Newsletter #583

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Oh dear, possibly our worst performance of the season. Acutally no, I take that back, most definitely the worst performance of this season. We were quite simply abysmal, no movement, no tackling, no passing, no challenging, which doesn’t leave much – except for good goalkeeping, and we had that in spades. Still, it was something of an achievement to get a point, and Walsall must wonder if their card is well and truly marked if they can’t get three points with all the chances they created. The crowd became very restless, and Edghill in particular came in for some severe stick. Although I don’t agree with the barracking, Edghill’s 90 minutes were easily the worst I’ve seen from him, so no surprise it was he who was singled out for the treatment. I do wonder if it’s not time for JR to drop him for his own good, before he’s completely finished off.

There are two match reports, a plea to support the Task Force Majority Report, opinion (including some officious stewarding), and a Why Blue.

Next game: Crystal Palace away, Saturday 4th March 2000

NEWS SUMMARY

City Disappoint Against Saddlers

Top scorer Shaun Goater earned City a 1-1 home draw against Walsall on Saturday to move the Blues briefly back into second place in Division One. But neither the result nor the team’s dismal performance can have pleased the Maine Road camp. Pedro Matias’ deflected shot gave the Saddlers the lead two minutes before the break but the Blues salvaged a point thanks to Shaun Goater’s 23rd goal of the season after 71 minutes. The result could have been worse for City, with two brilliant Nicky Weaver saves responsible for denying Walsall a second goal. The draw took the Blues ahead of Ipswich on goal difference on Saturday night.

Ipswich Reclaim Second Spot

Ipswich drew 1-1 at Birmingham on Sunday to limit Manchester City’s return to a Division One automatic promotion place to 24 hours. The East Anglians fell behind to a Tony Mowbray own goal but took a point thanks to David Johnson’s equaliser. The result means that Ipswich are once more a point ahead of Joe Royle’s team, but City have a game in hand. Both teams lost further ground on leaders Charlton, who are now seven points ahead of the Suffolk club and eight clear of the Blues. Next weekend, City are at Crystal Palace while Ipswich welcome relegation-threatened Portsmouth and Charlton return to the scene of their recent FA Cup defeat when they visit Bolton.

Managers Agree That Saddlers Should Have Won

Joe Royle agreed that only some inspired goalkeeping from England under-21 man Nicky Weaver earned his side a point against Walsall on Saturday. And Saddlers’ manager Ray Graydon also bemoaned the fact that his side didn’t take all three points. “We were fortunate to say the least – and but for two great saves by our goalkeeper we wouldn’t have got a point,” admitted Royle. “Walsall will be aggrieved not to have won having played so well.” Graydon also felt his struggling side deserved a victory. “You only had to look at the players afterwards, and you would have thought they had just lost a good friend,” he said. “We were so close to winning the match.” A consolation for the Midlanders was that their point took them ahead of Portsmouth and out of the division’s bottom three.

Royle Set to Wheel and Deal

Joe Royle has repeated that two new players could be on their way to Maine Road before the transfer deadline. And the City boss also hinted that the next few weeks could see some outgoing deals. The Blues have recently been linked with a host of players, with Leeds’ midfielder Alf-Inge Haaland being the focus of the most enduring speculation. Meanwhile, Royle has made no secret of his desire to trim the size of the Maine Road playing staff and will be hoping to receive bids from potential buyers for some of his out-of-favour squad members.

Transfer Speculation Hotting Up

The transfer deadline is nearing and Joe Royle has admitted he wants to strengthen his squad for the promotion run-in. And these circumstances have been reflected by weekend speculation linking the City manager with two major transfer swoops. There were rumours last week that the Blues could be interested in transfer-listed Coventry front man Noel Whelan. And newspaper stories on Sunday suggest that City have emerged as favourites to seal a £3 million deal for the former Leeds star – although this sounds more like the kind of acquisition the club would be making after rather than before promotion. Meanwhile, in another unlikely link, Blackburn midfielder Jason McAteer is also said to be on Royle’s hit-list, and some reports claim that the Republic of Ireland man could move to Maine Road on loan with a view to a permanent summer deal.

“Scum” Jibe Derails Haaland City Move?

It’s been common knowledge for weeks that Leeds utility player Alf-Inge Haaland has been the priority transfer target for Manchester City. But there are claims that the player’s recent criticism of Manchester United on his personal website may scupper the proposed move. Haaland, who played as one of a back three for Leeds at Middlesbrough yesterday, blasted the Reds on the eve of their Championship showdown at Elland Road last week. And Sunday’s News of the World newspaper quotes a ‘Maine Road insider’ as saying, “The comments couldn’t have come at a worse time.” In the same article, the Norwegian international compared the Old Trafford club unfavourably with the Blues – something which, while going down well with the Maine Road fans, allegedly hasn’t met with the same response within the club.

Cherries Pave Way for Fenton Switch

Nick Fenton could finally complete his loan move to Bournemouth this week. The transfer was held up last week because the Cherries already had two loan players – but it seems that the situation has now changed. Manchester United had lent both John O’Shea and Stephen Rose to the south coast club, but reports indicate that Rose will now return to Old Trafford. Manager Mel Machin had been keen to take the player to Dean Court on a two-year contract, but Rose is said to have returned to Manchester after refusing to commit to the permanent move. This would leave room for Fenton to join Bournemouth in a bid to repeat his successful loan spell at Notts County earlier in the season.

Cooke Denies Drug Rumours

Terry Cooke has been the subject of malicious drug-taking rumours in recent months. And now the player’s solicitor David Chapman has taken the unusual step of issuing a statement denying the speculation. The transfer-listed winger was at the centre of a drama when he failed to provide a urine sample in a random drug test at Platt Lane in September. This, coupled with Cooke’s lengthy absence from first-team action, has seen the gossip gain sufficent currency for his representative to feel a denial is necessary. “The rumours which are presently abounding are at best mischievous and at worst defamatory and are totally untrue,” said Chapman. “I can genuinely say that Terry Cooke rarely drinks alcohol, certainly does not indulge in anything stronger and leads quite an uneventful social life.”

Allsopp Makes Another Immediate Impact

City striker Danny Allsopp made an immediate impact by scoring in the first minute of his loan at Notts County earlier in the season. And the Australian also enjoyed a memorable start to his spell at Wrexham on Saturday. Allsopp’s début for the Welsh club came in a vital Second Division relegation battle at Oxford. And the player scored two goals in a 4-1 win which eases the Robins’ fears of the drop. Allsopp extended Wrexham’s lead early in the second half after they’d led 1-0 at the break, and restored the two-goal advantage after the home side had reduced the arrears. But even at the outset, there seems no chance of the move becoming permanent – manager Brian Flynn is unlikely to be able to have the funds to make a realistic bid for the striker.

New Deal for Killen

Chris Killen has become the latest City youngster to earn an extended contract at Maine Road. The New Zealander has signed a deal to keep him at the club until the summer of 2002. Killen has this season broken into the Blues’ reserve side and has impressed with four goals in eight games, three as substitute. This, coupled with some fine displays in Academy and youth team games, has convinced the club’s management of the player’s potential. The youngster will be hoping to continue his progress and make the big breakthrough into Joe Royle’s senior side before his new contract expires.

Former Sponsor’s Community Boost

Manchester City’s acclaimed ‘Football in the Community’ programme has received a major cash boost. The club’s former shirt sponsor Brother has pledged to make a major donation to the community scheme. The company will pay the Blues an annual £15,000 for the next three years and Brother UK Ltd’s Managing Director Ted Nicholls comented, “Using football as an educational medium is an inventive and effective approach and we are delighted to be supporting it.” And there was further good news for the City’s community scheme with the announcement that government-backed fundraising body Sportsmatch has pledged to bring in a further £25,000 in business sponsorship.

Royle Unrepentant Over Female Ref Blast

Two weeks ago, Joe Royle caused a furore with his comments over female match officials in the City match programme. And the Blues’ boss used his column in the programme for yesterday’s visit of Walsall to emphasise that he’s standing by his earlier comments. Royle claimed that “ninety per cent of the reaction from people within the game was supportive” but claimed that in any event too much had been made of “a couple of lines” in his earlier article. He continued, “You will always get the tabloid attitude and protests from the politically correct lobby.” Meanwhile, Wendy Toms ran the line in this afternoon’s Worthington Cup final between Tranmere and Leicester – the appointment criticised by Royle in his original remarks.

Poor Under-19s Run Continues

The City under-19 side suffered a 2-0 defeat away to Birmingham City on Saturday. The Blues have now won only once in three months at the senior Academy level. The poor sequence of results has seen City suffer six defeats in their seven fixtures since a 5-1 rout of Crewe on 20 November. Ironically the handsome victory over the Cheshire club had been the ninth in a run of eleven games which saw only one defeat. Consolation for Academy boss Jim Cassell will come from the form of the under-17 team, who beat Birmingham 2-0 in a home fixture on Saturday.

Peter Brophy (brophy_peter@hotmail.com)

MATCH REPORT – ‘LIVE’ I

MANCHESTER CITY vs. WALSALL, Saturday 26th February 2000

My first trip to MR this season and they have to do that. Probably my fault it happened – the last time I saw them win at home was against Sheffield Wednesday in the Premiership. And I think the last time I sat in the Main Stand Bert Trautmann was playing.

Anyway, City started at exhibition match pace and maintained this for most of the game. Even so, for the first thirty minutes or so it only seemed a matter of time before we started to score. Kennedy had two defenders on him throughout, one being Bob Brightwell (who was well received by the City fans on his return). This restricted his crossing potential (though one skimmed the bar in the first ten minutes) but enabled him to set up Granville in acres of space inside the box at least three times. One shot went wide, one straight at the ‘keeper and an attempt to set up Goater was bundled away. Walsall had only the cumbersome Ricketts up front (who later proved the accuracy of his surname) and were offering little threat to the City defence. Indeed, Weaver was so startled when he finally had a shot to save that it bounced back off him and he had to hurry to retrieve it before a following-up forward got there first (our defenders naturally standing still to admire his bravery).

However, as the half wore on City went from indifferent to downright poor. There was no movement at all off the ball, which meant that anybody in possession either delayed a pass so long that they were tackled or else hoofed it aimlessly forward towards the head of Goater. Bishop had no runners to pick out, Whitley seemed to miskick everything that came his way and Super Kev’s sole contribution was to idiotically get himself booked for preventing a free kick from being taken. We were resigning ourselves to a disappointing scoreless first half when Wiekens decided to plunge into a tackle on Wrack down City’s left hand side. He missed. Suddenly Wrack was clear with Jobson alone in the centre trying to mark two players. Ricketts either dummied or missed the cross, leaving Matias a free shot at goal. Edghill arrived back too late to make the tackle but just in time to deflect the shot past the wrong-footed Weaver. After about a minute the astonished Walsall supporters in the North Stand began to celebrate. City kicked off, gave the ball away inside two seconds and nearly conceded a second goal. Half time, and Joe Royle later confessed that he felt like joining in the booing.

Grant replaced Horlock, Big Fat Bob, surprisingly passed something approaching fit, came on for Dickov. Grant at least began to take some responsibility for midfield even if the lack of mobility around him prevented anything that could be called a move being put together. Taylor and Goater showed some signs of being on each other’s wavelength, and Goater nodded a hopeful punt forward into the box for Taylor to head over the ‘keeper and in – but clearly from an offside position.

What was really worrying was Walsall’s attitude. Having taken the lead without really trying to, they might have been expected to sit back and protect it, but they rightly fancied their chances of increasing it. Wrack was much too quick for any of the City defenders, and they had also tumbled to the fact that any ball in behind the defence was theirs for the taking, Wiekens and Jobson both having the turning circle of the QE2. Weaver made a brilliant save to his left, and Ricketts somehow failed to connect with a cross that landed at his feet about a yard from the goal-line. Edghill was being barracked every time he touched the ball, having misplaced numerous passes, but to his great credit he never tried to hide and kept calling for the ball wide on the right. Twenty minutes from time he played a cross in front of Taylor. The ‘keeper looked favourite to get there first (given Bob’s 0-4 in 10 minutes acceleration rate) but must have taken his eye off the ball, possibly distracted by the sudden eclipse of the sun as Bob loomed up at him. Anyway, it spilled to the ground (the ball, not the sun), Bob shrewdly positioned his bulk in the ‘keeper’s way and in the ensuing scramble Whitley had a shot blocked before the Goat steered it just inside the far post. Walsall chased the referee all the way back to the halfway line, presumably claiming a foul on the ‘keeper, and one of them was booked.

Surely we could now go on and win it? Kennedy came alive again, and one perfect cross to the far post just evaded an in-rushing Goat who would have had a free header from six inches if he could have reached it. Bishop headed another cross from the same kind of distance but the ‘keeper somehow blocked it and Taylor hooked the rebound wide. Whitley burst free in the area but snatched at his cross when he had all the time in the world and screwed it into the crowd. But at the other end Weaver made two astonishing saves to deny Walsall what would in truth have been a deserved winner. The final whistle came as something of a relief as we were beginning to look more likely to concede than to score.

Player ratings:

Weaver – 9.5: No chance with the goal, and brilliant reactions to keep us in it. Once or twice he might have come to claim through balls, particularly given the lack of pace of the defenders in front of him – but he may have been told to cut down his wandering after the Huddersfield match.
Edghill – 6: If only for his guts. By no means the worst City player today but the focus of the crowd’s frustration. True, there’s no excuse for slicing the ball into touch when under no pressure but he has nobody down the right-hand side to pass to. In the second half he was also attempting to cross from the ploughed field which has formed in the corner by the Main Stand/Platt Lane end – no wonder it sometimes goes wrong.
Jobson – 5: Has done wonders this season but it’s beginning to catch up with him. Woefully slow and not as reliable in the air as usual.
Wiekens – 6: Very mixed. Still has the calm assurance of a class player, but sometimes it goes horribly wrong, as in the build-up to Walsall’s goal. Also seems to regard anything played behind him as none of his business.
Granville – 5: Got into some useful positions in the first half but wasted them. Still scares the life out of me in his defending – it seems he would be happy to go on backing away until he’s standing in the back of the net.
Whitley – 6: Some inept miskicking in the first half, but improved enough in the second to get an average rating.
Bishop – 5: Not entirely his fault that there was so little on offer around him, but he’s not the player to take control when that’s happening. Should really have scored with a close-range header.
Horlock – 3: Completely anonymous and presumably not properly fit. Shouldn’t have played.
Kennedy – 7: Still provides the most consistent threat even in a poor game like this one. I guess we had about five clear chances and he made four of them.
Dickov – 6: The usual running, twisting and turning to little effect but he was at least trying and had cut out the futile diving and whingeing.
Goater – 7: Kept working, dropping deep to collect the ball, holding it up and laying it off better than anybody else. Stupidest comment I heard all day was The Man Behind Me – “Jump Goater you lazy b******.” Lazy?

Subs:

Grant – 7: Tried his best to impose some shape and pattern to our play when he came on. Probably time to pick him in front of Bishop.
R Taylor – 6: Not fit, but the makings of a productive partnership with the Goat are there.
Crooks – 5: On for Granville in the last ten minutes (Edghill switching to the left). Passing worse than Edgy’s, got booked for a bad foul, not a murmur from the crowd.

Mark Kennedy was on the 6.30 from Piccadilly and kindly signed his picture on the programme for us as we were getting out at Euston. Great, I thought, now’s the chance for an insight into what went wrong straight from the horse’s mouth. “I thought we might sneak it after we equalised” I ventured. “Well, yes, so did I but it wasn’t to be” responded Mark, heading for the taxis. Now why didn’t I become an investigative journalist?

Piers Pennington (p.pennington@acu.ac.uk)

MATCH REPORT – ‘LIVE’ II

MANCHESTER CITY vs. WALSALL, Saturday 26th February 2000

Where do I begin? There are so many potential ‘opening gambits’ for this match report. Well I’ll advise you that the seagull was back, dancing a merry jig on a bright and sunny Manchester day. However, I think the main headline from this match is: ‘Are we a good team, securing points when playing poorly, or are we a poor team gaining points luckily?’ Quite clearly we are the former (fingers crossed). However, although it is a sign of a good team if they can pick up points from poor performances, I would have thought that a good team should still deliver more ‘good’ performances than ‘poor’ ones. In the league, from the beginning of December, I reckon we have put in 3 good performances (West Brom, Fulham and Forest). But we’ve amassed 21 points from a possible 36, when ‘not playing well’. Not bad, but possibly crucially, only 1.75 points per game, not the holy grail of 2 per game that Joe reckons we need.

This performance was awful. From the kick off, we looked OK for the first 10 minutes, Kennedy twisting and turning Ian Brightwell (who got a well deserved excellent reception form the fans), firing in one or two useful crosses. Granville too looked quite lively in this period, shooting just wide and firing a cross into the ‘keeper’s mid-riff. Nonetheless, even at our ‘peak’, passes were going astray and there didn’t seem to be an ‘edge’ or a ‘zip’ about the play. Kevin Horlock, who I’ve defended many times, really did go missing and contributed zilch to the proceedings. Although we dominated possession, we didn’t do anything with it and when Walsall doubled up on Kennedy our attacking options were nil, despite Goater’s off-the-ball running. Walsall’s ambitions obviously increased and they proceeded to try to hit us on the break. They scored just before half time when Whitley gave the ball away in an attacking position, Wiekens put in a half-hearted challenge (and went to ground which is unusual for him) and the ball landed at the feet of Pedro Mathias. His shot from 20 yards deflected off Edghill into the back of the net. For the first time in a while, the boos echoed around Maine Road at half time.

Bob Taylor and Tony Grant replaced Horlock and Dickov at half time and for 5 minutes seemed to spark City into some sort of life. It didn’t last and Walsall continued to hit us on the break, with the speedy Kevin Harper causing most problems. It was only through poor finishing and 2 great saves by Weaver that Walsall didn’t increase their tally. The second half turned into the Richard Edghill show, mainly for the wrong sort of reasons. I don’t need to spell them out here do I? Suffice to say that Edgy still takes free kicks and tries 30-yard passes without much success. There is a growing swell of opinion that Edgy is left exposed without a genuine right-sided midfield player in front of him. This is probably true, but Edgy has never been able to pass consistently, so I feel that I am entitled to ask why doesn’t either he or JR recognise this weakness and do something about it – i.e. someone else takes free kicks, at the very least? Of course Edgy for a while, bore the brunt of the crowd’s frustration as we gave the ball away with more and more regularity. Typically of course, Edghill then fired over a cross which was mishandled by the ‘keeper and in the resulting melee, Goater (naturally) scored. We expected a late charge for the winner and it came, not from us, but from Walsall, although thankfully as mentioned above, a combination of poor finishing and Weaver kept parity. Bishop did have a header well saved in the dying minutes, but that was about it.

This was a wretched performance with only Weaver and Goater emerging with any real credit. Taylor, Grant and Granville would escape my wrath, but the rest were simply not good enough. There was no drive or determination, no ‘never say die’ attitude, and obviously very little skill on show. I wonder if Pollock could have injected more drive into the team, had he been introduced at some stage? He wasn’t even on the bench and I really hope it wasn’t as a result of his reticence to go to Wigan. Pollock has worked probably harder than anyone to regain fitness and form and force his way back into the team. Poor reward if he’s going to be discarded. I’m sure Joe’s ‘official’ reason for him not being on the bench would be that he wanted 2 strikers (Taylor and Peacock) and with Crooks on the bench to cover defensively, the main midfield berth would be between Grant and Pollock. I see no need to question this reasoning at this stage. Let’s see what happens in the weeks to come. Following Sunday’s point for Ipswich, we’re still 3rd with a game in hand, so we’re still in a strong position. Joe will know however, as do we all, that if we are serious about auto-promotion, we can not stand any more performances like this one.

Phil Hartley (philh@firstcap.freeserve.co.uk)

BACK TO 2ND – FOR 24 HOURS

W  eaver's
A  crobatics
L  ift us to
S  econd
A  fter
L  ooking
L  osers

Or, for those of you who prefer it, the weekly acronym can now be set to music and played on your mobile phone… Just type in the following key sequence:

4g2 4e2 2g2 4- 'O' 4f2 32- 'N'  4g2 32- 'L'  4a2 32- 'Y' 4g2 4g2 4f2 2g2 4- 4d2 32- 4e2
32- 'J' 4e2 32- 'O' 4f2 32- 4e2 4e2 4d2 'K'  2e2 4- 'I' 4c2 32- 'N' 4d2 32- 4e2 32- 'G' 4c2

Steve Maclean (stm1@stm1.freeserve.co.uk)

LAST POSTPONEMENT

My belief is that the last home postponement was New Year’s Day against Leeds in the mid 70’s, possibly 1976. The game was replayed mid-week later in the season and attracted a low-ish crowd of about 30,000 rather than the 49,000 that was due at the New Year’s fixture.

City decided that this was lost revenue they couldn’t afford and installed an under-soil hot water heating system for circa £50k. I don’t think there has been a postponement since.

Several other Lancashire teams also had the system installed but not the mean-fisted Rags, presumably because under-swamp heating wasn’t invented. Consequently the Rags regularly had games postponed in the 1980’s.

I think this is the last time, unless you know better.

Alan Holt (acholt@freeuk.com)

SAN FRANCISCO BLUES

I have arranged to meet some fellow Blues at the Mad Dog in the Fog on Haight and Ashbury in San Francisco on Monday 27th March at 7:30pm onwards. Anyone that wishes to join us for a beer or two is more than welcome.

Brian Tilley (btilley@insolutionsgroup.com)

BLUE MOON FOLKLORE

As an avid reader of MCIVTA I stumbled across this article a couple of days ago and thought you may all be interested. Here is the address:

http://www.griffithobs.org/IPSBlueMoon.html

Ian Kenworthy (ikenworthy@lynxfinancialsystems.co.uk)

BLUE MOON RINGTONES

OK, just so we’re all consistent here, does anybody have codes for the NEC DB500 which I am stuck with until August (a bl**dy vodafone contract). After that you will be delighted to hear we are all changing provider.

Many thanks, Heidi Pickup (heidi@dratex.co.uk)

VEGETARIAN FOOTBALLERS

Ryan Dawson asked in MCIVTA 582 if anybody knows of any vegetarian footballers. I was sent by Total Football magazine a couple of seasons ago to interview Jason McAteer, then playing for Liverpool, about how he recovered so quickly from a broken leg. In the course of the interview, I spoke to Liverpool’s then physio, Mark Leather (he’s now at Bolton). I’m a vegetarian, so I asked him, in passing, if he knew of any vegetarian footballers. He said the only one he knew of was Phil Babb, then with Liverpool, but currently on loan at Tranmere. To the best of my knowledge, there are no vegetarians on the current Maine Road playing staff.

Mike Barnett, Editor, City Magazine (city.magazine@mcr-evening-news.co.uk)

THE GOAT

Never mind “feed the goat”, surely there could be a T-shirt with reference to the Bermuda Triangle as in Kennedy – Goater – Goal!

Chris (Till1die@aol.com)

RESERVES IN ACTION

Kick-off 7pm at Ewen Fields (Hyde) when we play WBA, Tuesday 29 February. Free for season ticket holders as usual.

Heidi Pickup (heidi@dratex.co.uk)

CAMSHAFTED

Oops! My timing belt went on the M60. So I need some dosh and I have a dream. Some soccer-loving soul turns up at my house and drives off with 500 1970s football magazines, 70 books, 18 videos, a couple of hundred cards (72-73), most of the 70s home programmes, and a cheery wave in exchange for a fat wad of notes. You’ll please the girlfriend and she might even make you a cup of tea.

If you can help a man whose motoring trousers have dropped round his ankles he’d love to hear from you.

P.S. Motoring tip: learn about your timing belt. Find out what it does, why you need it and how much it will cost you if it decides to call it a day. Then you won’t need to flog your childhood.

P.P.S. Any Belgian/Dutch Blues out there able to provide the inside track on accommodation for Euro 2000? My father and I have got tickets for matches in Charleroi and Bruges.

David Butler (me@davidbutler.free-online.co.uk)

I THINK I HAD A DREAM…

When I was last back in Manchester in December I, like everyone else in the country, was cruelly hacked down by the ‘flu bug that was going around. Not willing to let a bit of sniffling, lots of cold sweating, and nice noisy hacking, coughing or zero appetite stand in the way of me getting my all too infrequent fix at Maine Road, I peeled myself off my bed to go to the Grimsby game, our last game at MR in the 20th Century. Breakfast on the day consisted of nothing more than a bowl of cornflakes with a generous splash of Lemsip. While I’m on the subject, can anyone explain to me why blackcurrant flavoured Lemsip is still called Lemsip, surely it should be Blacursip or something like that?

Anyway, and it’s fully down to my younger brother, king of all workshy-fop students, we (well, he) decided to see if a pre-match stroll down to our local in Chorlton would help to clear up any of the stiffness. My brother had flown back to Manchester for chrimbo from Belfast, where he is el presidente of the students’ union, or some such rôle – just to explain the “king of all students” crack. Anyway in this rôle he has perfected the art of “fighting for the students’ rights to freebies” to the point where at some stage during that morning, he had somehow managed to pry my wife’s ticket for the game from her equally ‘flu-ridden hands and bagged it for himself. She was truly miserable anyway that day, and it was probably just as well she didn’t come to the game too as the combination of our viral infections on a space no wider than two seats in the Main Stand would surely have been enough to infect the whole stadium by half time. The fact she was doing a fair bit of whining about it didn’t really come into it.

Anyway, freshly absconded ticket in pocket and due to his being ‘flu free he decided it was his job to organise the pre-match merriment so, happy to use the excuse that I wasn’t fit to argue with him, whilst secretly having gagged for a pint of Guinness all through Xmas, I allowed my younger brother to lead me to the pub. Where, within about an hour I was completely buckled from the effects of mixing Lemsip, Benylin and four pints of Guinness; the first three were necessary to wash away the taste of the Lemsip and Benylin, the fourth, although I could barely taste it, was the one that probably did the damage. The Guinness, not being known for its powers at clearing up ‘flu symptoms, was substituted for hot whiskey. Which was luverly. They cleared up my vision enough for me to witness my brother calmly and, given the distance involved, very accurately flicking ash off his fag into a half full pint glass on the bar about two or three feet to his left. As the barman made change at the till, he nudged the glass with his elbow, I assume to make the ash sink to the bottom of the glass or whatever; I don’t recall asking or being told what was involved in the overall technique required to do this. The pint had belonged to some Rag, identifiable only by a button badge on his jacket, who’d been unfortunate enough (a) to be a Rag, poor soul, and (b) to have needed the jacks at the same time as my brother was standing at the bar.

After the barman had begrudgingly given my brother a receipt for all the drinks (naturally the king of students isn’t going to pay for beer without claiming it back as expenses incurred closing an “important promotion deal with Guinness” on behalf of the SU), my brother, smirking quite a lot by this stage, returned saying we should get a buzz on if we were to make the game on time. The Rag was now back at the bar slurping off the last of his pint before clearing off home or whatever. Did we have an earlier than usual kick-off that day (lost my ticket stub in the meantime too) as it seemed we were leaving for MR very early and I was only starting to enjoy myself? Unable to argue, I chugged the last of the hot whiskey and we left.

By the time we got to MR and were in our seats my brain was still enjoying doing a lap of honour around my skull and I’m sure I must have fallen asleep briefly. Well, either that or the possibly more likely “out of body” experience scenario where all my senses became more tuned in than they usually are. While I was sitting there with my brother reading my programme (wasn’t going to be his now was it?), I had this weird feeling that I had the match commentary from Wembley swirling around in my head with some head-nodding beats in there too. I couldn’t locate the source of the music/commentary but it certainly didn’t seem to be coming from the stadium PA system. It seemed to be coming from somewhere directly between my ears. I’m certain, but still not convinced that it was some sort of dance-tribute to that game and that goal. After listening to this wonderful noise for what could only have been about thirty seconds or so, I turned to my bro’ and asked him if he could hear it too. He stopped what he was doing and sat attentively, looking at me whilst apparently listening for the same thing I was hearing. “You’re delerious” was the only reply he gave me before returning to the programme. Not happy with being fobbed off so easily I asked again but he just looked at me and laughed, the tw@t. I just left it at that, as the thought that I was experiencing something that didn’t really happen, but rather which was borne of illness and way too much alcohol / medicine wasn’t all that difficult to justify. I didn’t dare ask the good folk sitting on my other side if they could hear it as I could just visualise the stewards clambering through Block H to capture and restrain the gibbering fool, sat next to the really lazy looking bloke, before ferrying me off to the loony bin.

To this day, I still am not certain whether the music was there or not, my brother now just tells me he can’t remember anymore so I’m turning to the readership of McVittee for an answer. Did I dream the music (some kind of trance/jungle thing with commentary from the Wembley game laced through it) or was a single released which fits this description and which was played before the game against Grimsby? I hadn’t heard or read anything about any such musical tribute having been released so I therefore hadn’t expected to actually be listening to it at MR. I blame my fragile state for playing tricks on me, but if any of you can ease my mind and give me the name and artist for the tune I heard then yours shall be the secret knack of “getting absolutely everything for free”, which, for laughing at me when I was ill at the Grimsby game, I shall mercilessly beat out of my brother. So I had a dream. Or did I?

For any of you who want to experience the same thing – and believe me it was cool when it was happening – here’s the recipe (preparation time is quite lengthy so if you start you have to finish… no skiving off).

Ingredients

  1. The ‘flu virus.
  2. One small bowl of cornflakes.
  3. Half a bottle of Benylin (I know it’s not for the ‘flu but it’s still tasty).
  4. Two mugs of Lemsip*
  5. 4 pints of Guinness.
  6. 2 hot whiskies.
  7. A standard kitchen sized pedal-bin.

* Cocktail lovers may want to try mixing the lemon and blackcurrant variety – you won’t know whether to wince or gag which is also a bit weird (this is optional and should have no effect on the quality of the finished product).

Method: Take one generous portion of the ‘flu virus (ingredient No. 1) and allow to fester in your system for 3-4 days. Then take the ingredients numbered 2 to 6 and consume all of these within a period of no longer than 2 hours. For best results – although this is optional – allow half of the cornflakes (No. 2) to go very soggy in the bowl and tip these into/onto the pedal-bin (No. 7). Whilst mixing the above ingredients you should walk up and down the road, for example from home to pub and then from pub to Goodwin’s Minicabs (or any other cab company /bus stop – please do not attempt to bake this cake in your own car. Find someone to be DES). Allow ingredients to “simmer” and be sloshed around by a Nissan minicab with distinctly dodgy suspension and brakes. Ensure at all costs that the mixture remains in the bowl (you) and remove from cab when the driver refuses to drive right up to the ground, dropping you off 500 yards short of the target. Slope along the road on foot and in a lumbering fashion. Moan about how cold it is. Sway around for a moment in front of the Parkside and decide to give it a miss. Sit bored and freezing cold in your seat waiting for the game to start and for your programme to be handed back to you by a lazy student guru (it need not be a student necessarily, any sponger will do). Hey presto, an out of body experience and music being played through a magic speaker directly between your ears, but definitely somewhere in your head. If you’re lucky the next thing you’ll remember is a loud cheer all around the stadium when Tommy Wright actually manages to get a goal kick over the halfway line (this experience, however, is to be regarded as a free bonus and not as a guaranteed side effect).

Now, who wants to help me batter my brother for the secrets to “free things”? I’m going to batter him anyway, but at least you’ll have a reason when the cops ask you later.

Cathal Whelehan (wheelie@mancity.net)

WOULDN’T IT BE STRANGE IF…

  • Middlesbrough were consistent.
  • Football clubs cared about their fans.
  • Scotland made it past the 1st group of the World Cup.
  • The Champions’ League was based on performance.
  • There was a European competition for national cup winners.
  • Football wasn’t all about money.
  • Mark Bosnich could kick a ball passed to him by a team mate.
  • Michael Knighton had bought Manchester United.
  • David Murray had bought Ayr United.
  • Peter Swales hadn’t been chairman of Manchester City.

Brian Morrison (lovescene74@hotmail.com)

TIME FOR ACTION

Support the Football Task Force Majority Report
Support the Football Supporters’ Association Fans’ TV Charter

Action is urgently needed to help reshape how football is run, in the interests of all fans, and the game as a whole. The support of all FSA members is crucial now if we are to persuade the Government to implement the Football Task Force’s Majority Report and to protect the live game and its fans. Please read this letter, act on it and pass on copies to your supporters’ group, friends and fellow fans. If we act together we can make a difference.

Thursday March 2nd – Fans’ Lobby of Parliament

The lobby is supported by COFS, the FSA, the NFFSC, many ISA’s and fanzines and supporters’ groups all over the country.

Put it in your diary, book leave if you need to, make sure your replica shirt is clean that day, tell your mates, but be there. Come to London on March 2nd, wear your team shirts or your scarf, play your part in demonstrating the unity that exists amongst fans from every club, all over the country, to improve the way football is run. The purposes of the lobby are to:

  • demonstrate the overwhelming support from fans for implementation of the Majority Task Force report
  • generate widespread national publicity and put pressure on the Government
  • encourage more MPs to support Early Day Motion 243 (see below)
  • secure support for the Fans’ TV Charter

There will be plenty of people on hand to offer advice, assistance and support. The nearest tube station is Westminster, on the Jubilee, Circle and District lines.

Itinerary for the day:

1130        Meet on College Green outside Westminster for a 'team photo'
1200-1400   Lobby MPs
1400-1500   Meeting in Jubilee Room, House of Commons, with MPs and other fans' groups

It is very important that we all use the lobby as an opportunity to discuss issues at our own club, such as ticket prices, changed match days because of TV, the need for financial controls over dodgy directors, redistribution of TV income over the whole league structure etc.

If you can attend Parliament on March 2nd, please let Mark Longden know on 0161 431 3446 (home) or 0788 757 5933 (mobile) or 0161 748 3824 (work). Other actions you can take:

  • Contact your MP.
  • Ask your MP to support the Early Day Motion 243 in the House of Commons. TheAll-Party Football Group of MPs has unanimously supported this EDM.
    If you don’t know who your MP is, ring Paul Matz on 0785 092 0899 and he willtell you. Over 100 MPs have signed already; we need more. Write, phone, fax oremail your MP to call on him/her to sign EDM 243.
  • Write to:

    (your MPs name),
    House of Commons,
    Westminster,
    London SW1A OAA
  • Phone 0171 219 3000 and ask to speak to your MP.Fax/Email ask for their email or fax details.
  • Write to the Minister for Sport.
    Leave the Minister of Sport, Kate Hoey, in no doubt that football fans wantthe Majority Task Force report implemented and that you want our game. andyour club, safeguarded. Write (or copy the letter you send to your MP) to:

    Kate Hoey MP,
    Minister for Sport,
    Department of Culture,
    Media and Sport,
    2-4 Cockspur Street,
    London
    SW1Y 5DH

    (fax 0171 211 6249).

The Government has made a big play of being football-friendly. When they set up the Football Task Force they said that they wanted the game secured in the interests of all fans. Now is the time for the Government to prove it. But they won’t do anything unless football fans pressure them to do so. So now is also the time for you to act.

Football Task Force

The Football Task Force ended in December 1999 issuing a split report. This was divided between the Majority Report backed by supporters’ organisations and independent members, and the Minority Report, written by the football authorities. We want the Government to implement the majority report, which calls for:

  1. A Football Audit Commission (FAC) to make football, and the actions of football clubs, publicly accountable. The FAC will:
    • be wholly independent,
    • be a powerful, permanent body,
    • able to scrutinise clubs directly and where necessary undertake investigations,
    • oversee the appointment of auditors for clubs to help avoid clubs going bust,
    • recommend remedies to problems, and sanctions to enforce them.
  2. An Ombudsfan or fans’ champion, able to investigate individual complaints from fans.
  3. A Code of Conduct for Clubs, overseen by the FAC, including:
    • limits on price increases,
    • fairer distribution of tickets, especially for away matches,
    • more concessionary rates,
    • proper representation of fans in the running of clubs,
    • limits on clubs going to the Stock Market.

The Minority report has no such recommendations and offers only a token Independent Scrutiny Panel for football, with voluntary proposals for clubs For more information about the Task Force reports contact Malcolm Clarke on 0161 2830085.

Fans’ TV Charter

The FSA has issued a Fans’ Charter on television’s influence in football – an issue which was outside of the Task Force’s remit. The Charter has been backed by the Coalition of Football Supporters, and says that

  • supporters should be consulted before the negotiation of all future TV contracts,
  • domestic TV contracts should continue to be negotiated collectively,
  • a significant proportion of TV income should go to the grass roots and lower leagues,
  • broadcasting/media companies owning shares in football clubs demonstrates a conflict of interest,
  • when alterations are made to the fixture list, interests of supporters must be considered.
  • if Pay Per View games are to be shown on club-specific channels,reciprocal arrangements should exist so matches would be available to thechannels of both clubs,
  • Pay Per View should not be used as an excuse to prevent away supporters attending matches,
  • national team matches should be available to terrestrial TV as a first option.

Early Day Motion 243

FOOTBALL SUPPORTERS AND THE FOOTBALL TASK FORCE

That this House welcomes the collaborative work of the various football supporter organisations, warmly welcomes the Fans’ Charter for the Televising of Football, congratulates them also on their constructive work in the deliberations of the Football Task Force, further welcomes the majority report of the Football Task Force on Commercial Issues concerning the game, supports its recommendations for greater supporter involvement, for a strong code of practice, for the appointment of a football audit commission to provide independent regulation and of an ‘Ombudsfan’ to act as the consumers’ champion, accepts that the football authorities have made some progress in addressing the serious problems of financial impropriety, but regrets that the proposals contained in their minority report fall short of what is required, and calls upon Her Majesty’s Government and the Football Association to implement the recommendations of the Task Force’s majority report without delay.

Gary Benson (http://www.port-vale.co.uk/)

FOOTBALL-SONGS.CO.UK

We are currently setting up a web site, based on the songs, chants and anthems of all the league football clubs. Each team will have its own dedicated page (absolutely free) giving details of the club’s songs, chants, rhymes and anthems, along with a direct link to your official web site. All we ask for, are details of your club’s songs and chants (with tunes), along with a pic or graphic, to use as a background and link. Thanking you in anticipation.

Kevin & Luke Matthews (kevin.matthews@btinternet.com)

OPINION – STEWARDING

I’ve just returned from the Walsall game, where after 30 years of supporting God’s team, I’ve seen the worst stewarding going. I’m a lower Kippaxer, GG end, near son of Gene Kelly, where we have a character called Dougie. He gets behind the team, you know the sort, he stands up and sings, he trys to get the crowd behind the team, something which Steward number 316 is against and probably is under Kate Hoey’s orders to stop it under sub section 3 of the supporters can’t enjoy themselves law. Anyway, as we were playing c..p, Dougie, in a fit of madness, starts singing “City, City, the best team in the land and all the world”; enter Steward 316 who manages to get 5 police and 3 stewards to get Dougie ejected from the ground. I remonstrate with said police who agree with me, but the stewards evidently have more power, and Dougie is gone. At least 15 fans then are arguing and if not for the police things could have got ugly.

I’m over 40 years old and the steward supervisor then tells me I should know that seats are for sitting in and they have been told that they are to enforce the ruling. So after watching the Blues from the Kippax for over 30 years I’m more or less told I can’t enjoy myself by standing and singing. Watch out for Jobsworth 316.

city till i die, Simon Haines (warhound45@aol.com)

OPINION – GOALS

After Saturday’s uninspiring performance I thought I would add my twopennorth to the striker debate. Let’s just look at the figures/facts of the five “strikers” available (league appearances only inc substitutions, worked out on my trusty Casio calculator):

Goater: obvious we cannot do without him – but we’re going to have to next week and oh dear what will that mean? Has scored 17 goals in 27 appearances i.e. one goal every 1.6 games.

Taylor R: finding his form, but how long to wait? Has scored 2 goals in 8 appearances; 1 goal every 4 games.

Dickov: yes, we’re forever grateful for that goal last May. However, has scored only 1 goal in 22 appearances.

Peacock: 6 appearances, no goals.

Taylor G: has scored 5 goals for us in 17 matches; one every 3.4 games.

After all the carping I have to admit that GT looks a better bet – I know who I’d rather see starting next week, or at least for goodness sake put him on the bench.

We need to win games, not be lucky to get a home draw to the likes of Walsall. Allsop managed to score two for Wrexham at the weekend, so just what is going on?

And while the team played badly on Saturday, I don’t hold with booing them off at half time. This helps nobody and if anything gives the away team/fans extra incentive – cast your minds back to this time 1998 and look where we’ve bounced back from.

For some light entertainment checkout this website, The Sunday Times’ Website of the Week:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/churchhall/index.shtml the wisdom and commentary of Mr Stuart Hall including a guide to terrace chanting – no Blue Moon there yet, though City do feature in a photo.

Heidi Pickup (heidi@dratex.co.uk)

OPINION – WALSALL GAME

Well, sat in the uncovered UU stand for this one. Glad it was fine and dry otherwise it really would have been a wasted afternoon. For a change City seemed to start slowly, or not start at all as the case may be. It was if they thought it was a forgone conclusion for the 3 points. The defence and midfield just didn’t seem to wake up at all and I though we were lucky to be only one down at half time. The highlight of the game came at the interval with the birthday boy getting his £100 for scoring in the big mint! The second half went much the same way as the first, with the defence being caught ball watching too many times. It was a good job their forwards couldn’t shoot straight. In the end I thought we were definitely fortunate to come away from that with a point. Yet again the ball was given away too frequently and there seemed no-one on the pitch capable of grabbing hold of the ball and taking charge – Pollock would have been ideal. I know it’s been one hell of a season so far but we’re in danger of letting it slip by throwing points away needlessly, and possibly being dragged into the play off senario. Let’s hope not, because we are good enough if everyone switches on.

Dave Barrow (David@wheelie55.freeserve.co.uk)

OPINION – REST OF THE SEASON

The season has got to that part that says urgency every game from now on, every point, every goal is of the utmost importance. Now everyone at every game has to let his or her voice be heard.

You see the point that it was folly to talk about next season’s games when it is more important to talk about the rest of this season first. City cannot relax for one game from this time on. We have a great manager and coach, some great players but that some of our best players are being taken away for key games could hurt us. It’s a shame that international rules are the way the are, and of course players are proud to represent their country. Who can blame them, it’s an honour? It seems important to maybe get the extra players before the deadline, to have this extra coverage (who knows with injuries as well); we just do not want to miss promotion after getting this far.

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow (BARROW@peoplepc.com)

OPINION – RICHARD EDGHILL

I was just wondering if there is anyone out there who thought The Edge deserved to pick up his wages after this week’s shocker in the Walsall game? I’ve sat back and listened to the criticism in the past but Saturday really was the final straw. In my (humble) opinion, he didn’t do one good thing all game, even the cross that led to our goal wasn’t brilliant for someone who, in the absence of Cooke, is to be considered a wing back. I know the entire side didn’t perform, and that the usually dependable Crooks looked no better at right back when he came on, but seriously, is this man fit to wear the shirt let alone the captain’s armband? Watching Ian Brightwell made me realise just how bad Edgy really is, “Bob” is well past it now as we all know but he stuck to Kennedy well and could actually read the game. We should stop thinking about signing another striker (although Noel Whelan cannot be worse than Fat Bob), and bring in a decent right wing-back.

CTMFEFMU (City Til Morrison flattens Edghill for messing up), Ben Stafford (bstafford@genie.co.uk)

OPINION – ANTI-RAG LIFESTYLE

In ascending order of lunacy, City has supporters, fans, anoraks, zealots and obsessives. In a special category we have truly sad cases like Andy Stevenson, who defines his support for City in terms of his hatred for the Rags, and all things associated with the Rags. What is he trying to prove – that he is specially mad? The fact that we “normal” fans support City qualifies us automatically as eccentric – and possibly even for straight-jackets – in the eyes of most football supporters. We even seek to explain our madness to ourselves in “Why Blue” – anybody ever seen a “Why Red”? We do not need to engage in the lunacy described by Andy Stevenson to prove our devotion to City – the mere fact of being City fans says it all! While I find the spread of the Red Plague infinitely objectionable, there are more important things in life. Certainly, I will not allow Rags’ merchandising to influence my life one way or another. Why deny yourself a good product just because the manufacturer has had the bad taste – and the Rags’ fans the bad bad luck – to be ripped off in some outlandish sponsorship deal with the Rags’ management? I am quite certain that there are no Rags refusing to buy “Tomb Raider” because of Eidos’ association with City – not that I give a fiddler’s what the Rags do. Let those poor Rag morons get on with their shallow, ripped-off lives. Honestly, I find Andy Stevenson’s bragging about his stupid behavior very depressing. Get a life, Andy.

Tony O’Leary (AOLEARY@bge.ie)

REQUEST – RÖSLER

I wonder does anybody know what happened to “The Rösler”. Need a striker, on loan, someone to liven up our very dangerous strike force!

Mike Collard (Creditabilityltd@btinternet.com)

A RESPONSE TO MATT RAYNER’S THOUGHTS ON BECKHAM – THE BRUTAL TRUTH

Two footballers. Paul Gascoigne and David Beckham. One an alcoholic, the other hardly touches a drop. One, reportedly, beat his wife, the other a loving father with a successful wife. One way past his best, the other with his best yet to come. The reason why Gascoigne is loved and will always be loved by almost all football supporters up and down the country whilst Beckham is booed at every away ground he plays at is not just down to who he plays for or who his wife is. It is about who the person is. Personality.

Fact: Gascoigne is a man of the people. He’s one of us. And whilst he lost all my sympathy and support as a man outside the game when the reports of the wife beating came out, as a footballer it is almost as if he can do nothing wrong. Think about it. If it had been Gascoigne that had been sent off against Argentina in World Cup ’98 do you really think he would have received the same treatment from the fans back home? For a start, I’m sure Gascoigne would have done an interview where he would have held his hands up, said he was sorry and said that he was an idiot for being sent off. Does anyone remember Beckham apologising? Does anyone ever remember an interview? Any interview? Does anyone ever remember anything he says ever? It’s simple. Beckham has no charisma, no affinity with the people who watch this game. And whilst this does not stop him being a great footballer (better than Gascoigne ever was in most people’s opinions) and also a good husband and a loving father, the truth is the viewing public only ever see Gascoigne and Beckham as the celebrity and not the person.

Rob Springthorpe (rs8139@bristol.ac.uk)

IN RESPONSE TO MATT RAYNER’S DAVID BECKHAM OPINION

Where did this unfortunate tendency of Rag praising suddenly come from? Yes, we know that some of the Rags can play football quite nicely, but do City need a primadonna who gets £40,000 a week and in addition tries to chop every single opponent in half with his kicks/tackles? I don’t believe that Joe Royle – and I am sure – Dave Bernstein would accept such a player into the squad! Just a few thoughts about the overpaid ***t who didn’t know the way to Maine Road as a kid, and chose the easy-locatable Swamp instead! Well, you chose the wrong club, Becks, and I’m glad you did!

CTADTWTCL! (City `Till A Danish Club Wins The Champions League!), Kasper Nymand (kvasierlav@yahoo.com)

HELP – BRAZIL TV?

I spent the last two weeks on a business trip to Brazil. One evening, sitting in a bar called the Amorica in Belo Horizonte I was idly watching the football snippets on the screen. These usually feature highlights from Brazilian fixtures and, contrary to popular belief, I did not think the overall quality at club level was very high. The national side, of course, is another kettle of fish! In Britain, it seems to be the other way round. Get to the point (Ed). Yes, err O.K. Anyway, my attention was caught by some edited highlights of ancient ‘FA Cup KnockoutT Tournament’ (my translation, for which I apologise) and I thought “hey, those guys in the AC Milan shirts look familiar – Well, I’ll be blowed”. There, wearing the Brother logos were, for sure, Niall Quinn and Clive Allen playing away against a team wearing white tops and black/dark blue shorts. In the short segment transmitted, the goals went rocketing in – at both ends. I’m sure it was Coton between the sticks. But I was puzzled. There was a bank of uncovered standing terracing behind one goal populated by a horde of City (?) fans and the fleeting camera shots revealed the skyline of a couple of stands. Now, I’m usually pretty good at identifying pre-Taylor football stadia but this one stumped me. It cannot have been either White Hart Lane or the Baseball Ground. Port Vale perhaps? I’m pretty sure it wasn’t Craven Cottage as I’ve stood on that banking myself (and sat in the actual cottage on the corner for a match against West Ham) and I’ve been racking my brains ever since in trying to identify the match and the location. I would guess the match took place in the early Nineties. Could any of your informed subscribers – Andy Noise, perhaps, among others – enlighten me?

Dafydd Goronwy-Roberts – Vancouver (Dafydd@canada.com)

REQUEST – SELHURST PARK PUB

Just a note to see if anyone’s meeting up at a pub near Selhurst Park on Saturday to watch the Rags get stuffed by Liverpool?

Andrew Clarke (andrewclarke@andrewclarke.free-online.co.uk)

REQUEST – KISSIMEE BLUES

Whilst talking to Moonchester’s missus Roma in the Parkie before the game on Saturday, she informed me that her George (the man who fill the costume so well) and their two daughters are off to Kissimee (sp?), Florida on 9 May, and want to meet up with any local supporters’ clubs whilst they are out there. As she doesn’t have email, if you respond to me, then I’ll gladly forward all responses to her.

Alex Bracey (alex@mancity.net)

WHY BLUE?

I live in Sweden and the soccer here isn’t any good. So where do you turn, to the UK of course… and Italy. But now on to it.

When I was 5, my brother gave me a City flag (don’t ask me why, he’s a Chelsea supporter). City I thought to myself, why City and not United? They are (were) so much better, why City!? The years passed on and City still had their grip around me. Though I didn’t watch the games on TV and I never followed the points table they were there, until 3 years ago. City were struggling so I felt that they needed every support they could get. I started to take interest in City. Turning to sites, newspapers and TV. Taking every word written and said about them to my heart. When Swedish TV showed them, no one could take me away from the screen. I was never impressed by the game but Kinkladze really, really impressed me (still hoping for his return). Even though City didn’t play well I was a proud supporter. My friends still don’t get it, but I know why I’m still Blue. The history, the supporters, the club… everything about City.

From Sweden with HNK Hajduk Split and City in my heart

Roger Pehar (Roger.Pehar@iqab.com)

RESULTS

Recent results to 27 February 2000 inclusive.

27 February 2000

Birmingham City       1 - 1  Ipswich Town

26 February 2000

Barnsley              1 - 1  Bolton Wanderers
Blackburn Rovers      2 - 1  West Bromwich Albion
Charlton Athletic     1 - 0  Sheffield United
Grimsby Town          1 - 0  Crystal Palace
Manchester City       1 - 1  Walsall
Norwich City          1 - 1  Huddersfield Town
Port Vale             1 - 1  Stockport County
Swindon Town          0 - 1  Crewe Alexandra
Wolverhampton Wndrs   3 - 0  Nottingham Forest

League table to 27 February 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.   32 13  2  2 29 11  9  3  3 30 18 22  5  5 59 29  30  71
 2 Ipswich Town    33 12  2  2 32 14  6  8  3 23 18 18 10  5 55 32  23  64
 3 Manchester City 32 12  1  3 35 12  7  5  4 17 14 19  6  7 52 26  26  63
 4 Barnsley        33 11  3  3 38 18  6  4  6 25 30 17  7  9 63 48  15  58
 5 Birmingham City 33 11  4  2 30 14  4  5  7 20 23 15  9  9 50 37  13  54
 6 Huddersfield T. 33 11  3  2 35 14  4  5  8 15 22 15  8 10 50 36  14  53
 7 Wolves          33 10  4  3 32 16  4  6  6 15 20 14 10  9 47 36  11  52
 8 Fulham          32  8  5  3 15  8  4  7  5 14 18 12 12  8 29 26   3  48
 9 Blackburn R.    32  8  6  2 23 12  4  5  7 16 23 12 11  9 39 35   4  47
10 Bolton Wndrs    32  8  5  3 29 18  4  5  7 15 17 12 10 10 44 35   9  46
11 Stockport C.    33  7  6  3 25 21  4  5  8 12 23 11 11 11 37 44  -7  44
12 QPR             32  6  9  1 22 15  4  4  8 19 23 10 13  9 41 38   3  43
13 Norwich City    32  9  4  4 22 17  2  6  7 11 18 11 10 11 33 35  -2  43
14 Grimsby Town    33  9  5  3 24 21  3  2 11 13 31 12  7 14 37 52 -15  43
15 Sheff. United   33  9  3  4 29 15  2  6  9 17 32 11  9 13 46 47  -1  42
16 Tranmere Rovers 31  7  5  3 25 17  3  2 11 15 30 10  7 14 40 47  -7  37
17 Crystal Palace  33  6  7  3 26 17  3  3 11 18 36  9 10 14 44 53  -9  37
18 Nottm Forest    33  7  6  3 21 13  2  3 12 14 30  9  9 15 35 43  -8  36
19 West Brom A.    33  3  9  4 14 16  3  6  8 13 26  6 15 12 27 42 -15  33
20 Crewe Alex.     33  5  5  6 17 18  3  3 11 15 26  8  8 17 32 44 -12  32
21 Walsall         33  4  5  7 15 20  3  5  9 19 32  7 10 16 34 52 -18  31
22 Portsmouth      32  5  5  6 22 17  2  4 10 13 32  7  9 16 35 49 -14  30
23 Port Vale       31  5  4  7 17 18  1  7  7 16 24  6 11 14 33 42  -9  29
24 Swindon Town    33  2  6  9 15 30  1  5 10  7 26  3 11 19 22 56 -34  20

With thanks to Football 365

WWW MANCHESTER CITY SUPPORTERS’ HOME PAGE:
http://www.uit.no/mancity/


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DISCLAIMER
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, mcivta@tollbar.u-net.com

Newsletter #583

2000/02/28

Editor:


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