky underpants!

Phil Hartley (


CHESTER CITY vs. CITY, FA Cup 3rd Round, Sunday 12th December 1999

Yes! A fourth round home draw with ‘dirty’ Leeds – a classic in store but one which looked a long way away with 15 minutes to go at the Deva (the old name for Chester apparently) Stadium.

A short drive to Chester on the M56 on a cold and threatening Sunday lunchtime was all it took to get to yet another ground that we had not been to before. Chester centre was full of traffic but by the ground there was ample parking. The ground has to be the smallest that I have seen City play in – absolutely tiny – and the floodlights were straight from the Subbuteo factory.

However, I felt so sorry for Chester – just by speaking to the stewards, reading the match magazine, queuing up for a cup of tea and listening to the chirpy chap on the tannoy – that this really was a small club, on a very small budget – and this really was their cup final. A few years ago we would have come here oozing of arrogance – but not anymore – we have been to grounds like this – and come away with nothing. We now appreciate what is required to come away from these places smiling that a job has been done.

We still had nothing to gain of course – even if we had won 10-0 it would not have raised an eyebrow – Chester were bottom of all leagues and we are still a big team. I thought that it would be a very close game – but that our experience of such games in recent times would see us through.

Peacock and Pollock were in for G Taylor and Whitley respectively and the first half saw City being the slightly better of the two – Goater scored following a slight mix up after Kennedy put in a decent cross. Phew we thought – now the floodgates will start opening – but no – an equaliser from plucky Chester and at half time it was 1-1.

Chester came out in the second half and were very much up for it – their Luke Beckett I think had a great chance to take the lead and Weaver did make a great save as well – after 70 minutes or so we were hanging on for a replay and were not really threatening their goal. However, Bishop with a decent header and then two quickies near the end did make the scoreline a mockery.

Kennedy was a bit of a moaner on Sunday – don’t know why but I think he’s needs to start smiling and stop complaining. Others who should stop moaning are the Edghill boo boys (Block R – you know who you are) – every time he got the ball they were making some loud snide remarks – stop it! He may not be the most gifted player (he certainly isn’t the worst) but slagging him off when he is a few yards away is not going to increase his confidence – it will actually make him worse.

However, we all went home very relieved after a poor City performance – but considering the results elsewhere – Derby, West Ham etc. – a job well done.

Now we can look forward to the Premiership leaders – excellent – we normally play well against top teams and do ourselves justice – but I think it will be one of the matches shown live on TV (please not on a Monday night) and we normally do badly on TV – so something will have to give.

Martin Reynolds (


Just been reading the following – football violence makes a comeback to Maine Road?! More like utter frustration (taken from MuEN).

A Manchester City fan was banned from every British football ground today (Friday) for hitting a rival fan with a meat pie. UMIST student Andy Barton threw the pie during Tuesday’s match against Stockport County at Maine Road. It hit a County fan, who was not injured. Barton was fined £200 and banned from watching any football games for 18 months.

Heidi Pickup (


So Brian Kidd leaves Blackburn and they are unbeaten ever since. Joe Royle lets him “lend a hand” with 1st team training at City. We lose and lose and lose. Hmmmmmmmm, anyone else see a pattern here?

City till I die and all forms of re-incarnation are exhausted, Brian Morrison (


Just to continue this theme for the briefest of moments – the part of Ray Langton (mate of Jerry Booth, sidekick of Len Fairclough, first husband of Deirdrie and father of Tracy) was played by Neville Buswell. Neville can now be found flogging mortgages for Norwest Bank here in Las Vegas. Small world eh?

Blue in the Desert – David Atkins (


Like Andy Howell I remember this comedy. The main character however, was played by Brian Pringle, whose character’s name was cheese’n’egg, because he always had cheese and egg sandwiches for lunch. The actor who played Winston was the same person who played Len Fairclough’s sidekick Gerry Booth in Coronation Street (some more useless trivia for you Cathan). He had a habit of disposing of young Rags as I remember another episode filmed at Maine Road when they were in the old uncovered North Stand before a derby game. This time the young Rag ended up on top of the net. His other habit was to bet his whole wage each week on City to win 10-0. I keep hoping to see re-runs on Granada Gold.

David Kilroy (


Steve Maclean – please, please, please don’t give up sending in acronyms for our opponents into MCIVTA after every game. I thoroughly enjoy reading them every game.

P.S. By the way, it’s either Joe Royle’s or my fault that the Blues have slumped: Joe – because he officially announced that the Blues had had a good start to the season (doh! – being City, a slump was guaranteed to happen as a result), or
My fault – ’cause I changed jobs and they haven’t won since (well until Chester anyway).

CTID, Richard Mottershead (


As at least two people know my dreaded City shirt has done it again. It can in no way be responsible for the Huddersfield result but since… On Friday against Wolves I had the double duty of watching the game and packing my case for a business trip to Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico (I know, it’s a hell of a job but someone’s got to do it). Determined to watch the game without having to pack my case after a few beers and before an early departure, I started before the game. I knew I had to pack my shirt but also knew I could not open the drawer containing it before the game so I wrote a little note to myself not to forget later. However, my better half, who unselfishly offered to help (I don’t think I would have if it had been she p***ing off to the Caribbean), opened the drawer with the shirt in. I stopped her immediately but although it wasn’t actually seen its influence obviously escaped through the gap, and exacted an even greater revenge than normal due to my pre-meditated attempts to stop its power.

Cut to Tuesday against Stockport. I phoned my B-I-L from work (4 hours behind down there) to find out the score and was actually on the phone when Stockport scored the winner. Despondent, I returned to my luxury hotel room determined to drown my sorrows down in the casino and bar. I went to the open style wardrobe to select something to wear, and there on full open view was the shirt hanging like an executed man. I can only apologise for my remiss and promise it will never happen again, except by accident… which this was… urgh… can’t really promise then can I… OK I’ll try not to let it happen again.

I have also learned that when you have been away and are catching up with McVittee, don’t send in answers to questions until you’ve read all back issues. Otherwise you end up answering things that have been better answered by others, as in the case of Mike Warren and The Dustbinmen.

On the positive side (because being a Blue these days it’s how I like to finish)… before I went away I got to meet a fellow Blue from ICQ and McVittee, who I’d chatted to but never met before, for a few beers and reminiscences (thanks Andy). And whilst away I arranged to meet another Blue from ICQ and McVittee for a few beers in Santo Domingo (where the only concern about drinking and driving is that you don’t spill any! Honest). And it turned out he was also originally from Stockport like me.

David Kilroy (


Seems Joe was quoted as saying that the final score flattered us a bit, so…

C  an't
H  ave
E  xpected
S  coreline
T  o
E  xcite
R  oyle

Steve Maclean (


I went to the 54/55 and 55/56 Cup Finals. In 55/56 my ticket cost me 1/9p yes one shilling and 9 pence! In 54/55 City were the first club in England to use the voucher system, I collected all my vouchers from the home programmes, and was asked to send in the front covers of all the away programmes. As I was collecting the away programmes I did not want to destroy them, so I sent them intact to claim my Cup Final ticket. A week later I received my Cup Final ticket in the post, but to my dismay no away programmes were returned. The following week however an envelope arrived in the post containing my treasured away programmes and surprise surprise another Cup final ticket. As each ticket cost 3/6, I got two for 3/6, probably the cheapest paid for Cup Final tickets in history; took my mate from work with me.

Bob Redford


In MCIVTA 560 Tim Roberts asked about City’s record on live TV. I don’t know about other teams but we certainly are spectacularly bad. Not being old enough to recall how many of City’s Cup Finals, Charity Shields etc. were on live TV, it is hard to be completely definitive.

It’s easier to look at games since 1984 when our first live league match was shown on the BBC. Here is City’s stunning performance since then, I would advise anyone of a nervous disposition to scroll past quickly:

         PL    W    D    L     F    A
BBC       4    0    0    4     3    9
ITV      11    2    2    7    10   20
SKY      44    11   10   23   52   67
TOTAL    59    13   12   34   65   96

I’m not absolutely certain it’s a complete list, but I think it’s accurate (unless you know better). It includes matches shown on live TV in the UK, either nationally or regionally. It doesn’t take into account any Saturday afternoon games shown on Scandinavian TV. If anyone wants a complete list of the games, e-mail me and I’ll send it to you.

Kieran Casey (


Once upon a time there was a fictional footbaler called Michael who played for a fictional football club. In the latter part of the season the club were desperately trying to get promotion. Michael was playing ever so well. He was a hard-working, thoroughly committed member of the team, if at times a trifle hot-headed, risking the hard tackle becoming a yellow card offence. At the end of the season the team got promoted via an amazing play-off final and everyone expected him to be the engine of the midfield the following season. But Joe, the fictional manager of this fictional club, didn’t pick him for the team, or even the squad and we all assumed that there must be a problem in Michael’s relationship with Joe, and indeed there was a problem. Michael kept going out and getting p****d up and Joe thought that this was not very professional behaviour. Eventually Joe tried one last time to talk some sense into the young man, but Michael said that Tony Adams, Paul Gascoigne and Paul Merson did it and they survived at the top level, so he was going to continue to do it too. Joe was incredulous and decided that he could go no further and so he put young Michael on the transfer list and shipped him out down south on loan. And we have yet to see whether they will all live happily ever after.

Mike Carver (


After seeing the Stockport débâcle the other night, and particularly noting the inept performance by Goater, I just wonder if Mr Royle will be demoting Goater to the reserves “to allow him the chance to rediscover his form” – à la Terry Cooke. If (as I suspect) he doesn’t then it doesn’t bode well for Cooke does it? Considering the reason Mr Royle gave for dropping Cooke, how can he possibly justify playing Goater week, in week out? I mean, one rule for one and one rule for another, eh Joe?

Incidentally, I thought R. Taylor looked superb, especially first half – Stockport were kicking seven bells out of him the whole game – they obviously recognised him as a threat!

Jim Needham (


It may have been 4-1 but don’t be fooled. Chester were up for it and I would imagine played well above themselves and for long periods had City on the back foot. Having said that, we had our chances too and were never behind in the game. Weaver made two excellent saves in the second half as chances came thick and fast at both ends. Bishop had missed the target with a header minutes before he scored with a very good one from a perfect Edghill cross! For my money Goater was the best outfield player for us, apart from his goals he ran his socks off. If only the midfield had put in as much effort… the contribution to the team effort from that department continues to be less than we have come to expect this season. Are they tired, stale or suffering from collective loss of form? The reaction to Bishop’s goal by the players suggests they are feeling it, the relief was very clear. The confidence built up during 1999 is slipping away, a win against Swindon is imperative to restore some of that confidence and relaunch Promotion 2000 part two.

Isn’t there something bizarre that City can attract such enormous support every week and a large proportion of those supporters spend two hours slagging off the team? Am I the odd one perhaps for thinking that if Shaun Goater misses a chance or Richard Edghill puts a pass astray, to question their parenthood might just be doing more harm than good and contribute to the next opportunity being blown as well? If you pay good money to watch them and travel however far it may be you must have some positive feeling for the team so why not get behind them, encourage them when things don’t go quite as planned and cheer them when things do (fans seem to find that last one a lot easier, I wonder why?)? Are the fans there to lift the team or does the team have to lift the fans?

Phil Taylor (


I am going to be in London for a week and am looking for a ride from London to West Brom on Boxing day and looking for tickets for home game vs. Grimsby. I am happy to pay for all costs please, send e-mail to until next Wednesday or from then on at 0181-722-5935.

Akiva (


I’m back home in Glossop (home of many Blues) for Christmas and was wondering which pub offers the best view/beer/atmosphere for watching the Boxing Day game on Sky TV?

I know there is a Glossop branch of the Supporters’ Club so if any members could let me know where their regular haunt is I would appreciate it.

Stephen Phillips – Folkestone, Kent (


Like many other Blues, I suppose I’ve got my family to thank for my allegiance to City. Though in my case it was a rather different chain of events which led in my becoming a Blue.

My grandfather’s from Austria and felt that being under Hitler’s regime wasn’t the greatest of fun when you’re part Jewish. Fortunately he sussed things out before the start of the deportation to camps and himself and the rest of his family escaped to England due to knowing friends and family over here.

Since my grandfather moved to Chigwell, Essex, I suppose it would make more sense for me to be writing about my deep devotion to Leyton Orient FC, which was also to be my dad’s team. However, things didn’t really occur like that.

The rest of the family moved to Manchester, where they set up businesses and married. One of the shops, which sadly doesn’t exist anymore, was situated in Moss Side and sold ‘fancy goods’ (I’d love to hear from anyone who remembers it!). Obviously they were to support City over the Rags, though apparently some nutter who married into the family had both City and Un*ted season tickets!

I’ve read before that most of the Jewish community in Manchester support City and from the experiences of my family I’d say that was pretty accurate. Though why did I, a non-Jewish girl from Edinburgh of all places decide to support Manchester City FC?

From what I remember, I’d always had a longing to belong to a set of fans. I’ve never really been interested in the events of the Edinburgh sides and their tame derbies, probably due to the fact that as a kid I was never taken to matches due to my gender and nobody in my family supported them. I couldn’t support a team just randomly which had no importance to my family like most do when they support the Rags.

I grew up hearing of stories about the greats and clearly I don’t need to mention who they might have been for someone my age (Bell, Lee and Summerbee) with a constant longing that this great club would become great again.

I was born the year that City last reached an FA Cup final. I have never seen them win any proper trophies. In fact, due to geographical reason, I have never seen them play in the top flight. My proudest day as a Blue so far would have to have been May 30th 1999. I even met my current boyfriend through City (in fact it was through a message I posted up on here about Blues from Edinburgh) and loads of great people. Like me, I hope that I will have many other tales about City to tell my children and grandchildren, Though there is certainly no danger of me getting a Un*ted season ticket as well as a City one when I finish my degree and (hopefully) move down to Manchester!

Clara Suess – Crystal (


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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 #561