Newsletter #584

Quite a large issue tonight; a couple of belated match reports plus some replies concerning the postponement query – and indeed it was a long time ago. There’s much opinion, the majority concerning the lamentable display of stewarding in Kippax GG last Saturday – all without exception are in support of Dougie, clearly one of those great characters that Maine Road repeatedly throws up, not out.

Finally, please note that I’ll be away for the next 4 issues (see below).

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


I’m off on a business trip to the US this weekend (Wilmington DE, in case anyone fancies a jar). Sean Cable (a Brit living in the US) has kindly stepped in to do a 2-week stint as guest editor.

So, please send all articles for inclusion in MCIVTAs 585-588 (Monday 6th March to Thursday 16th March) to Sean at:



Injury Ends Peepo’s Career

Thursday’s Manchester Evening News has reported that Kakhaber Tskhadadze has lost the battle to save his career. The news confirms the suspicion raised when the player wasn’t listed in the City squad in the match programme last Saturday. After being transfer-listed early in Joe Royle’s managerial reign, Tskhadadze had begun to establish himself as a fixture in the City side when he suffered a serious knee ligament injury at Fulham in August 1998. And following several abortive comeback bids, the last remaining member of the Blues’ late-1990s Georgian quartet has finally called it a day. As with fellow-countryman Murtaz Shelia before him, Tskhadadze’s contract has been paid up and he’s returned to his native land.

All Quiet on the Transfer Front

The past few weeks have seen constant rumours that Joe Royle could be on the verge of adding to his squad. But there have been minimal signs of transfer activity at Maine Road this week. Most of the rumours have focused on potential arrivals, but this week there’s been more attention given to potential departures, albeit only on loan. But it seems that even here there’s likely to be little movement, with Royle rejecting an approach from Swindon to borrow Tommy Wright and denying any interest from Wrexham in a similar move for Terry Cooke. It had also been thought Nick Fenton could finally go on loan to Bournemouth this week, although Lee Crooks’ continued injury problems may have delayed the youngster’s Dean Court switch. Meanwhile, Tony Vaughan’s hopes of a permanent move to Nottingham Forest could be dashed if the Midlands club succeeds in a rumoured bid for Aston Villa’s Colin Calderwood.

Royle Turns Down Swindon’s Wright Loan Bid

Swindon Town have asked to take Tommy Wright on loan. But Joe Royle has insisted that his reserve goalkeeper stay at Maine Road for the promotion run-in. The Robins, who look doomed to relegation from the First Division, are managed by Jimmy Quinn, an ex-Northern Ireland international team-mate of Wright. And after seeing his team suffer from a string of errors by goalkeepers Jimmy Glass and Frank Talia, Quinn hoped to rectify matters by signing his former colleague. “Swindon have asked about him, but I don’t think it is the right time on the run in,” Royle told the official City website at “I want to keep everybody together, all the players who are going to be totally involved.”

Cooke Unwilling to Drop a Division

Several clubs were represented at the Blues’ reserve game with West Brom on Tuesday. But Second Division teams hoping to take Terry Cooke on loan are likely to be disappointed. With an infected cut sidelining Jamie Pollock, Cooke was probably the focus of attention for most of the scouts at Ewen Fields – although whether he was the man interesting watching Nottingham Forest boss David Platt is unclear. The presence of Wrexham manager Brian Flynn has sparked reports that the Welsh club have joined Wigan in the chase to take Cooke on loan. Wigan are also reportedly still keen to take the former Manchester United winger to the JJB Stadium. However, both clubs may have difficulty persuading the player to join them, with Joe Royle quoted as saying, “Terry has already intimated he wouldn’t be interested in a move to a lower division.”

Wigan to Drop Pollock Interest?

Recent reports have linked Wigan with a renewed bid for City’s Jamie Pollock. But news that the Latics are set to sign Bradford’s Neil Redfearn seems to indicate that manager John Benson has given up hopes of taking the City midfielder to the JJB Stadium. When Pollock rejected a £900,000 switch, much was made of his reticence to drop back down to Division Two. However, there were also claims that Wigan were offering a salary considerably lower than that demanded by the player, leading to speculation that Benson could propose a better deal in an attempt to persuade Pollock to make the move. The signing of Redfearn seems to indicate that this isn’t the case. Meanwhile, it’s as yet unclear whether Terry Cooke’s proposed loan move to Wigan will go ahead now that the winger is fit again.

Royle Pleased With Morrison Progress

Joe Royle has denied reports that Andy Morrison is set to have a second exploratory knee operation. The City manager claims that his skipper’s bid to return to fitness is going well – and sources inside the club are indicating that he could be close to a reserve return. “There are no plans at the moment for Andy to have an operation,” Royle told the official City site at earlier this week. “Andy is building up his fitness at the moment and he is very happy with his knee. He is running and when he gets to be running freely then we will start playing football with him.” The Blues have refused to be drawn on the player’s likely comeback date but it’s understood that if his progress is maintained over the next few days, he could be considered for the Blues’ next second string fixture.

Reserves Stay Top Despite Defeat

Manchester City reserves’ good run ended last with a 2-1 defeat against West Bromwich Albion. But despite the poor performance and result, the Blues stay top of the Pontin’s League. And there was further consolation for City in the displays of youngsters Leon Mike, Chris Shuker and Dunfield (who scored) together with Wright-Phillips. Dunfield scored the City goal late on, but couldn’t prevent a second defeat for the Blues in twelve Pontin’s League games since a 4-0 reverse against the same opponents in September. Gareth Taylor and Lee Peacock featured in attack, but Peacock in particular did his cause little good, performing ineffectively before being substituted.

Dunfield Gains Further Recognition

Terry Dunfield has gained further international recognition. The City junior has been called into the England youth squad for a friendly against France at Wigan’s JJB Stadium on Wednesday 15 March. The Canadian-born youngster, who was featured in a recent BBC2 documentary on City’s Youth Academy, has impressed in the Blues’ junior teams this season. And he’s now making the breakthrough at reserve level, scoring his third goal for the second string in last night’s game against West Brom. Dunfield also took part in a joint England under-16 and under-17 training camp at La Manga in Spain in January.

Kennedy Pleads for Patience

Mark Kennedy has appealed for restraint from the City fans who made their displeasure at last Saturday’s draw with Walsall clear. The Irish international feels that the crowd’s singling out of individual players for abuse is damaging to the team. “I would never criticise our fans because they are the most passionate and best I have ever played for but when individual players are targeted it can be counter productive,” the winger told the Manchester Evening News on Tuesday. “By our standards we were very poor on Saturday and the crowd let us know what they thought. We are all different as individuals and I am sure some people are affected while some are strong enough to get on with it.”

Old Boy Brown Backing City

Michael Brown may have left City in January but he still keeps an eye on events at Maine Road. And the Sheffield United midfielder believes his former club is well-placed to win promotion this season. Brown, who scored the winner for his new club against the Blues shortly after completing his transfer, has also faced City’s promotion rivals Ipswich and Charlton since joining the Blades. And he believes that Joe Royle’s team is capable of securing a top two place. “They have the character and the spirit to win promotion and just as importantly they have the quality, too,” he told the Manchester Evening News. “We drew 1-1 at Ipswich and were unlucky to go down 1-0 at Charlton and neither of them were that impressive. On their day I think City are better than either of them.”

Royle – We’ll Miss Goater Badly

Shaun Goater has departed to play for Bermuda this weekend. And City boss Joe Royle admitted that his promotion chasing team will suffer badly from the absence of its leading striker. The Blues investigated the possibility of flying Goater out for his country’s game on Sunday after the match at Crystal Palace on Saturday but the club has now admitted that the idea isn’t viable, leaving Royle to reflect, “The loss of Shaun Goater this week is a big blow to us. He is our leading goalscorer and probably the one outfield player last week who played anywhere near his best form and we will miss him.”

Injury Doubts Ahead of Palace Crunch

City have a number of injury doubts ahead of Saturday’s visit to Selhurst Park. Lee Crooks looks certain to be ruled out, while Robert Taylor and Danny Tiatto are also giving manager Joe Royle cause for concern. Taylor has a recurrence of his calf injury and didn’t train on Thursday, but according to Royle, “It is not as bad as it was last time and he did finish training the other day. I will know a lot more tomorrow.” Even if the ex-Gillingham front man is unavailable, namesake Gareth Taylor is unlikely to be in the squad, but the City boss admitted Shaun Wright-Phillips is in his thoughts. Meanwhile, Crooks has a groin injury while Tiatto took a knock on his ankle playing for Australia in Hungary last week.

Royle Tight-Lipped Over Striker Selection

Joe Royle already knows the team he’ll field when the Blues take on Crystal Palace on Saturday. But the City boss is refusing to make public his line-up for the Selhurst Park clash. Most of the speculation has focused on the identity of the replacement for Shaun Goater, who will be absent on international duty. Paul Dickov, Lee Peacock and Gareth Taylor will all be hoping to win the vote to partner Robert Taylor, who’s the one front man widely regarded as a certain starter. There may also, however, be changes in midfield, with Danny Tiatto expected to be in contention for a place after serving a suspension against Walsall last week. Jamie Pollock may also come into Royle’s reckoning if he’s recovered from a minor injury which kept him out of Tuesday’s reserve fixture.

City Bid to Keep Pace with Ipswich

Manchester City travel to Crystal Palace on Saturday knowing that a failure to could allow Ipswich the chance to open up a gap of at least three points over the Blues. The East Anglians are at home to Portsmouth and are strong favourites to beat Tony Pulis’ strugglers. City, of course, will be without top scorer Shaun Goater but will have the backing of a massive away contingent expected to number in excess of 6,000. And, with fans being asked to pay £20 each for a ticket, the cash-strapped Londoners will cash in on the Blues’ big following. Recent history is against Joe Royle’s men, with City having a wretched Selhurst Park record in recent years – against both Palace and their tenants Wimbledon.

MCIVTA/ News a NewsNow Source

The website at aims to keep users informed of all the latest stories being added to the top news and information sites on the web by linking to a range of quality sources from a single location. And from now on, this will include the items added to the City page from Manchester City International Supporters’ site at, which form the basis of the MCIVTA twice-weekly summaries. Newsnow has special pages for a large number of football clubs – including the Blues. And the news has now been recognised as an official NewsNow source for their City page. This means that by pointing their browsers to, users can see the latest internet City stories from Teamtalk, Soccernet, SportLive, and others. There’s no doubt that bookmarking the NewsNow City page is the easiest way to keep up with the Blues online.

County to Benefit from City Away Hordes

Stockport have become the latest Division One team to be guaranteed a bumper pay-day by City’s large away followings. The derby match between County and the Blues at Edgeley Park later this month is a sell-out. The sides are due to meet on Tuesday, 21 March, with Joe Royle’s team gunning for revenge after losing the teams’ first meeting this term. City have been a big draw on their travels since the turn of the year, attracting a season’s best home league gate to each of the four teams they’ve visited so far in the year 2000. On Saturday, Crystal Palace should join Crewe, Sheffield United, Nottingham Forest and Huddersfield on that list, while Stockport will also be added in less than three weeks.

Eidos Profits Take a Plunge

Eidos, Manchester City’s main short sponsor, have announced that their profits have almost halved in the last three months of 1999. From October to November 1998, Eidos made profits of £49.8m while in the same period in 1999, the figure dropped to £25.9m. The “Tomb Raider” game is the basis of Eidos’s success, notching sales of more than 20 million units worldwide. The company only took over from Brother as the Blues’ sponsors, a move which owed much to the fact that Eidos chairman Ian Livingstone is a well-known City fan – and some rumours even claim he rushed the deal through without board approval. Despite his support, Livingstone refuses to attend Maine Road, viewing himself as a jinx after the team’s poor results in games he’s seen.

Peter Brophy (


Went along on Saturday for a rare visit to Maine Road, everyone expecting 3 points in the bag against a side 4th from bottom. How wrong can 32,000 people be! What a struggle.

A laboured performance making hard work of what should have been a simple job. Walsall weren’t that good but they defended well and broke very quickly. I don’t know if their front players are particularly quick but our defence certain made them look that way.

City’s passing was wayward. The ball out of defence was going nowhere and on occasion was just being hoofed, Second Division style. Where was the midfield? Absent.

Things improved very slightly in the second half with the introduction of fat Blob Taylor and Tony Grant (on for Dickov and Horlock). Grant to me looks useful – he’s got a brain as well as ability which is always a useful asset, I’d like to see him in the team more. Taylor, though he looks cumbersome, does cause the defence problems.

Edghill incurred the wrath of the justifiably fed up crowd, although I have a certain sympathy with him. We always seem to have plenty of space down the right hand side and it’s Edghill that gets pulled forward to fill the space but then has little in the way of options once he’s there. He became the scapegoat but it was his cross which led to Taylor’s disallowed goal and it was his cross which led (eventually) to Goater’s goal.

City are still too reliant on Kennedy on the left – more options are needed when going forward (bring back Terry Cooke!). Dickov was non-existent; I’d take the half a million from Wigan but we probably need the cover to see us through the season. Goater for me was a revelation. Some good touches linking up with others, coming off defenders to receive the ball, back in defence when needed… thank God for Goater (and I never thought I’d say that)! Weaver put in his usual star turn – we would surely be languishing mid-table were it not for him.

Keeping things in perspective, I think this is the first draw at Maine Road this season so we shouldn’t complain. But worringly, the performances in the last few games have been well below what they can achieve. Let’s hope Sir Joe can get them back onto winning ways soon.

Next match vs. Palace away. Hopefully we can stuff Coppell’s makeshift outfit – a team that apparently may not even exist for much longer!

Ian Howard (


It was a wonderful day for football. The sun was shining and inside the superstore people were shopping for City gear like crazy. I was aiming for the Le coq sportif hold-all. It turned out to be a nice looking bag with 7 compartments. Now that’s going impress the sh*t out of my training mates (if you can’t do it on the field you might as well do it in the locker room 😉 ).

Before the game I met with my Internet friends Paul, his wife Bingning, Ashley, Steve, Heidi and Peter. The Mean Team was gathered at last 🙂 When I got my match ticket from Egil Svarstad (our most loyal Norwegian supporter I might add), I also had the opportunity to meet the two Norwegian trainees who came to England the same day. One right back and a goalkeeper. Now the latter will have a hard time getting past Weaver – this game was only to confirm that. Our young goalie is showing magic between the posts at the moment.

From my seat in the upper Kippax I had a great overview of the ground. My thoughts flew towards Egil who was probably seated behind a pole in the Main Stand. But when the roar of the audience met the players as they entered the field I was ready to be entertained.

City lined up in familiar fashion:

Edghill      Wiekens Jobson   Granville
Jeff Whitley  Bishop Horlock    Kennedy
              Dickov Goater

The game didn’t start at a particularly breathless pace. Nothing much was happening and a lot of bad passing and some good defending were the only notable things. Goater was looking sharp and secure. When he got the ball with a defender behind him and his back against the goal, he always knocked it back for a midfielder and then rushed into the area to collect a possible cross or through-pass. He also did a great job in the air but poor Dickov was never close enough to catch the ball as it skidded off Goater’s head. Dickov ran a lot but to me he looked out of position and his runs caused no danger for the Walsall defence.

The back-four did their job, putting the Walsall strikers out of action, but when it came to passing it was always Edghill who got the ball. I’ve often heard of his bad passing and this game gave me the opportunity to see it first-hand. He really had a hard time finding his own team mates this Saturday. To his defence I must add that the offensive players did him no favours. With no running up-front there was simply no-one to aim the ball at.

It was Kennedy on the left that caused the most difficult moments for the visitors. Once, he put the ball brilliantly between two defenders for Granville to finish, but his shot went wide. Another effort by the Irish international clipped the crossbar and went over. You could hear the roar of the home crowd when Kennedy got the ball; to my amazement many of the supporters disapproved of him getting it. They simply screamed for him to pass the ball instead of holding on to it. Some of the supporters next to me claimed that it was obvious to the defenders that Kennedy was going to run with the ball, and that a lot of chances were missed because he didn’t pass the ball quickly enough.

Walsall on the other hand looked hopeless for most of the first half. Some nice touches up front on the counter-attacks but when they scored the opening goal 2 minutes from the interval it was only because the ball took a nasty deflection off Edghill and took Weaver by surprise. The big goalie looked hopelessly wrong-footed as the ball curled behind him and into the net.

Half time score: City 0, Walsall 1.

City made two changes for the second half: Robert Taylor came on for the lame Dickov and Tony Grant replaced Kevin Horlock. This didn’t improve things that much as City continued to walk the field instead of running and the passing was dreadful at times. Taylor looked slow and not fully match fit, but now City had two big strikers to aim at and despite Taylor getting free-kicks against him most of the time it proved to be a good move by Royle in the end.

To me Grant was anonymous as in the other games I’ve seen him. He still needs some time to adjust to the team and to find his place. His distribution is supposed to be second to none. This didn’t show on Saturday but then again he had problems finding a moving target for his passes.

The whole team looked like it belonged 10 places down the table, and the crowd decided to let Edghill have the blame for the poor performance. When he got the ball and tried to make a pass he was often unsuccessful and the crowd started booing. Now this was doing the skipper no good and after that it only got worse. In the end Royle decided to replace Granville with Crooks and play Edghill on the left where Kennedy was doing the passing, but alas; as soon as Edghill got on the left he received the ball time after time and had to do the passing. It really puzzles me how little support he got both from his team-mates and the crowd. Everyone could see that he was reluctant to do the passing and my guess is that it’s the captaincy that is driving him into this self-destructing behaviour. It would be much easier for him to just keep low and play it safe to Wiekens and Jobson.

20 minutes from time Edghill managed to play his only “good” cross of the match. The ball was met by Walker in the Walsall goal, but he was obstructed by a defender and the ball fell to Taylor who used his strength to keep both the goalkeeper and the defenders away. After some shovelling he managed to pass it to Goater who was only happy to convert his 23rd goal in 32 games. Now that Bermudian is showing some killing touches this season.

After the goal came the best spell of the home team this afternoon. A series of crosses from the left nearly paid off and at one time it looked like the ball was destined for the net, but instead it was heading out of the goal.

A couple of minutes from the end Bishop nearly made it two with a header that made the crowd jump, but a reflex save by the goalkeeper made the ball bounce out of danger.

Walsall had grown more and more comfortable with their leading rôle during the game and seemed keen to get the upper hand. Weaver had to really stretch himself to keep the Saddlers from getting all the points. One of his saves was really unbelievable: The ball was squared in front of goal towards the back-post where a Walsall striker only had to chip it in, but Weaver moved sideways and threw himself at the shot and managed to scramble the ball outside the post.

Full-time: City 1, Walsall 1.

My seat in the upper-Kippax gave me a great view of the ground. I could also hear the singing of the crowd. But the upper-Kippax is a quiet place in itself. Not many were singing in my area. The ones that raised their voices were only giving the players a hard time. Edghill often got the “useless *wat” comment and Kennedy the “pass the ball you to**er”. Now I’m not sure why people are behaving like that. City went up one division last year. Now we are third in Division 1. The team may not have played up to their best this Saturday but the abuse have been going on for a while. To me the upper-Kippax was a disappointment. I remember the stand before it became an all-seater. The win against Leeds (4-0), people rushing down the stand after each goal, hugging each other. Niall Quinn making a wink to the fans on request, Blue Moon sounding all over.

The guys next to me that kept abusing Kennedy and Edghill left when there were still 3 minutes to go. Might they not have shown up at all!

Svenn Hanssen (


Many thanks to the Blues who managed to make the quick get together of the Perth WA Blues prior to the Perth Glory game last Sunday. As a result of the low key notice, the fact that it was over 100 degrees Celsius and her indoors laying down the law there were a few absentees; still, at least a dozen brave souls turned up at the Norwood Pub.

After a not-too-bright performance overnight by the Blues I expected a less than lukewarm response to the call for Perth Blues to get together. After Karl, Bazooks to his mates, rang at 12.30 pm to let me know that he was a late withdrawal, I was wondering if anybody would show? I consoled myself with the fact that I would be there no matter what, dad and the youngest son were roped in so off we headed to the Norwood.

After a slow start, a number of Blues started to filter into the pub and in the end I deemed the whole event a success. I must admit most things seem successful after a few pints, still that’s another story. After a couple of apologies via Email on Monday/Tuesday by Blues who couldn’t make the meet I though that the Norwood should become the place for all Perth-based Blues to meet prior to each Perth Glory home game – 2.30 pm meet for a 4.00pm kick off.

General consensus is that we are all worried that the boys seem to have lost the plot! We have to get auto promotion this year rather than risk the play-offs – surely we used up all our luck last year? Personally I would like to see Joe concentrate on getting the best out of the players he currently has (i.e. Pollock/Cooke/Taylor etc.) to get promotion rather than have the continual speculation about who we are about to buy. Joe has stated on numerous occasions that he thinks he has the best squad in the league; let’s concentrate on this year and leave the money in the bank until next year rather than buy Premiership not good enoughs (i.e. Whelan – please make this a rumour only – Haaland etc.).

After too many years that I care to remember of reading about how well City have played … then losing, it’s been a strange experience this year to read about how badly City have been playing, yet picking up the points. With only a dozen games to go, now is the time for the fans to get behind the team and lift them to victory and ultimatley promotion; besides I’ll be in the UK on holiday in September 2000 and Premiership football seems a lot more attractive than the First Division.

Edghill – Poor bloke, after watching the Leeds game on TV I can only concur with the majority of you, nice fellow he may be however what a cr*p full back. Joe must drop him ASAP.

Anyhow for all you Perth Blues, see you in the Norwood for Glory’s next home game!

Graham Hine (


We are arranging something for Friday evening March 31st in New York. The idea is to find a place that will let us watch the ‘Season so far’ video and perhaps a recent match if we can get hold of one (preferably a win). Also I just got word about the Oasis concert at Radio City on May 1st, which sounds like another good excuse to go out for a few beers. Further details to follow – any suggestions appreciated.

Martin (Chippy) Price (


I found this from on JR, worth a quick read:

Jim Sim (


In the latest edition of the Plymouth Argyle fanzine, Rub of the Greens (subscription details from <> there is a list of songs which they feel are applicable to football clubs; under Man City is the Morrissey track, “We Hate it When our Friends Become Successful”.

Cruel, but true?

Ralph Sheppard – Kiwiland (


The next gathering of the Reddish Branch of the Manchester City Centenary Supporters’ Association will be on Thursday 9th March – the night after the QPR game – at The Ash Hotel, Manchester Road, Stockport starting at 8.00pm and the confirmed guest will be ex City Boss Brian Horton – all Blues are more than welcome.

Howard Burr (


The heavy winter of 78-79 saw the Scottish Cup tie between Inverness Thistle and Falkirk postponed a record 29 times and caused at least four matches at Maine Road to be put back.

  • January 1 vs. Middlesbrough (played April 24, 1-0 win, Deyna scoring)
  • January 6 vs. Rotherham, FA Cup, (played January 15 as the Millers had not completed their tie against Barnsley,0-0, won replay 4-2)
  • February 17 vs. Birmingham City (May 1, 3-1, Power 2, Deyna)
  • March 17 vs. Aston Villa (May 15, 2-3, Deyna 2).

The ‘Winter of Discontent’ also saw assorted strikes, including the bus drivers, presumably adding to, if not actually causing, the fixture chaos.

I don’t know if programmes exist for the first two games – presumably there are some out there – but the original Villa one was reproduced almost in its entirety for the Wolves game on April 7. There may have been further postponements since then but they’re are rare, something we Blues take for granted.

P.S. Incidentally, the Villa game in May stands out for a young boy growing up in Blackpool. If I remember correctly, Brian Clarke of Piccadilly Radio interviewed Malcolm Allison several times during the game. Anyone bear me out on this?

P.P.S. 1978-79 was the defining season in City’s post-war history. Discuss.

David Butler (


Based on match programmes that are available from postponed home games, the following league matches were called off in the 1970’s (none in the 80’s or 90’s because of the undersoil heating):

  • Chelsea 6 Jan 1973
  • Norwich 3 Jan 1977
  • Middlesbrough 1 Jan 1979
  • Villa 17 March 1979

Neil Adshead – Misima Island, Papua New Guinea; ex-Sunny Gorton (


Now that we’re into March the fight for a coveted ‘top 2’ finish will really start hotting up. I’ve been taking a close look at the remaining games to be played for the teams hoping to clinch automatic promotion to the Premiership. As Birmingham (9 points behind us) and Huddersfield (10 points behind us) have both played a game more than City, I’ve assumed that the current top four are the only ones with realistic prospects of finishing in the top two come 7th May.

Three particular fixtures stand out, and are obviously going to be very crucial, possibly even ‘make-or-break’ clashes. The first of these is on 11 March when Barnsley entertain City at Oakwell. If we win that one we might finally shake them off our tail and be able to concentrate on Ipswich and Charlton. The next ‘biggie’ is the following week with City playing Charlton at Maine Road – another Sky game on Sun 19 March. If we’re to overhaul the Addicks we simply have to win this game. The other ‘6-pointer’ game is on the penultimate weekend of the season when Ipswich play Charlton at Portman Road (Sat 29 Apr).

In between these three big games there are a number of potential pitfalls for the current top 4 teams:

Charlton have a tricky game at Bolton this weekend (where they recently lost in the FA Cup remember!). Hopefully when they visit Walsall three days later they will find them as stubborn to break down as we did in our last match. Matches against local rivals always offer the potential for unpredictable results. Charlton have two London derbies in successive weeks – away at Palace (25 Mar) and at home to QPR (1 Apr). Huddersfield at home (15 Apr) and Blackburn away (24 Apr) are City’s best hopes of the current leaders dropping some further points. Their final game on Sunday May 7 sees them play West Brom away – hardly the toughest place to visit this season.

Ipswich have a few tricky games left, but unfortunately not enough against teams going for the play-offs or fighting relegation! They entertain Blackburn (7 Mar) before visiting Wolves (11 Mar), then the following weekend is the East Anglian derby against Norwich at home (18 Mar). They also have to go to Tranmere (21 Mar), Stockport (15 Apr) and QPR (22 Apr). Their final game is at home to Walsall. Let’s hope the Saddlers need a point to survive!

City – I suppose if you’re like me you’ll know off by heart all the games City have left to play, but anyway here goes. Before the crunch games vs. Barnsley and Charlton we have two London games; away at Palace (4 Mar) and home to QPR (8 Mar). A couple of local derbies are not going to be easy: Stockport away (21 Mar) and Bolton at home (5 Apr). This latter fixture is our game in hand over Ipswich, so it’s imperative that we make it count! On the final day (Sun May 7th) we play Blackburn away, probably needing the points as much as they will (to make the play-offs).

Barnsley have a Yorkshire derby away at Sheffield Utd (7 Mar) before we visit them four days later. Looking at the rest of their fixtures though, only Birmingham away (18 Mar), Fulham at home (21 Mar) and Wolves away (22 Apr) offer any real stumbling blocks. They also have by far the easiest run-in, with Swindon (away) and Crewe (at home) their final games.

So to sum up, it’s going to be a nail-biting end to the season, but if we (collectively) don’t panic and show our bottle then we can do it! Come on, get behind the lads not on their backs. I know it’s hard not to get edgy after the way they’ve been playing in the last few games, but nervousness and frustration in the crowd can transfer to the players’ brains and feet.

Let’s just hope we can get over this slight dip in form and regain the momentum we had earlier. If not then maybe Joe should consider freshening things up by bringing the likes of Pollock, Grant and Crooks into the starting line-up. It might even be an idea to take the burden of captaincy off Edghill and give it to Bish or Jobson ’til the big fella’s back. I would also like to see Peacock given a chance up front with Bob Taylor (just while the Goat is representing his country of course). Finally on team selection, if we should carry on scraping lucky draws from bad performances, then surely having the option of Terry Cooke on the bench gives us the extra dimension we’re so often crying out for. Come on Joe – he’s not turned into that bad a player overnight. Bury the hatchet for the good of the club!

P.S. I thought the minute’s silence before the Walsall kick-off, in memory of Sir Stanley Matthews was the most impeccably observed ever. All I could hear were a few dogs barking in the streets outside Maine Road – eerie! Trouble is I think it sent some of our players asleep… until Joe woke them up at half-time!

CTID, Jon Reese (


With the sad passing last week of one of the all time heroes of the great game, an interesting City link is brought to mind. Was it the last occasion Sir Stanley played against a City side that the full back who faced him was called Peter Horridge? Also, if I remember rightly, was it the only time he ever played for the first team?

I am sure that if Peter Horridge is still around it must be with great pride that he remembers this encounter.

Can anyone fill out any details on this haziest of memories of thirty odd years ago?

David Bennett (


I took Ian Kenworthy’s advice and read (some of) the article about Blue Moon Folklore. For the sake of anybody else who read it I thought I ought to point out the deliberate mistake. If a blue moon is the second new moon in a calendar month and there are thirteen full moons each year then there must be at least one blue moon every year. The article said that there are about seven every nineteen years. Nothing to do with City, I know, but these things need to be said!

David Dale (


As my temper cools, this is the letter I’ve sent to the club, I’ll post the reply should I get one.

I never thought I would have to write to the club I love in this manner, I’ve supported/turned up for over 30 years and this Saturday saw the worst stewarding in my life. I’m in the Lower Kippax GG stand area, where there is a lad called Dougie who at every game gets us behind the team.

He is not violent, rascist or doesn’t even swear, just stands and sings and God knows we need to get behind the team at this stage of the campaign. So on Saturday Dougie, trying to get the fans going to lift us during a poor match (something which the manager agrees with), when a steward (Number 316; last name Pillen, I think) manages to go to Dougie in what I would say was an aggressive manner and gets him thrown out. Not only does he do this, he gets 5 police plus other stewards in; if it wasn’t for the police handling the whole thing would have been very physical.

I then speak to the police and get told by the steward supervisor that they, the stewards, don’t like Dougie’s antics! Not the men, women or children who sit and laugh, sing and cheer along with Dougie, and I’ve never heard a complaint from anyone. It is the stewards who don’t like it!?

Can you tell me please, as a season ticket holder who helps pay for the stewarding, what is the club’s policy on fans singing and supporting the club? Are we to be another soulless club? Why is Steward 316 allowed to act as though he is the Gestapo? As an aside, if he did what he did in the street he would have ended up in real trouble. He then tells me I should know that seats are for sitting in; if I wanted at my age to be treated as a souless number not a diehard Blue, I’d have gone to Old Trafford.

I’d like to know the club’s policy on this and also what action against the steward who nearly caused a riot is going to be undertaken?

Thank you.

Simon Haines (


I totally agree with Simon Haines’ comments in MCIVTA 583 about ‘Jobsworth 316’.

Myself and my 12-year old son sit right behind Dougie and really enjoy the entertainment he generates at each home game.

I think the main problem was caused by a bloke who was with his son, aged about 4, who plonked himself down in a seat next to Dougie; these seats are usually occupied by season ticket holders who were not there for this game. This guy shouldn’t have even been sat in these seats and when Dougie tried to get the crowd going with his usual antics this guy complained to the stewards resulting in ‘Jobsworth 316’ making Mount Everest out of a mole hill!

Things calmed down after a few minutes and the stewards left, only for a lady steward to come back after about 5 minutes asking Dougie to go downstairs for a word. Dougie declined her offer a few times but this lady steward was very persuasive and Dougie eventually left his seat to chat to this lady steward only to be ambushed by the police and therefore ejected from the ground.

I think the way Dougie was treated was totally unfair and the club should apologise to this guy immediately. It’s guys like this that gets the atmosphere going and are much needed. We don’t want to copy the actions of those Red ba****d stewards at the Swamp now do we?

It will be interesting to see the reaction against the stewards in block GG Lower Kippax at the next home game versus QPR on Wednesday 8th March. I think it may be interesting, but I will sadly miss it because I am working in Glasgow that night.

City till I die, Duncan Madden-Ross (


Further to the article on stewarding in the Lower Kippax, I was witness to the goings on during the Walsall game, and I could not agree more with the sentiments expressed. To face ejection because you have the temerity to stand and cheer your team is bizarre even by City’s standards. I neither saw nor heard anything that could be construed as threatening behaviour. Nothing racist, sexist or offensive in any way, he is loud and proud and does nothing more than support his team and encourage others to do the same. It is a pity that more people do not support the team in a more vociferous manner, especially when the team needs some encouragement, e.g. against Walsall.

I understand that a complaint was received by the stewards from an unknown person along the lines of “can you get him to sit down and shut up?”. The steward concerned must have realised very quickly that a mistake was being made but having found himself in a hole he just kept on digging. The whole situation came close to getting completely out of hand and for what? If there is an anti-social so and so in the crowd being obnoxious then fair enough throw him out, but a little common sense must be applied where one fan is too loud and too animated for someone sat near by. It is madness to want to eject fans for supporting their team. It is not how loud you shout, it is what you are shouting that should be the criteria for removal. The fan concerned here was not offensive (this excludes what may have been said directly to the steward, as I did not hear that bit, but the steward deserved an ear bashing for his crass stupidity). Thanks for the chance to air my views, I feel better for that.

Phil Taylor, Lower Kippax season ticket holder (


Simon Haines writes in MCIVTA 583 about the stewarding in Kippax Lower GG and the famous or should I say infamous Dougie. I too sit in this block and whenever I tell people about Dougie he sounds like a right pain in the behind. But the fact of the matter is that he is clearly a bloke who is City through and through, and while most of us might react to a dire performance by holding our collective heads in our hands, good old Dougie really gets behind the team.

Sometimes when the atmosphere is a bit flat (quite common in GG Lower) and you hear the dulcet tones of Dougie singing “City, City, the best team in the land in all the world” (repeat ad nauseam) then a collective groan goes up from those around us. However, and here is the main point, he does absolutely nobody any harm, he shouts no obscenity, racist or offensive language. He is getting behind the team and though it may sound like a doleful plea to the heavens, God knows if you cannot sing the praises of your team at a football match well where can you sing them? I have no great nostalgia for the old Kippax, it was a horrible, gloomy place where people would p**s on the floor because they couldn’t be bothered to visit the toilet, people were liable to thump you if they didn’t like what you said, a goal was celebrated by being pushed, groped and generally manhandled by all and sundry. But to go from that extreme to a situation where people cannot raise a cheer for their team is the death of football. God bless Dougie. He may be a bit of a prat, but he is one of us. I hope that Maine Road never ever becomes a library.

Jim Curtis (


With regard to the comments made by Simon Haines in MCIVTA 583, I was sat behind the incident with Dougie and the Jobsworth 316, sorry I mean Steward 316, and a have to say that I agree with all of Simon’s comments. Although Dougie can be quite hyperactive, he is only showing his support for the team which he clearly loves. It would be different if everyone around him was annoyed with his behaviour. Dougie yet again brightened up an otherwise awful game with his interesting brand of chanting, just like he always does. Everyone was joining in, and laughing and smiling – the game was hardly being watched. Then the jobsworth appeared from the tunnel and knelt down beside Dougie in a very intimidating manner, and the atmosphere soured instantly. From an atmosphere of joviality and laughter came one of tension and violence, as Dougie’s mates got involved to protest. This pressure-cooker situation was only resolved when the Jobsworth 316 was relieved of his duties by a senior steward who left Dougie to it – then next time I looked, Dougie had been ejected. I have sent this to and I urge everyone else who has ever come across Dougie and his antics to do likewise. I very much doubt if Jobsworth 316 is a football fan, he clearly looked like a person with ‘small man syndrome’. I bet he went home and told his wife how brave he was, omitting to mention that he was backed up by about 5 other stewards and the police, to eject someone trying to show a bit of passion for the team he loves.

Also, with regard to Mike Collard’s Rösler question, I believe that he was recently transferred from Kaiserslautern to those European aristocrats ‘Tennis Berlin’.

Richard Ellor (


Over the last 3 games we’ve played ‘Pants’ (as my daughters would say) – yet we’ve still got 5 points – that’s nearly at Joe’s magic “2 points per game promotion target”. Just think what would happen if we played well!

Seriously though, I am a tadge concerned about what has happened to my team. What concerns me most is the sudden inability of our defence and midfield players to be able to pass the ball. Till recently it’s been pass/move/pass/move – really quite good stuff. Suddenly no one seems able to pass the ball 10 yards away or run into space where they can receive a pass.

What can the reason for this be? Is the long term injury to our best centre half catching up with us? Are promotion nerves getting to the players? Does Bishop need a rest? Does Kennedy smell (he gets into space quite frequently but no one wants to pass the ball to him – I can only assume that he must have a BO problem)?

I think that some of our players think that they’ll get picked, regardless of form. Joe needs to shatter this illusion quickly and make a few changes, before we kiss 2nd place goodbye for good!

CTID, Richard Mottershead (


In response to Tony O’Leary’s criticism of Andy Stevenson’s lifestyle… Mr O’Leary, you have appeared to totally miss the point. I can assure you that many thousands of fans think and act like Andy (including myself). I personally, many years ago invoked an embargo on Sharp products both at home and at work. I even went so far as to ban red pens in the office. I know of people who switched beers as they didn’t want to be seen or heard uttering the word ‘Becks’. That’s how it is, that’s how it should be… Let’s face it Tony, deep down, you are a Rag, you know you are, just face up to it, hitch up to the bandwagon and let it roll.

Ray Bardsley (


I had to write in, to ease the fears of one of our brothers, who seems annoyed at all the abuse ‘brain dead Beckham’ and his stick insect missus are receiving. Shame on all you peasants for giving them an hard time, it’s evident that you don’t fully appreciate the boy‘s talent for football. The lad has an array of talents, he can cross a ball and er-er-er well that’s it really. Anyway brother, don’t worry about Beckham joining Milan and depriving all us peasants of witnessing the crossdresser displaying his many talents. I’ve just had my balls out, and as the mist was clearing, all became crystal clear. He signs for a Second Division team, in the French league. That’s right he’s a Nancy boy.

Gary (Mancunian peasant) Sullivan (


I feel it is about time to voice my opinions on Manchester City’s longest serving player. Richard Edghill has been coming under increasing fire yet again after Saturday’s game, and although he did play some awful passes, he was by no means the worst player on the pitch, far from it (in my humble opinion, Horlock, Jobson, Wiekens, Dickov and Whitley all played worse than Edghill). Yet he is now the one and only scapegoat at Maine Road; if anything is going wrong, blame Edghill! This is what happened on Saturday, when the whole team was to blame, bar Weaver and Goater.

Now then, I sit in the ‘N’ block in the North Stand, and at first there were about 3 people who started booing, then about 500 others who told them to shut up. As the game progressed, the booing minority increased, as well did the supportive majority. I remember one man who sits a few rows back from me on the aisle who got up and started shouting at one of the boo-boys, saying something along the lines of ‘why you booing them? Get behind the team!’. He voiced the opinions of the vast majority I believe, and I honestly felt like getting up and shaking the guy’s hand for standing up for his team the way he did.

After the game I was listening to GMR, and David White was on defending his old mate Edgy. He made a valid point, in that Edghill always has to make long 40-yard or more passes up field, and the majority of them aren’t of the highest standard. However, the guy is a defender, and usually does a good job of tackling, etc. All of the full backs in the country who are considered to be class are all playing with wingers in front of them, and may only have to pass the ball 15 yards before they can get back to their defensive duties. Think about what Edghill has to do. He has to get up field, play crosses in (which he isn’t the best at), pass the ball long most of the time, and normally has to track back because he has been left stranded up field. Some may argue this is because of his bad pass in the first place, well fair enough. However, maybe it is time to play someone in front of him on the wing (don’t ask me who), and I am sure we will see a dramatic improvement in Edghill’s play.

On a final note, how would you feel if you were in his position? Say you work in a garage and dropped a spanner, how would you feel if someone started booing you for it? How would you feel if you thought 30,000 people were on your back for it? Credit to Edghill for standing up for himself and playing the cross in that earned a lucky draw. As for the boo-boys, why don’t you get behind your team instead of mocking them? You do support City, don’t you?

Chris March (


I’ve been following our pursuit of Alf-Inge Haaland like everyone else but if Joe wants some central cover and a bit more youth to go alongside Fenton in the future then he really should be looking at Rangers’ Scott Wilson.

22 years old (ish), 6ft 3 and dominant in the air. If nothing else he seems to me a tailor made replacement for the, although performing admirably, ageing Jobson and should be a snip at around the million pound mark (the price Rangers are quoting interested parties apparently).

He’s already been looked at by Wednesday but nothing has come of their interest yet so perhaps he would be the answer for next season? After all, despite his present form, the image of Richard Jobson being turned over by every Premier striker with pace is not a pleasant one.

Wilson is young, has experience at the top level with Rangers and should only get better. I would definitely prefer him to be wearing the laser blue rather then the royal.

Peter Blyth (


It is inevitable that as the club becomes more successful then the expectation of the supporters and everyone involved with the club goes up. If anyone had said to you a year ago what was going to happen to Manchester City FC in the coming 12 months, you would never have believed them. But it has happened and it is going well, albeit the wheels seem to have come off somewhat recently with 3 terrible perfomances that have still produced 5 points. I am sure Joe Royle knows what is needed to take the club to the summit but seems to be stalling on making the move. Since the loss of Andy Morrison, we have stuttered along, never really producing the form that we showed earlier in the season when we beat all but Huddersfield in the top 6 and treated teams with the contempt they deserve. The problem is that there is now no natural leader on the field and therefore players that need to be led are running around like headless chickens and are not performing to the required standard to play for Manchester City or to their own ability.

Because of the expectation of us fans, the pressure must be immense on the players when playing at Maine Road; we need to back them 100% for the final few games of the season. They seem to be performing better away from home at the minute. Also JR must make a purchase, if only to wake players up that are not performing. I cannot understand JR’s tactics at the minute and have one or two questions that I would like an opinion or answer to. Why, knowing Morrison is a long term casualty, have we not bought a central defender instead of playing a has been in Jobson and a player returning from injury and short on confidence in Wiekens? Why, knowing Morrison is a long term casualty does he not play the only other natural leader at the club in Pollock instead of putting him on the transfer list and playing Whitley, who anyone can see is a tackler, huffs and puffs a lot but cannot play football (a basic requirement to be a professional). Why, knowing all this, has he let one of best defenders in Nick Fenton go out on loan to several clubs? He has the pace, composure and confidence to play an integral part in our defence despite his years. Why does he persist with Richard Edghill, knowing he can be a liability at the back and is now starting to take stick and suffer; he must be dropped for his own sake and regain some form and confidence in the reserves. Terry Cooke! What is going on there? Kennedy is our only form of attacking play at the minute, stop him and you stop us. Walsall ‘double-teamed’ him with some effect. Surely we must switch it ocassionally and give TC a runout? Come on Joe, take a leaf from George Burley’s book at Ipswich; they have had disappointment after disappointment in the play-offs but this time he has spent money to give them one last surge for the automatic promotion spot and we desperately need to do the same. The club have exceeded all our expectations for this year but we do need fresh faces at the club to make sure that it has not all gone to waste. It wouldn’t be a disaster in the scheme of things but it would be heartbreaking. Come on City, get back to playing football and winning ways.

Mark Wood (


I, too, was extremely disappointed with the team’s abject showing in the match vs. Wallsall last Saturday. Who couldn’t be? For the first time this season, we looked like we didn’t really care. I think that the players felt like they just had to turn up to win. Well, as we know, they did but they didn’t.

But, what was much more annoying than the team’s poor showing was the crowd’s appalling reaction to the team’s performance and particularly the Edghill-baiting that went on.

I sat in the Gene Kelly stand with my three children (15, 13, 13). We are not shrinking violets. I use expletives and I do not chastise my kids if they use ‘industrial’ language when it is appropriate but, throughout the whole 90 minutes last Saturday, what we had to endure was totally unacceptable. A loud, skin-headed cretin sitting row 27, seat 37 in block UU, spent the whole match screaming abuse at Richard Edghill. He moaned and moaned and swore and moaned and swore and moaned and was completely unfair and moaned and then he moaned some more. His entire repertoire consisted of abuse and limited use of sarcasm. As well as being extremely irritating, it was quite sickening too.

This idiot, more than the team’s poor play, spoilt our afternoon. I have never felt more uncomfortable at any game anywhere (and I once had bottles thrown at me in the good old days at the Baseball Ground).

The atmosphere in ‘our’ stand, largely because of this moron, was non-existent, and neither was it any better in the whole ground, because of others like him. We have to be ‘together’ to create the right atmosphere.

The Wallsall fans’ rendition of “You’re the s**t of Manchester” was completely accurate in the case of the Edghill-baiter that we sat next to and all others of his persuasion. I felt like standing up and applauding them for their insight.

Spurred on by a supportive crowd, the players will perform better. Surely, we must have learnt that by now? If there are any that doubt it, let them cast their minds back a couple of years. Our home record was particularly abysmal because our players were frightened to play in front of their own fans.

And now, my analysis of the players’ performances is; Weaver 9, Edghill 5, Jobson 5, Wiekens 5, Granville 5, Horlock 5, Bishop 6, Kennedy 5, Whitley 5, Dickov 5, Goater 9, Taylor 5, Grant 5, Fans 1 (let’s not think we aren’t as important as the players because we sure are – fans should be 10 every week, our job’s easy).

Simon Fink (


What does Joe R say to the team before a game? I cannot in my wildest dreams believe he is telling them to go out and play the type of football that they have produced in the last three games. We all know that once each half has started there is not much he can do about it besides from screaming his head off from the touch line.

Is Morrison the only player in the squad that can control the game plan while they are out on the pitch? Is he the only one that listens to the talk before the game? There is no doubt that at the moment we lack a player that can lead the team, that can change the tactics during the game, that can see that we have tried that move 6 times and it’s time to try something else. At every home game there are around 30,000 that can see that the team is not performing the way they have before, I would really love to know what instructions the players get before a game and at half time.

As a one time football coach, I always told the team that if you never shoot you never score, simple but true. Unless we decide to score all our goals with headers that is, with all the visiting teams at Maine Road playing 10 men behind the ball it’s time for few long range shots and some variation in the play.

Here’s one for the statisticians amongst us; anybody have a shots on goal/not on goal count for the last few games and anybody keep track on the number of City passes that actually reach a City player? I started a count at the Huddersfield game on just one particular player but gave up after his first five passes all went straight to a Huddersfield player. Decided to enjoy the game and my beer!

Forever City, Ron Smith (


Thought that Tony O’Leary’s criticism of Andy Stevenson was a little harsh. I had presumed that all Blues refused to buy Sharp gear. I was reminded of when, in the late 80’s, I needed a new calculator for work. Sharp did a belter, like a little computer that displayed your whole calculation as you were typing, so you go back and edit it, spot errors etc. I tell you, if you were into calculators, then this was the dogs b*llocks, or whatever we said back then. But would I buy it? Would I buggery (or whatever we said back then)! I sat at work for two years with a Brother knitting machine on my desk till I was sacked for constantly getting my sums wrong.

Dafydd’s Brazilian Haze

It’s rare that I’m asked to don my anorak by name, but Dafydd Goronwy-Roberts did just that in his request concerning football seen across a crowded Brazilian bar. Right, if Quinn and Allen were playing together and it was an away game in the Cup, then it must have been the 90-91 season i.e. at Port Vale or Notts County. Based on the ground description, home side’s kit and reference to a few goals, then it must have been Port Vale. Thinking about it, Quinn and Allen scored, so it probably was that game. Then again, wasn’t our away kit all maroon at that time? I don’t remember the AC Milan kit getting an airing in that period. I wasn’t there, though, so I might be wrong. It did remind me of a sad Vale supporting mate of mine, though. I was living abroad at the time and on returning to the UK, he proudly bought round his Port Vale highlights tape he’d been compiling. He’d started it two years earlier and had decorated the box and tape with Vale imagery. Alas, though, all it contained was a brief clip from the local news and them getting beat by us in the above game.

Andy Noise (


In MCIVTA 582 Richard Ellor suggested we get on the Club’s case, so to speak, to get them to produce a T-Shirt marking Shaun Goater’s cult status at Maine Road, something I feel is somewhat overdue. I was just thinking about this again last night and two possible designs sprang to mind. I assume quite a few of you sent e-mails into the club ( as Richard asked you to, but I don’t know if anyone else suggested particular designs to the club or not so I’ve sent the two following suggestions in. I’d be interested to know what other designs have been suggested, or if any of you had already suggested designs similar to those described below.

Design 1: Basically this involves the time-honoured art of “bastardising” a corporate logo. In this case I would suggest that “le coq sportif” allow their logo to be changed – as a one-off – to “le goat sportif” with the cockerel switched for a goat in the triangular logo. This could have the added advantage of getting le coq sportif involved in the production, through which we can hopefully ensure a decent quality T-Shirt. The number “10” or slogans like “Feed the Goat!” could be added to this “T” willy nilly.

Design 2: Bog standard T-Shirt with a picture, inspired wholly by such greats of literature as “Whizzer & Chips” and “Beano”, both of which at several times in their history carried storylines based around some naughty Goat or other, who would constantly torment the equally comical farmer’s wife by scoffing assorted garments hanging on her washing line… cor, will she ever catch that pesky creature in the act I wonder? Anyway, with this in mind I reckon a Number 10 “Goater” shirt hanging on a washing line (much the same as the one on the front of the book “Blue Moon”) should be getting a thorough chomping by an obviously famished Billy-Goat-Gruff, whilst young Shaun looks on in horror (and shirtless of course, i.e. with his man breasts out à la weird goal celebrations at Forest) as his perfectly servicable team shirt is torn to ribbons.

Ehhh that was it…

Cathal Whelehan (


Regarding Tony O’Leary’s comments regarding Andy Stevenson’s views in MCIVTA 583. Unless I misunderstood, Tony was suggesting Andy is a zealot. Surely a zealot is someone who cannot tolerate other peoples’ views! Hmm?

David Kilroy (


Feel obliged to respond to comments of Rob Springthorpe in MCIVTA 583 – Beckham being “better than Gascoigne ever was in most peoples’ eyes”.

What on earth is he basing this little pearl of wisdom on? I’m not being a bitter Blue since I rate Beckham very highly, and cannot imagine England setting off to Euro 2000 without him, should he for example suffer an injury – better than Gascoigne though? An examination of the attributes of each player make an absolute nonsense of such a statement – Gascoigne had two excellent feet whilst Beckham’s left is about as potent as Kevin Horlock’s right – he had a great burst of pace over 10-15 yards which, combined with wonderfully quick feet meant he could waltz past players in a way that Beckham can only dream about – his passing, though perhaps not having quite the accuracy of Beckham’s, displayed far more vision – who can forget his through ball to Lineker during the quarter-final of Italia ’90 against Cameroon? He scored the odd headed goal for Spurs and maybe I’m forgetting something but don’t recall ever seeing Beckham come close with his head for United – though tackling was hardly his strong point, for me he was a better tackler than Beckham is – and though I don’t have the statistics to hand I’d happily wager my ticket for the play off final this year when we get there that his goalscoring record, certainly during his years at Newcastle and Spurs, when he was at his peak, make a mockery of Beckham’s meagre return – he was superb in dead ball situations, though I concede that here Beckham probably has the edge, being truly phenomenal – and finally he had a heart the size of a cannonball – ok some people laugh at his tears in the semi in 1990 against Germany – but watch the tape and see the completely legal tackle he made two minutes after his booking, putting the ball out for a corner and almost putting the German into the stand, such was his commitment and determination for the cause, even following his own personal tragedy.

Beckham’s a real quality player – but let’s not get carried away when comparing him with someone for whom the title “the best English player of his generation” sits very comfortably – if we talk about how good Gascoigne was, we must remember him at his best, which unfortunately was an all too brief period during the very late 80’s / very early 90’s – but during that time he was simply irresistible – if Beckham ever reaches such a level whether playing for United or England, it will be wonderful to watch, but in reality there’s no chance. So get out your Italia ’90 video, or your review of the 1991 FA Cup, when Gascoigne single handedly got Spurs to Wembley before self-destructing, and remind yourselves of what a truly great player the overweight and pedestrian guy now ploughing his terribly sad furrow at ‘Boro once was – I don’t care how many World Footballer of the Year runner up awards David Beckam wins – he doesn’t even come close.

Simon Hope – Phnom Penh, Cambodia (


Whilst I have no wish for Mcvittee to become a forum for slagging each other off, it is however here to allow us all to express our opinions, and for others to air their views. Tony O’Leary’s vitriolic outpourings in the last edition reveal a person devoid of humour. My life is just fine; if the life he suggests I get is comparable to the one that he is in then I will pass. I’ll buy you a pint sometime Tony, might cheer you up.

Andy Stevenson (


I have 3 spare tickets for the Palace game (all 3 together, Block V on half way line, Row 27), they’re £20 each (rip-off!). if anyone needs ’em , drop us an e-mail.

Garreth Ryan (


Following the request by David Butler (MCIVTA 583) regarding accommodation during Euro 2000, are there any Belgian or Dutch Blues out there who can help me get a ticket (or 2 or 3 or 4) for the England vs. Romania game in Charleroi on Tuesday 20th June? We’ve booked a ferry and accommodation but have been let down for match tickets.

Incidentally, if anybody else is going to that game, please contact me and we can arrange to have a beer. We’re staying in Namur, which is about 25 miles East of Charleroi.

Phil Jones (


I’m looking for a, shall we say, mature City fan (over fifty) who went to the aforementioned testimonial – and who has a programme of the match. I would like to know both teams that played as he can’t remember. Especially if Sir Stanley Matthews, Sir Tom Finney and Don Revie played. Has there been a more difficult poser posed?

Anthony Arundale (


Tributes have been pouring in over the sad news of the death of Sir Stanley Matthews last Wednesday:

Kevin Keegan said he was “a legend”.

George Best described his talent as “sublime”.

Bobby Charlton called him “a Brazilian in an England shirt”.

Gary Lineker was quoted as saying “he was the last great gentleman of the game”.

David Beckham said “It’s a real shame. Posh and I loved his Turkey Drummers. They’re bootiful”.

Cliff Shelley (


OK, so we’ve had two lucky draws, and are slipping in and out of the second automatic promotion spot. But luck is always part of a championship race, and we have luck – and Goater – on our side this season. So fear not, all is not lost, we will rise again and get promoted, if we just keep our heads – unlike the distinguished personages quoted below.

Posh and Becks have been on the receiving end (deservedly so) of some humour suggesting that while the lights may be on in the attic, no one is at home. However, they have never had a monopoly in the short planks market. To prove the point, how about these unspeakable quotes (there, he has me at it now!) from Kevin Keegan. Not to mention the Head Rag and, just to be fair, Uncle Joe.

Kevin Keegan’s Verbal Diahorrea:

‘Gary always weighed up his options, especially when he had no choice.’

‘Goalkeepers aren’t born today until they’re in their late twenties or thirties.’

‘They compare Steve McManaman to Steve Heighway and he’s nothing like him, but I can see why – it’s because he’s a bit different.’

‘He can’t speak Turkey, but you can tell he’s delighted.’

‘I’m not disappointed – just disappointed.’

‘That would have been a goal if it wasn’t saved.’

‘The good news for Nigeria is that they’re two-nil down very early in the game.’

‘The substitute is about to come on – he’s a player who was left out of the starting line-up today.’

‘In some ways, cramp is worse than having a broken leg.’

‘It could be far worse for me if it was easy for me.’

The Head Rag’s Hoary Haggis:

‘Cole should be scoring from those distances, but I’m not going to single him out.’

‘This pilot move by FIFA will take root and fly.’

Royle’s Ramblings:

‘I don’t blame individuals, I blame myself.’

All of the above are from this most entertaining site:

There are some really off-the-wall quotes are from that fine example of scrambled eggs, Glenn Hoddle, but go see for yourself!

The Irish, of course, are not immune from the disease of disconnection of the brain from the larynx. No doubt there are City fans out there who will be very pleased to quote me some ripe examples. You won’t mind, therefore, if I take the advice of Willie John McBride (the former Irish rugby team and Lions captain) and get my retaliation in first!

‘Jean Tigana has spent the entire first half inside Liam Brady’s shorts.’ – Jimmy Magee, Irish commentator.

And my favourite of all time:

‘He’s pulling him off! The Spanish manager is pulling his captain off!” – George Hamilton, Irish commentator.

Tony O’Leary (


I was born in Timperley, in the days when it was still Cheshire, of a mad keen Manchester-born City father and a southern-born mother with no sporting interests at all. Most of my dad’s family support City, so it was a foregone conclusion that I would too. The one major exception is my uncle Jack (dad’s oldest brother) who supports the Trafford All-Stars, but we forgive him.

One of the worst things in my life was when we all moved south, to Luton, so that we could be nearer my mum’s family. That was in 1965, while City were regrouping in the Second Division. I hadn’t started visiting Maine Road then, but I know now that if we’d stayed in Timperley I’d be much happier. Just to rub salt in, my mum left us in 1968 (what a year!), so we didn’t need to be in the miserable south anyway.

I think it was the following year, during a weekend at a friend’s house in Bramhall, that I went to my first football match. It was the lad’s eighth birthday and he was desperate to go to see his favourite team at home – you’ve guessed it, my first match was at the Swamp! The Rags beat Burnley (remember them?) for all it matters. That’s still the only time I’ve been there.

By this time I had the strip, the pictures, the pennants and everything else I could lay my hands on re. City. All I needed now was a match programme. With the regular visits to Manchester, visiting family, it eventually came about that my dad finally took me to Maine Road. I can only vaguely remember the day – we either beat Nottm. Forest 4-1 or West Ham 4-3. I can remember the excitement though, the shear joy of being there.

I’ve probably only seen City about 100 times in the thirty-odd years since then, and about thirty of those matches have been away games, mostly in London or at Luton. Some of my finest memories, though, are of City matches – Sunderland at Maine Road in the 1973 cup, 2-2; our first away win of the 1978/79 season, White Hart Lane, February 1979, 3-1 (Peter Barnes’ finest game); other games at White Hart Lane include 1-3 (August 1990), 1-0 (November 1991), 1-2 (April 1995); 42,000+ at Maine Road to see us lose 0-2 to Sheffield Weds., 198?, in the (old) Second Division.

My greatest memories are of Wembley. My dad got tickets from Luton Town for the 1976 League Cup final. Great day, shame we were in the Newcastle end. All those strange young men in butcher’s coats! But in many ways the greatest day in my life, after the births of my sons, was at Wembley last year. It was my oldest son’s eighth birthday and was to be his first match. I really wanted that to be at Maine Road, but what the hey, Wembley’s a fair second best.

On the day there was confusion over the tickets, and to cut a long story short we ended up in the old Post Office (a pub) in Wembley High Street. There must have been 200 City fans in there from all over the world – an Irish couple from the USA took my Joshua’s photo in his face paint after the game – if you’re reading this, we’re still waiting for the prints. The atmosphere in the pub was unbelievable, although Joshua fell asleep during the second half! When Horlock scored he asked me to put him on my shoulders if City scored again. I couldn’t bring myself to tell him that it was too late now, so tried to smile and promised to do that. When Dickov scored he was on my shoulders in a flash, and then he was passed around the pub above everybody’s heads! Now he’s bitten, there’s no way back for him. I feel like half my job as his father is done.

And that, for me, is what it’s all about. My grandad passed it to my dad, who passed it to me. Now I’m passing it to my sons – the inexplicable passionate love for MCFC, and everything and everybody connected with the club (and it is a club, not a PLC). I may be more of an armchair fan now than I was before, but when time, money and away ticket availability allow, I’m there. But I’ll never lose that passion.

CTID, David Dale (


Recent results to 1 March 2000 inclusive.

1 March 2000

Portsmouth            1 - 2  Tranmere Rovers

29 February 2000

Blackburn Rovers      1 - 1  Norwich City

28 February 2000

Queens Park Rangers   0 - 0  Fulham

League table to 1 March 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          33  8  5  3 15  8  4  8  5 14 18 12 13  8 29 26   3  49
 9 Blackburn R.    33  8  7  2 24 13  4  5  7 16 23 12 12  9 40 36   4  48
10 Bolton Wndrs    32  8  5  3 29 18  4  5  7 15 17 12 10 10 44 35   9  46
11 QPR             33  6 10  1 22 15  4  4  8 19 23 10 14  9 41 38   3  44
12 Norwich City    33  9  4  4 22 17  2  7  7 12 19 11 11 11 34 36  -2  44
13 Stockport C.    33  7  6  3 25 21  4  5  8 12 23 11 11 11 37 44  -7  44
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 32  7  5  3 25 17  4  2 11 17 31 11  7 14 42 48  -6  40
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      33  5  5  7 23 19  2  4 10 13 32  7  9 17 36 51 -15  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


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

[Valid3.2]Ashley Birch,

Newsletter #584