Newsletter #573

Most definitely not a good weekend. Saturday saw the team that most wanted to win the match, win – and it wasn’t MCFC! Despite a very lacklustre performance, we could have still had a point if the referee had given what appeared to be a blatant penalty late on when an SUFC player deliberately handled. Still, at the end of the day, we got exactly what we deserved from this game.

Transfer news sees Chris Greenacre departing to Mansfield, with the Canaries offering Vaughan a week-long trial. Meanwhile, press speculation sees City linked with Colin Hendry, and Dickov linked with a move away.

Anyone care to put their City memories/reasons for living/who they owe it all to, down in a Why Blue? More needed…

This one reaches 3,013.

Next game: Nottingham Forest away, Saturday 5th February 2000


Anyone fancy doing a stint as guest editor of MCIVTA in early March? I’ve just checked my cache of past responders and it seems that everyone who volunteered last time has either already had a go, or the addresses now bounce. All that’s required is an email program (there’ll be plenty of advice/help) and a few hours effort over the course of a week.

Ashley (


Old Boy Sinks City

Manchester City lost ground at the top of the First Division on Saturday after a 1-0 defeat away to Sheffield United. And predictably the Blades’ winner came from midfielder Michael Brown, the man sold by City earlier in the month. The result means that City are now four points behind leaders Charlton, who had an easy 3-0 win at Norwich. And though the Blues have held on to second place despite today’s defeat, Barnsley’s spectacular 5-1 rout of Blackburn means that the Tykes are only behind City on goal difference. A further two points back are Ipswich, who drew 1-1 at Bolton.

Royle and Warnock Disagree Over Brown

Manchester City boss Joe Royle defended his decision not to bar Michael Brown from playing against the Blues for Sheffield United. But after the midfielder scored the winning goal, Blades’ manager Neil Warnock said that in the City’s position he’d have prevented Brown from taking the field. Warnock expressed surprise that his opposite number hadn’t taken the same stance. “I expected them to put an embargo on him,” said the delighted Bramall Lane boss, who saw his side extend their league run to an impressive 16 points from seven since he took over from Adrian Heath. Royle, meanwhile, felt his decision over Brown had little impact om the result. “I’m desperately disappointed. Taking nothing away from them, it was easily our worst performance of the season,” admitted the City manager.

Top Two Spot at Risk as City Take a Break

Manchester City head off for a sunshine break in Lanzarote on Wednesday – and could have dropped to fourth in the Division One table by the time they return next weekend. Leaders Charlton, who have a four-point advantage, can’t extend their lead – the Addicks face Coventry in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Saturday. But if Barnsley earn a draw or better at struggling Portsmouth, the Tykes will move ahead of Joe Royle’s men while an Ipswich win over Sheffield United will take the Suffolk outfit a point clear of the Blues. Fifth-placed Huddersfield have the chance to move two points behind City if they win at Crystal Palace.

City Deny Hendry Link

Manchester City have denied this weekend’s Sunday Mirror claims that Joe Royle could be set to move for Rangers defender Colin Hendry as he seeks to improve his City squad for this season’s promotion run-in. The paper claimed that Royle is ready to pay £2 million for former Maine Road favourite Colin Hendry. However, City director Chris Bird told the Press Association, “With Andy Morrison out, we do need strengthening at the back and Joe Royle has said that as well. And it is known that Colin would like to move back to the north west and he is a former Manchester City player. But I think people are putting two and two together and making 10. There have been no official approaches from either party.” Meanwhile, the same tabloid report that alleged the Hendry interest had claimed that Royle is also considering a loan move for ex-Manchester United winger Andrei Kanchelskis, a man signed by the Blues manager for Everton in 1995. However, there’s been no comment as yet on whether the Ukrainian may return to Manchester.

Haaland Keen on City Move

Despite comments last month that City’s interest in Leeds midfielder Alf-Inge Haaland would be dead following the signing of Tony Grant, speculation continues to link Joe Royle with a swoop for the player. And it appears that Haaland would welcome the chance to move to the Blues. Bolton’s Sam Allardyce and Paul Jewell of Bradford have reportedlly joined the City boss in checking out the Norwegian’s form in the Elland Road second string, while Derby and the player’s former club Nottingham Forest are also said to be interested. But Haaland, who says that no concrete offers have yet materialised, has already spoken warmly of the potential at Maine Road and City appear to be his first choice. The player has been at Elland Road since the summer of 1997, having joined for £1.6 million after spending over three years at Forest.

Wembley Hero Set for Maine Road Exit?

Sunday’s News of the World newspaper is claiming that Paul Dickov could be on the verge of leaving Maine Road. It’s said that City could be willing to sell the Scottish striker as part of the current squad reduction programme and that the player is a target for Portsmouth and Preston. The diminutive front man, of course, scored a vital injury-time equaliser for the Blues against Gillingham in last season’s Second Division play-off final. Ironically, the Gills’ manager that day, Tony Pulis, has just taken over at Pompey and is rumoured to see Dickov’s enthusiasm as the ideal quality to lift his struggling new club. Preston, beaten by the Kent club in last year’s play-off semi-final, are again challenging for promotion and would no doubt hope that Dickov would be the man to ensure they don’t miss out for a second successive year.

Greenacre Marks Permanent Move With a Goal

Chris Greenacre has completed his permanent move to Mansfield Town. The Stags clinched the deal on Friday after the player had impressed during a loan spell. And the 22-year-old continued his scoring form on Saturday. Greenacre was on the mark in the 77th minute against Southend, scoring Mansfield’s third in the 3-1 win. The striker’s tally at Field Mill is now six goals in eleven league games. Ironically, the Wakefield-born youngster made his loan move to Nottinghamshire after the Blues had signed Stags’ top-scorer Lee Peacock, who has yet to open his Maine Road senior account.

Horton Praise for Loan Star Taylor

Gareth Taylor has apparently made an impressive start in his bid to earn a permanent move to Port Vale. The transfer-listed City striker’s contribution in the first game of his loan spell pleased Vale boss Brian Horton. The Potteries outfit beat Birmingham City 3-1, and though Taylor didn’t score, he was felt by many observers to have been instrumental in earning his temporary employers three points. And the ex-Sheffield United man almost did get his name on the scoresheet – he had a goal harshly ruled out for pushing. Horton was quoted by the ‘This is Staffordshire’ website as saying of his new recruit, “Gareth Taylor gives us a new dimension up front and I thought his goal being ruled out was harsh.”

Royle – Vaughan Cardiff No-Go

Joe Royle has refused to reveal whether Cardiff have made a bid for Tony Vaughan. But the City boss did reveal that the Welsh club “obviously can’t match what we need” for the player and that there appears to be no prospect of a deal at this stage. Reports this week have claimed that the Bluebirds have upped an initial £150,000 offer for the former Ipswich defender by another £50,000. However, Royle told the official City website at, “It seems to have gone all quiet with Cardiff. We are not in any position at the moment to do a deal.” The situation may change if a proposed £2.5 million investment in Cardiff is approved by the Football League. The consortium hoping to take the club over is fronted by Clive Sullivan, brother of Birmingham City chairman David. The League wants to make sure that the two are acting independently and no ownership regulations are breached. Sullivan is scheduled to meet league officials next Thursday, and the deal is expected to be approved in due course.

Official Site: Norwich Looking at Vaughan

Vaughan has been left out in the cold at Maine Road for some time – so it’s hardly surprising that the City defender will stay behind this week as his team-mates head off on a break in the sun. And Vaughan will profit from the situation to attempt to earn himself a move away from the Blues. The official City website at reports that the player is to spend a few days training with Norwich. City manager Joe Royle is said to have claimed that the Canaries have shown an interest in signing the 24-year-old, who began his career with East Anglian rivals Ipswich.

Two-Week Break to Minimise Granville Absence

City’s forthcoming two-week break from action gives injured star Danny Granville the chance to recover. The former Chelsea and Leeds full-back suffered a calf injury in training last week but was selected for the weekend trip to Sheffield United. However, after suffering a recurrence of the problem in the warm up at Bramall Lane, the player was withdrawn from the City line-up. He could now be absent for some time, although the change to the Blues’ fixture programme will keep to a minimum the number of games Granville misses. The player is set to be left behind as the City squad flies out to Lanzarote.

Morrison Bidding for Early Return

The most recent medical prognosis for Andy Morrison was that the City skipper should be aiming for a mid-February comeback from his knee injury. But the big defender, out of action since October, has reportedly set his sights on the Blues’ next game. With scheduled opponents Bolton having FA Cup commitments on Saturday, City are next in action at Nottingham Forest in a fortnight. Morrison will play for the reserves on 1 February and hopes to be available to play at the City ground four days later. The player has just spent a week of intensive training at Lilleshall, and manager Joe Royle commented to the Manchester Evening News, “Reports suggest that Andy has been doing OK but it has been a hard week for him. It has been a crash course in fitness and we will know more when he finally gets back but hopefully it will have put him well on the road to recovery.”

Goater to Miss Vital Matches?

Despite reports last week that the Bermudian FA would allow Shaun Goater to put club before country, the City top scorer could miss two vital matches in March because he’s required for international duty. The striker was allowed to miss his country’s Gold Cup tie last week but will be selected for World Cup qualifiers in March. Bermuda coach Clyde Best has said the 18-goal front man will be needed for a game on 4 March, when the Blues visit Crystal Palace. Depending on the result, Goater may also be required for another fixture a fortnight later, when City are scheduled to meet Charlton. FIFA regulations mean the Blues can’t refuse to release their leading scorer. Manager Joe Royle remained philospohical but reflected, “You’ve got to think long and hard about signing non-European players in the future. There are so many alternative tournaments going on and you don’t have any say in it.”

Under-19s Lose Top of the Table Clash

City’s under-19 side, containing several of the players who lost to Blackburn at under-17 level last season in the Academy Cup final, failed to gain revenge on the Lancashire club yesterday. The Blues, who before the game were lying second in their league, went down 3-1 in yesterday’s away match against the only side above them. The under-17s enjoyed a better day, earning a 2-2 draw away to the same opponents. The City juniors face another tough task next weekend with a double-header at home to Liverpool.

Peter Brophy (


SHEFFIELD UNITED vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 22nd January 2000

A pretty cr*p day all round really. Left for the match later than I intended. Despite having been to Bramall Lane more times than I can remember, got lost, eventually parking around 2.40 pm. Too late for a pint or anything ‘decent’ to eat. Horrible queues inside the ground for the woefully undermanned food bar. As I rate queuing for anything slightly more irritating than going shopping for clothes with the Mrs, I decided my not insubstantial stomach was on a crash diet!

And then the game started. As predicted, Edghill moved inside to cover for the suspended Wiekens, with Crooks drafted in at right back. Surprisingly at the time, Tiatto was in Granville’s place, whom I later found out had pulled up in the warm-up with a recurrence of a calf strain. The Blades of course had one player of note in their line-up, Michael Brown. Sheffield had us on the back foot from the kick-off with Marcus Bent and on-loan-from-the-Rags, Alex Notman, both being particularly awkward. It wasn’t a great game, but what football there was, was played by City. In fact throughout the game there were patches of quite sweet passing movements which deserved more reward. However, it must also be said that there were many more patches of misplaced passes, thoughtless play and ineffectiveness up front. Horlock had a free kick tipped over the bar by Tracey for our only real chance in the first half. On 40 minutes, the (almost) inevitable happened. Tiatto lost the ball on the touch line, a cross was met by Bent and headed back into play. Brown controlled the ball, swivelled and drilled a low shot past Weaver from 10 yards. Yet another ‘ex-City player who scores against us’ to add to our collection of Bradbury and Bailey this season. It was well taken, but frankly a soft goal to concede from our point of view.

Still too many queues at half time, so already a stone lighter, I took my seat for the second half. Play went from end to end but don’t think that there were many chances; there were not! We probably had better possession but still failed to dominate and lacked a cutting edge. Our best ‘chance’ came when a Blades defender deliberately handballed on the edge of the box, cutting out a great pass from Goater (I think), which would have landed at Taylor’s feet with a clear run on goal. Surely a red card? Nope, yellow only. Although the handball was not as ‘spectacular’ as Chris Coleman’s the week before, the end result was surely the same? Shortly thereafter, Taylor handled the ball in the centre circle and was also booked. The ref probably thought he was being consistent, but for me, an innocuous handball in the centre circle deserves a different fate than for a wilful attempt to deny a goal scoring opportunity.

A little later, it seemed that there was another handball, this time in the box, which the ref again ignored. This game was probably Taylor’s least effective and it was the right decision to replace him with Dickov on the hour mark. Dickov did his usual hustling and created a few openings, but nothing special. He was lucky not to be booked for an absolute blatant dive, when challenging for a ball with Brown, just outside the box. Brown just laughed, he’d obviously seen it all before. Dickov wasted a decent opportunity to run at goal trying to win a free kick. Not good enough, Paul. So a pretty lacklustre performance. I don’t agree with JR that it was the worst performance of the season (Wolves, first half away at Port Vale were much worse) but we certainly didn’t deserve to win. A draw may well have reflected the balance of play better. Up front we were toothless. Goater was probably our best defender at times, clearing several crosses, particularly in the first half, but up front he wasn’t given any service. Kennedy was in and out of the game and the midfield trio of Grant, Bishop and Horlock, although as mentioned played some nice stuff at times, didn’t have the variety or drive that we needed. Indeed, at times Grant and Bishop seemed to be jostling for ‘the deep lying playmaker’ rôle and certainly no-one patrolled the right side. I think JR is correct, the break has come at the right time. He needs to reassess the squad, his ‘best’ team and the right tactics to play. Hopefully Morrison and Granville will be fit, Taylor will be fitter and Kennedy will have rediscovered his form by the time we play Forest. Maybe even Terry Cooke will have served his pennance? I think midfield needs to be looked at very closely and a more ‘back to basics’ approach adopted for the next tranche of games. It took me 2.5 hours to get back home (used to do it in 45 minutes), so a cr*p end to a cr*p day!

Phil Hartley (


SHEFFIELD UNITED vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 22nd January 2000

(or ‘why we shouldn’t have sold Michael Brown’)

I had a bit of a bad feeling about this game… reports indicated that we would be short of some important players, Sheffield United no doubt out for revenge, and Michael Brown’s home début for his new club. As it happens, I think I was right to be worried on all three counts.

When the team was announced it was thus:

Tiatto, Jobson, Edghill, Crooks
Kennedy, Horlock, Bishop, Grant
         Goater, Taylor

Subs: Wright, Whitley, Pollock, Dickov (can’t remember who was no.5)

So, no Granville (muscle injury), no Wiekens (suspension), no Morrison (still recovering from his bad injury). Basically three of our first-choice back four out.

It was nice that when Brown was announced, the City fans responded with a warm round of applause. After all, it probably wasn’t Michael Brown’s choice to be sold, and I don’t know a City fan who wanted to see Brown go, even though most were resigned to this fact a while ago.

Then a minute’s silence for someone. I half-heard the announcement, but don’t know who it was for.

Sheffield United started much the stronger and straight away you could see that they were allowed a great deal of space down either side of the pitch. Bent, in particular, was allowed a great deal of possession and certainly could have had a goal himself. The other way, City didn’t seem to have much to offer going forward. Kennedy was marked by two defenders wherever on the pitch he was (and he seemed to pop up on both sides – not sure what the tactic was here), and neither Goater nor the hopelessly out-paced Taylor seemed to be able to get in the game.

City’s best chance of the first half was from a Horlock free kick which forced a good save from Tracey.

However, most of the danger was at the other end, and it was probably no surprise that it was Michael Brown who was able to turn in the penalty area and shoot low into the corner of the net. He went on an ecstatic run; I hope that Royle was starting to question his own policy – allowing personality as well as play on the pitch to determine who plays and who doesn’t.

Half-time, Sheffield United 1, City 0. I hate Tina Turner.

Second half – a similar story, until Taylor was substituted with about 20 minutes to go. Dickov came on and immediately was able to make a nuisance of himself and cause the sort of panic in the Sheffield United defence that was required. However, we couldn’t ever quite get that final shot on target and so Simon Tracey was not greatly tested. Horlock had a free kick which he managed to get nice curl on, but no power, so it was easily gathered. At the other end, Brown (was it? I couldn’t quite tell) missed an absolute sitter, managing to put the ball wide when he only had Weaver to beat.

Individual ratings:

Weaver – 7 – solid – caught the ball well under pressure and made one or two good saves. Not at fault with the goal, his kicking was much better this week!
Tiatto – 5 – often caught out of position, made one or two useful runs, but then having to scamper back in the wake of the opposition. I reckon that Tiatto is a much better substitute for Kennedy than for Granville. Booked.
Jobson – 7 – played well on the whole, solid and dependable. Strayed upfield quite a bit when maybe he ought to have stayed back.
Edghill – 6 – tackled well but seemed to be uncertain about which position to adopt in relation to Crooks. Again strayed upfield quite a bit when he ought to have stayed back and therefore caught out of position a bit.
Crooks – 6 – seemed uncertain about his rôle. Some useful contributions but on the whole not in the game enough.
Kennedy – 6 – playing both left and right wing? He got one or two crosses in, but was stifled by two defenders all the time and didn’t get the support he needed. Won a couple of corners, otherwise nothing much. Maybe could have had a go with one of the free-kicks.
Horlock – 5 – not in the game today. Came close with a free kick in the first half, less good second effort.
Bishop – 5 – definitely not a game for Ian to remember, didn’t do much, passes astray.
Grant – 8 – our best player on the day, passed well and controlled the ball. It was a shame that none of the players around him were able to take advantage.
Taylor – 3 – not in the game at all. Seems woefully short of match fitness, especially against a quick, young side like Sheff Utd. God knows what he would have looked like against Leeds. When in possession of the ball was always looking for the free kick or throw-in rather than to run with the ball. I really think that he needs to use the next two weeks to lose some weight and get fit. If I were JR I would use this as a requirement before SBT starts another game. Booked.
Goater – 4 – I suppose it was inevitable that once people start to sing Shaun’s praises that he would have an off game like this. Hopefully just a one-off, and that he can be back scoring in a fortnight.
Sub: Dickov – 7 – caused a suitably good amount of panic in the Sheffield Utd defence but not enough time to make it count; should have been on at half-time.

The first thing I think I have to question here is the choice of squad by JR. With a depleted defence, it seems silly in retrospect to have a pair of ‘passing’ midfielders playing like Bishop and Grant. If ever there was an occasion when the priority was to battle and grind out a win, this was it. I believe that Pollock should have been on from the start, with Bishop on the bench as an option (well, could have been Whitley starting, with Grant on the bench, but in principle I think we should have started with a ‘combative’ midfielder on as well as a passing ‘playmaker’ type midfielder).

I also was puzzled by the decision to put Crooks on as a forward-going right-sided player. I would definitely have thought this the perfect occasion to give Terry Cooke his chance to restart his first-team career, but there’s clearly something going on that we don’t know about… is there? I think the evidence of this game is that Kennedy on his own as a winger is proving all too predictable a tactic and one which is dealt with by the opposition. We need variation.

Lastly, the one thing that Michael Brown provided, and which we no longer have, is a good taker of throw-ins. Perhaps Granville needs to be trained in the art of the long throw-in!

So, the team are off to Lanzarote for a nice winter break. After today, I hope that the team aren’t allowed to overindulge (especially Super Bob) and that we see something better at the City Ground in a fortnight… see you there!

Euan Bayliss (


The time is fast approaching when we must decide on the names for the four sides of our new home.

The Kippax – An absolute must.
The Mercer stand – For our greatest era.
The Royle stand – For the dawning of a new era.
Not sure of the fourth, any ideas?

What ever happened to… ?

Jim Tolmie, little Scot with the cheeky chipped goals over the ‘keeper, namely Corrigan on his return to Maine Road.

John Bond signed 3 players together, Tommy Hutchinson, Bobby McDonald and who was the tigerish midfielder who made Jamie Pollock seem like a pussy cat and where is he now?

Dave B Flixton (


The Manchester City Centenary Supporters’ Association web-site at is currently under re-construction. Would CSA Branches please access the site and check your branch details are correct. Mail Shaun Sefton at of any branch changes/additions.

Howard Burr, Secretary, Reddish Branch (


Hello to the Cairo Blue. I used to be the one and only Cairo Blue. I even had a picture of me in City top, at the Mena House, published in the City programme. Have you seen any Egyptians walking round in old City tops? I gave about 20 away! Unfortunately I’m now the only Kuantan (Malaysia) Blue so no chance of a few beers. Do you still have SuperSport with Gary Bailey and Terry Paine? Never mind, at least you get the matches at a more reasonable hour – They usually start here at midnight. Are you a teacher by any chance?

I’ve deleted the last MCIVTA so I can’t reply to you personally but get in touch. Any other East Coast Malaysia Blues out there?

Dave Griffiths (


Alan Brazil: just a thought… Does anybody know an e-mail address for Sky where we can all send complaints about Alan Brazil’s appointment as Manchester City games commentator? I remember a while back (just before Wembley) we did something similar to get City a mention on Soccer-Am, It worked.

P.S. Personal Message for Alan Brazil: leave our Mr. Angry (Dickov) alone and Nick Weaver is a much better ‘keeper than Richard Wright, so there and oh yeh (nearly forgot) you’re a cr@p pundit and you’re short too (and ugly).

Paul Gallagher (


Not wishing to split hairs with someone not wishing to split hairs, but, although Sean Goater may not be Bermudan, but Bermudian, he is in fact Shaun Goater, not Sean. Not exactly sure where the Shaun comes into it, actually, as his name is in fact Leonardo Goater.

I don’t know what the Kippax was named after but I’m fairly sure a Corry character was named after it. Going way (too far) back, Stan Ogden once got in trouble with a money lender, who went by the name of Sid Kippax. Must be a link.

Andy Noise (


Another interesting MCIVTA. A couple of things I’d like to comment on.

1. Alan Brazil. Totally agree with the comments made. I was outraged after seeing the game on TV. He was an absolute disgrace. OK, he may hate City, but he is paid to give an objective, neutral opinion, and so is clearly not doing his job.

2. Simon Curtis made some supeb points. I have been amazed by the short memories of City fans and with some recent negativity, especially after Leeds. We have to remember firstly the progress made over the last year, secondly what happened at Wembley (and especially what nearly happened) and thirdly, our pre-season expectations, which were probable mid-table with play-offs as best hope.

Also, some fans seem to assume we are already up… there’s a lot of work to do. Personally I think Charlton will be champions and we’ll have to scrap it out with Ipswich (very good side) and Barnsley for the other place. Which will be very difficult, especially as Blackburn have to be favourites for the play-offs whatever.

To go up shouldn’t be an assumption, to do so would be a fantastic achievement… remember we only went up via the play-offs, and how often do the play-off winners go up 2nd season running?

Mark Braude (


The next home game is against Birmingham on Tuesday 1 February, 7pm k-o at Ewen Fields (Hyde). This month’s game against PNE saw a record attendance of 548! Reminder that season ticket holders get in free.

The home clash against M*FC reserves for the Manchester Senior Cup takes place at Ewen Fields on Tuesday 8 February, k-o 7.30pm. The match is all-ticket and tickets cost £5 for seating, £4 for terrace (adults); kids are £2 I think. Last season saw us lose 5-1 or some such ridiculous scoreline but this year the team are doing far better and we should see a much closer game given that we lost 4-5 on penalties for the away game. Tickets are available from Hyde Utd direct or from several shops in the town itself.

So come on down and give the lads your vociferous support.

Heidi Pickup (


This is it now – it’s downhill through to the end of the season, and oh dear, looks like City’s fortunes have dipped downwards again too. Admittedly this is only based on the few updates given on Radio-5 this afternoon, but I didn’t hear mention of a single threatening City attack or incident in the whole game.

I’m sure others will supply more details of exactly how bad the defence was, but for now this will have to do:

S  illy me -
H  alf
E  xpected
F  lowing
F  ootball.
I  nstead
E  xperienced
L  ethargic
D  efeat.
U  sual
N  ightmare
I  n
T  he
E  rratic
D  efence.

Steve Maclean (


With Weah signing for Chelsea recently, I wonder if any City fans remember an article in Match of the Day magazine in August 1998 (after talking about rumours of him joing Arsenal…): “I know the Premiership is a good league and I have a team in England that I support… I liked Arsenal but I support Manchester City.” He then added “The OLD Manchester City!” Just thought this may be of some interest to some Blues out there!

Jon Abel (


I had just paid for the next 12 months for Fox Sports World (which shows Sky Sports in USA). Today I got a message that all C Band satellites will no longer be able to get that channel. This was not a choice of the providers of C Band stations but the doing of Fox World Sports (Rupert BLO*DY Murdoch). I was looking forward to seeing City in the Premier League next season on TV here; now Rupert has pulled the plug. The way City played against Sheffield United last Saturday, the Premier League might only be a dream too. Of course I still want City to get promotion, but I might be 10% less enthusiastic!

Come on you Blues get promotion!

Ernie Barrow (


I see David Beckham’s dad (this morning’s Grauniad) is worried his son might end up like George Best. Fat chance! In his day Georgie was in more women’s knickers than Becks could ever dream of.

Ernie Whalley (


I think we all knew that Michael Brown would score a goal against us didn’t we? Unfortunately said goal turned out to be the only goal of the game…

My point is when will we learn not to sell players to teams we are about to play, especially decent players like Brown? Couldn’t they have put a clause in the deal whereby he couldn’t play against us or something?

I have a feeling this has happened before with City too, selling players and living to regret it.

Chris Marchie – Marchie (


Well just a thought but as an exiled Southerner living in Bramhall (enjoying living up here ’cause it’s so handy for Maine Road!) and someone who used to travel home and away from darn sarf for many, many years, has it occurred to anyone that some of the Fulham fans may not have been able to afford three games in a week? I know I couldn’t on some occasions, or get the time off work! OK, so the FA Cup game was at home but to travel to Leicester and Maine Road in the space of a few days does prove costly, unless you are in some way related to the fat bloke that owns Fulham. So I can’t say I was really surprised!

IMHO I feel hell will freeze over before Alan Brazil has a good word to say about City.

Carol Darvill (


Just to add to the ‘Rag’ saga is Old Nafford not built on a rubbish dump? I thought I had read something about that somewhere, or that could be just my furtive imagination running wild? I have a number of points to comment on, but they aren’t very exciting.

  1. Where is Terry Cooke? We spent so long chasing him and raising themoney (£1 million is a lot for a player when you are a Second Division club)that surely there must be something else affecting his inclusion in thefirst XI? Was he not instrumental (alongside Morrison – best bargain ever,shades of Tony Book?) in getting us up last season? Was speaking to a Man Ufan the other week and he said he felt sure Cooke would have made the squadthat played in Barzil and would have probably faced South Melbourne. MaybeTerry has stolen the Kippax Seagull? It is a mad idea but it might just beright!
  2. Are there any City fans in the Darlington area, who know of anywherewhich is good to watch City matches on Sky? So far I have tried a pub inSpennymoor (home of George Courtney) where suddenly we switched to horseracing mid-way through the Wolves match (you try telling a host of bigGeordies (I know people from Spennymoor aren’t Geordies) they can’t havetheir regular fix of betting on televised racing), and one in Darlingtonwhere they were installing Digital telly so as to watch the Rags!
  3. Does anyone know what the song was that was sung at the FA Cup matchaway at Darlington last season? It was something along the lines of ‘We arenot, we’re not really here…’ to the tune of ‘We shall not be moved’. Iwas stood in the away end but I couldn’t understand the words as it was afreezing night and I had a hood and a hat over my ears!

Here’s hoping for some local matches against Sunderland, Newcastle and Middlebrough next season, unless one of the last two go down!

James Walsh (


Let me start by saying that I agree Alan Brazil should be hounded off Sky a.s.a.p., especially as our televised match success rate isn’t the best in the land.

My solution would be to appoint the man who, I’m sure I’m going to get corrected on this, coined the term ‘The Academy of Footballing Excellence’. I believe it would be a resounding coup for Sky if they were to head hunt the silky skills of a certain Mr James H Reeve as presenter/pundit. Currently of Talk Sport Radio, ex-GMR and Piccadilly (and fellow true Blue Mancunian) James, would probably find this to be his dream job. However, he wouldn’t be too happy when forced to watch and comment on the Rags vs. The Arse bi-annual stalemate matches.

James, having done the old radio circuit for years, is used to providing an unbiased opinion and has the patience to wait for the opportunity to counter strike with absolute prejudice and jest. It can’t be that difficult to retrain as a football pundit. For Christ’s sake chuckle brother Lawrence almost gets away with it.

Let’s sort this one out and pop the petition in the post.

CTIDFLWWSHFG (City Till I Die From Laughter When Weaver Scores His First Goal), Rick Slater (


It really is paranoid to imagine that Alan Brazil ‘hates’ City. He is a commentator and a successful one because he (at least) occasionally tells it exactly how he sees it.

Sure, he initially thought Coleman hadn’t controlled the ball with his hand (and I screamed, with everyone else watching on Sky, that Brazil was blind and the Coalman had to go) but when he (Brazil) saw the replay he held his hand up to admit his mistake.

I’d rather have a commentator who occasionally challenges my opinion (because I’m frequently biased) than one who is frightened to speak for fear of offending one party or another. It makes praise from such quarter much more valuable too, doesn’t it?

Gary Owen is a nice fellow but so completely patronising, condescending and ingratiating when answering the telephone (to admittedly, complete morons) that I listen to Radio 5 on Saturdays.

While I’m here, can anyone tell me why that other pratt on Piccadilly Radio (forgotten his name – is it Clarke?), when commentating, insists on calling all players by their full name each time he mentions them? Occasionally ‘Richard Edghill’ is ok (did I get into another argument here?) but ‘Richard Edghill’ every time when ‘Edghill’ would be sufficient is so annoying. In fact, this geek (Clarke), is the reason I can’t listen to Piccadilly radio.

Simon Fink (


Well I put my head above the parapet and got it well and truly blown off didn’t I!? Believe me there is nothing worse than falling out with City fans and being on the receiving end of some very serious criticism, except that is, to have my loyalty questioned as well. I wonder now, is this how Edgy feels when he’s on the receiving end of a volley of abuse from the Blue Faithful – I hope not, it hurts and it’s upsetting (but at least he gets paid for it!).

In particular I want to pick up on the comments about whether or not it was right or wrong, loyal or disloyal for me to choose not to go to a City game (saving some cash and Sky TV come into this too, but let’s leave that aside for now). There were some comments on my stated reason for not going to the Leeds game: Paul Cooper: “He proclaims to be a true supporter and then states that he did not go to the match because he knew we were going to lose!” and Iain Sellars said: “Is he suggesting that we only go to watch those games that we are confident that we are going to win?”

Well guys, far from it, I’ll go and watch any ‘losing’ game provided I know it’s hurting the other fans and the club as much as it’s hurting me. And of course, having followed City through thick and some pretty thin ‘thin’, like everyone else I’m now (almost) immune to whether we actually win or not. However, this game was different for two reasons: one, I don’t think the club really cared that much about winning; two, I did not particularly want to see this team play.

Pretty frightening stuff really, so I better explain. First of all for this cup game, I definitely felt that something strange was going on, it seemed that a lot of people were thinking the unthinkable i.e. “It’s quite okay for City to get knocked out of the FA Cup at Maine Road by Leeds Utd.” And they were thinking it far too easily for my comfort. Before the game for example, Joe was saying how he’d swap an FA Cup win for three points in the league. A clever way to lower our expectations I know – but I wonder if the managers of Blackburn or Tranmere were approaching their cup games with the same attitude? Afterwards, the match itself, like the Mansfield Cup match last year, was described as a mere ‘interlude’ – so why on earth should I shell out for this?

Secondly, it’s getting pretty clear that the types of players I like to see playing football for Man City, are not going to get into this current City side. Over the last few years I’ve loved watching: Gio Kinkladze, Michael Brown, Terry Cooke and Gareth Taylor. And well, we all know what happened to these guys don’t we? I must say I really like Weaver and Fenton too… and oh dear, they’ll be next I reckon.

However, I really do fully respect Joe Royle’s ‘team unit’ approach to selecting City’s team, but it’s just not for me, I don’t enjoy watching it play. And for example, I cannot understand how Gareth Taylor, with 6 goals in 10 games, can be replaced by a clearly unfit Robert Taylor with one goal in, how many games now? In all honesty I’m getting a bit fed up with it but apparently I’m not allowed to be? My loyalty compels me to go to every game? Well surely, if I was a part-timer, a bandwaggoner, then I’d be lapping it up right now, with City flying high at the top of this division? Well I’m not, and that’s because deep down, I really do care about the future of this club and I just don’t like the way the team are playing. However, I also think that Joe Royle should be left to get on with it, his way, without people like me holding him back, and dragging both him and the club ‘backwards’. That being said, I love exhanging opinion via this forum, because I often end up getting my mind changed.

So as you can see, I’m far from a being a fairweather fan, picking the nice ‘easy-to-go-to-games’ like maybe the Leeds FA Cup game (because let’s face it, most City fans didn’t seem to really care whether or not we won this game did they?). Not me, two weeks on, and I’m still really gutted we went out of the FA cup, at home, to a club that are no bigger or better than ourselves.

So without shooting me down again, I’d welcome some more contributions on ‘loyalty’. You never know, I might be persuaded that I reallly do have to go, to every game and suffer like everyone else!

Neil Haigh (


Having read Mark Braude’s comments re Joe’s ability to spot talent and having gone back to read my original piece I have to admit I was maybe being a touch harsh. Being an exile I only really get to see The Blues on the box, apart from the odd game when I get over the water, so I’m aware I don’t have the same perspective as the lucky sod who goes every week and then watches the video re-run with five foaming pints of Marston’s Pedigree inside him (how I’d love to drink something other than the black stuff now and again).

I suppose I was thinking of long-term talent, not just stop gaps. That would mean forgetting Jobson and Bishop – and I’m a big, big Bish fan. I agree with your sentiments re Granville and there’s a lot I like about Tiatto, what bit I’ve seen of him. Morrison was a fantastic buy, of course, but ‘best in the club’s history’? Surely Colin Bell or maybe Bert who came on a free from… St. Helens? Pollock was a known quantity when Joe bought him. His good and bad points were obvious to anyone who’d ever seen him. He’d hardly set the world on fire but he would do a particular job at the time and I’m sure Joe knew the score when he handed over the readies. So marks for common sense rather than talent spotting. I’m not a fan of Tall Taylor and I’ve got a very bad vibe about Fat Taylor; I just hope I’m proved wrong. I haven’t seen a sign of class from Peacock. So far as Cookie goes, remember we took him on loan because we needed a wide player. He had a couple of average games then wow! started playing out of his skin. At a judicious moment Old Misery Guts pulls the plug and says ‘Och aye Jimmy. Time ter mak’ yer mind up’. We have to jump one way or the other – it hardly needs a pack of Tarot cards to tell you to buy a player who’s already performing for your team. Kennedy? As I said, I’ve seen him playing for Ireland – he had twenty great minutes against Yugoslavia, including a brilliant goal – but he’s done very little else – I’d take a lot of convincing that he’s going to turn PL defenders inside out next year. Allsopp – who’s going to pay £300,000 for him? And by the way, I think it’s called ‘inflation’. The sort of player I had in mind would be 18/21, regular in a lower division team or PL reserve. We don’t pay top dollar for him, show we are a bit more hard-nosed than the City of old. This guy is intelligent, confident on the ball, has a reasonable work rate. He elbows his way into our XI, holds down a place, gives us that element we’re missing. We win promotion. Next year the gutter press is hollering for his inclusion in the England squad, he plays a major part in getting us mid-table respectability and a trip to the semi’s. Year after he scores the goal that gets us into Europe and the assist that relegates Stretford FC. Alan Ball, Manager of Ireland, enquires where was his grandma born. Wins full England cap the season after and nobody, but nobody calls him ‘Mary Poppins’. Of course we sell him eventually… to Inter Milan for zillions. Okay lads, apply your crystal ball to the players currently on the books and tell me if anyone fits the bill.

Other topics. 1. Simon Curtis’ article was a model of clarity and common sense. 2. Booing a guy doesn’t make any sense. Joe can’t hear you; anyhow if he did he wouldn’t drop the guy and the player rubbished will only go head down/belly up. And you’re going to get deservedly outed and rubbished yourself in McVittie by sane people like Averil and Jack Millington. 3. Rags. I always thought it was an ingenious corruption of ‘Reds’ until an even older-timer told me it came from pre-WW2 days when United 1. were skint and wore any old shirts they could get and/or 2. Wore different colours each week in the hope of finding a lucky strip. I’m sure I’ve seen a similar explanation in a book – Gary James’ awesome tome?

CTIDOTTSIAHE (City Till I Die or Till The Swamp Is A Housing Estate), Ernie Whalley (


I’ve been viewing all the comments on the Brazil nut with some level of amusement and shock!

I feel I must offer an alternative view to defend the greatest Blue of all time… yes Brazil is the greatest (City not Ipswich) Blue of all time!

First, he was prepared to make the biggest sacrifice any footballer could make on our behalf. Yes, he sacrificed his whole career. After being a brilliant, pacy forward for Ipswich, he was then deliberately sh*te for Trafford. So bad he was hounded out of the club, with those Red charmers actually gobbing on him whenever he was entering/leaving the Theatre of Arrogance.

Then, after managing a pub in Ipswich by the name of The Blackadder (yes he’s a wag isn’t he?), he somehow got a job with Sky… in the days when Sky was very desperate for “Big” (?) names! Thus, he now had the opportunity to do City the greatest possible service.

Now I was safely enjoying myself in the Gillingham end on May 30 1999, so at the time was unaware of his good work on our behalf; I only heard it on the video when I got back home (I live in Sweden by the way). Gillingham… 2-0 up… 6 seconds normal time remaining etc… yeah we all know…

Go on, put the video on now! And listen to glorious Alan eulogising about Gillingham’s “fantastic achievement”… on and on he babbles… completely and utterly jinxing everything Gillingham touched… he thought it was all over… it wasn’t!

So Alan… thanks!

Thanks for getting the Rags to waste £300,000 of early 1980’s money on you.


Thanks for getting us promoted. I’m sure without your Wembley rantings the mystical powers that be would never have smiled down on us. So keep it up, slag us off, write us off, exude about the opposition; I for one am very glad to hear it!

CTABHSGTSAU (City till Alan Brazil Has Something Good To Say About Us), Phil Alcock (


I’m not sure how much people know about the scouting network (I know very little) but I do know what I have been told by people in the game in my capacity as a CSA branch secretary, both at branch meetings and other functions e.g. a football forum I attended last year with Joe Royle (I didn’t go with JR, he was the guest!). The likes of Gustafsson for example, obviously have agents. The job of these agents is to get the best deal for the player and therefore themselves. There is no question that Gustafsson’s services will have been offered to all and sundry by way of a fax at least. However, there is far more to it than “X player is available for free at the end of the season”. There are wage demands to think about, accommodation, fringe benefits etc. Gio Kinkladze for example was offered to every single Premier league and 1st Division club last season. Fact. Nobody was interested.

City have scouts or contacts everywhere. We all like to think that we spot a player and if we contact MCFC they’ll look at him but, discounting young lads still at school, chances are, they’ll know about them already. And if they are truly any good, they’d be doing what they can to sign him. Coventry may have paid a pittance, of course, as a transfer fee but 1) how much is he on? and 2) Coventry are in the Premiership which is a pretty big draw for a player.

As for the late reply from the Chief Scout, can you imagine how many letters he receives? If he were to watch every single recommended player from every letter from every fan he’d need an army to watch them all. So he has to go with the hottest prospects in terms of recommendations by people in the game and perhaps if an agent sends a fax saying their player is available and personal terms are reasonable then perhaps they’ll be invited for a trial à la the recent centre half, Diego Tur.

Lance Thomson (


Well I guess Joe had to drop a clanger at some stage… and selling a player as competitive as Brownie to our opponents during the week in which we play them certainly had all the makings of a “clanger”. And so it came to pass! And now a fortnight’s rest after which we will probably find ourselves sitting back in 4th place again. Sigh!

Chris Loveridge (


I think Jeff Whitley has been among our very best players in the early season. Is it just coincidence that his form has dropped alarmingly after sticking a fat contract in his pocket? I could say the same about Terry Cooke. Show some pride, for God’s sake!

Jan Inge Hommen (


Excellent to see Alan Brazil coming in for some concerted stick in MCIVTA 572. Seeing as it’s a subject that has seen me airing the odd grievance here and there in the past, it seems appropriate that I’m wearing a nice new pair of steel toe capped boots which have just been thoroughly christened on a snowy Berlin building site. How I’d love to drive one of the said boots into a very dark place located within Brazil’s Farah Super-Stretch pants. For now I’m content to just slag him off; every now and again I may get carried away and act as if I’m talking directly to him but this is because I’d love to be saying this all to his face. I don’t care that it’s unlikely that he’ll ever read MCIVTA (or have it read to him by his wife)… it’s going on record.

As usual I’ll start with a bit of general waffling, can’t expect someone with Irish blood not to want to go a bit of chattering now, can you? Now, living in Berlin (yes it is relevant) is both a hardship and a comfort for the exiled City fan in my opinion as:

  1. It’s not the ideal starting point for a trip to Maine Road for obviousreasons. “Going to the game on Saturday?” asks one Citizen of another.“Course I am, I’ll meet you at the Brandenburg Gate at the normal time. If we run we’llmake last orders in the Parkside on Tuesday night” etc.
  2. The only direct flights from Berlin to Manchester are on the world’s mostover-inflated airline (BA) and they’re always fully booked if you don’t have achance to book well in advance. Surely Manchester and Berlin can be betterconnected than they are! This means time consuming and energy sappingimprovisation of travel plans is often required to ensure that a weekendtrip to Manchester results in my car having at least the 90 minutes + pint drinkingtime to cool down in the car park of the Polish RC Church near the brewery (whereelse do you expect me to park?), having completed the first leg of a 1,500 km(1,000 mile) round trip through 4 countries. In short, getting to see Citycan be knackering work but love is a many splendoured thing, whatever that means.
  3. And here we go, now we’re getting to the point. I have to admit thatbeing in Berlin has been my saviour too as (aside from the fact that it’s a superb placeto live) there is a proverbial plethora of pubs etc. (and now even my office…pah!) all fully equipped with Sky Sports. Now read on…

I’m in the relatively happy position this season, so far at least, of having seen 11 City games, an unprecedented number of games at half-season stage since leaving Manchester over 6 years ago. Four of these were at MR, with the other 7 on the box. Given that the TV is the most prominent of my City match sources this season, I feel I’m in the perfect position to slag off the brainless get who has gone some way to spoiling each and every one of the seven games televised so far as well as countless televised non-City fixtures and I don’t even have to start to talk about the Play-Off final last May! Yes, Brazil, I’m talking to you so sit up straight and pay attention!

I said it in a past match report for MCIVTA (Brum I think) that Alan Brazil has a voice that “grates like no other” and boy does it grate. I’m not talking about his accent or anything here and I’m certainly not slagging off the Scottish, it’s just his voice. How can someone who’s paid to talk not have a good speaking voice? Add to this the more important fact (and we all seem agreed on this) that his commentary, in particular during fixtures featuring the Blues, contains such glaring anti-City yapping it beggars belief that this man is employed in the field of football punditry at all.

How can Sky continue to pay this man to commentate on games where his commentary is an insult and source of extreme irritation for the loyal fans of one of the biggest clubs in the country? A club now being represented in media circles by the employers of the very culprit in question. Sky know that City have a support base unstinting in its loyalty, I’m sure it was part of their research before the investment, so why do these loyal fans have to be subjected to a bitter agricultural vehicle enthusiast with nothing to offer but thinly veiled digs (probably thinks he’s being funny) at City? If you’re trying to be funny Brazil you’re not particularly good at it. I’ll tell you who’s funny though old bean and he’s a colleague of yours at Sky. You remember Rodney Marsh don’t you Alan? Now he’s funny and always says nice things about City.

So tell us Alan, were you paying attention when Rodders had a pop at your commentary “skills” one evening (can’t remember when it was exactly). It was on the phone-in show “You’re on Sky Sports”. Rodders was the guest on the show which was broadcast a few hours after Alan Brazil had commentated on some 2nd Division game or other. The game had been a fairly good one if memory serves and Rodders made a point of saying “Can I just say one thing? Can I just say one thing…?” (you know the way he does that “I’m taking the floor” thing)… “that was probably the best commentary I’ve heard from Alan Brazil” he enthused.

Now being who you are Alan, you will probably have seen this as a compliment from a workmate. The majority of football fans though I’m sure will have seen this contribution from Rodders exactly the way I and the vast majority of my City brothers and sisters do. He was having an equally thinly veiled go at you Alan! He was saying that you annoy the sh*t out of him on every other occasion. The reason this was “the best commentary” Rodders had heard is because you, Brazil, were suffering from a cold (so your voice was altered) and because you sat up in the commentary box sleeping off the effects of a near-miss Benylin overdose, only opening your mouth to point out the blindingly obvious. You’re a p*ss-poor commentator at best Brazil. You constantly prattle your way through games, making stupid comments about peripheral issues and completely baffling everyone with your view on the important issues. The crowning glory for me was…

“Good football being played by BOTH sides here” (Wolves vs. Man City – 3rd December 1999)

The one and only time you give a compliment to City is when we play our worst football of the season. Were you trying to tell the nation, or instill in those who were maybe watching City for the first time, that this is what City look like when they’re playing well? There are many possible theories as to why you would say such a thing, e.g. the Sky investment was still relatively fresh news (you remember Alan, your wife read it to you in the paper and showed you the colourful pictures of City players in full flight). She probably told you – as she zipped up your anorak – that you should try to bear this new info in mind and you, Brazil, brown-noser that you are, choose to spit out praise for City when our football is the worst it has been this season. You really are a complete ****** Brazil.

But as I (and many others in the past few MCIVTA’s) have already stated, this one mistimed and indirectly damaging compliment to City is very much the exception to the norm. Alan Brazil is like that completely thick bloke that everyone has as a workmate or is in some way aquainted with, you know, the bloke who walks up to the boss and says things like “You know that new car you got last week? Well I think it’s f*cking sh*t!” This character trait will eventually be your downfall Brazil, and our gain.

A very interesting comment was made by Averil Capes in the last MCIVTA linking Brazil’s bitterness toward Nicky Weaver with the fact that Richard Wright isn’t in the spotlight as often as he once was. Maybe Mr. Brazil should climb up that particular gantry to replace the bulb himself. As everyone knows, Alan, the best time to work with electricity is the minute you step out of the bath/shower. The breezy gantry (and of course the high voltage) will dry you off quicker than drip-drying Alan so off you go, here’s a new bulb.

I feel loads better now having gotten that off my chest. Cheers to all who entertained with their Alan Brazil views and to Gary King for starting it with the simplest of questions. “Is Alan Brazil a Tw*t?” Not being one to stand on the fence I bellow a resounding “100% TW*T!”

Now in closing I’m wondering whether – in future – the words “Alan Brazil” should be dealt with in the same way as the words “Alan Ball” are dealt with in the City fanzine “Bert Trautmann’s Helmet” (hello Noel). For those who don’t read BTH (and I’m not getting into a debate about which fanzine is the best or which fanzine-faction could batter the other in a fight) the ex-City manager (cor, he has a World Cup winner’s medal you know) is referred to as “alan ball”. Should the same degree of disrespect be aimed now at Alan Brazil (alan brazil)? Will Noel relax his hold on the copyrights to using the lower case “a” and “b” in a name other than “alan ball?” Come on Noel give us permission!

A bsolute
L oser
A nd
N o
B rains
R eally not
A ble to
Z ip
'I s
L oud mouth

Apologies to Keith Riley for the inclusion of the acronym. Rant ends.

Cathal Whelehan (


Ash is quite right. Didn’t know his name but he was with City, and in the early thirties United came begging for financial support. In fact City paid the wages (via Mr Gibson?) for all their staff for the rest of that season, hence the ‘Rags’.

Jack Millington (CTTRPUB) ‘City Til The Rags Pay Us Back’ (


Let me tell you a story. Cast your minds back to 1968. We are League Champions and those sad Red b@st@rds were stealing our thunder – not for the first time – by playing Benfica in the European Cup final. They lost the toss for choice of colours and chose to play in blue. My father – a life long Blue (it’s in the blood you know) – at the time was manager of the Umbro sportswear factory based at 63 Union Street, Stockport. The call came from their Head Office at Wilmslow, “Ken, we’re doing the kits for Utd. and I want you at Stockport to do them and we’ve got to move quickly as they want them for a photo call”. Now you can imagine my dad’s reaction – like fcuk we will, they can join the queue and wait their turn just like everyone else (except City). Time was ticking by and everyone (except my dad) was getting a bit frustrated. Then the big day came – out came the blue material for the European Cup final shirts. It had been lying about in the factory since the place was built. it was full of dust and cobwebs – in fact the machinists were upset it was being used because they use to cut lengths of the roll to take home for dusters! Yes the scum were being turned out at Wembley dressed in Rags!

Good old dad. God I was proud of him. I couldn’t wait to get to school and tell everyone! So the material was marked out and cut. Now before anything could be sewn together the embroidering has to take place. Phone call to Head Office: “what’s going on the front of these European Cup final shirts?” was my dad’s question. “The City of Manchester Coat of Arms” came the reply, short pause – “Pardon?”, “The City of Manchester Coat of Arms”, “Over my dead body!” Now this was the insult of all insults. Here’s my old man doing his utmost to ridicule the Red b@st@rds by sending them out at Wembley dressed in rags and now they wanted him to put the City of Manchester Coat of Arms on the front. Enough was enough. There is no way on God’s earth was my dad having anything to do with that. I still remember him coming home absolutely seething and refusing point blank to do it. Anyway, dad being dad, stood by his guns and the shirts were sent away for the embroidering to be done. I don’t know where, and he doesn’t know where, but done it was. But we could all sleep at night having the satisfaction of knowing that my dad had turned the Red b@st@rds out in the European Cup final dressed in material that was fit for nothing but Rags!

My dad went on to work for Umbro at Stockport up until he retired, nearly 50 years all told, and still gets great pleasure in telling this story today.

Howard Burr, Reddish Branch (CSA) (


This is copied from Gary James’ excellent book Manchester – the Greatest City. The man Harry Hughes, quoted in the piece, lived in Gorton during the thirties and was a neighbour of City’s great player of the period, Tommy Johnson.

“The high points of the (1930-31) campaign came in the two games with lowly United, when the Blues achieved a 4-1 victory at Maine Road and a 3-1 win at Old Trafford. United were eventually relegated but that was only part of the problem as their financial situation was dire, prompting many to suggest that the February derby match might be the last ever as United were to go out of business in the summer. Crowds were down to pitiful levels with games against Leicester and Middlesbrough attracting less than four thousand. City supporters felt genuinely sorry for their poor relations but perhaps relegation would give United a new lease of life, as it had City. Harry Hughes remembers the state of United at the time: ‘I worked in Trafford Park then, and all the locals were United fans. I was working nights and when Saturday morning arrived a couple of them asked ‘are you going to see the Rags today?’ I didn’t know what they meant, and then they explained that United fans had started to call the team the ‘Rags’ because they were so poor that their kit looked like rags. So after that I knew what they meant, but when I mentioned the Rags they’d go ‘who the hell are you talking about?’ They didn’t like the opposition saying it.’

Martin Styles – “Banjo”, Cork, Ireland (


If anyone out there wants to go to Manchester this coming weekend (leaving from London Euston), I still have a train ticket I don’t need, travelling up on Saturday morning and returning Sunday evening. As I have had no takers so far I am prepared to sell it for £16 plus a pint. You can’t say fairer than that! You will need to contact me by Wednesday evening, either by email (, or phone me on 0181 852 4972.

By the way, I see you are still describing Shaun Goater as a Bermudan international, despite my email of last week pointing out that it should read Bermudian (with an i). I probably queered my pitch somewhat by spelling his name Sean (oops!). I had hoped you would take the word of a fellow Bermudian though, instead of going by what the newspapers say (they almost always get it wrong too). I know this may sound really petty but it gets my goat (er). After all you wouldn’t like to be constantly referred to as (for example) Mancunan, or Britsh would you?

Patrick (


I live in Tokyo and The Sky Channels only cover the Premier League. I have a colleague who is a Fulham fan and enjoyed having the video sent over last season when they beat us 3-0. I would love to return the gesture! Obviously postage and packing would be paid for. Please reply to the address below or It would be much appreciated.

Marc Bailey (


I have now been a Man City fan for some time, and I have been trying – without any luck – to find a fan club based in the area of Copenhagen, Denmark. Maybe it’s just me that hasn’t been looking properly, but if there’s any Danish MCFC fans who knows one, please e-mail me! Thanks!

Kaspar Nymand (


Recent results to 24 January 2000 inclusive.

22 January 2000

Barnsley              5 - 1  Blackburn Rovers
Bolton Wanderers      1 - 1  Ipswich Town
Crewe Alexandra       2 - 3  Walsall
Fulham                0 - 1  Grimsby Town
Huddersfield Town     1 - 0  Tranmere Rovers
Norwich City          0 - 3  Charlton Athletic
Nottingham Forest     0 - 0  West Bromwich Albion
Port Vale             3 - 1  Birmingham City
Sheffield United      1 - 0  Manchester City
Stockport County      1 - 1  Portsmouth
Wolverhampton Wndrs   3 - 2  Queens Park Rangers

21 January 2000

Swindon Town          2 - 4  Crystal Palace

League table to 23 January 2000 inclusive.

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  GD Pts
 1 Charlton Ath.   28 10  2  2 25 11  8  3  3 27 17 18  5  5 52 28  24  59
 2 Manchester City 28 11  0  3 31 10  6  4  4 13 12 17  4  7 44 22  22  55
 3 Barnsley        28 11  1  2 36 14  6  3  5 23 25 17  4  7 59 39  20  55
 4 Ipswich Town    28 11  1  2 29 12  4  7  3 18 16 15  8  5 47 28  19  53
 5 Huddersfield T. 28 11  2  1 34 12  4  3  7 11 17 15  5  8 45 29  16  50
 6 Wolves          28  7  4  3 23 15  4  5  5 14 17 11  9  8 37 32   5  42
 7 Stockport C.    28  7  6  1 24 17  4  3  7  9 19 11  9  8 33 36  -3  42
 8 Blackburn R.    27  7  5  2 21 11  3  5  5 14 19 10 10  7 35 30   5  40
 9 QPR             28  6  7  1 20 13  4  2  8 17 21 10  9  9 37 34   3  39
10 Fulham          28  6  5  3 12  8  3  7  4 13 17  9 12  7 25 25   0  39
11 Birmingham City 27  8  3  2 24 11  2  5  7 13 20 10  8  9 37 31   6  38
12 Norwich City    28  8  2  4 17 15  2  6  6 10 15 10  8 10 27 30  -3  38
13 Bolton Wndrs    27  6  5  3 23 17  3  4  6 12 14  9  9  9 35 31   4  36
14 Tranmere Rovers 28  7  4  3 23 15  3  2  9 14 23 10  6 12 37 38  -1  36
15 Crystal Palace  28  6  5  3 23 14  3  3  8 17 31  9  8 11 40 45  -5  35
16 Sheff. United   28  7  3  4 20 14  2  4  8 15 29  9  7 12 35 43  -8  34
17 Grimsby Town    28  7  4  3 20 20  2  2 10 12 28  9  6 13 32 48 -16  33
18 Nottm Forest    28  6  6  2 18 10  1  2 11 11 26  7  8 13 29 36  -7  29
19 West Brom A.    28  2  8  4 12 15  3  6  5 12 17  5 14  9 24 32  -8  29
20 Crewe Alex.     28  5  5  4 14 13  2  2 10 13 24  7  7 14 27 37 -10  28
21 Walsall         28  4  4  6 14 17  3  3  8 17 28  7  7 14 31 45 -14  28
22 Port Vale       27  5  2  6 15 15  1  7  6 16 22  6  9 12 31 37  -6  27
23 Portsmouth      28  4  5  5 19 16  1  4  9 12 29  5  9 14 31 45 -14  24
24 Swindon Town    28  2  6  6 14 24  1  3 10  6 25  3  9 16 20 49 -29  18

With thanks to Football 365


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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 #573