Newsletter #564

Firstly, some of you may have received a spam mailing advertising a Multi Level Marketing scheme. This commenced: “Hello all of you Manchester City fans”, implying that the perpetrators had been given access to the MCIVTA subscriber list. Naturally, this has upset quite a few people. However, I can categorically state that the only purpose to which the distribution list is put is to mail out MCIVTA. We have always refused requests for access to the list, irrespective of the source of the request. It would appear that the spam mailers are dredging the email addresses from the Supporter’s WWW site, where all the back copies of MCIVTA appear. Short of expunging email addresses from the newsletter, I’m afraid there’s little we can do to stop this.

The main news is that JR has agreed a fee with Walter Smith for the services of Tony Grant. Anyone out there who is familiar with Tony Grant and who could give a considered opinion? Talking of opinion, we have quite a lot in this issue, along with some stats predictions from Tony Burns and a less than flattering account of Peepo’s injury.

Meanwhile, all the best to you all for the festive season, from everyone involved with MCIVTA. Next MCIVTA should be on Monday evening, as per usual.

Next game: WBA away, Sunday 26th December 1999


Grant Completes Move to Spark Midfield Battle

Joe Royle has completed the signing of midfielder Tony Grant from Everton to intensify the already fierce battle for places in the City engine room. The 25-year-old will be in the squad as City travel to West Brom on Boxing Day and is likely to be named among the substitutes. Royle has agreed to pay a fee for Grant which could rise to £450,000 with money based on appearances. Grant will face a battle to establish himself in Royle’s first choice side, with Jeff Whitley, Kevin Horlock and Ian Bishop having been regulars for most of the season and Jamie Pollock having fought his way back into contention in recent weeks. Bishop is the man whose style is said to be the closest to Grant’s and the prospective new signing is thought in some quarters to be intended as a long-term replacement for the 34-year-old. The ex-West Ham veteran is out of contract at the end of the season and is sure to be pushing hard for a new deal, having already admitted his dream is to return to Upton Park with the Blues next season.

Wright – I Want New Contract

City’s reserve goalkeeper Tommy Wright knows his first-team opportunities will be limited to occasions when first choice Nicky Weaver is injured or suspended. But that fact doesn’t stop the veteran Northern Ireland international from wanting to stay at Maine Road. Wright, who had a rare outing against Swindon on Saturday, is out of contract in the summer but has already spoken of his hopes that Joe Royle will give him the opportunity to stay at Maine Road. “Most people would say that my position at City was one of the most unenviable but I don’t necessarily see it that way,” the former Newcastle goalkeeper told the Manchester Evening News. “This is a massive club and to be involved at any level is an achievement in itself. It is not an ideal situation for me but one that, at this stage of my career, I am quite happy with.”

Things Coming Together for Taylor

PCity striker Robert Taylor didn’t enjoy the best of starts to his City career when his signing coincided with a slump in the Blues’ previously excellent form. But in the last few days, things have started to look up for the 29-year-old front man. First Taylor notched his first City goal in the 3-0 win over Swindon on Saturday. And on Monday, Joe Royle’s recent acquisition from Gillingham became a father for the second time when his wife Lisa gave birth to a 6lb 2oz baby boy named Mason. Taylor will lead the City attack at West Brom on Boxing Day hoping his run of happy events continues.

City Hunting Leeds Ace?

It was reported earlier in the week that Joe Royle’s quest to strengthen the Maine Road playing staff could see the Blues’ boss make his third signing from Leeds United. The City squad already numbers two ex-Elland Road men in Richard Jobson and Danny Granville. And Norwegian international Alfie Haaland emerged as a possible target after Royle, along with Willie Donachie and Jim Cassell, watched Leeds reserves play Bradford City on Tuesday afternoon. Initially it was thought that Bradford’s former Crewe defender Ashley Westwood was the most likely target, but since then it has emerged that the City delegation were eyeing Leeds midfielder Haaland. The 27-year-old is unable even to claim a place on the bench for the Premiership leaders, and it’s thought he’d be available for a fee of between £1.5 million and £2 million. However, a City move for Haaland now looks improbable given the news of Tony Grant’s signing.

Morrison Set for Mid-January Return

City skipper Andy Morrison, sidelined since the end of October with a knee injury, has been given the go-ahead to resume full training. However, it seems that a specialist has ruled out an early return to match action for the big defender. Morrison had been hoping to be back in the City side for the Blues’ last match of the festive programme, the visit to Crewe on 3 January. However, it now looks likely that last year’s £80,000 bargain buy from Huddersfield will have to wait another fortnight or so before he figures at senior level. The televised match with Fulham on 16 January is thought to represent a more realistic target. Meanwhile, with an eye on the demanding programme of the next couple of weeks, Joe Royle has decided that no more City players can leave Maine Road on loan for the time being.

Injury and Suspensions Mount Up

In addition to the continued absence of skipper Andy Morrison, the Blues can expect to be missing other players through injury, suspensions and international call-ups over the next few weeks. Paul Dickov’s comeback bid was hit by the postponement of the reserves’ Tuesday fixture against Oldham, with the little Scot saying he needs “a game under [his] belt” before making a first-team return. Meanwhile, Kevin Horlock becomes the latest City player to serve a suspension when a one-match ban causes him to miss the Boxing Day trip to West Brom. And Australians Danny Tiatto and Danny Allsopp will both be on international duty in the next few weeks. Tiatto will join up with the full Aussie squad for a tournament in Chile in February featuring the hosts, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Tunisia. Allsopp, meanwhile, will figure in an under-23 tournament in Adelaide in January also involving Nigeria, South Korea and Egypt.

Royle Gives Vote of Thanks to Fans

Joe Royle has delivered his Christmas message to the Maine Road faithful. And the City boss has thanked the club’s fans for their rôle in what has been a successful year for the Blues. Royle admits he’s disappointed with the recent loss of the First Division’s top spot, but he’s still delighted to be second as the Blues go into the festive period. “We could have hoped to be in the top spot where we were until a couple of weeks ago,” the City manager told the club’s official site at, before going on to predict another successful year in store. “If that is the wobble, if it is behind us I think we will settle for that. We are in second place and we are delighted with that. It has been a great twelve months for the club and it’s fans. My message to the fans is a big thank you. Hang on in there, we mean business. Hopefully next May we will all be celebrating again.”

Premier League Monitoring Sky Deals

After acquiring a stake in Sunderland this week, broadcaster BSkyB is also said to have designs on similar arrangements with Chelsea and Aston Villa. And if the deals go through, there will be considerable interest in Manchester City’s promotion fate. Sky’s acquisition of shares at these two clubs, in addition to its existing holdings at Sunderland, Leeds and Manchester United, would already mean that the satellite TV giant would have a share interest in a quarter of all Premier League clubs. If the Blues are promoted, the figure would rise to six – almost enough to make up the one third number of votes which could block resolutions at Premier League general meetings. Premier League spokesman Mike Lee confirmed that the organisation is keeping an eye on the issue but said, “We do not believe there is any undue influence exerted at this stage. The Premier League and all 20 club chairmen are committed to a very open and transparent bidding process for the next TV contract.”

Athletics Chiefs – Eastlands an Option

This week’s news that the rebuilt Wembley stadium will house football and rugby league only has left British Athletics bosses with a dilemma. And UK Athletics President David Hemery admits that the Blues’ new home at Eastlands could offer one potential solution to his sport’s current problem. Hemery this morning said that he is “looking at all the options” for a permanent home for British athletics “including Manchester”. The issue is complicated, with a venue needed for the 2005 World Athletics Championship and a future Olympic bid. There isn’t and never has been any suggestion that Eastlands will fill either of these rôles, with both events clearly intended to be hosted in London. However, if the Eastlands plans could be modified to include an athletics track covered by retractable seats for football matches, the venue could potentially host lesser athletics events. Hemery has admitted he’s hoping for a solution which will see British athletics receive a purpose-built new home which could host the Olympics and World Championship athletics – and has even suggested that the venue could be built to the west of London near Heathrow. The Eastlands plan, which in any case would present a number of practical difficulties, would clearly be redundant in this eventuality – it would be viable only if the prestige events were held at another venue which could not subsequently serve as a permanent home for British athletics. However, it does appear that the idea hasn’t been entirely ruled out in political and sports administration circles as a face-saving formula is sought following the Wembley redevelopment fiasco.

City Bid to Capitalise on Albion Misery

City go to The Hawthorns on Sunday hoping to benefit from the current problems facing hosts West Bromwich Albion. Firstly, Tony Hale resigned as Albion chairman at the end of last week. Next, manager Brian Little was reportedly near to taking the same course of action after the board failed to consult him over the sale of winger Kevin Kilbane to Sunderland. Then goalkeeper Alan Miller and ex-City full-back Jason van Blerk had to be disciplined following an altercation in the wake of the Baggies’ defeat at Ipswich on Saturday, a game the Midlands outfit finished with only nine men on the pitch. Finally, to cap an unhappy week, Albion were dumped out of the FA Cup in extra time at Blackburn in their Wednesday replay. As we all know, however, City don’t always follow the script and in the wake of Kieran Casey’s recent research a cautionary note might be provided by the presence of the Sky cameras. City will certainly have to perform better than in the recent live Sky game at nearby Wolves to stand a chance of returning with the points.

Peter Brophy (


Remembering the discipline problems that originally caused so much trouble for young Jamie last season, I don’t think too much thought went into the wording of this news item do you?

“Manchester City midfielder Jamie Pollock insists he has learnt his lesson from being left out of the side and is looking forward to the new year. Pollock missed out at the beginning of the season but has won back a place in the first team line up. And that is something he won’t give up without a fight.”

Steve Maclean (


For the past season and a half, I have been attending the reserve team home games at Ewen Fields (Hyde). I was there last Tuesday (14 December) when Tskhadadze received his latest injury. Like everyone attending, and indeed most City fans, we were sickened by this latest setback. However, what sickened us most (at least the six stalwarts I was stood with near the bench) was the sequence of events and attitudes of MCFC management which followed his injury.

To set the scene: it was a dismal night, driving wet snow, freezing conditions. The guys were having a good game and Peepo looked to be doing well, running about, not shirking his responsibilities. I didn’t see him go down, as the ball was in play further up the field. What alerted us was the shriek of agony as he fell. The supporters quickly realised who it was. Obviously he was seriously hurt and in agony. Quite a few seconds went by before two Stoke players, yes Stoke, came running to the bench shouting for a stretcher for him. At this stage nobody from the City bench had even stood up. This dragged on, minutes now. No stretcher to be found. Oh, it must be in the dressing room (obvious place to keep one really). The guy was on the ground, in freezing wet snow, screaming; by now the physio had removed himself from the warmth of the bench and got onto the pitch. Terry Cooke had pulled his shirt off to cover him up. Blankets? None to be found (obviously in the dressing room). MCFC lot still on bench wrapped in big thick jackets and coats. We were offering to take our jackets off to help cover him up. Stoke player comes running back to bench asking us to phone for ambulance. I got my phone out, but I think by this stage one of MCFC had woken up and managed to locate his phone and call. They then proceeded to carry him off pitch on his stretcher; some 10 minutes had easily passed, as I remember checking my watch.

At this point we recognise a figure stumping across the pitch towards us. Big JR. Well I can tell you, he got a mouthful from us for his unconcerned attitude.

Ref decides to restart the game to protestations from ourselves and the Stoke bench. Hold on a minute. Who’s carried Peepo off? Ah yes, a couple of “stewards” our physio and oh, one of the Stoke players is missing. Match stopped until the Stoke saviour returns. Any City players helping? No, you must be joking. Ambulance arrived after 20 minutes to take him off to hospital. Now I know some of you may think oh, well, he’s just a reserve, hasn’t had a game for months but:

  1. Why no first-aiders on duty for a game which is featuring professionalsportsmen? As I say, in 18 months I cannot recall seeing any St Johns orsimilar attendance there. Is this the responsibility of Hyde United as providersof the facility or MCFC as a professional club?
  2. The attitude of the MCFC managers was appalling. It’s obvious just howexpendable someone like Peepo is. Had it been Kennedy the story would, I’msure, have been quite different. Whilst I can’t fault JR et al onmanagerial capabilities, this was a serious incident and their compassionwas non-existent.
  3. We thanked, and I would do so again, the Stoke team and management fortheir sense of fair play and cooperation. Their physio was even attendingour lads in the second half when ours had gone to hospital. The guy whohelped carry him off was a star.

City Reserves, City Management – you were a disgrace. I was ashamed to be stood there and witness this as a Blue.

On a bright note, I thought Tommy Wright had a great game. He was organising the whole team from the back there and shouting so much he’s been re-christened Jim McDonald.

Name witheld by request


Well I have to say I’ve tried everything I can to get the old shirts idea moving (I also have to say what a brilliant response from Blues everywhere). I thought it was cracked when the club agreed to collection and distribution and Jim was willing to do the web page. That was about three weeks ago and I’ve heard nothing from the club since, despite reminders. Jim is poised to do his bit and put the collection points on the web page. I did suggest that they could be collected through the supporters’ clubs and at the ground, but so far have had no response. I’m still determined that this is a good idea. Hang on to them. It will work.

David Kilroy (


I love the acronyms… they take a lot of thought and I enjoy seeing them too. I would suggest that if anyone doesn’t like them they can scroll through quickly enough. Keep them going Steve… and here’s one in your honour!

M  acleans
A  cronyms
C  heer me up so
L  eave him to
E  ntertain
A  ll subscribers
N  ow and forever!

Lance Thomson, Chairman/Secretary, MCFC CSA Morecambe Bay Branch (


Just wanted to throw in my two bob’s worth regarding the last senior game in the UK of the century (and or the millennium). Correct me if I’m wrong but a year isn’t over until the end of the particular year in question. A decade isn’t over until the end of the tenth year of the said decade. A century ends at the end of the hundredth year and a millennium at the conclusion of the thousandth year. Therefore, the last senior game of the 20th century and 2nd millennium will be played on 31 December the year 2000. Thank you.

Bob Lawrence (


No, no, no! Why did you announce to the press after the Swindon game that City’s ‘wobble’ is over? If anything is guaranteed to result in a defeat for City in their next game, then it is comments like these. The track record is, I am afraid, not good (I hope I am wrong by the way – but tempting fate is not recommended, especially when supporting City).

Richard Mottershead (


I was out of the country when we played Stockport so at least I was able to avoid the horror of seeing our poor run continue, and to be honest I’ve just not been able to find the time to write up the match report after the Swindon game. Those of you who have visited my web site will know that I produce performance tables and forecasts for the season. As I’ve not been able to get a match report done for the Swindon game I’ve decided to put my anorak on, pull the hood up and have a look at what the stats are telling us.

Just before I do that, I must say that I thought Swindon were crap, the poorest team at the Academy for some time, but it was important for us to arrest our slide and the result was in reality a big one.

I have to also say a special word of praise for Pollock; if he can maintain his form, I believe that when Morrison is back (and I hope that’s soon) the pair of them may well be the rock on which our New Year push for the Premiership is built on. Whilst on the subject of Pollock, any future match reports of mine will refer to him as ‘Euroboy’. Those of you who watch Soccer AM on Sky on Saturday mornings will know what I mean, it’s that special running style of Jamie’s – you know the one where his arms look like they are on string etc. that give him that unique pose. If you’ve not seen it check it out.

Mid-year review

We’re half way through the season so it’s a good time to look at our vital statistics. At an overview level our 14 wins from 23 games played gives us a 60.8% win rate. What this means in practice is that if we are able to sustain an identical performance in the second half of the season we are set to get an automatic place with a total of 90 points. We’ve drawn 13.04% of our games and a second half performance that matches the first half of the season will be good enough.

What you need to be aware of is that we cannot have a drop in form over the second half of the season. We have lost six games already; if we lose more than six in the second half of the season, mark my words we will be in the lottery of play-offs.

Our average points per game has moved down a little after our three defeats on the bounce and now stands at 1.96 per game. This will be OK though to get us up in an automatic.

The most consistently worrying factor still remains our strike rate, our 35 league goals to date give us a goal per game ratio of only 1.5. Thankfully we have been strong at the back and conceded just 19 goals (0.8 per game). This means that are average goal difference per game is a reasonable +0.7.

Attendance at Maine Road remains consistently high, a total attendance of 384,338 at the Academy! There has not been an attendance below 30,000 this season, and the average is in excess of 32,000, which for a stadium that holds a little over 33,000 means that we are running at something like a 96% occupancy rate. Staggering!

Beyond the statistics

It’s interesting to consider that we are still pushing for the automatic even though we have lost six league games (26.08%).

If you look at performance and then consider the trends then you would have a little concern, based on the recent run. Although I have already said that our strike ratio is low the trend is up, and current indications are that we will not hit the two goals per game ratio until about game 38.

The goals against trend line is worrying and suggests that our strike rate will be matched by our concede rate as before, by about game 38. However, if we take out the untypical four goals conceded at Wolves then we can afford to be less concerned.

Our win trend is on the way down, and would suggest only a 35%-40% chance of a win at West Brom for example. Again we are seeing some distortion here due to the recent loss of form. A draw and a home win against Grimsby (where is that and will it stink of fish at the game?) will start to smooth the win trend line.

Setting aside the stats and bringing my own view to the season, I think that we will get up. I say this because I don’t think we have played a series of games consistently well yet. We have had some good performances, but I don’t believe we have hit our form yet. Injuries to Morrison and Dickov have been bad news for us. We have yet to see the best of Robert Taylor and I think once we see Dickov back in the team we should see an upturn in goals per game. Dickov should be the distraction that will allow Kennedy and Taylor to increase the strike rate. The team spirit is great and as long as that will to win remains then we shouldn’t go far wrong.

Hope this stat attack is acceptable instead of the match report.

Best wishes to all for a Merry Christmas and a promotiontastic New Year.

Tony Burns (tony.burns@cwcom.net


My best friend works with Mark McGregor in Cheltenham at Endsleigh Insurance Company. I was chatting to my best mate just the other day and he mentioned that there is truth in this. Apparently he’s been asked to go up to Maine Road for a trial.

Mark Bidmead (


Myself and a few other City boys are watching the West Brom game down the Robins Nest prior to the Cheltenham Town game on Boxing Day (which is all ticket if your desperate enough to want to come along). For those who may be visiting Cheltenham over Christmas, it’s the bar at the ground and can be entered without a ticket. We will be there from 12 noon onwards if you fancy some City company and cheap alcohol.

There’s a big City following in Cheltenham so I expect more than myself and friends will be there.

Mark Bidmead (


The next City Gathering will take place on Sunday 26th December. For the live match versus West Brom at the Blarney Stone, Amsterdam from 12.30, kick off is at 1.00pm. If you need details or directions for this let me know and I’ll answer any questions you have.

To all Blues we wish you and City a great and prosperous Christmas and New Year.

Ian and Maggie, CTWD, 078 6932044, Ian Hawthorne (


For those Blues in South Florida and the Caribbean who are outside the reach of my email list, or for anybody who’ll be around Miami at the time, the usual suspects are planning to get together to watch the City vs. Leeds game on Jan 9th, if, as seems very likely, it is shown on Setanta satellite TV. I need to confirm that fact, and the location, hopefully our old and tolerant friend the Tudor in Ft Lauderdale (best chips’n’curry sauce this side of Swinton). So if you are, or going to be, in the area make a note. More details later.

Paul Duncan (


Further to Danny Quinn’s request and for any other Blues in Dublin, the next meeting of the branch is on in the Plough in Abbey Street Dublin 1 at 8.30pm on 10/1/2000.

Paul Cassidy (


The 1990s has probably been the worst decade in City’s history. Looking back, who are the players that have made the biggest contributions to making this a decade of misery? Which players have done their utmost to make Blues contemplate the meaning of life and the Big Picture?

Picking a ‘Worst City Team of the 1990s’ isn’t that easy; there are so many blo*dy awful players to choose from. When Joe Royle arrived we had a squad of 52 players struggling in the bottom half of Division One; there are bound to be plenty of donkeys in a situation like that. But it would be unfair to pick a team made up entirely of players from the messy freefall of the last three years, we have to look at the decade as a whole.

In picking my personal worst team I made up a few rules. This was largely so what I would call ‘significant’ players made up the team. By that I mean not obviously poor players who only made a handful of appearances, or kids who never made it or on-loan players etc.

I decided that to make the worst team a player would have to have to started in the City team for a League match at least ten times, substitute appearances don’t count and I restricted appearances to League matches only – no Cup appearances. Straightaway this rule omits many carthorses, for example, Gerry ‘who ate all the pies’ Creaney can’t be in the team because, surprisingly, he just fell short of making the starting line up ten times; on second thoughts, maybe that isn’t so surprising. It also rules out the likes of Wayne ‘Mr. Charming’ Clarke, Adie Mike, Darren ‘where’s the ball?’ Beckford, Kåre ‘hat-trick hero’ Ingebrigtsen, Budgie ‘mental’ Burridge, Buster “£10 million man” Phillips… oh gawd the list is endless. To make the line up, team players also had to appear in the 1990’s – this may sound daft, but some players in the 89-90 season only played during 1989, so no Brian ‘let me tell you about my decorating in my programme notes’ Gayle or Gary Fleming.

I also decided no on-loan players could be included, so there is no Carl Shutt, or Darren Wassall – you’d forgotten about him hadn’t you? While this is my personal worst team, I also decided I could not let personal prejudice colour my selection, so though I disliked – no, make that hated – Steve McMahon, I don’t think he deserves to make the worst team. Some players omitted may surprise Blues because they were unpopular and the object of Blues’ substantial vocal wrath; there is no Adrian ‘Inchy’ Heath because I thought he was a better player than many Blues made out, no Terry ‘Fast, Fast, Fast’ Phelan because he was good at first, likewise no Kit Symons because before his disastrous final season I thought he played quite well.

Having sorted that lot out here is my team, playing 4-4-2:

                              Andy Dibble
Eddie McGoldrick, David Brightwell, Alan Kernaghan, Michael Frontzeck
Nicky Summerbee,  Nigel Clough,     Gary Megson,    Paul Beesley,
           Gareth Taylor,                    Lee Bradbury

Subs: Immel, Van Blerk, Rocastle, Brannan, Heaney.

Manager: Alan ‘I’ve got a World Cup Winners’ medal’ Ball.

Looking at that lot make me feel the need for strong liquor and and…

Why these players?

Dibble: Between the titans of Tony Coton and Nicky Weaver, we’ve had problems with goalies to say the least. Who can forget Martyn Margetson getting subbed at half-time in his only appearance of the season in the final match of the ’92-’93 season after his tricks had helped Everton to a healthy lead? Or Budgie Burridge’s display at Forest in 1995 which consisted soley of flapping and screaming at defenders? It was a close-run thing between Officer Dibble and Eike ‘gutt in’ Immel, but any player who can injure himself on the white-wash that marks out Merthyr Tydfil’s pitch gets my vote, Immel is sub.

McGoldrick: Now I quite liked ‘Steady Eddie’ and it’s a pity injury ended his career, but I’m afraid that geeing up the Kippax with clenched fists and yells do not a wing back make.

David Brightwell: The younger Brightwell was once memorably described by Bill Burrows as having ‘all the pace of a three-toed sloth with rickets’, indeed, and I’ve seen oil tankers turn quicker. Remember Kanchelskis’ roasting him in our 5-0 defeat at the Swamp in 1994? On second thoughts best not to remember it.

Alan Kernaghan: One who was disliked by the fans and rightly so with his surly disposition and lack of any footballing nous. If my dog had a face like his I’d shave its a*se and teach it to walk backwards. Possibly his only contribution to City was his Beckham like half-way line lob of the Leicester goalie in a Cup tie. Last heard of at St. Johnstone when we were struggling in Division Two, he said he watched City’s plight with a smirk and how are you doing in Perth now Al? We are watching with a smirk.

Michael Frontzeck: His début was good but after that… no… no… it ‘s just too painful. Interesting hair cut though.

Nicky Summerbee: Yes, I know he’s playing well for Sunderland right now, but we are talking City form. I wanted him to be good like his dad, but let’s face it he couldn’t be a*sed, a lazy sod possibly kept on at City past his sell-by date merely to make sure Gio stuck to Tango; despite this Gio still managed to overturn his Ferrari, with Nicky’s help…

Nigel Clough: Expensive, mild, mild, mild mannered Nigel, who could take offence? Me, that’s who, he made David Brightwell look like Linford Christie. Injured then dropped, left to loaf around on a mere four grand a week when the club was skint and when you think about that it makes you want mild mannered Nige to be seen picking up his teeth with a broken arm. Now at his correct level at Burton Albion.

Gary Megson: Ginger Megson, what can we say about this early ’90s midfielder? Erm, not a lot really. I’m sure something will come… nope. Currently cutting out an Alan Ball type managerial career trying to get clubs relegated.

Paul Beesley: Face like an Easter Island statue with an a*se full of razor blades. A grim reminder of City going down through the League like a dose of salts.

Gareth Taylor: The only current player to make the team. I know he has his supporters including the Blue Vicar; possibly this is because his attempts on goal make Blues utter the name of the son of God (in vain). No Carling Opta Index stats to show he’s good please.

Lee Bradbury: Badbuy, another expensive flop. His shots on goal had Blues in Row Z of the North Stand ducking for cover. Initially a symbol that we may be on the up. He did score one at Stoke when we got relegated to Division Two.

The Subs:

van Blerk: With a name like that there is only one possible outcome.

Rocky Rocastle: Yeah, I know he turned two Ipswich players inside out when St. Francis of Lee made his début as Chairman, but after that?

Ged Brannan: I know he’s doing well at Motherwell, so what did he do at City eh? Eh? Eh? See, you can’t tell me.

Neil Heaney: Flying winger, made Nicky Summerbee look good.

The Manager:

Alan Ball: I don’t really have to say anything do I? Incredibly won the ‘Manager of the Month’ award for November 1995. He has a World Cup Winners’ medal you know.

Tim Chadwick (


Having read Peter Godkin’s excellent “Why Blue”, and being from Dublin like his aad (and grandad?), it seems to me that those Dubs that actually went to live in Manchester (as many of my family did at one time or other) end up supporting the team while the stay-at-homes invariably support the Trafford Trolls. Is there any explanation for this, or is it my imagination?

Tony O’Leary (


Is it not poignant that on the MCFC page today Joe said no more players would be going out on loan even though he had a lot of requests. And so far has received no enquiries for transfer-listed players. The fans have been telling him all season who the worthy players are. Lo and behold the rest of the Nationwide is saying the same thing. We will end up giving players away at a loss again. But if that is the only way, so be it. Once again though the “majority” of City fans have proved to be right.

CTIMAMKSOF (City Till I Meet A More Knowledgeable Set Of Fans), David Kilroy (


When Joe Royle took over, he said that the squad was too big. He then did what seemingly all new managers at City seem to do upon arrival at Maine Rd – they add to the squad, with players we don’t need, whilst devaluing the few players we could actually sell on.

The question is, how big is City’s squad now, compared to when Joe arrived? How many players has Royle bought? How many players has he sold? And how many has he given away?

Sad to see Gareth Taylor on the way out – I don’t think he could have done any more to improve his game this season than he has done; so it must be very frustrating to be sidelined by the new Creaney and Bradbury (my first impressions of our two new strikers anyway!).

With City, the more things change, then definitely the more they stay the same. It’s a pity that when it comes to football squads, size doesn’t matter.

Neil Haigh (


Strange that some of the players have had the flu; doesn’t the club Doc know that you can get jabs to prevent bad bouts of the flu? Lots of companies here offer to pay for them to keep us poor workers at our desks.

All the best, Ron Smith (


I wanted to respond to a couple of items in MCIVTA 562.

Firstly, I agree wholeheartedly with Richard Ellor’s request for the fans to get behind the team. I was fortunate enough to be over for the Swindon game on Saturday and it does seem as though we have been spoilt by our much better than expected start to the season as, presumably due to our recent poor run, I couldn’t believe how ‘flat’ the crowd was. Although it appeared that the North Stand and that end of the Kippax created a bit of atmosphere in the second half (i.e. after the game was safe), in the first half there was very little noise indeed. The Platt Lane stand hardly made a sound all afternoon. It strikes me that this is a bit of a Catch 22 situation; the crowd is waiting for the team to produce thrilling football and a bagful of goals before it gets behind them but the team needs the crowd to get behind them and lift their spirits/performance to the level the crowd expects. Unfortunately there are also too many in the ground who start to moan and groan when a pass goes astray or the team isn’t three up inside half an hour.

Come on all you Blues who are fortunate enough to be able to get to all/most matches. Get behind the team straight away (i.e. before kick off preferably) and give them the lift they deserve after the results they have given us so far this season.

Next I am inclined to agree with Gary Sullivan who advocates Joe bringing Terry Cooke back on the right while keeping MK on the other wing, but the problem is who do you drop from the midfield? Horlock seems to have been playing really well all season, Pollock looks back to his best from what I saw on Saturday and Bishop is probably the best passer of a ball in the club and, as Joe says, makes us play. The game against Swindon would have seemed an ideal opportunity to throw everything forward with two wingers but Joe was obviously not to be tempted. I must admit I would really love to know the truth about TC’s fall from grace.

Lastly, I am sure that Heidi Pickup is one of many who distribute this wonderful newsletter to others who do not have Internet access. My mate Hoppy does the same (he describes it as his MCIVTA run twice a week). Why don’t all the people who do this write in to just the once so we have a fairer idea of the real readership? We might be very surprised by the results! (Fair enough [Ashley])

Keep up the great work and all the best to you and all your readers for a great Christmas and New Year (I hate all this politically correct ‘Holidays’ cr*p we have to live with here!).

P.S. What’s the furthest distance a season ticket holder lives from Maine Road anyone?

Michael Warren – Redding Blue (


Even though I was born in Stockport, from an early age my family decided (for some crazy reason!) that the future was in Southampton. My dad was a Blue (even though he played in goal for a Stockport County reserve game!), and my uncle was an avid Red, therefore I had no choice (not that I would change it for the world).

My earliest memory of City was when I was 10 (I am now 28) when watching World of Sport (remember that!) and it was FA Cup Semi-Final day and we were playing Ipswich, when the reporter interrupted Dickie Davies to report their had been a goal at Villa Park. I erupted when I found out Paul Power had curled a free kick into the net! Everyone knows what happened in the final; still think Mackenzies goal was better than Ricky Villa’s.

My first game at Maine Road had to wait until the first game of the season when we beat Plymouth Argyle at Maine Road 2-1, I think it was 1986-1987. The début of White, Hinchcliffe, Lake and Redmond, the spine of the FA Youth Cup winning side, I stood in The Kippax and just fell in love with the place (remember I had only been to The Dell before!). Living in Southampton I had to catch the 6:30am train from Southampton that arrived into Piccadilly at 12:30pm and walk/bus to Maine Road, stay on my uncle’s couch and then on the Sunday catch the 6 hour train back! I did this once a month for about 3 years through the late 80’s.

Last year I could actually afford the time/money to buy a season ticket (good timing for a play-off ticket!), and hopefully in the near future to actually move to Manchester (when I get offered a job!).

Their have been many heartbreaks within the last 10 years with our great football club (Liverpool, Stoke, Spurs FAC etc.) but none had more of an impact on me than the last day of the Kippax against Chelsea. The Kippax was full at 1:45pm that day (OK, reduced capacity!) but the atmosphere that day just so emotional. Never, never have I heard Blue Moon being sung with such passion (OK, apart from Wembley!). Maine Road is still a beautiful stadium, but not as half as intimidating without the Kippax!

Being a City fan is special, no other club’s fanbase would have stayed as strong through the last 5 years that City have endured. I actually believe for the first time in over 20 years we have the foundation (chairman, youth policy, new stadium being built etc.) to become a top six team over the next 5 years. Even if we don’t get promoted this year, it’s obvious that the club is heading in the right direction.

Proud to be Blue!

Keith Bloomer – Boom from Blueview (


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 #564