Newsletter #589

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Well, due to events completely beyond his control, Ashley is unable to put together and send out this issue. Hopefully matters will be resolved this week, but in the interim I’ll assemble and post MCIVTA so that the service isn’t interrupted. Many thanks to Sean for covering the past couple of weeks, I’m sure you’ll agree, a job well done.

The weekend results leave City in second place by virtue of goal difference but the teams in contention for a play-off (or second) place have all played one more game. Sunday’s clash with Charlton was certainly an entertaining encounter but must represent another opportunity lost as both Ipswich and Barnsley lost. As the season heads towards its conclusion it looks more and more likely that City will have to do things the way they seem to like best. The hard way.

This one reaches 3,130.

Next game: Stockport County away, Tuesday 21st March 2000

NEWS SUMMARY

Point Takes City Back to Second

Manchester City moved back into second place in Division One after taking a point from a thrilling 1-1 Maine Road draw with Charlton. The Blues move ahead of Ipswich, who lost at home to Norwich in a game also played on Sunday, and Barnsley, who lost at Birmingham on Saturday. City had the better of the opening period against the Londoners and the Blues took a deserved lead through Shaun Goater’s 25th goal of the season on 33 minutes. However, John Robinson’s deflected effort two minutes before the break sent the sides in level. Both sides had opportunities in the second half, with City enjoying a territorial advantage but the Addicks threatening frequently on the break. The result means that the Blues are ahead of Ipswich and Barnsley on goal difference, with Birmingham starting to look menacing a further two points back. City have a game in hand on all three of their rivals for the second automatic promotion spot.

Royle Lauds “Terrific” Display

Manchester City failed to notch a win for the sixth successive game against Charlton on Sunday. But Joe Royle was still a happy man after seeing his side draw 1-1 with the divisional leaders. “I thought we were terrific,” said the City boss. “We have taken two four points off Charlton and I don’t think too many sides will do that this season.” Despite the Blues’ impressive display, Charlton had chances to have won the game after the break, with Shaun Newton and substitute Martin Pringle spurning simple opportunities. But Addicks boss Alan Curbishley said, “The only reason we had chances in the second half was because City went for the victory.”

Curbishley: It’s Wide Open

Alan Curbishley feels that Division One is at its strongest for years. And as a result, the Charlton manager says that the promotion race is too close to call. Curbishley is refusing even to concede that his own side is home and dry, despite their 13-point lead at the head of the table. And the Addicks boss had praise for all of the four teams behind his own team. Of City, he said, “I know City are playing better than their results suggest. They have a few players I wouldn’t mind in my side.”

Charlton Praise Maine Road Atmosphere

Manchester City and Charlton fought out an entertaining 1-1 draw yesterday. And the Addicks relished the atmosphere generated by the 32,000-plus Maine Road crowd. City fans were criticised last month for their lack of support in the home games against Norwich and Walsall. But against QPR recently, goalkeeper Nicky Weaver received a supportive reception despite his errors which gifted Rangers the game and yesterday the crowd was firmly behind the team. And the off-field performance of the City faithful left Charlton boss Alan Curbishley reflecting, “That was easily the best atmosphere we have played in all season.”

Joe Completes His Century

Joe Royle took charge of his 100th league match as Manchester City manager on Sunday. And an examination of his record shows the remarkable reversal of fortunes since the Oldham and Everton boss came back to Maine Road. When Royle made his way to the dug-out for the first match of his reign, he was taking charge of a club then at the lowest ebb in its history. The Liverpudlian didn’t turn things round straight away, seeing the club relegated three months later and then failing to inspire the form expected of runaway promotion favourites at the start of the new campaign. And since the dawning of 1999, the team has gone from strength to strength in what has certainly been a eventful period. But the Blues boss says he has thrived on the drama, telling the Manchester Evening News, “There’s certainly been no lack of excitement. I can honestly say I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”

Royle in Defender Hint

Joe Royle has been busy playing down his prospects of making a signing before next week’s transfer deadline. But the City boss has now hinted that a defender could arrive at Maine Road. Although Andy Morrison is gradually returning to fitness, the City skipper is unlikely to be ready for first-team action for three weeks. And with Tony Vaughan also on the injured list, the Blues could find themselves stretched if there’s an injury to either Richard Jobson or Gerard Wiekens. “I’m quite happy with the squad, but we have only two fit centre-backs at the moment and I could do with cover,” mused Royle.

Signing the Key to Vaughan Move?

Despite pinching central defender Colin Calderwood from under Joe Royle’s nose, Nottingham Forest are said still to be keen on signing Tony Vaughan ahead of Thursday’s transfer deadline. But the Blues’ agreement to the move may depend on their own success in the transfer market. Vaughan completed a loan spell at the City Ground a week ago, and returned to Maine Road after picking up a knee injury. The player is likely to be unavailable for another fortnight, but under-fire Forest manager is rumoured to be keen to complete the signing nevertheless. However, with Lee Crooks injured and Andy Morrison still not having sampled any match action at reserve level on his comeback trail, Joe Royle may wish to defer Vaughan’s departure until the close-season – unless the Blues bring in new blood before Thursday.

Morrison Set for Mid-April Return?

Andy Morrison is on the verge of a reserve-team comeback after being sidelined for nearly five months. And the Blues’ inspirational skipper could be only three weeks away from a return to the City first-team. The Scot has missed City’s last 22 games, and his leadership qualities have been sorely missed. However, he could play in a practice match within the next ten days as he bids to be fit for the team’s promotion run-in. Said the big defender, “I have a lot of hard work to do but if everything else goes well I would say I might be able to take part in a game in the next ten days or so.” The news will come as a massive boost to Joe Royle after the City boss’s recent unsuccessful attempts to strengthen his team’s rearguard.

Stepney Backing His Protégé

City goalkeeper Nicky Weaver has been criticised for crucial errors in recent games. But the club’s goalkeeping coach is convinced that the slips will not affect his protégé’s form or confidence. Stepney points out that Weaver’s errors over the past two years could be counted on the fingers of one hand, and believes that the England under-21 man has the mental toughness necessary to put the unhappy episode behind him. “Nicky is a tough guy mentally,” said the former Manchester United man. “‘Keepers do make mistakes but the good ones don’t dwell on them.”

Skipper: Character Will See Us Through

Inspirational captain Andy Morrison still believes he’ll be leading the Blues in the Premiership next season. The City skipper expects his team to show the character needed to claim the automatic promotion prize. Morrison has had a frustrating season and has missed more than half the Blues’ fixtures this term, with most of his absence down to a knee injury sustained at Port Vale in October. But as he bids to regain fitness for the promotion run-in, the big defender feels that the side’s character will ensure a successful end to the campaign. “We are still in a fantastic position and I have no doubt we will be right there to the end,” he told the Manchester Evening News. “The spirit is still the same as it has been all season – we are still riding that wave from last season.”

Duo Set to See Specialist

Two of Manchester City’s players are facing injury problems as the season nears the run-in. Lee Peacock and Lee Crooks are both set to see specialists this week in a bid to clear up their troublesome fitness worries. Peacock, who forced his way into first-team contention recently in the absence of Robert Taylor, has a damaged cartilege while Crooks has still not recovered from a nagging groin injury. And the concern over the Wakefield-born defender, coupled with Tony Vaughan’s knee problem and the fact that long-term absentee Andy Morrison has only just resumed full training, may convince Joe Royle to pull out all the stops to reinforce his back line ahead of Thursday’s transfer deadline.

Five Set for International Action

Five City players will be representing their countries in the last week of this month. After Danny Tiatto’s call-up for Australia, Northern Ireland boss Sammy McIlroy has selected no fewer than four Maine Road men for his squads. Kevin Horlock is in the full squad for a friendly in Malta on Tuesday, 28 March. Jeff Whitley will be disappointed to be omitted from the senior party but will travel with the under-21s to face the same opponents on the same day. And Whitley will be joined by two City reserves in goalkeeper Richard McKinney and full-back Shaun Holmes. Tiatto, meanwhile, will be on duty for the Aussies in the Czech Republic 24 hours later.

City Hoping for Screening Sell-Out

Manchester City are hoping for a handsome pay-off from the decsion to screen Tuesday’s visit to Stockport on a big screen at Maine Road. The Blues are hoping to draw a crowd of 9,000. City’s travelling army has helped to attract a season’s-best crowd at each of the six grounds the team has visited since the turn of the year. And with a ticket allocation of only 2,000 for the Edgeley Park clash, the club has opted to beam the match back to Moss Side. A crowd of more than 11,000 is expected to see the match live, but almost as many could be at Maine Road, where City are charging £7 for adults, £5 for children and £4 for Junior Blues.

Rösler Hoping for Return to England

Uwe Rösler is hoping for a return to English football. The German striker, who spent four years at Maine Road, is reportedly unhappy at Tennis Borussia Berlin and would relish a second chance in England. Rösler left Maine Road in the summer of 1998 to join Kaiserslautern, but after failing to win a regular place with the then-Bundesliga champions, the ex-East German international dropped down a division last summer – having first been linked with a return to the Blues. There’s been no suggestion that Joe Royle is interested in the player now, and indeed any potential suitor may find the rumoured £800,000 asking price off-putting.

Holden Takes Maine Road Bow

Boxer Mike Holden won the British heavyweight crown last week and has been feted ever since. But there was a special moment for the City fan on Sunday, when he was introduced to the Maine Road crowd before the clash with Charlton. Since his win over former champion Julius Francis, Holden has been taken to meet the cast of Coronation Street, wined and dined in the Manchester Evening News boardroom and featured extensively by the Granada Tonight local TV programme. But the 32-year-old fulfilled a lifetime’s ambition when he stepped onto the hallowed turf. He’s been a fan since childhood, though his boxing commitments mean that he rarely sees the team these days.

Thirteen-Year-Old Makes Rapid Progress

Jim Cassell was delighted with the performances of the City under-17s and under-19s against Liverpool last week. And the Blues’ Academy Director had particular praise for 13-year-old Shaun Cartwright, who featured at the under-17 level. Cassell described the football played by his charges in both age-groups as “fantastic” and told the Manchester Evening News Pink Final, “I should make mention again of Cartwright. He played 70 minutes at centre-half and didn’t look out of place.” Cassell’s assessment seems to mark the youngster as one to watch, and will encourage hopes that the club’s youth policy is back on track after several barren years.

Youngsters Back on Track

Manchester City’s under-17 and under-19 sides had been enjoying mixed fortunes recently. But both Academy age groups warmed up promisingly today for the forthcoming Academy Cup competition. The under-17s followed a 2-0 win at Liverpool last week with a 3-2 success against Middlesbrough on Saturday morning. Meanwhile, the under-19s followed up their 4-0 destruction of the Merseysiders a week ago with a 3-2 win at Coventry – and in the process exacted some revenge for the Sky Blues’ midweek win over the Maine Road under-17s. The under-17s will face either Middlesbrough or Newcastle in the first round of the Academy play-offs, while the under-19s take on either Crystal Palace, Bristol City, West Ham or Wimbledon.

Donachie Junior Hits the Top

Danny Donachie, son of Manchester City assistant boss Willie, is to leave his post assisting the Blues’ physiotherapy team. The 26-year-old has earned a chance to ply his trade at the top level. Donachie junior has been helping Roy Bailey and Ronnie Evans but has now been offered an opportunity to join Premier League Sunderland as a physiotherapist. And despite the wrench of leaving the Blues, it’s a fantastic opportunity for Donachie – he’ll be working with the North East club’s senior squad.

Ten-Game Season Starts Tomorrow

Manchester City’s hopes of automatic promotion will depend on a run of ten matches in a little over six weeks. And Joe Royle hopes his side will show the character necessary to be promoted without recourse to the play-offs. Royle knows that, despite a run of only four points from six games, the Blues are still in pole position to take second spot – matters are currently in City’s hands since if they win their matches, they can’t be caught. “From our point of view it’s a ten-game season,” admitted Royle, “and we must win our games and keep our nerve. We are in second spot and have a game in hand.”

No Rest For City

Manchester City fought out a dramatic 1-1 draw against Charlton at Maine Road on Sunday. But the Blues have no time to pause for breath after their exertions and are in action again a little over 48 hours after taking on Alan Curbishley’s men. There’s sure to be another highly-charged atmosphere as City make their shortest away trip of the season. Joe Royle and his players will be keen to exact revenge for Stockport’s 2-1 win at Maine Road in December, and the good news for the City boss is that he has no new injury worries for the game. Robert Taylor came through his comeback against Charlton after a three-match absence while Lee Mills could be on the bench after being sidelined by a sore rib at the weekend.

County’s Derby Bid to Stop Slide

Stockport will be bidding to notch a first league win in 15 attempts as Manchester City visit Edgeley Park on Tuesday. County haven’t won since dispatching Wolves on Boxing Day. The miserable sequence has yielded five wins and nine defeats, seeing Andy Kilner’s side slip from the play-off positions to sixteenth place amid rumours that the club is beset by financial difficulties. On the face of it, then, the Blues have an excellent opportunity to return to winning ways and put the pressure on their promotion rivals with a win. However, the Stockport players are sure to be fired up for the visit of their more glamorous neighbours and will hope to raise their game in front of a rare Edgeley full house.

Team News: Bishop Starts but Tiatto Doubtful

Although Joe Royle substituted Ian Bishop in the second half of the draw against Charlton, the ex-West Ham man is set to start Tuesday’s derby at Stockport. But Danny Tiatto may miss out at Edgeley Park through injury. Despite Royle’s second half tactical switch against the Addicks, which saw Mark Kennedy moved back to the right-sided rôle he’s filled in recent games, the City boss will stick to Sunday’s starting line-up when he names his team for the Edgeley Park clash. Sunday’s substitute Danny Granville may come in at left back, with Danny Tiatto doubtful with ankle and shoulder injuries. Meanwhile striker Robert Taylor will once again feature after recovering from a calf problem, but loan signing Lee Mills may once more be kept off the substitutes’ bench by his rib injury.

Peter Brophy (brophy_peter@hotmail.com)

MATCH REPORT

MANCHESTER CITY VS. CHARLTON ATHLETIC, Sunday 19th March 2000

After lucky underpants, lucky seagulls and everything else, I now have an UN-lucky baseball cap! I bought a new City cap immediately before the Walsall game; the rest, as they say, is history. However, it’s a very smart cap and it cost a tenner, so it’ll get one more chance on Tuesday! Although Birmingham’s defeat of Barnsley gave us a chance to leapfrog the Yorkshiremen, Brum are looking quite worrying at the moment and even Huddersfield have started to win again. We’re lucky that our dip in form has coincided with that of Ipswich, but the race for promotion spot 2 is officially wide open. Today’s game was not exactly a ‘must win’ but it was certainly a ‘mustn’t lose’ game. As predicted on Blue View on the Thursday (well done Leeds Blue), Lee Mills was missing due to a rib injury. However Robert Taylor was back, thank goodness. Ian Bishop was in from the start, with the in-form Danny Tiatto replacing Granville at left back. Granville together with Dickov, Horlock, Wright-Phillips and Tommy Wright warmed the bench. Where was Tony Grant? Everton aren’t due a top-up payment are they?

City went straight for Charlton from the kick-off. Within a minute or so, Taylor curled a shot just round the post from 18 yards. Bishop, although misplacing some passes, made us function better in the midfield. Taylor likewise, although obviously way off full fitness, gives us more composure in the final 3rd of the pitch. He held up the ball, tried some intelligent flick-ons and generally had a decent game. Pollock played well too I feel, despite some unjustified barracking. He gets ‘stuck in’ and can pass a bit too. We certainly won the first half midfield battle. Mark Kennedy was, as usual, in and out of the game – Andy Morrison’s return will benefit Kennedy with those diagonal passes, as well as the centre of our defence. Nevertheless he and Tiatto linked well and caused plenty of problems. From a Kennedy free kick, Pollock rose like a salmon and planted a firm header towards the goal. Unfortunately, Kiely was alert and pulled off a terrific one-handed save. During this first period we saw very little of Charlton as an attacking force and Weaver had nothing to do. Our goal came from an Edghill pass inside to Bishop who ignored Pollock’s attempts to take the ball. With single-minded vision, Bish split the Charlton defence with a lofted ball which Goater caught on the volley, lifting the ball over Kiely into the top corner. Some reports have suggested that the Goat was merely trying to feed the ball into the box. B*ll*cks! Although a bit of a shin-er, Shaun knew exactly what he was trying to do and got his reward with goal number 25 of the season. Charlton stepped up the pace a little, but still there was no real threat until, mouthy but talented winger, John Robinson, hit a shot from 20 yards which Weaver would have caught probably with one hand, had it not deflected wickedly off Shaun Newton for an (at the time) undeserved equaliser.

Charlton started the second half much more brightly and took advantage of the space we left to push for a winner, hitting us on the break. Bishop was replaced by Granville half way though, and the midfield man was clearly not pleased! Although this move allowed Tiatto to push forward and Kennedy to move to the right, it was a risky decision. Yes we pressed Charlton, but as mentioned they were able to hit us on the break at regular intervals. Tiatto got into the game more and more, with one run from the edge of our penalty box to the edge of theirs, ending with a shot which deflected into the path of Taylor who was clearly surprised and missed the chance. Another sweet move involving Tiatto and Taylor ended with Whitley and Goater swapping passes in the box, Whitley passing responsibility to Goater with an over-hit pass when really he should have shot himself. At the other end, Weaver saved well from Newton following a Wiekens’ mistake and followed that one with a superb one handed save from Pringle in a one on one situation. Pringle’s shot was poor, but it was still a great save. The game ended with a succession of City corners but we could not get that elusive second goal.

So, 1-1 it finished, taking us into second place, above Ipswich and Barnsley on goal difference (Ipswich’s 2-0 defeat by Norwich restored our advantage to 4 goals). A draw probably was the right result. We dominated possession and certainly created enough chances to have won the game. However, Charlton on the break, undoubtedly had the better clear cut chances, which on another day may have resulted in a handsome but flattering win for them. Overall we played pretty well. It’s a shame Taylor will not be fully fit before the end of the season because he links the midfield and forward line better than any other striker we have. He and Goater will make an effective partnership. As we know, even if not at his absolute best, we play better with Bishop in the side. Pollock did enough to retain his place, Whitley could do more. As already mentioned Kennedy is still our main attacking outlet, but we don’t get the ball to him quickly enough. Tiatto both at left back and left midfield was excellent. He’ll run through walls, tackle anything that moves, dribble, pass and shoot. Probably together with Goater, he’s the most improved player at Maine Road this season. The defence was again leaky, but they were left exposed in the second half. Edghill had a solid game, Jobson and Wiekens whilst making some timely interventions also made several errors. Weaver again put his account further in credit with at least 2 point-saving saves. Tuesday’s game against Stockport County is a ‘must win’ game. On today’s performance, we have nothing to fear.

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

SOME TRIVIA

This is scraping the barrel, I know, but it’s raining, again, here in Vancouver. I read some reports in the press (after the Walsall game?) that, in the run-in to a promotion place, J.R. felt that City might perform better on the road than in front of home crowd pressure at Maine Road. We then promptly lose to QPR! That’s 4 losses so far at the citadel.

Today, Friday 17th, I thought I would review the 17 home league games already played at this point to see if there was some superficial, I stress superficial, correlation between attendance and results. This is a pretty minimalist exercise since City play in front of near capacity crowds housed in a truncated stadium which is totally inadequate to cater to the support the Club commands. So there are no vast swings in crowd sizes from game to game. Secondly, I realise that a crowd of 30,000 is quite capable of creating more vocal support than one of 33,000 and vice versa, of course.

However, since City’s 12 home victories, to date, have come in two batches of 8 and 4 consecutive wins, I wondered if a pattern emerged. The average home league attendance after 17 games is a magnificent 31,974. The run of 8 wins averaged 31,911, a figure of 63 below the season average. The run of 4 averaged 31774 (-200). The balance, 4 losses and 1 draw, averaged 32,234 i.e. +323 above the season average!

It’s all rather weird. Of the 5 disappointments, only two were conceded to sides considered genuine contenders last August: Wolves and Huddersfield. The 5 matches listed here reflect the score, the match attendance and that attendance’s ranking so far this season e.g. Blackburn is the highest (#1) and Fulham is the lowest (#17). So:

Wolves       0-1, 31,755 (10)
Huddersfield 0-1, 32,936  (2)
Stockport    1-2, 32,686  (5)
Walsall      1-1, 32,438  (8)
QPR          1-3,  31353 (15)

Not much of a pattern there. In terms of highest victory margins (Sheffield U. 6-0 and Fulham 4-0), the match attendances rank dead last: 30,110 (16) and 30,057 (17) respectively! That’s it! My head hurts. I’m off to bed tonight with some Ovaltine and, tomorrow, I’ll buy a new anorak!

Dafydd Goronwy-Roberts (Dafydd@canada.com)

THIS IS OUR LIFE

We’ve got to get behind the lads and let the rest see that this giant doesn’t sleep, every minute of every day, there’s somebody somewhere saying “I’m a Man City fan.”

You’re listening to your radio, it’s football and you’re loving it, because football means City. You start to think about our club, the name, the place, the players, the history, the fans, millions of them – newsreaders, writers, rock stars, financiers, boxers, disc jockeys, athletes, all walks of life – they are everywhere and it is with pride that they say “I’m a Manchester City fan.”

It’s not a badge they wear or a club they’ve joined, it’s an article of faith. We, who get to go to matches and stand amongst the faithful, are privileged. 30,000 of us, representing a constituency of millions, who can only be there in thought. Their voice must be heard through us. Shout for as loud and as long as it takes to get City back where they belong.

Rick Eagles (embb001@osl.net)

THANKS

I have been meaning to write this for some time, but I suppose I must be described as a ‘gunna’ – I’m always gunna do things, but often don’t get around to it.

In 1996 I contacted MCIVTA to ask if there was a possibility of arranging a tour of Maine Road for my children, particularly my eldest son, then 10 years old, who were visiting the UK with my wife. Steve Bolton replied and gave me details of the date and time they should go to Maine Road and to ask for John Clay. My wife, father and three kids went along as instructed and asked for John Clay. While they were waiting for him to come to reception, Buzzer senior walked through the reception area, spotted my dad and said hello – it turned out that my dad knew him slightly through Buzzer’s textile business. He then took charge of the tour and they were taken through every part of Maine Road, including Francis Lee’s (the then Chairman’s) office. I have photographs of them with Tony Book, Mike Summerbee and Francis Lee as souvenirs – for one who was fortunate enough to watch these guys on many occasions in the sixties and seventies, without ever meeting any of them, this was magic stuff.

I never got around to thanking Steve for arranging this tour, but I intend to make amends when I get to Manchester in a couple of weeks time – I owe you several beers, mate.

Hopefully we’ll have something more to celebrate in a few weeks time.

John Durham (jdu@dingoblue.net.au)

Many thanks John, I’ll have a Guiness.

Steve

A DOUBLE DOSE

Wouldn’t it be strange if…

  • Kevin Keegan was a pessimist.
  • Glenn Hoddle thought before he spoke.
  • Graham Rix dated adults.
  • David Batty was calm.
  • Ken Bates shaved.
  • Geoff Hurst’s “goal” hadn’t counted.
  • Brian Clough was sober.
  • Jack Charlton had been England manager.
  • Alex Ferguson had stayed Scotland manager.
  • Duncan Ferguson was a dwarf.
  • Ipswich won the play-offs.
  • Chester City weren’t crap.
  • The League Cup was called “The League Cup”.
  • Bradford City stayed up.
  • There were 3 teams who had a chance of winning the Scottish Premier League.
  • 200 people turned up to watch Albion Rovers at home.
  • Kids’ teams were run by people who cared about developing the kids’ skills rather than winning meaningless trophies.
  • Total football and pass & move tactics were adopted by all teams at all levels.
  • Ian Wright’s chat show featured Tony Blackburn on the decks.
  • Louise & Jamie Redknapp’s kids looked just like Harry.

Brian Morrison (lovescene74@hotmail.com)

THIS WEEKEND’S POPTABULOUS TOP 10!

  1. Manchester City & Charlton FC’s – One For You, One For Me (Jonathan King).
  2. Watford FC – Every Loser Wins (Nick Berry).
  3. Celtic FC – Celebrate (Kool & The Gang).
  4. Tommy Johnson – Remember Me (The Blueboy).
  5. Falkirk FC – Big Eight (Judge Dread).
  6. Lee Bowyer & Jonathan Woodgate – Let Me Go (Heaven 17).
  7. Shaun Goater – Glorious (Andreas Jonson).
  8. Sheffield Wednesday FC – Goin’ Down (Mel C.)
  9. Arsenal FC – It’s Getting Better (Oasis).
  10. Richard Edghill – Little Donkey (Nina & Frederick).

Brian Morrison (lovescene74@hotmail.com)

IN RESPONSE TO TOM WILLIS

Sorry to contradict you Tom but the facts just don’t support your criticism of Edgy. For anyone who doesn’t believe me, check out the Carling Opta stats Website http://www.opta.co.uk/squad_list.asp?club=43 If you click on the player’s name it gives you all sorts of stats such as:

         Passes completed   Passes completed
           own half %       opposition half %
Edghill       75                  54
Granville     67                  61
Bishop        75                  87

So, anyone want to reassess their opinions of the guy now? He is a full back, not a winger or a midfielder. He does his job, and he does it well. Everyone has just jumped on a scapegoat bandwagon. So lay off him. The only thing that I don’t understand is why he takes the free kicks in our half. Surely Wiekens with 85% pass accuracy in our half would be a better bet?

Here’s to 3 points on Sunday (and no rain as I’m in UU).

Stuart Langley – Cockney Blue (Stuart.Langley@cwcom.co.uk)

PSST – WANNA BUY A SHIRT?

If anyone would like to get a genuine Le Coq Sportif City shirt in Melbourne for $A30 (around £12), try Only Sport, at 126-130 Franklin Street, opposite Victoria Market. These appear to be genuine shirts and are identical to the UK version, the only difference being that they are made by Le Coq Sportif in Thailand. There is nowhere else I know of that you can get City shirts out here and the price compares favourably with the $A160 being charged for the Kappa shirts.

If you have any difficulties, e-mail me. Incidentally, there is an ISP out here made for Blues – Dingo Blue. They are cheap, offer calls to the UK for 15c a minute and are also mobile phone providers, for those considering switching from Vodaphone.

CTID, John Durham (jdu@dingoblue.net.au)

OPINION

Well?! Anybody out there doubt any more that we are pretty bloody awful? Sorry, I really would prefer not to spread doom’n’gloom about but the performance against Charlton left me gobsmacked. Assuming we manage to stay ahead of a Brummie side coming thro’ like an express train or maybe stuff Barnsley/Ipswich/Fulham or whoever over two legs and a Wembley final we are going to get hockeyed by at least sixteen sides next season unless we buy or breed 10-12 players. I stand by my previous assertion that Uncle Joe and his backroom boys are worse talent spotters than Dick Rowe of Decca (for younger readers, the guy who said “groups with guitars are old hat” and so turned down the chance to sign The Beatles). Frankly he’d have been better spending his time watching The Duck & Sprocket 3rd XI than pursuing Big Fat Bob with the club chequebook. Weaver and Kennedy apart, which of those stumors we saw today could hack it in the Premiership? Weaver, Kennedy, Bishop (substituted, god knows why), maybe Pollock and certainly The Goat apart, who would you put your money on to get us out of Division One? The back four had me heart in mouth all game. Wiekens is the only one who looks comfortable on the ball but he moves with less urgency than a paraplegic snail. Attacking up the right, whatever permutation Joe employs, is a total no-no. Reg cannot get forward without a calamity. Kennedy on the right is the proverbial one-legged man at an arse-kicking contest – not his fault, I hasten to add. Whitley is a huffer’n’puffer, nothing more. Only thing I can say about Tiatto is he tries harder than Granville but that wouldn’t be difficult. If Pringle had finished more crisply (ho, ho) we would have been dead and buried, another 1-3. I hear good things about Fenton. Are they true? If so, why isn’t he on the park? Anyone enlighten me?

Please don’t anyone give me any crap about disloyalty. I am not being disloyal. I cheered like f*** to the final whistle, in a pub full of Rags and French and Italian students who couldn’t believe why anyone would want to watch this stuff. I even had six of them cheering The Blues by the end. But sorry, Joe, Willie and all – here in The People’s Republic of Sandymount, Dublin 4 the jury is still out. Joe? Great motivator – certainly. Great tactician – well, he’s better than Ball, Frankie Clark and Brian Horton – does that tell you anything? Great talent spotter/developer – do me a favour. And while we’re on the subject, his chauvinist comments about women referees leave me cold – my grandma could have run the game better than that wazzock on the pitch today.

P.S. we’re second though. Great innit?!

Ernie Whalley (bluevalentine@dna.ie)

DESPERATELY SEEKING SWINDON TICKETS

Given that I knew that all the away tickets for the County Ground were sold out way back, I rang up Swindon to buy tickets amongst the 3 home fans still attending games there, to be told that I couldn’t have any unless:

  1. I was on their database. So I ask – how to get on it? They tell me – buy tickets for a game :-((
  2. I had a Swindon postcode.

So … am asking – any City fans out there who could oblige with any of the above? If so – please contact me by email (address below), or on 0117 950 9003 (work), 955 1393 (home).

Jeremy Poynton (j.poynton@cableinet.co.uk)

WHY BLUE?

I was born in Crumpsall Hospital in December 1966; our family uprooted and moved to a brand new council estate a couple of years later. The name of that beautiful estate was Langley. Home to Tommy Booth, Kenny Clements & Daft Donald. Where I lived, Crummock Drive, every kid was a City fan and that was good enough for me, so City it was. Every day at the top of our drive we, all the kids, would take part in a serious kick about ranging from two-a-side and up to 10-a-side. I would usually be Dennis Tueart or Asa Hartford and we’d play furiously for hours until the game was won or somebody hit a door or window with the ball. The highlight of our week was Tommy Booth’s weekly visit to his in-laws. They lived at the top of Burnside Crescent and would have to drive past Crummock to get there. If anyone spotted his bright orange Ford escort driving up the road they would shout ‘Tommy Booth, Tommy Booth’ and the other kids would leg it down the drive in order to wave at him as he drove by.

Once I started watching City at Maine Road my love turned into an obsession; it went from just home games to all the home games and almost all the away games, as part as the infamous Yelloways Beermonsters, a decent following of Middleton & Langley lads who followed City mainly as an excuse to drink in pubs all over England. The Yelloways mob never were hooligans; of course we got into a few scrapes here and there, but on the whole it was good beer-fuelled fun. The highlight of me following City was the entire season when we were promoted under Billy McNeill and the 10-1 game against Huddersfield at Maine Road. Of course typical me, I emigrated the day after Liverpool beat us 4-0 in the cup at Maine Road in 1988 so I’ve missed some really good stuff. That 5-1 game, the banana craze and of course the play-off against Gillingham. On the bright side though I’ve also been lucky enough to miss some of the worst City teams ever. Now I’m married with a kid, the wife was converted almost as soon as I met her and has been to Maine Road a few times. She is even proud of the fact that she was spat at by Reading fans in the North Stand one year in the FA Cup. My son Liam of course wasn’t converted, he was born a Blue (brainwashed, as my mum calls it), he has had umpteen City kits and pictures of Nicky Weaver, Andy Morrison & Shaun Goater adorn his wall instead of the LA Dodgers or Lakers. Apart from missing watching City play on a regular basis, my main regret about living in the States is that I won’t be able to take my son to the match. But he will be five in time for next season and hopefully our return to the Premier League. So if this time next year you find yourself in the North Stand sitting next to a big bald lad with a little blonde kid with an American accent, say hello ’cause it will probably be Liam & me.

Andy Gillespie – Manc in California (grantkirkham@e-machines.net)

RESULTS

Recent results from 6 March 2000 to 19 March 2000 inclusive.

19 March 2000

Ipswich Town          0 - 2  Norwich City
Manchester City       1 - 1  Charlton Athletic

18 March 2000

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

14 March 2000

Stockport County      0 - 0  Bolton Wanderers

12 March 2000

Blackburn Rovers      0 - 1  Crewe Alexandra

11 March 2000

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

8 March 2000

Manchester City       1 - 3  Queens Park Rangers
Nottingham Forest     1 - 1  Norwich City

7 March 2000

Birmingham City       1 - 0  Portsmouth
Crewe Alexandra       2 - 1  Port Vale
Crystal Palace        0 - 0  Bolton Wanderers
Fulham                4 - 1  Stockport County
Grimsby Town          1 - 0  Wolverhampton Wndrs
Ipswich Town          0 - 0  Blackburn Rovers
Sheffield United      3 - 3  Barnsley
Swindon Town          2 - 0  Huddersfield Town
Walsall               2 - 4  Charlton Athletic
West Bromwich Albion  2 - 0  Tranmere Rovers

League table to 19 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.   36 13  2  3 29 12 11  4  3 37 21 24  6  6 66 33  33  78
 2 Manchester City 36 12  2  4 37 16  7  6  5 19 17 19  8  9 56 33  23  65
 3 Ipswich Town    37 12  3  4 32 17  6  8  4 24 20 18 11  8 56 37  19  65
 4 Barnsley        37 12  3  3 40 19  7  5  7 32 37 19  8 10 72 56  16  65
 5 Birmingham City 37 13  4  2 34 15  5  5  8 24 25 18  9 10 58 40  18  63
 6 Huddersfield T. 37 12  4  2 38 15  5  5  9 16 24 17  9 11 54 39  15  60
 7 Wolves          37 11  4  3 34 17  5  6  8 17 24 16 10 11 51 41  10  58
 8 Fulham          37 10  6  3 24 12  4  8  6 15 21 14 14  9 39 33   6  56
 9 Bolton Wndrs    37  9  5  4 32 21  5  7  7 16 17 14 12 11 48 38  10  54
10 QPR             37  7 10  1 23 15  6  5  8 26 27 13 15  9 49 42   7  54
11 Blackburn R.    37  8  7  3 24 14  4  7  8 19 27 12 14 11 43 41   2  50
12 Sheff. United   37 10  5  4 34 19  3  6  9 20 34 13 11 13 54 53   1  50
13 Norwich City    37  9  4  5 22 18  3  8  8 15 21 12 12 13 37 39  -2  48
14 Tranmere Rovers 36  9  5  3 29 19  4  3 12 18 34 13  8 15 47 53  -6  47
15 Grimsby Town    37 10  5  4 25 22  3  2 13 13 33 13  7 17 38 55 -17  46
16 Stockport C.    38  7  7  5 26 25  4  5 10 13 28 11 12 15 39 53 -14  45
17 Crystal Palace  37  6 10  3 28 19  4  3 11 19 36 10 13 14 47 55  -8  43
18 Nottm Forest    37  8  8  3 26 16  2  3 13 15 32 10 11 16 41 48  -7  41
19 Crewe Alex.     37  7  5  7 21 22  4  3 11 16 26 11  8 18 37 48 -11  41
20 Portsmouth      37  6  5  7 25 20  4  4 11 17 34 10  9 18 42 54 -12  39
21 West Brom A.    37  4  9  6 16 20  4  6  8 14 26  8 15 14 30 46 -16  39
22 Walsall         37  5  5  9 20 27  3  6  9 20 33  8 11 18 40 60 -20  35
23 Port Vale       35  5  4  8 19 21  1  8  9 19 30  6 12 17 38 51 -13  30
24 Swindon Town    37  3  6 10 18 32  2  5 11  9 29  5 11 21 27 61 -34  26

With thanks to Football 365

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


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


[Valid3.2]Stephen Bolton, sbolton@buxtonrd.u-net.com

Newsletter #589

2000/03/20

Editor:


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