Newsletter #585

Hi, whilst Ashley enjoys the delights of Delaware (no sales tax, so cheap shopping) I’m filling in. I’m an ex-pat City fan, living in the US, which has meant the only time I’ve seen City this season was vs. Leeds in the FA Cup…

Made me kind of homesick to read the match reports, I remember the last game I saw against Palace being the end of 1988/89 and the chant was “5-1” and as it had been advertised as a fancy dress party there were loads of Blues Brothers there.

Next game: Queens Park Rangers at home, Wednesday 8th March 2000


Draw Takes City Second

Despite taking an early lead through Robert Taylor at Crystal Palace on Saturday, the Blues eventually had to settle for a draw. But the single point was enough to take the Blues ahead of Ipswich Town. Taylor struck on eight minutes, heading in a Danny Tiatto cross. But after City dominated the early stages, Palace hit back with a 27th minute equaliser from Clinton Morrison. The Blues moved back into second place courtesy of relegation-threatened Portsmouth’s surprise win at Ipswich. City lead the East Anglians on goal difference and have played one game fewer than George Burley’s side. Barnsley, whom Joe Royle’s team visit on Saturday, are three points behind City and Ipswich, again from one more game than the Blues.

Royle Has No Complaints

Joe Royle was satisfied with his side’s result and performance in Saturday’s draw at Crystal Palace. Meanwhile, his counterpart Steve Coppell was proud of the spirit Palace showed in coming back after the Blues’ fine start to the game. “Palace’s two front men are a bit of a handful and we were missing our front man but I can’t complain,” reflected Royle. “A point to Crystal Palace is OK with me.” Coppell agreed with Royle’s verdict that the game had offered top-class entertainment – and the Palace manager also had praise for Nicky Weaver. “They scored in the first eight minutes but we dragged ourselves back to equalise,” he said. “I thought we were going to get a second as we had a few balls flash across the goal but their ‘keeper was fantastic.”

Royle – We’re In A Great Position

Manchester City may not have won for three games but manager Joe Royle isn’t downhearted. The City boss feels his side is still in a great position to claim automatic promotion. The Blues notched a third successive 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace on Saturday, but still moved back ahead of Ipswich in the promotion race. And Royle feels the position is particularly praiseworthy in the light of pre-season expectations. “I know a few alarm bells are starting to ring, but I keep going back to it, and at the risk of being boring, if you had promised us second with a game in hand at this stage of the season, when the campaign opened, everyone would have taken it,” he reminded the doubters.

Coppell Wishing City Well

Steve Coppell will always be remembered by City fans as the man who stunned Maine Road by walking out of the hot-seat. But despite past history, the Crystal Palace manager says he’s hoping to see the Blues in next season’s Premiership. Coppell admitted after Saturday’s game between City and his own team at Selhurst Park that, “I’d love to see City back in the Premiership.” And he believes that in goalkeeper Nicky Weaver the Blues have the ideal man to inspire them into the top flight. “He’s the reason they’re where they are,” he said of the England under-21 goalkeeper, who made a couple of smart saves to keep Palace at bay in the closing stages of Saturday’s first half.

City Relief at Goater Hat-Trick

Shaun Goater notched a hat-trick for Bermuda in a 5-1 World Cup qualifying win over British Virgin Islands on Sunday. And the outcome will have come as a big relief to Joe Royle. The Bermudians won comfortably despite playing almost all of the game with ten men after an early sending-off. But Clyde Best’s team were still far too good for their opponents, and as a result Best is unlikely to require the City top-scorer for the second leg. This will be played on 19th March, the same day as the Blues’ Maine Road clash with Division One leaders Charlton Athletic – a match in which Royle will be especially keen to field his strongest side.

Allsopp Fires Robins’ Revival

Second Division Wrexham have eased clear of the relegation zone after two successive wins. And the prime reason behind the Welsh side’s revival has been the form of on-loan City striker Danny Allsopp. After notching a brace on his Wrexham début in last week’s 4-1 victory at Oxford, Allsopp was on the mark again as his 55th-minute strike proved the only goal of Saturday’s clash with Luton. The player will be on duty for the Australian Olympic side later in the month and when he returns the first month of his loan with the Robins will have come to an end. If he maintains his current form, Joe Royle may elect to bring him back to Maine Road rather than extend the arrangement with Brian Flynn’s side.

Cooke Still in the Frame

Terry Cooke could force his way back into the reckoning at Manchester City. Manager Joe Royle has confirmed the player will be considered for first-team duty despite his transfer request last month. Cooke has recently returned to reserve action after an absence through injury, and Royle says that if the winger proves his fitness he’ll come into the reckoning at Maine Road. “I have said many times if we’re paying players we’ll play them,” said Royle. “There is no point paying players and not having the use of them. It doesn’t mean to say they can’t be available.” After playing a vital rôle in last season’s charge to promotion, the ex-Manchester United winger has started only five league games this term.

No New Signings Before Deadline?

If Manchester City are to win promotion, it could well be the players currently at Maine Road who achieve the success. For Joe Royle has admitted he’s unlikely to bring in any fresh faces before this month’s transfer deadline. Royle has recently admitted that he’d be keen to bring in two new players and chairman David Bernstein has confirmed that the board would make cash available even if the manager doesn’t manage to off-load any of his unwanted squad members. But the City boss is finding difficulty in persuading clubs to release the players he wants to sign. And while one phone-call could change the situation, at present it looks like the Blues will draw a blank in their recruitment efforts.

City Miss Haaland Chance?

It now appears unlikely that the much-discussed prospective move to Maine Road for Leeds utility man Alf-Inge Haaland will go through. The player’s return to first team action with the Elland Road club seems to have ended the Blues’ chances of clinching the signing. Injuries to key personnel meant that the Norwegian featured for David O’Leary’s side in the game at Middlesbrough on Saturday. He held his place against Roma in the UEFA Cup on Thursday and by all accounts produced an excellent display. It’s thought that earlier City moves to take the player on loan came to nothing because Leeds were only interested in a permanent deal. The Blues were reportedly reluctant to commit long-term to a five-figure weekly salary for Haaland without Premier League status being assured.

Aldridge Resisting Mahon Sale

Reports last week linked City with a move for Tranmere’s Alan Mahon. But Sunday newspaper reports have claimed that boss John Aldridge is hoping to keep the player at Prenton Park. Mahon will be out of contract in the summer and, as he’s under 24, will be available at a tribunal-assessed fee. It had been thought that the Birkenhead club might look to sell the player before the end of the season rather than risk an unfavourable verdict from the panel stipulating his transfer value. Liverpool, Newcastle and Leeds have also been mentioned in connection with the man who scored his side’s equalising penalty in the draw against City in October.

FA Boost Vaughan’s Forest Hopes

Tony Vaughan’s hopes of a permanent switch to Nottingham Forest have been boosted by the FA. The ex-Ipswich player’s three game ban for his sending off at Wolves last week has been overturned. In the wake of Vaughan’s sending off for his part in the clash with Wolves striker Ade Akinbiyi last week, Forest boss David Platt admitted his interest in Aston Villa’s Colin Calderwood. And this, coupled with the on-loan City player’s impending suspension, led to speculation that the defender could return to Maine Road. However, the FA reprieve and Platt’s admission that Calderwood won’t arrive at the City Ground until the summer if at all has boosted Vaughan’s hopes of completing a £300,000 move to Forest.

Quinn Contract Wrangle to Spark City Rumours?

The Opta football news website is claiming that Niall Quinn’s future at Sunderland is far from settled. And if the Irishman’s contract talks with the Wearsiders do break down, many Manchester City fans are sure to urge Joe Royle to make a move for the former Maine Road favourite. Quinn, who has scored nine goals in 26 games for Sunderland this term, is said to be seeking an extension to his current contract, which expires in 2001. But reports claim that while the club is prepared to offer the Irishman a pay rise, Peter Reid would be reluctant to prolong the arrangement. The 33-year-old spent more than six years at Maine Road and played in over 200 league games for the Blues before leaving in the summer of 1996. The sale of the popular former Arsenal striker was much lamented by supporters.

Crucial Match Switched by Sky

Manchester City’s home game with Birmingham has been brought forward by 24 hours for live televsion coverage. The match will now take place on Friday, 28 April, kicking off at 7.45 p.m. The game is the Blues’ last home fixture of the regular season and could be crucial both to City’s hopes of automatic promotion and the midlanders’ prospects of reaching the play-offs. The clash between fellow-promotion chasers Charlton and Ipswich, scheduled for the same weekend, will also be shown live. The game at The Valley will take place on Sunday, 30 April with a 1 p.m. start.

Sky Club Gains Another Member

BSkyB has taken the number of English clubs in which it owns a stake to five. Following the acquisition in November of 9.9% of the shares in Manchester City, the satellite TV giant entered into a similar deals with Sunderland and now Chelsea. Friday’s Chelsea deal is similar to the arrangement with the Blues in that the share acquisition is accompanied by a media agency agreement. Manchester United and Leeds are also part of the Sky stable, while Newcastle and Aston Villa have struck deals with NTL and Granada has a stake in Liverpool. The fact that City are the only Nationwide League team to have been offered this kind of opportunity is an endorsement of the Blues’ potential – but not a state of affairs which the club would want to persist!

Suit Deal to “Instill Pride”

Manchester City have signed a deal with local clothing supplier Euromark Menswear. And director Dennis Tueart believes that the tie-up will create a sense of togetherness among the Blues’ players. Euromark will supply match-day suits to the City squad. And the Blues’ new look includes a specially designed woven silk tie, a charcoal grey Marzotto suit with embroidered club badge and azure blue shirt. “The agreement is part of that on-going process,” Tueart told the Manchester Evening News. “Having a club suit helps instill a sense of togetherness and pride.” Whether the club will take advantage of cross-marketing opportunities with other Euromark clients like TV personalities Matthew Kelly and Les Dennis remains to be seen.

Goater Back, Taylor Doubt, More Midfield Changes?

The City side will show at least one team change for Wednesday’s home game against QPR, with Shaun Goater returning in attack. Robert Taylor is again a doubt while Joe Royle could make further changes in midfield, after shuffling his pack on Saturday. Goater is certain to replace Lee Peacock up front after his successful World Cup appearance for Bermuda on Sunday – as long as ex-Gillingham man Taylor is passed fit to play after suffering from an upset stomach. Meanwhile, Royle’s comments that Ian Bishop and Kevin Horlock had been “rested” has been interpreted by some as a sign that at least one of the pair could return for the visit of Gerry Francis’s hard-to-beat side. The Blues will be back in third place in Division One before kick-off if Ipswich manage even a point at home to Blackburn 24 hours earlier.

Peter Brophy (


Crystal Palace vs. Manchester City, 4th March 2000

“There’s Only One Stevie Coppell!”

Thank goodness for large streams of City fans going to the game… it was averagely easy to get the train from Victoria but I wonder how I would have found the way to Selhurst Park on my own. Anyway, I managed to get to my seat about a minute after the game started. There were sweeping changes to the team – Kennedy had been switched to the right to accommodate Tiatto on the left, and Pollock and Peacock got starts. City were doing brightly at first. Kennedy had a good attempt, pushed aside I think, and then on five minutes he cut infield again to unleash a shot that seemed destined for goal until it thumped the outside of the post, and then it just seemed as though everyone, especially the Palace defenders, just forgot the ball was still in play as Danny Tiatto got on to that and sent a nice looping cross over everybody including the stranded Digby for Super Bob Taylor to have a free header at the far post. At this point I was thinking: nice, might we have a 5-0 thumping on the cards?

Well, City didn’t exactly disintegrate after that, but Palace certainly grew stronger, albeit they only really looked dangerous from dead ball situations. Unfortunately, the ref was a homer and there were quite a few of these. One direct free kick had Weaver flying through the air to tip it to safety and another good shot had him down smartly to save. We started singing “England’s number one” after that. This bit of the game also featured that potential number one hit, “There’s Only One Stevie Coppell”, to the tune of Wiekens Wonderland, which ends: “With his bag of sweets and his cheeky smile, Coppell is a f***ing paedophile!”

Another bad ref decision then led to an apparently indirect free kick that the Palace player struck swervingly at England’s number one who punched it over the bar for safety, and then from the corner kick City were caught napping as a Palace player headed the ball on for Clinton Morrison to have an easy goal at the far post, with Weaver stranded.

City didn’t finish the half comfortably. The half-time entertainment was the weirdest – Palace appealing to their fans to loan them a thousand squids each. Where else in the Nationwide? The bright restart we were hoping for was rather subdued, marked by a number of stray shots and Wiekens failing to connect with Kennedy’s cross at the far post when a touch would have meant a certain goal. Palace did give us a number of scares as well, but found Weaver in superb form. City played okay (as in, I’ve seen worse), but I don’t think we could have complained if they’d nicked another goal. Our half-pressure never seemed threatening, especially with Kennedy constantly running into dead ends. All too soon the final whistle came, and then a Palace ball-girl did a streak, which raised a cheer.


Weaver – 9 – Best ‘keeper we’ve had since Coton, if not before. Kept us in it, especially with some good late saves.
Edghill – 8 – A committed and skilful showing from Reg. He was tackling well, covering well, placing pressure on the attackers, and even passing well. What’s the fuss about? I’d have him on this form anytime.
Wiekens – 6.5 – Calm and well-positioned. Lacks pace but I like the way he got his tackles in at the right moment.
Jobson – 6 – He did okay but got me most nervous among the defenders.
Granville – 6 – Competent but didn’t catch the eye.
Tiatto – 7.5 – Always looked dangerous, ran well at defenders and was always there to take the return pass.
Pollock – 6.5 – Played quite well but didn’t seem to have a creative bone in his body.
Whitley – 6.5 – Similar.
Kennedy – 5 – Yes, he did have his good number of shots early on, and that threatening cross for Wiekens, but that was it. The Palace full-backs got the measure of him, whether he played on the right or left, and he so often lost the ball when it was given to him, or else did a lame back-pass. Should have been taken off after sixty minutes.
Peacock – 4 – Less threatening than Dickov, though he did have one nice snap-shot that went just wide. ‘Nuff said.
Taylor – 5.5 – Yes, he scored the goal, but did precious little else.
Wright-Phillips (sub) – 5 – Reminds me a little of Dickov. Small, rushes about, toothless.

Conclusions? Boy, are we going to miss Goater every time he’s called up! The defence looks okay, but midfield needs some work… I’m in the call-upon-Cooke camp.

Toh Hsien Min (


My brother-in-law, Simon, is a lifelong Palace fan. Perversely, he lives in Cheshire and, despite having watched Palace at grounds all round the North-West – including half a dozen visits to Maine Road – has never been to Selhurst Park. I, on the other hand, live within commuting distance of London, so it seemed like a good idea to go to this one together.

Since Simon was keen to get to the club shop, we passed on the chance of a drink with the Three Counties Supporters’ Club (sorry Kevin, next time) and made our way through the maze of semi-detached suburbia to the ground. The Palace shop looks like a corner newsagent’s from the outside; inside, it expands like the Tardis. As well as ground-sharing, they have to operate shop-sharing; I was about to suggest how cute Simon’s little son would look in a goalkeeper’s shirt saying “Tiny”, but quickly stopped myself when I remembered that Palace’s shirt sponsor is… er… anyone that can afford the iron-on lettering.

Our seats were in the balcony of the Holmesdale Road stand behind the goal. Below us, the entire right-hand side of the stadium had been given over to City. No rubbish about away ticket stubs here; Palace were clearly desperate to sell tickets “to feed the electricity meter for the next few days” as the programme said, and we must have sent about 6,000 to help keep the lights on.

City lined up Weaver – Granville Jobson Wiekens Edghill – Tiatto Whitley Pollock Kennedy – Peacock and Big Fat Blob. Joe had noticed that we lacked options down the right last week, and had developed the clever stratagem of playing Kennedy at right wing. The potential flaw in this was it meant we lacked options down the left, and indeed the first ten minutes consisted almost entirely of Kennedy running, dribbling, diving, crossing and shooting from the far right-hand corner of the field. Nine minutes in, one of his shots rattled the bar: while the Palace defence were watching it vibrate, Tiatto crossed the ball back from the left for BFB to rise sturgeon-like and score. I let out a loud silent cheer while those around me looked glum. Overall, we were playing far above the last three, dismal games. I could see my 3-0 scoreline bet paying out.

However, the imminent threat of relegation, bankruptcy and unemployment immediately galvanised Palace. Both Leon McKenzie and Clinton Morrison were looking fast and dangerous on the break. Wiekens was forced into the bravest defensive clearance I’ve seen, hammering a volley about two inches wide of the post. After 20 minutes, Jamie Pollock launched a vertical clearance reminiscent of his timeless goal for QPR; his attempt to win the header when it finally descended gave away a free-kick just on the D. Palace’s Fan (the player, not Simon) took a powerful, dipping shot which Nicky just tipped over for his first fine save of the game. A few minutes later, Wiekens tried to break his personal best for “most testing backpass”; Nicky’s clearance left the ground entirely, which delighted the Croydon folk around me. My notes for the next few minutes consist entirely of permutations of the words “Weaver”, “Nicky”, “superb” interspersed with illegible spider-shapes as my fingers slowly froze.

However, on about the half-hour, a Palace corner was headed on to Morrison, who headed in at the far post. Good thing I put a side bet on 3-1, I thought.

Rather than a pointless penalty contest, half-time brought an impassioned speech on behalf of the Supporters’ Trust. Basically, the deal here is “You have to lend us £1,000; if you don’t, you’ll never see the club again; if you do, you’ll never see your money again.” The orator had kind words for City: “We hope you go up and we hope you beat United next season.” Although he stopped inches short of adding “and I hope you take home your three points today”, it didn’t go down too well around me, where the gnashing of teeth was drowned out by the sound of cheques being torn up. But he got a standing ovation from the City support.

Our second half performance was slightly less convincing, although Palace too dropped the tempo and adopted a policy of falling back and looking for the break. Free from the latent hostility of the Maine Road crowd, Edghill was having a great game: although he persists in wasting possession on speculative 30-yard shots and impossible 45-yard passes, he seemed to be running everywhere so as to turn up just where he was needed. At one point, Weaver walked the ball out nearly to the half-way line; I assumed a free-kick had been given but no, he just felt he was in control and didn’t see why he should send it upfield until he was ready. Five more yards and he could have had a pop at goal. Magnificent.

For me, the weak spot in our game was Kennedy. He seems to be turning into a sort of touchline Kinkladze: he won’t get a cross in if he can keep the ball and beat three defenders instead, and he rarely uses a supporting teammate if he can go on his own. Although he piles in the crosses at a rate of knots, neither crosses nor corners seem to go near a City shirt. His body language often suggests to me a subtheme of “why do I have to play with these donkeys?” And, in the most worrying echo of St Gio, the rest of the team have adopted “get the ball out to Kennedy” as their only tactic. In the worst case, Pollock had two yards of space on the edge of the box with only the ‘keeper to beat. Dickov would have stayed with the ball and dived for the penalty; BFB would have had a blast; the Goat would have ambled round the ‘keeper and scored with his knee. Jamie chose to put the ball out to Kennedy out by the corner flag. I don’t doubt Kennedy’s skill, and I’m sure that, with Goater on the field, one of the many opportunities he created would have been converted. But I do feel that we need more options.

After half an hour, Shaun Wright-Phillips was brought on for Granville and Kennedy was brought back to the left. SW-P looked like a Persil advert, in a pair of shorts that barely cleared his ankles. We continued to create chances, but most ended in speculative long-shots from Jeff Whitley or BFB efforts rolling agonisingly past the post. About 10 minutes from the end, Palace realised that scoring a goal would mean three points, and started playing like a home side again. The words “Weaver” and “stunning” started recurring in my notes. Deep into injury time, SW-P – in almost his only contribution – cut through the defence and put a neat ball through to Peacock. Peacock found himself eight yards out, one-on-one, took too long and was tackled for a corner. Kennedy’s corner floated in, nowhere near a City shirt, the whistle went and so did two points. I was shouting some rude words silently but Simon seemed quite pleased.

My opinions:

Weaver 8. Would be 9 but he does it every week.
Granville 6. Capable and reliable, but he never excites me.
Jobson 5. Found out by faster attackers again.
Wiekens 7. Still solid but is starting to rely more on shirt-pulling than his old positional sense and anticipation.
Edghill 11. Including three bonus points for bouncing back so well after last week.
Tiatto 7. Fast and inventive on the ball but since it never came across from Kennedy’s side, we didn’t see enough of him.
Whitley 6. Too many wild long shots.
Pollock 7. Not as impactful as he was against Norwich, but good to have him back. Despite another serious effort to get booked for dissent, I’d like to see him as captain again, giving Reg a bit more room to play.
Kennedy 6. See above. 9 for skill, 3 for impact.
Peacock 6. Better than Gareth.
Big Fat Blob 8. Now that all his traumatic life events are behind him, Bob is going to be our saviour in this division and the next.

Dorien James (


Crystal Palace vs. City

Wow! We have two City supporters in Luton now (Why Blue? Issue 584). If you want to form a local branch of the C.S.A. David – get in touch! On to the match: it’s a pleasant train ride to Selhurst Park from Luton with views of the Thames over Blackfriars Bridge and the trip south of the river reveals glimpses of the Dome and the Millennium Wheel. Pity the game didn’t live up to the hors d’oeuvres. It was a crisp, very sunny day as the teams kicked off in front of a 21,000 crowd. The City team was radically different to what we have come to expect. No Horlock, Grant, Dickov or Bishop and of course the expected absence of Goater. I think Joe must be looking for some answers to recent poor performances. The line-up was:

Edghill Wiekens Jobson Granville
Kennedy Pollock Whitley Tiatto
   Taylor, R.    Peacock

The match started like the proverbial express train, with City having much the better of it. Their ‘keeper had to make a good save and then Kennedy, bursting into the middle, hit a screamer from 30 yards against the post. This only delayed the inevitable by a few seconds as Tiatto put the perfect cross over for Bob Taylor to rise (like an eagle?) and head in from 2 yards after 8 minutes. At this stage it looked like we were on for a bagful.

After 10 minutes, that was our lot. Palace gradually forced us back and our usual weaknesses started to show: Kennedy was given a lot of the ball but, on the right, was having trouble getting it into the middle. The back four never looked really secure and the midfield, although competitive, didn’t seem able to hold onto the ball. Possession was lost very easily and trying to win it back resulted in a stream of free kicks against us. We did have another difficult chance that Wiekens blasted against the post/side netting from a very acute angle. We were given a warning when Weaver had to make a brilliant save from a free kick taken just about in the middle of the ‘D’. Soon after, another free kick resulted in the ball being returned into the middle and Palace deservedly equalised with a diving header at the far post. Weaver made another great stop from yet another free kick and generally he was the main reason we finished on level terms at half-time.

The second half saw us starting strongly again but this time we remained in control for most of the half. We had waves of attacks for long periods without ever really looking like scoring (I think if Goater had been there we’d have had 3 points). There was plenty of sweat, effort, industry but no finesse.

With 20 minutes to go JR demonstrated that he was definitely after the result when he took off Granville and brought on Shaun Wright-Phillips. This gave us a more traditional shape on the left as Kennedy reverted to his usual position. However, there was to be no story-book ending – little Shaun hardly got a touch. We really should have got the winner but a few mis-hit shots, mainly from long range by Whitley, seemed to be all we were capable of. All-in-all it reminded me of some performances last year, when we dominated but couldn’t score. We risked it all to the end and were in some danger from their breakaways.


Weaver 9 – Superb but for some early kicking.
Edghill 6 – Sound enough today.
Wiekens 6 – Similar.
Jobson 6 – Ditto.
Granville 6 – Ditto.
Pollock 7 – Couldn’t fault his attitude.
Whitley 7 – Everywhere and our best hope of a goal near the end.
Kennedy 6 – It must be frustrating being his manager, he looks capable of much more and his body language seemed to say ‘I don’t want to be on the right wing’.
Tiatto 9 – My outfield man of the match. Great energy, provided the cross for the winner and ran at their defence with a lot of skill.
Taylor 7 – He replaces Goater fairly effectively (I’m not sure if he complements Shaun though as a pairing).
Peacock 5 – He looks the part, fast and mobile but never threatened a goal, another Bradbury (but cheaper).

On this game, we don’t look like promotion favourites. All the faults have been listed on these pages before: we need a pacy centre-back, another true goalscorer and a creative midfielder. JR seems to be having trouble deciding on his best team and we were unbalanced today with Kennedy out of position, though we are strong on left-sided players at the moment. It’s obviously difficult to fit Tiatto, Granville and Kennedy into the same team.

Peter Kewley (


Last week I went to Maine Road to watch City give their poorest performance of the season (so I was told). This Saturday I was pasted in my armchair and turned on my television. Lo and behold it was City again! This time away to Crystal Palace. Now I’m not sure if I want them to go up if this continues 😉

“Guys remember to take your vitamins”.

The manager must have turned himself a few times in bed since last weekend, wondering what changes he could make to improve the performance. He also had to take into account that top-scorer Shaun Goater was away on international duty. In the end he came up with six changes, which resulted in a completely revamped offensive line-up: Mark Kennedy was moved over to the right wing, with Danny Tiatto covering the left side. Jeff Whitley was moved inwards and Jamie Pollock replaced Kevin Horlock, who was on the bench. Up front Lee Peacock and Robert Taylor replaced the absent Goater and the unlethal Paul Dickov. City lined up like this:

Edghill Wiekens Jobson Granville
Kennedy Pollock Jeff Whitley Tiatto
     R.Taylor    Peacock

But most important must have been the vitamins given to the players before the game, because the first ten minutes of this game was an absolutely awesome display by the Blues (dressed in white for the occasion).

The left footed Kennedy on the right wing didn’t sound quite right in my ears but it soon became clear that the Irishman was in a good mood. He created all sorts of trouble for Palace’s left back and could have scored several times during the first 10 minutes. The first chance came after only 51 seconds when Tiatto showed his pace on the left, before passing to Kennedy who shot just outside. After 5 minutes Kennedy turned inside from his wide position and unleashed a shot that Digby in the Palace goal just managed to turn round the post. 2 minutes later the goalkeeper could only watch as Kennedy’s whistling shot hit the post and went back into play.

Kenendy did well during this period of the match but it was his replacement on the left that made the final breakthrough. 8 minutes into the match Tiatto turned at the corner-flag and crossed the ball to the far post where Robert Taylor climbed over two defenders to head the ball into the net behind Digby. A very much deserved goal and an impressive performance by the Blues.

“Lee Peacock Sportif”

News came in that former City player Steve Lomas had scored for West Ham. They went on to win 2-1 away against Watford.

10 minutes into the game it was all City. One of the best opening periods by the Blues this season, and miles away from the dire performance last week. This was the time to settle back and enjoy the ride, but hey why did the City players do the same? Palace fought their way back into the game – but it was City that gave them the chance. Tiatto continued to play really well on the left and after 17 minutes he managed to break down a good move by Palace, and 2 minutes later Weaver had to make a great save from a free-kick just outside the area (given by Pollock). Another free-kick by Palace after 26 minutes was punched over the bar by Weaver, and on the resulting corner the ball found its way to the unmarked Palace striker Morrison on the far post. 1-1.

A couple of minutes after the equaliser Palace again came forward. This time only the egotistical display by Forssell kept City from going 2 down. Instead of passing to an unmarked team-mate in front of goal, Forssell decided to go for it himself. He was promptly brought down outside the area and Weaver collected the following free-kick from Rodger.

Up front City looked rather harmless. Peacock and Taylor were not linking very well and even though Taylor provided us with some aerial strength, the other half of the partnership was easily dealt with by the Palace defence. Lee Peacock looked weak and slow. He got one really good chance in the dying minutes of the game but failed to convert it. Taylor got two – he managed to get one in the net. Neither of them made an impression today. I guess you could say that Taylor isn’t fully match fit yet. He surely didn’t look like it today. Last week I bought the Le Coq Sportif City-bag with 7 compartments. The Lee Peacock in the field today was no box of surprises. He simply didn’t show the gear that will earn him a regular place in the line-up.

City got another good chance before the interval when a free-kick from the left was nodded back by Wiekens to Jobson who gave the ball a looping bounce that seemed to give the goalkeeper a hard time. Digby just managed to scramble the ball away from the goal-line and Wiekens smashed the ball into the side-netting. Now where are the strikers when you need them?

Half time score: Palace 1, City 1.

One could always hope for another storming display at the start of the second half. Surely the players hadn’t been running their socks off during the first half? 3 minutes into the second half City could have re-taken the lead. A free-kick from Kennedy found Wiekens alone at the far post. The Dutch defender got the ball between his feet and spoiled the opportunity. I suppose it’s because he’s mostly used to finishing with his head instead of his feet that he made a mess of that chance.

“Blue Moon all over”

On-loan striker Danny Allsopp scored the winner for Wrexham against Luton after 55 minutes.

Tiatto had been lively during the first half. He continued to impress me with sheer speed and bravery in defence. After 57 minutes he managed to squeak past the Palace defence and make another good cross that caught Digby in no-man’s land. Sadly the two strikers were not present to push the ball into the open goal. Instead it bounced into safety while the home-crowd could catch their breath.

Former City-maestro Georgi Kinkladze scored the opening goal for Derby after 65 minutes in their 4-0 trashing of Wimbledon at Pride Park. It was not his most spectacular goal, but you could see the satisfaction in his eyes as he celebrated the goal with his new team-mates.

Pollock and Jeff Whitley were supposed to be the luminaries of the midfield. None of them showed any of the skills of the Georgian maestro mentioned above. They are bleeding hearts when it comes to defending, but inside the opposing box they pose no real threat to the opposition. 20 minutes into the second half Pollock made his best pass of the evening by setting up Peacock inside the area. However the City striker’s lame shot went well wide.

After 71 minutes it was time for Shaun Wright-Phillips to enter the field. Now at this point I was expecting Peacock to retire. Instead, Royle decided to take off Granville. Kennedy moved over to the left, pushing down Tiatto to the back-position. The not so imposingly built Wright-Phillips covered the right-wing the best he could.

The game now went into a rather uninteresting phase. It seemed like Palace were settling for one point. Of course they need every point they can get to stay out of the relegation battle, but so do City at the other end of the table. A lot of bad passes and no killing touch in front of either goal seemed to make the game go quietly away. 7 minutes from time Taylor could have scored his second when he received the ball inside the area following a corner. He turned and aimed his shot at the left post, but the shot missed the post and the offside positioned Peacock missed the ball.

During the last few minutes a couple of good chances could have killed off the game. A scramble inside the City penalty-box with two City defenders lying on their backs could have given the home team an easy win. In the end a defender managed to clear the ball away from the danger zone. One minute later Wright-Phillips showed his talent when he took the ball between two Palace players and ran forward, challenging the Palace defence. He played the ball nicely for Peacock to finish, but the striker showed no speed at all, got under pressure by a defender and squandered the chance.

Final result: Palace 1, City 1.

The visiting fans was very, very vocal today. A stranger to football would have expected this to be a home-match for City. Palace received little if any support from the terraces. It was great to hear Blue Moon sound almost all the way to the north pole. It was also good to see Kennedy, Tiatto and the rest of the team trying. The opening 10 minutes were quite good. But if we go up we need 90 such minutes to stay there, that’s for sure! City went back to second spot since Ipswich managed to lose at home to Portsmouth. Charlton beat Bolton rather comfortably 2-0 and are now 10 points clear at the top.

Former City striker Chris Greenacre plugged in Mansfield Town’s last goal in their 3-1 away win against Leyton Orient in the dying minutes of the 3rd Division match.

Svenn Hanssen (


The next meeting is Tuesday 7th March at The Globe, Rastrick Common. Our guest will be Dave Wallace. Any queries either by e-mail to or 01484 658258.

Simon Clegg (


The next Branch meeting will be on Monday 13th March at 8pm in the Beaver pub, near St Mary’s Church and the Saturday Market Place. The plan is to discuss how we want the Branch to develop, so it’s not just about going to games and watching them on TV, and for some of the new faces we know about, and perhaps some that we don’t, to come along and have a pint or two with fellow Blues. Get in touch if you want more info.

Geoff Donkin (


In reply to Anthony Arundale’s request of the teams who played at Bert’s Testimonial: The match was on Wednesday, April 15th 1964; the programme lists the players thus:

B. Trautmann, B.Leivers, N. Cantwell, M. Setters, B. Foulkes, A. Oakes, J. Murray, D.Kevan, B. Charlton, D. Law, D. Wagstaffe
R. Springett, J. Armfield, R. Wilson, R. Clayton, A.N. Other, J.Adamson S. Matthews, D. Revie, T. Finney, B. Johnstone, J. Connelly.

I can’t remember who showed up at centre-half for the opposition. I was 14 and it’s a long time ago!

Ollie Claffey (


Here is the answer to Anthony Arundale’s poser about who played in Bert Trautmann’s testimonial.

The match was played on April 15th 1964.

The teams were a combined City and United XI vs. all international XI

Trautmann  Springett
Leivers    Armfield
Cantwell   Wilson
Setters    Clayton
Foulkes    ?
Oakes      Adamson
Murray     Matthews
Kevan      Revie
Charlton   Finney
Law        Johnstone
Wagstaffe  Connelly

I was there, ran onto the pitch at the end, jumped on the cross bar, got hit by a groundsman swinging a bunch of keys and listened to Bert make an emotional speech.

Jeff Cohen (


I just happened to be clearing out a cupboard this week an found the BT testimonial programme.

According to my copy, which has some hand-written amendments to the teams printed, the match was an all international eleven vs. a combined City/U****d side.

The teams were:

Trautmann, Leivers, Cantwell, Setters, Foulkes, Oakes, Murray, Kevan, Charlton, Law, Wagstaffe.

Springett, Wilson, Armfield, Miller, Adamson, Clayton, Connelly, Johnstone, Quixall, Douglas, Matthews.

So, Mr Arundale, I hope this helps. I was there! Finney was printed in the programme as playing, but as I say, my pencil notes made on the night have Quixall in his place. The match was 15/4/64 and the “official programme” cost one shilling, or five pence, to anyone 30 or under!

I know that Matthews played because I was one of the thousands who ran onto the pitch at the end and I remember patting him on the back! Good job that steward 316 was not on that night. Incidentally, my glamorous life with the celebs. continues. Not only did I pat Stan on the back that night, but guess who sat 2 seats away from me at the Bridgwater Hall a couple of weeks ago? Gail Tyldesley from Corrie. Wow. I was only just getting over this shock when I went to Sainsbury’s late one night last week and bumped into Shaun Goater. Double wow. I was not able to change his mind about going over to Bermuda, but I did try. My girlfriend who was with me said that he probably shops late, to avoid all the little lads going up to him for autographs, and here was this 50+ grey haired Stan Matthews back slapping type, irritating him next to the baked beans! Anyway, what a nice Guy – no irritation at all. Just a polite word, a warm handshake and a big smile. Keep it going Shaun, I was one of those who wondered about you in the early days, but what a transformation!

Chris Ryder (


Interesting question from David Bennett in MCIVTA 584 re Sir Stanley’s last appearance vs. City and who marked him.

Surely this would have been for the World XI versus a combined Manchester side (does this qualify as “City”?) in Bert Trautmann’s Testimonial? Although memories are vague I know he played because it was the one and only time I saw him in a live game. Surely then Cliff Sear would have been his marker? Do I also recall Ray Wilson appearing in the Manchester side (I certainly remember Bobby Charlton looking very odd in sky blue). In which case he would have marked Sir Stan. Either way and whoever it was, I recall that the great man was treated very gently indeed. None of Cliff’s devasting sliding tackles on those priceless legs.

Colin Schindler’s book “Manchester ***ed” ruined My Life” contains a great description of this game. If Mr Schindler reads MCIVTA perhaps he can shed some light?

This contribution also addresses Anthony Arundale’s question about the same game. Stanley played but I’m not sure if Tom Finney or Don Revie did. I did have a programme Anthony but my mother gave it away. Pity, I could probably have retired on the proceeds by now.

CTID, Martin Smith (


According to the PFA Book on Players’ Records:

Peter Horridge was born on 31st May 1934 in Manchester.

He signed for City in November 1952 from Newton Heath P. and moved on to Crewe in June 1959.

He made three appearances in the 1957-58 season.

Stanley Matthews was with Blackpool (in Division 1) until October 1961 when he signed for (Division 2) Stoke City. He played on until 1964, making a further 59 appearances and scoring 3 goals. I remember seeing him play for Stoke against the Rags in the 1963-64 season. No-one would go near him in case they went down in the Hall of Infamy as the player who put Matthews out of the game!

He will not have faced City while with Stoke since they were in different divisions, with Stoke being promoted to Division 1 as City were being relegated.

It is a question of whether Matthews played against City for Blackpool between 1958 and 1961.

John Lowe (


Since people have repeatedly expressed their interest in the post-City career of Uwe Rösler, let me briefly sum up what has happened to Uwe since his departure from Maine Road.

After his relatively short period at Kaiserslautern, where he could not secure himself a regular place in the starting line up, he joined the Tennis Borussia Berlin in the summer of 1999 (as Richard Ellor correctly remarked). As captain of the team, he has scored 5 times in the 1999 part of the season.

Tennis Borussia Berlin is a remarkably unpopular West Berlin club, regularly performing in front of about 3,000 people. The reason why he still joined the club – currently in 5th position in the second highest German division – is simple: money. Tennis Borussia has a long tradition as an elitist, “posh” club, and year by year, they invest millions of DM in high class players, unsuccessfully trying to “buy” promotion. To be honest, almost everybody loathes them. The people