Newsletter #601

So predictably – given that this is Manchester City Football Club – our automatic promotion hopes will go right down to the wire before they are fulfilled or dashed. The Blues need a point from next Sunday’s game away to Blackburn Rovers (barring an Ipswich goalscoring frenzy), whilst Ipswich need to secure all three points against a Walsall side who have to win to avoid relegation. I’m probably getting into a seriously repetitive mode, but I can only reiterate that our fate is still in our own hands, which is a far better situation than Ipswich find themselves in.

The atmosphere on Friday night was electric – once near to the ground, any apprehension I’d had about the team being handicapped by an ultra-nervous performance from the terraces was quickly dispelled. Somehow, there was a tangible feeling of self-belief about Maine Road, almost as if all we had to do was sing and shout and the result would quite simply go our way. The Birmingham turnout was no match for the vocal tour de force; in fact, it was simply embarrassing. I realise it was on BSkyB, but such a paltry showing seems inexplicable when your team need only a point to be guaranteed a play-off place. The result did of course go our way, and the final whistle was met by a pitch invasion. Disappointingly, the media generally chose to portray this event as premature and arrogant celebration of promotion. I have to say that they were way wide of the mark – this was simply a celebration of a fantastic and unexpected season (however it finally turns out), coupled with a spontaneous outburst of emotion after what has to be one of the tensest matches I’ve been to (‘enjoy’ is not a word I would choose!). Onward to Sunday….

This issue has Peter’s news, a match report from Tony Burns, opinion, and a good Why Blue.

This one reaches 3,190.

Next game: Blackburn Rovers away, Sunday 7th May 2000


Taylor Clinches Crucial Win

Manchester City took a massive step towards securing Premiership football at Maine Road next season with a 1-0 win over Birmingham on Friday. Striker Robert Taylor scored the only goal to leave the Blues a point away from automatic promotion. Taylor scored in the 40th minute of a tense and hard-fought encounter, his second goal in two games – although the ex-Gillingham man missed a chance to ease City’s nerves in the second half when clean through only to see goalkeeper Thomas Myhre block the shot with his legs. The final whistle was greeted by a celebratory pitch invasion but the delight could still prove premature – a win for Ipswich in their last game plus a defeat for the Blues at Blackburn next week could still consign City to the play-offs.

Ipswich Keep Their Hopes Alive

A draw or defeat for Ipswich Town at Charlton on Saturday would have sealed Manchester City’s promotion from Division One. But the Suffolk outfit won 3-1 to create a nail-biting climax to the regular season for both themselves and Joe Royle’s men. Jim Magilton gave George Burley’s side the lead at The Valley and second-half strikes from David Johnson and Martijn Reuser meant that Andy Hunt’s late goal for the home side was purely academic. Ipswich stay two points behind the Blues ahead of next week’s closing fixtures of the campaign, when only a win for the East Anglians over relegation-threatened Walsall and a defeat for City at Blackburn can deny the Manchester club a second successive promotion.

Kennedy Defends Pitch Celebrations

Manchester City were criticised in some quarters for premature celebrations after Friday’s Maine Road win over Birmingham. But Mark Kennedy has defended the decision to allow the players to acknowledge their fans. Kennedy says that the players simply wanted to thank the City supporters for their backing over the season. And the Irish winger is well aware that City still have work to do to seal a Premiership place. “We are all aware it could be misconstrued as arrogance or something like that but it wasn’t,” he told the Manchester Evening News. “Whatever happens next, we believe we can put our hands on our hearts and say it has been a great season.”

Burley – City Are Favourites

George Burley saw his Ipswich side show its character with a win at Charlton on Saturday. But the former Scotland international admits that Manchester City are still best-placed to clinch automatic promotion from Division One. Burley was delighted by his team’s performance at The Valley, but he knows that even a repeat performance at home to relegation battlers Walsall next week may not be enough to save the East Anglians from the trauma of the play-offs: “Manchester City are still the favourites for automatic promotion. They need only a point but I know that Blackburn is a tough fixture,” reflected the Ipswich boss. “We’ll be trying to beat Walsall and we’ll just have to wait and see. If we have to go via the play-offs then so be it.”

Youngster Nets New Deal

Shaun Wright-Phillips this season became the first player to emerge from Manchester City’s youth Academy to feature at senior level. And the 19-year-old has been rewarded for his progress with a new contract. Wright-Phillips will has pen to paper to seal a four-year deal, and manager Joe Royle feels that the youngster can become a first-team regular – possibly on the right wing. The player is delighted to commit to an extended stay at Maine Road, telling the Manchester Evening News, “I love it here. I feel I have improved technically, and more importantly, I have also matured.”

Two New Sunday Transfer Rumours

With their promotion fate still in the balance, Manchester City are still unable to plan their close-season transfer policy. But the Sunday tabloids are nevertheless linking players with the Blues. City, along with a host of English clubs including Derby, Spurs, Aston Villa, Leeds, Ipswich and Bolton, were represented at Wednesday’s international friendly between Denmark and Sweden in Copenhagen. And it’s thought that the home side’s midfielder Brian Steen-Nielsen was the main focus of attention. The 25-year-old plays for AB Copenhagen and is valued at £2.5 million. Meanwhile, the Blues and Charlton are said to be interested in Newcastle striker Paul Robinson.

Kanchelskis in City Hint

Andrei Kanchelskis has been tipped by many as Manchester City’s first signing should the Blues eventually win promotion. And the Rangers’ winger’s comments on his Ibrox future have added fuel to the rumours. The 31-year-old Russian international has said he “wouldn’t rule out” returning to the Premiership next season. And the Ukrainian-born star referred to the Blues specifically in his comments, reflecting that, “If Manchester City win promotion, they will look for ways to strengthen their line-up. It’s possible their management could consider me as well.” Kanchelskis reportedly still has a house in the Manchester area.

No Move Yet for Kanchelskis

Manchester City have been linked with Rangers’ winger Andrei Kanchelskis. But there has been no contact between the two clubs over a prospective move for the Russian international. Kanchelskis has hinted that he’d welcome a transfer to the Blues if they win promotion. But Rangers’ chairman David Murray has denied receiving any approach from City while the Manchester Evening News reports that a similar line is emerging from Maine Road. However, given the player’s recent comments, the rumour seems likely to persist if City are playing Premiership football next term.

Tueart Insists United Don’t Matter

Dennis Tueart believes Manchester City have finally ditched the notion that the club needs to match Manchester United. And the Maine Road director feels that the Blues will benefit as a result. Tueart feels that in the past, City have set unrealistic targets for themselves by attempting to compete with their cross-town rivals. “I’ve been to saying to our fans that Man United have got their challenges and City have got theirs,” says the former City playing hero. “We are coming from different levels and our starting points are different too. We will focus in on our challenge in future and that’s the difference. We have to be more realistic than in the past.”

Taylor Starts to Show His Worth

Robert Taylor had a slow start to his Manchester City career, suffering a series of illness and injury problems. But the £1.5 million striker is now relishing life at Maine Road after notching goals in successive games. Taylor’s strike against Birmingham on Friday could yet be the goal instrumental in clinching promotion for the Blues. And after the match, the ex-Gillingham front man told the Manchester Evening News of his gratitude to the fans for standing by him in the difficult times. “I have felt bad about the way I couldn’t seem to get going after the transfer because of injuries,” he admitted, “but the supporters have been great to me.”

Only One Representative in Divisional Select

Manchester City had one representative in the Division One select team announced at Sunday’s annual PFA awards dinner. But there was disappointment for two other City men who narrowly missed out. Fifteen members of the Blues’ first-team squad travelled to London for the event, where Manchester United’s Roy Keane received the Player of the Year accolade. Shaun Goater and Nicky Weaver will be disappointed not to have featured in the Division One select – Richard Wright of Ipswich filled the goalkeeping berth, while the Suffolk club also had Marcus Stewart in attack, partnered by Charlton’s Andy Hunt. However, winger Mark Kennedy ensured that the Blues were represented in the line-up.

Sky to Screen Vital Fixtures

The climax to the Division One promotion race will be featured live on Sky Sports on Sunday. And the decisive games involving both Manchester City and Ipswich Town will be screened. A point for the Blues at Blackburn would clinch automatic promotion unless Ipswich beat Walsall by an eight-goal margin. However, a defeat for Joe Royle’s men coupled with a win for the Suffolk outfit would leave City facing the play-offs. One match will be shown on Sky Sports 2 and the other on Sky Sports 3, with both kicking off at 1.30 p.m. according to the Sky Sports website.

Jobson – Back to Work

Friday’s win over Birmingham created a chance for Manchester City to be promoted on Saturday. But the Blues now face another week of tension after Ipswich won at Charlton – and defender Richard Jobson says the team will be training hard ahead of the big game at Blackburn. Jobson produced an impeccable performance as City battled to the single-goal victory over Trevor Francis’ men and he’s expecting a similarly close-fought encounter at Ewood Park next week. And the veteran defender believes that the Blues will find the home side a tough proposition under new boss Graeme Souness. “It will be difficult at Blackburn,” he admits. “It’s back down to earth and back to work.”

Peter Brophy (



It was an astonishing night at the Academy, and it really was one of those occasions that you had to experience to believe; 32,062 and no doubt a few others were in the ground to witness yet another great football occasion that had an atmosphere the like of which in Manchester can only be generated at Maine Road and can only be envied by those who think they can simply buy into a football experience.

My day had started early and I realised as I was having my morning coffee that this felt more like a cup final day (even though it takes a bit of recollection to remember that feeling) – my stomach was in knots throughout the whole of the day. I know from talking to other Blues that I was not on my own. It seems the case that we so often these days have ‘the biggest game in years’ but this really was one of those games. To lose would surely give Ipswich the heart to really go at Charlton, to win would put one hand on the prize. Although I knew by heart all the permutations of what it meant to draw, win, lose etc., we still checked it out dozens of times during the day on our own and with each other.

I spoke to my brother Paul a couple of times during the day (who we were due to meet with in The Gardeners at about 5.00pm) and I knew that he was as nervous as anyone else and was like me watching the clock tick nervously towards our appointment with destiny.

Eventually as the time got closer we checked and then double-checked that every single ritual that had been forced on us throughout this magnificent season was re-enacted, and then when we had checked we checked again with each other.

For much of the day I had stumbled and tripped round the house with my trousers firmly around my ankles; I had made a mental note to take extra care if I needed to answer the door, but such has been the importance of not wearing a belt and risking the falling trousers that I had gambled that this most bizarre of fashion statements would somehow bring more power to Maine Road. My children selected shirts carefully to make sure that the order in which they had been worn throughout the season was maintained at this most crucial of moments. I was reminded not to have my coin purse with me and we took extra special care to drive the same route. The only exception to routine was that we took a flag (that had also been to Wembley last year).

The Gardener’s was quiet when we got there and we sat outside quaffing the most delightful medication that the good Dr Pub has to offer – a few pints of Guinness, always excellent for PMT (pre match tension) was prescribed and taken readily. I have to say that as the time drew closer and we went indoors, the City fans in The Gardener’s excelled themselves in some of the most raucous, funny and loud singing I have heard in there. Although some of the Munich/anti-scum songs may not be your taste, I can’t deny that it was a joy to be there – there were songs (and words to songs) that I had never heard before, it was just brilliant.

At last the time came and we accepted that as football is our god we really had to get to the temple and pray.

We walked around the ground and then split up, my children and I into the JD family stand, my wife and nephew into the Platt Lane and my brother into the Kippax. We agreed that we would all meet later at Rotherham corner, that most decrepit of places.

Inside the ground the atmosphere was building up and up and up and then when the teams came out the most incredible wall of sound resonated and danced across the pitch, from stand to stand and then back again. Hairs stood up on the backs of necks as the players entered the arena for the last scheduled home game of the season.

As ever I’m not going to dwell on the game, others will do that, but this was cup-tie stuff. Not a classic game by any means, but then again we didn’t expect it to be. It was a good team performance, Jobson was outstanding and I thought that Goater’s touches and off the ball work were excellent. Robert Taylor looks better with each game and it was well deserved when he was responsible for the noise that blew the roof of at Maine Road when he hit home on about 40 minutes from Horlock’s free kick. I like Birmingham and I think that they would be good candidates for the Premier league but to be honest their strike force rarely troubled Nick Weaver throughout the whole of the game.

It was a gritty team performance and despite the repeated requests not to go on the pitch at the end of the game, the moment the whistle blew saw an invasion that saw thousands and thousands and thousands scramble on to the pitch, including us. As we danced on the turf there was a real feeling of elation, and City fans can be and should be immensely proud of the contribution that they have made to the progress of the team during the last two years. There is a real irony that the fans in Manchester who, in terms of prizes won, should have least to shout about are able to shame so often the Londoners who watch their football in Trafford.

It was magnificent and although it can still go to the last game there was a real feeling that we have now done enough. It’s certainly easier to work the maths out, and rather than have nerves shredded next week at Blackburn we’ll be hoping that Ipswich drop the points that will have us back in the Premier by 5:00pm on Saturday.

I suppose I should finish now with the important detail that most of you will be waiting for. Firstly the officials; they were Alan, Ray, Tony and George. Ray is from Milton Keynes and enjoys waving a red flag whilst Tony from Birkenhead likes to wave yellow. Secondly and finally Ena Parkinson Property Rentals sponsored the match ball.

You may also wish to know that in the event of City making it to the Premier on Saturday, there will be a ‘photo special’ on my web site that will show the belt that stayed at home and the trousers that stayed around my ankles as well as photos from the match.

In the event of City making it these will be available after 19:00GMT on Sunday 30 April at: <>

Tony Burns (


B   loody
I   pswich
R   uined
M   y
I   ncredible
N   ight -
G   ot to keep
H   oping for
A   nother
M   atch

Steve Maclean (


Well after my last prediction, 1-0 to City against the Brummies, I thought I would check the stats again… This time it’s not so clear cut. Let’s compare Blackburn vs. City, and Ipswich vs. Walsall.

Blackburn’s home record: Played 22, Won 10, Drawn 9, Lost 3.
City’s away Record: Played 22, Won 8, Drawn 9, Lost 5.

Blackburn’s scoring rate at home is exactly two for every one conceded. City’s away scoring is slightly less clear, with a score rate of slightly more than one for one (1.18 technically).

Both Blackburn (home) and City (away) have both got unbeaten runs of 4 matches.

So you don’t need to be an Einstein to work out that this match, on paper, is heading for a draw. Which will suit us just fine, but will not do my nerves or fingernails any good.

Now what about Ipswich and Walsall? Bear in mind that Walsall need a win to stay in the 1st Division, assuming that West Brom lose. So hopefully Walsall will be fired up for this match.

Ipswich’s home form: Played 22, Won 15, Drawn 3, Lost 4.
Walsall’s away form: Played 22, Won 4, Drawn 7, Lost 11.

Now this does not look good for Walsall. Ipswich have won their last three home matches, and have not conceded a goal in these matches. Walsall have not won away for 3 matches, with their last draw away to Tranmere.

So to cut a long story short, Ipswich will beat Walsall, but not by the 9 goals needed to jump ahead of City. I reckon the result will be 2-0 to Ipswich, based on current trends, and Ipswich’s fear of conceding late goals.

So, I am afraid it’s all down to City. The game against Blackburn looks odds on for a draw. But City have the ‘knack’ of confounding the pundits, in either direction. Let’s hope it’s the positive direction. I reckon City will score, but we have to hope that Blackburn don’t live up to their stats, and reply with two!

Final score: City 1 Blackburn 0 (I reckon Spencer Prior will score the winner in the second half).

If I am wrong, and I have tempted fate, then I will be in hiding for the next few years! 🙂

Come on City… it’s upto us, let’s pull off another ‘Stoke’.

CTIDWIHLICFTWODAB (City till I Die, Which Is Highly Likely if City Fail To Win Or Draw At Blackburn), Andi Frodsham (


It’s probably a long shot… but I would just love if some of you Mancunians could help me with my website.

How does it feel to be a City supporter in Manchester?

What do most fans do before games (which pubs do you visit and so on?)

How is the relationship with the United fans in general in a time where City have been out of the top flight?

I hope that some of you great fans would E-mail me about life as a City fan in Manchester.

It would be great reading for the Danish City fans. The branch has grown from about 35 members in beginning of the season to 85 at the end of the season (the Danish branch is under the Norway branch). It would be great if some of you could help.

Morten (


Hi All Blues, just a quick thank you note for all the Blues who responded to my request for stats. I now have all the resources I could ever need, so when my database is up and running, you’ll be the first to know.

Thanks again, Paul Howarth, Jon Abel, Kasper Nymand and Bronson Justus.

CTIDITBDDKMF (City Till I Die, If This Bloody Database Doesn’t Kill Me First), Andi Frodsham (


I have seen requests in the past for the Blue Moon ringtone for Nokia mobile phones. Well, here it is…

Blue Moon:
d=4,o=5,b=40:16d#.6,4d#6,32c#.6,32d#.6,32f6,16d#6,16d#6,32c#6,4d#6,32a#5, 32c.6,32c#6,16c6,16c6,32a#.5,8c.6,32g#5,32a#.5,32c6,16g#5,16g#5,32f.5,8g#.5

There are two ways to get it on to a phone:

  • use an SMS service on the Internet that is capable of sending ringtones(they send as a text message, but in a ringtone rather than text format -this is why it will not work if you type it into the phone)
  • download some shareware software (such as LogoManager) which will send itto your phone (to use these you need either infrared or buy a cable).

Hope this is useful.

Bill Muirhead (


I was lucky enough to get a ticket for Wembley to see the City/Gillingham game last season. Before I left home, I set the video to come on, in the event of it being an exciting game. What an understatement?

I’ve noticed a few appeals from City fans through MCVITA asking if there is anyone out there with a copy of the game.

Well I have about 4 hours of the Sky coverage which includes the build up, the game, extra time, the penalty shoot out, the post-match celebrations and unfortunately the adverts.

I’m quite happy to do a copy to any City fans who contacts me. I’ll only charge for the 4 hour tape, packing and postage.

Much as I enjoyed that fantastic day, I don’t think I could go through it again this season.

Jim Kearns (


What a night we had at Maine Road on Friday, easily my best time ever there, along with about 45 fellow Blues from the Wicklow branch. I thought the atmosphere was breathtaking, I mean singing in the Main Stand, you don’t often get that, and the general high emotion around the ground. The poor Brummie crowd never really got a chance to sing, just a pity we failed to make promotion that night, but we will make it next week, we are the best fans around and we have a team with great spirit; incidentally does anybody know why Shaun Goater failed to make it into the 1st Division team of the season? I cannot believe that the top scorer in the division fails to get a look in.

Kindest regards to City fans everywhere.

CTID, Paul Fegan (


A lot of people have been asking whether the Blackburn match will be shown live in the US.

As far as I know Nationwide matches are never shown live over here. The only City games we have been able to see have been FA Cup ties. If anyone hears any different please let me know, meanwhile let’s hope that it’s not an issue next season…

There is an excellent website at that lists every football programme televised in the US.

Martin -Chippy- Price (


As an avid viewer of Sky’s Dream Team, but only a recent subscriber to McVitee, is Harchester’s home ground actually our beloved Maine Road? It certainly looks that way!

Come on the Blues! I have a bet at 10,000-1 (£1 paid on), that City will be Premiership Champions next year. I placed the bet when City were in the bottom half of Div. 2, in October ’98… seems ridiculous? …it’s worth a quid! and if, sorry, when, they make it back to the top flight this month, I’ll be happy!

Declan Carty – Dublin (


We are Baaaaack!

After Joe Mercer and “Big” Joe Corrigan, congratulations to Joe Royle for taking us back to where we belong in only two seasons. Hope you are having a nice time after the 1-0 win against Birmingham last night. I watched the match until 1 in the morning and left my seat jumping with joy and relief. At last, we are back. Congratulations to all the lads at Maine Road and my friend Asa Hartford;

Monaf Hossenbaccus – True Blue in Mauritius (


Why I’m concerned about a football strip at this crucial point in the season God only knows but I am. Well to be fair there is a logical reason for my thoughts. The thing is being 40 something I remember all the famous victories in the old Red and Black strip and quite frankly I love it. I am the proud owner of a replica 1969 cup final shirt in those colours and it has been proudly worn to most away games this season. Until 3 months ago this shirt was available in the club shop. It was then announced that our current third strip, i.e. the ‘new’ red and black one, was to be brought out as a ‘leisure item’ and therefore available to the great British public. The rider was it was to be a limited edition. One of my friends reckons that the red and black kit will be the one worn for Blackburn and bearing in mind the colours of Blackburn’s kit, he’s probably right. With that in mind he trundled off to the souvenir shop, sorry megastore (I told you I was old!) and attempted to purchase the shirt in time for his and the team’s appearance at Ewood Park. “Sorry sir, we are completely sold out and we will not be getting any more in” was the reply he received. It also seems the 1969 kit is unavailable and so the club was denied my mate’s £30. My point is, why is neither strip available? If it’s selling you keep producing. Surely that is common sense and makes the club money? I know we will be successful on Sunday, I cannot bear to think of it any other way, so can you imagine the demand for the shirt then. Any good marketing man would have a field day. Maybe I’m wrong about the demand so if you are reading this City, why not let us know?

Nigel Pickles (


Am I alone in experiencing a sense of d