Newsletter #572

The main news surrounds outgoing players: Taylor (G) has gone on 2 months’ loan at Port Vale, and is reported to be keen to do the Blues a favour by putting one or two past our promotion rivals; Chris Greenacre is close to signing for Mansfield; and Cardiff are still pursuing Tony Vaughan.

This issue has a belated matchview on the Fulham game; a squad update; a book review; much opinion about your friend and mine – Alan Brazil; and a Why Blue.

Next game: Sheffield United away, Saturday 22nd January 2000


Striker Joins Vale in Two-Month Loan Switch

Transfer-listed City striker Gareth Taylor has joined Port Vale on loan. The 27-year-old front man has completed a two-month temporary move and will train with his new team mates for the first time on Thursday. Port Vale manager Brian Horton will consider a bid to make Gareth Taylor’s loan move permanent – but only if the City striker impresses during his time at the Potteries club. “It’s better that Gareth goes into the shop window by appearing in the First Division for us rather than playing in City’s reserves,” observed ex-City boss Horton, before emphasising that the onus lies with the player. “If [he] does well then we’ll try to sort something out more permanent but it’s up to him to show what he can do.” City want a fee of around £400,000 for the former Sheffield United target man, and last week Dutch side Fortuna Sittard were reportedly prepared to meet the asking price. However, the player prefers to remain in England and on the domestic market, interest in him has been limited to loan enquiries.

Renewed Cardiff Vaughan Bid “Too Low”

Cardiff City are reported to have raised their initial bid of £150,000 for City defender Tony Vaughan by a further £50,000. However, the revised figure still falls short of the Blues’ valuation. The Second Divison outfit were keen to sign Vaughan on a permanent basis last month, when the player’s three-month loan spell at Ninian Park ended. The player’s Maine Road wage is £4,000 per week, leaving the Bluebirds unable to meet both his personal demands and City’s £450,000 asking price. It’s now thought the Blues may be prepared to reduce the fee to ensure a deal is done but still want in the region of £300,000. Grimsby are also said to be interested in the former Ipswich player, but are supposedly short of cash and therefore only interested in a loan deal.

Greenacre Set to Seal Permanent Move

City striker Chris Greenacre, currently on loan at Mansfield Town, is set to complete a permanent move to the Stags. The Blues will allow the 22-year-old to leave on a free transfer. “We are very close to agreeing a deal and I would think within the next forty eight hours Chris will join Mansfield on a permanent basis,” manager Joe Royle told the official City website at “There is no fee involved. He has been on a ‘free’ for over twelve months now and he has done very well at Mansfield while there on loan. He deserves his chance as he is a good kid.”

Royle – Clubs Can’t Afford Our Players

Joe Royle has been refelcting on the difficulties he’s encountering in trimming the Blues’ senior squad. The Manchester City boss told tonight’s Manchester Evening News that though he has several players available, the moribund state of the domestic transfer market is deterring potential buyers. Royle has been hoping to offload transfer-listed players like Gareth Taylor, Tony Vaughan and Craig Russell. However, while he’d have no problem sending them out on loan, the interested clubs don’t have the means to do cash deals. Royle this week was forced to send Taylor on loan to Port Vale despite earlier insisting that the former Sheffield United man would only be allowed to leave on a permanent basis. “There have been one or two enquiries for players on loan but there is definitely a depression coming in the market,” said Royle. “But we probably have one or two too many players for their good rather than the club’s. We need to be moving a few on if we can.”

Cooke and Peacock On Target as Reserves Win

Terry Cooke and Lee Peacock took advantage of the opportunity to underline their claims for a senior place as City reserves won 3-0 at home to Preston in Tuesday night’s Pontin’s League match. Peacock scored twice and Cooke grabbed the other goal as the Blues notched an easy victory. The result means that the second string side has gone more than four months since its last Pontin’s League defeat – although the sequence numbers only eight games, five wins and three draws. The unbeaten run in all competitions is five matches, the Blues having been beaten at Bury in November’s Manchester Senior Cup tie.

Goater Puts City First

City top scorer Shaun Goater is to put the Blues’ promotion bid ahead of his own international prospects. The Bermudan will remain in Manchester while his national squad begins its preparations for qualifiers for the 2002 World Cup. The Bermudan FA have given their blessing to Goater and Stoke’s Kyle Lightbourne has also been given permission to stay in England. Goater is quoted in Bermudan newspaper The Royal Gazette as saying that he wants to impress Joe Royle with a view to winning a new contract when his current deal expires in two years’ time. The ex-Bristol City forward feels that his next contract will be his last as a professional and is keen to ensure that its terms are as advantageous as possible. Thanks to Blue View contributor The Nose for this information.

Banks Rubbishes Eastlands Athletics Plan

Tony Banks has attacked Manchester’s bid for the City’s new home at Eastlands to become the national athletics stadium. The outspoken former Sports Minister’s comments came as he was questioned by the Parliamentary Culture, Media and Sport Committee. A new home is needed for British athletics after the scrapping of plans for the rebuilt Wembley to host athletics events in addition to football and rugby league matches. But Banks feels that London is the only British city where international athletics bodies would want to hold major championships. “It isn’t just about the sporting event itself, it’s all the other ancillary things – they want to shop, see the sights and shows, and, who knows, other nefarious practices which London can offer,” said the outspoken MP much to the chagrin of a number of his Manchester colleagues.

New Date for Bolton Game

City have announced that the home league fixture against Bolton Wanderers, originally due to be played on 29 January, will be played on Wednesday, 5 April. Wanderers’ FA Cup progress has made a rearrangement necessary, with the Trotters having a fifth round engagement at Cambridge when they were to have been playing the Blues. Meanwhile, City’s away trip to Stockport, scheduled for Tuesday, 21 March, could be moved back 24 hours after the announcement that the Blues’ home clash with Charlton will be played on Sunday, 19 March to accommodate the BSkyB cameras.

Radio Pair Adopt City Star

Tuesday’s Manchester Evening News reports that Radio One’s Mark and Lard have decided to sponsor City’s Danny Tiatto. The two DJs are both City season ticket holders and have joined the ‘Adopt a Player’ scheme run by the City marketing department. It’s the second recent accolade for the Australian following his selection for his country’s squad for a forthcoming four-nation tournament also involving Chile, Bulgaria and Slovakia. The former Stoke player will fly back to his homeland after the Blues’ visit to Nottingham Forest on 5 February and will still be absent for the following week’s home game against Norwich. He’ll return in time for the televised Friday clash at Huddersfield on 18 February.

Academy Season to Resume on Saturday

City’s youngsters will be in Academy action on Saturday after a six-week break. The club’s under-17 and under-19 sides travel to Blackburn bidding for revenge over the club which beat the Blues in last year’s under-17 Academy Cup final. The Maine Road juniors were allowed home for a break over Christmas but are now back at the club, and returned to action with a vengeance in Friday’s six-gola FA Youth Cup rout of Bradford. City will travel to Derby on Wednesday, 2 February for the fifth round FA Youth tie between the clubs. And City Academy Director Jim Cassell knows his young charges are in for a tough game. Cassell was in the crowd as Derby beat Aston Villa on Tuesday, and he warned of the Rams’ quality, telling the club’s official website at, “Derby were impressive, they are a good, strong side and it will be a stern test for our lads. But we have a talented squad and I am confident they will do well and meet the challenge successfully.”

City to Face Old Trafford Youngster?

Manchester City will come face-to-face with recently departed old boy Michael Brown at Sheffield United on Saturday. And the Blades could also have Manchester United youngster Alex Notman in their line-up. Local radio station BBC GMR is reporting that the 20-year-old striker is set to move to Bramall Lane on a month’s loan and may feature in this weekend’s fixture. Notman has little first-team experience, having never made a senior start at Old Trafford or during a loan spell with Scottish Premier League side Aberdeen. Meanwhile, Joe Royle is set to make only one change to the eleven which beat Fulham, with Lee Crooks replacing the suspended Gerard Wiekens. Crooks will probably play at right back with Richard Edghill moving across to fill Wiekens’ central rôle.

Improving Blades in Revenge Bid

The Blues travel to Sheffield United on Saturday to meet a side beaten convincingly on its visit to Maine Road last August. So as City bid to consolidate their top two position, they’ll encounter a Blades side intent on revenge – and enjoying an upsurge in form under new boss Neil Warnock. Since the former Notts County, Huddersfield and Oldham manager moved from Bury at the beginning of December to replace ex-City player Adrian Heath, United have eased away from the relegation zone. And although Warnock suffered his first league defeat at Walsall last week, the run of four wins and a draw in the previous five league games provides a warning for Joe Royle’s team. Fancied opponents Blackburn and Fulham came unstuck at Bramall Lane in that sequence and City will have to be at their best to have a chance of taking all three points.

Peter Brophy (


Lovely sunny day in Manchester. Most Fulham fans must have feared a soaking in the Gene Kelly (they had the top corner of the North Stand). Surely there must be some explanation why they only brought about 300 up? Perhaps they believe their best prospects of success are in the cups? They certainly seemed to have a fair turn out at Leicester in the League Cup in the week.

The game started quietly. We were on top for the first 15 minutes without creating much. Kennedy got in a couple of crosses and a shot cutting in from the right wing, and that was about it from him for the match. Bishop and Grant were playing confidently in the middle but we didn’t really create anything. Bob Taylor didn’t look like he has worked very hard to regain fitness, as has been claimed. He looks a lot bigger than I remember him from last season.

Fulham then got into the game, with Lee Clark and Wayne Collins getting some ball in midfield and Horsfield and Peschisolido looked quite lively up front. The latter had their best chance, but only after Kennedy (I forgot, in my intro, about this bit) making a real dog’s dinner out of playing his way out of trouble on the edge of our box. He soon found himself on the byline and let Weaver try to sort out the mess with his left foot. He screwed it straight to Mr Brady who bore down on goal. Weaver tackled him very smartly with his left foot and, after the ball was cleared, told Kennedy that he thought he might have chosen the wrong option. Clark and Peschisolido then set up Collins who drove over with his left foot from the edge of the box. Weaver’s kicks were none too impressive all game. In fairness to him, the pitch was in poor condition – quite bumpy and dry-looking in the goal areas.

The pitch helped us take the lead, I think. Taylor hit a good ball from halfway on the left over to the right edge of their box. Edghill and Brevett chased it and just before it became a 50/50 ball, Brevett appeared to fall in a hole on the pitch. Edghill squared it (well, some might say he was bound to, one day) and Goater slid it home with his left foot. Brevett limped off.

Not much happened then until I went to the loo. Or should I say, the game went quiet again. Then, in the second half, whilst I was in the bathroom, Fulham had a shot blocked in our area and the ball was cleared towards the right corner of their area. Goater up against Coleman. Goater mis-controlled, Coleman fell over and grabbed the ball with both hands to stop Goater going in on goal. I’ve seen it on the telly. What I actually recall is “Go on, Ohhhhh, Handball! Off! Off! Off! Yesss!” Fulham had just replaced Kit with Reidle and so their game plan was rather spoiled. Cue City on top.

Goater hooked one over his shoulder after Granville had (fairly) gone up for a Horlock free kick with Maik Taylor. Then the ‘keeper made a right hash of trying to stop a tame header from Jobson and the ball went up in the air for Goater to nod in from about 2 yards. Finally, Tiatto, sent through by Bishop, was tripped by Finnan and Super Kev stroked home the pen. There were only about 100 Fulham left now.

I thought Grant did well. He made lots of tackles as well as being comfortable on the ball. Edghill also did OK, although he did make a daft challenge on Peschisolido in the box at the end of the first half. Neither player had a hope of reaching a cross but Edghill panicked, because he was on the wrong side of his opponent, and climbed all over him. Horsfield and Wiekens had a tussle all afternoon. Reidle did nothing apart from get booked for tripping and being sung to by the North Stand. Lovely to hear “Dirty Cockney B*****d” again.

John Marsland (


TITLE          My Dear Watson
AUTHOR         Penny Watson
PUBLISHER      Arthur Baker Ltd.
ADDRESS        91 Clapham High Street,
               London SW4 7TA,
DATE	       1981
ISBN NUMBER    0 213 16814 6
PRICE          Lent!

Thanks go to David Butler for lending me what must be a fairly obscure book, both in terms of its rarity and its authorship. The book is a biography of Dave Watson, the defensive rock on whom City’s mid-70’s success was built, but written by – and from the unusual perspective of – the player’s wife. The book is 137 pages long with 16 black and white photos, about half of which fall into the ‘friends and family’ category. It originally cost £5.95, and would probably cost around that today, though I’ve never come across a secondhand copy.

The format of the book is a basic chronological biography, but commencing from around the point when the couple first met. Watson was just starting his football career, somewhat belatedly, after false starts as a farm labourer, an electrician, and latterly one of ‘Maggie’s Millions’, but pre-Maggie as it were! He was the youngest of five brothers, all of whom had connections in one form or another with football. One of them arranged a trial with Notts County, where he quickly made an impression, soon being snapped up by Tommy Docherty for Rotherham. Here he began to make real progress, so much so that he was attracting attention from the big clubs, which led to ‘The Doc’ slapping a rather inflated £90,000 price tag on him. This quickly backfired though, when The Doc moved to QPR, wanted to buy Watson, but couldn’t due to the asking price – couldn’t have happened to a nicer man!

It’s here that we get a flavour of how press speculation can upset a player and lead to unrest – or even transfer requests – when otherwise none would have been made. All the press hype led to Watson putting in a transfer request, ‘to fulfil his potential’, only to find that the speculation was largely tabloid generated. Consequently, he had to suffer the indignity of withdrawing his request when no prospective purchasers were forthcoming. However, the naturally shy and introverted Watson, who would have stagnated at Rotherham, was pushed onwards and upwards by his wife, who persuaded him to put in another transfer request. He eventually ended up moving to Sunderland for £100,000.

Roker Park clearly had a ‘big club’ atmosphere at that time, which was immediately brought home to Penny Watson on her first match day, when it became clear that the players’ wives were mainly there to score points off each other in the sartorial stakes. There was also a big change for Dave Watson on the pitch, with tours to Australia (including laid-on groupies!) and a Cup run which culminated in the much celebrated victory over Leeds United. However, although Watson’s life on the pitch went from strength to strength, off the pitch things took a turn for the worse. Penny Watson evidently incurred the wrath of one of the other players’ wives and was virtually ostracised by the ruling clique. Although she claims never to have got to the bottom of it, it’s alarming to think that your best player can be unsettled by the off-field antics of the other players’ wives! Amazingly, the situation became so serious that she ended up seeking medical help for depression, and although Watson didn’t leave that season, it undoubtedly played a significant rôle in his final decision. After being let down by the club in a business venture, he put in a transfer request and made his move to Manchester, where he joined his best friends, Dennis and Joan Tueart. City paid £275,000, which was a great deal of money, but extremely well spent.

Watson was a real collosus at Maine Road, towering at the back, and capable of scoring at the other end – after all, he did start out as a centre forward. Certainly one of the most memorable goals I’ve ever seen was scored in the dying minutes of a game against a high-flying Ipswich team in the mid-70’s. Watson soared into the air and crashed a header towards the North Stand which almost burst the net – sheer raw power. It was certainly news to me to read that Watson suffered severe and prolonged back pain at Maine Road. He ended up having an operation which cost him his England place. Astoundingly, even when fully recovered and turning in star performance after star performance for the Blues, he failed to regain his England place. Any of you who experienced the idiosyncratic team selections of Don Revie will be mightily unsurprised by the dropping of a man who would go on to hold the record for consecutive England appearances (33). Just how many would he have had if it weren’t for the reviled Mr Revie? When finally selected, Watson was apparently still so upset at his treatment that he was determined not to play, only being talked round at the last minute by his wife and Tony Book.

The authoress and Watson himself talk affectionately about his time at Maine Road. Watson calls Swales: ‘The best chairman in football’ and states that his MCFC years were the best of his life. He did eventually ask for a transfer in the hope that a move to the continent would help to secure his future, financially. For once, City did the right thing and offered him a lucrative contract to end his days at Maine Road. However, things took a turn for the worse with the return of Macolm Allison. Watson’s wife gives us a taste of life at Maine Road during those turbulent months, telling us of Watson’s despair at having to endure another dire day’s training with Allison, and watching in disbelief as stars were sold for a pittance and replaced by expensive unknowns. Watson was so miserable at this turn of events that he put in a transfer request which resulted in a disastrous stay at Werder Bremen. He was finally rescued by Lawrie McMenemy and brought to Southampton, where the book catches up with real time.

I wasn’t particular looking forward to reading this book as I’d essentially prejudged it as being a dull, ‘me too’ sporting biography. However, the different perspective is something new, and we do get to see a side of football that is rarely discussed, namely, the effect the game has on family; the fading friendships due to continual moving; and the tiresome traveling. All in all, a valuable insight.



Are there any City fans interested in joining our trip to London for the Crystal Palace match on March 4th? Prices start at fl425 for flights, hotel and match tickets. If you need further info or would like to come along, give us a call or email us a.s.a.p.

078 6932044

Ian or Maggie (


Further changes since last time:

Nick Fenton , Gary Mason and Danny Allsop returned from loan periods.
Michael Brown transferred to Sheffield United for £400,000.
Tony Grant bought from Everton for £450,000.
Gareth Taylor loaned to Port Vale.

Tommy Wright
Nick Weaver
Steven Hodgson
Richard McKinney
Gerard Wiekens
Tony Vaughan                Transfer Listed
Richard Edghill
Lee Crooks
Nick Fenton
Danny Granville
Richard Jobson
Danny Tiatto
Kakhaber Tskhadadze
Andy Morrison
Shaun Holmes
Murtaz Shelia               Transfer Listed
Kevin Horlock
Jamie Pollock
Mark Kennedy
Gary Mason
Jim Whitley
Ian Bishop
David Laycock
Terry Dunfield
Christopher Shuker
Terry Cooke
Jeff Whitley
Tony Grant
Paul Dickov
Shaun Goater
Danny Allsopp
Gareth Taylor               On loan to Port Vale
Shaun Wright-Philips
Leon Mike
Christopher Killen
Bob Taylor
Lee Peacock
Chris Greenacre             On loan at Mansfield
Craig Russell               Transfer Listed

Second year trainees:

Greg Duff (defender)
Darren Garfield (striker)
Jason Kneen (striker)

First year trainees:

Stephen Jordan (defender)
Andrew Pavey (midfield)
Stephen Parkhouse (striker)
Rhys Day (defender)

Stuart Reynolds (


School trips to the Swamp (MCIVTA 571): advice to parents.

Ask the head: What is the educational value of the trip? Really (assuming it’s meant as educational and not an end-of-term “treat”)?

Don’t pay! If the trip is “educational” the school is obliged to pay for your child to go, and if enough parents refuse, the school may not want to spend its budget subsidising the ones who don’t pay. Please don’t adopt this tactic for proper educational trips – one of our local schools has a bunch of parents saying “we don’t have to pay” so there are simply no trips.

In reply to Christopher Sawyer:

Yeah, I did wonder whether I’d remembered the Ay-yi-yi song right. 32 years ago! As for Yorkshire place names instead of Kippax we should be even more grateful we didn’t have to sing “You’ll never take the Luddendenfoot” (when I worked on the railways we didn’t have a printed card ticket for said place, and one character in the booking office wrote on the blank card “Manchester Victoria to Luddenden – PTO” and on the back wrote “foot”). For our foreign friends – PTO = please turn over.

In reply to Tony Ward (on passing to marked players):

There are four elements to doing what Leeds did to us.

  1. Confidence that the player you pass to can control the ball even if marked(and the ability to distinguish between that and a “hospital pass”).
  2. Ability of the receiving player to shield the ball – which is nothinglike the skill required before tackling from behind was outlawed.
  3. Player who’s made the pass not hanging around to admire the pass but moving to receive the return.
  4. Ability to break the rule “play the way you’re facing” (which is goodenough at schoolboy level) and turn defenders.

Kinkladze “failed” (some failure) because we didn’t do 3. And there’s still a lot of the variant – someone (Bishop and now Grant, sometimes Tiatto) turns with the ball and gets away from a defender, and by the time the forwards or other midfielders have reacted, the player running with the ball has had to stop because there’s no one to pass to, and has to let the defenders catch up!

Of course, the clever stuff carries risks – if you take players on, you can get dispossessed but the good teams will take the risk and make sure the cover’s there. It’s not quite the right skill level but I love the Tiatto approach – here’s a defender, I will try to take the ball past him. Kennedy’s approach seems more I will knock the ball past the defender down the touchline and whip in a cross – but crosses from the wing can never be as effective as heading for goal with a defender trailing in your wake.

Steve Parish (



You can’t. You promised me. Please. You just can’t.

Keith Riley (


In response to Mike Collard’s question about where Ian Brightwell is… well, last week I literally bumped into him in Sainsbury’s in Leamington Spa.

I was on my lunch break and couldn’t believe my eyes when I stepped around aisle 4!

Jonathan Walsh (


In the midst of all the carping about our present players, it’s refreshing to turn to something lighter, as Christopher Sawyer did in his attempt to explain the naming of Kippax Street. I suspect that he is right in assuming that the street was called after the place in Yorkshire, situated to the north of Castleford, because the parallel street is called Crofton Street. Crofton lies to the south west of Castleford. Why these two villages were immortalised in Moss Side is hard to imagine – possibly it had something to do with the textile industry. Or maybe Mancunian missionaries returning over the Pennines named the streets with pride, celebrating the conversion of hundreds of pagan inhabitants of those Yorkshire villages. I can’t think of any other reason to select those particular names. On the other hand, this is pure guesswork, and becomes rather less convincing when one sees that the next parallel street along is called Santiago Street. As far as I’m aware, Santiago is some way from Castleford (this is not an attempt to start a war between City fans on either side of the Pennines – after all, some of my best friends are Yorkshiremen…).

David Buxton (

I always thought that ‘Kippax’ had something to do with the Boer War, as does ‘Spion Kop’ for instance. Any South Africans out there able to add anything to this debate?



Ian is currently in the second and final year of a two-year contract with Coventry Reserves, who have been his sole team whilst living in the West Midlands. He lives in Leamington Spa but still returns to Congleton to see his mum and dad (who they?). Still a sound bloke (he’s a friend of a friend), still on decent wages but a bit short on motivation. He’s 32 in April and will probably end up at Port Vale with ‘Mad Eyes’ Horton.

Andrew Noise (


In response to Gary King and his Alan Brazil question! Alan Brazil is the most biased and annoying commentater I have ever had to endure. Every time I watch city on Sky I am driven to the point of insanity listening to this man talking broken biscuits. He hates City because we left him crying at Villa Park in the 1981 FA Cup semi-final and because he went to play for the Rags in his quest for fame and er fortune. Now that Sky have 9.9% of our club, surely they must realise that Brazil is bad business with his sly and biased comments about City every time he takes the microphone? Sky… get rid of him, he is awful.

Anyway, my solution to Brazil is to turn the telly down and switch the radio on, either Radio 5 or Gary Owen getting giddy on Piccadilly are great alternatives. No, not alternatives, a must.

CTID, Lee Norris (


Gary King wrote “Does anyone else think that Alan Brazil is a complete Tw*t?”

The answer to that is yep! I’d also add biased, idiotic and if I could think of any more I’d add them as well.

I too went home after the game (completely sober) and settled down to watch the match. Fulham are currently flavour of the month after having put out two Premiership teams (Tottenham & Wimbledon) but even so I wasn’t prepared for the utter twaddle that spouted forth from Brazil’s trap.

He suggested that Weaver had lost his confidence, this was after Weaver had sliced a few of his clearances. He blamed Weaver for Kennedy’s back pass. I’ve got a theory as to why he was having a go at Weaver. I’m of the opinion that Weaver is getting too much publicity for his liking, leaving Richard Wright (Ipswich), supposedly the best ‘keeper in this league, out of the picture.

He thought it was right that Kennedy got a yellow for kicking the ball away in frustration and then failed to understand why the crowd were up in arms when Collins tackled one our players from behind only a few seconds later and only got a ticking off.

He was of the opinion that Wiekens was getting away with blue murder by sticking so close to Horsfield, even though Horsfield spent most of the game ‘doing a Shearer’.

He was adamant that Pesky should have been awarded a penalty when he fell over in the penalty area; boy, did the referee get a going over for that decision.

As for the Coleman sending off – you have to actually listen to him to appreciate how angry he was that Coleman was sent off by the referee of all people, when the linesman who was only a few yards away didn’t give it – must have been a rule chance since I last looked that said a referee should only make a decision if the lino is in complete agreement. After seeing the replay at least three times and from different angles you would have thought that he would have apologised for getting it wrong. Nope!

If Sky are our media partners, should he be allowed to get away with such anti-City commentary?

To change the subject slightly.

A couple of lads have suddenly appeared in the seats behind me and spend every breath hurling very loud abuse at Edghill. It’s a free country, so I’m told, they pay their money so that entitles them to say what they like but I do wish they’d do it quietly as it spoils my enjoyment of the game; I’m sure it doesn’t do Edghill’s confidence any good either. It seems to me as if they can’t wait for him to make a mistake; admittedly they don’t always have to wait too long but it’s really doing my head in.

The argument given when I politely enquired on Sunday why they kept up with the torrent of abuse, is that “He’s s**t and he shouldn’t be on the field”. OK, that’s an opinion shared by a lot of folk – not by me. He is not the only player to make a mistake during the course of a game. Wiekens’ attempted header at Crewe allowed Rodney Jacks to equalise but I can’t recall any City fans barracking him. Edghill tries to ply his trade honestly, he makes mistakes but he also does some good things during the course of the game. Until JR drops him from the team or he decides that he’s had enough then we should get behind him and the whole team.

CTICTIBMAGBFMR (City ’til I chin those idiots behind me and get banned from Maine Road), Averil Capes (Averil.Capes@ICL.COM)


I’m writing in reply to Gary King’s article in the last issue of MCIVTA. I’d like to say that I completely agree with him with regards to Alan Brazil. Although we won the game I was left with a bitter taste in the mouth due to Alan’s totally anti-Man City approach. I may be slightly biased but it seems to me that he disagreed with anything that was given City’s way and he was initially disgusted with the referee’s reaction to the Coleman sending off. The replays quite clearly showed that Coleman was trying to play basketball!

Rob Kerr (


Some interesting articles in recent issues following the defeat by Leeds and I’ve enjoyed reading other peoples’ opinions on the current squad and where Joe has to spend, but I don’t understand all this pessimism at our chances of survival.

First things first, we have to get there and I don’t think many of us out there will be counting our chickens until the mathematics says yes, but let’s suppose we don’t make it up. Who else in the division is better equipped to survive then we are?

Gone are the seasons when there were 3 teams too strong for everyone else (remember Middlesbrough; Forest and Sunderland last time we were in this league?) and there are a number of teams who could secure one of the top two places (Charlton, Ipswich, Birmingham, Wolves, Fulham, Huddersfield etc.). Why shouldn’t it be us? After all, we seem the biggest club in the division. Forest, for all their 80’s European triumphs, seem a spent force and Blackburn are suffering the relegation hangover that haunted us with too many players thinking they are too good for this level so the gateway to the promised land is wide open.

Yes, we’ll need to buy to survive. One centre-half, a consistent and confident right back, a ball playing central midfielder of young body to develop and nurture and a proven top flight goalscorer please Mr Royle and we’ll have a chance but the point is someone has to go up this season and am I the only one who thinks City are the best prepared to do it?

We might end up doing a Charlton/Bradford/Watford/Swindon number, we might not even go up this year but wouldn’t it be nice to be playing at the top level again? We’ll never know how we’d cope until we got there and I for one am rather looking forward to trying and, whatever happens, enjoying our return.

City till Partick get promoted, Peter Blythe (


Well, we’re really getting our knickers in a twist aren’t we?! It first came to my attention when a mate called me up from York. As a Leeds fan he always has a little pop at City and I have a go at Leeds, exchange a few pleasantries and get on with the conversation. This time he had a secret one up his sleeve that got me shifting! “Talking to a bloke down the squash club, City fan, doesn’t reckon you’ll be good enough in the Premiership if you go up, you know”. Once I’d finished screaming down the phone, we came to the conclusion that everyone’s getting just a bit over excited. I’m as hopelessly optimistic and biased as the next Blue but shouldn’t we just pause for breath for a minute?

A few good points have been made in the last few newsletters: “this time last year” is the extremely obvious one: not wanting to bore people, but that was sliding to victory at Wrexham and Wigan, losing at York and Wycombe, drawing at Chesterfield, Millwall etc. All very embarrassing whatever the result really. Just standing at Macclesfield to watch City is an embarrassment, never mind the score.

Who foresaw this season’s form? We were seconds away from another season of Blackpool and Northampton for Christ’s sake. Now we have sailed right to the top of the First, everyone’s creaking and groaning that “we’ll come straight back down”. Excuse me a minute! I’m still pinching myself at the phenomenal progress made in just 12 months, January to January. If it started with the Stoke game then it really is just over 12 months that we have turned into the (relatively) slick, confident and certainly upward moving club that you see before your eyes now. Of course some of the players won’t survive higher up the league, but is now the moment to assess everyone’s Premiership capabilities? Are we not getting a touch ahead of ourselves? All those people that looked aghast at City’s unswerving supporters in the dark days will shortly turn round and say “they’ve lost the plot”. I remember the papers after the Blackburn game. Fantastic game but Joe was quoted as saying “I can keep the players’ feet on the ground, but the fans are going beserk. They think we’re up already”. Well, despite an incredible run, Charlton, Barnsley, Huddersfield and Ipswich are still very much with us. This has been a fantastic season so far. The players are performing out of their skins. We’re making our own luck. That essential, relentless momentum is in the opposite direction for the first year in four.

We must not forget how hard football is to call. Last season’s success was down, to a large degree, to the form of Cooke on the wing and Michael Brown in the middle. Two storming second halves to the season. Where are they now? Who ran our midfield at Wembley? Jeff Whitley. Where was he a month before that and, for that matter, where is he again now? We have seen what confidence and a lack of it can do to players. Look at Kennedy then and now, look at Cooke then and now, look at Whitley before, Whitley early season and Whitley now, look at Pollock, look at the whole team in 1998 and now! With a confident team, you can take on all comers! That came from Stoke, the incredible upswell of support, the moment was tangible if you were there – this team really wants to do it. They want to give it a proper go. You could sense everyone coming together in that second half – the whole team, the whole ground, an amazing feeling.

But who can predict these things? Like the Oxford back pass in the eighties that set Everton up for 6 years of being one of the best teams in Europe. Where the hell did that come from? How did that happen? Which Evertonian saw that one coming (certainly not the diehard season ticket holder I shared a flat with in those days!)? You don’t know what will set it off, and not many know how to harness it once you’re under way. Just run with it! Who knows where City might be in four years time? Four years ago we were in the Premiership. Look what we’ve been through since…

Our games with teams from upstairs have been illuminating haven’t they?! Whatever Joe says, we lost to Derby, Southampton and Wimbledon and were humbled by Leeds. But so what? It is an interesting yardstick and no more. If we go up, we will have new players and a new set of circumstances to deal with. A thrashing by Leeds in January 2000 will have no bearing on the event bar making us a touch apprehensive for the first league game at home to Leeds. What bearing does the loss at Lincoln have on our situation now? Were we all wailing that we’ll never survive in the First Division after the game there? Let’s concentrate on the season in hand, the games to come, the opposition in the First Division. We are in the middle of an amazing run, we’re doing surprisingly well, have obviously got a confident roll going and should profit from this as long as we can. We have a squad which is not inferior to anything else around us. That’s the important thing. Come next July, if – miracle of miracles – the boys have done it and we’ve climbed right back up to the Premiership, we can take a look and ask some questions which befit the moment. That will be the day to ask if the Dickovs, Edghills and Morrisons of this world can cut it with the elite. They’ll certainly deserve a go if they get us there.

In the meantime, we might as well go with the roll and shout from the bloody rafters. As big Joe smiled after the Leeds defeat when asked about shattered confidence for the Fulham game, “Well they’re hardly Leeds are they, Fulham?” It hasn’t been this good for years!

Simon Curtis (


Do you remember the “good old days” when we used to see a home match every fortnight or thereabouts?

According to tonight’s mcivta (17/1) the home match against Charlton is, as we probably suspected, going to be another 1-00pm Sunday kick-off for the great god Sky. According to my diary, this means that in the 1st 3 months of the year, we will have only 3 Saturday home matches – Ipswich, Walsall and West Brom (haven’t we lost the Bolton game because they are still in the cup?). Am I alone in being very cheesed off with this situation?

Can we have some suggestions for what to do on Saturday afternoons when the Blues are not in action? Sundays at 1-00 (or 2, or 3, or 4 for that matter) just does not seem the same. I don’t suppose it will change now, and the tradition of Saturdays at 3-00pm has probably gone for ever for Premier and Division 1 teams? Still, it could be worse. My brother in law fell into bad ways as a youth and has to go to O** T******D and he rarely seems to be out on a Saturday afternoon!

Chris Ryder (


I’ve just read with amazement this comment by Ernie Whalley:

“But my main problem with Royle is the same problem I’ve had with most of our managers over the years – they can’t spot affordable talent for toffee. Count the decent players we’ve missed as well as the bobbins we’ve bought and see if you agree.”

Now if there’s one thing above all that Joe must be given credit for, it’s his signings. A closer analysis.

R Jobson FREE
I Bishop FREE
S Goater £400,000
I think those 3 speak for themselves. Can anyone name many better defenders, midfielders, strikers in the 1st Division? And for a total of £400,000!

Compare this to Clark’s Brannan, Bradbury, Vaughan.

J Pollock – £1 million. OK not the best, but I totally agreed with the signing at the time. He was the man to keep us in Division 1.
D Tiatto – £300,000. I think we’ll all agree that he was a more than useful signing for that money.
D Allsopp – £10,000. Now worth £300,000.
A Morrison – £80,000 – Best signing in the club’s history?
G Taylor – £400,000 – OK not good, but at the time as a mid-table Division 2 side, his height up front was much needed, especially with Shaun doing nothing in the air in those days.
T Cooke – £1 million. OK, but we weren’t arguing at the time, were we?
M Kennedy – £1.5 million. Best player in the divison despite recent sticky patch.
D Granville – £1 million. Looking very good lately. Still young.
L Peacock – £500,000. Too early to judge.
R Taylor – £1.5 million. Ditto, but I think he’ll be great for us given time.
T Grant – £425,000. Excellent against Crewe and Fulham.

I think that’s fair. And I doubt that many other managers have a better record in the transfer market than that.

Mark Braude (


Let’s not get carried away with how we will play in the Premier League. Sure it’s nice to dream (yes I do it as well). But the fact of the matter is we are still a First Division side, we have some way to go; sure we are playing well and we are in a good position in the League, but all of a sudden look over our shoulder and up come some other good sides close behind us.

We should be talking who we are playing in the near future in the First Division. It’s going to be a hard road ahead and once we have made it to the Premier League (we all think we will) then everyone will have the off season to talk about our chances in the Premier League. Our present players, having played more games together, could paint a different picture by the end of this season, after all it is a team sport and teams win! So come on you Blues, promotion first!

Ernie Barrow (


Just thought I would contribute to the current (to me unsavoury) ‘downers’ on some of the lads. I remember in the late sixties and early seventies, how some ‘fans’ would have a go at for instance, Tony Book, Joe Corrigan, Ian Bowyer etc. It really p*ssed me off then and it does now when they have a go at for instance Richard Edghill, Kevin Horlock and until recently Shaun Goater. In those days Sir Joe took no notice and hopefully Sir Joe will not now.

Just as an aside, my only experience of violence at Maine Road was in defending Tony Book in a match against Blackpool (I think it was when Joe Corrigan made his début). And that was with a ‘knob-head’ having a go at Tony Book. That was in the scoreboard end, now called the North Stand… and by the way the Kippax stand was only where we stood from the early seventies, before that we always stood in the rain 🙂

Jack Millington (


I would just like to say how much I agree with Gary King’s comments in MCIVTA 571 about big mouth Alan Brazil. He never has a good word to say about City even when we are playing well; if we get a free kick or a penalty he goes mental and attacks the officials for their incompetence. Sky should get somebody who is a bit more impartial to do the commentaries on the Nationwide games. He must be still smarting from when the “super Blues” of the seventies used to regularly stuff him and his Ipswich mates.

Steve Oatway (


Tony Ward’s comment ‘The one thing I feel is a total waste of time is the rating of players at this stage on how they might cope with life at the top level’ may or may not be true. However, without this speculation, MCIVTA would have been a bit empty of late. It’s been noticeable that our success on the pitch this season has led to far less exciting debates in these hallowed pages. All we’ve had really are the Goater and Edghill bashers. So I must disagree. Anything that gets the email flowing is OK by me. One point though, the key is obviously to survive that first season in the Premier. As most promoted teams go straight back down, any that have survived that first season e.g. Middlesbrough, Leicester, Derby haven’t gone down subsequently.

It does seem that the promoted teams have really bad second halves to the season (just watch Sunderland fall like a stone). This may be due to lack of depth in the squads when injuries and (numerous) suspensions start to hit home, or people finding them out, in fact the opposite of what we did last season when we learned to play in Division 2. So a flying start is paramount, and hence pre-supposing your strengths and weaknesses essential. Hence, mine and other analyses were worthwhile!

Not that in doing this, there’s any question of assuming we’re going up. We’re City, don’t forget.

Classifying Edghill

I was browsing the footy section in Waterstones in Nottingham the other day when I came across a fatuous little tome, a directory of black players currently playing in England! The whole thing smacked of the sort of classification antics performed by the old South Africa. As you do, I thumbed through to see what they had to say about any City players and on checking apparently Richard Edghill isn’t black! One to be avoided. They did have six different City books though.

Andrew Noise (


The key point to take out of the Leeds game for me was the importance of pace throughout the side, and more specifically, pace on the break, and against the break.

Of our current playing staff, I feel that Tiatto is possibly the quickest, but in many ways Kennedy is the better player. His crossing is better than any player I have seen at Maine Road in the last 8 years (unless you believe the hype about that straggly haired idiot from Oldham). I’m a little concerned at our seeming ability to knock the form out of wingers though – Cooke, Kennedy and even Buster Philips. Anyone who saw his first 2 home appearances for the club will remember what a fantastic prospect he was – pacey, with a similar ability to beat the last man as Beagrie, yet also with a good whipped cross. I believe that the talk at the time was that he needed to be ‘fattened up’ to withstand the physical Premiership game. The point, of course, is that if they can’t catch you, they can’t get ‘physical’ with you! I would like to see Cooke included in the squad. He was superb last season, and Joe is astute enough to recognise that not all players react to the same stimuli in the same manner. Whereas a Pollock may knuckle down and sort himself out having been left out of the squad, a player like Cooke may react badly – that may well make him a soft lad, but it still won’t get the best out of your players. I still feel that the way to play a winger is out and out – look at the effect on Summerbee at Sunderland. I hate to say it, and I know I’ll get some abuse for this, but he was that good for us. Before the arrival of the poisoned chalice in the form of Kinky, and a revertion to wing backs. At that point Summerbee, clearly a confidence player, was getting stick for not covering the opposition winger and not beating the full-back.

I made one of sadly few visits to Maine Road this season for the Grimsby game, and I thought that Peacock looked a fine prospect. He needs to work on his runs into the box, but his movement from deep was really excellent. For me, he looks a better long-term prospect than Allsopp, and Joe’s tactic of developing junior talent in the lower teams (i.e. Shaun Wright-Philips) and then one or two prospects in their mid-twenties on the fringes of the first team gets my wholehearted approval. I think it was for this reason that Brown has been let go of. I was sad to see him go, as he has always shown great grit and determination through midfield, but it’s a case of ‘how many good, young midfield prospects do we keep?’ We’ve already got Mason and two Whitleys on the fringe of the side. In fact, with Pollock, Bishop, Horlock (quite outstanding against Grimsby, and again, confident enough to try full blooded long range shots and make them work), Tiatto, Kennedy, Cooke, Grant etc., there will be more departures from this area – probably Mason.

It occurred to me the other day seeing that Watford had signed that Icelandic lad (who looks a good buy), that Joe hasn’t spent more than about a million for a player in all his time at the club. This I must say is impressive bearing in mind the vast improvement in the standard of playing staff. How could we have paid £2.5 million for Phelan all that time ago? It simply doesn’t bear thinking about – Granville is a far better player (if about as defensively minded!).

I think that Taylor will do it for us when he gets a good run in the team – look at what Joe’s done with Goater. I certainly think that the potential is there – again, he just needs the confidence to put himself about in the box a little more. They won’t let him get away with his fitness level for long though. As far as Shaun goes, I couldn’t believe the difference in confidence during the Grimsby game compared to last season. Although his performance tailed off during the match, he was a revelation first half, trying vollies, overhead flicks and little pieces of dribbling – finally, a striker who isn’t afraid to make a goal for himself. Hopefully he’ll keep putting them away and his confidence will grow further in order to let him try these things more often. People can say what they want about Pringle or Johnston or anyone else, but Goater is on his way to a goal a game at this season, and no other player in the division can match that. As the mighty Quinn will tell you, there a lot of guff talked about the style in which you should score goals. The best type are the ones that go in. I have to say that Dickie’s future looks a little bleak. I can’t see him commanding a regular first team place in the near future – not because I think he’s worse than Taylor, but simply because Joe is aware that he will not score goals in this division. I have a massive amount of admiration for his workrate and professionalism, but unfortunately, it’s not his job to be winning the ball in central midfield.

Just my tuppeny worth…

I’m really enjoying this season, and I think it will be a fascinating battle down to the wire. May the best team (wearing laser blue) win…

Jon Marshall (


I hope I can answer Tony O’Leary’s question as to why the Rags are so called (MCIVTA 571). I believe it comes from the fact that they have never owned anything themselves and therefore always been tramps, vagabonds or street urchins. They had to use the Academy when Uwe Rösler’s grandad bombed the swamp. Why do they call themselves the Red Devils? Do they play rugby league at the Willows, and why do they sing glory glory Tottenham Hotspur? The list goes on… thieving scum the lot of ’em! If anyone has any other explanation for the term, then I’d be more than happy to read it.

CTID, Mark A. Wood (

My understanding (and it may not be correct) is that it is because they were saved from financial oblivion (in the 30’s I think) by a benefactor (Mr Gibson?) who was a cotton magnate (the Rag Trade), hence the name ‘Rags’. Man U were literally within an inch of going under and were City’s poor relation by a good distance.



Anne Costain suggests “Red Arrogant Gits” as the origin of “Rags”, but this is far too complimentary to The Enemy. “Rabid Apemen Gloryhunters” seems to me to be a much more accurate description of the pass-through fans of that lot from Stretford. Any other suggestions (obscene language, though highly appropriate, is not allowed – City fans can do better than that!)?

Tony O’Leary (


If any London Blues out there are thinking about going to Manchester on the weekend of the 29th January, I have a spare return ticket leaving Euston on Saturday 29th at 10.45 a.m. The return journey leaves Manchester on the Sunday at 8 p.m. I paid £27 for it, and I’m willing to sell it at cost price, or nearest offer (bearing in mind I can get 50% back if I cancel it).

And another thing. I don’t like to split hairs, but just for the record, Shaun Goater is not Bermudan, but Bermudian (spot the difference!). I should know as I was also born in Bermuda, so it gives me even more pleasure to see him gradually becoming the folk hero he deserves to be.

If anyone is interested in that ticket, please email me ( with your telephone number.

Pat (


I’m going to the Sheffield match and I bought the programme at the Fulham game but the directions are for Nottingham! Can you help us out? I’ll be heading southbound on the M1 and I need to know which junction number to come off at and the road numbers please. Many, many thanks (grovel grovel!).

Nigel Pengelly (


I know this is a bit short notice but I have been let down by my supplier for tickets to this Saturday’s game in Sheffield. I am coming over from the US and land on Friday morning and I was hoping that someone may have a spare ticket for the game that I could buy from them (plus a commission of course). If so please let me know at the e-mail address below and I will call Friday morning/afternoon.

My usual supplier is my dad who has been a season ticket holder for many years now and this is the second time that he has applied for tickets for me this season and the second time that he has not got them. I’m getting suspicious of either him or the ticket office! The other game was Walsall away and I have to thank the Cambridge supporters’ club (of which I am a member) for the ticket I got for that game!

CTIDEWIBEFMTGAT (City ‘Till I Die Even When It Becomes Easy For Me To Get A Ticket), Richard Lane (


My name is Mikael Nielsen, and I live in a small town in Denmark.

I have only been a City fan for two years. I have never been to Maine Road (I haven’t even been in England). I have only seen about 6-7 games on TV. So why do I love this club so much?

I remember my first encounter with City. I was a game against Man Utd at Maine Road. It was shown on Danish TV. As I remember City lost, big. But I also remember the incredible atmosphere during the game. But it wasn’t the fans from the big club! It was the City fans. Singin much louder than the fans from United, even though they were behind a couple of goals.

From that moment I was sold.

CTID! Mikael Nielsen (


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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 #572