Newsletter #568

Very quiet on the news front, with City choosing not to pursue any interest in the latest Scandinavian (Danish) trialist, though Royle was seemingly impressed. However, despite the lack of news, this issue is far from small! There’s info (courtesy of the Guardian) on two programes (one TV and one radio) which heavily feature Bert Trautmann; a review of the December issue of City Mag; a Why Blue; and mountains of informed opinion in response to Steve Maclean’s article on whether the current squad is good enough for the top division.

Oh, and there’s info on where to watch Sunday’s FA Cup game, just about anywhere on the Planet, except for ‘’ that is 🙂

Next game: Leeds United at home, Sunday 9th January 2000


Royle Happy with Festive Haul

Joe Royle was happy with his team’s results over the Christmas period, even though the Blues saw their lead at the top of Division One cut to two points after only drawing at Crewe on Monday. Royle insisted that a seven point haul from games at West Brom and Crewe plus the visit of Grimsby represents a perfectly satisfactory return – even though he felt the Blues could have taken maximum points from Gresty Road. “We conceded a very un-Crewe like goal,” he reflected. “They are famed for their passing game, but scored from a long ball over the top. After the equaliser we took the game to them again and we were unlucky not to score a winner. But if I had been offered seven out of nine points at the start of the Christmas period, I would have taken it gladly.”

Reserves Give Boss “Something to Think About”

A strong City reserve side won 2-1 at Huddersfield on Wednesday evening, with several fringe players in action and impressing watching manager Joe Royle. Trialist Diego Tur lined up alongside Tommy Wright, Nick Fenton, Tony Vaughan, Jeff and Jim Whitley, Paul Dickov, Gareth Taylor and Lee Peacock. Dickov, the likely replacement for cup-tied Robert Taylor against Leeds on Sunday, was bidding for match fitness but it was Cooke and Peacock who gave City a two-goal lead before Rob Edwards reduced the arrears. Royle was pleased with the display and commented after the match, “Terry Cooke scored a fine goal and got in some telling crosses and Peacock took his goal well. It will have done his confidence a power of good. We had a strong side out and they did the job well. Those who played gave me plenty to think about.”

Tur Sent Back Despite Assured Display

Joe Royle has reportedly elected not to pursue interest in Danish defender Diego Tur, despite the trialist’s impressive display in City’s reserve game at Huddersfield on Wednesday. Royle’s original reaction seemed favourable, with the Blues’ boss commenting, “The lad did well enough and there are one or two things I will have to consider. He is one of the better trialists I have seen recently.” However, it now appears that Royle feels he can do better elsewhere in the search for defensive reinforcements.

Scouts Run Rule Over Transfer-Listed Pair

A host of scouts were at the McAlpine Stadium for Wednesday night’s reserve game between Huddersfield and the Blues, with transfer-listed duo Tony Vaughan and Gareth Taylor thought to be the focus of attention. One of the clubs represented were Fortuna Sittard, and the Dutch outfit were supposedly eyeing £450,000-rated front man Taylor. But the ex-Sheffield United striker is still disappointed at being made available for transfer and isn’t keen to leave the club. “There is no desperation to get away,” he said. “I don’t want to go full stop. Who would want to leave a club the size of City?”

Veterans to Open Contract Talks

Reports have claimed that City are to open contract talks with midfielder Ian Bishop, defender Richard Jobson and reserve goalkeeper Tommy Wright, although Joe Royle has denied that discussions are already in progress. The veteran trio, who have a combined age of 106, are due to become free agents in the summer. And Royle has been speaking of his determination to keep ex-West Ham player Bishop, in particular, at Maine Road. “We’re going to need Bish’s experience next season, whether we’re in the Premiership or launching another attempt to get there,” commented the City boss. “He’s one of those old-fashioned midfielders who can actually control a game. In this age of athletes who get up and down the park all day, he can put his foot on the ball and dictate the pace.”

County Praise for Fenton

Notts County manager Gary Brazil failed earlier this week in a bid to extend the loan of City defender Nick Fenton. And the Magpies boss was clearly impressed by the 20-year-old, who has this week returned to Manchester. Fenton played fourteen games during his stay at Meadow Lane, scoring once, and his displays were appreciated by the County management team. “We are very disappointed that we could not keep Nicky at Meadow Lane,” said Brazil. “He is a very promising player and would have been a positive addition to the club.” Joe Royle is a big fan of the loan system, but the City boss revealed the main factor in his calculations when he explained, “I decided in the end that the move would have been too binding. There would have been no recall clause in the deal, which would have limited our options had we needed him.”

Stags Extend Greenacre Loan

Chris Greenacre will spend another month on loan at Mansfield. The 22-year-old striker has already scored five goals in his first two months at Field Mill and Stags’ boss Billy Dearden has made no secret of his desire to sign the player permanently. Greenacre is popular with Mansfield fans and is said to be enjoying his stay with the Nottinghamshire outfit. However, it’s thought that the player’s wage demands are the barrier to the deal, with Mansfield unable to match the salary he enjoys at Maine Road.

Russell in Blades Trial

Transfer-listed City striker Craig Russell has a chance to earn a move away from the club after beginning a trial at First Division rivals Sheffield United. The player recently failed to earn a contract after a similar arrangement with Dundee United. Russell joined City in a £1 million swap deal with Nicky Summerbee in November 1997 but has had a miserable time at Maine Road. Having largely been played out of position, the Jarrow-born forward has notched only two goals in 21 league starts and a further nine substitute appearances and in the last 18 months he’s had loan spells at Tranmere, Port Vale and Darlington.

Flu Outbreak Royle’s Biggest Worry

The Manchester City ‘flu epidemic is Joe Royle’s biggest headache ahead of Sunday’s big FA Cup clash with Leeds. The City boss is hoping that several of his squad will shake off the bug in time to figure in the game. Danny Granville and Tony Grant were both substituted in the second half of Monday’s draw at Crewe feeling the effects of ‘flu and Richard Edghill missed the game for the same reason. Jamie Pollock has also been affected. Meanwhile, Royle is hopeful that winger Mark Kennedy, who’s missed the last two games with a calf injury, will return for the visit of the Premiership high-flyers.

Injury-Hit Leeds Given Radebe Clearance

Leeds United will have their club captain Lucas Radebe available for the FA Cup fourth round tie with City at Maine Road on Sunday. The South African international had been due to depart on international duty prior to the game, but the Premiership leaders have obtained special dispensation for him to join up late with his national squad. Radebe is an integral part of the South African party for the forthcoming African Nations Cup, but the South African FA have agreed to allow him to stay in the UK for an extra 24 hours to face the Blues. Radebe will play alongside England defender Jonathan Woodgate on Sunday but Leeds do have other selection problems for the game. Top scorer Michael Bridges is suspended, while Stephen McPhail, David Hopkin and David Batty are all injured.

Royle Bidding for More Cup Glory

Having taken unfashionable Oldham to one League Cup final and two FA Cup semi-finals, and having won the premier knock-out trophy at Everton, Joe Royle is a manager with a genuine cup pedigree. And the City boss bids to continue his success with the Blues this season. His side have been handed one of the toughest possible obstacles in the shape of Premiership leaders Leeds, and history is also against City. In eight seasons out of the top division since 1983, only once have the Blues triumphed in a cup match against top-flight opposition – when a League Cup replay was won at West Ham in 1984-85. But hopes that Leeds will become the second scalp will be raised with news of the Yorkshire club’s casualty list and their recent dip in form, which has seen them suffer two successive defeats.

Weaver’s Unusual Accolade

Thursday’s Manchester Evening News reports that Nicky Weaver recieved an unusual prize from the South African-based supporters who voted him the player of the 1998-99 season. As a token of their appreciaton, the fans presented the City goalkeeper with a glazed ostrich egg mounted on an inscribed wooden base. The paper reports that following Weaver’s error against Stockport, team mates joked that he should have been presented with a duck egg. However, the England under-21 international has apparently promised that the award will be given pride of place in his new south Manchester home.

Peter Brophy (


This article features currently on the Guardian website.

Tale of Trautmann bears two more retellings
Frank Keating, Wednesday January 5, 2000

Out of the blue comes a face and a voice from the past. This Saturday evening a fascinating BBC2 Timewatch documentary tells of the 400,000 German prisoners left in Britain after the last war. The leading rôle is played by a tall, handsome, still recognisably smiling and straight-backed 76-year-old. At this time of new year renewal and reflection, Bert Trautmann’s tale is one to tell again – and coincidentally it is also being retold next Monday on Radio 5 Live when a profile of one of the Football League’s grandest figures kicks off a relishable new series, Keepers. As displayed by Saturday’s riveting film by Catrine Clay, no goalie comes more heroic than Trautmann, who escaped from a Soviet prisoner-of-war camp only to be recaptured by the Allies in the last months of the war and deposited behind barbed wire in Lancashire when the British government defied the Geneva Convention and continued to hold prisoners for vital work in rebuilding a shattered Britain. Only instead of being behind barbed wire Trautmann was in no time standing in front of Maine Road netting, succeeding the legendary Frank Swift.

It caused a vitriolic outcry at the time, particularly from Manchester’s large Jewish community – till the local Rabbi Altmann gave his blessing: “He is a decent fellow, unconnected with any German crimes.” Trautmann still remembers the rabbi with gratitude. “His calming and generous words stopped all hell breaking loose.” So he put on Swift’s jersey and stepped up for, in all, 545 league and FA Cup matches. “He became better than Swift,” wrote Eric Todd in these pages. “Frank might have been more the showman but Bert could make saves no others could have dreamed of.” His old City colleague Roy Clarke says on the radio programme: “Bert was best in the world. Oh sure, he was better than Schmeichel. Yet he never played to the crowd.” Trautmann lived 23 years in England. Then he toured the world as a successful manager and coach. He now lives in contented retirement in Spain. “I was a soldier at 17 and witnessed all the horror and beastliness of war. But my education only began at 22 on the day I arrived in England. People were so kind and decent, they didn’t see an enemy prisoner, they saw a human being. The British made me what I am. Here in Spain, or when I visit Germany, they say to me, ‘Be honest, you’re English through and through.’ And I’m mighty proud to so consider myself. I come back four or five times a year, and always think, ‘Great, I’m home’.” For the BBC2 documentary they filmed him – where else? – above a Maine Road goalmouth. He chuckles down the line: “Funnily enough, of all the saves, for some reason the one that always seems to stand out was at Old Trafford. It was not long before United’s terrible Munich crash. If ever a football was a rocket it was at that moment. An outswinging corner from the left had Tommy Taylor running on to it from deep and he met it perfectly with his head, an absolute screamer for my top left-hand corner. As a header of a ball, Tommy was in a class with the other Tom [Lawton] and Nat [Lofthouse]. Anyway, I only saw its last few yards – and I still can’t explain how I twisted up to palm it around for another corner. Every single Saturday you were up against one or two true-great forwards. I suppose Tom Finney was greatest all-rounder of them all. I still have my dish and follow everything, City especially. They are much fitter than we were, obviously, but what has gone is the individual’s element of surprise. Now they just look to keep possession at all cost: the balls played square, balls played back. They are all in a rigid corset, not daring to do anything the coach hasn’t mentioned.” You have to ask him: “Bert, how’s the neck?” Famously, gallantly, he broke it, diving at the onrushing Peter Murphy of Birmingham City towards the end of the 1956 FA Cup final. It ensured the Cup for Manchester City. He was five months in plaster. “It is not so stiff here in the Spanish sun. But there is still a twinge whenever I look sharp left in the car or on my bicycle. A nice reminder of the great old days, in fact.”

Peter Kewley (

With thanks to the Guardian. We don’t normally use anything from newspapers due to copyright infringement; however, as this is an unusual and interesting article, I think we can make an exception with due acknowledgement.



I can only surmise as to the genuiness of the appeal, but I have the best intentions anyway. Whilst browsing round various sites available only to AOL members, I came across this on an MCFC Bulletin Board:

I have a Manchester City football signed by all the players. This was donated to us by the club to raise money for the Kirsty Webb appeal.

Anyone who wants to buy this football, contact me at

I replied and mentioned that I may be able to advertise it amongst the fans of MCFC if they wanted. I got this reply:


Thanx for giving the only sensible reply.

Kirsty has Cerebral Palsy, she is 7 years old. She can’t walk or talk, her only communication is through smiling, + that can be difficult sometimes.

We have just had a New Years Eve raffle for various donations made by local businesses + managed to raise £286.

Hopefully we’ll raise more with this football!

Anyway, thanx for your help.


I am sure that there will be some interest from fans and MCIVTA must be the best place to try.

Thanks in anticipation.

Chris Duxbury (


Issue 2

City Diary – 26 October to 27 November

Lee Peacock signs from Mansfield for £500,000; Murtaz possibly played his last match for City?; Kakhabar however winning his battle against injury; QPR match sold out; Mark Kennedy in Republic squad for play-offs vs. Turkey; Danny Allsopp to be loaned out; City beat Ipswich; Nick Fenton extends his loan at Notts County; Danny Tiatto named in Aussie squad; Tony Vaughan and Alan Reilly made available; Blues beat Port Vale 2-1, Shaun Wright-Phillips débuting and Danny Granville scoring the winner; Danny Granville’s loan to be made permanent; Joe gets October Division 1 Manager of the Month Award; Gio joins Derby on loan till end of season;.Chris Greenacre joins Mansfield on loan; Fulham home game to be Sky game on Sunday 16 January kick-off 1pm; no extra security to be laid on for Alan Ball’s return to Maine Road with Pompey; Terry Cooke angrily denies any transfer demand rumours; Craig Russell agrees a third month on loan at Darlo; Blues beat Pompey 4-2; Bob Taylor is linked with us again!; Charlton game a sell out; Nick Weaver named in U-21 squad for play-offs vs. Yugoslavia; BSkyB invest £5.5m, acquiring just under 10% of club’s shareholding; EGM scheduled for 6 December; Danny A joins Notts County on loan; Blues draw 1-1 with QPR; Kennedy could miss Republic games with pulled hamstring; Danny Allsopp scores after 2 minutes for Notts County; David Bernstein says BSkyB money will help club but knows Joe won’t spend rashly; Kennedy won’t be risked unless 100% fit; Joe praises the “old men” of the side, Jobbo & Bish; FA Youth Cup pairs young Blues with Bristol City on 30 November; Vaughan extends loan at Cardiff; Greenacre loaned out to Hartlepool; England U-21 game called off; Fenton not for sale; injury problems ease; England beat Scotland 2-0 at Hampden; Republic draw 1-1; Browny for Wigan? Megson sacked by Stoke; Kakhabar to make comeback in reserves match vs. Oldham; Bob rumours still rife; Gio unlikely to make début vs. them due to work permit problems; KT carried off in first half of Oldham game; Browny not for Wigan but Fitzroy possibly! Shaun Holmes given a free transfer; England lose 1-0 at Wembley, the Republic draw 0-0 and are out; Browny to Pompey for a month’s loan; Blues beat Charlton 1-0 and are still top due to other results; Blue draw Chester away in the F.A. Cup but venue to be decided; Blues beat Barnsley 3-1 in driving rain (as those of us in the front row of the Kippax will soggily testify!), getting 3,000 more than Chelsea did for their Champions’ League match vs. Feyenoord; Chester ask for the FA Cup tie to be played at Maine Road; Bob does finally sign for us! Chester told game will take place on Sunday 12 December at the Deva Stadium, 1pm kick-off; Blues stay top although they lose to Huddersfield with Charlton & Barnsley drawing.

A Close encounter with the Edge – by Mike Barnett

Edgy has been likened to Mount Rushmore in our defence, Mike citing that at the time of writing City had only lost 3 league games and Edgy had missed two of those, so we are more solid with him there. Richard is City’s longest serving player at the tender age of 25 although he missed a season and a half through injury after the Premiership win at Leeds, but he’s now fully recovered and playing some of the best football of his career. He agrees the first part of last season was one to forget but everything changed after Christmas. On a personal front he could have left the club due to wrangling over his extended deal with Frank Clark and Franny Lee but fortunately after Clark left, Joe sat him down and told him he saw him as an integral part of the team which pleased him greatly. When asked which clubs came in for him, Edgy declines to comment. At Wembley after scoring his penalty he kissed his shirt which endeared him to more fans – he knows he’s not the most popular of players but refuses to let the criticism and remarks get to him. He, like all of us, is surprised at City’s success this season but feels pressure more due to the standards the team have set themselves. Edgy gets the impression from some fans that they feel a further season in Division 1 would be beneficial but his argument is the team spirit is the strongest it’s ever been and that this team spirit and the new confidence with which they approach each game he feels gives them the edge over their rivals – the change of attitude and approach is clearly working. Edgy concludes by saying that we shouldn’t get carried away but he can’t see why promotion cannot be achieved.

Lights, Sound, Action!

“There’s only one Jimmy Grimble” will be released in August and Maine Road features heavily. The film is about the 15 year old Jimmy Grimble who makes his school team but is desperate to play in the Under-15 tournament at Maine Road. The film is marketed as a coming of age comedy drama than a film about football. Football’s poor track record in films was one factor for this so Simon Clifford, the first Englishman to hold a prized Brazilian coaching licence was employed to polish up match action and make each game portrayed in the film as different as possible. Why pick City? Well, the recent events have proved that truth is sometimes stranger than fiction and this is what attracted the film makers. They were also interested in the split between United and City and the film is about someone achieving their dreams. As co-producer Sarah Radclyffe put it, “the people who support City are all real supporters who’ve been following them for years, they’re not supporting a team just because they’re top of the league and have shed-loads of money. They’re supporting them because they love the game and they love the club.” One of the film’s themes is faith, loyalty and self-belief and the producers felt that was what City represented.. The film crew spent late October / early November filming matches and crowd scenes with City’s own film star Mike Summerbee pointing the way! Jimmy Grimble is played by Lewis McKenzie (not an actor) but he impressed the casting director enough with his natural acting talent to make the director say “he IS Jimmy Grimble”. Lewis thoroughly enjoyed himself and seems to have been bitten by the acting bug. The main star of the film is Robert Carlyle who relished playing a good guy for a change. The producer hopes that the film’s premiere will coincide with City back in the Premiership – nice thought eh?


Chris Bailey covered this more thoroughly and expertly than I could ever hope to so…!

Taylor Bobs In

A quick interview with our latest signing who admits that City broke his heart back in May (he thinks he suffered!) but after six weeks of on-off transfer rumours he’s delighted to have signed for us and said that, although other clubs were interested, City were the only club he wanted to join. He has soon realised that City is a world apart from Gillingham but hopes that once he has got in the side he can do enough to stay there as he knows places have to be fought for.

Loyal Supporter

John McDermott is 14 years old and lives in Newtonards, County Down. John won the Match magazine “Nationwide Fan of the Year” award. Why? Because he sets off after school on Friday afternoon with his parents catching the 5pm ferry from Larne to Stranraer then a drive down to his grandmother’s in Blackley via Carlisle arriving between 10 & 11pm. After the match he has to make the return journey, not arriving home until early Sunday morning (and I thought my old trips from London to games and back was bad enough when I was still darn sarf!). Both John’s parents are Blues and mum Liz said that they have to book their ferry tickets at least two weeks’ in advance, to take advantage of savings but if games are postponed for internationals or whatever then regretfully they lose their money – Liz says she daren’t try and work out how much money they’ve spent! John says most of his mates are Reds which causes him some grief but he says he will never change! Apart from winning the title, John has had the cost of his season ticket reimbursed, received VIP tickets for the Swindon game and a camera to record the events of the day – well done young man!

Maine Frames

Included: Mark Kennedy modelling his new teeshirt, advert for the City Till I Die Wembley book, Joe with his bubbly, Mark diving and missing Kevin Horlock! Danny G celebrating his first goal for the club and Moonie and Ian Cheeseman posing before abseiling down the Kippax for charity. Special mention if I may be so bold to Joyce Maddocks, wife of our erstwhile and recovering historian John, who also decided to abseil for charity – rather her than me! But well done to all who did “the deed”!

Alex, Head of the Crew

If things had gone better for Alex then we might never have heard of Nick Weaver. Alex played 125 games for City before he got a back injury. He then played a further 40 games for Port Vale before having to retire in 1986. He is now manager of City’s Football in the Community scheme but also assists with the coaching of young goalies two nights a week, helps assess potential ‘keepers, hospitality work on matchdays and also fits in goalie coaching courses for the PFA.

Alex was born round the corner from Maine Road and attended the same school as Roger Palmer and Clive Wilson (at the same time even) but football wasn’t in his original game plan. His parents weren’t really into football so he wasn’t under any pressure but he says that today’s youngsters are under more pressure due to the fact that they are now representing City from such an early age. Boot cleaning and changing room cleaning are no longer on the agenda but the youngsters are given the chance to see how people work in a 9-5 job too. Material rewards are better these days muses Alex ruefully as the 17 & 18 year olds now drive around in new cars where he had to make do with a bit of a rust bucket which caused amusement amongst his team mates!

Alex has an encyclopaedic memory of his own playing career, noting that Bryan Robson scored against him on his début and in his last match for City! To help him recover from his back injury, Billy McNeill sent him to Queen of the South which Alex really enjoyed and he remembers being called an “English bastard” as opposed to a “black bastard” which made a change! Alex joined Port Vale as the Vale physio was a back specialist and he felt that if he was going to make a full recovery then Vale would be the place to do it. Although he did slowly improve, he still felt some discomfort but decided enough was enough after a freezing cold night game. Ironically when he did retire, West Ham were interested in him. He then had to sign on for the first time in his life but soon rejoined Vale to start their Football in the Community scheme before moving to City two years later. He would have liked to try his hand at management feeling that ex-players cope better as they know how players are! He still enjoys watching City but is cautious about our chances of promotion.

Media Watch – Chris Bailey’s review of what the November papers said about us.

Awayday Blues – Ian and the Macclesfield branch (along with Cheadle and North Staffs) hit Port Vale… will they ever recover? Port Vale I mean, not Ian and Co! Clothes swapping? Mmmm.

Blue Notes – covered City 1 Ipswich 0; Vale 1 City 2; City 4 Pompey 2 (squeak squeak);QPR 1 City 1; Charlton 0 City 1; City 3 Barnsley 1; City 0 Huddersfield 1 (oops!)

Blue Preview – covered Stockport (h) through Christmas and the New Year to Crewe (a).

Carol Darvill (


I’ve read some articles on the lucky “Seagull” and must agree that it is certainly a bit of a mascot for us – I’ve admired it from the first time I saw it hanging from the Kippax, was disappointed when it disappeared and relieved when it was back to roost. However, my mate Pete who sits next to me insists that the record is put straight. He is an expert on ornithology and has told me that the seagull is infact a sparrowhawk – an awesome meat eating raptor! The scientific name for this bird is “Accipiter Nisus” – impress your mates down at the pub with this one!

Apparently, the mere silhouette of this vicious predator is enough to strike terror into the heart of any grass-seed eating little tweeter. So here’s the obvious analogy – the mere sight of the beautiful laser blue shirt is enough to have all other teams totally bricking it! Long may the sparrowhawk fly…

Jules Price (


Ditto the comments made last issue about Tony Grant. An Evertonian down the pub here reckons he’s a snip at £450,000 and is by far the best bet from all the Everton reserves currently on offer. Good passer of the ball with a decent shot on him, as we have already seen in short viewings in his appearances so far. As Michael Branch’s asking price has been halved since we were interested, he would be the only other Everton player worth going for the Evertonian reckons, but we’re well stocked in that department now anyway. By the looks of Mark Pembridge, they should maybe think about giving Branch a game themselves. This the same Pembridge who is warmly remembered in these parts as doing an unsurpassed impersonation of a semi-mobile creme caramel whilst falling over his shoelaces on Benfica’s left flank. He was actually one of the better imports in a hideous Benfica side put together by Graeme Souness which comprised Scott Minto, Michael Thomas, Martin Pringle, Brian Deane, Steve Harkness, Dean Saunders and Gary Charles. Reads like an Alan Ball must-have list…

For those based in sunny Lisbon this weekend, City vs. Leeds in the Beefeater, Cascais followed by a visit to the Estadio da Luz for Benfica vs. Sporting would seem to be the only possible way to spend Sunday afternoon. Come on you blue-shirted heroes!

Simon Curtis (


In Holland I find it easy to avoid the latest rubbish of the British tabloids, but unfortunately I was listening to 5 Live on my way to work and…my, oh my, oh my! I shouldn’t really be surprised to hear that Becky Posh has taken to wearing his wife’s knickers. This seems to me to be a natural development because wasn’t it the same sad soul who was photographed not so long ago in a sarong.

I can’t imagine where it’s all coming from at the ‘Swamp’, or where it’s all going but there has always been a tendency for this sort of carry-on. Rod Stewart, plastic Scot, Celtic supporter and Rag sympathiser admits in his autobiography to frequently wearing silk undies because they were much softer on his tonkers.

Going even further back, how many of you Blues out there remember…

Georgie Best, superstar
Looks like a woman
…and he wears a bra?

Sung to the tune of J.C. superstar.

Greetings to all you Blues on the other side of the ‘Puddle’.

Kippax Exile, Met vriendelijke groeten, Dave Lyons (


As we go into January on top with 26 games played, is it sensible to look at individual MCFC employees and ask if they are Premier material? Well if we assume that we want to do well in the Premier then the answer is simple: we can definitely count Weaver. After that I think Bernstein and Royle figure highly as Premier people but that’s it.

This kind of harsh judgement is common and neglects at least two things:

  1. The huge variation in the Premier.
  2. The team factor.

Are we really going to be so pessimistic as to think that our defence is as poor as Newcastle’s for instance or that Southampton, Derby, Watford, Sheffield Wednesday, Bradford or Coventry hold great terrors for us at Maine Road (they can’t all be relegated)? Surely not, but people always want to look at the top half of the Prem and see how we compare.

The big factor is the team. Remember when we had the most talented player in the Prem and the First Division – we, as a team, were rubbish then. Now we have no great individuals but for 95% of the time, a superb team spirit with a fit, balanced and competitive squad. When we had just scraped into the First Division all the pundits used the same convergent thinking to dismiss us as one of this year’s promotion contenders. Quite right too. City as a bunch of individuals couldn’t possibly get promoted could they? Similarly, it is quite impossible for clubs like Crewe to be in the First Division and unthinkable for a little club like Stockport be in a play-off position for the Premiership and to win at Maine Road – but they are and Stockport did. It was also clear to me that Goater, who just got 21 goals last season was not going to do well in the First and here he is on 14 with only half the season gone. Goater is an shining example of the no-logic-in-football theory. We all know he is one of the top scorers in the First Division because that is fact. But he doesn’t play like one, run like one, head like one or kick like one and so he can’t be one, can he?

Fans love to speculate like this but it is a complete waste of time. Sorry folks, if football lent itself to this kind of analysis, I’d have won the pools ages ago and so would you. More worrying is that so many people think that unless a team buys as it goes into the Premiership (usually two or three fourth-rate, ageing Italians and a 25-year-old mid European whose name you can’t pronounce) then it is doomed.

Gollocks and more gollocks is what I say.

The pragmatic perspective is this:

First – catch your hare. In other words getting promoted it isn’t a foregone conclusion and we haven’t really thrashed anyone with a full compliment of players in the league yet.

Second – have a look at the up and coming players who are 18, 19 or 20 years of age – not just Wright-Phillips but a few other might do for us what the young players have done for Leeds – if not next season then the next.

Third – trust Joe Royle/Willie Donachie/Bernstein to buy when necessary. No panic. No paying big bucks for puddings.

Fourth – the hardest one to say. Should we be good/lucky enough to get promoted, face it that we probably won’t do much against Leeds, Arsenal, Chelsea and United. They do have very talented squads and will have greater resources than us for a few years. In other words United will probably do the double over us in the first and possibly the second year. Please let me be wrong.

Fifth – let’s build, let’s support City and its new leadership, let’s trust the judgement of those who have just given us the best year at Maine Road for five years. We have a team on the up, an experienced manager who is at ease with the press and with the fans, a potential England goalkeeper and a chairman who is not only a respected big business professional (unlike the local butcher’s-boy) but actually supports City as well.

Peter Llewellyn (


Once again the so-called commentary service was down on Monday. This has happened for the last few games, and for the games when it has been up (usually twenty minutes into the game) it frequently goes off and on, has poor sound quality, or is so far behind due to buffering you might as well be listening to Neville Chamberlain declaring “Peace in our time”.

What is so annoying is that there has been no word from the club that they are doing anything to put it right, or even give a damn. There is a whole army of fans out here who through distance, disability or whatever, look forward to the commentary to support the club they love. These fans may not be paying through the gate, but I’ll bet by their very circumstances they are right up there when it comes to buying merchandise.

Please City show you care, don’t abuse a fan base you are all too happy to claim as the most loyal in the world, by failing to spend a relatively small amount of money to put this right. If anyone out there feels as aggrieved as me please do as I did and email, write to or phone the club to complain. I chose the “Football In The Community” email address as the current lack of football in the community (how large is a community?) appealed to my sense of irony, or sarcasm. It is

David Kilroy ( – should be


I do not understand when so much is at stake that all the City players did not have a flu shot. I understand that you can not make people have a flu shot, and some people might be allergic. What has happened? So many key players with flu. I just hope that all the players for the hard task ahead vs. Leeds United, and all other games to follow, will be fit to play.

I am no doctor, but doesn’t the team doctor give good advice, get a flu shot it’s not to late (at least not for everyone)!

We have had “Swine Flu”, some of us have had “Boddie’s Flu”, now someone tell me there is a new strain of flu called “City Flu’.

Ernie Barrow (


In MCIVTA 566, Elaine Taylor was wondering whether people booing Edghill and Goater might be due to their race.

Well I have never booed any of the boys and never would, never could even if I wanted to for that matter. However, the guy who sits a row in front of me hates the pair of them and has spent the last season or two slagging the pair off at any possible opportunity. They are both black players but also two of the players who have been prone to making vital mistakes in the past. My friend on the row in front is also black. I believe they get booed when they under perform; it has nothing to do with race. So Elaine, please don’t try to throw up a problem that only exists in your dangerous mind.

Stuart Reynolds (


OK with hand on, or very close to, heart I would have to take my place in the firing line with Steve McLean’s appraisal of the current City squad. Albeit reluctantly, I find my own thoughts closely reflect his own. Although I’d probably make Whitley a ‘no’ and Dickov a ‘maybe’ (though not as a goalscorer, but creating space), I’d make Bob Taylor a ‘maybe’ too. Now let me temper this by saying I don’t think the current squad would be our Premiership squad and would expect to see at least 4 really class signings with the money being generated. I guess that is down to whether the board see us as a Sunderland or a Watford (I’m sure it’s the former).

Taking Pete Share’s comments regarding Paul Dickov, whether a player should forever retain his place in a team due to one goal is debatable (although it worked for John Barnes for many years). I do though fully support Pete’s view that it was probably the most important goal in the club’s history. Forget championships and cups, can one second ever before have turned a club round so dramatically? Imagine another year in Division 2, coats for goalposts…

CTID, David Kilroy (


Let’s get real; if we think we are going to survive in the Premiership surely we must have the players now to stuff teams like Crewe and Grimsby, not just be satisfied with four points. This is not the City we want to see; we, now, for the First Division have a very expensive line up, so what are the reasons for these average performances? Will JR tell us all what has happened to Terry Cooke; surely a place on the bench and a twenty minute run out is the way he will get his form back; I want to see wingers in the side; why none against mighty Crewe?

I am feeling like a United fan at the moment; moaning and top of the League (living in High Wycombe). Are there any more City fans in the area?

Mike Collard (


I read with interest Elaine Taylor’s comments on the Richard Edghill situation, and have to say that I have had similar thoughts about the race aspect of the abuse he receives. IMO “Reg” is the best out and out defender we have at present. I accept that his passing is, at times, suspect, but even Bish has his bad days (Grimsby for example), and whilst a bad pass is generally met with groans, the abuse Edghill gets is totally unjustified. There is a racist element at Maine Road, as there is in all walks of life, but I believe (I hope) it is a small minority. On a positive note, the response from the majority of fans following his cock up against Grimsby is to be applauded, as is the response of the team and of Edghill himself.

Colin Ashworth (


Elaine Taylor gave us her opinion about Edghill in MCIVTA 566, but as with the fan on GMR, she can hardly claim to represent the views of the Kippax either. She has her opinion, I have mine, and so on. How boring it would be if we all thought the same things. However, I’m with the GMR guy and just had to join in on a topic that’s been driving me mad for months.

Where I sit, in Kippax (CCL), just below and to the right of Mr Banks, opinion on Edghill seems to be equally and clearly divided. You either like him or you don’t, no maybes.

I totally agree that booing a player does absolutely nothing to help his or the team’s performances, and indeed the opposing team often latch onto it and raise their game when they feel the undercurrents of dissent. That doesn’t stop us feeling totally exasperated with under-achieving players.

In my opinion Edghill should not be on the field, let alone be the team captain. I can’t imagine what organisational and motivational quality Joe Royle thinks that Edghill posses for him to be selected week-in, week-out as captain. Edghill is the longest-serving member of the current squad, having been at Maine Road for something like eight or nine years. During that time he has scored one goal. His crossing is suspect, he gets beaten by any pacey winger very easily, he lets the attacking player make 30 or 40 yards before attempting an interception, his throw-ins are poor (usually aimed at the midriff of the receiving player), and he gets caught in possession too often and ends up trying to pass through his opponent. He never makes an attempt to organise his teammates; you only have to watch Pollock or Morrison to see how it should be done. So what are we left with? A very average defender who’s likely to get the run-around against Leeds.

I think the racial issue is a red herring. Most of the fans want to support the man in blue. When we screamed at Summerbee a couple of seasons ago for being a bone-idle, lazy b*****d, that was just plain abuse; if we moan at Edghill for giving Grimsby the advantage of a soft goal and putting us under severe pressure, that’s racial abuse? I don’t think so.

As we go through this current period where many of the goals are coming from defence and midfield it is pleasing to see that Lee Crooks didn’t wait nine years before scoring his first goal, and another at Crewe yesterday confirms my rating of him as a better prospect than Edghill.

Keep up the good work at MCIVTA, I don’t know what I’d do without my regular fix!

Nev James (


Steve Maclean wrote in the last Via the Alps about how our current team would do in the Premiership. I think that he was very harsh against our lads.

I must say that I disagree with Steve. I think most of our players could play – and do well in the P.L.

I think it is ridiculous of Steve to say that a player like Tony Grant is not good enough; well how many times have we seen him play? The same goes for Robert Taylor, he hasn’t played that much yet. Actually Spurs and Hearts were after his signature at the same time as City! And how can you say that Granville is not good enough? I have seen him play a couple of times and I was impressed! Especially his performance vs. WBA was good.

Peacock: Well he hasn’t scored yet, but don’t worry I’m sure that he will get a couple before end of season. He is a young man so give him a break. He has a good attitude, and I’m sure that he can be a good player.

Kennedy: I agree with you there… he is a player that could do well in any team – at any level!

Cooke: As you say, we can’t know… it’s a shame.

Wiekens: Yes, just give him some games to settle, he is a brillant defender with a fantastic ability to “read the game”.

Morrison: No, he will have an attitude problem and he has no technique at all. But I must say that he is good and solid defender and he is good player at this level.

Horlock: One of our best players, I’m sure he will do well up there!

Pollock: Same problems as Morrison, but Jamie has a good attitude and he is willing to work hard to get in the team whether it’s in the Premiership or the Second Division!

Goater: I will have to agree with you again, he is not a Premiership striker but still I would not be surprised if Shaun continued to score many goals in the P.L.

To round it all up, I must say that I think if these players get us promoted most of them must be good enough for the P.L. Joe will have to buy two or three quality players. But that should be enough! He could then look to the Scandinavian player market, good players there, and they are cheap! Just look at goalkeeper Sorensen in Sunderland, Per Frandsen in Blackburn, Claus Jensen in Bolton, Jacob Laursen in Derby.

Well a happy new year to you Steve, and I hope we can be friends in spite of our disagreements.

Finally a very happy new year to every single City fan. 1999 was a great year. It would almost be to much to hope that 2000 can be better, but just maybe it can bring us a new promotion!

A very special New Year’s greeting to members of the Scandinavian Branch, and thank you for some great “f