Newsletter #574

There’s very little in the way of news, perhaps the most noteworthy being a delay to skipper Morrison’s comeback. Other than that, this issue has more on Alan Brazil, Bermud(i)ans, The Kippax and the origin of the Rags. Walter has once again made the supreme sacrifice and forced himself along to The Swamp to report on the awful goings on there, in particular the near-legendary brooding silence. Lastly, there’s another Year 2000 prediction – as last time – written by a MCIVTA subscriber, but this one is correctly attributed!

Anyone like to do a Why Blue?

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


Skipper Set for New Lilleshall Stint

The date of Andy Morrison’s comeback is once again uncertain. The City captain hasn’t travelled to Lanzarote with his team-mates and is facing another spell of rehabilitation work at the National Centre for Excellence at Lilleshall. After completing his original Lilleshall stint, Morrison had hoped to play in next week’s reserve game against Birmingham with a view to returning swiftly to senior action. The latest set-back will disappoint manager Joe Royle, who feels that the Blues have missed their skipper’s leadership qualities during his three-month absence. The news is bound to intensify speculation that Royle is looking to move into the transfer market for defensive reinforcements.

Canaries GIve Vaughan a Chance

City defender Tony Vaughan, currently on trial at Norwich, will be given the chance to impress Canaries’ boss Bruce Rioch on Thursday evening. Vaughan will feature for the East Anglians’ reserves against Portsmouth at Carrow Road. Armed with cash to spend following the sale of Darren Eadie to Leicester, Rioch is looking to strengthen in several departments. But while the Norwich manager appears to have lost out to Nottingham Forest in the chase for Grimsby striker Jack Lester, he’s in pole position to land former Ipswich man Vaughan should the player impress during his trial. It’s thought that the fee would be in the region of £350,000. In other transfer developments, both Portsmouth and Preston have denied interest in City’s Paul Dickov while Joe Royle has expressed similar sentiments in respect of Norwegian teenagers Jan Roger Melleby and Kristian Sando, who were linked with the Blues earlier in the week.

Pollock Shines in Reserve Defeat

There was disappointment for City reserves on Tuesday in the form of a 2-0 reverse at Burnley. The one bright spot for the Blues came in the form of a man-of-the-match display from midfielder Jamie Pollock. The former Middlesbrough and Bolton player is bidding to regain the first-team place he lost after the signing of Tony Grant. And Pollock will have another chance to impress at reserve level next Tuesday when City face Birmingham at Hyde. That match had been expected to see Andy Morrison’s return to action, but to judge from recent reports the big defender’s comeback date seems likely to be put back once again.

Stags Eye Another Maine Road Reserve

Less than a week after signing one out-of-favour Maine Road reserve, Mansfield Town could be set to move for another player on Joe Royle’s transfer list. The Stags are believed to have watched Shaun Holmes in Tuesday’s reserve match. Chris Greenacre completed a move to Field Mill on Friday after a loan spell, and it appears that the 19-year-old Derry-born full-back could follow the same path. Other City players on the night may have also been the focus of attention for rival clubs’ scouts. Paul Dickov has been slightly dubiously linked with Stoke City, while the Scot’s strike partner at Burnley, Danny Allsopp, has reportedly been eyed by several clubs after Joe Royle was prepared to sell the Australian to Gillingham in November.

Goater – I’d Like to Put City First

City striker Shaun Goater will be on international duty in March. But the Bermudian front man has told the Manchester Evening News he’d prefer to stay in England to help the Blues’ promotion charge. “If it was left to me I would stay and play for City,” he explained to the paper. “I love playing for my country and consider it a great honour but these games could not have come at a worse time.” Goater will be required by his country on 4th or 5th March for the first leg of a World Cup qualifier and could be called back a fortnight later for the tie’s second game. Joe Royle will be hoping that the first match produces an emphatic result – Bermuda coach Clyde Best has indicated that if it appears his side has little to play for, he won’t ask the Blues’ top scorer to travel.

Royle – Lanzarote Trip is Work, Not Play

City’s first-team squad members are currently in Lanzarote. But manager Joe Royle has dismissed claims that the players will be lazing in the sun. The Blues’ boss feels the two-week gap between league games will benefit his troops – he says that the players have already had a tough season following a shortened pre-season break due to play-off commitments. But Royle insists they’re benefitting from a change of scenery rather than a rest from training. “There will be plenty of hard work done while we are there,” he told the Manchester Evening News.

Forest Strengthen Ahead of City Visit

The Blues won’t be in league action for another ten days owing to Bolton’s Cup engagements. But as Joe Royle and his squad enjoy a welcome break, the manager of the Blues latest opponents looks set to have added three new faces to his squad ahead of City’s visit. Nottingham Forest boss David Platt believes he has to spend to rescue his side’s disappointing season. And Sheffield United’s 14-goal Martin Smith is currently in talks with Forest after the Blades accepted a £300,000 bid. The former Sunderland man will be joined in an all-new strike force by Grimsby’s Jack Lester, a player previously linked with a switch to Maine Road, who signed on Thursday. Finally, Forest have also agreed a £650,000 for Derby defender Spencer Prior.

All Tickets Sold for Forest Date

City will have the backing of another large travelling contingent at Nottingham Forest a week on Saturday. All tickets for away fans have now been sold for the fixture. The Blues’ big away support is once again proving a boost for other teams in the division. The presence of, officially, 5,600 City fans at Bramall Lane on Saturady helped give Sheffield United a gate in excess of their current average by more than 10,000. And cash-strapped Crystal Palace are also hoping to cash in, allocating the Blues more than 7,000 tickets for the fixture at Selhurst Park on March 4.

Third Straight Away Tie If Youngsters Sink Rams

City’s youngsters face Derby next Wednesday in the The Times FA Youth Cup fifth round. And the Maine Road juniors, who won at Bradford in the last round, will be on their travels again if they manage to beat the Rams. The winners of the Derby vs. City tie have been handed a sixth round trip to Huddersfield or Coventry, a match which must be completed by March 4. Semi-final matches will be played over two legs on March 25 and April 15, with the final also being a two-game affair, to be played on May 5 and May 12.

Thirties Star Sproston Dies

Former City star Bert Sproston has died at the age of 84. The former England full-back joined City in the autumn of 1937 after earlier service with Leeds and Spurs. When the Sandbach-born player signed, the Blues were reigning League Champions – only to be relegated in Sproston’s first season despite being the First Division’s top scorers! The international chalked up 125 league games at Maine Road in addition to 130 for Leeds and nine in his brief time at Spurs. However, the years in which he would have been at his peak were lost to the Second World War. Condolences go to his family.

Peter Brophy (


To whom it may concern,

Manchester City are looking to obtain feedback on commentary quality and the service levels given by

Would any interested parties, in particular our current audio subscribers please forward their comments to myself at the club.

Many Thanks, Steve Sayer, Marketing Executive (


Manchester City are riding high above neighbours U***ed – at the top of the bestsellers league. Mark Hodkinson’s Blue Moon – Down Among the Dead Men with Manchester City has pipped Taggart’s autobiography for the coveted 1999 number one slot for sports books. Blue Moon has already been reprinted three times and continues to attract a wider audience than just City fans.

Heidi Pickup, courtesy of MuEN (


When not slagging off City on Sky Sports, Alan Brazil can be found cheering on his daughters at UK Dry-Ski Slope Championships. I kid you not. I know someone whose kids compete alongside Brazil’s daughters most weekends of the year. All readers will be pleased to know that our opinion of Brazil’s biased comments have been passed onto the man himself!

Alistair Wade, Edinburgh (


If the usual crowd, organised by Pat Higgins, are coming up to see City against Nottingham Forest, can you give me a shout so I can meet up with you guys for a few beers? Is there any particular pub, or two, that you shall be vacating?

If there’s any other City fans meeting up in Nottingham for a few drinks, is there any particular bar you go to?

Mark Bidmead (


The next gathering of the Reddish Branch of the Manchester City Centenary Supporters will be on Wednesday 9th February at The Ash Hotel, Manchester Road, Stockport starting at 8.00pm. Confirmed guests are Lee Peacock, City’s Marketing Executive Steve Sayer and City Magazine Editor Mike Barnett. All Blues are more than welcome. For further details e-mail me at the address below.

Howard Burr, Branch Secretary (


Impressed by Andy Noise’s outrageous knowledge of City-related trivia in the past few MCIVTA’s, as well as having enjoyed reading similar titbits of trivia in various issues of “Bert Trautmann’s Helmet” (sorry but it’s pure coincidence that BTH gets another mention, hello again Noel). I decided to better myself and go out and get the most trivial, yet earthmoving and still loosely City-related piece of information possible and share it all with you, ’cause I know you like a laugh. Having given up looking for this elusive, mind boggling fact in the regular City sources on the web I soon got bored and looked at my “To-Do” list. A list of menial tasks which is written on a PostIt ™ Note, which in turn is nailed to a pin board in the kitchen because I still don’t trust ’em to stay stuck by themselves.

On this list there are several long forgotten tasks such as “put up coat hooks in hall cupboard” at number one, a position it has occupied for coming on 18 months now, so well done to the coat hooks. Anyway there’s also a note to do something for my mother back in Manchester. I have to find her some info on the Net about how to start researching a family tree thingy. Ho-hum off we go then…

So a-surfin’ I went around some genealogy sites where I ordered a book which will tell her all she needs to know. Now with that matter crossed off the list, I decided to have my own fun seeing as I was mucking around in genealogy sites anyway I decided to do searches on the various surnames in my immediate family, my own name, my grandparent’s maiden names etc. Thoroughly disappointed at the search results for “Whelehan” (surely the ex-Attorney General for Ireland, also a Whelehan but no relation I’m led to believe, deserved some mention?) I quickly switched my search efforts to more obscure names of mates and even some of you good MCIVTA contributors etc., all to no avail.

So spurred on by the aforementioned knowledge skills of Andy Noise in last night’s MCIVTA where he reminded us that “Stan Ogden once got in trouble with a money lender, who went by the name of Sid Kippax” I decided the only sensible thing to do was to enter the word “Kippax” into the search box just to see if there was ever a “Grand Old Duke of Kippax” who would regularly march over yonder hills to give the “Grand Old Duke of York” a sound kicking. There wasn’t of course, but what I did find will definitely make you all go “hmmmmm”. And no, I didn’t find anything for Sid Kippax either… just something slightly more historically important…

First off there were a few records on the particular site I looked at ( which made me think a bit and which will make some of you wonder too I bet. The first one which jumped off the page and begged to be pasted to a safe location for later use was the following entry in the home page listing the descendants of a certain “Richard Belding”.

William Belding, b. 1623, Kippax Staffordshire England; d. July 11, 1655, Norwalk, CT, America

Is 7.11.55 a “Date of Death” score? If so well done Mr. Belding and ehhhhm very sorry for your loss.

Everyone so far has been more or less agreed on the fact that it is the Kippax in Yorkshire from which Kippax Street and therefore the Kippax Stand takes its name. It’s a fact I’m not going to argue with either as I know nothing about the subject, but I’m wondering whether anyone knows if there ever was or if there still is a Kippax in Staffs? I have a feeling there may be an error in the text copied above as another link on the same site contained entries for the same Richard and William Belding, stating however, that he was born in Kippax, Yorkshire. It was when I went to look at the contradictory link that I noticed something which I believe is miles better than finding an entry for a “Grand Old Duke of Kippax” and here it is… drumroll please…

Jane4 Rolfe (Thomas3, POCAHONTAS2, CHIEF1 POWHATAN) was born October 10, 1650 in Varina, Henrico County, Virginia and died 1676 in KIPPAX, Charles City Virginia. She married Robert “Colonel” Bolling 1675 in Henrico County, Virginia, son of John Bolling and Marie Carie. He was born December 26, 1646 in “Alls Hollow”, Barking Parish, London, England and died July 17, 1709 in “Cobbs”, Prince George County, Virginia.

The above is an entry found under the heading “3rd Generation Descendants of Pocahontas” (source!

No “Grand Old Duke of Kippax” for us then, oh no, no, no! We’ve got a real live Indian chief on our hands here and he’s from Kippax, Virginia (I’ll conveniently ignore the fact that “red indian” is also a common phrase used in this context)! I didn’t see the film (cartoon) or anything so I can’t comment on whether Pocahontas was a great leader of men or if he was a warrior to be reckoned with, he may even have been a bit of a nutter for all I know but all the same it’s still a bit of a weird connection eh? I bet Andy Noise won’t top this one for trivia value, but he’s welcome to have a go! Do any of the Virginia based Blues know if this Kippax County (I believe it’s a county and not a town) still exists?

CTIDOANPWASODTPCAWTCHDKC (City ’til I die or Andy Noise proves without a shadowof doubt that President Clinton actually wanted to call his daughter KippaxClinton), Cathal Whelehan (


In reply to Dave Flixton, the famous geriatrics who took us to the Cup Final in ’81 are still out there doing their stuff. We happened to stay in the same hotel as them when they were up for the Prestwich & Whitefield meeting before the Bradford home game two seasons ago. Tommy Hutchison (please no ‘n’ in the middle, how often has it been said?!) looked just the same, wearing a tracksuit and still working in South Wales with football development schemes. Bobby Mac – who is based in Scotland, doing something non-football related which escapes me (insurance perhaps?) – also looked lean and mean, although he took on a different guise after we’d been drinking for ten hours. He even agreed to become president of the Dutch branch of the Supporters’ Club, which I was helping to run at the time, he was so bladdered. Gerry Gow had gone even more grey and was running a pub in Scotland. Needless to say he outdrank everyone and entered the Hall of City Legends that night. They were ferried to the match looking rough and haggered in an overfull Prestwich minibus the next day and were given a heroes’ welcome on the pitch before the 1-0 win over Bradford. Three really down to earth blokes who remember their time at City with great affection. Bobby Mac even went as far as to say the match against Everton in the cup run when he scored 2 to help us into the semis was his greatest moment as a footballer. I think they have been down again since, but I couldn’t swear to it.

Simon Curtis (


After the response from visiting Old Trafford last year, I decided to do a repeat voyage into the abyss (otherwise known as the Swamp). I decided to go back into the Lions’ Den and see if the atmosphere at Old Trafford had improved any. I had to have a bit of Dutch courage to overcome my fear so I went for a few pints in Salford, caught a taxi to the ground, got chatting to the taxi driver (who turned out to be Blue); he told me a couple of stories about an ex-Blue player he’d picked up in his taxi (but that’s another story). As I got nearer the ground I began to feel nervous; it felt like I was surrounded by a sea of Sharp Red (are they like Newcastle, all wearing home shirts? Yes).

Got to the ground and felt strangely alien with my Manchester accent. Now comes the interesting point; next time you are down your local boozer and some Man Yoo fan starts giving it loads about “I used to go, but you just can’t get tickets anymore” laugh out loud; I picked up a ticket at face value within minutes of arriving (mind you the ticket was a mind-blowing £24, pass my regards on to the Brazilian prostitute lover). Got into the ground, to see a huge stadium. It really is massive, especially with that new bit tagged onto one end (didn’t get the chance to wander around the Megastore, damn shame).

The game kicked off about ten minutes late (probably due to the fact so many coaches were coming up from down Sarf, what with two sets of supporters making their way up the M6, there was bound to be congestion). With this delay I bought a programme, to read to hear what Alex had to say for himself. The first words I read, I could not believe the arrogance of the man, read this – he’s talking about the trip to Brazil:

“Obviously I would have liked us to reach the final, and without being boastful, I am sure we would have contributed a wee bit more than we saw from the two teams which went all the way, if only a contrasting style of play.” Can you believe that? Alex, you didn’t get to the final because you lost; maybe we should have given you a bye to the final?

The game kicked off, the United fans cheered, then they stopped. Well, that was about it from the United fans for the first half. When Arsenal scored the Arsenal fans went bonkers and taunted the Man Yoo fans with some classic chants “Brazil, You should have stayed in Brazil”, “50,000 Muppets”; this was met with little response apart from the odd feeble “United”. The Arsenal fans took up the challenge like a bull to a red rag, with prolonged “SSsssshhhhhh” and chants of “A morgue, It’s just like a f**kin morgue”. The soulless Man Yoo fans sat and suffered in silence (literally).

The Arsenal fans had full voice on when a certain Edward Sheringham appeared on the touchline next to the Arsenal fans (who said Fergie didn’t have a sense of humour?). Sheringham started taking grief straight away but his response was to stick up four fingers (his tally of medals I presume). This just sparked off chants of “Reserve, you’re just a f**kin’ reserve”. Edward Sheringham at this point disappeared back on to his well-accustomed position (on the bench). The chant of “Oh Teddy, Teddy you went to Man United and your still a c**t” was still ringing in his ears. I found this a very funny position to be in, Man Yoo losing 1-0 and the atmosphere from the world’s largest club Ltd is very poor to say the least.

Half time came and went and all was well, Arsenal had had the better chances and were one nil up but darker forces were to emerge in the second period. Keane bashed into the referee and had some rather choice words for the man in black (the Arsenal fans around me told me that was the referee that sent off Petit a couple of seasons ago for a less serious offence), Sheringham came on as substitute and scored (and managed to dive over Viera’s leg, claiming to be tripped, honest Edward as normal) and Beckham tried to chop Stephen Hughes in half with a flying tackle (will he ever learn, er no).

United equalised in the second half and the beast was awoken, 55,000 fans cheered, for a minute or so. The Arsenal fans taunted back “Where you been since eight o’clock?” The Arsenal fans then carried on with full backing for their team, which was a nice touch we could do with sometimes at Maine Road.

The game ended and the Arsenal fans were kept behind for over half an hour; no fans were allowed to the toilet. I saw a pregnant woman being refused which was well out of hand, the Arsenal fans chanted at the leaving Man Yoo fans “City, City, City” and some bloke (me) started the chant “Oh Man City the only football team to come from Manchester” (well I enjoyed it, got a good response too).

The best chant of the night had to go to Arsenal when the OT was empty except for the visitors: “Your empty seats make more noise, your empty seats make more noise, More noise” etc. Why were the Arsenal fans kept in so long? There had been no bother of any kind and after half an hour, they were rightly so very irate. I was very surprised that they remained so calm; the stewards could have found a very ugly situation on their hands with only the hierarchy of Man Yoo to blame because they are the ones who make these decisions.

Martin Edwards wonders why Man Yoo have such a poor public image, look no further than last night. I sat on the Metrolink home surrounded by what sounded like the United Nations, it felt very, well un-Manchester.

Walter Smith (


Your esteemed Burmudian correspondent feels compelled to write about his countryman being called Burmudan. I don’t wish to muddy the waters but I wonder if Burmuda is anything like Barbados? In Barbados the natives are called either Barbadians or Bajans. The locals don’t appear to be bothered. Is this the case with Bermuda perhaps?

Also: Branch News – Morecambe Bay Branch.
The Morecambe Bay Branch were delighted to welcome former City hero Peter Barnes to the branch meeting in Lancaster on Wednesday 26th January. Peter was a great hit and delighted us all with his recollections of the last time City were a great side. The next meeting for the branch is 1st March 2000 7.30pm at the Lansil Sports Club in Lancaster (just off the M6, junction 34). Special guests are David Allison, former Premier League referee and now referees’ co-ordinator for the North West, which means he has close links with Joe Royle when he has referee problems. Also appearing will be current Nationwide League referee Eddie Wolstenholme. Eddie’s latest City game was the 2-0 victory vs. West Brom in December. All Blues welcome.

Lance Thomson, Morecambe Bay Branch, C.S.A. (


The other Saturday night I was watching SoccerAM off Sky Sports (I have a mate here who runs a pub that has Sky and he sometimes tapes it for me in the morning if he thinks about setting the video on a Friday night) and a couple of things sprang to view, one of which I found baffling and the other which I’m sure will have many of you following my lead and getting on Sky’s back about something which is too important to us all. For those who have never seen the programme I’ll try to explain what was going on at the time in the show. Starting with the one which was just baffling first:

On the show there’s a slot called “third eye” where viewers write in with weird little incidents they noticed just in the background shot at televised games, you know like people falling out of their seats in spectacular ways when goals are scored etc.; these clips are then played and everyone generally has a bit of a laugh. In this week’s episode though, they featured a “third eye” clip suggested by someone who’d watched the 4-0 win over Fulham at Maine Road. Basically at some stage in the second half, I think, someone noticed that there was a pot plant (a little yellow plant resplendent in a little terracotta pot) sitting in the bottom right corner of the goal (as you look at it) in front of the North Stand. This fact was confirmed by a clip showing a corner being taken by City at that end in the second half. Further film clips showed clearly that Weaver had carried nothing onto the pitch at the start of the game and therefore couldn’t have left it behind to be discovered in the second half. Fulham’s ‘keeper was also shown to have been hands free coming out for the second half. Another clip showed that earlier in the game there was no pot plant so it was definitely put there during the game. Does anyone on MCIVTA know how it got there?

Anyway, onto the other matter I noticed which I’ll keep brief as action is required one and all. One of the people with a slot on the show is the tubby Brookside actor who played “Terry Sullivan”; his real name is Brian something or other and being a typical (non City supporting) Scouser, a lot of jokes are made at his expense during the show along the lines that all Scousers are thieves etc. Anyway, once he’s finished his little slot (on Spanish football for some reason) he gets up and makes a point of letting the main presenters know that he’s “off home now”, to which they both say “What’s that under your jacket?” He begins to pull all the loot nicked from the studio out of his jacket to the howling laughter of about three of the cameramen; all manner of stuff is being pulled from an obviously very capacious inner pocket, a lot of it the stuff you expect to see in a (non City supporting) Scouser’s pocket. Like hubcaps etc. Anyway this time around after emptying about ten things from his pockets he pulled out an imitation seagull and put it on the desk. Is this the missing seagull, keeper of the Kippax? I don’t care, I want it back so I’m calling on you to barrack Sky Sports and in particular Tim Lovejoy, Hells Bells and the tubby (non City supporting) Scouser who robbed our seagull. The relevant e-mail address is Mark your e-mails “Give us our Gull” and let’s see if we can embarrass Sky into handing him back over. As a token of apology we could demand that Alan Brazil climb up on the Kippax roof to hang the seagull back in its rightful place; maybe he’ll slip. Give our seagull the national recognition he deserves and write to SoccerAM demanding his safe and immediate return.

Cathal Whelehan (


How about the “Tueart overhead kick memorial stand” to commemorate the last time we won anything?

Why stop there?

The Bert Trautmann Osteopathy centre.

The Ricky Holden Beauty Salon (was he the ugliest ever City player?).

Asa Hartford cardiac centre.

Francis Lee toilets (never out of paper).

Steve Coppell short stay parking area.

P.S. My spell checker just suggested change “Eastlands” to “Wastelands”. Not an omen I hope.

Jim Sim (


Does anyone know of a list showing all City video clips on the web? If there doesn’t seem to be one, I could compile one. If anyone knows of the URL’s, please send them to me at

Joe O’Brien (


An easy solution to the ‘Alan Brazil Problem’ – get promoted to the Prem! We are then guaranteed to avoid him in all but possibly the Cup games involving a Nationwide side. What more incentive do we need?

Phil Hartley (


Is he losing it? I’ve been his biggest fan throughout his whole spell at Maine Road and before but I have a few concerns with the current situation. Having performed miracles to get us to where we were in late November, with some outstanding victoires, he seems to have ditched his ‘dogs-of-war’, fight-for-everything approach with has brought him so much success in his management career, especially last year. Instead, he is playing the ‘pretty-boys’, ‘fancy footwork’ men in midfield.

He is now playing an absurd midfield of 2 – 3 play-makers in Grant, Bish, and maybe Horlock, on top of the winger Kennedy. He is playing no ball-winners whatsoever, and as a result, if any of the midfield give the ball away, the opposition counter-attacks and is left with loads of space to run into until they reach our defence.

On a number of occasions vs. Sheff Utd, especially 1st half, only the excellent defensive play of Edghill and Jobson prevented our midfield deficiencies being exploited even more. The same was apparent against Leeds. Simply, you cannot play without a ball-winner in midfielder, and I don’t think you can play with Grant and Bishop in the same team, as they are too similar; Grant, I feel, though a good player, does not add anything to our team that we don’t already have. It’s alright for Joe to blast the team after Sheff. Utd. (I thought we played OK 2nd half), but it his fault that we are being overrun in midfield.

Also, selling Brown was a disgrace; the guy has the potential to play for England, Fergus-scum has no problem handling players with dodgy personal lives, Joe should stick by them as long as they are producing the goods on Saturday, which Brownie certainly did last season.

Where is Terry Cooke? A question asked on a daily basis by City fans. Answers on a postcard. Cooke should surely be on the bench, just to provide another option? Final rant (not SBT, I still have hopes for him) is that the team is not balanced, with Kennedy at the left, and no-one at the right. We are no longer playing as a unit (contrast last season with Cookie on the right and Kev on the left, Brownie and Bish in the centre).

I hope this doesn’t sound like I am anti-Joe, as I say, I am his biggest fan, and I really do appreciate how far we have come in such a short space of team. But the team is concerning me a lot at the moment; the potential and playing staff are there and in place for promotion, we are just not playing the right men and I cannot see us bettering a play-off unless the necessary changes are made. Sorry for such a negative piece!

Mark Braude (


So – the Gareth Taylor fan club has more adherents, does it? Let’s face it, unless Big Bob can lose enough weight to change his aerodynamics and get off the ground, playing him and putting Gareth (who was playing very well) on the transfer list is not looking the best strategy.

Re Eastlands, and athletics:

City have signed a lease for a football stadium. I can’t see how the plans could be changed to retain athletics track facilities without City’s agreement, and why would City agree? Money? There’s not enough, surely? Not enough on offer (what, from customers paying to watch track and field events?) and not enough to compensate City for ruining the grand plan on which we were all consulted?

Tony Banks’s comments about the attractions of London to international athletes may have been out of order, but that’s no reason for any City supporters to lend any credence or support to any plan that would leave us with a hybrid stadium.

Technically, I guess you could raise a temporary athletics track “floor”, including synthetic grass and pits for field events, over the sunken level of the football pitch, but (a) you couldn’t do it for long periods without ruining the pitch by cutting out light and (b) how many paying athletics spectators would be needed to pay for it?

Otherwise the problem is the same as Wembley had – athletics and football can’t mix in the same stadium. Let’s kill this stupid idea now – or forget it, take the damages for breach of contract on the lease, and stay at Maine Road (and of course if we do that, the Commonwealth Stadium finances don’t stack up).

Steve Parish (


Whilst Cathan’s attack on Mr Brazil may have seemed excessive and, possibly, drink related. I defend his right to do so as he was the only person to enter, and win, my Alan Brazil competition in MCIVTA sometime after the play-off.

The question was:

Is Alan Brazil on Sky…

  1. Alan Brazil the footballer.
  2. Van Morrison the musician (I swear, I thought it was him the first time Ituned in to Sky. He was the first person I saw and I couldn’t understand whyVan Morrison was on a sports programme).
  3. Mr Bloaty Head off Theme Hospital (ask your kids, most of them have it, if you’ve never seen it).

Cathal you must be pleased this has come to the fore and that you were the standard bearer.

Mr. Brazil’s comment in the 85th minute of the play-off final was something not too far removed from:

So it’s bye-bye Division Two and hello Division One for Gillingham…

So good… so wrong.

And as for his admittance of being wrong for the Coleman handball incident, his first words were along the lines of (don’t quote me) “That’s a disgrace. How the referee can give that is beyond me. There’s no way he can see from there… blah blah…” On seeing the replay a simple: “Oh, good spot.” Now he was either congratulating the dog found in childrens’ books or was admitting he’d got it wrong and the ref had got it right. Well this one’s easy. You say I completely got that wrong and the ref got it right. And in future for every time (with the hindsight of 5 action replays) I prove the ref wrong I will stand up and applaud his correct, on the spot decisions, that my 5 action replays prove correct.

(CTABABPBTOC… City Till Alan Brazil Actually Becomes Physically Bigger Than Our Club), David Kilroy (


Be warned, I now live in Scotland. For God’s sake, do not sign Kanchelskis! Rangers are renowned for wasting money but up here he has been possibly the biggest ever example of “give me the cash, I’ll pay off the Russian mafia who are after me and if I can be bothered I might try if you pick me” ever known to mankind!

Brian Morrison (


Let’s face it the Blues have done really well to be where they are in the league; Joe and Willy can take the credit for this but will also have to take into account some of their stranger managerial decisions. The Brown fiasco, playing a clearly unfit Taylor and their choice of midfielders come to mind. The Blues now have eighteen matches left to play (nine at home and nine away) and from now on every match should be treated on its degree of difficulty and how much the result will influence our end of season league position. Obviously it would be great to win all the remaining matches but that is not practical, so if we have to play for a draw, we play for a draw, if a winger cannot get his crosses in, you try another winger, or as the opposing team dictates whether you play a classy midfielder instead of a battler or vice versa. In other words use the squad on a ‘horses for courses’ basis and maybe City will be in one of the top two places come May 7th.

All the best, Roger Spruce – Spain (


Living in Spain seems a long way from my days working as ‘Graham Baxter’ for GMR or, as it was for most of my 14 years there, BBC Radio Manchester. Nowadays I only get to see The Blues on TV and pick up the rest from MCIVTA and my son who is a season ticket holder at Maine Road.

Like us all I had been surprised and more than a little pleased at City’s prominence in Division 1 and even had vague dreams of getting promotion again. Watching the Leeds game brought me sharply back to earth!

Usually a team of inferior quality tries to make up for their deficiency by putting in maximum effort, chasing, harrying, closing down and making the best of opportunities by doing the simple things well. The uninitiated would have thought that Leeds were the lower division team. City’s workrate was low and, at times, abysmal. What was even worse was to see City players make basic errors and then stand back and retire from the game for a while to get over it. Bishop did this at least twice and others were also guilty of not trying to make immediate amends for their mistakes.

Nobody expects City’s present squad to possess the skills of top Premier League sides but there is absolutely no reason why they should not be able to run, play and tackle as hard as any other outfit. Paul Dickov’s enthusiasm for the game stands out and, unfortunately, emphasizes the lack of endevour of many of his team-mates.

I have tried to analyse the origin of the problem and each time I come back to Richard Jobson. Jobson has been a class act and still plays with control and, seemingly, with a complete lack of urgency. Many of those around him seem to try to copy his style without having the necessary ability to go with it. The result is an attitude which produces the impression of quality, controlled play but which can get blown out of the door every time the opposition chooses to play at speed. Kennedy is probably a prime example of how others can be influenced to just go through the motions when things don’t quite click.

I am alarmed to read that Dickov may be about to depart from Maine Road, when he is the one man who should be used as a shining example of what even a small man may achieve if he puts in the real effort.

If City continue to posture rather than battle then we might as well wave farewell to promotion right now. I knew JR when he was at Oldham and I have often said I would back him even if he stood for parliament! He should have been at Maine Road many years ago, before he went to Everton, and maybe we wouldn’t have had the problems that other, lesser managers created for us. He was also a ‘Dickov’ type of player with unlimited enthusiasm and appetite for the game. I hope to goodness that he recognizes that the spark which made him great is being lulled out of City by the ‘Jobson Calm Syndrome’.

Older supporters will remember that the one big difference which Mercer and Allison brought to Maine Road and which clinched success for us, was fitness. The championship side was the fittest and quickest in the league, at a time when fitness levels were some way below today’s norm. The players were not without ability but their speed, energy and enthusiasm made all the difference. If today’s team put in that amount of effort instead of concentrating on looking good, then perhaps it could be a different story.

Graham Chadwick (


The name “Rags” comes from one Ruprecht Archimedes Grimbum, famous inventor of the cotton magnet, and a distant relative of Ashley Birch. He was a textile waste merchant in the years before the first world War and an enthusiastic Salford Slappers supporter (as they were officially known at that time). Before he was deported to Tasmania for sheepsh*gging he sold his invention to the Slappers, who used it to great effect in the municipal dumps of Lancashire for locating suitable material for their shirts and shorts. Unfortunately, the cotton magnet did not have a colour selector. This accounts for the Slappers’ frequent change of strip.

Tony O’Leary (


It can now be revealed that the reluctance on the part of Arsenal’s classic “back 5” to wear the new “away” strip was down to Tony Adams’ insistance that shirt sponsorship by SAGA was “offensive to their collective ages”!

Brian Morrison (


If anyone wants to play fantasy football online and is a member of Yahoo! mail they can join the City fans’ group if you mail me at; I’ll tell you the ID code and password you’ll need

Ian Ramsbottom (


I will soon be going to Singapore for 18 months and would like to meet up with any Singapore Blues and watch the boys get promoted! If you fancy several beers or know where I can get to see any matches then please let me know.

Gareth Rogers (


Are there any City fans in Banbury? If so, where’s the best place to go and watch them when they are on the TV?

Dan Nunn (


According to ‘Manchester City – A Complete Record‘, Jim Tolmie moved during the 1986 close season to Sweden. As for the player signed by Bond along with Hutchinson and McDonald (both arriving from Coventry) it was Gerry Gow who arrived from Bristol City. Gerry I think I am right in saying was the dad in “Bread”‘s looky-likey. The arrival of these three also meant the beginning of the end for one of City’s best forgotten signings – Steve Daley or should that be steve daley?

As for a name for the fourth stand, what about naming it after one of City’s all time great players? Billy Meredith, Peter Doherty, Colin Bell, Bert Trautmann, Frank Swift? The other two choices are fine, but naming a stand after Jim Royle, my ar*e!

Incidentally Bert was on ‘Timewatch’ the other week describing his experiences as a PoW in Britain after the War had ended. He was joined by Roy Clarke who described him as being one of the all-time-greatest ‘keepers. This got me thinking; surely we are the most successful club at producing or acquiring top class ‘keepers – Coton, Corrigan, Trautmann, Swift and Weaver(?) and arguably only Corrigan had an equally good career outside of The Academy.

On a final note, please spare a few moments in remembering Chester City (my home town) as their almost certain relegation becomes a reality. I’m going on secondment for 4 months so hopefully on my return we will be back where we belong.

With thanks to Richard Ellor:

“We are not, we’re not really here
We are not, we’re not really here
Just like the fan
Of the Invisible Man
We’re not really here”

James Walsh (


February 2000;
Leeds United’s Jonathon Woodgate & Lee Bowyer go for an Indian. “Oh God, not again” comments David O’Leary. Leicester City campaign for 90 minutes’ play to be abolished in all competitive matches, with penalty shoot-outs replacing actual games in a bid to “standardise world football and ease fixture congestion”.

March 2000;
Sir Alex Ferguson is caught doing 300mph in a 30 mph limit, but the arresting officer lets him off on the grounds that “when he told me he was full of shit I naturally believed his story”. Rangers are so successful in Scotland that they campaign to enter the English League “at an appropriate level”. Their admission to the Greater Manchester Sunday pub league is unanimously ratified by all members. Celtic boss Kenny Dalglish comments that his team will “play in any league in the world as long as there’s a monkey in it for me”. Their admission to the Upper Congo Sunday League is immediately approved by FIFA. Vinnie Jones receives his first Oscar nomination, but is beaten by O.J. Simpson in the category of “Former Sportsmen Who Can’t Really Act But The Academy Likes A Bit”. “It don’t bovver me none,” comments Vinnie, “I’ll take him out any day”.

April 2000;
Chelsea’s Dennis Wise is jailed for 3 months for eating an opponent during a match. “Dennis was foolish”, comments Gianluca Vialli, “but I feel we battled hard to hold on to win with 10 men”. Chris Sutton meanwhile is refused permission to race in The Grand National on the grounds that “the race is for thoroughbreds, not donkeys”. Leicester City are disqualified from the F.A. Cup after their players take to the pitch at 4:50pm to commence the shoot-out having kept their opponents waiting to kick-off since 3pm. “It’s a travesty”, declares Martin O’Neill, “we felt we could win it but again the officials have denied us”.

May 2000;
The F.A. readmit Manchester United to the F.A Cup, entering them in the final where they are beaten by a plucky Sheffield Wednesday side 10-0. The F.A. awards Manchester United the trophy for “services for the promotion of the worldwide standing of the English game during January’s FIFA World Club Championship.” Manchester City are promoted to the top flight of the English game again and immediately strengthen their squad by signing 53-year-old Carlisle United veteran Jimmy “knuckles” McGinty for £26 million. “We felt we needed more experience to cope with next season’s demands”, comments boss Joe Royle, “and this club has a long tradition of spending big when the right players become available”.

Having retired at the end of the season, Paul Gascoine and Stan Collymore sign up to join the World Wrestling Federation. “It’s great,” comments Stan, “It’s the team I’ve wanted to play for all my life since I followed them as a little kid and anyway there’s all these fit birds around the ring you can belt with chairs and stuff”. Paul declares that he’s “never felt fitter” and adds “it’s just like playing in a Rangers vs. Celtic match again”. Walter Smith secures the services of Richard Gough on a 65-year extension to his contract at Everton. He also adds former Rangers players Terry Hurlock, Nigel Spackman, Ray Wilkins, Terry Butcher, Chris Woods and Graham Roberts to his playing staff, commenting, “It’s like I keep saying, we are a dynamic, exciting club that’s really going somewhere now and there’s just no substitute for experience at the highest level”.

July 2000;
At Euro 2000 England are eliminated without taking a single point and coach Kevin Keegan comments: “the lads done well, they give it their everything for the team and those fans out there and I’m not taking this lightly, we can improve, we will improve and I see no reason why we can’t win the next World Cup.” Manchester United launch their “worn when playing opponents from a lower division away from home in a cup tie under floodlights when it’s cloudy, but not actually raining and there’s only one vowel in the month” strip in their club shop at £357 per shirt (junior sizes) and £1589 per shirt (adult sizes). “We care about our fans and believe in giving the quality merchandise at sensible prices,” a spokesman comments.

August 2000;
The new seasons begin domestically, although preliminary round Champions’ League group games started in January. UEFA rules that all teams eliminated from the third qualifying round of the Champions’ League be immediately awarded their own domestic League titles. Bobby Robson and Peter Reid smile (accidentally) during the 8-8 draw between Newcastle and Sunderland. The MLS in the USA abolishes goalkeepers in an attempt to increase scoring. Victoria Beckham is found by police wandering round Milton Keynes in a distraught state desperately searching for Manchester United’s home ground, having decided that following fans in replica shirts must eventually lead her to the ground.

September 2000;
Coventry City model their new all red home strip after Gordon Strachan’s jugular vein explodes in the tunnel prior to the match. Ken Bates condemns Chelsea fans as “scum who should be strung up by their testicles whilst being flogged within an inch of their lives” for booing the opposition at a home game. Leicester City boss Martin O’Neill is furious after being knocked out of the Worthington Cup, beaten 1-0 by Scunthorpe United. “It’s a disgrace, we came here to do a 2 and a quarter hour job and the referee stops it after 90 minutes! What can you do?”

October 2000;
Michael Owen proudly announces that he has started shaving. Denis Bergkamp regains full match fitness. Chris Sutton scores. Clydebank win. Denis Bergkamp is injured. Manchester United announce ambitious plans to build a new 250,000 all seater stadium in the heart of their fanbase, Milton Keynes.

November 2000;
Ryan Giggs announces he won’t be filming another Kronenburg advert. The MLS in the USA abolishes defenders in an attempt to increase scoring. Alan Brazil praises Manchester City during a ‘live’ match commentary on Sky and immediately retracts his comments in an after-match press conference. Walter Smith signs former Rangers player Jim Baxter to “add experience to our midfield”. Phil Thompson receives a three-match touchline ban after his nose knocks out a fourth official.

December 2000;
As part of their “Christmas Present To The Nation Package” Sky TV generously reduce the cost of their Sky One Super Sunday pay-per-view match from the standard £67.50 to £50 for the entire month! Match of the Day is extended from its current 6 minutes to 15 minutes as part of the BBC’s “Christmas Present To The Nation Package”. ITV runs Champions’ League games 7 nights a week as part of its “Christmas Present To The Nation Package”. Richard Keys is officially declared to be a werewolf.

Submitted and written by Brian Morrison (


Contributions: Ashley –
News & Rumours: Peter –
Subscriptions: Steve –
Technical Problems: Paul –

The views expressed in MCIVTA are entirely those of the subscribersand there is no intention to represent these opinions as being thoseof Manchester City Football Club, nor of any of the companies anduniversities by whom the subscribers are employed. It is not inany way whatsoever connected to the club or any other relatedorganisation and is simply a group of supporters using this mediumas a means of disseminating news and exchanging opinions.

[Valid3.2]Ashley Birch,

Newsletter #574